Author David Larter

A few months ago, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan grabbed a lot of attention for their remake of Lady GaGa’s “Telephone.” The hype translated into more than five million views on YouTube and culminated with an appearance on CBS’s Early Show by video mastermind and GaGa enthusiast Sgt. Aaron Melcher. Colleague Dan Lamothe at Marine Corps Times has been posting a bored Marine video of the week as a wind-down after a long five days of journalistic excellence. If you haven’t seen the video of Marines jousting out at Twentynine Palms, Calif., it is important you click here…

It’s fun to geek out on cruisers, especially the Ticonderoga class. They’re not very subtle: 122 vertical-launched missiles, eight harpoons, six torpedoes and two 5-inch guns surrounded by more than 100 nautical miles of AN/SPY-1 radar coverage. But the Tico is only one class in a long line of big-gun cruisers. There was the 6,000-ton Atlanta-class cruisers of World War II. Or the early-20th-century Denver-class cruisers, complete with no less than 10 5-inch, breach-loading guns. Now, if you have an iPhone or iPad, you won’t have to go a minute without some stimulating cruiser history, from 1883 to the present.…

The Coast Guard is trying to juggle traffic flow into San Francisco’s busy port and pressure from environmentalists about its impact on marine sanctuaries where mammals feed. San Francisco’s ABC affiliate reported earlier in the day that traffic is picking up into the Port of San Francisco and ships are zipping to and from the approach lanes to the bay at about 25 knots. As a result, the Coast Guard is seeking the public’s input, trying to balance the saving the whales and commercial realities. KGO-TV San Francisco reports: Faster ships and more whales are converging in an area near…

These stories don’t always end well. Falling overboard is every sailor’s nightmare. The idea of being lost at sea, swimming for hours and wondering if anyone has noticed you are missing is terrifying. Yesterday afternoon news broke that a sailor from the destroyer Mitscher had fallen overboard and a major search was underway. But this one had a good ending. Colleague Bill McMichael reports: A Norfolk-based sailor feared lost at sea was rescued late Wednesday afternoon by sea and air personnel from the George H.W. Bush Strike Group following a search effort lasting more than five hours, U.S. Second Fleet…

About a month ago there was a minor flare-up around town about the millions of dollars the military spends on its bands. Washington Post writer and columnist Walter Pincus made himself something of a persona non grata around the military band community after a series of columns and articles detailing the Defense Department’s musical expenditures. He called into question whether, in a time when “austerity” is the new global phenomenon, Big Defense could justify the money. The issue got so heated it went to the airways in a knock-down, drag-out fight between “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band Conductor Col.…

In contemporary rhetoric, one popular way to demonize political adversaries is to compare them to Hitler. That’s just what conservative former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did at a speech at the Hudson Institute think tank on Capitol Hill last Friday. Relations between China and Japan have been rather tense of late, and the war of words seems to be heating up. Abe likened China’s naval expansion to Hitler’s idea of “lebensraum” or “living space.” It was Hitler’s belief that Germany needed and, by their superior nature, deserved space in which to grow and settle. According to Abe’s remarks: Since…

The Coast Guard, by any measure, is a fairly busy bunch. The amount its 42,000-odd members accomplish with a budget just over $10 billion is worthy of note. Its latest accomplishment? The service says it seized approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana (pot, hydro, righteous bush, reefer, buds) when a C-130 spotted a suspicious vessel about 40 miles from San Diego. The release reads: Early Friday morning a Coast Guard C-130 patrol aircraft, based in Sacramento, Calif., sighted a suspicious vessel, about 40 miles from San Diego. A Coast Guard patrol boat was diverted to intercept the vessel, and Mexican authorities…

Apparently pet birds and warships don’t mix. Sailors on the British frigate Westminster discovered a parakeet (also called a budgie) fluttering around the ship while underway for an exercise near Plymouth. They named the bird Bostie and fed their new friend a meal of nuts, bread and water. Then things took a dark turn, as the Guardian reports: When a routine alarm sounded the budgerigar appeared to suffer a heart attack. Attempts to revive him failed and the crew gave their feathered friend a burial at sea. A Royal Navy spokesman said: “The executive officer found the budgie on board…

The amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard is getting ready for a roughly $41 million overhaul in dry dock. Sailors on board are doubtless ready for a nine-month spell shore-side and ready to revel in the luxuries of living on a berthing barge. The ship and its Marines returned earlier this year from a rough seven-month deployment to 5th and 7th fleets. Gidget Fuentes reported in April: Bonhomme Richard and two other amphibious ships of the San Diego-based ready group, dock landing ship Rushmore and transport dock Cleveland, spent more than four months in the Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa…

Fighting an aircraft fire on the flight deck is a worst-case scenario. But training for it can be fun because it offers sailors an opportunity to dress in snazzy, futuristic space suits that would feel right at home on stage with David Bowie circa 1973.

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