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Demise of Pirates

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Founding Member
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Joined: Jan 21, 2007
Posts: 3987
Location: Kansas City MO

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 11:18 pm    Post subject: Demise of Pirates Reply with quote

[email] Iwatched this in yahoo news as it unfolded, but it was refreshing to hear it through a military mans eyes. Very Happy

Subject: The real story of the hostage rescue of Capt Philips off Somalia

This e-mail was forwarded to me from my friend Ernie Brace, a former
USMC Captain, decorated Korean War Combat pilot, and longest held
"civilian" Vietnam War POW (7 years 8 months). I list Ernie's
credentials because he is one of my heroes, the real deal. Because
Ernie sent this to me, and I would trust him with my life, I have no
reason to believe that it is not true.

Steve West

Your "Real" story is not exactly the way I heard it, and probably has
a few political twists thrown in to stir the pot. Rather than me
trying to correct it, I'll just tell you what I found out from my
contacts at NSWC Norfolk and at SOCOM Tampa.

First though, let me orient you to familiarize you with the "terrain."

In Africa from Djibouti at the southern end of the Red Sea eastward
through the Gulf of Aden to round Cape Guardafui at the easternmost
tip of Africa (also known as "The Horn of Africa") is about a 600 NM
transit before you stand out into the Indian Ocean. That transit is
comparable in distance to that from the mouth of the Mississippi at
New Orleans to the tip of Florida at Key West-- except that 600 NM
over there is infested with Somalia pirates.

Ships turning southward at the Horn of Africa transit the SLOC (Sea
Lane of Commerce) along the east coast of Somalia because of the
prevailing southerly currents there. It's about 1,500 NM on to
Mombassa, which is just south of the equator in Kenya. Comparably,
that's about the transit distance from PortlandMaine down the east
coast of the US to Miami Florida. In other words, the ocean area
being patrolled by our naval forces off the coast of Somalia is
comparable to that in the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River
east to Miami then up the eastern seaboard to Maine.

Second, let me globally orient you from our Naval Operating Base in
Norfolk, VA, east across the Atlantic to North Africa, thence across
the Med to Suez in Egypt, thence southward down the Red Sea to
Djibouti at the Gulf of Aden, thence eastward to round Cape Guardafui
at the easternmost tip of Africa, and thence southerly some 300 miles
down the east cost of Somali out into the high seas of the Indian
Ocean to the position of MV ALABAMA is a little more than 7,000 NM,
and plus-nine time-zones ahead of EST.

Hold that thought, in that, a C-17 transport averaging a little
better than 400 kts (SOG) takes the best part of 18 hours to make
that trip. In the evening darkness late Thursday night, a team of
Navy SEALs from NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) Norfolk
parachuted from such a C-17 into the black waters (no refraction of
light) of the Indian Ocean-- close-aboard to our 40,000 ton
amphibious assault ship, USS BOXER (LHD 4), the flagship of our ESG
(Expeditionary Strike Group) in the AOR (Area Of Responsibility, the
Gulf of Aden). They not only parachuted in with all of their
"equipment," they had their own inflatable boats, RHIB's (Rigid Hull,
Inflatable Boats) with them for over-water transport. They went into
BOXER's landing dock, debarked, and staged for the rescue-- Thursday night.

And, let me comment on time-late: In that the SEAL's quick
response-- departing ready-alert in less than 4 hours from Norfolk--
supposedly surprised POTUS's staff, whereas President Obama was
miffed not to get his "cops" there before the Navy. He reportedly
questioned his staff, "Will 'my' FBI people get there before the Navy
does?" It took the FBI almost 12 hours to put together a team and
get them packed-up-- for an "at sea" rescue. The FBI was trying to
tell him that they are not practiced to do this-- Navy SEALs
are. But, BHO wanted the FBI there "to help," that is, carry out the
Attorney General's (his) orders to negotiate the release of Captain
Phillips peacefully-- because apparently he doesn't trust GW's
military to carry out his "political guidance."

The flight of the FBI's passenger jet took a little less than 14
hours at 500-some knots to get to Djibouti. BOXER'S helos picked
them up and transported them out to the ship. The Navy SEALs were
already there, staged, and ready to act by the time POTUS's FBI
arrived on board later that evening. Notably, the first request by
the OSC (On Scene Commander) that early Friday morning to take them
out and save Captain Phillips was denied, to wit: "No, wait until
'my' FBI people get there."

Third, please consider a candid assessment of ability that finds that
the FBI snipers had never practiced shooting from a rolling,
pitching, yawing, surging, swaying, heaving platform-- and, target--
such as a ship and a lifeboat on the high seas. Navies have been
doing since Admiral Nelson who had trained "Marines" to shoot muskets
from the ship's rigging-- ironically, he was killed at sea in HMS
VICTORY at the Battle of Trafalgar by a French Marine rifleman that
shot him from the rigging of the French ship that they were grappling

Notably, when I was first training at USNA in 1955, the Navy was
doing it with a SATU, Small Arms Training Unit, based at our Little
Creek amphib base. Now, Navy SEAL's, in particular SEAL Team SIX
(The "DevGru") based at NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) at Little
Creek do that training now, and hone their skills professionally--
daily. Shooting small arms from a ship is more of an accomplished
"Art Form" than it is a practiced skill. When you are "in the
bubble" and "in tune" with the harmonic motion you find, through
practice, that you are "able to put three .308 slugs inside the head
of a quarter at 100 meters, in day or night-- or, behind a
camouflaged net or a thin enclosure, such as a superstructure
bulkhead. Yes, we have the monocular scopes that can "see" heat--
and, draw a bead on it. SEALs are absolutely expert at it-- with the
movie clips to prove it.

Okay, now try to imagine patrolling among the boats fishing everyday
out on the Grand Banks off our New England coast, and then responding
to a distress call from down around the waters between Florida and
the Bahamas. Three points for you to consider here: (1)
Time-Distance-Speed relationships for ships on the high seas, for
instance, at a 25-knot SOA (Speed Of Advance) it takes 24 hours to
make good 600 nm-- BAINBRIDGE did. (2) Fishermen work on the high
seas, and (3) The best place to hide as a "fisherman" pirate is among
other fishermen

Early Wednesday morning, 4/8/2009, MV ALABAMA is at sea in the IO
about 300 miles off the (east) coast of Somalia en route to Mombassa
Kenya. Pirates in small boat start harassing her, and threatening her
with weapons. MV ALABAMA's captain sent out the distress call by
radio, and ordered his Engineer to shut down the engines as well as
the ship-service electrical generators-- in our lingo, "Go dark and
cold." He informed his crew by radio what was happening, and ordered
them to go to an out-of-the-way compartment and lock themselves in
it-- from the inside. He would stay in the pilot house to
"negotiate" with the pirates.

The pirates boarded, captured the Captain, and ordered him to start
the engines. He said he would order his Engineer to do so, and he
called down to Engine Control on the internal communication system,
but got no answer. The lead pirate ordered two of his four men to go
down and find him and get the engines started.

Inside a ship without any lights is like the definition of dark. The
advantage goes to the people who work and live there. They jumped
the two pirates in a dark passageway. Both pirates lost their
weapons, but one managed to scramble and get away. The other they
tied up, put tape over his mouth and a knife at his throat.

Other members of the crew opened the drain cocks on the pirates boat
and cast it adrift. It foundered and sunk. The scrambling pirate
made it back to the pilot house and told of his demise. The pirates
took the Captain at gun point, and told him to launch one of his
rescue boats (not a life boat, per se). As he was lowering the boat
for them, the crew appeared with the other pirate to negotiate a
trade. The crew let their hostage go to soon, and the pirates kept
the captain. But, he purposefully had lowered the boat so it would jam.

With the rescue boat jammed, the pirates jumped over to a lifeboat
and released it as the captain jumped in the water. They fired at
him, made him stop, and grabbed him out of the water. Now, as night
falls in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, we have the classic
"Mexican" standoff, to wit: A life-boat that is just that, a
life-boat adrift without any means of propulsion except oars and
paddles; and, a huge (by comparison) Motor Vessel Container Ship
adrift with a crew that is not going to leave their captain
behind. The pirates are enclosed under its shelter-covering, holding
the captain as their hostage. The crew is hunkered down in their
ship waiting for the "posse" to arrive.

After receiving MV ALABAMA'S distress call, USS BAINBRIDGE (DDG 96)
was dispatched by the ESG commander to respond to ALABAMA's distress
call. At best sustainable speed, she arrived on scene the day
after-- that is, in the dark of that early Thursday morning. As
BAINBRIDGE quietly and slowly, at darkened-ship without any lights to
give her away, arrived on scene, please consider a recorded interview
with the Chief Engineer of MV ALABAMA describing BAINBRIDGE's
arrival. He said it was something else "... to see the Navy slide in
there like a greyhound!" He then said as she slipped in closer he
could see the "Stars and Stripes" flying from her masthead. He got
choked up saying it was the "...proudest moment of my life."
Phew! Let that sink in.

Earlier in the day, one of the U.S. Navy's Maritime Patrol Aircraft,
a fixed wing P3C, flew over to recon the scene. They dropped a buoy
with a radio to the pirates so that the Navy's interpreter could talk
with the pirates. When BAINBRIDGE arrived, the pirates thought the
radio to be a beaconing device, and threw it overboard. They wanted
a satellite telephone so that they could call home for
help. Remember now, they are fishermen, not "Rocket Scientists," in
that, they don't know that we can intercept the phone transmission also.

MV ALABAMA provided them with a satellite phone. They called home
back to "somebody" in Eyl Somalia (so that we now know where you
live) to come out and get them. The "somebody" in Eyl said they
would be out right away with other hostages, like 54 of them from
other countries, and that they would be coming out in two of their
pirated ships. Right-- and, the tooth fairy will let you have sex
with her. Yea, in paradise. The "somebody" in Eyl just chalked up
four more expendables as overhead for "the cost of operation." Next page.

Anyway, ESG will continue to "watch" Eyl for any ships standing out.

The Navy SEAL team, SEAL TEAM SIX, from NSWC briefed the OSC
(Commander Castellano, CO BAINBRIDGE) on how they could rescue the
captain from the life boat with swimmers-- "Combat Swimmers," per
se. That plan was denied by POTUS because it put the captain in
danger-- and, involved killing the pirates.

The FBI negotiators arrived on scene, and talked the pirates into
sending their wounded man over for treatment Saturday morning. Later
that afternoon, the SEAL's sent over their RHIB with food and water
to recon the life boat but the pirates shot at it. They could have
taken them out then (from being fired upon) but were denied again
being told that the captain was not in "imminent danger." The FBI
negotiators calmed the situation by informing the pirates of
threatening weather as they could see storm clouds closing from the
horizon, and offered to tow the life boat. The pirates agreed, and
BAINBRIDGE took them under tow in their wake at 30 meters-- exactly
30 meters, which is exactly the distance the SEALs practice their
shooting skills.

With the lifeboat under tow, riding comfortably bow-down on
BAINBRIDGE's wake-wave ("rooster tail"), had a 17-second period of
harmonic motion, and at the end of every half-period (8.5 seconds)
was steady on. The light-enhanced (infra-red heat) monocular scopes
on the SEAL's .308 caliber Mark 11 Mod 0 H&K suppressor-fitted sniper
rifles easily imaged their target very clearly. Pirates in a life
boat at 30-meters could be compared to fish in a barrel. All that
was necessary was to take out the plexiglass window so that it would
not deflect the trajectory of the high velocity .308 round. So, a
sniper (one of four) with a wad-cutter round (a flaxen sabot) would
take out the window a split second before the kill-shot-- no change
in sight-picture, just the window blowing out, clean.

Now, here's the part BHO's "whiz kids" knew as well as the Navy
hierarchy, including CO BAINBRIDGE and CO SEAL TEAM SIX. It's the law
in Article 19 of Appendix L in the "Convention of the High Seas" that
the Commanding Officer of a US Ship on the high seas is obligated to
respond to distress signals from any flagged ship (US or otherwise),
and protect the life and property thereof when deemed to be in
IMMINENT DANGER. So, in the final analysis, it would be Captain
Castellano call as to "Imminent Danger," and that he alone was
obligated (duty bound) to act accordingly.

Got the picture?

After medically attending to the wounded pirated, and feeding him,
come first light (from the east) on Easter Sunday morning and the
pirates saw they were being towed further out to sea (instead of
westward toward land), the wounded pirate demanded to be returned to
the lifeboat. There would BE NO more negotiations-- and, the four
Navy SEAL snipers "in the bubble" went "Unlock." The pirate holding
Captain Philips raised the gun to his head, and IMMINENT DANGER was
so observed and noted in the Log as CO BAINBRIDGE gave the classic
order: WEAPONS RELEASED! I can hear the echo in my earpiece now,
"On my count (from 8.5 seconds), 3, 2, 1, !" POP, BANG! Out went
the window, followed by three simultaneous shots. The scoreboard

I hope you found the above informative as best I know it-- and,
please excuse me in that after more than 50 years the Navy is still
in me. I submit thatAMERICA is going to make a comeback, and more
than likely it'll be on the back of our cherished youth serving with
honor in Our military. So, let's
Look Up, Get Up-- and, Never Give Up!

God Bless Our Troops, and
XXXXX, USNA Class of 1959,
Dickinson, Texas.

US military, still kicking butt. salut
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Joined: Jul 26, 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Geek Weather Expert
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Posts: 292

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing is hearing people actually show outrage that "young pirates" were killed. These wern't kids, they were thugs with guns! They got what they deserved.
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