Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Little Humor: Where are the Tinned Peaches?


Famed Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk Is On Her Final Voyage To The Scrapper's Torch

Thedrive.com offers a piece on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk's final voyage to the scrap yard. 

The piece offers photos, a video, and a look back at the great carrier's illustrious history.

You can read the piece via the below link:

Famed Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk Is On Her Final Voyage To The Scrapper's Torch (thedrive.com)

I served on the USS Kitty Hawk in 1970-1971 and I was aboard for the aircraft carrier's fifth Vietnam cruise, where we operated on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea off the coast of North Vietnam. 

You can read my piece on the Kitty Hawk's last voyage via the below link:

Monday, January 17, 2022

A Little Humor: Kittens In A Suitcase


FBI Director Christopher Wray On The Cops Who Didn’t Come Home

The below op-ed by FBI Director Wray was published in the Wall Street Journal on January 13th.

While many Americans celebrated the holidays with their families in the final week of 2021, law enforcement kept working. And, tragically, four officers didn’t make it home to their loved ones that week. They were murdered while doing their job keeping others safe.  

Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley, ambushed while alone in her car, died on Christmas Eve. Five days later in Illinois, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley was killed during a call for assistance. On Dec. 30, also in Illinois, Bradley Police Department Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic was shot while attempting to locate the owner of dogs left in a car. And on New Year’s Eve, Cleveland Police Officer Shane Bartek was killed in an attempted carjacking. 

These four murders brought the total number of officers feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2021 to 73, the highest annual number since the 9/11 attacks. That’s the equivalent of one officer murdered every five days. In a year when homicides and violent crime reached distressing levels, this 20-year high hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

Especially troubling is that a record number of officers killed—nearly half—had no engagement with their assailant before the attack. Each story is heartbreaking: A 30-year Florida deputy murdered one shift shy of retirement; an officer ambushed on his first day on the job, leaving behind a wife and 6-month-old son; a combat veteran and his police dog killed while serving together.  

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we experienced loss in 2021, too. Special Agents Laura Schwartzenberger and Daniel Alfin were murdered while doing the difficult job investigating crimes against children. FBI Task Force Officer Greg Ferency of the Terre Haute, Ind., Police Department was ambushed and killed outside an FBI office.  

When I started as FBI director, I made it my practice to call the chief or sheriff of every officer intentionally killed in the line of duty. I have now made more than 200 such calls. Each conversation reminds me that behind the uniform, the badge, and, yes, sometimes the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, there are real people. With each call, I think about the families and friends who lost someone they loved, the children who will grow up without a parent, and the communities deprived of a public servant.  

We owe it to them to redouble our efforts to take the most violent offenders off the streets and to make sure officers have the resources, equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely. Even more, we need to ensure the brave men and women know that the communities they serve have their backs. 

Every day, officers willingly put themselves at risk not knowing what dangerous situation or traumatic event they might encounter. I won’t pretend every person who carries a badge is beyond reproach, but the overwhelming majority do the job with the professionalism and commitment to equal justice citizens rightly expect.  

I meet frequently with chiefs and sheriffs across the country, and they are concerned about morale and the challenges of recruiting the next generation of officers. They understand that trust and transparency are vital to safety, and they are committed to finding ways to improve interactions. And while respect must be earned, if we are going to recruit and retain the kind of people willing to put their lives on the line to protect others, we have to show that we value their sacrifices. 

Civic and business leaders, government officials and responsible citizens need to consider how we talk about engaging with law enforcement. When police are miscast as lacking humanity—devoid of empathy and compassion—everyone suffers. Departments lose good officers who are hard to replace, and communities are less safe.  

As we reflect on 2021, let’s honor the memories of those who lost their lives protecting others. Let’s commit to making communities safer, finding ways to improve interactions between law enforcement and those they serve, holding everyone to the high standards befitting men and women in uniform, and valuing those who do their jobs with honor.  

Russia Trying To Develop Pretext For Ukraine Invasion, DOD Official Says

Jim Garamone at the DOD News offers the below piece: 

Russia has deployed "a group of operatives" into Ukraine to foment a pretext for another invasion of that country, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby (seen in the above photo speaking to reporter) said during a news conference today. 

Kirby hastened to say that the U.S. government still believes there is room to solve the problem of the Russian build-up on Ukraine's border diplomatically. "No one wants to see another invasion and incursion of Ukraine," he said. "We still … believe that there's time and space for diplomacy."

Still, if Russia does invade its neighbor, the United States "will continue to provide security assistance to Ukraine to help them better defend themselves," Kirby said. 

Kirby said the Russian operatives are a part of Russia's playbook that was used in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea and later illegally annexed the area. Kirby could not give many details, but said the United States does "have information that indicates that Russia is already working actively to create a pretext for a potential invasion, for a move on Ukraine."

The Russian operatives are pre-positioned in Ukraine to conduct "what we call a false flag operation — an operation designed to look like an attack on … Russian speaking people in Ukraine, again, as an excuse to go in."

The United States also has information that Russia is fabricating Ukrainian provocations in state and social media as some sort of pretext for invasion, he said. "We've seen this kind of thing before out of Russia," he said. "When there isn't an actual crisis to suit their needs; they'll make one up. So we're watching for them."

There were also cyberattacks on Ukrainian government websites. Kirby said it is too early to attribute those attacks on Russia but noted that it is also in the Russian playbook. 

Kirby wouldn't go into much detail on the operatives themselves but noted that Russia often "hybridizes" their personnel drawing them from their intelligence communities, their security services or their military. 

There are American forces in Ukraine working to advise and assist the Ukrainian military. There are less than 200 Florida National Guardsmen assigned to the mission.  

Kirby said the United States believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has not decided on invasion yet. But if there is an incursion, force protection for American personnel remains paramount. "We will make all the appropriate and proper decisions to make sure that our people are safe in any event," Kirby said.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said there is room for diplomacy to work. He had met with Russian officials as part of the NATO-Russia Council at the alliance headquarters. "We had a very serious and direct exchange on the situation in and around Ukraine and the implications for European security," he said. "There are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia on these issues. Our differences will not be easy to bridge. But it is a positive sign that all NATO allies and Russia sat down around the same table and engaged on substantive topics."


One Russian demand is that Ukraine not become a member of NATO. 

"Ukraine is a sovereign nation," Stoltenberg said. "Ukraine has the right to self-defense. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Russia has the biggest land power in Europe. They are one of two major nuclear powers. They have invested heavily in new, modern capabilities over the last years."

Russia has also said Ukraine threatens Russia. The secretary general said Russia continues to illegally occupy Crimea and controls the separatists in eastern Ukraine. "The whole idea that, … Ukraine threatens Russia is absolutely to put the whole thing upside down," he said. "It is Russia that is the aggressor. It is Russia that has used force and continues to use force against Ukraine.

"This crisis is [the] making of Russia," he continued. "And therefore, it is important that they de-escalate."

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Aircraft Carrier Kitty Hawk's Final Voyage

This is a sad day for the former sailors, airmen, and Marines who served on the USS Kitty Hawk over the years. 

The once great aircraft carrier left Bremerton, Washington today on her final voyage to Brownsville, Texas, where she will be torn up for scrap metal. 

As I've noted here before, my late father took me to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for the USS Kitty Hawk's commissioning in 1961. 

In 1970, when I was 17, I reported aboard the Kitty Hawk. I served for two years on the aircraft carrier and was aboard for the warship's 5th Vietnam cruise, serving on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea off North Vietnam.     

During the 1970-1971 WESTPAC cruise, the Kitty Hawk made port of calls to Honolulu, Hawaii, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Sasebo, Japan, and Hong Kong.   

The Kitty Hawk returned to Philadelphia in 1987 for an overhaul. I was then the civilian administrative officer for a Defense Department command that oversaw the contractors hired for the overhaul, so I went aboard my old ship several times during her Philadelphia stay. 

For all of the military who served aboard her and the civilian yardbirds who worked on her, the USS Kitty Hawk will be remembered fondly. 

For nearly half a century, from April 29, 1961 to May 12, 2009, the USS Kitty Hawk projected American power around the world and protected America in war and peace. The USS Kitty Hawk will be remembered well in American History. 

Note: The above and below photos of the Kitty Hawk being pulled out were taken by Bruce McDugald, who posted the photos on the USS Kitty Hawk Cv-63 Facebook Page.

Below are photos of the USS Kitty Hawk in Philadelphia in 1987, the USS Kitty Hawk passing the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor on the way to the Vietnam War, and a photo of me at sea.    

You can read my earlier posts on the USS Kitty Hawk via the below links:

Paul Davis On Crime: On Yankee Station: A Look Back At The Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk During The Vietnam War, 1970-1971

Paul Davis On Crime: Davis Departing: On this Day in 1971 I Left The USS Kitty Hawk

Paul Davis On Crime: A Look Back At The Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk's 1987 SLEP Overhaul In Philadelphia  

Paul Davis On Crime: Sea Stories: Vignettes, Short Stories And Humor Pieces About My Time In The U.S. Navy

You can click on the above photos to enlarge.

My On Crime & Security Column: Take Steps To Avoid The Violent Crime Of Carjacking

With carjacking on the rise in Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Outlaw has announced that she is committing additional resources to curb the trend of the violent crime.

Back in 2010, I wrote a column on carjacking for small business owners, but the information and crime prevention tips apply to all.

You can read my column below:

Carjacking is a crime that can end not only in the destruction of property, but also injury or loss of life. Here are things you can do to protect yourself from would-be carjackers.

For many small business owners, a car is as essential a tool as a computer.

In past columns, I’ve covered how car thieves can strip a parked car of its parts in less than five minutes, and I interviewed a police captain about thieves who break into parked cars and steal valuables.

In this column, I’d like to cover carjacking, which is a far greater crime as it involves an armed criminal and often the victim is terrorized, hurt or killed.

One story that illustrates the violent nature of carjacking occurred on Galveston Island in Texas last week. According to reports of the incident, a woman was sitting in the passenger side of an idling car when a man armed with an ax stepped into the driver’s seat and took off. The man would not let the woman out of the car and he threatened to kill her with the ax.

This story might have ended in tragedy had the carjacker not crashed into another car. As a result of the crash, the carjacker was trapped in the car. Local firefighters pulled the man out. Local police officers arrested him. The woman was unharmed.

In Atlantic City back in May, another victim of carjacking was not so fortunate.

The family of Martin Caballero, 47, pleaded with the public to help find their loved one after Caballero disappeared on May 21st from the Trump Taj Mahal casino parking lot just minutes just minutes after arriving. He traveled to Atlantic City to help celebrate his daughter’s birthday.

According to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office on June 3rd, Jessica Kisby, 24, and Craig Arno, 44, were charged with murder after a body discovered in a farmer’s field was identified as Caballero. According to the Atlantic County Medical Examiner, the cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the chest.

A day earlier the Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel charged Kisby and Arno with the carjacking and kidnapping of Caballero. Housel stated he believed the victim did not know his attackers. The carjacking was a random crime.

Police officers and security experts say carjacking is preventable if one stays alert to their surroundings and follows the below security steps:

  • When stopped for a traffic light or other reasons, carefully observe what is happening around your car, via your side and rearview mirrors. Keep your windows up and doors locked.
  • Keep your purse, laptop, and other valuables out of view while driving.
  • Drive in the center lane to avoid being pushed over to the shoulder.
  • Don’t stop at isolated cash machines or other isolated areas.
  • Don’t stop to help a disabled motorist or pedestrian. Stay in your locked car and offer to call a service station or the police from your cell phone.
  • Don’t open your window for someone approaching your car asking for directions or trying to sell your something.
  • Don’t park your car in an isolated area.
  • If you are pulled over by someone in an unmarked car who claims to be a police officer, stay in your locked car and call 911 on your cell phone. Tell the person you are calling 911 to confirm they are in fact a police officer. If the person is truly a police officer, he won’t have a problem with your actions, and if he is not a police officer, he will take off to avoid arrest.
  • If you can’t drive away from a bad situation, stay in your locked car and yell and honk your horn repeatedly. Criminals don’t like noise and they tend to run away to avoid attention.
  • Below are some of the most common carjacking scenarios:

  • When the victim is stopped at a traffic light.
  • The carjacker pretends to be stranded.
  • The carjacker fakes an accident to get you out of your car.
  • The carjacker attacks the victim as they get in their car in parking garages, shopping malls and complex parking, and driveways.     

The best defense against a carjacking is having more than one person in the car. Another essential defensive tool is a working cell phone with a charger.

I bought my wife and daughter a large, heavy, tactical flashlight, which they keep beside the driver’s seat in their cars. It is good to have a working flashlight in the car if you need light, and the flashlight doubles as a club if you need to slam it on the hand of someone reaching into your car to harm you.

Business people out on the road can be distracted with thoughts of business, but one should always remain alert and aware of the surroundings. This is the best defense against carjacking.