USS Fitzgerald collides with ACX Crystal off coast of Japan


As mentioned by someone in an earlier post why not have a few Jr officers that are strictly bridge nav watch? They have specialists for every other position on the ship. It may be a warship but it’s a ship none the less when it’s underway. A responsible adult has to be staring out the windows driving the thing. Rules of the road still need to be adhered to. Why not an officer who’s specialty is safe navigation and ship handling?


Actually, in the USN they don’t have specialist officers for other positions on the ship. I can name several other nations who have such specialist officers, but not the surface USN.

What career path would you offer these junior officers that are strictly bridge nav watch? While they would likely excel at that skill set, they would have no path for advancement. Unless you see them becoming more senior so they could be on larger ships? Not a differentiation made in the MM re deck watch officers. Ah, why not commission every maritime academy graduate in the USNR and put them on USN surface ships as deck watch officers for four years, then release them for their MM career? That might be a solution to the USN issue, but not sure it would help the MM officers in their “real career”. Thoughts, or comments?


Correct. I’m not talking civilians, but specialists none the less.

They do ok on a drill ship bridge coordinating all the different evolutions that needed to go on.

See my previous reply. It’s not a massively difficult thing to learn.

I’m going to try to remember that twist on the saying.

One thing that’s been proposed is an engineering track culminating in Chief Engineer, a deck track culminating in Sailing Master (who assists the CO in a lot of the administrative duties), and a tactical track leading to CO. The sailing master has final authority in non-tactical vessel movement.

Or simply make SWOs actually spend their careers shipboard and cut out most of the shore duty assignments.


In the navy today who creates and enters the routes in the nav equipment? I was QM in the CG and there I did it as E-4 but supervised by an E-7.

Where the track-lines get laid in that area is important as it needs to be done with traffic patterns in mind.


It would be strange for an officer to refer to an enlisted (non-licensed) person as “shipmate”. There’s supposed to be a separation. If I know someone is an officer I call them “sir” or “ma’am”; shipmate is more for enlisted people. It is starting to fall out of favor as people have abused it and tried to assign negative meanings to it – even, disappointingly, officers and senior enlisted – but it is supposed to be the nautical term for a brother or sister at sea. That’s how I used it when I was in the USN. It’s still pretty common for Navy veterans to address each other as shipmate.

He wasn’t talking to me when he said that, bro. But I must say it the attitude on this web site toward people who put their lives at risk to protect Americans is quite disappointing. Especially when it comes from fellow veterans.

So, what, the intention is that anyone who doesn’t think the Navy is the most incompetent organization in the history of the world and is composed of stupid, incompetent people, must be run off the web site? Is that your opinion?

If not, why not just relax and discuss our experiences at sea?

If so, then there aren’t going to be many Navy veterans contributing to the conversation. This place will be an echo chamber for people who have certain opinions. I hated the Navy as a job. I hated it PASSIONATELY as a job.

I was a paperclip…“People Against People Ever Re-enlisting, Civilian Life is Preferred”.

BUT it is great institution with a rich history, and we owe our freedom to what Navy officers and enlisted personnel do every day, all around the world. I worked with some very intelligent and very talented people when I served in the United States Navy. So that organization will always have my respect. As a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, anyone who was worn a military uniform, in any branch, and served with honor, will have my respect.

gCaptain’s original article wasn’t as bad as many of the comments from people who are associating themselves with his opinions. I thought his article was reasonably balanced. But you look at the comments on the web site and it’s nothing but vitriol. Even from people who identify themselves as (merchant marine) officers. In the UCMJ it says an officer must conduct themselves as “an officer and a gentleman”, or for females, “an officer and a lady.”

And I have to tell you that Navy officers and enlisted people don’t feel this animosity toward merchant mariners at all. At least I don’t. You’re fellow mariners. We have a lot of common experiences. If you guys have a problem with us…that drama is coming from you. Not from the United States Navy or the men and women who serve our country in that Navy.

If you sense any degree of hostility from me, I apologize, as that is not my intention.

I wonder, however, if that is the intention of people on this web site. If so, that is very disappointing.


As I said, they don’t have specialist officers. But the core of the navy is the enlisted personnel, and there are a LOT of specialists there. The crew of an Arleigh Burke class DDG is about 32 officers, 27 Chief Petty Officers, and 270 other enlisted. Those CPOs, and the senior Leading Petty Officers (LPO are usually E-6) are the folks with lots of experience and knowledge in their specialty area, as well as experience in training and leading the more junior personnel. Another major responsibility of the CPOs is training the JOs.


Maybe the OOD should be a Navigation specialist CPO?


I have been on several ships where some CPOs had qualified as OOD. I believe they were QMs and OSs. Not much different than CPOs standing Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW), and that was very common in my day.


CIVMAR mates do just that, and even a 3M could have more experience than CO of a warship doing that.

Not to hard to roll down a check list and steer for correct winds and deck. Cadets could do that out of maritime academy no problem.


I guess my point is that OODs should be ALL quartermasters that specialize 100% in navigation. They can train the new ensigns as JOODs so they get their basic navigation training in order to move up the ladder but cut the officers out of the OOD loop.


Nah I think they seriously need to re evaluate there training track, underway time, and mentality to get competent officers standing watch. They need to model themselves after European navies, who normally meet and attain STCW credentials, and specialize like the merchants in either deck or engineering. That is the solution.


That would be the best solution but if the Navy is unwilling to give up their current “Jack off all trades, master of none” mentality then they should have QMs as the OOD at all times.


Now this is really getting good. We are to change our command and training structure as the European Navies. Oh how soon we forget. Let our navy have the this type of training so when we go to war against islands like the Falkland’s. Hopefully the USN can have the same results. LOL!!!

Granted I may not have clicked on some link to read about something but surely to god if you were in the USN during this time you read the USN reports and memos that they, UK Navy, depleted or just about depleted all their torpedo’s shooting at a submarine that wasn’t even within 100NM, but hey, they didn’t hit a cargo ship!!!

Tuesday, 4 May 1982


FAA, 800 Sqn, Hermes (right - MOD (Navy)), aircraft carrier, flying Sea Harrier shot down over Goose Green, Falklands

TAYLOR, Nicholas, Lieutenant §, C020574N, died

Sheffield, destroyer, hit by Argentine Super Etendard-launched Exocet missile SE of Falklands, sank on 10 May

BALFOUR, David I, Lieutenant Commander, C013406T

BRIGGS, David R, Petty Officer Marine Mechanic, D1348157, posthumous DSM

COPE, Darryl M, Catering Assistant, D168369Y

EGGINGTON, Anthony C A, Weapon Engineering Artificer, D76798T

EMLY, Richard C, Sub Lieutenant, C027074H

FAGAN, Robert, Petty Officer Cook, D073064N

GOODALL, Neil A, Cook, D180188Q

KEUNG, Lai Chi, Chinese (Unclassified), (service number not given),

KNOWLES, Allan J, Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic, D106285M

MARSHALL, Tony, Leading Cook, D0101325D

NORMAN, Anthony R, Petty Officer Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D126569P

OSBORNE, David E, Cook, D158914V

SULLIVAN, Kevin R F, Weapon Electronics Artificer 1c, D082300A

SWALLOW, Andrew C, Cook, D178106E

TILL, Michael E G, Act/Chief Weapons Mechanic, D099091A

WALLIS, Barry J, Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D135931G

WELLSTEAD, Adrian K, Leading Cook, D134889L

WELSH, Brian, Master at Arms, D088134X

WILLIAMS, Kevin J, Cook, D176707S

WOODHEAD, John S, Lieutenant Commander, C021900A, posthumous DSC

Thursday, 6 May 1982


FAA, 801 Sqn, Invincible, aircraft carrier, two Sea Harriers lost in bad weather, SE of Falklands

CURTIS, William A, Lieutenant §, C027154R, died

EYTON-JONES, John E, Lieutenant Commander §, C016085B, died

Wednesday, 19 May 1982


FAA, 846 Sqn, Sea King crashed after bird strike NE of Falklands, 18 members of the Special Air Service, one Royal Signals and one RAF also lost

LOVE, Michael D, Corporal Aircrewman, RM, P035079S, posthumous DSM

Friday, 21 May 1982


Ardent, frigate (right - MOD (Navy)), badly damaged by Argentine bombs and near misses in Grantham Sound and off North West Island, Falkland Sound, sank next day

ARMSTRONG, Derek, Able Seaman (Sonar), D171126C

BANFIELD, Richard W, Lieutenant Commander, C019615Y

BARR, Andrew R, Able Seaman (Sonar), D171207C

BROUARD, Peter I H, Engineer Mechanic, D089826M

DUNKERLEY, Richard J S, Cook, D155376N

FOOTE, Michael P, Act/Leading Cook, D150936G

FORD, Stephen N, Marine Engineering Mechanic, D189624P

HANSON, Shaun, Act/Steward, D191828F

HAYWARD, Sean K, Able Seaman (Sonar), D190628Y

HEYES, Stephen, Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D166439B

LAWSON, Simon J, Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D1833557S

LEIGHTON, Alistar R, Marine Engineering Mechanic, D187927E

MCAULAY, Allan, Air Engineering Mechanic, D065361N

MULLEN, Michael S, Act/Leading Seaman, D140637W

MURPHY, Brian, Lieutenant, C022353P

NELSON, Gary T, Leading Physical Training Instructor, D141680P

PALMER, Andrew K, Act/Petty Officer Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D134200P

ROBERTS, John R, Cook, D138481K

SEPHTON, John M, Lieutenant Commander, C021253B

WHITE, Stephen J, Act/Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic, D177273B

WHITFORD, Garry, Act/Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic, D152859L

WILLIAMS, Gilbert S, Marine Engineering Mechanic, D169265K

Argonaut, frigate, hit by Argentine rockets, cannon fire and finally two UXB’s in Falkland’s Sound, damaged

BOLDY, Ian MacD, Able Seaman (Radar) ®, D184194V

STUART, Matthew J, Seaman, D187549X

RM 3 Commando Brigade Air Sqn, two Gazelles of C Flight shot down by Argentine Army small arms fire near Port San Carlos, Falklands, crashed

Gazelle number one

EVANS, Andrew P, Sergeant, RM, PO25446U

Gazelle number two

FRANCIS, Kenneth D, Lieutenant, RM, N023442U

GIFFIN, Brett P, Lance Corporal, RM, P033537T

Sunday, 23 May 1982


Antelope, frigate, hit by two UXB’s in San Carlos Water, Falklands, sunk that evening when one bomb exploded killing Sergeant Prescott, Royal Engineers

STEPHENS, Mark R, Steward, D184547G, died


COLES, Peter C, Petty Officer Marine Engineering Artificer (M), D160354T, died

FAA, 800 Sqn, Hermes, aircraft carrier, Sea Harrier crashed into sea shortly after take off NE of Falklands and exploded

BATT, Gordon W J, Lieutenant Commander §, C015622P, died, posthumous DSC (died early evening of 23rd, but listed as 24th)

Tuesday, 25 May 1982


Atlantic Conveyor, aircraft & helicopter support ship (right), hit by Argentine Super Etendard-launched Exocet missile NE of Falklands, burnt out and sank in tow on the 31st, Captain and eight other crew also lost

ANSLOW, Adrian J, Air Engineering Mechanic, D76381K

FLANAGAN, Edmund, Chief Petty Officer Writer, D058206K

PRYCE, Donald L, Leading Air Engineering Mechanic, D137112E

Coventry, destroyer, sunk by Argentine bombing north of Pebble Island, Falklands

ARMES, Frank O, Marine Engineering Mechanic (M) 1c, D170136A

CADDY, John D L, Act/Chief Weapons Engineering Artificer, D075562M

CALLUS, Paul B, Marine Engineering Artificer, D145600D

DAWSON, Stephen R, Act/Petty Officer Catering Accountant, D155633A

DOBSON, John K, Act/Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D183607L

FOWLER, Michael G, Petty Officer (Sonar), D094740D

HALL, Ian P, Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D170776F

HEATH, Rodney R, Lieutenant, C025065S

KYU, Ben K, Laundryman, (none given)

OZBIRN, David J A, Act/Weapon Engineering Mechanic, D088253K

ROBINSON-MOLTKE, Glen S, Lieutenant Commander, C013530H

STILL, Bernard J, Leading Radio Operator, D183504T

STOCKWELL, Geoffrey L J, Marine Engineering Artificer, D154502T

STRICKLAND, David A, Act/Weapon Engineering Artificer, D138928M

SUNDERLAND, Adrian D, Able Seaman (Electronic Warfare) (E.W.), D187550T

TONKIN, Stephen, Marine Engineering Mechanic, D192370P

TURNBULL, Ian E, Act/Cook, D189147F

WHITE, Philip P, Act/Weapon Engineering Artificer, D154510D

WILLIAMS, Ian R, Weapon Engineering Artificer, D178859U


Isn’t that a rewarding career path of its own? They would go from baby mate to master if they chose to remain in the service, just like merchant marine deck officers.

Are you saying that merchant mariner deck officers don’t have a career path or that their career path is somehow unsatisfying or doesn’t prepare them for a shore based job when they get tired of sailing?


And they can stay long enough to retire after 20 years, instead of being pushed out after 10.


You are right, sorry.


To become insurance salesmen.

If they got pushed out after 10 it would be because the Navy places little value (and certainly no glamour) on safely and efficiently running a ship, evidently not enough to make that a rewarding career path.


Maybe you should move this to another thread?


Yeah I was wondering about this too. A very long time ago during a layoff I actually approached the Navy and found out about something they called an EDO or LDO engineering duty officer or limited duty officer program. Memory may not be 100% on this but I recall it described as you are NOT a line officer, had a different insignia on your sleeve not a star. You would go through a bunch of training, work in shipyards in various Supship offices and there were going to be at least 2 at sea assignments. One early in the carrier on a smaller vessel and one later when you achieved higher rank on a larger vessel. The path was to eventually become a Supship or who knows something at NAVSEA. Anyway it appeared a fullfilling path for a marine engineer.

Seems a good specialty program for navigators/ ship handlers would have similar potential paths with in the Navy with shore side assignments if you wanted to stay in - such as training others, planning and procedures for the Navy Bridge, keeping an eye on IMO goings on, outreach to merchant marine partners, conduct investigations into mishaps, perhaps even consult on bridge design and layout.

Seems there is a bit of variability in the captain’s endorsement of an officer as an OOD method that could be improved on with a professional corp of OOD’s. As someone else said this would not affect the cross training of JOOD’s division officers or department heads in the fine points of the nautical sciences as they move up their chosen path to command.


And there lies the main issue: the American military (including the USCG), generally, is a human system geared towards regular, constant advancement in rank. For officers especially, when “advancement” in rank finally stops the career is on death watch. While that system may work well for maintenance of military promotion & hierarchy it leaves some big holes in the various areas of critical mission performance. The enlisted ranks are damaged by this mostly up-or-out principle, too.

The USCG, as an agency, performs numerous jobs that, when done ashore, would normally be performed by career civil servants of some sort: fire, police, EMT/ambulance, game warden, pollution response oversight, marine inspection, etc. The military structure is often ill-suited to cultivating and maintaining the experienced personnel essential to perform these jobs. Just as the USN’s system will never maintain a large percentage of experienced bridge & engine room personnel for

The results of putting the military’s need/desire for an attractive career path for JO’s over the demands of navigating their ships in a consistently “safe” & professional manner are apparent.

The results of commercial pressures to cut corners and take unnecessary risks with weather (SS El Faro) are equally apparent.

And the beat goes on.