Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

What not to do when seeing a big ship in your path while entering the Persian Gulf

A couple of things struck me from this audio from the bridge of the minutes leading up to the USS Porter‘s collision with a Japanese tanker back in 2012. First, it sounds like no one is in charge. Second, when the skipper asks someone a question, it is taken as an order. Third, I wonder ...

U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy

A couple of things struck me from this audio from the bridge of the minutes leading up to the USS Porter's collision with a Japanese tanker back in 2012. First, it sounds like no one is in charge. Second, when the skipper asks someone a question, it is taken as an order. Third, I wonder why during four minutes there is no attempt to contact the other ship in ways besides the horn -- say, radio, flashing lights, and flares.

"Bridge communications were atrocious," commented retired Navy Capt. John Byron after listening to the audio. "A good skipper wants a quiet bridge and a good OOD insists on it."

Speaking of the Navy, here is a good story about the difficult decisions facing an F-18 pilot after a refueling mishap.

A couple of things struck me from this audio from the bridge of the minutes leading up to the USS Porter‘s collision with a Japanese tanker back in 2012. First, it sounds like no one is in charge. Second, when the skipper asks someone a question, it is taken as an order. Third, I wonder why during four minutes there is no attempt to contact the other ship in ways besides the horn — say, radio, flashing lights, and flares.

"Bridge communications were atrocious," commented retired Navy Capt. John Byron after listening to the audio. "A good skipper wants a quiet bridge and a good OOD insists on it."

Speaking of the Navy, here is a good story about the difficult decisions facing an F-18 pilot after a refueling mishap.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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