USS Fitzgerald collides with ACX Crystal off coast of Japan


There are absolutely some people out there who just enjoy being good at a certain task. Militay is no different. Not everyone has to be gunning for CO.

WO’s are utilized as subject matter experts who assist their units with technical expertise and do not pursue command.

No reason WO’s couldnt be utilized in navigating ships, other than institutional pressure/momentum. Have at least somebody on the bridge who’s not part of the up-or-out routine.

The US Navy has nearly unfathomable resources and manpower, compared to basically any organization/company on this planet. Any excuse about training, resources, manpower, etc. seems really just an excuse. If the US military cannot do it, then literally, who in this world can?


My question about career path was in response to the suggestion by Fraqrat that there be a few junior officers to stand bridge nav watch. This might be manageable in the scope of USNR active duty for new MM academy graduates, without a major reorganization of the surface navy.

I meant nothing negative about the career path for MM deck officers and it would certainly be a worthy path from baby mate to Sailing Master, on larger and larger naval vessels. But that is a reorganizational change that I don’t foresee happening in the USN.

As an aside, these proposals to place MM trained junior officers on USN decks as OICNW haven’t addressed what I believe is a large difference in level of compensation. An Ensign (O-1) makes $3,020/month basic pay, going to about $3,960 as a LT(jg) over two years service. Even with sea pay and other allowances, I think a good bit less than a baby 3rd?


The CG 378’s in the 1980’s did, in fact, have a CWO Bosun as deck department head, and they were an underway OOD as well. But there was only one and, depending on the individual, they may or may not be an asset to the bridge. Same as everybody else.


Fair enough. Seems doable to have at least one qualified Warrant Officer on the bridge for each sea watch of the day. Seems reasonable to think some career BM’s/QM’s would like the oppurtunity to move up to CWO and ensure the safe movement our warships. Think about how much better that would be to have one man/woman with 10-15 years of nav and ship handling experience on the bridge alongside all the line SWO’s who may or may not feel totally confident?


Responding to all those navy guys trying to confuse the issue.
Way too many acronyms in the command center and bridge, no one watching, not realizing that with their stealth technology they have the radar signature of a small FV. Got their ship almost cut in half. Just listen to the audio tape of the Porter collision: . Utter confusion, apparently nothing learned from that accident!


No, Trimmer’s book is for elite professionals everyone else gets a copy of How to Avoid Huge Ships: A Comic Book by Captain Tom Skipper



1st time I have listened to that. I have heard more pandemonium just doing drills on workups.
It didn’t turn out as bad for us though as it did for them, :slight_smile:
Guess when you have worked in the USN you just get use to that kind of confusion. Of course when you realize something really bad is gonna happen, I’m sure every recording sounds like that, Military or Civilian.


Why doesnt the navy see how putting 1 second mate and 2 third mates on a ship works. We have so many 3rds sitting in sand diego right now and each ship has a few extra put them on some big fricking carrier. CIC is the one that fights the ship anyways its not the OOD and if that does come up im sure the CO or XO would be up very quickly.

MSC third mates understand the rules on launching Helos but the captain comes up for it and approves of green deck and the such the third mate keeps the conn usually. When i was a cadet we did this almost everyday and that ship had a seriously restricted wind envelope. The third mate and captain had the cadets them him the course and speed. We prepare the ship for UNREPs everyday and on the day we arent preparing for an UNREP its because were going into port.

Munition transfers are done under the watch of the Cargo mate and Cargo bosun with the captain being informed of it. Nothing really happening here. As far as actually firing weapons, on my last ship the captain was in the small arms class and the chief mate was doing paperwork in his office. It was just me and my unlicensed up there for four hours. The only instruction I got was keep her steady and I dont like shooting into the sun.

As far as the whole advancement thing if this is ran as part of MSC using MSC mates there would be no issues since they would just slide back over the UNREP ships as chief mate and captain


I actually love this idea. The navy should take advantage of us maritime academy grads. Plenty of us need the work. CIVMARS, on some of the USS bridges providing support are a great solution.


If you would be willing to take E-4 or E-5 pay I don’t think many folks would mind it either.


Some USS ships have merchant officers running the bridge, like the USS Ponce and one of the MCC ships. Believe they are also running engineering on those as well.


At least it opens up some job opportunities in the navy
They will now need
The officer who looks out the window
The officer that reads the col regs
The officer that can use a radar
The officer that can use a vhf
The officer that collates the data and can make a decision


They will also need at least 3 enlisted sailors per officer to do the work for them.


How long, exactly, did it take until the situation on the Fitzgerald had stabilized? At what early morning time was it clear to everyone that the ship would not sink?


Hm, the visible contact was between the Fitz starboard deckhouse side above the main deck and the Crystal fo’csle port bow flare high say 8 m above the waterline and maybe 10 meters away from the centreline. The Crystal bulbous bow (in the centreline) was probably >8 meters below water and below the bilge of Fitz and could never touch anything in a collision at about 45° angle. Is Fitz in drydock at Yokosuka? It would be interesting to see and photos of any hull damages below waterline.


If a ship is recovering helos or airplanes, it must raise the “Vessel Restricted in Ability to Maneuver” sign. Rule 27.


Here’s how I see the damage:

There’s clearly a mark left by ACX Crystal’s forecastle edge on the superstructure and quite mangled plating that looks suspiciously like anchor coming in contact with the destroyer. You can see the location where the bow of the container ship has collided with the naval ship’s deck edge in this photograph:

It also shows that the bulbous bow is near the waterline and definitely not “below the bilge of Fitz”.

To me, the relative position of the two vessels during the collision is pretty clear.


Compare the close-up photograph of USS Fitzgerald to the damage in ACX Crystal in my previous post:

You can clearly see where the “bow wedge” pushed against the hull of the destroyer. If you draw a straight line down from the damaged area to the bulbous bow, you can estimate just how much of the appendage pushed into the naval ship’s hull.


I think you are pretty close. Here is a supplement – photoshopped images of both vessels that were pretty close to the angle of the crash. There were reports of Fitz being stationery but relative to the damage seen on the ACX, and the hard (~90 degree) starboard turn she made, presumably, immediately following the contact, it is hard to say… I would venture to guess ACX may have eventually bounced off of Fitz (or vice versa), but would her stbd turn have been that sharp without some significant forward momentum of the Fitz, I am not sure. I am guessing that the bulbous bow may have lodged and locked in for some time while Fitz’s forward motion assisting that sharp turn ACX made to stbd… (pure speculation on my part relative to the angle of damage on both vessels). I am not sure if I have the relative proportions of the vessels right, either.

images belong to their respective owners. I found them with Google image search and used them for possible visualization purposes as to how it may have looked under the daylight (not exactly the point of impact, but possibly moments before).


Incorrect sir. Not even close.