Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Donald Rumsfeld, the implacable ex-defense secretary, sniffled through his remarks about President Ford. Former vice president Dick Cheney recalled Ford’s kindness in hiring him despite his having dropped out of Yale twice and been arrested two times. Henry Kissinger, whom Ford inherited as secretary of state from President Nixon, said Ford was “a president . . . whom I can say I loved, a feeling not every president inspires.”
At public events, former aides tend to talk about the achievements of the president they served. Seldom do they express the deep affection that Ford’s subordinates, powerful figures in their own right, feel toward him. An emotional Rumsfeld? You don’t often see that. And it’s noteworthy that Kissinger said Ford “was the president for whom I enjoyed working most.”
The occasion for their dewy-eyed recollections was the christening on November 9 of the newest and biggest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. The ship has a flight deck of five acres, weighs 100,000 tons, and is home to 75 warplanes. Still under construction by Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, it’s expected to be commissioned two years from now.
An aircraft carrier’s christening is a stirring event. Speaker after speaker noted that only the United States could build, much less deploy, a behemoth like the USS Gerald R. Ford. And it has an official “sponsor,” Ford’s daughter Susan Ford Bales.
She has taken her role to heart. She traveled to the shipyard numerous times to work on the carrier. Among her tasks was welding. So she addressed a crowd including thousands of shipyard workers “as my fellow shipbuilders.” She said her father’s last letter, a month before he died in 2006, expressed his great pride in having a carrier named for him.
The christening was followed by a dinner with Ford administration officials and friends from Ford’s hometown, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ford was elected to the House in 1948 and rose to minority leader before he was appointed vice president in 1973 when Spiro Agnew resigned. Ford became president on August 9, 1974, upon Richard M. Nixon’s departure.
At the dinner, Kissinger recalled Ford’s meeting with Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Mao repeated his favorite saying: “There is turmoil under the heavens, and the situation is excellent.” Ford responded with one of his: “People can disagree without being disagreeable.” It wasn’t clear if they understood each other.
When Cheney followed Kissinger at the podium, he said, “This is one of those moments I wish I could speak with a German accent.” He said Ford guided America through the constitutional crisis of Watergate “better than anyone else could have.”
Then he told a Ford story. In 1978, when Cheney was running for the House in Wyoming, he invited Ford to speak and stay at the Cheney home in Casper. In the morning, as the Cheney family waited for Ford to come to breakfast, water began dripping from the ceiling. Ford, it turned out, had failed to put the shower curtain inside the tub. Cheney never told Ford what had happened.
The USS Gerald R. Ford has another distinction. Ford has topped President Kennedy. His carrier is the first in its class. The USS John F. Kennedy comes second.
8:33 AM, Oct 24, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The U.S.S. Forrestal (CVA 59) was the first of the Navy's super carriers, built from the keel up with an angled deck, hurricane bow, steam catapults and all the other refinements and improvements on carriers designed and built for World War II, before the time of jets. It was the ship that signaled the survival of naval aviation after a long, bitter, political fight to eliminate it from the nation's defenses and named for the secretary of defense, James Forrestal, who had taken the Navy's side in that fight and suffered what was called a "nervous breakdown" that led to his suicide.
3:26 PM, Oct 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Air Force and Naval academies will play as scheduled this weekend. However, overseas military personnel accustomed to getting their football on Armed Forces Network will not be able to watch.
12:21 PM, Aug 26, 2013 • By SETH CROPSEY
The British launched the opening attack of the 3rd battle of Ypres on July 31, 1917. The objective was to destroy a rail junction on which the German army depended for Western Front supplies. The plan included British naval as well as amphibious assaults on the nearby Belgian coast. The naval action was to have loosened Germany’s grip on continental ports whose danger to England—in the hands of an enemy—hearkened back to Napoleon and foreshadowed Hitler’s Operation Sea Lion both of which British dominance at sea decisively turned back.
10:39 AM, Aug 9, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
"When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident that
the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: 'Where's the nearest carrier?'"
(President Bill Clinton, March 12, 1993, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt)
Twenty years later, it appears that the answer to that question will soon be, "The carriers are in mothballs." Rusting away. We can't afford them any longer."
Is naval supremacy a thing of the past? Jul 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 40 • By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
Is naval power back? Early in June, Russia announced that it would be permanently stationing an armada of ships in the Mediterranean, restoring a deployment that came to an end with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This muscle-flexing is part of Russia’s effort to bolster the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and to stick a finger in the eye of the United States.
The dismantling of the Navy. Apr 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 28 • By SETH CROPSEY
When they agreed to President Obama’s 2011 budget proposal that is responsible for the current sequester, Republicans expected that the nation’s concern and respect for the military would help to prevent the cuts in defense spending that would occur if agreement to reduce the deficit were not reached. They were wrong. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
4:28 PM, Mar 11, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Admiral Samuel Locklear of the United States Navy identified "climate change" as the biggest security threat America faces in the Pacific.
9:27 AM, Mar 4, 2013 • By DAN BLUMENTHAL and MICHAEL MAZZA
Inside the beltway, there is a pervasive sense of impending doom. The rest of the country may not much care, but sequestration is here. According to warnings by the Obama administration, failure to avert these automatic spending cuts will lead to planes falling from the skies, bridges collapsing, federal penitentiaries moving to a voluntary self-incarceration policy, and the Jersey Shore returning to the airwaves.
Feb 18, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 22 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Caribbean-based company ICSSI had seen its lucrative contract to X-ray the cargo entering the Dominican Republic languish for years when, in 2011, it began searching for an investor with political pull. Perhaps someone with the right connections would be able to pressure the Dominicans into enforcing the contract, which was valued at somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion over 20 years. And that special someone, it seemed, was Salomon E.
8:55 AM, Feb 8, 2013 • By CHRISTOPHER HARMER
America’s military presence in the Persian Gulf serves as deterrence to Iran, reassures our increasingly nervous Arab partners, maintains peace, offers stability to our ally Israel, and has many other benefits.
10:28 AM, Oct 26, 2012 • By SETH CROPSEY
As he showed in the final presidential debate, President Obama’s understanding of the U.S. Navy—or for that matter, any navy—is suboptimal.
3:38 PM, Oct 4, 2012 • By CHERYL MILLER
Last year, when elite universities began announcing their intentions to bring back ROTC, Jonathan E. Hillman and I cautioned that if Ivy League ROTC was to succeed, it would require a real commitment from both the schools and the military.
1:41 PM, May 28, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House announced today with the first female submariners that First Lady Michelle Obama will sponsor the USS Illinois. The newest submarine "is expected to join the fleet in late 2015," according to the White House.
9:06 PM, Oct 1, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In Annapolis today, Air Force and Navy met on “the fields of friendly strife.” With 10:00 left in the game, Air Force led 28-10, having more or less dominated play for the first 50 minutes. With 2:09 left, the Falcons still led 28-17. Then Navy nailed a must-make 37-yard field goal, recovered the ensuing onside kick, scored a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal with 0:19 left, and made the subsequent 2-point conversion on an option pitch just inside the left pylon: 28-28, overtime.