Another sign of the Navy’s decline

Nothing like this ever happened during the era I was in the Navy:

At least 10 Navy helicopters were damaged in a sudden storm that blew through Norfolk Naval Station, Va., Tuesday afternoon, USNI News has learned.

According to a Navy initial assessment reviewed by USNI News, the storm resulted in 10 Class A ground mishaps – mishaps that result in more than $2.5 million in damage or the total loss of the aircraft.

Let’s see: 10 times 2.5 mil = a minimum of 25 million dollars of taxpayer money down the drain.

Why? Well, the excuse is that the severe storm warning didn’t come in until 12 minutes before the storm hit the base so they didn’t have time to tie the birds down.

But I knew thunderstorms were predicted that afternoon just by checking the weather app on my phone. They may not have predicted how severe they were going to be, but everyone knew the storms were coming.

So why did they wait for the weather guessers to tell them “hey, it’s going to be severe” before taking any precautions? It doesn’t take that long to fold up and tie down the aircraft…there are enough people in the line division to do probably three birds at a time, and each one takes maybe 15 minutes, so if they’d planned an hour in advance, they could have easily gotten it done. Heck, if you make it an “all hands” evolution and get everyone available out there, you could do every bird at once and get the whole fleet tied down in 15 minutes.

They said the gusts during the storm were up to 60 mph. Here’s the thing: Navy aircraft are specifically designed to be able to withstand high winds and even tossing decks. Guess what happens when we’re out to sea? 60 mph is equivalent to about 52 knots. Even without a storm, during flight ops on an aircraft carrier, 50 knot winds across the deck are not unusual. During flight ops, the ship steers into the wind. If the winds are gusting to 30 and the ship is traveling 25 knots…well…do the math. In between flight evolutions under “red deck” we used to hold contests; unzip your coat, grab the edges with your hands and stand with your back to the wind, then jump up into the air and open your coat and see who gets carried farthest by the wind before coming back down onto the deck. You’d be amazed how far you can “fly” under those conditions.

Oh…and I love this one. From a different story about the same incident:

USNI News also received a statement from Cmdr. Myers who elucidated that there are no impacts to operational forces as a result of this incident.

Excuse me? 10 aircraft suffered Class A mishaps…meaning they are out of commission for quite a while…at least three were completely overturned…but there are no impacts to operational forces? So if WWIII started tomorrow and Mexico started dumping mines in the gulf of Mexico, the squadron(s) those aircraft were assigned to would be able to deploy down there for minesweeping duties at full effectiveness? Go ahead, pull my other leg.

What he really means is “we don’t need minesweepers very often so we don’t expect to be overly harmed by this disaster”. But the point in having minesweeper squadrons in the active fleet is so that they’re available in the rare instance that we actually need them. Are they available right now? At full capability? I think not.

To be clear, I did a tour of duty in HM-14. That’s one of the MH-53E minesweeping squadrons in Norfolk and could very well be one of the squadrons involved in this travesty. When I was in the squadron, we had somewhere around 16 aircraft. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was in that ballpark. So, losing the equivalent of about 70 percent of a squadron isn’t operationally significant? In what fantasy world?

But I digress. My point is that those winds are well within the conditions those aircraft are designed to withstand, so the only explanation is that they were completely unprepared.

This was (another) failure of leadership and I don’t see it getting any better any time soon.

The left likes to talk about systemic problems…well, from what I can see, this is systemic. The US Military leadership is in a woeful state and no amount of white supremacy witch hunts, homosexual pride initiatives and politically correct pronoun training is going to fix it.

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1 thought on “Another sign of the Navy’s decline

  1. Sailor, I’ve got a sideshow observation, for what it’s worth. I’m an amateur meteorologist, trained weather spotter. ….I’ve been noticing that forecasting has been been “off”, meaning inaccurate, more often lately. I don’t have the hard data to back this up , at this time, but I’ve been noticing a trend of weather forecasting to be more “off”, aka wrong. Where were the predictions for the St. Louis and Kentucky flooding.
    I could long diatribe here but I’ll cut to the chase: the models are only as good as the human programmers that make them up.
    So much anomalous weather catastrophe? Or is it that the models are corrupt?
    The models can only be corrupt if the humans programming them are corrupt, and gee golly whiz bang, there’s been so muchSCIENCE corruption as of late, covid, next up climate change, ..”………could our weather forecasters be so corrupted as to knowing if an extreme weather event is likely,
    They fail to inform/warn the public because the resulting devastation, chaos, loss of life would further an AGENDA?
    Seriously, I always thought weather dudes and chicks too nerdy to be corrupted, but have ya seen the weather channel lately with its programming?.”…..,
    Im a gardener , trying to grow food, flowers and joy, so rain- too much, too little , how much, how little in time is everything in planning . So much technology , and yet.
    Sum it up, anyone else noticing weather forecasting seems to be getting a bit more “off”.

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