Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Several years ago in Chicago I met an old filipino guy who told me about this ship the USS Laniaki and its unique service in the U.S. Navy in ww2. I just wanted to share the info with all of you military history buffs out there. I hope you like it.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
USS Lanikai, was a schooner-rigged diesel powered yacht commissioned into the United States Navy during both World War I and World War II, before being transferred to the Royal Australian Navy.
The ship was built as MY Hermes by W. F. Stone of Oakland, California, in 1914, for the Williams-Diamond Company, agents for the trading company Jaluit-Gesellschaft of Hamburg, Germany.
Service history; World War I, 1917–1919
The German vessel was in port at Honolulu when the United States entered World War I in April 1917. Taken over by the Navy by Executive Order, she was commissioned at Honolulu as USS Hermes on 1 April 1918, Lt. John T. Diggs in command.
Originally intended as a submarine patrol vessel, Hermes performed this duty out of Honolulu during the summer of 1918. On 31 August she sailed on a cruise among the islands northwest of Hawaii, including Laysan and Wake, to search for survivors of shipwrecks, signs of enemy activity, and to conduct a survey on wildlife and particularly birds for the Biological Survey Commission, Washington. After returning to Pearl Harbor on 2 October, she continued as a patrol craft.
Inter-war activities, 1919–1941
Hermes was ordered decommissioned on 16 January 1919 and placed at the disposal of the Hawaiian territorial government for use as a tender to leper colonies. When the territorial government decided they could not afford her upkeep, Hermes was turned over to the Pacific Air Detachment, whom she served as a store ship and general auxiliary craft.
Hermes was sold on 21 October 1926 to the Lanikai Fish Company and renamed Lanikai, and sold again in 1929 to the Hawaiian Sea Products Company. Laid up in 1931, the yacht was sold in 1933 to Northrup Castle of Honolulu, and sold in 1936 to Harry W. Crosby of Seattle, Washington. In 1937 she was sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios for use in making the film The Hurricane, starring Jon Hall and Dorothy Lamour. Following completion of the film she was used as the MGM yacht until sold on 6 April 1939 to E. M. Grimm of the Luzon Stevedoring Company of Manila, Philippines.
World War II
Operations in the Philippines, 1941–1942
Lanikai was taken into the United States Navy at Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, under charter from Luzon Stevedoring Co., on 5 December 1941, and commissioned the same day, Lt. Kemp Tolley in command.
Late in November 1941 it became apparent to the American Government that Japanese forces were tactically deposed for major operations in Southeast Asia, but their precise target was unknown. A large convoy was steaming south from the Formosa Straits, and it was hoped that learning the destination of these ships might reveal Japan's intentions.
On 2 December, President Roosevelt ordered, through Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark, that the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, Admiral Thomas C. Hart "charter three small vessels to form a defensive information patrol... to observe and report by radio Japanese movements in the west China Sea and Gulf of Siam."
Lanikai was one of the small ships chartered to learn of Japan's intentions. Fitted out at Cavite, with the greatest dispatch, the schooner lay at the entrance of Manila Bay in the early hours of 8 December (7 December east of the International Date Line) awaiting daylight to thread her way through the dangerous minefields which guarded the harbor. Tolley's orders read: "Patrol off the entrance of Cam Ranh Bay and report the direction taken by the Japanese Fleet when it emerges." However, at 0300 word of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor arrived with orders to return to Manila.
In ensuing weeks, the schooner patrolled the approaches to Manila Bay and served as dispatch vessel within the harbor. On 10 December she survived the devastating Japanese air raid which destroyed Cavite Navy Yard. On Christmas Day, she assisted in the evacuation of Manila, carrying Army Officers and equipment to Corregidor.
Escape to Australia, 1941–1942
As a result of plans and actions of Lt. Comdr. Charles Adair, Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Hart, approval was obtained for Lanikai to attempt to escape to the Netherlands East Indies. On the evening of 26 December, carrying as passengers one Dutch and three American officers, Lanikai, with her Filipino crew, got underway from Mariveles harbor, Luzon, "destination unknown". Heading generally south, hiding in friendly coves during daylight, and traveling principally at night, the schooner sailed from island to island as Japanese forces spread across the East Indies with explosive speed. Storms covered her as she crossed the three large stretches of open water which lay between Luzon and Australia, and offered no coves for daylight concealment. When, as happened all too often, enemy aircraft approached the lightly armed schooner, they were preoccupied for the most part, with bigger game; but, at Surabaya, Java, on 3 February 1942, three Japanese bombs straddled the schooner so close aboard that Lanikai crewmen put off in a skiff to pick up a large quantity of stunned fish.
In late February, under full sail despite heavy seas, Lanikai headed due south from Tjilatjap, Java. This course was taken to avoid enemy forces which might be searching the direct route from Java to Darwin, Australia. On 1 March, while about 200 miles east of Christmas Island, a large Japanese task force was sighted on the port bow. Evasive action by Lanikai was successful. On 18 March, 82 days after departing Mariveles, the schooner arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia.
Service in Australia, 1942–1945
After replenishment and repairs, she got underway, on 4 April, to cruise along the northwest Australian coast and search for possible Japanese coast watchers. Lt. Comdr. Adair relieved Lt Comdr. Tolley of command of the vessel on 27 April and continued the search into mid-May. Lanikai was decommissioned at Fremantle on 22 August, and was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy in which she served on harbor defense throughout the war.
At the end of the war, Lanikai was sent back to the Philippines, and returned to her previous owner at Manila in 1946, but the owner refused to accept her in such poor condition. While undergoing repair at Subic Bay, the US Naval Base North of Manila, Lanikai sank during a typhoon in 1947. In 2003 the wreck of the vessel was found in Nabasan Bay, and artifacts later salvaged.
My good friend Matt came up to the mountains the other day to invite me to a BBQ on memorial day so i packed up my gear and headed to town with him. Once there I went to see my good friend and Knife expert/Historian Trapper Jon. I was looking to buy a new swiss army knife since mine is getting old and pretty worn out.
Trapper Jon had one of the new Bear grils survival knives by gerber blades, I managed to get it for 30 bucks from TJ and took it back to the mountains to try it out.
I can say straight out that i dont like the serrations on the blade, if this knife had a straight blade with no serrations it would be a hell of a lot better. I did some batoning and prying, I even got a few sparks on quarts. there is a ferro rod that clips into the sheath along with a diamond honing stone on the inside of the sheath - kinda cool. the knife is a nice looking blade, multi functional, inexpensive, and pretty indestructible.
Ultimatly though, I didnt see that this knife is any better than my $6.00 dollar green River knife ,"Old Butch" that I have been packing for the past 22 years.
Im going to give this Gerber to a friend down the road and stick with "Old Butch", my GRK has taken me many miles and will take me many more with no frills.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Folks, some of you might be wondering why I have not posted in a while, well.....simply put, I have been broke! Due to a series of events beyond my control I suddenly found myself marooned in thailand with no money and no way to acess any.
But, like a modern day Robinson Curuso, I made the best of it with the limited resources I had on hand. I did recieve a lot of help from Mam and my friend "Raja", their kindness and generosity in this difficult time was well recieved and much appreciated.
I was forced to seek assistance from the American citizens services unit at the Amercan embassy in Bangkok, in the form of a "Repatriation loan". I was loaned money for a ticket to the usa and also enough $$ to cover and fees I may have at the airport. It is a good deal, but the down side is that my passport was cancelled and i cannot get another until the loan is repaid. no problemo.....
Anyhoo, my flight to the states is departing BKK at 5:55 AM via tokoyo and seattle, Ill hop on a plane to Tucson from seattle sometime on tuesday.
I will be spending the night at the Tucson Airport so that I can catch an early AM flight to LA on wed morning to keep an apointment with the folks at discovery.
This will prove to be a long journey, i look forward to its completion and subsiquently getting back into the mountains for some rest and relaxation.
So, this evening I will take my leave of Mam and head to the airport, it has been a fun and interesting 6 months of travel here in SE Asia, and Mam was a big help to me along the way. I will miss her immensly, this in itself is a miracle because missing her will mark the first time I have genuinly missed a woman.....
Im sure ill see her on the trail again though. This side of the other.
Be back asap -
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Just want to share this information about another unsung hero of WW2.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Freddy Spencer Chapman is the greatest war hero you have probably never heard of. For three and a half years during the second world war, this remarkable man lived well beyond enemy lines in the hostile rainforests of Malaya, attacking Japanese positions, training local insurgents and surviving gunshot wounds, disease and starvation. Constantly on the run, he was captured by the Japanese but escaped. Fellow British soldiers were killed in fighting, died from illness or were caught and beheaded, yet somehow Chapman survived and kept on going, almost single-handedly keeping alight the torch of British hope in Malaya after the calamity of Singapore’s surrender.
His is a truly extraordinary story, and one made all the more extraordinary because it has been largely overlooked. Lord Mountbatten recommended him for the Victoria Cross, but had his commendation turned down. Field Marshal Wavell claimed that Chapman’s achievements were every bit as impressive as those of TE Lawrence, but complained that Chapman “never received the publicity and fame that were Lawrence’s lot”.
In this crisp, compelling biography, Brian Moynahan goes some way to putting right this injustice, even if the Chapman who emerges from the book is not, one imagines, a man who would be embittered by lack of public recognition.
Born in 1907 but orphaned after his mother died of blood poisoning and his father was killed in the trenches at Ypres in 1916, Chapman belonged to the circle of educated but unorthodox Britons for whom the second world war provided great release. As a child he took masochistic pride in proving his toughness. At prep school he would egg on fellow pupils to hit him over the head with a cricket bat, “to see how hard he could take it”. Expeditions in the 1930s to the Arctic honed a variety of survival skills. He ate the still-warm kidneys of a polar bear shot on the ice, learnt to speak Inuit and fathered a son with an Inuit girlfriend. When a bitch in his sled-team delivered pups he had no qualms about feeding them to the other dogs.
At the beginning of the war these survival skills saw Chapman leave his teaching job at Gordonstoun and serve briefly as a fieldcraft trainer in Scotland alongside David Stirling, shortly before the latter went off to found the SAS. Deployed to Singapore in 1941, Chapman then set about preparing “left-behind’’ parties of soldiers or British rubber planters who could use their knowledge of the terrain for insurgent attacks against the coming Japanese assault. No matter that Chapman had never lived in the region or even camped in the rainforest, he soon threw himself into the vanguard of the fight, ignoring a bout of malaria to melt into the mountains of Malaya in January 1942. It would be May 1945 before he emerged again.
Simply moving through the terrain was challenge enough in his first days behind enemy lines. It took 12 wretched days to cover just 15 miles in an attempt to join up with another “left-behind” group. When Chapman finally got there, his body cadaverous from hunger and mottled with festering leech bites, he found his colleagues had already pulled out.
Undeterred, his three-man band set about disrupting Japan’s advance. They covered themselves in dye so they looked like Tamils (the tallest of Malaya’s diverse ethnic groups), and marched prodigious distances at night by the light of fireflies packed into their torches.
In what Moynahan calls a “mad fortnight” they blew up railway bridges, derailed trains and booby-trapped military vehicles. Ambushes were launched at point-blank range to ensure the target was hit, and on one occasion they were so close to the enemy that a grenade bounced back from the canopy of a Japanese army truck and almost blew them all up. Chapman taught locals to whistle The Lambeth Walk so they would be recognised after dark, and used his imitation of the cry of a British tawny owl to announce his night-time approach.
It was swashbuckling stuff. By Chapman’s own estimate, 1,000lb of explosives were detonated, 100 grenades thrown and between 500 and 1,500 enemy casualties inflicted in just 14 days. The Japanese thought they were up against at least 200 Australian commandos, not a three-man team, and Chapman was told that 2,000 Japanese troops were deployed to hunt them down. The closest they got was one night when all three men fled from a patrol and were caught on a barbed-wire fence. They froze and the patrol passed them by, but Chapman’s face bore a scar from the wire thereafter.
Realising that this sort of attack rate could not be maintained, Chapman tried to pull out and reach friendly lines by sea. But making the coast proved impossible, and he found himself cornered in the jungle, struggling against disease and the constant risk of betrayal by local informers. Once he slipped into a coma for 17 days, only working out later that he had been ill from the gap in his diary. Not surprisingly his commanders, failing to hear from him, listed him as “missing, presumed dead”.
Unable to leave, he directed his efforts instead at training local insurgents, enduring in the process an unending round of illness and injuries. During one night patrol he was hit by a shotgun blast that destroyed much of his left calf. Still bleeding, he was only saved because he clung to the back of a bicycle being pedalled by another insurgent. Working without anaesthetic, a doctor later removed a large bolt from the wound using forceps made from bamboo, and in the months it took Chapman to recover he lost a third of his body weight. A second bout of illness saw him being gagged to stop his chattering teeth betraying his location to a nearby Japanese patrol, and on another occasion he had so many suppurating ulcers on his lower legs he could no longer walk.
When he was eventually caught, he charmed his captors by dropping the name of a Japanese prince contemporary at Cambridge. That night, wracked with fever, he waited for his guards to doze and slipped away into the jungle. He had no quinine and the resulting malaria almost killed him.
Many of the local insurgents Chapman trained were communists, whose hatred of imperial Japanese occupation only slightly outdid their antipathy towards British colonial rule in Malaya. Those same communists would, after the war, turn their guns on British targets in the fight against colonial rule. Other peculiar bedfellows included a gang of opium-smoking brigands Chapman spent time with in the forest, as well as an indigenous ethnic tribe, the Sakai, who invited him to a feast where they claimed to have served him parts of a Japanese solder. “Though I would not knowingly have become a cannibal,” he wrote, “I was quite interested to have sampled human flesh.”
Moynahan has done a terrific job of turning Chapman’s life into an elegant narrative. The adventures and achievements are so remarkable that this factual biography reads at times like a Victorian novel where the central character suffers disaster on disaster, plumbing new depths of suffering as you turn the pages.
But this is no hagiography and the Chapman who emerges from the book is not readily likeable. Moynahan reveals his propensity to exaggerate and his brutal “pull yourself together” attitude to fellow British soldiers dying of disease in the jungle. But Chapman was, foremost, a military man and likeability is rarely a characteristic to be looked for in soldiers. After the war he married, had three children and returned to teaching, becoming a headmaster first in Germany and then South Africa. At the age of 64, his health beginning to fail, he blew his brains out with a shotgun in his office.
Reading Jungle Soldier left me feeling a sense of injustice for Chapman. If a squad of British soldiers who went missing behind enemy lines in Iraq for a few days could create the Bravo Two Zero cult, Chapman surely deserves more for his three and a half years in the jungle. Perhaps this book will help win final recognition for a truly extraordinary man.
Jungle Soldier by Brian Moynahan
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I got this from a friend, just wanted to share.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.
After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap -- boom, boom -- to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back. One had experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by U.S. forces, military and White House officials tell National Journal.
Were it not for this high-value target, it might have been a routine mission for the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.
This HVT was special, and the raids required practice, so they replicated the one-acre compound at Camp Alpha, a segregated section of Bagram Air Base. Trial runs were held in early April.
DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command, an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special-missions units. They report to the president and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directives. Though the general public knows about the special SEALs and their brothers in Delta Force, most JSOC missions never leak. We only hear about JSOC when something goes bad (a British aid worker is accidentally killed) or when something really big happens (a merchant marine captain is rescued at sea), and even then, the military remains especially sensitive about their existence. Several dozen JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past several years. Their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story -- generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That’s the code.
How did the helos elude the Pakistani air defense network? Did they spoof transponder codes? Were they painted and tricked out with Pakistan Air Force equipment? If so -- and we may never know -- two other JSOC units, the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group, were responsible. These truly are the silent squirrels -- never getting public credit and not caring one whit. Since 9/11, the JSOC units and their task forces have become the U.S. government’s most effective and lethal weapon against terrorists and their networks, drawing plenty of unwanted, and occasionally unflattering, attention to themselves in the process.
JSOC costs the country more than $1 billion annually. The command has its critics, but it has escaped significant congressional scrutiny and has operated largely with impunity since 9/11. Some of its interrogators and operators were involved in torture and rendition, and the line between its intelligence-gathering activities and the CIA's has been blurred.
But Sunday’s operation provides strong evidence that the CIA and JSOC work well together. Sometimes intelligence needs to be developed rapidly, to get inside the enemy’s operational loop. And sometimes it needs to be cultivated, grown as if it were delicate bacteria in a petri dish.
In an interview at CIA headquarters two weeks ago, a senior intelligence official said the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been “deconflicted and basically integrated” -- finally -- 10 years after 9/11. Indeed, according to accounts given to journalists by five senior administration officials Sunday night, the CIA gathered the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s location. A memo from CIA Director Leon Panetta sent Sunday night provides some hints of how the information was collected and analyzed. In it, he thanked the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for their help. NSA figured out, somehow, that there was no telephone or Internet service in the compound. How it did this without Pakistan’s knowledge is a secret. The NGIA makes the military’s maps but also develops their pattern recognition software -- no doubt used to help establish, by February of this year, that the CIA could say with “high probability” that bin Laden and his family were living there.
Recently, JSOC built a new Targeting and Analysis Center in Rosslyn, Va. Where the National Counterterrorism Center tends to focus on threats to the homeland, TAAC, whose existence was first disclosed by the Associated Press, focuses outward, on active “kinetic” -- or lethal -- counterterrorism missions abroad. Its creation surprised the NCTC’s director, Michael Leiter, who was suspicious about its intent until he visited.
That the center could be stood up under the nose of some of the nation’s most senior intelligence officials without their full knowledge testifies to the power and reach of JSOC, whose size has tripled since 9/11. The command now includes more than 4,000 soldiers and civilians. It has its own intelligence division, which may or may not have been involved in last night’s effort, and has gobbled up a number of free-floating Defense Department entities that allowed it to rapidly acquire, test, and field new technologies.
Under a variety of standing orders, JSOC is involved in more than 50 current operations spanning a dozen countries, and its units, supported by so-called "white," or acknowledged, special operations entities like Rangers, Special Forces battalions, SEAL teams, and Air Force special ops units from the larger Special Operations Command, are responsible for most of the “kinetic” action in Afghanistan.
Pentagon officials are conscious of the enormous stress that 10 years of war have placed on the command. JSOC resources are heavily taxed by the operational tempo in Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials have said. The current commander, Vice Adm. William McRaven, and Maj. Gen. Joseph Votel, McRaven’s nominated replacement, have been pushing to add people and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance technology to areas outside the war theater where al-Qaida and its affiliates continue to thrive.
Earlier this year, it seemed that the elite units would face the same budget pressures that the entire military was experiencing. Not anymore. The military found a way, largely by reducing contracting staff and borrowing others from the Special Operations Command, to add 50 positions to JSOC. And Votel wants to add several squadrons to the “Tier One” units -- Delta and the SEALs.
When Gen. Stanley McChrystal became JSOC’s commanding general in 2004, he and his intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, set about transforming the way the subordinate units analyze and act on intelligence. Insurgents in Iraq were exploiting the slow decision loop that coalition commanders used, and enhanced interrogation techniques were frowned upon after the Abu Ghraib scandal. But the hunger for actionable tactical intelligence on insurgents was palpable.
The way JSOC solved this problem remains a carefully guarded secret, but people familiar with the unit suggest that McChrystal and Flynn introduced hardened commandos to basic criminal forensic techniques and then used highly advanced and still-classified technology to transform bits of information into actionable intelligence. One way they did this was to create forward-deployed fusion cells, where JSOC units were paired with intelligence analysts from the NSA and the NGA. Such analysis helped the CIA to establish, with a high degree of probability, that Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding in that particular compound.
These technicians could “exploit and analyze” data obtained from the battlefield instantly, using their access to the government’s various biometric, facial-recognition, and voice-print databases. These cells also used highly advanced surveillance technology and computer-based pattern analysis to layer predictive models of insurgent behavior onto real-time observations.
The military has begun to incorporate these techniques across the services. And Flynn will soon be promoted to a job within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he’ll be tasked with transforming the way intelligence is gathered, analyzed, and utilized.
Deterrebit, videt, et defendere!
I was saddend to see this but, life goes on. Ill lift a glass to this old vet tonight!
Tomahawk - scouts out!
SYDNEY — The last known combat veteran of World War I was defiant of the tolls of time, a centenarian who swam in the sea, twirled across dance floors, and published his first book at 108. He also refused to submit to his place in history, becoming a pacifist who wouldn’t march in parades commemorating wars like the one that made him famous.
Claude Stanley Choules, a man of contradictions, humble spirit and wry humor, died in a Western Australia nursing home Thursday at age 110. And though his accomplishments were many — including a a 41-year military career that spanned two world wars — the man known as “Chuckles” to his comrades in the Australian Navy was happiest being known as a dedicated family man.
Choules was born March 3, 1901, in the small British town of Pershore, Worcestershire, one of seven children. As a child, he was told his mother had died — a lie meant to cover a more painful truth: She left when he was 5 to pursue an acting career. The abandonment affected him profoundly, said his other daughter, Anne Pow, and he grew up determined to create a happy home for his own children.
In his autobiography, “The Last of the Last” published just two years ago, he remembered the day the first motor car drove through town, an event that brought all the villagers outside to watch. He remembered when a packet of cigarettes cost a penny. He remembered learning to surf off the coast of South Africa, and how strange he found it that black locals were forced to use a separate beach from whites.
He was drawn to the water at an early age, fishing and swimming at the local brook. Later in life, he would regularly swim in the warm waters off the Western Australia state coast, only stopping when he turned 100.
World War I was raging when Choules began training with the British Royal Navy, just one month after he turned 14. In 1917, he joined the battleship HMS Revenge, from which he watched the 1918 surrender of the German High Seas Fleet, the main battle fleet of the German Navy during the war.
“There was no sign of fight left in the Germans as they came out of the mist at about 10 a.m.,” Choules wrote in his autobiography. The German flag, he recalled, was hauled down at sunset.
“So ended the most momentous day in the annals of naval warfare,” he wrote. “A fleet of ships surrendered without firing a shot.”
Choules and another Briton, Florence Green, became the war’s last known surviving service members after the death of American Frank Buckles in February, according to the Order of the First World War, a U.S.-based group that tracks veterans. Choules was the last known surviving combatant of the war. Green, who turned 110 in February, was a waitress in the Women’s Royal Air Force.
Choules met his wife, Ethel Wildgoose, in 1926 on the first day of a six-week boat trip from England to Australia, where he had been dispatched to serve as a naval instructor at Flinders Naval Depot in Victoria state. Ten months later, they were married. They went on to have three children — Daphne, Anne and Adrian, now in their 70s and 80s.
I thought this was blog worthy as with all military things.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
BATH, Maine – Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan's Kunar Province in 2005.
In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, "Thank you."
Then he continued the battle.
Dan Murphy, the sailor's father, said it didn't surprise him that his slain son nicknamed "The Protector" put himself in harm's way. Nor was he surprised that in the heat of combat his son was courteous.
"That was Michael. He was cool under fire. He had the ability to process information, even under the most difficult of circumstances. That's what made him such a good SEAL officer," Murphy said.
A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor recipient will be christened Saturday — on what would have been Murphy's 35th birthday — at Bath Iron Works, where the destroyer is being built.
Murphy, who was 29 when he died, graduated from Pennsylvania State University and was accepted to multiple law schools, but decided he could do more for his country as one of the Navy's elite SEALS — special forces trained to fight on sea, air and land — the same forces that killed Osama bin Laden this week in Pakistan.
Heightened security will be in effect as Murphy's mother, Maureen, christens the ship by smashing a bottle of champagne against the bow of the 510-foot-long warship as Murphy's father, brother and others watch.
Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y., earned his nickname after getting suspended in elementary school for fighting with bullies who tried to stuff a special-needs child into a locker and for intervening when some youths were picking on a homeless man, said Dan Murphy, a lawyer, former prosecutor and Army veteran who served in Vietnam.
Maureen Murphy said he thought he was too young to take a desk job as a lawyer. Instead, he went to officer candidate school, the first step on his journey to become a SEAL officer. He was in training during the Sept. 11 attacks, which shaped his views.
His view was that there are "bullies in the world and people who're oppressed in the world. And he said, 'Sometimes they have to be taken care of,'" she said.
[Related: Military wife: Our troops are still fighting]
On June 28, 2005, the day he was killed, Murphy was leading a SEAL team in northeastern Afghanistan looking for the commander of a group of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers.
The Operation Red Wings reconnaissance team rappelled down from a helicopter at night and climbed through rain to a spot 10,000 feet high overlooking a village to keep a lookout. But the mission was compromised the following morning when three local goat herders happened upon their hiding spot.
High in the Hindu Kush mountains, Murphy and Petty Officers Marcus Luttrell of Huntsville, Texas; Matthew Axelson of Cupertino, Calif.; and Danny Dietz of Littleton, Colo.; held a tense discussion of the rules of engagement and the fate of the three goat herders, who were being held at gunpoint.
If they were Taliban sympathizers, then letting the herders go would allow them to alert the Taliban forces lurking in the area; killing them might ensure the team's safety, but there were issues of possible military charges and a media backlash, according to Luttrell, the lone survivor.
Murphy, who favored letting the goat herders go, guided a discussion of military, political, safety and moral implications. A majority agreed with him.
An hour after the herders were released, more than 100 Taliban armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire, attacking from higher elevation, and maneuvering to outflank the SEALs, said Gary Williams, author of "Seal of Honor," a biography of Murphy.
Dan Murphy said his son made the right call.
"It was exactly the right decision and what Michael had to do. I'm looking at it from Michael's perspective, that these were clearly civilians. One of them was 14 years old, which was about the age of his brother. Michael knew the rules of engagement and the risks associated with it," the father said.
As the only survivor, Luttrell has pangs of regret for voting to go along with Murphy, his best friend; he now believes the team could've survived if the goat herders were killed.
In his own book, "Lone Survivor," Luttrell wrote that Murphy was shot in the stomach early in the firefight, but ignored the wound and continued to lead the team, which killed dozens of Taliban attackers. The injuries continued to mount as the SEALs were forced to scramble, slide and tumble down the mountain in the face of the onslaught.
Three of the team members had been shot at least once when Murphy decided drastic action was needed to save the team, Luttrell wrote. With the team's radio out of commission, Murphy exposed himself to enemy gunfire by stepping into a clearing with a satellite phone to make a call to Bagram Airfield to relay the dire situation. He dropped the phone after being shot, then picked it up to complete the phone call with four words: "Roger that, thank you."
By the end of the two-hour firefight, Murphy, Dietz and Axelson were dead. The tragedy was compounded when 16 rescuers — eight additional SEALs and eight members of the Army's elite "Night Stalkers" — were killed when their MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.
It was the largest single-day loss in naval special warfare history. All told, 33 SEALS have been killed in action since the Sept. 11 attacks, officials say.
Luttrell, who was blown off the mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious, evaded capture until he was taken in by villagers who protected him until he was liberated five days later by special forces. He has since left the Navy, gotten married and launched a foundation; he's unable to attend Saturday's event because his wife is in the final days of pregnancy, a spokesman for Luttrell said.
Navy Cmdr. Chad Muse, commanding officer of SEAL Delivery Team 1 in Hawaii, noted one of Murphy's favorite books was Steven Pressfield's "Gates of Fire," an account of outnumbered Spartans and their epic battle against hundreds of thousands of invading Persians nearly 2,500 years ago at the Battle of Thermopylae.
Like the Spartans, who were ultimately slaughtered, Murphy had a spirit that didn't give up. "It's about sacrifice and the Spartan ideal — and valor and heroism in battle," Muse said.
I received an email via my blog from a fella accusing me of not being American.....I got news for all those who might doubt my red blooded Americanism. If captain America and lady liberty had a baby on the 4th of July, named him jack Armstrong,wrapped him in old glory and fed the kid nothing but apple pie and hot dogs, that kid would only be half as patriotic as the tomahawk.....
In fact, I believe and many others believe that I am the personification of the words freedom,life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness; all of which are profound American values.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
I had been out drinking whisky with my sihk friends earlier in the evening and ended up in Nana Plaza. Oddly, I was trying to sober up there instead of getting further plastered. I didnt look forward to walking the 20 blocks or so to my apartment on soi 27 in a slightly hammered state. I did make it home safely though!
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Posted by pathfindertom at 10:46 PM
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I am busy deleting extra pics from my files and just wanted to share a few with my viewers. I hope you like them.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
In keeping with me Borneo theme, I have been busy lately doing a bit of research on the island . Today ,I came across this movie starring nick nolte. Looks pretty good, Im going to kick back and watch it on youtube.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Monday, May 2, 2011
I was invited by mam and my good friend "Raja" to go on a day trip just to get out of the city. They also invited 2 of Mam's lady friends along, Mai and Aire, nice ladies.
We ended up going to "Ginseng Island" to a temple where they all prayed and took in the sites. I had a good time also.
Here is a short vid of the trip.
Tomahawk - scouts out!