Hanging by a thread, 45 years ago today

F-4J-34-MC Phantom II BuNo.155743 of Fighter Squadron 92 (VF-92, the Silver Kings) photographed aboard the USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) on 9 December 1972. Note the crew is no longer aboard, courtesy of their Martin-Baker seats!

“The crew (Lt. J. R. Brooke & Lt. G. B. Bastian) was able to hook up the cable, but the plane at a certain point ‘swerved’ suddenly left to the left of the bridge. The two men were able to eject and were recovered shortly after an SH-3 Sea King, but the poor rhino was hanged as a crooked painting until the return to the port of San Diego.”

It was in this same year that, while on Yankee Station off Vietnam, another VF-92 Phantom, F-4J #157269, flown by LCDR James McDevitt and Lt. Curt Dose, shot down a Vietnam People’s Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 with an AIM-9 Sidewinder.

VF-92 was disestablished on 12 December 1975 but the hapless 155743 was saved, put back into service, and was later even converted to F-4S standard, flying with VF-154 and the Marines of VMFA-312 until 1985 when she was put into storage at the AMARC bone yard. Odds are, she was probably scratched as a target drone sometime later.

“Connie,” on the other hand, remained in service until 2003 and was only recently scrapped at Brownsville, Texas.

100 years ago today: Surrendering the ancient city to a pair of NCOs from London in short pants

The Mayor of Jerusalem Hussein Effendi el Husseini [al-Husseini] (Ottoman), meeting with Sergts. Sedgwick and Hurcomb of the 2/19th Battalion, London Regiment, under the white flag of surrender, Dec. 9th [1917] at 8 a.m., 1917.

The Mayor of Jerusalem Hussein Effendi el Husseini [al-Husseini] (Ottoman), meeting with Sergts. Sedgwick and Hurcomb of the 2/19th Battalion, London Regiment*, under the white flag of surrender, Dec. 9th [1917] at 8 a.m., 1917.

As explained by wiki

During almost continuous rain on 8 December, Jerusalem ceased to be protected by the Ottoman Empire. Chetwode (commander of XX Corps), who had relieved Bulfin (commander of XXI Corps), launched the final advance taking the heights to the west of Jerusalem on 8 December. The Ottoman Seventh Army retreated during the evening and the city surrendered the following day.

The mayor of Jerusalem, Hussein Salim al-Husseini, attempted to deliver the Ottoman Governor’s letter surrendering the city to Sergeants James Sedgewick and Frederick Hurcomb of 2/19th Battalion, London Regiment*, just outside Jerusalem’s western limits on the morning of 9 December 1917. The two sergeants, who were scouting ahead of Allenby’s main force, refused to take the letter. It was eventually accepted by Brigadier General C.F. Watson, commanding the 180th (2/5th London) Brigade.

Jerusalem was almost encircled by the EEF, although Ottoman Army units briefly held the Mount of Olives on 9 December. They were overwhelmed by the 60th (2/2nd London) Division the following afternoon

The offica guard posted at the Jaffa Gate later that day were a little more turned out.

The surrender of Jerusalem to the British, December 9, 1917. First British guard at the Jaffa Gate

*The 19th Battalion, London Regiment (St Pancras), in existence from 1860, was a reserve unit that disbanded in 1961 after being called to the colors for service in the Boer Wars and both World Wars. Its lineage, however, is retained by the London Regiment overall which serves as a four-company TA battalion attached to the Guards Brigade.

Looking for a detachable box mag Remington 870, right from the factory?

This week, Remington debuted a new offering on the tried-and-true 870 pump brings a three- or six-shell detachable magazine to the mix on each of a half-dozen new variants. Each 12-gauge ships with a single proprietary six-shot mag with the exception of the 870 DM Tactical /Predator — which sports Kryptek Highlander camo and is billed as a turkey and hog gun– that includes both a three and a six-shot detachable box, though Remington advises additional magazines will be available for purchase.

Shown above is the 870 DM Magpul, the model first to hit the market, includes a Magpul SGA stock and MOE M-Lok forend with a Super Cell recoil pad. The 18.5-inch Rem Choke barrel includes an extended ported tactical choke and is equipped with XS steel front and ghost ring rear sights, the latter mounted on a Picatinny rail section above the receiver. MSRP is $799

More in my column, and details on the other five variants, at Guns.com.

Of course, some have been in this game for a while. For instance, Black Aces Tactical posted, “Remember. No matter what you see or here tonight or in the days to come, you saw it here first. We’ve been at it for years. We’ve got it nailed.”

The legacy Black Aces Tactical Remington 870 detachable magazine mod…

As for if it evolves into a patent dispute, that remains to be seen.

Just saying.

Drydock love

Here we see some great shots by the very talented USCG LCDR Krystyn Pecora of the Boston-based 270-foot medium endurance cutter USCGC Seneca (WMEC-906) as she nears the end of her periodic drydock availability.

A “Bear” or “Famous” class cutter, her keel was laid on 16 September 1982 at Robert Derecktor Shipyard, Middletown, RI, and she was commissioned in 1986, making her 31 years young.

She shares the name of the old USRC Seneca, commissioned in 1908, a former Warship Wednesday alum.

You can expect Seneca to put another decade or so under her hull before she is ultimately replaced by one of the new, larger Offshore Patrol Cutters, currently in the works. However, with her 76mm OTO Melara, helicopter hangar, economical diesel plant– and originally designed with weight and space reserved for Harpoon, Mk32, a towed array and CIWS– you can expect that she will likely be passed on to a third world ally for a second career.

The broken Hart

Awakened about 3:00 A.M., 8 December 1941 (2:00 P.M. Washington, D.C., time; 8:30 A.M. Pearl Harbor time, both 7 December), Admiral Thomas C. Hart scribbled this message to alert his fleet.

“Asiatic Fleet, Priority
Japan started hostilities. Govern yourselves accordingly.”

With the Philippines indefensible from a naval standpoint, by 14 December Hart had managed to withdraw his outgunned fleet in good order to Balikpapan, Borneo and continue operations from there. While his submarines kept slipping through the Japanese blockade of the PI, he engaged the Japanese at the Battle of Balikpapan Bay and came out ahead.

Hart held the command of the U.S. Navy Asiatic Fleet in WWII until 5 February 1942, at which point the command ceased to exist though not a single ship was lost while he was in charge of the force.

An excellent 95-page overview of the two months between the two bookend dates is here

Ward, who fired Pearl Harbor’s first shot, located after 73 years

New video in from the Philippines of Paul Allen’s RV Petrel exploring and documenting the remains of the Wickes-class destroyer, USS Ward (DD-139/APD-16).

USS Ward fired the first American shot in World War II on December 7, 1941, and of course is a past Warship Wednesday alumnus.

In a twist of fate, she was lost December 7, 1944, in Ormoc Bay and is now found and announced to the world again on that, now hallowed, date.

The beginning, and the end

A Navy officer views the shrine at the Arizona Memorial, where a marble wall bears the names of 1,177 officers and crew killed on the USS Arizona (BB-39) on 7 December 1941.

(Photo: VA)

A view of the USS Missouri (BB-63), site of the Japanese surrender ceremony in 1945, from the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. To this day, oil can be still seen rising from the wreckage to the surface of the water. The oil seeping is sometimes referred to as “tears of the Arizona” or “black tears.”

(Photo: VA)

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