USS Fitzgerald Collision

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
@Guns - I never smelt a ship that smelt that bad! However, if one reads up on the Melbourne/Voyager collision the Voyager side of things is .. well .. informative.
 
Last edited:
It is clear that a failing in leadership from bottom up occurred here.
I'd bow to your 1st hand experience every time, but isn't it a "top down" failure? The CO sets his standards and directs his DOs to ensure the ship's company performs to them. I can't imagine any PWO tolerating graffiti on ops boards, let alone gash strewn around the Ops Room etc. The same goes for every DO compartmental/departmental inspection - reinforcing the skipper's standards, keeping on top of basic hygiene as well as equipment maintenance. The LHs doing their job but taking direction (or being shat on) from above.

I've seen reports of other lapses throughout the 7th Fleet. If pride in the ship and morale has plummeted this far it goes well beyond re-training. I'd be surprised if it didn't need a top down cull and a whole cultural/ethos overhaul.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
I'd bow to your 1st hand experience every time, but isn't it a "top down" failure? The CO sets his standards and directs his DOs to ensure the ship's company performs to them. I can't imagine any PWO tolerating graffiti on ops boards, let alone gash strewn around the Ops Room etc. The same goes for every DO compartmental/departmental inspection - reinforcing the skipper's standards, keeping on top of basic hygiene as well as equipment maintenance. The LHs doing their job but taking direction (or being shat on) from above.

I've seen reports of other lapses throughout the 7th Fleet. If pride in the ship and morale has plummeted this far it goes well beyond re-training. I'd be surprised if it didn't need a top down cull and a whole cultural/ethos overhaul.
Yes and no. Good LEading Hands and Petty Officers are the watchleaders and on a daily basis should have been stamping down in this. The state of the ops room reflects on them. The failing in training and equipment is very much from the top. You then have the worse of all worlds. The big and small things are being ignored.
 
Don't think I ever encounted an ops room in "shit state" in the RN. Cruising watch cleaning responsibilities are promulgated and strictly adhered to. If various bits of info were not on any of the stateboards then the Ops officer would have been carving his way to me instantly for an explanation!
 
This clip is a pretty good example of a Type 23 frigate Ops room environment during "defence watches", that I was accustomed to:


Note how "calm" it appears - despite what may be going on in the background. I crosspolled onto the Nimitz during Gulf ops for a few weeks and the contrast in attitudes was startling. A fisherman suddenly changing course caused no small amount of excitement!

Edit- the radio transmission heard at beginning appears to be the TPS (tactical picture supervisor) confirming the course and asking another station to "gridlock" on them....datalink type stuff...

At 10 seconds in you see the HC (Helicopter controller) and what India band radar (navigation radar) looks like on SSCS (The command system used on T23's). Just to the left of him is the Harpoon missile control console.
 
Last edited:
I see that the Chief of the Boat was also sacked in very short order.

Having been obliged to work with Murrcans in the past, they were-for the most part-good people.

However, I was left with the abiding impression that any 'senior enlisted' (bleugh!) that had 'Command' in front of their rank:

1. Could'nt.

2. Didn't really understand the definition of the word.
 
Thankfully, the RN has never incorporated a gung-ho, trigger-happy attitude in its ethos. As far as I can tell, this remains the case, certainly at sea, but we must remain ever vigilant. My main concern is basic training.

Sloppy leadership and discipline leads to sloppy thinking and decision-making, as well as a sloppy environment.
 
I see that the Chief of the Boat was also sacked in very short order.

Having been obliged to work with Murrcans in the past, they were-for the most part-good people.

However, I was left with the abiding impression that any 'senior enlisted' (bleugh!) that had 'Command' in front of their rank:

1. Could'nt.

2. Didn't really understand the definition of the word.
Not so very different from some of their namesakes in the British Army then.
 
Whilst it’s always been fun to abuse US Forces for just being “shit”, context is king. This inspection was done about 48 hours after the collision. The reason there were piss-bottles everywhere was due to the fact the sewage system had failed during the collision. From some reports, there were only one set of heads for the entire ship.

Likewise, NOTTINGHAM and ENDURANCE were pretty foul after their incidents.

There’s lots to criticise the USN about over this series of collisions, but the state of the Ops Room really isn’t one of them.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Whilst it’s always been fun to abuse US Forces for just being “shit”, context is king. This inspection was done about 48 hours after the collision. The reason there were piss-bottles everywhere was due to the fact the sewage system had failed during the collision. From some reports, there were only one set of heads for the entire ship.

Likewise, NOTTINGHAM and ENDURANCE were pretty foul after their incidents.

There’s lots to criticise the USN about over this series of collisions, but the state of the Ops Room really isn’t one of them.
Fair play. That was not pointed out in the report so happy to take the hit.
 
Whilst it’s always been fun to abuse US Forces for just being “shit”, context is king. This inspection was done about 48 hours after the collision. The reason there were piss-bottles everywhere was due to the fact the sewage system had failed during the collision. From some reports, there were only one set of heads for the entire ship.

Likewise, NOTTINGHAM and ENDURANCE were pretty foul after their incidents.

There’s lots to criticise the USN about over this series of collisions, but the state of the Ops Room really isn’t one of them.
@Ninja_Stoker gave a pretty decent account of RN cleaning shennanigans on his excellent Falklands blog - describing how they were tasked to mop and apply floor polish to the few remaining deck tiles in a flat after a "bomb strike"
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Just re-read the report and bottles of piss aside I still stand by my remarks. The report talks about lack of training, broken equipment, buttons taped over and weight lifting equipment in the CIC (may be it was moved there post accident)

From the report it is clear that a lack of leadership was causing problems and that younger members of the team did not feel they had the skills and training needed.

It does support what USN friends have told me about the ships of that Fleet. One guy had been an East coaster most of his career and he had a real shock moving on to the staff of 7th Fleet.
 
“Man, train and equip” in the 7th Fleet is f*cked. Of that, there is no doubt.
 
Maybe apocryphal but - I was told that certain ships in the USN are crewed primarily of crew who are "last chance saloon" in the criminal justice system and got given the option of joining up or-jail.

May be a load of bollocks.
 
Maybe apocryphal but - I was told that certain ships in the USN are crewed primarily of crew who are "last chance saloon" in the criminal justice system and got given the option of joining up or-jail.

May be a load of bollocks.

Bollocks.

IMNSHO.
 
@alfred_the_great - you ever been a FOSTIE? If so, what's your opinion of USN in comparison to RN wrt ops room stuff?
Like I've said - I've crosspolled to Nimitz, and also a few days on the Comstock but - I was pretty much a sprog in those days and didn't have much base knowledge to compare with. I did note though how "yee-haaa!" they tended to get at the slightest opportunity.
Edit- as an APS/TPS they were also a constant source of frustration for me due to their very protracted heirachy of responsibility...and I "zip-lipped" Redcrown once!
 
Comparing the RN to the USN is like comparing the UK to the US. We’re different - don’t let a common language lull you into thinking we’re two navies with slightly different accents...
 
Comparing the RN to the USN is like comparing the UK to the US. We’re different - don’t let a common language lull you into thinking we’re two navies with slightly different accents...
Strangly though - I think the cloggies and Germans...and Canucks are quite comparable to us in terms of warfare ops - and attitude. That was always my impression anyway.
 
I’ve never sea-ridden a RCN unit.

Cloggies and Germans, some ships are, some ships aren’t. I’ve seen some that are indistinguishable from their RN oppos, others that are very distinctly German or Dutch. As ever, it mainly depends on the CO of the Ship.
 
As an outsider I found the episode involving HMS Duncan and the Russian aircraft buzzing interesting. Its ops room did seem very quiet and calm although that Jack who kept blowing the whistle should get a talking to. It also seemed very crowded but that may have been due to the Flag officer wandering around.
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top