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  • USS Essex Captain Loses Job After Aging Ship Collides With Tanker

    The USS Essex keeps making news for all the wrong reasons. The amphibious assault ship was unable to complete two missions because of mechanical or maintenance issues. Last month the aging warship’s steering failed, causing it to collide with the tanker. Now the Navy has removed the ship’s commanding officer.

    According to press reports, the Navy “lost confidence” in Capt. Chuck Litchfield, who was in charge when the Essex crashed into the USNS Yukon off the coast of California on May 16. The Essex was returning from a 12-year stint in Sasebo, Japan.

    The amphibious assault ship was featured in a Heritage Foundation video last month about military readiness. The high-profile mishaps on the Essex reflect broader challenges with America’s aging military.

    “These current problems are the result of years of under-funded maintenance and modernization work,” Heritage’s Brian Slattery wrote earlier this year.

    It’s not the first time the military has confronted a readiness crisis. In Heritage’s video, retired Capt. Tom Shanahan recalls his experience on the USS Canisteo in 1979. America’s military had emerged from the Vietnam War earlier in the decade and was now facing sizable and significant budget cuts.

    “I can see in the USS Essex the same types of things that happened to me in Canisteo,” Shanahan said. “You draw down equipment, you draw down personnel, and therefore, you draw down the readiness of your ship to deploy. I had that case in Canisteo. I was drawn down to the standpoint I could not get the ship to sea, and I had to be honest with my superiors and say I couldn’t do it.”

    In Shanahan’s case, he took the bold step of refusing to certify his ship as seaworthy — a bold move that came as a surprise to many in the military.

    For the 21-year-old USS Essex, steering failure was a factor in the May 16 collision. But a Navy investigation also found breakdowns in the command and control of the ship and a loss of situational awareness, according a spokeswoman. Those factors contributed to Litchfield’s dismissal.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to USS Essex Captain Loses Job After Aging Ship Collides With Tanker

    1. Bobbie says:

      This government concerns themselves with unconstitutional acts above their oath of office. Under funding America's military and initiating unconstitutional acts is extremely unethical! Stop the complacency!

      This government protects the attorney general, a man who's position effects all of America who's found to be hiding, covering up, lying, disregarding his responsibilities that murdered human lives all for HIS good intention to appeal the removal of America's 2nd amendment right to self protection and expand government control behind America's back, while government connections will have a man fired for what wasn't in his control but because of the neglect of government in control.

      Nobody gets privilege that isn't earned, Mr. Obama and Holder. People trying to destroy the rights of America with no concern to human value, do not earn "privilege" unless that's the kind of president we're forced to deal with, eh?

      Get these American 3rd world wannabes out! People deserve truth these deceivers cower to! People deserve respect these lowlifes ignore. People deserve closure the humanly insensitive in control are thoughtless, uncaring and appalling to dishonor, but undermine to cause. Discipline is NECESSARY! ACCOUNTABILITY IS JUSTICE! A time when national justice is warranted.

    2. Andrew says:

      "Essex" is a cursed name for ships, anyway. In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk in the South Pacific by an enraged sperm whale. The survivors set out in small boats for South America — turning to cannibalism to survive.

    3. Navy Sailor says:

      I read Heritage articles all the time, and don't normally respond despite opinions occasionally interjected in place of facts. However, this opinion article is very misleading. This crash was not related to a lack of funding. In the course of a month, the US Navy crashed a MQ-8 Fire Scout, a Global Hawk, and had a submarine catch on fire while in drydock. The US Navy has had incidents which have resulted in damages or losses of nearly $1,000,000,000 in just one month. The CO of the USS Essex wasn't even the only NAVY CO fired this week…

      The problem is occurring fleet-wide on surface ships, subs, manned and unmanned squadrons. Is it really a funding issue, or a more fundamental issue such as a deficiency in leadership?

    4. Navy Sailor says:

      I read Heritage articles all the time, and don't normally respond despite opinions occasionally interjected in place of facts. However, this opinion article is very misleading. This crash was not related to a lack of funding. In the course of a month, the US Navy crashed a MQ-8 Fire Scout, a Global Hawk, and had a submarine catch on fire while in drydock. The US Navy has had incidents which have resulted in damages or losses of nearly $1,000,000,000 in just one month. The CO of the USS Essex wasn't even the only NAVY CO fired this week…

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