Marines Allowed To Smoke In Afghanistan

Be it Afghanistan or Saipan, Marines want their smokes.  Now Marines, and other servicemembers, will be allowed to smoke,

The Pentagon reassured troops Wednesday that it won’t ban tobacco products in war zones. Defense officials hadn’t actually planned to eliminate smoking — at least for now. But fear of a ban arose among some troops after the Defense Department received a study recommending the military move toward becoming tobacco-free — perhaps in about 20 years.Battle Weary, Cigarette Smoking Marine on Saipan During Fight to Wrest the Island from Japanese Photographic Print

Press secretary Geoff Morrell pointedly told a Pentagon news conference that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is not planning to prohibit the use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other tobacco products by troops in combat.

“He knows that the situation they are confronting is stressful enough as it is,” Morrell said, noting the wars inIraq and Afghanistan. “I don’t think he is interested in adding to the stress levels by taking away one of the few outlets they may have to relieve stress.”

yojoe out

Somali Pirates Want Revenge Not Money

The Pirates of Somalia previously stated that all they wanted was money, because that is their business. Now, apparently the pirates want more than money, they want revenge,

“The aim of this attack was totally different. We were not after a ransom. We also assigned a team with special equipment to chase and destroy any ship flying the American flag in retaliation for the brutal killing of our friends.”

So much for the strategy of deterrence by payment.  For an excellent explanation of the problem of dealing with the Somali pirates, see Strategy Page,

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Charlie Weis Makes History At Notre Dame Against Navy

Charlie “The Disaster” Weis has done something no Notre Dame coach has done in the past 44 years: he has turned the annual game against Navy into a true rivalry.

For as long as most of us can remember, the Notre Dame Navy game was almost a buy for Notre Dame.  Last year Notre Dame lost to Navy.  This year Navy had a chance to win on the last play of the game.  Final: Notre Dame 27  Navy 21.

yojoe out

Supreme Court Rules Navy May Use Sonar During Training Despite Possible Harm To Whales

As previously reported here, the National Resources Defense Counsel has sued the Navy to prohibit the use of sonar during training exercises off Southern California because such training may be harmful to whales.  This case made its way through the 9th Circuit, and was recently ruled on by the Supreme Court.  Chief Judge Roberts authored the opinion,

Roberts wrote that “the Navy’s need to conduct realistic training with active sonar to respond to the threat posed by enemy submarines plainly outweighs” the environmental concerns raised by advocacy groups. “We do not discount the importance of [the challengers’] ecological, scientific, and recreational interest in marine mammals,” the opinion remarked.

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Navy SEALs Rescue Hostage In Afghanistan

Great story from Sean D. Naylor of the Army Times:

The rattle of the stone against the door failed to rouse the guards. “They were both zipped up inside their sleeping bags, sleeping,” one behind the hostage on the floor of the darkened hut and the other outside, the engineer said. But their prisoner was awake and suddenly alert.

“I heard the latch rattling and somebody came in,” he said. “The first guy came in with a LED light, and I just presumed that somebody was coming to visit. I didn’t think of it anymore until the second guy came in and I saw the silhouette of the first fellow. Then I knew it was U.S. mil that was coming in. I don’t know how many guys actually came into the room, but it was soon filled up, and it was soon obvious that I was being rescued.

“I don’t know what I said in English, but whatever I said I said it rather loudly evidently, because they said ‘Quiet!’ ”

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Navy Abandons Zumwalt-Class Destroyer

The Zumwalt-Class Destroyer (DDG 1000) was to be a class of next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants tailored for land attack and littoral dominance, with capabilities designed to defeat current and projected threats as well as improve battle force defense.

The destroyer was designed to be,

adaptable, affordable, survivable, flexible and responsive.

Evidently, the goal of affordability was not attained.

Growing costs and vulnerability to anti-ship missiles sank the Navy’s once-heralded “stealth destroyer,” a highly advanced warship designed to slip close to the shore unnoticed and pummel targets with big guns boasting pinpoint accuracy.

Faced with cost estimates upward of $5 billion per ship, the Navy had no choice but to let its prized Zumwalt destroyer program end after the first two ships are built, analysts said Wednesday.

The official rationale provided by the Navy for discontinuing the DDG 1000 is the cost.

The scuttlebutt, however, suggests that sailors were troubled by a Z-gram that indicated that they may be forced to wear sideburns if assigned to one of the destroyers.  In all likelihood this is rumor is completely unfounded.

yojoe (in no-sideburns mode) out