By Ray Starmann
The US Navy has taken three torpedoes to its bow and is going down.
These are trying times for the US Navy. It seems that every two weeks or so there is some crisis engulfing the once proud, competent and steadfast organization that used to be a bedrock of the nation’s defense.
The performance and conduct of the US Navy lately has seemed like something emanating from a Third World, Banana Republic coastal defense force; heavy on medals and light on brains, skills and tenacious fighting spirit.
Three days ago the USS Donald Cook was taunted and embarrassed by Russian SU-24 fighters who used the guided missile destroyer as mock target practice during danger close gun runs on the vessel.
According to CBS News:
A senior defense official told CBS News that two recent incidents were “more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time.”
The first, on April 11, involved two Russian SU24s, when the USS Donald Cook left the Polish port of Gdynia and was about 70 nautical miles from Kaliningrad in the Baltic Sea. The official said the Russian jets made 20 passes of the American ship and flew within 1,000 yards at an altitude of just 100 feet.
In the second incident on April 12, two Russian KA27 Helix helicopters flew several circles around the Donald Cook, apparently taking photos, after which two jets again made numerous close passes of the ship in what the official described as “Simulated Attack Profile.”
The U.S. ship tried to contact the plane’s cockpit, but received no response.
The Russian plane, which the U.S. says was unarmed, made at least 12 passes. This continued for about 90 minutes. The event ended without incident.
Twelve passes for 90, count ‘em, NINETY minutes and all the US Navy did was video the incident and put it on You Tube and Facebook so they could get a few “likes.”
Where in the heck was Naval Air the whole time to chase away the Russian aircraft? I find it hard to believe that a US Navy destroyer was wandering around in the Baltic by itself.
US Navy air power seemed to be as absent from this disgraceful incident as it was in the Persian Gulf when the Navy was surrendering to Iranian thugs in dinghies.
And, it gets worse. It seems that the Russians pulled this same act with the USS Donald Cook in 2014 and all we did was sit there and twiddle our thumbs.
The Iranians also know we’re a weak sister. Lieutenant David Nartker, commanding officer of two US Navy Riverine boats, surrendered his men and his craft with superior firepower and navigation systems to a half dozen Iranian thugs in bass boats that they had stolen from Babe Winkelman’s fishing show. Nartker surrendered without firing so much as a flare. After boarding the Navy boats, Nartker and his men were ordered down on their knees while the Iranians trained machine guns and cameras on them.
Nartker doubled and tripled and quadrupled down on his disgraceful conduct by telling a worldwide TV audience that the Iranians hospitality was just fabulous. To add insult to injury, one of his men, felt it was an opportune time to start bawling his head off like he was a guest on Oprah.
As of now, the public has never been told what actually happened in the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon is very adept at hiding things.
Smoke and Mirrors is job one at the Pentagon.
Ash Carter may be able to stow Nartker away in preparation for his eventual assignment as Chief of Naval Operations, but he can’t hide the Navy’s incompetence and cowardice from the enemies of this nation.
We are weak and the bad guys damned well know it.
The word is out on the high seas, on the Arab Street, in the mountains of Afghanistan and in the snowdrifts of the Kremlin; the US military is a feminized weakling. Its senior leaders are the rubber men of Arlington and its commander in chief learned how to street fight on the set of Will and Grace.
The word is out. You can taunt, harass, kick, capture and throw sand in the face of the US Navy and nothing will happen to you because the US Navy doesn’t have the leadership, or the stones to do a damned thing about it.
Superseding the sickening display of fecklessness on the Baltic Sea was the revelation this week that US Navy Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin faces charges of espionage, attempted espionage, patronizing a prostitute, adultery and falsifying federal records.
Lin’s last duty station before being arrested was with Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, from February 2014 to March 2016. The unit flies the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, searching for enemy submarines and performing reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering operations in the Pacific.
This week the Washington Post also learned that Lin has been in the brig for eight months, conveniently hidden from the public by the Pentagon. What’s new? The Pentagon has more dirt under the E-Ring Oriental rug than all the sawdust in America.
Lin, a Taiwanese-born naturalized American, seems to have successfully dodged the CI boys in low quarters and white socks for years, while passing vital national security information to the Chinese.
Speaking of national security scandals, there is the ongoing Fat Leonard Affair, which involves the Chief of Naval Intelligence.
Fat Leonard is not a villain on Hawaii Five-O, but the Malaysian defense contractor, Leonard Glenn Francis, who pleaded guilty to orchestrating one of the U.S. Navy’s biggest corruption scandals. Standing 6 feet, 3 inches, and weighing some 350 pounds, the 51-year-old is better known as “Fat Leonard” in Navy circles, and has admitted to bribing countless Navy officials with cash, prostitutes and lavish gifts.
“Fat Leonard” was the CEO of the Glenn Defense Marina Asia group, headquartered in Singapore. He initially fought the charges, but after a wave of defendants admitted their complicity, he later admitted he overcharged the U.S. Navy by more than $20 million for fuel, food and other services at his Asian ports, and also invented tariffs via fake port authorities. Between 2004 and 2013, Francis plied Navy officials with gifts of cash exceeding $500,000, promises of sex from prostitutes amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, all-expense-paid hotel stays, Cuban cigars and various other material gifts, according to his plea agreement.
In return, Francis received classified information such as ship schedules from various naval officers, including Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, who was seen as a rising star in the Navy, according to Raw Story. “Misiewicz and Francis moved Navy vessels like chess pieces, diverting aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships to Asian ports with lax oversight where Francis could inflate costs,” the criminal complaint alleges, according to AP. Misiewicz maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty.
Eight people, including Misiewicz, have been implicated in the corruption scandal so far, including Navy officers, a senior Navy investigator and Francis’ cousin.
Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information and the Director of Naval Intelligence has been without a security clearance since November of 2013 after his name was mentioned in a far-ranging investigation into the infamous “Fat Leonard” bribery and corruption scandal. The Navy had nominated Rear Admiral Elizabeth Train to take over as head of Navy Intelligence, but the nomination was pulled two weeks ago.
Think about that; the head of Navy Intelligence doesn’t even have a clearance!
More importantly, why would the Navy dither for over two years on the replacement for Branch?
Obviously, this crisis has been overlooked by Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who is too busy destroying the new Gender Neutral Marine Corps.
Adding to all these problems, the Navy has serious readiness issues. Three days ago, Republican Congressman Randy Forbes chaired a hearing Wednesday where he advocated for growing the size of the Navy’s fleet.
Forbes, the chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, heard testimony from former Navy Secretary John Lehman, on the Navy’s ship shortfalls and the need for a significantly larger fleet. Former Fleet Forces Commander Admiral Robert Natter will testify later.
Forbes released the following statement before the meeting:
When John Lehman stepped down as Secretary of the Navy in 1987 we had 594 ships. When ADM Natter retired from the Navy in 2003 we had 297 ships. Today we have a fleet of 272 ships that is too small to meet the demands being thrust upon it.
Poor leadership, gutless officers, unethical and traitorous officers, lousy morale, enlisted personnel who don’t understand the Code of Conduct, readiness concerns, old equipment, fighting spirit issues; the US Navy has deep, serious problems that if allowed to continue will bring down this once proud and brave service.
The US Navy hasn’t been in a direct fire engagement since 1988. While Naval Air assets played a vital role in the Gulf War, the Iraq War and in Afghanistan, the absence of actual naval combat has begun to take a toll on the Navy.
The US Navy has a peacetime attitude in a wartime world.
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