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The Navy's traditions live on in the hearts of those who serve

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The impact of a minuscule military!

I read on the Hampton Roads.Com site that one ship in Norfolk was deploying while another was coming home!  I remember when we deployed a 14 ship battle group every three months!

I have heard the President talk about the combat sorties against ISIS.  He is counting each combat aircraft as one sortie!  I remember when a sortie was at least 6 Medium Attack aircraft hitting ONE target of value!  Now, we use one fighter to attack a pick up truck and call that a sortie!

Then today, we have read that Russian Nuclear bombers have been flying in US airspace near Alaska.  We have challenged them with Fighters.  But the Russians are testing us.

All of these news stories point to the perceived weakness of our military forces buy our enemies!  Yes, the Russians, Chinese, all of the Arab world, are our enemies.

The real problem is, we cannot just re-build our Military!  It takes an industrial base that we have ignored and it has disappeared.   It will take five years of massive industrial build up to rebuild our Navy.   And our Navy no longer has a Medium Attack aircraft or a fixed wing ASW aircraft, or a dedicated Tanker!  Presently, we fly an aircraft with limited legs, with external tanks and a buddy store to refuel other limited leg aircraft!!!  That makes no sense.  But, to rebuild the aviation wing of our Navy would take years.

We have decimated our Attack Submarine community along with our Boomers!   The fact is, every mission of the Navy has been decimated by cuts and neglect.

The other services are in similar shape and then there is the massive draw down of manpower in each service.  I might remind you that the Navy will "Fire" 8000 Chiefs this year!!

Remember, if I can see this, so can our enemies.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 as remembered by an Airline pilot!

This story is from the Senior Pastor of the Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church.  I can add nothing t this story.  It is printed as he sent it out in an email today.  It should be read and passed on to everyone you know because it shows the true character and spirit of Americans!!   

A True 9/11 Story That Will Bless You

It's hard to believe that it has been 13 years since 9/11/2001. Two wars have been fought over this terrorist attack since then. And, yet, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorists groups are still on the move leaving death and destruction in their path as they pursue an extremist view of Islam. There continues to be a lot of bad news around the world today concerning these terrorists threats. And on this day,9/11/14, many are fearful of other attacks that may come upon the Homeland.

With all this bad news, I thought we could all use some cheering up and some words of encouragement. Jim Vickery, my friend and a GBUMC member, sent me this heart warming story recently of some actual events that took place on 9/11/2001. It is a bit long but well worth the read. I believe it will bless you!

Here is the amazing story of a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15 on 9/11/2001.
It was written shortly after that fateful September day.......



"On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours
out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic ...

All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to immediately go to the cockpit, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination."

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian
traffic controller and approval was granted immediately -- no questions asked.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in New Foundland.
There was much grumbling among the passengers, but forty minutes later, we landed in Gander ... Local time at Gander was
12:30 PM! .... that's 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S.There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that ground control in Gander had told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation. No
one was allowed to get off the aircraft and no one on the ground was
allowed near any of the aircraft. Over the next hours, more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.

Bits of news started to come in over the radio and for the first time we learned what had happened at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We were told they would be allowing people off the planes, one plane at a time, and our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the plane.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th, a convoy of school buses arrived. Deplaning, we were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and taken to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We were told to just relax and that we would be contacted when the U.S. airports re-opened.

We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers from the planes to care for. The people of Gander called us the "plane people." They were extremely friendly and hospitable.

Two days later, we got that call and were returned to the Gander airport where we were reunited with the passengers. What we found out about their past two days was incredible.

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up and others had mats and sleeping bags.

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.

Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise.Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened.

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an
announcement over the PA system. We never, ever, allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

He said he was going to set up a trust fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was more than $14,000!

The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people, in a faraway place, were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them."

(this is a condensed version of the original story)


Praying for you and for our country on this September day!
Lester


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I NEED your help!!

I seldom ask for help.  But this time, I am really in need of your help.  As you know, I have Lewy Body Dementia.  My neurologist and I both believe it was caused by exposure to the chemical Tricresyl Phosphate that was used in the Hydraulic Fluid Mil-F-17111.  All of us as Gunner's Mates were exposed to this chemical if we served before 1990 or so.

On September 15, 1989, in the Ships Safety Bulletin, the Naval Safety Center published the  FIRST Safety Advisory on Mil-F-17111.

I am presently in a fight with the Veteran's Administration about the effects of long term exposure to this chemical.  Many of you, including me, have serious skin lesions from exposure tho this chemical, that will not go away.  Hopefully, you have received some Disability Compensation for this condition.  I know one Gunner's Mate that worked with me on the  USS Caron that has a 100% VA Disability for this reason.

My fight with the VA is related to my Lewy Body Dementia because the chemical Tricresyle Phosphate is also neuro-toxic.  That being said, I cannot find my copy of the Safety Center Ships Safety Bulletin of 15 September, 1989.  If I had that document or the Naval Message that also went out at about the same time, it would help me win this case for myself and I hope others fighting the same battle.

If you have a copy of this documentation, please let me know so that I can get a copy.  I will then provide that documentation to the Disabled American Veterans Association.  They are helping me with this case.  And since they help all of us, I am sure the documentation will help others.

I provided the AEGIS Homeport Engineering Team Atlantic Newsletter dated Jul/Aug/Sep 91, which has an article, written by me, with the references included.  Because I wrote that article, the VA will not accept it as evidence!  So, I need the actual Safety Center article.

I am down to my last shot on this.  If I cannot present irrefutable evidence, they will deny my claim and close my case.  The DAV has done great things for me and us on this topic.  But they cannot with without the proper documentation.  SO, I appeal to all of you who read my babbling, for help.

Thanks in advance for looking in your boxes of Navy memorabilia and memories. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The impact of Mil-F-17111 hydraulic fluid

Hopefully you know that I suffer from Lewy Body Dementia.  I believe, and my neurologist believe that this disease was at least partially caused by my extreme exposure to the hydraulic fluid that all the gun mounts and missile launchers ran on in the Navy.  In 1989, the Navy put out a message informing us that Mil-F-17111 had a chemical in it that caused cancer and was neuro-toxic.   The Navy then removed Mil-F-17111 from every system and replaced it with Mil-F-17111A or B, I forget, that had the chemical removed.

Flight Attendants won a case for compensation for Dementia caused by long term exposure to the same chemical!   However, the Veteran's Administration has denied my claim up to now.

Today, my wife and I were discussion issues and she asked me if I had noticed any mental decline in her.  Since my mental filters no longer work, thanks to LBD, I immediately replied; Yes!!  She asked me what I noticed and then she confirmed that she was noticing the same issues.  They shadow my early symptoms of dementia!!

How could she bee impacted by Mil-F-17111?  Easy, she washed my uniforms for years!  When we were in home port, I brought my dungarees, and later my wash khaki's home to be washed.  They were covered with Hydraulic Fluid!   Then, when I taught at Gun School, Great Lakes, teaching maintenance on the MK 42 Gun Mount, I was covered in Mil-F-1711 daily and my wife washed those uniforms.  Then, after retirement from the Navy, I went to work as a Tech Rep for the Navy at NAVSEACENLANT.  More hydraulic fluid soaked clothes for my wife to wash!  I believe there is a connection here.

So, I have a confirmed diagnosis of LBD and she may have some form of dementia.  Wow!  We will monitor progress and report as required.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

MH-53E Sea Dragon crash

I just read an article about a recent crash of a MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter that killed three of the five onboard.  The article states that the investigation into the crash revealed that a frayed electrical wire arced close to a worn fuel line, igniting an explosive fire!

It seems to me this is a maintenance related and totally preventable fire.  It also is very apparent that this crash, and other like it, are completely related to A LACK OF LEADERSHIP!!

It seems to me the Shop Supervisor, the Division Chief, the Maintenance Chief, and the Maintenance Officer, are all missing in action.  Is this related to morale, training, apathy, budgetary cuts, lack of experience, or incompetence!!!  Or maybe a mix of all of these.

This incident brings back to memory the Fire Room fires on steam powered ships in the mid 1980's.  We killed and maimed a number of Sailors when we used the wrong material bolts in boilers and bypasses normal operating procedures.  The investigation into these incidents revealed a striking lack of Leadership.  Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!   That is most likely what we are doing now, repeating the mistakes of the past, with murderous consequences.

It is time for the senior Enlisted leadership to stop trying to be Junior Officers, get off the Officer's watch bill, and get back into their spaces.  Senior Enlisted personnel are there to lead, train, and build an experience base to replace them in the future.  I have asked you before and I will repeat myself here, again.  When was the last time you, the Work Center Supervisor, Division LPO, Division Chief, Department Senior Chief, Command Master Chief, walked through your spaces with a critical eye, documenting discrepancies and asking questions?  When is the last time YOU performed a PMS spot check?   When is the last time you did a maintenance procedure and lead you personnel in training and experience building?  I know it has been a long time for the vast majority of you.  Shame on you Chief!

When our lack of leadership causes deaths, we are criminally culpable, in my mind.  Get bak to work as the Subject Matter Expert instead of trying to be a Junior Officer.  If you want to be a JO, make Warrant or LDO.  And you better get this fixed before another shipmate dies because of your unprofessionalism!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The American Military is being pulled in many directions, at once!!

I just saw one of those crawler new notes that run at the bottom of Fox News and other news channels.  It stated that the President is asking Congress to move more military to Europe.  My immediate reaction was; Where are we going to get those forces?!

Why?  Let's look at the facts.  We are moving at least one aircraft carrier to the Pacific Fleet to counter the increasing threat of Red China!  We have moved other combatants to the Pacific Fleet also.  Since we only have 272 ships, submarines and aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy, what do we do for Europe?  The Air Force has the same problems with limited assets.

Then there is the issue of manpower.  All of our armed forces are in the process of "drawing down" their manning.  I recently wrote on the Navy's plan to "Fire" 8000 Chiefs Senior Chiefs and Master Chiefs.  The Army, and Air Force are doing the same.

Then there is the fact that our major enemies are working in concert to pull our economy and Military in four different directions.  Russia, China, North Korea, and the militant Islamists are all making aggressive moves that demand our military attention.  This stress will eat up man power, money, and material assets.  This places major demands on the already shrunk Military budget and manning.

It also increases the cost of maintenance of equipment and even reduced combat readiness.  If you run a ship more, the systems require more maintenance and are more prone to failure exactly when they are needed.

Another toll is the stress on our troops.  Keeping military personnel on the tip of readiness actually dulls their reactions and capabilities.  There was an old Cold War movie about a U.S. Destroyer tracking a Soviet submarine.  The Captain kept the crew on edge and his actions caused a mistake in launching a nuclear depth charge!  The truth is, people need down time.

So, without substantial growth to our Military in both equipment and man power, our enemies will defeat us by just running us from hot spot to hot spot!

We are being pulled in all directions at once!  Something will break!  Trust me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No boots on the ground the time!

Here is my strategy on dealing with every militant Islamic thug in the world.  But let me tell you a story first.

During Desert Storm I, the USS Wisconsin was in the Northern Gulf with a mission to take out an Iraqi Guard position.  The USS Wisconsin has a First Generation Drone that was really a big model airplane with a camera in the belly.  It landed by crashing into a net o the Fantail of the Battleship.  But, it was effective.

In any case, the Drone flew over the Iraqi Guard position showing armored vehicles, troops, and trucks.  The people on the ground shot their small arms at the Drone.  The Drone flew off and the USS Wisconsin opened fire with their nine 16"/50 guns.  After a period of firing, the drone flew over and saw distraction of tanks, trucks, and the troops in disarray.  But, the troops still fired their small arms at the Drone.  For a second time, the Drone flew off and the USS Wisconsin opened fire!  The drone returned.  This time the destruction was even more wide spread and the few remaining troops were waiving White Flags!  I am sure they were saying:  I don't know where that little airplane stores all of those bombs, but we surrender!!!

If you want to see that video, the USS Wisconsin Memorial in Norfolk Virginia has it.  I know, I gave it to them!

Now, my strategy;  Bring in the B-52's and any other heavy attack aircraft we have.  Load the first days sorties with 1000 pound bombs and bomb them day and night for 24 hours.  If they do not surrender, bomb them another day with MOAB's, incendiary bombs, and more 1000 pound HE bombs.  If they do not surrender after 48 hours of unending bombing.  Bring in the Nuclear weapons and terminate their way of life.

Trust me, no one will mess with us again!  But a move like this requires Guts, Determination, and a belief that America is right!