Skip to comments.Reports on Collisions of USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) and USS JOHN S MCCAIN (DDG 56)
Posted on 06/15/2018 2:47:33 PM PDT by Retain Mike
The collisions were avoidable between USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) and Motor Vessel ACX CRYSTAL, and between USS JOHN S MCCAIN (DDG 56) and Motor Vessel ALNIC MC. Three U.S. Navy investigations concerning each of these incidents are complete. Command and Admiralty investigations in each case retain legal privilege to protect the interests of the United States Government in future litigation.
As Chief of Naval Operations, I have determined to retain the legal privilege that exists with the command Admiralty investigations in order to protect the legal interests of the United States Government and the families of those Sailors who perished. At the same time, it is paramount that the Navy be transparent as to the causes and lessons learned to the families of those Sailors, the Congress and the American people, and to make every effort to ensure these types of tragedies do not happen again. With these competing interests at hand, I authorized the preparation and release of reports on each collision, enclosed with this memorandum.
(Excerpt) Read more at navy.mil ...
However, I believe decline of the Navy as a meritocracy should also be considered. I remember reading the USNI article by the person in charge of Naval Academy admissions writing with great enthusiasm that the incoming freshman class mirrored the ethnic makeup of the general population. I remember visiting Naval Officer Candidate School forty plus years after my graduation and encountering a program to school students accepted to the Academy, but who failed to meet minimum entrance standards.
So far, I have not been able to verify the ethnicity and sex of the officers involved in these collisions except for the U.S.S. Fitzgerald (DDG 62). Below are the two articles with excerpts discussing events involving that ship.
USS Fitzgerald Combat Team Unaware of Approaching Merchant Ship Until Seconds Before Fatal Collision https://news.usni.org/2018/05/10/uss-fitzgerald-combat-team-unaware-approaching-merchant-ship-seconds-fatal-collision?utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=0a88656631- USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dd4a1450b-0a88656631-230377553&mc_cid=0a88656631&mc_eid=d1b7ba249a
Excerpt: 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.
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
Excerpt: (Page 32) As USS Fitzgerald approached the point of collision, Bridge and CIC watch standers were poorly monitoring surface traffic and as a result were unaware of multiple contacts within ten miles of the ship. Shortly after 0100, a crossing situation developed between USS Fitzgerald and three large on-coming merchant vessels, all of which were transmitting on AIS. The merchant ships were traveling in close proximity to each other on similar courses with two overtaking the third. The OOD decided to maintain course and speed, predicting that USS Fitzgerald would cross 1500 yards ahead of what she recognized as a crossing vessel with the right of way, and began to prepare a contact report to inform the CO. Shortly before the collision, the JOOD sighted visually, and informed the OOD of a closer than anticipated contact, the ACX CRYSTAL to starboard and recommended slowing. The OOD, confused between what she saw and what she intended with the crossing situation, ordered right full rudder in order to pass behind the merchant. However, before that order was executed, in an attempt to turn away from the merchant, the OOD reassessed and improperly ordered the conning officer to come to full speed, and then flank speed ahead, and then ordered a full, and then hard left rudder.
During my 19 months on an LST in 1970 and 1971, I stood about 30 bridge watches in heavy traffic areas; most often around Tokyo because homeport was Yokosuka, but also around Hong Kong, the Sea of Japan, and Singapore. We were underway over 12 of the 19 months I was onboard and completed three extended Vietnam deployments for a very high operating tempo. Reading these articles 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?
Maneuvering a ship even in calm waters on a clear day is an unforgiving experience. After ordering full reverse it can travel a mile or more before stopping. When ordering a course change, one can expect a ship to travel 300 yards or more in the previous direction before moving to the new course.
Fortunately, our commanding officer (CO) was an exacting task master and teacher of seafaring fundamentals. His standing orders required Officers of the Deck (OODs) to report to him our intended action for contacts approaching to five miles or less. Therefore, in high traffic areas I would often report multiple contacts several times a watch. Obviously, our CO didnt get much sleep during those nights.
His philosophy instilled in us the intension to hazard the ship in Vietnam operations, but not during peaceable transits. Most often International Rules of the Road (IRR) governed our actions. However, keeping the ship in safe waters was always paramount. IRR might require the other ship to make a course change, but if it did not do so in a timely manner by our COs estimation, then we were to make a course change placing us in a patch of ocean no one else seemed to want. By following his orders and acting with an intensity that left one exhausted after a four-hour watch, our officers just didnt get into critical situations as described above.
In general, the closest we came to other ships was during the five months we operated with an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) from the west coast. I remember vividly how large the Iwo Jima (LPH-2) looked at a standard distance of 1,000 yards. On the U.S.S. Fitzgerald these people were making 20 knots while passing merchant ships at 650 yards to two miles. However, they experienced so little burden of anxiety they didnt even call the CO.
These USNI articles provide information for me these people on the U.S.S. Fitzgerald were never reminded to achieve basic situational awareness with a Mark I eye-ball on the bridge, or with an ordinary surface search radar in CIC. Yet why should such a reminder be necessary? I should never be able to present even antidotal evidence to support an idea that selection, qualification, and promotion look like they rely on policies of equal opportunity and affirmative action, and not absolute competence. The defense attorney for these women contends blame rests higher up the chain of command and I would agree but could never absolve these people from the consequences of their actions.
I now have little difficulty imagining satisfied 7th Fleet staff bureaucrats burnishing the resumes of their senior officers by entering the names and sex of these officers into a report to Department of Defense (DOD) about successful efforts to push diversity in the destroyer squadron to new levels. The women then get pushed into these assignments and only during the court martial proceedings do they begin to realize the gaps in their preparation as competent seafarers. They ended up being theatrical props for social engineering programs. However, they, not the DOD elites, get to live with the deaths of those sailors, who served a crash dummies for this inspired political initiative.
Here are links to other significant articles I have accumulated on the subject:
Singapore Safety Report on USS John S. McCain Aug. 21, 2017 Collision https://news.usni.org/2018/03/08/singapore-safety-report-uss-john-s-mccain-aug-21-2017-collision?utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=3d90b38add-USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dd4a1450b-3d90b38add-230377553&mc_cid=3d90b38add&mc_eid=d1b7ba249a
The U.S. Navys Fundamental Problem https://www.marinelink.com/amp/news/fundamental-problem-navys433437
Document: Report on the Collision Between USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) and Fishing Vessel Nam Yang 502 https://news.usni.org/2017/11/30/document-report-collision-uss-lake-champlain-cg-57-fishing-vessel-nam-yang-502?utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=47900e5f15-USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dd4a1450b-47900e5f15-230377553&mc_cid=47900e5f15&mc_eid=d1b7ba249a
USS Fitzgerald, USS John S. McCain Collision Report https://news.usni.org/2017/11/01/uss-fitzgerald-uss-john-s-mccain-collision-report
McCain wet-starting again?
I just tried to call up the article, but was unable to. Here is the link.
I know this is the official report but forgive me if I still suspect that someone (China) hacked the sensors on those ships and made them blind to the other vessels.
The ship was named for the senator’s father who was a famous carrier admiral during WW II.
So the OOD was steering the ship from inside CIC, and not from the bridge where she could see with her own eyes?
that is on YOUR COMPUTER, you do realize that, don’t you?
That URL points to a file on your PC's hard disk, not to something on the web that the rest of us can access.
If you read the reports it is clearly a case of human incompetence and failure. That is backed up by hard evidence. I am not saying someone couldn’t hack a DDG but in these cases it doesn’t appear so.
Here’s the real link for “Navy Releases Collision Report for USS Fitzgerald and USS John S McCain Collisions”, maybe the mod can fix.
And here’s the link to the PDF with the report
Drat! Missed it by that much!
First, they run into much bigger ships, NOW they have run into each other???
Could not resist how the title read at a glance...........
The ship is actually named for two men, John S. McCain Sr. and Jr. Sr. was the WWII carrier admiral who late in the war commanded the fast carrier task force. Jr. rose to become CIC Pacific Command during the Vietnam War.
I actually knew that. There was a grandfather too, I believe
On page 8 of the report
in the diagram, neither of the bridge lookout stations were manned.
What is this, the Three Stooges? Or does it more properly resemble a squirrel caught out on the middle of a road in traffic?
It doesn’t seem to be the case. Looks more like dereliction of duty to me.
That is not to say the Navy may be hiding some pertinent information for politically correct reasons, or so as to avoid an international incident.
Anyway, you are certainly forgiven. But to me it doesn’t appear to be the case.
....I must have stated on FR a hundred times that women in certain roles in the military will get men killed. Women have no business on a ship period. They are a total distraction. I think Natalie and Irian were most likely flirting with each other, or much more than that, and ignoring their duties and 7 kids are dead!
If the admirals, captains and chiefs were fired that’s good. Then these women should not only be fired too but put in the brig for a time because their dereliction killed people.
The REAL responsibility though lies within all legislators who ever voted on any one of many votes over decades to turn the army and navy and air force into a military version of the Cheyenne Social Club.
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