Democrats honored veterans at convention with graphics of ships from … Russian Navy?

posted at 10:01 am on September 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Normally I’d headline this Hot Air-style as “too bad to check,” but as it turns out, I don’t need to check.  The American experts on this topic have already checked it out … the US Navy.  Writing in the Navy Times, Sam Fellman reports that the backdrop during the Democratic National Convention salute to veterans displayed Russian warships rather than American — and that the Navy can actually tell the difference:

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention, a retired Navy four-star took the stage to pay tribute to veterans. Behind him, on a giant screen, the image of four hulking warships reinforced his patriotic message.

But there was a big mistake in the stirring backdrop: those are Russian warships.

While retired Adm. John Nathman, a former commander of Fleet Forces Command, honored vets as America’s best, the ships from the Russian Federation Navy were arrayed like sentinels on the big screen above.

These were the very Soviet-era combatants that Nathman and Cold Warriors like him had once squared off against.

“The ships are definitely Russian,” said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. “There’s no question of that in my mind.”

One might think that this takes quite a bit of technical expertise … and that’s true, to a point:

For example, the ship in the foreground, on the far right, has a square radar antenna at the top of its masthead. That is the MR-700 Podberezovik 3-D early warning radar, commonly identified as “Flat Screen” for its appearance, a three-dimensional early warning radar mounted on the Kerch, said Eric Wertheim, editor of “Combat Fleets of the World.”

Similarly, the third ship has a MR-310 “Head Net” air search radar, shaped like two off-set bananas, at its masthead and is mostly likely the guided missile destroyer Smetlivyy. The first two ships seem to be Krivak-class frigates, but it’s hard to discern from the silhouette, experts said.

But after that point, it becomes rather obvious, at least to everyone but the oblivious:

But the fact they are Russian ships is not in doubt. In addition to the ship’s radar arrays and hulls, which are dissimilar from U.S. warships, the photo features one more give-away: a large white flag with a blue ‘X’ at the ships’ sterns.

Polmar, who authored “The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy,” recognized the blue ‘X’-mark: “The X is the Cross of St. Andrew’s, which is a Russian Navy symbol,” Polmar said. (An anchored U.S. warship, by contrast, flies the American flag on its stern.)

How difficult is it to find pictures of ships from the US Navy?  The Navy has a Flickr account with thousands of pictures for anyone to use, including a set specific to its ships at sea.  For instance, here’s a terrific picture of the USS Abraham Lincoln with F/A-18 Hornets flying formation over it, and two Golden Falcon helicopters firing flares in its wake:

Not everyone knows ship silhouettes, but one might think that the DNC would at least recognize the lack of an American flag on a naval vessel — or at least know to go to official US military sites to get pictures of the US military.


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Comment pages: 1 2

The communist party had a picture of communist ships, why the surprise?

woodNfish on September 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Why are we assuming that a backdrop of Russian ships was a mistake?

RebeccaH on September 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Why are we assuming that a backdrop of Russian ships was a mistake?

RebeccaH on September 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM

That was exactly my thought. THe communist element in their party probably thought it was making a statement when those big bad American military guy was getting a tribute.

melle1228 on September 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

I don’t know if we can go back and check the twittersphere for that day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t somebody’s idea of an inside joke, like playing “Lying B**ch” as Michelle Bachmann’s walk-on music for the Jimmy Fallon show.

John_W on September 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Vlad endorsed Obama, this was probably just a little reciprocity.

kenashimame on September 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

If this had happened at the RNC, the “journalists” would be hounding Romney night and day for an apology. Actually, Romney might step up and apologize before that.

But it’s the DNC, and entirely intended, in my view, as an inside joke, and the “journalists” of the mainstream press will display the usual complete lack of interest in this very embarrassing story. Comrade Soetoro certainly won’t apologize for this deliberate hat-tip to Putin.

bobcalco on September 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM

It is likely that these clueless people just Googled for war ships and put up the one that seemed the most hulking. It could be laziness or worse – malice.

francesca on September 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

This is Romney’s fault, isn’t it?

TarheelBen on September 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

BTW, even if the “expert” is right about those being F5s, F5s have never been US Navy training aircraft. I’ll give him kudos for knowing the ship radars, but he don’t know airplanes. (The F5 is not used as an USAF training craft, either, though a similar aircraft – the T38 – is a training aircraft.)

GWB on September 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

GWB on September 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

The VF-111 “Sundowners” in Key West use F-5′s in adversary training. NavySon flies one. :-)

NavyMom on September 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

One would think the rust would give them away.

1921 C DRUM on September 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

BTW, even if the “expert” is right about those being F5s, F5s have never been US Navy training aircraft. I’ll give him kudos for knowing the ship radars, but he don’t know airplanes. (The F5 is not used as an USAF training craft, either, though a similar aircraft – the T38 – is a training aircraft.)

GWB on September 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

‘cept for the F-5s dressed as MiGs, flown by the USN Aggressor squadron / Ton Gun folks.

rayra on September 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Hey look–we actually didn’t build that.

TexasDan on September 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Guess you guys didn’t get the memo.
Hitch hiking on Russian spaceships wasn’t the only thing Obama has arranged. Hitch hiking on Soviet ships will be a part of his second term RESET FLEXIBILITY foreign policy. Just hasn’t been leaked yet.

chickasaw42 on September 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

rayra on September 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Actually, the F5s were used as aggressors by the USAF folks at Nellis. The Navy used A4s (Douglas Skyhawks) for their aggressor training back in the day. (Top Gun got that part right.) They have switched to using F14s and F16s (and the USAF has switched to F16s and a few F15s and doesn’t use the F5 anymore), and some FA18s, as well.

GWB on September 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM

NavyMom on September 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

I stand corrected, NavyMom. Interesting I can’t find them listed anywhere but when you drill down to that location.

GWB on September 12, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Actually, the F5s were used as aggressors by the USAF folks at Nellis. The Navy used A4s (Douglas Skyhawks) for their aggressor training back in the day. (Top Gun got that part right.) They have switched to using F14s and F16s (and the USAF has switched to F16s and a few F15s and doesn’t use the F5 anymore), and some FA18s, as well.

GWB on September 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM

That’ll come in handy if we get into it with Egypt.

slickwillie2001 on September 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM

On Fox.
Dems blame their vendor for tne error.
Apparently they do notcheck anyone’s work. Except Republican’s.

Jabberwock on September 12, 2012 at 4:40 PM

In-freaking-credible. I don’t think it matters one bit to the average dem.

FireBlogger on September 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM

One would think the rust would give them away.

1921 C DRUM on September 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

The rust of the ships or the rust of the democrat party ideas?

Wade on September 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

DURR. HURR. DURR.

Dunedainn on September 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Another 3rd grade effort by the least competent administration ever…

RalphyBoy on September 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Comment pages: 1 2