Category Archives: Navy

Sign of the Times

Posted By lex, on March 9th, 2011

The Naval Academy is changing its core curriculum to include two courses on cyber security. These are the first major changes to the curriculum in ten years:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy, USNA

Where are the Carriers?

By lex, on March 10th, 2011

That was the question that once used to spring unbidden to presidential lips when an international crisis bubbled up. It wasn’t that the sheer destructive power of the carrier’s air wing and her escorts were immediately put to use, so much as the weight of all that firepower rested heavily on tempestuous brows: An aircraft carrier strike group tends to alter the calculus.

So it’s with interest we read in Bill Gertz’ Inside the Ring that, with Libya burning and the tyrant starting to gradually throttle the nascent rebellion that President Obama has not shifted anyone anywhere:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy

Final Flight

Posted by lex, on December 15, 2010

The Royal Navy’s Sea Harriers have harried their last sea *:

Britain’s Harrier jets took their final flight Wednesday before the 16-strong fleet is axed as part of spending cuts intended to help reduce a record budget deficit.

The decision to scrap the iconic military planes, and to send the Ark Royal carrier that hosts them into early retirement, means the Royal Navy will be left without the ability to launch aircraft at sea for a decade.

The distinctive grey Harriers took off from the Royal Air Force (RAF) base at Cottesmore, completing a fly-past of several air stations before landing for the last time…

Ministers hope to save about 900 million pounds in the next eight years by axing the jets, according to reports, as part of a major tightening of the military budget…

Former military chiefs have strongly criticised the decision to retire the Harriers, writing in a letter to The Times newspaper last month that the move was “strategically and financially perverse.”

For my own part, I always thought them awkward buggers, but I hate to see a capability zeroed out with no replacement for 10 years. The bean counters will inevitably say, “Well, you’ve trundled along fine without them for a decade. Why not try another decade more?”

Talk about your fighter gap.

02-22-21 Link gone; no replacement found – Ed.

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Lex’s Last Carrier Flight?

To the reader: I came across this on what was a great blog, Ask the Skipper, back in 2016. The owner of the blog soon after stopped blogging, citing the amount of time it took to have a good blog. Looking at the thousands of posts Neptunus Lex made in 9 years, I came to realize just how much effort Hizzoner put into his own blog.

Anyway, I saved the post, and in going through my documents folder last night, got reacquainted with it. If the owner of Ask the Skipper ever comes across this and wants it removed, I will be glad to do so. All credit goes to this unknown author at Ask the Skipper.

In the meantime, I will leave it to you, the reader, to ascertain whether “Tex” is indeed “Lex”.

It was the 90s. The angst-ridden, caffeine-fueled sound of Seattle’s grunge-scene was oozing its way across the American landscape, what with all their flannel shirts, exposed long-underwear, and boots. The kind of boots you’d typically see on a homophobe, neo-Nazi, construction worker, or some combination of the three. I don’t know what Smells Like Teen Spirit, but I have a sneaking suspicion it has little to do with deodorant.

We were underway in the East China Sea, or the Sea of Japan, or the Yellow Sea, or the Western Pacific Ocean. One of those. There was water everywhere, and you couldn’t see land. Of that I am certain.

It wasn’t necessarily his last flight evah. It was his last flight in that particular tour of duty, in that squadron, on that boat. Then again, there was certainly no guarantee of another sea-based sortie. This fella – if I remember the callsign correctly – we will refer to as Tex from this point forward. His callsign sounded similar. It might have even rhymed.

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Filed under Funny Stuff, Humor, Naval Aviation, Navy

Hard Duty

Posted by Lex, on September 29, 2010

100927-N-4420S-209 JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (Sept. 27, 2010) Navy SEALs carry the casket of Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) 3rd Class Denis Miranda off the flight line of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Miranda was one of nine service members killed when the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed in Zabul Province in Southern Afghanistan Sept. 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Scorza/Released)

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, GWOT, Navy

Failed to sail

Posted by lex, on September 21, 2009

Bummer for the Bonnie Dick *:

Problems with its steam service turbine generators are delaying Friday’s planned deployment of amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, Navy officials confirmed late Wednesday.

Maintenance crews were determining the repairs needed so Bonhomme Richard, carrying nearly 3,000 Marines and sailors, can begin its scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions. The turbine generators convert steam into electricity, which in turn feeds energy into the ship’s power supply.

“The ship received an inspection advisory for the ship’s service turbine generators,” said Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman in San Diego. “Issues were discovered that are best corrected pierside before commencing deployment.”

I was aboard the USS Independence in 1990 when Cat 3 went down. All alert launches were from the waist catapults, and the embarked F-14s couldn’t launch off Cat 4 with Phoenix missiles aboard. The flag wouldn’t cross the Bear Box without Tomcats, so the ship was delayed about a week undergoing repairs.

A lot of people got very excited at the news.

** 01-27-21 Link gone; no replacement found (was Navy Times)

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In the spirit of Lex, I think he’d agree with this

Let’s see if we can build a good mind picture for you.

You are strapped into an ejection seat with a solid fuel rocket a foot under your butt. A few feet behind you sits 3 tons of JP-5 jet fuel. You are surrounded by the technological trappings of your craft – radio crackling in your helmet, the soft hiss of oxygen flowing into your mask. The verbiage of naval aviation is echoing in your ears – terms, phrases, and queries such as “Closeout, interrogative Texaco” or “Strike, Cams are joined” or (of course) “Fights on!”. You have the world’s most powerful air-to-air radar in the nose of your jet and your mind is wrapped around things like azimuth, altitudes, ranges, speed, target aspect, reciprocals, reattacks and a dozen other things related to your job. Tactics, or how you would direct the initial stages of an intercept, are foremost in your mind. You have a half-dozen or so different panels surrounding you with about 30 or 40 switches and knobs and dials and indicators, all serving some function or other that contribute to your mission.

Your nose gunner, aka the pilot, puts that big jet into a bit of a starboard turn, gradually building up to 4 or 5 Gs. Your G-suit inflates, and that familiar but unique feeling of pressure builds up on your legs and abdomen. You unconsciously and instinctively tighten your leg muscles, pressing down on the floorboard of the cockpit, and you tighten your stomach muscles to work on keeping that blood flowing to your head, lest the G forces drain that big lump of gray matter on top of your shoulders of the blood needed to keep it awake and alert.

The sun is headed down, and you’ve been in the air for an hour or two. You’ve probably plugged into a tanker once – or twice – and watching those fuel tapes and calculating what you have (fuel on board) compared to what you need (fuel on deck) is an ongoing, never ending exercise.

In the middle of all this, your head itches from sweat, your backside is sore from a seat pad that is made by the lowest bidder, you missed evening chow because of some detail that had to be attended to with your OTHER job (“collateral duty”, its amusingly called), when you pull your head out of the cockpit and see the sunset. Colors, reds and oranges and the darkening blues of the approaching night skies meet your eyes. Yeah, these are the moments that make this whole thing priceless.

This was posted on one of the social media sites, and I think it is too good just to disappear. With Pinch’s permission, here it is.

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Filed under Naval Aviation, Navy, Tomcats Forever

Nice Work, Doc

Posted by lex, on February 27th, 2009

A Silver Star * for HM2 Joshua Simson:

Commanders say Simson’s patrol was ambushed in July 2007, but he continued caring for wounded servicemen. Officers say he exposed himself to enemy fire repeatedly over a seven-hour period.

Simson says he’s humbled by the award.

“There were other guys, other Marines, other soldiers who were there that day who weren’t recognized who were just as brave,” said Simson. “Their bravery spurred me on to action.”

After the attack, Simson set up a casualty collection point while continuing to car for about 17 wounded people.

Non Sibi Sed Patriae

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01-22-21 – Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.

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Posted by lex, on September 7, 2008

James Robbins makes your correspondent feel just that little bit better about his own class standing at the Trade School on the Severn:

(There) is no clear relationship between Academy class rank and leadership qualities. For example, Jimmy Carter, the only Naval Academy graduate to serve as president to date, graduated 59th out of a class of 820, so draw your own conclusions. Seventeen class anchors have attained flag rank, and many low-ranking graduates have gone on to brilliant careers. This tracks with the thesis I developed in my book Last in Their Class; the bottom of the class tends to produce a different kind of leader than the top. Those who wind up at the foot are often there by choice. They could do better if they studied, but they would rather trade class ranking for other pursuits. They tend to be the risk takers, the innovators, usually very well liked and in their own way driven. They know how to get into trouble, and more importantly how to get out of it. They also tend to have more than their share of luck.

Also profiled is the legendary “Hoser” “Toeser” Satrapa, F-14 jock of the “no kill like a guns kill” fame, and self-made armorer of the “blow your thumb off with a 20mm cannon and replace it with your big toe” variety.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy

These our masters

Posted by lex, on August 19, 2008

There are times when even the sea service must bow to those who have been such Strong Military Supporters over the years, even going so far as to purchase a ship the service doesn’t want, whose defense they can’t guarantee, at a price of $2.6 billion – twice as much as the preferred competitor.

This is one of those times:

The (decision to reverse course and buy a third DDG-1000) comes after considerable pressure by lawmakers, including Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, concerned about the impact on General Dynamics, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, who was worried about the effect on Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co, which is building the combat system for the new ships.

Kennedy and a group of other lawmakers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, had urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to reconsider the Navy’s plans to buy only two new DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyers, instead of the seven planned.

They threatened to block future shipbuilding funds for all surface warships unless military officials could better justify the move to truncate the DDG-1000 program after years of touting its benefits.

With an offer like that, how could we say no?

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy, Politics