Failures Led to Niger Ambush,
Explosive Report Shows
Military.com |19 Feb
2018 |By Richard Sisk
Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday that the Pentagon
investigation of the Niger ambush in which four U.S.
troops were killed is close to being wrapped up, but
that was before The
New York Times published a detailed and damning
report based partly on a video of the firefight.
On his plane back to the U.S. following a week-long
trip to Europe, Mattis told reporters traveling with
him that Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the AfriCom
commander, has an unspecified timeline for
completing his review of the draft of the Article
15-6 fact-finding investigation.
However, it is unclear whether Waldhauser's timeline
could be affected by the Times' report Sunday, which
contradicted previous Pentagon and AfriCom accounts
of an Oct. 4 joint patrol with Nigerien troops that
resulted in the ambush outside the village of Tongo
Tongo, in northwestern Niger.
report said that AfriCom poorly planned the joint
patrol and then changed the mission three times
while it was underway, leading to the deaths of the
four Americans, four Nigerien troops and an
What was to
have been a routine operation with little risk
turned into a raid on a terrorist base to capture a
militant leader, carried out by troops lacking air
or ground backup and who were unprepared and
ill-equipped for the task, the Times said.
Dutch submarine arrives in
Portsmouth has welcomed a submarine to the city
for the first time in two years.
HMNLS Walrus and her 62 crew are on her way back to
the Netherlands. They've been carrying out sea
training with the Royal Navy. alongside HMS Argyll,
HMS Montrose, RFA Tidespring, 820 Naval Air Squadron
and HNoMS Helge Ingstad off the coast of Plymouth.
The submarine is on it's way back to the Netherlands
but has stopped in Portsmouth for the weekend.
“We are here in Portsmouth for some rest and
recreation. For the past three weeks we have been
working with FOST. ('Flag
“During those exercises we’ve been acting as a
hostile submarine, so our main task was to search
for the frigates and the main target, RFA Tidespring
in order to test the boat and her crew."
– Lt Cdr Jan-Willem Vroegop, Commanding Officer,
submarine is on it's way back to the
Netherlands Credit: Royal Navy
The Walrus, which was commissioned into the
Royal Netherlands Navy in 1992, is equipped with
four 21-inch torpedo tubes and 20 Honeywell
torpedoes. The boat specialises in stealth missions.
It's a diesel submarine, 68 metres in length and can
remain submerged for very long periods.
“We work with the Royal Navy quite a lot,
training with FOST. Usually we go to Plymouth but
sometimes we come to Portsmouth.”
– Lt Cdr Jan-Willem Vroegop, Commanding Officer,
Increasing numbers of NATO and foreign units
participate in training under the guidance of FOST.
820 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air
Station Culdrose has also spent the last few weeks
working with the Dutch submarine, engaging in a
friendly cat-and-mouse style game of hide and seek.
With the submarine trying to evade detection and the
helicopter trying to find and “destroy” them.
“As Merlin Mk2 Aircrew, Anti-Submarine
Warfare (ASW) is our primary role. The opportunity
to test our submarine-hunting skills against the
highly professional Royal Netherlands Navy submarine
crew was fantastic."
– Lt Cdr Karen Barnicoat, Senior Observer, 820
Naval Air Squadron
HMNLS Walrus will spend the weekend in
Portsmouth before resuming her training off the
South Coast. She's due to return home in March.^
Focus Underpins Military Failures
By Captain David Allan Adams, U.S. Navy (Retired)
the end of World War II, the U.S. armed forces have
proved largely inept at exercising military power as
an instrument of national policy. Retired Navy
Admiral James Stavridis, in his review of Harlan
Ullman’s book Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses
Every War It Starts (Naval Institute Press, 2017),
concedes that “we have become less successful over
the past decades, beginning with the failures in
Vietnam and continuing to the frustrations today in
Iraq and Afghanistan.” The cause of these military
struggles, Ullman claims, is an inability of the
nation’s political leaders to think in coherent
Putting on Their Masks of War
The Pentagon has been applauded for the strategic
clarity and the distinct shift in priorities
provided in the unclassified summary of the
“National Defense Strategy” (NDS). Secretary of
Defense James Mattis lauded the strategy as “a good
fit for our times” and summarized the shift by
declaring that we will “continue to prosecute the
campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in
today, but Great Power competition, not terrorism,
is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”
The unfortunate consequence of this shift in
priorities is that the new NDS unwittingly will
allow the U.S. military services again to march to
While Anatomy of Failure sheds light on many aspects
of that path, it misses the mark on the key element
underpinning our nation’s military misfortunes. The
problem with Ullman’s thesis is not that it paints
the post-World War II U.S. armed forces as a
perennial loser, but rather that he gives U.S.
military professionals a pass for our complicity in
these defeats. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife
, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl reminds
us how the U.S. military was recalcitrant in its
ability to learn from defeat in Vietnam and instead
became enamored with preparing for high-technology
conventional wars—the kinds of wars it knew how to
and wanted to fight.
Rand Corporation’s Carl Builder called it in his
highly praised 1989 study of The Masks of War .
He warned that because of their institutional
preferences for great power war, the “military
services would be unable meet the challenges the
U.S. is likely to face by the turn of the century.”
5 The military’s reluctance to plan and train for
the irregular fight precipitated its struggle to
gain ground during almost two decades of
unconventional wars following a 11 September 2001.
In the past several years, the services—especially
the Air Force and Navy—have been clamoring to
prepare for a conventional fight with China and
Russia. The Army and the Marine Corps are now
jumping on board.
Not long ago, then-General James Mattis found it
“intellectually embarrassing that people want to hug
the Chinese [and exclaim], ‘Oh, thank God we have
another peer competitor at last! Now we can go back
to building the weapons that we always wanted to
build.’” At the same time, our current
National Security Advisor, Army Lieutenant General
H. R. McMaster, issued his clarion call against the
“The Pipe Dream of Easy War,” stating that we can
“afford least is to define the problem of future war
as we would like it to be.” His warning was
widely perceived as an assault on the Navy’s and Air
Force’s conventional biases epitomized by their
China-focused air-sea battle dogma.
The new NDS demonstrates another victory for
institutional bias over clear-eyed calculations of
the threat. Prioritizing great power competition
plays into the service’s deep cultural
predispositions that empower influential defense
contractors, admirals, and general officers to drive
high-end missions and capabilities at the expense of
cultivating innovative responses to defeat the more
prevalent—and more difficult—unconventional threats
facing our nation. The new NDS demonstrates how
these attitudes are far more powerful—and far more
entrenched—than the policymakers in the White House
or on Capitol Hill. By donning their masks of war,
the services become blind to preparing for combat
threats that no longer fit their world.
A Slow-Learning Navy
The U.S. Navy perhaps is the worst offender. Admiral
Scott Swift, commander of the Pacific Fleet, is
overjoyed with the NDS, giving it “huge head knots,
I would say cheering.” This is further
confirmation that the U.S. Navy persistently has
failed to heed General Mattis’s warning that we must
“learn through others’ experiences . . . especially
in our line of work where the consequences of
incompetence are so final for young men.”
Since it has never suffered clear defeat in a war at
sea, the Navy has been loath to learn the central
lesson of the post-World War II era—epitomized so
sharply by our experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan,
and Iraq. Adversaries know that engaging the U.S.
military in a conventional fight is a losing
proposition, while the U.S. forces have proved
largely incapable of long-term success in
'Find Something Else to Do' in Civilian Life: Mattis
Military.com | 19 Feb 2018 | By Richard Sisk
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis used tough terms to
back up the new deploy- or-get out rules, saying
those held back for administrative reasons place an
unfair burden on troops who routinely serve multiple
"You're either deployable, or you need to find
something else to do. I'm not going have some people
deploying constantly and then other people, who seem
to not pay that price, in the U.S. military," Mattis
told reporters traveling with him on his way home
Saturday from a week-long trip to Europe.
'If you can't go overseas [and] carry a combat load,
then obviously someone else has got to go. I want
this spread fairly and expertly across the force, '
Defense Department officials have said there will be
numerous exceptions to the new rules forcing out
service members unable to deploy for 12 consecutive
months - including waivers for those wounded in
combat and those who are pregnant - but Mattis is
firm on the overall concept.
Troops who routinely deploy 'need time at home, they
need time with their families. We may enlist
soldiers, but we re-enlist families. That's the way
it is," he said.
can't keep the family together, then you're either
going to lose the family or you're going to lose the
soldier, and that's a net loss for our society and
for our military," Mattis said.
His major concern, he said, is for the DoD to find
ways for those wounded or injured in the field to
continue to serve, if that is their choice.
'We'll find a place to use them. That's a special
category. They've earned that special status,' he
The DoD’s new deploy-or-out rules, first reported by
Military Times, were disclosed by Army Command Sgt.
Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
about 11 percent - or 235,000 - of the 2.1 million
personnel serving on active duty, in the reserves or
National Guard are currently non- deployable.
FIRE 24 APRIL 1988 – XO’S
by Lcdr LeStrange
notes will chronologically cover the 18 months that
I was associated with the USS Bonefish (SS 582) from
reporting aboard as XO in early January 1988 to the
sale of the ship for scrap in approximately June
1989. There are an infinite number of rumors, sea
stories and other perspectives floating around
regarding Bonefish, the fire itself, and the ship’s
subsequent last days as a US Navy asset. I will
comment or provide descriptions for only what I
personally know to be true. If I provide any beliefs
or opinions they will be clearly identified as such.
That said, here we go:
January 1988: I report aboard Bonefish and assume
duties as the XO. I did meet my predecessor;
however, it was not exactly a contact relief. He had
been diagnosed as having diabetes and was therefore
being medically disqualified for continued submarine
duty. As I recall, we had only a few hours to
converse on the status of the unit before he
departed and I had the job. Over the next few days I
learned that the ship had last been to sea in the
fall of 1987 and had returned from sea with a number
of significant mechanical issues, including severe
problems with the main engines, the air compressors
and the fresh water still. It appeared that it was
going to take some time to return the ship to a sea
worthy status. Additionally, crew morale seemed to
be very low at that point, although they were all
working hard in trying repair and maintain the
I met the CO, CDR James Toney upon reporting aboard,
however, we did not have much interaction after
that. My career philosophy had always been to “run
the show” as I saw fit and wait for my superiors to
“reel me in” if and where they felt the need. That
seemed to suit CDR Toney just fine, because he was
generally not on board and when he was aboard he was
usually in his stateroom working on something that
seemed to have no relationship to the Bonefish. We
typically only conversed for a few minutes over
coffee one or two mornings per week. I usually also
attended the morning status meeting with the
Submarine Squadron 4 Commander, a task that is
traditionally performed by the ship’s
On the morning
that the “Fast Cruise” was to commence the Squadron
4 observers and drill monitors were all present and
ready, and the Bonefish crew was all present and
ready with the exception of the CO. No one,
including me, knew where he was. After a number of
attempts we finally reached him by telephone. He
stated he’d be “there in a few minutes”. “Fast
Cruise” was cancelled and replaced by the activities
associated with CDR Toney’s detachment for cause.
CDR Toney was soon replaced by CDR Mike Wilson, who
was actually at that time permanently assigned as
the XO at the Trident Training Facility in King’s
Bay, GA. He was assigned as the Bonefish CO on a TAD
basis pending the identification of a permanent
relief for CDR Toney.
Mike was absolutely the right guy at the right time,
in my opinion. For whatever reason (and I have my
theories that will remain unstated), I believe the
crew’s level of morale and confidence took a step
jump upward as soon as Mike arrived. The repairs on
the ship were all completed and tested, the “Fast
Cruise” was rescheduled and conducted successfully
(even from the Squadron Staff perspective), and the
ship finally got underway for a scheduled three
weeks at sea in early April 1988.
April 1988: The first few days back at sea were
dedicated to testing and evaluating the proper
operation of the ship’s systems and to the continued
training and qualification of the crew. The
Bonefish’s major systems were operating smoothly and
the crew’s proficiency in operating the submarine
was steadily becoming more polished, which was good,
since the first significant at-sea test of
Bonefish’s skills – an exercise
submarine-against-submarine encounter with a US
nuclear submarine – was rapidly approaching.
The exercise was Bonefish, the last Atlantic fleet
diesel submarine (and one of only four US diesel
submarines still in commission (Barbel, Bonefish,
Darter & Dolphin) versus a front line Sturgeon class
(SSN 637) US nuclear submarine. The exercise was not
extremely long, e.g. less than 24 hours, however,
Bonefish and its crew performed extremely well,
impressing not only the opposing submarine crew, but
the Sublant and Submarine Squadron 4 staffs as well.
Bonefish then confidently turned to the South
Southeast and headed out to meet the “Kennedy battle
group” for the next exercise.
Deckplates: You Can Overcome PTSD
Proceedings Magazine - February 2018 Vol.
144/2/1,380 By Hospital Corpsman First Class Farid
Pezeshkian, U.S. Navy
have battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
since 2011, following my first tour in Afghanistan
as a hospital corpsman. After my second deployment,
it became apparent it would rule my life if I did
not get help.
disorder can be overcome.
for me will not work for everyone, but seeking the
right tools from the right channels is the best way
of dealing with PTSD.
My First Deployment
I enlisted in the Navy in 2009.
Three months after arriving in the fleet, I deployed
to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Ready and
terrified at the same time, I reported to our patrol
base (PB) with my squad of Marines.
Our first deployment was nothing
like the movies. Day after day we patrolled, hoping
to see some enemy combatants so maybe we could get
into a firefight and do our jobs. One day, a group
of kids we had befriended ran to my patrol base
asking for a doctor. They had done this many times,
usually for minor injuries that required routine
treatment, so I grabbed my rifle and walked to their
This time their call for help was
serious. There were roughly 30 adults crying and
screaming over a rolled-up rug. Inside the rug, I
found a lifeless young boy and immediately started
CPR. After about 20 minutes, still unable to revive
the boy, I told the family there was nothing else I
That was the first time I had
given anyone CPR. That incident haunted me. I did
not save that child. My job as a hospital corpsman
is to save lives, and I couldn’t do it. We finished
our deployment and returned home, and I brought with
me thoughts of the young boy I could not save.
I was in bad shape, though I did
not know it. I drank and partied almost every day of
the week. I barely slept.
I decided to redeploy. Three
months after returning from my first deployment I
was getting ready for my second. Less than seven
months after leaving Afghanistan, I was on a plane
My Second Deployment
To my surprise, I ended up in the
same area as before. It felt like I was back home. I
knew everyone, including civilians and the soldiers.
I deployed with a small embedded training team (ETT)
of 60 Marines and Sailors split into an army team
and a police team. The deployment tempo and safety
were different from the first time. There were not
as many coalition forces in the area, so the Taliban
roamed more freely.
During this deployment, I shut
down emotionally. I barely talked with my family
even though we had more opportunities to connect
Fast forward five months and our
brother team was getting ready to head home. We had
seen zero action apart from some minor improvised
explosive devices. We had a farewell party planned
two nights before our brothers left; BBQ pits were
heating up, and some members of the team were at the
After supper, I headed to the
computer lab before going to say goodbye to my
brothers. As I finished, a Marine ran in, screaming
that some Marines had been shot on the police side.
Even though it didn’t make sense to me because we
were inside the base, I ran to that side.
A Taliban member had dressed as a
police officer and infiltrated the base. Once
inside, he opened fire on the gym, killing three
Marines and severely injuring another. At the scene
I was ordered by my major to stand by for a squad of
Marines to go in and clear the area. It is an order
I regret following.
Two days before they were to
return home, my brothers were killed. Could I have
saved them if I had gone to the gym instead of the
computer lab? Was I just going to keep failing the
ones who need me most? These were thoughts and
questions that raced through my head. After that
incident, I shut down completely. Once
postdeployment leave was over, I talked with a buddy
who is a psych tech about the things I had seen and
the thoughts I was having. That is when I saw my
Commander K helped me get deep
into my feelings and slowly exchange my negative
thoughts for positive ones. After receiving therapy,
I now know there is help for individuals suffering
from PTSD. Seeking help, however, can be frightening
for some people; I know it was for me.
I was not ready to admit my
faults to a total stranger. I did not want to relive
those traumatic experiences. I almost gave up after
a few sessions and told Commander K everything was
great. He knew I was lying, but he didn’t call me
out on it. Instead, he came to my office weekly to
“chat.” Those small conversations helped me gain the
courage to go back to therapy. Two psychiatrists and
two psychologists later, I hope my experiences can
help other people battling PTSD.
Along the path to recovery,
challenges will arise. They come in all forms,
shapes, and sizes and are unique to each individual.
That’s the time to look in our toolbox for help.
PTSD is a constant battle, and for some, it will
never go away completely.
As service members, we must look
out for signs of PTSD in our brothers and sisters
and guide them to the toolbox. Those suffering from
PTSD should not be afraid to ask for help. Help is
out there, and it works. The outcome is worth the
journey, no matter how difficult it may seem.
Petty Officer Pezeshkian is deployed on board the
USS Rushmore (LSD-47).^
New Russian Submarine Tactics Are
Threatening To Overwhelm Aging U.S. Fleet
Carolos Munoz, Washington Times, February 13
-- Russia’s increasingly active submarine fleets in
the Atlantic and Arctic have the Trump
administration scrambling to respond amid fears that
miles of underwater fiber-optic cables that
crisscross the ocean floor transmitting the
Pentago’s most sensitive military secrets could be
But with an aging submarine fleet and growing
threats from North Korea and elsewhere, the Navy
risks overstretching its submarine fleet in the
Atlantic and Pacific theaters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly
challenging U.S. security interests, and his
submarine fleet’s “operational tempo is reaching
Cold War-era levels,” said Magnus Nordenman,
director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at
the Washington-based Atlantic Council. “Clearly,
there is more attention being paid by the U.S. Navy
in the Atlantic due to the Russian threat.”
The U.S. has 70 nuclear-powered submarines: 52
attack subs, four cruise-missile-armed subs and 14
ballistic missile subs. Fourteen are patrolling the
Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations,
acknowledged this month that the numbers represent
an uptick in traditional submarine operations, but
he declined to comment on what, specifically,
warranted the shift.
But former U.S. defense officials and analysts say
there is little question that it was driven by a
desire by Defense Secretary James Mattis and his top
aides to deliver a robust response to the increased
Russian activity in the Atlantic.
According to GlobalFirePower.com, North Korea has
the world’s largest submarine fleet by raw numbers
with 76, though most of Pyongyang’s fleet consists
of shorter-range, electric-diesel coastal patrol
craft. China and Russia, both with modern
nuclear-powered fleets that rival the U.S. fleet,
have 68 subs and 63 subs, respectively.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in an
interview with the Frankfurt Allgemeine and other
news outlets in December, said the Kremlin is
investing heavily in its submarine fleet, with 13
delivered since 2013. NATO countries, he said, have
let their underwater firepower lag. “We have
practiced less and lost skills,” the NATO chief
A particular point of concern, said one former
high-level U.S. Navy official, is that Moscow may be
attempting to tap into or sever some of the 550,000
miles of underwater fiber-optic cables that span the
Atlantic and Arctic sea lanes.
“Russians have had a capability … to do things with
these cables for the last 20 to 30 years,” said Tom
Callender, who once served as head of capabilities
for the Navy’s deputy undersecretary office and is
now a senior defense fellow at The Heritage
“It is, in some ways, a strategic threat,” Mr.
Callender said in an interview. The threat becomes
more potent as the military and civilian worlds come
to rely so heavily on online information and
More than 95 percent of the global internet traffic
— military and civilian, classified and unclassified
— is transmitted across the network of submerged
cables along the ocean floor, according to
Washington-based tech firm TeleGeography. The
quantity is massive compared with just a decade ago,
when just 1 percent of all online traffic went
through the cables.
The majority of the 285 underwater cables in place
crisscross beneath heavily trafficked sea lanes of
the Atlantic and Arctic regions. According to
TeleGeography, the longest single cable stretches
24,000 miles and relays internet traffic and other
electronic communications from Europe, Asia and
scale and scope of global communications moving
through the network of cables — some of which are
only 2 inches thick — present a lucrative target
that is vulnerable to attack by U.S. adversaries. It
also poses a significant challenge to U.S. forces
defending the lines.
a nation desired to do something [to the cables],
that would have a significant impact,” said Mr.
Callender. Simply “having that capability is
something we always must be aware of.”
Nordenman said protecting those cables has been a
priority for U.S. defense officials for decades but
that the mission has fallen somewhat by the wayside
while the Pentagon focuses on wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq, counterterrorism operations in the Middle
East, and the rise of China and the battle for
influence in the South China Sea.
SEAL Calls Trump's Military Parade 'Third-World
Fox News |9 Feb 2018
|By Bradford Betz
Robert O'Neill, the U.S. Navy SEAL who killed Usama
bin Laden, is not a fan of President Trump's call
for a military parade in
Washington, an he made his opinion clear on the
commander-in-chief's favorite social media forum.
O'Neill, who is also a Fox News contributor, tweeted
Thursday that the idea floated by Trump, whose
campaign he supported, iS not something the world's
lone superpower should consider.
military parade is third world bulls---," O'Neill
prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this
Yes. Third World. If Russia or France were powerful
enough to take over the world, they would. We are
yet we don’t. That’s called First World.
When a user pointed out that France and Russia
conduct military parades, O’Neill replied: "Yes.
Third World. If Russia or France were powerful
enough to take over the world, they would. We
are yet we don’t. That’s called First World."
O’Neill has been a Trump supporter since the 2016
campaign. The two dined at the White House last fall
and did a photo-op.
Trump reportedly said he was inspired to stage a
military parade in Washington on July 4, after
watching France’s Bastille Day military parade last
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told CNN Tuesday that
she was "stunned by it," and that "we have a
Napolean in the making here."
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said, "Basically anything,"
would be more useful than asking the Pentagon to
waste money on a big military parade.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
told reporters on Wednesday that "nothing has been
decided," and that the White House
hasn’t made a final decision.
- January 2018 Vol. 144/1/1,379 Lieutenant Travis F.
Bean, U.S. Navy
Fleet Forces Command’s Comprehensive
Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents , written
in response to the Seventh Fleet mishaps, outlines
root causes and corrective actions to prevent future
accidents. One theme of the report is that there was
a marked lack of training for bridge watch standers
on shiphandling and navigation fundamentals. It is
tempting for officers outside of Seventh Fleet or
the surface warfare community to view the issues in
the report as local problems, but many of the issues
identified exist Navy-wide, including in the
The submarine fleet attempts to attract and maintain
the most talented officers through the use of
incentive pay, but there is a downside to drawing a
submariner’s paycheck: a quality-of-life deficit. If
the submarine community is serious about retaining
its most talented leaders, it should seek to improve
quality of life and tactical readiness for its
sailors. In order to do so, the fleet should return
its focus to warfighting.
Fast-attack submarines (SSNs) typically have fifteen
officers in the wardroom. 1 This provides
a too-thin margin for manning watch and duty
sections, with nothing in reserve in the face of an
unexpected loss or emergency leave. Often, junior
officers stand duty every third day in port, bogged
down the rest of the time in training, divisional,
and qualification responsibilities. A tight duty
rotation makes it difficult to maintain an adequate
level of supervisory oversight. The rest of the crew
(including the chiefs) likewise are constrained by
three- or four-section duty.
There is significant risk when duty officers and
crew stumble though the workweek in a sleepless fog.
Far too often, as the fleet has drawn down,
operational tempo has been maintained by working
sailors longer. These strained schedules have
brought about a lack of mission focus and a
significant degradation in quality of life. I am
always impressed by the grit demonstrated by even
the most junior submariners, but this character
attribute should not be exploited. Maintaining
adequate manning is a difficult and multidimensional
problem, but it deserves more attention to improve
crew readiness and quality of life.
are spread too thin. To earn a submariner’s
“Gold Fish,” an officer must qualify both for
engineering and tactical watch stations, as well as
qualify for their in-port equivalents and be a
proficient administrator of in-port maintenance. The
submarine force should employ a practice used in
World War II: turning ships over to a relief crew
during maintenance availabilities. Rear Admiral
Richard O’Kane wrote, in his contribution to World
War II submarine canon, Clear the Bridge , “[W]hat
our troops really liked was the sight of their
relief crew, who would stand all of their watches
for the next two weeks.” 2 Adopting such
an arrangement would allow the wardroom and sailors
to conduct a more rigorous course of tactical
training in port, freed from the time-consuming and
draining work of standing duty. Instead of worrying
about a major reactor plant evolution, for instance,
a junior officer would be able to focus more on
honing his or her craft and absorbing lessons
learned from a tactical trainer.
The clarity that should result will improve the
quality of the submarine force by emphasizing the
task at hand: warfighting. Employing relief crews
would require adjustments to manning and detailing,
but there are creative ways this policy could be
enacted. Managing the ship’s major maintenance does
not make submariners more proficient warfighters;
much of that activity should be turned over to an
in-port relief when practical. Of particular note,
the Comprehensive Review found that: “Ships
immediately operating after an extended maintenance
period are more vulnerable when it comes to
proficiency and basic safe operations at sea.” 3 Using the maintenance relief-crew concept
would help alleviate this common but dangerous
Collateral duties and training requirements do not
go away for sailors on three-section duty. The
submarine fleet must recognize that while a
multipage standard list of collateral duties (called
a "1301 notice") might be appropriate for a large
shore command, it is not scaled fairly for the
typical SSN. With inputs from the fleet, the type
commanders should craft a template 1301 notice for
submarines that significantly reduce the number of
roles. Collateral duties vital to day-to-day
waterfront operations should be managed by squadron
administration departments to reduce the
responsibilities of the submarines. Mandatory
administrative PowerPoint and video training should
be pared back. After all, if the sub cannot sink
tonnage in the attack center, it does not matter how
many trophies were won in the most recent version of
information assurance training.
Submarine warfighting culture has been diluted by an
overemphasis on things less important than
warfighting. In one afternoon, a submarine sailor
might be reminded not to refer to his shipmates by
informal nicknames, and also be required to attend
alcohol de-glamorization training.
Contrast this with Rear Admiral Eugene “Lucky”
Fluckey’s accounts in Thunder Below of the crew
being on a first-name basis and “splicing the
mainbrace” after sinking Japanese ships. The Navy’s
rich history has provided us with patterns of
success, and we should apply them.
In 2014, Commander Guy Snodgrass, a naval aviator,
published a landmark officer retention study where
he listed quality-of-life as a driver for retention.
Should the submarine fleet keep the “main thing the
main thing” through an emphasis on treating sailors
as warfighters, commands will cultivate
organizational clarity. When sailors leave work one
day knowing what to expect the next, everybody’s
life improves. Consequently, focusing on warfighting
and tactics will lead to better quality of life, and
also have the follow-on effect of increasing
retention of the most qualified leaders. Taken
individually, these issues might not seem
significant. But therein lies the problem; the
duties and responsibilities heaped on submariners
lead to death by a thousand cuts.
1. U.S. Navy Fact Sheet Attack Submarines – SSN .
United States Navy Fact File, 27 Apr. 2017, navy.mil/navydata/fact_print.asp?cid=4100&tid=100&ct=4&page=1.
2. ADM Richard H. O'Kane, Clear the Bridge! The War
Patrols of the U.S.S. Tang . Presidio Press, 1989.
3. ADM Philip S. Davidson, U.S. Navy, Comprehensive
Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents, U.S. Navy,
26 Oct. 2017.
Lieutenant Bean is the navigator on a
Pearl Harbor-based fast-attack submarine. He
previously served as a Navy ROTC instructor, and a
division officer on a Groton based fast-attack
submarine. He holds a master’s degree in nuclear
engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Need Submarines: Commandant Neller
On Major War
J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense, February 9
Why does the Marine Corps Commandant want an attack
boat? "As a naval force, part of a maritime
campaign, we need more attack submarines,"
Gen. Robert Neller said at the AFCEA-USNI WEST
Why? "I want to get where I'm going," Neller said to
laughter from the audience. "A bunch of lance
corporals with M4s on the flight deck are not going
to help me out." In other words, if the amphibious
warships carrying the Marines are to make it to
striking distance of a hostile shore without being
sunk, they need an escort of Navy submarines and
aircraft - and (though Neller didn't mention this
last one) probably also Aegis ships for
anti-aircraft and missile defense.
"When was the last time we had to fight to get to
the fight? We just went," Neller mused. Today,
though, "we're going to have to fight to get there."
Long-range precision-guided missiles, once a US
monopoly, have proliferated to states like China,
Russia, North Korea and Iran, along with the sensors
to find targets for them and the networks to control
them. Such layered defenses - known as
Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) - are designed to
keep US air- and seapower from getting close enough
to strike, let alone close enough for Marines to hit
"We operate every day in an A2/AD environment, it's
just not turned on," Neller said. "When it gets
turned on, are we going to be able to survive?"
Of course, even in peacetime, the A2/AD system's
sensors will be watching, its command and control
networks will be collecting data - it's only the
weapons that are "not turned on."
The Navy's Pacific Fleet has been "the most
aggressive" organization in thinking through how to
cross contested waters, Neller said: "You're not
just out there sailing across the open ocean, you've
got to be aware that you're being surveilled, you
could be targeted." Naval, air, and land forces all
need to reduce their electromagnetic signature,
which means being mindful of how they use the
radars, radios, and wireless networks that become
ubiquitous. Troops must transmit briefly or not at
all. The idea is "not to go back to the stone age of
messengers and flags and whistles and cymbals and
trumpets, but those are hard to jam," Neller said to
Marines have been training more for "force on force"
engagements with nation-state adversaries after 17
years of counterinsurgency, Neller and other Marine
officials have said. That requires reviving old
skills such as fighting in full chemical/biological
protective gear (MOPP-4), digging in against enemy
air raids - something the US military hasn't
experienced since 1953 - and moving artillery
batteries after they fire before the enemy can find
them and retaliate ("shoot and scoot"). It also
requires developing new capabilities such as a large
drone (designated MUX) that can launch from Marine
amphibious ships to do long-range reconnaissance and
anti-ship missiles for Marine HIMARS launchers so
they can help kill the enemy fleet.
Overall, said Neller,
different kind of fight requires a different kind of
Marine Corps. "Against somebody like China,
or even Russia, we're not going to need more armor.
We're not going to need more infantry," he said.
"It's going to be long-range precision. It's going
to be resilient comms. It's going to be electronic
warfare. It's going to be information operations,
(which means) it's going to be a Marine Corps that's
a little bit older, a little more experienced,
because, as much as we love our young Marines. it
takes longer to learn these skills."
The first major Marine reform has been reorganizing
Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters to add new
electronic, cyber, and information warfare
capabilities - collectively called the Marine
Information Group. For not only Marines but the
entire joint force, Neller said, "the number one
priority is resilient, survivable, reliable command
and control. We've got to be able to protect our
networks and deny our adversary theirs..That's going
to be a challenge."^
Technology and Innovation Lab
Leverages Tools and Ideas to Improve Shipyard
Production and Safety
NNS180205-31Release Date: 2/5/2018 2:22:00 PM
Brayshaw, NNSY Lead Public Affairs Specialist
-- Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) employees clad in
exoskeletons laboring in the drydock. Workers
surveying an augmented reality 3-D model in advance
of a shipcheck. Shipyarders using laser ablators
that can zap rust from a bulkhead in a matter of
These are all examples of the vision of a vital
future at the shipyard, and they are in the process
of becoming a reality thanks to the Technology and
Innovation Lab. The lab provides a multipurpose area
that can be used for brainstorming between
innovation leads and testing employee ideas. These
ideas can range from increasing production to
"It's not necessarily using the lab's advanced
technology the way the manufacturer says to use it,
it's about the creativity of our workforce taking
these tools and using them in ways that haven't even
been thought of yet," said Dan Adams, NNSY
Technology and Innovation Community of Practice and
Laboratory Lead. "I'm a firm believer that with
nearly 12,000 people, we have a lot of creative
energy at the shipyard."
Adams pointed out the lab has the partnership of 18
shipyard subcommittees which are all
innovation-focused and meet regularly inside the lab
to talk ideas and attack obstacles. Some of the
Community of Practice's subcommittees, such as
additive manufacturing, robotics and laser scanning,
have their own designated work areas within the lab.
"Each subcommittee is kind of its own
cross-functional team with members from different
departments across the shipyard," said Adams. "We've
created an environment conducive to real
collaboration and the development of a shared
NNSY's 3D printing capability is currently limited
to AVS plastic, but that's already proving to be a
useful medium, resulting in products that reduce
strain on the workforce. "Albert James came to us
and said, 'I carry this 100 lb. transducer through
the sub into the sonar dome to do fit-ups. Is there
any way we can print a 3D replica?' We modeled it
using the 3D software, printed it out, socialized it
with the other shipyards, and now they're doing the
exact same thing. It's worked out great!" said
Adams. This accurate representation of the component
weighs a mere five pounds.
Laser scanning is another technology proving to have
great implications for the shipyard's future. It's
already been used effectively on USS La Jolla's (SSN
701) piping system. "With a large area scanner, a
laser does 360-degree scanning," said Brian Presson,
Laser Scanning Integration Lead. "You get millions
of data points, which form what's called a point
cloud of data. We can go out for a ship check, and
accurately capture a space that we need to do work
in. We can turn that point cloud into a solid 3-D
model. Say, we're going to chop the pipe here, we're
going pull out all this stuff out and bring the new
one in, we've got to make sure it lines up with our
connection point. You can verify whether it lines up
A new program called "REAL Ideas" is being
established at NNSY to further encourage employees
to bring their creative ideas to the lab. "With 1.65
million manhours of work to execute in FY-18, and 50
percent of the workforce with less than five years
of experience, it's about getting people out on the
deckplates, performing efficiently, faster," he
Thanks to augmented reality, Adams envisions the day
a new shipyard employee can "put some goggles on,
look at content captured with the laser scanning,
and walk up to the bulkhead while someone explains,
'that's this and this,' leaning in and peeling back
the onion layers and seeing the internal components
explained before they ever go to work into that
environment. That's a game changer right there."
For more information, visit www.navy.mil,
www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Norfolk Naval Shipyard, visit
Four Jobs of a Master Chief
Proceedings Magazine -
February 2018 Vol. 144/2/1,380 by Master Chief David
is a master chief, and what do you do?
I receive this question frequently (outside the
Navy). In short, a master chief is the
senior-enlisted pay grade in the Navy (and Coast
Guard). We like to say that we are the top one
percent of the Navy because only one percent makes
it this far through perseverance, hard work, and a
little luck. But it is a lot more than that.
Being a master chief means that you are the subject
matter expert, the captain’s right hand, and the
sailor’s advocate. The master chief is the sergeant
major, chief master sergeant, COO, VP, president,
director, or any number of senior management titles.
So, what is your job?
1. Take care of your sailors. This does not mean
coddling them and holding their hand; it means
knowing what they need to achieve their goals. It is
about understanding them and mentoring them, pushing
them at times, and removing hurdles to their
success. Sometimes it is about tough love.
2. Train your relief. John Maxwell calls this the
“Law of Explosive Growth:” If you want to multiply
your effectiveness, develop leaders. Identify the
leaders in your organization and mentor them.
Empower them and make opportunities for them to
advance and take over for you some day. I call this
the “Bus Rule:” If I get hit by a bus today, have I
trained my relief to take over without missing a
step? Have you?
3. Prepare your officers for command. I have heard
it said that every junior officer is a future
commanding officer. In the Navy, this applies to
officers of every paygrade. Make sure they do not
lose focus, or start to believe their own hype. In
business terms, this means making sure your boss and
other officers in your company stay ethically
grounded, understanding the people they manage and
the customers they serve. But at 30,000 feet, it's
easy to lose perspective. Your job as a master chief
is to make sure they keep one foot on the ground.
4. Know when it is time to go home. It is not just
about punching the timeclock: In the Navy, there is
always more work to be done. Another award to write,
another sailor to speak with, another watchbill to
review, you name it. But at some point, you have to
know when it is time to go. That is your job. You
are the voice of truth and reason and you need to
know when the day is done and it's time to punch
out. It also means that you know when it's time to
move on. Time to start looking for a new career, a
new opportunity, a new project. You know when you're
running into the law of diminishing returns and when
it is time to cut bait. You know when to tell the
boss that it is time to go.
These are the four jobs of a master chief, but they
may be applied to all leadership roles - within the
military and outside of it. If you find yourself in
a leadership position in your organization, these
principles will serve you well.
Master Chief DiPietro is currently assigned as the
Submarine Manpower Director at Naval Submarine
Support Center in Groton, CT.
Sub Culture: Aboard
A Canadian Submarine Prowling The Pacific
David Common, CBC News, February
For the first time in 50 years,
Canada has deployed a submarine across the Pacific.
The secretive mission of HMCS
Chicoutimi was planned more than a year ago, and
involves re-establishing naval relationships with
Asian nations. But it also comes at a time of
escalating tensions with North Korea, as the country
continues to push its nuclear weapons development
program and the U.S. considers a pre-emptive strike
on the country.
As part of the international
effort to enforce trade sanctions on North Korea,
Chicoutimi's mission in the region has included
surveillance of vessels at sea, helping
international partners monitor and enforce trade
sanctions on North Korea.
The seven-month deployment marks
what the Royal Canadian Navy hopes is a turning
point in the troubled history of its submarine
force, purchased used from the British government in
the early 90s. Heralded at the time as a sweetheart
deal, the subs faced numerous costly failures over
the following years.
HMCS Chicoutimi itself suffered a
flood while crossing the Atlantic in 2004 bound for
Canada, and caught fire. One sailor was killed and
the crippled sub had to be towed back to Scotland.
Today, the Canadian subs have
been refurbished and are operating off both the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
And in the Asia-Pacific region.
CBC News had exclusive access to the largest, and
longest, operation a Canadian sub has ever been
involved in. Here's an inside look at what it's like
aboard HMCS Chicoutimi as part of that mission
HMCS Chicoutimi is a
diesel-electric sub that Canada purchased from
Britain's navy and refurbished.
The sub is on a 200-day
deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, the longest
and farthest from home of any Canadian submarine
mission to date.
Canada's submarines have operated
close to home in recent years, but their crews have
Canada's subs were being repaired and rebuilt,
Canadian sailors trained and served on the boats of
"Because of the nature of what we
do," Ouellet says, "we can't celebrate our successes
Our stealth is something we need to guard, but we
are operating much more than any Canadian thinks."
Subs are notorious for tight
quarters. Aboard HMCS Chicoutimi, 58 sailors live
and work in an area with about the same floor space
as a three-bedroom house.
The forward torpedo launching and
storage area doubles as sleeping quarters. "Racks,"
or bunks, are stacked above and below powerful Mark
48 torpedoes, which contain 2,000 kilograms of
Despite their destructive
potential, the torpedoes can make it easier to get
to sleep. They're cool to the touch, and sailors lie
next to them for some relief when the boat heats up
in the warm Pacific waters.
The sub was originally built to
operate in the frigid North Atlantic during the Cold
On this deployment in the
Pacific, water temperatures are routinely 25 C or
higher — heating up the inside of the boat and
challenging some of its onboard systems.
The electric motors of submarines
are designed to run silently, but the diesel engines
that charge the Chicoutimi's batteries are extremely
noisy. The engine-room crew requires hearing
protection when the diesel engines are running.
Seaman Anna Whiten is a weapons tech, responsible
for maintaining the torpedoes and counter-measures.
sole woman serving aboard Chicoutimi on this mission.
There is no room on the sub for
privacy, and unlike other navies, Canada does not
segregate its crews. Whiten sleeps in the same
cramped space with the men in the crew.
"I love the fact that I'm not
treated any differently than anyone else. I still
have the same respect, the same camaraderie, and I
love working in a small unit," Whiten says
"There are no real differences
between sailing on a submarine as a woman or a man,"
she adds. "The living conditions are the same, the
qualifications are the identical, the pay is
The captain is the only member of
the Chicoutimi's crew who gets private (albeit tiny)
With difficult living conditions,
in tight quarters with the same people for weeks at
a time between port visits, meals are seen as key to
Inside this small kitchen, the
two cooks (one with a coveted Red Star
certification) prepare impressive dishes for the
entire crew. After a week at sea, the fresh food has
been used and the cooks have to get creative with
canned and frozen ingredients.
Space limitations mean there's no
big dining area and meal times have to be staggered.
Breakfast begins at 3 a.m., dinner at 7 p.m.
There are three small toilets on
the Chicoutimi for the 58-person crew.
There are two showers — to
conserve water, they are used only briefly and not
Sanitary waste is jettisoned
periodically into the water, but only if the vessel
is far from any land and in deeper water.
To ensure the sub is quiet
underwater, sailors secure any part of the boat that
will vibrate or create sound. The outside surface of
the submarine is smooth, with rubber tiles to absorb
The ultimate aim: Don't be seen,
don't be heard, remain undetected always.
The role of a submarine is to be
secret and, above all, to not be detected. The
periscope is used for only a few minutes at a time
to minimize the chance of being seen by ships on the
On the current mission in Asian
waters, the Canadian crew watches for suspicious
activities, like transfers or cargo or oil between
ships on the high seas, that could indicate vessels
are breaking international trade sanctions.
The sub's crew also watches for
"patterns of life." That includes monitoring
harbours to determine what vessels leave and when
"Whatever ship or object we're
observing, they're unaware of the fact that we're
there. And that is a huge bonus, because then
they're not going to stop what they're doing," says
Lt. David Hendry, the Chicoutimi's combat officer.
On this deployment, the crew is
also conducting exercises with navy vessels from
From the bridge in the conning
tower, Oulette speaks with a French frigate the
Chicoutimi had been tracking.
When Chicoutimi identifies
suspicious activity on the water, in a harbour, or
surveilling an airport from the sea, it sends
encrypted messages to Canadian officials who can
quickly share that information with allies on the
Other vessels or aircraft can
then be sent to intercept, ensuring the sub remains
Whether submerged or on the
surface, the steering is done without seeing. When
diving, detailed maps and sonar are used to plot a
On the surface, sailors must
watch from the conning tower and relay any orders by
radio to the control room.
HMCS Chicoutimi has crossed some
of the most remote waters in the world to conduct
its mission off the coast of Asia.
During its current deployment,
the sub has visited Japan, Hawaii and the U.S.
territory of Guam.
About half the crew will remain
for the entire 200-day voyage. Others have been
swapped out, while select trainees have joined for
legs of the voyage before they are permanently
assigned to another submarine.
HMCS Chicoutimi is expected to
return to Canada's Pacific Coast in March 2018.
There Is No Such Thing as a
February 6, 2018
WASHINGTON ― There is no such thing as a “tactical”
nuclear weapon, despite the introduction of two
so-called tactical options in the recently released
Nuclear Posture Review, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim
Mattis told Congress on Tuesday.
“I don’t think there is any such thing as a
‘tactical nuclear weapon.’
Any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic
game-changer,” Mattis told members of the
House Armed Services Committee.
The Nuclear Posture Review, formally released Feb.
2, called for creating a low-yield nuclear warhead
for America’s sea-launched ballistic missiles, as
well as the development of a new sea-launched
nuclear cruise missile.
Officials rolling out the document said these
weapons are needed to counter what the NPR directly
refers to as Russia’s “tactical nuclear weapons.”
Those weapons, which Russia is building out at a
high rate, are described by the Pentagon as the
backbone of Moscow’s controversial “escalate to
Under that concept, if fighting broke out between
NATO forces and Russia, Moscow would move quickly to
use a tactical nuclear weapon. The assumption would
be that the U.S., armed only with large,
world-ending strategic weapons, would be unable to
retaliate appropriately and essentially stand down
in the face of Russian aggression. Hence, the need
for smaller nuclear weapons which could match Russia
if need be.
While Mattis may be against the idea that using a
low-yield nuclear warhead in combat does not
escalate things to a strategic level,
he still threw support behind the reasoning for
building out the two new U.S. capabilities.
“We don’t want someone else to miscalculate and
think that because they are going to use a low-yield
weapon, somehow we would confront what [former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger] calls ‘surrender
or suicide,’” Mattis said during the hearing.
“We do not want even an inch of daylight to appear
in how we look at the nuclear deterrent. It is a
nuclear deterrent, and must be considered credible.”
Throwing his support behind a new nuclear cruise
missile is something of an about-face for Mattis,
who expressed doubts about supporting the Air
Force’s new cruise missile during his January 2017
Sailor 2025? How is it going to
affect me? What's in it for me?"
Warfare Magazine |
2017 Winter Edition | Sailors First
Sailor 2025 is the Navy's program to improve and
modernize personnel management and training systems
to effectively recruit, develop, manage, and retain
the force of tomorrow. In a nutshell, it means
giving Sailors more control and ownership over their
Sailor 2025 is built on three pillars:
•A modernized personnel system
•An enriched culture
•A career continuum of learning
The Navy has already started modernizing personnel
policies to give Sailors and ownership over their
careers. Here are some ongoing initiatives that have
been recently 'revamped' and improved:
Career Intermission Program (CIP) – Some program
eligibility barriers have been removed and
participant quotas have been increased. CIP allows
individuals to take a sabbatical from the Navy for
up to three years to pursue goals of their choosing.
Fleet Scholar Education Program (FSEP) – Expanded,
fully-funded, in-residence graduate degree
opportunities at civilian institutions by 30 billets
at the officers' (URL and IWC officer eligible)
choice of institution.
Billet Based Distribution (BBD) – Expanded choice
and flexibility; enables the Navy to more
efficiently assign personnel in support of
warfighting readiness and more accurately match
Sailors' unique skillsets to specific billets.
Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP) – Provided
more opportunities to Fleet COs, CMCs, and the
Chief's Mess to better identify and meritoriously
advance talented, hard-working Sailors at sea and
Secretary of the Navy Tours with Industry (SNTWI) –
Provided opportunities for 30 top-performing Sailors
at high-performing corporations to observe and learn
the newest insights and best practices to bring back
to the Fleet.
Navy Enlisted Rating Modernization – This is a
multi-year initiative to eliminate Navy rating
titles. It will ensure enhanced career flexibility
where combinations of rates with similar training
and experience exist. It will ultimately provide
greater training and credentialing opportunities and
help Sailors become more marketable to civilian
employers once they leave the Service.
Visit the following website for more specific Sailor
2025 information and guidance:
China Building Artificial
Intelligence-Powered Nuclear Submarine That
Could Have 'Its Own Thoughts,' Report Says
Christina Zhao, Newsweek, February 5
A senior scientist has confirmed that
China is building artificial intelligence-powered
nuclear submarines that can think for themselves,
according to a report.
According to the researcher involved with the
programme, who asked for anonymity due to the
project’s sensitivity, the AI-augmented submarines
with "it's own thoughts" would reduce the commanding
officers’ workload, eliminate human error, and give
China’s navy a competitive edge in underwater
battles, reported the South China Morning Post.
“Though a submarine has enormous power of
destruction, its brain is actually quite small,” the
In the past nuclear submarines have been almost
exclusively controlled by naval personnel. But now
AI-technology is catching up fast with the inner
workings of a human brain, and through
machine-learning the submarines will be able to
gather knowledge, independently improve skills and
develop new strategies without human intervention.
The researcher claims the AI-infused system must
produce basic demands but also be "compact and
compatible" with the submarine’s existing computer
“It is like putting an elephant into a shoebox,” the
researcher told South China Morning Post. “What the
military cares most about is not fancy features.
What they care most is the thing does not screw up
amid the heat of a battle.”
Zhu Min, lead scientist in China’s deep water
exploration programme and researcher at the Chinese
Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Acoustics, says AI
weaponry is the next step for China’s military but
warns that the systems must be programmed carefully
to safeguard from a “runaway submarine with enough
nuclear arsenals to destroy a continent.”
“This is definitely a risk the authorities should
consider when introducing AI to a sub,” he said.
However, Deng Zhidong, a computer science professor
at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, told the Post that
there is zero chance of a machine uprising —at least
with the technology currently available to us.
“An AI-powered machine is still a machine. It does
not have a life,” he said. “You can shut it down and
shift to manual any time. It will be the same on a
The U.S. produced the world's first operational
nuclear-powered submarine in the early 1950s. The
idea for the USS Nautilus was first proposed by Ross
Gunn, from the Naval Research Laboratory in 1939.
Widely known as one of the most sophisticated war
nuclear submarine can take more than 20 years to
develop from an idea into a finished product.^
Warren Buffett on hand as Navy
commissions newest warship|
Calif. – The U.S. Navy on Saturday commissioned its
newest warship, the USS Omaha, a futuristic, $440
million vessel named for the Nebraska hometown of
billionaire Warren Buffett, who was on hand for the
Omaha, a 418-foot-long littoral combat ship, was
commissioned at its new home port in San Diego.
Buffett's daughter, Susie Buffett, who was
designated as the ship's sponsor, gave the
traditional order for officers and crew: "Man our
ship and bring her to life
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire
"Aye, aye, ma'am," they replied and ran to the ship
as a band struck up "Anchors Aweigh."
aluminum-clad Omaha is designed for missions close
to shore. It has high-tech computer capabilities and
can be reconfigured for various missions, including
anti-submarine warfare and anti-mine operations.
"She is a beautiful ship," said Cmdr. Michael Toth,
the commanding officer. "To be at her helm is more
akin to flying an aircraft with a pilot and a
co-pilot than to conning a traditional warship."
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Nebraska
Gov. Pete Ricketts, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and
former Nebraska Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, a
Navy veteran and Medal of Honor winner.
"I am proud to share our name, our heritage and our
community values with USS Omaha and its commander,
and we wish you safety on your missions," Stothert
Ricketts, whose state is landlocked, issued what he
said was a unique honor in designating the entire
crew collectively as "an admiral in the great Navy
of the state of Nebraska."
The ship is the fourth to carry the Omaha name since
1869. The last vessel was an attack submarine that
was decommissioned in 1995.
"She represents the strength and the fortitude of
her city and her state," U.S. Navy Secretary Richard
V. Spencer said at the ceremony. "This ship is ready
to deliver the fight tonight."