Page: http://blog.richardslowry.com/ Richard's Blog
Sep 27th, 2013 by Richard Lowry
Coming Soon – Code Name Scarlet – a novel by Richard S. Lowry

Would you sacrifice the one you love to save the world?

 

Code Name Scarlet is a twenty-first century suspense thriller that is pulled from the pages of your newspaper. It begins with the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and ends years later in Quetta, Pakistan. As the story progresses, the unrelated lives of men and women from around the world, move closer and closer together, until they all become part of an event that will change the course of history.

Major Ben Rydell, a young Marine infantry officer who lost both of his parents in the World Trade Center tragedy, finds the love of his life, Meredith Wilson, and is forced to leave her to command a strike force in Operation Scarlet. Lindsey Warner, a young, blonde CIA officer meets Lieutenant Commander Rich Graham, a Navy SEAL, at Kandahar Airfield and they too fall in love. Lindsey and Rich also become key players in Operation Scarlet.

Dr. Achmed Ali Bahan, a Pakistani bomb maker, devises an insidious bomb fuse that can be programmed to detonate anywhere in the world. He becomes involved in a grandiose plot to bring fire and destruction to the American infidel. He allies himself with Taliban and al Qaeda leadership and learns that the Pakistani ISI has given them a nuclear weapon.

As Dr. Bahan refines his plan to explode the nuclear weapon in the American homeland, Lindsey begins to hear rumors of a new al Qaeda plot. Meanwhile, the President of the United States asks the military to develop a plan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and Aymen al Zawahiri. CENTCOM brings the American military’s best and brightest leaders together to define Operation Scarlet. As the story develops, Operation Scarlet morphs into a plan to find and secure the rogue nuclear weapon.

The story climaxes with a large military operation in the southwestern mountains of Pakistan. As history has proven over and over again, no plan ever survives first contact. Lindsey and Rich are forced to improvise and must make life and death choices to complete the mission.

This is a story of love and war; heroism and cowardice; hollow victory and painful loss. It will make you think and it will make you cry.

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Jun 4th, 2012 by Richard Lowry

June Remembrance – USS Herring (SS-233)

We lost 84 brothers and the USS Herring to the sea on the first of June 1, 1944. According to Japanese records, these brave men and their submarine went down fighting, all perishing at sea[1].

Herring was a young submarine. She was under construction when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After the attack, Herring was rushed to completion – launched on January 15, 1942 and then commissioned in May. The brand new submarine participated in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, where she sank the 5,700 ton cargo ship – Ville du Harve. For the next year, she made a total of five war patrols in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, returning to New London on July 26, 1943.[2]

Two weeks later, Herring sailed for Pearl Harbor. After her transit and a stint of rigorous crew training, she sailed again on November 15th for her sixth war patrol. This time, Herring’s fury would be unleashed on the Imperial Japanese Navy. Herring sank two cargo ships on that patrol; the nearly four thousand ton Hakozaki Maru on December 14th and the sixty-one hundred ton Nagoya Maru on New Year’s Day of 1944[3].

Lieutenant Commander David Zabriskie, Jr. assumed command of Herring after her sixth patrol. Zabriskie, a Naval Academy football star, was an experienced submarine officer. He had six war patrols under his belt, on which he had participated in the sinking or damaging of seventeen enemy vessels[4]. His courage and skills on those patrols earned him a Silver Star and command of his own boat. David Zabriski, Jr, was a rising star in the US submarine service. Zabriskie, Herring and a seasoned crew set sail for the boat’s seventh patrol and on March 24, 1944, she almost sank a Japanese carrier. The carrier’s escorts detected Herring as she moved in for the kill and drove her deep before she could get a firing solution. Herring escaped the attack and returned to port to prepare for its eighth and final patrol.

Under Zabriskie’s aggressive leadership, Herring’s last patrol would prove to be her most successful. Herring motored out of the harbor at Midway Island for the last time on May 16th, 1944. She rendezvoused with USS Barb (SS-220) on May 30th and the two captains coordinated their upcoming combined operations. That night, Zabriskie and his crew encountered three Japanese cargo ships, accompanied by the Japanese destroyer escort Ishigaki. Herring attacked Ishigaki first, sinking the convoy’s only protection. Then Zabriskie turned on the Hokuyo Maru, sinking her too[5]. The other two ships bolted, but were hunted down and sunk by Barb.

Zabriskie then headed for the Japanese anchorage at Matsuwa Island. He moved in close to shore and sank two Japanese cargo ships at anchor in the shallow waters near the island on the morning of June first[6]. During the bold attack, a Japanese shore battery opened fire and Herring took two direct hits to her conning tower, mortally damaging the ship[7]. She led a short life – loved by her crew – so much so that they all battled the sea with her to the end.


[1] The Navy Department Library, Herring (SS-233) www.history.navy.mil/online/sublosses.herring.htm.

[2] Wikipedia, USS Herring (SS-233), http://en.wikipedia/wiki/USS_Herring_(SS-233).

[3] Ibid, Wikipedia.

[4] Silver Star citation for David Zabriskie, Jr., MilitaryTimes.com.

[5] Ibid, The Navy Department Library.

[6] Ibid, The Navy Department Library.

[7] Ibid, The Navy Department Library.

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Aug 14th, 2011 by Richard Lowry
Don’t forget my Dad

Bryan and Braydon Nichols

Last weekend, on August 6th, 2011, our nation lost thirty of its finest Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors in the single largest loss of life for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Thirty fathers, sons, husbands and brothers lost their lives in a horrific Special Operations helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Tanji Valley. Eight brave Afghan soldiers were also killed in the crash.

It is believed that the helicopter was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade, fired by a Taliban insurgent while it was transporting elite Navy SEALs to the scene of an on-going fire fight. US Army Rangers had been searching for a Taliban leader when they came under fire and a gun battle ensued. The Rangers called for reinforcements and the CH-47 helicopter was shot down while bringing the SEALs in to thefight.

All week, we have heard story after story focusing on America’s most elite Special Operators – the Navy SEALs. But, a ten year old boy, Braydon Nichols, wanted to know why his father’s photo was not included with those we had been seeing all last week. His father was the pilot of the Chinook helicopter. His father was his hero. His father was a member of another elite American unit. His father was a member of the U.S. Army’s 158th Aviation Regiment – a unit which ferried Rangers and SEALs in and out of Harm’s way.

Of the 30 Americans lost, 17 were Navy SEALs and 15 of the 17 belonged to the top-secret unit that conducted the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Five were men with particular specialties who regularly worked with the SEALs. The other eight included three Air Force forward air controllers and five Army helicopter crew members, including the pilot of the aircraft, Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols.

Bryan always wanted to be a solider. He enlisted in the military before he had graduated from high school and worked his way up through the ranks until he eventually had the opportunity to pilot the same type of helicopter his father flew in Vietnam – a Chinook.

Bryan’s son, Braydon, also dreamed of flying alongside his father one day. Let us honor this boy’s remembrance and never forget Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, United States Army – an American hero. And never forget the other twenty-nine brave Americans lost in that crash.

Thank you for your service to our nation –

Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La.

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, Calif.,

Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.,

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers, 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minn.,

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Mass.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, W.Va.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, La.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Mich.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, Calif.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Neb.

Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Fla.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, Calif.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minn.

Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colo.

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

Sergeant Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Neb.

Sergeant Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

Specialist Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kan.

Technical Sergeant John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla.

Staff Sergeant Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, Calif.

and

Technical Sergeant Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pa.

Braydon Nichols posted a photo of his father online, saying; “please don’t forget about my Dad.” Please reach out to the children of these men to let them know how much we all appreciate their dedication to our nation. Please let them know we will never forget their Dads.

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May 22nd, 2011 by Richard Lowry
A Final Farewell

Today, Saturday, May 21, 2011, I had the honor of bidding farewell Marion “Turk” Turner’s as his ashes were returned to the sea for his eternal patrol. A cool breeze blew in Bataan’s hanger deck this morning as an honor guard, silhouetted by the bright morning sun, stood at attention in their crisp dress white uniforms. There was a white morning haze separating the deep blue sea and a clear blue sky. It was a perfect day to say goodbye.

Turk was born Marion Turner on April 22, 1918 in Moultrie, Georgia and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. He became an Electrician’s Mate and immediately volunteered for the submarine service. He served aboard USS Sealion and USS Perch.

While serving aboard Perch, the boat was attacked by Japanese destroyers on March 1, 1942. The Captain quickly submerged the boat, as the enemy quickly closed in on the American submarine. The relentless depth charge attack drove the boat down to 135 feet. Turk and his friends worked through the night patching leaks and they were finally able to resurface early the next morning to get fresh air and recharge their batteries.

The enemy ships spotted Perch when she surfaced and attacked – again. This time the depth charges exploded dangerously close, rupturing one of Perch’s ballast tanks, belching oil and bubbles toward the surface. Perch waited in silence until it was safe to surface again. They patched up all they could but the damage was too severe to allow Perch to submerge again. Unable to submerge, the boat’s captain, Lieutenant Commander David A. Hurt ordered the ship to be abandoned and the submarine scuttled.

Years later, Turner recalled: “… as we were given the order to ‘abandon the boat’ when Perch was going down, our captain was the last man off the conning tower. We were in the water for awhile before the Japanese came by to rescue our crew. We did not know if they were going to shoot us or abandon us to the sea. Hurt was having difficulty treading water as the Japanese ship was rescuing the crew using a rickety ladder.”

The captain told Turner that he “wasn’t going to make it,” and said, “Just leave me Turk, I no longer have the strength to go on, save yourself … leave me.”

“I wasn’t going to listen to that,” Turner remembered, “so I dove down and came up right under him, and I pushed him right up the ladder with him still protesting,”

The entire crew survived that day, but six died later in Japanese POW camps as they all endured cruel beatings, starvation and tropical diseases for three and a half years. Fellow POWs remember Turk for his indomitable spirit. Daily, he would tell his friends, ‘We will be saved tomorrow.’ Turk, his friends and the captain were not rescued until the end of the war. After more than three years of captivity, they returned home to the United States October 17, 1945.

Turk Turner remained in the Navy until he retired on December 1, 1959. He settled in Virginia Beach and because of his POW experience with survivors of the Bataan Death March, became a friend of USS Bataan. Turner made many visits to events sponsored by Bataan until his death on February 28, 2011.

Over sixty years after receiving his injuries while in captivity, Turner was presented the Purple Heart Medal, January 2, 2011 during a ceremony held at King’s Grant Baptist Church in Virginia Beach.

“Turk showed us all courage and humility during and after facing the enormous struggle of a POW,” said Captain Stephen T. Koehler, who as the commanding officer of USS Bataan, pinned the medals on Turner. “He gave us perspective when we thought we were having a bad day. It only takes a thought of him with his struggle over 60 years ago, and the way he handled it with a positive attitude to shed light on our current day-to-day problems.

“He became a friend and inspiration to both me and the crew of Bataan with this positive attitude and his zest for life,” Koehler continued. “He spent a lot of his time with my young Sailors telling stories and relating his time in submarines and as a POW, for which I am grateful. He was truly a great influence on Bataan Sailors in our quest to keep Bataan’s heritage part of our ship.”

Ted Davis, a retired U.S. Navy captain and former commanding officer of the USS Grenadier SS 525, echoed Plantz’s praise.

“There is nothing Turk wouldn’t do or has not already done for his country, his service, his friends, and his family,” said Davis, a long-time friend and member of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. “Turk showed us the way a hero walks, softy with love in his heart. He may have spent many tours in Hell, but he served God and country for life.”

This morning, after a short speech and prayer, Turk’s remains were passed to Captain Stephen Koehler, who reverentially placed the ashes under an American flag. Then, Turk was committed to the deep to the sharp shrill whistle of a Boatswain’s Pipe and a final hand salute.

Farewell my brother, may you rest in peace.

Richard S. Lowry is currently embedded with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, on-station in the Mediterranean Sea with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard USS Bataan LHD 5. Richard is a contemporary military historian, award-winning author and former submarine sailor. He is a member of USSVI’s Central Florida Base and served aboard the USS Ulysses S. Grant SSBN 631 from 1968 to 1975. During that time, he made eight deterrent patrols. Read more about Richard and his work at www.richardslowry.com.

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May 19th, 2011 by Richard Lowry
Gator Squares

The 22nd MEU has been on station in the Mediterranean for about two weeks now and we have done absolutely nothing to assist the people of Libya who continue to be slaughtered by their own government. We have spent all our time training and avoiding all other shipping. Once our coalition allies realize that the Obama Doctrine is to instigate but not participate, I fear that they too will back away from their mission of helping the Libyan people.

President Obama has publically stated two important goals for the resolution of the Libyan crisis: First, he has said that the fighting must stop and; second – Qaddafi must go.

The President acted decisively in halting the pro-Qaddafi forces’ advance on Benghazi when he ordered 26th MEU’s Harriers to attack the advancing Libyan Army from the air. He has done nothing to work toward his other stated goal and, after our initial involvement, he has done nothing more to stop the fighting. Qaddafi will not just go away on Mr. Obama’s request. Once a president sets a goal, he needs to lead the military in developing plans to achieve that goal.

It appears that Mr. Obama’s plan is to let other nations take the reins while America watches from the grandstands, cheering NATO and the Coalition on from the sidelines. Mr. Obama has abdicated his seat as leader of the free world and obviously washed his hands of the entire mess.

All the while, four thousand Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are driving in circles in the Mederiteranean. We have left our families to wait at home, missed Easter and Mother’s Day, and ten new fathers were not home to see their sons and daughters born. I am all for the existence of an expeditionary force. I am all for our troops, but I must tell you that this is all a giant waste of time and money for 22nd MEU to be sitting out here doing nothing. A young sailor, mother of two children, said to me today, “I feel like I’m in the Navy to help, but I’m not really helping.”

The MEU has the resources needed directly over our horizon. We could help evacuate refugees. We could provide our substantial medical facilities to wounded Libyans. We could contribute to the air raids or help in the maritime embargo or we could put boots on the ground to decapitate the Qaddafi regime.

Yet, we are traveling in circles.

Semper Fidelis,

Richard

Richard S. Lowry has been writing about the Marine Corps for many years. To learn more about his writing and how to purchase his latest book, visit www.richardslowry.com.

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Apr 24th, 2011 by Richard Lowry
Another day at sea

Greetings from USS Bataan, underway in the Atlantic

110417-N-7508R-001The young men and women of the United States Navy and Marine Corps live a life most of us could not imagine when they sail the seas for you and me. It is a Spartan life. They leave most of the comforts we take for granted as they sail over the horizon.

Many bring iPods, wet wipes and cookies but their lives are drastically changed when they sail out to sea. My first taste of their sacrifice was the loss of the information we have all become accustomed to receiving at home.

Americans are bombarded with information from the time we get up in the morning, to the time we go to bed at night. We turn on our television sets to get the weather and traffic as we prepare for our day; we listen to our radios as we drive to work; most of us have a computer on our desk where we are literally connected to the world through Facebook, Wikipedia and Google; and if there is some piece of unique information we want – there’s an app for that.

Out here on the sea, the Sailors and Marines have none of that. They are lucky if the satellite connection stays up long enough to receive their few email messages. They are elated if they can sit through a March Madness playoff game without losing the signal while the ball is in the air for the winning shot at the buzzer.

Out here, we get our weather by looking outside and measuring how far our chair slides across the deck in heavy seas. Out here, we get our news by word of mouth, to later realize that it was only rumor.

These young Sailors and Marines sacrifice so much every day just by being out here on the high seas. There are no McDonalds, 7-Elevens or local bars. There are no sidewalks, driveways or trees. Everyone is packed into this giant metal monster, plodding our way across the ocean.

We could see land a few days ago. After a week of crossing the Atlantic, the silhouette of mountains on the horizon was a fascination to the Sailors and Marines on the hanger deck. Everyone moved to get a look as word spread. A small group of Marines joked that they could swim for it and make it to shore: never mind the fact that the white capped waves were ten feet tall in a rolling sea and that land was at least fifteen miles away.

The short thrill dissipated as the land disappeared behind us and the men and women on the hanger deck returned to their daily routine. The Sailors and Marines are kept busy with maintenance, training and drilling but at the end of the day they only have a tiny rack to call their own. Every day is a Monday and hours slowly turn to days. Days drag on into weeks. And weeks give way to months. The only respite from the boredom is mail call.

Semper Fidelis,

Richard

Richard S. Lowry has been writing about the Marine Corps for many years. To learn more about his writing and how to purchase his latest book, visit www.richardslowry.com.

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Apr 13th, 2011 by Richard Lowry
Bataan Amphibious Ready Group Receives Visit from Commander, U.S. Second Fleet

Bataan ARGUSS BATAAN, at sea – Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) received a visit from the Commander, U.S. Second Fleet, April 11-12.

Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway visited each of the three ARG ships during the final two days of a rigorous integration training cycle designed to prepare the blue-green team for a broad range of amphibious operations.

During the three weeks of accelerated training, Sailors and Marines tested their ability to perform in such areas as flight deck and well deck operations, air and surface-defense exercises, replenishments-at-sea, small boat operations, medical evacuations, non-combatant evacuation, and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel.

“I came out here for one reason only, and that is to congratulate you on the way you have come together during this training,” said Holloway in an address to Sailors and Marines on board USS Bataan (LHD 5). “It is no small feat to surge like you have. You have risen to the occasion and knocked this training out of the park.”

The integrated training, conducted by Strike Force Training Atlantic and the Marine Corps’ Special Operation Training Group, began shortly after the Marines embarked March 29.

For many Sailors and Marines, the training marked their first experience working together.

“This is my first deployment, and it took awhile to get used to being on a ship,” said Lance Cpl. Dijon Terry, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263. “I spent the first few days lost and trying to get used to the ship rocking. I feel much more comfortable now and I really like the Sailors and Marines I work with. As we head east, I know we’re ready.”

Holloway was present during the final training exercise, a complex scenario that tested each watch stander’s ability to make tactical decisions and work together as a unified team.

Holloway expressed his satisfaction with the considerable progress Sailors and Marines had achieved during their short time underway, as well as his confidence that the team will only continue to grow stronger as they ‘sharpen the sword’ and refine their skill sets.

“We are proud of you,” said Holloway. “You are the face of the Navy and Marine Corps and the face of the nation.”

The BATARG deployed three months ahead of their original schedule to relieve the Kearsarge ARG and 26th MEU, currently conducting operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

The BATARG is comprised of Bataan, amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41).

For more information about Bataan, visit the ship’s website at http://www.bataan.navy.mil.
Reposted with permission from Bataan ARG Public Affairs

Semper Fidelis,

Richard

Richard S. Lowry has been writing about the Marine Corps for many years. To learn more about his writing and how to purchase his latest book, visit www.richardslowry.com.

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Apr 11th, 2011 by Richard Lowry
At sea with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

110408-N-3965T-160Today, April 9, 2011, is the sixty-ninth anniversary of the fall of the Philippine island of Bataan and the beginning of the “Bataan Death March.” The brave men on Bataan had been under siege since the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor.  They held as long as they could without re-supply or reinforcement until they were finally forced to surrender. The 4500 men and women of USS Bataan held a moment of silence today in remembrance of that fateful day in history. It was the first time the ship has been quiet since my arrival eleven days ago.

Our days have been filled with exercises of every sort. We have practiced fires, flooding and defending ourselves from attacks from the air, land and sea. The air crews have been continuously honing their skills on the flight deck. The Air Boss and his staff have been directing the intricate ballet of launching and landing several different kinds of aircraft from this relatively small flight deck.

The ships’ officers have participated in this ballet by working with the Air Boss to correctly position the ship for “Flight Quarters” while avoiding other maritime traffic and, at times, conducting drills to practice evading and fighting off small boat attacks.

The Battalion Landing Team has not sat idly by. They have been practicing helicopter borne raids along with mechanized and motorized operations. These exercises include launching and retrieving our amphibious craft, further complicating the air operations and maneuvering of the ship.

All the while, the ships’ crew has been working to keep this small floating city running. They have manned the engine room, laundry and galleys. They have worked to maintain the sophisticated electronics and weapons systems and they have kept our satellite television and internet connection to the world working.

All the elements of the Blue/Green Team in the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group are coming together and are beginning to operate as a finely tuned instrument. Soon, the world will see the varied capabilities of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked aboard Amphibious Ready Group 6.

Semper Fidelis,

Richard

Richard S. Lowry has been writing about the Marine Corps for many years. To learn more about his writing and how to purchase his latest book, visit www.richardslowry.com.

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Jan 16th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
Send in the Marines – Again
U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC)

U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC)

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit set sail at 0900 on Saturday, January 16th, from Camp Lejeune, NC. The sailors and Marines of 22nd MEU have been working round-the-clock for over 24 hours to prepare for sea. Now, they are steaming at full speed toward Haiti—a thousand-mile journey. By my calculations, they should be on scene by sometime Tuesday morning.

Colonel Gary Brandl and his staff will spend the next few days gathering intelligence and planning for their mission. The Marines will be training in first aid, brushing up on their French and Creole phrases, and cleaning and preparing their equipment.

You will know when the Marines land. They have some uniquely recognizable tools they are bringing to this life-saving operation. The first vehicle you will see will be their Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) hovercraft. The LCACs are actually maintained and operated by the U. S. Navy, but the Marines use these vehicles to move their men, vehicles and equipment from ship-to-shore.

The LCACs are huge, capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. They are high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft. LCACs can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank. Air cushion technology allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world’s coastline, while only about 15 percent of that coastline is accessible by conventional landing craft.

These amphibious craft will allow the Marines to quickly bring supplies onto the island. They will be highly visible and when you see one in the next few days, you will know the Marines have landed.

Visit Richard S. Lowry’s website for more information on him and his books. Watch for his latest book, New Dawn, in book stores on May 14th.

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Jan 12th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
We are the Good Guys

SEALs TridentIn the face of brutal treatment from a vicious enemy, our American leadership has chosen to undermine our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Their “Monday morning quarterbacking” impedes our young men and women’s efforts in fighting the war on terror. We MUST remember that we are the “good guys.” We should do everything in our power to act morally and with compassion and conscience. And, I believe we do.

Colonel Michael Shupp told his Marines on the eve of the attack into Fallujah: “Take the fight to the enemy, but fight with firmness, dignity, and respect. You are warriors, not criminals.”[1]

Of course, there will always be a small few who will not act as we would want them to in combat. These people should be dealt with and held responsible for their actions. BUT, there should not be a national “witch hunt,” publicized to the world. Our government and media play into our enemy’s hands when they inflate these few indiscretions.

Take for example, the Abu Ghraib scandal. Stop and compare our actions to Saddam’s henchmen in that same prison. During Saddam’s reign of terror, Abu Ghraib prisoners were hung from meat hooks, dunked in boiling oil and REALLY tortured. Where was the media contempt then? Was the world’s outrage proportional to what American guards did to their victims? Were any really hurt? Were they disfigured? And, were the actions of a few sick people sanctioned by the leadership? No, no, and no. At worst, the prison leadership was guilty of a lack of supervision and control.

Let’s move on. Did the CIA interrogators break bones, draw blood or deliberately kill anyone. Again, no.  They just scared the shit out of one or two murderers. Is what they did right? That is not for me to decide. But, I can tell you that the prisoners that were waterboarded are alive and well today. They get better medical attention than any of us will get under a government medical plan. They are fed and clothed and sheltered. They still have all their fingers and toes and they continue to spit on and bite their guards.

Now, the almighty attorney general, Eric Holder, is investigating our Special Agents and even the previous administration’s legal advisors. Does he not understand that the investigations alone help our enemy? They force good men and women to second guess their future accusers. They force them to back off. Could it be that this caution will let more Dr Hasan’s stay in the system? Could it be that our CIA agents will miss a critical piece of information? Could it be that a young soldier or Marine will hesitate for a split second and die?

Which brings me to the real reason I am writing today; Why, on earth, are we not celebrating and awarding medals to the three young NAVY SEALs, Matthew McCabe, Julio Huertas, and Jonathon Keefe, who recently captured Ahmed Hashim Abed, a notorious al-Qaeda terrorist and mastermind of the Blackwater ambush in April of 2004 (See #20)? Apparently, Mr. Abed claimed that he had been mistreated and now the three young men face a court marshall. Where have we gone wrong? How did the world get turned upside down?

Take a moment and read how our enemies treat their prisoners:

  1. March 2, 1973, Khartoum, Sudan. Cleo A. Noel, Jr., U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and George C. Moore, also a U.S. diplomat, were held hostage and then killed by terrorists at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. It seems likely that Fatah was responsible for the attack. *
  2. January 1, 1977, Beirut, Lebanon. Frances E. Meloy, U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, and Robert O. Waring, the U.S. economic counselor, were kidnapped by PFLP members as they crossed a militia checkpoint separating the Christian from the Muslim parts of Beirut. They were later shot to death. *
  3. March 16, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah kidnapped William Buckley, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. His body was never found. *
  4. December 4, 1984, Tehran, Iran. Hezbollah terrorists hijacked a Kuwait Airlines plane en route from Dubai, United Emirates, to Karachi, Pakistan. The terrorists murdered two passengers–American Agency for International Development employees, Charles Hegna and William Stanford. *
  5. June 14, 1985, Between Athens and Rome. Two Hezbollah members hijacked a TWA flight en route to Rome from Athens and forced the pilot to fly to Beirut. The eight crewmembers and 145 passengers were held for 17 days during which one of the hostages, Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was murdered. *
  6. October 7, 1985, Between Alexandria, Egypt and Haifa, Israel. A four-member PFLP squad took over the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, as it was sailing from Alexandria, Egypt, to Israel. The squad murdered a disabled U.S. citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, by throwing him in the ocean. *
  7. September 5, 1986, Karachi, Pakistan. Abu Nidal members hijacked a Pan Am flight bound for New York with 379 passengers, including 89 Americans. The terrorists killed 22 of the passengers, including two American citizens. *
  8. September 9, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah kidnapped Frank Reed, director of the American University in Beirut. They accused him of being “a CIA agent” and held him for 44 months. Then, on September 12, 1986, Hezbollah kidnapped Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut. Cicippio was released five years later in December 1991. *
  9. February 17, 1988, Ras-Al-Ein Tyre, Lebanon. Colonel William Richard “Rich” Higgins, USMC, the American chief of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (involved in a peace-keeping mission), was abducted, tortured and eventually murdered by Hezbollah. *

10.  January, 1991, Iraq and Kuwait. During the Persian Gulf War, Iraq brutally tortured U.S. prisoners of war. Saddam Hussein’s secret police broke bones; shattered skulls and eardrums; and whipped, burned, shocked, beat, starved and urinated on our POWs. One extraordinary Marine was knocked unconscious so many times he lost count; he returned home with a fractured skull for refusing his captors’ orders to criticize President George H.W. Bush. By John Norton Moore,Wednesday, November 10, 2004; Page A27 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38242-2004Nov9.html. Also, see: Lowry, Richard, The Gulf War Chronicles, iUniverse Star, 2009, www.gwchronicles.com.

11.  October 3-4, 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia. Two American Army Rangers mutilated bodies dragged through the streets.

12.   July 4, 1995, Kashmir, India. Terrorists took six tourists hostage, including two U.S. citizens. One of the U.S. citizens escaped on July 8, but all the rest were killed, On August 13 the decapitated body of the Norwegian hostage was found. *

13.  May 9, 2001, Tekoa, West Bank. Kobi Mandell, 13, of Silver Spring, MD, an American-Israeli, was found stoned to death along with a friend in a cave near the Jewish settlement of Tekoa. Two organizations, the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah-Palestine, claimed responsibility for the attack. *

14.  January 15, 2002, Bethlehem, West Bank. Avraham Boaz, 71, of New York, a dual Israeli-American citizen, was kidnapped at a security checkpoint in Beit Jala and murdered. *

15.  March 23, 2003, Nasiriyah, Iraq. Sergeant Donald Walters was executed by Saddam Fedayeen after being captured in Nasiriyah.

16.  March 23, 2003, Nasiriyah, Iraq. PFC Jessica Lynch was brutally raped after being captured south of Nasiriyah.

17.  March 23, 2003, Nasiriyah, Iraq. SPC Lori Peistewa died in captivity after being denied medical treatment for two hours. See Lowry, Richard,Marines in the Garden of Eden, Berkley, 2006. www.marinesinthegardenofeden.com.

18.  March 23, 2003, Az Zubayr, Iraq. A British Army engineering unit made a wrong turn. The unit was ambushed. Sapper Luke Allsopp and Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth became separated from the rest. Both were captured and executed by Iraqi forces.

19.  March 28, 2003, Ash Shatrah, Iraq. Marine Sergeant Fernando Padilla-Ramirez was reported missing from his supply unit after an ambush north of Nasiriyah on March 28. His body was later dragged through the streets of Ash Shatrah and hung in the town square.

20.  March 31, 2004, Fallujah Iraq. Four Blackwater security guards were ambushed and murdered. Their bodies were burned and mutilated and two were hung from Fallujah’s old footbridge.

21.  May 7, 2004, Fallujah, Iraq. Nicholas Berg, an American businessman, beheaded on camera by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a safe-house inside Fallujah.

22.  April 9, 2004, Fallujah, Iraq. PFC Matt Maupin’s fuel convoy attacked west of Baghdad. Matt was captured, tortured and beheaded. His body was not found for four years. **

23. May 16, 2007, Al Taqa, Iraq. Tenth Mountain Division unit attacked south of Baghdad. Four American soldiers were taken prisoner and dragged away. Months later, all four bodies were found. ***

* Compiled by Caroline Taillandier, a research assistant at the GLORIA center and student at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Mitchell Bard, and Alden Oreck, Avi Hein, and Elihai Braun, research assistants at the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, and Paul Teller, Deputy Director, House Republican Study Committee. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/usvictims.html

** http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1726517,00.html#ixzz0cQEGuNb0

***http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ajz17mKm_sBA&refer=home


[1] Col Mike Shupp, We Were One, p. 61.

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