Saturday, December 27, 2014

USS Ranger--Proud Ship Scrapped For a Penny

 The year I believe was 1964, and Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Ottawa (2300 tons) was fuelling off USS Ranger (66,000 tons). Ranger's career was from 1957 to 1993, and Ottawa's an almost identical 1956-1992.
The Ranger is now on her way to the scrap-heap, after attempts to turn her into a museum piece failed. She was one of four Forrestal-class supercarriers, and saw service in Vietnam, the Middle East, and elsewhere. As you can see from the "60" yard marker, Ottawa is getting squeaky close to the larger ship (the other end of the line is attached to Ranger).
We never knew how much we were tossed about in even these moderate seas until we were close to a rock-solid behemoth such as Ranger.

In this snapshot, also taken on Ottawa's bridge, as very junior sublieutenant I have as a backdrop Ranger pulling away, flanked by two  destroyers.

Friday, December 19, 2014

US-Cuba Easing the Strain

It's taken over 50 years, but President Obama's move toward normalizing affairs with Cuba has interesting sidebars. Even though Canadian naval and air forces were shoulder to shoulder with the Americans during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, it was Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada who later remained in close touch with Fidel Castro.
And now Conservative PM Harper has facilitated meetings between the American and Cuban diplomats.
Meanwhile, ex-pat Cubans in Florida are at loggerheads over the issue.

Most Canadians, Americans, and Cubans were not alive in 1962. But for a look at those terrifying days in a Canadian submarine, check out "Terror on the Alert".

Monday, December 15, 2014

Days of Infamy for Canada's Government

Retired Corporal Dennis Manuge has written a guest post for David Pugliese's Defence Watch blog. He says Stephen Harper must get rid of Julian Fantino as Veterans Affairs Minister. He starts his post with these words:

 "Dear Prime Minister Harper
Subject: Call for VAC Minister Fantino’s Resignation
The time is long overdue for you to ask for, and accept, VAC minister Fantino’s resignation and for you to accept responsibility for the systemic failures with in the Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada; specifically, the treatment of injured and ill service men and women and veterans who have become disabled during their service.
This last slap in the face to our veterans community, and the over one billion dollars that has been rolled over from the VAC budget, truly illustrates your government’s commitment to seeing off disabled service men and women."

He goes on to recount how Veterans Affairs have wrongly deducted ("clawed back") benefits wounded veterans should have received; paid back a trifling amount when ordered by a court; and, adding insult to injury, transferred a billion dollars back from the veterans affairs account to treasury.

In the United States, the nation has marked the Day of Infamy. These, in my opinion, are Harper's, and the Conservatives', days of infamy.

See Dennis Manuge's letter on the Defence Watch blog.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NOABC--Christimas Lunch with The Dukes

The photo at left was taken at the Beatty Street Armoury in Vancouver on December 4, 2014. The occasion was the annual Christmas fundraising luncheon put on by the BCR(DCO), the British Columbia Regiment, (Duke of Connaught's Own). "The Dukes", as their members are known, is the oldest militia regiment in British Columbia, dating back to 1883.

Recently there has been a strong supportive showing at the luncheon by the Vancouver naval community. Two tables were occupied by present or former members of the senior service.

Among them were Lloyd Williams, on the left, and King Wan. King was commanding officer of HMCS Discovery from 2001 to 2005, and Lloyd commanded a Landing Ship Infantry (Large) during World War II. He disembarked troops on beaches at Sicily and then Normandy, D-Day, 1944.