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Old 26-01-2019, 01:26   #46
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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The culture is very risk adverse with promotion the primary goal. You can't run a desk aground.
Not so sure about that, we are talking about the Navy here.
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Old 26-01-2019, 06:45   #47
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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Irresponsible has become the Navy norm. Too many layers of beurocracy to hide under. It's their culture now.
It's been the navy way since before the USA had it's own new navy.
They only promote officers with no blemishes in their records but the only officers with no blemishes are the ones who don't do anything or are masters at CYA.
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Old 26-01-2019, 06:47   #48
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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Irresponsible has become the Navy norm. Too many layers of beurocracy to hide under. It's their culture now.
It's been that way for a long long time. CYA, no innovation, check the box for the next promotion.
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Old 26-01-2019, 08:22   #49
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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It's been that way for a long long time. CYA, no innovation, check the box for the next promotion.
Yes, it's check the boxes, collect those colorful merit badges they so proudly pin to their uniform, you know the ones like the Boy Scouts work so diligently for or the Home Depot badges of assorted training. I wonder if they have one for ramming a merchant ship.
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Old 26-01-2019, 08:51   #50
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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I've noted that merchant vessels do it successfully most of the time, and they have far smaller crews and far less sophisticated instrumentation. Wonder how they can do this... shucks, lots of them don't even speak English (a joke, guys).

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About Sola TS, I have read the interim report, and it did not shed much light. It seems the frigate was doing an exercise in optical navigation, nobody was checking the RADARs. Then they mistook SOLA TS which was moving very slowly and well lit up for the oil terminal. The funny question here is why they thought it was OK to ram a well lit up terminal?
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Old 26-01-2019, 14:42   #51
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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It is rumored that all the naval ship "accidents" aren't accidents at all. Six in one year and you call it accidents? How many in a year would it take to see a trend? Compare that to the merchant fleet and it becomes obvious. It is alleged the shipyards are giving huge kickbacks to anyone that sends them business. I don't know if I believe that entirely but it would be easy for an admiral to put incompetent officers in charge and deploy them to high traffic areas and "hope for the best".

There is no need to "put" incompetent officers in charge. They are already there, with more on the way.
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Old 26-01-2019, 15:14   #52
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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There is no need to "put" incompetent officers in charge. They are already there, with more on the way.
Yes, you are correct. That's all that's left unfortunately.
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Old 26-01-2019, 17:34   #53
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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Has it ever occurred to anyone that our society has created a generation of snowflakes. The Navy and the other branches have had to tone down on the methods traditionally used to discipline personnel for fear the offenders feelings may get hurt. But the Navy has one huge issue it's had to deal with and that's the fact that women do not belong on ships, period.

Talk about a very lucrative venue for an enterprising young "lady" to start her own prostitution ring, here it is and with a customer base just ripe for the pickin'. And don't think it isn't happening, because it is, in every branch of the service. I'm sure we all could conjure up all types of scenarios that could take place at any time while underway! I couldn't imagine being on a 6 month WestPac or Med cruise with a bunch of females when I was a young sailor, I would've been broke before hitting the beach!
.. .
The way I see it the Navy, like the Marines, need to keep with tradition, running a well disciplined vessel is not easy, but the results in battle have proven time after time that even the smallest, well disciplined ship, platoon, company, etc. can take on any adversary.
I guess what I'm trying to say is it's not the Navy's fault, it's ours and the society we've become!
The current problems with women aboard are similar to what went on in all the services when African-Americans and Hispanics were integrated into the services during the 1950's. The problems will be ironed out eventually. The USCG has managed to work out how to have women on board, when the other services grow up a little they will too, just takes time and effort. Things will improve as the older cadre muster out.

Your paragraph about a Navy ship as a "venue for an enterprising young "lady" to start her own prostitution ring,. . . " paints women as money-grubbing whores. Also I question your understanding of the economics of prostitution. The vast majority of women in it are there for one of 2 reasons, because they are desperate to provide their children with basic needs like food or they are run by pimps. There really aren't enough women in prostitution of their own volition to staff the entire fleet. Of course I expect that in all your previous encounters you were too in to the moment to notice such things.

Your desire for more traditional forms of discipline may have some merit. Maybe we bring back flogging for those that can't keep their penises in their pants. The women already have to go thru child birth so flogging would just add insult to injury.

At the very least a dishonorable discharge for our horny little sailors, mandatory genetic testing of the offspring will nail down the father definitively.
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Old 27-01-2019, 00:33   #54
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

Such "enterprising young ladies" are probably pretty rare on navy ships. I did hear of one enterprising young lady in the Navy stationed on Diego Garcia who was found to have over $30k in cash on her person when rotating back to the U.S. and could not account for it. Further investigation disclosed the source of these funds to have been engaging in the oldest profession. Shocking? Yeah, but this one, out of how many thousands?



Adelie, I think your analogy falls a bit short. Women on ships is a more complex issue than multiple races or ethnicities aboard ship, due to certain biological urges that can be very hard to contain. Yes, I know, they should be thinking with the big head and not the little one. However, millions of years of evolution have made sexual attraction an overwhelming and deeply rooted instinct, for better or worse. If our ancestors only did what was smart, most of us would have never been born.



The obvious answer is to have all female ships and all male ships. Liasons will still occur, but at a much lower rate. The vast majority would be quite capable of "keeping their penises in their pants", in the total absence of the opposite sex.


Actually there is another alternative that is simpler and might actually prove to be workable. Just don't worry about who is sleeping with who. Let it happen and management just keep its hands off and its nose out of intimate affairs of subordinates. It's just sex, after all. Not like it was meth or crack or stuff like that.
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Old 27-01-2019, 01:55   #55
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

One thing I read about, and it is prevalent in other services as well, is that training is now being conducted for officers by DVD courses instead of being mentored on site.

I also read in these reports that the officer on watch was having a cat fight with the officer in charge of the CNC downstairs so radar reports weren't being communicated. There was also evidence of gym equipment on the bridge (barbells) and bottles of urine. This indicates to me a command climate that was dangerous. I also inferred from some of the other incidents (not particularly the Fitzgerald although it could be a factor given the 2 female officers who refused to talk to each other even while on watch) is the affirmative action promotions of under-qualified officers.

This is a problem which was developed after DoD switched to DOPMA in response to perceived institutional racism after the Vietnam conflict. The promotion scheme is supposed to select the best qualified officers based on fitness reports (OER's). This is done by an impartial panel of officers who review a given year group and individually rank them after reviewing their records. This is then sorted to assemble a list based on the composite rankings in the sort of the pool being examined. A cut-off line is established above which the officers are selected for promotion. However, a second round of rankings is conducted examining for racial and sexual representation. If not enough minority officers are in the select for promotion group then they go down the list and pull up minorities from the non-select pool based on the sort. This goes on until the correct ratio (whatever that may be at the time) is achieved. So some officers who are fully qualified for promotion are not selected so that minority officers which are not the best qualified can be promoted. There is a 3rd sorting after all of that where Congressmen take a look at the lists and if no officers from their state or district are promoted again someone less qualified is pulled up into the selected list and more good officers are denied promotions. Failing to be selected is referred as being passed over and if this happens twice the officer becomes non-promotable and is usually eliminated from the service. Very rarely an officer may make it based on a third look (3 or more years later) but it is extremely rare. No officers are permitted to remain on active duty in a non-promotable status.

I know it sounds nuts but this is the way it is in the military. If you add in the rating officer reports who are also worried about looking racist or sexist then you have positive bias even before the promotion boards meet. I am not saying that minorities can't do the job but I am saying that excellent officers are generally eliminated. Add in the additional factors mentioned earlier like ring knockers (graduates of the military academies who are always selected), children of politicians and senior officers, etc. and you get a mix of officers who are not leaders. Leadership is actually negatively selected as the officer is generally perceived as being a risk taker or too aggressive. Officers are now more likely to be selected for being good committee members and not being leaders. Sycophants also rise to the top as well. Someone like Patton would never get past the rank of O-3 (Lt in the Navy or Captain in the Army) as he would be too much outside the box for senior leaders UNLESS he was connected.
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Old 27-01-2019, 03:53   #56
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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One thing I read about, and it is prevalent in other services as well, is that training is now being conducted for officers by DVD courses instead of being mentored on site.

I also read in these reports that the officer on watch was having a cat fight with the officer in charge of the CNC downstairs so radar reports weren't being communicated. There was also evidence of gym equipment on the bridge (barbells) and bottles of urine. This indicates to me a command climate that was dangerous. I also inferred from some of the other incidents (not particularly the Fitzgerald although it could be a factor given the 2 female officers who refused to talk to each other even while on watch) is the affirmative action promotions of under-qualified officers.

This is a problem which was developed after DoD switched to DOPMA in response to perceived institutional racism after the Vietnam conflict. The promotion scheme is supposed to select the best qualified officers based on fitness reports (OER's). This is done by an impartial panel of officers who review a given year group and individually rank them after reviewing their records. This is then sorted to assemble a list based on the composite rankings in the sort of the pool being examined. A cut-off line is established above which the officers are selected for promotion. However, a second round of rankings is conducted examining for racial and sexual representation. If not enough minority officers are in the select for promotion group then they go down the list and pull up minorities from the non-select pool based on the sort. This goes on until the correct ratio (whatever that may be at the time) is achieved. So some officers who are fully qualified for promotion are not selected so that minority officers which are not the best qualified can be promoted. There is a 3rd sorting after all of that where Congressmen take a look at the lists and if no officers from their state or district are promoted again someone less qualified is pulled up into the selected list and more good officers are denied promotions. Failing to be selected is referred as being passed over and if this happens twice the officer becomes non-promotable and is usually eliminated from the service. Very rarely an officer may make it based on a third look (3 or more years later) but it is extremely rare. No officers are permitted to remain on active duty in a non-promotable status.

I know it sounds nuts but this is the way it is in the military. If you add in the rating officer reports who are also worried about looking racist or sexist then you have positive bias even before the promotion boards meet. I am not saying that minorities can't do the job but I am saying that excellent officers are generally eliminated. Add in the additional factors mentioned earlier like ring knockers (graduates of the military academies who are always selected), children of politicians and senior officers, etc. and you get a mix of officers who are not leaders. Leadership is actually negatively selected as the officer is generally perceived as being a risk taker or too aggressive. Officers are now more likely to be selected for being good committee members and not being leaders. Sycophants also rise to the top as well. Someone like Patton would never get past the rank of O-3 (Lt in the Navy or Captain in the Army) as he would be too much outside the box for senior leaders UNLESS he was connected.

What if there are too many minority personnel in the select group? Are some them eliminated, in favor of less qualified majority candidates? Surely this happens occasionally, that a disproportionately large number of minorities are qualified?



IMHO being unfair to the majority is just as wrong as being unfair to the minority. Making minorities "special" to me sounds paternalistic and condescending, and presupposes a degree of inferiority that must be compensated.


What I am getting at here is that such quotas are a terrible burden on an organization supposedly striving for excellence. Race or ethnicity shouldn't be considered one way or the other. It is inefficient and demeaning to everyone concerned.
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Old 27-01-2019, 05:26   #57
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

It has never happened and for a variety of reasons. It could happen though in the future due to demographic changes. Currently (and this has been a constant for a long time now), less than 5% of the officer corps are minorities and generally they are under-performers as those with talent leave the military at the first opportunity usually after paying back their service obligations from ROTC or the service academies. There are exceptions but the numbers are relatively small. That is also another problem in that minorities with talent don't usually join in the first place. If we had the draft again then it would be different. However, the military is a self selecting organization where individuals volunteer their services. This has become a lot less attractive to people of means with the exception of those with family traditions and those who are in fact bonafide patriots. The latter are also extremely rare. Generally, people join the military for financial reasons or to get away from awful lifestyles.

Me I was drafted and served 12 years enlisted until I returned to college participated in ROTC and was returned to active duty involuntarily from the National Guard and then not permitted to leave even after being retirement eligible. You must request discharge if you are an officer as you do not have a terminal date or contract as your are commissioned. In my case I requested retirement two years in a row and was refused until I became non-promotable and was then ordered to request my retirement again. Nutty, but true. I, of course, rolled over directly into a GS-15 slot in my same desk with my same duties. I retired again 10 years later from civil service and then continued on as a contractor for another 2 years commuting from Europe to Washington. I retired overseas to get as far away from the military as I could but I had promised my partners that I would support them as long as they needed me. I would have stayed on as a government civilian but ran into one of those god-awful colonels who being politically connected rose up the ranks to become my supervisor. He was as incompetent as they can possibly be and was ultimately courts-martialed for racial discrimination, sexual harassment (sex in exchange for promotion of young female lieutenants, and misappropriation of military funds (embezzlement)). He was permitted to retire and didn't go to prison as he should have. These are the kinds of corruption that are now rampant in the military now. I was in the Army but assume the Navy is as bad or possibly worse as they haven't seen any actual combat since WWII. War tends to weed out really awful officers. But, some, like the colonel, never went overseas or saw any combat during his 26 years of service. That is really hard to do but his guardian angels took good care of him at least until he just over-did it too much and became an embarrassment.

Speaking of the racism and military. You forget the impact on federal agencies (some but not all). The military is always the first in line for social experimentation. There was a real problem in combat related deaths in that blacks were killed in far higher proportions than whites. The reasons are varied but it basically came down the the General Technical (GT) scores in the tests the military gives to each soldier in the first week of enlistment at the reception station of basic training. The tests were unbiased but minorities tended to score lower having poorer education (for societal reasons). The GT score was used to decide if a person went into a technical skill or into a combat skill. The lower the score the higher the odds you became infantry. The answer in the beginning was to make the tests easier and simpler. Then they lowered to required scores for given military occupational skills (MOS). This also affected the GT scores required to become officers. I commanded several units and had minority officers who were college graduates (some with Master's degrees) who couldn't read and write at a 6th grade level. The Army has a way to address that for all soldiers called the Basic Skills Education Program (BSEP) where everyone is brought up to a high school level. Of course, they felt this was racist to have college degrees but be told they were ignorant. But, this is a larger problem in the American education system. At least the military sees it and tries to fix it as much as possible.

So, what we are seeing in the military are symptoms of a sick American society. The Navy can't hide it well when ships run into other commercial vessels and people get killed as a consequence. The other services have the same problems but the consequences are lost in the fog of war which is now a permanent state of affairs. But, if you look at the relatively recent murder of the Special Forces Sergeant by the Navy Seals in Africa you can get a glimpse of the larger problems.
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Old 27-01-2019, 14:22   #58
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.



You remember, "if it's gray, stay away?" from earlier in the thread. If this thread falls into political discussion, without connection to cruising or sailing, it will be closed, as our rules require there to be a connection to the purpose of the forum. This requires us all to be self controlled.

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Old 27-01-2019, 22:48   #59
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

I apologize if I have offended anyone but I was stating what I have seen over the past 45 years based on personal experience (easily searched for validation) and was not political in any way that I can perceive. These are touchy subjects and the military is in big trouble which affects all of us sailing in International waters. The problems we are seeing are the effects of larger social issues caused by various long term policies adopted in the US and other countries as well. The UK Navy seems to be just as inept as the US Navy for example for similar reasons. The German and Norwegian Navies are also dangerous as evidenced in recent games with resultant needless loss of life for failure to obey the laws of the seas. The Fitzgerald reports lets us examine some f the issues and it should set your hackles up knowing this is how ships are run in the modern navy.
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Old 28-01-2019, 08:45   #60
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Re: USNavy Report on Fitzgerald Collision.

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You remember, "if it's gray, stay away?" from earlier in the thread. If this thread falls into political discussion, without connection to cruising or sailing, it will be closed, as our rules require there to be a connection to the purpose of the forum. This requires us all to be self controlled.

Our moderator is telling us that the thread is wandering off course and crossing into gray areas. So be sure your AIS is activated and stick to the COLREGs.

What can be learned from the mishaps?

It seems that fatigue may have played a significant part.

There apparently were lapses in procedure and training, and possibly some equipment malfunctions, but navigating safely should not be dependent on single pieces of aiding equipment such as AIS, radar, etc.
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