The Strategic Everyone

January 2016


NB: Scroll to the bottom for updates.

Some blog posts are best put together with few words, but lots of pictures. Pictures matter. Pictures also need to be understood in each cultural context in which they are viewed.

Yesterday’s events that led up to the capture and release of our 10 Sailors will be better known in time, and is best reviewed then. That “how they got there” story is a very separate story than the more important story about what the Iranians did with the opportunity we gave them.

Think about not so much the view with your eyes, but with the eyes of those who do not wish our nation well; those who are on the fence, looking for the strong horse; those friends who lean heavily on their confidence in the great United States Navy.

Look and think about this part of the story – it will have much longer impact on our nation than the tactical details about how we got to the point where our flag was pulled down, our Sailors had their hands behind their heads, and from that sad view in the corner, our female Sailor appears to have been forced to wear a head scarf.




Oh, and yes; you must watch the video.

Update: More video.

Update II – Electric Boogaloo: Like Malcolm McDowell’s Alex, you will be made to watch.

UPDAE III: Interior video post capture. Nice comm gear.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy, Soft Power, Travel
Tags: , ,

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  • Woody

    Time to start blowing their ships and boats from the water…

    • Neil

      It’s a little late. If we were going to do that, the time to do so was before the boat crews were forced to surrender.

      • Arctic_Fox

        First, an entire chain of command gets relieved. Then… the new guys (& gals) can start blowing ships out of the water. Sends more of a message.

      • NEC338x

        I think we need to wait for the inquiry before we know how “forced” the surrender was. Was it a mexican standoff or were the crew just asked nicely?

  • Roger Misso

    Let other nations try to do this with malice aforethought. I’m happy to be underestimated.

    • UltimaRatioRegis

      One has to think that the estimates of Putin, Xi, Rouhani, Assad, and al-Baghdadi have been pretty spot-on.

      • Roger Misso

        You will certainly believe what your ears are tuned to hear.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        Eyes. Not ears. Unless, of course, one has blinders on.

      • John Mccain

        Underestimation is not a foreign policy, it is an excuse for a bad one. Underestimation creates miscalculation. That is how wars begin.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        Sorry, someone was talking over you.

        “This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the U.S. Congress,” Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

      • Roger Misso

        Iran grossly overreacted to *whatever* the situation was with our two boats and sailors. We do not have the facts there, our conjecture about comms and nav and propulsion are just that – conjecture.

        In the meantime, after the crew was taken, we did the responsible thing – we asked for them back. And we got them back.

        Of course the IRGC is going to spin this their own way; we do not control their words.

        We will continue to do things the right way on the high seas/territorial waters, which is to provide assistance and move on. Real strength–not false bravado–is letting your actions speak louder than your shrieking. Whatever the investigation finds, or these sailors provide, let that then dictate our response–not before, as this post and so much predictable, echo-chamber commentary suggests.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        Keep telling yourself how right we are doing things. And how our adversaries respect our power and will. And how our foreign policy actions and words reflect “real strength”. Is that Putin I see laughing into his hand? Xi cementing his claims all over the Pacific? Rouhani ramping up an Iranian nuclear program? Real strength? Right.

        The echo chamber is between Foggy Bottom, the White House, and the service chiefs.

      • Corbulo_AUS

        I agree completely. Immediate aggressive response is the only thing the tribes in that part of the Middle East understand and respect.

        When the Australian navy had a similar incident in 2004, the sailors took up aggressive positions and told the Iranian gunboats to fuck off. 4 hours later they were safely helo’d back to their ship.

        This humiliation probably isn’t all that good for US Navy morale either.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        Thank goodness they were fully trained in microaggressions, gender norming, white privilege, and Diversity. Though, had the Iranians wanted, the rape-prevention training would have been a bit inadequate.

      • grandpabluewater

        God bless all Oz.

      • grandpabluewater

        might be a tad harsh….

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        Doubtful. The consequences? They will be harsh.

      • floridaseabee

        Whether or not they grossly overreated, those were OUR sailors they had on their knees and had the ability to take their lives if they chose.

        In this area of the world, perception is everything…and the world just saw the Worlds Greatest Navy being held at gunpoint and on their knees. This is all about humiliation of the Great Satan, and showing who is better…having your enemy on their knees and hands on their head is not false bravado to me. Its sending a very, very clear message.

        Seeing this made my blood boil, not just at the Iranians, but at the circumstances that put them there. Like you, I will be very interested in the investigation findings…if they ever see the light of day.

      • Corbulo_AUS

        The problem is that it has been one US foreign policy blunder or strategic miscalculation after another since 2003. By this point all you’re really able to do is flinch from the repeated blows that are raining down after all of those previous mistakes put you off balance, exhausted, and exposed.

        Spending the last 12 years toppling secular governments in the Middle East has spawned the current situation you are in when it comes to that part of the world. You’ve allowed Russia the political oportunity for a valid re-entrance into Middle Eastern game via undermining the Syrian government. I doubt any of your strategic planners are happy about that A2/AD bubble that is gradually being setup to extend outwards from Syria and prevent US Navy manoeuvrability within the region.

        Not only that but you’ve also handed the Iranian military Iraq on a silver platter and pushed Russia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah into an effective operational alliance that will surely outlast the current Syrian crisis.

        This doesn’t even get into your serious lack of foresight in basically ignoring the Pacific for the last 10 years and allowing China to rapidly close the technological gap via modernization of their Navy and Airforce. The South China Sea A2/AD is just a by product of China feeling secure enough with their missile capabilities and number of fighter aircraft in the area.

        Now those of us from Australia are wondering what the fuck you are trying to drag us into with our main trading partner by purposely escalating the situation via the equivalent to Naval drive bys. Basically you don’t have any kind of strategy in the pacific and are just trying to beat your chest in a pointless display.

        Either way the South China Sea with be China’s and you will just have to suck it up and get used to it.

    • James

      Really? Tell ya what. Walk into a clearing with just you and a real mean wild dog/coyote mix one day. Then act small and and weak. You’ll die bloody either slow of fast.

      Act strong it will probably walk away.

      Of course its still waiting so you can never back down.

      For most of the world except the majority of the Western nations Respect is what stops war.

      Being the biggest meanest son of a bitch on the block when angered gets you friends, and peace. Being weak gets your throat slit.

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    Cue the chorus of those who refuse to acknowledge the perception of US weakness brought on by a feckless foreign policy, the winnowing of our Armed Forces below the levels required to meet mission, and the absence of the will necessary in our leadership to protect and promote American interests around the globe, or even within our borders.

    Almost 5,400 words last night, none referenced Islamic terrorism, or this incident. That should be deeply troubling to America.

    • James

      You know it actually isn’t. It has nothing to do with Islam. We could worship Athena and they the Gods of the Persians. And you know what? Still the same thing.

      When you look weak people from that world attack. A part of me thinks the problem is the cultures of that portion of the world simply never gained the idea of logic over instinct.

      Western culture understood that sometimes its better to think of something else than to simply act as first instinct says. But with Insha’allah (which is in pretty much every culture and religion there from Israel to the Kurds) its never your fault.

      So no this time its not islam which is the cause..its weakness.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        I didn’t say Islam was the problem. But we have had how many instances of islamic terrorism on US soil in 2015? Six? Not a word. Nor a word about this. Troubling in the extreme.

      • James

        Ah ok I got ya you were talking about the “aren’t we great speech” I got ya. Agree.

  • MarkT

    When is the new secretary of the Navy to be named? Certainly this type of failure of leadership cannot be tolerated. Can it?

    • Ming the Merciless

      They’re still trying to find the perfect Transgendered Muslim Amputee of Color for the job…

      • MarkT

        Forgot about the quotas, darnit.

  • CharleyA

    Certainly the Navy boats had the firepower to repel the Iranian Whalers if ordered / allowed to do so – I have no doubt that comms were good. The question is why leadership allowed this to happen. If there was ever a reason to relieve a commanding officer, this is one.

  • CAPT Mongo

    This has all the earmarks of a Class A FUBAR.

    • Jon

      I disagree with Sal…“how they got there” is far more important than some public, and probably well deserved shaming. Because there had to be a complete chain of bad decisions and poor planning all the way down the line to end with these pics. These pics are an embarrassment…the sequence of events that led to them is a disaster. One that doesn’t need to be repeated.

      • DontKnowMuchAboutCNN

        …like a risk assessment for the transit near hostile waters, and appropriate countermeasures.

      • Jon

        Hey, I know! Let’s turn a simple boat movement into both a major embarrassment, and an international incident!

        These pics aren’t the embarrassment…the lack of professionalism and competence that led to them, is.

      • Maloney Frank

        I don’t think you understood what he was saying. Although very important – and I’m sure he acknowledges that – you are looking at the causality; what caused the first order effect; he is talking about the 2nd and 3rd order effects.
        or maybe I did not understand your point…

      • Jon

        What’s a more important issue? The loss of face, or the causality of the loss of face? One is transient, we’ll get over it…the other, is potentially an indication of serious internal issues that led to the incident, and a potential indicator of more incidents to come. Things happen…but if it’s “actual” incompetence vs. “things happen”, that’s a far more serious issue than some people laughing at our “supposed” incompetence.
        2nd/3rd order effects? We’ve been serially humiliated on the world stage by our Surrenderer-in-Chief for going on 8 years. This is small potatoes.
        End of the day, it was our armed gunboats drifting in Iranian waters, dead in the water. We laid our private parts out on the ground, and invited the Iranians to stomp all over them. Start a shooting war to prevent taking our nasty medicine?

      • Byron Audler

        My dad taught me an important lesson about fighting when I was very young. He said it’s never about “winning”. Winning just doesn’t matter. What does matter is making sure whoever decided to push you around, beat you up, whatever, would regret it enough to piss down his leg first. In other words, you don’t make it cheap; You make slapping you around expensive. Will you get the crap beat out of you? Yes, you will. Will it happen again? Probably not.

    • VelocityVector

      These boats were undermanned for operating in hostile waters. Three crew in the pilot house, one in the engine room and another topside-weapons-runner. In the event one boat had to tow the other craft, two crew on deck is the safe minimum given the possibility of man overboard. Whoever planned this mission screwed up from the very beginning by ignoring basic maritime safety.

      • Unless the true facts of the matter are altogether different that what we are being told.

      • VelocityVector

        It does boggle the mind given the neighborhood they operated in and the reported planned refueling at sea. My understanding is both craft had GPS and at least one of their respective two engines working. Yet reports are they drifted into Iran’s 3 nm territorial, which is “unpossible” except for deliberation else uber fail. And they were clearly understrength. I know CB-90s can routinely operate with five or even fewer crew per boat but they don’t do it with at-sea refueling planned anywhere near Farsi Island, man. So we either have dupes or imbeciles in the chain of command somewhere, time will tell or perhaps we’ll never know. The political timing is curious for sure.

  • This has the earmarks of a Class A Leadership failure from the top down. It’s this is an embarrassment on America.

  • DontKnowMuchAboutCNN

    I notice that the stern gun mounts were empty. I really would like to know if the main gun had ammunition, or whether since this was “just a transit” these Sailors were unarmed. If unarmed, and transiting near hostile waters, why were these boats not covered by some armed responder (warship with helo) within time/distance for response. If not covered, where the heck was 5th Fleet? Were they drunk or incompetent?

    • GrizzledCoastie

      I guess the LCS wasn’t ready for primetime. Maybe still stuck in the yards on pre-comm work?

      • Byron Audler

        More like post-comm….

    • Arctic_Fox

      Long time ago — late ’90s — we ALWAYS carried guns & ammo on small boats operating in and around Bahrain, Saudi, Kuwait… etc. Guns & LOTS of ammo. I remember it very well.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        Since January 2009, ROE states that we are only allowed to shoot “Hope and Change” at them, so as to not appear Islamophobic.

      • NavySubNuke

        And don’t forget the reset buttons all troops are now required to carry as well — they are supposed to work when the hope and change bullets fail.
        Just look at how much our relations with Russia have improved since we gave one to Putin after all….

    • GrizzledCoastie

      When I was in the Gulf, the Wimbrown (the barge that was home to helicopters and special operators) was packed with gun mounts. And they were loaded. As part of the air task group, we carried our Berettas on us at all times. Every SEAL was loaded for bear.

      How do we go from that posture to a pathetic, defenseless posture in the Persian Gulf?

    • Joseph Lausier

      Don’t think they had enough crew to man all gun positions.

      • NEC338x

        We will see if they had the will to man even one gun mount.

      • The_Usual_Suspect61

        That has already been answered in the negative.

      • go_gipper

        Shades of Carter’s hollow Army. Under crewed boats ..zeroed out platoons..

    • Frognot

      I was hoping that they had at least thrown everything overboard, though that seems doubtful. It would’ve been slightly less shameful. 🙁

      • Aubrey

        I’m fairly certain they at least threw the “Green Fleet” brochures overboard…can’t let THAT get out, someone might steal the secret of $150 a gallon fuel!

  • Kung.Kisstank

    I don’t see the U.S. Navy acting any different if a foreign naval vessel entered U.S. territorial waters…

    • Neil

      That’s simply incorrect. If it were true, U.S. and European harbors would be piled high with Russian “trawlers”.

    • Sharkie

      Big difference between a foreign vessel crossing within 12 mi of California and US Navy vessels crossing foreign territory in the Persian Gulf incident to transit passage.

    • jetcal1


  • AnotherBrian

    First, I am curious how two boat went down at nearly the same time. To me, that seems odd.

    Second, I am curious whether the ship (or ships) that sent the boats was sending a rescue boat.

    Third, I am curious what was the commanding officer’s instructions to the Navy personnel. Did he order them to surrender to the Iranians? I am not sure, but either way, that can’t be good for the decision maker.

    Fourth, I am curious why the Iranians had to detain the sailors.

    • annoyed by everyone

      they werent operating off of any ships.

      • AnotherBrian

        Alright, fine, did ANYONE send a rescue mission? CSG 12 is in the Persian Gulf. It is more than capable of sending ships, helicopters and planes to support a rescue.

  • QnsGambit

    white socks! ha! Bet never thought you’d need a reason to take your boots off except at your bunk!

    • jetcal1

      EMI for out of uniform.

    • MarkT

      See, the number on reason boats get taken over by the enemy really is cuz a sailor was wearing white socks, Chief was always right wasn’t he?

  • Declare war on Iran now. Congress should have done it last night while Obama was standing there playing with himself on television.

  • C_Low

    The only reason I can possible believe two RCB even with one crippled would have to surrender to a handful of Iranian kitted fishing boats is the ROE. Those boats could/should have ate those small craft if they tried to board or cut off their exit. Odds two boats having mechanical failures at same time nil to 0 and one could have easily towed the other out of the area.

    This is freeking humiliating infuriating

  • sid

    The skewed priorities of the USN over the last decade and half have come home to roost.

  • Earl D. Porker

    So, have the boats been released?

    • sid

      The boats were released.

      • WestCivYank

        What about all the equipment including the GPS that was reportedly stripped?

  • ntenghtim

    What I see: American sailors surrendered their ships to a foreign government under the force of arms because they unexpectedly found themselves inside another nation’s 12nm international limit. How they got into this position is important, but not as important as the fact that these sailors thought that they would get into less trouble by surrendering than they would if they refused to disembark and lower the flag; a position that might have required them to defend themselves and their equipment through the use of force. The fact that this belief will probably bear out is a testament to how culturally far away we have gotten from the nation who’s naval heroes didn’t “give up the ship.” We’ve totally lost the ability to understand that even being “wrongly” inside of the 12nm limit does not preclude us from protecting our sovereignty, and that naval vessels are physical extensions of our sovereign power. The nation isn’t looking for martyrs, but if you’ve got a fighting chance to defend your ship, the crew and the colors that they represent, you do so – regardless of the fact
    that you may be later judged to be at fault.

    From this perspective, the incident has a couple of aspects, the first (and most procedural) is that the entire chain of command should be relieved for allowing these two crews to put the nation in such a compromising position. We don’t want to have to defend two small ships from the IRGCN, a force that we know is fundamentally irrational…so we don’t put them in harm’s way in the first place. There can be no excuse that is sufficient to keep the chain of command in their jobs. Unlike most of the recent firings for questionable behaviors, this event has attacked the core of our professionalism as the world’s best navy. If it doesn’t result in firings, we might as well just pull the rest of our ships to the pier and go home. (I suppose this could have been a failed real-world operational task. If so, all of these points still apply, perhaps, even more so).

    The second issue is much, much deeper and is cultural in nature. We have become a nation of sea lawyers. Odds are that these sailors felt bound by rules of engagement that were written by lawyers with no real understanding of the context with which the Navy operates. I have little doubt that the weapons on these boats were unloaded and maintained in accordance with some administrative policy that is intended to mitigate risk of mistake or injury. By operating without regard to the inherent responsibility that applies to being an armed warship carrying the US flag, these crews had essentially surrendered the minute they left the pier. Furthermore, by surrendering without a fight, they reinforced the fact that every small U.S. Navy ship is a potentially lucrative extortion target. Finally, I keep seeing the unrelenting arguments in places like this blog that suggest that the Navy needs more ships, subs and aircraft. This is fine, but as we continue to experience ethical scandals, mistakes of judgment and professional failures, it seems to me that leadership really needs to get back to the basics. We desperately need to set a course back to our roots as sailors and understand what it means to operate a warship in the US Navy. In the end, the declaration of national sovereignty is the foundation upon which our nation and its laws are built – this is what we defend when we go to sea.

    • Trent Telenko

      What you said.

    • MarkT

      You had at me at surrendering. Entire chain of command, to the secretary.

    • DontKnowMuchAboutCNN

      What you said, with one quibble. Boats, not ships.

    • Ardbeg

      Great post.

      Here’s an even worse prospect to consider: What if they were ordered to stand down?

      • Debra Oglesby Maddrell

        That would be my bet.

      • That’s my bet too.

    • RightCowLeftCoast

      Time for more forceful FONOPS, perhaps? Show the flag as one of strength, rather one of weakness.

    • Rob Fiedor

      And I’m guessing both governments would have had to escalate until we had hundreds or thousands dead or an all out war. I’m glad cooler heads prevailed because I seriously doubt it would be your life on the line if we go to war with Iran. Have a nice day.

      • KAF

        Yeah, thank God Neville Chamberlain–with his cooler head–saved all those millions who would have died in WWII if he hadn’t cut a deal with Hitler. Grow up, you bonehead. No good will come from this.

    • Joseph Forney

      I commend the sailors for their dedication to duty… Circumstaces put them in harms way, and someone with a sound mind, decided to choose their battles more wisely than those quick to reference traditional battle cries. I served, and would have done the same honorably. For those who question their actions, imagine if the roles had been reversed. How would you have treated the so called ‘adrift invaders’? Give thought in your answer as your actions toward them would represent our nation.

      • CAPT Mongo

        If the circumstances had been reversed, I (and any USN person) would have offered to help, including a tow to a safe harbor–assuming the craft was disabled. If not, then a warning about location and an escort out of the 12 mile limit.

      • Pastafarian2

        Wait, so you wouldn’t have had the adrift sailors kneel before you at gunpoint, dressed their women up in head scarfs, and ransacked their boat for GPS gear and weapons? The deuce you say, sir.

      • James B.

        If they were capable and willing to leave, I expect any US Navy ship would ask them nicely, watch them go, and then let State file a nastygram with the appropriate government. If they were not capable of leaving under their own power, they would be politely but firmly disarmed. I dearly hope American sailors would exercise much better camera discipline than the Iranians, but in general the process would probably be similar.

      • CAPT Mongo


      • EODC D.B.

        Dedication to duty my eye! Their “circumstances” were a product of their inability to plan a simple transit from point A to point B. Better route selection and equipment loadout (e.g. sea anchors, repair parts, fuel bladders) would have prevented this.

    • totalitat

      My God, you’re right! Americans have *never* surrendered before! These sailors broke a 239 year winning strike of never surrendering. It’s a sad day in American history.

    • grandpabluewater

      One recommendation. BYNG.

  • Jeff Withington

    Mando, annual SERE training became a thing after the 2007 Iranian detention/capture of Royal Navy sailors. Not sure we got them meaningful training.

    • NEC338x

      SERE? Is that the Brits acronym for SAPR?

  • Sharkie

    Do we no longer have a Code of Conduct? Are Articles II and V optional now?

  • Southern Air Pirate

    For all the “bomb them back to the stone age” folks. Remind me what happened when the NORKS committed piracy with the USS Pueblo?

    Okay progressing pass that point, let’s ask some other important questions:

    1. What was the 3M records on these craft? When was the last time the systems that failed were overhauled? What was the planned maintenance schedule look like?

    2. In light of heightened actions by the IRGCC in the last few months, who authorized this transit with minimal arms and supoort? Was this 5th Fleet signing off or someone lower like Bahrain Security forces?

    3. Fleet tail failures shows here. Why don’t we have an ARS or an ATF in the region to help facilitate transits like this? Tie them up and make the transit. Seems similar to trying to run from Jax to Norfolk or even DC naval yard in a pair of LCUs out in the main shipping channel. All those auxiliaries we used to have were important and useful, not just wasteful overhead.

    4. I would love to have known what the ROE was/is for the last 18-24 months. That will have played a role.

    It will be interesting to see what plays out if an investigation is held or even released to the public.

    • Redeye80

      The USS Pueblo and this incident are similar in that no one seemed to care where they were. The big difference is CDR Bucher was subject to a board of inquiry, these guys nothing.

      • jetcal1

        Don’t count that one out yet. I fully expect few if any consequences for the senior non-enlisted types.

      • Grumpycarguy

        Except for the man (saw somewhere he was a Lt j.g.) who apologized on camera to the Iranians. Even if a) there was a compelling Iranian force and b) he was advised to surrender, you can easily bet his career is forfeit. Someone has to be made to pay, and it won’t be some brasshat further up the food chain.

      • jetcal1

        I posted this elsewhere;
        I’m gonna throw a spanner in the works here. We got a LT. here and all he knows is restricted ROE. He orders the crew to submit. Who are you going to blame?

        As mentioned, it’s the culture. You want blood for what these people did? Start at the highest levels. This all filtered down from somewhere. Is it fully systemic yet?

      • Grumpycarguy

        I completely get you, Jetcal. The man did as he was told. I’m not after his skin. The problem lie with a thin skinned, feckless, vacillating, weak president with a fragile ego. Anyone who believes this doesn’t resonate all down the line has zero idea how military culture works. The Iranians saw an opportunity to exploit all that, and damned if they weren’t going to take it.

        My only point about the young Lt. (I want to step lightly here) is he unwittingly provided the method by which some line officer under orders is going to find fault. You know the man is not going to be forgiven for exposing the failings of current ROEs and command decisions.

      • EODC D.B.

        I can just about guarantee that the only Code of Conduct training this guy has is the SERE.ppt on NKO. Are the Riverines not required to attend SERE or (even more applicable) PDAHS?

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        NOW we’re starting to get to root cause. SERE powerpoint? Some fam with weapons? That was probably about it. But hour after hour of SAPR, LGBTQ dignity, Diversity lectures, grievance group-history month, etc.,

      • Grumpycarguy

        I can’t speak to what’s on the man’s record. All I know is with the overall disdain the military is held to by the current administration and the generally poor thinking that flows from it is what caused this. A Code of Conduct rewritten by someone like Obama and the upper eschelon military chiefs that serve at his pleasure has got to result in a lessening of training, readiness, and morale. I honestly don’t, no, make that can’t, see it any other way.

      • jetcal1

        I agree.

      • CAPT Mongo

        “I completely get you, Jetcal. The man did as he was told. I’m not after his skin”

        Harrumph. There is a time when you break the radios and do your duty.

      • jetcal1

        jg? In today’s navy? I don’t think it’s the same navy or leadership. And, it ain’t new either. This is the result of changes that started with the tailhook purge in 91.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        What did you think they meant when they said “destroy the culture”?

      • Grumpycarguy

        That’s right. There was.

      • Jason

        I see an invitation to the White House in the LT’s future.

      • Grumpycarguy

        OK, but will it be a beer summit? Or just a Rose Garden shindig?

      • KenWats

        Pueblo tried to put up a fight too, iirc.

  • themainman

    It was a setup. Are these really US Navy sailors or from somewhere else?

    • Matt in KY

      Political gift. Thought the same thing. Too convenient. The unforced apology in under 24hrs was too much. Overplayed.

  • George Marxmiller

    Well when you have a Commander and Chief that won’t protect its service men, what do you expect. Maybe He will trade all of the Gitmo Detainees for our sailors

    • timactual

      What do I expect? I expect the officers and petty officers who train and supervise these people to do their effing jobs. Obama didn’t train those people. He has no day to day contact with them or control over them, he didn’t plan the training exercise or monitor its execution. Politicians do cause problems, but this clusterfumble was pure military incompetence.

      I will be happy to change my opinion if you can show me evidence of political involvement in the training, planning, or execution of this mess.

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        How about the training, planning, and execution of the Navy as a whole? Admirals who tell their sailors their mission is not to fight. Others who evaluate China and DPRK aggression and claim the biggest security threat is global warming. SAPR and human trafficking training, this and that “heritage month” activities, women in submarines, green fuels, the list goes on, and on. All pushing across a finite time frame for training and equipping our Navy for war. Warrior ethos? Such a distant memory as to no longer be in the collective consciousness. Evidence of political involvement? Where to begin?

      • Jon

        If they’d fired their weapons, the propellant gases discharged would have counted against their CO2 allotment for the month…let’s see, public humiliation vs. a massive amount of paperwork and RBIs for exceeding the GREAT GREEN FLEET emissions target? Easy call, given our Navy’s oft stated priorities…

        And hey, they spiked the Iranians for a free lunch out of the deal to boot. What’s not to like?

      • timactual

        “Admirals who tell their sailors…”

        That would be MILITARY incompetence, yes? I assume you trained and evaluated officers and men in your career. Are you saying your training and evaluation standards were so low due to such things that your subordinates would run out of gas on a training exercise close to hostile forces? Or did you find the time to at least teach them how to read a gas gauge and tell east from west?

      • UltimaRatioRegis

        That would be not simply MILITARY incompetence, no. It is the result of a political agenda being forced into the armed forces by activists and promulgated by senior officers put in places of command and policy making because of their willingness to do the promulgating. The loss of warrior ethos is no less political than the Joint Chiefs Chairman stifling the lawful free expression of American citizens to support the deliberate falsehoods being told to the American people by a SECSTATE and Commander in Chief.

      • Michael J. Kane

        This. Yes. 100% spot-on sir.

      • kk

        It’s political because it’s too coincidental that it ‘happened’ during O’s last address. Especially Kerry’s statements the following morning,
        with regard to how it was “handled”. Something is clearly not right with this incident. Especially after all of the comments as to the mission, the failure of both boats, etc…

      • Jon

        We screwed up, and at first (and second) glance, by the numbers, and in every possible way. From seamanship, to small boat ops, mission planning, with a meander through preparedness, and ending with command oversight/adult supervision.

        With the more you look at it, the worse it gets. Even in the little niggling details, like rusty/corroded ammo.

        I’ll repeat again, it ain’t the surrendering that’s the big deal. It’s how we got there.

      • timactual

        Amen. Although I would have been happier if that spokesman (“…..Thank you very much for your hospitality”) had been a little less subservient.

  • timactual

    “The Iranian behavior was fantastic while we’re here we thank you very much for your hospitality and your assistance.”

    Aeons ago when I was in the Army we were supposed to abide by a Code Of Conduct which covered, among other things, behavior when captured by the enemy. I don’t remember the wording, but I don’t think this would have been considered abiding by that code.

    Also, 50 cal. and 7.62 mm mg ammunition used to consist of a copper jacketed projectile in a brass case connected by black metal links. Looking at the belt of ammo in that last video I think I detect a certain laxness and/or incompetence.

    • VelocityVector

      That ammo looked older than me. Stock photo or similar is my best guess. Because there is no positive way to explain away brass that mature hue/matte.

      • annoyed by everyone

        oh no, thats the ammo trust me on that.

      • timactual

        “brass that mature”

        Heh. “mature”. I like that.

        “Soldier, why $^&^ does that %$^&^^&** belt buckle look so %^*( mature?!?! ”

        Ah, memories.

  • P.S. Wallace

    I would expect a Navy that once had a USS Chesapeake–and once upon a time had absorbed the lesson–to do somewhat better in at-sea preparedness for action. Chesapeake, Pearl Harbor, Stark, Cole, and possibly Vincennes–at some point, we might want to embrace a little more fully the “it can happen at any moment” philosophy of life. Have we? Is every watch ready *now*? This moment? I have no idea.

    Of course, it we were on the wrong side of a line,we were on the wrong side of a line. If these two boats in fact were not where they should have been –presuming it was not intentionally straying too close (on own cowboy initiative or per orders) and presuming it was not general buffoonery (always possible, and my going-in choice just because never attribute to malice, etc)–then I wonder about a GPS spoofing test.

  • Joseph Lausier

    Sounds like ROE might have been an important element of this clusterf#(*. Perhaps treating Iran as an ally, rather than a mortal enemy because of the bullshit that Obama and Kerry have created, is a major part of the problem. The firing of missiles close to our carrier Truman recently should have been a clue as to the demeanor of this “Ally”. Was the person who planned this movement a diversity loser?

  • sdatf


  • sdatf

    So, now we all know I have no idea how to post. Sorry all.
    This whole affair has made me furious. From all levels this seems like a mess and another blow to prestige of our country. While the big picture is very important, especially in the long run; a couple of tactical items stand out.
    I have never been in the Navy but here are my observations/questions:
    – In the videos both posted and on the news, the boats had 2 240s mounted and 1 .50 mounted. I only saw a box of ammo on 1 of the 240s.
    – As another poster pointed out, the .50 ammo that was in the video was way old; rusted links and corrosion at the bases of the rounds. I would never allow my people to roll out of the wire with ammo like that. Did they even have the ammo they needed? A higher HQ issue if not.
    – Were they able to Z all their commo and did all the commo equipment come back with the boats?
    – A video on the news showed the IRGC leafing through passports of the Sailors. Is it common to carry passports while on these type of missions (even if just ferrying boats in the gulf)?
    There are so many potential aspects to this; ROE, orders, planning etc. Hopefully more information will come out. I’m not counting on it as this is probably a non-event to this administration.

    • Uncle Max

      Good questions. I’m not Navy either, but I’d go with easiest conclusions. Poor upkeep due to poor command, attention to detail. Poor decision making on this trip and contingencies , as Iran and anything near that island is a known issue, right? The way Iran is belligerent in that area is a known. They either got surprised and ROE was to be nice, asked for guidance and told to stand down be nice or made really bad on the spot decisions.. Have to see. I doubt we’ll hear much as this was a political coup for Iran and for this administration. It pisses off all the people this administration could care less about and sets a new tone that I think fits their strong Iran theme going forward.

      We need see some chain of command firings and hear about it, otherwise, this whole thing will smell like a PR set-up demonstration for the above political considerations. I HATE thinking that way.

  • ELP

    Like it or not, this will now be the marketing meme by the enemy on the U.S. military. Our chain of command owns this one.

  • What’s humiliating about this, after having watched the videos is how passive these guys are.

    Anyone heard from Doug Hegdahl recently?

    • jetcal1

      Under orders by senior man present?

      • Just wanting a bluejacket who understood how to behave in a crunch.

      • jetcal1

        I don’t think that’s possible anymore.

      • timactual

        Not enough John Wayne in their viewing selections. Too many implausible super heroes like Rambo (“An Army Of One”) and not enough actual men acting like men under adverse circumstances.

      • jetcal1

        Who knows. I’d bet there were a few that were pissed. But, i believe that being told to surrender would be a lawful order.

  • VerminMcCann

    Court martials all around.

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    This is the result of not understanding the culture of your adversary. If you project your value system onto your adversary, you are in for a world of hurt. The Iranians DO. NOT. THINK. LIKE. US. Obama, Kerry, Carter, Mabus are delusional. These people may be book smart; however, they are real world stupid. Weakness in the ME is rewarded with scorn and abuse.

    The sailor who spoke to the Iranian behind the microphone should be court martialed. What a gift he is to the Iranians. I understand the circumstances, but they were nowhere nearly as severe as what the Pueblo crew endured. The Pueblo had only one mount and these two boats were battleships compared to the Pueblo.

    • Grumpycarguy

      The Pueblo had only one mount and these two boats were battleships compared to the Pueblo.

      As I saw elsewhere:
      We surrendered to a bass boat? WTF?!?

    • Agree on the schmuck who talked getting Court Martialed. Cashier him, for the very least, and use his name to understand what not to do.

  • Grumpycarguy

    Jon Cary said something curious about this incident last night. He mentioned that just 4 or 5 years ago, this might have been a much more serious event. Which makes me think: is he taking a dig at Sir Hillary, is he spiffing his own record, or a combination of both?

    No matter the level of diplomacy, the Iranians are going to cause us heartburn wherever they can. Taking an accurate full measure of our President, it was quite a skillful bit of humiliation.

  • The Conservative Phantom

    Two words: Smart power.

  • J.J. Sefton

    Stay tuned for part deux in the South China Sea because the ChiComs are taking note.

    Sick to my stomach over how far this nation has fallen.

  • J Bar

    White socks

  • 338Lapua

    Mogadishu, anyone?

  • Pingback: This has all the earmarks of a Class A FUBAR. | Things to Remember, Things to Cherish()

  • VerminMcCann

    I. I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
    II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
    III. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
    IV. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.
    V. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause
    VI. I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

    Or just give up, whichever is convenient.

  • This is the most powerful military in the world under the leadership of Barack Obama.

    • UltimaRatioRegis

      An army of lambs led by a lion is far more dangerous than an army of lions led by a lamb….

  • sound awake

    they surrendered to a couple of bass boats…great…

    if were not willing to engage the “iranian navy” at this level…what are we going to do when they shut down the staits of hormuz…

  • thesayUwaythat

    Stand down-appeasement-fail theatre-thanks Kerry and Obama for the “transformed America” (sarc off)

  • NoDonkey

    I’d say my treatment was “fantastic” too given this administration’s willing to bend over to anything the Iranians want and this administration’s indifference when it comes to defending the nation.

  • totalitat

    When Reagan was President, the US was *strong*! We would shoot down an Iranian airliner and kills hundreds of civilians without a second thought. My God, what’s happened since then? THANKS, OBAMA.

  • Jay

    Good info and comments at Information Dissemination

  • Andrew O’Sullivan

    What happened to name, rank & serial number aside from “Don’t give up the ship”. Thank you for having us go on our knees.

  • Graham Barnes

    Should’ve butt fucked them on Iranian TV