Category Archives: Military

Targeting Civilians: Brigadier General Jan Karpinski Speaks About Abu Ghraib Prison

Brigadier General Jan Karpinski Set Up Over Abu Ghraib Prison

The radio interview below is an interview with Janis Karpinksi the former commander of Abu Ghraib detention facility near Baghdad, Iraq.  The interview is with Freedom Radio.

There is a wise saying: 

“It is for those who know to tell the blind horseman on the blind horse that he is heading for the abyss” (Lao Tzu)

“It is the truth that sets you free” (transparency, openness, honesty)

A quote from General Janis Karpinski:

“We were all taken in government took advantage of us  in our reeling response to 911, at weakest moment we know who did this, we need to go get them. We all bought in to it, because we were afraid, kept reminding us that we needed to be afraid, be very afraid that was the justification to march forward with this ridiculous plan they reminded to be afraid”

Americans and others around the world when vigilant about what is done in their name, can ensure a free and open society. Secrecy and silence is the sign of repression and dictatorship.  Ignorance may be convenient and soothing to ignore truths bravely revealed but eventually it comes home to roost.  That is when people say its “not fair”.  

Strangely I found this interview by chance as I looked at a documentary on Netflicks that showed a place called Abu Ghraib in Egypt.  It was about pyramids. My curiosity about what this name meant lead me to Janis Karpinski, a female commanding officer who ran 17 detention centre in Iraq and was targeted as responsible (without trial) for Abu Ghraib torture and rendition.  The interview reveals, she was indeed set up by those at the top.  She was kept in the dark about the interrogations and kept busy as the real architects former US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, General Sanchez and others gave the green light to torture with the “gloves off”.  They had outcomes they wanted to see.  She reveals how power works and operates secretly and the insanity of sweeping for thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens, some of whom had violated curfew, others petty criminals to find themselves imprisoned and tortured for information they didn’t know.  The objective in Iraq was to find Saddam Hussein, this was an agenda of those at the top and has Scott Ritter indicated was not about weapons of mass destruction (cover story).  Andrew Wilkie here in Australia was a whistle-blower in respect of the Australian Government following the US in an illegal war of aggression.  He was an Intelligence Officer with the Officer of National Assessment on the Iraqi desk and he indicated there was low threat to Australians.  In truth there was no threat to Australians or Americans. The Australian Government was supportive of this war.  This is very concerning.  It appears unconditional support. I would ask why?

Brigadeir General Karpinksi said the majority of those incarcerated were ordinary Iraqi citizens, some well educated, swept up, inclusive of whole families, detained in these facilities without any idea of the charges or when they would be released. It had been made clear to her that because they were not “prisoners of war” they did not receive the rights and just treatment provided under the Geneva Conventions.  She was told bluntly they had “no rights”.  Note this is a departure from a democratic philosophy towards dictatorship.

Warning bells should go off at this point as this is illegal as they are detained without trial.  I contemplated the refugees “detained” here in Australia as I listened to her.  I contemplated protestors detained for 14 days without trial under the ASIO Act, I interviewed Scott Parkin a US citizen held for protesting and teaching nonviolent techniques to effectively protest Halliburton (key contractor in Iraq) in Sydney.  I contemplated the cowardice (as she put it) of those in command who manipulated events to portray her as the one responsible for torture at Abu Ghraib. This is deception at the highest levels.

She also dropped a bomb shell so to speak when she stated the photos were deliberately done (as was the war).  The interrogators apparently received the techniques from Guantanamo Bay.

It seems very clear from listening that the need “to win the war” is what drove these decisions from the top. A rationale of the ends justifies the means. When means is what creates the ends in truth.  Following the rules of war, the military and Geneva Conventions.  It is clear that civilians were treated like potential criminals and mixed in with those who were combatants. Ironically, combatants have protections under the Geneva Conventions but not the civilians do not, this is very disturbing, this means they can do anything to them.  She reflected on the rights of US citizens, the right to go before a court, which the Iraqi’s requested (lawyers) and were denied as there were not enough lawyers they said (I doubt that is true).  Human Rights Lawyers came to Guantanamo to determine test cases as here is a democracy violating its own principles and laws in another country, as it is not held to account. That is revealing as the mask of decency is off.  So a key principle of a democratic system is to go before a judge was denied, to be provided with an attorney (equality before the law) and the right to a fair hearing (without bias). She stated the Iraqi judiciary, despite Saddam Hussein’s abuses, were extremely fair better than US courts.  

She had extensive experience in the Middle East and often talked to local people to find out what they thought. She had respect for the Iraqi people and contrasted them with the US people.  She said they were well educated. She said if Americans stood in the shoes of Iraqi’s how they might feel in the army came and shot their neighbours and they knew were next.  What if your whole family is taken away.  This is a General making this statement.  Apparently the women and mothers would wait outside the prison in hope their fathers, brothers and uncles would be released.  They went after men around 28 with beards (all men had beards).  She was astounded at how easily American’s believe their leaders. 

She also spoke of wanting to make a positive difference, she had trained women in the United Arab Emirites in the military.  I am sure she would have offended those in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries given their attitudes to women. Clearly in the US she was pioneering women in the military and sought to be taken seriously by demanding leadership roles.  That discrimination in my view is still very evident.

The fact she was blamed and selected given she is a woman, is not surprising to me, as this incensed the population more given how women are perceived. Her demonisation was a skilfull intelligence deflection from those responsible, whom she called cowards, and the truth of who actually ordered the interrogations. She was deceived and then made a scapegoat, this is a great travesty of justice and it happens when good people do nothing.  I totally understand the humiliation of being targeted with allegations that are untrue.  The stress of not being able to defend yourself or access justice but put in a position where she must defend herself and the many who won’t believe her. She didn’t even have a hearing nor did anyone speak to her face. She experienced no response, secrecy and orchestrated behind her back. She was encouraged to return to the US from Iraq assured her career was fine.  It was not.  She was vilified and this is a form of victimisation (bullying) that is noteworthy. 

She makes a very powerful quote at the end of this radio program (see below).  It is recommended listening given the times we are moving through, the changes to legislation restricting rights (here in Australia), the blind eye to human rights violations and the notion of democracy as just a word not a way of life.  It is evident democracy is no longer real when leaders do not live the values their country states it believes in.  It is clear in the case of Americans it is no longer life, liberty and happiness that is valued.  Until citizens claim their democratic right to speak up, ask questions and actually investigate what is being done in their name, this will only worsen as people are not held to account.  This appears the only way they learn or dissuades others from totalitarian objectives that ignore the rights of others.  This is the era of human rights in my view.  

Fear is a tactic used in the war on terror.  It is noteworthy to reflect on demonisation in all its forms.  However, the truth is coming out and this is a good thing.  It is up to people to make up their own minds, as Janis advises.

All soldiers (no matter the country) need to reflect deeply on those at the top and if they are being placed in harms way, to ask is this in defence of freedoms or to protect the wealth of a few without any regard for the safety or rights of civilians (innocent people).  Something to deeply ponder.

As a briefing prior to the audio click the link to an interview with George Negus, who is a highly respected journalist and foreign correspondent in Australia who has interviewed Brigadeir General Janis Karpinski, this will make her side clearer and provides a written transcript identifying names.  Refer https://www.sbs.com.au/news/janis-karpinski-interview

A  reflection:

We must teach children peace education, universal values, anti-discrimination training and questioning (critical thinking) in order to prevent future abuses or deception.  Moreover, we need to train them in conflict resolution so they learn how to resolve conflict and not model on war games.  I wish for the wars to be over as they do not work.  They are utilised as is becoming clearer by vested interests who are in it for profit not peace.  I note that the US and Israel pulled out of United Nations Education, Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) this was promoting peace education around the world. It is noteworthy that they are not interested in peace.  Refer https://www.sbs.com.au/news/us-pulls-out-of-unesco-over-anti-israel-bias  The israeli lobby comes to mind.  The issue of one vote one value in a democracy comes to mind and the fact that no particular group should have disproportionate influence over government.

Conflict resolution should be mandatory for every soldier so they can be utilised as peace keepers to keep warring parties apart, to communicate effectively (raised in Janis audio) and help with environmental or climate disasters, ensure human rights and work as honorable peace keeping units to serve society and global peace. That is their foremost function not to serve corruption in any form.  So they do not need to lose jobs but be deployed in service to humanity.  They won’t be hated in this type of deployment.  The New Earth Army was one example by Colonel Jim Channon.  Violence cannot at any point teach peace, although it does strengthen the desire for peace.   In that I see its purpose.

As for illegality and projection of power in the service of cruelty and business interests (contractors), it is imperative that kangaroo courts are not set up to make it appear that justice is done without evidence or a fair hearing.  This is why the Justice system is important and the ethics and training of Judges must be impeccable.  They must be incorruptible, neutral and imbued with fairness as this is what ensures real security, rights and freedoms which are the basis of a civil society.  There have been calls for war crimes tribunals for George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld former CEO of Halliburton (Oil industry). The fact that the US military is aligned with the Energy Industry immediately leads to the conclusion as the reason for US warfare, this must be investigated as millions of people are being killed. Refer  https://www.alternet.org/story/44213/the_war_crimes_case_against_donald_rumsfeld  Amercian’s speak of being patriotic to their country, however it is the duty of citizens to say no to abuses in their names. There is an unquestioned allegiance to the military which has been a deliberate strategy to ensure no critiques, this is how power and control works. Moreover, countries like Australia have a duty as good friends to speak the truth to power if they know they are engaged in criminality. It matters not if it is civilians in other countries or in the home country.  Leaders values influence their citizens.

The audio interview with General Janis Karpinsky is as follows:

SAS Soldier McBride Leak is a Stand for Democracy

In the public interest.

A key quote:

Martin Luther King said “sometimes silence is the greatest betrayal of all’, or as General David Morrison put it “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

A man after my own heart… there are many great men in the military.  I respect truth, honour and justice.  If you know of a crime stand for truth. End of story, literally.

Note: the process David took is a process many take as they are not answered, ignored and accountability absent. Then attempts are made to intimidate the press rather than the hard work of looking within.  Denial is not a river in Egypt.

The issue of disrespect is mentioned in the article, I note this attitude is across the board as values are not modelled as ‘who we are’ as a culture.  Democracy in my view is not just a word, it is who we are yet there are some in high places that consider accountability, transparency and freedom of speech an impediment rather than a value that drives to the heart of why we do what we do.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/my-duty-was-to-stand-and-be-counted-why-i-leaked-to-the-abc-20190608-p51vte.html

‘My duty was to stand and be counted’: Why I leaked to the ABC

Fifty-nine years ago today, my father, Dr William McBride, “discovered” that the drug thalidomide was causing birth defects. A relatively junior gynaecologist in his thirties with a young family, the long weekend gave him an opportunity to do the necessary thinking and draw the fateful conclusions.

As a former army officer who released classified documents to journalists, today I face a very different set of circumstances on a June long weekend. I will soon be facing trial in the ACT Supreme Court for charges relating to this act.

Dr William McBride with David, far left, and the rest of the McBride family in their Blakehurst home in 1972.

Dr William McBride with David, far left, and the rest of the McBride family in their Blakehurst home in 1972.CREDIT:ROBERT RICE/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Much as I would have liked it, my life has none of the fame and fortune of my father. He started at the bottom and reached the top, and I started at the top and may yet reach the very bottom. Yet despite outward appearances, I’m happy with where I’ve been, and where I’m going. My passion for using my brain to defend democracy and our hard won democratic freedoms is undiminished.

Having been sent to boarding school at a young age, I grew up on stories of WWII. My imagination was constantly filled with the deeds of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we now take for granted. Subsequently, all I ever wanted to be was a soldier.

Even now I don’t consider myself an ex-soldier. My uniforms hang pristine waiting for the day they might be used again. But the essence of being an officer is not in the uniforms, or the medals. It’s in the funerals. The moment when you face a young man or woman who will face the rest of their life without their loved one. People accept death. It’s part of the job. What they can’t accept is waste. The question they want answered is consistent and valid: “Can you reassure me my beloved did not die for nothing.”

I take this responsibility seriously. It matters. A society that takes the lives of its most dedicated and idealistic youth recklessly or cynically is a society doomed to fail.

My time in the British Army taught me what leadership is, and what it isn’t. Its not about looking tougher than your soldiers, or giving them orders. They largely know what to do before you tell them, having spent their whole lives “in uniform”. There is one thing they rely on you to do: stand up and be counted when it matters. One job. But it’s a job that needs to be done, and only you can do.

I did two tours of Afghanistan for Australia. Each was hard in its own way, but equally they were also the best things I have done in my life. As an officer your responsibility remains the same, whether you are protecting soldiers from the Taliban or their own political masters. In 2013 my career reached a crisis point. It was my second deployment, this time as legal officer with the Special Forces, those who sacrifice most for our country. The point came where there was no doubt in my mind that a line had been crossed, and lives were being cynically wasted. My duty was to “stand and be counted” and I did. Whatever happens from now on is in many ways irrelevant. I did what I believe had to be done. My main enemy was not the chain of command, or even the police, rather myself.

The process of standing up took many years, and many forms. It started with a politely worded internal complaint. When that failed, I went first to the police, and then the minister. Finally I went to the press. Which brings us to my trial. The details probably matters less than the principle, namely, that I believed the Australian Defence Force had failed. Failed in its duty to its soldiers, failed in its duty to Australia. It’s a claim I stand by to this day.

Whistleblower David William McBride has been charged for leaking defence documents to journalists.

Whistleblower David William McBride has been charged for leaking defence documents to journalists.CREDIT:ALEXANDRA BACK

Whatever glossy ads we make, the life of those who defend our shores is a hard one. It is performed by hard people, and it needs to be. Death will always be part of the job. They accept that. What they can never accept is that those who they entrusted with their lives and the futures of their families, did not do “everything possible” to keep them alive or bring them home. Everything.

Soldiers need to die but the way we treat them says everything about who we are as a nation. A nation that treats its soldiers with disrespect is a nation in decline, but one that deserves to decline. I have no regrets about what I did, and I am ready to face the consequences as the justice system sees fit.

I am lucky in this regard in that Australia has possibly the most enviable legal “pedigree” in the world. Born of the ancient tradition of parliamentary democracy and “rule of law” whose beautiful, but painful evolution can be traced back through 800 years of the Magna Carta.

The rights and freedoms we enjoy are the product of idealism combined with suffering. In addition to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, we have undoubtedly inherited the almost timeless, wondrous spirit of the Indigenous people of this continent. While we are protected by these laws they also come with responsibilities. To the earth, and to each other. To ourselves.

A judge will decide my fate, and as a “true believer” in the rule of law, I willingly submit myself to that fate. How could I not, as it is the very same rule of law from which I claim my unenviable but inevitable duty. Whatever they decide, I believe that I did my duty.

David McBride is a former military lawyer and captain in Britain’s elite Special Air Service and the whistleblower at the centre of Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters on WednesdayHe was charged in September last year with theft of Commonwealth property, namely war crimes investigation files, and three counts of breaching the Defence Act. He was also charged under old secrecy provisions in the Commonwealth Crimes Act. He is due to face court on June 13.

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.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/trump-s-defense-chief-cites-climate-change-national-security-challenge

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Midway_%28CV-41%29

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.

Contents

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

THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (NAVY) FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM TO USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) and ATTACK CARRIER AIR WING FIVE (CVW-5)

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.

[4]

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.

Contents

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.

History

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.

 

Tenants

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