Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last Chance to Download is Today

Your last chance to get a current set of available DoD FLIP publications is today.

Starting at midnight the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency will withdraw access to these taxpayer funded publications from public access. The following publications are available:

Planning Documents:
North and South America AP1/AP1A/AP1B
Pacific-Australasia-Antarctica AP3/AP3A
General Planning GP
Flight Information Handbook FIH

Enroute Supplements:
Caribbean/South American Supplement
US IFR Supplement
US VFR Supplement

The link you are looking for is

This is truly your last chance to get a copy of these publications and the frequencies they contain.


Exercise Noble Midas 07 is Now Underway

NATO and partner nations will hold a maritime exercise called Noble Midas 07, from 27 September until 12 October,2007 in the waters adjacent to Split, Croatia.

Approximately 2,000 military and 50 civilian personnel, over 30 ships and submarines and 20 fixed-wing aircraft from NATO and the Croatian Armed Forces will train together in a Crisis Response Operation scenario, where NATO is appointed by the UN to build up an immediate reaction in a fictitious country on the brink of civil war.

The exercise will comprise forces from twelve NATO nations, including The Netherlands, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Romania, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America, as well as two Partner nations Albania and Croatia.

This live maritime and amphibious exercise will focus on NATO RESPONSE FORCE (NRF) operations supported from the sea, and aims to improve standards of interoperability and to test procedures among participating nations. It will also serve to facilitate certification of the next group of forces committed to the NRF, the Alliance’s high readiness force. Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) will play a significant role in the exercise.

The unique design of Noble Midas 07 demonstrates NATO’s ability and desire to ensure that forces from Allied and Partner nations can adequately operate together and permits an assessment of NRF progress. . While sustaining the required readiness of participating forces, it underpins NATO’s ability to continue its mission of maintaining peace and stability through training and co-operation with Partners.

Noble Midas 07, will be conducted by Allied Maritime Component Command Headquarters Naples (CC-MAR HQ Naples).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Task force readies base for Joint Strike Fighter mission

By Lois Walsh, 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFMCNS) — With the next generation of fighter aircraft slated to arrive here in less than three years, the Eglin F-35 Site Activation Task Force is already working to get the base ready.

Led by Col. George Ross and consisting of a 12-man joint service team, the SATAF has the formidable task of bedding down the JSF. The team’s primary responsibilities are vast; from managing a $400 million military construction budget for facilities to interfacing with multiple multi-service headquarters to meet everyone's training needs.

Assigning the mission of training new Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers to Eglin is the result of the Base Realignment and Closure Committee's 2005 directive.

While Colonel Ross is the single point of coordination between all stakeholders, he relies heavily on his team. He counts on their service-specific expertise to make things happen.

"There are a lot of requirements that come from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps headquarters and we execute to ensure the requirements are met," the colonel said.

For example, Lt. Commander Mike Williams works for the fleet integration team under the commander of the Naval Air Force. He is working closely with Pensacola Naval Air Station and Whiting Field to coordinates the Navy specific training such as field carrier landing practice.

Maj. Lee Kloos is the Air Force Education and Training Command's flying training representative and is responsible for developing and integrating the flying training syllabus for the pilots.

"We try to compartmentalize who does what, but we all have to look at the big picture and be familiar with cross-service activities," Colonel Ross said. "The best example is the work Marc Richard does integrating all the services' and Lockheed Martin's requirements into the design of the training and maintenance facilities."

The colonel recognizes that established units on Eglin, like the 46th Test Wing and the 96th Air Base wing, are huge players in the process. Even though the skies won't be filled with the 33rd Fighter Wing's F-35s for a while, that won't make range planning easier because of the F-35's mission.

"Our mission is going to be different from the existing F-15s, which is air-to-air," Colonel Ross said. "The F-35 has air-to-air and air-to-ground -- it's a multi-role fighter and we'll be utilizing both the land and water ranges for training."

Another big change will be passing the 33rd Fighter Wing's Air Combat Command to the Air Education and Training Command. Colonel Ross is well aware of the heritage of the wing's Nomads, which pleases the wing’s commander, Col. Russ Handy.

"It's absolutely awesome that the 33rd Fighter Wing’s heritage will be carried on as the flag is passed to the F-35 training mission," Colonel Handy said. "The Lightning II is a crucial ingredient to the future of air and space power dominance for the United States and our allies. To know every new F-35 pilot's first exposure to this new weapons system will be with a Nomad patch on his or her shoulder makes me very proud."

Colonel Ross said the lines of communication are open and the SATAF working groups are meeting and working well together to face the milestones head on.

Aerial intercept training prepares warfighters

by Tech. Sgt. Steven Wilson, 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
An F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstrates its range of maneuverability during an aerial intercept exercise Sept. 24 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The F-16 C/D model is capable of withstanding up to nine Gs, or nine times the force of gravity, during combat maneuvers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan)

-16 Fighting Falcon crews practiced rapid response situations during aerial intercept training held Sept. 24 at Andersen Air Force Base.

The training took advantage of deployed airframes present on the island, and the "hostiles" in the exercise were deployed KC-135 tankers simulating enemy aircraft.

"Although the Cold War is long over, and our mission has changed, we must continually adapt to new threats" said Col. Damian McCarthy, the 36th Operations Group commander. "This type of intercept training lets us remain proficient and vigilant in defending our critical resources and personnel."

"This exercise was designed to prepare 522nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron members and Andersen permanent party for an aerial oriented defense scenario," said Capt. Jason Monaco, a 522nd EFS member. "The end goals were to train fighter pilots in alert, scramble and intercept tactics, to test the Andersen senior staff decision-making process and to exercise command-related issues."

The training was intense and very fast paced, said Capt. Vince O'Connor an F-16 pilot .

"When receiving the order to scramble, aircrews went from waiting in the alert facility to airborne within minutes," Captain O'Connor said. "Once airborne, we were directed by air traffic control to intercept the threat. We conducted an intercept at supersonic speed to get to the engagement as soon as possible.

"The highlight of this exercise, from a fighter pilot perspective, was training to an alert take off in very little time and completing an intercept at supersonic speeds," he said. "The ability to complete rapid and safe intercepts of hostile aircraft allows senior leaders to make timely decisions regarding our strategies to best deal with the bad guys."

The joint training exercises conducted here are aimed toward protecting America's interests, reassuring our friends and allies that we are committed to the region, and promoting stability throughout the Western Pacific Region, Colonel McCarthy said.

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons go "wheels-up" during aerial intercept training Sept. 24 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The F-16 has proven itself as a highly maneuverable, low-cost and multi-mission capable weapons platform since it was added to the Air Force inventory in 1979. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan)

F-22 performs first drop of small diameter bomb

by Senior Airman Jason Hernandez, 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
An F-22 Raptor drops a small diameter bomb from its weapons bay during a test mission Sept. 5 over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test marks the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22. (U.S. Air Force photo/Darin Russell)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- The F-22 Raptor Combined Test Force staff conducted the first airborne separation of a small diameter bomb from the internal weapons bay of an F-22 during a September test mission here.

"This is a major milestone for the F-22 modernization roadmap," said Lt. Col. Daniel Daetz, the 411th Flight Test Squadron commander.

The drop was made to ensure the small diameter bomb, or SDB, would have a clean separation when released from the F-22.

"The test proved that our predictions were modeled properly," said Maj. Jack Fischer, a 411th Flight Test Squadron test pilot. "The bomb came out exactly as it should have for the first test, so we're on the right track."

Testing of the SDB with the F-22 is part of the Increment 3.1 upgrade to the aircraft, Major Fischer said.

Once the SDB is cleared for operational missions aboard the F-22, it will enable the aircraft to carry four times the weapons load, Major Fischer said. The F-22 can carry eight SDBs with two advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

"Instead of taking two Joint Direct Attack Munitions, we can carry eight SDBs," the major said. "It also increases our range considerably. The SDB envelope will be the highest and fastest of currently fielded Air Force weapons."

Carrying the SDB internally is important to maintaining the F-22's stealth because external weapons could be picked up by radar, said Bill Kuhlemeier, the Lockheed Martin chief flight test engineer. However, the requirement presents unique challenges.

"I think the real question for us is what challenges are there associated with carrying weapons internally," Major Fischer said. "No other aircraft can release a supersonic weapon out of an internal weapons bay. The flow field and shock wave interactions present a very complex challenge. Whether it's air-to-air or air-to-ground, we're still dealing with those same factors."

The F-22 was not originally designed for air-to-ground operations, Mr. Kuhlemeier said.

"We have to learn how much we can get away with while inducing loads on an aircraft that wasn't designed to carry bombs at first," he said. "We're finding ways to overcome that by making the Raptor stronger for the different missions."

The Combined Test Force's future flight test plans include expanding the F-22's delivery envelope to the full capability of the aircraft, Mr. Kuhlemeier said.

"Once we can say the bomb can safely be released from the aircraft, we will move to guided tests," he said. "We will then release the weapons to see if they hit their targets. We're starting easy and working our way up to more difficult tests."

Major Fischer said integration of the SDB with the F-22 is important to the warfighter because it puts almost everything in their target set.

"Targets we can't get with most weapons, we can get with the F-22 because we have stealth," he said. "With this weapon and aircraft, there is no place we can't reach and no place for an enemy to hide."

C-5 lands at Bagram, opens galaxy of capabilities

by Capt. Michael Meridith, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
A C-5 Galaxy lands at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, without interruption to flight operations for the first time Sept. 22. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jamie Cabral)

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- The Sept. 22 landing and launching of one of the Air Force's largest aircraft at Bagram Air Base promises to bring "tremendous" capability for the movement of critical cargo across the region, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing officials said here.

The Air Force's C-5 Galaxy landed here without interrupting wing flying operations, a first for Bagram AB, said Col. Jon Sutterfield, the commander of the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group.

The completion of runway upgrades last December helped make Sept. 22's landing and launch possible and opened the door for possible future visits, said Belinda Williams, the Bagram AB airfield manager.

"We're definitely ready to see more C-5 landings in the future," she said "Everything went smoothly."

Previous landings have required the movement of other aircraft on the flightline to accommodate the massive plane.

The C-5 is the largest airlifter in the Air Force inventory and has the ability to carry 36 pallets of cargo. In comparison, a C-130 Hercules can only carry six to eight pallets of cargo, depending on configuration. In addition, the C-5 has the benefit of nearly unlimited range through aerial refueling.

"One of the big advantages of bringing the C-5 here is bypassing the main (U.S. Central Command area of responsibility) hubs to get cargo to the warfighter faster," Colonel Sutterfield said. "It's a huge force multiplier."

Colonel Sutterfield also noted that the landing was the culmination of months of effort involving teamwork among the staff at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in the AOR, the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and members of a host of organizations at Bagram AB, to include maintenance, security forces, transient alert and airfield management.

"It was a true team effort with a great result," said Master Sgt. Jamie Cabral, a transient alert quality assurance evaluator, who noted it took less than three hours for the aircraft to land, offload nearly 16,000 pounds of cargo and take off again.

"The bottom line is that bringing the C-5 here enables us to bring in more cargo, tools and personnel enabling the 455th to continue to take the fight to the enemy," Sergeant Cabral said.

Friday, September 28, 2007

NGA public downloads - Only 2 days left and then no more

You have two days left to download the NGA FLIP publications. NGA publications will no longer be available to hobby listeners after 1 October 2007, see below.

These useful pubs will be gone from the public domain forever after this date. According to an official spokesman in the NGA that I interviewed, you can thank the Aussie military among other countries who complained their copyrights were being violated by this information being in US DoD pubs and being public. What jerks and guess what milpubs I won't buy and where I won't being going on vacation?

But according to a back channel contact that I have there is a bit more to this story than just copyright concerns. This information is also being removed as a result of some Cold War warriors in DoD and DHS. They convinced their bosses that this public informaion was aiding the enemy monitor everything DoD and was helping them plan attacks. As you can see it this information has really helped the enemy since 9/11.

Yet where our brave servicemen and women are fighting and dying, DoD makes information on all the Iraqi theater freqs, callsigns, services for all bases publicly available on the internet for all to view, including the insurgents and Al Qaida. So much for military intelligence. I won't make that URL available here. Let's see if the CWWs in DoD can figure out they are openingly helping the enemy in Iraq with intel on the internet.

Here is the official story.

Effective 1 October 2007, NGA's Aeronautical Information will not be available via WWW.

Access to the Aeronautical data via the BLIND URL link will be discontinued. FLIP and DAFIF TM will only be accessible through the NGA Aeronautical Classified and Unclassified Web sites. The NGA NIPRNet site (Unclassified), in accordance with a number of DoD Directives, is Public Key Enabled (PKE); meaning that the site is encrypted using the DoD Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Users requiring access to the NIPRNet can register at A valid Common Access Card (CAC) and pin are required. Fill out and submit the request form. You will be notified by email when you have been granted access.

If you were previously up to date on the downloads of these pubs, then the new pubs as of 28 Sep are the US VFR Sup at and the FIH and GP at

Other material is located at PAA Charts:

AP1B Charts at:

So this is it folks. Monday morning (0001Z 01 Oct 2007) those who pressed for the removal of these pubs will have their wish and public domain information on DoD and FAA frequencies will be history. I am sure there are more than a few smiles in their offices at this point. But I would say this to those who are smiling, "don't get to smug."

Communications Failure at Memphis Airport Highlights FAA Negligence

Harris FTI Deficiencies Continue to Risk Safety Around the Country

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 26 PRNewswire-USNewswire - The communications outage at Memphis International Airport on September 25, 2007, was completely preventable, says the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS), the union that represents Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technicians. At fault is the FAA's failure to address serious deficiencies in Harris Corporation's Federal Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI), which provides circuitry and communications for the FAA.

The outage was caused by the loss of a circuit card at subcontractor Bell South's central office, which prevented telecommunication lines from feeding information to air traffic and ultimately resulted in a complete shutdown of radar, radio and telephone contact at the Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center. Previously, when communications lines failed, a backup telecommunications system automatically came online to support these vital systems until the primary communications lines could be restored, thus preventing a full-scale failure. However, the FAA lowered the standards and definition for diversity in order to award this contract to Harris. As an effort to make the FTI contract more profitable, Harris Corporation merged the backup path for these systems together.

"The problem we experienced in Memphis yesterday should not have happened and illustrates the FAA's complete and utter refusal to accept the reality that the FTI contract is impacting the safety of the flying public," said Dave Spero, PASS regional vice president. "The FAA has given Harris the keys to the kingdom even though they have a proven track record of failing to provide this critical service. The FAA has spent billions of dollars replacing what they deemed to be antiquated telecommunications systems; ironically, the antiquated systems operated much more successfully and safely than what Harris FTI is providing."

The FTI program was introduced by the FAA as a cost-saving measure; however, according to the Inspector General, acquisition costs have increased while cost savings have decreased by over $400 million - more than half of the FAA's original estimated savings. FTI has also been plagued with additional problems, including insufficient training of contractors, poor planning and management, and substandard service. Furthermore, with no services to fall back on when there are problems with FTI, there is even greater risk of outages occurring repeatedly at facilities throughout the country. "Outages of this type are preventable," said Spero. "It is the FAA's ultimate responsibility to ensure a safe and efficient National Airspace System. Unfortunately, it is failing miserably."

USCG Icebreaker Healy Returning from the Arctic

The nation’s largest icebreaker, USCGC HEALY, commanded by CAPT Ted Lindström, returns to her homeport of Seattle, WA on the 30th of September. HEALY’s arrival in Seattle denotes the successful conclusion of the Arctic West Summer 2007 Deployment that began when HEALY departed Seattle on April 3rd. Since April, HEALY has traveled over 25,000 nautical miles and conducted over 2,000 individual science evolutions. The deployment consisted of three missions: year one of the Bering Ecosystem Study, year two of Climate Driven Changes in Impacts of Benthic Predators in the Northern Bering Sea and the third in a series of sea floor mapping expeditions to the Chukchi Cap in the Arctic Ocean. HEALY spent a six weeks between the second and third missions in Seattle conducting scheduled maintenance and training.

HEALY left Dutch Harbor on April 11th to begin the first mission of Arctic West Summer 2007. The Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) is a multidisciplinary, multiyear project designed to consider all levels of the ecosystem of the Bering Sea, from the chemistry of the water and sediment to the biology of seals and walruses to the social implications of climate change and the roles of people in the system. It is a joint venture funded by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) involving scientists from research institutions around the country. In 2007, the chief scientist was Dr. Raymond Sambrotto of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. The BEST project is looking at the changes that take place as the ice edge recedes during the spring. During this time, the sea transitions from a barren, dark, frozen expanse to a sea that is full of light and life in the summer. Very little research has been done in the Bering at this time of year because there are very few research vessels capable of operating in the ice choked waters of the Bering Sea in the spring. HEALY exceeded the expectations of the science party and proved itself to be an excellent platform for BEST, conducting a total of over 400 sampling evolutions at over 200 different stations spread over the central and southern Bering Sea. These evolutions included water measurements taken with a CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) rosette, sediment samples taken with a mulitcorer and plankton samples taken with a variety of small nets. At seven points during the cruise, parties were deployed to the ice to sample both the ice and the undisturbed water below the ice. The science party left HEALY on May 12th in Dutch Harbor, returning to their home institutions to process the tremendous quantity of data collected over the 32 day cruise. The next BEST cruise is scheduled to be the first mission in HEALY’s 2008 deployment.

After replenishing supplies and loading a new science party, HEALY left Dutch Harbor on May 16th to begin her second mission in support of a National Science Foundation project entitled “Climate Driven Changes in Impacts of Benthic Predators in the Northern Bering Sea.” This project was also multidisciplinary, involving physical oceanography, marine chemistry, marine biology, and the study of biological processes. The cruise took HEALY into the central and northern Bering Sea and was timed to study the ecosystem when the spring explosion of life is being sustained by phytoplankton falling to the seafloor. Chief scientists Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper of the University of Tennessee and Dr. Jim Lovvorn of the University of Wyoming are using several decades of data, some collected aboard HEALY in past years, to assess how food webs and biological communities are structured and changing as water temperatures warm, seasonal ice retreats and predators such as fish and crab find more favorable conditions for growth and range expansions. These changes in the ecosystem need to be understood, as they will likely come at the expense of specialized seafloor feeding birds and mammals, including walruses, spectacled eiders, gray whales and bearded seals. During the cruise, HEALY conducted a total of 1500 sampling evolutions at over 150 different stations. Much of the equipment used was similar to that used during BEST, but this mission also used trawl nets to sample the benthic (or seafloor) animals that live on the bottom of the sea, including sculpins, shrimp, snails and brittle stars. After more than a month of crisscrossing the Bering Sea, HEALY returned to Dutch Harbor and disembarked the science party on June 18th before returning to Seattle for routine maintenance and training. The chief scientists plan to continue to study the changes in the benthic ecosystem in the Bering Sea next year.

HEALY’s third mission during the deployment focused on exploring the relatively uncharted seafloor of the Chukchi Cap. The cruise was sponsored by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Joint Hydrographic Center. The ship sailed from Seattle to Barrow, Alaska where cruise participants were ferried aboard via helicopter on August 17th. The mission was the third expedition in a series of mapping cruises aboard HEALY that began in 2003, all aimed at mapping the Chukchi Cap area. The science party, led by chief scientists Larry Mayer of UNH and Andy Armstrong of NOAA, continued to explore this poorly known region to better understand its morphology and the potential for including this area within the United States’ extended continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Several ancillary programs were able to participate in the cruise as well. A team from the National Ice Center was able to deploy a series of ice beacons to help track ice movement in the region and a graduate student from Scripps Institute of Oceanography deployed a series of hydrophones to record the underwater sounds of the Arctic Ocean. Unseasonably light ice cover allowed HEALY to cover over 5,000 nautical miles and reach areas north of 82oN during the four week cruise, dramatically exceeding the science party’s expectations. The primary mapping data, which was collected from HEALY’s multibeam sonar and subbottom profiler, has already revealed some exciting new bottom features. With further analysis, the data will significantly enhance our understanding of the Chukchi Cap and the potential for an extended continental shelf in the region.

An important element of The Arctic West Summer 2007 deployment was involving the local communities in the work being done in their backyards. The BEST science party included a school teacher and a science museum curator who led interaction initiatives for both of the isolated Pribilof Islands. Members of the science party visited the islands to make presentations at the local schools and some members of the local communities were able to visit and tour HEALY as the ship held position off shore. During the second mission, three Alaskan Natives from the St. Lawrence Island villages of Gambell and Savoonga, including a high school student, participated in the cruise, providing valuable local knowledge and expertise. At one point during the cruise a delegation of Coast Guard personnel and scientists visited Little Diomede Island where they worked with the local community to recover some automated sensors installed on an earlier trip. A Native Alaskan from Barrow was included as part of the science party during the third mission. Jimmy Jones Olemaun is a marine mammal observer; in addition to counting seals, walruses and polar bears, he helped HEALY successfully coordinate its work off Barrow with the local community.

HEALY is the newest and largest of the nation’s three heavy icebreakers and the only one with extensive scientific capabilities. The 420-foot cutter was commissioned in 2000 and has a permanent crew of 80. Scientific support is her primary mission, but as a Coast Guard Cutter, HEALY is also a capable platform for supporting other potential missions in the Polar Regions, including logistics, search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties. Many people have begun to speculate what will happen in the Arctic if the less ice leads to more shipping and human activity in the region. When speaking of the future, Admiral Thad Allen, the current Commandant of the Coast Guard, has said that "Icebreakers will have an important role to play." For the time being, HEALY will remain in Seattle conducting scheduled maintenance and training in preparation for her next scientific deployment, which will begin in the late winter of 2008. The deployment being planned for HEALY is similar to the one she just completed. It focuses on studying the consequences of warming trends in the Bering Sea and more survey work in the vicinity of the Chukchi Cap.

Coastie Cutters Got Leaky Networks

The Coast Guard's 5,000-ton, 400-foot National Security Cutters, a centerpiece of the troubled $25-billion Deepwater modernization program, are having serious problems with their secure networks, according to leaked documents. The networks, which must adhere to the National Security Agency's TEMPEST standard, are 70% likely to fail to meet that standard -- and on a scale of 1 to 10, the potential conquences have a severity of 8, the documents from the Coast Guard's Acquisition Directorate posit.

What does this mean, in plain English? "If NSC1 does not meet TEMPEST requirements ... by delivery, the cutter will be unable to process classified information," according to the first document. The vessels, built by Northrop Grumman with electronics provided by Lockheed Martin, will not be suitable for sensitive missions and won't be safe to connect to Navy and other military networks. In an age where connectivity means effectiveness, the cutters will be isolated.

The is a Wired website news story by David Axe and you can see the rest of it at:

USS Stout Assists Distressed Vessel Off Somali Coast

Guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) tows Tanzanian-flagged passenger ferry Spice Island while in international waters off the coast of Somalia. Spice Island, which was carrying no passengers, hailed for engineering assistance when it ran out of fuel while transiting to Tanzania. Stout provided the crew with food, water and fuel and helped to get the vessel operational under its own power. Coalition forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance and search and rescue efforts. (U.S. Navy photo)

USS Stout (DDG 55) operating under Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) provided assistance to a Tanzanian-flagged passenger ferry in distress in international waters off the coast of Somalia Sept. 26.

The ferry Spice Island had no passengers on board and was traveling from Oman to Tanzania when it requested assistance the evening of Sept. 25.

Stout and a helicopter from USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) responded to the call for help. The helicopter was first on scene and established communications with the ferry’s crew. Stout arrived on scene late evening and stayed with the 180-foot vessel until sunrise when assistance operations could begin.

Coalition forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance, and search and rescue efforts.

After Stout’s boarding team conducted a safety and security inspection, Stout took the vessel under tow while it provided the ferry’s 10-man crew with food, water and 7,800 gallons of fuel.

Stout’s Chief Engineer, Lt. Trent Thompson, oversaw the 12-hour operation aboard Spice Island.

“The crew was very glad to see us,” said Thompson. “The vessel’s engines had stopped. She was completely out of fuel and her food and water supplies were running low. She was also adrift in an area prone to piracy.”

After Stout’s team got the ferry steaming on its own, the Spice Island resumed her transit to Tanzania.

Stout is deployed to the region with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, but is currently operating in the Indian Ocean as part of CTF 150. Stout is homeported in Norfolk, Va.

CTF 150 is commanded by Pakistan Navy Commodore Khan Hasham Bin Saddique and is responsible for MSO in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, North Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment. Coalition forces conduct these operations under international maritime conventions so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

Forrest Sherman Exercises With South African Navy

By Gillian Brigham, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe Public Affairs
The guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98)got underway with South African navy frigate SAS Amatola (F 145) for coordinated at sea operations Sept. 26, 2007.

Forrest Sherman and Amatola sailed from Durban, South Africa where Forrest Sherman was the first U.S. Navy warship to visit in more than seven years.

While the ships are transiting from Durban to Cape Town, the destroyer and the frigate will collaborate with South African submarine SAS Manthatisi (S 101), a South African C-47 aircraft and a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft to conduct maritime security and safety drills. The two ships are also participating in a crew swap, with South African naval personnel sailing with Forrest Sherman and members of Forrest Sherman’s crew embarked aboard Amatola.

South African naval officer Cmdr. W. Combrink, is hoping to take the lessons he learns from the training and apply them to South Africa’s newly established Maritime Reaction Squadron, where he is assigned. The two year old squadron performs a variety of operations including force protection, littoral operations and diving and maritime interdiction operations.

“We were just established in 2005, so it’s nice to be here and learn new techniques and best practices and put them to use for our Sailors,” said Combrink. “It’s awesome.”

While onboard, Combrink and his fellow South Africans will participate in visit, board, search and seizure scenarios, accompanying U.S. Navy Sailors aboard Amatola as members of Forrest Sherman’s crew demonstrate how to properly board and search merchant vessels suspected of illegal activity.

“With so many unknown actors like pirates, smugglers and unlawful fishermen operating illegally in international and territorial waters, there has never been a better time for the navies of the world to work together in the interest of establishing safe, secure and prosperous oceans,” said Capt. Nicholas H. Holman, commander, Southeast Africa Task Group (CTG) 60.5.

The task group is responsible for building regional maritime partnerships in Southeast Africa. “The opportunity for the U.S. and South African navies to train alongside and learn from each other is absolutely invaluable, fosters camaraderie and is a lot of fun,” noted Holman.

Forrest Sherman left her homeport in Norfolk July 9, and operated in the Black Sea before sailing to Southeast Africa in September. While assigned to CTG 60.5, the ship will continue to operate in Southeast Africa, working to strengthen regional maritime partnerships to promote long-term stability and economic development in the region.

Naval Station Norfolk Bids Farewell to USS Shreveport

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin L. Burleson, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock USS Shreveport (LPD 12) was decommissioned during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Sept. 26.

Guest speaker Capt. Peter Fanta, commander, Amphibious Squadron 2, expressed his pride in the long tradition of excellence of the ship and its crew, past and present.

“The Shreveport has been through every armed conflict since the 1960’s, 24 commanding officers, seven presidents, and 12 theaters of operations,” said Fanta.

Shreveport was a significant help to Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, bringing in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, who supported the search for survivors, and aided with casualties, during the disaster. Sailors also did their part in helping clean up the St. Bernard Parish.

Some of the Shreveport’s Sailors had mixed feelings about the decommissioning.

“I had fun here, and it was an honor to serve on board, but it’s sad since it was my first duty station,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class (SW) Ricky Martinez.

The Shreveport has also maintained a history of earning awards through the years. In 1982, she earned the Navy Unit Commendation and the Navy Expeditionary Medal for spending four months off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon. In 1984, she received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for clearing mines in the Red Sea as part of Operation Intense Look. From 1990 to 1991 the Shreveport earned the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for Operational Readiness for her role in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

“It’s sad to see her go. I’m just glad I was able to be a part in the beginning and in the end,” said Norman Allen, who was an Airman Apprentice on board when the Shreveport was commissioned.

USNS Apache (T-ATF 172) will tow the Shreveport to Philadelphia, where the ship will become part of the inactive fleet, and reused for spare parts for other ships.

Attack controllers receive 2,000th remote receiver

Joint terminal attack controller Master Sgt. Chris Thompson communicates via a remotely operated video enhanced receiver Sept. 21in Southwest Asia. The ROVER, a small laptop with an external antenna, allows the JTAC to see from the eyes of the pilot, ensuring minimal collateral damage. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez)

Officials from U.S. Central Command Air Forces recently received the 2,000th remotely operated video enhanced receiver, a small laptop with an external antenna that allows joint terminal attack controllers on the ground to coordinate more accurate air strikes.

The device is rapidly gaining popularity among military units throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said.

"A picture is truly worth 1,000 words," said Lt. Col. Matthew Bannon, the CENTAF Combined Air and Space Operations Center chief of reconnaissance. "With the ROVER, a JTAC can see a real-time video feed from the aircraft's targeting pod on his laptop allowing him to be right on target."

Before an aircraft can execute an air strike, the pilot receives permission from a JTAC on the ground. The JTACs confirm the location of the air strike to ensure minimal collateral damage and avoid injury to friendly forces.

In the past, the pilot communicated with the controller via radio, describing what he saw from the air. The controller then compared it to his view from the ground, and if everything matched up, the controller gave the pilot permission to "go hot."

"The concept of the ROVER is to allow (JTAC's) to see from the eyes of the pilot," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Swank, a JTAC assigned to the 25th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron here. "The video feed from an aircraft transmits to the screen below and we are able to guide the pilot to a specified target based on the landmarks seen from the air."

The ROVER is very precise, he said.

"We can even zoom in and see individuals running in and out of buildings and follow them through the entire city. It is also highly effective at tracking vehicles through congested streets," Sergeant Swank said.

Because of this, the ROVER is a major player in the counter improvised explosive devices fight, helping to save numerous lives and thousands of dollars in equipment. Using the aircraft's thermal camera, it can identify hot or cold spots on the ground, and detect whether the ground has been disturbed.

The system also has civilian applications, officials said.

"ROVER has been proven useful not only in combat missions," said Maj. Jon Tinsley, the 704th Expeditionary Support Squadron commander. "It has been used with unmanned aerial vehicles for border surveillance on the U.S.-Mexican border and during Hurricane Katrina and other disaster recoveries. It gives the ground man a chance to see what the aircraft is seeing, without having to actually be in the aircraft."

The first generation ROVER was introduced in 2004. Since then, improvements made it smaller, lighter and more efficient, resulting in the current model, ROVER III.

Within one year, the next two generations will make them even smaller with more upgrades, allowing for two-way encrypted communication, thus making it even easier for JTAC's to complete their mission safely and efficiently.

In theater U.S. armed forces and several coalition partners are using the ROVER. It has become an essential tool in successful mission completion, officials said. This highly praised system has the ability to save time, money and, most importantly, lives.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Navy Welcomes Red Bull World Series to San Diego

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Seward, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific
plane from the Red Bull Air Race maneuvers around a pylon on the slalom course in the San Diego bay as Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) pulls into port. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class George Labidou)

Fleet Week 2007 commenced in San Diego Harbor across from Naval Air Station North Island Sept. 22-23, with Red Bull’s World Series air racers flying in honor of Navy and Coast Guard aviation.

Before the races, Navy ships and aircraft performed an air show, conducting various demonstrations and showing spectators what the Navy does and how it works.

“This is San Diego’s first time being a part of the Red Bull Air Races,” said Cmdr. James Dimatteo, commander, Naval Air Forces adversary programs, who was also a guest commentator throughout the Navy’s air show. “We are happy to celebrate aviation with pilots who are as passionate about it as we are.”

The Navy began their pre-race air show with USS Hopper (DDG 70) sailing by thousands of race fans flying the American flag during the National Anthem. Afterwards, aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 performed a formation fly-by above the harbor.

HSC-23 and Coast Guard Sector San Diego also wowed the crowd by demonstrating their low-flying insertion and search and rescue (SAR) capabilities, flying low to drop off Navy SEALS and search and rescue swimmers into the bay.

“Being a part of the air show was a great opportunity for us as a brand new command,” said HSC-23’s Operations Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Vega. “Our performance could not have been possible without the hard work of our Sailors on the ground, who performed countless maintenance checks to insure our aircraft were safe and ready for the show.”

Fleet Week is a way to pay tribute to the 300,000 men and women who make up San Diego’s military community. The Red Bull Air Race was the first of many San Diego’s Fleet Week events. Mike Mangold, a former Air Force pilot, flies past Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the Red Bull Air Race World Series in San Diego Harbor. The air race was held in conjunction with Fleet Week in San Diego, a weeklong tribute to the military. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher D. Blachly)

USS Gary Returns to San Diego After 8 Years in Japan

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) returned home to Naval Base San Diego Sept. 10, after being forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for eight years.

Gary, which played an active role as part of the Kitty Hawk Strike Group, was the only forward-deployed frigate assigned to U.S. 7th Fleet until it recently completed a hull swap and turned over with guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85).

Gary’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Joker L. Jenkins said the transition between the frigate and the destroyer was a logical change, bringing in a more capable ship out to the forward deployed forces in Japan.

“By sending a Navy ship with ballistic missile defense capability and the Aegis weapons systems, we are increasing the capabilities out in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations,” said Jenkins.

During the transition, more than 175 Sailors made a one-to-one exchange between each ship so that their respective families would not have to transition to a new duty station.

“We had a large transition,” said Jenkins. “More than three quarters of the crew are formerly McCampbell Sailors. This was good for the interest of families who are still living in San Diego.”

Gas Turbine System (Mechanical) 3rd Class (SW) William Broughton, a former McCampbell Sailor, said he was glad to be aboard Gary and happy to be closer to his wife and 1-year-old son in San Diego.

“Gary feels different,” said Broughton. “I was on a bigger ship. But the smaller ship is a lot better because you get to know your people better. You also get to learn equipment a lot better because there’s not a lot of it.”

Sailors like Broughton who have been on McCampbell and transitioned onto Gary have been out at sea for more than four months and were glad to be back to see family and friends in San Diego.

With Gary settling in San Diego, Jenkins said the ship will be part of Destroyer Squadron 1.

“We will be going to the shipyard and get a multi-million dollar overhaul,” said Jenkins. “We will receive new engineering equipment and electronics to prepare for counter-drug operations in the late summer of 2008.”

The ship was named after the late Cmdr. Donald Arthur Gary who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1946 for his heroic actions while serving aboard USS Franklin (CV 13) as a lieutenant. During a Japanese attack on the ship, Gary was credited with saving the lives of hundreds of the crew, leading them out of the badly damaged compartments below decks.

Peleliu Returns Home

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Brian Gaines, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Peleliu (LHA 5) returned to its homeport of San Diego following their four-month Pacific Partnership 2007 deployment Sept. 20.

Approximately 1,000 friends and family members turned out at pier 13 at Naval Station San Diego to welcome the Sailors and civilians returning from Southeast Asia and Oceania.

As the crowd neared the pier, members of the Navy Southwest Region Band played popular songs to add to the festivities.

“The Peleliu wanted to go all out, so we did,” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Russ Paje, the coordinator for the homecoming event. “Everything is running smoothly, and that’s always good.

As the ship neared the pier, the crowd began cheering loudly. Applause and random comments about the ship’s stature, as well as how remarkable it is to see Sailors manning the rails, could be heard throughout the crowd.

“It’s truly exciting,” said the spouse of Peleliu Chaplain Lt. Kevin Nortin, who was one of approximately 12 spouses who were allowed onto the pier for the coveted "first kiss.” “It has been a long time coming,” she said.

For some Sailors, such as Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Mark Carlson, it was a special family reunion. Carlson’s parents and grandparents traveled from Nebraska to welcome him home.

“It is an exhilarating experience,” said Jo Anne Carlson, Carlson’s grandmother, of her first time witnessing a homecoming. “I’m so proud of him and all the Sailors on the ship.”

“It’s chilling, exciting and emotional,” said Linda Carlson, Carlson’s mother. “I’m glad everyone has come back safe.”

For the spouse of Damage Controlman 2nd Class John Reeder, the day was twice as special. In addition to seeing her husband for the first time in four months, the day also marked their 10-year wedding anniversary.

“I’m a little nervous, but excited at the same time,” she said, who was on hand with the couple’s two young daughters. “It’s always a flood of emotions when John returns.”

Throughout the deployment, Peleliu served as a platform for military and civilian personnel, who provided medical and dental care, as well as, education and preventative medicine to more than 31,600 people in the Philippines, Vietnam, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Safeguard Transfers to Military Sealift Command

By Ed Baxter, Sealift Logistics Command Public Affairs
Sailors of the former rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard (ARS 50) depart as the ship’s decommissioning flag is lowered to officially transfer the ship to the Military Sealift Command. (US Navy Photo)

The rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard was (ARS 50)decommissioned and transferred to Military Sealift Command (MSC) in a ceremony, September 26, 2007, in Sasebo.

Following the transfer, the ship proudly assumed the designator United States Naval Ship – USNS Safeguard.

More than 100 of Safeguard’s active-duty Navy crew members watched as Safeguard’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Doyle Hodges, lowered the ship’s commissioning pennant as a final gesture of the ship’s decommissioning. Safeguard’s new civil service master, Capt. Edward Dickerson, and 26 civil service crew members then reported aboard.

“Safeguard is a great addition to MSC’s fleet,” said Paul Devoe, assistant program manager with MSC’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. “The ship will continue to provide vital support to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet.”

Safeguard will remain in Sasebo and will have the same mission and operational capabilities. These missions include: salvage of stranded vessels; rescue and assistance operations; recovery of submerged objects; and manned-diving operations. The civil service crew will be complemented by a four-person military detachment of Navy Sailors for communications support, and up to 20 Navy divers as the mission requires.

Operating noncombatant ships with civilian mariners means the U.S. Navy can free uniformed Sailors for critical jobs in the combatant fleet. Safeguard is the fourth and final Navy rescue and salvage ship to be transferred to MSC, joining USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53), USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) and USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52).

Military Sealift Command operates 110 noncombatant, ships with civilian crews, that replenish U.S. Navy ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.

Nimitz Crew, Tigers Depart Hawaii, Set Sail for Home

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sarah E. Bitter, USS Nimitz Public Affairs
A father and his son look out at the USS Arizona Memorial as nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departs Pearl Harbor on a Tiger Cruise. (US Navy Photo)

Sailors and Marines welcomed family and friends aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for Tiger Cruise 2007 as the ship departed Naval Station Hawaii Sept. 24 following a two-day port visit.

The Nimitz crew brought 1,295 special guests aboard for their last stretch of their six-month deployment. Tigers will eat, sleep and experience shipboard life firsthand.

According to the Nimitz Tiger Cruise coordinator, Lt. Cmdr. Mike Salka, Tiger Cruise highlights include air power and sea power demonstrations; a refueling-at-sea evolution, weapons demonstrations; technical briefings; an EOD demonstration; ship tours and a crew member and Tiger talent show.

“The best part of Tiger Cruise is sharing the experience at sea aboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with family and friends,” said Salka. “My father is a guest for Tiger Cruise. I am proud to show him the fruits of his labors by raising me. It is also nice to see everyone have the opportunity to share this experience with the people they care about.”

A Sailor and her Tigers agree that the cruise is the chance of a lifetime.

“I think that it is a unique opportunity for them to get a glimpse of what we do every day,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate (AW) Shantelle Butche. “I think that they will be able to better appreciate the sacrifices that we make day in and day out while we our serving our country.”

While deployed, Nimitz and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 supported Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, flying more than 8,240 hours in direct support of both missions. Additionally, Nimitz made history as the first American aircraft carrier to make a port visit to India when the ship joined USS Pinckney (DDG 91) for a port visit to Chennai, India, over the Fourth of July.

Nimitz is the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. Commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, the Nimitz CSG also includes embarked CVW-11; embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 with guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) as well as the “Scorpions” of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, “Easy Riders” of HSL-37 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Detachment 3.

CVW-11’s squadrons include “Tophatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, “Black Aces” of VFA-41, “Sunliners” of VFA-81, “Wallbangers” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117, “Red Devils” of Marine Corps Strike Fighter Squadron 232, “Black Ravens” of Electronic Warfare Squadron 135, “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron 30 and the “Indians” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6.

Patriot, Lassen Arrive in Russia for Pacific Eagle

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joshua J. Wahl, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Sasebo, Japan

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (NNS) -- USS Patriot (MCM 7) and USS Lassen (DDG 82), arrived to one of Russia’s largest port cities Sept. 24 as part of a scheduled port visit and in conjunction with the bilateral exercise, Pacific Eagle, to be conducted with the Russian Federation Navy (RFN).

Pacific Eagle consists of a series of maritime activities, to include mine countermeasures, aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region by enhancing the strategic partnership between Russia and the United States.

During the ships' stay in Vladivostok, crew members will have a chance to participate in friendship-building activities, cultural exchanges and community service events with the local population.

There will also be an in-port phase of Pacific Eagle, to be followed by an at-sea phase.

“I definitely believe in participating in this joint exercise so that both navies can learn lessons from our rich traditions and rich histories, along with promoting stability in the region,” said Patriot Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz. “I am extremely looking forward to working with the RFN as part of Pacific Eagle.”

The Russian Pacific Fleet and U.S. Navy have a common understanding and knowledge of a shared working environment at sea. This visit and ensuing exercise is expected to increase the level of understanding and partnership into the future, said naval leaders from both countries.

“We hope Patriot’s participation in Pacific Eagle will be a continuing trend to bring more U.S. Navy ships here for future exercises and build good relations between our two nations,” said Patriot Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Y. Shu.

Patriot last visited in July 2005 and conducted a mine countermeasures passing exercise (PASSEX) with the RFN along with fellow Sasebo minesweeper USS Guardian (MCM 5).

Many of the Patriot Sailors expect to make the most of this opportunity to visit and explore the surrounding culture.

“I have heard so many good things about the traditions and history of this port so I am really looking forward to getting out and exploring,” said Yeomen 1st Class Steven L. Hood. “I am happy to be here with the Navy because I know it is an opportunity to see sites very few people get to experience first hand."

Patriot has been operating in the Western Pacific under Task Force 76, which serves as 7th Fleet’s mine countermeasures arm in forward-deployed operations from Sasebo, Japan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What is brewing in Israel?

AlphaE10 on the Enigma 2000 numbers newsgroup posted an interest observation regarding an increase in Enigma E10 numbers traffic yesterday 9/25/2007. These numbers stations are beleived to be transmitted by the Israeli Mossad.

Some specific intercepts noted below:

ULX 1000z 7760 kHz. In the repeat slot at 1630z ULX1 was sent!!
But 1630z/2030z: EZI 9130/6840 kHz

The EZI pair 0330z/1800z 6840 kHz with the heavy 13/11/11/11/13g messages after idling some days with a 49 group message.

NEW: PCD 1930z! Since 14092007 a 19g msg was sent, now a new 14g one is being transmitted.

The YHF pair at 2000z and 0200z 5820 kHz back to a regular message. YHF 1900z 3840 kHz yesterday with 3 messages at 119 groups.

Given the reported recent Israeli military activity over Syria, one has to wonder what the Mossad is up to now with this new round of interesting message traffic on the Enigma E10 stations.

What is the status of the Russian 667BDR Subs?

Our friends over at the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces blog have undercovered an interesting tidbit.

One of the Project 667BDR/Delta III submarines, the Ryazan K-44, has almost completed its overhaul at the Zvezdochka plant in Severodvinsk. This sub is expected to return to its Northern Fleet base next month. Submarines of this class are fairly old - they were built in the late 1970s-early 1980s. START data shows that Project 667BDR submarines have been withdrawn from service in recent years.

Strategic Air Command alert ends - 10 years ago

Tommorrow makes an important anniversary. On Sept. 27, 1991, President George H. Bush ordered the termination of Strategic Air Command's alert which began in October 1957 following the Soviet launching of the Sputnik satellite. The alert forces ceased operations the next day, beginning the successful conclusion of the Cold War. SAC alerts had been 24-hour, with precise requirements for ever-faster takeoffs dependent on the type of scenario in test.

Strategic Air Command was conceived during the closing months of World War II by military planners who foresaw the long-term need for a credible U.S. nuclear deterrent force. The command was established in 1946 at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. and transferred to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Nov. 9, 1948.

Initially SAC placed 11 percent of its force on alert. In March 1961 President John F. Kennedy requested funding to increase the number of SAC aircraft on 15-minute ground alert from one-third to one-half the total force. Standing continuous alert for the rest of the Cold War, the command's bombers and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles joined the U.S. Navy sea-launched ballistics missiles to form the nation's strategic triad.

The airborne alert operation nicknamed Chrome Dome was a realistic training mission to deter enemy forces from a surprise attack on the United States. Demonstrating SAC's nearly immediate retaliatory capability, units flew bombers along routes that covered parts of Western Europe and North Africa. Under Hard Head VI, units flew similar airborne alert operations which monitored the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System located at Thule, Greenland. SAC wings launched two combat-ready B-52s every 20-23 hours for the duration of the 30-60 day operation. To keep the B-52s airborne for long periods, refueling squadron also performed a number of air refueling missions. These annual operations lasted for five years in the early 1960s.

On June 1, 1992, with the Berlin Wall down, the Warsaw Pact a memory and the Soviet Union nonexistent, the Air Force stood down SAC during the reorganization of its tactical and strategic force. That same day, President George H. Bush established a new unified command, U.S. Strategic Command.

USSTRATCOM's mission of deterrence would sound familiar, but its structure and role would reflect the changing international political landscape. It was the combination of the unique capabilities of the Navy's submarine launched ballistic missiles along with the Air Force's bombers and ICBMs that came to be known as the strategic nuclear triad. For almost 40 years, the triad provided a visible, credible deterrent against Soviet aggression.

With USSTRATCOM, for the first time in U. S. history, the planning, targeting and wartime employment of strategic forces came under the control of a single commander while the day-to-day training, equipping while the day-to-day and maintenance responsibilities for its forces remained with the services -- the Air Force and Navy.

12th CAB TF12 - High op-tempo and important missions

An AH-64D Apache helicopter from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade's 2nd Bn. 159th Aviation Regiment makes its approach at a remote forward arming and refueling point while Soldiers on the ground wait to rearm it at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. (US Army Photo)

few months into a 15-month deployment, V-Corps' 12th Combat Aviation Brigade settled into its role as the primary aviation asset for Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

The bulk of the brigade, including its headquarters, and four battalions are now working at Balad's Logistics Support Area Anaconda. The CAB is organized in Iraq as Task Force XII - augmented by a battalion of National Guard Soldiers from Minnesota's 2nd Bn, 147th Aviation Regiment, and a battalion of fixed wing aircraft from the National Guard's Operational Support Airlift Command.

Though deployed, the 12th CAB is still largely involved in the aviation mission in Europe. About 1,700 members of the brigade remain in Europe, supporting US Army Europe's aviation needs with units in Germany, Italy and Belgium.

"Although the bulk of the brigade is deployed we have significant units with vital missions that remain back in Europe," said 12th CAB Commander, Col. Timothy Edens.

"Those units continue to provide USAREUR with attack helicopter, general support aviation, and air traffic services as well as ensuring the health, welfare, training and preparation of our Soldiers and Families that remain behind," he said.

In Iraq, the 12th CAB flew its first missions in June with its attack helicopter unit, the 2nd Bn. 159th Aviation Regiment from Illesheim, Germany. The rest of the brigade arrived within a month, and after a brief handoff from the Texas National Guard's 36th CAB, began flying missions throughout Iraq in support of MNC-I.

As of September 20th, after about three months of flying, aircraft assigned to Task Force XII had logged some 11,513 flight hours, hauling 2.7 million pounds of cargo and more than 33,000 passengers over 1,738 missions.

"The operational tempo is very high here," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Collier, an instructor pilot for B Co. 2nd Bn 159th Aviation Regiment. "Most pilots are looking at doing about five years worth of flying in 15 months here in Iraq."

The 12th CAB is not the only Combat Aviation Brigade in theater, but it is the only Aviation Brigade that covers the entire country. Because the 12th CAB is a 'Corps separate' asset, its mission is unique. "We're the 'catch all' guys," said brigade targeting officer, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jasbir Riat. "The other CABs in theater all support a division, and have a specified area of operations."

Besides the attack and reconnaissance mission of the 2-159th, 12th CAB also provides aviation support through Task Force Ready: The 5th Bn., 158th Aviation Regiment along with the National Guard's 2-147th handle the bulk of the rotary wing passenger travel in theater.

Task Force Storm is comprised of the Soldiers from 3rd Bn., 158th Aviation Regiment and 'Big Windy', a company of CH-47 Chinooks from 5-158th. Along with some cargo missions, this Task Force handles air assault missions and support for ground troops in theater.

"They do a number of air assault missions and cargo missions, as well as supporting the Sustainment Command here on LSA Anaconda with our air weapons systems," said Riat.

The final, and largest portion of the brigade comes with the Soldiers of the 412th Aviation Support Battalion. The 412th provides logistics and maintenance support for the CAB to include operation of a forward arming and refueling point that sees traffic from this and other units.

"I've gotten to work with Kiowas from other units as well as our Apaches," said B Co., 412th ASB's Pfc. Philip McHale. "Loading ordnance is the same no matter where you go."

These battalions, all from Katterbach, Germany, have taken on the directed tasks, and are expected to remain in Iraq with the CAB until October of 2008.

"I think we are off to a great start," said Col. Edens. "We are flying, fixing and flying again through an operational tempo that is absolutely incredible. The Soldiers across the brigade are busy, focused and in a high state of morale and esprit as they go about their daily duties," he said.

USS Chafee Returns From Successful Deployment

By Ensign Matthew Bennett, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs, and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul D. Honnick, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Hawaii

Guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), with her crew of more than 300 Sailors, will returned home to Pearl Harbor, Sept. 22, marking the end a successful 167-day Western Pacific and Middle East deployment.

The Sailors of Chafee return home from the ship’s second deployment to family, friends and the comforts of Hawaii knowing that they performed exceptionally well across a broad range of tasks and operations.

"I am extremely proud of the crew's exceptional performance,” said Cmdr. Robert P. Tortora, Chafee’s commanding officer. “Team Chafee was ready for all tasking and incredibly flexible from the day we sailed to the day we returned."

“It was a real demanding deployment. We pretty much covered every warfare area there is, but the crew stuck together and everybody did a great job,” said Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Charlie Bennie.

A crowd of thousands waited patiently on the pier to welcome back the ship and her crew.

“My Sailors are very excited to be back and they all have plans. Every single one of them is going to go spend time with their families, fly back to the States; everybody has something they want to go do today, tomorrow and for the next month as we stand down after these 167 days away,” said Tortora.

Chafee departed Pearl Harbor April 9, as part of the San Diego based Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and deployed to the U.S 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations.

While deployed to the Middle East, Chafee conducted maritime operations with coalition partners off the Horn of Africa to disrupt piracy and terrorist activities in the area. Chafee then entered the Persian Gulf and began tasking to further regional maritime security goals; including escort of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74); oil platform defense off the coast of Iraq; and maritime security patrols. Chafee’s Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) teams conducted small boat approaches and assisted in operations in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf to offer goodwill visits to local mariners, helping to foster a spirit of cooperation between Navy coalition partners and the local maritime community.

After departing the Middle East, Chafee rejoined the Nimitz CSG and transited to the U.S. 7th Fleet to participate in exercise Valiant Shield 2007 (VS07) Aug 7-14. VS07 was a multi-dimensional joint exercise off the coast of Guam with U.S. forces including the Stennis, Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) CSGs and more than 25 Navy ships, as well as numerous sub-surface, and U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft. VS07 was designed to focus on integrated joint training among U.S. military forces, enabling real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces and in detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on the land and in the cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.

In addition, Chafee and the Nimitz CSG joined the Kitty Hawk CSG and India’s aircraft carrier INS Viraat (R 22) to participate in the multilateral exercise Malabar 07-2. This annual exercise included ships from India, Australia, Japan, and Singapore in the Bay of Bengal to advance mutual maritime understanding and interoperability.

The deployment was not all work as Chafee Sailors were able to visit Guam, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore and Middle East ports for liberty calls along the way.
Sailors also showed their compassion and hard work by participating in community relations projects. About 70 Sailors participated in projects, volunteering their time at Guam’s Ayuda Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing educational and medical supplies to hospitals and schools for the underprivileged in Micronesia.

In Singapore, Chafee Sailors traveled to the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre, located in Shatin, New Territories Hong Kong. The Centre provides food, shelter to the needy. The Sailors helped preserve the Centre by placing sandbags around the facility’s mountain edge.

In addition to Chafee, the Nimitz CSG consists of Carrier Air Wing 11 and Destroyer Squadron 23, and includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68); the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), the guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Higgins (DDG 76), and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49 “Scorpions,” and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 3.

Kitty Hawk Returns From Summer Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Olivia Giger, USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) pulled into Yokosuka, Japan Sept. 21, after a four-month summer deployment. The carrier departed May 23 after successfully completing sea trials and pilot refresher training, known as carrier qualifications.

Kitty Hawk kicked off the summer deployment with Talisman Saber 2007, in which the United States and Australia combined land, sea and air forces. The exercise brought together more than 12,000 Australian and 20,000 U.S. personnel from all branches of the armed services.

Kitty Hawk then participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, one of the largest annual exercises in the Western Pacific. This year's weeklong exercise involved about 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines who worked together to build their joint combat skills.

The 30 ships involved with Valiant Shield were from three carrier strike groups: Kitty Hawk’s, USS Nimitz’s Carrier Strike Group and USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group. During the exercise, Rear Adm. Rick Wren, commander of the Kitty Hawk strike group and Task Force 70, had command of all three strike groups.

Kitty Hawk also participated in Malabar, a six-day exercise that took place in the Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal, involving more than 20,000 personnel on 28 ships and 150 aircraft from the United States Navy, Indian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the Republic of Singapore Navy.

In an effort to be prepared should a real-life situation call them to work together in the future, the five nations came together to improve their anti-submarine warfare, anti-piracy, humanitarian and combat skills.

“[Malabar] is an exercise for bringing maritime professionals together and learning from each other,” said Vice Adm. Doug Crowder, 7th Fleet commander, in a press conference held on Kitty Hawk’s flight deck, Sept. 7.

During Malabar, Kitty Hawk also recorded its 400,000th aircraft landing, also known as a trap. The historic trap was made by an E/A-6B Prowler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 piloted by Capt. Michael McNellis, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5. This was also McNellis’s 1,000th career trap.

Kitty Hawk is the only carrier still in commission to surpass the number and is the third Navy aircraft carrier to have more than 400,000 carrier landings.

Kitty Hawk, along with its escorts, visited Guam twice; Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; and Port Klang, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The ships were in Malaysia on August 31, the country’s 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

“There was a lot of stuff to see in Malaysia,” said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Cedrick Irvin. “We pulled in at a great time - during their Independence Day celebration.”

In every port, Sailors signed up with the ship’s Religious Ministries Department for community relations projects, to give back to the people of each city.

“It’s always good to give back to the community,” said Seaman Robert Tucker of Deck Department’s 3rd division. “If they’re letting us into their country we should do what we can to help while we’re there.”

Kitty Hawk’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation division also set up tours of the ports visited, including one that featured rappelling in Australia.

“It’s completely exhilarating to say the least,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Ryan Skaggs from Strike Fighter Squadron 102. “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Halsey Fires Tomahawk Missile

By Ensign Chris Peters, USS Halsey Public Affairs

USS Halsey (DDG 97) successfully fired a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile off the coast of Southern California, Sept. 12.

The shot was an Operational Test Launch (OTL) to exercise the new capabilities and flexibility of the latest versions of the Tomahawk Missile and Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System. Halsey demonstrated the ability of a Block IV Tomahawk to be retargeted while in flight.

The OTL was the first conducted by a destroyer with the baseline 7.1 AEGIS combat systems suite and the baseline VII Vertical Launching System, making Halsey the newest and most advanced ship to shoot the Navy’s signature land-attack missile.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Bianca Garcia, who launched the cruise missile. “We’ve been working together for over three years. To finally have a chance to shoot a missile and do what we’ve been training for meant a lot to all of us.”

Chief Fire Controlman Matt Robbins indicated the test firing was a feat of tremendous coordination, requiring months of specific planning.

“It was amazing to watch the whole crew come together to make this shot happen,” Robbins said. “In the end, it went off without a hitch.”

As in all Tomahawk flight tests, air safety was carefully planned in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration. For safety purposes, the Tomahawk could have been guided by commands from safety chase aircraft and safe landing zones were planned along the entire flight path.

“The support team from Port Hueneme, Point Mugu and China Lake was awesome,” said Halsey’s Engagement Control Officer Lt. j.g. Nicole “Nic” Bunchman, referring to the numerous organizations involved in the shot.

Ensign Tony Schweiss, Halsey’s strike officer, said, “The day after we observed the anniversary of 9/11, Halsey demonstrated its ability to carry out a critical mission in support of America’s defense.”

Halsey is homeported in San Diego and assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Memphis ARTCC Shutdown

FoxNews is reporting that the Memphis ARTCC is shutdown due to a communications glich.

Here is the NOTAM courtesy of Rod in Atlanta and the Milcom list:

Data Current as of : Tue, 25 Sep 2007 18:39:00 GMT


And this is from the FAA website for air traffic delays

provided by the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center Memphis International Airport (MEM) Real-time Status

The status information provided on this site indicates general airport conditions; it is not flight-specific. Check with your airline to determine if your flight is affected.

Delays by Destination:

Due to EQUIPMENT / OUTAGE. ALL TRAFFIC TO AND THROUGH ZME GROUND STOPPED UNTIL ROUTES ARE COORDINATED, departure traffic destined to ZME airport will not be allowed to depart until at or after 18:35 UTC.

General Departure Delays: Traffic is experiencing gate hold and taxi delays lasting 15 minutes or less.

General Arrival Delays: Arrival traffic is experiencing airborne delays of 15 minutes or less.

This information was last updated: Sep 25, 2007 at 6:37 PM GMT+00:00

Monitor note: Beam to the west and Memphis ARTCC freqs are silent.

After one year, Phoenix Warrior course soaring high

by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs

A student in the Air Force Phoenix Warrior Training Course 07-6 participates in convoy training Aug. 21 on a range at Fort Dix, N.J. The course is taught by the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's 421st Combat Training Squadron where Air Force security forces Airmen practice expeditionary combat skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)

FORT DIX, N.J. (AFPN) -- Airmen at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's 421st Combat Training Squadron have finished their first year of teaching the Phoenix Warrior Training Course, and all signs point to the fact it is helping prepare security forces for their wartime mission.

"Phoenix Warrior, from inception, has evolved to meet our adversaries' shifting tactics," said Capt. Brent Gallant, operations flight commander for the 421st CTS. "By providing the most current tactics, techniques and procedures, or TTPs, used in the deployed environment, as well as using the most advanced training aids available such as the center's state-of-the-art close-quarters battle camera system, we provide security forces pre-deployment training that is second to none."

Phoenix Warrior is essentially "combat skills training" mainly for security forces, Captain Gallant said. It is different from the 421st CTS' Advanced Contingency Skills Training courses in that it trains security forces and those non-security forces Airmen assigned to security forces unit type codes prior to deploying. The program, which includes 17 days of training, is based upon 21 core tasks determined by the Air Force Security Forces Center.

"Our feedback from the field has been very positive," Captain Gallant said. "We have seen an upward trend in requests from squadron commanders for class allocations as word has gotten out about what Phoenix Warrior and the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center can provide for deploying forces."

Phoenix Warrior comprises three tracks, which feature the 21 core pre-deployment tasks.

"We offer a leadership track for officers and senior NCOs that provides refresher training and the most current TTPs as well as air base defense updates to people deploying to fill leadership roles," Captain Gallant said. "Our radio telephone operator track ensures that people deploying as RTOs are qualified and able to problem-solve issues on the most current communications technologies utilized in the deployed environment.

"Our highest visibility track is our military working dog track," Captain Gallant said, "where we teach six core security forces-directed MWD tasks required for all (Air Mobility Command) MWD teams deploying. Also in the MWD track, we provide training and exposure for dogs that can't be done at home station such as significant live-fire exposure and large-quantity buried explosive detection to prepare for IED searches and helicopter transport."

Staff Sgt. Sam Pruett, an MWD handler from the 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., who participated in Phoenix Warrior Class 07-6, said he appreciates the exclusive environment available in the course that's not readily available at home station.

"Home station operations tempo, with current mission requirements, could restrain you from conducting the style of training you see at Phoenix Warrior," Sergeant Pruett said.

Most home station security requires conducting vehicle checks, building checks and other requirements that may inhibit the ability for a handler to conduct the style of training received in Phoenix Warrior.

As far as a course that's one year old, Sergeant Pruett said, the 421st CTS' progress on course development is "beyond words."

"I look forward to going through the class again in the future just to see how much the program has progressed," Sergeant Pruett said.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Goligowski, also an MWD handler and Phoenix Warrior 07-6 student from the 319th SFS, Grand Forks AFB, N.D., said the entire MWD and Phoenix Warrior program was "excellent."

"It exposed us and our dogs to environments that we will experience down range," Sergeant Goligowski said. "You need to get as much exposure to the real thing as you possibly can and the Phoenix Warrior MWD instructors hit the nail on the head. I am also looking forward to going through the program again later to see how it has changed."

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Thompson, 421st CTS instructor in charge of Phoenix Warrior's combative rifle and pistol live-fire training and a facilitator for dismounted-patrol training, said the course is fast paced and has grown to provide some of the best training available out there for security forces Airmen.

"It's an all-encompassing course," Sergeant Thompson said. "You might spend one day in the classroom, but the next you'll be running in full battle rattle to get your heart rate up to fire under stress."

"The course is ever-changing," he added. "We take what we read in after-action reports and the trends that are taking place down range to continuously redevelop our course. A year from now, the course will most likely be different than it is today."

All through the training, something else happens for Phoenix Warrior students. They build friendships and camaraderie with fellow security forces Airmen.

"The contacts I've made and the personnel I was around in the K-9 portion were an exceptional bunch of handlers and instructors," Sergeant Pruett said. "The entire experience was a great time because amongst all the students there was a motivation and willingness to learn and train in a group. It was training that was second to none."

Captain Gallant said it's training like Phoenix Warrior that really builds on the "warrior ethos" all Airmen share.

"Phoenix Warrior is the perfect venue for building squad continuity and individual warrior ethos," Captain Gallant said. "First, the training is difficult and team effort is required for success. Second, while overcoming the many challenges our students face, they are formed into a cohesive unit learning to trust and depend upon one another. While this is all happening, they are indoctrinated with predeployment skills that will keep them alive and lead to mission success down range. When you combine challenges, teamwork and combat skills, you end up with warrior ethos."

As far as continued success of the course, Captain Gallant said it will take the right ingredients like it has in the first successful year.

"Phoenix Warrior has been successful because of the cadre's dedication to providing the best predeployment training they can," Captain Gallant said. "Little over a year ago, Phoenix Warrior cadre were asked to fill a major Air Mobility Command pre-deployment training void and stand-up a course in less than two months. Through many long days and lost weekends, Phoenix Warrior was developed and cadre were trained.

"The continued dedication of the Phoenix Warrior cadre is what drives the continual improvement of the course.

"This makes Phoenix Warrior successful," Captain Gallant said.