Wolverine: The coolest gun of 1955

Springing from the mind of storied firearms inventor Robert L. Hillberg, the Wolverine fit its era when it came to aesthetics, with a dynamically contoured design and sweeping lines akin to the exotic race cars of the day such as the Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti and Mercedes-Benz W196 — but in an affordable .22LR pistol.

Hillberg, a Navy veteran who had a hand in some of the most iconic firearms of the 20th Century, struck out and co-founded the brand-new Whitney Firearms Company in 1955 in Hartford, Connecticut, as an ode to famous Industrial Revolution kick starter Eli Whitney.

Their flagship gun, billed as “Modern as Tomorrow,” was the Wolverine.

More in my column at Guns.com.

155 Mike Mike: When you hate a grid square enough to see it disappear

In a salute to tax day, if you have to give money to Uncle Sam, at least hope it goes towards something awesome and not a federal study of modern art as interpreted through dumpster fires.

Below, we see something awesom in the form of an M109A7 Artillery System. This particular Paladin is assigned to Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Riley, Kan. It is shown stationed in Torun, Poland during a field artillery Table-12 certification, March 13, 2019.

1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Paladin M109A7 155mm 2019

(U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Jeremiah Woods) — in Torun, Poland.

“Artillery certifications such as this take place on each unit level to ensure that the battalion as a whole is a lethal fighting force able to respond to any situation in support of the NATO effort in Atlantic Resolve.”

Of course, grunting those big 95-pound shells around the inside of that cramped gun house of a Paladin is another story…

M109A7 Paladin 155mm artillery round into an ammo rack

Lost air wing of the Wasp

The late Paul Allen’s R/V Petrel of course recently discovered the final resting place of the lost WWII aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) on the bottom of the Pacific. The below haunting video shows some of her planes resting in the debris field, which likely slipped off her deck during her ride to the floor.

For more on the planes discovered from the lost carriers found by Allen’s group, including those from Lexington, Hornet, and HMS Ark Royal, check this out.

Street Gang, 53 years on

A throwback to 13 April 1966: An early MkI type U.S. Navy Patrol Boat, River (PBR) near Cat Lo, Vietnam.

(K31134, CU).

First fielded in 1966 (the above craft was brand new) some 250 PBRs served in Operation Market Time (TF 116) and with the RVN in  Vietnam during the conflict. In all, 718 were completed in two types (the MkIs were 31 feet while the MkII’s were 32) and they continued to serve in Reserve SBUs as late as the 1990s.

Ruger brings (hammer-fired) budget subcompact to market

When it comes to subcompact 9mm carry guns, the “baby Glock” G26 has been king of the block for nearly three decades. I mean what’s not to like in a 21.5-ounce, 10+1 capacity handgun with a 3.42-inch barrel. Sig’s P365 has the same capacity while going just slightly smaller and has been a hit since it was introduced two years ago, giving the G26 a good fight. However, there now seems a bit of a red hawk flying on the horizon.

Two years ago, Ruger introduced a hammer-fired (both the G26 and P365 are striker-fired with one having a noteworthy issue with striker drag) polymer-framed pistol based on the LCPII’s fire control system. The Security-9, with a 4-inch barrel and 15+1 capacity, was/is pitched as a budget home defense gun and has been well received. I have a friend who has used one extensively and she loves it.

Now, Ruger has shrunk the Security-9 to a compact version which is a 21.9-ounce, 10+1 capacity handgun with a 3.42-inch barrel (seem like a familiar dimension neighborhood?) that debuted this month.

Ruger Security 9 compact

Unlike the G26, though, the Compact Security-9 is hammer fired, has front slide serrations, adjustable sights and an accessory rail. Plus, it is likely to run about $100 to $150 cheaper than its Austrian competitor, which should be interesting.

I’ll be sure to check them out in Indianapolis later in the month.

Check out more in my column at Guns.com.

Boom!

Cape Wrath, Scotland (April 10, 2019) The Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) fires her beautiful red-white-and-blue embellished 5″/62cal Mk45 Mod 4 gun during a live-fire exercise as part of Joint Warrior 19-1. Dig that 70-pound shell just forward of the bow.

Gravely

Gravely is deployed as the flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 to conduct maritime operations and provide a continuous maritime capability for NATO in the northern Atlantic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Andrew Hays/Released)

The first Navy ship named for VADM Samuel L. Gravely Jr., it is an appropriate photo for that esteemed warfighter and surface warfare officer who had three wars under his belt.

Commissioned in 1942, he just missed being one of the “Golden 13” of initial African-American officers in the Navy. He went on to be the only black officer on the submarine chaser USS PC-1264, conducting anti-sub patrols up and down the Eastern Seaboard in WWII. During Korea, he was a communications officer on the battleship USS Iowa, a vessel who got in lots of NGFS missions during that conflict.

Iowa fired at targets off North Korea 1952 80-G-626016

USS Iowa (BB-61) Fires her 16″/50 cal guns at targets in North Korea, circa April-October 1952. The photo is dated 17 December 1952, some two months after Iowa left the Far East at the end of her only Korean War combat tour. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-626016

Going on to skipper the tin cans USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717), USS Falgout (DE-324), and USS Taussig (DD-746) during the 1960s, Gravely oversaw NGFS missions off Vietnam in the latter before commanding the guided missile “frigate” (later cruiser) USS Jouett (DLG-29).

Gravely went on to break out his flag over the Third Fleet and retired from the Navy as head of the DCA. He died in 2004 and, as reflected in his 38 years of active and reserve service, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Of Swamp Rats and Little Birds

The aging Reliance-class USCGC Decisive (WMEC-629) just returned to homeport in Pensacola, Florida, after 58-day patrol. I visited with the “Swamp Rats” when she was based at Pascagoula in 2011 and they have taken exceedingly good care of the now-51-year-old cutter.

On her helicopter deck, which regularly accommodate up to an HH-65-sized chopper and conduct HIFR on larger birds. A junior officer normally doubles as the ship’s LSO. (Photo: Chris Eger)

For an idea of just what era she dates from, for the first 20 years of her career, she carried a 3″/50 open mount forward as her main armament.

Sistership USCGC VIGILANT WMEC-617 12 May 1969, note her original 3″/50 and long helicopter deck. These ships were originally to be capable of supporting an 18,000-lb Sea King(!) augmented by a sonar and Mk32 torpedo tubes to conduct convoy operations/coastal defense in the event of WWIII. Those ASW upgrades never happened but these ships are still in service 50 years later. As far as helicopters went, they were only initially tested for and typically used with the 8,500-lb  HH-52 Seaguard, which is more of a baby Sea King than anything else. In wartime, they could have likely operated the SH-2 Seasprite, which went closer to 10,000-lbs.

Of interest in her latest deployment around the Gulf, which included a three-week TSTA at Mayport, saving a fishing vessel taking on water and conducting inspections, the Decisive became the first 210-foot Coast Guard cutter to conduct ship-helicopter operations with three U.S. Army MH-6 helicopters, “Little Birds,” from the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR).

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Decisive conducted helicopter operations with three Army H-6 helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico, March 9, 2019. The training is meant to help pilots land on a moving platform and for crewmembers to work with unfamiliar aircraft. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

Now that, is different.

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