Tags: navy | destroyer | mccain | pacific | north korea | southeast asia | crews

NYT: Less Training, Downsizing Partly to Blame for Navy Crashes

Image: NYT: Less Training, Downsizing Partly to Blame for Navy Crashes

Damage to the portside of the U.S. Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 27 August 2017 08:01 PM

The two deadly collisions between Navy destroyer ships and cargo ships in the last three months are almost certainly influenced by the fact that the Navy is still operating at a high level with smaller crews who have had less training, shipboard veterans told the New York Times.   

The USS John S. McCain’s collision with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters on Aug. 20 was the second crash involving a Navy ship in the Pacific in two months. Two died from the crash, with eight still missing, and seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship hit each other in waters off Japan.

“What seems impossible — that two ships could hit in the middle of the ocean — becomes very real,” Robert McFall, a former Navy lieutenant commander, told the Times. “If you are not at your best, events can start that lead to a disaster.”

More than a dozen current and former ship commanders who served in the western Pacific said crew exhaustion, downsizing and training gaps likely attributed to the crashes.

“As the Navy conducts this broad look in its mirror, I suspect it will recognize many blemishes that are neither new nor previously unknown,” said Vice Adm. William Douglas Crowder, a former deputy chief of naval operations.

“The key issue is whether the Navy will commit to the fundamental changes required to actually cure those shortfalls.”

“These ships are at sea constantly,” added McFall.

“Every time [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un rattles his saber, these ships get underway. When the Chinese decide to build on a new island, these ships get underway. When underway, they are basically working around the clock. People get tired, and when they do, they make mistakes.”

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The two deadly collisions between Navy destroyer ships and cargo ships in the last three months are almost certainly influenced by the fact that the Navy is still operating at a high level with smaller crews who have had less training.
navy, destroyer, mccain, pacific, north korea, southeast asia, crews
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2017-01-27
Sunday, 27 August 2017 08:01 PM
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