Intel File

By Bonner, Kit | Sea Classics, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Intel File


Bonner, Kit, Sea Classics


Latest Naval & Maritime Happenings Around the World

THE ROSE FESTIVAL AND WARSHIPS FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Portland, Oregon, is known for its roses and flowers due to high rainfall, and thus, lush foliage. The city's week-long Rose Festival celebrates the riches of the Pacific Northwest heritage and environment, as well as their roses. An important part of the annual festivities is the mini-fleet week put on by the US Navy. Lately, other Navies have ventured over the Columbia Bar through Astoria to Portland to join in. Just braving the most dangerous stretch water where the ocean meets a powerful river is quite a feat - over 200 ships have died on the rocks, shoals, and everchanging sandbars at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Actually, the Rose Festival had its genesis in 1837 when a rose bush was brought around the Horn and presented to local luminary Anna Marian Pittman. When a fire destroyed her home and mission, the indominable rose bush survived being the replanted over and over again. Seven decades later, an actual festival was he]d and the US Navy was asked to participate. They accommodated the city fathers by sending the cruiser USS Charleston (C-22/CA-19).

The Charleston was a Si. Louisclass cruiser armed with 14 6-in/50cal guns and 18 3-in/50-cal weapons. The idea of a single caliber weapon with centralized fire contz'o] had not yet taken hold.

The best year for sheer number of ships attending during the Rose Festival was 1990, when the USS New Jersey stopped by and there were 33 other ships in the harbor. The worst was 2002, just after 11 September 2001. This year, there are two US Navy ships, a Canadian frigate, and six Coast Guard ships. We all look forward to greater turnouts in the future.

RIMPAC 2010

The origin of RIMPAC should have come from the early weeks of the Naval war against Japan (19411942). Each of the Allied Navies was required to carry an interpreter for signaling and any and all other commands requiring transmission among ships with half a dozen different languages. In general, this was not a very successful communication method and contributed to confusion and poorly executed commands.

With World War II over, it was recognized that something had to be done to ensure effective intra-ship communication - hence RIMPAC. The same problem was even more crucial between aircraft and ships, so improvement was definitely needed. Scout planes were reporting the wrong classes of enemy ships and their locations plus all units were over reporting ships sunk, amphibious forces turned back, and enemy ships sunk. The Allies (called ABDA, representing the major forces involved - American, British, Dutch, and Australian) all had different codes and signaling priorities for just about everything from, "I need toilet paper" to "I am running low on 20mm ammunition. …

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