Death and valor on a warship doomed by its own Navy


Been There, Done That, from both sides of the angle.

-Navy… Too damn many tasks on the bridge in excess of seamanship. reports, 21 MC, endless reports of an admin nature… etc.

Put two Warrant Officers unconcerned about promotion up there with a pair of lookouts and shut the F-ck up. They will get you safely where you need to go.

Retired OSCS Radar Navigation Officer… Also Master of several MSC vessels and other types including an Antarctic Icebreaker. Get off my bridge!!! Too many folks, too many reports !!!

Qualified as pilot for Tokyo Wan and other ports… keep it quiet, keep it simple. Entered Tokyo without radar at night, yea a pucker factor but that is what our grandfathers did on every approach.

Keep it simple. See It… Stay away from It. !!!


Here is part two of the series.

YEARS OF WARNINGS, THEN DEATH AND DISASTER ProPublica. Part two of a series;


I’ve read the official documents related to this case. This is the first I’ve had opportunity to read individual experiences and a timeline reproduction. I do understand the issue much better than I did reading the cold investigative work. I believe one of the critical factors was there was no “eyes on” from the bridge both sides of the ship. Had there been eyes on from the critical location the collision may indeed have been avoided. In that respect, conclusions remain valid.


Congress is interested in this piece, and our own leadership is not.

“These two collisions were a tragedy, there is no doubt about it,” Davidson said. “And all the senior leaders of the Navy feel a tremendous amount of accountability for it. But the fact of the matter is 280-odd other ships weren’t having collisions.”

I’m about as Joe Navy as they come, but this “steady as she goes” shit is going to get more sailors killed. Anything you read about is window dressing. This is the real attitude of Big Navy.


Here is another view on the ProPublica articles

The Fitzgerald Collision: In Search of the Onus

Bryan McGrath

The problem with this narrative is that it is incomplete, and it removes from positions of obvious responsibility and culpability the very people most responsible for the accident — the commanding officer and other officers standing watch when the accident occurred. The American people should understand that while there were clear and present systemic issues with how the Navy trained and maintained its Japan-based ships, the Fitzgerald tragedy was the result of profound professional negligence perpetrated by people who either should have known better or did know better and chose to act otherwise.

I don’t agree with this at all, McGrath honestly believes people will be reluctant to hold the crew accountable? I don’t see that happening.

The way the Navy is set up now officers just have to advance in rank so that they no longer will be in command of an actual ship at sea. Once you advance above that you’re set for life. Until then you just have to never turn down a mission and keep your fingers crossed. Just need a little luck.

Two ships collided, 280, for every captain that fails 140 get promoted. Not bad odds.


That piece by Brian McGrath is pathetic. He’s saying that the blame lies with the ship and crew alone, that leadership ashore bares little responsibility for the accident. Let me explain the folly with an analogy:

It’s snowing. The roads are icy. A parent give the keys to a corvette to his unlicensed sixteen year old and tells her to drive her siblings to the store. Along the way she looses control of the muscle-car on a patch of black ice and gets into a terriable accident, killing her brothers and sisters.

Now, whose fault is it? Would we blame the sixteen year old driving a 300 hp car on icy roads? Or would we blame the parent for being stupid enough to put an unlicensed kid behind the wheel of a powerful car in an ice storm?

Legally it’s the kid’s fault. She was behind the wheel. Morally it’s the parents fault. An adult would know better. Should know better.

McGrath would be pleased to send the sixteen year old to jail for manslaughter while giving the negligent parent a pat on the back. McGrath is a disgusting apologist who should crawl back into the pocket of whatever lobbyist he crawled out from.


The way that I was used to was the ship was part of a flotilla where my own vessel was commanded by a commander. The lead vessel of the flotilla was commanded by a Captain. All the specialist officers in the lead ship were one rank higher than normal and they conducted periodic inspections of the other ships in the flotilla.
The Admiral was at sea in the flagship, normally the carrier, and wasn’t some want to be politician living in a grace and favour mansion with Filipino staff.
The management lost control over their oversight in a situation where by its very structure, did not allow those at the bottom to take any effective corrective action.


Dunning-Krueger effect, in summary.