On Following Orders and Media Coverage

In the case of the two US Navy boats captured by the Iranian navy in January, Fox News reports that the helmsman of one of the boats refused an order to take evasive action.

While a young lieutenant was the highest-ranking individual on either of the two 50-foot boats, when the order was given to evade the Iranian forces, the helmsman refused the order.

That sounds pretty bad to me. My first reaction was disbelief and thoughts of a firing squad.

However, one of the commenters there, JeffGauch, brought up an interesting point:

... if that Lieutenant wasn't the coxswain of the lead boat in the formation the helmsman was absolutely correct in disregarding the order.  Far more information than what is presented here is necessary to make an intelligent judgment.

Oddly, this fits with my experience as a rower. We often have both a coach, in a separate motorboat, and a coxswain in our own boat talking to us. The coach is in charge, but when it comes to maneuver we oar-pullers should only follow the orders of the coxswain.

New rowers often get confused by this: We can hear the coach giving maneuver orders to the coxswain, and newbs on their first or second time out will immediately start to follow them, which produces splashing, crossed oars and confusion as the more experienced rowers correctly wait for the coxswain's commands.

The Fox report does explain that the crew was inexperienced. Maybe something similar to this happened to them.

These kinds of details seem highly relevant to the story. Maybe the LT broke the rules by failing to give orders in the proper way. Maybe the helmsman broke the rules by disobeying a proper order. Either way, we need better reporters.


Ymar Sakar said...

They should look up the LT's naval academy records. There might be more going on that normal journalists would find out if they worked for the Daily Mail or some other British tabloids. The tabloids are the only true journalists left over, and they're effective precisely because they are annoying and don't use stringers or get strung along by Authorities. Certainly not as easily as the Left's media propaganda arms in the US are strung along.

Grim said...

Remember that a "young Navy lieutenant" is an O-3, and would be called a "Captain" in any other branch. Such an officer might command a whole company of infantry in the Army or Marines.

Ymar Sakar said...

Of course, I have not forgotten that the Navy starts their officers as ensigns.

Checking the enlisted records merely tends to create more gaps (since presumably there are things not in the evaluations). Too many gaps and connecting the dots becomes inaccurate.

When I connect the dots, I ignore the media as a source almost entirely. Thus when they say "young LT", that does not compute nor enter into the data banks for me. The biases of the world must be denied first, if those connecting the dots want accuracy or the truth.

Tom said...

There were a number of mistakes that together resulted in the Iranians capturing these boats. One of them was possibly an honest mistake made in the heat of the moment. That was something I wanted to bring out.

I suspect the "young lieutenant" phrase was also the reporter's ignorance of naval ranks. But, I didn't think it mattered that much.

On the larger point, I also suspect the reporter didn't even know the questions to ask, or who to talk to to find out, to really understand what the claims are.

Tom said...

The guys over in CDR Salamander's post on this are mostly for hanging the helmsman, but I'm happy to see a few saying we should wait for the full investigation.

Ymar Sakar said...

Tom ,

CDR Sala has good instincts and a solid track record over the years, concerning naval/military issues.

However, he's been out of the active ranks for some time, so the current naval service has been "transformed", so to speak. Which is why standards of discipline in his time, is not observed in this time. The transformation may have started in the politically sensitive Naval academy but... well, it went further on due to Hussein's regime.

Tom said...

Yeah, from the sound of it almost our whole military has been "transformed," and they're after the parts that haven't been yet.

Ymar Sakar said...

Even in 2012-2013, back when I checked in, people who paid attention to politics, still believed that the US military would either use a military coup de tat to defend the Constitution or refuse to obey illegal orders that usurp the authority of the Constitution.

People who no understand the extent of the Left's power, can think of being saved in that fashion, but they shouldn't breath so easily. Just because they didn't see Hussein corrupting their military, doesn't mean much. After all, people didn't know that the Left had destroyed the Tea Party's organization and funding in 2012 elections either. They just thought the media stopped attacking the TP soon after and that they just up and "disappeared". Yeah, like the mafia, just up and disappeared, down that river there, with rocks and concrete tying em down.

In a war, the enemy adapts and continually presses against your strong and weak points. Political and military power is such that people can either use it or lose it. Sometimes the peaceful factions don't want to use power, so they abdicate it to the evil and ambitious who will.