I have relatives in Pforzheim. The city was all but wiped out on February 23, 1945. They spent the raid in the river to escape the fires. We haven't talked about it much. The word "victim" can have a few different levels of force to it. My relatives may have been victims of the bombing in one sense but they certainly are not entitled to the full status as victims since they were reaping what they and the German people had sowed. The victims of the fire bombings of Tokyo don't get the same status as the victims of the Rape of Nanking. Sorry, when you start a war and fight it by the most horrible means available, you don't get a spot on a memorial as victims, you get what you asked for.
Uss Fitzgerald Collision
Posted 30 December 2017 - 1039 AM
Well im kind of biased, my Grandfather spent 40 to 45 as an all expenses paid guest of the reich as slave labour on Polish Farms. Ultimately I come down to what Sir Arthur Harris said, they sowed the storm and reaped the Whirlwind. Regretting it is not the same as feeling the need to apologize for it. I wouldnt expect the Germans to do it it even for Coventry. The real crime was the war, not the incidental acts in it.
Like I say, im probably biased.
Posted 30 December 2017 - 1042 AM
As I read the article, I began to wonder if they dared use his name.
You might find this interesting. He probably turned up to protest at Peter Jackson renaming him....
But try giving the mascot his original name...
They may as well call him 'Nigsy'. That was his nickname after all. Particularly when they were getting him drunk.
Supposedly when they were filming it, the Dog who played him (and RAF police dog, impeccably behaved) refused to walk past a certain spot on the airfield. They later discovered that was by Guy Gibsons office, where the real Nigger was buried. And in the background of the very last shot, where Todd is talking with redgrave, you can apparently see a black Labrador playing in the back of the shot. Probably the same do, but maybe not....
Posted 31 December 2017 - 0434 AM
Maybe we can return to a tragedy at sea for awhile.
USS Fitzgerald Repair Will Take More Than a Year; USS John S. McCain Fix Could Be Shorter
Already estimates approach $500M, including upgrades. This will cost considerably more than the repair of USS Cole's terrorist bombing of 2000.
Posted 17 January 2018 - 0408 AM
Heads are rolling:
Ex-U.S. Navy officers face negligent homicide charges over ship collisions01/16/2018 21:24
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The commanding officers of two U.S. Navy destroyers involved in deadly collisions last year in the Pacific Ocean face courts-martial and military criminal charges including negligent homicide, the U.S. Navy said in a statement on Tuesday.
Filing charges against the officers marks the Navy's latest effort to address the problems that led to collisions involving its warships in Asia, in which 17 sailors were killed.
The Navy has already dismissed several senior officers, including the commander of the Seventh Fleet, as a result of the collisions.
Evidence supporting the charges against the commanders and several lower-ranking officers who served on the ships will be reviewed soon in investigative hearings, according to the Navy's statement.
"The announcement of an Article 32 hearing and referral to a court-martial is not intended to and does not reflect a determination of guilt or innocence related to any offenses," the statement added.
The commanding officer of the USS John S. McCain guided missile destroyer, which collided with a merchant ship near Singapore in August, faces charges of dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide, the statement said.
The commanding officer and three other officers on the USS Fitzgerald guided missile destroyer, which collided with a Philippine container ship in June, face charges including dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide, the Navy said.
Results from Navy investigations released in November found that both accidents were the result of human error by sailors aboard the ships, but determined that no single person could be blamed for the accidents.
Beyond the courts-martial, the Navy is conducting additional administrative actions for members of both crews, including non-judicial punishment for four crewmembers of each vessel, according to the Navy statement on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Eric Beech and Julia Harte; Editing by Eric Walsh and Sandra Maler)
© Copyright Reuters Ltd.
Edited by Ken Estes, 17 January 2018 - 0409 AM.
Posted 18 January 2018 - 0946 AM
That's too rare, remains unlikely.
Negligent Homicides: A Bridge Too Far
The Navy never has charged a ship’s commanding officer with negligent homicide. The charge itself does not and has never existed in common law. Negligent homicide is complex, esoteric, arcane, and difficult to prove. It is a bridge which the Navy has been rightly loathe to cross.
by Captain Kevin S. Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Edited by Ken Estes, 19 January 2018 - 0214 AM.
Posted 17 May 2018 - 0311 AM
The USN has allowed the fleet commanders to quietly retire and exit, leaving the ship commanders alone to face the courts. I have to wonder if the rush to get three CV battle groups off the shores of North Korea had a part in the overloading of DDG commitments and less stable training environs. Shades of the Vincennes incident off Iraq, another ship forced to deploy months ahead of its workup schedule.
Posted 17 May 2018 - 0358 AM
If you believe some reports from the proceedings against junior Fitzgerald officers, climate on the ship seems to have not been the best.
Former USS Fitzgerald Officer Pleads Guilty to Negligence Charge for Role in CollisionBy: Sam LaGroneMay 8, 2018 6:50 PM • Updated: May 9, 2018 6:35 AM
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – Lt. j.g. Sarah B. Coppock was contrite and quiet when she pleaded guilty on a single criminal charge for her role in the collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and a merchant ship that killed seven sailors.
Before a military judge and almost a dozen family members of the sailors who died, she pleaded guilty to one violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Coppock was the officer of the deck when Fitzgerald collided with ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan on June 17. As part of a plea arrangement, she told military judge Capt. Charles Purnell her actions were partially responsible for the deaths of the sailors who drowned in their berthing after the collision.
“My entire career my guys have been my number one priority,” she said.
“When it mattered, I failed them. I made a tremendously bad decision and they paid the price.”
In her plea, Coppock admitted that she violated ship commander Cmdr. Bryce Benson’s standing orders several times during the overnight transit off the coast of Japan, violated Coast Guard navigation rules, did not communicate effectively with the watch standers in the Combat Information Center, did not operate safely in a high-density traffic condition and did not alert the crew ahead of a collision.
Purnell sentenced her three months reduced pay and issued a punitive reprimand.
While Coppock did admit to wrongdoing, both the prosecutors and defense attorneys painted a picture of a difficult operating environment.
When Fitzgerald collided with Crystal, the malfunctioning SPS-73 bridge radar was tracking more than 200 surface tracks – a mix of large merchant ships and fishing vessels near the coast of Japan, according to the findings of fact in the trial. Coppock was under orders for the ship to cross a busy merchant shipping lane – a so-called traffic separation – that wasn’t labeled on the charts provided by the navigation team. She was also ordered to keep the ship moving at a high-rate of speed during the transit – 20 to 22 knots. The high speed lowered the time the crew could react to ships around them.
Coppock said she didn’t rely enough on the officers on watch in the ship’s combat information center (CIC) to help keep track of the surface contacts as a back up to her crew on the bridge. Prosecutors and defense attorneys that the conditions aboard Fitzgerald made the collision more likely.
“Coppock failed in her duties, but she received very little support,” prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Paul Hochmuth argued during the sentencing portion of the trial.
“Being complacent was the standard on USS Fitzgerald.”
During the sentencing portion of the trial, lawyers for the defense outlined the gapped billets and inability to complete training on Fitzgerald. For example, the ship had been without a chief quartermaster for two years before the collision, and the SPS-73 navigation radar was unreliable, defense attorney Lt. Ryan Mooney said, quoting from the Navy’s investigation into the collision. The watch stander in the CIC who operated the SPS-67 search and surveillance radar was unfamiliar with the system.
“Lt. Coppock was not put in a position to succeed,” Mooney said.
“She was set up to fail.”
The charge Coppock faced on Tuesday as part of the plea agreement was less severe than charges announced by the Navy in January, in which Coppock and two other unidentified junior officers on Fitzgerald faced a combination of charges that included negligent homicide and hazarding a vessel.
While not specified in the trial, the nature of the plea agreement suggests Coppock will likely be a prosecution witness against the upcoming courts-martial of then-Fitzgerald commander Benson or the two other junior officers who have been charged, two military lawyers told USNI News last week.
The two watchstanders who were in the CIC during the collision will face a judge on Wednesday for preliminary hearings on criminal charges for their roles in the collision that include hazarding a vessel and negligence.
USS Fitzgerald Combat Team Unaware of Approaching Merchant Ship Until Seconds Before Fatal CollisionBy: Sam LaGroneMay 10, 2018 8:52 PM • Updated: May 10, 2018 9:59 PM
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – The sailors who were manning the combat nerve center of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) did not know they were on a collision course with a ship almost three times their size until about one minute before impact, according to new information revealed in the preliminary hearing for two junior officers accused of negligent homicide for their role in the collision that resulted in the death of seven sailors.
Lt. Natalie Combs, the tactical action officer, and Lt. Irian Woodley, the surface warfare coordinator, were both on duty in the windowless combat information in the belly of the guided-missile destroyer on early on the morning of June 17 as the ship moved southwest from the coast of Japan less than a day out of port.
“[Based on the interviews] the general consensus was it was a quiet night in CIC with four to five tracks and nothing within 10,000 yards,” said Rear Adm. Brian Fort, the lead investigator into the admiralty investigation following the collision, said at Woodley and Combs Article 32 hearing on Wednesday.
Then, shortly after crossing into a busy shipping channel, the merchant ship ACX Crystal popped up on the CIC’s commercial ship automatic identification system dangerously close to Fitzgerald. The container ship was bearing down on the warship, bow pointed toward the middle of the warship. Woodley ordered the camera used to spot targets for the ship’s 5-inch gun toward the bearing of Crystal. Fire Controlman Second Class Ashton Cato, who manned the camera, saw the flared bow of the ship fill up his monitor just seconds before the fatal crash.
Prosecutors argued during the Wednesday hearing that the fact that Woodley and Combs did not know the ship was at risk from Crystal, did not see other nearby contacts and were not in contact with the bridge crew was evidence of criminal negligence and hazarding the ship.
During the course of the hearing, prosecutors called witnesses to outline that the role of sailors in the CIC was to assist the bridge watch in understanding the surface picture around the ship, to make the point that Woodley and Combs failed to live up to that standard.
In combat, the TAO fights the ship, coordinating attacks on air, subsurface and surface threats. But the role is different during a peaceful transit.
“The TAO has other areas of focus, but if they aren’t worried about the [air] or subsurface threat, they can truly focus on the surface picture,” retired Capt. Bud Weeks, an instructor at the service’s Surface Warfare Officer School, testified on Wednesday.
He said CIC and the team on the bridge needed to be in constant communication to develop a good understanding of what’s happening around the ship.
However, that communication was non-existent during the late night watch, Fitzgerald officer of the deck Lt. j.g. Sarah B. Coppock admitted on Tuesday when she pleaded guilty to a single count of dereliction of duty as part of a plea deal in a special court-martial.
“Coppock did comment that she had received poor information from [Woodley] before,” Fort said in testimony.
However, the ship’s executive officer, Cmdr. Sean Babbitt, admitted to the Coast Guard during its safety investigation that he didn’t completely trust Coppock and that the inclusion of Woodley in the CIC was to provide backup for a bridge watch team he said wasn’t the strongest.
Woodley and Coppock had very different pictures of what was happening around the ship, and it would have taken communication to reconcile the differences. While the bridge had almost 200 contacts on its SPS-73 radar, the CIC’s SPS-67 radar had an only a handful due to an overall “poor radar picture,” Operations Specialist Second Class Matthew H. Stawecki said at the hearing.
“There was a lot of clutter,” he said.
Part of the reason the picture was muddy was the radar had been set to a long-range so-called “long pulse” mode that made contacts close to the ship difficult to see. The setting couldn’t be directly adjusted from CIC, and Fort’s investigation found there was no effort to contact the ship’s electronics technicians to adjust the radar picture.
“They accepted the fact they had clutter, and they didn’t do anything about it,” Fort said.
“It was the world in which they were living in, and it was the world that was accepted.”
But according to Fitzgerald’s former combat system officer, the circumstances of broken equipment and lapses in crew training were commonplace for a warship that was part of Forward Deployed Naval Force in Japan.
Lt. Cmdr. Ritarsha Furqan, who reported to Fitzgerald in 2014 and left the ship a few months before the collision, said deploying with missing crew, insufficient spares or systems that didn’t work, under the direction of U.S. Pacific Command or Pacific Fleet was the norm — even if what was broken or who was missing violated a deployment redline, she said.
“I know I’ve stood in my boss’s office and told [previous Fitzgerald commander] Cmdr. Shu, ‘we’re not ready to execute.’ I was told ‘they know,’” Furqan said.
“We were told to go. We had to go.”
During the hearing, the defense and prosecutors largely agreed on the facts of the collision but were split on where to place the blame.
Prosecutors said Combs and Woodley shared the blame with executive officer Babbitt and then-ship’s commander Cmdr. Bryce Benson – who faces his own Article 32 hearing on similar charges later this month.
Defense attorneys said to look higher.
“The Fitz was a wreck. A wreck of a ship,” Combs’ defense attorney, David P. Sheldon, said during his closing arguments of the hearing.
“The blame? It lies with the Navy for putting its head in the sand, with putting a ship to sea that wasn’t ready. But the Navy wants only to hold these officers accountable.”
Posted 17 May 2018 - 0906 AM
To be frank, this reads a lot like the state of the RN, rather than what is expected of the world's supposedly most advanced and prepared navy.
Posted 18 May 2018 - 0315 AM
I was thinking the same relative to German forces. Though I don't think the USN was ever in the suituation where not a single one of their submarines could go to sea. It doesn't make it any better for the stepchilds of medium powers if the rich cousins have some of the same problems, anyway.
Posted 18 April 2019 - 0329 AM
This is interesting, Adm Moran gives his thoughts on improving the quality of navigation.
Posted 01 May 2019 - 0719 AM
The responses by the sailors — consistent, repeated — can be jarring to read:
Are you getting enough sleep? “No.”
Do you feel well-trained to do your job? “No.”
Have there been scenarios in which you or your bosses had concerns about the safety of the ship and crew but felt they could not say no to new tasking? “Yes.”
Please rate your confidence in Navy leadership in the Pentagon. “I am not confident.”
On Feb. 26, ProPublica published a callout aimed primarily at active-duty men and women in the U.S. Navy. We had published two stories about neglect, exhaustion and deadly mishaps in the 7th Fleet, the largest armada anywhere and once the Navy’s crown jewel. Now, we wanted to take a measure of the confidence in the many reforms the Navy had announced in assuring the nation that it was addressing the systemic shortcomings laid bare after two fatal accidents in the Pacific in 2017.
We’ve received dozens of responses from active-duty sailors and their families, but also from people who retired from the Navy, academics and contractors.
You might have noticed we’ve been reporting a lot on the US Navy.— ProPublica (@propublica) February 26, 2019
We published in-depth investigations and responses from the community.
We’re not done. We want to speak to people serving in *all* of the Navy’s active fleets.
Help us do it.https://t.co/qnCzHaK3A5
Thirty active-duty sailors have completed our callout so far. Twenty-eight of them testified to some combination of fear, lack of training and an absence of confidence in the Navy’s leadership. Almost one-fifth of them described working 100 hours a week or more while underway.
One officer in the 2nd Fleet lamented that there was still not consistent training to enable men and women to master the wide variety of steering systems in place on the fleet’s ships. A sailor on a 7th Fleet aircraft carrier worried that the widespread problem of sleep deprivation was leading to profound mental health issues, with some sailors being placed on suicide watch. Another 2nd Fleet sailor said that the promised reforms aimed at improving training, adequately staffing ships and better caring for overtaxed service members sounded fine on their face, but that they ran the risk of proving to be a largely empty exercise.
“If the Navy paid more attention to the job satisfaction and intrinsic motivation of sailors, then a lot of these other systemic issues will fix themselves,” the sailor wrote. “All of these recommendations are great, but if it is not a joint effort for change, with ideas and suggestions from those expected to implement the change, then it will just continue a ‘culture of compliance,’ which Navy leaders have stated they want to transform into a ‘culture of excellence.’ This change cannot be forced down, but must be grown from the ground up.”
A spokesman said that Navy leadership continues to take “aggressive action” implementing changes meant to address the issues revealed by ProPublica’s reporting. “The reform process will take time, resources, and most importantly, trust,” Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey said. In response to sailor feedback, some commanders have “taken action where appropriate,” including canceling deployments for ships that weren’t ready.
The callout, to be sure, is limited, and it is perhaps not surprising that responses have so far been dominated by people who felt alarmed or found fault with the Navy. But the responses certainly echo the themes the Navy has already conceded are problems. As well, almost two years after the deadly crashes involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain, the Navy has yet to fully satisfy its congressional overseers that the reforms have been accomplished.
The callout has produced responses from each of the Navy’s six numbered fleets that patrol the world’s oceans.
One sailor told of how those serving on some ships coordinate via secret Facebook groups to try and help one another figure out how to operate and repair their vessels. Another said the wait for mental health care at one base was so long that she was forced to get some modest help for herself through her child’s therapist.
Posted 01 May 2019 - 1351 PM
Brutal, as the kind of reporting done by ProPublica is going to move the needle of public and political opinion based on its credibility.
The Navy and Pentagon's public relations offices are going to be working overtime on this one.
Posted 24 August 2019 - 0750 AM
LEADERSHIP: KILLER APP
"The U.S. Navy has concluded that one of the factors that led to three warship collisions in 2017 was the adoption of touch screen controls for ship navigation."
"... none of the crew involved were able to quickly take control and avoid the collision. Further complicating the situation was the fact that the officers and sailors involved were suffering from lack of sleep and experience with emergency use of the SCC. So the navy is converting back to the traditional manual controls, which are more intuitive and familiar."
Posted 02 September 2019 - 1023 AM
Touches (no pun intended) on a concern I have about all the touch screen controls on the new crew vehicles being built for NASA. The old vehicles had toggle switches with guards around them so that you could only use them if that was your intention. I could see a situation where the vehicle is shaking around during launch or some such, the crew touching the touch screen but hitting the wrong button due to the movement, an option popping up "do you really want to blow the hatch?" or some such and then they go to hit the cancel button but the craft lurches again and they hit "confirm" and that's the end of that. It might work great in a static simulator but have they dealt with the mis-touch concern in reality? I don't even want to think about all of the inadvertent touches from floating around in zero G all day.
Posted 02 September 2019 - 1427 PM
Touchscreens and moisture do not mix if the way my phone reacts to that combination it is any indication. The question for the GAO is now one of reporting for the public record how extensive the implementation of touchscreen navigational control has been in the USN, and the cost to be paid for reversing it.
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