Skip to comments.USS Fitzgerald Combat Team Unaware of Approaching Merchant Ship Until Seconds Before Fatal Collision
Posted on 05/13/2018 2:59:41 PM PDT by Retain Mike
The sailors who were manning the combat nerve center of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) did not know they were on a collision course with a ship almost three times their size until about one minute before impact, according to new information revealed in the preliminary hearing for two junior officers accused of negligent homicide for their role in the collision that resulted in the death of seven sailors.
Lt. Natalie Combs, the tactical action officer, and Lt. Irian Woodley, the surface warfare coordinator, were both on duty in the windowless combat information in the belly of the guided-missile destroyer on early on the morning of June 17 as the ship moved southwest from the coast of Japan less than a day out of port.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.usni.org ...
Now come the WestPac collisions, and these USNI articles and others that provide information for me folks never thought to achieve basic situational awareness with a Mark I eye-ball on the bridge, or an ordinary surface search radar in CIC. I should never be able to present even antidotal evidence to support an idea that selection, qualification, and promotion look like it relies on policies of equal opportunity and affirmative action. I now have little difficulty imagining a 7th Fleet staff bureaucrat taking satisfaction in entering the names and sex of these officers into a report to DOD about their efforts to push diversity in the destroyer squadron to new levels.
During my 19 months on the Westchester County I stood over 20 bridge watches in heavy traffic areas; most often Tokyo because homeport was Yokosuka, but also Hong Kong and Singapore. At one time I will think, There but for the grace of God go I. Next I will review the events and wonder, How could they be so stupid? By following the COs orders and proceeding with an intensity that left you exhausted after a four-hour watch, we just didnt get in those situations.
See also page 32 of
U.S. Navy Comprehensive review of Recent Surface Force Accidents file:///C:/Users/Superman/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/0B0T9J7N/US%20Navy%20Comprehensive%20Review%20of%20Ship%20Accidents.pdf
“I have heard many lamentations about how the Navy officer corps does not seem like a meritocracy anymore.”
Anything, repeat - anything that becomes political ceases to be a meritocracy.
Perhaps Lt. Combs and Lt. Woodley were distracted by something.
What happened with the on the horizon standard? We used to report and track all contacts on the horizon and weren’t allowed to ignore a 10k yard contact.
This just sounds stupid.
On the bright side, their first clue wasn’t the collision itself...
I heard an interesting story saying that the crews are routinely sleep deprived. Like hospital residents. And the old school tough guys say, “you can sleep when you’re dead” but that doesn’t sound so tough when you hear the horror stories about competent seamen falling asleep at critical times.
I figured it was a problem in CIC, but doesn’t the Bridge also have surface radar? Where were they?
Weren’t there any lookouts on deck?
The ACX Crystal took the Combat Information Center by surprise. Until just moments before the collision, the accused officers in the center, which is several levels below deck, were unaware of the danger from nearby ships, and there was little communication between the center and the bridge. Data pulled from the Fitzgerald and the Crystal and presented at the hearing showed that the Crystal was tracking 25 to 30 ships in its orbit in the lead-up to the crash. The Fitzgerald was tracking four or five.
Back in the old days, constant bearing (i.e. a collision course) meant get the skipper on the horn - NOW.
So how about the NBA mirroring the ethnic makeup of the general population?
The OOD was an ill-trained Ltjg and she has the standard surface search radar on the bridge with her.
The lady O3’s in CIC were her back-up and the XO had little faith in any of them. Hell, they didn’t even have the combat/tracking radars properly adjusted.
Especially the bridge watch.
Yet he left them in place during a very busy and dangerous transit with hundreds of ships within 10 miles.
The skipper and the XO own this one. IN ADDITION to those already mentioned/charged.
The navy used to have a radar dedicated to surface search, the SAS-something IIRC. Dunno what they have now, that was 20 years ago.
Seems the SPS-73 is the current radar for navigation.:
"The AN/SPS-73(V)12 Radar Set is currently installed onboard approximately 100 ships across CVN, CG, DDG, LHA, LHD, LPD, LSD, LCC, PC and MCM ship classes. "
Welcome Home brother.
I was on the 1160 on the east coast and sailed the 532 over there.
That’s disgusting to hear.
Having stood OOD, CICWO, and EOOW watches under 4 Captains this is just flat out embarrassing....
Where were the lookouts? Do they even use lookouts these days? If not, why not?
Given the names of crew and former crew on Fitzgerald we can at least be confident that the Navy is not being sexist or ethnic centric.
Lt. Natalie Combs
Lt. Irian Woodley
Fire Controlman Second Class Ashton Cato
Lt. j.g. Sarah B. Coppock
Cmdr. Sean Babbitt,
Operations Specialist Second Class Matthew H. Stawecki
Lt. Cmdr. Ritarsha Furqan
I get the feeling that the Navy isn’t all it’s supposed to be.
But I feel pretty sure that it’s better than today’s Air Force.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.