Hey guys, I got drafted into representing Guns.com in the American Suppressor Association’s Silencer Stache contest.
If you haven’t heard about the ASA, they are the trade organization for the suppressor industry and have really been working for the past few years on expanding gun laws concerning the devices nationwide, from a hearing protection standpoint.
Long story short, they are running a facial hair contest this month and I am running neck-and-neck (see what I did there?) with my opponent and could use your vote to put me over the top. So if you could give me an assist, I would appreciate it.
You don’t have to sign up for anything, join anything, or buy anything. You do have to vote in each heat (just scroll down the page) then enter an email addy at the bottom (feel free to use a burner one) to make sure you aren’t a bot, then click enter.
That’s it. Help me from getting shellacked! The contest is here.
I thank you for your consideration.
The (Acting) SECNAV Thomas B. Modly has booted the skipper of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett E. Crozier (USNA 1994), from his post over the leaked letter the carrier’s commander penned in reference to the spreading COVID-19 cases among his embarked 4,000-man crew.
Several sources told USNI News ahead of the announcement that Navy leaders in the Pacific did not recommend Crozier’s removal from command.
Modly’s two minutes of reasoning is in the video below, essentially boiling down to breaking the chain of command on the face of it, with the unpardonable sin of making Big Navy look bad on the sniff test.
Loose lips sink ships, or at least careers, anyway.
Of course, all the public attention has resulted in the crew getting the attention they needed, which was the meat of Crozier’s concerns.
Crozier had a big send-off from his crew.
A Seahawk and later Hornet driver who flew with the Warhawks of VFA-97, the Mighty Shrikes of VFA-94 and the Rough Riders of VFA-125, Crozier completed numerous downrange deployments during OIF and the Global War on Terror. Serving as the XO of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for two years and then as skipper of 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), for another two before moving into the captain’s cabin of The Big Stick, Crozier was on the path for a star after 26 years of honorable service.
While dropping in at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile on a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday morning, you are likely to hear the roar of RC aircraft of all sorts. The park, just off the bow of the retired Gato-class diesel boat USS Drum (SS-228), is home to the Lower Alabama RC club, a group that has been around since 1975.
The hobbyists of the LARC club, which requires membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and to comply with the AMA Safety Code, swoop and swirl their aircraft deftly over the uninhabited marshland, remaining well under 400 feet AGL. They hurt no one, damage nothing except their own planes on accident, and add to the wonder of the park, which is often filled with wide-eyed youth visiting the ships and aircraft displays.
If a kid sees an RC Spitfire or Corsair zipping around while there, that could spark a life-long interest or career in aviation– and with the future of a massive increase in drone flight very real, that is a good thing.
The thing is, the Federal Aviation Administration has a proposed regulation that would require almost every drone, quadcopter and RC aircraft in the sky to broadcast its location over the Internet at all times. Sound innocent, right? However, the rule would probably wipe out the hobby that has been around for generations.
In many cases, it may not even be possible for people to upgrade their existing aircraft to the new standard. The FAA rule states that a compliant drone needs to have a serial number that was issued by the device’s manufacturer in compliance with the new rules. Yet many RC aircraft are built by small companies who never intended to get into the commercial drone business. They might not have the technical resources to comply with the new standards or the legal resources to get FAA approval.
The FAA aims to allow a few RC/drone airfields like the one in Mobile run by “community-based organizations” where the rules could be relaxed on hobby-built craft, but that exemption would only be for a year.
After that, the agency thinks everyone will just kinda hang it up:
At the end of that 12-month period, no new applications for FAA-recognized identification areas would be accepted. After that date, the number of FAA-recognized identification areas could therefore only remain the same or decrease. Over time, the FAA anticipates that most UAS without remote identification will reach the end of their useful lives or be phased out. As these numbers dwindle, and as compliance with remote identification requirements becomes cheaper and easier, the number of UAS that need to operate only at FAA-recognized identification areas would likely drop significantly.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly proclaimed his decision to name the next two Virginia-class submarines on Dec. 23, as USS Oklahoma (SSN-802) and the USS Arizona (SSN-803).
This would be the first time the names, formerly used by the Pearl Harbor battleship losses USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and USS Arizona (BB-39), have been on the Navy List in more than 75 years.
Is it time?
Well, in Modly’s defense, the Navy has often quickly recycled the names of lost warships as an inspiration to crews of new ones– and to show enemies how fast the “Arsenal of Democracy” could renew itself.
For example, during the dark days of 1942 in the Pacific the carriers Lexington, Hornet, Wasp, and Yorktown were all lost in action, along with the cruisers Astoria, Houston (with almost her entire 1,100-man crew either lost or captured), Northampton, Quincy, Vincennes, Atlanta, and Juneau. By 1944 all those names had been issued to new construction of the same type– many of which would continue to serve well into the Cold War. Indeed, the Navy even enlisted 1,000 brand new bluejackets in 1943 under the banner of “Houston Volunteers” to replace those lost in the Sunda Strait.
Going back even further, Battleship No. 10 was christened as USS Maine in 1901 just three years after the first Maine blew up in Havanna harbor, sparking the Spanish-American War. John Paul Jones’s Bonhomme Richard was sunk by HMS Serapis in 1779 and three different warships have gone on to carry the same name. The tragic loss of the USS Indianapolis in 1945 was followed up 35 years later by the name being bestowed to a Los Angeles-class attack submarine.
IMHO, in the case of Oklahoma, which lost over 400 of her 1,400 man crew on December 7, 1941, and whose hull was later raised and sold to the breakers for $40,000, perhaps the time is right to reboot her name.
However, as for Arizona, which lost 1,177 of her crew and whose hull still bleeds heavy fuel oil along Battleship Row today, perhaps her name should be retired or the vessel given a special status such as the one carried by the captured spy ship USS Pueblo or the frigate USS Constitution.
But that is just me.
ASECNAV Modly is a bright guy and I am sure he has his reasons. An Annapolis grad and former Naval Aviator, he went on to pull down a sheepskin from Harvard Business School and an MA from Georgetown before serving as Under Secretary of the Navy for the past two years.
Besides, the states of Arizona and Oklahoma both have powerful Congressional delegations, many of which have already voiced approval of the move– which could be key at budget time. Remember Hyman Rickover’s old adage of changing submarine naming conventions from marine creatures to states and cities explained as, “fish don’t vote.”
On the bright side, the new Arizona and Oklahoma will be the first Block V Virginias, arguably the most capable attack subs in the world.
If other plans afoot in Washington go through, they may be sorely needed to prove that capability.
Cuts, Cuts, and More Cuts
A memo circulating from the White House, apparently with the Navy’s blessing, has the fleet cutting the first four LCS variants (Freedom, Independence, Fort Worth and Coronado) although they are still relatively brand new (although cranky “Mod 0” type ships). Along with them could be a cap on further LCS production at 35 hulls, laying up three LSDs (Whidbey Island, Germantown and Gunston Hall) which still have a decade or more life left on their machinery/hulls, and accelerating the retirement of four the oldest remaining Tico-class cruisers (Bunker Hill, Mobile Bay, Antietam, and Leyte Gulf).
Further, new construction would get the ax as well (!) with five of the 12 pending late-flight Burke-class destroyers canceled– one of the few really successful Navy shipbuilding programs.
Instead of the 355-ship Navy promised in 2018, we are looking more at a 287-ship fleet, which would include 31 remaining underarmed LCS hulls, 3 virtually worthless Zumwalt-class pink elephants, and the Fords, which are slipping further and further down the calendar of being deployable.
Sure, Congress could pour on the pork and get more DDGs added, cruisers saved and Gators retained, which is probably what the Navy hopes for. The end result next year will probably be a compromise that no one but the admirals of the PLAN like.
Pass me my scotch, please, and say a prayer for the next generation of U.S. Naval officers and enlisted.
Sackville, a Canadian town in New Brunswick, lost 55 of its men during WWII with the Canadian forces fighting in Italy.
The 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) regiment–the longest-serving armored regiment in the Canadian Army, including landing it Italy with the 5th Canadian Armoured Regiment in 1943 and fighting from the Liri Valley to the Gothic Line– recently donated a retired Cougar AVGP to Sackville in February for use as a static memorial.
The town council decided to install it the local Memorial Park, which already features another military vehicle, a 1950/60s Ferrett, to honor the lost 55 as well as all other veterans.
The Cougar, based on the six-wheeled version of the Swiss MOWAG Piranha I, is similar to the U.S. Marine’s LAV-25 and the Army’s Stryker vehicle. The Canadians never deployed their Cougars for combat, despite the fact they carried the turret of a British Scorpion reconnaissance vehicle complete with a 76mm gun. They were retired in 2006 after some 30 years service and have since been relegated to gate guards, museum hulls and target vehicles.
However, some in the town have got a problem with the Cougar. Not because it is an anachronism to Sackville’s WWII war dead, but because of war in general.
“This modern armoured vehicle is a symbol of military violence and it does not serve as an appropriate memorial to those who served,” says one heartburned local, who no doubt enjoyed the fact that he could make his statement in English rather than German, or Russian.
Sackville is now reconsidering the display.
Went for a Polar Bear dip on the First to celebrate making it out of 2017 alive. But back in December on a foggy winter’s night I roamed around and soaked in some sea smoke.