Interview with US Navy veteran, survivor of USS Indianapolois sinking, 30 July 1945

Witness, The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
BBC Radio 4
15-minutes
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b037gnxp
Original broadcast date: 28 July 2013

On July 30th 1945 a US warship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Pacific. The sailors who survived the attack spent 4 days adrift in shark-infested waters. Out of 1197 men on board just 317 made it out of the water alive. The horror of their ordeal was made famous by the film ‘Jaws’. Loel Dean Cox is one of the last remaining survivors.

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US Navy frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) rescues fishermen in distress off coast of Ecuador

BZ men & women of USS Rentz! Conducting a rescue of mariners in distress 200 nautical miles off the Ecuadorian coast.

The USS Rentz (FFG 46) is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate homeported at San Diego. In August this year, the frigate intercepted a $78 million cocaine shipment while conducting counter-narcotics operations in support of Operation Martillo. One of only 13 vessels in her class remaining in commission (of 71 built!), the Rentz is scheduled to decommission during FY 2014. But considering how busy she’s been, it does not look like the Rentz intends to go quietly and without fanfare. Good work. Good work indeed.

Lost at Sea: U.S. Navy Ship Rescues 5 Off Ecuador

Guided-missile frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) and embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) conducted a Safety-of-Life-at-Sea operation rescue Oct. 20-21 for a fishing vessel, 200 nautical miles off the coast of Ecuador in distress and stranded for 10 days.

The crew of the 14 meter vessel and four other small crafts in tow, had been without fuel or food prior to Rentz’ arrival.

The distressed vessel was spotted early Sunday morning, Oct. 20 by Rentz’ forward lookouts, who reported the small craft roughly 6,000 yards forward of the ship’s position. The ship swiftly responded and launched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to investigate the situation with embarked U.S. Coast Guard LEDET personnel.

During the two-day rescue operation, LEDET personnel discovered that the vessel and five Ecuadorian nationals aboard had been struck by heavy weather, disorienting the crew and setting the small vessel 100 nautical miles off-course.

Adrift and out of fuel, the crew subsisted on bananas until Rentz arrived on scene and provided meals, ready-to-eat and approximately 120 gallons of diesel fuel; enough to return to home.

“Our crew is prepared to handle a myriad of situations while deployed to the 4th Fleet Area of Operations, including Safety-of-Life-at-Sea operations. We do so with the utmost pride and professionalism, and it is our duty to assist those in need on the high seas when the time comes. I am very pleased with this operation and could not be more proud of the swift actions taken by our crew,” Cmdr. Lance Lantier, commanding officer of USS Rentz said.

Rentz is currently conducting counter transnational organized crime operations in the 4th Fleet Area of Operations as part of Operation Martillo which began in January 2012.

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Lost-at-Sea-US-Navy-Ship-Rescues-5-Off-Ecuador-2013-10-22/

“Canada could benefit from expanding its military presence in the Asia-Pacific”

A look at Canada’s capabilities. In essence, the same as every navy smaller than the USN… augmenting the American force with the key focus on interoperability.

The Royal Canadian Navy in the Pacific – a look at capabilities

By David McDonough

HMCS Algonquin (DDG 283)

Canada could benefit from expanding its military presence in the Asia-Pacific. As I described in a previous Strategist post, the government faces certain budgetary constraints likely to limit the size of its future naval presence and capacity for maritime diplomacy. Yet such a challenge isn’t insurmountable. To ensure sufficient fleet funding, Canada has the option of placing greater priority on the capital portion of the defence budget—even if it comes at the expense of personnel and operations/maintenance spending.

Such a move would offer Ottawa some leverage to join the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus. More importantly, Canada would have a means to help augment America’s naval power in the region, which is expected to be under increasing strain as a result of defence cutbacks—at a time when China is expanding its own naval fleet and showing greater assertiveness in its maritime disputes with its neighbours.

Other like-minded countries have already begun to focus on their own maritime forces. For example, Japan has strengthened its naval fleet with advanced (e.g. air-independent propulsion) submarines, helicopter destroyers, and plans for helicopter carriers, with a keen eye for possible amphibious operations to protect its vulnerable south-western approaches. Australia has also been eager to deploy a more formidable naval presence with its planned acquisition of Aegis destroyers and replacements for its Collins-class submarines. Both platforms are expected to have the high-end command, control, communications, and weapon systems necessary to ensure operational interoperability with the US Pacific Fleet.

Like the Australian navy, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) also has a strong tradition of interoperability with its American counterparts, to the point where Canadian warships can also be seamlessly integrated into US naval task forces (PDF). It would serve the RCN well to ensure that its future naval platforms can continue to be integrated with the US and other regional navies. Much depends on the capabilities offered by these naval platforms, which should be designed to complement America’s efforts at maintaining operational access to the Western Pacific.

The RCN needs to maintain some of its high end maritime war fighting capabilities. Of particular relevance is area air defence (AAD), a capability that should be retained and upgraded on its destroyer replacements—much as Australia has done with upgrades to its Anzac frigates and the Aegis equipped destroyers. Indeed, the United States, Japan, and other allies have become increasingly wary of China’s advanced anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities, from shore-based aircraft and missiles to an undersea and surface fleet heavily armed with anti-ship cruise missiles—a concern reportedly also shared by the RCN, at least according to drafts of its unreleased Horizon 2050 naval strategy.

For the RCN to maintain interoperability with its key regional partners, Canada should also ensure that some of its next-generation Canadian Surface Combatants incorporate the Aegis combat system—joining other regional powers including Japan, Australia, South Korea, and the US Navy. Importantly, Aegis can also be upgraded to provide a mid-course and terminal ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability. Both the United States and Japan have proven eager to expand their BMD fleet, due to China’s development of a much feared anti-ship ballistic missile. Other countries may soon follow suit.

An anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability would also be highly valued in a region where many countries are expanding their submarine inventories. Much of the concern is on China’s undersea fleet, as a possible ‘assassin’s mace‘ capable of challenging American and allied sea control in this maritime theatre. For this reason, the US Navy has already been increasing its ASW assets in the region, with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) operating a formidable fleet that specializes in undersea and surface ASW.

The RCN already has a long history of ASW operations. Indeed, with its fleet of Victoria-class submarines, the RCN would be better placed for these missions than in the past, when it largely relied on surface ASW and escort duties. It also provides the natural locus for cooperation with regional navies, like the JMSDF. Of course, ASW isn’t necessarily cheap. Canada would eventually need to replace its fleet of Aurora maritime patrol aircraft and Victoria submarines. But, given the growing demand for ASW, we shouldn’t underplay the benefits that could be accrued by returning to this specialisation.

With such capabilities, the RCN would be well placed to support American and allied efforts to ensure sea control in the Western Pacific. If required, Canada would also be able to join in defensive missions envisioned in the US Air-Sea Battle concept, while avoiding its more offensive plans to disrupt and destroy A2/AD systems at their source.

Yet it would all be for naught if Canada lacks the logistics for sustained operations in the Pacific, therefore raising the issue of operational sustainment. Sadly, little attention has been paid to the future of the RCN’s auxiliary oiler replenishment fleet. Indeed, it’ll now have to settle for the acquisition of only two Joint Supply Ships, thereby increasing the chances that Canadian warships will be unable to be deployed for sustained operations abroad—unless an ally provides at-sea replenishment, which can no longer be guaranteed given the growing demand for such logistics ships.

In such a situation, the RCN might find its emphasis on Pacific operations curtailed, even if it otherwise enjoys high-end capabilities well-suited to that region. But, more importantly, it could also find its historic role as a blue-water fleet possibly endangered. Such an outcome would be doubly unfortunate, and is an important reminder not to ignore the logistical tail.

David S. McDonough is a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science, University of British Colombia and a research fellow in the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University. Image courtesy of Flickr user U.S. Pacific Command.

http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-royal-canadian-navy-in-the-pacific-a-look-at-capabilities/

Chinese naval squadron passes through Strait of Magellan for first time

A Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Navy squadron has passed through the Strait of Magellan from the Pacific into the Atlantic. The force comprises the Type 052C destroyer ‘Lanzhou’, the Type 54A frigate ‘Liuzhou’ and the Fuqing-class replenishment oiler ‘Poyanghu’. The fleet political commissar”(队政委… now there’s a job description!) commented that this was {quote} “a very meaningful military practice” {unquote}. Which hits the nail on the head. China is no longer content to be a regional naval power and is increasing its global projection. The West ignores that at its peril.

高清:中国海军舰艇编队首次通过麦哲伦海峡

麦哲伦海峡东部出口海域宽阔,海峡两岸是一座雪山。图为兰州舰航行在麦哲伦海峡。严冬摄

14日下午3时(北京时间15日凌晨2时),由导弹驱逐舰兰州舰、导弹护卫舰柳州舰和综合补给舰鄱阳湖舰组成的舰艇编队顺利通过麦哲伦海峡,抵达海峡东部出口引水点。这是中国海军舰艇编队首次航经麦哲伦海峡。

记者在兰州舰看到,海峡东部出口海域宽阔,天气晴朗,平均浪高2米,风力3-4级,海面过往船只、油井平台较多。我舰艇编队组成单纵队劈波斩浪,一路向北航行。

编队13日从智利内水道转入麦哲伦海峡西部入口水域,顶着海面9-10级大风,在浪高达4-6米,摇摆达10度以上。陶宏祥摄

编队是昨日从智利内水道转入麦哲伦海峡西部入口水域,当地时间下午2时进入海峡。当时,海面风力9-10级,浪高4-6米,舰艇摇摆10度以上。进入海峡后,风浪减少了许多,但海面风力仍达到5-6级,平均浪高3米。

为了确保编队航行安全,全体官兵在指挥员、南海舰队副参谋长李晓岩少将的率领下,认真研究、精心准备、精确操作,严格落实狭水道航行、雾中航行、大风浪航行等部署,航渡过程没有出现任何差错,顺利通过海峡。

在麦哲伦海峡入口处,狂风卷起巨浪打过兰州舰。何得志摄

兰州舰舰长唐银川有着多年的航海经验,也曾多次在各种复杂海域航行过,提起此次航渡麦哲伦海峡的感受,他向记者介绍:“海峡航行里程、狭窄地段长,水道曲折,大角度转向多,西风和涌浪较大,流向多变,在这里航行,确实是一种挑战,但是我们经受住了考验,得到了锻炼,复杂陌生海域的舰艇操纵能力得到进一步加强。”

记者了解到,通过海峡后,编队领导亲自部署,要求各舰、各相关部门细心收集和整理相关资料,认真总结航渡经验。编队政委冯瑞声说:“此次我们海军舰艇编队首次通过麦哲伦海峡,显示了中国海军在走向深蓝的征程中更加从容和自信。这也是一次非常有意义的军事实践活动。”(记者陶宏祥 特约记者曾行践)

我舰艇编队组成单纵队劈波斩浪,一路向北航行。海峡两岸是一座座雪山。陶宏祥摄

新闻链接:

麦哲伦海峡位于南美洲大陆南端和火地岛、克拉伦斯岛、圣伊内斯岛之间,长约563km,宽3.3~32km,由地壳断裂下陷而成。1520年,葡萄牙航海家麦哲伦首先通过,因此取名麦哲伦海峡。海峡处于南纬50多度的西风带,两侧岩岸陡峭、高耸入云。海峡内寒冷多雾,并多大风暴,是世界上风浪最猛烈的水域之一,不利于航运发展,但在巴拿马运河开通前,是南大西洋和南太平洋间的重要航道。麦哲伦海峡,实行“过境通行”和强制引航制度。

USS Rentz seizes $78 million in cocaine

The USS Rentz (FFG-46) is an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate based at Naval Base San Diego.

One of only 13 vessels in her class still in commission (out of 71 built!), the Retnz is scheduled to decommission in 2014.

Frigate Rentz seizes $78M in cocaine

The Rentz is one of only five frigates that are still stationed in San Diego. navy.mil

A San Diego-based warship has seized cocaine worth about $78 million — just one week into its latest drug-busting operation.

The frigate Rentz deployed from Naval Base San Diego on July 25 for the seven-month campaign called Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”).

The frigate’s crew wasted no time in starting their latest mission in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean.

Less than a week on station in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility, servicemen seized 2,123 pounds of cocaine from a fishing vessel north of the Galapagos Islands.

“We are very fortunate to have the Rentz and embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment on patrol conducting counter transnational organized crime operations,” said Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/4th Fleet.

“This major seizure in the first week the ship is on station is a clear indicator that illicit activities are taking place and must be addressed to counter their destabilizing affects in the region and in our nation.”

Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.

During last week’s operation, the Rentz worked closely with a Navy P-3 Orion long-range patrol aircraft to detect and intercept the fishing vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters.

The U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team aboard the frigate discovered and confiscated the cache of cocaine shortly after boarding the vessel.

Since Operation Martillo started in January 2012, 318,133 pounds of cocaine and 25,052 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $40 billion have been confiscated.

As well as targeting drug runners in the waterways, the Rentz will also take part in the annual multinational UNITAS maritime exercise next month.

This exercise will be conducted in the Southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia with naval forces from Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Rentz is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/aug/16/rentz-cocaine-interdiction/

PHOTEX: USS Preble fires Mk 45 5-inch gun in Philippine Sea

130811-N-TX154-027 PHILIPPINE SEA (Aug. 11, 2013) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) fires it’s Mk 45 5 in. lightweight gun during a live-fire exercise. Preble is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly/Released)