Marines and Navy Heading to Gulf Coast For Possible Disaster Relief
In the wake of the ever increasing destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Marine Times is reporting, nearly 700 Marines will head toward the Gulf Coast Thursday aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in case they are tasked with helping rescue Texas residents who have been slammed by historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. The Kearsarge and the dock landing ship Oak Hill are both scheduled to get underway from ports in Virginia, Fleet Forces Command announced on Wednesday. “These ships are capable of providing medical support, maritime civil affairs, maritime security, expeditionary logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability including assessment and security,” a news release from the command says. The Marines will also be able to purify water, distribute relief supplies, conduct aerial reconnaissance and provide engineering capabilities, a II MEF news release says. “Marines conduct regular training and have gained real-world experience with Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief from relief efforts across the globe,” the news release says.
OK I got busy and haven’t published in more than a few days. What can I say? Maybe I’m suffering from Solar Eclipse Overload Syndrome. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many folks who have lost their homes and personal possessions as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
US Navy 7th Fleet Relieved
Following a collision between the Seventh Fleet destroyer USS John S. McCain with the merchant ship Alnic MC in the the Strait of Malacca in the South China Sea, which left 10 navy sailors missing and five sailors injured on August 21, 2017, off the coast of Singapore it was confirmed the commander of the United States Seventh Fleet has been relieved of command. Vice AdmiralJoseph P. Aucoin (below right) was relieved of his command on 23 August 2017 due to “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” He was just weeks away from retirement. The Wall Street Journal first reported the planned move Tuesday. RADM Phillip G. Sawyer has now assumed command of Seventh Fleet. While I was a bit glib in earlier editions of FOD regarding the need for a band, etc. it is unfortunate to see the careers of fine officers ended in such a manner. That being said, the Navy reposes special trust and responsibility for the safety and well-being of the ship and those who sail within her and thus commanding officers are held to the highest standards of accountability. The U.S. Navy announced on 24 August 2017 that it would be suspending search-and-rescue efforts to focus on recovery efforts of the missing sailors. Divers have recovered the bodies of all 10 sailors missing. The Navy previously identified eight crew members who were missing as Charles Nathan Findley, Abraham Lopez, Kevin Sayer Bushell, Jacob Daniel Drake, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., Corey George Ingram, John Henry Hoagland III and Logan Stephen Palmer. The bodies of Kenneth Aaron Smith and Dustin Louis Doyon were previously recovered. There has been at least a rumor out there McCain may have suffered a steering causality or a loss of steering control shortly before the accident, but that doesn’t add much to the discussion at this point. My experience aboard aircraft carriers was that after-steering (the manual backup steering control room) and all other steering backup systems were always fully manned during a transit of the Strait of Malacca.
Friends of FOD – How did you observe the solar eclipse? All the best photos are on the internet, but I enjoyed seeing the solar eclipse in Boise, ID, thanks to Friends of FOD Roger and Glorie. Thanks to both of you! And I also got to do some fishing on the Boise River. Notice I said fishing and not catching. But a good time was had by all. Good stories appreciated.
Another Collision At Sea
USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) an Arleigh Burke-classdestroyer (below left) suffered “significant damage” to the hull after it was involved in a collision at sea with the Liberian-flaggedAlnic MC (below right) off the coast of Malaysia east of the Strait of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing and five were injured following the collision, which happened at 5:24 a.m. Singapore time (5:24 p.m. ET Sunday), according to the Navy’s latest update issued around nine-and-a-half hours later. And the search continues as of August 21st. After the collision the ship, which sustained damage to her port side aft, was able to return to port under her own power. According to United States Navy press release, the breach “resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Initial casualty reports indicate ten sailors missing and five sailors injured. Admiral John M. Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations (below left) has ordered an “operational pause” or safety stand down for a day to “include,
but not be limited to, looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment.”
The Strait of Malacca is one of the most heavily transited bodies of water in the world, with more than 80,000 vessels moving through it annually, roughly one third of all oceanic transits. US Naval vessels usually have their best bridge team on duty for the transit. I noted in the 11 through 15 August edition of FOD that a military band is standard for that all important change of command. I would venture to say the yet unannounced, change of command for the McCain and perhaps even Commander of Destroyer Squadron 15 will not need a band. As you’ll recall, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was involved in the June 17 with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal, a container ship, off the coast of Japan resulted in the death of seven sailors. Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief have been relieved of their duties aboard Fitzgerald. I’m thinking the commanding officer of Destroyer Squadron 15, CAPT Jeffrey A. Bennett II might be looking for another job.
Strategic & Policy Forum and Manufacturing Council Disbanded
“You CEOs on my Strategic & Policy Forum and my Manufacturing Council who think you can quit; you can’t quit; you’re fired.” “And you’re all a bunch of grandstanders.” CEOs began announcing their resignations after Trump’s first comments about the violence last Saturday in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protesters. The resignations accelerated after he re-emphasized his earlier remarks and on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the series of events that led to the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman. These CEOs are not grandstanding, they simply no longer want to be associated with this President who has now revealed what his true values are. Traditionally corporate leaders have been willing to join these apolitical forums so as to ensure their corporations at least have a seat at the table where policy decisions are formulated that effect corporate taxes, employment and trade policies. There were comments that the President went rogue on Wednesday – How can we believe in a President of United States who goes rogue? Your comments appreciated. Someone must have an opinion they’d be willing to express out there in FOD-land.
Steve Bannon – You’re Fired Too
What’s the half life of a White House advisor these days? White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announced today 18 August 2017, Steve Bannon has agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a brief statement to reporters. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” Bannon’s departure caps a rocky tenure in the West Wing in which he was a central figure in a power struggle to influence the often unpredictable president. He clashed with many of Trump’s other top aides including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, and rumors of his waning influence and imminent departure had been circulating Washington for months. He will walk away from the White House as a key force behind Trump’s impulses to make racially divisive remarks and fan nationalist and ethnic tensions, most recently Trump’s comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. As recently as this week, Bannon gave interviews seeming to embrace the racial turmoil Trump encouraged by comparing white nationalists and the protesters opposing them in Charlottesville. Don’t worry about how Bannon will make his next two dimes. Just hours after his exit became official, the newsroom where he first rose to prominence in far-right political circles, Breitbart News, announced he’d be returning as its executive chairman.
While many in President Trump’s administration have since spoken out against the hatred and violence of groups like white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis, during the events in Chancellorsville, Virginia this past weekend, it is what President Trump did not say that is concerning. These extremist hate groups have no place in the American debate and by not condemning them, you allow them a voice. The President needed to condemn those groups. As Dante Alighieri said in his Divine Comedy, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” I am encouraged by President Trump’s statement on the morning of 14 August 2017 where he did call racism evil and where he did explicitly denounce KKK and neo-Nazis organizations and stated they would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is the operative line here. As a consequence of the President’s comments, the African-American CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co Kenneth
Frazier (below right) resigned from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council Monday after Mr. Trump failed to condemn white nationalists for deadly violence at a weekend rally in Charlottesville, Va. “Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, faces, sexual orientations and political beliefs. America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a statement announcing his departure from the council. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” Frazier added. Less than an hour after Merck released Frazier’s statement, Trump slammed the exec in a tweet. I don’t see where alienating this individual adds positive value to the discourse. In a similar manner I don’t see how lashing out at his own party’s Majority Leader of the United States SenateMitch McConnell (left) benefits the President’s agenda on issues such as increasing the debt ceiling, tax reform, infrastructure improvements, and of course health care reform and gets worse with every tweet. Hey, there are daunting budget related deadlines coming with the end of the fiscal year, September 30th. Comments appreciated!