- Posted October 23, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
U.S. election: Your global views
A Letter to President Obama
I was quite disgusted by your comments about the Navy in last nights debate. Your response to Mr. Romney showed just how out of touch with the military and national defense you really are.
Mr. Romney commented that he would increase the size of the Navy, which is at it's smallest size since 1917. You responded that we have fewer horses and other things that are out of date. Perhaps there are a few facts you should be made aware of before you go spouting off uninformed comments like that again.
First, the Navy is, in fact, smaller in size than it has been since 1917. At least you didn't dispute this fact. Second, the navy's responsibilities haven't been reduced. We defend the same amount of ocean that we did in 1917. We also defend against a broader array of hostile forces. Technology has come a long way. So how is it the United States Navy is supposed to do their job with fewer sailors and fewer ships?
Some facts for you to consider. The average size of crew for a destroyer 10 years ago was over 300 personnel. The average crew size today is under 275. It's the same ship with the same number of watchstations. How is that ship, that was designed to be operated by over 300 people, operating properly with under 275 people? I know the answer because I was there when the cuts were made! The answer is that some watchstations were eliminated and the crew that was left was required to work harder to cover the jobs of those that were no longer around. Those that were working 60 hours a week are now working 70 hours a week. But this is just how your cuts are affecting an individual ship and an individual person. How is it affecting the overall operation of the Navy?
I'll tell you because I witnessed it! The average ship is now deployed for 9 months rather than 6 months. They also have only 12 months for overhaul, repair, and to retrain a new crew IF they don't get surge deployed (as most vessels are doing nowadays). Before the cuts, the average crew had 12 to 18 months between deployments for this action with little to no chance of being surge deployed. So how does this affect the Navy? Again, I'll tell you because I was there. The ships are qualifying for deployment before the old crew transfers. Some are even qualifying on their way back from deployment. How does this, in any way, qualify a ship that is due to recieve new personnel for deplyment? It's cheating the system! The new crew shows up and is expected to know what to do, but they dont. The result of all of this is quite clear. Simply drive the waterfront at Norfolk Naval base. There will be two things you notice. One, there are very few ships in port training and overhauling their vessels (as is necessary with any steel ship that sits in salt water). Two, the ships that are there are rusted out hulks that are clearly being overworked.
Since the cutbacks in the Navy our fleet has not only deminished in size, but in readiness. Readiness that is critical to respond to action around the world. We have had crews that are so tired they run their ship aground. We have sent ships on deployment with broken weapons systems because they aren't allocated the money to fix them. We have risked the lives of our sailors and the security of this nation because you want to cut funding for national defense. I have more time underway on Naval vessels than you do in the White House. You may just want to listen to someone with experience!
Mr. President your comments were not only uninformed but ill advised. You just lost the vote of every United States Navy sailor. Worse, you showed just how little you know about YOUR military. You are the commander in chief. You should know better! Take it from a 10 year naval, and war, veteran, when you are talking about reducing the size of the Navy you have no idea what you're talking about. The navy needs more ships. There is no substitute for numbers! You have decreased the size of the Navy but not reduced their workload. If anything you have increased their load. They are on a pace that can't be maintained! We need more sailors on current ships and more ships. We need to be able to shift back to an 18 month deployment cycle. Our ships are designed to operate on an 18 month deployment cycle for 30 years. At the current pace, they won't last 20! Please Mr. President, reconsider your stance on the Navy. I have too many friends and shipmates that I've trained that are out there right now fighting the good fight who are risking their lives to defend this country! The least we could do is support them with funding and manpower!
A United States Navy War Veteran
Also: Follow this link to see how Obama was wrong. The Admirals of the United States Navy have been asking for more people and money! I did a report on this in June of 2010!! Why hasn't Obama heard about it by now? Yes Mr. President, the DoD has been asking for money. You are just not listening!