Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wire: Hostage Talks Falter, Pirates Fire on US Navy Vessel

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

UPDATE: US Navy: Pirate Hostage Rescued by US Forces

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2009 -- Newswires reported this evening that Somali pirates Saturday fired at approaching U.S. sailors intent on rescuing a container ship captain being held by Somali pirates, according to CNN.

Citing a source it described as a U.S. official familiar with the situation, CNN said the pirates shot at U.S. Navy personnel as they tried to reach the lifeboat on which the captain, Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt., was being held.

The sailors did not return fire and returned to the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge, the official said.

The confrontation in the Indian Ocean came the same day a U.S.-owned tugboat towing two barges was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Unidentified maritime industry sources said all of the 16 crew members on board the hijacked tugboat were unharmed, the BBC reported.

The New York Times reported that negotiations over the American captain taken hostage by the pirates broke down on Saturday, according to Somali officials, after American officials insisted that the pirates be arrested and a group of elders representing the pirates refused.

Somali officials said the American captain and the four heavily armed pirates holding him hostage remained in a covered lifeboat floating in the Indian Ocean about 30 miles off Gara’ad, a notorious pirate den in northeastern Somalia, the Times also noted.

The standoff has forced President Barack Obama to focus on a place most Americans would rather forget. A U.S. intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s was a disaster, including the "Black Hawk Down" battle in 1993 resulting from a military operation ordered under the Clinton White House that killed 18 U.S. troops and inspired a book and a movie, Reuters noted.

A White House spokesman said Obama received multiple updates on the piracy situation on Saturday.

President Obama has remained mum on the incidents.

When reporters asked the president directly about the incident on Thursday, he demurred. Instead, he stayed on his message of the day, saying: "Guys, we're talking about housing right now."

The Washington Post today reported that some U.S. defense officials have been frustrated by what they see as a failure to act by President Barack Obama's administration against a terrorist threat to U.S. interests from a Somali extremist group.

The Al-Shabab organization, whose fighters have battled Ethiopian occupiers and the tenuous Somali government, has expanded rapidly and has ties between its leaders and al-Qaeda.

Army Gen. William E. (Kip) Ward, Commander, United States Africa Command told the Associated Press that while he didn't see a "dirct connection" between Somali pirates and Islamic extremists, he later said, "But, again, if you look at the clan structure or the tribes - to think that there may not be linkages probably is a bit naive."

A senior U.S. military official familiar with the region, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence gathering, said the military is still looking hard at potential connections between piracy and the escalating terrorist activities in East Africa, AP also noted.

AP reported that Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, warned that some of the money from piracy could make its way into the hands of extremists.

Multiple news sources reported that the pirates have demanded a $2 million ransom and have vowed to fight off any attack by U.S. forces.

(Report from multiple news sources.)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Pentagon: 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review to Determine Carrier Homeporting in Mayport

Focus on Defense
Naval Station Mayport, Florida. (U.S. Navy photo.)

Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2009 -- The following news release made available by the U.S. Defense Department Friday is the text of a statement regarding the homeporting of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport.
The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that the final decision on whether to permanently homeport an aircraft carrier in Mayport, Fla., will be made during the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The QDR will assess the need for carrier strategic dispersal in the broad context of future threats, future Navy force structure, and likely cost effectiveness.

The DoD intends to dredge the Mayport channel in fiscal 2010 to allow the Navy port to dock a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This action would provide an alternative port for a carrier on the East Coast if a manmade or natural disaster or other emergency closes the Navy's base in Norfolk, Va., or the surrounding sea approaches.

The dredging of the Mayport channel will support any future decisions to permanently homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Additional work to permanently homeport a carrier would include follow-on wharf improvements, infrastructure upgrades for nuclear propulsion plant maintenance facilities, as well as any changes needed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. The DoD will carefully review these potential costs and will assess the potential benefits associated with an additional homeport on the East Coast before committing to any future direction.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Combat Camera Video: Cordon and Search Operation in Mosul

video

News readers click here to watch the video.

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2009 -- Embedded above is a b-roll video of soldiers conducting a cordon and search operation in the Palestine neighborhood of Mosul, Iraq, March 23. (Produced by Tech. Sgt. Adrienne Brammer; Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq. Length: 6:49.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Combat Camera: Aboard USS Boxer, April 11, 2009

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (April 5, 2009) The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) receives a vertical replenishment from the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193) in the Gulf of Aden. Boxer is deployed as the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian K. Fromal.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (April 1, 2009) Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) board a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter to engage in readiness drills near the Horn of Africa. Boxer is deployed as part of Boxer Amphibious Readiness group/13th MEU supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Menzie.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (April 1, 2009) Sgt. Adam Palmer and Cpl. Chris Gibson, assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) Air Combat Element embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), perform routine maintenance on an AV-8B Harrier aircraft. Boxer is the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jackson.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (March 31, 2009) Marines assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) practice boxing aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is deployed as part of Boxer Amphibious Readiness group/13th MEU supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Menzie.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (April 1, 2009) The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) transits the Gulf of Aden. Boxer is the flagship for Combined Task Force 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. CTF 151 was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
DJIBOUTI (April 1, 2009) A landing craft air cushion from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 leaves a beach during an exercise near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. ACU-5 is currently assigned to the USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group supporting Combined Task Force-151 (CTF-151), a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. (US Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (April 5, 2009) A Marine aviation mechanic conducts a pre-flight inspect on a CH-46E helicopter engine on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jackson.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
DJIBOUTI (April 1, 2009) A light armored vehicle disembarks from a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) after landing on the beach during an exercise near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. The LCACs deployed to the beach from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), flagship for Combined Task Force 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. (US Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (March 27, 2009) A CH-46 helicopter flies near the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. CTF 151 was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, April 10, 2009

Combat Camera: Aboard USS Halyburton, File Photos, April 10, 2009

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
SOUDA BAY, Crete, Greece (March 12, 2009) The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) is assisted by tugboats upon arrival for a routine port visit to Souda Bay as the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) prepares for departure. Halyburton is homeported in Mayport, Fla. and is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 14. (U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
SOUDA BAY, Crete, Greece (March 12, 2009) The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) is assisted by tugboats upon arrival for a port visit to Souda Bay as the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) prepares for departure. Halyburton is homeported in Mayport, Fla. and is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 14. (U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 13, 2006) - Peruvian submarines and surface vessels accompany the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) and the guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) during Silent Forces Exercise (SIFOREX). In an intense three-day Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training program, Sailors from Peru, and the United States refined their ASW skills against Peruvian Type-209 diesel submarines. (U.S. Navy Photo.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

OEF Summary, April 10, 2009: Troops Kill 32 Insurgents in Southern Afghanistan

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- Coalition and Afghan forces killed 32 insurgents today during operations in southern Afghanistan, military officials reported.

In the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province, 15 insurgents were killed after opening fire on a U.S.-Afghan patrol. The coalition troops returned fire, killing all 15 attackers with small-arms, heavy weapons and aviation weapon support.

In Oruzgan province’s Shahid E-Hassas district, enemy fighters fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at U.S. and Afghan forces on a reconnaissance patrol. The attackers fled to a nearby shopping district, but the coalition force eventually killed all 12 as they were found trying to regroup outside the bazaar.

In Kandahar province’s Maywand district, U.S. and Afghan forces pursued and killed five insurgents allegedly connected with a Taliban logistics network. The network is believed to be responsible for a suicide-bombing in the area that killed four Afghan civilians and a coalition servicemember.

No coalition or Afghan casualties were reported from the operations.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Pentagon: Officials Remain Mum on Pirate Hostage Details

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- A senior Pentagon spokesman today declined to provide details on the ongoing situation involving a U.S. maritime captain being held hostage by pirates in a small boat adrift off the coast of Somalia.

“There will be a point in time where we can be fully forthcoming with what the military role was and our thinking on it, and why we did what we did, Bryan Whitman told reporters. “That time is not right now.”

The paramount concern of all agencies involved is obtaining the safe return of the hostage, Whitman said.

Armed pirates attacked the cargo ship Maersk Alabama about 300 miles off the Somali coast on April 8. The unarmed ship’s 20-member American crew eventually regained control of the vessel, but the captain offered himself as a hostage to forestall violence.

The captain and his four pirate captors continue to share a small boat that’s adrift in open sea. Whitman said there is “no information to suggest the ship’s captain has been physically harmed.”

The Navy is monitoring the situation, Whitman said, noting that at least two vessels, the destroyer USS Bainbridge and the guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton, are now in the vicinity.

“I’m not going to comment on other resources that might join in this effort, beyond the Halyburton and the Bainbridge, at this point,” Whitman said.

(Report by Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service.)

Tags: , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

OIF Summary, April 10, 2009: Troops in Iraq Detain 3, Find Weapons

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- Iraqi forces detained three suspected terrorists and found weapons during recent operations in and around Baghdad, military officials reported.

In Baghdad’s Mansour district April 8, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers discovered a cache of homemade bombs after a tip from a local resident. The cache was moved to a nearby coalition base for further examination by explosive experts.

About 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, near the town of Kut in Wasit province, Iraq forces captured three people April 7 for their suspected involvement in a rocket attack earlier that day on Forward Operating Base Delta – a facility operated by Iraqi police, army and special tactics units.

Iraqi response forces also recovered two rockets at the suspected launch site where the suspects were detained. No injuries were reported from the attack or follow-on operation.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

US Military Meets, Exceeds Recruiting Goals for March 2009

News in Balance

News in Balance:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- March was a recruiting success for all active-duty U.S. military services, which all met or exceeded their goals, according to a Defense Department news release issued today.

Active Component:

Recruiting. All services met or exceeded recruiting goals for March.
  • Army – 6,548 accessions with a goal of 6,425; 102 percent
  • Navy – 2,857 accessions with a goal of 2,857; 100 percent
  • Marine Corps – 2,017 accessions with a goal of 1,411; 143 percent
  • Air Force – 2,748 accessions with a goal of 2,745; 100 percent

Retention. All four active components continued their success in fiscal 2009, meeting or exceeding March retention goals.

Reserve Component:

Accessions. All six reserve components met or exceeded their accession goals for the month of March.
  • Army National Guard – 6,255 accessions with a goal of 4,974; 126 percent
  • Army Reserve – 4,771 accessions with a goal of 3,445; 138 percent
  • Navy Reserve – 654 accessions with a goal of 654; 100 percent
  • Marine Corps Reserve – 579 accessions with a goal of 566; 102 percent
  • Air National Guard – 933 accessions with a goal of 840; 111 percent
  • Air Force Reserve – 825 accessions with a goal of 825; 100 percent

Attrition. Losses in all Reserve components were within acceptable limits.

(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Living History: USAAC 1st Lt Edward S Michael, April 11, 1944

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
1st Lt. Edward S. Michael, a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot, received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during a heavy bombing mission over Germany. (U.S. Air Force illustration.)

Living History:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- On April 11, 1944, a seriously wounded 1st Lt. Edward Stanley Michael landed a crippled B-17 Flying Fortress in England after a bombing mission over Germany. As the crew left the plane, the lieutenant noticed that the bombardier's parachute was badly damaged. He decided to try crash landing. With the wheels and flaps inoperable, Lieutenant Michael still had enough strength left to land the bomber on its belly. For these actions, he received the Medal of Honor.

Michael was born in Chicago in 1918, and joined the Army Air Corps there. By 1944, he was assigned to the 364th Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group. For the mission on that day in April, his Medal of Honor citation reads: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as pilot of a B17 aircraft on a heavy-bombardment mission to Germany, April 11, 1944. His plane was singled out and the fighters pressed their attacks home recklessly, completely disregarding the Allied fighter escort and their own intense flak.

His plane was riddled from nose to tail with exploding cannon shells and knocked out of formation, with a large number of fighters following it down, blasting it with cannon fire as it descended. A cannon shell exploded in the cockpit, wounded the copilot, wrecked the instruments, and blew out the side window. Lieutenant Michael was seriously and painfully wounded in the right thigh. Hydraulic fluid filmed over the windshield making visibility impossible, and smoke filled the cockpit. The controls failed to respond and 3,000 feet were lost before he succeeded in leveling off.

The radio operator informed him that the whole bomb bay was in flames as a result of the explosion of three cannon shells, which had ignited the incendiaries. With a full load of incendiaries in the bomb bay and a considerable gas load in the tanks, the danger of fire enveloping the plane and the tanks exploding seemed imminent. When the emergency release lever failed to function, Lieutenant Michael at once gave the order to bail out and 7 of the crew left the plane.

Seeing the bombardier firing the navigator's gun at the enemy planes, Lieutenant Michael ordered him to bail out as the plane was liable to explode any minute. When the bombardier looked for his parachute he found that it had been riddled with 20mm. fragments and was useless. Lieutenant Michael, seeing the ruined parachute, realized that if the plane was abandoned the bombardier would perish and decided that the only chance would be a crash landing. Completely disregarding his own painful and profusely bleeding wounds, but thinking only of the safety of the remaining crewmembers, he gallantly evaded the enemy, using violent evasive action despite the battered condition of his plane.

After the plane had been under sustained enemy attack for fully 45 minutes, Lieutenant Michael finally lost the persistent fighters in a cloud bank. Upon emerging, an accurate barrage of flak caused him to come down to treetop level where flak towers poured a continuous rain of fire on the plane. He continued into France, realizing that at any moment a crash landing might have to be attempted, but trying to get as far as possible to increase the escape possibilities if a safe landing could be achieved. Lieutenant Michael flew the plane until he became exhausted from the loss of blood, which had formed on the floor in pools, and he lost consciousness. The copilot succeeded in reaching England and sighted an Royal Air Force field near the coast.

Lieutenant Michael finally regained consciousness and insisted upon taking over the controls to land the plane. The undercarriage was useless; the bomb bay doors were jammed open; the hydraulic system and altimeter were shot out. In addition, there was no airspeed indicator, the ball turret was jammed with the guns pointing downward, and the flaps would not respond. Despite these apparently insurmountable obstacles, he landed the plane without mishap He evaded German fighters before taking the crippled plane down to 100 feet above the ground and flew across the English Channel to the base.

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

Tags: , , , , , ,
Global Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wire: Obama Mum as Pirate Standoff Escalates

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- Newswires reported today that escalating a dramatic Indian Ocean standoff, more U.S. warships -- as well as pirate reinforcements with an international gallery of hostages -- rushed Friday toward the spot where four Somali bandits are holding a U.S. sea captain aboard a drifting lifeboat.

The Associated Press reported that the pirates apparently fear being shot or arrested if they hand over Capt. Richard Phillips -- captured in a failed effort to seize the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday -- and hope to link up with their colleagues who are using Russian, German, Filipino and other hostages captured in recent days as human shields.

Pirates have been holding Phillips hostage aboard the lifeboat since his crew thwarted the attack Wednesday on the 17,000-ton U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama.

President Barack Obama is getting regular updates on the situation, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Obama has yet to make a formal public statement regarding the incident. He brushed off a reporter's question Thursday, an AP report noted.

FBI hostage negotiators started Thursday to work with the U.S. military to secure Phillips' release.

However, Steve Romano, a retired head of the FBI hostage negotiation team, said he doesn't recall the FBI ever negotiating with pirates before.

AP reported that U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus said U.S. warships also are headed to the area, more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) off Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.

"We want to ensure that we have all the capability that might be needed over the course of the coming days," he said.

This is a developing story with more to follow.

(Report from commercial news media sources.)

Sources:
Pirate ships converge on US hostage at sea
Obama quiet on pirate drama

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wire: Five US Soldiers Among Dead in Mosul Suicide Bombing

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- Newswires reported this morning that five U.S. soldiers were among those killed in a suicide truck bombing in Iraq's restive northern city of Mosul on Friday, a U.S. Army statement said.

The following is the text of the statement about the incident from Multi-National Division - North:
Five U.S. Coalition Soldiers were killed, and one wounded from a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device attack earlier today in Mosul. Two Iraqi Security Forces were also killed and 20 wounded.

The suicide truck bomb exploded near the Iraqi National Police headquarters in the southwest section of the city.

At least two individuals suspected of being involved in the attack were detained, and the incident is under investigation.

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.
This is a developing story with more to follow.

(Report from a commercial news source and a Multi-National Division - North news release.)

Source: Five US soldiers among dead in Iraq truck bombing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Combat Camera: Aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, April 10, 2009

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
PORTSMOUTH, England (April 5, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is anchored in the English Channel as a ferry prepares to transport Sailors to Portsmouth Harbor. Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 Sailors visited Portsmouth, England, on their way home from a seven-month deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Hall.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
PORTSMOUTH, England (April 5, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is anchored in the English Channel as a ferry prepares to transport Sailors to Portsmouth Harbor. Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 Sailors are on a port visit to Portsmouth on their way home from a seven-month deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Christopher Hall.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
U.S. 6th FLEET (April 2, 2009) An HH-60H Seahawk helicopter assigned to the "Tridents" of Helicopter AntiSubmarine Squadron (HS) 3 approaches the fantail of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during an air power demonstration. Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 are operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Snyder.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
U.S. 6th FLEET (April 2, 2009) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 performs a high-speed pass over the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during an air power demonstration. Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 are operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Snyder.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
U.S. 6th FLEET (April 2, 2009) An F/A-18E Super Hornet (right) assigned to the "Tomcatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 re-fuels an F/A-18 Hornet assigned to the "Valions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15 during an air power demonstration over the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during an air power demonstration. Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 are operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Snyder.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
U.S 6TH FLEET (April 2, 2009) An SH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Tridents of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 3 parades the American flag to conclude an airpower demonstration held over the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 are operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibilty. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Wilyanna Harper.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
GULF OF ADEN (March 22, 2009) The Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transit the Gulf of Aden. Boxer is the flagship of Combined Task Force 151, a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John J. Siller.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
SUEZ CANAL (March 27, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the Suez Canal after five months of operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Theodore Roosevelt is underway back to its homeport of Norfolk, Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman 3rd Class Feena Dwiggins.)

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
SUEZ CANAL (March 27, 2009) The aircraft cattier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the Suez Canal after five months of operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Theodore Roosevelt is headed back to its homeport of Norfolk, Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Suits.)

Dispatches from the Front:

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea, April 10, 2009 -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) visited Portsmouth, England, April 4-8 as the ships completed their final port visits before returning to homeport.

The United States and England share a long-standing relationship. This was evident as the Sailors interacted with their hosts on tours and visits to many sites in the country. While in Portsmouth, crew members from Theodore Roosevelt and The Sullivans also participated in a variety of military interactions in addition to enjoying British culture and history.

"It was a great pleasure for our Sailors to visit England. The British were wonderful hosts in every way," said Rear Adm. Frank Pandolfe, commander, Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.

"This visit provided an important opportunity to strengthen our unique relationship, building upon shared history, mutual respect and great trust."

Along with The Sullivans, Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing 8 hosted scores of area residents and officials to tour the U.S. ships and embarked aircraft.

"This memorable port visit caps off a highly successful deployment," said Theodore Roosevelt's Commanding Officer, Capt. Ladd Wheeler. "The crew enjoyed the opportunity to see England and to welcome visitors to the ship. The visit was a great success."

Local Portsmouth residents returned the favor by offering tours of historic ships and locales, including HMS Victory, the flagship of English Adm. Lord Nelson.

"I studied that ship for years," said Lt. j.g. Will King, of TR's operations department. "The ship's curator, Peter Goodwin, gave a number of officers a behind-the-scenes tour. From my end, he changed my entire perspective on history and research. It was a truly momentous meeting for me."

Additionally, TR Sailors enjoyed tours in London to see famous locations including Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. The crew also ventured into the countryside to see Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and visit popular towns like Bath and Hampton Court.

"The thing that impressed me the most about England was the people," said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman Airman Apprentice Theo Frashure. "Everyone was very polite and friendly. The entire trip was made spectacular thanks to the kind people that I met. I have always wanted to go to England, and I am happy that I got the chance to experience such a wonderful place."

Theodore Roosevelt and The Sullivans are operating in the 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility. Theodore Roosevelt recently departed 5th Fleet, where it conducted combat missions in support of coalition ground forces operating in Operation Enduring Freedom. The Sullivans participated in maritime security operations and conducted theater security cooperation in 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joey Morgon.)

COMBAT CAMERA More Combat Camera Imagery on THE TENSION

Tags: , , , , , , , , , Navy, , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wire: Gen. Odierno Says We May Have to Ignore Iraq Deadline to Stop al-Qaeda Terror

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 -- Newswires reported yesterday that activities of al-Qaeda in two of Iraq’s most troubled cities could keep U.S. combat troops engaged beyond the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal, the top U.S. commander in the country has warned.

U.S. troop numbers in Mosul and Baqubah, in the north of the country, could rise rather than fall over the next year if necessary, General Ray Odierno told The UK Times in his first interview with a British newspaper since taking over from General David Petraeus in September.

The Times reported the following news:
[Odierno] said that a joint assessment would be conducted with the Iraqi authorities in the coming weeks before a decision is made.

Combat troops are due to leave all Iraqi cities by the end of June. Any delay would be a potential setback for President Obama, who has pledged to withdraw all combat forces from Iraq by August 2010 as he switches his focus to Afghanistan.

The ultimate decision on keeping or withdrawing troops would be taken by Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, handing him a big dilemma, given the desire by most Iraqis for the US military to leave the country.

Tens of thousands of supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, the antiAmerican Shia cleric, marched through Baghdad yesterday, the sixth anniversary of the fall of the capital, to demand the withdrawal of US forces.

General Odierno, 54, said that he was also concerned about the risk of renewed conflict between Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq, where tensions are rising over the ownership of territory. He also cited the “very dangerous” threat posed by Iranian-funded militants, who appear to be styling themselves on Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The Times concluded by noting that President Barack Obama is seeking $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was a senator and George W. Bush was President. Obama’s request, including money to send thousands more troops into Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the US, according to the Congressional Research Service.

(Report from a commercial news source.)

Source: General Ray Odierno: we may miss Iraq deadline to halt al-Qaeda terror

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

France Assumes Command of CTF 150

Focus on Defense
News from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet Combined Maritime Forces.

Focus on Defense:

MANAMA, Bahrain, April 10, 2009 -- French Navy Rear Adm. Alain Hinden assumed command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 from German Navy Rear Adm. Rainer Brinkmann during a Change-of-Command ceremony held April 9, in Djibouti.

The ceremony concluded the German Navy's sixth successful command of CTF 150, which conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Brinkmann has commanded the task force since January, and under his leadership CTF 150 coordinated patrols throughout their area of operations (AOO) to help commercial shipping and fishing operate safely and freely in the region.

"Local mariners rely on the international navies deployed in this region," he said. "There is a common understanding among mariners which crosses boundaries and languages."

France has been part of the Combined Maritime Forces since 2001 and has commanded CTF 150 six times. They have contributed two dedicated ships to CTF 150 along with a maritime patrol squadron based in Djibouti over the past seven years. Hinden will command CTF 150 from the flagship FS Marne (A 630).

"Free and secure trade is the reason our nations operate their navies in the northern Indian Ocean - to set the conditions for a safe and secure maritime environment," said Hinden. "It is at sea that our Naval Power will continue to fight. This will be done in the spirit that has developed during more than seven years in TF150 - transparency and cooperation with neighboring nations."

CTF 150 is a multinational task force that was created to counter terrorism, prevent smuggling, create a lawful maritime order and conduct Maritime Security Operations to help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. The flexibility and capability of coalition forces make them well positioned to respond to any potential emergent situation. Through training opportunities with regional partners, CTF 150 enhances existing cooperative relationships which aim to support regional countries struggles against violent extremism.

(Report from a Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs news release.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Global Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button