A Naval Horror Story

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by StevieP 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #30506

    Ed P
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    @edps

    One for the old Tars/Marines – a long story of failures in the US Navy, and a can-do system — even when it is obvious that they can’t.

    The story of one of two USN destroyers that put themselves out of action through self-inflicted failures.

    The USS Fitzgerald

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  • #30517

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,923

    An appalling list of failures, for a bit it read like a rejected script from The Navy lark  but with a far too dark twist. The account was prepared for readability and not in the dry language of an official report. It made me wonder how much has changed as a result, clearly the crap radar will continue to be a happy item for those ‘lucky’ enough to suffer its failings.

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    #30522

    Ed P
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    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,126

    What gave me most pause was not so much the accident but the events leading up to it.

    To me it could be summed up as politicians starving their armed forces of resources (or inappropriate resource assignment), and a culture that makes it impossible for those at the sharp end to say that things are beyond their control and capabilities.

    It made me fear that there are similar issues in our own over-stretched armed-services.

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    #30531

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,923

    I am aware that the issue was gestated far away from the site of its happening. The poor sods at the sharp end (of another ship) were the product of a long train of stupidity that stretch to far back not to end up at ‘the hill. What put it in train was, well a total lack of the politicians to pay for the job to be done right in the first place. Without in anyway demeaning those caught in this total wreak if the political squad pay for a few untrained monkeys because their paymasters demand the cash goes elsewhere that is, in effect what they get. 22 ~24 hour shifts produce little better than unskilled zombies add in that training became an unused ‘optional extra’ and that unmaintained kits did not work because getting a quart out of a cup is the name of the capitol game and you have the sorry mess they cooked up. Remarkably they all look likely to get away scot free, unlike the dead and disgraced who carry the can.

    ‘Defence is currently a politician’s dirty word and no money should be wasted in its support’.

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    #30537

    dwynnehugh
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    @dwynnehugh
    Forumite Points: 705

    I started reading this but other matter needed more pressing attention – I will get back to it – it makes very disturbing reading.

    As in all cases UK, USA or anywhere (probably even more so in the Soviet Union) those at the top are never held responsible for their actions. How often do we hear politicians say “we have put £££BBBBs into the (whatever), they have not used it correctly!!” Hackney comments by those who will never be held accountable.  Just the same in the police – cut the staff, cut the funding, increase the responsibilities add also emergency ambulance and social work cover to boot – what have we – chaos – held together by a very thin line of ‘front enders’ who do their very very best whilst knowing they are ‘urinating against the wind!!’  Lions led by donkeys.

    I must stop – the stress ……… !!

    The more you meet people the more you understand why Noah took animals instead of humans

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    #30538

    Richard
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    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,923

    I should declare a ‘sort of passing connection from the last century’.

    I have visited the Yokosuka base and knew some of the then personnel, this gives it a slight personal connection though those who I knew best have long since severed their connection with the base and the US navy.

    Accidents are one thing, but I struggle to find any evidence that this was in fact anything related to an accident.

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    #30540

    Bob Williams
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    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 2,780

    Ed you never fail to give us interesting links to absorbing stories. I had to read the whole thing from start to sorrowful finish and it completely captivated me, what a story, but what tragic circumstances brought it to ProPublica’s notice.

    As an ex-seaman and for much longer a soldier, I had experience and parallels in my own life to make me nod my head at certain passages. A very wise Colonel, a CO that I drove around from time to time, gave me a truism after what was obviously a difficult exchange at BAOR HQ:

    “The expectations and decisions of most military officers are directed by those above them. They in turn are directed by others, most of whom have no idea what military life is really like for those who serve.”

    I asked my CO if I could write down and retain those words. He was an abrupt, fiery Fifey Scot, a Technical Officer and no respecter of certain other officer classes. “Why? D’ye think me a bloody philosopher, is it?” Nevertheless, I have kept those words all these years. The whole unit respected our CO, he would do whatever he could for all of us. If we behaved…

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Bob Williams.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #30543

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 3,126

    I felt very sorry for the Captain – he was doomed as soon as he was ‘offered’ his command. If he turned it down he was stuffed, if he objected to his orders he was stuffed.About the only faint chance he had would have been to sleep on the bridge, but even then the radar screw-ups would probably have stuffed him.

    I once worked for a real barsteward whose favourite saying was – “If you can’t or won’t do it, then I’ll soon find someone who will”. Probably 95% of the time he got away with it, but sometimes there were nasty incidents or major project failures which were then blamed on the person at the sharp-end. It was not surprising that he was surrounded by duckers and weavers!

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    #30546

    StevieP
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    @steviep
    Forumite Points: 39

    When I started my trade training in the RN one of the first lessons we had was the film of the fire which occurred on the USS Forrestal in 1967. We were also shown the classified film of the effects of the fire below decks. The point being if you didn’t do your job properly this is what could happen. As a young sprog this had quite an effect on me and the memory has stayed with me since.

    The damage control training I did was, to start, good fun. A compartment with various holes and damage which was slowly filled with water until the flow was stopped. All good until the water temperature was reduced until it was near to freezing. Amazing how quickly the body stops working with the brain becoming very fuzzy very rapidly. H&S wouldn’t allow it these days.

    Talking about ships that don’t work, the last RN ships which were remotely reliable were the Leander frigates. Most classes of ships since have had quite serious design flaws. From having to re-inforce hulls, single system fire rings and lately ships which can’t move and fight at the same time because there isn’t enough power. Couldn’t make it up and I won’t even start on the missed opportunities with the new carriers. F-35 ha!

     

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