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Thread: USS Fitzgerald collision

  1. #46
    Regular thebard's Avatar
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    I left the navy as long time ago but I think my term is right-- Why did we ever stop 'dead-reckoning'?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/u...ards.html?_r=0

  2. #47
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    Report on the collision (McCain included)
    https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...-Collision.pdf

  3. #48
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  4. #49
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    Holy Toledo! The McCain was damaged during it's lift, now the Fitz has suffered more damage too.
    https://www.stripes.com/news/uss-fit...ocess-1.499622

  5. #50
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    More heads are rolling and criminal charges are now pending.

    https://news.usni.org/2018/01/16/for...ons#more-30635

  6. #51
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    From the story that thebard posted:
    Cmdr. Bryce Benson, former commander of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), along with three Fitzgerald junior officers, face a mix charges that include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide related to the June 17 collision between the ship and ACX Crystal that resulted in the death of seven sailors, according to a statement from the U.S. Navy provided to USNI News.

    Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, former commander of USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), faces similar dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide charges for the Aug. 21 collision between the guided-missile destroyer and a chemical tanker off the coast of Singapore that resulted in the death of 10 sailors.
    Now I can understand the charges against the CO of the MCCAIN. He was on the bridge and contributed to the problem.

    Not sure I understand the charges levied against the CO of the FITZ. He wasn't on the bridge and his standing orders to wake him under certain conditions were ignored. His standing policies probably contributed to the accident in some way, but negligent homicide? Not sure if I believe that.

    And then a question for the group. Will these charges help make things better, or will they contribute to the zero defect, I'm afraid to stick my neck out in case I screw up mentality? How do they address the larger problems that the Navy is facing?

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    From the story that thebard posted:


    Now I can understand the charges against the CO of the MCCAIN. He was on the bridge and contributed to the problem.

    Not sure I understand the charges levied against the CO of the FITZ. He wasn't on the bridge and his standing orders to wake him under certain conditions were ignored. His standing policies probably contributed to the accident in some way, but negligent homicide? Not sure if I believe that.

    And then a question for the group. Will these charges help make things better, or will they contribute to the zero defect, I'm afraid to stick my neck out in case I screw up mentality? How do they address the larger problems that the Navy is facing?
    I agree. I'm not sure what 'negligent' homicide means though. Fitzgerald collision seemed mostly due to incompetence of the watch team so maybe that somehow brings the charge against the skipper.

    As for your question, I think it's similar to the atmosphere for police officers. They are always exposed to criminal charges coming from the armchair quarterbacks. You could be doing the best job you know how and then end up in Leavenworth.

  8. #53
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    Boy i wish desertswo and rusty were here to give their perspective.

  9. #54
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Fitzgerald has arrived in Pascagoula.
    http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20180119-fitz.html

  10. #55
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    A couple of videos of her arrival

    http://www.wlox.com/story/37304443/u...th-mississippi

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  12. #57
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    The legal proceedings are starting to move along. The FITZ OOD, a LTjg, has pleaded guilty to a single Art 92 charge (Failure to obey order or regulation). From the article, she will most likely be a prosecution witness against the CO and other crewmembers. The OOD had been directed to maintain a relatively high rate of speed of 20-22 knots in crowded shipping lanes, cut across a busy shipping lane, with a malfunctioning surface search radar. That's a tough act to accomplish in my mind....

    I thought the USMC was good about pushing responsibility down to a low level, but I don't know if we've had an O-2 direct the movement of a Bn-sized element during an inherently risky environment without some more senior leadership oversight. I would ask for those with Naval experience to chime in with their thoughts on this.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    I thought the USMC was good about pushing responsibility down to a low level, but I don't know if we've had an O-2 direct the movement of a Bn-sized element during an inherently risky environment without some more senior leadership oversight. I would ask for those with Naval experience to chime in with their thoughts on this.
    Don't forget the CO and XO were on the bridge of the McCain at the entire time leading up to and including their collision. I agree that senior (competent) leadership should ALWAYS be heading any military unit, but as we now know, under-staffing and under-training was determined to be a contributing factor in each of these incidents.
    BTW, I was on a Perry-class frigate in the early 80s. During my last year, we had been designated a reserve ship, so the ship's company was reduced then. I don't know about other units, but we sometimes had 2nd class PO for in port OOD watch. I don't know if we ever had enlisted OOD underway, but I'm certain we had O-2 and probably O-1. I guess they knew how to drive the ship, though. I have a saying- "It's all okay as long as it's okay".

  14. #59
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    The Fitzgerald collision is hard to fathom by any measure. Basically the two ships "steamed" right into each other. There was not even a moment when one jogs left and then right like in a hall to avoid another person as both parties are confused by the others intent?!

    The OOD ostensibly failed to use any of the DDG62s extraordinary maneuvering capability despite being the burdened vessel. More importantly she did not utilize techniques to determine the CPA and or the course/speed of the Crystal or most of the other ships in proximity. These for the most part are age old routines! Indeed, determining CPAs yourself enhances situational awareness and is a cross check with the CIC contact information. But was there any dialog with CIC in terms of actions to avoid Crystal? A competent OOD has to demand that! The Fitzgerald had two surface search radars, one of which was not working or poorly in any case. So the data was there to include AIS and bridge to bridge VHF if in doubt.

    While much as been made of the lack of training and staffing (both collisions McCain too) I feel the USN's penchant for the all knowing Officer Corp may also be a contributing factor. What do I mean? In the rush to get all the qualifications Officers are often rushed off the bridge as soon as they get qualified to go elsewhere (engineering, CIC etc). That means your bridge watching bench is not big and has turnover. More importantly ironically there may be too much training and qualifying (in other areas) going on and one NEVER gets the experience to develop the art of driving a ship (seaman's eye). Getting ones WINGs out of Flight School does not make you an experienced combat aviator for example ....you need stick time!

    The OOD in question may have been trained or stood watch with somebody barely senior or experienced to herself as the bench was off to other duties and check marks in the qual ledger. It appears to me we are not leveraging our bench or our experience. The Captain is not the only person who trains the OOD!

    One could go on and on as there are faults across the board. Sad day for the USN. I have done some speculating here no doubt. More about this will come out and work its way to the training community. Being an OOD is challenging and most rewarding and as we see here a critical function. Seamanship must not be sacrificed and we did here.

    Unfortunately as we used to say "no new lessons learned"! I remember the USS Frank Evans when I was younger.

  15. #60
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Towards the end of the article, it was mentioned that the LTJG had already been punished by the 7th Flt Admiral via non-judicial punishment. I thought that once you received an Art 31, that was it, they couldn't court martial you after that. Or perhaps they used the Art31 as a vehicle to recommend a court?

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