LCS Main Engine casualty


I want to weep.


Pity he didn’t send the enclosures. Any chance of getting them?


It’s probably top secret stuff they don’t want anyone in the Navy to know about, like what a pump looks like inside or what is on the other side of that hole they plugged - twice.

Don’t expect much more from San Diego either, the email response I got from the author of that article when I suggested he read this thread was " All I see is a lot of back-and-forth over some sailor’s ribbon rack." so it is pretty safe to assume that San Diego being a Navy town the local fishwrap isn’t going to say much about just how badly those ships are operated and how incredibly poorly the crews are trained. After all, much of the money squandered by those idiots stays in San Diego.


You might be able to get them by emailing the Pacific Fleet FOIA contact person, but I’d guess it’s like Steamer said, very secret pump diagrams and piping layouts.


The Army will take them:


Love it … but if the Army took them, where would the Navy get its next generation of technical instructors?

Maybe there is literally a method to their madness. Think about it, after a potentially good guy gets Navy training and LCS experience he is probably bi-polar and depressed as well as needs alcohol or drugs to face another day surrounded by mysterious machinery with holes than need plugging. But all is not lost, now he can look forward to finishing his 20 in the Army.


You can’t blame systemic problems on the sailors themselves. They are a product of the system, and strive to be successful in that. The problem lies with the priorities and direction the USN has forced them to abide too. It is the level of training that they have short handed them with, and the bureaucratic burden that has tied their hands from accomplishing anything productive without 10 others. As tax payers we should be frustrated at the leadership and institution, but never the sailors.


I just about died laughing at the mental image of some poor sailor shuffling around with his hands full of plugs and clamps, muttering and twitching


Agreed, and it’s terrifying to realize that the Freedom isn’t some outlier. It makes me wonder how many of the LCS “problems” have nothing to do with the ship itself, but are just a result of how they run them.

At some point, trying to do more with less breaks down. That engine replacement/rebuild is going to cost a hell of a lot more than it would have to run larger crews with better training and experience.

Edit: although to be fair, that doesn’t count the cost of changing the system to the point where Captains are willing to say that their ship can’t sail.


I am one of those who think the whole LCS program is a massive boondoggle, poorly conceived and designed, tested to far lower standards than the Navy itself demands of other ships, and as is now apparent, manned by poorly trained and unskilled crews managed by officers more interested in protecting their careers than acting like professionals.

The Freedom has a worse (if that is possible) history of failures and non-availability than the other LCS versions because of design, construction, and crew incompetence issues but this latest revelation indicates that from construction to crew competence the thing has never been subject to adult supervision.

The casualty report mentions the fact that the engine builder called for piping the tell tale to a visible location, they even threaded the tell tale to facilitate this feature. Neither the Navy, the ship builder, or the crew followed this instruction. Apparently no one in the crew of what some claim to be senior and experienced personnel knew what a tell tale is or why it exists - to the point of twice plugging the tell tale to stop it from leaking.

What happened the first time the tell tale was plugged? Was the engine contaminated that time as well? Why was the manufacturer’s instruction to pipe the tell tale to a visible location not followed at that time?

Probably more importantly, what does this debacle say about a culture that leads the chief engineer to withhold critical information (the lube oil flushing results) from the master because the master did not have the “appetite” to tell his bosses that the taxpayer’s ship was broken? Why was this withholding of information not worthy of criminal charges by itself? The whole stinking pile described in that report reads like a widely spread conspiracy to avoid adding to the well earned negative publicity that follows the entire LCS program.

If there is any positive aspect of this incident, it exposes not only the chronically ill culture that lead to a failure of leadership at every level of the Freedom operation, it exposed the complete failure of a Navy training system which used to be among the best on the planet. Again, it is what is not written in the report that condemns another generation of sailors to a repeat of a series of too often fatal failures of machinery, seamanship, and leadership.

This is an example of why I have written in the past that the Navy has become a corrupt and incompetent organization that is unfit to oversee its own operation. It is riddled with a cancer of political ambition and ethical deficit. Is there a will to correct this condition? What can be done and who should drain this part of a deepening swamp?

Voltaire probably put it best when he wrote "… il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres – “… it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.”

We don’t have to go to that extreme these days but a very public sacking of a few hundred senior officers and enlisted with loss of all privilege and benefits might keep them thinking about the job they are paid to do rather than the defense contractor jobs they are hoping for.



I’m retired Navy so these type of incidents crush another piece of my heart every time. The Sailors are trying, but are hampered by P.C. B/S all the way every day.
Why have hands on training when Another Pink Day Celebration and sensitivity training of some sort will get you much more positive attention from the chain of command.


I retired in late 1993, after 28 years as enlisted and officer - a hawsepiper SWO. My bridge training was so extensive, and so different from what I read about now, that I am both amazed and horrified. I served in many engineering billets, learned from many great Chiefs and POs, have a BSME degree, and know how to trace and learn systems, troubleshoot (when did the problem start, what have we changed?) and repair/mitigate problems, and not stick a DC plug in a telltale drain. When I was CHENG on a frigate in 1976-78, we had ‘bulkhead-mounted spare’ rotor assemblies in cosmoline and waxed paper for every critical pump in the plant. Our engineering POs and ‘strikers’ could and did rebuild machinery underway as necessary. Too many factors into how, when and why it all changed - but just hurts deep inside to think about it.


It’s sad they don’t (and now can’t) still operate like that.


Ocnsir… Knox Class ?


Yes. USS MILLER (FF-1091), Apr '76 to early '78. Then DESRON 22 Material Officer for two years, three years on CINCLANTFLT Propulsion Examining Board as steam and gas turbine examiner, and two years as CRUDESGRU EIGHT Material Officer. Served on, rode on, or inspected almost 100 ships, with USS IOWA one of the engineering highlights.

Apparently the Navy I knew is long gone, both on the bridge and on the deckplates.


You do realize that military personnel are allowed to wear only their top row of ribbons in working uniforms. Right? No? Well. They are.


I figured it was something simple like that. Thanks for clarifying for us.


No, I didn’t know that. Thanks for the information.


Thanks for the report, it was painful to read. C/E should keelhauled for knowingly buttoning up an engine he knew was still contaminated. The contractors didn’t want to refill the engine after the less than adequate circulation procedure, and he had them overruled. To me, that’s criminal behavior. No wonder these sailors were so ignorant. Look at who they answer to. So many more things in the report just stick out as ridiculous. I could go on.

I’m glad he didn’t try to run it. That could have gotten people hurt, killed.


I wonder if that genius is the same cheng who was onboard the previouis time they did exactly the same thing. How many times do you have to plug a tell tale and fill an engine with seawater before someone in charge says “oh yeah, plugging that hole causes problems”?