A naval update

As I have mentioned before, the U.S. Navy has had a series of horrible events resulting in numerous deaths and injuries as well as significant damage to ships in the Pacific Fleet.  The ongoing response to these events, and the questions they raise about naval operations lead to firings all the way up to and including the then-head of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

In the latest news, five officers that were involved in two of the collisions are facing charges of negligent homicide.  Next comes a hearing to decide if the officers will be brought before a court-martial.  In two separate incidents, the collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain claimed the lives of 17 sailors.  Other charges and administrative actions are also being brought against other lower-level crew on the ships.

A report released by the Navy late last year said that both of these collisions, as well as a ship grounding and a third collision were all avoidable.  Another report details numerous changes to be made to address many aspects of training as well as crew sleep and stress management.

Making a wrong turn.

Trump, to borrow a phrase (cannot recall where I might have heard it), must be tired of all the winning he has been doing.  It is the only explanation I can think of for the decision he and his handlers have made to double down in Afghanistan.  Well, now he will get a great big lose-burger to eat.  Sadly, it will be costly for all of us.

History is ready to teach us if we are ready to learn.

The relevant lesson to learn is that outsiders never win in Afghanistan.  You can pour in all the national blood and treasure that you want, in the end you leave with nothing.  Whether or not you are attempting nation building has nothing to do with it.  The nature of the place itself, and that of its people, dictate that outsiders lose.  Poppy crops and civil wars can come and go, but the heart of the country never changes and cannot be defeated by anyone foolish enough to wander in there with conquest on their mind.

So now the US is going to waste more money and destroy more lives by perpetuating the longest war we’ve ever prosecuted. Sad!

Apalling performance at sea.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve never served in any branch of the military and the most I have been out to sea is a whale watch trip over thirty years ago.  So yeah, I don’t know jack all about operating a naval warship.

Having said all of that, I still think it is fair of me to say that there is something wrong with the US Navy, especially in the Pacific. Let us review some highlights from 2017 so far:

  • 1/31/2017 USS Antietam runs aground in Tokyo Bay
  • 5/9/2017 USS Lake Champlain collides with a South Korean fishing boat
  • 6/17/2017 USS Fitzgerald collides with a container ship, 7 sailors lost their lives
  • 8/21/2017 USS John S. McCain collides with a tanker,  10 sailors missing at the time of this writing

According to the Washington Post, the Navy has ordered a “fleetwide review of seamanship and training.”  Well, duh!  I should hope so.  Right now the Navy in the Pacific looks more like F Troop Goes to Sea than the competent, seasoned professionals they are supposed to be.

I don’t know what the problems are, but I hope they successfully address them quickly.