May 08, 2008


CNN has an article posted this AM about the on-going misery in Myanmar resulting from the recent cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and has left as many as 100,000 dead. The country's paranoid military dictatorship is hampering aid efforts, and as a result, is no doubt adding to the number of dead and injured.

In writing about the U.S. forces in the area poised to help if the dictatorship will only allow international aid, CNN makes the following curious claim (in bold):

The U.S has also been pushing for access, pledging $3.25 million and offering to send U.S. Navy ships to the region to help relief efforts.

The U.S. military had already flown six helicopters on to a Thai airbase, as Washington awaits permission to go into the south Asian country, two senior military officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

In addition, several C-130 cargo aircraft aboard the USS Essex, which was conducting an exercise in the region, were available for relief missions.

That is one neat trick.

Essex is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. It is perhaps the most capable ship class in the world when it comes to providing help in the event of coastal disasters such as hurricane and cyclones due to its onboard 600-bed hospital, large helicopter contingent with search and rescue and transport capability, and well deck that houses LCACS and LCUs capable of landing heavy supplies and vehicles directly onto the beach. Essex is capable of a lot of things... but launching and landing a C-130 is not remotely among their capabilities.

Either Essex is merely being used to haul C-130s to the region that will have to be offloaded in port before being used, or CNN drastically has their story wrong. I suspect the former over the latter but you never know.

After all... "this is CNN."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 8, 2008 08:54 AM

Wow, I knew the Hurcules is one hell of a work horse but I didnt know it was a transformer too.

Posted by: D-lo at May 8, 2008 09:44 AM

Another fine example of the cracker jack military analysts employed by today's MSM. They're cracked, Jack!

Posted by: daleyrocks at May 8, 2008 10:22 AM

This cyclone was all Bush's fault.
The wackjobs in the Myanmar/Burmese government that won't let aid in the country--that's all Bush's fault.
The screwups in reporting by CNN--that's all Bush's fault.

I think I've got tomorrow's CNN story line down pat. But the punchline "it's all Bush's fault" never changes at CNN

Posted by: Michael J. Myers at May 8, 2008 10:35 AM

Furthermore, why haul C-130's? Wouldn't it be more efficient just to fly the Hercules in rather than wasting deck space?

I could be mistaken, but looking at a Wasp class list of compliment aircraft, they are all vertical take-off. (In other words, probably no catapult nor arresting lines.) Now I know the C-130 has exceptional STOL capabilities (it has unassisted landings and take-offs on the USS Forrestal - deck length 1060ft) and may even be able to land and take off on the 844ft deck of the USS Essex, but with a wingspan of 132ft, landing on the deck of ship with a beam of 106ft might be problematic.

Posted by: bains at May 8, 2008 10:58 AM

"This is CNN. We don't need no steenking facts, man."

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at May 8, 2008 11:45 AM

After thought: They (CNN) are probably hurting bad after the MSNBC arctic penguin coup.

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at May 8, 2008 11:47 AM

In point of fact, C-130's have landed aboard a U.S. Navy carrier. Unfortunately for CNN, it was one of the CVA(N) supercarriers with a flight deck in excess of 1,000 feet. The Wasp would fit comfortably atop one of these monsters, with room to spare.

But to the expert military reporters at CNN, who once referred to a fleet oiler as a "battleship", a C-130 is little different than a CH-53. After all, they both begin with "C".

Posted by: Navyvet at May 8, 2008 12:03 PM

navyvet, you are correct... a KC-130F borrowed from the Marines was modified and used in a series of tests on the Forrestal in late 1963.

That said, the Forrestal was a heck of a lot bigger and more importantly, wider than either the Tarawa or Wasp-class ships, and a -130 attempting to land on one of these ships would likely rip off the right wing on the ship's superstructure, which I've heard tell is detrimental to their airworthiness, and would be generally unappreciated by the ship's crew.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 8, 2008 12:18 PM

My son is a Aircraft Structures Mechanic currently on the USS Essex. You are correct; there are no C-130's on board.

Posted by: Deputyjoe1 at May 8, 2008 12:26 PM

It's too bad people didn't feel sorry for the Katrina victims!

Posted by: Dale at May 8, 2008 03:15 PM

And yes, it is all Bush's fault!

Posted by: Dale at May 8, 2008 03:16 PM

And yet the talkingheads on CNN are trusted by millions of Americans for their military data.

I fear for my country; I truly do.

Posted by: C-C-G at May 8, 2008 06:18 PM

A MEU (SOC), in this case the 31st MEU out of Oki, usually has a pair of C-130s attached to it for humanitarian aid and non-combatant evacuation missions.

But CNN is again showing its ignorance - they can't land on the ship.

"A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand." Bertrand Russell

Posted by: just_some_guy at May 8, 2008 08:00 PM

I was on the Essex.

We did not carry any C130s.

We did carry the 31st MEU, a lot, and a bunch of jeeps (not sure the technical name) and LCACs, and helos, and some VTO&L jets, but no fixed-wings.

Deputy Joe! Is he AIMD? Is Chief Skrzyptchek (yes, I murdered the spelling) still there?

Posted by: Foxfier at May 8, 2008 11:00 PM

Here is a link to a picture of a C-130 on the Forrestal:

I've heard rumors about landing C-17s on carriers, but this image is photoshopped:

And then there is this landing (which I offer without comment:

Posted by: Mark L at May 9, 2008 07:48 AM

To Foxflier -- My son is a Marine with Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, based in Okinawa. This is his second mission on board the Essex. Sorry, I do not know other names on board. He emailed last night to say "we're on our way".

Posted by: Deputyjoe1 at May 9, 2008 07:57 AM

Deputy Joe-
Ah, well. Good luck to him!

Posted by: Foxfier at May 9, 2008 08:44 AM

This is a mistake because other AP reports stated that these same aircraft were ready to deploy from airbases in Thailand. CNN is a crap hole of a news station. The Essex is supposed to be 4 days out doing exercises so they where planing on deploying the helicopters from the ship to get there first and help out. That is what the other articles are reporting.

Posted by: Scot J at May 9, 2008 10:20 AM