Category Archives: Navy

Stray thoughts of an aviator in his final year of active service

Posted by Lex, on June 27, 2007

 

“You know, with only a year to go this might be the last time I ever have to polish those brown shoes.

“Cool.”

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Hard times

Posted by lex, on August 26, 2006

 

Just four years after we nearly lost the boat, and barely a year after we spent $50 million reconditioning her, the Navy plans to decomm our last surviving diesel submarine, the USS Dolphin:

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Don’t Step on All the Heads

By lex, on August 31st, 2009

You’ll turn your ankle.

It’d be hard not to, when they’re rolling around all over the deck.

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Friday Musings 08/21/2009

By lex, on August 21st, 2009

This is one of those days when I don’t have anything to say, so I’ll go ahead and say it anyway:

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Check Density Altitude

By lex, on July 17th, 2009

It was a lovely change of command ceremony, one of my favorite people in the world gave up the 125th Strike Fighter Squadron at the end of an arduous 18 months in battery. Chilly has the three q’s: High q (dynamic energy), high IQ and high quality. Unlike many men in his position, he left attendance to his ceremony to the discretion of his people, declining to force them into ranks on a hot summer’s day. That was a nice gesture, I thought – they can read the plan of the day on Monday, if they missed the news.

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The Tillman “fraud,” and all that

 

By lex, on April 25th, 2007

My second job in a line squadron as a young lieutenant was to serve as the squadron Personnel Officer. Hard, administratively technical and thoroughly thankless, it was not the kind of job that hard charging strike fighter pilots lusted after. But while I was still too junior for one of the more prestigious “finishing” jobs in Ops, I had sufficiently proven myself in my “starter” job as the Aircraft Division Officer that the squadron leadership felt that they could trust me in one of the few junior officer billets that could actually get a commanding officer fired: The PersO job came with the “Personnel Reliability Program” as a collateral duty, and any CO who allowed that program to get porked away could be assured that no band would be playing at his change of command.

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Operation Neptune

By lex, on June 6th, 2009

Sixty-five years after the fact, I still wonder how they did it.

156,000 US and allied forces crossed the English channel to face 380,000 battle hardened, well-entrenched Axis soldiers that had industriously used two years of relative calm to build reinforced concrete bunkers and overlapping fields of fire. By the end of the day, over 6,000 US servicemen would fall, nearly 1500 of whom would never rise again. And there would be much more hard fighting left to come before the landing force would breakout from the  Normandy beachhead.

Operation Neptune

The Armorer has much more, including this letter from a grateful French liaison officer serving alongside the 82nd in Afghanistan. The French government has not forgotten either – John “Harry” Kellers returns to France to be recognized as a Chevalier in the Légion d’honneur. His first trip there was as an 18-year old sailor serving a gun on an amphibious landing craft.

Naval forces * played their role both on the on the beaches as well as offshore, according to German Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt:**

The enemy had deployed very strong Naval forces off the shores of the bridgehead. These can be used as quickly mobile, constantly available artillery, at points where they are necessary as defence against our attacks or as support for enemy attacks. During the day their fire is skillfully directed by . . . plane observers, and by advanced ground fire spotters. Because of the high rapid-fire capacity of Naval guns they play an important part in the battle within their range. The movement of tanks by day, in open country, within the range of these naval guns is hardly possible.

The liberation of France started when each, individual man on those landing craft as the ramp came down – each paratroop in his transport when the light turned green – made the individual decision to step off with the only life he had and face the fire.

How did they do it?

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