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14 January 2016

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BabelFish

Glad to know that Clown College is still going strong! Methinks Captain McCain is entering the same mental zone as R. Regan.

Even in the Navy, sh*t just happens. I can remember several sterling examples, like crushing a pier in Rota, Spain. And getting off course on the way down to Charleston. We apparently were headed for the Canary Islands.

Jack

Sir

The Borgistas are clearly crazy. I can't wait to see how they react to the primary in Iowa, NH, SC and Super Tuesday if the polls have any credibility.

ked

soooo... you had a nice little cover story for the US invasion of the Canarys... got it.

scott s.

From what I've seen, the O-in-C was a LT Nartker (as seen on video released). Happened to be a boat school grad, though probably not relevant.

oofda

And actually, the Navy sailors were treated quite well by the IRGC- at least by their standards. A lot of people made equally foolish comments about Iranian violations of the Geneva Conventions by pictures being taken of the crew- while they were eating. Nonsense, and we should be careful in talking about violations of the Geneva Conventions- having waterboarded prisoners.

Trey N

Well, so much for that career in the Navy. I guess it's a good thing the bonehead wasn't promoted high enough to run a destroyer aground on some shoals....

sillybill

"Even in the Navy, sh*t just happens"

boy does it ever! as we were pulling away from the quay wall to start our westpac cruise, the anchor fell off, 3 days delay putting it back on. off the coast of vietnam (challenging the commies 200 mile limit) we ran over fishing nets ruining our sonodome, 30 days in drydock, (we also got shot at by vn navy/fishing boats but thats another story!) weeks later we ran over more fishing nets ruining our prop, another 30 days in drydock. on the way into San Diego harbor coming back the old man decided he was going to be in charge of pulling in rather than the ood, he ran it into the quaywall. right in front of the commodore.
we did get a whole month in subic bay and another in sasebo so the crew was happy.

Bobo

Granted the Navy has had a number of bloopers through the years and this may be one, but it smells. Supposedly these two boats were running from Kuwait to Bahrain or a few hundred miles down the beach. The "Petty Officer" would have had to have presented his superior a voyage plan showing the contemplated path indicating each waypoint and course change realizing any deviation required approval or at least concurrence. That plan would have been distributed to to all appropriate sections especially the responsible authority that would be tracking (real time) those vessels.
Now Farsi Island is 50 miles or so off KSA and another 50 or so miles off Iran smack in the middle of the Persian Gulf. These two boats were to meet up with a larger vessel to re-fuel 15 miles due west of Farsi Island. 50 foot aluminum cans are notorious for not steering in a straight line but do get you from point A to B with not too much problems in a timely fashion. Generally the crew of these vessels are experienced individuals and not the 18 to 25 year olds normally seen on Naval Vessels. Looking at the crew fom Iranian photos lets you make that assumption. They represented us well and recognized their navigational error.

Whatever idiot set this plan up will be relieved of his command as this was a lot more than a "Petty Officer".

john

Stuff sometimes happens. I remember being part of an Alpha Strike over North Vietnam. The briefed lead went down on deck so the secondary lead took charge. We all rendezvoused overhead the aircraft carrier and set off toward what we thought was North Vietnam. We could see on the horizon. In actuality It was China's Hainan Island that we saw and we were heading directly to China with 30 or 40 armed aircraft!

Finally and thankfully someone - either on the ship or in the formation - said, "check your heading." Apparently while circling overhead the ship, the lead's compass had precessed 180 degrees out. We were heading 090 instead of 270. Major mistake averted! Most of us were too concerned with flying into enemy fire than to worry about our navigation.

turcopolier

Bobo

Well, if an adult told this young PO to take a short cut he will probably be punished. You know how forgiving the US Navy is... pl

alba etie

oodfa
Iranian TV showed the footage of feeding our sailors - split screen with footage from Abu Gharib ( sigh ) ..

BabelFish

Being simple sailors, we completely believed the Captain when he told us it was only to do 'A Three Hour Tour'.

tv

Somehow I don't think any one will be held accountable for this fiasco.
The US military has become a civil service in uniform:
No responsibility and all about benefits and perqs.
Odierno said that the Army is the worst prepared since WW II.
Who was the CofS of the Army for the last 4 years?
And what was he doing?

turcopolier

tv

I question the notion that the armed forces are hollow. In what sense are they hollow? The Navy and Air Force want more equipment? they always want more equipment. The relevant question is "how much is enough?" The US Army and USMC are not powerful forces? In what sense are they weakened? Is it from combat stress? There have been no major combat units committed for several years. Are the veterans remaining on active duty and training at home not still good soldiers, the ones people thanked endlessly and tiresomely on their return from abroad? Are the new soldiers who continue to fill the ranks lesser men and women? What the hell is Odierno talking about? IMO you are mistaken. THE US Navy loves to punish sailors and junior officers. pl

turcopolier

Bobo

I have learned that the commander of the two boats was a lieutenant. I have changed the post. pl

Fred

Babelfish,

"What's the North star doing over there?" (Once heard on the conning tower of the big black fast attack.) Hmm, thought I (who had wandered up from the engine room) somebody should have listened to the QM1(SS).

oofda

Colonel,
Amen. What on earth is Odierno talking about- wasn't he the Chief of Staff of the Army for the past four years? He is calling in fire on his own position- and as you noted, the services are indeed powerful forces- totally insane to say they are in bad shape. Perhaps he is beginning to suffer from head injuries suffered playing football at the Point. And he never seemed that sharp in any case.
And you are right- the USN makes a point of making commanding officers accountable- it can be brutal.

Fred

Bobo,

A complete transit path in an international waterway as heavily traffic by everything from Supertankers to fishing boats? Wouldn't that just be a transit box between A and B with a giant warning line on their chart at 2-3 miles from that 12 mile limit? As to crew "not being 18-25 year olds" what are you talking about? A navy lieutenant isn't going to be much past 25 and you sure don't need ten senior enlisted ranks on boats like these, you may have a chief and a whole lot of junior petty officers (gunner's mates). You're just as likely to have a chief in command of an individual boat.

Thirdeye

Same cause as the Flight 19 incident in 1946.

BabelFish

Fred, in our case, the LTJG who had us on the diversion was told to step aside so our QM1 could the SS Minnow back on course.

Amir

What do people think about the following piece by Gareth Porter:

"The smoke is just beginning to clear from the incident involving two U.S. naval ships being apprehended by Iranian naval forces in Iranian waters near Farsi island. For the first 24 hours the attention of the U.S. public was diverted by the phony issue of whether the Obama administration had apologized for the intrusion. But now a set of facts have begun to emerge suggesting that the two U.S. ships may well have been on an intelligence mission that required them to cut across Iranian territorial waters and counting on the speed of the ships to outrun any Iranian naval vessels that approached them. The first fact that bears on the issue is that the U.S. ships in question are not only heavily armed but carry sensors and other sophisticated intelligence fathering equipment, as was revealed today by Popular Mechanics.

An article in Navy Times published this afternoon reveals several important facts: the ships deliberately took a "short cut" through Iranian waters, supposedly to make a refueling rendezvous; the source of the information further refused to comment on whether any "crypto" -- meaning equipment for decoding messages -- was lost. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of the Central Command, similarly refused to discuss whether any gear was taken from the ships by the Iranians. The article further reveals that the ship had engine trouble which made it impossible to outrun Iran naval craft in the vicinity. And finally there is the plain fact the ships would have been in contact with the 5th fleet at the time the Iranian vessels approached it, so the cover story that the 5th fleet had lost contact with the vessels and didn't know where they were is clearly a falsehood."

Here is the story in the Navy Times: http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2016/01/14/us-sailors-mistakenly-steered-into-iranian-waters/78796140

turcopolier

mariner

I have no idea what navigation gear was on board those boats. My mention of "GPS" was just a guess. I do wonder though why, if one boat had suffered engine problems, the other boat did not tow it out of harm's way. pl

turcopolier

Amir

I commented on Porter's FB page that I think he is really grasping at straws about this. The weapons on the boats seem to have been small arms and a few machine guns. These are normal defensive weapons for naval vessels of this size. They had radios and cypher gear to secure radio traffic? This is a surprise? They were on some sort of reconnaissance mission? Where was the back up muscle in case they got in trouble? Someone commented on Porter's article that we should remember OPLAN 34A. This was the base document at the creation of USMACVSOG. Among other things it authorized naval operations intended to de-stabilize N. Vietnam. Well, pilgrims, if this was the front end of something like that it was remarkably a failure since the US government went to great pains to patch up an incipient quarrel rather than the reverse. pl

Kassandra

The flimsy excuse of not being able to handle the GPS navigation system properly tries to appeal to the notion of everyone understanding that Americans are dumb, being a ridiculous attempt towards plausible deniability.
I do not buy that bullshit. There had been two boats, two officers in charge of navigation, and no problems to communicate. This was on purpose and went south.

Old Microbiologist

I more or less agree unless his daddy is someone important which more often than not is now the case. I also see a trend in laying the blame as low as it can possibly go. I find it hard to believe there wasn't a Chief whispering in his ear so that would imply the Chief's advice was ignored (always detrimental to any junior officer's career). Perhaps the Chief9s) will be the ones punished?

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