HMS Ramsey Sailors Learn from Their American Minehunting Counterparts

first_img View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Minehunting View post tag: Seafox View post tag: Ramsey View post tag: American Back to overview,Home naval-today HMS Ramsey Sailors Learn from Their American Minehunting Counterparts Training & Education Sailors from HMS Ramsey visited their American minehunting counterparts to see how they do their business ahead of a US-UK-French exercise in the Gulf. The Brits joined Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 – known as the Blackhawks – in Bahrain to see their giant Sea Dragon helicopters find and destroy mines.Although Ramsey’s a ship and the MH53 Sea Dragon is an absolute beast of a helicopter, there are surprising similarities in the way the two Gulf-based units can deal with mines.Both launch Seafox – a small robot submarine which is a couple of metres long, powered by batteries which drive four small propellers it carries a camera, searchlight and, when required, a 1.5kg explosive charge – to find and destroy underwater devices.The Ramsey team were keen to see how the Blackhawks used Seafox. And the American fliers were keen to see how the Brits do the same, not least because the Royal Navy has front-line experience of using it off Libya.“We frequently operate in the same area as the mine clearance helicopters, but we’ve never had the opportunity to see how they operate,” said Ramsey’s LS(MW) Graeme ‘Blood’ Reid.Ramsey can also put her specialist explosive ordnance divers in the water to dispose of mines.As for the Blackhawks, they can trawl a cutting wire behind their helicopters to scythe mines from their tethers before divers jump in to neutralise the explosives. Their helicopters can also tow a hydrofoil special sled which creates a magnetic field to trigger mines.Their MH53 is the largest helicopter in the Western World – one third as large again as the Fleet Air Arm’s largest helicopter, the Merlin.The two units worked together during the large-scale IMCMEX exercise this spring and are now doing the same on another international work-out, albeit on a smaller scale with British, American and French minehunters joining up, plus mine clearance teams for the week-long Artemis Trident.The Royal Navy maintains a permanent minehunting presence in Bahrain: two Sandown-class ships (HMS Ramsey and Shoreham), two Hunts (Quorn and Atherstone), plus mother ship RFA Cardigan Bay and the mine warfare battle staff.[mappress]Press Release, July 3, 2013; Image: Royal Navy View post tag: Defence Share this article View post tag: learn View post tag: Navy View post tag: HMS View post tag: Naval View post tag: Counterparts July 3, 2013 View post tag: sailors View post tag: Blackhawks HMS Ramsey Sailors Learn from Their American Minehunting Counterpartslast_img read more

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A ‘Prisoner’ story

first_imgIt was a Kafkaesque nightmare even before Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi was savagely murdered. An American journalist working in Iran, hoping to bridge the gap between the two countries through his reporting, was arrested along with his wife and thrown into the city’s worst prison on charges that were manifestly untrue and levied by powers of unclear identity. It was where he would remain for 18 months, not knowing if he would ever see his family again.In all, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, spent 544 days in Evin Prison, accused by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard of being a CIA operative, convicted in what most called a show trial in October 2015, and sentenced to a prison term that was never made public. Despite the secrecy, calls for Rezaian’s release were quickly taken up by his family and colleagues at the Post, and their #FreeJason campaign spread to journalists around the world. The drive eventually grew into a cause célèbre, with figures from Muhammad Ali and Noam Chomsky to Edward Snowden and a Kardashian sister demanding his release. Finally, on Jan. 16, 2016, Rezaian and three other Americans were freed in a controversial prisoner swap spearheaded by then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Though deeply painful and still raw at times, Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Rezaian, described their experiences, detailed in his new memoir, “Prisoner,” during a talk Thursday at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) with R. Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations. The two studied at Harvard shortly after Jason’s release in fall 2016, he as a Nieman Foundation Fellow and she as a fall fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at HKS.Jason Rezaian said that growing up in Marin County, Calif., just north of San Francisco, as the son of an Iranian immigrant father and an American-born mother was central to his world view and his desire to better understand Iran, a country he eventually moved to in 2009. “I knew from the very first moment … this was not going to go away. And it did not go away for a very long time.” — Yeganeh Rezaian From captivity to classroom “It was a typical American upbringing with these Persian layers infused into the experience,” he said. “And it wasn’t until much later, after Sept. 11, that I ever felt like I was different than anybody else. Not because I felt different, but because people looked at me differently. People judged me because of where my father came from.” Prior to their arrest, the couple had built a nice life for themselves in Tehran. Jason was the Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post, Yeganeh was a reporter for a UAE news outlet, and they lived in a lovely downtown apartment. They were neither dissidents nor “outlaw” reporters, but credentialed journalists who had gone through the laborious process of getting government approval to work. They had even recently appeared on the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” speaking effusively about Iran and how Americans misunderstood the country and its people.Then one night in July 2014, as the couple left their building to attend a birthday party, three men in surgical masks, one pointing a gun at Jason, approached them as they got off their elevator and ordered them back upstairs. They were separated and questioned, their apartment ransacked, and then they were blindfolded, taken into custody, and brought to jail. “Jason is always very positive and he has this great optimism. That’s his American way of life,” said Yeganeh. But she had grown up in Iran under theocratic, totalitarian regimes, and, “I knew from the very first moment — I appreciate him trying to calm me down and say ‘Baby, everything is going to be all right. They’re just going to leave our apartment in a few minutes’ — I knew this was not going to go away,” she said. “And it did not go away for a very long time.”Despite her captors’ efforts to convince her that the outside world thought she and Jason had been killed in a car accident, Yeganeh said she remained certain that family, friends, and Jason’s colleagues at the Post were unlikely to have believed that or given up searching for them. And she was right.Amid the complex, multilateral talks that ended with the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, President Barack Obama was sharply criticized for not making the release of Rezaian and other prisoners a condition of the deal. What few knew at the time was that his administration had been secretly negotiating with Iran to secure his release since November 2014, and the talks were still ongoing when the nuclear deal was signed. The couple were each subjected to solitary confinement, Jason for 49 days, Yeganeh for 72. At Harvard, they spoke of the physical, emotional, and psychological devastation of being deprived of human contact, edible food, bathroom facilities, and even basic information such as the time and the weather. Rezaian lost 40 pounds in the first 40 days, while Yeganeh described her small cell, in which she could barely lie down, as “a grave” where she felt herself dying “a slow death.” They said the trauma of solitary confinement convinced them that such an inhumane practice should be abolished worldwide. There were, however, sparks of gallows humor in their predicament, and Jason Rezaian decided to make the most of them to preserve his wits. His captors were ideologues, but unsophisticated, and their English was rudimentary, though they didn’t know it. When the lead interrogator lectured Rezaian about the world and the strength and nobility of a then-ascendant ISIS, describing its brute power and theocratic might as the “lovechild” of Israel and Saudi Arabia, Rezaian simply enjoyed his captor’s malaprops. “I thought, (a) this will get me through right now, and (b) like so many other experiences in my life, someday this will probably make a hell of a story,” he said. “You have to latch onto whatever can get you through the day.”  Related Freed by Iran, Washington Post reporter and wife settle in as journalism fellows at Harvardlast_img read more

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McGinley not swayed by Clarke rift

first_img And w hen Tom Watson was named US captain in December 2012, Clarke suggested 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie should also be considered as “whoever it is standing on that stage opposite Tom Watson needs a huge presence”. With the public backing of players such as Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, McGinley subsequently won the day but admitted recently that his conversations with Clarke were now “short and sweet” and amounted to little more than passing pleasantries. However, the 47-year-old vowed to be professional when the new selection process gets under way. Since 1999, the captain was selected by the European Tour’s 15-strong tournament committee, but changes announced in August last year mean the responsibility now falls to the previous three captains (McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Montgomerie), the Tour’s chief executive and a tournament committee representative. Asked by Press Association Sport if his relationship with Clarke would be a problem, McGinley said: “Abs olutely no problem whatsoever. I’m going to be very professional in my input. “I’m going to get opinions from a lot of players and a lot of people before I put my opinion forward as to what it will be. Just like I was very much pushed over the line by the players, I want to get the opinion of the players. “I think we’re very fortunate in Europe, a little bit like the Liverpool soccer team and the boot room, I think a lot of us have benefited hugely from being vice-captains. Darren has been a vice-captain along with many other guys. We will see where that all evolves and I’ll make a professional decision based on the views of people that I respect.” As to whether he would be a vice-captain under Clarke, McGinley added: “I don’t think I’d be vice-captain to anybody going forward to be honest. I’m very happy to help in an unofficial capacity but I don’t think I have the personality to go back in as vice-captain. Press Association Paul McGinley insists his strained relationship with Darren Clarke will not influence his opinion on who should be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain. Clarke is odds-on favourite to lead the side at Hazeltine in 2016, when Europe will be looking to claim their fourth straight victory and ninth in the last 11 contests. The former Open champion sent McGinley a letter in 2011 offering his support for the latter’s bid to become captain in 2014, but later changed his mind and also put himself forward for the role. “I would like to be able to support the new captain in whatever direction he went, and if I had a belief about a different area, I’m afraid there would be a conflict.” That means McGinley’s Ryder Cup career is officially over, a career which has seen three wins as a player (2002, 2004 and 2006), two as a vice-captain (2010 and 2012) and one as captain. “That’s six I have been involved in and six wins,” he said. “L ike a heavyweight fighter, I will retire undefeated.” Undefeated but perhaps not uninvolved, McGinley raising the possibility of using his expertise in the same way he got former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to speak to the team on Tuesday. “I would certainly like to play a role, if required, a little bit like Alex Ferguson did this week for me,” he added. “I bounced ideas off him. He didn’t preach to me. He didn’t tell me what to do, but what he did was he solidified my ideas and he gave me confidence that, yeah, my hunches were right. “I certainly won’t be pushing myself forward (but) whoever the next captain may be, if he has any questions, I’ll help in any single way I can.” McGinley admitted his one regret at Gleneagles was not having enough time to coach Ian Poulter in the role of senior player for his partnership with Stephen Gallacher, the untried duo losing 5&4 on the opening morning. But he praised Poulter for accepting his somewhat limited role during the week, the top European points scorer in each of the previous three contests playing just twice before the singles. “I had to make some tough calls, really tough calls,” added McGinley, who said his decision not to pick Luke Donald as a wild card was still eating away at him; Donald sending McGinley a long text of congratulations on Sunday evening. “All along I had thought that Ian Poulter was going to play in the second afternoon, and he thought he was going to play, and at the 11th hour I decided on Martin Kaymer instead and to break up that dynamic of Poulter and (Justin) Rose which has been so successful. That was a big call. “But the way Ian accepted that decision, I mean, he came out to me on the golf course in the afternoon and he was consoling me. That means more to me than the Ian Poulter banging on his heart and what he did in Medinah.” last_img read more

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