On June 30th, the US Navy released its report on what happened in January when 10 Navy personnel were captured by Iranian naval ships and held for 15 hours before being released. The report is 170 pages, and it covers the entire series of events in the capture, as well as key findings as to how and why the event occurred in the first place.
The overall assessment stated that poor preparation, weak training, communication problems, and failures with leadership were all responsible for the incident which turned into an international tug-of-war, and gave the Iranians a lot of propaganda material.
The report listed many separate issues that, when combined, may have led to the event – including fatigue of the boat crew, who stayed up the night before attempting to make repairs to the boat, leaving four hours later than expected, changing course without permission which took the boats through Saudi Arabian waters and then into Iranian territorial waters where the capture took place. The report went on to say the crew and their leadership had committed multiple code-of-conduct violations after they were captured.
In addition, those conducting the investigation recommended eight Navy officers and petty officers be held accountable for failings in both conduct and leadership. The report states that two riverine boats had been assigned transit from Kuwait to Bahrain to support an upcoming military exercise. This would have been the longest trip made from the squadron. The two boats were to meet with a Coast Guard cutter for refueling, but the two boats changed course to get to the refueling point faster. They did not notify superiors of the change in course.
Communication problems were an issue from the start as one boat, the lead boat 802, was never able to establish communications, while boat 805 was able to later establish satellite communication with officials in Bahrain. After entering Iranian waters, boat 802 suffered mechanical problems and both boats shut down to repair the problem. Within minutes, two Iranian boats came onto the scene with weapons uncovered. When the officer in charge on the lead boat ordered the crew to make an escape attempt, the coxswain disregarded the order – telling the investigator that he feared they would be killed if he followed the order.
Two more Iranian boats arrived on scene and boarded the US boats, tearing down the US flag, replacing it with Revolutionary Guard flags, blindfolding the US sailors, binding them, and taking both US boats to Farsi Island. The sailors were held on the island for about 15 hours before being released. Each sailor was interrogated by their captors. They also made attempts to film the crew when food was brought in to the sailors.
During their detention, the lead boat commander read a scripted message, on camera, apologizing for entering Iranian waters and stating all of this was “our fault.” The commander later said he did this because he had been promised release of his crew by the Iranians. He said in the report that he did not know that their release had already been secured by US diplomatic efforts.
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.
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