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Not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Vietnamese Navy

The sailing ship Le Quy Don (286), operated by the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN), berthed at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila earlier this month for a goodwill visit to the Philippines.

Onboard were 50 cadets from Vietnam’s naval academy headed by its Deputy Director, Commodore Phan Van Van. The vessel was under the command of Lt. La Van Tam.

The 220-foot sail training ship (STS) was built in Poland and began service in the VPN last year as part of a naval expansion and is rated to carry a mixed crew of 110 officers/enlisted/cadets. A three-masted barque with some 1400 m² in canvas she also carries an auxiliary diesel or, as known in this type of vessel, a steel mainsail.

She is named after the 18th-century Annamese poet.

Meet the Inflate-o-plane!

An early idea to help evac pilots lost behind the lines before C-SAR helicopters made it a lick, the 700-pound Goodyear Inflatoplane could be airdropped and, providing the pilot had some spare time on his hands and 250 feet of clear sod could pump it up and fly home.

According to the Smithsonian:

The Inflatoplane’s performance was comparable to that of a J3 Cub. The airplane was wheeled out like a wheelbarrow and inflated in about 5 minutes using less air pressure than a car tire. The two-cycle 40-hp Nelson engine had to be hand-started and held 20 gallons of fuel.

The Inflatoplane carried a maximum weight of 240 lb., had a range of 390 mi., and an endurance of 6.5 hr.s. Its cruise speed was 60 mph. Take off distance on sod was 250 ft with 575 ft needed to clear a 50-foot obstacle. It landed in 350 ft on sod. Rate of climb was 550 ft per min. Its service ceiling was estimated at 10,000 ft.

Twelve Inflatoplanes were designed and built in less than twelve weeks. Development, testing, and evaluation of the inflatable airplane continued through 1972 and the project was canceled in 1973. Goodyear donated two Inflatoplanes, one to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and one to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The aircraft is in storage at the Garber Restoration Facility.

More here

Farewell, ‘Morg

Morgenthau off Governors Island in New York Harbor when new, circa 1970. Note the 5″/38 DP forward and the WTC in the background.

The Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC-722), a 378-foot high endurance cutter, will be decommissioned at Base Honolulu, Tuesday after nearly a half-century of service, including action in the Vietnam War, numerous major drug interdictions, and law enforcement cases, and a variety of noteworthy rescues.

Cutter Morgenthau, commissioned March 10, 1969, was the eighth of 12 Hamilton-class high endurance cutters built by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. She was the only vessel named for Henry Morgenthau Jr, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt (all of her sisters were named after T-secs as the USCG belonged to that cabinet position until 1967)

Morgenthau was very active in the Vietnam War, conducting support for coastal patrol craft, naval gunfire support, and patrol duties off the coast of Vietnam until relieved by a 311-foot cutter in 1971. During her period in Market Time, she delivered 19 NGFS fire missions on targets ashore and inspected 627 junks/sampans and cruised 38,000 miles on patrol.

In 1977, Morgenthau became the first cutter to have women permanently assigned, which paved the way for numerous women to serve aboard Coast Guard cutters nationwide.

In the fall of 1996, Morgenthau was the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to deploy to the Arabian Gulf. Participating in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Morgenthau enforced Iraq’s compliance with United Nations sanctions. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Morgenthau participated in Operation Noble Eagle to safeguard America’s prominent port cities through closer scrutiny of maritime traffic.

Just a few months ago, she completed a 90-day 15,000-mile patrol in the Bering Sea in Winter which, besides fisheries patrol work, included the rescue of the Australian sailing vessel Rafiki and the 400-foot cargo ship BBC Colorado, picking up the Capt. Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence Award for 2016.

USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC-722) transits in the Gulf of Alaska while on patrol Sept. 27, 2016

The below is from her 105-day/18,000-mile April-Aug 2014 patrol (there is a shootex at ~17:50)

“The U.S. State Department is coordinating the transfer of Morgenthau through the Foreign Assistance Act. This act allows the transfer of excess defense articles as a grant to friendly, foreign governments.”

So far, State has passed on the three of the “378s” to the Philippines (USCGC Hamilton, Boutwell, Dallas), two to the Nigerian Navy (Gallatin and Chase) and two to the Bangladesh Navy (Jarvis and Rush). With Morgenthau decommissioned, only USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) and Midgett (WHEC-726) based in Seattle, Sherman (WHEC-720) in Honolulu, and Munro (WHEC-724) in Kodiak remain in U.S. service and are expected to be replaced by the National Security Cutter program by 2021.

40+ years of GI M16 mags detailed in about 17 minutes

Black rifle expert Chris Bartocci convenes class on the evolutionary process of GI 30-round M16 magazines from Vietnam to today.

Going back to the old black-follower mags and moving through the new blue-follower EP mag, touching on everything in between, Bartocci breaks down the reason for changes to the feed lip angles and the body itself, and points at the ammunition-based reasons for each.

It’s a scholarly look and you don’t get any wackiness or Tannerite explosions in the 17-minute clip, but if you are curious about the what, when and why there are so many GI mags and followers out there, this is worth your time.

Of pistol belts and truncheons as carried by a four-nation army

Joint Australian, South Vietnamese and NZ Military Police patrol at Vung Tàu Vietnam in 1970.

joint-australian-south-vietnamese-and-nz-military-police-patrol-at-vung-tau-vietnam-in-1970

Left to right, Cpl Brian Marfleet Australian MP, ARVN MP (Quân C?nh) unidentified, unidentified SP/4 member of A Company, 720th MP Battalion, and CPL Bruce Duncan, New Zealand MP.

Courtesy of CPL Bruce Duncan, New Zealand Military Police, 1 Australian Provost Corps, Vietnam, 1970. Via British & Commonwealth Forces

So long, Indy

The retired Forrestal-class supercarrier ex-USS Independence (CV-62) has left mothballs, in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, on her last cruise, and leaves a big void at her former long-term dock. She is the last of her class afloat.

From the KitSun: 

A red-and-orange offshore tug towed the 58-year-old “Indy” on a two-month trip to oblivion. They’ll sail around South America to International Shipbreaking in Brownsville, Texas, where the flattop will be dismantled like several before it. USS Constellation and USS Ranger, former berth mates at Puget Sound’s Naval Shipyard’s Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility, are already being scrapped there.

Only two fossil-fueled carriers will remain. Still in Bremerton is the USS Kitty Hawk, which the Navy is holding in reserve until the new USS Gerald R. Ford joins the fleet. A Wilmington, North Carolina, group is lobbying to place the ship, decommissioned since 2009, as a floating museum alongside the battleship North Carolina. The USS John F. Kennedy was decommissioned in 2007 and is mothballed in Philadelphia. The Navy placed it on donation hold for use as a museum or memorial.

Indy entered service in 1959 and spent much of her career in the Med.

She completed a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965 and later carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces during the Lebanese Civil War, supported the invasion of Grenada and operations over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

USS Independence was decommissioned in 1998 after 39 years of active service. She was ordered in 1954, the year after the Korean conflict went from hot to cold.

The beauty that is an M2 60mm mortar with reusable ammo

The hard working heavy weapons guys at ordnance.com broke out their sweet M2 60mm mortar and give an impressive performance showing off their Training Re-Usable Mortar Projectile (TRUMP) round.

Designed by mortar tube genius Edgar Brandt, the M2 was adopted by the U.S. military in 1940 as the country edged closer to World War II. The 42-pound company-level artillery piece was portable by a three-man crew and could lob hero sandwich-sized mortar bombs out to nearly 2,000 yards with the reasonably accurate (for a mortar) M4 collimator sight.

The M2 was so groovy that the Army and Marines kept it in use not only through WWII, but Korea and Vietnam as well, only replacing it in 1978 with the now-standard M225 LWCMS (Lightweight Company Mortar System) which, ironically, is heavier.

The above video by ordnance.com runs through the unpacking and set up of the M2, which is super informative if you aren’t a mortar guy, then proceeds to break out their new TRUMP shell, which uses a 20-ga full blank to give some boom to the impact down range. The shell is projected by a 20-ga half blank.

As far as legality, they advise that, “The 60mm mortar is classified as a ‘Destructive Device’ by the BATFE, and you must have an NFA approved Form 1 or Form 4 for legal possession. The 60mm TRUMP ammunition is not classified as a Destructive Device by the ATF, but it is a restricted sale item, and is only available to individuals that possess a valid/approved Form 1 or Form 4 for their 60mm mortar.”

The noise the mortar shell makes as it whistles back to the ground is enough to give you IBS.

Fire in the hole!

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