Port Means Left

Everyone who’s read my posts knows that I am no sailor. I don’t even own a yellow rubber ducky for the bathtub. But, having seen “Titanic” one time I figured out what happens when a steerable ship hits an object. Perhaps the problem is language? Sailors talk funny. In the Army, “head” means skull with brain, kit, one each, and is mostly used for storing knowledge. In the Navy, “head” means where one puts their body waste. Perhaps this confusion is why the Navy is suffering from the malady of shit-for-brains when it comes to piloting their ships.

This marked the fourth mishap for U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific since February.

Aside from the USS McCain and USS Fitgerald incidents, the Navy crusier USS Antietam ran aground dumping over 1,000 gallons of oil in Tokyo Bay in February. In May, another cruiser, USS Lake Champlain, hit a South Korean fishing vessel. [corrected spelling of February]

An active-duty Navy officer expressed concern to Fox News over the training of young Navy officers aboard ships.

“It’s not the same level of training you used to get,” the officer said.

So, “port” means Left. And if you see a slow-moving vessel racing like a ground sloth to intercept you, spin the wheel – you, Mr. Navy Skipper, just may be a winner!

About DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
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3 Responses to Port Means Left

  1. burkemblog says:

    When we put all the snark aside, we can see that this is officer behavior that is very tough on the enlisted folks. One assumes that sailors, like soldiers, assume and expect competence from their officers–but in these four cases, it is lacking. The sailors deserve better.

    Maybe the Navy culture of a tour at sea followed by a tour in Washington before going back to sea again is part of the problem. The other is a lack of relatively low-value ships where more junior officers can learn their trade. My dad was a naval officer, 1946-77 (plus 3 years in the V-12 program during WWII). he’d commanded a destroyer escort before commanding a destroyer, and then commanded an amphibious cargo ship (LKA) before his final shore assignment and retirement. He’d also been XO of a destroyer, ops and gunnery officer on another, XO of a patrol craft, and chief engineer on another destroyer escort before commanding his first ship. He wasn’t home much and never had a tour in Washington. Ships were smaller, of course, and the kinds of electronics we have now didn’t exist much beyond radar. He thought LORAN was about as good as it got (our divison used LORAN boxes during the Gulf War, very effectively, FWIW).

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  2. vmijpp says:

    A retired Naval officer in my vanpool opined that Navy surface warfare officers today aren’t as well schooled as they have been in the past.

    It certainly is embarrassing for the Navy. I hope they correct it.

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  3. DaveO says:

    In the days of Opfor… maybe here, I posted about the Navy having an intense training program – taking junior officer brainiacs and using them as peer mentors. I wonder what we’re seeing is what the Field Artillery experienced in the 80s and late 90s: over-reliance on gunnery computers and no human check. We killed a few joes before returning to learning manual gunnery and then learning the computers. Just a guess, but agree with the Professor: our Navy is better than this.

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