Fish Grabs Man’s Arm

When I was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, we used to go out fishing on the bay several times a month. The tarpon used to swim by our boat like hulking submarines. They truly are a sight to behold. And in this video, the giant fish grabs a man’s arm and refuses to let go. . .

Usually in fishing, the object is to hook the fish. With a hook, not the crook of your arm.

Admiral James Stavridis Cleared

Adm. James Stavridis

Yesterday, you may have read the story of BG Jeffrey Sinclair. Today Navy Times is featuring another flag officer who found himself in a legal stew.

Except Navy Adm. James Stavridis’ issue was minor and found to be accidental. His crime was in his record-keeping of travel and the subsequent reimbursement errors that resulted from them.

The Admiral visited us down at Guantanamo Bay when I was there and he certainly is well-spoken. Lastly, I’ve read many of his writings and Adm. James Stavridis is one of the great scholars of the Navy. Read his work if you are so inclined.

The USS San Diego Comes Home

What is the opposite of the prodigal son? The son who spent his money wisely*? Who worked appropriately? Perhaps that describes the homeward bound USS San Diego:

The newest amphibious transport ship and its crew is expected Friday in its namesake city and new homeport, the Navy announced.

The San Diego, officially a precommissioning unit and the sixth ship in the LPD-17 San Antonio-class, will pull into its berth at Naval Base San Diego, a month ahead of its scheduled commissioning.

The San Diego, delivered to the Navy on Dec. 19, left the Huntington Ingalls Shipyard on March 15 and stopped at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Cartagena, Colombia. The ship crossed the Panama Canal on March 25 en route to California.

The amphibious transport dock ship San Diego visits Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during her maiden voyage in transit to her future homeport.

Speaking of Gitmo, the Navy has designated the next Commander:

The Navy has chosen a Key West-based admiral, a helicopter pilot who ran Hurricane Katrina air relief operations, to take over as the next commander of the detention center at Guantánamo.

Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith Jr., 54, said in an interview Friday that he has visited the base once, on a routine tour with other one-star officers last year. It was before he learned Guantánamo was the next assignment of his 30-year Navy career.

He was in charge of military air operations after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And he’s also flown Sea King helicopters off the aircraft carriers USS Saratoga, Kitty Hawk and Carl Vinson, although he’s been mostly in command in recent years.

“I fly a desk,” he said dryly.

RGR that, Admiral. I have thousands of flight hours at my current desk right now. As Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker about the Millennium Falcon: “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.”

* Yes, I am mangling the parable. But I didn’t want to get into theology. Just the Navy.

Giant Gambian Rats Invade Florida?

When I worked at Guantanamo Bay, giant rats called banana rats lurked in the underbrush. I ran up on them a couple of times while out jogging at dusk. My impression: they are enormous and shy. Yet still smaller than these Gambian rats in Florida:

But a breed of giant, Gambian rats have been rapidly reproducing in the Florida Keys despite a decade-long effort to wipe them out. KeysNet reports the invasive, African native species first began showing up between 1999-2001 after a local exotic animal breeder released eight of the rats into the wild.

Giant Gambian Rats in the Florida Keys

 “We thought we had them whipped as of 2009,” said Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “We think they have not moved far but they clearly reproduced,” he said.

The rodents, officially known as the Gambian pouched rat, are the largest known breed of rats in the world. They can grow up to three feet in length and weigh as much as nine pounds. Wildlife officials fear that if the large-sized rodents make it to the Florida mainland, they could devastate local crops if they reach the Florida mainland.

Three feet in length? Nine pounds? I’ll bet you can cut some good steaks off those babies!