Bullet Points:

** A Few Billion here or there – A new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) blasted the Pentagon for losing track of $220 billion in equipment provided to government contractors.

** Abolish the BATFE? FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a bill to eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) following a controversial ruling that tightens regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces. BATFE isn’t going anywhere, but it’s good clickbait by Gaetz. I don’t think that ATF is going anywhere and Gaetz wants to parlay it into cash from his supporters. Still, it’s interesting.

** Indonesian Navy Klewang-class fast attack craft KRI Golok (688) coming into Bintan, Riau Islands. 14 Jan 2023

** People move on… Portrait of Delta Force, 1979. Jerry Boykin, who would later participate in the hunt for Pablo Escobar and serve as an Undersecretary of Defense, is top right. Eric Haney, who would later produce the popular CBS television show The Unit, is third row down, fourth from left.

** Don’t believe the government.

 

 

Pave Nail

As I understand it, the early illuminators flew on OV-10A Broncos.  They kept them over South Vietnam to reduce the chance that they’d be shot down and would ultimately fall into Soviet hands.

 

We have a Mutiny- no we have not… or have we?

Captain Alexander Mackenzie may have puzzled in one way or another when his first Lieutenant Guert Gansevoort informed him on November 26th that they were about to have a mutiny. We are in the year 1842 when the USS Somers sailed into the West Indies.

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USS Somers

And on 25 November the whole thing is said to have started. It is said that the midshipman Philip Spencer, son of the Secretary of War John Canfield Spencer, the Boatswain’s Mate Samuel Cromwell, and the sailor Elijah Small, met and discussed that they would take over the ship and kill half of the crew and some officers as well. Then they wanted to act as pirates from the Isle of Oines.

Mackenzie had found out about it and thought it was complete nonsense. But it seemed to have changed his mind because he told his first officer to keep an eye on the three of them. After Gansevoort had asked around, Spencer was called to the Captain and questioned thoroughly. The midshipman denied it but let Mackenzie search his sea chest and found a book with handwritten greek texts in it. These had to be laboriously translated. There were indeed texts with pirates in them.

What is ignored in the possible reasons for Philip Spencer’s so-called secret meetings with sailors and the Greek symbols in his diary is the fact that Philip Spencer was a founding member of the Chi Psi Brotherhood at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., in May 1841. Spencer may have tried to introduce sailors to a fraternal naval group. He was also interested in pirates and buccaneers and may have used the pirate democratic model for a “brotherhood” of sailors. Mackenzie did not know this, however, and suddenly saw a mutiny coming toward him.

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 The story in a Newspaper from 1910

On the 27th the chaos took its course. First, a mast broke and damaged a part of the rigging, then men were questioned and they all began to accuse each other. During a flogging, Mackenzie informed the crew that there was a mutiny coming. This caused even more chaos and trivialities. There was nothing else and even defending and explaining that there was no mutiny failed. This is why Mackenzie hanged the three ringleaders Spencer, Cromwell, and Small for inciting a mutiny.

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 The mutineers hanging under the US flag

Because of this decision, Mackenzie was brought before a court-martial. Why he did not wait for 13 days and what caused him to hang the three without a decision of the court-martial were the subject of the discussion. He defended himself well, albeit questionably. He was acquitted, but the doubts remained and so he was told that he was not in a position to decide whether a mutiny was really planned or not. Whether there should be a mutiny or not is still being discussed today.

20 COMMENTS

  1. That Delta Force picture, 1979… Iran, the embassy and who knows what else.
    I remember sitting in room at CGAS Sacramento watching what was happening on the TV right after we started our shift. I remember the talk and the wondering what we were going to do & whether we in Coast Guard aviation would have a part.
    No one guessed we’d do nothing.

  2. Pave Nail–PGMs are expensive but have probably saved hundreds of thousand of lives and millions in defense costs over the years. Hard to believe they started at the end of WW II and came into wide use in Desert Storm.

    Delta. Damn I am feeling old today, geesh 1979?

    Fast attack craft. Make a hell of a yacht if you had the budget.

      • When I was a young troop, back in the days when helicopters were fabricated from wrought iron and ran on steam power, I’d have never guessed that someday B-52’s would be used for the close air support mission, much less still in the inventory today.

        • When you have a situation such as that which existed early in the Afghan War where the enemy doesn’t have SAMs that can reach B-52 altitude, they’re screwed.

  3. You may have mentioned it elsewhere, LL, but have you seen the series SAS: Rogue Warriors? It’s on Amazon at the moment. About the origin of the SAS in WW2 and based on a book by the same name. Looks like there’s going to be a season 2 as well. Found it pretty good.

  4. Yes. It was a proto-mutiny. MacKinzie only got questioned about it because one of the filth was son-of-an-important-man. If there was no SoaIM, then there would have been no question as to the Captain’s actions.

    And there’s this. Most people today do not understand how hectic and deadly a sailed man-of-war was. And the absolute power needed by the captain to stay in control of said man-of-war. Especially with American sailors, who have always had a reputation for being backtalkers and way-too-full of initiative in not a good way. Yes, American sailors were and are so excellent because of the American mouth and initiative, but there’s a fine line between simple bitching and backtalking and outright insurrection.

    The breaking point was the whole demasting. Instead of shutting up and pitching in to fix a horrid situation (again, most people today have no idea how deadly and horrid a demasting on a wooden sailing ship, with all the rigging, can be. They may have seen some modern yacht lose an aluminum mast, but never seen, other than maybe in the movies, a properly rigged mast fail. Splinters everwhere, yards and hausers and lanyards and sails and yardarms and big friggin telephone-pole sections of broken masts, all during bad weather, because masts don’t break in good weather and smooth seas. Absolute chaos, people shouting, hopefully the Bosun in control, the ship not handling right, injuries, the whole nine yards. Only actual combat on a wooden ship could be worse, or maybe fire.)

    To spout the stupidity of ‘mutiny,’ even jokingly or off-handed as a reaction to stress, well, nope. That’s beyond the pale. And at the time, with no radio or satellite communications with home base, just thousands of miles of open ocean, the captain was right.

    Sucks he got shafted over it. But he did the right thing.

    Seriously, even up to WWII and decent long-range communications available 24/7, the captain was the ‘god,’ the sole master of the ship, with all the weight of both the ship and the nation riding on his shoulders. Anyone pushing, even somewhat jokingly, against the captain should have pulled back a bloody stump at the least, and hung from the yardarm at the most. There’s a reason naval punishment was so damned horrid. Because any crack in the control of the crew would turn deadly.

    Doesn’t make it ‘right’ to landlubbers and people who had the ability to walk away from issues. On board a naval ship, crammed with men and equipment, where the only escape from the stench and everyone else was either on the end of the bowsprit or on top of the masts or out on the yardarms. Seriously, there was no escaping everyone else except at port, or by jumping overboard. A veritable pressure cooker. And all it takes is one small break in the seal or one part not working right and you go from a pressure cooker to a pressure bomb.

    • Mutiny on the Bounty comes to mind.

      The mutiny on the Royal Navy Armed Vessel Bounty occurred in the South Pacific Ocean on 28 April 1789. Disaffected crewmen, led by acting-Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, seized control of the ship from their captain, Lieutenant William Bligh, and set him and eighteen loyalists adrift in the ship’s open launch. Had they executed Bligh and the other 18 and scuttled the ship, they might have pulled it off. Ships still vanish in the vastness of the Pacific and are never heard from again.

      Bligh navigated more than 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) in the launch to reach safety. He was quite a seaman. The rest is song and story.

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