The Navy intends to remove Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the three-star commander of the 7th Fleet, from his position amid an investigation into four incidents involving the crucial Pacific battle group that resulted in the deaths of multiple sailors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 22
News of Aucoin's ouster came amid an operational pause triggered by the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain's Aug. 20 collision with a commercial tanker near the Strait of Malacca. The incident occurred just days after the Navy released a damning report on the June 17 collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant vessel near Japan. Seventeen sailors perished between the two incidents.
The removal of Aucoin, executed by Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift, "doesn’t represent a specific finding of fault" in the recent spate of collisions, the Wall Street Journal reports; rather, the move follows the Navy's tradition of "absolute accountability" for commanding officers, the same tradition that led to the removal of the Fitzgerald's commanding officer, executive officer, and command master chief following the vessel's fatal collision.
But the two incidents only represent half of those experienced by the 7th Fleet so far this year. On May 9, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain sustained minor damage after a South Korean fishing boat ran into the cruiser’s port side; on Jan. 31, the USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay amid mechanical failures triggered by intense winds and tides.
The mishap rate for the Navy's surface vessels is not unsurprising. According to data collected by the Naval Safety Center, the branch experienced a total of five Class A afloat mishaps during fiscal year 2016 and one during 2015, down from a whopping 14 in 2015.
But the concentration of mishaps amid the 7th Fleet, a crucial part of the Pentagon's power projection against China and North Korea, appears troubling, so far that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson directed U.S. Fleet Forces Command chief Adm. Phil Davidson to launch a branch investigation into the battle group to “ensure there aren’t bigger problems that may be masked by the high pace of ship operations in the Pacific region."
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.
The M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Photo: Maj. Dan Marchik/U.S. Army
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
A Chinese tank rolls at the training ground "Tsugol", about 250 kilometers (156 miles ) south-east of the city of Chita during the military exercises Vostok 2018 in Eastern Siberia, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 (Associated Press/Sergei Grits)
China is developing a lot of new and advanced weaponry, but a recent state media report suggests the Chinese military may not be entirely sure what to do with these new combat systems.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."