The biggest disappointment in this forum and this particular thread is the underlying arrogance within the Mariner community is the presumption that these sorts of human errors are isolated to the Navy, as if to say professional mariners with all their seafaring experience don’t also occasionally make mistakes, that somehow their exceptional education eliminates risk that they Navy welcomes.
History is full of maritime calamities, many involving the US-flag. EL FARO didn’t sink as an act of God. Human error lead to the loss of the ship and and all hands.
People make mistakes. As a former Mariner, active SWO and certified flight instructor, I find some of these discussions interesting from a safety and root cause analysis perspective.
The Airplane Owners and Pilots Association administered a safety assessment to its members a few years ago and something like more than 90% of its members believed that they were safer, better, and more competent than the average pilot. They also found that pilots with humility and some degree of self doubt made for a much more safe and professional aviation. In fact, the longer someone had flown, the more experience they had, the more likely it was that they believed they could be involved in a mishap, and less likely they were to point fingers.
Not sure this forum’s members can say the same. They sure are quick to judge.
When I joined the Navy (former deckie) I asked to be 1st LT on a DDG - was assigned to FITZGERALD in San Diego as Communications Officer managing IT computer systems. My peer, who had a computer science degree was assigned to the ship as 1st LT. I’ll never forget our conversation with the ships XO over a pay phone to inform him of the very obvious mistake in our assignments. He listened then said “This was no mistake - if he dies you can do his job, if he dies you can do his”.
Mariners forget that there are very real, valid, reasons for the way the navy does business. As the Pilot In Command of an aircraft going into harms way you must know the aircraft’s systems inside and out. The same can be said for a SWO Department Head and certainly the CO.
I just finished my command tour, in 7th Fleet. I have to know my ship better than a master. The tactical employment of the ship demands an indepth understanding of combat systems, engineering, weapons, and how to get the ship from A to B. As the commanding officer of a military command the CO also has to know how to administer the UCMJ, balance a budget, manage maintenance, and plan the care and feeding of 300 souls.
It’s pretty easy to cast stones at a system you have little knowledge of and make fun of others misfortune.
I think mistakes were made, and changes will come.
I also think there will be another incident in the Navy, and another incident in the Merchant Marine. Humans are prone to error.
Rather than sling arrows based on limited or dated knowledge of a warship. Just offer some advice on watchstanding and thank folks for their service.
The do a much more complex job for much less money.
I get that there is little recognition for the merchant marine (all the comments about lack of parades). But your anger is misplaced. Seek Congress not the Navy.