I was conversing with a friend this evening and we got to talking about the current unpleasantness and the charade that is being put on over there by some fairly masterful and sly strategists and I was reminded of the old days when I knew about wars and things like that.
My first ship was permanently stationed in the Middle East and based out of Bahrain. It was a fascinating year and I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot. When we got underway in the Persian Gulf we shifted from Sea and Anchor Detail to Condition III Wartime Steaming and 50% of the ship's weapons were manned and ready until we returned to port. In effect that meant that both Close-in-Weapon Systems were up in manual control, Electronic Warfare was up and active as one can be with a SLQ-32 detection system and a WLR1 detection system and one of the 3"50 dual mounts was manned and ready to open fire.
The only time I recall having the machine guns up and ready was when were were sweeping mines in the Red Sea and whenever we transited the Strait of Hormuz. That was also when the fire control men made a real effort to make sure the CIWS facing Iran was fully operational.
I said all that to contrast with the performance of my second ship during the height of the Cold War when it would have taken a special act of God and up to 24 hours to get a single weapon system on that ship in a position to fire while inport anywhere and a major muscle movement to do that thing while underway at Condition III Anti-Submarine Warfare which was how we steamed during ASW Operations in the north Pacific.
In contrast the various ships serving as our escort in the handful of times we had an escort in the Persian Gulf at the height of the Tanker War between Iran and Iraq could and did throw a white missile to rail and maneuver to unmask batteries for various air contacts that failed to heed warnings to sheer off. In the meantime their fire control radars were illuminating the hell out of the contact of interest.
This sort of thing could not happen in the southern California Operations Area largely because our jets hate to be locked up with a continuous wave or pulse doppler fire control radar and the Aegis system would randomly open and close garage doors all over San Diego county if it was activated too close to the coast.
I thought about us in relation to the Navy that was surprised at Pearl Harbor on 7 December, a beautiful Sunday morning and how despite all that peacetime behavior they still managed to get armed up and inflict some damage on their attackers. That wasn't going to happen in 1985 or 1989 or anytime on that destroyer.
After I left my second ship I went to a considerably more dangerous ship and we took ship protection a great deal more seriously than just about anybody and we were dangerous but nowhere near as dangerous as the SPECWAR guys embarked on Barges Hercules and Wimbrown VII. They would and did shoot at anything and the boats were dangerous too. I would not have cared to have any of the little birds hunting me in the dark. For those who are interested, the link is pretty interesting.
The United States and NATO are acting as belligerents in a war between Russia and another European country. As far as I know, not one of them has taken any steps whatsoever to increase readiness across the board to stave off air and missile attacks or your run of the mill state sponsored terrorists the world is stuffed with. That tells me that not only are the bases, planes and ships in Europe at considerable risk of surprise attack, so is some really fundamental infrastructure which is all but impossible to really safeguard. You wonder what that is but just think what happens if anyone targets the no-longer robust energy generation and distribution systems over there, or here for that matter.
Co-belligerents are not given some special grace and waiver from attack by the enemy and let's be honest, the US Government and all of NATO have out and out declared Russia to be our enemy.
You would think someone in a position to do something about this would speak up. Unfortunately I don't think we have a single solitary man in the chain of command who is competent, foresighted and capable of acting responsibly.
One of the things people like me who read about and study history and war is how easily and suddenly nations find themselves locked into a war that they didn't see coming. Well, one side never saw it coming but the other side had a plan and they executed the plan and if it didn't work out as expected........well, it was still a war.
We all better hope that Putin is a hell of a lot more stable than all the idiots in the West give him credit for because a madman or one who sees only going down in defeat is not unwilling to take the whole world down with him. We sort of thought that way about all the Kims in North Korea.