Saturday, November 4, 2017


This in an important safety announcement for those tasked with driving our cruisers and destroyers as President Trump begins his 12 day visit to the Far East to rally allies and deter the NORKS and China.

Keep the aircraft carrier well in front of you where you can see it at all times.  

Very important addendum: Stay well back since carriers in front of you will often back down at full power for no readily apparent reason. Be prepared to break right or break left as your whimsy takes you in order to dodge the ship behaving strangely.

Posted 6/30/2017
PACIFIC OCEAN (June 29, 2017) Ships assigned to Carrier Strike Group 5 sail in formation during a live-fire gunnery exercise. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, providing a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Burke)

Failure to understand the dangers inherent in maneuvering warships in a briskly traded sea or in the vicinity of aircraft carriers comes with an enormous penalty and a lifetime of regret. Pay attention!

The price for getting in front of carriers or very large merchant ships steaming at 21 knots is well known by now. All of us ship drivers used to watch the famous "eye ball it in" video. The picture above, which google will not allow me to caption, is all that remains of the USS FRANK E EVANS after it strayed in front of HMAS MELBOURNE. It was MELBOURNE's second ship kill after slicing one of Australia's destroyers in half a few years earlier.

I know, being radical and actually doing the job the Navy trained you to do is an eye opener after a couple of tours ashore and a year in Afghanistan or Iraq as an involuntary powerpoint engineer to some Army general's staff, but focus. The lives of the men and women sleeping in their berths tonight depend on you doing your job. Nobody else is directly responsible for them waking up safe and sound at reveille. That's the job of the Officer of the Deck.

Give yourself a chance to sleep well for the rest of your life. Do your job tonight on the 20-24, the mid and the rev watch. Don't be left there at the end of every day asking, "if only I had...."

The admirals that brought us the Littoral Combat Snip and gigantically worthless DDX, killed SWOS and there is probably nobody left in the fleet today who saw this little movie as a young Ensign (LT if you were a nuke) at SWOS before going to sea on their first ship as an officer. It's dull and boring until you get to the point where people start to die, in the dark, for no reason except incompetence at the hands of the Officer of the Deck and his Junior Officer of the Deck. It started to get more interesting.

As conning officer, I almost never ordered a turn in the Persian Gulf until I had gone to the affected bridge wing and looked and verified that the turning radius was clear. Dhows don't show up all that well, sometimes, on radar and almost never when they're in close. When I was driving from CIC I just made the turns. At 3 -5 knots, the lookouts and bridge officers had all the time in the world to react to anything I missed on the surface. Like that was going to happen....


Captain Steve said...

The first and last three words in my night orders were always "WATCH THE CARRIER". Yes, in caps.

HMS Defiant said...

Truly one of the most irksome aspects of my years in the Navy was watching people make the same mistakes over and over again. Over the years I knew and worked with officers who never gained the trust of the CO and never went before either the OOD or a SWO board.
My first ship, I got both boards and with the OOD Letter came batteries release authority. We were at Wartime Steaming when underway in the Persian Gulf (our home) and 50% of our weapons were manned and ready 24/7. It was about as good as it gets for an ensign in the modern navy. I spent the next 28 years watching that authority erode away to almost nothing at all.

Captain Steve said...

I had officers who I could not trust to do the right thing too. OTOH--I had a bridge team composed entirely of CPOs---I slept well and securely with them on watch.

HMS Defiant said...

If they survive being first class petty officers, chiefs are great. Very few ships, in my experience, delved into the goat locker for OOD material. Oddly, it was just fine having them as EOOWs but it almost never happened that they showed up on the bridge watchbill. Speaking as a former senior watch officer, I know very well why the section leaders never thought to place themselves on the watchbill....:)

JNorth said...

When I was on the O'Brien we had a FCC and an ET2 that where both qualified OOD underway. The chief had actually passed SWO board and was going to OCS after that deployment.

HMS Defiant said...

When I was on Harry W. Hill we had chiefs that would leave the country before they got put on the watchbill. That was back in '86. On my first ship we had a 1st class petty officer who wanted very much to get on the watchbill as JOOD with a goal of being the OOD. He didn't have enough time but I suspect he retired as an admiral.