Category Archives: Military

US Defence and Climate Change: What is the National Security Challenge?

I recall the days of the Greenies and how the green movement was dismissed as pseudo science. Anything that undermined the economic mantra is demonised in subtle and overt ways. This is because the perception of security rests with economics not nature.  When I read articles such as this my mind goes immediately to the questions:

Do they see the link between climate change and greed?

Do militaries understand they are utilised to defend property not rights? 

Is national interest global interest or are we competing separately for self interest first (greed)?

Still the climate sceptics industry is fuelling the argument and doubt that what is happening is not human induced and therefore they do not have to take responsibility and radically change for the sake of current and future generations. The real challenge for those in authority and those who are the powers behind the facades, is can they step aside from self interest and put the planet and future generations ahead of their own interests? Can the militaries look inwardly and see the connection between lack of inner peace (harmony) and outer discord? Can they make the link between inner climate and outer climate given we are the creators of our reality.  I use these words consciously as we are 100% responsible for the world of our own making. I see this is the greatest security challenge to the current paradigm.  The real insecurity is economic and its infinite drive to produce more materialism as profits is what is behind the changing climate. Can we define the real problem? Can we face the pink elephant in the room?

Investing in peace education enables people to make peace with where they are so they can handle change in a positive way. The reality is the climate has changed and it will create discord and upheaval (refugee flows) and the challenge is how we deal with these problems that will make a difference. If we fall into fear and insecurity we will panic and conflict will arise as many compete for limited resources. If we can learn to work together, to nullify fear (conflict transformation) and work on harmony within and outside of ourselves then renewable solutions will arise to mitigate our fears. I see this as the real climate change. The risk management that transforms risk into solutions. Another way of seeing this is transforming fear into love (unity), this is the real alchemy that has been spoken about for centuries. Some may call it the holy grail.

I wonder what an environmental analysis on the industrial military complex would yield? What of the munitions in war? What of the environmental damage through depleted uranium and toxic waste? What of destroyed environment and infrastructures in warfare that render communities destitute? What of the bombing of infrastructure? hospitals? civilians? What of the violence? Can the military look at this reality without a story of defence and freedom and redefine its role and meaning in the world? Is defence security or the mindset of endless war? What does the war against anything create? What if finally the military made peace realising fear is the enemy not people?  What if fear is really false evidence appearing real. Then there is no threat only possibilities. I wonder…

The article below will frame it differently in the current paradigm. One positive note is the military reducing its own emissions which are considerable.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis

DOD/Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

Trump’s defense chief cites climate change as national security challenge

Reprinted from ProPublica

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asserted that climate change is real, and a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere, a position that appears at odds with the views of the president who appointed him and many in the administration in which he serves.

In unpublished written testimony provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee after his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis said it was incumbent on the U.S. military to consider how changes like open-water routes in the thawing Arctic and drought in global trouble spots can pose challenges for troops and defense planners. He also stressed this is a real-time issue, not some distant what-if.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in written answers to questions posed after the public hearing by Democratic members of the committee. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

Mattis has long espoused the position that the armed forces, for a host of reasons, need to cut dependence on fossil fuels and explore renewable energy where it makes sense. He had also, as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in 2010, signed off on the Joint Operating Environment, which lists climate change as one of the security threats the military expected to confront over the next 25 years.

But Mattis’ written statements to the Senate committee are the first direct signal of his determination to recognize climate change as a member of the Trump administration charged with leading the country’s armed forces.

These remarks and others in the replies to senators could be a fresh indication of divisions or uncertainty within President Donald Trump’s administration over how to balance the president’s desire to keep campaign pledges to kill Obama-era climate policies with the need to engage constructively with allies for whom climate has become a vital security issue.

[C]limate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of government response. If confirmed, I will ensure that the Department of Defense plays its appropriate role within such a response by addressing national security aspects.

James Mattis


Mattis’ statements on climate change, for instance, recognize the same body of science that Scott Pruitt, the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, seems dead-set on rejecting. In a CNBC interview last Thursday, Pruitt rejected established science pointing to carbon dioxide as the main driver of recent global warming.

Mattis’ position also would appear to clash with some Trump administration budget plans, which, according to documents leaked recently to The Washington Post, include big cuts for the Commerce Department’s oceanic and atmospheric research — much of it focused on tracking and understanding climate change.

Even setting aside warming driven by accumulating carbon dioxide, it’s clear to a host of experts, including Dr. Will Happer, a Princeton physicist interviewed by Trump in January as a potential science adviser, that better monitoring and analysis of extreme conditions like drought is vital.

Mattis’ statements could hearten world leaders who have urged the Trump administration to remain engaged on addressing global warming. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet Trump on Friday.

Security questions related to rising seas and changing weather patterns in global trouble spots like the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa are one reason that global warming has become a focus in international diplomatic forums. On March 10, the United Nations Security Council was warned of imminent risk of famine in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan.

As well, at a Munich meeting on international security issues last month, attended by Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence, European officials pushed back on demands that they spend more on defense, saying their investments in boosting resilience to climate hazards in poor regions of the world are as valuable to maintaining security as strong military forces.

“[Y]ou need the European Union, because when you invest in development, when you invest in the fight against climate change, you also invest in our own security,” Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a panel discussion.

Concerns about the implications of global warming for national security have built within the Pentagon and national security circles for decades, including under both Bush administrations.

In September, acting on the basis of a National Intelligence Council report he commissioned, President Obama ordered more than a dozen federal agencies and offices, including the Defense Department, “to ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans.”

A related “action plan” was issued on Dec. 23, requiring those agencies to create a Climate and National Security Working Group within 60 days, and for relevant agencies to create “implementation plans” in that same period.

There’s no sign that any of this has been done.

Whether the inaction is a function of the widespread gaps in political appointments at relevant agencies, institutional inertia or a policy directive from the Trump White House remains unclear.

Queries to press offices at the White House and half a dozen of the involved agencies — including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Commerce Department — have not been answered. A State Department spokeswoman directed questions to the National Security Council and the White House, writing:

“We refer you to the NSC for any additional information on the climate working group.”

Mattis’ statements were submitted through a common practice at confirmation hearings in which senators pose “questions for the record” seeking more detail on a nominee’s stance on some issue.

The questions and answers spanned an array of issues, but five Democratic senators on the committee asked about climate change, according to a government official briefed in detail on the resulting 58-page document with the answers. The senators were Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking member, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Excerpts from Mattis’ written comments to the committee were in material provided to ProPublica by someone involved with coordinating efforts on climate change preparedness across more than a dozen government agencies, including the Defense Department. Senate staff confirmed their authenticity.

Dustin Walker, communications director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said responses to individual senators’ follow-up questions are theirs to publish or not.

Here are two of the climate questions from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, with Mattis’ replies:

Shaheen: “I understand that while you were commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command you signed off on a document called the Joint Operating Environment, which listed climate change as one of the security threats the military will face in the next quarter-century. Do you believe climate change is a security threat?”

Mattis: “Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.”

Shaheen: “General Mattis, how should the military prepare to address this threat?”

Mattis: “As I noted above, climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of government response. If confirmed, I will ensure that the Department of Defense plays its appropriate role within such a response by addressing national security aspects.”

In a reply to another question, Mattis said:

“I agree that the effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation. I will ensure that the department continues to be prepared to conduct operations today and in the future, and that we are prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources, and readiness.


USS Midway

USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II, the Midway was the largest ship in the world until 1955, as well as the first U.S. warship too big to transit the Panama Canal. A revolutionary hull design, based on the planned Montana-class battleship, gave her better maneuverability than previous carriers. She served for an unprecedented 47 years, saw action in the Vietnam War, and was the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego, California, and the only remaining U.S. aircraft carrier of the World War II era that is not an Essex-class aircraft carrier.


Early operations and deployment with the 6th Fleet

Midway was laid down 27 October 1943 by Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Virginia. She was launched 20 March 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Bradford William Ripley, Jr.; and commissioned 10 September 1945, Captain Joseph F. Bolger in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, Midway joined the U.S. Atlantic Fleet training schedule, with Norfolk her homeport. From 20 February 1946, she was flagship for Carrier Division 1. In March, she tested equipment and techniques for cold-weather operations in the North Atlantic. In September 1947, a captured German V-2 rocket was test-fired from the flight deck in Operation Sandy, the first such launch from a moving platform.

On 29 October 1947, Midway sailed for the first of her annual deployments with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Between deployments, Midway trained and received alterations to accommodate heavier aircraft as they were developed.

In June 1951, Midway operated in the Atlantic off the Virginia Capes during carrier suitability tests of the F9F-5 Panther. On 23 June, as Cdr. George Chamberlain Duncan attempted a landing in BuNo 125228, a downdraft just aft of the stern caused Duncan to crash. His plane’s forward fuselage broke away and rolled down the deck, and he suffered burns. Footage of the crash has been used in several films, including Men of the Fighting Lady, Midway, and The Hunt for Red October.[2]

In 1952, the ship participated in Operation Mainbrace, North Sea maneuvers with NATO forces. On 1 October, the ship was redesignated CVA-41.

Midway cleared Norfolk 27 December 1954 for a world cruise, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope for Taiwan, where she joined the 7th Fleet for operations in the Western Pacific until 28 June 1955. During these operations, Midway pilots flew cover for the evacuation from the Quemoy-Matsu crisis [3] from the Tachen Islands of 15,000 Chinese nationalist troops and 20,000 Chinese civilians, along with their pigs, cows and chickens. On 28 June 1955, she sailed for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where she underwent an extensive modernization program (SCB-110, similar to SCB-125 for the Essex-class carriers). Midway received an enclosed hurricane bow, an aft deck-edge elevator, an angled flight deck, and steam catapults. She was returned to service on 30 September 1957.

Home ported at Alameda, California, Midway began annual deployments with the 7th Fleet in 1958, and in the South China Sea during the Laotian Crisis of spring 1961. During her 1962 deployment, her aircraft tested the air defense systems of Japan, Korea, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Taiwan. She again sailed for the Far East 6 March 1965, and from mid-April flew strikes against military and logistics installations in North and South Vietnam.

Returning to Alameda on 23 November, Midway entered San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard on 11 February 1966 for a massive modernization (SCB-101.66), which proved expensive and controversial. The flight deck was enlarged from 2.8 to 4 acres (11,300 to 16,200 m²), and the angle of the flight deck landing area was increased to 13.5 degrees. The elevators were enlarged, moved, and given almost double the weight capacity. Midway also received new catapults, arresting gear, and a centralized air conditioning plant. Cost overruns raised the price of this program from $88 million to $202 million, and precluded a similar modernization planned for Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42). After Midway was finally recommissioned on 31 January 1970, it was found that the modifications had hurt the ship’s seakeeping capabilities and ability to conduct air operations in rough seas, which required further modifications to correct the problem.

Air-to-air kills in Vietnam

Midway after commissioning in September 1945

Midway in 1963 after SCB-110

On 17 June 1965, aviators of Midway’s Attack Carrier Wing 2 downed the first four MiGs credited to U.S. forces in Southeast Asia. On 12 January 1973, Lieutenants V. T. Kovaleski (pilot) and J. A. Wise (RIO) of the VF-161 Chargers made the last air-to-air kill of the Vietnam War, downing a North Vietnamese MiG-17 with an AIM-9 Sidewinder launched from their F-4B Phantom II.

A return to Vietnam

Midway returned to Vietnam and on 18 May 1971, after relieving Hancock (CV-19) on Yankee Station, began single carrier operations. She departed Yankee Station on 5 June, completed her final line period on 31 October, and returned to her homeport on 6 November.

Midway, with embarked Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW 5), again departed Alameda for operations off Vietnam on 10 April 1972. On 11 May, aircraft from Midway along with those from Coral Sea (CV-43), Kitty Hawk (CV-63), and Constellation (CV-64) continued laying naval mines off North Vietnamese ports, including Thanh Hoa, Dong Hoi, Vinh, Hon Gai, Quang Khe and Cam Pha as well as other approaches to Haiphong. Ships that were in port in Haiphong had been advised that the mining would take place and that the mines would be armed 72 hours later.

Midway continued Vietnam operations throughout the summer of 1972. On 7 August 1972, an HC-7 Det 110 helicopter, flying from Midway, and aided by planes from the carrier and from Saratoga, searched for the pilot of an A-7 Corsair II aircraft from Saratoga, who had been downed the previous day by a surface-to-air missile about 20 miles (32 kilometres) inland, northwest of Vinh. Flying over mountains, the HC-7 helo spotted the downed aviator with its searchlight and, under heavy ground fire, retrieved him and returned to an LPD off the coast. This was the deepest penetration of a rescue helicopter into North Vietnam since 1968. By the end of 1972, HC-7 Det 110 had rescued 48 pilots, 35 in combat conditions.

On 5 October 1973, Midway, with CVW 5, put into Yokosuka, Japan, marking the first forward-deployment of a complete carrier task group in a Japanese port, the result of an accord arrived at on 31 August 1972 between the U.S. and Japan. The move allowed sailors to live with their families when in port; more strategically, it allowed three carriers to stay in the Far East even as the economic situation demanded the reduction of carriers in the fleet.

For her service in Vietnam from 30 April 1972, to 9 February 1973, the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) / ATTACK CARRIER AIR WING FIVE (CVW-5) received the Presidential Unit Citation from Richard Nixon. It read:

“By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I have today awarded


For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against enemy forces in Southeast Asia from 30 April 1972 to 9 February 1973. During this crucial period of the Vietnam conflict, USS MIDWAY and embarked Attack Carrier Air Wing FIVE carried out devastating aerial attacks against enemy installations, transportation, and lines of communications in the face of extremely heavy opposition including multi-calibre antiaircraft artillery fire and surface-to-air missiles. Displaying superb airmanship and unwavering courage, MIDWAY/CVW-5 pilots played a significant role in lifting the prolonged sieges at An Loc, Kontum, and Quang Tri and in carrying out the concentrated aerial strikes against the enemy’s industrial heartland which eventually resulted in a cease-fire. By their excellent teamwork, dedication, and sustained superior performance, the officers and men of MIDWAY and Attack Carrier Air Wing FIVE reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.” – Signed Richard Nixon.


Operation Frequent Wind

A South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) UH-1H is pushed overboard to make room for Major Buang to land his Cessna O-1.

Major Buang’s O-1 touching down.

Major Buang’s O-1 after landing aboard Midway during Operation Frequent Wind. Also, two of the deck crews are seen clapping their hands in joy.

Midway, Coral Sea (CV-43), Hancock (CV-19), Enterprise (CVN-65) and Okinawa (LPH-3) responded 19 April 1975 to the waters off South Vietnam when North Vietnam overran two-thirds of South Vietnam. Ten days later, Operation Frequent Wind was carried out by U.S. 7th Fleet forces. During this operation, Midway had offloaded fifty percent of her regular combat air wing at NS Subic Bay, Philippines. She steamed to Thailand, whereupon eight CH-53 from 21st Special Operations Squadron and two HH-53 helicopters from 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron[5] were loaded for the purpose of ferrying people from Saigon out to the fleet cruising in the South China Sea. Hundreds of U.S. personnel and Vietnamese were evacuated to waiting ships after the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese.

On 29 April 1975, South Vietnamese Air Force Major Buang-Ly loaded his wife and five children into a two-seat Cessna O-1 Bird Dog and took off from Con Son Island. After evading enemy ground fire Major Buang headed out to sea and spotted the Midway. The Midway’s crew attempted to contact the aircraft on emergency frequencies but the pilot continued to circle overhead with his landing lights turned on. When a spotter reported that there were at least four people in the two-place aircraft, all thoughts of forcing the pilot to ditch alongside were abandoned – it was unlikely the passengers of the overloaded Bird Dog could survive the ditching and safely egress before the plane sank. After three tries, Major Buang managed to drop a note from a low pass over the deck: “Can you move the helicopter to the other side, I can land on your runway, I can fly for one hour more, we have enough time to move. Please rescue me! Major Buang, wife and 5 child.” Captain Larry Chambers, the ship’s commanding officer, ordered that the arresting wires be removed and that any helicopters that could not be safely and quickly be relocated should be pushed over the side. To get the job done he called for volunteers, and soon every available seaman was on deck, regardless of rank or duty, to provide the manpower to get the job done. An esimated US$10 million worth of UH-1 Huey helicopters were pushed overboard into the South China Sea. With a 500-foot ceiling, five miles visibility, light rain, and 15 knots of surface wind, Chambers ordered the ship to make 25 knots into the wind. Warnings about the dangerous downdrafts created behind a steaming carrier were transmitted blind in both Vietnamese and English. To make matters worse, five additional UH-1s landed and cluttered up the deck. Without hesitation, Chambers ordered them scuttled as well. Captain Chambers recalled in an article in the Fall 1993 issue of the national Museum of Aviation History’s “Foundation” magazine that

the aircraft cleared the ramp and touched down on center line at the normal touchdown point. Had he been equipped with a tailhook he could have bagged a number 3 wire. He bounced once and came stop abeam of the island, amid a wildly cheering, arms-waving flight deck crew.

Major Buang was escorted to the bridge where Captain Chambers congratulated him on his outstanding airmanship and his bravery in risking everything on a gamble beyond the point of no return without knowing for certain a carrier would be where he needed it. The crew of the Midway was so impressed that they established a fund to help him and his family get settled in the United States.[6] The Bird Dog that Major Buang landed is now on display at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL.[7]

Upon completion of ferrying people to other ships, she returned to Thailand and disembarked the Air Force helicopters. The CH-53s then airlifted over 50 South Vietnamese Air Force aircraft to the ship. With almost 100 helicopters and aircraft of the former South Vietnamese Air Force aboard, she steamed to Guam where the aircraft and helicopters were offloaded in twenty-four hours. On her way back to the Philippines to pick up her air wing she was rerouted to act as a floating airfield in support of special operation forces rescuing a pirated cargo ship (see Mayagüez incident). She picked up her regular air wing again a month later when she returned NAS Cubi Point, Philippines.

After Vietnam

On 21 August 1976, a Navy task force headed by Midway made a show of force off the coast of Korea in response to an unprovoked attack on two U.S. Army officers who were killed by North Korean guards on 18 August. (The U.S. response to this incident was Operation Paul Bunyan). Midway’s response was in support of a U.S. demonstration of military concern vis-à-vis North Korea.

Midway relieved Constellation (CV-64) as the Indian Ocean contingency carrier on 16 April 1979. This unscheduled deployment was due to USS Ranger colliding with tanker Liberian Fortune near the Straits of Malacca, with Midway taking over Ranger’s mission while it went in for repair. Midway and her escort ships continued a significant American naval presence in the oil-producing region of the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. On 18 November, she arrived in the northern part of the Arabian Sea in connection with the continuing hostage crisis in Iran. Militant followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who had come to power following the overthrow of the Shah, seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on 4 November and held 63 U.S. citizens hostage. Midway was joined 21 November by Kitty Hawk (CV-63), and both carriers, along with their escort ships, were joined by the Nimitz (CVN-68) and her escorts on 22 January 1980. Midway was relieved by Coral Sea (CV-43) on 5 February.

Missions in the 1980s

Midway at United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka (in 1983)

Following a period in Yokosuka, Midway relieved Coral Sea 30 May 1980 on standby south of the Cheju-Do Islands in the Sea of Japan following the potential of civil unrest in the Republic of Korea. While transiting the passage between Palawan Island of the Philippines and the coast of Northern Borneo on 29 July, Midway collided with the Panamanian merchant ship Cactus. The Cactus was 450 nautical miles (830 km) southwest of Subic Bay and headed to Singapore. The collision occurred near the liquid oxygen plant and two sailors working in the plant were killed and three were injured. Midway sustained light damage and three F-4 Phantom aircraft parked on the flight deck were also damaged.[8] On 17 August, Midway relieved Constellation to begin another Indian Ocean deployment and to complement the Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) task group still on contingency duty in the Arabian Sea. Midway spent a total of 118 days in the Indian Ocean during 1980.

On 16 March 1981, an A-6 Intruder from VA-115 aboard Midway sighted a downed civilian helicopter in the South China Sea. Midway immediately dispatched HC-1 Det 2 helicopters to the scene. All 17 people aboard the downed helicopter were rescued and brought aboard the carrier. The chartered civilian helicopter was also plucked out of the water and lifted to Midway’s flight deck.

Midway continued serving in the western Pacific throughout the 1980s. In order to alleviate persistent seakeeping issues, Midway received hull blisters in 1986. The modification proved unsuccessful, and actually increased the vessel’s instability in high seas.

On 25 March 1986, the final carrier launching of a Navy fleet F-4S Phantom II took place off Midway during flight operations in the East China Sea. The aircraft was manned by pilot Lt. Alan S. “Mullet” Colegrove and radar intercept officer Lt. Gregg “Ichabod” Blankenship of VF-151. Phantoms were being replaced by the new F/A-18 Hornets.

On 30 October 1989 an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from the Midway mistakenly dropped a 500 pounds (227 kilograms) general-purpose bomb on the deck of Reeves (CG-24) during training exercises in the Indian Ocean, creating a five-foot hole in the bow, sparking small fires, and injuring five sailors. Reeves was 32 miles (51 km) south of Diego Garcia at the time of the incident.[9]

Disaster struck the Midway on 20 June 1990. While conducting routine flight operations approximately 125 nautical miles northeast of Japan, the ship was badly damaged by two onboard explosions. These explosions led to a fire that raged more than ten hours. In addition to damage to the ship’s hull, two crew members were killed and 9 others were wounded;[10] one of the injured later died of his injuries.[11] All 11 crewmen belonged to an elite fire-fighting team known as the Flying Squad. When Midway entered Yokosuka Harbor the next day, 12 Japanese media helicopters flew in circles and hovered about 150 feet above the flight deck. Three bus loads of reporters were waiting on the pier. About 30 minutes after Midway cast its first line, more than 100 international print and electronic journalists charged over the brow to cover the event. The news media made a major issue out of the incident, as it happened amid other military accidents. It was thought that the accident would lead to the ship’s immediate retirement due to her age.

Operation Desert Storm and the 1990s

On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait and U.S. forces moved into Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield to protect that country against invasion by Iraq. On 1 November 1990, Midway was again on station in the North Arabian Sea being the carrier of Battle Force Zulu (which included warships from the US, Australia, and other countries), relieving Independence. On 15 November, she participated in Operation Imminent Thunder, an eight-day combined amphibious landing exercise in northeastern Saudi Arabia which involved about 1,000 U.S. Marines, 16 warships, and more than 1,100 aircraft. Meanwhile, the United Nations set an ultimatum deadline of 15 January 1991 for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.

Operation Desert Storm began the next day, and the Navy launched 228 sorties from Midway and Ranger (CV-61) in the Persian Gulf, from Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) en route to the Gulf, and from John F. Kennedy, Saratoga, and America in the Red Sea. In addition, the Navy launched more than 100 Tomahawk missiles from nine ships in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. Desert Storm officially ended 27 February, and Midway departed the Persian Gulf on 11 March 1991 and returned to Yokosuka.

In June 1991, she left for her final deployment, this time to the Philippines to take part in Operation Fiery Vigil, which was the evacuation of 20,000 military members including their families from Clark AB, on the island of Luzon, after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The Midway, along with twenty other U.S. naval ships, ferried the evacuees to the island of Cebu, where they were taken off the ship by helicopter. After taking part in the evacuation, she once again returned to Yokosuka.

A final cruise and then on to life as a museum

10 January 2004, Midway prepares to moor at her final resting place at Navy pier in San Diego where she was to become the largest museum devoted to carriers and naval aviation.
Aerial view of the USS Midway Museum in 2011.

In August 1991, Midway departed Yokosuka and returned to Pearl Harbor. Here, she turned over with Independence which was replacing Midway as the forward-deployed carrier in Yokosuka. Midway then sailed to San Diego where she was decommissioned at Naval Air Station North Island on 11 April 1992 in a ceremony in which the main speaker was Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 March 1997. During the decommissioning process, she was used to film portions of the movie At Sea, a documentary on carrier life shown only at the Navy Museum in Washington, D.C. Both sailors and their families participated in the filming of the homecoming scenes.

On 30 September 2003, Midway began her journey from the Navy Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, Washington, to San Diego, California in preparation for use as a museum and memorial. She was docked at the Charles P. Howard Terminal in Oakland, California, during the first week in October while the construction of her pier in San Diego was completed. Then, on 10 January 2004 the ship was moored at her final location at the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego, where she was opened to the public on 7 June 2004. In the first year of operation, the museum doubled attendance projections by welcoming 879,281 guests aboard.

On 3 April 2012, it was announced that Midway would be the site of a college basketball game between the Syracuse Orange and the San Diego State Aztecs on 9 November 2012; this game was later postponed to 11 November (Veteran’s Day) due to expected rain. The Orange won the game, 62-49.[12]

Point Loma Naval Base in San Diego


They seem to love their boats here in San Diego.  I discovered that the America’s Cup team came from here and saw a plaque on Dennis Connor.  I thought of the American’s Cup in Australia.

Not only are they into civilian vessels but this is a Navy city and there are many marines stationed here.

I am living near the Point Loma Naval Base.  I’ve sat on the balacony watching aircraft carriers gently but quickly go by.  It is interesting to find myself in the hub of American Military power.  I have to smile I went to Oceanside and that is another Naval Facility.  It is interesting given I am into peace.

I look forward to the time where the power of love overcomes the love of power. 

Here is some information from wikipedia about Point Loma Naval Base.

Located in Point Loma, a neighborhood of San Diego, California, Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) was established on 1 October 1998 when Navy facilities in the Point Loma area of San Diego were consolidated under Commander, Navy Region Southwest. Naval Base Point Loma consists of seven facilities: Submarine Base, Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare Training Center, Fleet Combat Training Center Pacific, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), SPAWAR Systems Center, the Fleet Intelligence Command Pacific and Naval Consolidated Brig, Miramar. These close-knit commands form a diverse and highly technical hub of naval activity. The on base population is around 22,000 Navy and civilian personnel.


Mission statement

To provide direct day-to-day operation of base support functions and to ensure that the base best serves the Fleet and tenant commands. We are a regional team dedicated to providing the highest level of base operating support and quality of life services for all operating forces and shore activities on Naval Base Point Loma.


In February 1852 President Millard Fillmore set aside the southern portion of Point Loma of about 1,400 acres (6 km2) for military purposes. Subsequently, it was assigned to the U.S. Army and named Fort Rosecrans, after General William Rosecrans, an 1842 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. In 1898 the Army built a coast artillery installation on the site which remained active until 1945, when the University of California Division of War Research and the Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory occupied the site as the Navy Electronics Laboratory (NEL). In 1932, the site of Fort Rosecrans was registered as California Historical Landmark #62.[1]

Aerial view of Naval Base Point Loma

Submarine Group, San Diego was established in 1946, and Submarine Flotilla 1 was activated in 1949. In 1959 Fort Rosecrans was turned over to the U.S. Navy. The Navy Submarine Support Facility was established in November 1963 on 280 acres (1.1 km2) of the land.[2] Bathyscaphe Trieste arrived at NEL in 1958; and modified Bathyscaphe Trieste II was based here from 1965 to 1984.[3] On 27 November 1974 the base was re-designated a shore command, serving assigned submarines, Submarine Group Five, Submarine Squadron Three, Submarine Development Group One, the Submarine Training Facility and later, Submarine Squadron Eleven. On 1 October 1981 the base was designated as Naval Submarine Base.

Starting in April 1995, several commands were decommissioned or their homeports were changed to meet the down-sizing requirements of the Navy. Commands throughout San Diego were regionalized in an effort to provide equal or better base services while managing a reduced budget. The six naval installations on Point Loma were consolidated as Naval Base Point Loma on 1 October 1998.



Homeported submarines

Torpedo Weapons Retrievers

Major commands

  • U.S. Third Fleet
  • Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command – Effective 1 October 2006, COMINEWARCOM (CMWC) and FLTASWCOM were merged and renamed as Naval Mine And Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC). Pending NMAWC Corpus Christi (PLA: NMAWC Corpus Christi TX) relocation associated with BRAC action, NMAWC was multi-sited with the commander and Vice Commander and headquarters in San Diego (PLA: NMAWC San Diego CA). FLTASWCOM DET NORFOLK is renamed NMAWC DET NORFOLK VA (PLA: NMAWC DET Norfolk VA). NMAWC San Diego, in addition to commander NMAWC duties, continues to focus on ASW matters. NMAWC Corpus Christi continues to focus on MIW matters. Additionally, NMAWC Corpus Christi continues to function as the flag officer commanding the deployable mine warfare battle staff, providing technical advice, and conducting mine warfare operations as required; and coordinates the sourcing for the MCMRONS and MIW Triad Forces (AMCM/UMCM/SMCM).[4]
  • Submarine Squadron 11
  • Military Sealift Command, Pacific

Visiting the Maritime Museum in San Diego

I started the day meeting Diane, a former clown. We talked as she drove us to the Maritime Museum in downtown San Diego. She spoke of her experience as a clown and felt it was pretentious. In other words she felt it was pretending and not being real. I told her when I clown I am myself. I suppose reflecting on that there is a degree of acting and playing that you wouldn’t normally do, as society doesn’t give permission. She spoke the good that clowning had done for her husband who had grown in confidence in humour. They were part of a group called Clown Conspiracy who clown as volunteers to raise money for charity.

She was a very interesting lady and told me she had American Indian heritage. Her parents were teachers, her father a Principal. Her grandparents were also lovely people and they had a close family.

I learned that people could join with the tribes and they could be given an Indian name. She herself was an Indian Elder and was to give a name to her relative. Her tribe was not a big tribe but had been resurrected by others who ensured they did not lose their customs. I learned that Indian’s had made money out of Casinos.

I wondered about the African Americans and Australian Indigenous, the fact they look similar made me reflect and that there appears to be greater unhappiness in these groups. I thought of the American Indians and the Australian Aborigines being the first people and that the former did seem more accepted in the US. Although my observation is marginal and I am sure I don’t know much. I thought about class in Australia and the US. I wondered if it was the sense of inequality that was the real source of separation between people. I am not sure.

My friend indicated that she didn’t have her first home until later in life which was unsual. I wondered about housing prices, they seem high her and in Australia. Around $1600 to $2000 per month in Australia for a 2-3 bedroom. Here around $1361-$2000 was the average price of a 2-3 apartment. So not really much different. The wages for low paid workers are much lower here from $12 – $16 per hour. Note it is average not median, not always a good figure to use. It would be interested to look at median prices. I found the minimum wage is $7.25 which makes you wonder how some survive. The median average wage for non professionals in Australia is around $25.50 per hour. In both countries you can assume females earn 80% of the male wage for the same work. I’ve just checked the numbers and they are earning less. So single parents come to mind here and if they are women, earn less. So I sense here that life is actually harder for the average American citizen, even though I sense Australians do pay more across the board. Population of course is another important factor.

We stopped at the Maritime Museum where I got to view the Star of India a famous tall ship that used to take people and traded cargo to Australia and New Zealand. They would be at sea 6 months and some of the issues they faced was fresh food and scurvy, rough seas and illness. I was surprised at how large the boat was and imagined it out at sea. It was well built. Some information about the Star of India as follows:

Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship. She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were experiments of sorts then, with most vessels still being built of wood. Within five months of laying her keel, the ship was launched into her element. She bore the name Euterpe, after the Greek muse of music and poetry.

Euterpe was a full-rigged ship and would remain so until 1901, when the Alaska Packers Association rigged her down to a barque, her present rig. She began her sailing life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, her first captain died on board and was buried at sea.

After such a hard luck beginning, Euterpe settled down and made four more voyages to India as a cargo ship. In 1871 she was purchased by the Shaw Savill line of London and embarked on a quarter century of hauling emigrants to New Zealand, sometimes also touching Australia, California and Chile. She made 21 circumnavigations in this service, some of them lasting up to a year. It was rugged voyaging, with the little iron ship battling through terrific gales, “laboring and rolling in a most distressing manner,” according to her log.

The life aboard was especially hard on the emigrants cooped up in her ‘tween deck, fed a diet of hardtack and salt junk, subject to mal-de-mer and a host of other ills. It is astonishing that their death rate was so low. They were a tough lot, however, drawn from the working classes of England, Ireland and Scotland, and most went on to prosper in New Zealand. refer

We then walked over to see the USS Surprise. I could see it was a battleship with a line of cannons and hammocks for the sailors. I reflected on how difficult life would be on a battle ship at sea. The quarters were rudimentary and the ship was small and cramped. Here is some information from wikipedia…

USS Surprise (PG-63), the fourth American naval ship of the name, was the British Flower-class corvette HMS Heliotrope loaned to and operated by the United States Navy from 1942-1945 as a Temptress-class patrol gunboat. After World War II she was sold as a merchant vessel and ended her life in the Chinese navy as Lin I.

Surprise sailed from Derry, Northern Ireland on 24 April 1942 to escort a convoy to Boston, Massachusetts. After an overhaul, she proceeded south and for the remainder of 1942 escorted convoys in the Caribbean, principally between Trinidad and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In January 1943, she extended her range into the South Atlantic and, into 1944, performed escort runs between Trinidad and Recife, Brazil.

Surprise then returned to the United States. In May 1944, she returned to the North Atlantic and, until after the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, rotated between Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland convoy runs and weather patrol duty.

Surprise was decommissioned on 20 August 1945 at Chatham, England, returned to the Royal Navy on 26 August, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 September.

We then walked over to look at a Russian Submarine. I have to say I was amazed at how long this sub was, and again, the cramped conditions. Even a woman crawling through the tubes is tight, I wondered at bigger men and how they managed to squeeze from one section to another, what happens in emergency situations. Many would have bumped their heads I reacon. The electronic devices and technology was evident all over the sub, such skills and knowledge would be required to run the ship. I also reflected on being under water for such long periods, how psychologically they handled it being in close confines with other men and so on. Here is some information from wikipedia…

One of a fleet of diesel electric submarines the Soviet Navy called “Project 641,” B-39 was commissioned in the early 1970s and served on active duty for more than 20 years. 300 feet in length and displacing more than 2000 tons, B-39 is among the largest conventionally powered submarines ever built. She was designed to track U.S. and NATO warships throughout the world’s oceans. B-39, assigned to the Soviet Pacific fleet, undoubtedly stalked many of the U.S. Navy’s ships home ported in San Diego. Now, less than 20 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of the Cold War, she is berthed on San Diego Bay amidst her former adversaries. Soviet Project 641 submarines, classified as “Foxtrot” by NATO, are essentially larger and more powerful versions of German World War II era U-boats. Low-tech but lethal, she carried 24 torpedoes while she was on patrol-some capable of delivering low-yield nuclear warheads. B-39 carried a crew of 78 and could dive to a depth of 985 feet before threatening the integrity of her nickel steel pressure hull. The Soviet and then Russian Federation’s navies deployed these submarines from the mid 1950s through the early 1990s. They played a part in many of the Cold War’s most tense moments including the Cuban Missile Crisis.

After the Maritime Museum we went to Anthony’s Seafood restaurant where I was treated to clam chouder. I had a lovely salad. It was lovely looking out of the restaurant window at the bay. Beyond the bay is the Pacific Ocean.

I looked into the distance and could see Point Loma where I am living. Just up from where I am living is the Point Loma Naval Base. Here is some information about this facility from Wikipedia.

Located in Point Loma, a neighborhood of San Diego, California, Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) was established on 1 October 1998 when Navy facilities in the Point Loma area of San Diego were consolidated under Commander, Navy Region Southwest. Naval Base Point Loma consists of seven facilities: Submarine Base, Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare Training Center, Fleet Combat Training Center Pacific, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), SPAWAR Systems Center, the Fleet Intelligence Command Pacific and Naval Consolidated Brig, Miramar. These close-knit commands form a diverse and highly technical hub of naval activity. The on base population is around 22,000 Navy and civilian personnel.

Hawaii: WWII Fortifications On O’ahu

World War II fortifications still present on O’ahu

• Anatomy of Battery 405
• Fortifications on O’ahu

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

Gary Weller, president of Iron Mountain Inc., shines a flashlight inside Battery 405, one of many World War II fortifications still present on O’ahu.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

O’ahu has so many hidden military bunkers that even its pineapple fields can’t be taken at face value.

The buildup began shortly after the turn of the century and continued through World War II, with Army engineers busily tunneling through volcanic rises, building underground command posts, and transforming oceanfront flats into fortified ramparts.

The island bristled with coastal batteries guarding against battleship attacks on Pearl and Honolulu harbors that never came. The biggest guns could fire 16-inch, 2,340-pound shells over the horizon.

Their legacy is now tons of leftover reinforced concrete and steel, some on public and military property, some on private property, the whereabouts of some still classified, and much of it too massive to be moved.

“I suspect that if you were to use the term ‘Gibraltar of the Pacific,’ you could get away with that without much argument,” historian William Gaines said. “At the end of World War II, O’ahu was probably the most heavily armored island in the world.”

Now better known for surf and sand, O’ahu’s hard edges aren’t too far below the surface.

The Kunia Regional Signals Intelligence Operations Center, with three floors, each the size of a football field, lies hidden beneath pineapple fields near Wheeler Army Airfield. Built after the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack for aircraft assembly and repair, it is now an intelligence receiving hub for the National Security Agency.

The old coastal defense batteries and fire control stations dotting island hilltops are easier to spot. Kama’aina have clambered in and around them for years. The Battery Randolph at Fort DeRussy, circa 1911, resolutely anchors one end of Waikiki while Diamond Head fortifications anchor the other. The U.S. Army Museum of Hawai’i occupies Randolph.

Before going bankrupt, a contractor in 1969 succeeded in demolishing the fort’s Battery Dudley, but got no further than the parapets at Randolph, with its 15-foot-thick seaside walls.

“Legend has it that the wrecking ball collapsed first. I wouldn’t be too surprised,” said Dorian Travers, of the Army Museum.

There are far more batteries and bunkers out there than meet the eye. Many who have had access to them discover inside them more than an echo and moldy interior.

“We’re surprised every day. We find more and more,” said John Bennett, a retired city prosecutor’s investigator and member of the Coast Defense Study Group.

The military controlled one-third of O’ahu during the war years, and one Army official said there are probably 300 tunnels.

Sandii Kamaunu, owner of Military HQ on Sand Island Access Road, several years ago bought up a Civil Defense field hospital stored and long forgotten since the early to mid-1950s in a World War II gun battery in Kailua. She was flabbergasted by what she found.

The cache included hundreds of sealed crates. There were 200 cots and 200 wool blankets, splints, blood transfusion kits, porcelain bed pans and urinals, and vials of dried-up potassium penicillin crystalline for shots that Kamaunu says were given with “horse needles that hurt like hell.” Some of the items bore 1940s dates.

All were like new, in the box, directions included.

Wayne Jones, the acting director of the O’ahu Civil Defense Agency, remembers inspecting the supplies.

“There was an old dentist’s chair up there if I remember correctly, an old operating table — all stainless steel — but of no use to us,” Jones said.

For decades, Ron Deisseroth and his mushroom business co-existed with the field hospital in twin 155-foot-deep bunkers, a spot that suited both. Sheltered beneath at least 200 feet of earth at the deepest point, Battery 405 — with kitchen, infirmary and bunks — originally supported two MK VI 8-inch Navy guns. Five similar batteries were built around the island. A facade meant to look like a two-story home — intended to throw off would-be invaders — once camouflaged the tunnel’s entrance.

Deisseroth, who grew mushrooms from 1950 to about 1992, remembers schoolchildren trooping up the hill for a disaster preparedness drill.

“I guess they wanted them to know where to go in case of an attack,” said the O’ahu man, who leased the property from Kane’ohe Ranch.

When Deisseroth lost his lease, he had to clear out the bunker. That meant everything — including the locked-up field hospital. He called the Army and O’ahu Civil Defense.

“I tried to contact everyone, and nobody had any claim on it,” he said. So he hired a locksmith to open the steel door and sold the contents to Military HQ for about $6,000.

Kamaunu has sold about 150 cots, and a couple of porcelain urinals on eBay she jokingly listed as MASH “beer steins.” General Electric offered her $300 for an operating lamp light bulb, she said. But the surplus store owner is really looking for a museum to buy it up in bulk.

“It’s like opening a time capsule,” she said. “It’s nice to be part of it.”

Gary Weller has plans to use Battery 405 for archival, digital and backup storage for his company, Iron Mountain Inc.

The field hospital was an unusual find, and most old unsecured bunkers were cleared out or rifled through years ago. Most guns, meanwhile, were cut up for scrap. But the bunkers remain full of historical value.

Not widely known is that both of the USS Arizona’s big stern turrets with triple 14-inch guns were salvaged. One was placed at Kahe Point and called Battery Arizona. The other went to Mokapu Point.

Gaines, a retired archivist and librarian professor at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. and an expert on O’ahu coastal defenses, said vandals got into Battery Arizona in the late 1960s and started a fire in a power generating room, which also was used to store Civil Defense supplies. After that the bunker was abandoned.

The Hawai’i Army National Guard, which still uses part of old Fort Ruger at Diamond Head, estimates that publicly accessible portions represents just 25 percent of the battery and tunnel complexes there.

Construction on Fort Ruger began in 1906, with Battery Harlow completed in 1910. Its plotting room, not often seen by the public, has a pre-World War I mechanical data transmission system for mortars that were capable of lobbing 12-inch shells high over Diamond Head and out to sea.

The defense boom had its impetus prior to the turn of the century with countries like Germany, Russia, France and England eyeing Hawai’i, the Army museum’s Travers said.

Brig. Gen. Montgomery M. Macomb, commander of the Army’s District of Hawaii, said in 1911 that “O’ahu is to be encircled with a ring of steel.”

Fort Kamehameha, now part of Hickam Air Force Base, was part of that fortification. Fort Barrette, in Kapolei, followed in the 1930s. During World War II the military engaged in another big building wave, adding radar operations tunnels, ammo storage depots and underground command posts. The Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility, completed in 1943, includes enormous fuel tanks and seven miles of tunnels.

“These guys were absolutely sure the Japanese invasion fleet was coming over the horizon for months after Dec. 7 (1941),” Gaines said.

An old battery remains at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, but Gaines said guns were never installed “because the war moved so fast, and by 1944, there was not much chance of the Japanese fleet showing up on the coast of O’ahu.”

The twin tunnels, whose makai openings are obscured by vegetation, are used for storage.

One tunnel complex was put up for sale by the General Services Administration more than a decade ago, historians say. The bunker complex beneath Aliamanu crater, including 500- and 600-foot tunnels and at least 20 rooms, was used at the end of the war by the Hawaiian Sea Frontier command.

But the bunker never sold, and today the warren of rooms lie sealed and loaded with pesticide, another of O’ahu’s catacombs from a bygone era.

Reach William Cole at or 525-5459.

The Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center[1] (KRSOC, also pronounced “KR-Sock”), also known as the Kunia Tunnel[2] or the Regional Signals Intelligence Operations Center Kunia, is a United States National Security Agency facility.[3][4] It is a secured installation located on Kunia Road between Kunia Camp and Wheeler Army Airfield in central Oahu, Hawaii.



In response to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the installation was designed and built as a bomb-proof, underground open bay with a 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) floorspace to facilitate aircraft assembly in proximity to Wheeler Army Airfield. During the later part of World War II and in the decades that followed it was used primarily for cryptologic and intelligence activities.[5]


Military complements that currently occupy the structure include the U.S. Navy’s Naval Security Group Activity Hawaii (a combination of the former NSGA Kunia and NSGA Pearl Harbor) and the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps 500th Military Intelligence Brigade.[4]


Once complete the National Security Agency Central Security Service’s Hawaii Regional Security Operations Center presently under construction will replace operations at Kunia Tunnel. The facility, located near Whitmore Village, Oahu, occupies the former site of the large, circular antenna at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, or NCTAMS PAC. The construction contract awarded is worth $318 million.[1]