“TRAINING AND CROSS-TRAINING”
by OPOVV, ©2017
Captain enters the wardroom and sits at the head of the table.
“As you were. I’m not going to mince words, so I’ll get right to the point. The scuttlebutt is that the crew is somewhat, and there’s no other word for it, untrusting in our ability to run this ship in a combat-ready, ‘safe’ manner.
“They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll kick it up a notch by proving that this ship, our ship, is the best that it can possibly be. Yes, Nelson?”
“Sounds good, sir, but how do you propose to change the crew’s perception of a failed Navy into a serious cohesive fighting force? How do we fix eight years of Obama’s failures in just one cruise? We have outdated equipment and we’re undermanned.”
“And if I may interject, Captain, the crew doesn’t like going into Turkey or any other Muslim port. It may not be politically correct, but the only reason why some of the crew on the USS Cole were killed or injured was because their captain was an incompetent fool, begging your pardon, sir.”
“Point taken, Henderson, and I thank you for being truthful, even if you were a bit blunt and undiplomatic. Yet the fact remains that the Cole was a sitting duck in an Arab port, irrespective of the orders from the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense or from the Chief of Naval Operations. The conditions on the field take precedence over all other orders.
“The sentries that were posted on the Cole were not issued ammo by design; they were actually ordered to be defenseless. Who or why those orders were issued is not pertinent to this conversation: what is meaningful is for us to learn from past mistakes, and the biggest mistake that I can see is for us to go through life pretending everything is as it should be.
“Fact is, recently two blue-water Navy fighting ships have lost lives and were damaged beyond their capability to be repaired at sea by damage control, which is a very grievous error, a court-martial offense if there ever was one. I’m a 30-year man and I hope to retire as an admiral, but that’ll never happen if we get damaged through negligence or just your plain everyday stupidity.
“They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and that is even more so for a ship: we are only as good as the weakest person, be he an officer or enlisted. By hook or crook, I’ve managed to put together a crew free of women and Muslims and, even though it may not be politically correct, I believe we’re a few steps ahead of the curve even before the last hawser is freed from its bollard, which will happen in a few hours.
“So for starters this is my plan: daylight we train and drill and when the sun goes down, say between 2000 and 0800, we cruise at Condition 1/3, which means at battle stations – under Condition Yoke — but anyone not on the phones or on duty can sleep. We want to be alert by being on the defense at all times.
“Now listen up: we have to assume that every ship that our lookouts report — fore-aft; port-starboard — or pick-up on our surface-to-surface radar, is out to ram us, ram us on purpose, understand? That means they may make a turn at their narrowest radius and full speed ahead. We have to assume that the ships that rammed our ships did so intentionally.
“It is true that the new carriers and frigates got all of the new toys and whistles, but we still have an effective weapon under our feet. And as far as being undermanned, that is also true, but we’ll make up for it by training and cross-training. There’s no reason why the snipes can’t stand the lookout’s mid-watch, or the deck apes staring at the dials down in the engine room, for instance, in the bewitching hours. We have to stay on our toes, gentlemen. Understood?”
“Attention on deck!”