Home » Education Legislation » Chain of Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Warships in the Western Pacific Raise Readiness, Training Questions


Chain of Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Warships in the Western Pacific Raise Readiness, Training Questions

Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) moored pier side at Changi Naval Base, Republic of Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21. Significant damage to the hull resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Damage control efforts by the crew halted further flooding. The incident will be investigated. US Navy Photo

THE PENTAGON — The unprecedented string of U.S. surface ship incidents that have resulted in the death of at least seven sailors and hundred of millions in damages is prompting the Navy to take a hard look at how they operate their warships in the Western Pacific, Navy officials told USNI News on Monday.

Over a period of seven months, the U.S. Navy has suffered a grounding and three collisions involving warships operating in the Western Pacific. The two latest have resulted in the June 17 death of seven sailors on USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and ten missing sailors on USS John McCain (DDG-56).

Prompted by the Monday collision between McCain and a chemical tanker near Singapore, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson announced a worldwide operational pause and a Fleet Forces led investigation to determine any links between the four incidents and how the Navy does business in Japan.

“This is obviously an extremely serious incident and is the second such incident in a very short period of time, inside of three months, very similar as well, and is the last of a series of incidents in the Pacific fleet in particular, and that gives a great cause for concern that there’s something out there we’re not getting at,” Richardson told reporters on Monday afternoon during an off-camera briefing at the Pentagon.
“[The investigation] will have a lot of different aspects to it. What have the trends been? Who’s monitoring those trends? What is the operational tempo of those units? There are a lot of different factors that go towards painting that full readiness picture which would include maintenance equipment personnel, those sorts of things.“

In the short-term, Richardson left the specifics of the operational pause open ended and up to the discretion of the individual fleet commanders, a Navy official told USNI News.

Adm. Phillip Davidson on Jan. 14, 2016. US Navy Photo

A former destroyer commander said the pause would probably involve a day or two of training aboard ships, similar to a safety stand down.

“Watch teams that are not on watch are sitting down and going through the rules, regulations and the standing orders and all the things that govern the way that we’re supposed to be doing business,” former guided missile destroyer commander Bryan McGrath told USNI News on Monday.
“If you’re not sitting on station getting ready to track a North Korean missile, if you’re not in trail of a Chinese submarine, if you’re not conducting a FON op, you will essentially lay to and study all day and talk and have seminars and discussions.”

The pause will reinforce fundamentals in the short-term and the longer-term investigation will evaluate the surface system as a whole.

While Fleet Forces commander Adm. Phil Davidson will probe the specifics behind the four incidents looking for any systemic issues, the Navy already knows its ships forward deployed in Japan train less and deploy more than their counterparts based in the U.S.

2017 Western Pacific Incidents

The following are the four incidents Navy officials indicated to USNI News that prompted the CNO mandated Fleet Forces investigation into Western Pacific operations.

USS Antietam (CG-54)

USS Antietam (CG-54) underway on March 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

On Jan. 31, FDNF guided-missile cruiser Antietam ran aground near Yokosuka, Japan damaging the ship’s propellers and dumping 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay. The ship’s commander, Capt. Joseph Carrigan was removed from command in March.

USS Lake Champlain (CG-57)

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) prepares to pull alongside the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) for a replenishment-at-sea on April 30, 2017. US Navy photo.

On May 9, Lake Champlain collided with a 65-foot South Korean fishing boat in international waters off the Korean peninsula. The cruiser was part of the San Diego-based Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group that was deployed off the coast of Korea at the time. Neither the fishing boat nor Lake Champlain was significantly damaged.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62)

USS Fitzgerald pierside at the U.S. naval base at Yokosuka, Japan

On June 19, the FDNF destroyer Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crsytal about 50 miles off the coast of Japan. The resulting impact of the merchant ship’s bulbous bow punched massive hole in the side of the ship that allowed hundreds of tons of water to pour in and killed seven sailors. Fitzgerald’s command triad was removed from their positions and several sailors on watch were given non-judicial punishment. Several investigations are ongoing.

USS John McCain (DDG-56)

Damage to the portside is visible as the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) steers towards Changi Naval Base, Republic of Singapore on Aug. 21, 2017. US Navy Photo

On Aug. 21, a chemical tanker collided with McCain near the Straits of Malacca causing significant flooding in the ship. Five crewmembers were injured and 10 are still missing.

“The Navy’s high pace of operations for its overseas-homeported ships impacts crew training and the material condition of these ships—overseas-homeported ships have had lower material condition since 2012 and experienced a worsening trend in overall ship readiness when compared to U.S.- homeported ships,” read a 2015 Government Accountability Office report on the Navy’s forward deployed forces in Europe and the Western Pacific.
“To meet the increasing demands of combatant commanders for forward presence in recent years, the Navy has extended deployments; increased operational tempos; and shortened, eliminated, or deferred training and maintenance. The Navy has also assigned more surface combatants and amphibious warfare ships to overseas homeports.”

Naval analyst Bryan Clark told USNI News on Monday that as the total number of the ships operating in the Western Pacific over the last decade has gone down, the operational tempo has remained the same or increased in certain areas.

2015 GAO Image

“I would offer that in the surface community – and we’ve been talking for a long time — that the surface community has been overused,” Clark, with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, said.
“The question the Navy has to wrestle with is we ask these ships to do more deployment time and therefore they have less time for training and preparation than they have in the past. The fleet training time has been reduced 20 to 25 percent over the last decade and yet we’re deploying the same number of ships overseas at any given day. If these ships are working 25 percent harder, where did that time come from?”

As to the volume of incidents and collisions, “nothing comes close to this,” McGrath said.
“I do believe if you back along the last 30 years of incidents and you chart them on a time versus incident [chart] you’ll find that they cluster and I can’t explain that. I’m not prepared to say that these are not coincidental but I think you have to rule that out.”

The Navy’s look into operations around the forward force in Japan is similar to a holistic look the submarine community took at its operations and training prompted by a spate of grounding and collisions about 15 years ago, Clark told USNI News.

“In the submarine force we had a series of incidents with USS Hartford and USS Jacksonville – it wasn’t quite as close together – but we had a series of submarine related collisions and groundings over a three-year period,” Clark said.
“There was a similar investigation and soul-searching to figure out what’s going on. A lot of it came down to some systemic problems where there was a realization that we were not providing adequate time for training in-between deployments. Ships were being short-cycled a little bit when they were doing local operations.”

Still, only hours into the Fleet Forces investigation, Clark said that at least some of the problems Davidson is likely to document have been known issues in the forward deployed surface forces for years.

“Obviously there are problems with how the surface Navy may be evaluating or training its guys, but there is a systemic problem overall that the surface Navy is getting worked a lot harder than it’s been designed to do,” Clark said.
“Their guys just aren’t getting the time to train.”

Staff writer Ben Werner contributed to this report.

  • Curtis Conway

    “I would offer that in the surface community – and we’ve been talking for a long time — that the surface community has been overused,”…

    This is BS. Can a ship be underway too much? Yes, but that is not what is going on in many of these incidents. Two few people doing too many things, and like someone always has to fly the plane . . . someone always has to have the Conn on the ship. That ‘keeping an eye on the ball’ and ‘maintaining the bubble’ is the responsibility of the entire TEAM, not one person’s job. There are so many trip-wires built into the system that unless the system has been totally screwed up to the point it is no longer recognizable, there cannot be mistakes like this, unless those on watch are not qualified in the first place. That is the question, and issue at hand. What is ‘target angle’? Does the vessel observed have a ‘bearing drift’? What is the ‘decision point’ for making a call? Too many do not understand the big equation and know the answers to these equations.

    • Carl

      One overlooked fact in all the discussion is that whenever you have a collision at sea, it “takes two to Tango.” Looking at the two most recent incidents, one ship was struck on the port side while the other was struck on the starboard side. This suggests that each vessel had very different responsibilities under COLREGS, and very different circumstances may surround each collision.

      The Navy’s reaction is proper, but we also need to be careful against developing a “sky is falling” attitude. Until both accident investigations are complete it will be impossible to draw any conclusions about a root cause, at least not a conclusion grounded in fact.

      • Curtis Conway

        I would wager we will find many overlapping “root causes”.

      • James B.

        Regardless of who had the right-of-way, the First Law of Gross Tonnage always applies: avoid the bigger ship first, complain later.

        • Curtis Conway

          Does Ch-16 still exist? Is there a proscription against using it? Do the ships still have horns? We lost steering more than once, but never in the channel or during Sea And Anchor Detail, and we exercised that all the time. There were so many contingency plans, which one to use under what circumstances was the big decision. These incidents appears to show no plan at all, but we have not heard all the facts yet.

      • Curtis Conway

        One collision . . . I’m with you. Two collisions with the total death tool going up to 17 . . . and little evidence of US Navy Regulation Emergency or Safety procedures followed ? . . I’m starting to swallow really hard. After four major events over the last seven months ? . . something fundamental is going on here, and it appears to be system wide, goes to core values (defined by Who?), and little coming out that indicates that we are trying to solve the problems. WARRIORS DON’T SLEEP ON WATCH or GET CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN, PARTICULARLY IN A TEAM ENVIRONMENT! Something fundamental is going on here, and it appears to be the same systemic infection that caused the Aegis FFG concept in its day to be truncated, and allowed LCS to become a reality. EVIL has NOT been defeated, and until ‘That Day’, we MUST be ready.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      I’ve heard “You gotta challenge all assumptions. If you don’t, what is doctrine on day one becomes dogma forever after”
      There is a lot of wrong dogma and ignorance in seamanship, maintenance, navigation and steaming the plant on a U.S. Naval vessel. Sounds a little harsh, yet these are indeed systemic problems that you will not find in other European Navies, and the Merchant Fleet.
      Blind loyalty and praise instead of criticism dilutes realty, and is an INSULT to the sailors in harms way. We must remember that the US Navy is one of many organizations doing this type of ‘work’ around the world, and empirically known around the world to be questionable at best when it comes to SEAMANSHIP.

      • SM3, Edwin “Tony” Roach

        Having come from the old navy, USS Boxer LPH-4, busy steaming all over the ocean in 1957, I have to completely agree with the above post. We had lookouts forward, aft, as well as port and starboard. There was surface radar, as well as air search radar. Watch officers were cautioned not to rely too much on the radars. What if a submarine surfaced unexpectedly directly in front of us? Confirmed visual contacts were always plotted. There was at least one or two signalmen posted on each wing of the bridge. I never felt a collision with anything would ever occur. The point I’m trying to make is that maybe were are relying too much on electronic gadgets. there is nothing wrong with Knights Modern Seamanship, or Admirals Mack’s books on Navigation. All comments from anyone are welcome. I am a USNA Parent Alumni, class of ’94.

        • muzzleloader

          The last time I transited the Straits of Malacca was aboard CVN-65, and it was at night. I remember that the CO ordered the entire flight deck cleared, and all topside lighting turned off, minus running lights.
          The watches were doubled on the bridge as well as the bow, with two lookouts on the port and starboard forward catwalks.

        • SMCS

          The USN disestablished the Signalman rate in 2004, the NAVADMIN came out in November 2003. Big mistake, Signalmen were expert lookouts and now there are none. That and just about all “A” School training has been computer based for almost 10 years, rates are being combined/disestablished due to money shortages, personnel now have more responsibilities to fill the voids, again, money. CO’s are afraid to tell their Squadron Commanders the real issues on their vessels. Surface Warfare Officers/Senior Enlisted are putting in 16 hours a day. If they had a Coast Guard license and were sailing as US Merchant Mariners that would be illegal and for a good reason. The last 20 years have been a joke for the Navy in my opinion (I served from 1980-2009), sailors are not held responsible as individuals rather they are all punished when one wing nut decides to do something stupid (usually overseas). There are so many fingers to be pointed in so many directions. Being politically correct and treating grown men and women like children is not the right recipe for a military fighting force.

          • SM3, Edwin “Tony” Roach

            “A little neglect may breed great mischief”
            In reference to no signalmen…
            “For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost.”
            “For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost.”
            “For the want of horse, the battle was lost.”
            “For the want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.”
            Benjamin Franklin, in Little Richards Almanac, 1758

    • pikeman

      Great comment

      • Curtis Conway

        Damn strait, because the only correct answer to this equation is “No Excuse Sir”. It is not for us to wonder why….. We have a mission . . . get to it, and Stand To!

  • Roger Roger

    No this is not just training related. If the Navy isn’t capable of doing the mission someone needs to tell the DOD. In wartime there is no time for training. If the Navy is that over extended we need to pull back because we can not afford to lose anymore ships. Let the chips fall where they may. There have been comments on other sites by ex Navy personnel who point to a failure to retain experienced Petty Officers. I think it goes beyond that. From bottom to top sailors are reluctant to point out problems and errors above their pay grade. That goes all the way to Chief of Naval Operations. The Air Force and Army are also over extended, that is no excuse. As I commented elsewhere these ships and sailors are precious national assets and should be treated as such. The Navy is responsible for an outsize share of our ballistic missile defense and deterrent force. I believe the share of both should be reduced. The expense of replacing the Ohio class boats should be cut. Put a much smaller number of SLBMs on the new Virginia class boats. Put the rest on mobile launchers in Alaska under Army control. We obviously cannot continue to rely on the Navy to man the major share of our strategic forces. They need to concentrate on traditional roles and BMD.

    • D. Jones

      Good Lord no. The boomers are our most vital strategic deterrent. I’d argue that boomers and a half-dozen more Seawolf-class would be money well spent. Look at who our most likely opponent would be: China. Especially if we are forced to respond militarily to KJU. Ending the Seawolf was about as smart as cutting short the F22. Top of the line, world leading stuff. Maybe the WJC ’96 reelection fund got extra yuan for killing off our best stuff.

      End the LCS & Zumwalt experiments. Does anyone have a number for the Navy’s share of the F35?

  • D. Jones

    The problem isn’t the amount of time allocated for training.

    The problem is how much training time is allocated to non-mission critical training.

    • Uncle Mike

      I’d be willing to bet that both crews were fully up-to-date on their sexual harassment and sensitivity training. It’s a matter of priorities.

    • DefTactics

      D.Jones,my experience in safety and operations is telling me that this is a systemic problem with poor training methods.Human beings must be trained and TESTED constantly in regular intervals.The training on new or upgraded equipment is no one near what must be given in operational testing and training so that all personnel can safely operate all equipment !Zero accidents with zero injuries is always the goals.Procedures and chain of command must become second nature so if the shi hits the fan there is no thinking or hesitation.Since we are not at war at sea they should be “ready to fight tonight”. I think there is something else going on in regards for the services to be able to retain the best people.It definitely has something to do with the PC culture.The ramming down the throats of anti religious believes,forcing of sexual and different moral norms with strong consequences for violating them was shocking to a lot of our people.Most companies that cut budgets routinely go after training and to some degree Safety.Cuts in defense spending,forcing the raiding of training and maintenance accounts is seen by the war fighters as the US not providing the best of the best to them.The leaving of Air Force pilots come to mind.A Bottom UP Review including people from outside the Navy is appropriate.We will see if this so called hacking is legitimate.It may be just an excuse by somebody trying to cover their own a$$. If it has legs than China would be the natural suspect since the USS John McCain just pissed them off with the FON past their home made islands.

  • MrInvestor

    What jumps out of the above schedule chart? Obviously, there is no training cycle for Japan based Cruisers and Destroyers. They are either deployed or being maintained. Training is “OJT”. This makes no sense and these are the only ships in the Fleet treated this way. Perhaps this is coming home to roost. A couple of other thoughts…SWO PQS signoffs are too easily gained. In many cases a requirement is explained, a couple of questions asked, signature given. For too many this process is not rigorous and the pressure is on completion, not competence. Last, SWO Qualification is intended to recognize competence in Surface Warfare knowledge, but that does not necessarily translate to fully developed skills. As in the aviation community, having your wings does not mean you are ready to fly in combat. In particular, standing as OOD underway demands expertise and judgement second only to the Captain. I believe there is pressure on COs to give OOD qual letters to some who may be marginal, arising from shortage of watchstanders, a desire not to harm the future of JOs, perhaps from other issues. COs must have absolutely unquestioned authority to designate their OODs. If they do not have sufficient qualified OODs, they must report their situation rather than “carry on with what they have”.

  • Duane

    “Training time” is a very broad category. The best training, especially in ship handling, is handling ships. It must be done constantly, whether practicing normal evolutions, or at sea emergency drills, and at sea weapons drills.

    In my service in four years on a SSN during the Cold War, we had relatively little “training time” as a matter of categorizing an underway period. We were either deployed, heading to or from deployment, or conducting post drydock or overhaul shakedown, or we were doing some other thing for the Navy, like testing out new gear, developmental work on DSRV, or testing new weps like the Harpoon. We did maybe a handful of weekly ops that had no other purpose than training, and we had to do torpedo shoot quals every several years, but altogether “training cruises” that would account for less then 10% of total cruise time.

    Virtually all of our training took place underway, to and from spec ops, and on station in spec ops. We trained ourselves well.

    I can understand the need for carriers to do a lot of non-ops training, because they have to integrate an air wing with a ships crew and do a lot of air ops training and qualifying before they get deployed. For other skimmers and certainly for subs, there was little time to waste on training cruises.

  • DaSaint

    I believe some difficult questions are finally being asked. Is it OPTEMPO? Is it training? Is it forward deployments? All of the above/none of the above? The answers certainly do not lay with the crews of these vessels alone. It has to be a systemic problem and possibly an attitudinal problem of Navy vs. non-Navy. I completely get that we’re overstretched, but we’re not colliding with allied naval vessels while on deployments or training exercises. Why? Do we have the proper deference and awareness to fellow naval vessels and possibly not to others? I don’t know.

    That said, all alarms have been sounded, and appropriately so. Can you imagine, however, if these collisions were with either LCS classes? We all would have sworn that it was a factor of the vessels, their equipment, handling, and construction (not to mention the fact that they may not have survived), but I’m glad it isn’t them, otherwise we may have allowed those extended emotions to cloud the appropriate questions we’re asking of the Navy now with vessels we all regard as superlative, the Ticos and the Burkes.

    • Duane

      Yes, I thought the same thing about the LCS. When a couple of them experienced engineering casualties last year, none of which put the ship or crew at risk, the LCS haters came out in droves to declare that the ship design was all at fault, the entire class needed to be sh*t-canned, blah blah blah. Where are those guys now when the Ticos and Arleigh Burkes are colliding and grounding, many lives lost, and ships taken completely out of action?

      Those of us who said that the Navy blamed the very minor LCS failures on crews that were not properly trained or managed were shouted down with BS, “it’s all on the ship design”. But now many of those very same LCS haters are saying today the failures of the crews of our four recent casualties on Ticos and ABs are all due to PC, or failure to use their eyeballs and ignore those new-fangled doohickeys (you know, that 75 year old machine called a “radar”, and a plotting chart and pencil).

      Whenever we suffer failures, be it in ships or aircraft or tanks or soldiers with M-4s, it is almost always due to human factors, and human failures. We human beings are always the weakest link in the accident chain. But human failures, which are inevitable, can be mitigated with checks, balances, procedures, and ever-better technical aids. It has always been thus, and always shall be.

  • Dan142

    It’s great to read the comments here from experts.

    My reaction as a civilian in a technology industry is jaw-dropping awe. How can a machine with millions of dollars in gps navigation, sophisticated radars, computerized situational awareness, and electronic countermeasures be blindsided by low tech tankers? Isn’t there an auto pilot and computer generated collision threat analysis that wakes everyone up long before an imminent collision?

    If we can’t avoid slow dumb tankers in peacetime, what does that say about our wartime abilities? Presumably, the chaos of multiple targets and threats will add layers of complexity, not make life easier because we’re paying attention.

    • D. Jones

      I’ve seen stuff where subsystems are subcontracted out and the systems integrator knows little of the nuances of all those parts. They are “big picture” guys. On more than one occasion unexpected problems arose with those subsystems, and only those intimately involved with their design knew what to look for.

      Considering how often design talent is dismissed, and institutional memory lost, it’s not unlikely that many systems on the Flight I Burkes have “lost” their creators. The Fitz was built in 93. Even if they weren’t “rightsized” into oblivion, most of her designers are nearing retirement or have retired or moved elsewhere. Accordingly, finding a technical issue could take quite awhile.

      Maybe there’s some recent retrofit that has access to and impacted bus communications onboard. If it’s skullduggery, it’s Stuxnet-level and beyond. Computers can be hacked. People supposedly on watch not so much.

      I still think this is a training and culture issue. If this is some wearout issue of a part, we’ll see more failures shortly. The odds of failures occurring within 2 months after 20+ years precisely when both ships were near large, slow-moving bulbous bow commercial craft? Vanishingly small. Not impossible, but lottery winning odds unlikely.

      • Dan142

        Thanks, and all good points. It may also have something to do with management hierarchy and work ethic.

        For instance, it cost $6.4 billion to redo the Eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge completed in 2013. In 1996, the plan was to have it cost $1 billion and be completed by 2003.

        In 1936, the original bridge, including the SF span, the tunnel (debris used to build Treasure Island), and the Eastern span were built for $1.3 billion (in 3.6 years) in adjusted 2013 dollars. That’s far more work, in about 1/5th the time, all without computers.

        There was one agency in 1936 that governed all permits and approvals. In 2013, there were 13.

  • Martin Alfven Haider

    There doesn’t appear to be any shear damage to the McCain. Wasn’t it supposed to be steaming towards port? From what I saw of the damage, it looked like it was barely moving if at all – that is a very clean punch into the hull with no or very little sideways tearing from the McCain’s forward motion. I find it hard to believe that we had two accidents within two months, each taking out one of our premium missile ships, and both with the same M.O.

    The statement from McGrath that “I’m not prepared to say that these are not coincidental but I think you have to rule that out” is a bit odd as well, if you think about it. Why, exactly, do we have to rule out the possibility that these are not accidents, but asymmetrical warfare ops conducted by the Chinese using some amped-up Khibiny-style EW weapon mounted on a drone to spoof/jam our radar and GPS systems? With possible human assets on the civilian ships, accounting for the fact that both of our ships were T-boned.

  • Mike Mulligan

    This whole thing is a grave national security risk. System thinking, the butterfly effect, nonlinear response and emergence phenomena in complex systems. So you got a complex system under severe stress, lose a few components and then a high probability of a nonlinear response. Basically just a little more stress and a startling system collapse. Basically from the inputs, you might see a output you couldn’t imagine from the inputs.

    Danthemen, How do I know about my below June 29 comments, this article begins to explain it. But it took the tragic deaths of another 10 sailors for the system to begin to explain it.

    Fundimentally we live in a modern democracy. The true conditions of the military is supposed to cycled though the 4th estate and it helps create public participation. Then we elect politicians to express our wishes. There has been unholy alliances between the politicians and high military officials to subvert this process for individual and tribal advantage. I call this altruism corruption or doing the greater good abuse. In this case, it is the extreme military secrecy/national security shadow that effectively bars public participation in their government. They are suppose to vet the real conditions military through the public. It is just not happening. So they are using altruism (national security), to hide the sins of the officials and our great military vulnerabilities from the voting public. The politicians get more bang for their votes through new build, than maintaining the ocean and air platforms.

    I asked the secretary of the Navy to include me into the big picture investigation with these recent events. I have the privilege to live in the greatest country on the planet!!!
    Mike Mulligan
    Hinsdale, NH

    dantheman steamshovel2002 • June 29

    “”Crew demoralized;” “indifferent senior staff ashore”; “I think the Fitzgerald had severe maintenance issues and many on board components degraded or broken;” “Our exhausted and broke current fleet;” “Severe maintenance issues, many on board components degraded or broken.”
    Harsh statements indeed, Steamshovel. How do U know the crew was demoralized? How do U know senior staff was indifferent? How do U know their are severe maintenance issues? What makes U say the fleet is exhausted and broke?
    Are U sane?”

  • Western

    I’d be interested to know the destroyer watchstanding practice during normal ops and when operating in restricted waters like shipping lanes. Do they double the watch, have fore and aft lookouts, manual signaling devices, etc. How many people are actually looking outside the bridge windows?

  • Mike Mulligan

    Posted Two or three days before the McCain collision. I was stationed on John McCain, I believe DDG 36, for about year in 1975. It was the after the Vietnam war hollow Navy syndrome…it was piered for the whole time because the Navy didn’t have the money to make her sea worthy or battle ready.
    I commented in this article and it is still there now.

    NYT: “Top Two Officers on Navy Ship in Deadly Collision Off Japan Are Relieved of Duties”

    Mike Mulligan
    Hinsdale, NH

    “This is how the Navy does cover-ups. They are really good at it. You should check out the US Fort Worth report on the navy’s FIOA page. The crew of the ship was crushed by the indifference of the brass off the ship on their combining gear failure. Some of this was crew sabotage trying to gain attention of the higher brass. This (Fitz) should have began with firing the squadron commander, the fleet admiral and CNO. These two ships are the tip of the iceberg. Where did “Fat Lenard” and the corrupt brass learn all their tricks from: Washington’s corruption. I think this is a matter of funding starvation and inefficient spending of public funding. Steel yourself for the huge Congressional blue ribbon investigation after the next war based on our poor military readiness (sequestration). This all is a huge failure of the 4th estate with not educating the public on the condition of our military.
    Big Al
    Southwest 2 days ago
    Thank you for providing your insight. Perhaps “the 4th Estate” doesn’t know, or doesn’t understand the seriousness, what you are writing about. Perhaps you and any informants you have should approach a legitimate newspaper with your beliefs because they are important.

    • D. Jones

      Combining gears should have been axed in favor of electric motor drives. Direct drive weight savings are tiny compared to losses in efficiency, reliability and other areas.

  • Mike Mulligan

    Why isn’t the bridge and other critical areas camered/voiced up and recorded for training and accident reconstruction? Remember all commercial airplanes got voice recorders plus data in the black box, and police cars and cops are voice and video recorded. Wouldn’t that be invaluable information for the joint chiefs and it could be in real time for a international incident at sea? Even simulator secession could be recorded and sailors would get invaluable feedback with poor group and individual communication styles. I found this very painful, but it help me see me.

    • D. Jones

      Black boxes are included on aircraft & locomotives and can be made pretty much bombproof. Newer shock-resistant SSD technology in RAID configurations enables vastly more data collection than older spinning or ancient tape drives. The Fitz & McCain however are Flt I Burkes, so unless they’ve had some recent upgrades, any data storage would be pretty limited.

      What’s being tossed around now is some “steering failure” of the McCain, although that may be a manufactured excuse as steering mysteriously returned aftef the accident. Both were built with AN/USQ-82 Data Multiplex Systems, so maybe the Chinese (or of course the Russians) figured out how to tap in to that and override steering commands, just as the ships were nearing large commercial vessels…nah. An alert crew would never be close enough to let a sudden uncommanded steering input send the ship into the path of another.

      I’m going with the simple answer: culture issues. Who is going to take training seriously when you have obvious PC programs intermixed? Everybody rolls their eyes and snickers through these courses. If you go to a college where half the courses you take are psychiatry of basketweaving, are you really going to take the entire curriculum seriously? This is not the students, or sailors fault. This is directly the responsibility of those creating the training programs. Those programs changed dramatically under the 8 yrs of Ray Mabus. Now look at where the bulk of Navy personnel serving on ships is: it’s the under 8 and under 4 years experience groups. This means that the experience of those schooled pre-Mabus is evaporating, and we are now seeing entire crews who have been denied full rigorous training. The line blurs between what is serious mission-critical stuff, and what is feel-good fluff. Will the current O-7 – O-9 promoted under Mabus ever admit their social experiment was anything but a success? Not likely. If in fact the root cause analysis yields training and crew discipline as the faults for both Burke incidents, then the entire Mabus-era training protocol needs addressed. By someone OUTSIDE the Navy. The brass will never find fault with themselves, and resign en masse for the good of the service. No political animals have ever done such a thing. Would be like Congress admitting they failed, and agreeing to term limits.

      Whatever the cause, it needs fixed. This string of debacles is making the country look foolish and more importantly, unable to project legitimate power.

      • Duane

        BS … you’re just projecting your political prejudices into this and flogging the heck out of it.

        Nobody on the bridge of a steaming ship is or should be thinking about political stuff, correct or otherwise.

        Seamanship is something that comes with training, experience, and extreme attention to the task at hand, safely conning the ship. It is quite possible that seamanship has not received the command attention it deserves. Not because of PC, but because of a mis-allocation of attention. COs and officers and crews have a vast responsibility that is complicated when operating in high intensity shipping lanes like the Malacca Strait or the approaches to Tokyo Bay.

        I read an interesting post today on The Diplomat by a former Arleigh Burke CO and squadron commander who writes that his General Order 1 when taking over squadron command was to “Operate, Navigate, and Communicate” as the three priorities in order, following the aviator’s priorities of “Aviate,Navigate, and Communicate”. “Operate” being to safely con the ship, keeping your ship off the bottom and not touching any others. If those are not the priorities for today’s skippers, then that is easy to change. But no matter what, shipping lanes are far more crowded today than what the old timers commenting here ever experienced.

        • wilkinak

          “Not because of PC, but because of a mis-allocation of attention. ”

          It is reasonable to question whether the attention on PC training has resulted in a mis-allocation of attention on seamanship training.

          It is also unlikely that admirals who have pushed the PC training will admit that any resulting loss of attention to seamanship will admit it was either their fault or a mistake.

          • Duane

            “Mis-allocaton of attention” could be on any number of topics having little to nothing to do with political stuff. Likely candidates including excessive attention on administration or “administrivia”, which can and often does plague any large and bureaucratic organization, including the military; others include excessive attention on cleanliness, planning the next refit, or on training that does not directly address safety of ship. Or mis-allocation of training and attention can result from a CO who micromanaged things, or abuses his officers and crew. This kind of stuff has been the bane of military organizations forever, long preceding the modern notion of “political correctness”

            Not that that other subjects besides ship handling and navigation are not important, but commanders and their senior subordinates are frequently known to get caught up in BS. I’ve personally experienced it. Just read the stories about the BS that the CO did on Antietem that the Navy believed led to its grounding – and the cashiering of the CO for his poor command decisions and abuse of his crew. Even if that happens on only a small minority of ships, it’s too many, and as we’ve seen, the cost in lives and taxpayer dollars can be enormous.

        • muzzleloader

          Why are you so quick to discount what D. Jones is saying? Political prejudices? I believe that the culture aspects have to be considered. As someone who is still in the Naval community, I can attest there are some things that Mabus did that lent nothing to the subject of winning wars and developing fighting men and women. This is supposed to be a forum. You can’t be so quick to label people who have a different perspective than you as “BS” or bonkers.

          • Duane

            I didn’t label a person. I challenged his logic.

            Politics and political thinking have no place on the bridge of a ship. Politics is by its very nature divisive, and today very much hate-inducing and trust-destroying – both of which are anathema to military performance and morale.

            I served in the Navy at possibly the most divisive time in our history post Civil War – during the Vietnam era and through the entire Watergate mess and Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s pardoning of Nixon. I cannot remember a single conversation ever, in training or on board my SSN, where political discussion came up between any of my shipmates. I am sure that we all had political opinions, but we kept it all to ourselves and off the job.

            if you are still in active service and flogging your right wing political opinions amongst your shipmates and using it to criticize your officers, then that is a problem, and you are a problem.

          • muzzleloader

            Ok, first things first. You say you challenge a person’s logic,which is fine, that is what you do in debates. You however tend to get derogatory, ‘dude, bonkers, extreme right wingers,(whatever that means). We can disagree and be civil about it.
            You said that politics has no place on the bridge of a ship. I agree with you fully, for the very reasons you stated. I am also aware however that military types are not automatons. They are human beings, with opinions like anyone else, especially in matters that affect them personally. I have not heard sailors, officer or enlisted discuss such matters while in uniform, or in settings that would be contrary to regulations, protocol, or betraying proper military bearing. But off the job while at home, or off duty with peers, that is another thing.
            You and I must be close to the same age, my naval service began in 1974. My uniformed service ended many years ago, but I still work for DOD.
            What I have observed is that the military has had politics forced on them ,especially over the last 25 years or so. Politicians who have no military background, and care about it even less, setting policies that are counter to moral, and mission readiness, policies and directives set forth not out of genuine concern, but to appeal to a particular base for political advantage. This is loathsome, yet it has fallen to the Admirals and Generals and chiefs and sergeants to figure a way forward on directives they had no voice in.
            What I want to see, indeed all of us, is the way forward. We ask the questions that need to be asked, even if it is not pretty or PC, and make the appropriate course corrections, and never have another repeat of the recent tragic events.

          • pikeman

            Agree. But when was the last time a Senior officer resigned over PC. Gen McCrystal but only after leaks.

          • pikeman

            There used to be a rule…inside the ship never talk about women, politics and senior officers.

      • muzzleloader

        Well put!

      • Eric Drescher

        As a 1st & 3rd Gen DMS tech, theres no way somebody hacked into the 1st gen DMS. 3rd, i wouldnt rule it out due to the difference in communication protocol, but still, under normal configuration, impossible.

        Plus, think about it, you’ve got an enlisted and officer in AFT Steering listening on a headset ready to take control of the rudder locally at a moment’s notice.

        I think this comes down to sleep deprivation.

        On DDG 53 I was deployed
        2007 – 6 months
        2008 – 4 months
        2009 – 7 months – A. Gulf
        2010 – midlife overhaul, just as bad as deployment
        2011 – another Arabian gulf deployment but I left in 2012.

        OpTempo was insane. Can’t imagine what our sailors deal with now! Way too much to do, too little time. I worked 14-16 hour days underway.

      • pikeman

        Spot on.

  • waveshaper1

    A couple new tidbits just starting to be reported (Take with a grain of salt);

    – The USS John S. McCain suffered a “steering casualty” as the warship was beginning its approach into the Strait of Malacca, near Singapore, causing it to collide with a commercial tanker Monday, a US Navy official stated.
    The official said it was unclear why the crew couldn’t utilize the ship’s backup steering systems to maintain control of ship. Earlier, another US Navy official had stated that early indications were the destroyer experienced a loss of steering right before the collision, but that steering had been eventually regained after the collision.
    – The flooded spaces were enginering, shaft alley, communications, and a female berthing compartment.

  • Murray

    Four incidents involving two Ticos and two ABs. Are there any commonalities here (apart from the curious fact they all occurred on the watch of the current CIC)? If the Antietam grounding is excluded then I would say one collision is an accident, two is a coincidence and three constitutes a pattern. Are all these just “human error” accidents or could there be deeper lying technical issues at play here?
    There is a precedent for my question. The US Navy went to war in December 1941 with defective torpedoes because they were never tested with live rather than dummy warheads. Comments welcomed.

  • Jay

    Could the Chinese — or some other country– be conducting cyber warfare? Hacking USN digital/computerized navigation and warning systems?

  • Hugh

    Is there any significance in officers being rotated through various branches in engineering, seamanship, etc, rather than being qualified and staying/specialising in a branch?

  • JohnByron

    The problem that the CNO has is not knowing the surface navy culture. The problem that Davidson has is knowing only the surface navy culture.

  • wilkinak

    CNO is a nuke – he knows the answer – TRAINING. SWO training sucks, and has sucked for 20 yrs. I went through SWOS (when it still existed) with the current crop of ship commanders. It was an absolute joke compared to the rigors of nuke school.

    The answer isn’t that hard – put 10 nukes in a room and tell them to develop a SWO training pipeline that will output JOs who know how to drive a ship. It shouldn’t be any different than aviator, nuke/sub training. A 6 month classroom phase & a 6 month ‘prototype’ phase of ensigns driving YPs & simulators.

    The catch is it is more expensive than computer based training. It’s probably cheaper than major ship overhauls and paying death benefits.

    The last group that needs to be involved in overhauling SWO training is SWOs themselves. Most of the current group, except for SWO(N)s, have no training history to work from. They have never experienced an effective school/curriculum.

    • JohnByron

      The problem runs deeper. The surface navy fails in training, surely, but it also fails to enforce the maintenance philosophies built into its logistics system. It has a survival-of-the-fittest approach to selection. It ignores or is ignorant of proven solutions from other warfare specialties. It disdains engineering. It has scant unit cohesion inside the warring departments in a typical surface ship. It’s over-specialized and under-cross-trained. And its practice of fleeting up XOs to CO in the same ship ensures continuity of bad practice and the absence of independent assessment by the new CO.

      At the ISIC level, it gives a gentleman’s C to ships scheduled to deploy and the receiving ISIC disdains any assessment of readiness in the ships transferred in.

      Most surface warships can excel at their primary mission of the moment, but always at the expense of other missions and, it seems, also at the expense of basic seakeeping and watchstanding.

      The culture needs a shakeup. Probably the Seventh Fleet too, at least at the level of ships home-ported there.

  • b2

    Leadership, leadership, leadership. Starts at the top…Here we have an SSBN driver STRATCOM type CNO and a VCNO P-3 pilot without a shipboard tour which tells all… And they are just the most visible….Are they the best leadership for a Navy centered on Carrier Strike Groups and expeditionary groups? After years of change and firsts for changes sake this systemic toxic environment has eroded many in Navy’s officer corps into a sniveling band of super hypocrites who only ask what’s in it for me?…
    Just like the post- Zumwalt Navy that eroded on the 1970s and was recovered during the Reagan years we need strong leadership, reinforcement of proven USN tradition and a return to basic seamanship and airmanship. No more experiments. Basics. A “safety-navigation stand down” is not going to solve this issue and seeming lack of attention to detail…. It is the existing culture

    • Duane

      Oh geez, stow it dude. SSBN drivers are just as qualified as anyone to be CNO. Navy leadership isn’t about what kind of ship you drove as a junior to mid-grade officer. No single ship type is predominant or representative of the entire Navy fleet. After all, big deck carriers only account for 11 hulls out of 279 warships, and 430 ships overall. SSBNs account for 18 hulls, and submarines in total are the most numerous ship type in the Navy, with over 80 hulls.

      • b2

        Whew, right over your head you missed the main point …dudette. Look to left and look to right only one of you can be CNO…. He is another first…Name me any other SSBN officer who was CNO? regardless, accountability starts at the top…If this B.S. is going to be fixed Mattis needs to start at the top and work down…l. Soonest. Tip of the iceberg here… Trump/Mattis team hasn’t really even started and every time they do, each service lets them down…They need to do something radical and immediately. I suggest CoCs..

        • Duane

          Nothing eluded me – you’re clearly bonkers with your silly comment.

          Nobody cares what kind of ship the CNO qualified in. The only thing that matters is that he (or she, some day) is good a the job of being CNO.

          • b2

            Bonkers? LOL. What strong language!

  • kye154

    I wouldn’t give a dime for any of the leadership that is currently in the navy now. None of them have the competency, skills, abilities or knowledge of previous generations of naval commanders. And let’s not mention their lack of concern for the sailors under their command. They are more concerned about protecting their position and rank in the navy, like any petty bureaucrat, hoping to retire from the navy and getting a plush job working for any of the big military contractors. And we want to go to war with people like this in command?

  • vol_in_socal

    Training? How much training is needed to not get in front of a tanker or cargo ship? The destroyer crews should be aware of the tanker’s presence at least an hour before closest point of approach. They are just not doing their jobs. Maybe the problem is with the raw materials.

    • pikeman

      One requires constant revision and reinforcement of the knowledge of COLREGs. This must be done in the wardroom. It is obvious that US Navy SWOs are so occupied in other activities that there is no time to pay attention to wardroom training. It should change now. But it had sadly cost 17 lives to understand the need for continuous training.

  • Mike Mulligan

    What about the metaphor of the “boiling frog” (wiki) and Nasa’s Challenger “normalization of devience” based on philosophy/ideology of “Faster, Cheaper, Better”. It is when they launched Challenger contrary to the design of the vehicle. They had an inaccurate model of risk? I like the word discrimination: the amazing capability of our brain’s ability to tell the difference between big things from little things, and take short cuts or engrained simplified rules . It becomes dangerous to get too dependent on these capabilities. How about our amazing capability of adaptability, especially in dysfunctional systems and organizations? We just use our intelligence to keep going down that road of thinner and thinner ice to our demise. We are startling intelligent beings?
    It is shameful we don’t have a owner’s manual on how the brain works and get deep training on it…

  • Paul Masters

    We essentially haven’t trained officers in about 20 years. JOs show up to ships with at best a few months of power-points, no practical shipboard experience, and then they’re ‘trained’ by a wardroom full of people who also haven’t been trained. If you just send people to a ship and hope they figure it out you’re going to massively increase your risk of accidents. If you want to solve the problem, you need to establish a real training pipeline for JOs, invest in some training ships, and then slowly the competence level of bridge officers will rise to the point that they rarely run into stuff. Take a look at, oh, I don’t know, every other professional navy in the world for a rubric on how to do this. I know of no other OECD navy that doesn’t have a rigorous training program for officers. It’d be like commissioning a pilot and immediately sending them to a squadron and hope the squadron teaches them how to fly well – its a recipe for disaster, and an obvious one at that.

  • Josh

    Just curious, has anyone raised the idea that these might have been orchestrated by an adversary? I’m sure China would love to weaken our presence in the South China sea, or North Korea to remove ships that could shoot down their missiles.

  • James B.

    The ships in 7th Fleet have been having much more noticeable issues than the rest of the Navy, but is 7th Fleet the problem, or are they just the canary in the coal mine?

    There are three big communities of Unrestricted Line Officers in the Navy: aviators, submariners, and surface warfare officers (SWO). Two of those communities have lengthy formal training and standardized safety evaluations for both units and individual officers. Guess which one doesn’t?

    • pikeman

      Best comment

  • Mike Mulligan

    All right, so the Navy won’t release investigation information until all the reports are in based on not poising the well, until everyone gets their story straight. What would happen if a sailor leaked investigation information? It is the same thing. It is a Navy rule nobody releases investigation results prematurely until the full investigation is complete. It is a gross investigation impropriety. When you are a fleet admiral, are you exempt from following Navy rules? Is he ordering investigators not to discover sabotage? If the investigation is not even begun, what does he base this comment on? Then right now, why doesn’t he fully explain why the steering failed? This is a fleet Admiral for Christ sake .

    Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, said Tuesday.
    Can you even imagine how he and the Navy will look if the investigators eventually discovered sabotage?
    “The unusual nature of the disasters even has prompted senior Navy leaders to rebut speculation that sabotage or a cyber attack may have caused the collisions. There is no indication that either occurred, Swift said again Tuesday.”

    • Mike Mulligan

      So they fired Admiral Aucoin shortly after I posted this above comment last night. Am I going crazy, did the Institute pull this comment last night and then restore it this morning…

  • Mike Mulligan

    Pop quiz, is maladaption, frog boiling or normalization of devience?

    “Continuous operations cause basic skills to atrophy and give commands a false sense of their overall readiness, Swift said in Tuesday’s message.
    “The phenomena that, ‘I am at the peak of my game because I have been operating’ leads to overconfidence, complacency and mistakes which in the best case leads to remedial training, and in the worst case of loss of personnel and equipment,” Swift said.
    “Do not let your guard down and fall into this trap.”

  • OldHickory21

    There have been a lot of improvements to the professionalism of the black shoe Navy in the last 40 years, starting with the SWO designation itself, but the training was never put behind it in any serious way. It’s still basically OJT (on the job training) by your own wardroom. The prospective SWO needs a real training program, and shipboard routines and procedures need to be modified to take into account the serious and heavy responsibility the officer watchstanders bear—there should be mandatory sleep/rest requirements like pilots and merchant officers have. When the ship is at sea, the senior enlisted should run the division, and the division officer watchstander should devote the vast majority of his time underway to gaining experience in ship handling, seamanship, navigation, and mastering the knowledge of his vessels systems.

  • Ken

    There is definitely something wrong when the most modern warships are having several collisions in a short time-frame, even in busy waterways, when these ships are supposed to be able protect us from hostile acts from our potential enemies, as an Australian I hope our Navy isn’t having the same problems, this is very concerning to us all especially when we “are all in the same boat” so to speak!

  • Ken

    Sorry, I did not include my sadness for the loss of the crew members who were killed and injured in these tragic events which should not have occurred.

  • JohnByron

    Bryan Clark above and USNI’s CEO Daly in other journals have put forward the notion that a likely cause of this incident, FITZGERALD’s, and others is ‘exhaustion’ from ‘overuse’ of the surface navy.

    This is utter nonsense.

    Being at sea is always hard work, but crews and COs, at least those that are competent, learn to cope with the long hours and the rigorous demands as a routine part of the job.

    If the skipper is ‘exhausted,’ he or she is not managing their duties well. If watchstanders are too tired to man the bridge and CIC properly, that falls on the CO as primary responsibility and on the XO as ship’s training officer to better manage the watch bill. If the OODs have too much going on to mind the situation around them, they’ve been qualified inside a flawed system.

    OPTEMPO is a valid argument for a bigger fleet. But it’s a silly diversion from true root cause as an excuse for a want of basic skills in watchstanding.

  • ETC

    An error was made appointing Commander Fleet Forces to conduct the investigation. He is a SWO in charge of training and equipping the fleet. Seems like a conflict of interest to me. The Navy has been very diligent and successful in ensuring nothing tarnishes flag officers. I witnessed first hand the tailhook cover up from the inside. They will pin blame on the lowest common denominator in this case C7F a retiring officer and call it accountability. The blame for these fiascos goes right to the top, years of adding additional duties, programs, and PC training while detracting from core competencies. CFF is as culpable as the rest. I knew him years ago, a careerist at the very best not the type to buck the system.

  • b2

    716- devil’s in the details…of course.

    All the prior submariners who served as CNO you mentioned were battlegroup and fleet commanders from ADM Greenert back… ADM Richardson was not. I am not disparaging nukes (boomers or attack guys) or submariners just focusing on their leadership. Only their specific qualifications. Seems to me CNOs should always have been battlegroup (old days), CSG?ESG, or some type of numbered fleet commander in the past…. How about VCNO? Never had even a single shipboard disassociated sea tour. Maybe he went out for a midshipmans visit…
    To be honest anyone selected as a service chief during the Obama administration is suspect in my eyes…there you have it… I see apattern with his choices…A better idea would be to bring back all the flags/general officers who left the service because of Obama and start from there….

    • muzzleloader

      I fully agree with your last paragraph. There is a gold mine of ex flags/ generals out there. There are some whom would probably love to come back if asked.
      Note to General Mattis!

  • John B. Morgen

    The United States Navy needs a [Training Squadron] of warships that mirrors Fleet operations, and actual warships that are being manned..I am [not] referring to old warships that have been retired or decommissioned.

  • James Thur

    I guess I’m speaking as an Ol’ Salt since my time at sea was in the 60s and 70s including Vietnam, ASW in the No. Atlantic, most major international ports, restricted straits, and both major canals. Although I’m a member of the Order of Magellan, I will skip sea stories and make just two points. First,
    when a combatant ship is underway, every surface, subsurface or air contact should be viewed as a threat – especially when in close proximity. We always acted that way. Second, whenever a ship entered congested or restricted waters, we set a special watch with only the most experienced watch
    standers and the Captain was always on the bridge.

    In summary, a combatant ship should always act like one. I’m afraid that is not always the case today.

    • pikeman

      Absolutely. The McCain collided in the termination of the TSS. The Captain should have been on the bridge.

  • Yamanote

    All the talk of budget deficiencies and long deployments is B.S. The author, in a somewhat wordy way, is really saying there is a lack of seamanship and basic knowledge of how to sail a warship. The reasons may not be clear, but likely include the lack of training, emphasis on knowledge and skills other than seamanship, and probably poor leadership. Time for the officer corps to be masters and commanders and not government bureaucrats. The overseas home-porting program is not the problem – indeed most of the crews of these ships want to be stationed in a forward deployed ship and morale is usually good and they have a lot of pride of accomplishment. I could be mistaken, but the battle group just finished an extended availability in Yokosuka, with the world’s best maintenance shipyard, SRF Yokosuka, so can’t be high op tempo.

    The incidents are just the recent in a long line of PACFLEET and 7th Fleet problems that have not be aggressively resolved by flag officers. I am also calling out 2009 Port Royal grounding at Honolulu (embarrassingly visible from the departure lounge of HNL) and the loss of USS Guardian. Also, 7th Fleet is the epicenter of the Fat Leonard scandal, which signals a lack of discipline and professional spirit.

    At this moment so surprised that COMDESRON15 still has his job, after losing two ships and 17 brave sailors in just 2 months. In fact, due to the profound problems in PACFLEET and 7th Fleet, Flag officers in total should be wiped clean and allow a fresh start. Tough medicine, but necessary.

    Since Fat Leonard and now with so many avoidable incidents, its hard to be proud of the Navy I served and not be embarrassed by the malfeasance and poor performance. So I am looking forward to an aggressive and hard charging response and the rolling of lots of responsible heads.

    (ex-DESRON15 small boy junior officer SWO)

  • There is a simple option for avoiding stealthy based collisions, from my point of view, and not having to loose lives, sea-time plus costly repairs to USA Naval ships.

  • Martolt

    Three “incidents” involving three destroyers all being hit port side amidships by the bow of another ship. In the same theater. Within the same seven months. With two of the ramming “incidents” being so severe as to render the ships not fit for duty. But all of these were accidental, the result of a “lack of training” supposedly. Wake up from the normalcy bias, these are the first shots of WWIII, and we are currently 0-2 to our enemies.