From CNN:

A U.S. Navy submarine collided with a Navy amphibious ship Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, mildly injuring 15 sailors, according to the commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The submarine USS Hartford and amphibious ship USS New Orleans are shown in Navy photos.

The submarine USS Hartford and amphibious ship USS New Orleans are shown in Navy photos.

The submarine, the USS Hartford, collided with the USS New Orleans about 1 a.m. in the strait, which runs between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the busiest commercial routes for oil tankers.

Fifteen aboard the Hartford were injured but returned to duty, according to a news release.

Both vessels are operating on their own power.

The nuclear propulsion plant on the 362-foot-long sub was not damaged, but “New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine,” the release said.

The New Orleans is capable of carrying almost 1,100 troops and crew. The Hartford carries about 145 sailors.




Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Uncategorized


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  • SWO JO

    The pronounced increase in frequency of groundings, collisions, and safety mishaps should be giving senior Navy leadership pause. While many of the main factors contributing to this incident and other recent events (PORT ROYAL, LASSEN, SAN ANTONIO) deal with procedural non-compliance, many junior officers would say that a broken culture and poor leadership at the command level is playing an increasingly important role in why these tragic and avoidable events are occurring with such frequency.

    For those who haven’t read it, Professor Horner at the Naval Academy has an excellent article dealing with this issue.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Agree with SWO JO that Donny Horner’s piece is well worth reading and heeding, but almost certainly not at play here. It’s the submarine’s job to stay out of the way. If operating submerged, no excuse. If surfaced, no excuse unless the NEW ORLEANS tried to ram.

    Surface ships are at a huge disadvantage in meeting and crossing situations involving surfaced submarines, which are hard to see and hard to call AOB on. Submerged, entire burden to avoid collision rests with submarine. Procedures exist to prevent coming to periscope depth beneath or in front of a surface ship.

  • SWO JO

    For clarification, I concur that it is the submarine’s obligation to keep clear of a surface ship in most scenarios. Since our information is limited about the incident, I’m not making any presumptions about the actual events.

    May main point in the post is that in the surface fleet, cultural problems exist. I also believe they contribute to mishaps. Perhaps the same exists in the submarine force. Does Professor Horner’s article have Navy-wide applicability or implications? I’d appreciate input from the bubbleheads out there regarding this topic.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Here’s an answer from an earlier time: “The Surface Navy Is Not Ready.” Proceedings of the Naval Institute (December 1987): 34-40.

    Horner is spot-on – the typical surface warfare officer (I am one), or ‘skimmer,’ the submariner label (I’m one of them, too) is trapped in a zero-sum game in the wardroom, where success of one officer or department is seen as detrimental to another. Too much danger of getting water in the people tank to tolerate this sort of competitiveness and non-cooperation in a submarine wardroom.

    I left the surface navy precisely because it was then as Horner describes it now. The really good ones (Jim Stavridis comes to mind) get it right, but most find themselves in a darwinian struggle in which help is scant and seldom.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Wow. Interesting and disturbing.

    It will be hard to determine where poorly-performing and overly sensitive JO whining stops, and the bullying, lousy, short-tempered senior leadership begins. Elements of both, undoubtedly. But it would seem that the string here, and Prof Horner’s excellent article, point to the symptoms, not the disease.

    The United States Navy does not view itself as a warrior culture. It is from that basic fact that all of the above issues emanate. A warrior culture understands that management fads come and go (TQM, anyone?) but leadership is a bedrock. Comraderie among peers and development of juniors by senior leaders, Officer and Enlisted, are necessities to a tight unit of warriors.

    My personal experience, observation, and anecdotal info from Navy Officers across the spectrum of ratings and experiences bear out this lack of warrior ethos among officers of the US Navy. Those Navy officers (and there are many) that do embrace that warrior ethos are often very much at odds with the mindset and basic approach to duty and service of most of their peers, and often do not fare well.

    When you do not believe yourself to be a warrior, then the way you define yourself and others changes significantly, and is consequently out of step with the requirements of the Profession of Arms. Management ability and technical knowledge are undoubtedly critical to a JO’s success in any career path, but the warrior spirit is far from incompatible with those skills. Pride of performance and a burning desire for mastery of skills are traits of warriors, as is the ability to be a teacher and source of guidance to juniors.

    For a Navy staring at a future of fewer ships, less training opportunity, more missions, reduced manning, growing threats, and shrinking budgets, these will be hard times indeed. The US Navy seems to be having trouble defining itself strategically, operationally, and culturally. Unless Navy leadership top to bottom re-vitalized a pride of service as warriors in the Profession of Arms, the US Navy will continue to drag anchor.

    That is something that neither they nor the nation they serve can afford.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    Next-to-last sentence should read “re-vitalizes”.

  • FOD Detector

    Maybe if we wore warpaint on the bridge, we’d satisfy URR and stop groundings, etc.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Maybe if you realized your mission was to fight and win our nation’s wars, we wouldn’t have weenie leadership and would start getting serious about developing subordinates.

  • lesser ajax

    URR,
    My experience is that when bad things happen, usually it’s due to a combination of small errors by many people rather than one giant error by one person. I’m just not sure how a “warrior ethos” changes the variables in that equation… People are still going to basically be people and make minor mistakes from time to time, and from time to time those minor mistakes will add up to a big mistake. Maybe it would help if you defined “warrior ethos” more specifically than (and I’m paraphrasing) “being wicked awesome and doing that things that everyone already agrees we should be doing.”

  • FOD Detector

    You’re deeply unserious, URR.

    This particular problem is not confined to the Navy. But since that’s the topic at hand, I’ll limit my remarks.

    As JPJ said, a good Naval officer has to be a capable mariner (and more). Problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of capable mariners out there. Given less-than-capable mariners are supposedly teaching the young’uns, we’re creating a very shallow gene pool. Compounding this sorry state is the relegation of watchstanding responsibilities to NCOs.

    The system is broken–it’s been broken for quite some time. It has nothing to do with leadership or dancing around the campfire wearing animal furs and grunting. It has to do with mastery of a core function. In the Navy’s case, it may be conning a ship or piloting an aircraft.

  • SWO JO

    URR,

    Concur with you, sir. I have had one CO who stands out in my mind as a true warrior. He made his position clear: operational success is more important than making power point tracker matrices full with green. When the goal of training is directed towards accomplishing a mission, mentorship increases and the zero-defect mentaility decreases. He inculcated me with that sensibility and I am thankful for it. Thank goodness he was promoted, but I do question whether that promotion was enabled by a rarely seen confluence of circumstances.

    Navy officers, by and large, are judged at a junior level by the efficiency of their management, not their ability to lead in a tactical scenario. When officers “graduate” to a level where they can focus on tactical leadership, that path often departs from the milestones that selection boards look for. There are obvious exceptions (SEALs, and to a lesser extent, Tactical Jet Aviators).

    I’m not saying that every command is this way. But there are enough to call the problem “widespread.” I think that a warrior culture vice a management culture would benefit both officers and Sailors and reward the initiative and moral courage that often prevents serious mishaps.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Ajax,

    My experience is that those little things tend to combine much more often and readily when the culture in which they occur does not possess the seriousness of purpose nor the discipline required for the tasks at hand and the more difficult tasks which loom on the horizon with startlingly short notice.

    The warrior ethos can be defined as a pursuit of physical, mental, and personal discipline with the goal toward becoming as effective an instrument of war as one can be. The ideas of learning and mentoring to foster that discipline on oneself and others are at the core of what defines leadership in a warrior culture.

    Poor leadership, the creation of a climate in which seniors are not compelled to teach, and juniors are either too intimidated or marginalized to learn, reflects a lack of that discipline.

    “Inspect what you expect” is a phrase I learned early and use often. Gen Lejeune’s definition of that leadership, that being the relationship of teacher and student, reflect the warrior culture. The line from the immortal CAPT DeVries in “The Caine Mutiny” as he is counseling the young ENS Keith gives us the reason. “There are mistakes and there are mistakes. There is too much risk of loss of life and property in every act.”

    Everyone always agrees we should be doing these things, and some dutifully report that we do. But the observations, experiences and conversations of my experience, that of the SWO JO, and Professor Horner would strongly indicate otherwise in far too many instances.

  • Spade

    Anybody else think both URR and FOD are right?

  • FOD Detector

    The warrior ethos can be defined as a pursuit of physical, mental, and personal discipline with the goal toward becoming as effective an instrument of war as one can be.

    Sparta!!!

    Man, I am so watching 300 tonight.

  • Paul

    I lean more toward URR being right. The reference to “grunting and wearing animal skins around a fire” is exaggeration with the aim of belittling, and completely misses the point. The Warrior Ethos the Navy SHOULD embrace would have as its core competency things like “ship handling”, instead it is “briefing and socializing”, etc.

    Trends tend to be right in what they show. When they show lack of training and lack of competency then those issues need to be addressed. A “standdown” doesn’t fix anything. Change of culture is what creates long lasting change.

    “People are still going to basically be people and make minor mistakes from time to time, and from time to time those minor mistakes will add up to a big mistake.” What? That’s why we have watch teams with multiple personnel, to provide that forceful backup to prevent minor mistakes from cascading. Minor mistakes should NEVER compound into ships running into each other.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Some think ‘being a warrior’ is what’s needed. I demur – it’s a such splendid idea and it really sounds wonderful, but it’s not what seems to be missing here. How about just being good at the craft?

    We seem to need better shipdrivers. Three rules: don’t run aground; don’t hit nobody; keep the ocean out of the people tank. Get that right, then don your new whoopee warrior pajamas and play that ego game.

    Shipboard competence comes first. With it, can drive the ship to its limits. Without: stay in port.

  • Byron

    I would have thought you started out as a sailor, and worked your way up to master mariner (the shipfitter thinking in terms of a crafstman)

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Galrahn

    The USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) collided with the Turkish-flagged M/V Yaso Aysen on Sept. 25, 2005 at approximately 2:00am local time.

    USS Newport News (SSN 750) collided with the Japanese-flagged motor vessel Mogamigawaon on Jan. 8, 2007 at approximately 10:15pm local time.

    USS Hartford (SSN 768) collided with the USS New Orleans (LPD 17) on Mar. 20, 2009 at approximately 1:00 a.m. local time.

    In all three incidents, the submarines were submerged at night in shallow water, and while not said explicitly, it looks like all three submarines were operating at periscope depth.

    What I am trying to say is, there are patterns that are not human centric to command that need to be looked at as well. For example, do submarines ever transit the Strait of Hormuz during daytime, or is it done at night for a specific reason (ie. conceal presence from Iran). Do submarines often transit with other ships? Are there similar weather conditions in the incidents worth looking at?

    The SoH inbound lane is 2 miles wide, and is 3 miles off the coast of Iran in some places. I doubt it gets deeper than 110 ft or so. I also remember they used to have a live AIS tracker in the Persian Gulf, the traffic is fairly heavy. We end up with tight spaces, shallow water, busy sea lanes, and who knows what else. After three similar incidents in the same area over a period of 4 years, it is time to take a serious look at conditions outside the human command element, because there are other patterns that are worth examination to prevent the next incident.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “It has to do with mastery of a core function. In the Navy’s case, it may be conning a ship or piloting an aircraft.”

    So, the ship’s crews at Maersk lines and the flight crews for Southwest Airlines are no different from the US Navy?

    While you are watching 300, try and think of how those people might differ from each other.

    And Sam, if you think being a warrior is about ego, remind me to stay well away from you if any shooting starts. Warriors master their craft.

  • Sam Kotlin

    When in command: SubGroup TopGun 5 quarters out of 8; ASW E; Deck Seamanship Award; Communications C; Supply E; SubPac Silver Anchor; 2nd Place Navy-wide Ney Award. Fired 74 torpedos in 2 years with no PCO ops. How you doin’, warrior?

  • WTH

    I would not include USS Philadelphia as part of this discussion, that incident was while she was surfaced, in vicinity of Bahrain. Fundamentally different circumstances.

    There is a lot to the how/why of this that is probably best left un-discussed in this forum.

  • j.e.b.

    I don’t want to try to speak for any of the above commenters, but I strongly suspect that the word “warrior” (and worse, the term “warrior ethos”) is causing emotional reactions that do not necessarily reflect what is intended. (My initial reaction was not dissimilar to FOD Detector’s “dancing around the campfire wearing animal furs and grunting”.) While the USMC (I’m assuming) may consider the terms “warrior” and “professional” to be synonyms or at least not contradictions, a lot of Navy personell probably don’t. The very term “warrior” carries a connotation of “unprofessional” to many people.

    I don’t think anyone here is arguing against professionalism. At least I hope not.

  • R. M. Hayball

    Well, once again the discussion is off and running (amok) before the facts are known. So, here’s my two bits worth.

    First my bona fides. Extensive sea experience. Qualified in submarines. Qualified Surface Warfare on a large, somewhat seagoing, almost unarmed auxiliary. Command Qualified, Submarines. Licensed (recently retired) Master, Vessels of Any Gross Tonnage Upon Oceans. CDR USN Ret. Former Chief Mate, Maersk Lines, Ltd. Limitations pertinent to the discussion: been retired from the Navy a long time, way out of the loop. Did not get a command at sea, Diesel Submariner, did have a successful shore command tour.

    Recommendation: Wait… until the facts are known, before generalizing, much less viewing with alarm.

    Side issue, self identification, opinion concerning: Preble, Porter, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Morton, O’Kane, Ramage, Flucky, Burke or Bulkeley to my knowledge never used the term “warrior”.

    I believe “professional Naval Officer” would be unobjectionable to all these men, whose careers overlapped, one after another, through the history of the Navy. Very different men, from very different eras.

    I assert that they all considered shiphandling, tactical competence, leadership, dedication to duty and complete expertise in the care and development of ships and sailors to be as essential for a mature naval professional as the individual stones in a roman arch are to the strength of the structure they form.

    All of them, spectacularly, made their bones, and made no bones about it.

    All of them were well acquainted with oversize egos and pathological lack of cooperation among their peers. They coped. They all knew they were good, in their case, they were correct.
    They all had guts.

    I always considered the term “professional navy officer” to be the acme of praise for anyone who wore a star and a stripe on his blue sleeve, from the pantheon listed above to your modestly successful, essentially anonymous, very retired and sometimes humble correspondent. The pith of it remains: Know your job, know your ship(s), know your people. Do your job, take care of your ship(s), take care of your people. The very best you can.

    Best wishes to all who now serve. God Bless.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Side issue, self identification, opinion concerning: Preble, Porter, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Morton, O’Kane, Ramage, Flucky, Burke or Bulkeley to my knowledge never used the term “warrior”.

    I believe “professional Naval Officer” would be unobjectionable to all these men”

    Let’s just say “professional Navy officer” ethos and “warrior” ethos are synonymous. Preble, Porter, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Morton, O’Kane, Ramage, Flucky, Burke or Bulkeley, those men understood that theirs was the Profession of Arms. And they were leaders. They would be very seriously concerned with the elements of Prof Horner’s article, SWO JO’s comments, and my observations.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, let’s see, Sam. How am I doin’?

    From my RS on a Combat FITREP:

    “Exudes warrior spirit. A professional and intellectual. Never without a professional journal or book on military history under his arm, despite service in a war zone… Calm and composed under hostile fire, superb judgment and presence of mind. Demeanor inspires confidence in peers and juniors who served with him in harm’s way. SNO awarded MSM for service in Al Anbar during OIF II. Awarded Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, and Purple Heart.”

    Seems some think I did okay when it counted, too.

  • Byron

    Well, now that we all know how long each others are, how do you professional Naval officers with the warrior ethos keep subs and skimmers from making more work for people like me? I mean, I’m not complaining, the overtime is great, but part of it goes to the taxes it’ll pay for the repairs.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Byron, didn’t intend to show mine but it might be useful if those who mock and belittle the warrior ethos would perhaps be a bit less dismissive of those who have found it necessary.

    But your question of how? Tom Tomasz commented in the Port Royal post comment string:

    “As an officer aboard destroyers and as the OOD (officer of the deck) for special sea detail, e.g.; entering and leaving port, the navigator, the senior quartermaster and I would always review the planned track in great detail including speed, direction, turns, navigation aids, hazards (fixed and mobile, e.g.: ferries). Everyone knew their assignments and responsibilities. If we were anchoring out, going alongside the pier or taking a position is a nest of ships, the ship’s 1st lieutenant was updated as to the plans.

    Thus we were all entirely familiar with our transit plans.

    Let me mention that the Combat Information Center team was also briefed and the crew in CIC marinated our track in parallel with the bridge navigation team. Two teams, sets of many eyes, but always working as a true combined team with one purpose: safe transit at all times. The CIC team could and would announce if we were heading towards a hazard.

    Our navigator was so anal that he had a dozen #2 pencils sharpened to a dart’s point so that he could plot precise points; about the size of a period at the end of this sentence.

    Today with GPS and electronic navigation systems, some of the “old school” stuff has fallen by the way side.

    And, did I tell you that we would practice gyro casualties and navigate the real old fashioned way, by magnetic compass.

    Sometimes in broad daylight we would cover the windows of the bridge with paper to simulate heavy fog.

    So we had trained teams, we had disciplined teams, we had cohesive teams, but it didn’t mean that we would abandon mirth or a quip, if it seemed appropriate, from seaman to captain — we were a team”

    Seemed to make sense. Also seems to reflect those same characteristics that the “Professional Naval Officer/Warrior ethos” would instill. But that’s just me. Mister Vegas.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Given that the USS George Washington fire seems to have depleted the ship repair piggy bank, and with a grounded cruiser to repair…what Navy account will be raided to pay for this debacle, I wonder…

  • SWO JO

    I think all posters are pointed towards the same thing. Prof. Horner’s article says that culture is defined as “a basic pattern of assumptions learned…as the proper way to think and behave in [a] group.” Leadership defines culture. Calling it a warrior culture or a professional culture is immaterial. Regardless, the bevy of requirements placed on commanders does not allow them the time to mentor subordinates. Surface warriors and submariners need to be capable mariners indeed. Capable mariners are developed by practical experience combined with mentorship. Our culture interferes with a commander’s ability to foster “a proper training environment where specified and implied tasks are identified…and high standards maintained.” The result is a bullying, divisive environment where frustration rules when mistakes occur. The end result is a management culture that discourages initiative and contrariness when the good of the ship is at stake. The term “Lieutenant” comes from the French in lieu of – i.e in place of. To stand watch as the Captain’s direct representative requires a relationship of trust. Our culture, however it is termed, needs to foster the trust and confidence and competence to navigate safely and, if necessary, win in battle.

  • RickWilmes

    I wonder if Professor Horner knows that the John Paul Jones’ quote he references is a fabrication? I have already commented about this issue

    The Augustus C. Buell fabrication.

  • Sam Kotlin

    “Well, now that we all know how long each others are, how do you professional Naval officers with the warrior ethos keep subs and skimmers from making more work for people like me? I mean, I’m not complaining, the overtime is great, but part of it goes to the taxes it’ll pay for the repairs.”

    I once worked for a chief who thought he had the answer. The department was going through a rough spot because of personal errors. The chief told the department head how to solve it: “Sir, you just line everyone up at quarters and give them an order to ‘be intelligent’. Then, if one of them screws up, write him up for violating a direct order.”

    R. M. Hayball: Matt, good to see you in the mix. Agree with you.

  • VADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    For R. M. Hayball – “I always considered the term “professional navy officer” to be the acme of praise for anyone who wore a star and a stripe on his blue sleeve, from the pantheon listed above to your modestly successful, essentially anonymous, very retired and sometimes humble correspondent. The pith of it remains: Know your job, know your ship(s), know your people. Do your job, take care of your ship(s), take care of your people. The very best you can.”

    Exceptionally well-said. Words to live by for all of us who still have the privilege of serving. All the best, JCHjr

  • Sam Kotlin

    The incident raises the question of why operate a submarine in these waters anyway. Not needed for spook work – shore locations abound. No warships to contend with – we’re not at war with anyone in the area who has a navy. Not needed for Tomahawk delivery – range is greater, no targets now active, and many alternatives from manned A/C and drones.

    Sooo… why are we operating SSNs in shallow and restricted waters with no mission?

    (One of the problems arising from inter-Service rivalry is the perceived need by the Services and their warfare components to be at the scene of action … whether they have a real role there or not. This seems a frivolous use of a scarce and valuable asset. We can’t both be so short of SSNs that we just have to keep building them and so long that we can put them to peripheral uses like this.)

  • UltimaRatioReg

    VAdm Harvey, et al.,

    “The pith of it remains: Know your job, know your ship(s), know your people. Do your job, take care of your ship(s), take care of your people. The very best you can.”

    Though undoubtedly well stated, this seems a Blinding Flash of Obvious (BFO). And incomplete. “Be prepared for war” is the overarching framework. it is what separates us from civilians who do similar things.

    That is also reflected in the problems identified in Horner’s article and SWO JO’s experiences, as well. A ship and a bridge that run that way cannot be an efficient and effective team in day to day operations, let alone ready for war.

    I have had to have these conversations, with a slightly different bent, with several Lieutenants over the course of my 23+ years. To wit, an artillery officer (on a MUCH smaller scale than a US Navy SWO or submariner) must master a relatively high level of technical proficiency.

    But the conversations were always the same. Attaining that proficiency was ALSO a part of a warrior ethos. Being a warrior did not mean shaving with one’s bayonet. Be it understanding every aspect of manual gunnery solutions, proper format for creating a fire plan, vehicle and system maintenance and operation, skilled use of the optical instruments with which we emplace our gun tubes, it was a reflection of that officer professionally.

    So why do I mention this? Because the “professional Naval Officer ethos/Warrior ethos” is the very thing that needs to be re-kindled here.

    Saying that ships bumping each other and terra firma is due to not mastering ship driving skills, and that the solution is better ship driving skills is like saying the patient has a fever because his body temperature is too high. The indicators that Prof Horner, SWO JO, and I have seen point to a deeper and harder to fix cultural problem.

    That problem, and its solution, require leadership. Lots and lots of it. Stand-downs without some inward examination become “stand-arounds”.

  • Sam Kotlin

    URR: you’re missing something in all this. COs of warships hold first in their priorities the ability to fight their ship and use its full range of capabilities. All effort – training, qualification, inspections, drills, management, and leadership – is to that end. As you preach to the choir, be aware that the profession arrived at where you think it should aim long before you took to pontificating.

    The ‘what’ – ‘be a warrior’ – is easy to say and implicit in all. What John Harvey and RM Hayball and I and others see as more needed than sloganeering is the ‘how’ part. Ships are complex, the sea is treacherous, and humans make errors. Professionalism, whether you call it being a blue-suiter or a good leader or a fine naval officer or a great sailor, is the sine qua non of shipboard life.

    Those of us who choose to do this with our lives may be inspired by the warrior ethos, but our daily effort is towards professional proficiency.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sam,

    With respect, what I think is missing is that very sentiment you express making its way down from COs of warships and Fleet commands into the culture of the junior officer, and to his/her immediate seniors.

    As has been expressed in several strings before here, the view from the top is quite different from the view from the bottom. And both of those differ significantly from the view from the middle.

    Prof Horner’s article, and SWO JO’s anecdotal discussion, as well as my own observation of the attitudes, approach, and mindset of the Navy JO indicate that the level of professionalism isn’t what it needs to be.

    As for me preaching to the choir, it would seem there are some discordant notes there. I have a very deep and abiding respect for the US Navy. I am familiar with its history, its traditions, and its role in US foreign policy through the centuries. My father was a Navy Veteran of World War II, as was an uncle.

    But when I see what I see from some of its LCDRs and below, and when I hear the things Prof Horner and SWO JO (and not just from them!) have to say, when I see recruiting commercials that minimize the Navy’s role as a warfighter service, I find it hard to escape the conclusion that the USN has lost its focus on that professional/warrior ethos.

  • Sam Kotlin

    URR: naw. Some of the folks in the fleet – COs, witness PORT ROYAL; the kids on watch perhaps in this case – seem to have trouble with the blocking and tackling. It’s not attitude or command climate or weak leadership, it’s the ability to do the basic job right.

    I’ve commented at length in print for many years about the same issues that Dr. Horner talks to and you echo, but I give no slack whatever to a watchstander that can’t stand the watch or a CO that has watchstanders he or she can’t trust in their jobs. Neither will an official inquiry.

    It’s good to track the culture, to note practices that work better in one community than another or that could be improved overall, but whether it’s going to periscope depth safely, finding the boat and hooking a wire, or just standing a sound deck watch, the basic requirement is professional skills and knowledge.

  • sid

    This argument has been variously simmering and boiling since the days of Porter and Isherwood.

    I would argue though, that as the current navy lexicon has room for “Employer of Choice”, and warships are described as “nice rides”, the pendulum has swung too far from what McBride describes as the warrior ethos.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sam,

    Blocking and tackling are functions of coaching, drills, practice, and a professional drive to beat one’s opponent. Perhaps we need some more Lombardis in the Service schools and in the departments of our warships.

    Sid speaks volumes. And it is certainly a delicate balance between technical and tactical proficiency since the steam engine began moving ships through the water.

  • pk

    the derogatory use of the term “warrior” started during the viet nam era when the “progressive” types wanted to keep the warriors from “taking over the armed services”. it was coincident with the start up of “political correctnes”. i see it as an attempt that has worked to some degree to sabatoge the professional abilities of naval officers to do what their only purpose in life is and that is to convince the bad guys to see it CINC’s way by force.

    seamanship comes from practice. practice requires that the boat go out a lot of times. the zoomies shoot landings yet the anchor clankers do not practice entering and leaving port to my knowledge. you can’t do this if you are preoccupied with diversity correctness.

    hmmmmmmm.

    C

  • UltimaRatioReg

    pk,

    Well-said. Another similar take that rings true today:

    “Because of the unpopularity of military service and the dominant influence 1960s counterculture attitudes had on U.S. social and political agendas, the military shied from publicly identifying themselves as legitimate and necessary instruments of violence under authorized state control, adopting recruiting strategies that avoided appeals to the warrior spirit, patriotism, or the obligations of citizenship.”

    ..or maybe it just seems that way because I live in Vermont.

  • Jim

    URR,

    Re:

    “Because of the unpopularity of military service and the dominant influence 1960s counterculture attitudes had on U.S. social and political agendas, the military shied from publicly identifying themselves as legitimate and necessary instruments of violence under authorized state control, adopting recruiting strategies that avoided appeals to the warrior spirit, patriotism, or the obligations of citizenship.”

    If so, why do those organizations espousing the “warrior ethos,” without necessarily using the phrase in their recruiting pitches (e.g., SpecOps, Marines, et. al.), not appear to have significant recruiting issues? Could it be that the youth of America really want a challenge and not necessarily to simply work for a PC, “Top 50″ employer?

    Regards,

    Jim

  • Brine

    Sam no matter what branch of our navy we are in there will all ways be some cultural issues. Sometimes they are very bad, sometimes they aren’t and sometimes it depends what department your in, a lot of us 1120s breath a sigh of relief when and if the detailer tells us we aren’t eligible for the spot promote to O-4 that comes with being the ENG. There are good leaders, better leaders and bad leaders, and I can’t say I’m really sure how bad the problem is.

    As to the rest of the factors with the collision I think I have to remain silent and strange on this one and wait and see what get’s released for discussion, but the stupid shall be punished: http://bubbleheads.blogspot.com/2009/03/uss-hartford-collides-with-us-amphib.html#comments shows the bridge is manned and she’s got the flag up, and I bet some of the retirees will have more to say.

  • Byron

    Photos also show the entire sail to be twisted to starboard about 10 degrees. That sub took a hell of a whack.

  • Sam Kotlin

    From the link cited by Brine above: Bubblehead’s/Joel Kennedy’s insights here seem pretty solid…

    “Based on what we see in the picture (no ‘scope up, lots of damage to the port side of the sail, possible twisting towards the starboard side), and based on the statement by the Navy in this Navy Times article that the Hartford was “submerged but near the surface”, I’d say that the evidence is pointing towards the submarine being either at or transitioning to or from PD when the collision occurred. The fact that neither ‘scope is up in the picture indicates that they can’t be raised, so does this mean they were lowered when the collision occurred? This would make sense if the OOD had spotted the New Orleans and called for an “emergency deep”; the ‘scope gets fully lowered much more quickly than the boat is able to get very deep (especially in shallow water.) If she got hit in the sail, then Hartford would have rolled on her side; the number of injuries make it seem that she would have rolled pretty far.”

    And what this has to do with a ‘warrior’s ethos’ is beyond me. What twaddle.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “And what this has to do with a ‘warrior’s ethos’ is beyond me. What twaddle.”

    So… the problems with culture and discipline and leadership cited by SWO JO and Prof Horner don’t contribute in any way to this mishap, the grounding of Port Royal, or any other incident. Whew. Good to know.

    Forget what I said, then. You sure don’t need a warrior ethos. Steady as she goes, full speed ahead. *clunk!*

    Jim,

    “Could it be that the youth of America really want a challenge and not necessarily to simply work for a PC, “Top 50″ employer?”

    Absolutely. More so than many believe, despite some influences to the contrary. And my experience is that they are the ones you want most.

  • Sam Kotlin

    URR: take a boat to PD once. Operate at night submerged in restricted waters. Handle the myriad watchkeeping chores. Operate, navigate, manage, lead. Handle the contact load. Solve the target geometry. Keep a sharp watch on the periscope. Deal with the daily routine, the reports, the readings, the log keeping. Stand a watch. Then tell me how all this feel-good warrior noise has one damned thing to do with the job at hand.

    I readily grant that the core business is as best described by the late Samuel Huntington: ‘the management of violence.’ One strives to be ready to kill strangers in large numbers at long distance … and get by with it. There; that gets the ‘warrior’ ethic out of the way, the easy stuff. Now let’s get good at all the hard stuff, the warrior’s craft, the professionalism. As my old buddy’s dad said, “talk’s cheap – it takes money to buy whisky.” BT AR

  • Byron

    How about the influences of sleep deprivation? How about wasted hours doing things that don’t have squat to do with the Naval proffession of arms, like all the diversity programs? In the shipyards, we’re color and gender blind, all we give a damn about are you here every day and can you do your job. Everything else that doesn’t get the job done doesn’t mean squat. How many hours a day you folks spend on stuff that doesn’t advance training or capabilities? How many man hours are wasted on kissing the admirals butt? Forget the ethos stuff, just ask yourself, are we really doing all we can to perform our mission the best way it can?.

    And given the conditions in the SOH, why aren’t the means in place to insure the safe passage of a sub? An escort forward? Surfaced transit? Trail an infra-red strobe on a wire from the sail? There’s got to be a way to accomplish a safe passage. And if the answer is, “we’ve always done it this way”, then I got to wonder about how you conduct business.

    I keep hearing about “command climate”. Is it because COs aren’t screened correctly? Is it because screamers get the job done, and that’s all that counts? In my world, which isn’t as demanding as yours by a long shot, screamers are NEVER good. Screamers NEVER get more than 70% of the ability of any given individual, and worse in macro. A real leader has to create an environment of trust and confidence, while letting those down the chain of command know that there will be checks of what they do, because that’s how things get done right. And if there’s a mistake (on the small end of things), then you analyze where the mistake happened and discuss how to head it off in the future, with no repercusions. There is NO such thing as zero defect environment, at least not on this mortal coil. People are people, and they are guaranteed to screw up.

    Warriors? You don’t know if you can be a warrior until the bad stuff starts coming your way, and while you might pee yourself, you stay at your station and do your duty. Until that day, you’re goal is to become a Navy professional, ready and able to perform your assigned duty whenever called upon. Sam, I agree with you on this.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    From the Nimitz article just posted:

    “The object of the course in naval science is to supplement the other course taken so that graduates will posses a good education; sufficient nautical knowledge to fit them as junior naval reserve officers; a disciplined mind and body; and self-reliant leadership qualities.”

    Sounds like a professional Naval officer/warrior ethos to me…

    But then again, what would Chester Nimitz know?

  • Byron

    URR, where in that statement did your hear ADM. Nimitz use the world “warrior”?

    “Naval scienc”
    “Nautical science”
    “Leadership qualities”

    Nope, not warrior one single time.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    I was asked to define warrior ethos. I will do so again (see above):

    The warrior ethos can be defined as a pursuit of physical, mental, and personal discipline (disciplined mind and body) with the goal toward becoming as effective an instrument of war as one can be. The ideas of learning and mentoring to foster that discipline on oneself and others are at the core of what defines leadership (self-reliant leadership)in a warrior culture.

    It does NOT mean dancing around a campfire shouting war whoops. It isn’t a macho or ego contest. It is, as was pointed out previously, all of the things that make up a professional Naval officer as you have defined it. With the constant reminder that there is no room for bulls**t and slacking. A sense of professional and personal urgency to perform at your best, know as much as you can, and build your team to function as close to perfection as possible. Because you understand at a very deep level that the considerable dangers of day-to-day operations may be increased exponentially by the sudden presence of a hostile and independent will whose goal is your demise.

    And you may not know if you are a warrior until the shooting starts, but if you don’t train with that as a goal your chances of success in combat diminish rapidly. And a firefight ain’t a place to finish second.

  • SWO JO

    An aspect that pertains to both “warrior” cultures and “professional” cultures is technical proficiency. Hopefully URR and Mr. Kotlin would agree. “Professionalism” derives from the pride developed by the mastery of skills that the layman does not have. This applies equally to the employment of artillery and to the conning of a ship or submarine. Pride. Are we proud to be naval officers? The better we can develop pride and professionalism instead of paying lip service to those terms, the stronger the foundation for the tecnical skills necessary to transit a strait at night safely. The question I have is this: can we bully people into having that pride?

  • FOD Detector

    Sam Kotlin drives home the point; unless–and until–one masters the fundamentals, being part of URR’s “warrior” club with the cool t-shirts and tattoos isn’t going to occur.

    Unfortunately, we aren’t coming close to mastering those fundamentals. URR’s posturing aside, this isn’t a problem confined to one service; yes, even the Corps has its issues. It’s a systemic problem. It’s not a problem of pride or leadership or desire or having high and tight hairdos.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    FOD,

    So mastering fundamentals isn’t a leadership or pride or discipline problem?

    Welcome to the Doritos Navy. Crunch all you want. We’ll make more.

  • Byron

    FOD, while I don’t agree with URR, I also don’t think it professional to describe him as posturing. He has defended his viewpoint, no more, no less.

  • Sparky

    How can two vessels of our Navy collide? Let me think. Could it be that the Submarine Service is now called the Submarine Enterprise?
    Or maybe it is because we call our sailors on them “Warriors” or better yet “War Fighters”. Could the focus be on documenting the training for record purposes instead of reducing the paper work requirements and conducting solid, meaningful training. As a 30 year “Submariner” thats with a long “er” on the end not a Sub-Mariner. I am ashamed and appalled that the current leadership of the “Submarine Enterprise” cannot get out of this viscious cycle.
    Time to reflect on our history boys..get back to what worked, focus on the basics that got us to the submarines and the men who manned them, knew their jobs, equipment and ship..Keep JO’s and DH’s in the job’s longer, give CO’s a longer tour than 22-24 months, get the training documentation cycle thinned down and train the men on the deckplate to know the ship, it’s equipment and their ratings again…Qualification is a Hands on Process not a CBT program…I suggest the Submarine Leadership start by looking at the money spent on sending submarine Cooks to Gourmet cooking classes and redirect to navigation and ship handling courses….–Sparky

  • http://BandofBrothers.com Band of Brothers

    Maybe it is time for a new career path for SWOs and others. Adm Stavridis just published a proposed new plan in Spring NWC REview.
    go to http://www.usnwc.edu/press/review/PressReviewPDF.aspx?q=365

    For this accident, will see what detailed analysis says about the level of training and experience of those on the bridge at the time of the accident, but it may be that our officers are spread to thin. Maybe some should concentrate on topside jobs, others spend more time in engineroom and not try to be “Joint” and all that.

  • FOD Detector

    So mastering fundamentals isn’t a leadership or pride or discipline problem?

    Nope; because we ‘think’ we’re mastering the fundamentals. Sparky sort of gets it. We’re not providing JOs with enough sea time or adequate instruction. Further, those providing the training aren’t the best of the best so the product is continuously watered-down.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    FOD,

    Don’t fall over, but I agree 100%. But I do still point to leadership. Except with your point, the leadership lacking is at a much higher level. As has been discussed across many posts here, there is far too much to do just to stay competent in your present role and learn your new one for the superfluous to have such a huge impact. To wit:

    Diversity training
    Sexual harassment
    TQL/TQM
    Annual CDACC lectures
    Endless and pointless staff meetings
    Key spouse appreciation formations
    TIGER teams, etc…..

    So, in the end, the “warrior ethos” really is the emphasis on the important skills, the demand to teach and learn between senior and subordinate, and the drive and sense of urgency that these skills sets may have to be used in combat on short notice.

    Leadership, Navy-wide, must ensure that policies and actions are in place to support the above. And those that are necessary but tend to detract from it should be carefully considered and their effects minimized.

    As one Commander of USFK put it, “Be ready to fight TONIGHT”.

    Yep, the Corps has certainly dealt with these same issues, but it is interesting how the specter of imminent combat being very real can boil away the crap and re-focus on the truly important.

    Dance around campfires if you want to, but that has never been what I am getting at. Ray Spruance’s biography is entitled “Quiet Warrior”, a very appropriate title.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    And add to the list above the very well-stated point from Band of Brothers the obsession with “jointness”.

  • FOD Detector

    Nonsense, URR. Mastering the fundamentals doesn’t come at a tradeoff with any of the evolutions you list.

    Look, competency is a function of the quality of training and experience. Example: until fairly recently, a freshly-minted O-1 would show up the base of a gangway having not much more knowledge than where the wardroom is and, if he/she was really sharp, what a “head” is. After a 2 year stint, his or her knowledge might or might not be any greater. It’s a crapshoot; if he or she is really lucky, they might gain a basic foundation but nothing approaching mastery. But after 2 years, he or she is off to their next duty station, often in another function altogether.

    Why is this the case? Because tickets have to be punched.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    It isn’t nonsense. Ask the JOs how many directions they are being pulled in for all sorts of non-essential crap, and you will find beau coup instances where everything has priority except for their jobs. THAT crap comes from Flag officers and the like, just as the dictums the USMC occasionally suffers through come from General Officers.

    And the moving about to “punch tickets” is the same symptom writ large. “Career-broadening” is really “skill-limiting”. So someone with some horsepower needs to ante up and fundamentally change what has the focus as important, and what is peripheral.

    Now you’re being disagreeable just for the sake of it.

  • J-Man

    Warriors and intellectuals all: I stumbled on to this little “cat fight” while looking at the “cocked conning tower” pictures; and after reading through to about round three it put me to wondering; where do you find the time?

  • Jay

    I think I read in the above somewhere about time spent learning the profession. I don’t worry about the additional admin taskings (GMT/CFC, motorcyle safety, information assurance training…etc.) as much as others. That is all part of prioritizing your time.

    Burning through the haze back to college (Maine Maritime Academy) I believe we Deck students spent at least two full semesters on Rules of the Road. I don’t know if any NROTC courses or others spend that much time. And that is just the fundementals and case studies (of accidents & how they likely departed from the Rules).

    Profesional merchant mariners spend a LOT more time at sea than their Navy counterparts. If the fleet shrinks further (as it likely will) this disparity will increase.

    Nothing takes the place of time underway, and practice evolutions & maneuvers.

    Having the XO’s fleet up on their ships to CO is a step in the right direction.

  • R. M. Hayball

    A measure of calm please, gentlemen.

    Collision of a submerged submarine with a surface ship is a hardy perennial in the garden of naval grief. The Naval Safety Center has a large collection of photographs of peened over sails and conning towers.

    The fact that it has occured again, as it will in the future, does not make a prima facie case for the proposition that one or another category of the current crop of naval officers is blissfully unaware that they are in a profession of arms.

    Casualties happen, it’s the nature of the business. Thank God this time the bloodletting was limited to cuts, bruises, pride and the balance in the O&M-N funds locker…so far.

    Career damage is another topic, but we don’t know the facts about that yet, either.

    I submit that one of the characteristics of a professional navy officer is a reluctance to note with alarm until the facts are known. I had one Captain, here and forever nameless, who took pride in “extrapolating the slope of the curve from one data point”. I personally have seen no value in it at best, and great damage result from it, at worst.

    Officers must learn their job from all about them, subordinates, peers, and seniors, not to mention industrious study of history and procedural and technical documentation.

    It is appropriate and necessary to emphasize to all hands that the sine qua non is mission accomplishment, and that the mission of the Navy is constant readiness for no notice, prompt, sustained and victorious combat operations at sea; and effective support of joint and combined combat operations ashore. Anything less would be unprofessional.

    “Warrior” cheerleading has its place, I suppose, although mohawk haircuts and face paint are a better fit for airborne infantry than sailors to my way of thinking. Ernest Evans off Samar was a warrior beyond question, but that was the payoff for years of hard, steady professional training and maintenence, including some thrills and a lot of drudgery. Honor his accomplishments, all his accomplishments.

    My opinion. Remembering all my brothers of the ‘phin still serving in my blesses, every night.

  • MMC(SS) Retired

    Having served on four seperate submarines, I notices a trend from my first to the last. The officer corps, on subs, primarily worry about being engineer’s, or nukes. They recieve the minimum of training on submarine ‘driving’ and routinely have minimal situational awareness. There are many exceptions, but most of these officer’s that become good sub driver’s are the one’s that take pride in doing this.

    But in the sub’s defense, having operated submerged in the gulf, I know that conditions of that area make submerged operations difficult.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Hayball,

    ““Warrior” cheerleading has its place, I suppose, although mohawk haircuts and face paint are a better fit for airborne infantry than sailors to my way of thinking.”

    Give it a rest. You know good and well that is not at all what I or anyone else was talking about. Save the childish obtuseness for someone who hasn’t been shot at.

    Ernest Evans’ breed of warrior is exactly what I have been alluding to. He knew and drilled the important stuff. A lesson in leadership. And warrior ethos.

  • R. M. Hayball

    URR:

    Glad you got the part on Ernest Evans. The sentence before it that got your goat wasn’t in the same papagraph due to sloppy punctuation. They are connected. The connection is the question of what leadership techniques work to produce the kind of Petty Officers that built the team in Mt 51 on the “Sammy B.” or could lead men to set out under oars in an open boat at night in a hurricane to take the crew off the Monitor. Things that work for sailors, are appropriate for Naval Officers of the Line and the Staff Corps. Our team.

    The NCO’s of the Airborne Divisions prior to D-day used a carefully chosen symbol to enhance confidence and unit cohesion of their young soldiers, many of whom had not been shot at, and to intimidate their opponents. It was a brilliant choice for that organization, place, and time. All honor to their success and memory.

    The “warrior ethos” brand name grates in the context of a discussion of naval policy and events; it is at best an oversimplification, and often used to denigrate the long hard technical and administrative slog the professionals all know is part of keeping the armed forces potent and ready to accomplish all the missions the republic can, has, and will require.

    “Warrior Ethos”, to my mind, falls in the category of necessary, but not sufficient. I think I get what you mean, and I agree, to a degree. I don’t think you get what I’m saying about tunnel vision and myopia within and between designators, or the uncomfortable parallels, unapparent to you, I guess, to the cultural norms of Waffen SS and the Taliban.

    I wasn’t being obtuse, I was using a needle. Using one on people who were grinding a favorite axe; grinding on good men, capable mariners, brave men who are going through a unique form of personal hell; making assertions without reference to the facts or adding understanding to the discussion for folks who haven’t been in that specialized set of circumstances. That’s politics in my book, not professional discussion; and not admirable politics.

    It’s also a shot at men who are my personal legacy. Very personal, as is the implication in the “somebody who’s been shot at” crack. I don’t care about the wonderful ego boost of being shot at and missed. Courage under fire is admirable, so is modesty and a degree of humility.

    You are so obtuse as not to know it was a glove thrown. Professionals refrain from throwing gloves. But since you opened,
    order yourself shut into a flooding torpedo room at test depth, then talk to me.

    My opinion, I’ve earned the right to have it. Now I’m going to go play with my grandkids and reset my blood pressure. I’ll be back. Packing a needle…

    Hayball, out.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Careful with that needle, Hayball.

    You went and poked yourself with it. My comments to you and others regarding this issue were not any kind of personal attack. In fact, if they and previous are read closely, I think you will find me referring to the mastery of those very technical and administrative tasks so critical to a successful warship and crew.

    Further, I think you will also find reference to similar conversations I mention to young Lieutenants regarding same. That a tenth of a second in fuse setting, or 1.5 mils in directional error, or the ability to know the mathematical difference between inference and prediction of muzzle velocities is more of a reflection of the warrior ethos for an Artillery Officer than how many people one can kill with an e-tool.

    So it isn’t an over-simplification, but an all-encompassing attitude and climate of professional urgency. And the not-insignificant process of readying those brave men and women for what may be the furnace of combat. Readying them BETWEEN THE EARS.

    As for the comments about being shot at as a “wonderful ego boost” or comparing warrior ethos to the Waffen SS or Taliban, those comments would be offensive if not so silly and stupid. Ego has little to do with any of it. There are 19-year old Lance Corporals who are braver and better Marines than I am, more warrior in spirit, and more skilled at their tasks. Someone got them READY.

    There are few sins as egregious for leadership as not having themselves their people, individually and collectively, prepared for combat. To be so dismissive of warrior ethos is, if I cared to think about it long enough, the insult. It is also something that I know to be folly.

    The Navy best be careful. Some day, not to distant from now, a professional, battle skill-focused, disciplined adversary untrained in sexual harassment or without any JD Power awards and Six Sigma belts will lay the lumber on our kinder, gentler, HA/DR-focused, network-centric fleet and deny the US an area of vital interest, which we will have to pay dearly to regain. And then, we will sit around and wonder how that happened.

  • R. M. Hayball

    URR:

    Interesting response. We seem to be agreeing on most things except the label for dedication to preparing one’s self and one’s subordinates for the hazards of the sea and particularly combat operations.

    There we seem to be talking past each other. This thread started out being about a collision at sea. Now we’re talking about what each other said that got each others goat. Not really advancing the discussion. Great heat, limited light.

    I pretty much agree on your final paragraph. I don’t see any evidence that it’s all that applicable to the USS Scranton. Not yet.

    As one old bull to another, this might be a good spot to restrsin our natural combativeness. Exiting the china shop for a neutral corner.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    RM,

    Agreed. There’s a teacup in the back room we haven’t smashed yet. You and FOD and Sam are pointing more to the what, and the warrior ethos/professional naval officer ethos points a bit more to the WHY. Which somehow must always remain in focus.

    The preparation for men to face the “last fifty yards” is more psychological than intellectual, seems to me. Not easier, mind, but more straightforward. The warrior ethos encompasses that, but is much more.

    The truly dazzling array of technical information and skills required of Naval Officers can become the end to itself, rather than the means to an end. To maintain a climate in which the urgency of a professional work ethic and leadership philosophy remain “first principles” is a great challenge.

    And such a climate is often something that is assailed from both sides. Some number of aggressive young officers see the administrative and technical requirements as an impediment to being warriors. While others see the idea of being a warrior as being rather low-brow for people in such a technical pursuit. Neither, of course, are right.

    It is surprising how being a “gunnery geek” (which I am, I admit it) is slightly pejorative, but being a forward observer is really where it’s at for macho. Until the words “danger close” come crackling across the headsets, or four sections of A-6s come screaming across your gun-target line. Then, gunnery geeks are pretty popular.

    Though my example is checkers to the Navy’s chess in technical terms, the concept still applies. Proper and constant leadership emphasis has got to make people understand that both missions are required to be performed with absolute precision and professionalism. THAT, in essence, is the warrior ethos.

    Leadership farther up the chain must allow and encourage such an environment, and not hinder with peripheral requirements that dilute the opportunities for training, and technical mastery of the important tasks and skills. Those commanders and officers who encourage such a climate are warriors, and will develop warriors. Those who do otherwise, aren’t, and won’t.

  • R. M. Hayball

    URR
    Soft landing on the teacup at this end.

    Back when I did what I did, about the time the oldest COB (sorry, Marine, clarification-Chief of the Boat, much like unto Command SGTMAJ…I think) now in the Force was a port messcook bucking to move up to the starboard side billet, what you are talking about was always on my to-do list in the action-this-day column. Dealing with the alligators will get in the way of draining the swamp. Overall I was confident we were keeping them culled back to smallish ankle biters pretty consistently.

    Now, while checking the crop on my back yard’s citrus trees under a warm sunny blue spring sky, I don’t know enough to express an informed opinion. My not so informed opinion will have to do.

    The young’uns are doing us proud. Some of the flag officers and the staff types picking the ticks of the rhinoceri’s backs have paper on the street that leads me to fret. Or so the old prospector who comes by with his burro every few months leads me to believe. Maybe we should ask for input from young studs, old fuds, and LCDRs/Majors and let the blog work. Current intel from the front line, so to speak.

    Itty bitty minor quibble, it is often a good idea to carefully measure and evaluate the What in order to most accurately determine the Why so you can stabilize and accurize the What To Do. You know how complicated squid stuff can be.

    Best wishes.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    RM,

    Not many Navy bases in Vermont, either. (Nor citrus trees, now that you mention it.)

    But the words of SWO JO and Prof Horner ring like a warning claxon. They fit too closely with some of my own observations, and those of others I know who still have a look into the egg.

    And your point about measuring and evaluating what and then why is a good one. The What will change somewhat with technology and doctrine, but the Why is pretty constant. Our challenge in uniform is that both have to be done and done well, as we haven’t the yardage to spare for false start penalties…

    But hell, if we wanted things to be easy, we’d have joined the Air Force, right?

  • Byron

    Be careful with that, URR, you’ll be called unprofessional… ;)

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