Skip to comments.No Relief in Sight for the Lincoln
Posted on 01/22/2005 8:45:24 PM PST by StoneGiant
DefenseWatch "The Voice of the Grunt"
Guest Column: No Relief in Sight for the Lincoln
By Ed Stanton
It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. Id like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces.
What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the Lincoln s wardroom a few days ago. I went in for breakfast as I usually do, expecting to see the usual crowd of ships company officers in khakis and air wing aviators in flight suits, drinking coffee and exchanging rumors about when our ongoing humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to end.
What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned the place. They wore various colored vests with logos on the back including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United Nations. Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in uniform. They all carried cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like tourists on their way to Disneyland .
My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of trifling do-gooders overnight.
As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of Nice china, really makes me feel special, in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.
My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse that day as I learned more from one of our junior officers who was assigned to escort a group of them. It turns out that they had come to Indonesia to assess the damage from the Dec. 26 tsunami.
Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen that the damage was total devastation. When they got to Sumatra with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy, which, unfortunately, took them in. I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the U.N. was calling the United States stingy with our relief donations.
As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these relief workers from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their guardians by default.
When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, We arent paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to.
In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around reporters and various low-level VIPs, which further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from MTV. I doubt if well get any good PR from them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix , Ariz. , one day. Everyone wants in on the action.
As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they dont want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.
To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln , the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.
What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has suffered for it.
An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the big stick she carries is her air wing. An air wing has a set of very demanding skills and they are highly perishable. We train hard every day at sea to conduct actual air strikes, air defense, maritime surveillance, close air support and many other missions not to mention taking off and landing on a ship at sea.
Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a night carrier landing every seven days, he has to be re-qualified to land on the ship. Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train. Normally it is when we are at sea that our readiness is at its very peak. Thanks to the Indonesian government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get our pilots off the deck.
In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people, the more dangerous it gets for us to operate. We have already lost one helicopter, which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking sailors ashore to unload supplies from the C-130s. There were no relief workers on that one.
Im all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give this mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy. Our ship was supposed to be home on Feb. 3 and now we have no idea how long we will be here. American taxpayers are spending millions per day to keep this ship at sea and getting no training value out of it. As a result, we will come home in a lower state of readiness than when we left due to the lack of flying while supporting the tsunami relief effort.
I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it. After all, this is Americans saving the lives of Muslims. I have my doubts.
Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group. Send Feedback responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a waste for a bunch of ungrateful, supercilious, pompous fools.
Thanks for the post.
Something about an informed society is important to government and the well being of the populace seems to come to mind....
I wonder about the authenticity of this article. As an aviator I rarely went to breakfast and if I did it was because I had the duty and I would be eating alone. (humor)
Throw their royal a$$es overbroad and bring our ships, men and all out equipment home!!!
We are a great nation because we will do this even for an ungreatful nation.
We are for the most part a Christian nation and by that we should help our neighbor.
"Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group".
And where are you serving?
I think this guy may be ships company.
Am I the only one who read that, and said "damn?"
Yes, we do it because it is the right thing to do.
There is much in this article that has been confirmed by even the MSM, so I think it is authentic. It is frustrating to do good things with no positive feedback, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do them anyway.
Welcome to the Religion of Peace
Not at risk to our security though. Maybe we should pull the ship back into open waters and let the Indian government provide a ferry service . I too believe we should help our neighbors but providing free hotel service to a bunch of ingrats and worse allowing our enemies access to one of our carriers should be discoraged IMO.
My boss's Sister just retired from the Lincoln. I still wear the ballcap with her logo.
This makes me sick to my stomach.
some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts
New Rule: "No pants, no shirts allowed in mess hall"
Ferry Service?? I bet the indonesian navy dosent have more than a couple of rowboats much less any operational helicopters.....
Mochtar Riady had a million to hand over to Bill Clinton in 1992--Is Bill Clinton giving that back now?
Thanks for the ping!
At least the UN types were relegated to the wardroom.I don't mind the Navy feeding them as long as they stay outta the Chief's Mess!
Great suggestion. That will attract even more idle women looking for something to fill their days and nights. And not just women either. Okay, so maybe it's not such a good idea.
Really. How 'bout it. Hello MSM!? Helloooooooooooooooo?!
Oh --- there they are...... What's that they're saying?
Critics say some Christians spread aid and Gospel
(Actual headline from this mornings Chicago Tribune.)
As if that's a bad thing. Wouldn't want to give these people a hand-up out of the seveneth century.
Gosh, where would we be without the MSM?
Probably a lot better off.
Yeah, we don't want them eating any good food. I just hope the officer's mess doesn't get stuck with the bill. Otherwise it's Chilimac and Tuna caserol for the rest of cruise. We missed an unrep one time and were eating grilled cheese sandwiches for three days straight.
I was in CVW-5 back in the late 90's in USS Independence.
These are the same pukes who burned-down the ROTC Building at UMass in 1970. Man, how I wish they'd finally die of old age and impacted bile.
Of course not. But I don't see how letting the UN eat and sleep on board is a security risk. Maybe a nuisance for the troops, but not a risk.
Maybe we should pull the ship back into open waters
I thought that had already been done. Indonesia had the choice of allowing training exercises and getting more help, or not. They chose not.
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The only problem I had with the "Ed Stanton" letter is that it is posted on Hackworth's SFTT (Soldiers For the Truth) website. Which makes me suspicious of it, though the observations do correlate. (I know too much about Hackworth ever to trust him.)
I'm a ret. SpecOps officer with just under 28 years service, enlisted and officer.
BTW, the reason the ship's "brass" (a phrase that makes me suspicious of hackworth) might have put up with the tourists is because they had been ordered to.
Bad order, though.
Doc Obiwan | 01.21.05 - 1:30 pm | #
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I challange the veracity of this column. No O-ganger in the USN would ever get away with writing such dribble.
I appreciate the crux of his arguement... that VIP's waste more money and time touring disaster areas that could be better directed toward relief efforts..... but I think it is the same as when our President tours a site in this country, with all his entourage of Secret Service, etc. However, it seems that this is a necessary evil for such high level relief efforts.
The part about them not wanting to sleep in-country under primitive conditions reminds me of when a local Minister and his wife went on a "mission" trip to Africa. I forgot which country, but they ended up in a really outback location at a small Christian church. The congregation, which didn't have a pot to p** in, nor a window to throw it out of, took up a collection and gave it to the minister after the service, who took it and drove to the nearest city and got a hotel room with air conditioning and stayed the nite. I have always had a problem with how some people manage "relief" or "mission efforts. In my mind you should be no better off than those you are assisting. To do otherwise, you are taking away from food or shelter that would be available to them.
As far as him being at sea for an extended period of time and getting no training value from it, this guy better grow up.... US military missions are not all killing bad guys, sometimes it is saving good guys.
I hope this blog is not well published, it is a black eye on our country's image.
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I'm with you. I doubt the "Ed Stanton" letter was actually written by someone who's on the Lincoln. Yes, it's got details that are convincing.
But I think the details came from someone on the ship; the editorializing from a friend, family member or retiree who was indignant about what they'd heard was going on there.
I just don't want to believe a serving Naval officer would make such naive comments. I hate to think that one of the Lincoln's officers would blame the outsiders for being there; obviously if anyone should be blamed for their presence, it's the higher-ups who gave them permission to come aboard. The Navy knows its own rules; it should have assigned them to the enlisted mess or made arrangemens in advance to reimburse the officers' mess for their meals. The indignation expressed that the ship's routine had been interrupted verged on the childish. The letter's overall tone made me feel embarrassed for the writer.
jerseycityjoan | Email | 01.24.05 - 8:19 am |
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"Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train"He tripped up here, I think.
They didn't GET THERE until a week after, or so, and this letter was dated the 20th ... that would make what - more like 20 days once they received their orders to steam?
Methinks the author didn't know and didn't follow up on getting his dates right.
This is interesting, because of the connection between the names Lincoln and Ed Stanton:
That is indeed a point, but it's largely irrelevant to the wider context beyond the article itself, to wit: The ethics of making donations to a country that is openly aligned with al-Qaida and hostile to America and Western Civilization on the one hand, and the pressing question of the continued viability of the International Tyrants' Day Care Center, Manhattan Branch, on the other. D'OH! - I should probably call it "the U.N."
I concur with others here on the rather obvious point that we the United States should have discontinued all further aid to Indonesia immediately following their demand that our soldiers be disarmed while on Indonesian soil. It really doesn't matter whether it's cold, hard cash or direct supplies - supplies are marketable and therefore readily transferable into currency, at which point we lose all control as to recipient organizations - al-Qaida, f'rinstance.
And it seems almost pathologically redundant to say that the United States needs to take decisive action in either reforming the ITDCC Manhattan, er, UN, or to withdraw from it completely and permanently along with our allies, including booting it off of American shores, completely and permanently.
We should send that pack of rats an ultimatum, something along the lines of:
"Dear Kofi, Boys and Girls: If you do not wish the United States to sever all ties with your organization including the Manhattan real estate it currently occupies, you must henceforth require of all member nations without exception the core recognition of Individual Rights, including but not limited to:
- the freedom of conscience;
- of speech;
- of press;
- of private property;
- of association;
- of trade;
- of due process, trial by jury and a prohibition of all cruel and unusual punishment;
- of internal migration and emigration;
- of representative government and pluralism."
You'll notice that a.) these demands are not in themselves unreasonable in the slightest and b.) since there's not a hockey player's chance in hell of this list being agreed to by that organization in whole or in part, this proposal may be construed as being rigged toward the withdrawal option.
This is intentional. 8^]
I'm not there, so I have no firsthand information at all,
but in this article Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Vorce says that the
"No Relief in Sight for the Lincoln" article is inaccurate:
Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Vorce:
"Ed Stanton" (pen name)'s article was also on sftt.org:
Again, while it's important to have the facts on the original email's validity, the points that are raised within the article itself about 1.) aiding a hostile Islamic nation and 2.) continuing the charade of support for the UN, are worthy points in themselves.
If in fact the article is a fabrication, it's a good object lesson on the importance of honesty in activism - reality has a habit of relentlessly blowing away falsity, thereby undermining the effectiveness of any effort that attempts to fake reality. Hopefully a lot of people on the net will read and digest the ideas presented in the article anyway, in spite of its author's foolish attempt to pass it off as authentic.
[Standard disclaimer: No, I didn't write the article.]
>> Now do all you libs feel better about the USA
I really don't know if it's fair blaming the libs for this... The Senate, Congress, Presidency, and certainly the Pentagon are all firmly in Republican hands.
I imagine it was George Bush who ordered the Linoln to Indonesian waters.
Unless, of course, you are insinuating that our president is a Lib?
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