From A to B: A Graf a Day

02.10.11

Categorie: David Axe, Logistics, Naval |
Tags: , ,

Emory S. Land. Navy photo.

Emory S. Land. Navy photo.

by DAVID AXE

A paragraph or two a day from my forthcoming book FROM A TO B: HOW LOGISTICS FUELS AMERICAN POWER AND PROSPERITY:

Two years earlier, in another hemisphere, another navy admiral had had the same idea — to take leftover big-box ships and fill them with different cargoes for soft missions. In 2005, before anyone in the Pentagon had really embraced [Joseph] Nye’s soft-power theory, Sixth Fleet vice admiral Harry Ulrich decided the navy needed to boost its operations along West Africa’s coast. But there, as in Latin America, traditional military forces were worse than useless — they might raise fears of renewed colonialism and win America more enemies than friends.

Ulrich needed to go in soft. He tapped the repair ship USS Emory S. Land for a four-month deployment, delivering trainers and maintenance personnel to several African nations, like a full-service, mobile, charity mechanic’s shop. The Land helped fix African navies’ old boats and gave African sailors refresher maintenance training. Cdr. Chris Servello, who served under Ulrich, called it a “test case” for soft power. “It was well received.”

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One Response to “From A to B: A Graf a Day”

  1. FooMan says:

    There is a school of history that firmly believes that the reason the USSR was forced to back down was due to inability of their navy to deploy and keep deployed enough forces to force the blockade line around Cuba. Logistics has been a Navy specialty for over 6 decades around the world and they have made an art form of it. Carrier battle groups do not exist in a vacuum, they need bombs, beans, bullets, and ball point pens to keep running and the logistics trains keep them where NCA desires them to be, Our logistics trains are not as good as they used to be but we are still the best in the world at getting our people where NCA wants them and supplying them in the field.
    Foo

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