Author Archives: xbradtc
The U.S. Navy has a brief window of opportunity to ensure that a warship continues to grace Washington’s waterfront for another generation.
For more than three decades, the destroyer USS Barry has sat pierside at the Washington Navy Yard, berthed in the Anacostia River across the street from the Navy’s main museum.
Uncounted busloads of Washington students, not to mention visitors of every other stripe, have tramped across her steel decks and peered at gun turrets that laid down covering fire for Marines going ashore in Vietnam. In recent years, the opening of Nationals Park and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail have brought the old warship to a new peak of visibility and accessibility.
From what Byron told me, USS Samuel B. Roberts is decommissioning today.
The name Samuel B. Roberts, both as the epitome of a fighting sailor, and as the namesake of multiple fighting ships, is a proud one, and the Navy should take Mr. Peniston’s suggestion very seriously. Most of the costs associated with such a suggestion would be sunk costs anyway. That is, virtually every cost associated with turning the Sammy B into a museum ship would be incurred simply in the process of preparing her for scrapping.
We intend to write more about the Sammy B., and her predecessor, in the coming months.
It’s going be some doggone days of summer.
Boy Scouts everywhere will no longer be able to partake in the summer childhood pastime of squirt guns and water balloon fights.
A blog post by Bryan Wendall, an Eagle Scout and editor at various Scouting publications, reminded Scout leaders that new policies now prohibit the use of water guns and water balloons.
The ban is detailed inside the “2015 Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual,” which regards water guns as firearms.
Firearms safety is all well and good, but this is obviously a case of taking a good idea to its illogical extreme.
Of course, I don’t really know how rampant watergun fights were in the Boy Scouts in recent years. But I do know they’d have been aghast is the water fights we had in Sea Scouts (a division of the BSA).
The SES Whidby didn’t have any squirt guns. What it did have was four 1-1/2″ fire hoses, and the big old Hercules diesel fire pump.
Whenever we found ourselves cruising in company with another Scout ship, we would have a good natured water fight. And by good natured, I mean you could knock a man off his feet at about 100 feet with one hose.
And if you made the mistake of towing your ships rowboat behind you, we’d flood that thing in a heartbeat.
Yesterday the Air Force hush-hush X-37B space plane successfully launched from Cape Canaveral.
NASA is also taking advantage of this X-37B flight to test how almost 100 materials react to the harsh conditions of space, like the barrage of radiation and swings of temperature the craft will experience while passing between the day and night sides of the Earth for at least 200 days.
“It’s just sitting there and letting the environment hit it,” said Miria Finckenor, a materials engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. She is the principal investigator for the experiment, which is housed in the space plane’s cargo bay.
The materials to be tested include thermal coatings to keep spacecraft components within a certain range of temperatures, clear materials under consideration for lighter windows on NASA’s Orion crew capsule and ink to make sure that markings on parts do not fade away.
NASA previously tested more than 4,000 samples outside the International Space Station, but it is difficult to carve out time during spacewalks to set up and retrieve the experiments. “This opportunity presented itself, and we just needed to take advantage of it,” Ms. Finckenor said.
I’m just a simple grunt. Would you believe that I actually know three, count ‘em, three honest to goodness rocket scientists?
On Saturday I attended my first commencement program in 61 years. The speaker drew me there: Ryan Pitts, addressing the University of New Hampshire’s class of 2015.
In an era when speakers are routinely disinvited from American colleges for the sin of challenging academic orthodoxy, I wanted to see how my alma mater would welcome a man who joined the U.S. Army out of high school, who twice deployed to war, and who in July 2008 was the last man alive in an observation post named Topside, above the village of Wanat in the Hindu Kush mountains of northeastern Afghanistan.
Read the whole thing. It’s a nice piece. SSG Pitts is one hell of a soldier, and one hell of a man.
During the 70th Anniversary of VE flyover of the capitol by dozens of warbirds, many people noticed a TBM Avenger suddenly leave the formation. It had suffered a hydraulic leak. Here’s some dramatic in cockpit video.
42 seconds from the leak to the landing. That’s some fine aviating.
The Hershey Company will showcase the most advanced 3D chocolate printer in the world at a confectioners’ conference in Chicago this week.
The chocolate company debuted the printer, built in partnership with South Carolina-based 3D Systems, last year at its Pennsylvania headquarters. The mechanism can form intricate designs that would not be possible with traditional molding techniques.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for us to make that exactly the way you want it,” Hershey senior marketing manager Jeff Mundt told the Chicago Tribune. “Consumers want their things custom.”
Finally! A practical use for 3D printer technology!