More respect for US Navy officers and enlisted personnel needed


I can’t speak for the other home ports, but in Yokosuka I think we were required to get 60 hrs of time per year, but you could get more. I think I executed 100 hrs and it wasn’t like anyone was telling me that was imprudent. That training is as a bridge team that includes lesson Briefing, Simulator Training, and Debriefing with a master mariner. The guys that run the sims are licensed masters - not Navy, though most have Navy time or were from MSC.

Ill look into the Emergency Management Course as an area of improvement, but another improvement might be to establish a recommended curriculum.

As it stands now, how a ship uses that 60-100 hrs is up to the CO. I’ll admit I used most of that time for JO pier-work, underway replenishment, and man overboards.

The DHs get extra time to prepare for their command qualification exam, which includes a simulator check ride in Newport. All officers seeking command go to Newport to take written exams and a practical in the simulator that is pretty intense… (subject to the comments of this forum)…

The practical includes a group of potential COs sitting in a break room watching TV or studying. As they sit there a Navy LT (instructor) will come in and call out one of their names at random. That CO-candidate then follows the LT to a dark bridge simulator running a rules of the road scenario already in progress - with instructors playing all the roles of the helmsmen and lookouts. There are a number of scenarios to choose from and they are always changing. In the scenario the OOD has lost situational awareness and paints a very questionable picture to the CO who then has to spend the next 45 minutes or so getting the ship to safety. The scenario is controlled by the civilian mariners who play the roles of all the fishing, sailing, and merchant traffic - and they can react based on the responses from the CO candidate.

Candidates are given two chances to pass. If they fail they get sent back to their ship and the CO has to re-recommend them for command at sea.

Its good stuff and we could use more. This program has only been around for a few years and is a result of the Surface Navy’s own recognition of shortfalls - particularly with the SWOS-IN-A-BOX generation.


I have served both in the military and the merchant marine for more than 15 yrs each.
This is just for reference and not to claim any eligibility to greater wisdom.
All training methodology in the civilian sector has trickled from the armed forces. Therefore the merchant marine STCW courses cannot provide a better solution to the problem of Navy watchstanding weaknesses.
Regarding the technical aspects, just remember that ARPA is a very basic version of any surface warfare target acquisition and tracking system.
The US Navy just needs to sort out its own house. It can of course benefit from some fresh ideas from the USCG.
Fatigue management is probably a bigger and more relevant issue than training.


So it seems by your standard the SWO training is sufficient for the most part for basic ship operations. The high percentage of allisions, collisions, groundings and engineering casualties per underway time is just happenstance.

The enlisted, foreign navies, and merchant side might disagree to some extent…


Well, to be fair, we need to discount all the issues with the LCS’s from the equation… those things are floating turds that should never have left the drawing board it seems.


yadda, yadda , Yea, sometimes i see some distressing comments about the military. Considering how anyone in uniform anymore is a “Hero”, seemingly can’t do any wrong …oh, and “thanks for your service” it’s good to see some criticism once in a while…well, constructive criticism at least!!! I can tell you during the 24 yrs. I served starting in '73 things sure went to pot and likely won’t reverse till another we get in another heavy hitter… (vietnam or something) btw… I also spent a year ‘over there’ and figure i can say whatever about what it’s like but you probably won’t find me being disrespectful.


Lone star
You have not read my post properly.
COLREGs is not rocket science.
The average SWO of the US Navy is way smarter ( read… higher IQ) than the average Merchant Naval Officer.
The only problem has been weak training and fatigue.
The US Navy can easily sort it out within.


You don’t have to worry about respecting your own Navy.
What you have to worry about is whether or not the other country respects your Navy.
If they don’t, then why bother having a Navy?
Any Navy serves two purposes; protection of the homeland and projection of force.
Protection of the homeland is a gut instinct; projection of force is a Government decision.
Popular opinion may influence a decision but at the end of the day the shiny arses have the final say so.
Even Switzerland has a Navy.
As a (half) Brit I am very conscious of how both Royal and merchant navies here affected how the world is today.
I live in a country that is 1/8th of the size of Texas (I’ll do it old fashioned speak =one eighth the size of Texas).
Do you know why Britain ruled the world (at that time, and probably for only about 20 minutes).
The Royal Navy.
Obviously, when you came home from one of these Empire Strikes Back missions with 2 limbs missing and half your face shot off you were sent to the foggy land of Norfolk so that nobody could see you.
But the point is, and I have spent a long time thinking about this (1/2 an hour and 3 glasses of Brandy), no nation, as far as I can see, with my Mark 1 Eyeball, can exist without a Navy.
Unless you go extra-atmosphere of course but then how the hell you do teach your lookouts 360 3D degree watch?
PS. The other half of my 'Brit; is German so Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Gniesau, U559 (check that one out on your own), the geese at Cologne,
So, Navy is good, merchant navy, not quite so good> extract from somewhere that I found (all Brits, don’t have dispersion figures for other nationalities)…
36,749 seamen and women were lost by enemy action, 5,720 were taken prisoner and 4,707 were wounded.
But then again, this next level is slightly unbalanced because on an old collier you could only ever shit in your pants:
Bomber Command: 55,373.
If you are in a hurry to annexe a country; lets say , just like Russia did with the Ukraine a couple of years ago ( missed that one?) nothing like having a regular Bosun arrive back on the ship telling you that his local airport has just been levelled by ‘insurgents’.
Without the use of a Navy.
So, in conclusion, I hand it back to you:
Does any country need a Navy?


The Royal Navy surely was a great tool in making and running the empire, but it was also due to very good training of the men and very strong traditions. Maverick Captains with some real quirky idiosyncrasies were allowed to flourish as long as they did whatever to promote the interests of the crown.

Anyone can buy a Navy with money but can run it only on the strength of character and tradition.That takes centuries, not decades.

Napoleon would have fared much better if he had built a larger Navy


Ok, time to trot out Mahan…

A navy exists, in the historical context, to protect (drum roll) commerce; i.e. a nation’s merchant fleet. The “global commons”, where peaceful trade between nations occurs is the ocean. Mahan argued no great nation of the past (as he wrote late in the 19th century) rose to power without trade and a navy to protect that trade.

Wilhelm II, besides having a serious inferiority complex when he looked in turn at Grandma, his uncle, and then his cousin, decided if the German Empire was to become a true world power he needed colonies and a merchant fleet to trade with said colonies and then a navy to protect it. Shake and stir a naval arms race occurs and the inevitable showdown with Britain occurs.

Soooo…if the US has a shadow of its former merchant fleet, is a navy, in the classic context needed? Begin discussion/argument over FOC fleets, the need for power projection in furtherance of our national interest, and protection of someone else’s ships…


On a side note in the midst of the rambling I point out a terrible injustice for Captain John Stevenson of the HMAS Melbourne 40 years ago and thankfully a relatively recent exoneration. This unfortunately has been a trend in U.S. Naval history. I’m afraid it will continue in these recent cases with no expectation of the true facts being revealed to us tax payers who fund this Navy.

“incredible incompetence, completely untrained bridge team”

I don’t believe much as changed.


Seapower can affect events on land in a disproportionate manner. Just a fleet-in-being is sometimes enough to leverage diplomatic discussions.


Thanks for the humorous interlude.

Fatigue studies have been gold mines for industry and academia for the past 75 years at least. The conclusions haven’t changed since the first study was conducted and industry (and government) response has not changed either. They write unenforceable feel good regs and workers, pilots, mariners, and exhausted people continue to die or kill others in the normal fashion,


The airline industry and the merchant marine both have managed fatigue quite well in recent years, if not earlier.
The armed forces not so much.
When will an attack come or how long will that last …is a question that no one can answer


Wow. I’m really impressed.

Ever read “The Best and the Brightest”?

News flash: intelligence, intellect and education, while potentially quite valuable, are often way overrated in practice. If they cannot (for whatever the reason or reasons) be practically applied they aren’t worth a damn.

Fatigue? Absolutely a critical issue for all mariners, civilian & military alike. Too bad all the smart people decided to ignore it since forever.


Don’t bet on it amigo, people are people. A bridge full of high IQ SWOs are responsible for the Fitzgerald collision not the other way around.


The Imperial German Navy kept vast resources of the RN in home waters throughout WWI…Jellicoe often said he was the only man who could lose the war in an afternoon. If the RN were defeated
and the deployed cruisers and raiders of the Kaiser’s fleet were joined by other units or his surviving capitol ships were able to enforce a surface blockade of the UK, the BED would starve.

History shows the opposite happened; the RN protected trade, the German Navy wasted away from inaction after Jutland, and Germany lost.


There’s been some improvements but from what I’ve heard most of the so-called compliance is on paper only.


If that’s what you think then you obviously don’t know them well enough.

tenor (34)


Reaaaaaally… Well let’s test your Naval COLREGs knowledge with one question then…

BOTH INTERNATIONAL & INLAND You are underway on vessel “B” and sight vessel “A” which is a Naval Vessel. Which statement is true? (see DIAGRAM)
a) Vessel “B” must keep out of the way of vessel “A” because “B” is to port.
b) Vessel “B” must keep out of the way of vessel “A” because “A” is a DDG err, Naval Vessel.
c) Vessel “A” must keep out of the way of vessel “B” because “B” is to starboard.
d) In this case, both vessels are required by the Rules to keep clear of each other.


… Too soon?


You should try to put forth your argument without resorting to one liners or memes.
Just take a hard look at the basic qualifications required to win a commission as an officer with the US Navy, the length and depth of subsequent training and continuation training. Compare it with the basic qualifications required for Merchant marine deck officers.
The problem behind the recent mishaps is in the application of knowledge and skills.
I brought up the issue of fatigue as the major factor. When a person is fatigued, his actions are quite akin to a person DUI. Even a well trained and responsible person can turn into a total wacko.

I know the COLREGs well enough. The problem with COLREGs is not the learning but the application. Watch keeping Officers fail to keep in mind that a collision can kill people.
The entire COLREGs is about AVOIDING A COLLISION. That requires an approach of defensive driving. This attribute needs to be constantly reinforced, not an easy task when dealing with officers and men who have been brought up as warriors.
A study of collision cases would show that in most incidents the collision could have been avoided simply by reducing speed, yet that is a action rarely utilised by watchkeepers.