Tuesday, July 25, 2017

USS FITZGERALD

As we anticipated, given the location and nature of the damage, the preliminary investigation on the collision is in and it appears that FITZGERALD was at fault. I honestly don't know how two deck officers, two officers in CIC and the watch standers in CIC, standing lookout or even on the bridge, failed to notice a ship that held a constant bearing with decreasing range.

When I was standing those watches on the bridge I would use a grease pencil and make marks on the radar scope and after a few marks on a contact, extend a line to see where that ship's relative motion was going to put it in relationship to me. It was easy. It was almost foolproof. I guess we don't do that anymore.

I have to wonder though, I thought this was the 21st century. Don't our ships have Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Collision Avoidance Systems? Was all of CIC playing pub drills and ignoring the real world while they knocked out a few exercises to put into the daily Operations Summary?


When I was standing watches in the dark, I found it handy to stay focused by walking from one bridge wing to the other and having a look around. It had the added benefit of keeping me awake. Of course the way my  ships' bridge wings were configured, I could see everything forward of the beam from either bridge wing. This isn't the case on the DDG.

Just a little effort by any of the watch standers on the bridge or in the Combat Information Center would have avoided the collision and spared the lives of the seven men who died. One almost hopes that that fact haunts them for the rest of their lives.

2 comments:

  1. There's really no other conclusion that makes sense. Hopefully we learn from this.

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    1. I remember taking the Deck a couple of times from an officer who had completely lost the bubble. The school rule was to wait until the situation was resolved if it appeared that things had gotten confused before taking over the Deck. I always figured, at least I could un$uck it and I'm not sure the guy I'm relieving could. Some captain gave that OOD his Letter and the same for the TAO. I watched the insanity of SWO compel some skippers to strive for the silly, counterproductive and stupid 100% SWO qualified or 100% ESWS qualified pennants and wondered, surely there were some idiots that couldn't hack it so does that mean some idiot got qualified as an OOD (prerequisite for SWO). Evidently. That's a mindset that needs to be changed right now and the stupid reference to 100% SWO qualified wardroom needs to end as a fitrep bullet or as a significant accomplishment. Every ship I served on had at least one officer who would never ever be even marginally competent as an OOD or any other position of great trust and responsibility.

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