US Navy to resume SinkEx’s. I’d forgotten they’d imposed a moratorium on sinking decommissioned vessels. Plus, I’m a little surprised they’ve got any left to sink. The 90s and the 2000s saw an awful lot of ships sunk in exercises. Most frustratingly, damn near all the Spruance class destroyers were sent to the bottom. I remain convinced they were sunk very quickly after decommissioning as a means to justify buying more DDG-51 class destroyers. Some of the SpruCans were relatively quite young when decommissioned and sunk. It would have been awkward for the Navy to go to Congress and ask for two brand new destroyers at about a billion dollars a pop when perfectly serviceable destroyers were sitting tied up pierside, or being offered for sale cheap to friendly foreign powers. All three ships in this SinkEx, however, are logistics ships that have earned their retirement.
One of the reasons Naval Aviation likes twin engine airplanes, despite the weight penalty, is reliability. The chances of losing one engine are slim. The chances of losing both are virtually nil. Virtually.
The goal here isn’t to provide the fleet with fuel, it’s to provide cronies with contracts. If you want a real alternative to buying fuel for the Navy, figure out how to run on natural gas.
You don’t have to join the Army to drive a tank. (warning, link goes to HuffPo)
Have I told this story before? We were in Pinon Canyon for maneuvers once, and my crew was tasked to support a dog and pony show for visiting civilian politicians and shakers and movers. This was around the time of a round of BRAC hearings, and keeping Ft. Carson open was a high priority to the local Colorado political class. My vehicle was down for fire control problems, so we couldn’t take part in the big battles going on. That being the case, we were available to display our vehicle to the VIPs. After a couple hours of furiously working to get as much dust and dirt out of the Bradley (as well as carefully making sure we’d taken down all the nudie pics on the interior walls- that’s another story) we started showing off our vehicle to the civilians. There was a surprising lack of “adult supervision” at this evolution. The brass was at a grandstand that overlooked where the “battle” was taking place, but never came over to hassle us. The brass did send over a message saying that something more than just a static display would be a fine idea. So we loaded up three or four VIPs at a time, and gave them a spin around the area. Eventually, I made the decision to let some of the civilians drive the Bradley (on somewhat level ground- risk assessment at work!).
Here’s the thing. The Bradley is as easy to drive as a Toyota. Automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes. And I’d found a nice little route that gave the civvies a chance to roll down a shallow hill to build up some good speed, hit a minor bump over a buried pipeline, and catch a little air. Great fun.
Finally, after four or five civilians had a chance to play, and with a very cute young lady driving, one of the brass noticed what we were doing. Some Colonel came trotting over. I’m not sure, but I think he was the division chief of staff.* I was pretty sure I was about to get nuked, but surprisingly, no blast was forthcoming. I had the lovely lass shut down the vehicle, I hopped down, saluted, and he merely suggested that we stick to the driving, and let the civilians enjoy the ride from the gunner’s hatch.
*Some Colonels are more equal than others. The Chief of Staff is arguably the most powerful Colonel in the division, since he has the general’s ear.
Remind me to tell the nudie pic story later today.