Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bravo Zulu US Navy!

Congratulations to the United States Navy on the successful destruction of an out of control US spy satellite falling from orbit. Last evening, while most of us were watching a very cold moon turn red during a full lunar eclipse, the crew of the USS Lake Erie CG 70 fired a Standard Missile 3 at the errant satellite and struck it with "solid shot".

Videos of the encounter show the fireball-like explosion of the satellite and an apparent vapor cloud that resulted from the successful destruction of a tank of hydrazine, a very toxic substance used as fuel on board the unmanned satellite.

The Standard Missile 3 was loaded with an inert warhead -- that is, a non-explosive warhead or a "solid shot", which struck the missile and destroyed it.

The satellite was traveling faster than 17,000 miles per hour, a speed far faster than that at which inter continental ballistic missiles travel.

While the effort to destroy the satellite was clearly a protective measure taken to shield personnel on the ground from the hydrazine and from large pieces of the satellite, several foreign powers decried the shot as a "test" of the US space shield program. Test it likely was, but one spurred by the threat to people on the ground.

The pieces of the satellite after the explosion, as measured by radar, show them to be no larger than a football.

ONE SHOT, ONE HIT! TARGET DESTROYED!

And so, to the crew of the USS Lake Erie CG 70, and to the US Navy in general, we say BRAVO ZULU! [Well Done!].

VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious." --President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Some news about Haas

Just a short note to alert you to the fact that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court that is considering the Department of Veterans Affairs appeal of the lower court ruling in Haas, has requested more information from the lower court. We received notification last evening by email from the Clerk of the Court that the request was made on February 5th.

What to make of this development? Well, the only sure thing to know is that it means the court is considering the case actively enough to ask for more information.

It COULD mean the court is nearing a decision and wants to check to make sure nothing has been overlooked.

It COULD mean that they are just now beginning deliberations on the Haas case and their decision is still far off.

It could mean they have discovered something that has forced them to back track into the history of the case.

At any rate, we cannot draw any other conclusions about this than the fact that someone at the USCAFC is looking at the case. We take that as an encouraging sign that the court decision is nearer, rather than farther away in time.

VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious." --President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Message from Rick at NVLSP

Rick Spataro, the staff attorney from the National Veterans Legal Services Program [NVLSP], has asked us to forward his thanks to those who responded to his call for help we posted two weeks ago.

Please, do not forward any more comment material to NVLSP unless they put out another call for material.

Here is what Rick sent as a summary of the NVLSP comment:
Their declarations provided the evidence we needed to establish a small, but extremely important point in our comment opposing the VA’s proposed rescission of M21-1 provisions related to herbicide exposure based on receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal. For those who weren’t exactly sure about why we needed the declarations, here is a brief explanation:

Entities within the Australian government conducted a study a few years ago that suggests that personnel on board Australian ships offshore Vietnam “were exposed to biologically significant quantities of dioxins” by drinking water produced from evaporative distillation of surrounding waters. The study observed that “evaporative distillation of water does not remove but rather enriches certain contaminants such as dioxins (Agent Orange) in drinking water.” In order to show that this studies findings were also relevant to personnel who served on U.S. ships, we needed to show that U.S. and Australian ships produced drinking water by the same means – namely a distillation process in which sea water was fed into an evaporator where the water was boiled by a combination of heating and reduced pressure, then the vapor was condensed and pumped into feed tanks. Although this is common knowledge among Navy personnel, I was having a difficult time finding citable documents to establish this fact. The declarations from your readers and other Navy veterans provided evidence of this fact.

It would be extremely difficult to summarize the comment we submitted to the VA in laymen’s terms, but you can feel free to post it in its entirety, minus the attachment of declarations and emails. Note that we did not need to use all of the declarations and emails we received, but did attach a number of them to our comment (see footnote 11 of the comment).

Thanks again!

Sincerely,

Richard V. Spataro

Staff Attorney
National Veterans Legal Services Program
Well, we won't post the document here, but you can read the NVLSP Comment on the M21-1 Manual Recission at the Blue Water Navy website [click here].

Our thanks to Rick and the other fine staff at NVLSP for all the hard and most excellent work they've been doing on the Haas case. We are proud to have been of service to them, and we profoundly thank those who were able to respond to the call for evidence and testimony.

What a wonderful group of people these Blue Water Sailors are! And add the NVLSP to that, too!

VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious." --President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.