ISA/USA Officers nominations-Navy Mitigates Suspect steel-Zoom Meeting Fate of CSS Hunley-Inside a sunken U-Boat-Underway on a Nuclear Boat-Secnav Move History Museum-Secret Swedish Weapon-North Korea Submarine Base-Blue Ridge Asheville-Rebel Forts
Registration is now open on the website above for the 2021Sweden Congress
Join 31 Other Nation's Submariners for fun and travel; once this virus is gone.
Consider becoming a member of the ISA-USA; you will benefit in many ways.
- Be part of a 50-year tradition of international friendships of submarine sailors. Check out www.submariners.org for the history of the International Association
- Travel to foreign countries to participate in conventions that usually include thirty-one states in attendance.
- Establish friendships with submariners from other nations.
- Contribute your Submarine history and experience in our World Wide e-mail blast.
- We Cheerfully accept members that have not served but are interested in worldwide submarine activities
Lifetime membership only $50.00.
ISA/USA Membership Application. All new members of ISA/USA receive a Membership card, ISA/USA Patch, and new larger Vest Pin. On our weblink below and print an application:
Send completed form and membership fee to:
John Bud Cunnally E.T.C. (S.S.) Ret. USN – President
International Submariners Association of the USA (ISA/USA)
4704 Coppola Drive
Mount Dora, Fl 32757-8069
Election Time for the ISA/USA is upon us again. We are seeking some great submariners from our membership to fill the positions of Vice President, Secretary, and Member at Large.
Navy Has 'Mitigated' Risk of Suspect Steel From Company in Federal Fraud Case
By: Sam LaGrone
Jun. 19, 2020 11:33 AM
Attack boat Vermont (SSN-792) float-off on Mar. 29, 2019. General Dynamics Electric Boats Photo
Sailors underway on submarines with steel from a company that pleaded guilty to providing the Navy with fraudulent materials aren't at risk, the service's top acquisition official told reporters on Thursday.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James Geurts said the Navy had evaluated the potential risks for suspect steel that was used to build Navy submarines from a Washington state foundry owned by Bradken, Inc.
"We have done the work to understand any potential risk, and believe we have mitigated any potential risk for our in-service submarines," Geurts said in response to a question to USNI News.
"It did cost us some time to go do the exploration to make sure that we were comfortable with the safety of our sailors."
Earlier this week, Bradken Inc. entered a deal with federal prosecutors to pay $11 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement over what government officials said was decades of providing fraudulent materials for the construction of Navy nuclear submarines.
The Kansas City-based company found that its foundry in Washington had falsified testing results for castings for Virginia-class submarines built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding. Specifically, the Tacoma foundry's director of metallurgy, Elaine Thomas, falsified test results to say substandard castings met the Navy's standards for submarine construction.
"Thomas falsified results for over 200 productions of steel, which represent a substantial percentage of the castings Bradken produced for the Navy," according to federal prosecutors.
The company discovered the fraud in 2017.
"At that time, a lab employee discovered that test cards had been altered and that other discrepancies existed in Bradken's records," according to prosecutors.
"While Bradken initially disclosed these findings to the Navy, it then made misleading statements suggesting that the discrepancies were not the result of fraud. Bradken admits that these misleading statements hindered the Navy's investigation and its efforts to remediate the risks presented by Bradken's fraud."
Navy submarines have the most stringent requirements for construction to meet the service's SUBSAFE standards. Developed after the 1963 loss of attack boat USS Thresher (SSN-593), the SUBSAFE program has a simple premise: a submarine must be able to get to the surface in the event of a problem. It's unclear if any of the castings were SUBSAFE components.
Guerts said the Navy also evaluated submarines under construction for problems derived from the steel.
"We have done a sweep of any material that was in the queue for new construction submarines. That's a little easier because it isn't in the submarine yet, and we're confident in the material for any of the new construction submarines," he said.
"We are working closely with the company and have instituted additional audits and inspections in reviewing with them and Electric Boat to ensure that we won't have a repeat of this."
The foundry continues to make steel castings for both Electric Boat and Newport News.
Both companies said they are working to maintain the quality of the materials from Bradken.
"Electric Boat and its shipbuilders are committed to delivering the safest and most capable submarines to the Navy," the company said in a statement to USNI News on Thursday.
"The company worked with the Navy to perform extensive testing and analysis to ensure the material provided by Bradken is technically acceptable for use."
In a statement, an HII spokesperson said, "we are committed to building high-quality submarines for the U.S. Navy, and we take the safety of those who sail on our ships to be of the highest priority. We will continue to cooperate with the government, and we will continue to work with the Navy and our submarine building partner to deliver the highest quality submarines to the fleet."
Rendering of Block V Virginia-class submarine with Virginia Payload Module. General Dynamics Electric Boat Image
Underlying issues with the submarine supplier base is a crucial concern as the service is on the cusp of building the new class of Columbia nuclear ballistic missile submarines.
"We need to continue, at our level, with the Navy, with our submarines builders at Newport News and with Electric Boat, and through the entire supply chain, to ensure that we have the procedures to build the part right," Guerts said.
Bradken's plea follows other supplier base issues. In 2016, supplier Nuflo drew a Department of Justice investigation after weak welds were discovered on three submarines. In 2018, poor welds were found in quad-pack missile tubes constructed by BWX Technologies, resulting in a $27-million fix.
Geurts told reporters the lessons from past mistakes are being incorporated into the service moving forward.
"If you look back in the history of submarines, there has always been a keen awareness that we're only as strong as the supplier base and as good as the parts that the suppliers are producing to put into our submarines,"
"Part of the challenge is that, as you try to bring that (industrial) base from a small number of submarines to two Virginias a year to now two Virginias a year plus Columbia, you really need to understand the extent of the supplier base's readiness to get there and then controls in place to make sure we stay there."
Over the last two years, the Navy has identified more than 300 critical suppliers and stepped up oversight of the vendors to keep the Columbia program – which the Navy has said repeatedly over the last decade was its highest acquisition priority – on track.
At least one lawmaker is calling for a hearing after the Bradken plea to take a look at the limited supplier base.
"We are dangerously reliant on sole-source companies," House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) told The Day of New London this week.
"Aside from the cost factor, you really lose your leverage because you're limited in terms of no market."
Zoom Lecture on the fate of the CSS Hunley.
On Jul. 1, 2020, at 6:30 PM EDT, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania will welcome Dr. Rachel Lance, a biomedical engineer with expertise in the effects of explosions on humans, to live-stream a lecture via ZOOM to answer one of American history's most haunting questions, "What sank the H.L. Hunley?"
Dr. Lance's lecture, based on her new book, In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine, examines how and why the Confederate submarine, the H.L. Hunley, after completing its deadly mission, sank from history until the year 2000, when it was extracted from the depths of the Charleston Harbor, its crew of eight men still seated peacefully at their posts.
This ZOOM lecture is made possible by the Army Heritage Center Foundation. Register in advance at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YO6LAwlQSGG4I_obx9usCg to receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the conference.
To submit questions during the lecture, use the Q&A icon on the ZOOM website.
The night of Feb. 17, 1864, the Hunley, a hand-propelled submarine, was carrying a 135 lb. Keg of gunpowder at the end of a 16 ft. wooden pole, rammed the make-shift mine into the side of the Union warship, the USS Housatonic. The massive
explosion sank the warship, making the Hunley the first submarine successfully used in combat. The Hunley then immediately, and mysteriously disappeared. In her book, Dr. Lance's dogged and cutting edge research into the aftereffects of
the explosion not only offers the explanation for why the submarine sank, but it also helps to provide critical information on the effects of explosions on today's combat service members.
Dr. Lance is an author and Assistant Consulting Professor at Duke University, where she conducts research out of their Hyperbaric Medicine facility, with a focus on military diving projects. Before earning her Ph.D., Dr. Lance worked as an engineer for the United States Navy, and helped to build specialized underwater equipment used by Navy divers, SEALs, and Marine Force Recon personnel. Her trailblazing research into predicting the risks of injury and fatality from underwater explosions has received numerous international citations.
Posted on Facebook this exciting film of the insides of a sunken U-Boat Last Voyage of the U-853
Underway on a Nuclear Boat Link
SECNAV Braithwaite Pledges Support for Navy History Museum Nearing Deal to Move off Washington Navy Yard
By: John Grady
Jun. 16, 2020 4:02 PM
Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite, right, discusses the significance of the historic Washington Navy Yard with Naval History and Heritage Command deputy director Patrick Burns during a tour of Naval History and Heritage Command on Jun. 5, 2020. U.S. Navy Photo
The Navy is nearing an agreement with a developer to swap land parcels in the District of Columbia and make way for a new National Museum of the United States Navy outside the fences of the Washington Navy Yard, those involved with the relocation efforts said.
Speaking online at the 94th annual meeting of the Naval Historical Foundation, Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite pledged to "re-invigorate the National Museum of the United States Navy," which now attracts slightly more than 100,000 visitors annually.
Retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, estimated that a new museum outside the Navy Yard fences and within a six-minute walk of the region's Metro rail system could draw up to 2 million visitors annually to tell the sea service's story to the general public.
Public access to the Navy Yard was reduced wake of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, causing museum attendance to drop. Following the 2013 mass shooting at the Navy Yard, access by the public became even more restricted. Visits to the museum needed pre-arrival approval in most cases, further cutting the number of visits to its collections.
Cox said, "we're not that far from saying we've got the land." He said the idea, initially endorsed by former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, was to trade the museum's current land along the Anacostia River for the area the Navy was eyeing for the new museum location after Congress balked at buying property nearby the Navy Yard that the service once owned.
USS Nautilus (SSN-571). US Navy Photo
Historian Craig Symonds, who delivered the foundation's keynote lecture, said it was a shame to keep "a great national treasure … locked behind barred doors." Cox acknowledged most museum visitors hold Controlled Access Cards or come as members of Honor Flight tours of the capital for veterans.
Smiling during this part of the presentation, Cox said, "then I got to find someone to raise the money" to build a campus, not a single building museum. The Marine Corps model would be the one followed and allow the museum to open in phases.
"The Army did [the fund-raising] at once, but it took them 15 years to do it." The National Museum of the United States Army, located near Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, was scheduled to open to the public this month. Still, the ceremonies have been postponed because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Both the Marine Corps and Army Museum used historical foundations to raise funds to build the facilities that could not be done with government money. In addition, the foundations support volunteer and educational programs at the facilities.
Like the Army and Marine Corps museums, the pandemic has put the Navy museum system and archives "in a degraded mode," closed to prevent the spread of the virus. Cox found a bright spot in the command's social media platforms, which "are going like gangbusters."
Noting that he was one of the first Navy officials to meet with Braithwaite after he took office onMay 29, Cox said, "this [national museum project] is moving forward."
Likewise, overhauling USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the Navy's first nuclear-powered submarine which now serves as a museum operations ship in Connecticut, "is on track." Cox expects it to go into a dry dock for repairs in 2022.
For the center and the foundation, Braithwaite said, "you have a strong advocate in me."
Swedish Navy Submarines Have A Unique Secret Weapon
H I SuttonContributor
Thanks to trials with the U.S. Navy, Sweden's submarines are famous for being stealthy. This is due primarily to their Air-Independent Power (AIP), which allows them to stay submerged for much longer. It is not unique, however, as other countries now operate AIP submarines.
But Swedish Navy submarines have another capability that is unique. As well as regular torpedoes, they carry special lightweight ones. And this is where it gets secretive: they can launch two at the same time from a single tube.
The Gotland Class submarine has two torpedo tubes dedicated to lightweight torpedoes. Each tube can ... [+]
That Swedish submarines use lightweight torpedoes is well documented. The double-tap capability is not. It is known about in some corners of the defense community, but like many topics in underwater warfare, it is talked about in hushed tones. Slowly word of this capability has crept out, particularly in Sweden, but it is still virtually unknown. And some details of the capacity are still secret.
The weapons used are smaller than regular torpedoes but more substantial than most other 'lightweight' ones. They are optimized to kill enemy submarines, although the latest models can also be used against small warships and even enemy torpedoes.
Unusually they are wire-guided, a feature which is usually only found on more massive torpedoes. This allows the submarine to guide them to the target. If the wire breaks or is cut, then the torpedo goes into fire-and-forget mode using its own sonar. Wire-guidance is more reliable than fire-and-forget weapons in the confined and crowded Baltic. The torpedoes can be guided around an island to hit a target on the other side.
Age Verification: The Fine Line Between Clever And Stupid
Two of these smaller torpedoes can be loaded into a single torpedo tube, one behind the other. One or both can then be launched. So the sufficient number of torpedo tubes is doubled. In practice, Swedish submarines are equipped with a mix of 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes for 'full size' heavyweight torpedoes and 15.75" (400mm) tubes for the individual lightweight torpedoes.
This mixed load-out allows the current Gotland Class submarines to shoot up to 8 torpedoes at once despite only having six torpedo tubes. Four would be heavyweight torpedoes, each in its own tube, and four would be lightweight ones in double-loaded tubes. The earlier Näcken Class, which had eight torpedo tubes, could launch ten torpedoes at a time (6 heavyweights, four lightweights).
Official photograph of a Gotland Class submarine armed with six torpedo tubes but can launch ... [+]
The service history of Sweden's lightweight torpedoes started in 1963 with the introduction of 'Torped-41'. Today Swedish submarines carry the 4th generation Torped-45, which entered service in the mid-1990s. The next-generation Torped-47 is expected to enter service in 2022. It will arm the current A-19 Gotland class and future A-26 Blekinge Class.
Although Sweden is alone in deploying these torpedoes on submarines, other countries are looking at similar ones. The U.S. Navy drafted the Common Very Lightweight Torpedo (CVLWT) concept over ten years ago. That weapon appears to have morphed into the VLWT (Very Lightweight Torpedo) recently unveiled by Northrop Grumman NOC. Although that has been proposed for submarines at some point in the future, Sweden may have a unique capability for some years to come.
NORFOLK (Jun. 10, 2020) Sailors aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) secure a lei to the sail of the boat before returning to Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., Jun. 10, 2020. Fast-attack submarines like Albany have multifaceted missions. Using stealth, persistence, agility and firepower, Albany supports special force operations, disrupts and destroys an opponent's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity and ensure undersea superiority. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alfred Coffield/Released)
Secure North Korean Submarine Base
A 50 ft long object on the quayside at a secretive North Korean Navy base appears to be a small submarine. Or even an extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicle (XLUUV). The discovery by Western observers comes at a time when North Korea has shut off communication with the South and threatened to mobilize the country's military against South Korea. Dramatically, today it reportedly blew up a joint liaison office with the South.
The unidentified object was found in high-resolution satellite imagery and was first reported by North Korean analysts at website 38 North. There are several possibilities, from the mundane to the explosive. One suggestion is that it is a new class of submersible.
The location, at Sinpo on North Korea's eastern coast, is a secret Naval base where new submarines are built and tested. The object is just yards away from where the country's first ballistic missile submarine, the Gorae Class, is usually tied up. It is also where the follow-on 'Romeo-Mod' missile boat is being built. That was shown off in state media in Jul. 23, 2019 but does not appear to be in the water yet. Unlike the Gorae, which is seen only as a test platform with limited operational capability at best, the larger Romeo-Mod will likely be the backbone of the Hermit Kingdom's at-sea nuclear deterrent.
The new submarine, if that's what the object is, is much smaller. At around 50-55 ft, it is what would typically be known as a midget-submarine. North Korea builds a large number of midget subs, but most are much larger than this.
One possibility is that it is something roughly equivalent to the U.S. Navy SEAL's dry combat submersible. North Korea has used its midget submarines to infiltrate agents and potentially commandos into South Korea before. Several have been caught in the act. But the known designs are already dated, so a new model wouldn't be surprising even though the great emphasis of North Korean submarine building appears to be ballistic missile boats.
Another more tantalizing possibility is that it is an extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicle (XLUUV). This would be a surprise move since the North's capabilities in this field are generally doubted. North Korean submarines are extraordinarily crude and low-tech compared to modern navies. But try to compensate by numbers, robustness, and aggressive captaining.
However, Iran, a country with close military technology ties with North Korea, has recently unveiled its XLUUV. That vehicle appears crude but is potentially impactful. It will be years before it is an operational system, but these underwater drones are a natural path for countries relying on asymmetric warfare. They could potentially be used more aggressively than the current crewed vessels. While they would lack the sophistication to complete complex missions, they could lay mines. Or attack surface vessels in a specified area where identification friend-or-foe (IFF) was not an issue.
Of course, the object may be something much more mundane. It does not look like a truck, and it is too large to be a missile, but until we have more images, we are kept guessing.
Blue Ridge Conducts Submarine Familiarization With USS Asheville
Story Number: NNS200618-13Release Date: 6/18/2020 12:07:00 PM
PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) participated in a submarine familiarization (SUBFAM) training with the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) June 14.
The SUBFAM gave the crew of Blue Ridge the chance to observe and operate with a submarine.
“The purpose of this training is to familiarize the crew of Blue Ridge with what a submarine looks like while at periscope depth,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gore, the 7th Fleet submarine operations officer. “We’ve been given the opportunity to observe a submarine in a covert posture.”
Blue Ridge’s watchstanders use robust integrated tools to routinely receive, analyze and interpret data from all over the world to form a complete tactical picture of air, surface and subsurface contacts but due to the nature of its mission, watchfully operating with a submarine doesn’t often happen.
“This is an opportunity for our watchstanders to become familiar with what they might see if there really was a submarine out there,” said Capt. Craig Sicola, Blue Ridge’s commanding officer. “Blue Ridge is among the most technologically advanced ships in the world, and we welcomed the opportunity to flex our capabilities and practice integrated training with fellow Sailors from another warfare specialty.”
The exercise allowed Blue Ridge watchstanders to use these extensive command and control capabilities to recognize the signature of a submerged submarine and see how it tracks a subsurface contact.
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Jeremiah Ramos, a combat information center watchstander, had his first experience tracking a submarine. “This training exercise has increased our watch standers’ level of knowledge and readiness when it comes to a situation of encountering a submarine," he said.
USS Asheville's commanding officer also explained why this type of training is important.
“Supporting the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship was a unique opportunity for my crew to operate with our surface brothers and sisters, expand warfighting capability, and contribute to great integration of submarines with other platforms,” said Cmdr. Thomas Bullock, USS Asheville commanding officer. “Training scenarios like this are critical in our effort to improve readiness, increase lethality for our Forward Deployed Naval Forces warriors operating across all domains, and prepare for the high-end fight.”
Asheville, “The Ghost of the Coast,” is one of four Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines assigned to commander, Submarine Squadron (CSS) 15, which is headquartred at Naval Base Guam. CSS-15 staff, submarines and submarine tenders in Guam are the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed submarine force in the Pacific ready to meet global operations.
Blue Ridge is forward-deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. As the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and as 7th Fleet command ship, Blue Ridge actively works to foster relationships with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
200614-N-FA444-2875 PHILLIPPINE SEA (June 14, 2020) The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) transits alongside the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a submarine familiarization (SUBFAM) training. The SUBFAM was conducted so Blue Ridge's crew could observe the characteristics of a submarine and how it looks both acoustically and visually while in the vicinity of the ship. Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and, as U.S. 7th Fleet flagship, actively works to foster relationships with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon L. Harris/Released)
PHILLIPPINE SEA (June 14, 2020) The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) transits alongside the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a submarine familiarization (SUBFAM) training. The SUBFAM was conducted so Blue Ridge's crew could observe the characteristics of a submarine and how it looks both acoustically and visually while in the vicinity of the ship. Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and, as U.S. 7th Fleet flagship, actively works to foster relationships with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon L. Harris/Released)
Italian Navy chooses subsea rescue system developed by Saipem and Drass
- Equipment & technology
June 17, 2020, by Naida Hakirevic
The subsea rescue system developed by Saipem in collaboration with Drass was selected by Marina Militare Italiana (the Italian Navy) for the equipment of the special & diving operations – submarine rescue ship (SDO-SuRS) ship, the new vessel for the rescue of submarines.
The system integrates a latest generation remote operated vehicle (ROV) with a rescue capsule. The ROV acts as a vector for navigation and control, while the capsule brings submariners back to the surface through a controlled habitat in total safety.
The ROV and the capsule are mechanically and electronically tied, forming a single module connected to the vessel via an umbilical cable which contains power lines and optical fibers for power, communication and control.
The entire equipment can be divided into modules and transportable by air. Saipem will supply the ROV and all underwater automation units including the vehicle integrated into the capsule, while Drass will supply the decompression devices, hyperbaric elements, ventilation systems and medical gas treatment systems of the capsule.
As informed, the decision was made by the Italian Navy after a technical evaluation conducted in 2019 during which Saipem and Drass also realized a demonstration prototype successfully tested in the Adriatic Sea.
thyssenkrupp Marine Systems develops modular unmanned underwater system
June 16, 2020, by Naida Hakirevic
Germany’s defense company and builder of conventional submarines thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has developed a new modular underwater vehicle aiming to set a new standard for unmanned underwater operations.
Image Courtesy: thyssenkrupp Marine Systems
On June 15, 2020, the company presented the results of a pioneering research project on the feasibility, usability, construction and operation of large modular underwater vehicles.
The focus was on the Modifiable Underwater Mothership (MUM) project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and designed in collaboration by industry and science since 2017. It is intended to achieve market readiness in the upcoming years.
The presentation was part of the Maritime Research Programme whereby the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy supports the development of innovative maritime technologies. Norbert Brackmann, German government coordinator for the maritime industry, was on the shipyard site of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems to experience the progress of the project and the technological innovations already available for further implementation.
“The MUM project fits in very well with our aspiration to technological leadership… Given the challenging economic situation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, innovations and the further development of high-tech will pave the way to a successful future,” Brackmann said.
“Therefore, we have included provisions in the recently adopted economic stimulus package to provide additional funds for supporting innovation and the Maritime Research Programme.”
Specifically, MUM is a modular unmanned underwater system for various applications in the civil maritime industry. Examples include the transport and deployment of payloads, applications in the offshore wind and oil & gas industries as well as the exploration of sea areas with difficult access, such as the Arctic ice regions. In order to meet these requirements, a modular structure is envisaged. The system will use electrical power as the main energy source, by implementing an emission-free fuel cell. Where necessary, the power supply system is supported by a Li-ion battery module. Independent of wind and weather, MUM can operate 24/7, 365 days a year.
“The MUM project will benefit from our many years of expertise in fuel cell and battery technology, underwater vehicles as well as maritime sensors and autonomy software,” Rolf Wirtz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, noted.
MUM is expected to set the new standard for unmanned underwater operations by 2024. Together with the project partners ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, EvoLogics, University of Rostock, TU Berlin, Fraunhofer Institute, German Aerospace Center the Institute for the Protection of Maritime Structures, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will apply for funding for a MUM large-scale demonstrator as part of the Economic Ministry’s Maritime Research Programme.
USA Confederate Forts and why they were named that way
Note: The opinions and comments stated in the following article, and views expressed by any contributor to In Military, do not necessarily represent the views of American Military University, American Public University System, its management or employees.
As a soldier between 1997 and 2003 and an airman between 2003 and 2007, much of my time in the military was spent at what we might today call “rebel forts.” They were 10 U.S. Army posts (only the Air Force and Navy call them bases), which were named after Confederate generals.
As a young recruit from Texas, I attended infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia, named after Gen. Henry Benning, who commanded the 17th Georgia Infantry under Robert E. Lee. Benning saw action at the Second Battle of Manassas, the Battle of Antietam and Gettysburg as a brigade commander.
I later deployed to the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Fort Polk is named for Gen. Leonidas Polk, who enjoyed little success on the battlefield due to his inexperience and was killed in action during the Atlanta campaign.
I was once tasked with a special duty assignment that involved driving my squad leader, against his will, to Fort Gordon in Georgia so that he could have a racist tattoo removed from his arm. Ordered by our company commander to undergo the task, the C.O. said that his tattoo was counter to everything the U.S. Army stood for and was not conducive to morale, good order and discipline.
Ironically, our destination of Fort Gordon was named after John Brown Gordon. He joined the Confederate Army as a captain in the 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment, despite having no military experience.
In all, Virginia has three out of the 10 Army posts named after Confederates. Louisiana and Georgia each have two. Alabama, North Carolina and Texas each have one.
In fact, during my decade on active duty, I visited all 10 Army posts named after Confederate generals. But at the time, I never once considered the origin of their names.
Why 10 US Army Posts Were Named After Confederate Officers
All 10 of the “rebel forts” were established between World Wars I and II, a period in which the U.S. Army attempted to recruit as many men as possible, including young white men in the South. (Despite this tactic, the Army still had to resort to the draft in both wars.)
The Army thought that naming a large military post after Confederate generals might appeal to large swathes of young, able-bodied fighters.
Also, the federal government required huge chunks of land for its military reservations. Naming these plots of land after Confederate generals helped to attain buy-in from southern politicians and policymakers by appealing to the “Lost Cause” ideology, which romanticized the “Old Antebellum South” (Antebellum is Latin for ‘before the war’) and the Confederate war effort.
In response to a Time Magazine article critical of the 10 rebel forts, the Army Times in 2015 responded that they named the bases “in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.”
According to Encyclopedia Virginia, “The Lost Cause Ideology is certainly an important example of public memory, one in which nostalgia for the Confederate past is accompanied by a collective forgetting of the horrors of slavery. Providing a sense of relief to white Southerners who feared being dishonored by defeat, the Lost Cause was largely accepted in the years following the war by white Americans who found it to be a useful tool in reconciling North and South.”
Since then, the ideology has lost much of its academic support. However, its theme still echoes today in Confederate monuments, symbols and pop culture.
I would even argue that, from the perch of sociology, the Lost Cause Ideology was essential for healing the nation. It allowed millions of Southerners to feel better about losing the war while simultaneously empowering the North to be magnanimous in victory.
Unfortunately, racial equality was sacrificed upon the altar of reunification. As a result, millions of black and brown Americans would suffer institutionalized racism long after the Civil War ended, thanks in large part to minimizing slavery’s impacts.
Ongoing Racial Injustice Shines a New Light on Confederate Symbols
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash
The debate about what to do with Confederate monuments and symbols has simmered for decades. With the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as repeated instances of abusive policing caught on camera, the pot has now boiled over.
In 2015, the Confederate flag was removed from statehouse grounds in South Carolina after nine people were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a 21-year-old white supremacist.
Since then, at least 110 Confederate monuments and symbols have been removed by states, counties and municipalities nationwide.
However, according to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, 1,728 symbols honoring “Confederate leaders, soldiers or the Confederate States of America in general” remain standing, including the 10 U.S. Army posts that remain named after Confederate icons.
In the wake of nationwide protests, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the 2021 Defense Authorization Bill, authored by Sen. Warren. The bill gives the Department of Defense three years to implement new names for installations bearing the names of Confederate soldiers.
Last week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced that they “are open to a bi-partisan discussion on the topic [of renaming Confederate posts].”
Furthermore, the United States Marine Corps has banned images of the Confederate flag from its installations, an action that was quickly followed by the Navy. The military, long a leader in racial progress and desegregation, has recognized that a symbol that serves as oppressive to a large segment of both the military and the American public might not be the best symbol for good order and discipline.
Defending his decision to ban the Confederate flag, Marine commandant Gen. David Berger said, “I cannot have that division inside our Corps.” He added, “Marines from all backgrounds must trust each other in order to fight successfully together as a Corps, which is more valuable than any individuals who make up that team. The symbols that Marines should focus on are ones that unite them — the Corps’ eagle, globe and anchor; the American flag and the Marines’ exclusive MarPat camouflage uniforms.”
And finally, the Army has a regulation in place that sets the criteria for memorializing soldiers. “Memorializations will honor deceased heroes and other deceased distinguished individuals of all races in our society, and will present them as inspirations to their fellow Soldiers, employees, and other citizens.”
Based on the Army’s own definition, the rebel forts should be renamed.
How Might the US Army Posts Be Renamed?
The biggest formal push to rename an installation is to rename Fort Hood in Texas after Roy Benavidez. He was a Green Beret who received the Medal of Honor for action in Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Benavidez endured “six hours in hell,” he said. In a 1968 battle, he held his intestines in his hand, stabbed an enemy soldier to death, and loaded the wounded and dead onto two helicopters.
According to the Washington Post, “he later said he had so many injuries and was so bloodied he was mistaken for a dead man and stuffed in a body bag until he spat in a doctor’s face. He earned five Purple Hearts in combat.”
Army PFC. Milton Lee Olive III. (Photo: U.S. Army)
Fort Gordon might consider renaming itself after Milton Olive III, who jumped on a grenade to save his squad in 1965. Olive was the first African-American Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War, awarded posthumously.
Many veterans advocate renaming Fort Benning in Georgia after Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, a black soldier and Georgia native. In Iraq, Cashe entered a burning Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicle three times to rescue six soldiers while he himself was on fire. He died of his injuries several weeks later.
A push might even be made for renaming a Confederate post after Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL and decorated sniper for whom Clint Eastwood made the movie “American Sniper,” an eponymous film adaptation of Kyle’s autobiography of the same name. Kyle was well known for his work in helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What about History?
Opponents of tearing down Confederate statues and symbology often worry that we are revising, whitewashing or erasing our history.
However, a statue is not how we record history in our culture; we have universities, libraries and museums for that. A statue is erected for veneration.
At the level of the individual grunt soldier in the Civil War, there were no doubt tremendous acts of heroism performed by both sides in the intimacy of brother-on-brother combat.
But we now live in an era when, if we truly wish to confront racial inequality, we must, as a society, take a hard look at the symbols that divide us.
As for the 10 U.S. Army posts named after Confederate icons, retired U.S. Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus may have said it best. In his recent piece for The Atlantic, Petraeus said, “These are federal installations, home to soldiers who swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
“The irony of training at bases named for those who took up arms against the United States, and for the right to enslave others, is inescapable to anyone paying attention. Now, belatedly, is the moment for us to pay such attention.”
John Bud Cunnally ETC (SS) Ret. USN – President
International Submariners Association of the U.S.A. (ISA/USA)
4704 Coppola Drive
Mount Dora, Fl 32757-8069