Today we got some really bad news about the USS Fitzgerald colliding with a merchant ship off of Yokosuka, Japan! The ship experienced flooding after the collision and is now missing seven shipmates!! Right now they’re working mighty hard to keep the ship afloat and looking out for the well-being of their shipmates!!!
I have no idea what is going on in the minds of the brave young men and women onboard that ship but I couldn’t imagine waking up at 0200 hours in the morning staggering over one another in a GQ situation with real fires and real flooding! I spent Twenty-Three years considering myself lucky I’d never been in that position!! But that’s what we trained for!!!
One of the most important requirements and professional qualifications is learning how to drive a ship! It ain’t no carnival ride that’s for damned sure!! I tried navigating in a simulator once and it was like trying to steer a herd of elephants on ice skates!! What do I know about elephants on ice skates you ask?!? I’ll tell you, nothing… just like I don’t know shit from shinola about steering a ship!! I do know it’s not for novice beginners!!!
It reminds me of watching the USS Kinkaid limp into Subic Bay after a collision with the Panamanian merchant ship Kota Petani in the Straits of Malacca in November of 89!’ She was in sad shape… I believe the ship’s Navigator was killed in that collision and the Skipper was relieved shortly after!! It’s a solemn image seeing a ship staggering along into port like that… gotta feel for those boys!!!
Well, it ain’t the first time and it ain’t gonna be the last! I guess that’s why you train 99% of the time for that less than .001% chance something bad happens!! Hopefully things turn out for the best and the crew can move on getting back to business… ‘cause that’s what we do as sailors and how we deal with the dangers we face!!!
I’m sure my sentiments are no different than anyone else… I pray for the shipmates lost and in pain! And of course the families who have lost as well!! It’s never a situation you want to go home too!!!