Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Jan 4

In 1989 Dogfight Navy Tomcats Best Libyan MiGs

Sunday, January 4, 2015 8:00 AM
The National Air and Space Museum’s F-14D (R) is on display at the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport. It is credited with one MiG kill during a fleet defense mission near the coast of Libya, Jan. 4, 1989. Credit: Image by Dane Penland, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution Image Number: 2006-24265

The National Air and Space Museum’s F-14D (R) is on display at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport. It is credited with one MiG kill during a fleet defense mission near the coast of Libya, Jan. 4, 1989. Credit: Image by Dane Penland, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution Image Number: 2006-24265

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division The F-14 Tomcat has been replaced from the Navy’s inventory with the F/A-18 Hornet, yet it was 26 years ago today when a pair of Tomcats on the prowl played cat-and-mouse with a matching pair of Libyan MiG-23s. Increasingly aggressive moves on the part of the Libyan aircraft forced the Tomcats to unsheathe their claws with Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles. And just like their counterparts from 1981, where the Libyans actually fired on the F-14 Tomcats, just seconds later, both MiGs were “splashed” in the ocean, ending the 8-minute engagement. It was just another incident between the United States and Libya that had been building for 10 years since the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli was burned down in Dec. 1979 and the U.S. declared Moammar Gadhafi’s regime a “state sponsor of terrorism.” By May 1981, the Reagan administration had cut diplomatic ties with Libya, stating the U.S. would “not conduct business with a regime that grossly distorts the rules of international behavior.” Libya’s Washington embassy was closed and their diplomats expelled. While the U.S. Navy was conducting a routine exercise in August 1981, two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 fighter pilots challenged two Navy F-14 Tomcats from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CV 68) over the international waters of the Gulf of Sidra. The Libyans fired upon the F-14s, and the Tomcat pilots promptly responded by shooting down both Libyan fighters. The United States continued to tighten its economic sanctions against Libya. By 1985, Gadhafi called on his guerrillas to launch “suicide missions” against those who worked against his regime. In March 1986, Libya fired anti-aircraft missiles as U.S. jets approached his “line of death” in international waters. Navy aircraft and a missile cruiser fired back, destroying the Libyan missile ships and damaging a missile launch site. Gadhafi vowed to retaliate against NATO bases that harbored U.S. warships, and a few days later, a discotheque in West Berlin was bombed, killing two American servicemen. After an investigation confirmed Libya was responsible, the U.S. bombed military targets near Tripoli and Benghazi.

Mediterranean-bound, John F. Kennedy (CV-67), part of Task Group 24.4, turns to port, preparing to launch a Grumman F-14 Tomcat from her number one catapult, on Aug. 12, 1988. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2d Class William Lipski

Mediterranean-bound, John F. Kennedy (CV-67), part of Task Group 24.4, turns to port, preparing to launch a Grumman F-14 Tomcat from her number one catapult, on Aug. 12, 1988. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2d Class William Lipski

In late 1988, the United States accused Gadhafi of building a chemical weapons facility and stationed aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CV 67) off Libya’s coast as a deterrent. Libyan terrorists were also suspected in that month’s bombing of Pan Am Flight 101 over Lockerbie, Scotland. On the morning of Jan. 4, 1989, four F-14 pilots from VF 32 and VF 14 were conducting exercises with A-6 Intruders and a E-2C Hawkeye from VAW 126 about 130 miles north of Libya near Crete. The pilots had been warned to expect hostilities as they approached Gadhafi’s “line of death” in international waters of the Gulf of Sidra. Shortly before noon, the E-2C pilot reported four Libyan Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG-23) Floggers had left the Al Bumbaw airfield near Toburk, the first pair about 30 miles ahead of the second pair. The VF 32 pilots with their respective RIOs (radar intercept officer) turned toward the first pair of Floggers, Which were both armed with AA-7 Apex missiles. The F-14 pilots activated and locked their AWG-9 radar onto the Floggers as a warning signal. Yet the Libyans failed to turn away. At 61 miles and closing fast, the F-14 pilots performed defensive maneuvers, such as dropping from 8,000 feet to 5,000 feet. Yet for each move, the pilots reported the Libyans had “jinked” (aggressive maneuver) back to them, repositioning to continue heading straight for the Tomcats. “53 miles, bogeys (Libyans) coming straight at us,” a pilot stated, who dropped from 9,000 to 3,000 “angels (altitude).” “Bogeys jinked back into us, now starboard 30 degrees the other side.” Shortly afterward, Alpha Bravo (the on-scene commander, later identified as Rear Adm. David Morris) stated “Warning yellow, weapons hold.” At 35 miles, a pilot reported “bogeys jinked back into me for the third time – with noses on, angels 7. I’m taking another offset, starboard two one zero.” Moments later, the pilot reported the bogeys had “jinked back into me for the fourth time,” and indicated he was “coming back starboard” at 27 miles, the Libyans at 7,000 feet. After a fifth maneuver, the pilot reported “bogeys have jinked back at me for the fifth time, they’re on my nose now, inside the 20 mile.” Soon after, the pilot reported he was “centering up the t– Bogeys jinking back into me again.” As the MiGs continued their aggressive behavior, coming to within 13 miles, the RIO from the lead Tomcat deployed two Sparrow missiles, but neither found their target. Still, neither MiG turned back. The F-14s split up, with both MiGs turning onto the wingman as the lead Tomcat maneuvered to get behind the Floggers. As the aircraft drew to within four miles, the Tomcat wingman released its Sparrow, sending the first MiG into the ocean, and soon after, the lead Tomcat launched a sidewinder that sent the second MiG down. The pilots reported back to Alpha Bravo: “Down to 3,000, let’s get out of here. (The) other chute is high. We’re heading north.” Although both MiG pilots were able to get away from their stricken aircraft, they were not recovered. Libya would later claim the U.S. had shot down unarmed reconnaissance planes. According to a Pentagon spokesman at the debriefing conference afterward, it was explained while the pilots were under “warning yellow, weapons hold,” with tensions increasing and hostilities possible, the pilots were authorized to respond as necessary. The lead Tomcat from that dogfight is on loan to the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport. Although it was an F-14A model at the time of the incident, the Tomcat was part of the F-14D upgrade program and later assigned to VF-31 in a precision strike role. Gadhafi’s 42-year reign would end Aug. 23, 2011 after he was captured by the anti-Gadhafi National Transitional Council and killed during the “Arab Spring” uprising.

 
Jan 3

Great White Fleet Assists Following Messina Earthquake

Saturday, January 3, 2015 8:00 AM
A street in Messina, Sicily, showing damage caused by the earthquake that hit Dec. 28, 1908. Photographed in January 1909. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph from the Collection of Lt. Cmdr. Richard Wainwright (who was assigned to USS Connecticut during the relief mission to Messina).

A street in Messina, Sicily, showing damage caused by the earthquake that hit Dec. 28, 1908. Photographed in January 1909. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph from
the Collection of Lt. Cmdr. Richard Wainwright (who was assigned to USS Connecticut during the relief mission to Messina).

 

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

When President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet embarked on its historic 14-month world cruise in 1907, its mission was to promote goodwill and foster partnerships with other countries, but also show American might and seapower. Even then, partnerships and presence mattered.

As the fleet pulled into any of its 20 ports across six continents, the officers and crew were often handled like royalty, treated to parades and parties.

Along the way, however, the fleet was given the opportunity to show they could give as much as they received: On January 3, 1909, the first of several American ships arrived in Messina, Italy which had been devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami just six days earlier on Dec. 28, 1908.

The decision to send the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet on a voyage around the world came during a particularly turbulent time for the United States. It had gained territory in the Philippines and Guam following its victory in the 1898 Spanish-American War, which required naval resources for protection.

Roosevelt, a former assistant Secretary of the Navy, believed it would take a strong navy for a nation to project its power and prestige abroad. When he became president after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Roosevelt began building up his navy. Shipyards churned out 11 battleships in three years from 1904-1907. A naval base was also established in 1904 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to provide security during the construction of the Panama Canal.

As the United States continued to expand its reach, Roosevelt mediated the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1906, ending the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese, however, felt Roosevelt favored the Russians. In California, anti-Japanese feelings began to arise due to steady a stream of Japanese immigrants, which in turn sparked anti-American protests in Japan.

And so it was under those conditions Roosevelt decided his 16-battleship fleet, painted white and gilded in gold, would circumnavigate the world to impress upon Japan and other countries that the U.S. Navy could shift its presence from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They left Hampton Roads Dec. 16, 1907.

A little more than a year later, as the Great White Fleet was nearing the conclusion of its 14-month voyage, just before dawn on Dec. 28, 1908, a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck southern Italy, devastating the Sicilian city of Messina. The death toll was terrible, with estimates of those killed running up to two hundred thousand. Those who didn’t die immediately from the earthquake would succumb to starvation, disease and injury.

And it was at that moment the Great White Fleet’s “goodwill” cruise went from rhetoric to reality.

USS Scorpion (1898-1929) was the first U.S. Navy ship to provide aid after the Dec. 28, 1908 earthquake that struck Messina, Italy. Based as the station ship at Constantinople, Turkey, the former yacht arrived at Messina on Jan. 3, 1909. In this photo, USS Scorpion is at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, circa April 1898, carrying her battery of four 5"/40 guns located on her sides, fore and aft of the superstructure from when she was converted for the Spanish-American War service. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

USS Scorpion (1898-1929) was the first U.S. Navy ship to provide aid after the Dec. 28, 1908 earthquake that struck Messina, Italy. Based as the station ship at Constantinople, Turkey, the former yacht arrived at Messina on Jan. 3, 1909. In this photo, USS Scorpion is at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., circa April 1898, carrying her battery of four 5″/40 guns located on her sides, fore and aft of the superstructure from when she was converted for the Spanish-American War service. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Although its presence in the Mediterranean was minimal at the time, the United States did have the gunboat USS Scorpion on station at Constantinople, Turkey. The former luxury yacht left Dec. 31 and arrived at Messina on Jan. 3 to begin U.S. humanitarian relief to the stricken region.

Other nations’ navies sent men and ships to help Italian authorities with recovery and relief work. Among these were the British, whose large Mediterranean Fleet soon had two battleships, five cruisers and a destroyer at the scene. The Russians, whose training squadron was also in the vicinity, provided men from several battleships, cruisers and gunboats. While digging through the remains of collapsed buildings to rescue survivors and locate the bodies of the dead, some of the Russian sailors lost their own lives when an aftershock buried them in rubble.

The greatest response in terms of aid, however, came from the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s battleship force was steaming up the Red Sea toward the Suez Canal nearing the end of its passage from the Far East during its great world cruise.

Messina Earthquake, Dec. 28, 1908 -- Refugees waiting for transportation at Messina, Sicily, where USS Culgoa and USS Yankton fed many hungry earthquake survivors. Photographed in January 1909. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph from the Collection of Lt. Cmdr. Richard Wainwright (who was assigned to USS Connecticut during the relief mission to Messina).

Messina Earthquake, Dec. 28, 1908 — Refugees waiting for transportation at Messina, Sicily, where USS Culgoa and USS Yankton fed many hungry earthquake survivors. Photographed in January 1909. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph from the Collection of Lt. Cmdr. Richard Wainwright (who was assigned to USS Connecticut during the relief mission to Messina).

The fleet’s Commander in Chief, Rear Adm. Charles S. Sperry, ordered the supply ship Culgoa, carrying hundreds of tons of food, to head for the disaster zone as soon as she could get through the canal. She left Port Said, Egypt, on Jan. 4 and arrived at Messina four days later. She remained in the area until Jan. 15.

While Culgoa was on her way, six Navy surgeons from the battleships, as well as medical supplies, were put aboard the tender Yankton (another converted yacht) and on Jan. 5, set off from Port Said, arriving at the stricken city on Jan. 9.

They were followed by Sperry’s flagship, the battleship Connecticut, which called at Messina on Jan. 9, while en route to Naples.

The battleship Illinois arrived on Jan. 14 to help recover the bodies of U.S. Consul Arthur S. Cheney and his wife, Laura, from beneath the ruins. This mission, involving hazardous tunneling through the ruined consulate building, was soon completed. Illinois sailed the next day for Valetta, Malta, where she rejoined her division.

A large quantity of supplies, originally intended for Sperry’s fleet, along with a hastily loaded prefabricated hospital left the United States at the end of December on board the Navy supply ship Celtic, arriving at Naples Jan. 19 and then taken to Messina. Celtic and her crew were in the Sicily-Naples area for about two months, distributing urgently needed supplies to towns along the Sicilian coast, erecting temporary shelters and otherwise helping the quake’s survivors.

When Celtic left to return home on March 21, Assistant Surgeon Martin Donelson remained in Sicily with a detachment to construct housing and provide further medical assistance. Donelson was ordered back to the United States on June 10, 1909, bringing to completion more than five months of Sicilian earthquake relief work by U.S. Navy personnel.

Just as it was 106 years ago, the U.S. Navy continues to build and maintain partnerships around the world with a strong presence. It’s those relationships that have allowed freedom of trade and navigation to provide stability and security for the global economy, according to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during a speech in September to an audience focused on international relationships.

“No matter how big, no matter how capable, no one country can do everything. We have to rely on partners worldwide. The more interoperable we are, the more we exercise together, the more we operate together, the better we will be when a crisis comes,” Mabus said.

 
Dec 31

Dear Diary: Insights on the Burden of Leadership from the Man Who Won the War in the Pacific

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 8:00 AM

By Joshua L. Wick, Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

k13796It was 73 years ago today when Adm. Chester Nimitz stood on USS Grayling (SS 209) in port Hawaii to assume the duties of Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas. A battleship might be more befitting such a ceremony, but many of the Navy’s battleships were at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the carriers were out chasing down the Japanese.

While the ceremony itself may have taken place on the 31st, however, Nimitz was selected for the position on Dec. 17. Three days after his selection, Nimitz is on a train heading for the West Coast. It is through Nimitz’s hand-written diaries and letters, many written to his wife Catherine Vance Freeman, that we can better understand the man who was thrust into national leadership.

It’s hard to imagine a world void of PowerPoint presentations, mobile devices and instant updates. His first task on the train was deciphering all the information, data and reports to piece together a more complete picture of the situation at Pearl Harbor. Once on station he’d have to focus on rebuilding the Fleet and wining the naval war in the Pacific Theater.

Those days spent traveling offered Nimitz some of the few in which he might enjoy a restful night’s sleep through the war years.

As he traveled westward, his correspondence decreased as the demand for his attention to the war effort increased. Sleep became less satisfying as his mind became increasingly “active.” He grappled with the unfolding uncertainty and enormity of the task at hand, but – as if to assure himself – added frequently that he’d do his best.

Nimitz 20 Dec. 41 - 1

Dec. 20, 1941 – It was 4:30 p.m. Saturday when Nimitz and his aide Cmdr. Hal Lamar, passengers on the Santa Fe “Chief” headed west through Illinois, when Nimitz takes the time to write home. “I have preliminarily read all the data which was furnished me on leaving Washington – some 10 pounds of paper – and my conscience will now permit me to relax,” he wrote, adding they had stopped at the Navy Department only long enough to see Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Harold Stark and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox before getting on the train in Washington, D.C. “I was plum frazzled out and emotionally torn and worn. Even the Secretary was highly emotional and had difficulty controlling his voice.”

Nimitz 20 Dec. 41 - 2

Nimitz and Lamar managed to keep the classified documents away from prying eyes because they had adjoining rooms with a door between them, so they could lock the outer doors. The two shared scotch cocktails, had dinner and then perhaps the last “fine” sleep Nimitz would reference.

“I awoke at 7 a.m. really refreshed and feeling that I would cope with the situation,” he wrote. His anonymity on the train, however, was compromised when a professor who had heard him speak on Oct. 31 at Lincoln, Neb., recognized him and called him by rank and name. “My professor friend had the decency not to pursue me further on the train then, as we passed through the lounge car on the way from dinner and heard him point me out as “the Admiral.”

The professor wasn’t the only one on the train Nimitz needed to avoid. “Lamar warned me that (an ex-Congressman Ralph E. Church) was sitting just behind me in the diner. He had been in the Navy Department yesterday to try to get back the Naval Reserve Commission which we took away from him last summer.”

Nimitz 20 Dec. 41 - 3

Nimitz took a layover in Chicago for the opportunity to get a haircut near the Navy pier as “I had tried for the last week to get a haircut in Washington and had no time.” While there, he “saw the old fat Chief that used to be at the destroyer base as assistant to Martin and Carter in taking care of the grounds.”

After squeezing in a few more meetings, Nimitz continued to go over papers. “As I get more sleep and rest things are looking up and I am sure by the time I reach Pearl Harbor I will be able to meet the requirements of the situation.”

Nimitz 21 Dec. 41 - 1

Dec. 21, 1941, Sunday p.m. – After having spent a sunny morning in Colorado, Nimitz and Lamar were now in New Mexico, where the weather had turned dreary, and so, too, Nimitz’s thoughts. “Had a fine sleep and awoke much refreshed – but after spending most of today reading reports and estimates I find it difficult to keep on the cheerful side. Perhaps when I actually arrive and get over the first shock things will be better.”

He also wrote of seeing the changes in command throughout the Navy. “Last night’s paper announced King as C in C N.S. [Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King, Commander in Chief and the Chief of Naval Operations] and he is apparently displacing Stark insofar as concerns operations. Ingersoll is C. in C. Atlantic [Royal Ingersoll, Commander in Chief]. What a grand overall shakeup! At any rate I am convinced that there will be more action in the Pacific then elsewhere for many a day to come.”

Nimitz 24 Dec. - 1

Dec. 24, 1941, 3 p.m. – Nimitz and Lamar visit Rear Adm. Ernest Gunther at Air Station 11th Naval District, San Diego, Calif., after adverse weather prevented Nimitz’ departure the day before. Among the visitors was Vice Adm. John S. McCain. “I greatly regret taking these pilots away – and the crews on Christmas Eve, but I see no choice on my part. I only hope I can live up to the high expectations of you and the Pres. [President] and the Dept. I will faithfully promise to do my best. I am sorry I could not get out to P.H. [Pearl Harbor] before the inspecting board got there.”

Nimitz 31 Dec. 41 -1

Dec. 31, 1941 – Just minutes before his change of command ceremony, Nimitz took a moment to write: “This is just a very hasty note to tell you that at 10.a.m. – just 30 minutes from now — I will relieve Pye and become C in. C. Pacific Fleet [Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet]. May the good Lord help and advise me and may I have all the support I can get for I will need it. I have still not reached the point where I can sleep well because there is so much going on and so much to do. I am well however and full of energy.”

Nimitz 22 Jan. 42 -1

Jan. 22, 1942 – Nimitz’ time writing home has become greatly impacted by his overwhelming responsibilities. “My days are very much the same – long hours in the office – long discussions etc. Two days ago I sneaked onto and played two sets of tennis near the BOQ with Capt. T. Davis – my aviation assistant. I felt very strange on the court, but won in 1 set 6-4, and post 6-1 second set. Although I enjoyed the games I am afraid tennis will be very infrequent.”

Nimitz 29 Jan. 42 - 1

Jan. 29, 1942 (P.H.) Pearl Harbor – When Nimitz penned this, it was during a time when the Japanese menace threatened the entire Pacific, while promotion news for two of his peers was not favorable. “I do feel depressed a large part of the time but I always hope for a turn for the better. The news has not been too cheering recently so far as our allies are concerned.

“Secretary Stimson [Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War] announcement went that I was holding the bag out here forced a press conference on me today and he had to duck a lot of tough questions. The unity of command was placed in the Navy before I reached here.”

“Although this has been a bad day for me, it has had its compensations. The flag selection list came in today and there are some sad people. I most distressed over Train and Gunther, both of whom should have been promoted.”

“I will turn in hoping to get to sleep. My mind is still in a whirl and I lie awake long hours but perhaps that will end.”

 

Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of this portion (Dec. 1941 to Jan. 1942) of Nimitz’s diaries were compiled and transcribed from original scans of hand written entries pictured above. To download scans of the original documents click here Dec. 1941 and Jan. 1942.

In mid-February 2014, the Naval War College unveiled an online 4000-page “Gray Book” collection of Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz “operational communications” that started in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack and ran right up until the closing days of the war.

 

 

 
Dec 24

Stalemate: Treaty of Ghent Ends War of 1812 in a Draw

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 9:08 AM
Action between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812: "In Action" Oil on canvas, 32" x 48", by Michel Felice Corne (1752-1845), depicting the two frigates firing on each other, as Guerriere's mizzen mast goes over the side. Painting in the collections of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, transferred from the Navy Department in 1869. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Action between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812:
“In Action” Oil on canvas, 32″ x 48″, by Michel Felice Corne (1752-1845), depicting the two frigates firing on each other, as Guerriere’s mizzen mast goes over the side. Painting in the collections of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, transferred from the Navy Department in 1869. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

When warring countries Great Britain and the United States finally sat down to hammer out a peace treaty, it took nearly as long as the War of 1812.

After less than a year’s fighting, where Great Britain was fighting on two fronts: France and the United States, the first suggestion of a peace agreement came from, of all places, Russia, a country with no dogs in the fight, but losing out due to British and American commerce raiders.

At the time, American President James Madison was amenable, but the British foreign minister, Lord Castlereagh, wasn’t interested, especially after British troops had scored several victories. Less than a year later, however, with the toll of fighting both the French and the United States draining its economy, British officials agreed to talk peace with its former colony. After weeks of communications, it was decided in January 1814 the peace talks would take place at Ghent, a city in the neutral country of Belgium.

If Great Britain had gotten its way during the peace negotiations, residents of Detroit would now enjoy a spot of tea each afternoon and car factories would have ended up churning out cars with names like Mini, Phantom and Jaguar; folks in Ontario, Canada, wouldn’t be saying “eh” at the end of their sentences, although those in northern Maine, already loathe to unnecessary verbal excess, probably would be. There would be no Ohio, Michigan or Illinois, but one large Native American nation stretching from Ohio to Illinois in the west and to the Canadian border in the north.

John Quincy Adams was the lead negotiator for the United States in hammering out the Treaty of Ghent, the peace accord between Great Britain and the United States to end the War of 1812.

John Quincy Adams was the lead negotiator for the United States in hammering out the Treaty of Ghent,
the peace accord between Great Britain and the United States to end the War of 1812.

Whatever one might say about Madison, the man nailed it when he chose his “dream team” of negotiators, led by polar opposites John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay.

Adams, 47 at the time, was a Harvard-educated Northerner and the son of the nation’s second president, John Adams. Madison had appointed Adams as the United States minister in Russia. Adams, an early riser, was so dedicated to his duties he complained attending Russian diplomatic events and parties that lasted well into the night a drain on his time.

Clay, who had been elected to Congress representing Kentucky, was 10 years younger and enjoyed playing cards late into the night on more than one occasion. Despite minimal early education, Clay graduated from The College of William and Mary and also became a lawyer. He was more aligned with the South and West, but most importantly, Clay was also a war hawk, those who supported Madison’s decision to declare war against Great Britain in 1812 after that country blatantly impressed American sailors into British service for nearly 10 years.

Rounding out the negotiation team were Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, James A. Bayard, and Jonathan Russell, Madison’s representative in Paris. While the studious and precise Adams would oft be irritated by Clay’s late-night activities of gambling and drinking, the team presented a united front when it came to negotiations.

The British, however, sent their JV squad, since the location for the negotiations at Ghent was much closer to London. Lord Castlereagh, the British foreign minister and Secretary for War and the Colonies Lord Bathurst sent William Adams, the admiralty lawyer, Lord Gambier, impressments expert and admiral, and Undersecretary for War and the Colonies Henry Goulburn.

While war continued between the two countries, the battle would be no less tense between both sides once negotiations began in Aug. 8, 1814. The United States was facing bankruptcy and Great Britain’s economy was also faltering under the weight of fighting both the French and United States.

The first few weeks were spent determining the topics up for negotiation: impressment of sailors, border disputes between Canada and the U.S., fishing rights and lands for Native Americans who had sided with the British. It would take up to three weeks to communicate information back to the United States, while just a week for the British. The two teams spent their days haggling over details, but spent their considerable spare time in the evening playing cards, socializing and attending cultural events and activities. Well, except for early-to-bed Adams.

By the time the topics were hashed out, British troops had marched into Washington, D.C. having met little resistance, burning the White House and the Washington Navy Yard. The Battle for Baltimore was less a victory for the Brits, however, as the Royal Navy failed to take that important port city.

So it was October already when negotiations got down to the nitty-gritty of demands. The American team chose not to lead with Madison’s request for Great Britain to give up Canada and stop all impressments of sailors onto their ships. Perhaps the gambler in Clay chose to let their British counterparts play their cards first.

Great Britain started large with “uti possidetis,” meaning each side would keep what they won in the war. And for good reason. At the time of the negotiations, Great Britain had four invasions already in the works: 10,000 British troops were in parts of Maine and northern New York; British ships successfully blockaded commerce along the New England states; another fleet with troops had burned Washington, D.C. in retaliation for the American burning of York (now Toronto), the capital of Canada. The fourth invasion of was headed to New Orleans.

Great Britain had also captured 10 million acres of the American Northwest Territories (Native American lands in Ohio and Michigan and Illinois Territories) and demanded it be given to the Native Americans as their own state, thereby providing a buffer to block U.S. expansion into British-held Canada.

The British, while grateful to the Native Americans who sided with Great Britain in the war, cared little as to what happened with that buffer state. “The Indians are but a secondary object,” Golburn noted in a letter. “But when the boundary is once defined it is immaterial whether Indians are upon it or not. Let it be a desert. But we shall know that you cannot come upon us to attack us without crossing it.”

And there was more. The British wanted to keep the portion of Maine they had occupied and for the United States to withdraw its naval forces from the Great Lakes. They also wanted transit rights for the Mississippi River in exchange for allowing American fishing rights off Newfoundland.

The Americans, however, were having none of that, particularly Clay, who was adamant they would not give up the Northwest Territories. They argued “status quo ante bellum,” which was to keep the borders as they were before the war began.

As the talks continued, the British team would hear about fresh defeats in their former colony, and unrest at home about a prolonged and expensive war affecting that country’s economy. Back in the United States, as the British negotiation demands were published, even the Federalists agreed to fight against “uti possidetis.”

It was the Duke of Wellington, however, who got the British to back off any attempts to take American territory. Since the British armies had been unable to sustain holding onto the territories they won earlier in the war, Wellington stated in a letter to Robert Jenkinson, the British Prime Minister and Earl of Liverpool: “I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of territory from America….indeed the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any.” Lord Liverpool agreed.

Once notified of the change of heart, the British team backed off “uti possidetis” on Nov. 27 and capitulated to “status quo ante bellum.” Prisoners would be exchanged, ships and territory would return to each country as it was before the war and captured slaves returned to the United States or paid for by Britain. Both countries agreed to end international slave trade. While not gaining any land from Great Britain, the United States did gain property from Spain, i.e. Florida. Native Americans lost everything.

By Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1814, the 3,000-word Treaty of Ghent with its 11 articles was signed by the negotiators. The Treaty wouldn’t be official until ratified by each of the governments. Great Britain received the document and ratified it three days later, Dec. 27, 1814.

It took a bit longer for the United States to receive word, as well as the British fleet and troops from that fourth invasion. On Jan. 8, 1815, the Battle of New Orleans began and ended with an American victory.

After the treaty documents arrived in Washington, D.C., Congress ratified it Feb. 16 and turned it over to a British diplomat. On Feb. 18, 1815, the treaty was proclaimed official and the war was over. After the United States mostly returned to its pre-1812 status, however, there were some 15,000 fewer in the young nation to celebrate it. Of that number, only 2,200 Americans were killed in action, the rest died from disease and illness.

Ironically, the issue that began the War of 1812 – the impressment of American sailors into British service – was never addressed in the Treaty, because Great Britain was no longer at war with France. Yet peace would last all of eight days. On Feb. 26, 1815, former French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte escaped from Elba, and war would begin again in Europe.

The relationship developed between Adams and Clay lasted beyond their time in Ghent. Both Adams and Clay ran for president in 1824. Adams fell behind Gen. Andrew Jackson, the Battle of New Orleans hero, in both popular and Electoral College votes, but had more than Clay and a fourth candidate, William Crawford. Since no one had the majority of Electoral College votes for a win, the decision would be made by the House of Representatives. Clay threw the support of his War Hawks behind Adams rather than Jackson, ignoring the direction given to him from the Kentucky legislature. Adams won the presidency, appointing Clay his Secretary of State, a position he held during Adams’ tenure as president.

 
Dec 22

Dec. 22, 1775: The Beginning of Naval Leadership and Trust

Monday, December 22, 2014 9:00 AM
Cmdr. Thomas Dickinson

Cmdr. Thomas Dickinson

 

By Cmdr. Thomas Dickinson, professor at the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

When we reflect on the history of our Navy, a common reference point is the birth of the Continental Navy on October 13, 1775. However, few reflect on the importance of another day in naval history: Dec. 22, 1775.

Commodore Esek Hopkins (1718-1802), Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy, 1775-1777 Painting by Orlando S. Lagman, after a 19th Century engraving by J.C. Buttre. Naval History and Heritage Command Photo

Commodore Esek Hopkins (1718-1802), Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy, 1775-1777
Painting by Orlando S. Lagman, after a 19th Century engraving by J.C. Buttre.
Naval History and Heritage Command Photo

On that day Congress commissioned the first naval officers, marking the inception of leadership in our Navy. Commissioned officers included Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Navy, Esek Hopkins, and our first Commanding Officers: Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle, John Hopkins, and Dudley Saltonstall. Thirteen junior officers also received commissions, to include the legendary John Paul Jones. Each of these leaders would be immediately tested, sailing their ships into battle within 60 days of receiving their commissions.

In the context of that time, selection of our first leaders was of great consequence. America was preparing to wage war against a Royal Navy far superior to its own. The achievements, failures, practical experience, and standards of our first leaders would directly impact the revolution and set the tone for the future of our profession. The level of trust placed in these leaders by Congress and the people of America cannot be overstated.

Imagine trust from another perspective; that of the Continental Navy sailor. Imagine preparing to enter into battle with the great Royal Navy, with so much at stake, and being fully aware that the odds were stacked against you. What did these sailors expect of their leaders? If their ships were out-numbered and out-gunned, the Continental sailors expected bold, honorable and competent leaders who would set the example and judiciously discern when and how to employ their ships effectively. Leadership had to be the advantage, because naval assets in 1775 certainly were not a strength for the Continental Navy.

John Adams recognized in 1775 that leadership must be held to a higher moral and ethical standard in order to earn the trust of those they serve, whether that be the Congress, the citizens they represented, or the sailors on a warship. He codified this higher standard in the “Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North America.” One excerpt follows:

“The Commanders of all ships and vessels belonging to the thirteen United Colonies are strictly required to show themselves a good example of honor and virtue to their officers and men…”

This may look familiar, as the “exemplary conduct statue” is now mandated by law in Title 10 U.S. Code and also found in Chapter 11 of our Navy Regulations. This standard is alive in our Navy today, and is a direct connection between present-day leadership and the very beginnings of our Navy.

So how did our first leaders fare? The leadership of the Continental Navy experienced many successes and failures. Those who failed to execute responsibilities, such as Dudley Saltonstall, lost the trust of leadership and their commands, and were held accountable. Leaders who earned trust up and down the chain of command, such as John Barry and John Paul Jones, emerged to become heroes of the war and key leaders during future conflicts.

Vice Adm. Lawson P. "Red" Ramage, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions July 31, 1944 as commanding officer of USS Pache (SS-384). NHHC photo

Vice Adm. Lawson P. “Red” Ramage, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions July 31, 1944 as commanding officer of USS Parche (SS-384).
NHHC photo

This special trust relationship, highlighted in the examples above, has not changed over time in our Navy. Trust remains the foundation of effective leadership today just as it was in 1775. We can reflect on countless examples in the modern history of our Navy that reinforce this truth. A few heroic examples include Cmdr. Ernest Evans in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Adm. Red Ramage in command of USS Parche (SS 384) and Adm. James Stockdale leading POWs in Vietnam. Each of these leaders carried out their daily lives with honor and operated in high-trust organizations that led to victory under formidable conditions.

More importantly, the trust relationship is applicable to leaders at all levels of our Navy today as we make efforts to earn and maintain trust. The Chief Petty Officer training and mentoring sailors, the Division Officer standing the mid-watch as Officer of the Deck, or the Department Head standing watch as a Tactical Action Officer. Each day leaders have the opportunity to put the mission and others before themselves, setting the standard and earning trust. This trust is the backbone of our Navy, and determines whether we will succeed or fail. As we reflect on the inception of naval leadership in 1775, we should pause to realize that trust is our most prized possession as leaders, and to never take the privilege of leading for granted.

Cmdr. Dickinson is a 2014 recipient of the Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award from his tour as commanding officer of the Norfolk-based destroyer Barry (DDG 52).

The award is presented annually to two commissioned active-duty officers from commander and below who are serving in command of a single unit and who serve as examples of excellence in leadership and conspicuous contribution to the improvement of leadership in the Navy.

 
Dec 18

Swift Boats Were Workhorses of Brown Water Navy in Vietnam

Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:34 PM
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Swift Boat PCF-1 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Navy located at the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C. PCF-1 was a training boat at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif., until April 1975 when it left for Panama to patrol the Panama Canal where it was utilized in Operation Just Cause—the removal of Manuel Noriega and his regime in 1990. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood (released)

By Laura Hockensmith, National Museum of the United States Navy

Not since the end of the Civil War did the U.S. Navy have a need for a riverine force, or Brown Water Navy. But that all changed as the United States got deeper and deeper into conflict between North and South Vietnam. Due to the nature of the fighting and supply lines in Vietnam, the Navy needed fast, strong, reliable boats that could patrol the waterways and stop the Viet Cong infiltrated into South Vietnam from receiving guns and ammunition from the Communists in North Vietnam.

At first, they borrowed ships from the Coast Guard, cutters and river patrol boats up-armored for combat with a .50-caliber machine gun and 81-mm mortars installed on the forecastle and four .50-caliber deck guns on the fantail.

The U.S. Navy found what they were looking for in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil rig workers off the coast of Louisiana and Texas were shuttled to and from the rigs in strong aluminum boats built by Seward Seacraft Company of Louisiana. The taxi boats were sturdy, quiet and with a draft of 3 ½ feet, powered by two diesel engines with twin screws and speeds up to 28 knots. With the addition of weapons and living amenities, they were the perfect craft for patrolling the waterways of Vietnam.

On Dec. 18, 1965 the U.S. Navy formalized a Brown Water Navy, commissioning the water taxis as Patrol Craft, Fast, or swift boats. From the Cau Mau peninsula in South Vietnam to the western inland waters at the border of Cambodia, the Sailors patrolled the brown water.

The PCFs were not given names, only numbers, unlike the Navy’s larger blue water vessels. The Sailors who navigated the PCFs through murky waterways and manned the .50-caliber machine guns were soon recognized for their courage and actions on the battlefield.

Swift boats patrolled the waterways, interrupted enemy supply lines, and participated in complex insertion and extraction operations, while enduring monsoons, riverbank ambushes, mines laid by the Viet Cong, and difficult nighttime operations. Swift boat Sailors brought the naval fight inland and had a decisive role in the fight against the Viet Cong.

Following the Vietnam War, PCFs continued to have a role in the Navy in various ways, such as coastal patrols and anti-piracy campaigns throughout the world. One swift boat, PCF-1, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Navy located at the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C.

PCF-1 was a training boat at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif., until April 1975 when it left for Panama to patrol the Panama Canal. Because of its Sailors’ intimate knowledge of the Panamanian waterways, PCF-1 was utilized in Operation Just Cause—the removal of Manuel Noriega and his regime in 1990. It found its permanent home at the Navy Yard in 1998. Its bow faces the Anacostia River, and in the words of then-Sen. John Kerry, “May she always be a shining example of Navy ingenuity and creativity, Navy commitment and courage…and may she stand here in constant vigil guarding the memory of those who served on Swifts but did not return.” Kerry, the current Secretary of State, was a former officer-in-charge of Swift boats during his service in Vietnam.

Forty-nine years ago the Brown Water Navy was born. With that came a class of Sailors with undeniable courage and commitment to their duty and their fellow Sailors, navigating waters deep into hostile territory to interrupt the shipping pipeline bringing supplies to the enemy.

 

 
Dec 16

Washington Navy Yard Warehoused Artifacts Arrive at Richmond Collection Management Facility

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 12:01 PM
An information graphic illustrating the move of Navy artifacts to the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Collection Management Facility (CMF). The CMF is a 300,000 square foot warehouse with facilities for administration, conservation and curation of historic artifacts. NHHC is consolidating its collection of historic artifacts, some dating back to the founding of the republic, into the facility located in Richmond Va. (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Annalisa Underwood/RELEASED)

An information graphic illustrating the move of Navy artifacts to the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Collection Management Facility (CMF). The CMF is a 300,000 square foot warehouse with facilities for administration, conservation and curation of historic artifacts. NHHC is consolidating its collection of historic artifacts, some dating back to the founding of the republic, into the facility located in Richmond Va. (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Annalisa Underwood/RELEASED)

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The curators of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) completed the transfer of artifacts previously warehoused at its facility on the Washington Navy Yard NHHC officials announced Dec. 16. The artifacts are now at their new home in Richmond, Va.

It’s part of an ongoing project transferring more than 300,000 artifacts, part of its headquarters collection, some dating back to the founding of the Republic, from warehouses at three different locations to their new collection management facility (CMF) in Richmond, Va.

WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2014) -- Lea Davis, Naval History and Heritage Command curator, keeps track of the information on a pallet of cannon balls for the bill of lading, as a contractor from McCollister's Transportation Group secures them for transport. The company is moving artifacts from the command's warehouse and Cold War Gallery to a new facility in Richmond. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED)

WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2014) — Lea Davis, Naval History and Heritage Command curator, keeps track of the information on a pallet of cannon balls for the bill of lading, as a contractor from McCollister’s Transportation Group secures them for transport. The company is moving artifacts from the command’s warehouse and Cold War Gallery to a new facility in Richmond. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED)

The consolidation, projected to last a total of 18 months and now in its third month, allows the Navy to centrally locate the overwhelming majority of its artifacts. The consolidation will translate to improved care, management, accountability and oversight of the collection. The refurbished building in Richmond provides improved environmental controls for high risk artifacts, proper shelving and storage, and an area for conserving and preserving the artifacts.

NHHC officials say the artifact relocation is a massive undertaking that demands the entire team of curators focus its time and energy on the move.

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 2, 2014) -- Karen France Naval History and Heritage Command’s head curator, give NHHC Acting Director Jim Kuhn a tour of the new Collection Management Facility (CMF). The CMF is a 300,000 square foot, warehouse with facilities for administration, conservation and curation of historic artifacts. NHHC is consolidating its collection of more than 300,000 artifacts, some dating back to the founding of the republic, into the facility located in Richmond Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Jim Caiella/RELEASED)

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 2, 2014) — Karen France Naval History and Heritage Command’s head curator, give NHHC Acting Director Jim Kuhn a tour of the new Collection Management Facility (CMF). The CMF is a 300,000 square foot, warehouse with facilities for administration, conservation and curation of historic artifacts. NHHC is consolidating its collection of more than 300,000 artifacts, some dating back to the founding of the republic, into the facility located in Richmond Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Jim Caiella/RELEASED)

“We have literally tons of material, some of which is priceless, and nearly all of it irreplaceable. But the work is well worth it if it means in the long run our Sailors and our citizens can better appreciate what the Navy has meant to our country since its inception,” said head curator, Karen France.

NHHC’s Curator Branch will continue to service existing artifact loans, currently numbering in excess of 1,500, but their ability to accept new donations and respond to inquiries will be slowed. The curators have suspended processing requests for new artifact loans as they tackle the project, which requires significant travel in support of preparing and managing the shipment of the vast holdings.

WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2014) -- Hundreds of bells from former U.S. Navy ships lay under wraps on pallets, preparing to be transferred from Naval History and Heritage Command's warehouse on the Washington Navy Yard to a more than 300,000 square-foot facility in Richmond where the command moving a large portion of their quarter of a million artifacts. The facility will provide a place for the artifacts to be more accurately cataloged, stored and, in some cases, made ready for display. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED)

WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2014) — Hundreds of bells from former U.S. Navy ships lay under wraps on pallets, preparing to be transferred from Naval History and Heritage Command’s warehouse on the Washington Navy Yard to a more than 300,000 square-foot facility in Richmond where the command moving a large portion of their quarter of a million artifacts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tim Comerford/RELEASED)

For information about the move, please see a Navy.mil story entitled “Navy Artifacts Getting New Home” at http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=81633 and follow NHHC on social media.

To view photos of some of the historic naval artifacts in the NHHC collection, check out the command’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/navalhistory/sets/.

As massive as the move may be, it doesn’t affect the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, which remains at its current location at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The museum recently opened its Cold War exhibit and another featuring the War of 1812: From Defeat to Victory.

The museum did, however, recently cut its weekend hours, but is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for most holidays. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Tours can be arranged for schools or other groups by calling 202-433-6826.

To enter the Washington Navy Yard and visit the National Museum of the United States Navy, visitors must have a Department of Defense Common Access Card, an Active Military, Retired Military or Military Dependent ID, or an escort with one of these credentials. All visitors 18 and older must have a photo ID. Contact the museum for help accessing the facility at (202) 433-4882.

The Display Ship Barry, which is a separate entity from the museum, is closed for the season and its 2015 schedule has not yet been released. Information about the ship may be found on the museum’s website at http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org8-1.htm. To contact the ship, call (202) 433-3377 or (202) 433-6115.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the Fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services.

NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

For more information on Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.history.navy.mil or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/navalhistory. For a video about this event, please click here: http://youtu.be/gv7cy9Uetlo

 
Dec 16

Operation Desert Fox: 4 Nights, 100 Targets

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 9:00 AM
With its afterburners blazing, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet launches from the flight deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for a night-time strike against Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. The Hornet belongs to Strike Fighter Squadron 105, Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Fla. Enterprise and its embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are operating in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Fox. DoD photo by Airman William R. Crosby, U.S. Navy. (Released)

With its afterburners blazing, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron 105 launches from the flight deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for a night-time strike against Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. Photo by Airman William R. Crosby, U.S. Navy. (Released)

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

The dust had hardly settled in the Middle East following the end of Desert Storm in 1991 before factions within Iraq fractured, creating uprisings against the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein.

Seven years of the Iraqi president using his Republican Guard to quell uprisings by Shiite Muslims in the south and Kurdish rebels in the north, threatening his border neighbor Kuwait, and his consistent rejection of weapons inspections in his country, culminated in a massive air strike 16 years ago, Dec. 16, 1998, called Operation Desert Fox.

In the Persian Gulf, the Navy was already providing a number of rotating carrier strike groups to enforce no-fly zones north of the 36th parallel where a coalition of allied countries – United States, Great Britain and France – created a safe haven for Kurds, and another along the 32nd parallel to protect the Shiites.

Aviation ordnancemen ready bombs for loading onto various aircraft on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for a third wave of air strikes against Iraq on Dec. 18, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. Enterprise and its embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are operating in the Persian Gulf in support of Desert Fox. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael W. Pendergrass, U.S. Navy.

Aviation ordnancemen ready bombs for loading onto various aircraft on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for a third wave of air strikes against Iraq on Dec. 18, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael W. Pendergrass, U.S. Navy.

Tensions flared again in 1997 after Hussein expelled members of the United Nations inspection team, claiming they were spies. As Allied countries built up military forces, Hussein backed down, but stated sites designated as “palaces and official residences” would be off limits, places U.N. officials suspected were being used to conceal possible weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was threatened with renewed economic sanctions.

Although an agreement is hammered out between Iraq and the U.N. to continue inspections with the accompanying lift of economic sanctions, Hussein abruptly ended the inspections in August 1998, claiming there had been no lifting of the economic sanctions.

After several weeks of “will he or won’t he,” a renewed military build-up began again in the Persian Gulf. After several weeks of threats, on Dec. 15, a U.N. report accused Iraq of a repeated pattern of obstructing weapons inspections by not allowing access to records or inspection sites and by moving equipment and records from one site to another.

With no response from Hussein, on Dec. 16, 1998, the coalition of U.S. and Great Britain began a massive air campaign against key military targets.

Lasting four nights, the coalition bombs hit 100 Iraqi military targets.

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (left) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton (right), U.S. Army, answers a reporter's question at a Dec. 16, 1998, Pentagon press briefing on the attack of selected targets in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Fox. DoD photo by Helene C. Stikkel. (Released)

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (left) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton (right), U.S. Army, answers a reporter’s question at a Dec. 16, 1998, Pentagon press briefing on the attack of selected targets in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Fox. DoD photo by Helene C. Stikkel. (Released)

Defense Secretary William Cohen said in a press conference at the Pentagon on Dec. 19: “We’ve degraded Saddam Hussein’s ability to deliver chemical and biological weapons. We’ve diminished his ability to wage war against his neighbors.”

According to a Desert Fox fact sheet, besides “degrade and diminish,” a third goal was to show Hussein there would be consequences for violating international agreements.

The initial strikes consisted of approximately 250 Tomahawk cruise missiles, as well as 40 sorties launched from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and her Carrier Air Wing 3.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Battle Group and its Carrier Air Wing sent out 11 aircraft on 14 airstrike missions, using 20 precision-guided and 60 laser-guided munitions, hitting nearly 50 targets at a half-dozen Iraqi military sites in the southern part of the country.

USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) acted as the staging platform for Combat Search and Rescue Operations in case an American or Coalition plane was shot down during the four-day operation intended to neutralize Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. She also provided support for the 31st MEF ashore in Kuwait.

Other ships providing support included mine countermeasure ships Ardent (MCM 12) and Dextrous (MCM 13).

Air traffic controllers in the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center on board the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) assist in guiding the strike aircraft in and out of Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. Enterprise and its embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are operating in the Persian Gulf in support of Desert Fox. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael W. Pendergrass, U.S. Navy. (Released)

Air traffic controllers in the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center on board the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) assist in guiding the strike aircraft in and out of Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael W. Pendergrass, U.S. Navy. (Released)

For the second night, Air Force B-52s stationed on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean launched cruise missiles, while the B-1 bomber made its combat debut by striking at Republican Guard targets. Air Force and British aircraft based at Kuwait also participated.

By Dec. 19, U.S. and British aircraft had struck 97 targets, and Secretary of Defense William Cohen claimed the operation was a success. Supported by Secretary Cohen, as well as United States Central Command commander General Anthony C. Zinni and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry H. Shelton, President Bill Clinton declared “victory” in Operation Desert Fox.

In total, the 70-hour campaign saw U.S. forces strike 85 percent of their targets, 75 percent of which were considered “highly effective” strikes. More than 600 sorties were flown by more than 300 combat and support aircraft, and 600 air dropped munitions were employed, including 90 air launched cruise missiles and 325 Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAM).

Rear Adm. Robert C. Williamson spoke on the Navy’s response in Desert Fox during an appearance before the Subcommittee on Seapower of the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 24, 1999. At that time, he was the director of the Navy’s Office of Program Appraisal. He retired a month after his appearance before the subcommittee.

“The purpose of our Naval forces is to directly and decisively, influence events ashore from the sea, anytime, anywhere. Since 80 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of capitals are within 500 miles of an ocean, our Navy-Marine Corps team is uniquely situated to project power from the sea,” he stated. “We recently demonstrated the value of ready, forward-deployed naval forces during Operation Desert Fox and continue that effort today in the sky over Iraq, on the ground in Kuwait, and in and under the Arabian Gulf…In the dawn of the 21st century, the Navy-Marine Corps team, forward-deployed and ever-ready, is preparing to meet the challenges of an uncertain future. With your support, we always have been, and always will be, there for America.”

Operation Desert Fox inflicted serious damage to Iraq’s missile development program, although its effects on any WMD program were not clear. Nevertheless, Operation Desert Fox was the largest strike against Iraq since the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, until the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom just five years later.

Information on the Desert Fox chronology timeline came from the Defense Department.

Desert Storm Fact Sheet information was prepared by historian Air Force Capt. Gregory Ball, Ph.D., Air Force Historical Studies Office, Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, Washington, D.C.

 

 
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