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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Relieved for cause, again.

I see in the news that the Commanding Officer of the USS Porter was relieved of his Command today.  I guess that was inevitable.   But I really want to know how this collision happened.  How does a state of the art AEGIS warship hit a tanker as big as the peninsula of Florida?!  They have more radars that was at any battle in WW II.  The weather was not an issue, so how did this happen?

I have read and heard rumors addressing numerous theories.  I won't repeat any of them here but I really would like to know the truth.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The book on the Bin Laden raid

I have mixed opinions on this subject.  One one hand, The bumbling idiot we have as the Vice President spilled the beans about Seal Team Six and their participation in this combat event.  Until then, NO ONE openly talked about Seal Team Six.  I was the Gunner's Mate Detailer when Seal Team Six was established.  I got in a heated argument with the SEAL Detailer because he, without my vote, brought a man back into the Gunner's Mate rating because the SEALs needed his special training.  I was angry because Chief promotion billets were tight and I was fighting for my people's promotion possibilities.  Also, he had changed rate to Navy Counselor and you already know what I think about NC's.  I lost that argument and I did not know why until I was selected as the Force Master Chief for SURFLANT.  At that time, the east coast SEALs belonged SURFLANT, so I represented them.   The Command Master Chief of a SEAL unit invited me for a tour. I went to that tour and found out what I never knew.  BUT, it was all highly classified!!  I never broke that confidence.  But the Vice President did.

Then, the President let the Hollywood people in to make a movie about the raid.  A movie that will make the President look tough, decisive, brave.  Maybe he was.  But Hollywood does not need access to SECRET information about an elite unit established to do clandestine things, in the dark, without a finger print.

So now, the liberal, left wing, progressive, socialist, news media is up in arms because a SEAL that was actually part of the raid wrote a book about the truth.  They are saying he broke the rules, outed secret data, and sold out our military.  Again, maybe, but I don't think so.

I want to know what Hollywood was given access to, and if it is more than the book reveals, the SEAL in in the clear.  Additionally, I doubt if the book can do any more damage to national security than the Vice President did!

My bottom line is, I am sick of the double standard of the left wing, progressive, news media.  If Vice President Bidden did not do anything wrong, if the President did nothing wrong by giving Hollywood access to the raid's details, then the SEAL did nothing wrong!!  We are a society of laws that are supposed to be applied equally for all citizens.  But it seems to me Progressives are more equal than the rest of us in the eyes of the progressive media.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Fort Hood Killer

I have watched the stories about the poor, misunderstood, Army Major who held a firearm that, of it's own free will, fired on U.S Army personnel, killing many of them.  According to the News Media and I guess, the Secretary of Defense and the President, this individual did not commit an act of terrorism, or an hate crime, and is only possibly guilty of work place violence!   At least, that's what they want us to believe.

Then, remember the individuals that were tried in 15 minutes for the Oklahoma City bombings?  Do you remember that the Federal Government had the building torn down, even though it was evidence in a murder investigation.  The Defense Attorneys were only permitted one hour in the building before it was destroyed, along with any evidence of  government involvement!  Those fellows were tried, convicted, given their mandatory appeal, and given the death sentence in less than a year!

It has been three years since that Islamic Terrorist in a U.S. Army uniform killed American fighting men and DOD personnel!  He has not been tried, and the Army is trying to find a way to get him to shave his beard and get him in uniform for his Court Martial!  Well, give me 5 minutes and he will gladly shave, put on a clean crisp uniform and admit he is a terrorist!  I'll cut parts of that Farkle's body off he never thought would see a knife!

It is time we quit playing footsie with our enemy.  And Major Farkle is our enemy.  It's time for American to grow a set, again!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The value of Shore Repair Commands shines again!

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!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Honoring past shipmates

There is an online sight that permits you to establish a online memorial for your deceased family member and friends.  It is called Find a Grave.  My wife has become a volunteer with this organization and has received grave photos from of our family from all over the country.  This alone is worth the effort since my wife has recently immersed herself in the genealogical study of our families.  Both of us were denied contact with relatives from all sides of the family for various reasons.  She has now been able, thanks to Find a Grave and Ancestry.com, to create our family trees that recreate the families neither of us knew.

I write this in my Navy blog because she has recently established a sight on Find a Grave to honor Aimie and Lorain Caron, the parents of HM3 Wayne Caron and the sponsors of the ship named after that Medal of Honor recipient.  This memorial is open for anyone to make comments and reflect on stories of your relationship with the Caron's.  There is also a link to the memorial of HM3 Wayne Caron, already established on Find a Grave.

I encourage all of my Caron shipmates to visit these sights and include your comments about the Caron's.  They were a part of the USS Caron's life and visited the ship often.  I remember Lorain calling me at home one evening.  It seemed that Aimie had surgery to correct a problem with his wrists.  But, since it was winter and they, living in Pennsylvania, used wood as a primary heating source.  Aimie had tried to chop and split wood and damaged what the surgeons had done.  Lorain asked if I had any friends tat could help them up there.  As a matter of fact I did.  I called my Senior Enlisted Academy classmate, First Sergent Patrick "OD" O'Donnell.  He was stationed at Carlyle Barracks, in the Caron's home town.   I asked Patrick of he could help a retired Army CWO 4 and the parents of a Medal of Honor recipient, he said yes.  Once a week Patrick would take a group of young Soldiers over to the Caron's to chop and split wood, clean out the wood stove, and to do any other cores that the Caron's even looked at!  In turn, Lorain would cook lunch for these Soldiers, bake cookies, cakes, and pies.  She had more fun than they did.

Later, First Sergent Patrick O' Donnell escorted Lorain Caron, to the unveiling of the statue of the three combatants at the Viet Nam Memorial.  Lorain was to unveil the statue and Aimie was to ill to accompany her.  Patrick anf the Caron's became friends and Aimie's hands healed.

I also remember Aimie reenlisting a large group of us, on the USS Caron.  Aimie was still able to fit into his Army CWO 4 uniform.  That was quite an honor.  How many of my shipmates remember that day?

Again, I invite you to visit the Caron's Find a Grave memorial.  It will bring back memories to honor these patriots.

PS... I was told, but I cannot confirm, that the face of the man in the center of the three men depicted in this statue, was modeled from HM 3 Wayne Caron's photos.  I cannot confirm that, but that is what I remember.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Relieved of Command for cause!

Those words are paralyzing for any Commanding Officer.  They mean the Commanding Officer has FAILED!  His or Her career is over!  It may have been because of something done by a subordinate that the Commanding Officer did not see coming or it can be for something the Commanding Officer actually did.

Recently, the Commanding Officer of an Attack Submarine was Relieved of Command for faking his own death to end an affair he was having.  My first take on the news report was, how dumb can one person be!  I actually knew a Commanding Officer who was relieved of command because he was having an affair.  But this CO not only had an affair but tried to break off that affair by faking his own death.  He enlisted the help of a past shipmate.  So not only did he ruin his life, he ruined the life of a friend!  What a louse!

But the real question I have is, why did this fellow qualify for Command in the first place?  Did he only show a lack of judgement after he took command of that Fast Attack Submarine?  I doubt it.  Most likely he had a career of poor decisions and bad life choices that were overlooked or ignored by the Chain of Command.  My opinion, that is not based in any fact.  But, it is based on experience.

But the most destructive part of a Commanding Officer's failure is visited on the crew.  The crew, looks up to their Commanding Officer.  That CO is the authority figure, the leader, the teacher, the arbiter, cheer leader, and most of all, the person who leads them in combat!  When this person  fails, all of these most necessary qualities are dashed for the crew.  Their Captain has been relieved because HE failed them.  That is the reality of the situation and the crew now has to meet their new Commanding Officer under stressful, hurried, and maybe punitive, situations.  Their trust has been violated, and in many cases they will never know why or how.  But just the same, their world is completely turned upside down!

There has been a rash of Commanding Officers being Relieved for Cause over the last few years.  I believe this is a failure of the Chain of Command first and foremost.  The Navy needs to do a better job screening individual Officers for Command at sea and ashore.  To do less, will continue to dash the morale and performance of the enlisted personnel of the Navy and have a negative effect on combat readiness!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The NEW Navy!

I remember when I joined the Navy in 1969, the old salts complained about the New Navy!  Some of these "Old Salts" had served during the Korean Conflict and the Navy was very different for them.  In my rating of Gunner's Mate, many things had changed.  For instance, until 1968, Gunner's Mates did not do their own electrical or electronic work.  That was the duty of the Fire Control Technician.  But, with the influx of the MK 42 Gun Mount, the MK 10, MK 13, MK 11, MK 22, and Talos systems, Gunner's Mates had to do their own electronic and electric troubleshooting and maintenance.  That transition was brutal.  The "Old Salts" fought that change, tooth and nail.  When I was an instructor at Gun School, for MK 42 "C" school, I actually has a GMG1 who refused to learn the electrical part of the Gun system!  I had to do a lot of convincing to even get him to try.  He did, finally, accept the change.  But I am sure he never really embraced it.

Now, look at today's Navy through my eyes.   Yesterday, we went to the Commissary at NAS Pensacola.   I saw a female enlisted sailor in the soon to be replaced, NEW powder blue camouflage utility uniform.  She wore the uniform well, and looked as military as a female can in a uniform that has "Baggy" as it's motto.  I remember when we had our Dungaree Uniform tailored to look tight and crisp.  Sailors actually paid money to have seams permanently sewed into the shirt!  But I digress.

She had a hair style that let her hair hang below her collar.  Now, my recollection of female hair standards is that the hair could not touch the collar or protrude out of the Cover.  She failed in that but I believe she probably met today's standards and that is my point.  Long hair has "No Place" in the military!  It is hard to keep clean, a safety issue around moving machinery, requires extra water to clean, and may even catch on the many things that stick out everywhere in the ship.  Think of running, full bore, to your GQ station, after being startled out of a sound sleep, your hair is loose, and your get you hair stuck in a water tight door as it closes behind you!  Ouch!!

But my argument goes even further.  If a female sailor can have her hair that long and meet standards, why can't a male sailor be held to the same standard?  If she is safe, clean, and ready to fight with long hair, a male would be too! As my Mom used to say; What's good for the goose is good for the gander!!

Another issues is personal security.  When I was operating overseas, we were told when we went on liberty in civilian clothes, to "Dress to Blend In".   Right!! All the males in the country we were visiting had long hair.  There we were with our "High and Tight" haircuts.  A blind man on a galloping horse could tell we were not from there!  When I was scheduled to leave the Caron during my last Med Cruise, I was going to leave from Egypt.  The Captain at that time was Lou Harlow.  He told me to grow my hair long and grow a beard, so I would not be a target in the civilian airport.  I refused his considerate offer because I always wanted to set the example.  But, if we made the haircut standards equal for both sexes, that would not be a problem.

Another argument against long hair was cleanliness.  In the Navy I served in, fresh water was more precious than gold.  We made fresh water from salt water using evaporators.  They were extremely inefficient and most of the water went to the boilers!   Today, we are blessed with the very efficient reverse osmosis system and there are few boilers to feed.  So, washing long hair is no longer an issue.

So, if I were MCPON for a day, I would change the grooming standards for males to echo the female hair grooming standards.  Maybe I am not to old to change!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Navy TV Commercial illustrates our puny Navy.

I just saw a Navy commercial on the television with CVN 76 cruising across the screen.  The view is from above the flight deck looking down.  The flight deck has airplanes on it.  Not as many as we used to have and no attack aircraft.  Yes, I know they call the super hornet (lower case on purpose) an attack aircraft but it has very limited range and very limited ordnance carry capabilities.

So, this Super Carrier deck has a few F/A 18s and four E-2 variant aircraft, and a few helicopters.  Hell, we could do that with a LHA!  Thats not a Super Carrier it is a super disgrace!

I remember when Carriers had A-6 and A-7 Attack Aircraft, S-3 ASW hunter aircraft, EA-6B jammers, F-14 Tomcats, F-18 short range fighters and KA-6 Tankers.Not to mention H-53 helicopters for ASW and rescue.  

I have said it before but it requires repeating;  We must have a long range STRIKE capability like the A-6E provided to defeat the enemy.  The A-6E carried 18000 pounds of ordnance!!  If you tried to fly a F/A 18 with that much ordnance hung on the wings, it would not make it to taxi!!!

Our Navy is woefully under gunned!  Now, I hear we are going to start work ups to put a jet drone on carriers.  Great, now we are building multi-billion dollar model aircraft fields that float!!!  Just who is making these decisions and what war did they fight in?  You know the answer...