Mr. Webb taught us that some things -honor, loyalty, and yes, country-are more important than life and are, indeed, something to die for.
Mr. Webb's characters, including Hodges and A Sense of Honor's Captain Lenahan, back at the Academy after Vietnam, are neither unthinking killing machines nor military martinets. Rather, they are poets-acutely aware of the horror of war, pained by its destructiveness and waste. Indeed, it is their sensitivity, in the tradition of professor-turned-Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain and Pacific War-hero-turned-professor E. B. Sledge, that makes their sacrifices all the more meaningful.
I never was tested in combat, but I was tested in the lesser crucible of Marine training at Quantico. Sometimes during an endurance run, deep in the woods and out of sight of the platoon sergeant, some of my fellow officer candidates would stop running and walk-would quit, stilled by the pain. But I couldn't stopHodges, Fogarty, and Jim Webb wouldn't let me. These are themes we should not fear our midshipmen learning.
2nd Lieutenant Chad Van Someren, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1997 -"A Tangled Webb" is a sensationalist, dangerous article that misrepresents the arguments of Mr. Webb and avoids the crucial issues. Rather than intelligently engage in the debate, Colonel Roush resorts to name-calling in an underhanded attempt to discredit opposing points of view. According to Colonel Roush, any midshipmen or officers who believe that women should not be at the Academy are "bigots." If they express their beliefs in public, they should be ushered out of the military. Although he acknowledges that the issue is too important to be treated with silence, he would not allow any opposing views to be heard within the military. He implies that officers have no right to disagree, and that they should shut up and obey the law without question. To require the military to implement revolutionary new policies (such as women at the Naval Academy and in combat) and then to deny the military the right to comment truthfully on the results of the policies is both shortsighted and absurd. Yet this absurdity is precisely what has been enacted, and precisely what Colonel Roush advocates. An officer cannot mention the derogatory effects of pregnancies or sexual jealousies on his unit (much less raise the moral issues surrounding women in combat) without jeopardizing his career.
Contrary to Colonel Roush's claims, Mr. Webb's articles are not "assaults" on women, the Academy, or the naval service. Rather, they are intelligent calls for reexamination of important issues surrounding the purpose of the Naval Academy and the presence of women in combat units. These two issues are inseparable, because traditionally the Academy has been focused on producing combat leaders. Although follow-on schools in warfare specialties teach the technical knowledge necessary for modern warfare, the academies, officer training schools, and boot camps traditionally have instilled an intangible fighting spirit and an ability to thrive in physically and mentally stressful situations. If women should not be put into combat, then they should not be put into an environment that trains combat leaders. Parallel programs could be established for women who choose to serve in noncombat roles. If the Academy's goal, however, is to create officers who are not necessarily morally, mentally, and physically prepared for combat, then the Academy loses its unique reason for existence. Well-rounded men and women with leadership potential and moral character could be drawn from civilian universities with far less cost to the government than the service academies.
To argue that women should not be put into combat situations is not to "mock or ridicule" them. It is possible for a society to value women so much that deliberately placing them in harm's way would be unthinkable. The fact that women have had "decades of experience" on ships and aircraft does not mean that they have had experience in combat situations. Their presence in combat units is indeed an experiment that abandons thousands of years of tradition and ignores the recent examples of Israel and Russia.
Colonel Roush speaks of the "brooding presence" of "Women Can't Fight." He says that it is the "single greatest purveyor of degradation and humiliation on the basis of gender that Academy women have had to endure." He also claims that it continues to teach midshipmen. Until reading Colonel Roush's attack, however, I had never heard of Mr. Webb's 1979 article. In the countless debates-in and out of the classroom-surrounding women at the Academy, this article was never mentioned. Colonel Roush's article compelled me to find and read "Women Can't Fight." What I read was not surprising.
During our four years at the Academy, my classmates and I had developed many of the same arguments and come to many of the same conclusions.
If the law of the land is wrong, then it is our responsibility-as military officers and civilians-to recommend that the law be changed. Disagreement with certain military policies does not preclude service within the military. It is possible, and often necessary, to argue forcefully against a policy while carrying it out with enthusiasm. Our democracy demands officers with this degree of intellectual maturity and sense of duty. Midshipmen who are being groomed for the "highest levels of command, citizenship, and government" should not be relieved of their responsibility to think critically and argue forcefully. As officers, it would be inappropriate to denounce the law in front of our subordinates. Yet it is our responsibility to discuss honestly the controversy among peers and seniors. The current climate of intolerance and political correctness, however, makes such fresh and honest evaluation difficult, if not impossible.
My dictionary defines a bigot as "one who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc." This label, which Colonel Roush uses to characterize Mr. Webb, simply does not stick. In his recent article, "The War On Military Culture," Mr. Webb clearly criticizes the fact that arguments contrary to accepted political wisdom are not being heard. By contrast, Colonel Roush advocates the punishment of anyone who makes such arguments (and, incidentally, validating Mr. Webb's concerns). This letter has been brief and inadequate. It is meant only as a protest against the brand of bigotry that would stifle healthy debate within the military.
Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired), Editor in Chief Vietnam Magazine -Although I disagree in almost every particular with James Webb's view on women in the military, I found the tone of Colonel Roush's article particularly insulting, as it demeans one of the most honorable men I have ever known. As a lecturer at Quantico for more than a decade, I recognize-like it or notthat Mr. Webb is a spokesman for widely held views within the Marine Corps. Roush's comments sound more like those of a Ph.D. from American University than those of a 26-year Marine Corps veteran. Vilifying Mr. Webb's ideas as "the politics of resentment" smacks more of the politics of academia, where dissenting views are quashed and ridiculed, than of the free exchange of ideas that was the ideal upon which Proceedings was founded.
Robert Kuntz. -Colonel Roush is the right messenger to answer James Webb's unrepentant, unrelenting blather and to highlight the critical flaw at the heart of the position that Mr. Webb has championed, to his everlasting discredit, for nearly 20 years. Colonel Roush is the right man for the job because he is a Marine and a Naval Academy graduate and, one has to presume, is therefore at least perceptible on Mr. Webb's radar screen.
Although I enjoyed reading Colonel Roush's piece-by-piece dismantling of the outer framework of Mr. Webb's argument, what struck me was that Colonel Roush made so obvious what Mr. Webb and his ideological brethren have so long managed to ignore: That "military honor" and "military culture"-at least to this point in this nation's history and pray God for the rest of it-are rooted in an understanding that the civilian authority, itself circumscribed by the Constitution, is prime.
Here's to the uniformed men and women who act for that authority and defend that Constitution, and shame on us if we fail to understand that they are entitled to and ennobled by the traditions that make their difficult job desirable, or at least tolerable. Shame on us, too, if we forget that honor is a quality both real and essential-and Mr. Webb might learn that it is not only to be found in military service. And if anyone believes in their heart of hearts that women do not belong in the Academy or at sea or in the cockpit, that belief is theirs to hold. But they ought not dare invoke the sacredness of honor and tradition from one side of their mouths as justification for profaning the very core and foundation of that honor and tradition from the other.
I have long thought that Mr. Webb's writings in this matter have bordered on incitement, let alone insubordination. But I am a civilian (and worse, a former journalist), so Mr. Webb would argue it is not for the likes of me to say. Many thanks, then, to Colonel Roush for bearing the message so well.
Professor Valerie M. Hudson, David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, Brigham Young University -Colonel Roush is dead-on in his description of what motivates James Webb's views on women in the military. In order to psychically cope with the humiliation, shame, and pain of his own abuse, Mr. Webb feels compelled to explain why the abuse did him no harm, and why everyone should suffer such abuse. This is precisely why children who have been abused by their parents often grow up to be abusive to their own children. It takes great courage to admit that the abuse one suffered was wrong, and to refuse to allow it to happen to others. I feel sorry for James Webb as a human being, but I deplore the use of his influence to spread these noxious ideas within the military.
Certainly military training must simulate stress to build soldiers' capacity to withstand battlefield rigors. But while physical and mental stress legitimately can be inflicted by military trainers who are on `your side,' emotional betrayal by those who are on `your side' destroys warriors instead of creating them. In order for you to lay down your life for your side, your side must be true to you and do their best by you. If your side betrays you, then rage and destructiveness turn you into a brutal thug, not a warrior. Beatings, hazings, and contempt are all forms of emotional betrayal that have no place in an effective military.
This brings me to the controversy over women in the military. For many years, I was against women in the military, in part due to my own experiences as a grunt in the Army 20 years ago (if you think the women's issue is bad now, go back 20 years!). But there was a larger issue underlying my opposition. I saw both men and women as playing vital and heroic roles in preserving our civilization. To preserve a civilization, one must protect it and one must perpetuate it. I suppose it sounds old fashioned to say this in 1997, but I saw men as offering to pay the ultimate price to protect their civilization from the forces that would destroy it, while I saw women as offering to pay the ultimate price to perpetuate their civilization into the future.
Indeed, I once calculated the parity of these sacrifices. The chances of a woman dying because of circumstances related to pregnancy and childbirth are 1 in 12,000 in the United States (1995 figures). Over the last ten years, the greatest chance of dying as a result of hostile action while serving in the U.S. military was 1 in 117,000. We forget that women have made blood sacrifice to preserve their nation, too. What a shame those sacrifices are largely invisible in our culture. There are no memorials to the women who have made this type of sacrifice for all of us.
As a result of reading the anti-women-in-combat writings of James Webb and others, my opinion has changed somewhat. I still feel strongly that women should never be drafted for military service until the day that men can give birth and undertake the risks associated with perpetuating our civilization. But I now realize that women who want to serve as warriors should do so. That appears to be the only way that men who hold women in contempt and view themselves as superiors because of their warrior role can ever be convinced that they are wrong and can ever experience a woman as their equal.
Why is it so vital that such a convincing take place? It is critical for two reasons. The lesser reason is a pragmatic one. Breeding an army, of young (and older) men who hold women in contempt and view them as less than equals breeds an army you do not want to send abroad in today's world. Today, the U.S. military is doing a lot of peacekeeping around the world-and generating a lot of bad will because we abuse and discard the women of the very lands in which we are supposed to be creating peace. Okinawa, the Philippines, Tokyo, Bangkok, Germany, Greenland . . . wherever we have gone, we have left a trail of abandoned and exploited women (and offspring) who then must be taken care of by the society we were supposed to be protecting. Venereal disease clinics for prostitutes, handing out condoms to all soldiers on R&R-the U.S. military has no business encouraging such behavior! If the "good guys" are this corrupt, how can we persist in seeing them as good guys? And will people around the world continue seeing us as the "good guys?" The age of perceived entitlement to recreational sex as a perk of military service must end now.
The more important reason is a philosophical one. If the purpose of a warrior is to protect his nation and civilization from forces seeking to destroy it, then honoring women as his equal partners in the preservation of that civilization is part and parcel of being a warrior. Likewise, a warrior who sees himself as superior to women and thus feels justified in abusing women becomes himself a threat to his nation and civilization. He has betrayed the very meaning of "warrior." Therefore, if contempt for (and abuse of) women is widespread in the military, it must be stamped out because it is a national security threat. Men who feel justified in breaking the laws of the land to abuse women are a knife at the throat of our civilization. They will breed military defeat, not military victory, because they are at odds with the loftiest aims of the civilization they swore to protect. That is why these issues relating to women in the military are not merely fringe issues. Instead, these issues are at the very heart of what our military is and why it exists.
Lou Marano, served IS months in Vietnam as a junior officer in a Seabee battalion -An 18-year-old magazine article, "Women Can't Fight," has passed like a samizdat through the hands of almost a generation of Naval Academy midshipmen. This has aroused an Annapolis professor to denounce its author, James Webb, as a promoter of "bigotry" and his writings as "an appeal to the politics of resentment" that serve as a model of how to violate "one's commissioning oath to support and defend the Constitution without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." How could some smudgy photocopies and a few dog-eared paperback novels stir the professor to make such charges against a former Secretary of the Navy and a Vietnam War hero who has been a civilian since 1972? What rebuke does Paul Roush see in his students' eyes that impels him to attack Webb's honor?
Behind its facade, Roush's article is not a contribution to the public policy debate about the role of women in the military. Rather, it is an ad hominum assault intended to shame a perceived enemy into silence. Mr. Webb has never operated that way. He has said repeatedly-as he did in a 21 January 1994 op-ed piece in The New York Times-that "debate is the lifeblood of our society," and he acts on that belief.
Colonel Roush asserts that distinguished citizens have no right to object to bad laws or to fault flag officers for putting their careers ahead of the mission and the welfare of their men. To do so, he implies, amounts to suborning the armed forces. What nonsense! U.S. democracy is fluid. The U.S. Congress has not yet spoken the last word on the role of women in the military. As for present laws, Americans have never lost the right to their own opinions-or to gripe about the service-when they put on a uniform. Not until recently, that is. Today's military, with its zero tolerance of objections to a patently ridiculous expedient, has introduced a Stalinist element into the fighting forces. And, in the style of absolutists everywhere, Colonel Roush denounces Mr. Webb as an enemy of the revolution.
Colonel Roush's intent is transparent in his charge that Mr. Webb tries "to deceive" in stating his belief that the effort to integrate women into combat or combat-support units remains a gigantic social experiment. What is Mr. Webb's "deception," according to Colonel Roush? That the same argument "was used to oppose the racial integration of the military in the 1950s and 1960s."
Racially integrated armies have taken the field for thousands of years. This had been considered so unremarkable that written history scarcely mentions it, something that Americans-who tend to cast their own racial categories into the past-find hard to understand. But it is amply documented in art and by drawing informed inferences from primary sources. For example, plenty of blacks mostly from Sudan-served in the Roman army during the imperial period. (Long term auxiliary soldiers were granted citizenship at discharge, and their sons were eligible for legionary service.) The racial segregation of the U.S. armed forces, on the other hand, arose from the particularities of U.S. history. That segregation was the historical aberration. When it was abolished, things returned to normal. On the other hand, no known society has trained its women for war while giving most of its healthy men a pass. If that's not social experimentation, what is?
As an anthropologist, I can say that "race" is a political artifact of fairly recent construction. Scientists, like the people of antiquity, find it useful only as a kind of descriptive shorthand. The differences among the "races" are trivial; the differences between males and females are fundamental. I'm not sure I would want my sons to be under the command of an officer who pretended not to know that. As anyone who has served in a combat zone knows, moral courage is more scarce and precious than physical courage.
Colonel Roush also accuses Mr. Webb of deception by placing (according to Roush) undue emphasis on the unsuitability of women for the infantry at a time (1979) when that prospect was not being considered seriously. But it has been considered seriously since. Mr. Webb correctly anticipated the incremental nature of the assault on military culture. Colonel Roush avoids the fact that the worse the situation gets on the ground, the more blurred becomes the line between the infantry and other branches. When a tactical commander must consider whether to assign support troops to infantry roles, he has lost the initiative by definition. And when women dilute the pool of reserve infantry, the commander has less force and fewer options at his disposal.
In 1942, for example, PT boat sailors, fighter pilots, and ground crews were assigned infantry duties on Bataan. Late in 1944, the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes was stopped largely by the work of small, isolated combat-engineer units (now sexually integrated) fighting as infantry. After they had destroyed the Luftwaffe, U.S. airmen were ordered to Eisenhower's depleted infantry divisions as replacements-even though the Allies had the initiative at the theater level. In the summer of 1950, the 34th Regiment of the Army's 24th Infantry Division (now mechanized) was almost wiped out and had to be reconstituted from support troops. The backbone of the new regiment was the 3rd Engineer Battalion, but soldiers also were taken from supply, ordnance, communications, and headquarters assignments to fight as riflemen along the Naktong River at the Pusan Perimeter. And, of course, during the withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir the following winter, Army and Marine support troops had to fight as infantrymen.
No good would have come from women being involved in these operations at the expense of a like number of men. To use a sports metaphor, support personnel are the infantry's "bench." The deeper the bench, the stronger the army. No women play in the NFL. Should Congress legislate them in?
Further, Colonel Roush charges that Mr. Webb, in his writings, intends "to break down or prevent the formation of [mixed-sex] unit cohesion." Colonel Roush is a retired artillery officer. He knows that in combat, no battery commander alive can avoid the appearance of favoritism-if not favoritism itself-in such a unit. (Would a co-ed unit have made Captain Harry Truman's job easier or harder?) A man who sees a woman for whom he is responsible meet her death at the hands of other men cannot dismiss this simply as the fortunes of war. It is a howling, primordial insult to his manhood-a personal failure, a small death that scars the soul. (Social engineers, take note: It's not nice to mug Mother Nature. She gets her own back in time.) If a man exists whose emotions don't work that way, I don't care to know him, and I certainly don't want him to be representative of those defending the country, for what then would be left worth defending? Colonel Roush libels Mr. Webb as a "bigot" for his foresight. In fact, Colonel Roush is a zealot who shows his own intolerance by boasting of his desire to purge from the service officers and midshipmen who don't agree with him.
Paul Roush and those who share his views have to realize that the issue is not about them or their daughters. It's about a young working-class woman who joined the Army for the education benefits whose base camp is about to be overrun. And at the cultural level, it's not about what we "allow" women to do; it's about what we let our overindulged young men avoid.
Lawrence Stovall, U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1984 -After reading Colonel Roush's piece, I have concluded that he believes that women are just as well or better equipped for combat than men, that mankind has been waging war incorrectly for all of history, and that he has a real personal dislike for James Webb and any of his ideas. I agree with Mr. Webb, and according to the colonel, that is why I am in "civilian society, where I may contemplate my bigotry in a setting in which I will probably do less harm."
Colonel Roush's strongest resentment is that Mr. Webb urges the opposition to speak out. The colonel states that speaking out is "inexcusable" and that because "the legislation that opened the service academies to women . . . is the supreme law of the land . . . obedience is not an option." Obeying the law is not the issue here. Colonel Roush resents being free to question the law. If he really believes obedience to the law and freedom of thought and speech are one and the same, where was he when military and civilian women protested against the combat exclusion rule? Was that not the "supreme law of the land"? Yet many officers spoke out against it without fear of retribution. Of course, that's because it was politically correct.
Colonel Roush's final call to the politically correct is that "silence will not do." The fact is that they never have been silent or we would not be debating this issue. The colonel's true objective is to silence all those who oppose his view, even it if violates the First Amendment. So much for swearing to defend the Constitution.
"The Seventh Annapolis Seminar"
(See R. Seamon, p. 14, June 1997; N. Hogan, pp. 20-21, July 1997 Proceedings)
Captain Edward B. Hontz, U.S. Navy (Retired) -Rear Admiral Hogan's continuing frustration over the Navy's inexorable march of progress, specifically in the integration of women, places him in good company. In the middle of the last century, Commodore Matthew Perry lamented the abolishment of the lash, and like Admiral Hogan, he was certain that this unwarranted liberalization portended doom for the Navy. Similarly, Sir Francis Drake, during his circumnavigation of the globe, lamented that unlike Magellan during the first circumnavigation, he was required to hold a court-martial prior to hanging an offender (in Drake's case, the chaplain).
Admirals Drake, Perry, and Hogan were great leaders. But in spite of their otherwise outstanding careers, they failed to understand the real nature of progress, which for the Navy has always included technical, tactical, and social aspects. Admiral Hogan's arguments will go the way of those early in this century against homeporting ships to permit officers and men to spend several months a year with their families, and those more recently against racial integration and the all-volunteer force. Time, tide, and the progress of humankind wait for no man.
Proceedings is to be commended for providing an open forum for Admiral Hogan and all others on this issue. You provide a monthly reminder both of how far we have come and how far we have to go.
"The Battle of the Lasting Impression"
(See S. Zimmerman, pp. 44-47, May 1997; 1. E. Truitt, E. C. Olson, p. 8, July 1997 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander Mark J. Perry, U.S. Naval Reserve -Mr. Truitt's letter makes an interesting point that was surely not his original intent. His distress with the photograph of General Boomer and Molly Moore illustrates just how far the crusade for equal rights and equal treatment of military personnel has gotten off track. Comparing their pose, with smiles and a friendly arm around the shoulder, to Tailhook, Kelly Flinn, and Aberdeen shows how common sense has ceased to be part of the debate or solution.
Mr. Truitt asks, "What [do] photographs like this convey?" Is there really a question here? Did General Boomer invite-or worse-drag Ms. Moore into his tent after the photo? Was she forced to smile though she felt that she was being sexually harassed by the general? The obvious answer is no. Both General Boomer and Ms. Moore seem to be enjoying the innocent, friendly moment. There is nothing forced and certainly no chain of command issue. The troops aren't saying, "Boy, the general gets to put his arm around reporters' shoulders but we don't." So what is the problem?
The problem stems from a lack of common sense. Not just in the military, but in society as well. Fewer and fewer actions are considered acceptable because they might offend somebody somewhere. We are losing perspective on acceptable behavior because fewer things are acceptable. Rather than trust that people are basically good and will not intentionally try to hurt others, we focus on the criminal, the banal, and the cruel. Worse yet, we now equate simple situations like this photo to Tailhook and Aberdeen.
Case in point: A Miller Brewing Company executive describes an episode of Seinfeld to a female coworker. She is offended, but rather than handling it at her level, she takes it right to management. Result: The executive is fired. Now Miller is going to pay him an incredible sum because the courts saw the incident for what it was-innocent conversation.
Tailhook, Aberdeen, and Kelly Flinn represent incidents that are either criminal or prejudicial to good order and discipline-and should be rooted out ruthlessly. Let's focus on real problems and let common sense handle the rest.
"Fifth Fleet, Arriving"
(See J. S. Redd, pp. 48-51, July 1997 Proceedings)
Bert Lindenbaum -This article is outstanding in the way it succinctly gives the history, missions, and hopes of the new Fifth Fleet. When I hear of the Fifth Fleet I will have a better understanding of just what it is and why. Thanks to Proceedings and Vice Admiral Redd.
"Cruise Missiles of the Gods"
(See J. Huber, pp. 28-31, July 1997 Proceedings)
Captain Mick McDonough, U.S. Navy -The most important issue facing our Navy today is: manned or unmanned-how best to deliver ordnance on target from ships? Declining budgets and advancing technology demand new answers. Those in uniform diligently, but quietly, pursue their Joint Requirements/Program Objectives Memorandum process. The "suits," be they vendors, solons, or constituents, seek to shore up their own security again as quietly as possible. None see advantage in a knock-down public debate. Such a debate occurred in the late 1930s between the old battleship admirals and the young Turk aviators. The old guard fought a valiant delaying action, but the young visionaries were able to redirect enough resources and the fast carriers and air wings were there when we needed them--on an interwar budget.
As we watch the live video from the Mars Sojourner, we recognize the pilot need not always sit in-or limit-the envelope of the vehicle. Commander Huber points out in his refreshingly irreverent style that what we need is balance between manned and unmanned deliverers of ordnance. While the bureaucrats do their quiet work, other stakeholders of the 21st-century Navy should debate the pros and cons of this mix openly and with conviction. Proceedings is a fine forum; let the debate begin.
Commander Oliver V. Shearer III, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired) -The issues of procurement and employment numbers of cruise missiles, as opposed to conventional tactical aircraft (stealth notwithstanding), are major and far-reaching. Commander Huber's article is very frank and makes some very honest points about the pros and cons of cruise missiles versus tactical aircraft. But illustrating such issues using terms like "smart guys," "dumb guys," "ripped off," and "groovy missiles" is a good recipe for getting these points lost in the comedy.
The Ultimate Win-Win
Commander Mike Knollmann, U.S. Navy, Commanding Officer, Precommissioning Unit Decatur (DDG-73), and Lieutenant Joe DiRenzo III, U.S. Coast Guard, Commanding Officer, USCGC Jefferson Island (WPB-1340) -As the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard prepare for service in the 21st century, both services will have to look to each other for new ways to complete operational missions, accomplish important hands-on training, and build on the legacy of interservice operational support. This maturation has started in sometimes small, isolated areas, because of a variety of factors, including:
- Shrinking federal budgets coupled with reduced asset availability
- Increased mission requirements and commitments, often in nontraditional areas such as humanitarian operations
- Greater demand on the United States to participate in joint/coalition operations, especially peacekeeping and counterdrug operations
These small success stories, which break down barriers and realign corporate paradigms, will lay the foundation for greater cooperation, ensuring that both services benefit equally. Eventually, the result will be one of the strongest partnerships in the armed forces.
Recently, a U.S. Coast Guard 110-foot Island-class patrol boat's crew was approximately two weeks away from a two month deployment that would take them from their home port in New England to the Caribbean, in support of Operation Frontier Shield. The cutter's goals were: 100% completion of all engineering and damage control preventive maintenance; all corrections and updates to the entire Caribbean chart portfolio; and large amounts of deck cleaning and repair.
From a 17-person crew, two members of the five-person engineering department were temporarily unavailable. Furthermore, within operations, the department head transferred, and the new third-class quartermaster was still adjusting to his new responsibilities. In the deck department, one seasoned third class departed and was replaced by a fresh recruit. On a larger cutter, these types of transfers are easily dealt with; on a smaller ship, they affect the ability to perform at its best.
Home ported in Portland, Maine, the crew of the cutter looked to Bath Iron Works, which is only 25 miles away and hoped that the precommissioning units of the newest Arleigh Burke (DDG-5 )-class destroyers might have personnel who could lend a hand.
Before approaching the prospective commanding officer of the newest ship (the Decatur), the cutter's commanding officer directed the executive officer and department heads to draw up specific tasks with which they needed help. For example, the engineering petty officer created lists from required preventive maintenance lists and judged the specific crewing requirements. The executive officer brought together the department heads and reviewed the requirements. Some duplications were found. These items were addressed, specific number of days required added, and the lists streamlined.
With a firm grasp on requirements, the commanding officer approached the Decatur's precommissioning commanding officer (PCO). The response was overwhelmingly supportive. Immediately, the PCO directed the destroyer's auxiliary officer to establish a "Tiger Team" based on the cutter's needs to include engineering, deck, and operations personnel. This team was established in less than four hours.
The next day, Navy personnel boarded the cutter. The team leader, a surface warfare qualified chief engineman, met with the cutter's machinery technician chief and matched personnel to requirements. Within 20 minutes, the two crews were operating as if they had served together for years. The key was simple emphasize teamwork, listen to feedback, and have a plan.
After two days of working together, the principals met to discuss the progress that exceeded all expectations. Some small changes to procedures were made.
For example, the Navy personnel joined the cutter's crew at morning quarters, further strengthening the growing team spirit. Starting the second week, the Decatur PreCommUnit added additional personnel, which were absorbed in the now joint effort and quickly put to work.
By the end of the two-week period both groups boasted achievements. The Navy personnel had accomplished 32% of all the preventive maintenance on the main diesel engines and the corresponding auxiliary systems. Damage control requirements were nearly 100%. In operations, the entire Caribbean chart portfolio had been corrected, while the deck and ground tackle never looked better. The Navy personnel had also conducted "hands-on" training and gained valuable experience refreshing old skills as their destroyer was built. For the Coast Guard personnel, the added crew allowed completion of all Caribbean preparations and then some. In some cases, the Navy personnel were the teachers and the Coast Guardsmen the students; at other times, the roles were reversed.
While the destroyer underwent construction at Bath Iron Works, the Decatur's junior officers received training on Coast Guard ships in the area. From coastal piloting and navigation aid maintenance on the White Lupine (WPB-1332) to underway damage control training on Jefferson Island's sister ship Wrangell (WLM-546), the crew of the Decatur benefited from a continuing working relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard.
There were other benefits from the experience on board the Jefferson Island. Within the first hours, any preconceived stereotypes between members of the two services about each other's missions or personnel quickly were shattered.
This small victory highlights an important step that must be encouraged at every step of the chain of command. Thinking "outside the box" to coordinate resources and support should be routine. The Jefferson Island and Decatur proved it can be done without red tape, many formal requirements, and bureaucratic burden-the ultimate win-win situation.
"Building Sailors Better"
(See K. Green, pp. 32-35, July 1997 Proceedings)
Captain Lisalee Anne Wells, JAGC, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired) -Admiral Green's article was a fine endorsement of the current recruit training program, describing the rational demands of the organization for quality in its recruits while dealing with the broad range of problems those recruits bring with them to the Recruit Training Center (RTC) Perhaps without meaning to do so, Admiral Green also made a strong case for gender segregated training.
RTC recognizes that recruits come from good homes and broken ones, from the inner cities and from the farms, with strong moral codes and with little moral fiber. These young people have little in common on their first day of training; for the Navy to forge them into a part of a successful fighting force, we must inculcate in them the goals and values of the organization. Much energy is devoted to reducing psychological and even physical stress from the ranks during recruit training. Why not take an obvious step and eliminate sexual stress?
Young people who have not had strong personal guidance from their parents or community need to develop a sense of self-worth to give them the best chance to succeed in dealing with others.
As a product of a single-sex college and the last (gender-segregated) class at Women Officers School, I see great virtues in separating many aspects of recruit training for men and women. Same-sex drill instructors and mentors would eliminate the "Aberdeen syndrome" where recruits without the necessary confidence in the organization to say "no," didn't. Because women and men cannot and are not asked to meet the same physical fitness standards, why mix the two in athletic training? I do not know exactly what the living accommodations might be, but please, give both men and women a few weeks to get used to the idea that they will be shipmates first, before they are asked to become roommates.
On a campus like Great Lakes, recruits have ample opportunity to mingle with each other in social settings, from the video arcade at the exchange to the clubs. The "social skills" that some recruits lack may include the romantic ones, but these can surely wait until after graduation from RTC.
Lieutenant Commander George A. Everding, U.S. Navy (Retired) -Well done, Admiral Green. You have given me much needed reassurance that we are still doing things right in our beloved Navy. Now if we can just get fleet and shore activities to use the same procedures as you describe to indoctrinate new arrivals instead of complaining about the quality of boot training. These procedures should be used for every new arrival, whether he or she is right out of boot camp or an old salt on subsequent tours. All these commands need do is copy the article and substitute the words "new arrival" for "recruit."
"A Billion Dollar Blunder?"
(See D. S. Dees, pp. 75-77, July 1997 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander John K. Hafner, U.S. Naval Reserve -Merchant Marine Reserve, Master, Merchant Vessel Cape Rise-Although I agree with the basic premise of this well-written essay-that the arsenal ship is a vulnerable, expensive idea that needs to be reconsidered. I disagree with the author's contention that automation and crew reduction would be negative factors.
The article notes that the level of automation and smaller crew size would be a "dangerous" step forward. This is ridiculous. Although it is comforting to think of hundreds of sailors all manning their battle stations, ready for action, it is simply not the way of the future. Do we send up extra pilots in our fighter aircraft because there is a possibility of a system failure, or more astronauts in the Space Shuttle just in case there is a catastrophic accident? Of course not. We have built in redundant systems and only the most qualified and highly trained people operate these systems. We must look at our warships the same way. Advanced technology and automation go hand in hand.
For more than a decade, fully automated merchant vessels have operated safely with crews of 16 to 18 people. Although this is somewhat like comparing apples and oranges, there is a strong argument here that the Navy is somewhat overmanned. Battle-related casualties and damage control needs aside, I find it incomprehensible that the modern warship needs 10 to IS people on the bridge at all times when under way. I have been on the bridge of an Aegis cruiser while undocking and counted 31 people on the bridge-almost double the amount of people in the entire crew of a merchant ship. With a standard commercial collision avoidance radar on the bridge, there is no need for more than three people to be on the bridge at any time, even while docking and undocking. This is how it is done every day on a commercial vessel. I'm leaving out numerous combat, weapons, and communication systems that are not found on merchant vessels for the sake of argument, but the point remains that more automation-not less-is the way forward in warship design.
The way the Navy crews and manages its vessels is the result of hundreds of years of evolution-as is the Merchant Marine's. The reasons for each are valid and satisfy specific needs. But while the Navy has been pressing ahead technologically, it is lagging behind on the ergonomic side of ship development. As ship designs become advance, the number of people required to man them will decrease.
"Relighting the Surface Fire"
(See J. W. Hammond, pp. 26-30, August 1997 Proceedings)
Vice Admiral A. J. Krekich, U.S. Navy, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet -Major Hammond's article on surface fire support was a good addition to the current discussion in this important Navy-Marine Corps Team issue. He missed the mark, however, on his vision of the Maritime Fire Support Demonstrator. Like many others, Hammond errs by viewing the fire support demonstrator (arsenal ship) as a replacement for the battleship. The arsenal ship is better conceptualized as an ammunition ship that delivers ordnance not to other ships, but on target; ordnance that is on call, ready for fire. Furthermore, control of this fire support-the finger on the trigger-may not only be possible from other ships, but from ground commanders ashore as well.
Major Hammond also calls the combat capability of the arsenal ship "greatly overrated." He should be careful not to underrate this developing concept nor to make assumptions that the arsenal ship needs more protection than currently required for us to get ordnance delivered on target. Ultimately, I think, he will find that results of the demonstrator will contribute greatly to the needed quantity, precision, and responsiveness.
Finally, Major Hammond wisely calls for the conduct of exercises "that would allow full integration of landing forces and NSFS fires." In fact, a great step in this direction has already been taken. In March, Vice Admiral Herb Browne and Third Fleet ran Fleet Battle Experiment Alfa, concurrent with the Marines' effort in Hunter Warrior. The USS Benfold (DDG-65) played a major role as a "simulated" arsenal ship. Third Fleet successfully demonstrated the connectivity, responsiveness, and volume necessary to provide revolutionary support to forces ashore. And by helping to strike a week's worth of targets in less than two days, the Benfold showed how the maritime fire support ship can be instrumental to that support.
Additionally, the Benfold worked as part of the "Ring of Fire" concept, a new approach to surface fire support that integrates multiple fire support assets. Ring of Fire's flexibility demonstrated that response time in some cases can be reduced from hours to seconds. Importantly, the battle experiment focused on the command and control aspect of fire support that Major Hammond correctly highlights. Experiments such as these will continue, and I think he will find we are actively working in the right direction on surface fire support to report to our comrades-in-arms, "On station, ready for call for fire."
"How About Real Quality of Life-At Work!"
(See T. A. Cropper, p. 80, July 1997 Proceedings)
"Outsourcing Is Not a Panacea"
(See D. King, pp. 69-70, July 1997; J. L. Byron, p. 15, August 1997 Proceedings)
Interior Communications Electrician First Class Douglas C. Smithdeal, U.S. Navy -In my 18-year Navy career, only my first command had no civilian personnel. Since then I have worked for and with civilians, many of whom are experts in their fields. Almost all received their training through the Navy. This is the Navy's Achilles' heel.
Civilians are viewed as long-term assets-military personnel transfer every few years. Naturally when expensive training is required, civilians are the first choice. In my last three commands, only civilians received formal training. Management believed it was the most cost effective use of scarce money. The result is that enlisted personnel are not properly trained.
The Navy's ultimate challenge is war. When I was in Somalia, I saw none of my command's civilians. They never received two weeks' notice for a six-month deployment, and never had to hump 200pound cases up and down ship's ladders. Their knowledge did not help me fix some very expensive electronic equipment in the field. Their formal training was 8,000 miles away.
When the going gets tough, these civilian experts will not be there; the Navy will be stuck with guys just like me. The Navy should train us too.
"To Catch the Quiet Ones"
(See L. Murphy, pp. 59-62, July 1997 Proceedings)
Theodore L. Gaillard, Jr., Independent Analyst -As Commander Murphy points out, downsized squadrons and aging maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) are weakening the aerial link in our once-exemplary air, sea, and submarine antisubmarine warfare (ASW) triad. The post-Cold War easing of tensions has led us to disband almost 50% of our active P-3C patrol squadrons, while remaining units cope with aging airframes and no hope of a designated replacement aircraft. Meanwhile, Commander Murphy reminds us that Russia is putting dwindling military funds into completing the construction of its first fourth-generation SSN (the Severodvinsk-which promises to be even quieter and more capable than the highly respected Akula IIs) and the design of even more advanced follow-on SSNs and post-Typhoon SSBNs.
Nine years ago we anticipated production of the Lockheed follow-on to the P-3C, but excessive development cost projections doomed the project. Nevertheless, a capable replacement aircraft is now available and in production. Development expenses would be minimal, limited to modular adaptation of P-3C sensor suites and weapon systems to this new airframe. In the proud tradition of the P2V Neptune (mythological ruler of the seas) and the P-3 Orion (a legendary mighty hunter), strongman Hercules was also known among the ancients for his strength and hunting prowess. As a radically upgraded version of a proven airframe, the new Lockheed C-130J-30 Super Hercules is a prime candidate to fill the role of hunting potentially hostile submarines that shadow our naval units and threaten sea lines of communication.
What P-3C Orion capacities must be accommodated? A crew of three in the cockpit and eight mission specialists; 19,250 pound maximum sensor/weapons load consisting of mission-dictated options such as Mk 46 torpedoes; mines; bombs; Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon missiles; SUU-53 dispensers; sonobuoys; smoke markers; parachute flares; bathythermograph buoys; systems fit-out (fore-aft surveillance radar, retractable infrared detector, rear infrared jammers, sonar receivers, signal processor and digital computer/data processing station, fore-aft damage assessment cameras, and tailboom magnetic anomaly detection gear); and 9,200 U.S. gallons of fuel capacity for three-hour patrol (at 237 miles per hour patrol speed, with higher transit speeds-not problems for the C-130J) plus 3,000-mile round trip from base. Can this rejuvenated next-generation
Hercules shoulder Orion's load? Here's what the C-130J-30 brings to maritime patrol:
- Lower cost. Basic airframe and engine development costs already paid for; maintenance man-hour savings (50% of previous C-130 model).
- Power and range. More powerful, fuel-efficient twin-spool engines driving new six-bladed propellers replace previous generation T-56 powerplants used on both P-3s and earlier C-130s. In-flight refueling capability for extended-range patrols, plus greater fuel capacity than the P-3 series with streamlined supplemental underwing tanks. Consequent significant improvement in range; rate of climb; and load capacity for crew, sensor, and weapons systems.
- Updated aircraft systems. Glass-panel liquid-crystal display cockpit with headsup display for safer, more accurate, lowlevel approaches to torpedo, mine, sonobuoy, or smoke marker drop zones. Potential crew weight and program-life savings with two-man cockpit capability. Global positioning satellite navigation support. Option of preprogramming mission parameters on 3" x 5" computer card. Weight savings from replacement of 600 pounds of hard wiring with MIL-STD 1553 databus architecture.
- Proven adaptability. Earlier models have already been produced in dedicated mission configurations: cargo transport, troop carrier, tactical airborne command post, hurricane hunter, flying hospital and airline-style VIP transport with galley (both for Saudi Arabia), gunship, and aerial refueling tanker-to name a few. The ASW version of the C-130J-30 would offer greater volume and a significantly wider fuselage than the P-3 series for more flexible modular arrangement of specialized ASW computer, sensor, and weapons control crew stations for the eight mission specialists.
- Additional options. Sidewinder missile loadout for air-defense; ocean-surveillance satellite down-link capability; surface towed array surveillance system uplink capability; radar-absorbent material coating-depending on weight penalty and amount of effective radar signature reduction.
- Zero-time airframes and an open production line. Once basic ASW version production parameters are established and the first preproduction airframe is assembled, tested, and approved, follow-on orders could be placed singly or in multiple batches according to need and budget constraints with minimum disruption to ongoing production of C-130Js for the air forces of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia-and others yet to come. And the space and carrying capacity of the C-130J-30 may inspire additional uses not yet foreseen.
We need to fund one prototype ASW dedicated C-130J-30 to see what it can do. It may be just what we need as metal fatigue and escalating system glitches ground increasing numbers of our venerable P-3Cs, weakening the long-range MPA link of our vital ASW triad.
Captain S. W. Nerheim, U.S. Naval Liaison Officer, Gibraltar -I've never visited Keflavik, but I must say that the photograph on page 60 bears a striking resemblance to Gibraltar as viewed from the southeast [indeed, it is Gibraltar]. My 16-year-old son, Peter, beat me to the mail bag yesterday and took great delight in his discovery.