Friday, August 05, 2005

"Super Scorpios" to the Rescue


A small Russian sub's propellers got tangled in fishing nets a day ago, and its seven crew are currently sitting in 625 feet of icy water off Kamchatka. Remembering the Kursk disaster and all the flack its navy got for not requesting help sooner, Russia has asked for rescue assistance and the U.S., Britain and Japan are responding.

The U.S. Navy has loaded up at least one C-5 Galaxy in San Diego and is flying it, with an unmanned "Super Scorpio" rescue sub in its belly and 30 sailors, to help out.

The Navy is playing a large public-diplomacy role this year thanks to its own and the Air Force's unmatched ability to throw hundreds of tons of men, food and equipment around the world on a few hours' notice. I hope that, whatever the outcome of the Russia's and the aiding powers' efforts, Moscow will take note that the U.S. is quick to help when the chips are down.

(If you've never seen a C-5 fly in person, you just wouldn't believe it. They're so big that they resemble a distant grey city block floating in the sky until they're right on top of you—and then the noise is unbelievable. For the Russian sailors' sake, I am thrilled that the Air Force's loadmasters can just truck an entire rescue submarine into one, fire up the engines and head for Asia.)

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