Browsing: The Pacific

A World-War II era Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver was unveiled at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven  F. Udvar Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. April 1. The Helldiver was the last purpose-built dive bomber to enter Naval service and was designed as a replacement for the smaller SBD Dauntless dive bomber. Poor lateral stability in the early Dash-1 versions led to its not-so-flattering fleet nicknames: Son-of-a-Bitch, Second-Class (for SB2C) or simply “The Beast.” By the end of WWII, guided bombs and rockets eliminated the need to point the entire airframe at the target in order to insure a successful bomb…

A navy ship stuck in port for maintenance? Yes, but not the U.S. Navy this time. Down Under this past week, one of Australia’s newer ships developed problems with its propulsion system, according to reports. The amphibious landing ship HMAS Choules was heading from Sydney for a scheduled exercise in Queensland when the ship lost half its power, forcing the ship to return to Sydney. The 16,000-ton Choules is relatively new to the Royal Australian Navy, but it’s not a brand new ship. Australia bought the ship in December from the Brits – the Largs Bay operated in the fleet since…

Amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard arrived in Sasebo, Japan, on April 8 for the Navy’s planned “hull swap” this spring with its older sibling, Essex. The BHR, as many call it, left San Diego in February for the cross-Pacific trek, carrying utility craft and about 800 Marines headed to South Korea for bilateral training exercises. The ship stopped in Okinawa, Japan, before heading on course for Sasebo Naval Base, the forward-deployed homeport for 7th Fleet’s amphibious force. While in Sasebo, the San Diego sailors will train with their Essex counterparts before both ships’ skippers exchange command for the official swap and…

It’s getting more jittery in the Pacific. North Korea’s failed launch of a missile April 12 gives them more drive to conduct their next nuclear underground test, if nothing but to show the world that its new leader, Kim Jong Un, is just as tough and threatening as his paternal predecessors, defense analysts say. All that missile rattling, along with China’s growing military might, has heightened insecurities in an already-tense Asia-Pacific. With the U.S. strategy now taking a keener eye on the Pacific, and the brass talking more about ramping up training and deployments around the region, some of the Navy’s…

Next month, Naval Academy midshipmen will perform possibly the most nautical musical ever to hit Broadway — but you wouldn’t know it by reading the school’s announcement of tickets for the winter musical. It’s South Pacific, but “licensing restrictions prohibit releasing the name of the production in this announcement.” The story is set on a South Pacific island during World War II, featuring two love stories threatened by prejudice and war. Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with a French planter, while Lt. Joe Cable finds himself denying his love for an island native. The songs are…

No doubt the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor stands out as a critical turning point in our nation’s history. Next month, we mark the 70th anniversary, and the nation will join countless veterans and service members in recalling the sacrifice from that day and the amazing generation that stepped up and answered the nation’s call. Such pivotal moments are shared by U.S. allies including the Australians, who are strengthening their ties and military relationship with the United States that goes back 60 years to World War II with an alliance that’s remained solid – and popular among U.S. sailors and Marines…

We couldn’t help but smile at the faces of these Russian boys, who got the chance to play sailor aboard the destroyer Fitzgerald during an outing from Parus Nadezhdy Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Vladivostok.  If we only knew what they were saying… The Yokosuka, Japan-based Fitzgerald wrapped up a four-day visit to Russia’s Pacific Fleet port city, where they joined in community projects, sporting matches with Russian sailors and visited sick children at a local hospital before returning to sea for a planned U.S.-Russian joint exercise. The Parus Nedezhdy center for orphan children is something of a regular guest when U.S.…

I remember a 1990-ish visit to a Japanese submarine base and being dumbfounded to see the subs flying the rising sun flag off their stern masts. Dumbfounded, because being, ahem, of a certain age, I associated the flag — a red disc with red and white “beams” extending outward — with the aggressive World War II-era regime that launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in an effort to exercise total dominance over the Pacific. Its use was banned in 1945 following the surrender to the United States and its allies, but many Americans don’t realize that it was re-adopted…

You may have caught it in passing on a news ticker or blog, but have no clue what or where on Earth are the Spratly islands. But you hear they are contested islands some defense experts think potentially could spark the start of a regional war. The archipelago is comprised of small atolls, reefs, islets and outcroppings in the South China Sea, west of the Philippines and spread across a large area but claimed by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia. The islands, which range in size from small to tiny, are in a prime fishing region and sit…

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