Thursday, April 2, 2020


I was asked to provide embarked security teams for a cruise of the USNS Mercy through Central and parts of South America back in the early oughts of this century and we managed to scrounge up some security types for the ship and even some embarked patrol boats to cover the water side of the ship when it was inport. Somehow I never contemplated that fending off attack trains controlled by madmen would be a requirement. An oversight on my part but I don't know how one could really wrap one's arms around the whole beast if one really had to counter every threat to a hospital ship. For me, the fact that it treats tropical diseases would be enough to keep me away.
LOS ANGELES, CA — A train engineer at the Port of Los Angeles apparently tried to ram the Navy hospital ship USNS Tuesday, believing the ship was part of a plot to take over the government, according to the Department of Justice. He derailed the train at full speed, but came to a crashing halt a good 250 yards away from the ship. 
The crash was witnessed by a CHP officer who took the engineer into custody after he allegedly tried to flee the scene, according to prosecutors. Forty-four-year-old Eduardo Moreno, of San Pedro, was turned over to the FBI Wednesday after confessing his plot repeatedly to investigators, a Department of Justice official said. 
Moreno was charged in a criminal complaint with one federal count of train wrecking, which carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Investigators allege Moreno ran the train off the end of the tracks and crashed through a series of barriers before coming to rest far short of his goal. No one was injured, and the Mercy was not damaged. The train leaked fuel that required a hazardous-materials cleanup. 
According to the criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court, Moreno admitted in two separate interviews with law enforcement authorities that he intentionally derailed and crashed the train near the Mercy on Tuesday afternoon. 
The CHP officer who witnessed the crash reported seeing "the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence," according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint.
Mk I Mod 0 Attack Train in LA

USNS Mercy in LA

Nope, I never thought about keeping trains away.

I find it interesting that both Mercy and Comfort are painted white. My first ship, the Middle East Force Flagship, was painted white. At the time we were the only white ship in the Navy. Oh sure there were USNS that were painted white but they weren't warships. Our ship was mostly a beacon of glistening whiteness that alerted the Iranians and Iraqi fighter-bombers during The Tanker War to leave us alone since we were quite unique and quite harmless. Both hospital ships have excellent paint jobs. I'd venture to guess that they are the only ships on active naval service that don't have a totally out of control unsightly running rust problem. Most of our warships look like they spent the last 7 years on a reef in the Sulu Sea. We can do better.

Rust Never Sleeps on USS Fort McHenry as seen in Germany


capt fast said...

Rust is offensive to the senses. one wouldn't want their personal vehicle to have rust running down the side because of at least personal pride. were I responsible for a United States Navy warship, I would be highly embarrassed to pull into port with the side of my ship looking as if it was an outdoor urinal. I understand the costs of coatings and EPA requirements and drydock time are out of control, but the old school chiefs I have known would be apoplectic over the above visual . chipping paint was an honorable duty all would take part in if for no other reason than to wipe the looks of abject disgust from the faces of yard dogs. how utterly sad it's comes to this.
although I was air force and all the jokes aside, I have always fought the battle with corrosion with coatings and inspections as diligently as I knew how because the alternative for aluminum is very, very bad.

capt fast said...

Mr. Moreno should be hoisted by his own petard utilizing piano wire and bungee chords.
those ships look great in their white paint.

Paul L. Quandt said...

This whole rust thing makes one wonder if the U.S. Navy has any senior officers who are not in full rectal defilade. I'll bet that senior officer's messes and O Clubs don't lack for any comforts and supplies.

Paul L. Quandt

Rick said...

Perhaps the USN should buy OSPHO by the rail cars. Great stuff and environmentally sound. I always carried a spray bottle filled with the stuff.


Borepatch said...

Obama said he would fundamentally transform the United States. Looks like he succeeded with the Navy.