USCG Icebreakers ► U.S. 1 | USSR 41 + 14 Under Contract The Coast Guard is in the very early stages of building a second heavy icebreaker, but it's still about 10 years away and a California congressman is calling for the Navy to help its sister service out with design acumen and money. For now, the heavy icebreaker Polar Sea is the Coast Guard's only option, but it's into its fifth decade of service, and doesn't have a backup if it breaks down. In a 17 MAY letter to Assistant Navy Secretary Sean Stackley, who's in charge of research, development and acquisitions, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter asked the Department of the Navy to provide some insight on the service's Arctic capabilities and outlook.
The goal, Hunter's chief of staff told Navy Times, is to start a conversation about whether the Navy should put some of its money into the Coast Guard's acquisition program, or help pay to lease a heavy icebreaker until the Coast Guard finishes its own. While the Coast Guard has taken the lead in operating in the Arctic, it's really the Navy that will benefit from the cleared ice, Hunter's chief of staff, Joe Kasper, told Navy Times. "The Navy’s going to have to put some skin in the game," he said. "The Navy’s going to have to support efforts to enhance ice-breaking capability in the Arctic if the Navy truly believes that capability is necessary." Hunter is concerned that the Coast Guard's acquisition process, which puts a new icebreaker in the water by 2025, is going to leave the U.S. too far behind.
The U.S. will need eight icebreakers if it decides to have one patrolling either pole at all times according to former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. The new icebreakers must also be able to:
Continuously push through up to six feet of ice — but preferably eight — going at least 3 knots.
In ice-free waters maintain a sustained speed of 15 knots, or the speed at max horsepower.
Sail a range of 21,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Go 80 days underway without replenishment.
Run at least 3,300 operational hours a year.
Visually evaluate ice conditions for 12 nautical miles in each direction.
Land a range of military and federal helicopters.
Hangar two Coast Guard helicopters or future unmanned systems.
Polar Star Russia, a competitor for operating space in the Arctic, has 41 heavy icebreakers and 14 under contract, according to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. "Every time we blink, Russia puts more icebreakers in the water in the Arctic," Kasper said. "We are seriously behind the curve." The Navy has received Hunter's letter and "will respond through appropriate channels," said Capt. Thurraya Kent, Stackley's spokeswoman. The Navy and Coast Guard are working closely on the Arctic, she said, as Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson mentioned in congressional testimony earlier this year. "With respect to icebreakers, we're working very closely with our partners in the Coast Guard," Richardson said. "That part of the mission will remain theirs. The security part will remain ours, and we've had a steady presence."
To get up to speed, the Navy could join the Coast Guard's icebreaker acquisition program to provide ship design oversight and production management. It took this step in the early 2000s when the Coast Guard began its national security cutter program, according to a defense expert with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C. "The National Security Cutter program was originally managed by the Navy ... the Coast Guard didn’t really have the acquisition wherewithal to manage a large ship program like that," Bryan Clark said. "They hadn’t run a big acquisition program since they acquired the Hamilton class, which was like 30 years before." By teaming up, the Navy can use money from its shipbuilding account to fund an icebreaker as a noncombatant ship, then transfer the program to the Coast Guard later, Clark said. The Coast Guard doesn't have access to that pot of Defense Department overseas contingency operations money, but Military Sealift Command does, so they can be the Coast Guard's partner.
Hunter's office has looked into the possibility of leasing an icebreaker from the Coast Guard — from Finland, for example — but medium-to-heavy icebreakers are hard to come by, and the congressman isn't enthusiastic about the idea of using a foreign ship, Kasper said. In that case, Clark said, MSC could lease the ship and operate it with a civilian ship's master, but also a Coast Guard detachment aboard. "MSC would lease this ship and then they would operate it in conjunction with the Coast Guard," he said. Again, DoD money for noncombatant operations would foot the bill. "What it would cost the Coast Guard to lease an icebreaker is more or less budget dust to the U.S. Navy," Kaper added.
The plan would not be, however, to find a way for the Navy to build its own icebreaker — just to use some of its budget muscle to help out the Coast Guard. In his letter, Hunter asked Stackley to weigh in on the capability gap created by having one aging, heavy icebreaker on hand, whether the Navy could help support the Coast Guard's efforts, and how closing that gap would benefit a naval presence in the Arctic. [Source: Navy Times | Meghann Myers | May May 23, 2016 ++]
USCGCDonald Horsley ► 17th Cutter Welcomed to the Fleet With a max speed of more than 28 knots and a range of nearly 3,000 nautical miles, the Coast Guard’s fast response cutters are crucial to curbing illegal maritime activity. The cutters perform or assist with a variety of missions, including law enforcement, counter-drug patrols, search and rescue and enforcing fisheries regulations. The Coast Guard welcomed the 17th fast response cutter, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, to the fleet in the cutter’s new home port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 20, 2016. “This latest patrol boat will serve throughout the Caribbean as a vital instrument in strengthening the security and stability of the Western Hemisphere and enhancing the Nation’s maritime safety and security,” said Rear Adm. Scott Buschman, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District.
USCGC Donald Horsley Graphic of Coast Guard fast response cutters The cutter’s new commanding officer, Lt. Colleen Denny, also looks forward to the cutter’s future. “We are excited to be homeported in San Juan and look forward to serve and protect the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” Denny said. “Upon commissioning we will be prepared to execute the most challenging maritime security, law enforcement, and national defense missions.” The ceremony also honored the cutter’s namesake, Master Chief Petty Officer Donald Horsley, a boatswain’s mate who served on active duty for more than 44 years. “I am truly honored and excited to welcome the Donald Horsley and to pay homage to its namesake, a service member who we remember today for his heroism, leadership and the positive impact he had on the lives and careers of so many Coastguardsmen,” Buschman said.
Throughout his career, Horsley demonstrated exceptional skill and leadership while serving aboard 34 vessels and numerous shore units. His lengthy career spanned three wars, including World War II, where he served aboard the USS Cepheus as a coxswain on landing craft and participated in Operation Dragoon (the invasion of southern France) in the European Theater and Operation Iceberg (the invasion of Okinawa) in the Pacific Asian Theater. During the Vietnam War, Horsley was the senior petty officer assigned to Division 13, Coast Guard Squadron One, serving two tours for a total of 41 months. The Division’s fleet 82-foot patrol boats were tasked with the maritime interdiction of the reinforcement and re-supply vessels for Communist forces fighting in South Vietnam. It was during this assignment that Horsley earned the Bronze Star with a Combat “V,” in part due to his participation in over 100 combat patrols while coming under intensive enemy fire on 11 separate occasions. [Source: Coast Guard Compass | PA2 Connie Terrell | May 20, 2016 ++]
Military Bands ► House NDAA Calls for GAO Study The Government Accountability Office would study the cost and size of military bands under the defense authorization bill passed last week by the House. The study could lead to moving some positions now held by clarinet players to combat roles. The same legislation would require Defense Secretary Ash Carter to study the possibility of combining some of the bands. Politico reported last week that some lawmakers question the wisdom of fielding bands while cutting force structure. Quoting Pentagon figures, the publication said the military spent $437 million on bands in fiscal 2015, including paying $12,000 for a tuba and $33,000 for three flutes. The Army has 99 bands and 4,350 musicians across all three components, Politico reported. The Air Force has 15 bands and 800 musicians. According to the House Armed Services Committee's report on the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, "The committee believes that the services may be able to conserve end strength by reducing the number of military bands." [Source: NGAUS Washington Report | May 24, 2016 ++]
* Military History *
U-858 Post WWII ► Chuck Kline’s Service Aboard At the height of World War II, German submarines, also known as U-boats, gained a reputation as the terror of the high seas. With more than 1,100 built, Hitler’s U-boat fleet was infamous for disrupting enemy supply lines, sinking more than 2,600 Allied ships during the course of the war. Toward the war’s end, one of these U-boats, U-858, was sent to wreak havoc along the east coast of the United States. But two weeks after Hitler’s suicide, on May 14, 1945, U-858 became the first-ever Nazi submarine to surrender to U.S. forces. It’s a boat that Chuck Kline remembers well. That’s because, for nine months after its surrender, Kline served aboard U-858.
Kline, now 93, is one of a dwindling number of American sailors who served aboard submarines during World War II, and the last to come from Wyoming. Born March 19, 1923, in Boulder, Colorado, Kline grew up in the town of Rifle, located in the western part of the state. Records show he began his naval service in July 1943, starting out in the V-12 Navy College Training Program at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “I went to classes to major in engineering, but I got into trouble with some of the math in there,” Kline said. “So they called me and gave me a choice. ‘We can put you on probation, or you can go to boot camp,’ and I chose boot camp. And I’m glad I did now.”
U-858 is brought to anchorMay 14, 1945 at Cape Henlopen, Delaware, just off Fort Miles where U-858's crew was landed - a Coast Guard HNS-1 Helicopter is overhead
Rather than take his chances on the top of the water as a motor machinist, Kline said he had the opportunity to volunteer for the Navy’s submarine program. He was selected as an alternate, and got in when the man ahead of him had to withdraw due to some physical problem. “I ended up in the training program at a submarine base in New London, (Connecticut),” Kline said. “There I learned the big diesel stuff, and I already had a lot of mechanical background, welding and everything, which helped a lot.”
His first assignment began in the spring of 1945 aboard the USS Pollack, which had spent much of its time patrolling the Pacific Theater before being converted to a “school boat” by the time Kline joined the crew. But Kline’s time aboard the Pollock would be short-lived. Just months after he took his post, Kline was selected as part of a special detail to take control of U-858 after its surrender. “They sent an escort out to bring it back to the States, and eventually go it up to New London,” Kline said. “I’d had a lot of mechanical background and had already been on a submarine, so lo and behold, I was selected as part of the special detail.”
Rather than combat, the U-858 was given a special mission: fundraising for the war effort. The U-boat toured around various ports as a sort of floating publicity stunt for the war bond effort. But even though her combat days were behind her, the U-858 posed its own challenges to its new American crew. Contemporary reports referred to the vessel as “a sewer pipe with valves,” and Kline said that wasn’t too far off. “The Germans had no regard for creature comfort on their submarines,” he said. “The first time we got into cold weather, we were up at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and getting into that cold water, it was like a rain storm inside that boat. We put oil cloth over our sacks so they wouldn’t get wet.”
Aside from the leaks, Kline said he can still vividly recall just how messy the boat was when the American crew first took over. It had nothing in the way of shower or laundry facilities, and Kline remembers having to clear out cans of bread floating in putrid water. Since all the controls were originally in German, Kline said the new crew had to draw up English tags and place them around all the controls to know what they were doing. And even then, the mere construction of the U-boat could pose issues for its sailors. “It also had a snorkel we didn’t have, and when the snorkel mast went up, it looked like a big wastebasket floating on the surface,” Kline said. “With that, we could operate at 33 feet submerged, and it had a fitting on it that went to the main (air) induction valve. “When you were operating that, most of the guys in the engine room ... had their eyes glued on the barometer in there, because if you didn’t keep a close eye on that thing, you start pulling suction and it was liable to pop your eyeballs right out of your head!”
A motor machinist mate, Kline described himself as the “fuel oil king” of the U-858, taking on the responsibility of getting all of the sub’s fuel on board. As an enlisted man, this was unusual, and Kline remembers some non-commissioned officers were “a little upset” at the responsibility he commanded. After nine months aboard the U-858, Kline officially separated from the Navy in March of 1946, while U-858 was stationed at Key West, Florida. He returned to Colorado to finish up a degree in industrial arts. U-858, meanwhile, was brought back to New England, where the Navy used it for torpedo practice before scuttling her toward the end of 1947.
Kline’s wartime service prepared him well for civilian life; after matriculating at Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University), Kline moved to Cheyenne to help launch an auto mechanic shop program in Laramie County School District 1, which continues to this day. He also became heavily involved with the United States Submarine Veterans of World War II, a congressionally chartered veterans organization first formed in 1955 and formally chartered in 1981. One of Kline’s proudest accomplishments with that group was working to develop a carved outdoor memorial at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville, to commemorate the crew of the USS Barbel, who were lost to a Japanese bombing attack in February 1945.
Chuck Kline, 93, talks about his experiences in WWII Though he was too young for World War II, Ed Galavotti is a fellow local submarine veteran who has been working to promote Kline’s legacy in the run up to Armed Forces Day. Although Kline would never suggest it, Galavotti believes Kline is a living legend, and one Cheyenne should feel privileged to still count among its residents. “There are hardly any submarine veterans of World War II left, and how do you capture that experience?” Galavotti said. “People don’t realize what the transition was like, going from the crash of 1929 to going to war, the end of the war, and then going all the way to today. “Today’s nuclear navy has much more capabilities, much more comfort for the crew,” Galavotti added. “Back then, they had a battery and a snorkel. They couldn’t go down and stay down all day; they had limited time. “I think it’s important to let people know we have a veteran here who did all that stuff.” [Source: Wyoming Tribune Eagle | James Chilton | May 15, 2016 ++]
Army Jeep No. 1 ► Icon of WWII Seventy-five years after it wowed the U.S. Army, the oldest known Jeep is getting its due as a symbol of the Greatest Generation's fight and Detroit's role in what Franklin D. Roosevelt called "the Arsenal of Democracy" -- the manufacturing might that helped the Allies win World War II. "It's an icon of WWII and a symbol of wartime production by the auto industry," said Matt Anderson, transportation curator at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. "It's also the grandfather of all SUVs. It's very rare to be able to trace a whole class of vehicles to a single one, but this is where it all began." Ford GP-No.1, a prototype for a light, rugged four-wheel-drive vehicle for reconnaissance and other military use, was delivered to the Army for tests Nov. 23, 1940. "The Army still had horse cavalry then," said 97-year-old Ed Welburn Sr., who served in the U.S. Army in Papua-New Guinea and Australia in WWII. "They brought horses to the island, but you can't use horses in the jungle.
The 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No.1 (Pygmy), during initial testing after delivery to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps at Camp Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland 23 November 1940. The Jeep was small and tough. It could travel most anywhere. The cavalry liked the Jeep much better than horses. "It was very durable," said Welburn, who was a mechanic. "But if you had to work on one, you could get 2-3 men to flip it on its side, pull the transmission, then set the Jeep back down and drive it off”. News reports, photos and films quickly made the Jeep famous and nearly indistinguishable from the American GIs who relied on it. "Good Lord, I don't think we could continue the war without the Jeep," wrote war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who won a Pulitzer Prize for describing what life was like for the average GI. "It does everything. It goes everywhere. It's as faithful as a dog, strong as a mule, and as agile as a goat." Pyle was killed by a sniper as he rode in a Jeep on a small Pacific island near Guam on April 18, 1945.
GP-No.1 is on display in the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, 2060 Airport Rd SW, Huntsville, AL 35801. The museum and the Historic Vehicle Association just finished verifying its history and documenting that GP-01 is one of five original test vehicles – two from Ford, two from Willys Overland and one from American Bantam. Originally called the "Pygmy" and built and tested by Ford engineers in Dearborn and Detroit, GP-No.1 is the only one of those prototypes known to still exist in North America. The Pygmy had features that remain prominent on Jeeps today, including the upright grille with vertical slots that are literally the brand's trademark, Historic Vehicle Association President Mark Gessler said. "The government didn't really know what it wanted," when Jeep development began, Fiat Chrysler historian Brandt Rosenbuch said. The Army began work on specifications for a light four-wheel-drive reconnaissance vehicle in 1937 with American Bantam of Butler, Penn. "Bantam deserves the vast majority of the credit for developing the basic concept and capabilities that became the Jeep," Gessler said.
The 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No.1 (Pygmy), featured a low silhouette a flat-hood and a slat-grille incorporating the headlights within the body for protection. GP-No.1 remains almost entirely unrestored
Henry Ford was a staunch pacifist with little interest in the war brewing overseas, but he thought a little four-wheel-drive vehicle could be useful for agriculture, one of his passions. His more globally minded son Edsel used that opening to spearhead the GP-No.1 project, beginning a process that would see Ford become a vital supplier of wartime equipment. The Army evaluated hundreds of vehicles from Bantam, Ford and Willys. It cherry-picked the best features of each to create the military-spec Jeep, a vehicle of unrivaled durability and capability. "It was the finest engineering of the day," Rosenbuch said. "The Jeep brought together everything the best minds in Toledo and Detroit could create." Willys built 362,894 wartime Jeeps, all at its headquarters plant in Toledo, Ohio. Ford built 285,660, initially at the Rouge plant in Detroit that today produces F-150 pickups. Ford later added Jeep production in several other plants around the country, including Louisville, KY, where it still builds pickups and SUVs. American Bantam got the short end of the stick, building just 2,676 Jeeps. The Army threw the little company a bone with a contract to build the trailers that hauled equipment behind Jeeps.
Specifications of 1940 Ford "Pygmy" prototype GP-No.1
42 horsepower Ford 119.5 cubic-inch four-cylinder modified tractor engine.
Spicer transfer case and axles.
Suspension: beam axles on leaf springs.
Length: 133 inches.
Width: 59 inches.
Height: 59 inches
The Jeep remained in military service for decades, but it was popular with civilians before the guns of WWII even fell silent. Willys got special permission to begin building civilian Jeeps months before other automakers were allowed to switch from wartime production and resume their usual businesses. "It was initially marketed as a farm vehicle," Rosenbuch said. "That's why the government allowed civilian production, to help get the economy up and running after the war." Henry Ford donated GP-No.1 to the museum that bears his name in Dearborn in 1948. It remained there, getting surprisingly little attention, until the museum sold it and some other "minor" items from its collection in 1982. History buff Randy Withrow of Huntsville snapped it up. "It gave me a chill," he said. "I couldn't believe they'd auction it off. "It's a survivor. People come to the museum from all over the world specifically to see that Jeep. It's the one that started it all." [Source: Detroit Free Press | Mark Phelan | December 6, 2015 ++]