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Two Usn Cvns Out Of Action In Western Pacific

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#21 Ken Estes

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1201 PM

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) 
UNIT 100250 Box 1
FPO AP 96632
 
 
 
30 Mar 20
Subj: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE IN RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC
 
BLUF: If required the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT would embark all assigned Sailors, set
sail, and be ready to ?ght and beat any adversary that dares challenge the US or our allies. The
virus would certainly have an impact, but in combat we are willing to take certain risks that are
not acceptable in peacetime. However, we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single
Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily. Decisive action is required now in
order to comply with CDC and NAVADMIN 083/20 guidance and prevent tragic outcomes.
 
1. Problem Statement. With the crew embarked, TR is unable to comply with CDC protocols or
NAVADMIN 083/20 guidance. Based on CDC guidelines and TR observations, the only
effective method to preserve an individual?s health is total isolation for 14+ days in accordance
with the NAVADMIN Individual hotel/barracks rooms with separate heads). Due to a
warship's inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this. The spread of the disease is
ongoing and accelerating.
 
2. Inappropriate Focus on Testing. Testing has no direct influence on the spread of the COVID-
l9 virus. It merely confirms the presence of the virus. Due to the close quarters required on a
warship and the current number of positive cases, every single Sailor, regardless of rank, on
board the TR must be considered ?close contact? in accordance with the NAVADMIN. Testing
will only be useful as the ship returns to work a?er isolation or quarantine to con?rm the
effectiveness of the quarantine period. Our focus now must be on quarantine and isolation in
strict compliance with CDC and NAVADMIN guidance.
 
The COVID-19 test cannot prove a Sailor does not have the virus; it can only prove that a Sailor
does. As an illustration, of the first 33 TR Sailors diagnosed with COVID-19, 21% (7 of those
33) infected Sailors were negative on a test, then subsequently presented with symptoms
of COVID-19 infection within 1-3 days post-test.
 
Based on data since ?rst case, approximately 21% of the Sailors that tested negative and
are currently moving into group restricted movement ashore are currently infected, will develop
over the next several days, and will proceed to infect the remainder of their shore-
based restricted group.
 
3. Inappropriate Quarantine and Isolation. With the exceptions of a handful of senior officer
staterooms, none of the berthing onboard a warship is appropriate for quarantine or isolation.
Thousands of "close contact" Sailors require quarantine in accordance with guidance. TR has
begun to move personnel off ship into shore-based group restricted movement locations. Of the
off ship locations currently available, only one complies with the NAVADMIN guidance.
Infected Sailors reside in these off ship locations. Two Sailors have already tested positive in an
 
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open bay gymnasium equipped with cots. Although marginally better than a warship, group
quarantine sites are not a solution and are not in accordance with current guidance.
 
In order to stop the spread of the virus, the CDC and the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health
Center both recommend individual quarantine. They both recommend against group quarantine.
They recommend limited or no contact with other exposed individuals and no use of the same
facilities or items exposed individuals have touched. NAVADMIN 083/20 echoes this guidance.
 
The environment most conducive to spread of the disease is the environment the crew of the TR
is in right now, both aboard ship and ashore:
 
a. Large amounts of Sailors in a confined space
 
b. Open, shared berthing
 
c. Shared restroom facilities
 
d. Confined, shared workspaces and computers
 
e. Shared messing for large numbers
 
f. Meals cooked food provided by exposed personnel
 
g. Mandatory watch/operational tasks demanding consistent close contact (food
preparation, service cleaning, TFCC watches, unavoidable meetings to plan 
execute COVID response actions, etc.)
 
h. Movement about the ship requires consistent close contact with other exposed
individuals (confined passageways, previously touched ladder railings/hatch
levers/door knobs etc.)
 
4. Ineffectiveness of Current Strategy: Based on current limitations (lack of appropriate
quarantine and isolation facilities, inability to effectively achieve social distancing), TR has
instituted limited measures to slow the spread of the disease. We have moved a small percentage
of the crew off ship, increased the frequency of thorough cleaning and attempted some social
distancing. The current strategy will only slow the spread. The current plan in execution on TR
will not achieve virus eradication on any timeline.
 
5. Lessons Learned from the Diamond Princess: From an epidemiological research article on the infection onboard Diamond Princess (the only comparable situation encountered thus far) (Roklov et a1.) titled "COVID outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship:
estimating the epidemic potential and effectiveness of public health countenneasures:"
 
"Cruise ships carry a large number of people in con?ned spaces with relative homogeneous mixing. On 3 February, 2020, an outbreak of COVID-19 on cruise ship Diamond Princess was reported following an index case on board around 21-25 January. By 4 February, public health
 
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Page 2 of 4
 
Subj: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE IN RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC
 
measures such as removal and isolation of ill passengers and quarantine of non-ill passengers were implemented. By 20 February, 619 of 3,700 passengers and crew (17%) were tested positive. We estimated that without any interventions within the time period of 21 January to 19
February, 2920 out of the 3700 would have been infected. Isolation and quarantine therefore prevented 2307 cases. We showed that an early evacuation of all passengers on 3 February would have been associated with 76 infected persons." (As opposed to 619)
 
The final sentence of the abstract:
 
"Conclusions: The cruise ship conditions clearly amplified an already highly transmissible disease. The public health measures prevented more than 2000 additional cases compared to no interventions. However, evacuating all passengers and crew early on in the outbreak would have prevented many more passengers and crew from infection."
 
The Diamond Princess was able to more effectively isolate people onboard than TR, due to a much higher percentage of individualized and compartmentalized accommodations onboard for paying customers. Their measures still allowed hundreds of people to become infected. TR's best-case results, given the current environment, are likely to be much worse.
 
6. Pronosed New Strategy: There are two end states TR could achieve:
 
a. Maximize warfighting readiness and capacity as quickly as possible. No timeline necessary. We go to war with the force we have and fight sick. We never achieve a COVID-free TR. There will be losses to the virus.
 
b. Achieve a COVID-free TR. Requires strict adherence to CDC guidelines and a methodical approach to achieve a clean ship. This requires immediate and decisive action. It will take time and money.
 
As war is not imminent, we recommend pursuing the peace time end state.
 
TR has two primary goals in order to achieve that end state:
 
a. Prevent unnecessary deaths, reduce the number of Sailors that contract COVID-19 and eliminate future virus spread.
 
b. Regain and maximize war?ghting readiness and capacity as quickly as possible.
 
In order to achieve these goals, a clean ship is required. Every Sailor onboard must be guaranteed virus-free and the ship environment must be disinfected. One infected Sailor introduced to the ship will spread the virus. Off ship lodging in compliance with CDC and
NAVADMIN guidance is required for over 4,000 Sailors to achieve a clean ship and crew.
 
7. Conclusion. Decisive action is required. Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. A portion of the crew (approximately 10%) would have to stay aboard to
 
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Page 3 of 4
 
Subj: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
 
run the reactor plant, sanitize the ship, ensure security, and provide for contingency response to
emergencies. This is a necessary risk. It will enable the carrier and air wing to get back
underway as quickly as possible while ensuring the health and safety of our Sailors. Keeping
over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.
 
There are challenges associated with securing individualized lodging for our crew. This will
require a political solution but it is the right thing to do. We are not at war. Sailors do not need
to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset our
Sailors.
 
Request all available resources to find NAVADMIN and CDC compliant quarantine rooms for my entire crew as soon as possible.
 
B. E. CROZIER
 
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#22 R011

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1215 PM

I have heard that TR was not an especially well disciplined ship and the captain something of a prima Donna. I don't know how accurate that is.
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#23 Burncycle360

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1252 PM

Having watched the press briefing, Modly admits that he doesn't know who leaked the document which was presumably the catalyst for the whole thing.  Had it not been leaked, they could have kept it under wraps and quietly ignored it.  This was a public display of dominance and subtle threat to other COs that while the Navy is rotting from the inside, anyone that threatens to expose how thin the veneer really is won't last long.


Considering the strike group commander was down the hall and wasn't the one making the push,  there may have been some bad blood there and he felt that was the only way action would be taken.  I'm cynical enough to believe that this would have gotten a lot worse before the Navy decided to offload the carrier had there not been this public exposure.  In the end, the Navy claims they were going to do it this early all along, which is probably bullshit, but that's how it goes. Honor, Courage, Commitment.


Edited by Burncycle360, 03 April 2020 - 1326 PM.

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#24 Ken Estes

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1353 PM

I agree, an admiral was on board and likely didn't want his flag captain making a fuss. So he, the captain, jumped the chain of command with an 'attention world'. The chain doesn't like such things.....

 

See below. There is, of course, no such thing as 'redemption' unless you are Capt Dreyfus.

The govt has botched every other element of responding to CoVID19, so why not this, a CVN far away, nothing to be seen, move along....

 

WASHINGTON — Even as he is hailed as a hero by his crew, the fired commander of a coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier is being reassigned while investigators consider whether he should face disciplinary action, acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told Reuters on Friday.

Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday after a scathing letter in which he called on the Navy for stronger action to halt the spread of the virus aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was leaked to the media.

Modly said in an interview that the letter was shared too widely and leaked before even he could see it.But the backlash to Modly’s decision to fire Crozier has been intense. In videos posted online, sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt applauded Crozier and hailed him as a hero, out to defend his crew – even at great personal cost to his career.

 

 

“And that’s how you send out one of the greatest captains you ever had,” exclaimed one sailor in a video post, amid thunderous applause and cheering for Crozier as he left the carrier and its 5,000 crew members in Guam.

Modly did not suggest that Crozier’s career was over, saying he thought everyone deserved a chance at “redemption.” 

https://nationalpost...-on-virus-fears


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#25 Ken Estes

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1358 PM

I have heard that TR was not an especially well disciplined ship and the captain something of a prima Donna. I don't know how accurate that is.

 

Kinda goes with the turf, a CV skipper is already a seasoned aviator, so as they are inclined to say, "How'm I doin' so far!?'

 

Usually the carrier XO is the 'bad cop'


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#26 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1416 PM

The crew still support him.

https://www.thedrive...-heros-farewell
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#27 Manic Moran

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1440 PM

Ken, he didn't need to jump, though. The CO had a direct line to SecNav, and spoke personally with him. You don't tell SecNav "I'm fine with the 6 ventilators I have" and then turn around and send an email saying "Up to fifty folks will die". There's an inherent contradiction there, as is his response to SecNav's chief when asked "Is there anything else you need" and he says "no".

 

The CO was tied up pierside in Guam and had a few minutes to think about things like "Should I be giving information on the status of one of the eleven most important military assets in the world over an unsecure line?", he wasn't making rapid decisions facing Liaoling at the Spratleys in addition to the above. It is not unreasonable for SecNav to wonder whether or not he's going to make the correct judgement in the Pacific.

 

The crew still support him

 

I don't think anyone has claimed he wasn't popular with the crew, or thinking about the crew's interest. However, command of a carrier is not solely a popularity matter.


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#28 Ken Estes

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1549 PM

You trust a SecNav's word?

 

I had enough evidence in my OP to determine the status of two of those 11 assets.

 

A ship's captain can be counted upon to think of his ship first, then the mission. There is no equivalent responsibility in other services. Think of the Dardanelles in 1915.


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#29 Burncycle360

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1609 PM

We don't really know Crozier. Maybe he's Captain America like people are making him out to be, or maybe his priorities aren't becoming of a Naval Officer, he's rubbed people wrong for a while, and this has been a long time coming. The truth is probably someplace in between. We also don't know what happened behind the scenes, other than through the lens Modly has decided to present it. He's a bureaucrat, and I've seen how Govt often works, so I'm more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the commander in the field who is presumably not so stupid to think he wasn't ending his career by jumping CoC, but felt he had no other choice.

From a Navy standpoint, SECNAV was right on in saying Crozier demonstrated poor judgement.  After all, they have their reputation to think about, corrupt or perfect you protect the integrity of the institution above all else, and so from that lens Crozier had to go because despite all the talk it's still a private club and always has been. Captain's don't jump CoC, period.

Not one to be outdone however, perhaps Modly demonstrated poor judgement in a broader context given that social media is now turning Crozier, whom we know nothing about, into a martyr and you don't have to qualify for Mensa to see that coming.  Negative PR at a time when our leadership is already under serious public scrutiny for their handling of the COVID19 situation, especially with regards to lack of PPE (we had 10 years since H1N1 to restock the strategic national stockpile and CHOSE not to), lack of early intervention and the disinformation regarding effectiveness of masks.  The public trust is shaken, and the Navy is left with one other damage control measure: discredit Crozier's competence  (which we will likely see in the coming weeks).

A more Caesarean approach in response to the leak would have been to say they were going to offload the ship anyway, privately slap his peepee for jumping CoC, and making that Crozier's last deployment silently ending his career.  The public would have never heard another word about it, with no additional damage to the Administration.
 

Edited by Burncycle360, 03 April 2020 - 1632 PM.

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#30 Ken Estes

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1642 PM

Ken, he didn't need to jump, though. The CO had a direct line to SecNav, and spoke personally with him. You don't tell SecNav "I'm fine with the 6 ventilators I have" and then turn around and send an email saying "Up to fifty folks will die". There's an inherent contradiction there, as is his response to SecNav's chief when asked "Is there anything else you need" and he says "no".

 

The CO was tied up pierside in Guam and had a few minutes to think about things like "Should I be giving information on the status of one of the eleven most important military assets in the world over an unsecure line?", he wasn't making rapid decisions facing Liaoling at the Spratleys in addition to the above. It is not unreasonable for SecNav to wonder whether or not he's going to make the correct judgement in the Pacific.

 

 

Wait a minute, did he speak to SecNav or his chief [petty officer]??


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#31 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1652 PM

I guess the Captain could've just ran the carrier into some other ship.  The USN seems to do that a fair amount these days.  The last 15 years or so have seen a lot of rot.  ANY leadership that says we need to do more with less at this point is exhibiting a poor understanding of reality.

 

Crozier had to know this was a career ender...


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#32 Manic Moran

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1655 PM

 

Ken, he didn't need to jump, though. The CO had a direct line to SecNav, and spoke personally with him. You don't tell SecNav "I'm fine with the 6 ventilators I have" and then turn around and send an email saying "Up to fifty folks will die". There's an inherent contradiction there, as is his response to SecNav's chief when asked "Is there anything else you need" and he says "no".

 

The CO was tied up pierside in Guam and had a few minutes to think about things like "Should I be giving information on the status of one of the eleven most important military assets in the world over an unsecure line?", he wasn't making rapid decisions facing Liaoling at the Spratleys in addition to the above. It is not unreasonable for SecNav to wonder whether or not he's going to make the correct judgement in the Pacific.

 

 

Wait a minute, did he speak to SecNav or his chief [petty officer]??

 

 

Did you watch the briefing? There were multiple conversations, at least one to SecNav personally, and one to his Chief of Staff.

 

SecNav is an Annapolis graduate,  I presume they teach something about integrity in the Academy, and the CNO was standing right next to him. He made some very specific statements, which if not true aren't just politicians being... creative... with the truth,  but are bare-faced lies through the teeth.

 

Yes, I'm going to take his word unless some evidentiary reason comes out to not do so.

 

[Edit. Upon re-watching, the ventilator discussion happened after the email was sent. The point that being happy with the number of ventilators on hand being satisfactory not matching with the emergency situation is still valid, though.]


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#33 Ken Estes

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1706 PM

So, who among the dramatis personae was thinking most about the crew?

 

...as in all the other services, 'you can't fool the troops'


Edited by Ken Estes, 03 April 2020 - 1707 PM.

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#34 Burncycle360

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 1743 PM

The comment about 50 folks potentially dying was not in the leaked email that I could find, so it must have been in one of the conversations we're not privy to other than what limited information the SECNAV opts to reveal to support his position.  That being said, out of 6,000 people, 50 deaths is less than 1% and is an entirely reasonable number to use for risk management estimations given that there will almost certainly be some in the relatively young and healthy crew who have underlying problems they're not aware of.

NAVADMIN is sending guidance and best practices they presumably know that warships at sea are unable to follow.
 


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#35 MiloMorai

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 0357 AM

Considering the infection rate doubles every 2-3 days, how long would it take for the ship to be incapable of operations? Also how long would it take to decontaminate the ship?


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#36 RETAC21

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 0406 AM

Considering the infection rate doubles every 2-3 days, how long would it take for the ship to be incapable of operations? Also how long would it take to decontaminate the ship?

 

With 80% of cases not being incapacitating, the ship would still be combat capable, the question is whether the 1% fatality ratio is acceptable in peacetime (50 sailors dead)


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#37 Ken Estes

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 1256 PM

 

 

Ken, he didn't need to jump, though. The CO had a direct line to SecNav, and spoke personally with him. You don't tell SecNav "I'm fine with the 6 ventilators I have" and then turn around and send an email saying "Up to fifty folks will die". There's an inherent contradiction there, as is his response to SecNav's chief when asked "Is there anything else you need" and he says "no".

 

The CO was tied up pierside in Guam and had a few minutes to think about things like "Should I be giving information on the status of one of the eleven most important military assets in the world over an unsecure line?", he wasn't making rapid decisions facing Liaoling at the Spratleys in addition to the above. It is not unreasonable for SecNav to wonder whether or not he's going to make the correct judgement in the Pacific.

 

 

Wait a minute, did he speak to SecNav or his chief [petty officer]??

 

 

Did you watch the briefing? There were multiple conversations, at least one to SecNav personally, and one to his Chief of Staff.

 

SecNav is an Annapolis graduate,  I presume they teach something about integrity in the Academy, and the CNO was standing right next to him. He made some very specific statements, which if not true aren't just politicians being... creative... with the truth,  but are bare-faced lies through the teeth.

 

Yes, I'm going to take his word unless some evidentiary reason comes out to not do so.

 

[Edit. Upon re-watching, the ventilator discussion happened after the email was sent. The point that being happy with the number of ventilators on hand being satisfactory not matching with the emergency situation is still valid, though.]

 

No I have not watched the briefing. Your reverence for US civil servants is noteworthy in the case of this Acting [yet another?] SecNav. The guy is Class of 1983 and served all of 7 years active duty, including grad school, flight school, flying the UH-1 and a tour as an instructor in PolSci at the Air Force Academy. As a new academy grad he knew very little about the active USN, about as much as a part time dozent at the Littlefield Collection, and in flight school, grad school and piloting a UH-1 acquired very little more before he resigned and went to Harvard for a second masters' degree.

 

One wonders from where the call really came to axe this CVN skipper.

 

Gen Jack Keane on this:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=SEzjAT4nPFU


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#38 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 1311 PM

Considering the infection rate doubles every 2-3 days, how long would it take for the ship to be incapable of operations? Also how long would it take to decontaminate the ship?

 
With 80% of cases not being incapacitating, the ship would still be combat capable, the question is whether the 1% fatality ratio is acceptable in peacetime (50 sailors dead)

Just 44 was worthy of a court martial from the Oriskany fire, and that was in wartime.

As I see it, he was damned if he allowed his 50 sailors die, and damned if he tried to do something to stop it. Besides,as someone pointed out earlier, the message has now gone around to any other ships to not make a fuss. The possible consequences are clear.
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#39 Ken Estes

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 1518 PM

Yes, what a rare accomplishment; we have recreated the Soviet Navy.


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#40 DKTanker

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 1207 PM

As I see it, he was damned if he allowed his 50 sailors die, and damned if he tried to do something to stop it. Besides,as someone pointed out earlier, the message has now gone around to any other ships to not make a fuss. The possible consequences are clear.

 

I think the message is, if you break OPSEC, you'll be relieved.


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