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Old 08-21-2017, 06:59 PM   #41
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Preface: I have two on deployment in Carrier groups at this moment. I believe they are both still near the Sea of Japan but I don't know for sure and they are careful not to divulge the info.

They have both been pretty negative about the caliber of their fellow crew members. They say that many of them...a LOT of them...are "screw"-ups. Especially on the Nimitz but really both ships.

I know that's just a generalization, but they're not saying, "What a sharp bunch of dudes!" either.
I do believe that the same age group - on average- took things more seriously 30 or 40 years ago. Or maybe those generations were also screw ups but were more respectful of the leaders and responsibilities? The training process is probably similar to those earlier times although the ship systems would seem to be more complex today. Is technology helping or hurting these 20-somethings' ability to manage their tasks? Like not crashing into stuff?

Is it possible that our military has become less professional? Less serious? Are they being tasked with things that they're not ready for?

I wasn't in the military so I'm genuinely asking those of you who were/are. True it's 5000 ft altitude stuff but there has to be a root cause (unless these recent crashes/grounding are just a random cluster of accidents.). The root cause of a problem usually isn't a detail thing...more likely a big picture problem that manifests itself at the detail level. If the loss of steering turns out to be the reason, that's a specific incident and not a big picture problem.

Other than that I'm reserving judgement until I hear more info.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:14 PM   #42
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Here is an interesting editorial from gCaptain:

http://gcaptain.com/us-navy-loss-uss...t-keeps-going/

I'm still a bit incredulous. When i first saw the headline, I thought the newspaper was confused.
Somebody's confused and it ain't the newspaper.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:10 PM   #43
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CDreamer, my son just got out of the Navy and only a year back from 3 years in Japan.

He pretty much said the same.

He was a H60 rescue swimmer, electronics operator. He picked that after a medical out of SEAL training. So I know his evaluation of the average sailor was a bit skewed.

I was a USCG helo pilot and retired as a Commanser or LtCol. In othet services. Had a bunch of great jobs of leadership positions. So my convetsations with my don were justva rehash of a great many I had with junior enlisted men through ac23 year career.

I really can't say if todays kids are any better or worse than those of the past, and a can say that leadership is still the key toperformance of the kids. Sometimes you get a great set of leaders from the bottom to the top and everything goes smoothly. Sometimes the gaps in leadership make it so one or two havevto work like 10 and if they also dont havevthatvinspirational style, it may never really click.

We really have no clue what happened in either collision yet to call a root cause...... heck even any real causal factors yet. Hard to believe? Yes, but strange stuff like this happens in all walks of life, mistakes are made by everyone...but sometimes the consequences are larger than most can comprehend.

The editorial posted above is pretty accurate. The learning curve on a Naval ship is pretty gruelling. A junior officer really has 2 full time jobs as well as 1 or 2 part time jobs while underway.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:24 PM   #44
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Yet another view with frightening implications...
Is this plausible? The idea of cyber attack of our weapons in such a digital world should not be surprising should it?
Bruce

Woes bedeviling US naval vessels reflect greater peril on high seas | McClatchy Washington Bureau
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:59 PM   #45
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It's difficult for me to understand how this could happen. Prayers and sympathy to all involved.
I hope that we will all learn from the forthcoming details.
Thanks to all of you with military or other "big ship" experience for your posts.
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Old 08-21-2017, 10:59 PM   #46
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I really can't say if todays kids are any better or worse than those of the past, and a can say that leadership is still the key toperformance of the kids. .
Leaders who train and direct effectively. I'm a strong believe in the young people of today and bothered as others act sometimes as if the young people of their generation were perfect. Oh how our memories are selective. I don't know that any of this has anything to do with these accidents, but it starts at the top. Kids are teachable, trainable, moldable. Our generations are failing this generation. I'm sorry, but we've screwed things up pretty badly and we haven't left them the best situations to start with. We have not been good leaders.
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:27 AM   #47
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I disagree with the editorial posted above. The writer seems to imply that the Navy should put less pressure on its officers and be more like the merchant marine in giving the officers more time to grow into their roles. While I don't mean to diminish the responsibilities of marchant mariners, A LOT more may be asked of a Navy Officer. If he or she can't handle high pressure and stress its better to find out sooner rather than later.

If you can't handle a busy shipping channel in peace time, how are you going to handle something like a blockade of Cuba, ( or No Korea ), or all out hostility in the Persian Gulf. The officers of a destroyer are in charge of 300+ personell, cruise missiles, torpedos, sub detection, air traffic control, and much more. I can't even fathom what its like to have that kind of responsibility.

For me, that is the most disturbing aspect to all of this. These incidents happened at times that are supposed to be so far below the expected capabilities of these ships, that it boggles the mind. We all go to sleep at night believing that our Navy is up to the challenge of defending themselves, and us, against overtly hostile acts by well trained and armed enemies with vast resources......and we wake up to find out that at least one of these ships can't get out of the way of a 600 foot tanker.

Many people are going to say: "We don't know what happened yet"....."don't rush to judegement"...and, "we don't have all the facts yet". While it is true that there are many unknowns still; we know this much: Two destroyers in 2 months have been taken out of commission by non military vessels. They didn't need stealth technology, high tech weapons systems, nuclear capability, hundreds of enemy combatants or even malicious intent. You can wait for facts all you want, but I think we should all be very uncomfortable with what we already know.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:38 AM   #48
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I see a few US naval captains heading for premature retirements.
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:12 AM   #49
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Anytime a ship is transiting in and out of port or in a restricted maneuvering environment the ship goes to sea and anchor detail. All watch stations are manned, double lookouts (if I remember correctly) and the engineering spaces are double manned. I think went to a modified version of that when in that area. And I think we even had a few of the small guns manned when we were in the straits of Malacca due to piracy. Somebody really screwed up again. Even if the nav radar was down how to lookouts not see it? SHould have been 2-3 between the bridge lookouts and the stern lookout, not to mention the random people on deck. Not everyone is asleep at night, often times we would be up on deck after getting off watch cause it was cooler up there and your still awake. The ship was probably traveling along at 10 knots or so, plenty of time to see something coming. They got hit port side aft about 3/4 of way down the ship. The bridge crew and crew in CIC should have been plotting positions and running tracks on all ships in the area to determine their closest point of approach and the CO should have been on the bridge. I think I remember our combat guys running gun, missile and torpedo tracks on everything just cause they could in those situations. Point is they knew where everything was. Guess the Navy has gotten dumb. Really stupid mistake, there is at least 3 more people fired from this, and it wouldn't surprise me to see formal charges filed against the CO this time. The Navy's going to make an example of someone.
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:22 AM   #50
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Yanks and boats - looking like a bad combo.
Especially with jets, bombs, bullets and nukes in the mix.
Glad it wasn't a North Korean vessel, might have had another Gulf of Tonkin on our hands.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:25 AM   #51
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Leaders who train and direct effectively. I'm a strong believe in the young people of today and bothered as others act sometimes as if the young people of their generation were perfect. Oh how our memories are selective. I don't know that any of this has anything to do with these accidents, but it starts at the top. Kids are teachable, trainable, moldable. Our generations are failing this generation. I'm sorry, but we've screwed things up pretty badly and we haven't left them the best situations to start with. We have not been good leaders.
I wouldn't say todays leaders arent any better or any worse than the kids.

It is just who is elevated to positional leadership by law, politics, the media, etc that seem to get our attention.

Often the inspirational leaders are buried in every way possible....or not promoted by the spineless list of charachters mentioned above.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:49 AM   #52
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I disagree with the editorial posted above. The writer seems to imply that the Navy should put less pressure on its officers and be more like the merchant marine in giving the officers more time to grow into their roles. While I don't mean to diminish the responsibilities of marchant mariners, A LOT more may be asked of a Navy Officer. If he or she can't handle high pressure and stress its better to find out sooner rather than later. ..........snip.........

Many people are going to say: "We don't know what happened yet"....."don't rush to judegement"...and, "we don't have all the facts yet". While it is true that there are many unknowns still; ........snip.......
No one learns well in a high stress environment.....and certainly cant stand effective watches exhausted. Can someone do it in combat? Who knows, not everyone can and mistakes have been made in every combat arena since the beginning of time. Combat elevates senses in most cases, exhaustion in peacetime enhances complacency and errors. Effective training prepares one for those moments and generally the Navy has done well for quite awhile. But standing watch exhausted and worring about a evaluation reports due the next day and one's future because of a pending promotion list in a busy shipping area spells disaster in my mind.

Being usually the targeted "don't jump to conclusions guy"..... sure there's nothing wrong with saying that 2 incidents in such avshort time in one area is disturbing......

Unless we find out a steering casualty or electronic interference were significant causal factors in this second one.

However, until a clue of why these are happening, not much can be done to fixing it.

20 years ago I did everything I could to warn my superiors that USCG search and rescue skills were deteriorating to the danger point. It went largely unoticed till the report of the S/V Morning Dew hit the jetty at Charleston where a father and 3 kids died. Look up the aftermath of internal shakeup that incident caused.

Often the players know what is going wrong, so maybe the editorial is on track, but not nearly comprehensive enough to nail the root cause. He isnt saying anything else that really hasnt been a problem through the ages.....maybe it is the strawberry problem from the movie.. Caine Mutiny.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:21 AM   #53
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Posts discussing leadership are on the money. The military probably teaches leadership better than anyone, but clearly is not getting everything right. There are many skills a good leader needs to have, and to me a key one is judgement. That's not easy to teach - I think its something developed from a very young age, perhaps an innate personal trait that not everyone has. So what do the Officer Training schools do with those that really don't make the grade? Give them desk jobs, to develop procedures and do other admin where they are in the front line? My point here is that people behind desks should come under scrutiny now as well, it goes beyond some Captains to carry the can.

With 17 deaths in two collisions I don't think the military can keep the privilege of investigating and disciplining themselves. External eyes are needed. I don't know any of the young guys who died, or their families. But they had a right to return home safely after doing their jobs. I feel pretty upset by it. These vessels were doing pretty routine operations. If its a 'pressure cooker' during such deployment then some desk officers, who knows maybe even an admiral or two, need to understand some basic behaviour management requirements. One they could start with is 'accountability'. Every person needs to clearly understand their job. And know that they are accountable for any actions they take, or fail to take, in doing their job. It's not that complicated.

Ok, rant over. Our news tonight made reference to some kind of suspension of operations while assessments are made. Fine. A start. But anyone with kids serving, or potentially serving in the future expect and must get more than that.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:15 AM   #54
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My big concern is judgement.

Today, most every boss wants a call everytime something little goes wrong and the first thing a junior does.

Before 20 years ago, juniors reacted first, then followed up with calls to the boss....THAT style demanded good leadership and trust in both directions....something the world is seeing erode to a point.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:21 AM   #55
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While I don't mean to diminish the responsibilities of marchant mariners, A LOT more may be asked of a Navy Officer.
Hahahaha ohhh that's amusing. Navy vessel has 10 people on the bridge, merchant ship has 2. Yes, all the look outs on the Navy ship have a bunch of pressure.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:53 AM   #56
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In terms of basic non-combat seamanship, shouldn't it be enough that the CO, or the office in charge during any watch period, simply says, "Maintain visual watches" and "Don't get run over"?
(Or whatever they say). I mean, how much great leadership does that require?
I probably reflect a lot of people's concern that the accidents we are seeing are all happening during pretty basic transit. And at night.

So, not to create any excuse for the Navy but apparently the merchant ships aren't doing a very good job of watching either. Or they truly aren't able to see the Navy ships.

The following is mostly conjecture on my part but were these Navy ships all running without lights or an AIS signal? If so, and If I ran the circus, I think I'd be considering a new plan: "Screw the way we've been doing it. Be visible at night in busy shipping lanes." I get why they want to avoid that but at some point being seen outweighs stealth when 17 people are dead. What is the real (and I mean REAL) downside to turning on lights and AIS in this high-commercial traffic situation? Some bad people might figure out where the McCain is? Well, they certainly know where it is now, don't they?
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:13 PM   #57
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Unless there was some very serious failure of systems on both ships at the same moment I just don't understand why this could happened except for human error. That includes both ships.


Was the radar on the merchant ship not working? Was the radar on the Navy ship not working? There is no reason to assume that "all" ships will be lit at night. That is one of the reasons we have radar. How is it possible to not see a 500 foot ship at night on radar? If the electronic systems were failing where was the call for additional men on watch on either ship?

Both ships were responsible for this disaster. The Masters of both ships will face serious legal issues as a result, as they should. Everyone involved should be held accountable for their actions or inaction.

Of course we the public do not know what really went on and will likely never know.

My thoughts go out to those who we killed and injured and their families.

The fact that this was a Navy ship add even a greater number of questions. If the Navy can be struck by a merchant ship this calls into question how can they defend them self for a purposeful attack.

The take away from all this for me is a reminder of my own responsibility to prevent collision at sea.

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Old 08-22-2017, 01:00 PM   #58
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SaltyDawg86 brings up a good point.

2 watchstanders versus 20. OK, add a pilot, a captain and another or 2 sometimes...still a different philosophy.

As an aviator, I have stood bridge watches in the USCG, probably similar to Navy, and been flabberghasted at tbe number of people involved.

Now peacetime conditions versus wartime certainly can be different. But during peacetime, is anything more than 3 or 4 people just overkill and confusing with today's electronics?

I would say that I have seen way more errors and confusion with these large bridge crews when the actual operation is way simpler.

Maybe its time for the Navy to think a bit differently from the adage...train like you fight, fight like you train.

With autonomous ships around the corner, merchies only having a handful on watch, does the Navy need to do business the same old way?

I can't say as I have made hundreds of port calls on USCG cutters, including the English Channel, Panama Canal, approach to San Diego, etc...and managed to avoid collision. What is different in tbese 2 cases? Hopefully a root cause will be found...so far it still evades my experience.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:07 PM   #59
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...Some bad people might figure out where the McCain is? Well, they certainly know where it is now, don't they?
Excellent point right there. And I said this in one of the previous discussions on the Fitzgerald and here we are again -- I'm shocked at the vulnerability of our naval vessels, bristling with the most advanced, expensive electronics on earth. Kim Jong Un doesn't need advanced military hardware at all, apparently all he needs to take out an American destroyer is a rusty, common container ship full of cheap sneakers destined for Walmart or maybe a really big coal barge.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:53 PM   #60
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Fox News is reporting on this today and apparently there's a push now to get Congress involved. I'm sure that'll help.

And continued mention of a reported "steering malfunction". (Yeah...no s**t !)

Good thing this happened at night. Eliminates the ol' "The sun was in my eyes!" excuse.
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