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Midway at 71: Flying into a Beehive

Midway at 71: Flying into a Beehive

Then Lt. Cmdr. John Thach during World War II. US Navy Photo

Then Lt. Cmdr. John Thach during World War II. US Navy Photo

The following is from the June, 2007 issue of Naval History Magazine:
Six Grumman F4FA Wildcat fighters of Fighting Squadron (VF)-3 were the sole protection for the USS 
Yorktown’ s 12 torpedo planes and 17 dive bombers that attacked the Japanese First Carrier Striking Force early on 4 June 1942. Launching nearly two hours after their compatriots on board the USS Enterprise and USS Hornet the F4Fs were led by then-Lieutenant Commander Jimmie Thach and were the only fighters to engage the Japanese over their ships that morning. The following account is adapted from Thach’s U.S. Naval Institute oral history.

Before leaving Pearl Harbor, I was given very brief indications that we expected an attack, and there was obviously a big battle coming up in the middle of the Pacific. That’s about all I was told before I landed aboard the Yorktown (CV-5) on May 30. That night, the air group met in the wardroom where Commander Murr Arnold, the air officer, gave us a complete briefing on everything they knew about the opposing Japanese forces and their probable intentions. So we had a day or so to think before we arrived in position. After this briefing, it was obvious a very serious and crucial engagement was coming up. If we could win this one, we might be able to stop the Japanese advance.

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Navy Awards $6.1 Billion in Nine Destroyer Deal

Navy Awards $6.1 Billion in Nine Destroyer Deal

USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) is moored at its homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. US Navy Photo

USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112) is moored at its homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. US Navy Photo

The Navy has awarded $6.1 billion in contracts to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) and General Dynamic Bath Iron Works (BIW) for nine Arleigh Burke–class guided missile destroyers (DDG-51) to be purchased between Fiscal Years 2013 to 2017 in a massive multi-year shipbuilding deal, Naval Sea Systems Command told USNI News on Monday.

The contract award has HII building five of the hulls for $3.3 billion and BIW four for $2.8 billion. The multi–year deal — starting with future ships Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) and Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) — includes an option for a tenth DDG-51 if the Navy can overcome a sequestration funding challenge. The extra ship would likely be built in 2014 by BIW, NAVSEA said. Read More

Document: Think Tanks Call for Personnel and Base Reforms

Document: Think Tanks Call for Personnel and Base Reforms

The following is a Monday open letter to Pentagon leaders and Congress from a bi-partisan group representing ten D.C. think tanks that focus on national security issues. The groups are calling for reform on the most politically sensitive defense expenditures: Military compensation, closing excess military facilities and the size of the Pentagon civillian workforce. The letter appeared as an advertisement in The Hill newspaper.

Dear Secretary Hagel, Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Inhofe, Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith,
Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Cochran, Chairman Young, and Ranking Member Visclosky:

A striking bipartisan consensus exists today across the think tank community on the need for Pentagon and Congressional leaders to address the growing
imbalances within the defense budget that threaten the health and long-term viability of America’s volunteer military.

It is our shared belief that the Department of Defense urgently needs to close excess bases and facilities, reexamine the size and structure of the DoD civilian
workforce, and reform military compensation. While we do not all agree on the best approach to reform in each case, we agree that if these issues are not addressed, they will gradually consume the defense budget from within. Read More

SECDEF Hagel High on LCS Amidst GAO Critique

SECDEF Hagel High on LCS Amidst GAO Critique

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addresses the crew of the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in Singapore, June 2, 2013. Department of Defense Photo

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addresses the crew of the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in Singapore on June 2, 2013. Department of Defense Photo

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke highly of the Littoral Combat Ship program and forward deployment over the weekend despite reports that the Government Accountability Office will advise Congress to slow procurement of the ships and mission packages, according to a Friday report from Bloomberg.

“We appreciate your good work,” Hagel told the crew of USS Freedom (LCS-1) said. “What you represent to our country and our partnerships in the Asia-Pacific I don’t think can be overstated. You are really defining a new era of partnership.”

Over the weekend Hagel praised the planned forward deployment four LCS as part of the Pentagon’s rebalance to the Pacific as part of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit — also known as the Shangri-La dialogue. Read More

Midway at 71: 'I Sank the Yorktown at Midway'

Midway at 71: ‘I Sank the Yorktown at Midway’

USS Yorktown after a series of torpedo strikes in 1942. Naval Institute Archives

USS Yorktown after a series of torpedo strikes in 1942. Naval Institute Archives

The following ran in Proceedings in May 1968:

The tension in I-168’s conning tower had been steadily building up for six and a half hours. In the cramped command post, I stood, palms out, waiting to grip the rising periscope’s handles. We were all perspiring heavily. My torpedo petty officer was scanning his switch panel, and a nervous helmsman wiped clammy hands frequently on his pants. Lieutenant (jg) Nakagawa, pencil in hand, mopped his damp brow between looks at the compass and speed indicator. But my gunnery officer, Ensign Watanabe, seemed almost unconcerned. Of the five, his job was by far the simplest. Our submarine was creeping straight toward the crippled American aircraft carrier Yorktown. There were no ballistics problems for Watanabe to work out-the range was point-blank, and target speed was nearly zero.

The whine of the periscope’s lift motor died away as I sighted through the eyepiece. I had been allowing myself a maximum of five seconds on each sight check and I didn’t intend to change the tactic. One quick glance would give me the range, and I could give the order to fire torpedoes.

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Electric Boat Called in To Fix Flawed Spanish Sub

Electric Boat Called in To Fix Flawed Spanish Sub

Image of the Spanish Navy's planned S-80 diesel attack submarine. Navantia Photo

Image of the Spanish Navy’s planned S-80 diesel attack submarine. Navantia Photo

General Dynamics Electric Boat has been asked by the U.S. Navy to help correct problems with the Spanish Navy’s S-80 submarine to correct design flaws, several sources have told USNI News.

Setup through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale office, EB will consult in assisting the Spanish Navy and shipbuilder Navantia correcting problems with the S-80 that could prevent the submarine from surfacing after it dived. Read More

Document: Pentagon's Air-Sea Battle Concept

Document: Pentagon’s Air-Sea Battle Concept

From the Pentagon’s May, 12 2013 Air-Sea Battle Concept outline: 

While ASB is not a strategy, it is an important component of DoD’s strategic mission to project power and sustain operations in the global commons during peacetime or crisis. Implementation of the ASB Concept, coordinated through the ASB office, is designed to develop the force over the long-term, and will continue to inform institutional, conceptual, and programmatic changes for the Services for years to come. The ASB Concept seeks to provide decision makers with a wide range of options to counter aggression from hostile actors. At the low end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept enables decision makers to maintain freedom of action, conduct a show of force, or conduct limited strikes. At the low end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept enables decision makers to engage with partners to assure access, maintain freedom of action, conduct a show of force, or conduct limited strikes. At the high end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept preserves the ability to defeat aggression and maintain escalation advantage despite the challenges posed by advanced weapons systems. Read More

Report: New Iranian Missile Launchers Could Overwhelm Israeli Defenses

Report: New Iranian Missile Launchers Could Overwhelm Israeli Defenses

Iranian missile launchers in a May, 26 2013 display. Iranian Ministry of Defense Photo

Iranian missile launchers in a May, 26 2013 display. Iranian Ministry of Defense Photo

Iran could have enough launchers to send a salvo of medium range ballistic missiles that would overwhelm Israeli ballistic missile defense systems, according to a Wednesday report from IHS Jane’s.

A May, 26 broadcast on Iranian television showcased a collection of transporter erector launchers (TELs) capable of launching the Iranian Shahab-3 guided ballistic missiles. Read More

Think Tanks Call For Massive Pentagon Personnel Cuts Under BCA

Think Tanks Call For Massive Pentagon Personnel Cuts Under BCA

Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at cutting the Pentagon's budget under sequestration. CSBA Image

Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at cutting the Pentagon’s budget under sequestration. CSBA Image

Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at balancing the Department of Defense’s budget if the Pentagon has to weather ten years of ten percent across-the-board sequestration budget cuts sequestration on Wednesday.

The consensus of the four (American Enterprise Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment) was unanimous.

First, cut the Department of Defense’s civilian employees – including shipyard and depot workers. Then reduce the services’ end strength – particularly the Army’s. Read More

Amos: F-35B IOC in 2015, ACV Design Award Next Year

Amos: F-35B IOC in 2015, ACV Design Award Next Year

Gen. James Amos talks to reporters in 2011 following a demonstration of the F-35B. US Marine Corps Photo

Gen. James Amos talks to reporters in 2011 following a demonstration of the F-35B. US Marine Corps Photo

The commandant of the Marine Corps said the service’s short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter will reach initial operating capability sometime in the later half of 2015.

Gen. James Amos said that means 10 of the 16 planes assigned to a squadron would be in place with aircrews and maintainers fully trained and shipboard qualified, he said Wednesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Read More