Wednesday, December 30, 2015


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Links checked 1/31/2020

 Movie Poster: Check availability

Paratus 14:50 (Original Soundtrack)
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck the United States Gulf Coast. The storm and its tidal action left southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in ruins and 80% of New Orleans underwater. With all the chaos that surrounded the relief efforts, one federal agency stood our as ready and immediately taking action. The United States Coast Guard would make the difference between life and death for hundreds of the endangered. With all the odds against them, the Coast Guard was able to execute one of the largest search and rescue operations in their history. Having lost vital communication and operational support systems to the storm, the Coast Guard none the less was still able to immediately carry out their duties. Only a few short hours after the hurricane's initial passage, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and Aviation Training Center, Mobile began dispatching aircraft across the region. As the extent of the disaster became manifest Coast Guard units from across the nation began sending aircraft and crews for support. Over 5,600 Coast Guard personnel participated in the relief efforts. This was the largest single search and rescue effort in Coast Guard history. The Alabama PBS documentary film PARATUS 14:50 tells the story with excellent photography and beautiful sound track.  American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   To view the film:

                Original sound Track  PARATUS 14:50

Monday, December 28, 2015


 Photo: USCG

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   EU VISITORS WARNING POSSIBLE COOKIES AHEAD

A Mexican owned and operated "fishing vessel", which local news reports do not distinguish as either commercial or recreational ,was spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel out of the Coast Guard's South Padre Island Station last week. The vessel was observed to be fishing illegally in U.S. waters. Upon hailing the Mexican vessel refused to heave to and sped off at high speed. A chase ensued and eventually the Mexican vessel rammed the Coast Guard vessel on its port side, left the water and ended up briefly on the Coast Guard vessel's deck before sliding back into the water, sinking. One U.S. Coast Guard crewman was injured. The Coast Guard crew rescued the Mexican crew after they entered the water following the loss of their vessel. The Mexican Captain Jose Luis Saucedo-Lopez is under arrest for failing to obey orders from a Coast Guard vessel. Charges may ultimately be increased to reflect fleeing the scene , resisting arrest, etc.. The injuries to the Coast Guard Crewman have been described as "superficial".  There were two other fishermen on the Mexican boat, apparently none were of the Mexican crew were injured beyond getting wet. Saucedo-Lopez underwent a preliminary hearing on Christmas Eve and is bound over.


Sunday, December 27, 2015


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Up dated & Links checked 1/31/20


Nalanda was perhaps the first true University, surely the  the finest in the ancient world. India as far back as 3500 BC was th emost scientifically advanced civilization on earth. Until 1200 AD India led the world in Mathematics, Metallurgy, Medicine and Astronomy. Then the Muslims invaded and not only did they Muslims impose their usual reign of terror, and mass murder, but they began to destroy India's great universities and centers of learning such as Vikramshila, Samath, and perhaps the greatest of them all Nalanda . What the Muslims did at Nalanda illustrates the depths of the depravity when it comes to the destruction of any traces of prior civilizations before the onslaught of their savagery. Contrary to Islamic propaganda there was never a golden age of Islam where they led the world in knowledge. At best some Muslims preserved some of the knowledge of the ancient Greeks and a few things found at places like Nalanda before they utterly destroyed them. Islam is now and always has been retrogressive and is based on lies. Their system has never known a golden age, they are the destroyers of multiple golden ages and the agents of both physical and cultural genocide  See Also THE SIEGE OF INDIA

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


 Cute Baby Elf Photo by Petr Kratochvil only known photo of a library elf

We have no idea how many of these are about the premises here in cyber space, or their names. None of us have actually seen one but we see the results of their work all the time. Even as I write this they are at work building our blog. These are the couriers who move  messages back and forth, stack and sort our information, proof read, correct grammar and spell check, store and retrieve useful images, receive and sort the mail, the list is endless. They live inside our computers and must be really tiny....and fast. But I swear they are real, look Petr got a clear picture of one through a electron microscope! When you are 66 and new to cyber space they are about as close to a logical explanation of how cyber space reality works as I'll ever come up with. So that's why we often attribute our progress to the amazing "library elves", they are crew too believe it or not. To quote a line from the movie "STRIPES"...."and that's the fact Jack!". Look at the intelligence behind those beady little eyes caught on camera just before dashing off at light speed to accomplish our bidding,
We usually can't see 'em but we want them to know we appreciate all they do.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015


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 Photo by Ciacho5,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
In our MERCHANT MARINE INTEREST SECTION  we have posted the serialized version of the American Mariner's Association Report titled "BLOOD ON BROWN WATER" which is about the present day working conditions in America's "work boat fleets" especially those vessels belonging to the offshore oil and mineral industry and commercial towing. This portion of the American Merchant Marine is mostly non union and the working conditions are not what the public imagines from the what is known of the better known, but much smaller employment sector of the "deep draft" merchant marine. We encourage all Americans to read "BLOOD ON BROWN WATER" as it has the potential to do for America's "workboatmen" what "TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST"did for blue water transport workers in the late part of the 19th century. We recognize however that it is very difficult for the average American to even envision what this maritime industry sector lokks like much less what work a day life out there is like. So we provide this link to a very short musical video titled  TIDEWATER MARINE YOUR BOATS RIDE LOW.  It only takes a few minutes to watch and listen to, we think its entertaining and should enable the reader to visualize what "BLOOD ON BROWN WATER" is all about. Incidentally we are not singling out TIDEWATER MARINE as a egregious employer. We had nothing to do with the production of the video, that simply is the title of the song.


Drawing by North American Shipbuilding, 

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According to a 2015 article published in MILITARY .COM President Obama went to Alaska to talk climate change as he is wont to do regardless of facts , and his  need to do more to combat what he views as its destructive consequences. But while actually on the ground at his perceived critical ground of climate change he apparently was moved by some readily observable facts. 
The inescapable situation  he saw there demonstrated to him the need for new icebreakers that the U.S. Coast Guard has been requesting for years. Retired Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp told Congress in 2015 of the President's epiphany ,asserting Presidential commitment to the concept of an expanded Coast Guard Arctic capable ice breaker fleet, or more properly, being down to just two operable ships, we might say flotilla.  .
Admiral Papp, as reported in this blog back in 2014 is now the U.S. special representative to the Arctic Council.  
The Coast Guard has exactly  two operable heavy duty Arctic capable icebreakers, both of which are decades old and one is inoperable. The Coast Guard has one medium duty ice breaker of more recent vintage. 
Papp said Obama was committed to speeding up the construction of the icebreaker the administration agreed to in 2013, and  in 2015...." he was talking plural in terms of icebreakers, and I am assured we're moving in that direction."
The icebreaker that has already gotten a White House commitment is expected to cost about $1 billion. We think the nation needs more than three and that they need not all be of the exact same capability or cost so much per unit. Admiral Zukunfit,soon to be relieved as the Coast Guard's Commandant believes the service has need of three heavy and three medium-sized icebreakers to cover American interest in the Arctic as well as the Antarctic, according to the U.S. Naval Institute. We don't think that is quite enough, more can be had if a price reduction can be found. When it comes to ice breaking ships for a nation with responsibilities in both polar regions more is better. 
 At the top of this page is an illustration of a medium Arctic capable Ice breaker available from North American Ship Building. This very capable Arctic capable Ice Breaker is a commercial design available for $200,000 million. For the price of one of the Coast Guard's billion dollar units we can probably get three quarters the mission capacity spread across five hulls. We're not saying that the Coast Guard should not build any billion dollar super breakers but we are saying that cheaper ships operating in a networked manner may be able to provide even the top of the line services while providing more available mission time, easier repair and service rotations, and the protections that always come with redundancy, a very basic military operational concept.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015





UPDATE 2/4/2020: Disney's movie "The Finest Hours" is based on the the true story of the rescue of the crew of the US merchant ship PENDLETON on Feb.18,1952. The incredible rescue was led by real life Petty Officer First Class, Boatswain's mate Bernard Webber. The rescue took place as a hurricane-force storm was barreling toward New England. As the story opens the oil tanker FORT MERCER had split in two off the south coast of Cape Cod. As a result of the rescue efforts for the Fort MERCER most of the region's search and rescue (SAR) assets were occupied. When the call came in to assist the PENDLETON the oil tanker SS FORT MERCER split in two, so the majority of the region's cutters and air assets went to help the FORT MERCER. The surface asset chosen to help the PENDLETON was the 36 foot wooden motor life boat CG36500 of Chatham (MA) Life Boat Station. There were hurricane force winds blowing where the stern section of the PENDELTON now broken in two, was floating with most of her surviving crew. Seas have been estimated as high as 60 feet and snow was blowing. This was not a place to be in  a 36 foot wooden boat, despite being stoutly build for operations in rough seas.The CG 36500 left with a crew of four, Webber who been assigned by the Chatham command as the best coxswain for the job and three volunteers. Ervin Maske, Andrew Fitzgerald, and Richard P. Livesey who knew they were volunteering for a probable suicide mission. Reminding themselves of the famous Coast Guard organizational statement and personal code of "The book says you have to go out, it doesn't say you have to come back"; the unlikely rescuers headed out into the winter storm of the century. 

 The book that became the basis for the Disney adventure movie chronicled what the crew of the CG 36500 went through to actually reach the side of the PENDELTON. The movie also depicts  the impossible sounding evacuation of the PENDELTON in which one crewman was lost and the rugged over crowded trip  ( more than 30 survivors on a boat built to accommodate 12) home through the rough seas, now with navigation and communications equipment damaged. So how true was the movie to the book and actual events? Well we noticed only two major deviations from the true story as best as we could obtain it. First the real life Bernard Webber was about 27 at the time of the mission.but he looked a bit older than the actor who played him in the movie. He was a WWII veteran, a very tough and experienced mariner. He wasn't engaged at the time but married, though he may have been a relative newly wed. His wife didn't play any part in the rescue or pleading with the command structure to call back the apparent suicide mission.During the rescue she was ill and incoherent and being taken care of by neighbors. She had no idea about the mission until she regained some of her health and the story was already out and drawing media attention. So Bernard Webber was more experienced than the impression that is given by the lead actor in the movie . His real life marriage was fictionalized into the romantic interest of the movie and to underscore the suicidal nature of the mission as the actress playing his "Fiancee" argues with the command at Chatham to call back the 'Suicide mission".. Other than that ,we agree with the assessment of the book's authors Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman that the movie is true to the non fiction book except for a few small details inserted to enhance the romance and bring out the character of certain real life figures about whom history knows little.The movie doesn't claim to be a documentary but simply a film based on a true story.  

 It is worth mentioning that the daughter of Bernard and Miriam attended the opening screening of the movie. She told the screen play writers that they had captured the spirit of her mother. According to the daughter her mother really did make the proposal for the marriage and would have barged in the station just as depicted in the movie if she had known what was going on at the time. Chatham was a small town and the local fishermen knew the waters and were of the opinion that the mission was suicidal. At the relevant time Miriam was bed ridden and periodically lapsing in and out of consciousness having caught a bad strain of influenza. She was being cared for by neighbors.
USCG Petty Officer Bernard C. Webber lead the dramatic rescue of 33 sailors from the stricken freighter Pendleton -a.jpg  
Bernard Webber in the uniform of a First Class Boatswain's mate. Bernard Webber served the Coast Guard long and well for many years after the PENDELTON RESCUE and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer (4) . He died January 4, 2009 at the age of 80. He was offered the Gold Lifesaving Medal the highest award for search and rescue that the coast Guard can award. His volunteer crew was offered the silver life saving medal. Webber refused to accept the award of the gold medal until the Coast Guard finally agreed to award the gold medal to the entire crew.. 

CG36500 Motor Life Boat rescue by Richard Kaiser
 Image courtesy USCH HQ

OUR ORIGINAL REVIEW OF THE MOVIE ( Two sources of the key actual facts follow.) 

Disney's new movie FINEST HOURS is highly likely to eclipse THE GUARDIAN as the best Coast Guard movie ever made. While we felt the Guardian gave an accurate depiction of at least the aviation search and rescue culture of the modern U.S. Coast Guard, it was fiction loosely based on fact. FINEST HOURS is a true story apparently faithfully told from an earlier era of the U.S. Coast Guard than the more recent years depicted in the Guardian.  Set in the mid 1950s it was still the era of bell bottoms, the cracker jack dress blues, difficult to use AM marine radios, no satellite navigation systems, and far less post casualty hand wringing and second guessing. It was, in the U.S. Merchant Marine, still within the service life of  WWII era T-2 tankers, though these were aging rapidly. In the true story behind FINEST HOURS set in the dead of winter off the coast of New England we are given a very realistic look into an era that ended by 1970, the days before mustang suits, and personal emergency radio locators. This was the last era where we so frequently heard the old Coast Guard unofficial motto: "The book says you have to go out, It doesn't say you have to come back."
Today the missions are no easier but the equipment is much better.

 A number of us here at the AAB are products of the latter part of the era (1965-1970) and remember it well and the technological and operational doctrine revolution in SAR (search and rescue) that followed. FINEST HOURS is a story of the recent past when the Coast Guard's "soldiers of the storm" did the best they could with what they had. They have better equipment today, but still suffer fatalities annually.  The sea has no limits as to what it can throw at you. The special effects in FINEST HOURS rival and in some cases exceed those in the GUARDIAN  or THE PERFECT STORM. The story is shown from both the view point of the rescuers and the merchant seamen in need of rescue, some of us here have been in both situations over the space of our long in the tooth maritime careers. Fortunately, few of us have been in the position of the First Class Boatswain's mate in the film whose future wife invades the operations center and demands that the SAR Incident Controller ( a warrant boatswain) bring the crew back, then accuses him of "sending them out to die". This is one of the reasons why we never talked much about work with our wives, and why such spaces are locked to non watch standers today. This is a visual and audio roller coaster of a film. It will be in theaters January 28, 2015. Buckle up and go, strap in and watch. Be prepared to hold your breath and experience the emotion, if not the moisture of a cold dunking. Water torture? This film will give you a whole new understanding of the concept. 


125 N.WEST ST., ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314-2754
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If interested in trying to obtai a copy of the article mentioned in this post mention volume 99 NO.2

Watch the trailers linked to below. If you tend to agree with our assessment re-tweet our tweets, forward the trailer links, encourage your friends to see it. This film finally does for Coast Guard SAR boat crews what BACK DRAFT did for firemen.
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Finest Hours Trailer 1
Finest Hours Trailer 2


 The Book

Product Details

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


 Image: Japanese Coast Guard
<a target="_blank" href="">AMAZON GIFT CARDS</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />
"The South Korean navy fired warning shots Tuesday at a Chinese patrol boat that crossed the disputed maritime border between South and North Korea, military officials in Seoul said." Read more @: THE JAPAN TIMES

  Unfortunately the apparently errant vessel , was actually a Chinese patrol boat cracking down on illegal Chinese fishing vessels. South Korea has been asking China to regulate Chinese vessels that have been entering S. Korean territorial waters pursuing fish. Small wooden Chinese commercial fishing vessels were once tolerated in the area, but they are now being increasingly replaced by large steel vessels depreciating the S. Korean commercial fish stocks. 
 Our view is that the incident reflects the growing pains of the Chinese Coast Guard. In the South China Sea,since the inception of the Chinese Coast Guard, in that area it is being used as an aggressive instrument of marine territorial national policy in conflict with international law. Such a deployment doesn't exactly build sensitivity in a coast guard officer corps for what it takes to run a legitimate operation in concert with a neighbor state. 



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Saturday, December 5, 2015

TODAY IS THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF PEARL HARBOR: December 7th this year is Wednesday.....It happened on a quiet Sunday
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Battleships USS WEST VIRGINIA and USS TENNESSEE after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 Department of the Navy. Fourteenth Naval District. (1916 - 09/18/1947), Photographer (NARA record: 1172763 Click on the link below for an hour and half documentary on the attack at Pearl Harbor:

Damage at Pearl Harbor, early color photo by U.S. Coast Guard

  Explosion of the USS SHAW at Pearl Harbor Public Domain photo.

  USS TENNESSEE (middle) fights her fires at Pearl Harbor. The ARIZONA (foreground) and the WEST VIRGINIA were also afire. TENNESSEE damage control teams fought fires of both of these adjacent ships which threatened to spread to the TENNESSEE.

Today is also the 46 Anniversary of what was once the worst peace time loss of Coast Guard crew men in the history of the service.

Unfortunately the loss of 17 crewmen would be exceeded before the 20th century was over in the loss of the CGC BLACK THORN.  The WHITE ALDER sank on the lower Mississippi River just above New Orleans when it was cut in half by the Freighter HELENA registered in Taiwan on December 7, 1968.
 The CGC WHITE ALDER is pictured left in an official USCG photo. Oddly this photo was taken about a year prior to the loss of the CGC WHITE ALDER while she was attempting to salvage the sunken CGC LOGANBERRY, a smaller buoy tender/aids to navigation cutter that sank in rough weather after striking an uncharted submerged object. Our own Johnas Presbyter was there for the LOGAN BERRY mission in charge of a smaller responding Coast Guard vessel. The entire crew of the CGC LOGANBERRY was rescued and the vessel raised and repaired. For the complete story of the WHITE ALDER click here:

 In 1980 a larger Coast Guard Buoy tender the CGC BLACK THORN was sunk after a collision in Tampa Bay with a loss of 23 Coast Guard crew members.   The Loss of the BLACK THORN now stands as the Coast Guard's largest single day loss of personnel in peace time.

  CGC BLACK THORN, Official USCG Photo
 Between the two Buoy tender losses the service lost a training vessel.  The CGC CUYAHOGA was sunk in a collision on the Chesapeake Bay on October 20, 1978. Aboard the CUYAHOGA 10 Coast Guard crew and Officer Trainees were lost as well as one Indonesian Navy Trainee.  USCGC CUYAHOGA 1974 CGC CUYAHOGA, Official USCG Photo:

To put the Coast Guard peace time losses in perspective that started on December 7, 1968 consider that each of these losses of 17, then 10, then 23 members occurred in a single day in a service smaller than the New York city police department at the time. 

 The Coast Guard was present at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941:
 The CGC TANEY was present at Pearl Harbor and returned fire. The TANEY survived the rest of the war as well and now is a museum ship in Baltimore harbor. In addition to the Taney at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 were the unarmed 190 foot buoy tender the CGC KUKUI, Two 125 foot armed cutters the RELIANCE and the TIGER. The CGC TIGER was outside the harbor at the time of the attack and was subjected to fire from Japanese air craft which signaled its immediate change of course to its war time predesignated station as the outer harbor entrance patrol vessel, the station from which it rode out the rest of the attack. The actions of the CGC RELIANCE were not posted to the official Coast Guard website on the USCG at Pearl Harbor, nor were those of most of the several smaller numbered vessels ( generally the Coast Guard does not name vessels under 65 feet) with the exception of CG-8 which was under aerial attack, was underway in the harbor and participated in an evacuation of unarmed personnel from a harbor facility and other search and rescue duties during and after the attack. In one of the little know actions of the Pearl harbor attack nearly 1,000 miles away at Midway Japanese destroyers shelled the harbor in the hopes of destroying any naval vessels present. Among the few present was the Coast Guard buoy tender WALNUT which was unarmed. The shells of the Japanese destroyer all fell short of the WALNUT which got under way after the shelling stopped and made a bee line for Pearl Harbor arriving a few days later. At Pearl Harbor the WALNUT was promptly armed.

As we continue to monitor the transgressions of the Chinese Navy and Coast Guard  ( and recently air forces) towards their neighbors Japan and the Philippines, December 7th seems a good time to pause and remember that Japanese and American naval forces are still vulnerable to surprise attack at places like Guam where China recently moved shore base missiles on their mainland to within range of Guam. Both U.S. and Japanese forces are vulnerable to sneak attack at Yokosuka and it is publicly stated Chinese national policy to drive the United States Navy back to Pearl Harbor. It is the Coast Guard forces of both Japan and China that mostly confront each other over the disputed islands at the moment. Both sides have emphasized Coast Guard forces in the hopes that their police like nature will enhance legal claims of "effective administration" and save face over any confrontations that look like backing down. Unfortunately China has a poor legal case and no right what so ever to be invading the relevant sea and air spaces. With the recent establishment of an aerial defense zone over the disputed islands by China , air force to air force confrontations are going to occur. December 7, 2014 finds us in a situation all too similar to 1941. In the blink of an eye the distinction between Coast Guard and naval forces can be lost for the duration of a long and costly war. Lets hope the Dragon finally awakens to common sense and the rule of international law. But lets not lull ourselves into the slumber that enveloped Honolulu on December 6, 1941 nor the distraction that the Islamofascists constantly present. It is time to begin building up our naval strength and protecting it.

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