The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods – a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. Since today’s focus is on the USS Fitzgerald collision, we’ll start with that.


The Democratic psychosis continues this week with several prominent Democrats saying the dumbest things. A Nebraska Democratic party official was removed from his job after a recording surfaced of him saying that he was “glad” that Representative Scalise was shot. It wasn’t enough though. He continued on the recording saying “I wish he was [expletive] dead.”

o o o

Reader H.L. sent in this article detailing that at least 30 GOP congressmen have been attacked or threatened since May! Some have only received death threats while others have been accosted in public spaces as well as their own homes. Several have had their homes vandalized. Only some of the offenders have been arrested, but many have not.

o o o

This has a rotten smell to it. JWR’s Comment: It appears that their main concern was avoiding a Federal prosecution. Because if there were ever a Federal trial, then Bill Clinton could get a subpoena. And in the eyes of the Feds, the Clintons are Special People and Untouchable. And even after molesting more than two dozen teens, this Friend Of Bill gets to walk away from Federal prosecution. Seeing this bias sickens me.

Situational Awareness

Reader H.L. sent in this article on The Art of Manliness on improving your Situational Awareness. This is something that most people need much improvement in. It goes beyond just getting your nose out of that smartphone. While people walking into manholes on the sidewalks of New York provides much entertainment on YouTube, the reality is that even a mild lack of SA can be extremely detrimental to your health. Do you know who is carying when you stand in line at McDonalds? Can you recognize the signs of an impending attack on the clerk when you get gas at the gas station? Spend some time reading this article and start practicing and honing those skills now.

USS Fitzgerald

The military isn’t saying much right now about the accident (rightly so, since it is still an active investigation), but it appears that the freighter was on autopilot when the collision occurred. We still don’t know why the much more nimble Navy ship couldn’t foresee and avoid the collision, though we do know the captain was not on the bridge at the time.


communism and Socialists almost always bring slow death to their citizenry. Remember as you read this that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want socialism here.:

  • The Wall Street Journal has an article on how the shortages of products and services in Venezuela is spurring people to take perilous sea journeys, traveling 10 hours just to buy food.
  • Defections of key Chavistas continue as they abandon Maduro while the crises intensifies. As Maduro attempts to get the congress to rewrite the constitution to give him even more power, these key figures are beginning to speak out.

Middle East

Turkey, the Islamic oddity in NATO is now finding itself more isolated. Erdoğan had been trying to forge a Middle East Sunni Turkish empire similar to the Ottoman empire. with Erdoğan as caliph. However, he has mis-stepped on several occasions. Qatar has come under intense pressure from the Saudi kingdom due to it’s ties to terrorism and the threat to the Saudi ruling family. By backing Qatar, he has continued isolating Turkey and weakening his power base. For a while it looked like Turkey and Iran would be battling it out for Middle East dominance, but it now looks like that contest will be between Saudi Arabia and Iran.



    I am a member of the commissioning crew (a Plankowner) in USS MAHAN (DDG 72). From my own professional experience I can tell you all that the Captain is seldom on the bridge. It’s just not how things work on a modern warship. For normal peacetime steaming the Captain works from his cabin albeit surrounded by several large flatscreens that display whatever tactical info he might want to see. However, in the middle of the night we ought to rightly expect that The Old Man is sleeping… along with everyone else not on watch.

    Even so, on watch at the time should have been (at minimum): An Officer of the Deck (OOD), the Conning Officer, a Quartermaster of the Watch (navigation), Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch, the Helmsman & Lee Helmsman, three Lookouts (Port, Starboard, & Aft), and an Operations Specialist (OS) at the radar console on the bridge. That’s just the bridge/topside team. In CIC there’d have been a half dozen more include the Tactical Action Officer (TAO) whose job it would be to track every thing on, below, and above the water within many, many miles of the ship.

    This sort of thing should be in the “Nearly Impossible” section of the Watch Officer’s Guide….

    Having written that it’s still perplexing to me how the entire CIC and bridge watch teams let this happen. I’ll warrant that what will emerge is not a single point of failure (one bad actor asleep or otherwise not doing his/her job) but a cascade of failures. That, and the usual confusion of “Lookouts see one thing and CIC sees something different.” Sorting that out can take time, expanding the decision cycle to the point that the bridge watch team is reacting to danger that is already on them rather than proactively avoiding it.

    But I could be wrong….


    I was a bit incredulous when a former naval officer told me that this incident would be carefully investigated and punishment rendered, with a very remote possibility to include the death penalty…

    He told me to look it up, “Improper hazarding of vessel”…

    110 – Improper hazarding of vessel

    These incidents seem to have different outcomes for those involved, depending on the circumstances:

    “Six crew members received non-judicial punishment hearings (“Captain’s Mast”) for hazarding a vessel and dereliction of duty, and they were reduced in rank and given letters of reprimand.”

    “On 2 June 2009, the Navy disciplined four Port Royal officers for the grounding. In a hearing presided over by Vice Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the United States Third Fleet, Captain John Carroll was given non-judicial punishment for “dereliction of duty and improper hazarding of a vessel.” Port Royal Executive Officer Commander Steve Okun was also given non-judicial punishment for dereliction of duty at the same hearing. In a separate hearing, Rear Admiral Dixon Smith, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, imposed non-judicial punishment on two other, unnamed Port Royal officers and an enlisted seaman for dereliction of duty and improper hazarding of a vessel. The Navy refused to provide further details of the punishments the sailors received.[2]”

  3. Not a squid but when one of the baddest ships on the planet gets rammed by a giant massive ship and no one saw it I call Bravo Sierra. Not only human watch but all the tactical gear like radar, sonar etc.
    Bass boats don’t have this issue driven by drunks in the weekend.

  4. MAC(ret), your recollections are a bit dated, but the gist of your comment is correct. Most ships don’t station the port and stbd lookouts anymore due to reduced manning, figuring that the officers are looking out the window. The OS on the bridge has also been removed due to manning issues. There are usually 3 officers: OOD, conning officer, and a junior OOD (JOOD). Also, there’s usually only one helmsman. (All of this changes for special evolutions, of course). I’d add to your comment on CIC that there’s a Surface Warfare Coordinator whose sole job is to monitor surface traffic and watch for threats. None of this challenges anything about the gist of your comments on why this should be impossible or on cascading failures. I just thought I’d provide a bit more current information on watchstanders. You are entirely correct that with that many people responsible for looking out for the safety of the ship, hitting a container vessel on autopilot should not have even been a remote possibility. I look forward to completion of the investigation and finding out what went wrong. (From a current Surface Warfare Officer who served in FDNF and has sailed on Fitzgerald.)

    1. Ben, is the back-and-forth between the bridge and CIC recorded by AWS? (Or something…) My first line of inquiry would be “Why the hell didn’t they just get away from an erratic vessel?” Even at trail shaft they should be able to make 22kts, yes? Can’t imagine that they were conducting some kind of op that called for restricted maneuvering. I recall that Night Orders often required waking the Old Man if any vessel passed within 10kyds. “Yes, Cap’n, the time is xxxx. Our course is xxx, speed xx. We’ll be passing a merchant vessel port to port at xxxx yds.” “Very well. Thank you, Bob, xxxx yds, port to port.”

      Occam’s Razor leaves this Old Salt believing that RADM Fort will find the bridge watch bungled this… and that quite badly.

  5. I too would have classified this as impossible, 20+ years in the Navy I would have never expected this. Not manning watches because of a shortage of personnel is BS, just an excuse. There are plenty of personnel on the ship, if you have to you go to port and starboard duty sections so be it. Especially at sea, you have nothing else to do, but stand watch and Preventative Maintenance System(PMS). I would have expected that the lookouts were terminated because of the advanced electronics, not the lack of personnel. Any ships captain that allowed the lookout watches to be secured underway is a fool!

Comments are closed.