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Author: TriSec    Date: 03/31/2020 11:50:28

Good Morning.

Wouldn't it be nice to crawl into a deep hole, pull a blanket over the top, and pretend nothing unusual was happening?

While you and I can't do that, there's one place that maybe remains unaware of what's going on. It would be any of the world's nuclear submarine force.

A sub's sole job is to disappear. On a 90-day deployment, news from the surface is infrequent and rigidly controlled. It is supposed that they don't know what's happening.

LE PECQ, France — Of a world in coronavirus turmoil, they may know little or nothing.

Submariners stealthily cruising the ocean deeps, purposefully shielded from worldly worries to encourage undivided focus on their top-secret missions of nuclear deterrence, may be among the last pockets of people anywhere who are still blissfully unaware of how the pandemic is turning life upside down.

Mariners aboard ballistic submarines are habitually spared bad news while underwater to avoid undermining their morale, say current and former officers who served aboard France's nuclear-armed subs. So any crews that left port before the virus spread around the globe are likely being kept in the dark about the extent of the rapidly unfurling crisis by their commanders until their return, they say.

"They won’t know,” said retired Adm. Dominique Salles, who commanded the French ballistic submarine squadron from 2003-2006. “The boys need to be completely available for their mission.”

Speaking exclusively to The Associated Press, Salles said he believes submariners will likely only be told of the pandemic as they head back to port, in the final two days of their mission.

“Those who are at sea don’t need this information," said Salles, who also commanded the nuclear-armed French submarine “L'Inflexible."

“The commander, I think, is doubtless informed about what is happening. I don't think he'll have all the details," he said.

The French navy won't divulge what has or hasn't been said to submarine crews. Nor will it say whether any of the four French ballistic submarines, laden with 16 missiles that each can carry six nuclear warheads, left harbor before France instituted a nationwide lockdown on March 17.

“Because the deterrent is wrapped in a bubble of protection and confidentiality, it is impossible to know whether the crews are informed or not of this situation,” French navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Olivier Ribard said.

Oh, to be those submariners. But they'll face the harsh reality of the situation soon enough. Some of them may be returning to situations too late to help - but that is the life of a submariner. Their surface companions though, are in the thick of things. New York possibly breathed a little sigh of relief yesterday at this sight.


The USNS Comfort sailed into the harbor, for the first time since September 2001, according to sources.

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived in New York City on Monday morning, part of the military effort to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The ship, which departed Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on Saturday with more than 1,100 Navy medical personnel, will serve as a referral hospital for patients not infected with the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Defense Department officials recorded a video of the hospital ship arriving in New York harbor ahead of its medical relief work.

Navy officials said the ship will provide a “full spectrum” of medical care for the citizens of the city, to include “general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.” The additional support is designed to help existing New York hospitals better respond to growing numbers of coronavirus cases at their facilities.

More than 1,000 New York City residents have already died from the illness. Nationwide, more than 122,000 individuals have contracted the disease and more than 2,000 people have died.

Except....this is what it looked like at the pier as the ship pulled in. That's not the way it's supposed to work, guys.


But that's not the only resource - as I posted yesterday, M*A*S*H units are a thing of the past. But there is still the Combat Support Hospital, which is the replacement for these venerable mobile hospitals. Except - President Poopyhead has yet to activate a single one of them. Instead, the army is scrambling around looking for temporary sites to set up "makeshift hospitals".

The military has a list of more than 100 possible sites nationwide to convert into makeshift hospitals to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, including convention centers, sports arenas, hotels, dorms and other existing buildings, the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers said Friday.

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said he could not disclose the full list immediately but cited the conversion of the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan as an example of what could be done quickly, in cooperation with state and city officials.

The Javits Center, with a capacity of more than 2,000 beds, will be ready to take in patients Monday morning, he said.

At a Pentagon news conference, Semonite said that the Corps of Engineers, at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is also looking at the potential $75 million conversion of the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, as well as sites in Sacramento, California, and Seattle.

One recently confirmed site is CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks pro football team.

Some sites would be for COVID-19 patients; others for patients with other issues, Semonite said.

And finally - you're aware of Javi's situation. It is increasingly likely that his spring trimester is completely gone. Rhode Island has issued a two-week quarantine order for ALL out-of-state residents now. So even if Javi goes back on the proposed April 13 (Ha!), he can't do anything for two weeks. The last day of this trimester was scheduled for May 22. There is virtually no useful class time left.

Ah, but such concerns don't affect military academies! Nothing can stop the US Air Force! Their graduation is still going on, which indicates to me that they're still in class at this time.

A cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy was found dead Saturday afternoon on the academy’s campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Air Force officials confirmed.

The cadet’s death is the second on the campus in the last three days — another individual was found unresponsive at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday. Both were cadets first-class, academy officials confirmed.

“These tragedies have caused incredible shock and pain throughout our USAFA family,” Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, said in an official statement.

“Right now we are all focused on taking care of the cadet’s families and each other — our cadets, our faculty, our staff — as we grieve this loss. We ask for everyone’s patience and respect for the families’ privacy at this time.”

No foul play is suspected in either incident, and academy officials confirmed neither death was caused by COVID-19. Circumstances surrounding both of the deaths are under investigation.

Next-of-kin notifications have been completed, Silveria said, and the academy is withholding their names “out of respect for the privacy of these cadets’ families.”

“In nearly four decades in uniform, I can tell you that this week has been one of my most difficult, and I know that sentiment is shared across our team. I readily admit that I do not have all the solutions to the challenges we face, but the solution lies in the USAFA family.”

While neither death was the result of contracting COVID-19, academy officials and students alike have acknowledged the mental toll taken in the wake of implementing measures to prevent the virus’ proliferation.

Let's be careful out there.


9 comments (Latest Comment: 03/31/2020 20:02:21 by Will in Chicago)
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