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It's A 'Floating Prison': USS Shiloh Sailor Surveys Reveal A Totally Demoralized Crew
When a sailor from USS Shiloh (CG-67) went missing last summer, presumably lost overboard in the Pacific, only to be found a week later hiding out in the ship’s machinery spaces, some readers could be forgiven for wondering what was going on in that command.
Quite a lot, and none of it good, it turns out.
Navy Times this week published comments by sailors aboard the USS Shiloh — a Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser named for one of the bloodiest days in American military history — taken from command climate surveys ordered aboard the ship in the past two years under the watch of Capt. Adam M. Aycock, who recently completed his command tour on the ship. The crew’s comments paint a picture of a ship gone amok, in the same chain of command as two West Pacific destroyers whose at-sea collisions have spurred a stem-to-stern review of the United States’ entire surface warfare fleet.
Capt. Adam M. Aycock renders honors during a change of command ceremony aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh Aug. 30, 2017.Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Pat Morrissey
The Shiloh crew charged that Aycock ruled unilaterally and aggressively, “neutered” the chiefs mess, and punished minor infractions with time in the brig, where sailors subsisted on bread and water. The result was “dysfunction from the top, suicidal thoughts, exhaustion, despair and concern that the Shiloh was being pushed underway while vital repairs remained incomplete,” Navy Times’ Geoff Ziezulewicz reported.
The damning report highlighted what it said were common complaints in the Shiloh sailors’ comments, including:
- “It’s only a matter of time before something horrible happens.”
- “Our sailors do not trust the CO.”
- It’s a “floating prison.”
- “I just pray we never have to shoot down a missile from North Korea because then our ineffectiveness will really show.”
- “It feels like a race to see which will break down first, the ship or it’s [sic] crew.”
That may seem par for the course for hyperbolic scuttlebutt on any overworked forward-deployed ship, but three retired Navy surface captains who reviewed the surveys for Navy Times were pretty much horrified by what they’d read:
They expressed dismay and questioned if the Navy did enough to correct the situation.
“The disrespect shown to Sailors in this ship was unforgivable,” said Wallace Lovely, a retired Navy captain and surface warfare officer who led Destroyer Squadron 31 after serving as the commander of the Frigate Samuel B. Roberts.
“The large number of lengthy comments from the respondents is not normal and the number of consistently negative comments is shocking.”
Such reports always include some disgruntled sailors, but Lovely said he had never seen it at the Shiloh’s level.
“I felt the tension while reading these surveys and can’t imagine what a Junior Sailor would be thinking while living through this scenario,” he said. “We’re lucky that a suicide or other casualty didn’t occur due to this oppressive environment.”
Things never got that bad, apparently, though the case of 3rd Class Peter Mims, a gas turbine systems technician, last June certainly brought Shiloh unwanted attention. When Mims failed to muster, he was presumed to have been swept overboard; a 50-hour search of the ocean around Shiloh failed to turn him up. But after a week, he was found hiding out in the engineer room and sent to the brig. He now faces charges that could bring him a year in military prison and a dishonorable discharge.
His reasons for going AWOL while underway are still unclear, but the ship’s command climate immediately came under scrutiny.
Despite all that, Navy Times reports, Aycock’s career continues apace at the Naval War College. Navy officials told the paper on background that “Aycock’s superiors at Task Force 70 were aware of problems” in his command early on. Regardless of how long the Navy brass keeps him in uniform, his ship’s troubles will give them a lot to think about as they try to repair a rapidly unraveling and strategically critical surface fleet.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.