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The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
So, I was on the collision yesterday. I am the FITZ DCA. I'll put that out there now for everyone. I don't care.

The collision happened around 0130. I remember looking at my watch when I felt the ship do a strange maneuver. It woke me up.

I know that basic damage control saved my ship yesterday. We battled to keep her stable for 19 hours. The first 8 were the worst and fastest of my life.

If you guys have questions, I will answer what I can within the guidelines I have.

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The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Yesterday, everyone on board was a DCmen. I know that you heard that all the time from DC schools, but it is the god drat truth.

For the love of god, to everyone here: Take damage control drills seriously. We recently had a drill for Repair 2 with flooding in Berthing 2. It went terrible. We chewed the guys out and made them go back down to train on the equipment and what they did wrong.

But I think it's things like that that save my ship. Every Wednesday and Friday are DC drill days. They knew how to use the equipment. They knew how to isolate. The crew is used to hearing me over the 1MC.

The Valley Stared fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Jun 18, 2017

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Stultus Maximus posted:

What was your first call when you realized what happened?

My first call? I grabbed the 1MC and said set general quarters. after taking control. Going down to CCS I was yelling down and aft port up and forward starboard because people were going against the flow in confusion. I also yelled that if people didn't have a repair locker to go to the messdecks.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

ded posted:

It might be best if you limited greatly what you write about the incident here. Never know where a JAG investigation will go.

Roger. I'll go back and edit them. Thank you.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
I appreciate it. I'm still processing a lot of it, and knowing that this place is filled with Navy sailors made me a little too comfortable. The information that I posted is consistent with the news, except for the time.

I'll praise my sailors for their damage control abilities, but I'm not going to talk about the damage publicly at this time, nor anything involving the time leading to the collision.

I've already talked with my best friend and my mentor, both former DCAs so I was able to speak with them more thoroughly on the damage and what we did.

But if you know anyone on the ship, get in touch with them, even if it's just to say you're thinking about them. I know that there will be lots of "Well look at where the damage hit!" posts and armchair OODs, but please, tell people you're thinking about them. It means more than you will ever know.

Seeing the crowd on the pier when we got back was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Being told that we had support and that others were standing by for us made me realize that we weren't alone.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Again, thank you all for the thoughts.

At this time, I won't post about the extent of the damage. Is it bad? Yes. Will there be courses and interviews about this? Yes, and once that is out and released, you'll get more first hand accounts.

I am glad that we were able to account for all of our sailors. Thank you Chuckle for posting the link as I hadn't seen that yet.

I'm working on my write up now. I'll probably be doing that for the next few hours. My internal clock is all sorts of messed up now and it will be something to work on.

It's a strange thought knowing that you are about to be a case study in both Damage control and how and why it works when it works well, and a case study for what went wrong and why you should be better.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
And this is where I don't know how much detail I can get into because JAG and the investigations have just begun. I had the 1MC from CCS when I passed the word to set general quarters. But by that point the collision had happened.

https://www.navytimes.com/articles/fitzgerald-crew-saved-navy-ship-from-sinking-after-collision

The above article (sorry if I didn't link it right. I haven't slept well over the past few days) has it right. The CO of the Sammy B. Roberts says that we likely had little warning, and he is right about that.

Right now that article is one of the more accurate that I've seen regarding the time we had to react and talking about the flooding. Guys, if your DCPO ever bitches at you for not respecting the water tight doors, loving listen to them. Water tight integrity works. It works better than you can imagine.

And yes, the CO is lucky he is alive. His room is completely gone, and his office is just crushed. If you know the layout of a destroyer you can see that from the pictures, but looking at it from inside Forward O country is something else.

Right now we have other ships standing our watches in port, and the base has been amazing at providing us the support we need. One of the Chaps we have in the Desron is a former DCA (as I found out talking with him on Saturday night) so I have him to talk to. I also have a very good friend that was a DCA on another destroyer and my mentor was the ADCA on the Big E, so I can talk with them.

I happened to have family visiting the country, so they're back with me and talking with them helps.

My DCC is telling all of R-Div to talk to people. He has experience with PTSD, so he knows what he's talking about.

The funny thing is, back in December, the CO of Engineering Assessment Pacific told my CO at the time and my XO (now CO) that he didn't trust in my ability to control damage on the ship. We were going through LOA at the time. Both my CO and XO said that I had their trust and that I was going to remain the DCA.

I've been incredibly lucky in that I have had people believe in me when others didn't think I should continue. The CO I had for my first deployment gave up on me and was never going to pin me. But that XO took over and the new XO we had did believe in me and allowed me to show them that I had earned their trust.

CO Benson has been the same way. He's huge on DC as it is, but I'd like to think that R-DIV and the rest of the ship earned his trust when we save the ship and kept flooding contained.

I apologize for rambling and not really providing you guys a lot of detail. I'm keeping in mind OPSEC and the investigations (again, thank you to those that pointed that out) so other than pointing out that everyone has the time wrong and a few other things, I'm keeping it as limited as possible.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Hi guys, sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I've been on base the last two days just checking on my crew, getting things off the ship, and adjusting.

Mentally I'm still doing alright. I will go see the psychiatrist while they're here, but again, I have a very good support network right now.

So, being on the ship is rough. To put it the best way that I can, the ship is tired. All ships have personalities and of course, every ship has it's motto. Ours is "Protect Your People." The ship did that on Saturday. We should have lost so many more lives. But we're back home. The crew isn't on her. She's done and needs some rest. Looking at the extent of the damage now, I think we were incredibly lucky to be sailing her back home, regardless of our DC efforts.

It's hard to hear people tell me that I'm a hero and that I saved lives. For me, I was just doing my job. ER Division and the sailors that fought like hell to remove water are the real heroes.

Also, I met the CNO and MCPON today. They both said that my efforts saved lives and the ship. I got both of their coins, and I hugged the MCPON.

As for repairs and the like, we're still waiting to see about a lot of that. Yokosuka and SRF are consummate professionals and make things happen like nothing I've ever experienced. We had a major casualty with NR 3 GTG and NR 3 SWBD recently. We pulled in on a Wednesday, and it was fixed by Saturday. The extent of the repairs though is going to be impressive.

And I would very muck like to dickslap the former CO of EAP, but I would probably just ask him, "trust me now?" For the CO that gave up on me, I just want to ask him if I've finally earned that pin.

Actually one of our officers was given his pin today by the CO. I think it was the CO's way of saying, "You earned this on Saturday. You're good."

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Yup. Still can't talk about what happened, but the investigation has started. I was interviewed the other day for over two hours. Trying to explain things to the Coast Guard was both easier and harder than I expected.

Today we had the memorial service for the 7 sailors. It was nice. Admiral Swift is a great guy, and you could tell that he actually gives a gently caress about what happens to us. The ship is doing better too. Still a mess, but in a better state then it has been.

Again, I wish I could say more about what's happening, but I can't at this time. I'm sure some of you guys have heard rumors about what's going to happen to the ship, and to be frank, no one really knows.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
LORs stay with you, but depending on when you get it, it can vary as to how it will impact your career. Generally, don't expect to get much further though.

As for the recent report from the Master of the Crystal: I do agree that the comment of "We flashed our lights" seems really strange just from a Rules of the Road perspective. I've done 5 short before and man does it get everyone's attention. Everyone in the area just slows down and looks to see what they have going on around them. It's way safer than flashing your light. I have no other comments though on it.

As I said before, the investigations have started, so I can't talk about our watch rotations or what manning we had at the time. But being on a Destroyer for my first ship as well, it really varied as to what watches we had stood up. My deployment CO always had Department heads stand TAO and we were always on 5 hour watch rotations. On deployment we did circadian, but it was implemented terribly and we rotated every week. Because CLEARLY that is how the human body works.

With my last CO on USS Last Boat unless we were doing major exercises, it was 1st Tour CICWOs standing the watch with CSCs, Surfaces, and a few others (usually OSs). But rarely Air or anything like that. We maybe had one more bridge officer, a JOOW, but I can't even say that we always had that.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Ron Jeremy posted:

Are they going to reopen that berthing when it's fixed or would they change it for a different purpose. Would be creepy to be assigned to the berthing where all those dudes died.

No, it will be berthing again, and as mentioned by Lou Takki, both will likely have memorials for the sailors who died in them. Now, will they change some of the design features as a result of this? Who knows. But having one side of the berthing have non-watertight doors and then have the other side have water tight doors did us no favors that night. It is a common design feature of FLT 1 DDGs (at least the Bath, Maine built ships), but maybe they'll rethink the design.

Cole lost their Goat Locker and Main 1. We lost berthing 1, 2 and the forward most machinery space.

I have now been in the berthings. The best way to describe them is you make a little LEGO house. Then you violently shake all those LEGOs until they are dislodged and scattered. That's what it looks like. I can't get further into detail for obvious reasons. It is incredibly eerie down there.

Also! I am in one of those pictures where they're showing off the patches. We were doing the hull walk when someone took it.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
So had another admiral visit today. This is the like the 5th or 6th one we've had since the collision.

He kept asking at all hands call if anyone had any questions. Why the gently caress would we? The one question of "What's going to happen to the crew" he wasn't able to answer, so why the gently caress would he have anything else to ask him? As far as we're concerned, this is just another dog and pony show and we're sick of it.

The Chiefs apparently tore into him during his session with them. The reminded him that there are actual people that work on the drat ship and that they have families. I guess that made him think, because when he spoke with the officers, he made sure to mention that.

But then he asked about what the difference in readiness was between the Ronald Reagan Strike Group and West Coast ships. I said that they had a Training Phase and we didn't. He replied that that wasn't the issue, and then asked our NAV what affected readiness. NAV said Tools, Personnel, and Material. That apparently wasn't the answer and so he was asked again how we get ready to do the job if that makes sense. NAV replied that we get ready when we went out. We don't really train because we're always doing the job.

He said no, that we train all the time. That our Combat Systems folks ran drills and that's how they learned. That our ASW folks ran scenarios and trained off of Guam.

I don't know what fantasy world he lives in, but he doesn't live in the same world we do. We didn't train. We literally learned our jobs by doing all of that poo poo. Because we didn't have time for anything else with all the real world poo poo going on.

I'm bitter. The next time an Admiral comes on board and wants to make pretty speeches and doesn't have any answers, I'm going to lose it.

That said, I took the blood money and will be doing department head rides. Please pray for any future DIVOs I may have. because if they gently caress around on bridge watch, they will not be having a good day.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
It's gone up a considerable amount. They're at 105K now to keep SWOs in.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
So, to preface this, the Line of Duty report was released and Vice Admiral Aucoin didn't even know. That was fun to find out when talking with the Chaps after yet another Admiral's Call.

I found out through my family who told me that they hoped I was doing okay given the recent news. I hopped on Google and eventually found the LoD report and read through the whole thing.

I appreciate all the kind words, and now you all know that I, unfortunately, do lack a dick with which to say "suck it" to various people. Not that it will ever stop me.

I will say that DC was one of the very few things we were actually certified in. We got certified back in April. We still kept running drills twice a week underway and when we were in port for 10 days, we ran several Main Space Fire Drills at 0600.

I think that that saved a lot of people. They knew how to set boundaries. They knew how to evacuate a space. The senior enlisted sailors (E-6s) deserve all the credit, they really do. They kept people in an orderly line, and that absolutely saved lives. You all saw the pictures. I was down there when they were taking those pictures and it was way worse to physically be there. There's so much that is difficult to comprehend.

As for the training, we looked it up: Porter was in 2013. This is now the second major collision the Navy has had in less then 5 years. This is actually the 3rd collision 7th Fleet has had in 2 years (Stetham last year, Lake Champlain, and Fitzgerald this year). What is it going to take for the Navy to realize that the optempo and training (or lack thereof) are getting people killed out here and causing millions in damage? Porter was lucky in that no one was killed. We weren't, but that fact that it was only 7 is still incomprehensible. I'm not saying that we need to go back to the 6 month SWOS school in Newport that they had in the 80's and 90's, but something has to change or more people are going to die.

If you really want to get down to it, DESRON 15 now has 8 sailors killed this year. How the hell does that happen? If these were East Coast ships, things would have already dramatically changed.

Look, I choose to come out here. I wanted to be at a high optempo, and I wanted to have an actual mission. Was DCA my first choice? No. There are absolutely things I should have done better during the early morning hours of 17 June. I still made the decision to come out here because I thought it was different, and I was more than happy to make the best of the job I had been given. I hope that by reading the LoD report you see that that's what the DC team did: That there was never anything we could have done to get the water out of berthing 1 and 2 and that we could never have mitigated the structural damage we received. But, we kept the ship afloat and we got back under our own power.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Looking at my charts, I have a pretty drat good idea of where the damage is on the McCain. I won't say more because I don't have any more answers than the rest of you, but I'm on the same class of ship and McCain isn't that much older than the FITZ.

Our Ombudsman are helping the McCain right now and manning the phones. My crew is in shock, but I think more than anything, we feel helpless. We WANT to do something for them, but we can't jump onboard and take the watch for them like the other Yokosuka ships did for us. At least they were close to Singapore and they made it back under their own power. Small miracles.

As for the missing sailors, I hope that they're alright. That's all we can do right now.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
McCain's damage may be worse than ours. Again, difficult to say, but based on what I'm hearing, it's really loving bad. The fact that they still haven't been able to find all 10 sailors is heartbreaking. The biggest difference between the two is the FITZ was also hit by the bow of the ship AND the bulb. JSM was hit by the bulb only, but the ship that hit them was 3,000 tonnes heavier than the one that hit us.

As for the recent discussion on SWO qualifications, I'm an OCS grad. 2 weeks of Naval History. 2 weeks of Weapons and Engineering. 2 Weeks of Navigation and MoBoards. That's it. And if I put them together? That means that they were taught during the same two week cycle. Apparently they added CelNav since I went, but it's barely a blip on the radar unless you go to the Academy.

I could have barely told you the bow from the stern and the port from the starboard.

The Stand Down with Rear Admiral Williamson was brutal. It took an aviator to say that he didn't understand why we were watching a powerpoint presentation on BRM (the topic at the time was the SPS/73 Radar) because he couldn't figure out what it had to do with the collisions. That got the enlisted and JOs talking, and we started to stress the lack of formal training on how to actually use radars, how we as combat watchstanders are constantly asked by AZ to get updates on casreps, ship schedules, and other BS and not actually being allowed to STAND THE WATCH. A friend of mine brought up the training cycle again. Rear Admiral Williamson did acknowledge that it's an issue, and then at the end almost gleefully announced that a ship that had just come out of SRA was doing complex exercises.

There's no possible way that that ship has any meaningful qualifications. It's great that they can do it, but the strain that that puts on the qualified people is enormous.

We tried to stress to him the issues of crew rest and fatigue, but he was visibly annoyed by that at the end. One of the speakers on the podim made a really annoying comment how playing on your phone or XBOX wasn't sleeping. I know that there are sailors that do that instead of sleeping, but it's a minority in comparison to those that just lay there trying to sleep and get a few hours rest before they have to go to work again. Admiral Aucoin also made a very unnecessary and frankly uncalled for comment saying that if you lose steering in a major shipping lane, then there should be a casualty procedure for that.

Guess loving what? If that is what happened to the McCain, they do have an emergency procedure in place. Why? Because all CRUDES have one. We don't know what happened. So the fact that he even thought to say that today was honestly disgusting in my opinion.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Destroyers have a lot of redundancies for steering, but it comes down to if the systems up and were the right people in the right spaces to make use of the redundancies. Right now we don't know, and we probably won't for a while.

The fact that they still haven't found all the sailors is terrible. The puncture is deep, but does that mean that sailors were sucked out? Is the damage so bad that they still haven't been able to get enough steel out of the way to find more in the ship? We on the FITZ at least had the closure of finding them all within 28 hours or so of our collision.

Until the investigation is released, I still really can't speak about the circumstances regarding our collision. Obviously sleep is a huge factor, and had the 17th been a normal day, I would have been getting about 5 hours of sleep that day before having to get up, walk spaces for inspection, do work, and then go on watch.

There's been a lot regarding SWO culture lately, especially concerning sleep and sleep deprivation. The really funny thing? The BRM brief that the higher ups felt we needed to have yesterday? Included an entire section about how 19 hours of wakefulness is the equivalent of a .08 blood alcohol level. Yet, it's still a huge factor in how we as SWOs live our lives.

On my first deployment, my ship did do circadian rhythm. Great right? Except we rotated every week, so there there literally weeks were I would get less than 4 hours of sleep at a shot. I remember telling a DH that I was getting 6 hours of sleep. 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 between my watch. My XO did try to say that that was the worst thing we could do, but the CO wouldn't hear it.

Also ,I was miss spelling a name. It's Rear Admiral Williams. I think he's a little mad at me. I was very angry when I asked my question yesterday. Much more chill today after talking with my Top Snipe.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

PneumonicBook posted:

We rotated every port visit, so 25-40 days. I think that's the way to do it really since the port visit is essentially a reset.

Yeah, and that really is the best way to do it. The officers wanted to do it on the FITZ, but it was decided that since the whole crew couldn't participate for various reasons, 5 hour watches it was (OODs were in a 4 watch rotation, so not 5 and dimes, but still not a set sleeping schedule). We tried it for about a month and went back.

Under my last CO on my first ship we did circadian correctly and it was fine. If we were out for 2 weeks or more, we went to it and we stuck with it the entire time. I was actually on the 12-3 watches, and while it sucked for the first few days, my body adjusted. The other benefit was that my sailors almost always knew where I was at a given time because our schedules were so set. It really worked for everyone.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Geizkragen posted:

In your example at least cag and the csg know their deficiencies (nobody's sugarcoating those debriefs) and how to train to their weaknesses, tactically schedule aircrew, etc.

The culture in aviation tends towards brutally honest self-assessment and there are no shortage of reps for aircrew going on deployment. Even fdnf aircrew are getting lots of looks at the full range of missions.

I get the impression that the surface force (especially fdnf) is not getting the same opportunities.

It also helps that the hardest mission sets that aircrew perform are basically the ones they're performing on deployment. Our biggest problem is how dangerous it is to go from nothing to full throttle training in a month's time.

I would be far more concerned about how the ship handles the high stress evolutions than anything I would be doing in the air. In fact I was always happiest when I wasn't on the boat. At least I was responsible for myself, could shoot back or even divert (most of the time). Nothing worse than sitting inside the ship during straits transit...

No, the surface was in FDNF was not afforded the same opportunities. We were always expected to be operational. Hell, when one of your ship's is completing missions 20 days after they get out of an ESRA, you have huge issues.

So the other day VADM Rowden came out and looked at the ships here in Yokosuka. From what he told us, he was left very confused and essentially scared at how we have been left to operate for the past few years. Operations came before everything else. He told our wardroom that we out here in the FDNF have essentially eaten all of our Phase II (wartime readiness) time because of what we do on a daily basis.

He's hoping to change the surface officer to be more like the aviation path (his words). At least for the surface officers. He really seemed to get that we don't train our SWOs in nearly the same way that we train our aviators. It's unfortunate that it took 17 sailors dead to figure that out.

I don't know exactly how much detail I can get into with what he spoke to us about. All I know is, I get why my last CO on my last ship liked VADM Rowden so much. Yes, he's a 3 star, but I do genuinely think he wants to fix what's wrong with the surface navy.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Reading the report and seeing the names of my seven sailors and where they found them was incredibly difficult. To me it read a lot like the initial Line of Duty report, but that had excluded names and most of the locations if I remember right. There's a lot more detail, and if you look carefully, you can see where the steel of the ship is bent in at almost a 90 degree angle from where the bulb hit. I was really surprised that they didn't omit those like they had in the LoD.

As for what happened on the bridge: I have a better idea of what occurred than I did a few months ago, but I can't talk about it. I'm sure anyone that's a SWO or a critical CIC or Bridge watchstander has already sat through a brief recently and maybe you thought "That will never be me." I loving hope that you all take that to heart and you communicate constantly with your other watchstations.

As for awards: Comms all around. There still might be a few more that come out, but that's what the majority of us received. I'm sure most of you saw the article on Navy Times about it. I have nothing more to add.

As for the McCain report: Holy poo poo. That one will take a while to process. Everything that happened on the bridge is just staggering.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

LingcodKilla posted:

How are you doing though?

Up days and down days. More ups right now which is good. I've seen a counselor a few times when I started to get really stressed out due to the offload.

Got to see the President in Yokota on Sunday. Waste of 13 hours of my life. He at least stayed on script and didn't wander off too much. He clicks/licks his lips a lot into the mic and it's really unpleasant sound. Could barely see him due to the Oo Rah Marines and Airman all standing in front (I'm not exactly tall) and had to stand on hard concrete for over 2 hours.

The hanger did not smell as bad as you'd expect given the number of people. Probably because it was open. Still, good job on showering everyone.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

While this wasn't unexpected, it still hurts in a lot of ways. I talked to one of the other officers from the ship (not one being charged) and both of us are just trying to process this more then anything.

Admiral Rowden getting the boot shocked me more than anything. He wants to fix the problems with the surface fleet, and after already deciding to retire early, the Navy even took that from him. I doubt that anything good will actually come of what happened to us now.

But hey! According to Admiral Davidson, we just need to learn how to work better when we're fatigued, right? That will fix all of our problems.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

LtCol J. Krusinski posted:

How was this not unexpected? Was there talk of charges during the investigation or something? Iím really rather surprised that you werenít surprised by this.

Whatís your opinion on the charges, out of curiosity?

For the JOs, it's the roles they played during the collision. I feel incredibly bad for one of them and feel that they were completely hosed over. For the other two, I feel that the charges are valid. Again, I can't go more into detail as that would reveal more about these individuals, and that wouldn't be good.

As for the CO, Mr. Nice! is correct. As much as I didn't want to see this happen to him given what he went through, we knew that it was a possibility because he's the CO. The Navy gives these COs a huge amount of responsibility, takes away much of the agency that COs once had, doesn't give them the resources they need, and then tells them to go do a mission that they might not be ready for.

Admiral Rowden was all about getting a pipeline ready for new SWOs that was closer to the Aviation one. (He said he didn't want to use that phrase, but that it was the only one he could think of.) I know that in Newport they were testing it out in baby steps, and hopefully it will continue.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

ManMythLegend posted:

I'm too tipsy to really want to put in the effort of writing an effort post about the whole mess but what I will say is that the Navy in general, and surface community specifically, are reaping what was sown decades ago when operational command and man, train and equip decisions were separated.

Agreed on the SWO stuff. The training is not nearly what it needs to be, for sailors or officers. Apparently its getting better towards hands on learning again, but the fleet still has a along way to go before we really start to reap the benefits of that.

And I should clarify: I think most of the officers on the FITZ realized that it was a possibility that some charges would be brought forward. What, we weren't sure, but something. The negligent homicide charges against Commander Benson are a complete shock. Hell, there was one sailor that was very surprised when I told him that Command Benson was going to be relived for what happened. I think a lot of us hoped that because of what happened that would be the end of it, but again, always the possibility.

They have to pay us large amounts of money to even stay in for Department Head rides. Right now it's about 105k to stay in for that. A lot of JOs won't even do it though because of all of the health effects and stressors that are a part of that life.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

LtCol J. Krusinski posted:

You thinking about making a career out of the navy, or are you gonna transition to the Civilian sector? Not a loaded question, I was a career guy. Air Force though, not navy. My parents were career navy.

I'm staying in for Department Head , but we'll see from there. I think the answer is yes, but, I don't want to become a terrible human being in the process. The biggest reason I decided to stay is was that I wanted to teach new JOs and not have the FITZ or McCain happen again. If my staying in can help prevent that, then okay.

Right now I'm getting a Masters, but I'll have a lot of time between when this tour ends and I'm supposed to start DH school. I might try to go to DLI so that I have an FAO option available after finishing my DH rides.

Anita Dickinme, I agree with Nick Soapdish unless you really enjoy what you're doing, and can't get something similar in the Civilian sector. Unless you want to take an officer route and do STA-21 or something like that.

Can I ask how much the bonus would be? Not that that should be a factor.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

CMD598 posted:

Welp back in Japan. Here's to another 3+ years of vomiting on China's doorstep.

Sasebo or Yokosuka? If it's Yokosuka, head over to Belgium House Brews if you like beer. Prices are higher, but keeps the Honch crowd out. Jazz night happens once a month.

Enjoy vomiting on China's doorstep! Enjoy all the new training you're supposed to be getting out there! Hopefully you don't have another no drinking month!

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Well, uh...it'll be quiet? Looking at the map, you're not super close to anything except Hiroshima.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

pkells posted:

Destroyer trip report:

How the gently caress do you guys live on a tiny cramped ship like that for months at a time? And how do you put up with such a crazy work schedule? I spent a month with the army last year in Puerto Rico living in a camp, and they seemed to have a better quality of life.

But the boat was cool, and my friend kept introducing this chief at the happy hour event afterwards as "an officer on the boat". Multiple people on the tour asked about whether or not they have nukes on board. I asked the 1Lt or whatever you call them how much BS they put up with getting the board ready for non-stop tours through their home for the past week. His smirk answered my question.

Become an officer (preferably be female), get a stateroom, and if you're super lucky only have to share it with one other person. Not so lucky and it's two.

For the enlisted, I've heard differing things on which rack is best to sleep in. Generally haven't heard great things about the bottom rack though. For work, you get it in when you aren't on watch or trying to nab a few hours of sleep. Sometimes work supersedes sleep. Then there's also drills which can take a huge toll on everyone as well. They need to be done though.

We have to be on circadian rhythm sleep schedules now, so hopefully the sheer exhaustion from five and dimes and other terrible watches goes away. I will ask some currently deployed friends if they're seeing the difference or not.

Otherwise sleep when you can, walk around like a grumpy zombie when you can't. Don't fall asleep standing up.

You'll usually have eggs in the morning for breakfast if you have a good SuppO, and a moderately hot shower. Wear your shower shoes.

LPDs seem like they were built more with crew comfort in mind, and the standards of living are much higher then on other ships as a result. I've never served on one, but they seemed nice from the few times I've walked around them.

I've only served on FLT I DDGs, other then a two week stint on a FLT II. You get used to them quick, but you have to learn how to pack light.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
First hearing in the Fitz case was today. Stars and Stripes seems to have the most in-depth coverage of what happened.

I won't post my personal opinions on it. I'm mostly focusing on my grad school work and looking at stuff for my hobby.

I'm not really angry about what happened anymore, but there's still a lot of guilt. I'm taking care of myself. I've seen professionals and will keep doing so. There's been more of a focus lately on reaching out to the McCain and Fitz sailors to make sure we're doing alright, and while it's not perfect, it's better then big Navy just trying to forget that we exist.

Mr. Bad Guy? Keep your head straight for the next 6 months. People look up to you. Not trying to rub more salt in the wound, but gently caress man.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Wingnut Ninja posted:

Anybody have experience in Norfolk living in Ghent or downtown? Since Norfolk is the heart of Navydom on Earth, I figure the odds are pretty good. I'm moving there this summer and looking at apartments in those areas. Currently leaning towards downtown, there are some nice places available for single O3 bucks. Or O4 bucks, depending how the board goes this month.


You looking for apartments or houses? I lived at Promenade Point as an O1-O2, but they have 3 bedroom places for $1760. It was about 3 miles away from the base, but still had easy access to the highway and wasn't far from downtown. I think a lot of young officers live there, but it was quiet, and you almost never interact with anyone if you don't want to.

Bad part is that it was on Tidewater, but I never heard of break-ins or anything being stolen during my 2 1/2 years there. It's a gated community with a decent sized pool, gym, and rec room. Biggest problem I noticed was trying to turn left out of the front gate after 8 am. That sucked.

I had a friend that rented a house in the Ghent area. She'd probably tell you to get a place in Chesapeake if you want to be away from SAILORDOM.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Black Balloon posted:

All politics aside, you are, and I say this with all seriousness, a hero.

I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm no hero. My sailors are the real heroes, and they deserve all the praise. I've spoken with a few of them, and they seem to be doing alright. Hopefully they'll be alright for the year anniversary next month.

As for the guilt; a lot of it is tied up in "what if" scenarios which I know I can't do anything about. The other part is based on decisions that I had to make. I'm not fishing for sympathy or anything like that. This is just to explain why it's there. Logically I know the things I did were correct, but it's just something that's likely always going to be there. It's not nagging me anymore, and most days I don't think about it. There still has yet to be a day when I don't think about those we lost though.

Yesterday was another hearing, but so far I haven't seen anything about it.

The biggest reason I'm not voicing my opinion on what's going on is I'm trying to be a better person. I look at my posts in the initial weeks after the collision and there's so much anger there. It didn't add anything, it didn't change anything. It was just anger. The only thing I'll say I'm still upset about is the flags asking why no one said "no" to missions out in 7th fleet. When your 3 star says that he couldn't say no to missions, how the hell is an O-5 going to say no? If they did, it just pushed the job to someone else who was also overworked and undermanned.


The tunnel is the biggest downside to living in Chesapeake. The flooding has likely only gotten worse too in recent years. But if you want a sweet brand new house, it's there or Suffolk. I guess Williamsburg if you want to live up North, but still, you're driving in at 4 in the morning if you want that life.


Sorry to reveal your Fetlife name, Dr. Arbitrary. I thought it was an open secret.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Loel posted:

Quick question for the thread:

I did USMCR 2003-2011. Started in the infantry, went to intel, did a tour. Then I got my degree, graduated in 2016. I'm 33. If I was interested in going officer, where should I start reading?

1: What kind of officer do you want to be? Several allow you to apply, but 35 at time of commissioning is the cut off for just about anything Unrestricted Line.

2: OCS might be your only option, unless you have a professional degree (lawyer, doctor, dentist, nurse). In that case you'd want to go Officer Development School. Don't let a recruiter try to tell you that you can just lat transfer from Supply or something.

3: Why are you interested in becoming an officer now? If this really is your life goal, great. However, just about all your peers will be close to 10 years younger then you. Young 20 year olds are idiots.

4: You'll likely need to go to your local recruiter and work with them to get a package started (at least that's what I did back in 2012). You'll have to push them to get things done quickly because from an age restriction perspective, you don't have a lot of time.

I won't hammer the whole "Why do you want to join?" point that you'll see a lot. I will say think it through and consider all your options, especially since you're close to the age restriction.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Loel posted:

Sub or Surface, I have lovely eyes so aviator is right out.
Healthcare/family reasons, predominately. Having a steady paycheck, housing and medical would really help out the 'start a family' plan. Getting old for that too, after all.
Agreed. I've read the idiots thread, been talking to people who are still in. They are army/USMC though, so I'm trying to get the navy view.

You're too old for Sub (waivers only go to 31) so you're already limited there. I think NFOs can be up to 35, but if your eyes are poo poo, that's another no go. That might be a situation where you can go to 35 if you have prior time in.

What I'm seeing for SWO is that you can't be older then 29 at time of commissioning, but because you have prior service, you MAY be able to get a waiver for 35.

But Loel, not going to lie; SWO life is not conducive for family life. I know people that have gone on 3 deployments in the last 3 years. One's been on 4 in the past 5 years. During inspection time, you can expect to get on the ship early and leave late. If you leave at all that night. Healthcare is poo poo on the ship often just "more Motrin". Expect to be underway or on deployment when you have kids. If you're really lucky, you'll be on shore duty, but that won't happen until you've got 4 years in. Staff billets are gone now for 2nd tours.

Due to all of the problems that happened last year, JOs are under a lot of scrutiny right now. Any gently caress-up could be it because the Navy can't really afford any more sailors or airmen dead from "preventable accidents."

You'll still encounter your massive idiots in the navy too. We had an officer on one of my ships that made everyone uncomfortable, could barely function as a human being, and no one was sure how he had gotten a commission (he was a prior OS).

Mind you, there is nothing quite like being on the bridge at 3 in the morning when there's no one around, it's just the hum of the engines and billions of starts in the sky. Or the feeling you get when you're getting ready for a big exercise and you get everything ready for the next watch and it goes so smooth. Those are the things that I miss about being underway.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Gray Matter posted:

Going on my first AT this weekend in Yokosuka since transferring to reserves. Anything I should know beforehand, stuff I need to bring, places to see, etc?

Go to Belgium House Brews and get to know Mohan. He's the owner and an awesome guy. Bit expensive, but the food is decent (Med/Belgium food) and he is the exclusive importer for a lot of Belgium beer. Old Man Chuu-Hai stand is another place that you might get pulled off to.

But yeah, you'll be super busy. Go up to Kamakura for a day if you have the chance. Really pretty place to just walk around, and the signs all have roman lettering.

Other wise, be polite to the locals. Don't let the girls in the Honch make you buy them drinks. That gets pricey real quick.

Maybe bring a nice camera, but that's only if you plan on visiting places. Otherwise, have cash. Yokosuka is better then other places for taking credit cards, but Japan does still love its cash. You can also get Yen from the base at the community bank ATMs.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

Gray Matter posted:

Thanks for the Yokosuka tips, I'll try my best to restrain all stabby and rapey impulses. Where's the best udon in town?

I agree with Mr. Nice! Just walk around town and you'll find something.

Talking with a friend that knows the area really well; his recommendations are the place in Moore's City (mall on blue street), and a place called Sanuke. Sanuke is standing room only. He said he'd speak with his wife and get back to me if he had anything else.

I've been to the Moore's City place and it's not bad. It's pretty easy to find, and has English menus there.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
At least on base there were. I would pick up hot lattes from the machines all the time last summer.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
I'm convinced the sleep deprivation I suffered on my first ship impacted my ability to remember names and faces. Once I've seen someone several times and heard their names a bit, I'm usually okay, but I introduced myself to a DCC out in Yokosuka 3 different times before I realized that I'd met him and had conversations with him. I still find myself doing it out here at school where I generally get over 7 hours a sleep a night.

And same with me regarding the lack of ability to understand people if there's any kind of background noise. I find myself leaning in or tilting my head towards people more often then not.

The sleep deprivation was the CO deciding that fine, if we wanted to try circadian rhythm, we could. We just had to rotate our watches every single week. Because that's how circadian works. I'd have a week where I'd have 2 1/2 hours of sleep, watch, and then 3 1/2 hours of sleep. The week before that would typically be sleep for 5 hours and then watch, because how dare you try to get to sleep at a reasonable human time if you have to be up at 0200.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
CountFosco, what are you looking to do in the Navy? Are you looking to sail ships or fly planes? Do you have an engineering degree, or something related to weather? If it's sail ships, there are a lot of changes being implemented right now because of last summer's collisions. It's training that was desperately needed, but it's still extremely frustrating to me that it took an additional 10 people dying before the Navy realized that the way they were doing things in 7th Fleet was unsustainable. Never mind the people going overboard (which happens more then you'd think).

If that interests you, then you'll get a lot of time in simulators and on the bridge in order to prove that you know what the hell is happening and that you're competent at your primary job.

If its fly planes; great. Naval aviation is filled to the brim right now and all of the Ensigns are at NPS taking our parking. So, you might end up here too getting a random graduate certificate and some nice downtime in the greater Bay area.

If you want engineering or intel or something, have fun. They seem like they have a lot of fun.

And at 34, you may not be able to be Active Duty, especially if you hit 35 before time of commission. Reserves may be the only option if you truly feel the call of the sea.

As other have pointed out, your bosses are all likely to be 24 (if you work for a second tour) or someone who's 30 (if you just have a Department Head that you report to). There are great Department Heads and there are dirtbag ones.

The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009

orange juche posted:

Walking into a room that contains a bridge simulator and observing that "mmm, yes this is a bridge simulator" is not the same level of training that civilian commercial mariners get. They at least as far as I remember need many times as many hours of training before they are considered proficient and able to assume a watch.

I'm being a bit facetious with the "mmmm yes" but civilian mariners are required to have qualifications in excess of OODs in the Navy before they're allowed to stand a watch on the bridge.

From what I understand, in order to qualify OOD, prospective SWOs will have to go through a fairly strenuous qualification check at one of the simulators, and then go through another one once they hit ADOC in Newport to prove that COs aren't just passing people. If they find that a particular CO passed a lot of people that aren't qualified, it won't be good for them. They've also taken away the ability for CWOs and LDOs to earn SWO pins. https://news.usni.org/2018/07/26/new-surface-forces-instruction-restricts-can-earn-swo-pin

Yes, we're supposed to go through them fairly on a regular basis, but that didn't always happen before the collisions. The one in Norfolk is pretty solid, and isn't the head set (unless you're at the BDOC school), so issuing commands isn't so much of an issue there. Since I've only had experiences with the ones at Norfolk and Newport, I won't say more.

I know that there is a Fitzgerald simulation for the LCS folks and is available in Newport at least. Having not been through it myself, I can't say how good it is. The Porter simulation is always going to be top notch just because we have the audio from that. I wish there were ways to implement Wet Damage Control simulators to give a better prospective of what we went through, but I don't know how that would be possible. You need a lot more spaces that you can flood in a small area.

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The Valley Stared
Nov 4, 2009
Oh yeah. Your son is likely hosed if he's filling in a critical gap on the ship and his shore command doesn't have him as a 1 for 1 billet. Has he been in for long, or will this be his first deployment?

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