Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

D-Day’s ‘Matchbox Fleet’

June 6, 2014

D-Day's 'Matchbox Fleet'
Sixty wood-hulled boats made in Brooklyn were carried across the North Atlantic to England on the decks of Liberty Ships seventy years ago. The patrol boats, each 83 feet long, were designed for anti-submarine patrol and coastal search and escort, but had been modified as rescue craft. Most had radar; some had sonar.

The group of small, wooden, gasoline-powered cutters, vulnerable to incendiary shells, was understandably nicknamed the ”Matchbox Fleet.”  On June 6, 1944, these boats crossed the English Channel as U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla One (ResFlo1), part of Operation Neptune/Overlord.

Inscription on the Rescue Flotilla 1 (The “Matchbox Fleet”) Memorial, harborside at Poole, Dorset, UK:

“From this Quay, 60 cutters of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1 departed for the Normandy Invasion, 6 June 1944.  These 83 foot boats, built entirely of wood, and the 840 crewmembers were credited with saving the lives of 1437 men and 1 woman.  In remembrance of the service of Rescue Flotilla 1, and with appreciation of the kindnesses of the people of Poole to the crews, this Plaque is given by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.”

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June 4, 1989

June 4, 2014

June 4, 1989

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, 1989.

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The Fallen

May 26, 2014

The Fallen

“If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of fifteen-thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.”

— James A. Garfield, May 30, 1868, Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day is not about barbecues, car sales, concerts, parades, or discounts on refrigerators. Don’t celebrate Memorial Day. Observe it. Thoughtfully.

National Moment of Remembrance
A minute of silence.
Monday, May 26, 2014 3:00 PM local time.

More:

“National Moment of Remembrance,” Memorial Day Foundation

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‘Little Green Men’ Keep the Peace in Crimea

March 15, 2014

'Little Green Men' Keep the Peace in Crimea
They came from Russia Outer Space, perhaps. Silently, in the dead of night, thousands of heavily armed masked men appeared on the streets of Sevastopol‎, Simferopol‎, and Yalta.‎ Their green uniforms bear no markings, and they’re not talking. Observers speculate that the Federation of Planets sent them as poll watchers, to ensure a free and fair vote in today’s Crimean referendum.

More:

“OSCE evidence lifts lid on ‘little green men’ in Crimea,” Peter Felstead, IHS Jane’s 360

“Crimeans vote on Russia referendum,” Carol Morello and Pamela Constable, Washington Post

“Why the Crimean referendum is illegal,” Lea Brilmayer, The Guardian

“Crimea as consolation prize: Russia faces some big costs over Ukrainian region,” Will Englund, Washington Post

UPDATES:

“Crimea Votes to Secede From Ukraine as Russian Troops Keep Watch,” David M. Herszenhor, New York Times

“Crimea votes to secede from Ukraine in ‘illegal’ poll,” Luke Harding and Shaun Walker, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Keyboard Commandos

January 19, 2014

Keyboard Commandos

The British Ministry of Defence is escalating cyberspace combat capabilities by assembling a laptop army of computer nerd reservists. “The Cyber Reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyberspace,” said UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. “This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.”

The Defence Cyber Operations Group (DCOG) is under the MoD Joint Forces Command (recruitment info here). The UK is thought to lag far behind the USA, Israel, and China in militarizing the digital domain.

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Merry Christmas From Vietnam

December 26, 2013

“Merry Christmas From Vietnam,” written by Jerry Sullivan, performed by The Sullivan Family Gospel Bluegrass band in this 1967 recording.

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‘He Started!’ ‘Did Not!’ ‘Did Too!’

November 18, 2012

Tragically relevant animation by Nina Paley. You probably won’t need it, but her Reader’s Guide is here (scroll down).

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Curse You, Red Baron! Romney Blimp Crashes

October 23, 2012

Curse You, Red Baron! Romney Blimp Crashes

Despite defensive maneuvers by the Tea Party Cavalry and artillery barrages from Koch Brothers battleships, Mitt Romney’s gas-filled airship tumbled from the skies over Boca Raton on Monday. Republican strategists blamed Soviet-inspired Sopwith Camels.

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Remote Control: Congressional Drone Caucus

July 9, 2012

Remote Control: Congressional Drone Caucus
Drone aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, have battled in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, and, now, the United States House of Representatives. While it’s been flying under the radar until now, Congress has a Drone Caucus, officially the Unmanned Systems Caucus.

Congress has spent $12 Billion on UAVs since 2009, an amount that will increase dramatically now that domestic use of drones has been approved. Most of the new drones flying in the U.S. will be used for border security. Twenty-one congressmen from border states belong to the Drone Caucus, and the big drone manufacturers have donated around $1 Million to their campaigns. Expect that amount to ramp up, too.

More:

“The Drone Makers and Their Friends in Washington,”Jill Replogle, KPBS

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Drone Aircraft Lands in Salisbury, Maryland

June 12, 2012

Drone Aircraft Lands in Salisbury, Maryland

A Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk aerial drone crashed in Salisbury, Maryland yesterday. The pilot was unhurt. Oh, wait ….

The U.S. Navy’s $176 million remote-controlled aircraft smacked into the ground just outside town, the largest infusion of government cash in Salisbury since the state plopped down a university there in 1925. This is the biggest thing to happen in Salisbury (“Crossroads of Delmarva”) since last week’s big WWF wrestling match.

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