Comment and Discussion

I took an informal survey of Air Force officers with whom I served still living in the D.C. area. Everyone I reached agreed with me. If the Air Force goes ahead with this site, I'd like to be on the record in advance (along with many of my fellow Airmen) in apologizing to our Marine colleagues.

The issue may not be the most pressing one, but my service has a history—started by Billy Mitchell and continuing through to today—of being inconsiderate of colleagues in our sister services. Perhaps this is the issue that should reverse that tradition. Two better locations are the Mall and the Fort Myer parade ground, where Lieutenant Selfridge became the first Army Air Corps casualty in 1908.

"May There Be No More U.S. War Crimes"

(See H. Parks, pp. 4-6, November 1997 Proceedings)

Colonel John E. Greenwood, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), Editor, Marine Corps Gazette—Although Hays Parks's commentary on Gary Solis's book, Son Thang: An American War Crime (Naval Institute Press, 1997), is excellent, I think the book is even more significant and more pertinent to our battlefield performance in the years ahead than he suggests. Son Thang already has received the Marine Corps Historical Foundation's General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., Award as the best book of the year relating to Marine Corps history. The recognition is richly deserved, for it is indeed a highly readable history covering the entire story and legal aftermath of a 1970 atrocity committed by Marines in Vietnam. But more than that, it also is a powerful and insightful book on combat leadership that should be read, discussed, and digested by every Marine who expects to lead troops in any conflict situation.

No doubt, I brought more baggage to my reading of the book than most. I commanded Battalion Landing Team 1/27 in Hawaii in 1967 and early 1968. We were fortunate in that almost all our officers had served a previous tour—as I had—in Vietnam. Several of us had been to one or more of the counterinsurgency courses at Fort Bragg. By good fortune, in January 1968, we completed putting the command through a series of eight carefully planned small-unit exercises supplemented by considerable classroom instruction and films on the nature of the Vietnam War. A few days later, while at sea on board amphibious shipping for a training exercise, we received orders to proceed directly to Da Nang. The Tet Offensive had started.

Once in Vietnam, we were sent to populated areas, first south of Da Nang and later southeast of Hue. I believe we had many advantages not enjoyed by the battalion in the Son Thang incident. We had no problem of "carryover" from operations in the unpopulated demilitarized zone and no earlier rules of engagement (ROE) to unlearn. Many of the officers, including me, were as much preachers and teachers as tacticians, explaining the ROE and our need first to protect the people and then to win their confidence and earn their active support. Nevertheless, despite our advantages and our continuing efforts—we, too, had an atrocity. On 5-6 May 1968 one of our patrols deliberately murdered five noncombatant male Vietnamese, ages 32-65.

Reading Son Thang suggests why our efforts in teaching ROE and preaching "hearts and minds" were not enough. There is a psychological side to war that goes even beyond the fear, fatigue, and firepower discussions of S. L. A. Marshall that are ingrained in most Marines. Given the right set of circumstances, command objectives, combat pressures, uncertainties, frustrations, fears, and alienation from the people, some American—seven some well-indoctrinated Marines—are capable of acts that are unthinkable under normal circumstances. These are acts that are at once immoral, illegal, and sometimes tactically stupid.

Although combat often reveals men's strengths and virtues, it sometimes exposes a darker side of human nature, as well. Men form their own perceptions of a combat situation. They develop opinions about what is good or bad, helpful or dangerous, right or wrong. These views may reflect wisdom based on hard-earned experience or—just as likely—they may be illogical, based on rumor or superstition. Leaders must understand these attitudes, keep in touch with them as they emerge and wane, and influence them. They must prepare their commands psychologically for whatever environment and mission are at hand. They must consider the moral and ethical issues involved in the conflict and control violence accordingly.

In total war against a regular enemy force, this is relatively clear cut. When the battlefield contains noncombatants, or innocent people whom we wish to help but are not easily distinguishable from the enemy, the challenges will mount.

The things we did in 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, were worthwhile, but they were not enough. We did not realize that the task was to prepare every level of the command psychologically. Son Thang does not approach these ideas pedantically, but it gives readers all the grist needed for valuable professional military education classes and contributes notably to a broader understanding of combat leadership.

If commitments over the last several years are indicators, Marines will continue to face situations as frustrating and ambiguous as Vietnam. Overseeing the psychological side will be critical. My advice to Marines is to get Son Thang , read it, discuss it, and absorb its message. You'll handle the next crisis a lot better with this book under your belt.

"Lest We Forget: USS Revenge (AM-110)"

(See E. Wertheim, p. 94, October 1997 Proceedings)

Commander Franklyn K Zinn, U.S. Navy (Retired)—The item on the minesweeper Revenge (AM-110) needs clarification in its discussion of the 28 March 1945 sinking of the USS Skylark (AM-63). In brief, at the outset of the event, the USS Sage (AM-111), which I commanded, was second in line behind the Skylark. When the Skylark hit the mine, I had my ship's sweep gear pass close enough to the Skylark to allow some of the many small craft to get to the Skylark to rescue personnel.

As our minesweeping gear passed the Skylark , we swept another mine that came to the surface without exploding. The wind blew the bow of the Skylark down on this mine, it exploded, and the Skylark sank. I always have felt that the Skylark could have survived that first mine as she was on an even keel, but that two mines were more than she could take.

"Obey the Iron Law"

(See T. Pierce, pp. 28-31, November 1997 Proceedings)

Colonel T. X. Hammes, U.S. Marine Corps—Commander Pierce decries the "gathering storm of Marine parochialism scheming to control naval power." He states Marines are willing to undermine the "iron law" of unity of command to satisfy some inner need to control naval forces. He expands his theory to state it is an iron law that only Navy officers can command amphibious operations. (In all my reading on the history of warfare, I never have seen unity of command referred to as an iron law. Commander Pierce must get credit for applying the term to one of several age-old principles of war.) Finally, he states that any suggestion that a Marine command an amphibious operation is certain to be detrimental to our ability to project power ashore. To support his position, Commander Pierce cites numerous studies and articles-including my essay (see "Let CLF Do It," pp. 17-21, The Marine Corps Gazette , March 1997) to bolster his contention that Marines are trying to seize control of amphibious operations.

Despite the fact that he disagrees with me, I am glad he wrote his article, for he has introduced amphibious warfare as a serious issue to Proceedings . Further, two of his key arguments actually support my position rather than his.

To support the "requirement" that a Navy officer command amphibious operations, Commander Pierce quotes Colonel Allan Millet's analysis of World War II amphibious operations. Colonel Millet wrote that Navy officers were selected to command World War II amphibious operations because "The landing force was only one element of a complex naval task organization designed to protect the landing force from enemy sea and air attack." Building on this basic position, Commander Pierce further states "the dominant interest of one service must not be permitted to dictate the assignment of an officer from that service to command the joint effort, when the active, mobile combat forces during the most critical phases of the operation come from another service."

In both these statements, Commander Pierce is simply reinforcing my argument—that the officer commanding the operational forces confronting the enemy's main effort should be the officer in charge of an amphibious operation.

This is the same logic that pioneers of modern amphibious operations used in designing the command structure used in World War II. The doctrine of putting the Navy commander in charge of all forces came out of the tactical and operational situation of the war in the Pacific. The primary threats to the mission were Japanese air and naval forces. Therefore, for sound operational and tactical reasons, the Navy commander was put in charge. Rather than invoking an iron law, our predecessors simply organized their forces for the fight they faced.

Using the logic of our esteemed predecessors, I argue that in those operations where the primary operational threat is to the land forces, the Commander Landing Force (CLF) should be in charge of the operation. In most of our recent amphibious operations (for example, Somalia, the Congo, and Bosnia), there was no naval or air threat. However, there was a significant ground threat. In this type of operation, it makes little sense to assign command to a Navy officer who has never trained or exercised to fight a ground opponent.

I do agree with Commander Pierce (and virtually every military thinker since Sun Tzu) that we must follow the principle of unity of command and place all forces under a single commander. The real question is, "How do we determine who that commander should be?"

While Commander Pierce wants to follow "time-honored" doctrine, I argue that we must organize our forces to deal with the threat they face and the environment in which they will operate. I think both history and doctrine show that we select the overall commander for the operation by analyzing the mission, enemy, troops available, terrain and weather, time, security requirements, and logistic requirements.

We should remember history is filled with military forces that have clung to "time-honored" command organizations too long and paid the price on a changing battlefield.

"The F-14D Is the New Bird Dog"

(See D. P. Markert, pp. 55-56, September 1997 Proceedings)

Captain Brian J. Lawler, U.S. Marine Corps—Commander Markert's article on the emergence of the F-14D as a forward air control airborne (FAC[A]) aircraft was well-presented and enlightening. While Commander Markert is certainly well qualified to discuss the F-14D's prowess as a viable FAC(A) platform in today's battlefield, I must take exception with the premise that the F-14D is the premier FAC(A) platform in the Navy/Marine Corps inventory. As an F/A-18D weapon systems officer, I am one of the Marine Corps' FAC(A)s who have taken on the role as the "duty experts" on FAC(A) since the departure of the OV-10.

The arguments Commander Markert presents are all valid reasons why the F-14D is a good platform for FAC(A) from strictly an aviation perspective. Without argument, a Hornet aircrew lacks the on-station time that a Tomcat possesses and also does not have some of the newest high-tech systems. But the F/A-18D does have many of the assets mentioned in the article as well, including the ALR-67 with ECP-510, GPS, GENEX, and night-vision-goggle compatibility. The F/A-18D also has a targeting forward-looking infrared radar with an internal laser designator to provide nighttime stand-off capability in its own right. With the procurement of the AN-AAS-38B, this pod will be integrated with the laser designator tracker, thus freeing a weapons station for other uses. In fact, the only system that provides an uncountered increase in combat effectiveness in the F-14D over the F/A-18D is the addition of the joint tactical information distribution system (JTIDS), an excellent piece of equipment in any arena. And while the argument regarding increased engine performance and subsequent defensive capabilities may have proven true concerning the OV-10, a Hornet certainly has enough power (and expendables) for more than one defensive reaction against a surface-to-air missile or intruding aircraft.

But the question of who is more qualified to continue the role as the naval services' first choice as an FAC(A) does not hinge upon the instruments used in the battle, but rather with the operators who are using them. The Marine Corps is unique in that all of its second lieutenants go to the Basic School for basic infantry skills before they receive any advanced training in their area. While this alone does not make aviators technical experts in the employment of ground combat units, I submit that we do have more knowledge in this respect than any other service's aviators. In addition, in any given F/A- 1 8D squadron, there are bound to be two or three aviators who have done tours as ground FACs with infantry battalions. While this is not a prerequisite for becoming an FAC(A), their knowledge is irreplaceable when it comes time for aircrew training and getting new pilots and weapons systems officers up to speed on FAC(A) procedures. Topics such as Fire Support Coordination Measures, Marine Corps Command and Control, and Call for Fire are only a few of the classes taught at the squadron level before any prospective FAC(A) aircrew is assigned even the most "benign" of training missions. The classes and sorties continue to increase in detail and difficulty until the aircrew is ready to be FAC(A) qualified.

The Navy is undoubtedly taking large steps into becoming one with the Marine Corps' doctrine on ground combat. The Navy is sending their FAC(A)s to all the schools mentioned by Commander Markert and some of them even are attending the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course and flying the FAC(A) sorties there. But airwing workups in Fallon, however arduous they may be, cannot duplicate the coordination and attention to detail required of an FAC(A) aircrew as well as a combined arms exercise (CAX) at Twenty-nine Palms. At a CAX there are live maneuver elements on the ground. Every fleet F/A-18D squadron is supposed to support at least one CAX prior to its deployment to WestPac. The experience that Hornet aircrews gain would provide immeasurable returns for fledgling FAC(A) crews in the Tomcat community as well. There simply is no better environment in which to practice combined arms coordination in the Navy or Marine Corps.

The carrier battle groups should figure out a way to support CAX during the tiresome pre-cruise workup schedule. This will only enhance their knowledge of the ground combat scheme of maneuver, providing the aircrew with the skills necessary to employ their aircraft effectively and to use all of the supporting arms at their disposal. The airplane itself, regardless of how new and automated it may be, is only as good as the aircrew using it. When looked at from the perspective of reality, we are all in the air to support the ground combat element, and we owe it to them to provide them with the best-trained, most-proficient aircrews that we possess. And only by completely learning our trade, and increasing our knowledge of theirs, can we truly accomplish this feat.

The Seventh Annapolis Seminar

(See R. Seamon, p. 14, June 1997; N. Hogan, pp. 20-21, July 1997; E. B. Hontz, p. 22, September 1997; J. M. Keshishian, p. 29, November 1997 Proceedings)

Rear Admiral George R. Worthington, U.S. Navy (Retired), former Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command—For some time, we have heard nothing new in the debate over women in combat. More women are serving on board ships, from some accounts quite well-from others, not so well. The late Chief of Naval Operations Mike Boorda told the Navy, within a week of assuming the job, that he wanted women in all ships—this, presumably without checking with the four-star fleet commanders-in-chief to see how it would play—or, for that matter, with some of the elder statesmen of the Navy, like retired Admiral Tom Moorer. Then Lieutenant Kara S. Hultgreen was killed trying to land an F-14 on a carrier. Next, it was Aberdeen and the Army's sex scandals. Hollywood was already in the act-movie scenes of "Marine captain" Sigourney Weaver leading men in 1979 hand-to-hand combat against aliens; then, Demi Moore going through 1997 "SEAL training." (It wasn't really SEAL training—she had an introductory day at BUD/S—it was a joint deal with Marines and Army people included, not to mention other fantasies shown in the movie.)

The point is that women cannot fight as well as most men. There may be a few women who can pass the "O-course muster." Big deal! As a masters swimmer, I know many women who can "smoke me" in the pool. As a sport parachutist, I know a lot of women who are, likewise, more accomplished skydivers than I probably will ever be.

But none of this is germane. The integration of women with men in combat ranks debilitates the overall combat efficiency of a unit. A SEAL platoon of 16 men would be seriously weakened by adding even one female Olympic swimmer, world-class triathlete, or whoever. It's a question of sex: five men would covet the woman, one would "win," and then you have four (or more) disgruntled operators. Or take an operational Army or Marine company of a couple hundred men, add a few women, and you will have morale problems. Pairing off will occur, leaving a lot of chips on a lot of shoulders.

And this doesn't even approach a discussion of operational environments operating behind enemy lines for days and weeks "in the bush" sharing everything from soap to toilet paper. Combat scenes from the movie Forrest Gump wouldn't attract most women I know.

The radical feminist agenda has run its course. How many kids do we have to kill before we realize the military is not a social laboratory? There are plenty of jobs for women in the services. There will be even an opening for Commander-in-Chief in a couple of years; the best should step forward and run. Have our distinguished ladies in Congress exhibited the leadership required of a Commander-in-Chief—apart from strident harangues against the military and naval establishments backed by budget cuts if their social-engineering experiments weren't enacted? It's that kind of tinkering that ultimately brings people home in body bags.

But what is more disturbing is hearing that two of our top Navy leaders appear to be buying the political correctness tripe. The culture appears ready for more gals in combat is the conclusion drawn by Admirals Johnson and Larson, if what Admiral Hogan reported in Proceedings is correct.

Opportunities for women abound in the services. Direct combat roles should not be in the mix; they will get a lot of good men killed, Hollywood notwithstanding.

"Warfighting Skills Are Built at Sea"

(See A. Krekich, pp. 51-52, October 1997 Proceedings)

Paul Steward—I agree with Vice Admiral Krekich that port engineers and continuous maintenance will help us achieve the desired results. But I take issue with the arbitrarily chosen nine weeks for the maximum length of an availability. An arbitrarily chosen length is the wrong approach and will lead to a loss of modernization and the ability to stay ahead.

I believe that the maintenance community has not been aggressive in driving down availability lengths—when there are ways to attain that goal. Instead of picking an arbitrary availability length, there needs to be a class-expert activity that evaluates all the work in the class package, integrates the maintenance and modernization tasks, and then determines the shortest period of time in which the work can be scheduled to be completed. This requires developing an "availability analysis" that determines critical path, manpower loading, shop skills required, location of work, and prerequisites for system light-off and test scheduling.

There are a couple of significant differences between this method and that of most of the rest of the maintenance community. During ship alteration (ShipAlt) design, any ShipAlt that will take longer than three weeks to accomplish automatically is reviewed to see if it can be completed more quickly using unique approaches such as prefabrication, jigs, and so on, and is considered for incremental installation.

Also, all ShipAlt material with lead times greater than 30 days is purchased and kitted. The type commander has the opportunity to have the same team order and kit the "D" alterations and repair long-lead-time material. Prefabricated material is assembled and also shipped with the kits. Finally, the work plan schedule is optimized for the shortest time required to accomplish the work—instead of scheduling work for the availability window length.

On complex warships, there will be times when more than nine weeks are necessary to complete upgrades—most of which will be ShipAlts. One cannot change out an entire combat system suite, pull all the cables, check the system, and deliver it to the fleet "war ready" in nine weeks. The important thing is not to spend any more time in an industrial availability than is absolutely necessary.

This method works. The Aegis program has used this process for the past ten years and has only had one ship late to finish. This proves that detailed advanced planning methods work and that an engineering approach is preferable to setting arbitrary lengths of nine weeks. Why not make availabilities shorter whenever we can?

"The Boomer Reborn"

(See J. Courter, pp. 51-53, November 1997 Proceedings)

Lieutenant Commander Marion H. Klingler, U.S. Navy—Converting Trident submarines into tactical missile delivery/special operations platforms is an economical and efficient use of existing platforms. So configured, they would provide a significant force multiplier in a covert package with inherent self-defense capability. Doing this conversion is very tempting, given current and projected budget constraints. But there are significant diplomatic difficulties in implementing these plans that are not addressed.

The START I treaty contains a proviso that allows the United States to possess two former Poseidon-class ballistic missile submarines as what the treaty terms "special-purpose" submarines, e.g., not capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The USS Kamehaha (SSN-642) and the USS Polk (SSN-645) currently are filling these slots. Having former Trident-class submarines fill this role and any increase in the number of these subs would require an amendment to the START treaty. This in turn would require ratification of the clause by the U.S. Senate and the Russian Duma, as well as the other START I treaty signatories (Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan). The United States has been reluctant to pursue amending the treaty on any issue in its ongoing strategic arms negotiations with the Russians.

Other START treaty restrictions also torpedo this plan. These special-purpose submarines are not allowed to be based at facilities that also base SSBNs, eliminating Bangor and Kings Bay from consideration. As a result, these ships are forced into home ports that do not have the logistical infrastructure to properly maintain Trident-class submarines. Establishing this logistical and maintenance base would add significant costs not anticipated in Representative Courter's initial proposition.

In addition, it would be difficult—if not impossible—to get the Russians to accept the conversion of Trident submarines into conventional (nonnuclear) tactical missile shooters. The provision in the START I treaty allowing special-purpose submarines was agreed to by the Russians, with the understanding that the subs would be rendered incapable of launching SLBMs; there are cooperative measures to assure them that there are no SLBMs loaded in these submarines' missile tubes. Converting the Tridents' missile tubes to tactical missile launchers would create at best an ambiguous situation. The Russians would undoubtably insist on further inspection rights to provide them confidence that these conversions do not violate the START treaty. As a minimum, this would disrupt these submarines' operations and open an avenue for exploitation and compromise of sensitive U.S. technology.

As a corollary to this, an adjunct agreement to the START treaties is an agreement to not deploy sea-launched nuclear cruise missiles. Based on my three-and-a-half years dealing with Russian arms control inspectors, I doubt they would be satisfied with U.S. declarations that none of the missiles carried in these converted Tridents are nonnuclear. They would insist on extremely intrusive inspection rights, which are not contained in any of the present START I treaty protocols.

For these reasons, it would be difficult from a diplomatic standpoint to convert the four older Trident submarines into tactical missile/special operations platforms. Any step taken in that direction first should be vetted through the U.S. arms control community and agreed to in advance by their Russian counterparts. Failure to do so would involve the United States in an intractable diplomatic embroglio, undermining the current policies that are working to ensure nuclear stability in the post-Cold War era.

"A Tangled Webb"

(See P. E. Roush, pp. 42-45, August 1997; R. Hegemann, C. van Someren, H. G. Summers, R. Kuntz, V. M. Hudson, L. Marano, L. Stovall, pp. 12-22, September 1997; J. D. Lynch, D. E. Phillips, P. S. Edwards, T. M. Kastner, G. W. Anderson, pp. 10-15, October 1997; D. C. Fuquea, K. H. Moeller, M. T. Owens, pp. 2124, November 1997; T. C. Greenwood, J. M. van Tol, pp. 24-25, December 1997 Proceedings)

"All Volunteer Force Is in Crisis"

(See J. D. Lynch, pp. 30-34, September 1997; R. A. Beattey, pp. 16-21, November 1997 Proceedings)

Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness—The intemperate tone of Dr. Paul Roush's attack on former Secretary of the Navy James Webb is reason for concern—not because Colonel Roush has done real damage to his target, but because he is a professor in the Leadership, Law, and Ethics Department at the U.S. Naval Academy, in a position to shape the attitudes of impressionable midshipmen. As a member of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, which studied the issue of women in combat in 1992, I spent some time listening to Dr. Roush. I noticed then—and was struck even more now—by his strange obsession with Mr. Webb.

During a meeting with commissioners in his office, Dr. Roush told us that Mr. Webb's "bigotry" was comparable to that of David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The outlandish and defamatory remark spoke volumes about Dr. Roush's own intolerance. During questions following subsequent testimony before the Commission on 9 June 1992, Colonel Roush confirmed, on the record, what he had said about Mr. Webb.

He also made the absurd claim that members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who testified in favor of women's combat exemptions in 1991 were sending a clear signal to all the armed forces that it was "open season on military women." Never mind that some of the most articulate witnesses at that hearing were self-possessed military women who agreed with the Joint Chiefs.

During the question period, I read a portion of the Supreme Court's 1981 opinion (Rostker v. Goldberg) that upheld women's exemption from selective service registration, and asked Dr. Roush whether he considered the statement to be an example of bigotry and prejudice against women or minorities. The professor had difficulty coming up with a response.

I don't recall criticism from Dr. Roush when female officers were allowed to break rules against lobbying in uniform for Representative Patricia Schroeder's bill to partially repeal women's combat exemptions which were, at the time, "the supreme law of the land" as enacted by Congress. He insists, however, that midshipmen are guilty of violating the Constitution, and their duty to follow orders, if they openly question unprecedented policies currently in effect, most of which were never legislated by Congress.

The results of Dr. Roush's teachings were evident during our visit to the Naval Academy. During a social reception, I asked a midshipman for his opinion on women in combat. With a pained look on his face, the young man turned on his heel and abruptly walked away. A fellow midshipman who witnessed what happened explained that his colleague may have been trying to reconcile conflicting orders. The Naval Academy's honor concept mandated truthfulness, but candor was impossible because of the institution's "zero-tolerance" of dissent. Better to walk away than to risk his career by speaking honestly.

Good thing I wasn't a ship captain who had just set a skewed course at sea. Junior officers schooled by Dr. Roush might not have dared to tell me that I was about to run the ship aground.

Unprecedented policy changes in the aftermath of the Tailhook scandal threw the Navy two degrees off course several years ago, and it's been heading for the wrong ocean ever since. Crucial topics that include gender-integrated training, coed field tents, pregnancies on combat ships, double standards, gender quotas, disciplinary problems, and physical strength differences are serious readiness issues that deserve honest discussion among those involved. Current leaders have the power to correct the Navy's course, but that will never happen if candid discussion is prohibited at the Naval Academy or in the fleet.

Dr. Roush fails to understand that the problem isn't women in the Navy, but illadvised policies that make everyone's job more difficult or more dangerous. During a time of tumultuous social change in the military, midshipmen ought to hear a variety of informed opinions and rational discourse, not vitriolic personal attacks that betray weakness instead of wisdom.

Lieutenant Commander J. A. Pidgeon, Jr., U.S. Navy—Commander Moeller's statements about Mr. Webb are—at the least—an outrage to all those who have fought in combat. Her liberal, egalitarian, group-think statements are exactly why the military is regressing. She, Colonel Roush, and Professor Beattey will not be the ones bleeding on tomorrow's battlefields, but their ideas—if implemented—will be those that will have young men and women sacrificed on the altar of political correctness until we relearn the lessons unheeded that were lost because of "Victory Disease"—a term that was coined by Caspar Weinberger—which happens after every war.

Commander Moeller says Mr. Webb is "a man of principle," and acknowledges that "he opened many billets for women," but then arrogantly and condescendingly directs that he needs sensitivity training—which perhaps she can administer to her poor unenlightened patient. But the only people who need education are Commander Moeller and Professor Beattey—possibly at the University of Heartbreak Ridge, the College of Tarawa, the Institute of Mogadishu, or another institute of higher learning.

Principles are unchanging, especially to those of us who applaud Mr. Webb, who is the one who stands tall, along with Major General Lynch and Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, while their critics cringe and fall in line with political correctness—perhaps owing to fear, lack of moral courage, or failure to acknowledge history and reality. Commander Moeller is entitled to her uninformed opinion, but she would not bestow the same privilege upon Mr. Webb. Why, because he influences too many of our officers and midshipmen—men and women—who gave him a standing ovation when he spoke at the Naval Institute's Sixth Annapolis Seminar? They know the truth when they hear it.

For Proceedings to publish Professor Beattey's comments on women in the military, which countered Major General Lynch's article, was puzzling at best. Here is an academic who espouses that a combat-experienced general officer knows nothing about the military. Professor Beattey says that civilian leadership should tell those of us in the military how to do the mission. But civilian leadership should give us the mission, then let us do it as we have been trained. Operational civilian micromanagement of the military always has led to disaster—in Vietnam, Mayaguez , Desert One, Beirut, and Somalia. Administrative civilian micromanagement and the use of the military to legitimize social policies that would not pass the test in mainstream society have reduced our readiness, and will continue to do so if not stopped. To paraphrase a recent, popular political slogan: "It's combat, stupid!"

Lieutenant Commander T. S. Wolters, U.S. Naval Reserve—It is discouraging to see inaccuracies and disdain in an article on the integration of women in the military—a subject that certainly calls for reasoned debate. In his article, General Lynch criticizes both the media and the military for pursuing the rape cases at Aberdeen, Maryland, "with a vengeance," and apparently believes that victims need not be protected in those cases where their "own conduct has been less than exemplary." But the crimes at Aberdeen were horrendous and should be addressed as such. Neither the military nor the media should be criticized for calling a spade a spade. Furthermore, General Lynch's comparison of Jones v. Clinton to the Aberdeen case is like comparing tax evasion to murder. While sexual harassment—like tax evasion—is a serious crime, it pales in comparison to the events at Aberdeen.

General Lynch also claims that "At present, somewhere around one of every four or five soldiers in the U.S. Army is a female." In fact, official Department of Defense statistics indicate that women make up about 13% of the Army, which corresponds to a ratio close to one in eight. Interestingly, the percentage of women in the Navy is roughly equivalent to that of the Army, whereas the percentage of women in the Marine Corps remains less than 5%. If General Lynch's main concern is a recruiting crisis in the all-volunteer force, perhaps he should consider how potential recruits—male and female—might interpret his article.

"Emphasize Tactical Training"

(See J. R. Hindinger, pp. 38-39, October 1997 Proceedings)

Lieutenant Commander Dave McDonnell, U.S. Navy—Lieutenant Hindinger asserts that today's submarine force junior officers are not skilled to handle combat because of the lack of technical training and the overemphasis on engineering training. He further implies that we should reduce the amount of nuclear training provided to our JOs and increase the amount of tactical training.

The reason the submarine force has maintained such an outstanding record of nuclear safety is the tried-and-true training system currently in place to train our officers and enlisted sailors. The effect of reducing the level of nuclear training would increase the risk of nuclear accident. With the increased level of attention on the environment, a nuclear accident could jeopardize our ability to operate nuclear subs in our homeports, and visiting foreign ports could become out of the question. The level of nuclear training must not be compromised.

The commanding officer, executive officer, and department heads are the tactical experts on board our submarines. The Submarine Officer Advanced Course is a six-month school primarily dedicated to preparing our department heads to fight the submarine. Additional tactical training is provided during the prospective commanding officer and executive officer training pipelines. By the time a commanding officer reaches command, he has the experience and knowledge required to make vital tactical decisions under combat conditions.

The junior officers are provided enough tactical training to be immediate assets to the fire control party when reporting to their first submarine. Any good officer training plan will ensure that the JOs are provided the tactical training that will prepare them to be key members of the fire control party when they become department heads.

The manner in which U.S. submarine officers are trained has resulted in the most capable submarine force in the world. Let's keep it that way.

"Constitution Sails Again—And Again?"

(See T. G. Martin, pp. 2-4; October 1997; T. C. Gillmer, R. B. Smith, p. 8, December 1997 Proceedings)

Commander Christopher A. Melhuish, U.S. Navy, 65th in Command, USS Constitution —Commander Martin's article provides some useful insights about the sailing of Old Ironsides last summer, and questions whether the ship could or should be sailed again.

The Constitution 's sailing had an important effect on the nation, in particular on young American citizens—the school children who contributed their pennies to buy the sails for Old Ironsides . It was this first act of citizenship that powered the ship, which in turn, for one shining moment, moved the most powerful nation on earth. The media were packed on the ship, which put the ship into the living rooms of millions of Americans and connected them to their ship. And the effect echoes. The number of visitors to the ship has surged from the same period last year. Visitors express great interest in the July sailing events and of the prospect of doing more in the future. In particular, the citizens of Marblehead, who hosted the historic visit in July, remain deeply enthralled. In many ways the ship's visit helped them rediscover their historic relationship with the U.S. Navy. The ship has a powerful effect on Americans.

Also, then-Commanding Officer Commander Mike Beck demonstrated enormous personal strength. He had a vision and saw it through to consummation. I worked alongside him from 3 July through all of the four sail events, both tethered and free, and I observed at first hand the kind of leadership that makes our Navy strong.

It is important to consider how the ship "felt" and handled from a conning perspective. The answer is—surprisingly nimble and responsive. Captain Bainbridge was on target when he said of the ship, "She herself is possessed of a brave personality. In light weathers . . . she responded with alacrity and obedience, and seemed ever eager to answer the will of her commander." We learned that the crew could douse all six sails in less than five minutes; that in sustained winds of 12 knots, she clipped right along at six-and-a-half knots on both port and starboard tacks, the helm answering easily throughout. We learned that in relatively benign conditions the methodical way in which the sails were set was safe, and we repeated this several times. We learned from crew questionnaires that pierside training and shipboard training on HMS Bounty (a replica of an 18thcentury square-rigger) and the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle were adequate for the basic sail demonstration.

Measurements taken of the ship's natural hog before and after the sailing events (to include the stronger winds on 8 July) revealed no change, at about five-and-ahalf inches. U.S. Navy divers inspected the hull following the historic sail and found no hull damage, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding. They did discover that some draft markers had fallen off because of bimetallic corrosion, and found minor crimping of the copper sheathing around the rudder itself. The ship's watertight integrity remained essentially unchanged throughout the sail; little change over the normal 250 gallons per day leakage that is the norm pierside. From these measurements, it would seem that the Constitution performed quite well in these conditions.

Setting aside the issues of cost and political will, discussion about the Constitution centers on issue of hull integrity, the Navy's ability to measure and monitor its strength, and risk assessment. On the latter, it should be borne in mind that the ship is exposed to risk on a daily basis just by floating in her natural element. Furthermore, each Turnaround Cruise the ship conducts in Boston Harbor (normally a two-hour event) also exposes the ship to more risk than in simply swinging the ship just off her permanent pier with only crew aboard. But we must balance risk with opportunity. In the example above, the value of the Turnaround Cruise is inestimable in terms of the good will, patriotic appeal, and revival of historic bedrock values.

The Constitution sparks passionate debate; she did in the past and still does. She will in all likelihood continue to do so for the next century. This is healthy for the ship because it keeps her in the nation's eye. She is an immortal ship, whose name resonates in the nautical annals of the republic, deeply loved by her commanding officers, past and present.

One hundred years ago, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in his centennial address in honor of Old Ironsides , stated that she was "The nation's ship and fought the nation's battles under the nation's flag. It is the duty, then, of this nation to care for and preserve her." And it will be the nation and the Navy that will decide how best to employ the "Eagle of the Sea."

Machinist's Mate Second Class Robert W. Fellingham, Jr., US. Naval Reserve—I was one of the fortunate few Naval Reservists assigned to Old Ironsides and was proud to have been a part of the ship's company for this historic event. It also represented major positive publicity for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The success of the tethered training voyages, the dockside practices, and the sailing event are a testament to the dedication and preparation of the USS Constitution's officers, crew, Naval History Center personnel, National Park Service Personnel, Marine Corps personnel, and Naval Reservists.

Commander Martin's closing comments question the advisability of sailing the USS Constitution again. I believe that he has missed the major point of providing a living history so that the American people can see, feel, and understand what their heritage is.

Commander Martin questions the structural integrity of the USS Constitution . In fact, the engineers and technicians assigned to the Naval Historical Center Detachment at Charlestown Navy Yard have asserted that the ship's structure is as strong as it was when she was first commissioned—if not stronger. I spent a week before the sailing event working with this group of motivated people going over the entire ship, tracing down the new fire suppression and drain systems in her. I can assert that the ship is indeed in excellent condition and can sail under any conditions with a properly trained crew.

What is the primary purpose of the Constitution in our modern Navy? It is quite simple—to educate the public, especially future generations, about the heritage of the U.S. Navy and what part the USS Constitution and her crews played to gain and keep the freedom we enjoy today. By sailing this ship with new generations on board, we can show them what was meant by the phrase "wooden ships and iron men" and help teach them what the words honor, courage, and commitment truly mean.

The USS Constitution is a historically important vessel. But, because she is historically important, many would bind her to the pier, never to sail again. Some would use the question of her structural strength to further their arguments. This would be a tragic mistake, as it would deny the people of our country the ability to see and live history. Rather than tie her up, I recommend that our children be invited on board to see and watch what our forefathers had to do to help defend our precious rights as the ship is put under sail again and again.

The U.S. Naval Institute Warfare Exposition and Symposium

(See T. S. Momiyama, pp. 14-16, December 1997 Proceedings)

Commander Howie Lind, U.S. Navy—Are we "losing the warrior's edge?" Yes! The tools of war for our deployed forces are in place, but our national spirit is not. The American public should be worried that our warrior's edge has been dulled, but we can take actions to sharpen it.

One panel member stated that our political-military situation has deteriorated to the point that meaningful dialogue to correct declining military readiness is not possible. Further, a major military calamity, or disaster, would have to occur to force action from our national leaders. Another comment was that the Congress does not want to hear about our lack of military readiness. Unfortunately for those who believe this, the Constitution of the United States assigns Congress the responsibility to maintain our armed forces.

We should not accept the above premises, if nothing else to save the lives of U.S. servicemen and women in future armed conflicts, but also to restore the prestige of serving in the U.S. military. We can take several steps to offset these negative trends.

First, implement an across-the-board 5% pay raise for military members, on top of the recently approved 2.8% federal government raise. Even these amounts leave servicemen and women far behind their civilian counterparts. This move is not only for the money, but a demonstration of renewed commitment from our national leadership.

Second, work to improve the politico-military relationships among our country's leaders. True, military members have many restrictions with regard to partisan politics. But the main issue is that prior military experience of members in the executive and legislative branches of government has been declining and will continue to decline. Congressional delegation visits to military locations offer opportunities to address this, as do presidential visits around the globe.

Similarly, our senior military leaders (officers in the grades of 0-6 and above, in and out of Washington, D.C.) should take part in national security areas that have heretofore been considered "too political." We must remind those in power that the U.S. military is not another special interest group; the armed forces are a national asset specifically written into the Constitution.

Third, a serious look should be taken into the sociological and demographic makeup of the young men and women entering the armed forces. These people are different from us "older folks" in terms of military cultural values, ethics, and most important, learning, information processing, and communication techniques. These issues were addressed at the Warfare Symposium and were dismissed as trends that could be overcome easily by solid leadership. True, leadership is required, but the "the Navy isn't what it used to be, and it never was." This means that the services always are adjusting to reflect the changing culture in which we live.

Fourth, technology is here to stay; those who have not climbed on board should do so, or get out of the way. The two main speakers of the symposium, General Anthony C. Zinni, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Central Command, and Admiral Thomas J. Lopez, Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, spoke of the technological requirements to sustain operations in their areas of responsibilities. Yet many comments were made that disparaged technology as unneeded and overstated, making reference to the old adage that "computers do not lead people, people lead people." This is shortsighted nonsense. The United States is a technology-driven society that fuels the engine for the rest of the world. Similarly, our military is hardware-driven, a reality that not coincidentally was instrumental in facing down the former Soviet Union, bringing the end of the Cold War. The Gulf War demonstrated our technological superiority over a supposedly hardware-strong enemy.

Finally, a quote from a panel member: "stop crucifying and destroying our senior officers." The American media delight in this blood sport. But that does not mean our national leadership should allow senior military members to be routinely tarred and feathered in the daily news. True quality of life starts at the top and runs down. If our senior leadership is regularly mistreated, morale will quickly plummet. The role of senior military members is to advise our national leadership, in all branches of government. If their testimony is factual but not politically correct, should it be reported anyway? You bet. Their charter is certainly not to hide the true state of readiness in the armed forces of the United States; it is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

 

 
 

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