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The Navy Is Revamping Surface Warfare Training To Avoid More Deadly Collisions
The Navy has revamped training for junior officers following two deadly collisions in 2017 involving U.S. Navy ships.
The revamped Junior Officer of the Deck course is taught at the Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island.
- The training purposefully puts students in situations to increase their stress levels and teach them how to get out of difficult ship-maneuvering scenarios.
- The virtual reality training modules teach officers to safely navigate using radar, how to use standard bridge command, and master rules of the road. The technology allow them to stop, evaluate mistakes, and then redo scenarios safely.
- Revamping the training became a priority for the Navy after two deadly collisions in 2017.
- The USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) collided with the ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan on June 17, 2017.
- The USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on August 21, 2017.
- A total of 17 Sailors died during the two collisions.
- “Since the mishaps of 2017 and the follow-on Comprehensive Review, which really forced us to look introspectively at our community and dive deep into the details, we discovered quite a few areas that we needed to address,” said Capt. Scott Robertson, commanding officer of the Surface Warfare Officer School in a statement. “There’s been a tremendous amount of work here at SWOS. We’ve made modifications to almost every one of our courses’ curricula.”
- You can read more about the revamped training here.
©2018 WTKR-TV, Norfolk. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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(Reuters) - In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldier Greg Walker drove to a checkpoint just outside of Baghdad's Green Zone with his Kurdish bodyguard, Azaz. When he stepped out of his SUV, three Iraqi guards turned him around at gunpoint.
As he walked back to the vehicle, he heard an AK-47 being racked and a hail of cursing in Arabic and Kurdish. He turned to see Azaz facing off with the Iraqis.
"Let us through or I'll kill you all," Walker recalled his Kurdish bodyguard telling the Iraqi soldiers, who he described as "terrified."
He thought to himself: "This is the kind of ally and friend I want."
The US military quietly pulled 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan over the past year without a peace deal
The U.S. military has pulled about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year, the top U.S. and coalition military commander said Monday.
"As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we're always looking to optimize the force," Army Gen. Austin Miller said at a news conference in Kabul. "Unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimization … we reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here."
"I'm confident that we have the right capabilities to: 1. Reach our objectives as well as continue train, advise, and assist throughout the country," Miller continued.
The New York Times was first to report that the U.S. military had reduced its troop strength in Afghanistan even though peace talks with the Taliban are on hiatus. The number of troops in the country has gone from about 15,000 to 13,000, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the U.S. military is considering drawing down further to 8,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of a broader political agreement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Oct. 19.
"We've always said, that it'll be conditions based, but we're confident that we can go down to 8,600 without affecting our [counterterrorism] operations, if you will," Esper said while enroute to Afghanistan.
So far, no order has been given to draw down to 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. official said.
After President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Taliban, which had been expected to take place at Camp David around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has increased both air and ground attacks.
In September, U.S. military aircraft dropped more ordnance in Afghanistan than they have since October 2010, according to Air Force statistics.
However, the president has also repeatedly vowed to bring U.S. troops home from the post 9/11 wars. Most recently, he approved withdrawing most U.S. troops from Syria.
On Monday, Esper said the situations in Syria and Afghanistan are very different, so the Afghans and other U.S. allies "should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria."