USS Rust Bucket

It was just a few months ago that I lamented the deteriorated state of the US military, including pictures of ships covered in rust. Now it looks like the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, wants the Navy to correct the USS Rust Bucket appearance of its ships.

7 replies on “USS Rust Bucket”

I read the linked article. Pathetic comments imo from the MSC officers they interviewed. Their responses amounted to “it’s too hard!” to do the painting and preservation. My experiences are colored by deploying in the Cold War and 90s Navy but there was a simple fix to the “it’s too hard problem”, and that was to crank down even harder on the thumbscrews until the important shit got done. Back in the day, we also got Drills (Engineering and Ship’s) done on top of maintenance, and paint/preservation. Made for a lot of 18-20 hour days but everyone was getting cycled like that, and the important stuff got done and we didn’t look like a rust bucket falling apart. And not to brag, we drilled all the other fundamentals enough so that we didn’t run into other ships or run aground, and we even drilled the weapons stuff.
I’d lay the current state of things on the transformationalist a-holes who thought their “brilliant” ideas would be a shortcut to excellence and that they could do everything with clever LCS ship design and getting rid of SWOS for the surface officers. My life experience has made me a big believer in that you have to work on the fundamentals and master those first before you go off redesigning and “improving” everything. McNamara’s ghost came back in spades with the dickheads running the Navy into the ground over the last 20 years.

I hear that. I was in the engineering department in the 80s. Working 18 and 20 hour days was the norm while at sea. We had a 12 hour shift, plus a watch schedule, plus drills. On Sundays, those who weren’t on watch were allowed 2 hours off to either sleep or go see the chaplain.

I’m of two minds here, because shit truly rolls downhill.
On the one hand, the Admiral in question isn’t differentiating between the navy and MSC civilian-crewed naval ships. The difference being that MSC ships are minimally crewed, and have been having enormous problems even reaching minimum crew sufficient to sail because MSC is awful to work for.
I can’t speak for the navy, except that there are several hundred navy ships and only 29 MSC support and supply ships to fuel and feed and supply those hundreds of ships, meaning that MSC ships spend at least 4 times more time at sea than navy ships… UNREPS are an all-hands affair, which means that nobody is doing superficial maintenance like painting when they can be put into a work gang.
Oh, here’s a fun fact that admiral in his cute spotless white tunic seems to be ignoring- NAVY RULES FORBID HANGING A MAN OVERSIDE.
The problem is systemic- I know that all MSC ships are sailing about 20% shy of normal crew complement, and supernumaries who could be painting and spraying ospho are much of the missing 20%. Why do shit work for shit pay in quasi-military living conditions that civilian mariners laugh at MSC mariners for tolerating? Some MSC ships still have communal berthing, where you have 40 bunks in a compartment, while you get your own room on a container ship or tanker and make the same money.
Oh, other fun fact about MSC. They average about 8 months of delays in getting you relieved to go home, so that the standard 120-day contract articles averages out to about 370 days aboard, and since they’re civil service, they only have to give you 14 days of home leave before recalling you for a new contract.

The problem is systemic. Some white hat is in a lather because he got his dress gloves dirty, but if he wants to find out whose at fault, all he needs is a mirror. It starts and ends with the guys in white hats who wear shiny gold bars on their shoulders and don’t go on ships.

Blaming covid and supply chain.
It seems like the ships are rusty due to laziness and dumb assert.

How about they issue the crew scrapers, wire brushes and sandblasted.
Next warm day spell, have a crew bonding time of prep and painting.

Its not rocket science.
Things deteriorate and rust.
Schedule time to take care of stuff.
Smart people in charge can’t figure that out.

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