Joint Army Navy Coastal Artillery in early World War II.

The Naval Act of 1916, even before the US entry into World War I, called for a massive expansion of the US Navy. Among other things, it authorized a class of fast battlecruisers, of 33 knots, armed with eight 16” rifles.

After the ghastly costs and human tragedy of World War I, however, the United States and other nations saw an  arms race in naval armaments as provocative, and prohibitively expensive. And so the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 imposed limits on capital ship construction. The fast battlecruisers would not be built. The treaty imposed a moratorium on battleship and battlecruiser production. But it did allow some aircraft carrier construction, within certain tonnage limits.*

Already about a quarter complete, the prospective battlecruisers Lexington and Saratoga were instead completed as fleet aircraft carriers. Their 16” turrets and barbettes were removed, and a flight deck built instead.  But early in the development of carriers, since night and foul weather air operations were virtually impossible, it was thought that carriers needed strong self defense against enemy surface ships. Accordingly, Lexington and Saratoga received an armament of four twin 8” gunhouses, roughly similar to that of a contemporary heavy cruiser. The gunhouses were arrayed for an aft of the massive island along the starboard deck edge.

Experience in the interwar years, and the early months of World War II showed that the carriers would virtually always be escorted by heavy cruisers anyway, and that the primary threat to carriers would be aircraft. Further, the massive muzzle blast of the 8” guns mean they could not really be trained to port without damaging the flight deck, and of course, any aircraft on it.

And so, the Navy decided that at the earliest opportunity, the 8” gunhouses would be replaced by a similar number of twin 5”/38 dual purpose guns.  Both Lexington and Saratoga had their 8” guns removed in the early months of 1942 at Pearl Harbor.

One of the things that surprised both the Army and the Navy after the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was that the Japanese didn’t follow up the raid with a bombardment of shore based installations by a battleship or cruiser force.  The coast defense of Hawaii was decent, but by no means impregnable.  And the possibility that that Japanese might return to strike again was not to be dismissed.

So early 1942 saw Hawaii with eight 8” gunhouses. The Army typically developed its own series of coast defense guns. But they weren’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. There are three militarily significant harbors on Oahu- Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and Kanehoe Bay. Each was already defended to some extent by Endicott/Taft period fortifications, and plans were in hand to install newer Army designed batteries. But the availability of surplus 8” guns meant the Army could rather quickly install even more batteries. Each harbor would receive some of the surplus gunhouses.

A typical battery was two twin gunhouses, each mounted atop a concrete tunnel that linked in a “Y” shape to its own shot and powder rooms, with a power generator, and a battery control post in the middle. A fire control radar was also supplied, usually disguised as a water tower. Construction of the batteries took about a year, by which time, the threat was mostly past.

File:Battery Ricker Plan.jpg

Of course, bureaucratic inertia meant that the batteries were manned and on alert almost to the end of the war.

And these weren’t the only surplus naval guns used in Hawaii coast defense.

When the USS Arizona was spectacularly destroyed during the raid on Pearl Harbor, two of its turrets was completely destroyed. The other two, however, were almost completely intact.  And since the ship itself could not be salvaged,** the turrets were slated to be similarly utilized as coast defense batteries in shore emplacements.

Of course, moving a lightly armored twin 8” gunhouse is a lot easier than moving the several hundred tons of a fully armored triple 14” turret. Construction began in 1943 while salvage operations at Battleship Row were still underway. Eventually, Battery Arizona and Battery Pennsylvania each received one turret, and work was almost complete when the effort was suspended on the first of August, 1945, by which time the threat was obviously gone, and coast artillery was clearly obsolete.

Images and information courtesy of the excellent Fort Wiki.

*We often hear that it took Pearl Harbor for the carrier advocates to come to the forefront. But looking at the WNT a mere 3 years after the introduction of the first carrier tells us that naval strategists clearly saw that naval aviation would rise to the level of capitol ship very quickly.

VADM Crowder, Retired GOFOs, Double Standards, and Cognitive Dissonance


In the November 2015 issue of USNI Proceedings magazine, retired VADM Douglas Crowder asserted that retired Flag and General Officers should refrain from engaging in the political process , “stay on the sidelines, and away from public endorsements” of candidates in a general election.  In his “Hear This”, Crowder seems to believe the genesis of such activity was Admiral William Crowe’s endorsement of Bill Clinton.  In reality, however, such activities on the part of retired Generals and Admirals, including their entry into the political process as national candidates, goes back to the founding of our Republic.   There has never been a Constitutional prohibition on retired GOFOs participating in the political process, up to and including using the titles of rank that they have earned in the expression of their views and opinions.

For some reason, we are suddenly hearing that such Constitutionally-protected free speech is now “dangerous”, that it could lead to a “politicization” of the Armed Forces.   General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior Officer on the active list, intimated such when he called that free speech “unhelpful”,  and later scolded retired GOFOs for exercising their rights.  Apparently he missed the irony of an active agent of the US Government engaging in behavior that has a “chilling effect” on free speech, conduct expressly forbidden as a violation of the very Constitution which Dempsey swore an oath to support and defend.  Indeed, Dempsey’s immoderate and despicable conduct illustrates the two things very wrong with VADM Crowder’s admonitions.  The first is that there is virtually no complaint or outcry when a GOFO goes on record, either in print or the visual media, expressing support for the far-left agenda.   As an example, the gay and lesbian retired GOFOs who openly advocated repeal of DADT were described as being “courageous”, some were even lauded at Obama’s State of the Union addresses.  So how is it that, when contrary to the agenda of the far-left, such political expression becomes dangerous?   It can’t be.  Unless there is a double standard when it comes to Constitutional liberties.  Heaven forfend.   And, here is where the cognitive dissonance begins.   In this month’s Proceedings, Navy Commander Michael Wisecup cautions us on such dangers of retired GOFOs:

“…think of the implications to our profession if a political party could endorse and groom select active-duty (O)fficers into greater positions of authority in order to advocate for their platform.”

Which brings us to the far more disturbing issue that is wrong with VADM Crowder’s (and CDR Wisecup’s) assertions.  They have little to do with the true danger, the increasing trend of active-duty Officers carrying the political water for their masters.  Warning of the dangers of the lawful free expression assiduously ignores damage being done by the increasingly-politicized GOFO ranks at the top of our Armed Forces under Barack Obama.  Advocate for political platforms?  Are you kidding me?  Such instances are impossible to miss.

  • Martin Dempsey’s admonition against lawful free expression was not limited to simply criticism of retired GOFOs who are private citizens.  No, General Dempsey, while in the execution of his duties as an active duty  Military Officer, admonished a PRIVATE CITIZEN to desist from lawful free expression that the General found disagreeable.  Dempsey should have been relieved of his duties.  Had he had such objections to retired GOFOs speaking out in support of the far-left agenda of his political master, he would have been relieved had he not kept his mouth shut.
  • Admiral Mike Mullen’s shameful charade in front of Congress, when he offered, unprompted, his personal views on repeal of DADT, and proceeded to inform the US Military that any disagreement with them would be considered lack of integrity.  Such arrogance and poor judgment also should have been met with censure, but instead Mullen was declared a hero for advancing the political agenda of the far left.  That he lost any remaining respect from many of those he was charged with leading mattered little to him.  Mullen did, however, admonish Army MajGen Mixon for advising his soldiers to utilize their Constitutional rights in addressing their Congressional representatives.
  • After the Islamist terrorist act at Fort Hood in 2009,  in which Maj Nidal Hasan screamed “Allahu Akbar!” while shooting 45 Americans, mostly service members, 13 of them fatally, Army Chief of Staff Casey never addressed how a known Islamist extremist might have been accessed into his Army, or how he managed to be promoted to Major.  Instead, in an act of pathetic political sycophancy, Casey hoped the Islamist terrorism (still called “workplace violence”) would not affect US Army diversity efforts.
  • Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, also pushed incessantly for the codified racial and sexual discrimination known as “diversity”, instead of ensuring the United States Navy was organized, trained, and equipped to fight a war at sea.  The Navy, following his tenure as CNO, is woefully unprepared for such an eventuality.  However, it seemed far more important to Roughead that the Navy “looked like America”, selecting and promoting its leaders on criteria other than merit and suitability.  Race and gender (and sexual preference) have replaced competence and performance.  The mess Roughead made will take a decade to clean up, if it even can be.
  • In the midst of a sabre-rattling North Korea, with its rapidly increasing ballistic missile capability and nuclear weapons development, and a PLA Navy becoming ever more aggressive and capable, openly hostile to US interests and that of our allies in the Pacific Rim, COMUSPACOM Admiral Sam Locklear declared that the biggest security threat facing his forces was…….   global warming.
  • As part of the debacle of being relieved for cause as COMUSFOR-A, (ironically, because he and his Officers were highly critical of political leadership) Army General Stanley McChrystal let it be known he had voted for Barack Obama.  Revealing whom one voted for while speaking as an active duty Officer was once considered a serious taboo.  In fact, I don’t know if I can recall any senior Officer acknowledging such quite so publicly.  To the surprise of nobody, as soon as he retired, McCrystal went on to rail about his support for gun control and other leftist agenda items.  Nary a peep of protest from Dempsey.
  • Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USMC General “Hoss” Cartwright openly described Constitutional limitations to the authority of the Defense Department as “obstacles” to mission accomplishment rather than necessary bulwarks for the preservation of individual liberties.  In what context?  To push Barack Obama’s July 2009 agenda to expand the authority of Government over the internet, specifically privately-owned networks and information infrastructure.

Advocating for political platforms, indeed.  Yes, it is sometimes a tricky course to navigate, to follow the orders of the President as Commander in Chief, without being an active agent in his advancing a domestic political agenda.  But that is why much is expected (or had been, at least) of the professionalism and judgment of senior Officers.  Admiral William Leahy, despite his personal bent toward Republican conservatism, was able to serve his President, New-Dealer Franklin Roosevelt, loyally and superbly throughout the Second World War.  As did Dwight Eisenhower, who would become the Republican nominee in 1952.   There seem to be an ever-shrinking number of GOFOs in the higher ranks of our military with the character and willingness to do so.

The increasing politicization of the senior leadership of the Armed Forces of the United States means such egregious political pandering and subversion of our Constitution will increase, not decrease.  Yet, people like VADM Crowder and CDR Wisecup seem to think it is the RETIRED GOFOs that pose the danger to seeing our Armed Forces become yet another government weapon to be used against political opposition instead of fighting and winning our nation’s wars against America’s enemies.   I find that quite concerning.  Once again, just like we are told after yet another act of Islamist terrorism that law-abiding Americans are to blame for exercising their Constitutional liberties under the Second Amendment, it is actually the GOFO retirees who are the problem, not the invertebrate political lap-dogs on active duty doing the bidding of the left, and that those retirees should refrain from exercising their Constitutional liberties under the First Amendment.    Each of those assertions requires the embracing of a dangerous double standard.   And each requires a generous helping of cognitive dissonance.  A disturbing trend, to be sure.


One Degree of Separation in the Forever War | Motherboard

On April 9, 2011, Captain Jaymes Collin Uriah “Yuri” Hines drank a beer with a friend at a brewery in Bruges, Belgium, and tried desperately to relax.Yuri was a Weapon Systems Officer on an F-15E, a backseater who dropped the bombs, and he was exhausted. Just back from a combat tour, he had been conducting airstrikes only two weeks before.

His brother Reese was deployed to Afghanistan, and something in his voice, the last time they had talked on the phone, still haunted him. Yuri would soon leave for US Air Force pilot training, to move to the front seat of a fighter jet and fulfill a boyhood dream. He was newly married, but had barely seen his bride. He was only 29, and the stress of so many significant life events in so short a period of time was taking its toll.Yuri was relieved to finally just sit and have a drink.

Then his phone rang. It was his mother. His mother never called.“It’s Reese, he’s been hit,” she sobbed. “They don’t know if he’s going to survive.”

Source: One Degree of Separation in the Forever War | Motherboard

If you can read this without tears welling in your eyes, there’s something wrong with you.

Food for Thought: Being Prepared

Some very sound advice from alte kamerad JPP over at the new place (

What do you carry? As in, what do you have with you on a consistent daily basis to help deal with emergencies at work or on the commute? In light of recent events, you might want to review your preparations.

In my opinion– and let’s leave guns off the list for now– you should have these things with you:

  • A tourniquet
  • An emergency battle dressing, sometimes called the “Israeli battle dressing”
  • A packet of gauze, better still gauze impregnated with a blood-stopper agent
  • Training in the use of the three items above
  • A good knife or a Leatherman, maybe both
  • A light, preferably a headlamp because that leaves your hands free, with fresh batteries
  • At least one way to start a fire
  • A way to charge your cell phone
  • A dust mask (might be a good idea getting out of a building)

Gather those things, have them in your car, or somewhere handy.  And think.  Rehearse it in your head.  What would you do?  Where would you go?  Think it through.  With more and more reports of batches of cell phones being bought, and theft of large numbers of propane tanks, such thinking and rehearsing and equipping is more than prudent.  Despite B. Hussein’s incessant delusional rantings that violent muslim extremists don’t present a threat.

As for other things to carry?  More sound advice.

Regarding the gun, if your daily circumstances allow you to carry, you should. And with at least one extra magazine. If that’s a no-go (it’s a no-go in my work place), can you stash one nearby with your like-minded relative or co-worker?

Because those who tell you that the solution to radical islam is gun control, have armed guards 24/7, paid for by the very people they want to disarm.

Aegis Ashore Scores in First Intercept Test – USNI News

Aegis Ashore ground-based ballistic missile defense (BMD) system scored its first successful intercept from its Hawaiian test location, the Missile Defense Agency announced on Thursday.The late Wednesday test proves, according to the MDA, the efficacy of using a ground based BMD system built with the same radars and missiles used on the U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruisers and destroyers.“The primary purpose of the test, designated Flight Test Operational-02 Event 1a, was to assess the operational effectiveness of the Aegis Ashore capability as part of a larger BMDS architecture,” read the statement.

Source: Aegis Ashore Scores in First Intercept Test – USNI News

Being stationed in Kauai must be simply awful! Incidentally, Israel also successfully tested their Arrow 3 BMD system this week.

Quick hits

Busy day today, with real life intruding into blogging time. Sorry. Still, in line with thoughts on ISIS and US intervention there, and Russian intervention in Syria, two links. First, Strategy Page says there is hope that support for fundamentalism is waning in much of the Arab world.

Second, War on the Rocks looks at the historical background between the Soviet Union’s 1979 Afghanistan invasion, and its parallels to Putin’s Syrian intervention.

I’ve argued with Spill and a few others that Putin had no desire to intervene in Syria, as Russia is already focused on operations in Ukraine, and with its eyes on the Baltics. But the stalemate in Syria was not going to last, and there was a very real probability that the Assad regime, arguably on of Russia’s best allies, was on the cusp of collapse. That simply could not be allowed to happen. That Putin knew there was little Obama would or could do to stop him was a bonus, not a prime motivation. I’m of the opinion that Putin is still focused primarily on extending his influence not so much in the Middle East, but along Russia’s western borders.

Why Do People Join ISIS? Here’s What They Say When You Ask Them – Defense One

President Obama on Sunday night said that it was “clear” that Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, the two alleged assailants in the San Bernardino mass shooting, had “gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West.” He did not speculate as to why people journey down that path or prescribe how the United States might deter, or detour, them. But a March report from Lebanon-based Quantum Communications provides some insight.

The researchers from Quantum collected televised interviews with 49 fighters in Syria and Iraq — some in custody, some who had defected, and some who were still in the fight. They analyzed the fighters’ statements using a psycho-contextual analytical technique developed by Canadian psychologist Marisa Zavalloni to divine the motivational forces and personal characteristics of the subjects.

Source: Why Do People Join ISIS? Here’s What They Say When You Ask Them – Defense One

It’s an interesting little article, and has some information on what the US will be doing in the fight against ISIS in the future.

Joint billet requirements, chain of command under review

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has launched a review of the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act that has defined military careers and organizational structure for decades, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

“The secretary feels (it) is important to take a look at the department and the structure right now within the DoD and to make sure that we’re doing things as efficiently as possible,” said Peter Cook, Carter’s primary spokesman.“This is something that he’s initiated here within the department itself, to take a hard look at … whether or not things could be done differently in the spirit of Goldwater-Nichols and the changes that resulted from that many years ago,” Cook said at a news briefing.

Source: Joint billet requirements, chain of command under review

There’s a long, long list of things to criticize Ash Carter for. This, however, is not one of them.

Goldwaters-Nichols was a needed reform. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the justification for the organization it brought collapsed as well. But primarily through bureaucratic inertia, the regional CoCom structure just kept going. Which, it did make a certain amount of sense. For instance, when Desert Storm popped up, CentCom, the regional combatant commander for the Middle East, simply deployed from its Tampa Bay headquarters to the field in Saudi Arabia. An existing unified chain of command was already in place, with Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Special Operations subordinate commanders already assigned. All the organization needed was to be filled out with troop units, first from XVIII Airborne Corps, and then later from VII Corps.

Where the G-N framework started to collapse was in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq. The armed services were already fighting in Afghanistan. And suddenly, CentCom found itself fighting two completely unrelated wars. No one commander could reasonably be expected to focus sufficiently to do well in both. So subordinate commanders were placed in each theater. Essentially, rather than doubling the size of the headquarters troops for the wars, it instead tripled them, as both Iraq and Afghanistan got an in-country headquarters, and certainly, CentCom wasn’t about to shrink, what with its role supervising both the subordinate staffs! Since then, the pattern has been set- any time there is a deployment, rather than the CoCom leading it in his region, and entire Joint Task Force unified headquarters is stood up and deployed, subordinate to the CoCom. It is essentially a duplication of effort.

And then there’s the Joint billet requirement. To reduce interservice parochialism, the requirement is that every officer has to serve time in a joint billet. Well, the problem with parochialism was mostly over how the budget pie got sliced. And the fact is, the Joint billet requirement hasn’t had any effect on that issue.

What is has done is drive a requirement for a lot of Joint billets, whether they do a real job or not, because clear down at the O-5 and O-6 level, to be “fair” to the promotion prospects of every single officer, they have to have a tour.

That’s pretty stupid in that it drives up the size of useless headquarters staffs, and  takes officers away from their primary career field for no good reason. There is plenty of time at the O-7/O-8 paygrades to serve in a joint billet, where service integration really starts anyway.

So there’s great room for improvement over G-N, and we hope Carter looks carefully, but quickly at how best to change from an outdated, inefficient system.

One thing to consider. With the shift in focus in the Army from a divisional based organization to the Brigade Combat Team model is that the Army has been trying to design its division and corps headquarters to serve not merely as higher elements to deployed BCTs, but as command nodes for unified (that is, all services) command.

For instance, in the current deployment of Operation Inherent Resolve, based in Iraq and fighting ISIS, a corps headquarters might be deployed to serve as the JTF headquarters, with Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps and Special Operations subordinate commands attaching in a “plug and play” manner. The corps headquarters is already robustly equipped with the staff, intel, logistics, and communications to fulfill this role, and also to integrate with non-DoD agencies, such as the host nation, other US departments, and some NGOs.