Absolutely no one felt the pain of loss more profoundly than the sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald. On the night of the collision, many sailors were sleeping in their racks only awakening to the sound of a thunderous roar. During these moments, it was the quick thinking and acting of those who managed to escape that saved the lives of the majority of the crew aboard it. But, the suffering felt that night extended past the USS Fitzgerald and thoroughly managed to astonish the entire Navy to the core. A plethora of emotions continues running through the fleet even now as the months continue to pass, and the effects of the collision will influence naval history forever. Parents lost their children, brothers and sisters lost siblings, spouses lost their beloved, and sailors lost their shipmates as the unforgiving ocean took their lives. But, how are the sailors of 7th fleet holding up, knowing that their lives were saved at the cost of others, and even if the casualties were kept minimal, any amount of loss is too grave?
Sailors are a strong breed. Men and women who endure countless hours of sleep deprivation, terrible pay, incessant amounts of training, and move to the whims of their chains of command. Aboard the Fitzgerald was a crew of these brave soul’s ready to protect the lives of others and themselves regardless of the cost. But, it’s impossible to save everyone and the collision event rocked their lives forever as many of those who came returned are now very different people for who they once were. The innocence of those sailors lost as they had to close down the hatches knowing that deep below the steel doors were the sailors, they ate, slept, showered, and worked with on a daily basis. It’s a terrible sense of loss and a feeling of isolation that many civilians will never get to experience in their lives. As they move forward towards the next mission knowing that they will never get back the souls of those who were lost on that fateful night. But, the crew is strong and it will endure, continuing to perform the mission after the repairs are complete.
The Navy trains its sailors for various types of emergency situations. From medical emergencies to damaged ships, and even combat situations, yet nothing truly prepares sailors for an event such as the one that happened to the USS Fitzgerald. A tragedy by all accounts, it was an event that should have been avoided but happened regardless. People will point fingers, captains will be relieved of their positions, sailors will be held accountable, but none of these “remedies” will get bring back our friends, brothers, sons, daughters, lovers, shipmates, co-workers, and whatever other descriptors we used when speaking about those who lost their lives. Just think, on that night of July 17th of 2017 the lives ten sailors were lost thanks to a plethora of reasons. Their lives were lost, but not forgotten. 7th Fleet has not had the best time this year of 2017, and things continue to get worse. But, the Navy needs to realize that our sailors who are Forward Deployed Navy are overworked and over-tasked, undermanned and tired of the abuse endured by the demands of the fleet. Until that changes, the situation might just continue deteriorating at an alarming rate. However, the only way to fix it is to listen to the voices of the sailors.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.