Sebastian Abbott from the AP had a nice article from AFG last week that got me pondering again on what the Navy is missing that the Marines and Army are receiving by the metric ton; combat experience. Outside SEALS, SEABEEs, and a few other specialized units – for all intents and purposes our Navy has not been stressed by prolonged, direct combat with the enemy during this conflict. FRP and presence ops are not combat.

This is what got my attention – after nine years of continual combat, even a learning institution such as the US Marines are still relearning fundamentals;

The Marines patrolling through the green fields and tall mud compounds of Helmand province’s Sangin district say they are literally in a race for their lives. They are trying to adjust their tactics to outwit Taliban fighters, who have killed more coalition troops here than in any other Afghan district this year.

“As a new unit coming in, you are at a distinct disadvantage because the Taliban have been fighting here for years, have established fighting positions and have laid the ground with a ton of IEDs,” said Lt. Col. Jason Morris, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “You have to evolve quickly because you have no other choice.”

Despite the previous occupants, the Marines who pushed out with Ceniceros that fateful afternoon said they didn’t realize how dangerous the mud compounds to the south of the base were until the Taliban unleashed a stream of machine-gun fire, pinning down two Marines.

“We kind of snuck our nose in the south to see what the south was about and we found out real quick that you don’t go south unless you have a lot of dudes,” said Sgt. Adam Keliipaakaua, who was leading the patrol.

All the services have history departments, they have recommended reading lists, they teach military history at the Service Academies and War Colleges – but does it sink in where it need to sink in the most, in the places where decisions are made on how to train, equip, and otherwise prepare this nation for war?

There are few things in this line of work that can bring clarity to the mind more than actual combat. It has always been true that at the end of a conflict a military has a fairly good handle on what works and what does not. True in 1945 in Europe and the Pacific, 1972 in Vietnam, and 2008 in Iraq.

After a war winds down though, the rough concensus starts to break down as the second guessing takes place, the think tanks start overthinking, and some advocates do a better job than others in selling their version of victory. That starts the process of separation of what is needed, and what is wanted.

The unsexy and difficult tend to be starved or forgotten in time. New and upproven theories come to the front in a time of peace with the promise to go around the unsexy and difficult to make war all shiny and new – or better yet, distract from the requirements of the unsexy and difficult, as only in peace can you get away with ignoring the sexy and difficult things such as logistics, damage control, and young men holding ground with a rifle.

The problem is less the cliche of “Fighting the last war” as much as forgetting what happened during the last war. Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl’s central theme of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam is in a large part the question of the degree our military is a learning institution. Unlike peacetime where a PPT or White Paper can avoid the hard truth of reality if sponsored well – in combat, the truth comes out through blood and treasure.

The wars of the last decade have been land wars and the ground services, Army and Marines, have had to learn more than the air and sea services. Just the nature of the war. Though there are many – some of the Lessons Learned/Identified are not new at all. No, they are things that were learned and written in blood decades earlier- but forgotten in the ease of peace. Just a few examples from the ground side of the house.

  • RPG cages/Slat armor: Plenty of pictures of them on Strykers and other armored vehicles now, but not so starting early on in this war. The RPG dates back to WWII, so you can’t say their impact on light armor is a new issue. When RPGs became common in Vietnam, we put our 113’s in cages of one type or another. Very effective – and very forgotten. Like the next example, lives were lost, memories came for the fore, redneck engineering held the line until official production – and now we have them again. No excuse.
  • Unarmored HUMVEEs/MRAP: All you needed to know about their need was learned and forgotten in Somalia. Israel and Apartheid South African experiences spanning decades also gave clues. The story by now is well known – as it was on 10 SEP 01. No excuse.
  • Inadequacy of the M-16/M-4 and its varmint round, the .223/5.56mm: Tired but true argument. All discussion should have ended when the M-14 was brought out of storage wholesale mid-decade and serious talk came up towards a 6.5/6.8mm round – but the G4 guys seem to have beat the G3 guys, again, on this with a classic bureaucratic holding actin – sadly. Same institutional concept that ignored Gen. Mattis when he was MARCENT and wanted MRAPs for his Marines. The amount of our own countrymen’s blood on the hands of our accountants and non-warfighting Staff Weenies is enough to leave anyone gobsmacked. Back to the subject at hand, I recommend anyone who wants to defend M-16 series talk to MG Robert H. Scales, USA (Ret.). No excuse.
  • The joy of armor. I love the Canadian example from AFG on armor, a lot. It isn’t that they didn’t learn the lessons – it is just they learned the wrong lessons. Too much peacekeeping since the end of the Korean War and the lost perspective from the end of garrison duty in Germany after the Cold War had left the Canadians within a year of getting rid of all their tracked armor. They also let the wrong people run their internal national messaging – tanks are symbols of masculine militarism, etc. When reality squatted on their national bellybutton picking, they just had a few Leopard 1s left. It didn’t’ take long for the Canadian dead from AFG to scream for tanks, as the reality of combat brought the unique skill-set of the tank to the front. Where do we find our Canadian brothers now? With a nice gaggle of Leopard A2s. They also are bringing back the CH-47. No excuse.
  • Irreplaceable tracked vehicle: In the same line as the Canadian idea – we too had fallen in love with the wheeled vehicle. They have their place – but are not all things for all places. Strykers are great as long as you don’t, ahem, have to worry about IED – but if you can’t leave the road to engage the enemy or get away from a kill zone – then all you are is a death trap. We mostly knew that —- but this still makes the cut because there was a growing school that wanted to get rid of all tracks – they are still around – experience in the field says you can’t …. again.
  • The gun on aircraft (USAF): Everyone knows the story from Vietnam, but as we can see with the USMC & Navy’s version of the F-35, we have not learned the importance of the gun as well as the USAF (gunpods don’t count). Infantry always enjoys a good strafing run – but recently it has also come to the attention of the COIN crowd that the aircraft cannon is a very precise and discriminating weapon. No GPS coord problems or laser designation challenges. No excessive explosions. Man in the loop accountability.
  • Infantry: You never have enough infantry: Enough said. What is less sexy to a peace time green eyeshade number cruncher than a guy with a rifle in his hand? They are a pain until you have to go to war – then all of a sudden you remember that the Marines may have something there; everyone a rifleman. Talk to the Army non-infantry types who have done nothing but infantry work.

To forget and to wish away; this is human nature – and it is unavoidable. Things are forgotten either by neglect or intention – and when conflict comes, people are killed, battles are lost, and if you forget something bad enough – your nation is put at Strategic Risk because in the comfort of peace things were forgotten for the wrong reasons.

The longer you go between conflicts, the wider the gulf seems to be between what is needed and what is actually there when you show up. As it has been a very long time since the US Navy has been challenged at sea, the experience of the Army and Marines had me thinking, “What are the half-dozen problems waiting for us when war at sea comes?”

Oh, it will come – I don’t know when, and I don’t know with whom – but it will come. There are some things out there that we don’t know that will work well and others won’t. That is why you can’t put all your hopes in one system – you might have picked the lemon. There are, however, somethings that we will have no excuse for forgetting. History is too clear – the gaps too obvious to ignore. These are some of the known knowns.

  • Damage Control: COLE, PRINCETON, TRIPOLI, STARK, FORRESTAL, ENTERPRISE and the whole British experience in The Falklands War demonstrate that automated DC is a myth and pipe dream. Destruction has its own plan. There is one critical thing you need to save a damaged ship and fight hurt; manpower. Multiple DC teams. Optimal manning is only good in a permissive peace time environment when you don’t have to deploy for more than a few weeks. Manning for ships such as LCS will make them a one hit wonder. They take one hit, and you’ll wonder what happened to them. Taking away DDG manning to such obsurd levels – including the DDG-1000 manning concept – and you will simply wonder, “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” When we worry a lot about at-sea manning while our shore staffs bloat – you need to wonder if we are a serious, warfighting institution.
  • Underway replenishment. Is there anything less sexy than an oiler? Follow the link and look at Hooper’s article here. Worth a deeper ponder.
  • Organic refueling. So, does buddy tanking from one light strike fighter to another light strike fighter make you feel comfortable about our ability to project significant power ashore while keeping the CVN a healthy distance away? Do you really think we will always have USAF tankers based close to where we need to be to support us? Really? Fewer shorter range light strike fighters with their CVN closer to shore. Really? Speaking of unsexy, think the C-2 will last forever? Really? Who is doing your ASW again?
  • Numbers in the game of ASW: You always … always … run short of platforms and weapons. Once the shooting starts and people start seeing submarines under every herring pod – check your Light Weight Torpedo inventory. If for some, ahem, reason your peace time LWT training and testing wasn’t what it should have been for the expected targets and environment, and they don’t work – what is your back-up weapon? How many SSN do you have, and they are doing what where? No excuse here at all. From WWII to the Falklands history is screaming at us, again – no excuse.
  • NSFS: Anything less than 5″ is an insult and an embarrassment. Not archaic – ask anyone from the Falklands to Five-Inch Friday about it – again. Talk to the Marines what they think about a single mount 57mm gun with a non-functioning NLOS onboard as their NSFS.
  • Redundancy in offensive and defensive weaponry: Back to the ASW example in part and a review of your standard issue WWII DD or DE. Ever wonder why they had so many different types of weapons – and so many? Well – in combat, things break or get broken – different types of targets are better addressed by different weapons. There are no training time outs in combat. A little close to the modern timelines … there was a reason certain warships were on the gun line off Vietnam and others weren’t. Numbers are hard from a PMS and manning perspective – but no one wants to be an O-ring or golden BB away from being Not-Mission-Capable when people are trying to kill you and a few hundred of your shipmates.

There, that is my dirty half-dozen of things that can/will be a problem due to neglect and complacency in peace. Your list may be different.

We should know the lessons of history, but are we applying them? I firmly believe that the Transformationalists are good people who are trying to find a better way – but they are putting too much on hope and not enough on critical thinking about practical matters. When you tell people your Amphibious Ships are too valuable to get close enough to shore to put Marines ashore – your idea of NSFS is a single 57mm gun and a few dozen missiles so bad the Army doesn’t want them – your open ocean ASW plans involve remotely piloted center consol fishing boats – and you tell people with a straight face that a Graf Spee sized warship with a huge superstructure radiating like there is no tomorrow within visual range of shore is “Stealthy” – then we should stop, pause, and reflect.

When our Fleet is challenged at sea again, will a modern day nautically-minded Tallyrand say of those who designed the Navy, “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.“?

Posted by CDRSalamander in Marine Corps, Navy
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  • Chuck Hill

    Let’s not forget the importance of keeping track of the bad guys merchant ships and taking them out.

    Containerized “Club-K” missiles with cuing from satellites and UAVs have revived and multiplied the potential of later day “Atlantis” style, disguised armed merchant raiders.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Salamander makes some great points here, all to be heeded. With the caviat that equipping an army for high-intensity maneuver warfare is significantly different from equipping that same army for an extended counter-insurgency.

    That said, the REALLY BAD residue of peacetime policy makers who often resent war fighters and their experiences is the creep of the theoretical into doctrine and tactics. Biggest one that comes to mind is the unacceptably slow and cumbersome orders process.

    Such things as “commander’s desired end state” and S-2/G-2 briefs that tell you every last detail except what they think the enemy is going to do. All those are the result of peacetime or small-conflict thinking where the luxury of technology and firepower are all on your side, and tempo is not a game-changer. The idea of mission orders, as the great mobile commanders executed with astonishing success and speed in WWII and in some notable instances since, has definitely gone out of style, albeit with a short revival of that school with Bill Lind et al.

    The idea that a combat commander needs to fill out an ORM matrix to fully understand the risks of the schemes of maneuver at the regimental and even battalion level makes me cringe. If, by that time, that commander and his junior commanders is not fully versed on maneuvering their forces against an enemy, no matrix on Earth is going to save them. The ORM push is just another example of a peacetime aversion to risk which will lead to paralysis and inaction in war. Cede the initiative to the enemy, and you pay the devil to get it back. And that currency is in lives and combat power.

    “Sent to penny-fights and Aldershot it” indeed.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Sal, I can’t speak for our senior enlisted leadership, nor will I presume to speak for the Marines, they’ll speak for themselves, thank you very much. But I can tell you that with a few slim exceptions from the ROTC and USNA, the very term “history” is treated with contempt and disregard as one of oft-derided “social sciences” and dismissed in favor of the “pure” sciences and engineering. Our young ‘uns learn from their seniors, and when told that those who indulge in such studies seriously shouldn’t really even be considered for such noble and lofty callings as naval officer, you get a focus by those beginning their education that steers well clear of those shoals and that fails to understand anything that smells of the musty past.

    I witnessed this for four years as I strove to put the art of strike warfare into context for senior FOGO staffs, most of whom were most proud of their BS’s in Naval Science, or Engineering or whatever. By avoiding the “H-word” and using the far more palatable “lessons learned” and trying to be at least a little entertaining, I think a few chose to open their minds and understand what past events can teach us about future operations. But it is an up-hill slog and it will be a long struggle to get those who willfully chose to ignore the lessons of human conflict to look back, open the files and pay attention.

    Oh, and as to “Organic Refueling?” I will buy, you can pick the beverage. We just need to find the venue and set the date. You and me need to do some serious talking. At length. 😉

  • USAF Mike

    Concur on the observation about organic refueling…the USAF is one catastrophic failure on a KC-135 away from being unable to meet our own refueling requirements, much less anyone else’s. Even without such a catastrophic failure, our hands are going to be full supporting USAF assets in pretty much any scenario in the PACOM AOR, where the tyranny of distance is going to come into full effect.

    That said, your post has got me thinking about what the AF equivalent to your list would be…as you say, the current wars have had more for the ground centric services, and more importantly I’m not sure we’ve learned the proper lessons from the last couple of full blown conflicts we’ve been engaged in (namely Desert Storm and the Deny Flight/Deliberate Force/Allied Force fun in the Balkans), both at the macro strategic level (Allied Force supposedly being the first war “won” solely from the air…really?) and the micro operational and tactical level (stealth making us risk averse, perhaps excessively so, and the atrophy of EW/SEAD assets are the first that come to mind).

  • Beer? Huh … what … who … did someone say beer?

  • Derrick

    Well…if only this blog was posted months back…

    Right now looks like the US government is signalling yet another deep cut in military spending:

  • Speaking of learning from history. Early WW2, ABDA forces pretty much kept going only by the presence of forward deployed Destroyer Tenders.

    I myself was on an AD in 83-84 and we deployed several times to assist various ships off the Lebanese coast.

    I truly believe that the USS Cole could have sailed home under her own power had a tender been available to go assist her.

    Given the “flip-flop” potential of some of our “allies”, I wonder if we should bring some back into service.

  • Byron

    “Beer? Huh … what … who … did someone say beer?”

    Andy, just say “Grouper sandwich and beer” and he’ll do just about anything 🙂

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Today is a busy day and this requires some thought, so will get back to you later. A couple of half formed thoughts to keep the discussion rolling.

    FLAK, AAA, call it what you will. Relatively small caliber, rapid fire, many gun, gunsight directed, barrage fire capable, all round the horizon coverage, ballistic trajectory defense batteries. Radar assisted and VT frag options?

    Sea sidewinder adjunct to above. Ditto ARM.

    Every ship fights. Defensive weapons on everything, the cold war is OVER, the enemy is scrappy and not afraid to die just to try. MSC manning of unarmed logistic train vessels = HUGE VULNERABILITY, remember Gallipoli.

    Every ship UNREP’s. In port evolutions other than at a citadel harbors with only naval vessels allowed are a huge vulnerability. Once they know you can’t hit a curve low and inside but in the strike zone, you won’t see anything else.

    DE’s. Frigates, Corvettes, ASW Escorts by any name. If the Columbian drug lords can build SS’s up jungle wilderness rivers to smuggle with, that’s a weapon delivery system. MPA and Blimps(?), ditto. ASW is hard, constant practice required. Practice.

    Simulators, on board. Computer gaming mining.

    AA Cruisers with a frigate ASW suite as secondary battery. MORE needed.

    Everyone on board fully up to speed on DC. Good Lord, why to we have to even mention it. Shoring, dewatering, debris basket screens for pumps, RELIABLE portable pumps, patches, casualty power & lighting, smoke curtains. OBA’s vice compressed air breathing apparatus (“the helo delivered more OBA canisters”…every single major at sea fire for decades).

    A battle dress shipboard working uniform with PFD? Kevlar, Nomex. For shipboard combat, not marine corps envy amelioration, or “why do officers and chiefs dress different” whining.

    Smaller SSN’s. N subscript TS, shallow water, greater agility, acceleration, leave ’em a knuckle and scoot. The Van Saun shuffle. Thorium fuel reactors (?). Get back to Skipjack size, better yet, Barbel size.

    Jamming, Spoofing, false targets, noisemakers, “window”. Cover and deception generally.

    Target practice with nonexplosive rounds, particularly for underwater weapons. Practice, practice, practice. QA testing, constant and PUBLISHED to the fleet.


    ARMOR, hardened systems, compartmentation, installed fire containment and suppression. Nomex, body armor for critical watchstanders. Really installed (valve on – system on, anytime)washdown systems.

    FIRST AID TRAINING and in space supplies. Pain management meds, pre issue. Quick clot, torniquets..Ditto. Stretcher bearers, up to state of art BDS’s. Stretcher design, flotation.

    lifeboats, lift rafts. Personal epirbs.


    Ammo inventory, ammo industrial base, ammo testing, ammo reliablity.

    Over to the peanut gallery. I’ll be back.

  • Chuck Hill

    Grampa, I love it. Unfortunately..

    And don’t forget to plan to do SAR after a battle!!!

  • Mike M.

    Strategy counts. We need to avoid getting mired in purely technical issues to the exclusion of strategic issues.

    Personal fighting skills are important. Not only because you might use them, but to feed fighting spirit. Every Naval installation needs a rifle & pistol range, open frequently enough to let everybody practice.


    Well said, Grandpa! Practice, practice practice! More costly in peacetime, but saves vast amounts of treasure and blood in wartime. FRANKLIN and BUNKER HILL came home 70 years ago, so we have known for the better part of a century how to do DC. We need to disoense with the Diversity foolishness, and use the time to e teach our Sailors how to keep themselves and thier ships alive.

    If we have to keep the Gators away from the landing site, because it’s too dangerous, I want to know why we are building warships that cannot go to war? The all F4U air wings of the late 1940’s did not work, so why are we using all Hornet air wings now. The A/F-18 is a fighter bomber, which means it isn’t a fighter, and it isn’t a bomber. It has zero ASW capacity. We meed a replacement for the S-3, because there are far too many KILOs out there, and we need a fighter, as the Chinese are heading out to sea, and they are gonna challenge our CVs with thiers someday.

    Well, I am going to stop ranting, as I am preaching to the choir.

  • Matt Yankee

    Just as the enemy has a vote in the effectiveness of our systems the enemy will also have a vote in whether we downsize our military. The US Navy got a pretty good shot in the arm even with the Great Depression (WWII). I would suggest the future will not be to unfamiliar. As the world is more destabilized we will rely increasingly on the Navy to keep the peace and at times impose it.

    Also the Navy will likely not have to wait too much longer to get some combat experience with Iran and North Korea acting as they are. I would say in addition the GW is getting some pretty close up views of the Chinese in the South China Sea which could lead directly to the most combat the Navy has had to wage in a while. The Navy better be ready for the fight of the century at the drop of an order of fried rice and Kung Pow chicken.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    In addition to the actual war fighting prowess gained form actual combat is one other thing that the Army and Marines are learning from this decade long combat: How to deal with multiple combat tours, with units returning with diminished strength due to combat losses.

    The year I spent in AFG with the Army showed me the dramatic difference between how the Navy takes care of its Sailors and the Army its Soldiers. In short, it has been my experience that the Navy takes better care of its Sailors than the Army does its Soldiers. I do not mean just in the sense of dealing with being wounded in combat. But, the whole gambit of taking care of a serviceman. The Navy is just really good at looking out and mentoring (in a sense) its Sailors.

    But, the other thing that is readily apparent to me, is that the Navy has no modern context to compare to what the Army has had to deal with. Soldiers who have completed multiple tours, and have not been wounded have still probably lost a number of their buddies. That takes a toll on a person. So, I ask myself: How would the Navy react if we lost a CG, a DDG (or two), or even a CVN with embarked squadrons. What would happen? All I can come to is that the Navy would be in utter shock. Even if it were a West Coast CVN, the East Coast Fleet would be in utter shock.

    We’re not prepared for that. I am not completely sure how we could prepare, outside of comparing and contrasting how the Army and USMC have dealt with continuous combat.

    To me, the USMC has taken all its been through in ‘stride’ much better than the Army has. I don’t have the gouge well enough to say who has been through more, Army or USMC. But, I do know the mindset of the Soldiers and Marines I served with out there, and the Marines seemed to have their heads in the game much more than the average Soldier. This distinction is important, and I think we need to look long and hard at it.

  • Grandpa Bluewater:

    I noticed the question mark following “blimps”. Yeah, me too. Blimps are archaic; almost worthless gas bags.
    But true air-SHIPS…ie: costructed of aluminum and carbon fiber…rigid hulled, amphibious, all weather, FAST….will become outstanding Naval craft.

    Time to leave “blimps” back in the 19th century and move on.

    In any case….thanx for the Lighter-than-Air nudge!

  • Surfcaster

    Blahoooey. We don’t need any of that as our leadership is smart enough to know when they can ignore history.

    In management you may only get a few years to really leave your mark on an institution. You don’t get a Gold Star on your forehead if all you are doing is rehashing old ideas mastered and proven by others. Looks good on a sentimental beer commercial, but not in the board room or executive steering committee.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    Thank you very kindly for updating an old salt horse. Please get specific as you can. I am intrigued.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Chuck Hill:

    Point well taken. I mentioned personal epirbs in passing, but there are bunches of low hanging fruit on this tree.

    Post action and combat SAR. Armed SAR. E & E gear. In country SAR.

    Deep water SAR. PFD’s, exposure suits, rafts and boats. Much to discuss.

  • Mike M.

    LTA = Best ASW platform out there. 70 kt submarine. Mate it up with UAV technology and you have a potent system.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Wage unrestricted land sea and air warfare. Gradual conversion to conscription. Strategy of technology, from the sea.
    SSN’s fwd, mobile task forces raid and prepare for advance base siezure and construction, protection of allied merchant shipping first priority. National mobilization after declaration of war and use of full war emergency powers. Total censorship of media. Full industrial mobilization and expansion. Once command of sea obtained, full no sanctuary policy for enemy forces and logistics, total interdiction of slocs and seizure or elimination of resources necessary to wage war. Use of weapons of mass destruction against US and allied forces to result in massive nuclear response on all known installations of enemy unless eradicated by country in which located, operations must start within 12 hours. No foreign aid except for fully cooperative allies.

    “The only terms I will entertain is your immediate and uncondition surrender. Unless provided by return courier under flag of truce, I will move immediately upon your works.”

    “I intend to make the enemy howl.”

    “War is hell and you cannot refine it”

    (H/T) U.S. Grant and W. T. Simpson.

  • Chuck Hill

    Grampa Thanks, Too many times after battles in WWII (USS Juneau/Guadalcanal, Samar) we neglected to plan for after action SAR, then after many survivors had died, it was done adhoc on the initiative of junior officers.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    PS:Personnel addendum to Strategy…Rapid promotion of the successful AFAHP.

    GOFO’s: no excuses, no awards, no slack, no mercy, no sympathy. Up or down, there is no out for the duration.

    Produce or wind up at the Weapons Sta to draw blue coveralls, steel toes, hard hat, clipboard and an inventory checklist- as a JG, after step by humbling step down.

    Why JG? So “They” can still kick you down a step at NJP at the first sign of ego or attitude. Head, toothbrush, lye soap, bucket, rag. Inspection in 12 hours. Produce or it’s the powerhouse bilges, or a needle gun on the ammo barge repair dock.

    Redemption possible. Maybe. Based on current performance of s— detail for at least 90 consecutive 12 hour days.

    Remember Admiral Byng.

  • Sal – Thank you. “They” didn’t want to hear it from me. I’m just a civilian with strange reading habits. Maybe they’ll listen to you.


  • Derrick

    Can these suggestions be implemented with minimal impact to the defense budget?

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    So, how do we sustain a force taking casualties (read: sunk ships) in a sustained fight. For the sake of argument, lets assume we are in fact able to continue to provide new hulls to the Fleet, in a timely manor.

    How do you sustain the training pipeline, if you have to pull ATG/ A-school personnel to man ships? What is the effect on the shore establishment if numerous billets need to be filled due to casualties. How do we do this for the Air side and Sub of the house?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Produce or wind up at the Weapons Sta to draw blue coveralls, steel toes, hard hat, clipboard and an inventory checklist- as a JG, after step by humbling step down.”

    “And it all goes into laundry,
    But it never comes out in the wash,
    ‘Ow we’re sugared about by the old men
    (‘Eavy-sterned amateur old men!)
    That ‘amper an’ ‘inder an’ scold men
    For fear o’ Stellenbosch!”

  • Grandpa Bluewater (et. al.)
    This is not the place, nor discussion, for me to go into details concerning modern airships. I only suggest, minimaly, so that others will begin to give airships true consideration.

    Should you link back by clicking on my name above, it will take you to my simple blog; where some details are provided. While these are directed towards my own design/business in part, the principles and observations about airships are meet for our Navy future.

  • Quick thoughts between video production:

    NSFS: Read “Tennozan” and what the Japanese Bn CDR Major survivor of Okinawa had to say about NSFS, Only deaths were those soldiers caught in the open during a barrage. No casualties in the tunnels.

    Redundant systems? Oh, yes. ADM Bulkely hisself had a Fletcher inshore hammering away with one 5″ tube in the later days of the Big One….when queried about what he was doing, something about the response “That’s why they made them with 5 guns” as he continued on the mission. Also so why he was hell on the “oh, this one system will work” testing…like CIWS, as INSURV.

    We’ve been on top of the air war and naval areana for so many years, we’re hanging out with our pants down and no one wants to say it. We’re commando, and without kilts.

  • Chuck Hill


    If WWII experience is any indication, while shock is the initial reaction to sinking, it is quickly replaced by anger and determination.

    In all probability we will loose ships faster than people, so veterans will form the cadre for new ships, if we figure out how to make them. (Maybe we can get lend lease from the Vietnamese or the Indians.)

    If we don’t ramp up training we will be making the same mistake the Germans and Japanese made.

  • Mike M.

    Grandpa Bluewater, a word of advice – Do not be so quick to sack a commander for failure in battle. This is the zero-failures mindset that we’ve been following for years…and look at the results.

    You sack (and even shoot) officers for failure to engage, not failure to win. Remember that while Patton would not hesitate to chew subordinates out, he only relieved one throughout the Second World War.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Defeat in battle is no disgrace, absent other factors. Replacement after defeat sometime is required none the less. It shouldn’t be the first option. Failure of a campaign requires intervention but not necessarily permanent sacking.

    Failure in strategic insight, failure in willingness to engage, failure to evaluate and revise a policy that has clearly failed, sacrificing subordinates lives or careers or simple rank when they did their best carrying out ineffective policies inadequately resourced by the responsible senior commander, or simple distraction, failing to prioritize strategy and tactics in order to meet bureaucratic mandates imposed by ignorant political “masters” outside the chain of command – those are not to be ignored. Counseling and a trip to the woodshed prior to firing – always, with clear exceptions which are generally not to the point of my post.

    Persecution of, cruelty toward, or favoritism in exchange for favors provided with a subordinate by a GOFO, need to be addessed, but are not what I’m talking about.

    Hang the closest JO, relieve the unit commander to end criticism, and ruin the subordinate who becomes controvesial, are deadly to effectiveness and morale.

    From those who have received much, much is expected. I was thinking of ADM Pye and GEN Drum, who quietly left, and the General in N. Africa who went away after Kasserine Pass, or the brilliant officer who didn’t pan out that Halsey relieved at Guadalcanal. That sort of thing isn’t happening today. The elephants seem to be a protected species, as are their pets. That system did not serve the Allies well in WWI or, I maintain, the twenty ought’s of the 21st century.

  • Mike M.

    Amen to that.

  • I recently read on the net the fact that the USS Nimitz will most likely be based in Everett soon. If anybody lives by there, keep an eye out- this unique vessel is really awesome!