Questions regarding USS Fitzgerald - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Questions regarding USS Fitzgerald

Can some of you Navy veterans explain to me how a cargo ship can run into a USN destroyer in the open sea?
Shouldn't someone have "seen" that freighter on radar when it was at least 100 miles away?
And shouldn't warnings to get away have been broadcast on marine radio frequencies?
And shouldn't the freighter have been blown out of the water if it didn't maneuver away?
A cargo ship running into one of the USN's finest ships completely unseen? This stinks beyond reason.
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:00 AM
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The same way one of America's flagship carriers goes aground in SF bay...

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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:12 AM
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Human error. The Captain will bear responsibility and it will likely cost him his career.
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:41 AM
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Human error. The Captain will bear responsibility and it will likely cost him his career.
Maybe so, maybe no.
I was a surface warfare officer during my active duty days and spent
copious watch time on the bridge of a carrier. We were very careful,
as anything happening to an AC is literally a short call from POTUS'
ear. (falls under the category of major US asset)
Stupid stuff happens occasionally...... we'd be here all day; I could
tell you stories. (probably not though)

There will be what is called a "board of inquiry," in which the details
of what happened will be hashed out for the official record. In reality,
we are fixing blame, under the guise of the public's right to know.
("there will be an accounting"...... in the language of the GAO)

In all likelihood, if there is any blame on the actions of the bridge
watch team that was on duty, this will get ugly for them and then
also ugly for the skipper, by extension, since he has ultimate
responsibility for his ship, and the watch is merely his trusted
"proxy" when he's not physically on the bridge. (that's the real
reason an Officer Of the Deck goes through a board to receive
his qualification as OOD and then as a Surface Warfare Officer)

We had a saying about maritime disaster- "collision at sea ruins
your whole day."

If you have any questions, feel free to ask..... this subject is in
my "wheelhouse" since I was in the USN for 25 years.
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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:56 AM
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Of bigger concern is the possible loss of 7 sailors.
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 10:52 AM
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Not to be callous but loss of life in the military does occur
fairly regularly in both peacetime and during war at a pretty
good clip. It's unfortunate and tragic but it is the nature of
"being in harm's way."
I had CACO (notification of 1st of kin) on the ship and re-
wrote the Navy ops manual for the process in the Pacific
Fleet....

As the drill sergeant said, "I taught you everything you know. I didn't teach you everything I know."

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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 07:37 PM
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There is no way in He**, that this should have happened. Even if visibility is poor for the crew on watch...there are so many ways to keep this from happening. I spent four years in the USN. I believe the crew got "lax" in the duty of "Keeping Watch". Dear Lord, I pray that they will find some of these guys still alive. Terrible accident. I'm sure the POTUS will be speaking with the families of those still lost and tell them that all available resources are being used to find them. That transport ship sure did not take on much damage compared to the navy vessel. Maybe something to do with the weight displacement being much more?

I assume that F=MxA would apply here? Help me out engineers?
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gwstang View Post
T That transport ship sure did not take on much damage compared to the navy vessel. Maybe something to do with the weight displacement being much more?

I assume that F=MxA would apply here? Help me out engineers?
The transport ship broadsided the destroyer. The nose of a ship is much sturdier then the side by design. Think of a straw, you can push the side in easy, now try to crumple the end down. Same basic concept.
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 08:34 PM
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There is no way in He**, that this should have happened.
You'd be surprised how often this stuff happens.
When I reported to my first ship it was at change-of-command time.
They had just recently run into USS Wichita during unrep.

I could site other examples on just my ship of collisions at sea.....

We'd be here all day listing the numerous incidents Navy-wide.

As the drill sergeant said, "I taught you everything you know. I didn't teach you everything I know."

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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:28 PM
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This didn't happen in open sea, it happened in a busy shipping lane through which hundreds of ships pass through a day. From my understanding in reading about it is the ships pass pretty close to each other in this lane.

The container ship was also much larger than the destroyer and is several hundred feet longer.

What sucks is millions of dollars of upgrades and repairs were just made to the ship in in Feb.

I hope the missing sailors can be recovered.


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post #11 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 09:36 PM
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Having sat on a few Boards of Inquiry, my guess is that a lot of blame will be spread around, and the phrase failure to train, failure to monitor, failure of leadership, failure to adequately brief subordinates, etc. will be tossed around.

Coupled with the possible loss of life, it will not be good for many involved.

This was not a grounding on an uncharted sand bar, but an open ocean collision with possible loss of life and significant damage to a warship that is, my guess only. part of our deterrence/strike capability against North Korea.

Not good

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post #12 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 07:24 AM
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Shouldn't someone have "seen" that freighter on radar when it was at least 100 miles away?
YES.

There's no explanation for any of this unless someone wants to offer a conspiracy theory that the bridge crew was complicit somehow. Even in the darkest moonless night in the heaviest fog, the bridge can see anything down to a floating coffee can for miles.

A cargo ship maneuvers like a, well, cargo ship - yet managed to broadside a Navy vessel. Imagine a swift boat packed with explosives being guided along side by a rudimentary remote control taking out a ship like this. Fat Boy Un must be splitting a gut and getting ideas.

To say that accidents happen all the time like this is pure B.S. It's hard to conceive that no one on the bridge watch knew this was happening. It's stunning really.

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post #13 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Even in the darkest moonless night in the heaviest fog, the bridge can see anything down to a floating coffee can for miles.
I thought so.
I'm sure that destroyer has more than one multi-million dollar radar system. And if that radar can detect a coffee can floating in the ocean it surely can detect one of these floating in the ocean.
This incident is beyond belief.
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post #14 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 09:20 AM
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All 7 sailors found dead (drowned) in a flooded compartment. At least they've all been recovered.


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post #15 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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All 7 sailors found dead (drowned) in a flooded compartment. At least they've all been recovered.
Prayers for their souls and their families.
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