The Navy’s core was rocked when the USS John McCain struck the oil tanker near Singapore as it was preparing for a port visit. This event was the latest in a string of embarrassing accidents involving the military, and just one of the worst tragedies in recent Naval history. From the USS Fitzgerald striking a cargo ship, to the infamous hide-and-seek championship aboard the USS Shiloh, and now the McCain it’s pretty obvious 7th fleet hasn’t been having the best of years. Now the Navy is starting to take action with several strategic moves including the recent dismissal of the Naval 7th Fleet commander, and an operational pause that will allow them to gauge the situation. But, is that truly enough to stop all of the recent mishaps and change the course for the better? Who can say for certain that the wrong aspects won’t be blamed and instead of improving the situation it won’t get worse? As the whips crack and leadership starts hunkering down on the factors that might not even be the ones at fault…
It’s expected for the Navy to take action whenever a string of events like these happen, but while it’s easy for news sites to comment, and the media to take the news out of context ultimately the sailors who are present in 7th Fleet will be the best suited to give their opinions on what is happening. Yet, the way the Navy is addressing the sailors directly is perhaps not the best one. The operational pause is meant to handle the concerns of sailors, but instead of addressing them in a manner that will allow them to speak freely it’s going to be done in groups with all manners of ranks. When sailors (particularly the junior personnel) are in front of their direct chain of commands the fear of repercussions become greater, and they will hesitate to speak what’s on their mind out of fear.
It’s especially rare to see sailors ask questions at quarters, but it’s even rarer to see one inquire about a subject without being told by their chains of command to run it by them first. While this serves the purpose of preventing the members from asking a potentially “silly” question, it also avoids the chain of command being asked about a lack of communication between them and the junior personnel. This is the type of scenario that could potentially occur during the operational stop as those who bear the brunt of the work sit quietly while others will blame a lack of training, pride, professionalism, competence, and sense of responsibility. Yet, sailors demonstrate all of the traits on a regular basis, as such what is the true cause of all of these events? The answer as many have speculated in the past is the levels of exhaustion in the military. Being in 7th Fleet means the sailors are constantly deploying, tired, missing their families, and having to make adjustments constantly for the mission. Nothing in certain in the Navy and this is especially true for those stationed in the Pacific. These brave men and women are not equipped and man to handle the type of tempo that is expected of them and the Navy will have to realize that fact someday… otherwise, nothing will change and these tragic events will continue to increase in numbers.
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.