The Propublica version is difficult to finish, as my emotions prevent me from finishing. Emotions of rage & sorrow. Because I was a radarman on destroyers in the early Seventies, I have intimate (yes, and dated) knowledge of a CIC. I spent too many hours on a SPS-10 surface search radar & a SPA-25 PPI scope to understand how the operators on FITZ were incompetent in basic radar use.
We were all required to know how to tune the radar (the officers were not that good at tuning, but they knew when the picture sucked. And it was a performance factor for RD3 & RD2!! We also knew what pulse-width (short or long) to select for conditions. We knew what the range resolution and bearing resolution was for a give PW. That no-one on watch in FITZ CIC or the bridge knew the radar was set at long-range detection is unfathomable.
What isn’t mentioned in this reading, was the discovery of bottles of urine and weight-lifting equipment in CIC when the ship docked. (FROM NAVY TIMES, 14JAN19 - "Nothing captures the disarray aboard the destroyer better than this detail of a visit by Rear Adm. Brian Fort, who oversaw the investigation, to the vessel’s combat information center: “He saw kettlebells on the floor and bottles filled with pee”. Clearly a sign of poor leadership!!
The OOD, Ltjg Coppock committed the most grievous of errors: 1) She passed too close to two other vessels without calling the Captain in accordance with the night/standing orders. 2) She didn’t tell the Captain about an incident in May when she miscalculated distance to a fishing boat. 3) She didn’t pay attention to the SPS 73’s radar contact with a 3/4 mile CPA on the stern. 4) And didn’t sound the collision alarm, which undoubtedly would have saved those 7 sailor’s lives.
Yes, the captain is responsible. Yes the squadron commander is responsible. Yes COMSEVENFLT is responsible. But in the end, it’s the OOD who failed. She had a chance to stop the ship (assuming the article is correct that ABurkes can stop in 500’ to from 20kts).
I’m going to try and finish reading the article. But not now, I’m still fuming mad.
While I have strongly condemned the OOD, and the CO, and the admirals, I also congratulate and salute the crew who saved the vessel. They were true sailors & heroes.