Unfortunately, a U.S. Navy DDG collided with a Japaneese owned super tanker in or outside of the Straights of Hormuz. How it happened is not important to this posting. But how the Navy responds is.
When the USS Cole was attacked by the Islamist terrorists, the damage was devastating. The Cole should have sunk and stayed on the bottom. But, because of the skill and bravery of the ship's crew, the USS Cole survived! The next decision, recovery and repair of the USS Cole was the next most critical decision. Who did CINCLANTFLT send? The Engineers and technicians from the Fleet Technical Support Center, Atlantic or as their accronym said; FTSCLANT. We sent a small group of talented individuals who spent the entire time, from boarding to arrival in Pascagoula Mississippi, saving millions of dollars by preserving systems.
How did they do that, what did they do? Let's see, restore the sprinkler and deluge systems to all ammunition magazines, reestablish dry air in all wave guides and antennas including the damaged SPY1 array. Freshwater washed and lubricated all reduction gear, pumps, gas turbines, and other engineering equipment. Measured the damaged area for the fabrication of the patch required to be welded in place to float the ship off of the heavy lift ship. Provided 3-D photos of damaged spaces to facilitate repair planning well in advance of the ship's arrival. Wrote countless repair requirements and transmitted them back to the ship yard for pre-planning.
All of the communications was accomplished through a STU 1 telephone coupled to a portable satelite communications suite. Each transmission required one of the techs to hold the antenna in the proper direction! FTSCLANT really pulled out all of the stops in record time to make the preps required for this event.
But one of the bigger accomplishments saved over $150000 a day. SUPSHIPS Pascagoula had in their corporate mind, how deep the harbor had to be to sink the heavy lift ship and float the USS Cole off of her. Their depth was about 50 feet short of the requirement. I knew, because I was stuck at FTSCLANT running the daily communications with the USS Cole recovery team. I talked with the Master of the heavy lift ship and I knew the real number. There was a heated discussion with SUPSHIPS but the harbor was dredged to the required depth BEFORE the ship arrived! Just think how much it would have cost to keep that heavy lift ship tied up while we dredged the harbor another 50 feet deep in an area 1000 feet long and 10 feet wide!!
I wrote about this in a past post, but all of this bears repeating. Why, because the same command has been tasked to go to the rescue of the USS Porter!! Many of us who participated in the USS Cole recovery are gone. Retired, transfered, even passed on. Yet, that ability still resides at NSSA Norfolk. The even have a new, high tech, satelite communications suite! They are ready to go and I am proud of them! You should be too!