Camelot Jack, the coward
Posted: 29 Nov 2013
To understand what this is all about, you must have a 10th grade education, or higher, and, you must be able to think critically, which means that, in addition to being able to put facts and rules together, y’all must have an attention span longer than 30 seconds, and be able to put together thoughts requiring more than 140 characters.
First, the rules: since most of y’all not only have no one in your families who have served in the military, much less someone with seamanship skills, or even been to sea, I will put forward a few of the pertinent rules.
a. Since before The Peloponnesian Wars, seagoing vessels, littorals, boats, and ships, have been expensive. Regardless of whether or not it was a commercial vessel or Navy, people were always concerned about the cost of building, maintaining, and manning them. Because of this expense, insurance was developed, and, certain rules have always been applied to the loss of a vessel, especially at sea. Insurance investigations are inquests, military investigations are court-martials, occasionally, due to the process, courts-martial. Every vessel lost at sea, as a matter of law, must have one;
b. All military services have a book. In fact, all organizations have books. Civil organizations frequently refer to them as manuals, policies & procedures, regulations, &c. In the U.S. Navy, this book includes what specific orders mean and how they are to be carried out. The pertinent rules here are:
1. Observe: when ordered to observe, the unit in question posts lookouts at key points on the ship. On a destroyer, there are at least four lookouts, one forward, one aft, and one along each side. (This may have changed since my day, and allowance must be made for aerial lookouts, submarine lookouts, shoal & reef watches, &c.) A small craft, such as a WW II Patrol Torpedo Boat (PT Boat, FDR’s pork plywood excuse for a destroyer), would have, at the minimum, two lookouts. These lookouts would have been posted either fore & aft, or port & starboard;
2. Watch, or The Watch: ship’s day is divided into six four-hour segments. The ship’s crew is divided into four watches, and a fifth group of non-watch standing personnel, such as the bursar or ship’s doctor. Except for the morning ship’s watch, each watch is further broken down into bells, each bell denoting the turn of the hourglass, which is actually two turns of ½ hour each, such that there are eight bells in each watch, a bell for each turn, totaling 8 bells per watch, four hours per watch. The morning watches, in my time anyway, were of three and five hours, so that the sun driven day started with the watches being able to get a full, cooked breakfast. Ship’s crew is assigned either the port watch or the starboard watch. The engineering staff, or black gang, is also divided into a port and starboard watch. This is the engineering watch, which, obviously, did not exist before the steam engine;
3. Report: exactly what it says. The unit or person ordered to report must report, accurately and truly, what is observed. Often this may be restricted with things like radio silence, encrypted, safely, &c.;
4. Attack: again, exactly what it says. Like many other orders, it may be qualified by clarification, or the Rules of Engagement (R.O.E.),
5. Standing orders: these are orders that are given that cover all sorts of local conditions;
6. General Orders: There are, or were 15 general orders, which apply to almost everyone in the military, almost all the time, under almost all conditions & circumstances;
7. Prepare to abandon ship: this means that everyone should get life jackets on, admin personnel prepare to destroy papers, communiques, code books, &c., crew get into position to launch rafts, 2500’s to transmit an S.O.S./Mayday, and if it’s an engineering problem, the Chief Engineer & Senior Engineering Petty Officer, will designate those black gangers necessary, and they will stay in the engineering spaces fixing the problem until either they report the problem unfixable, or the Captain orders abandon ship. The rest of the crew will be in the prepare mode, which includes that all on deck will be observing for hostile activity of any and all sorts.
Second, the facts: in the incident in question, during wartime, a PT boat was ordered into a strait in the South Seas to observe, report, and attack enemy shipping, during nighttime.
Here are some important facts: First off, in this part of the ocean, there are all sorts of single cell organisms that, when disturbed, glow brightly. Although not particularly noticeable during day-light, when disturbed at night, it’s noticeable from miles away, and, as anyone who has been on a cruise of any kind, the stars at night make for not only considerable brightness, but there are so many of them out, that large objects, such as ships, will block out a silhouette noticeable miles, and hence, many minutes away in travel time.
A strait is a narrow body of water between two pieces of land, frequently restricting a ship’s ability to maneuver, and hence, making it very vulnerable to attack, especially in ambush.
Way is what all ships at sea must make in order to steer. A ship must move at a speed rapid enough, forward or backward, such that the rudder bites the water. A ship that cannot or does not make way, is dead in the water, which immediately necessitates the office of the watch (O.O.W.) to awaken the Captain, so that engineering may be directed to fix the problem, and for the order to prepare to abandon ship may be given. The O.O.W. is also authorized to give this order if he deems it necessary.
There are four basic ways in which a ship may patrol a given area. They are clock-wise racetrack, that is, in an oval; counter-clock-wise race track; clock-wise figure 8; and, counter-clock-wise figure 8. A grid pattern may be overlaid, but inside of each grid, one of the four movements will be used by a surface vessel.
In observing a designated area, the watchers will have high-powered binoculars and sweep the horizon for 180o while reporting every so many sweeps, as determined by the O.O.W., what he sees, and if he sees nothing, he says so. On larger ships, this means an overlap between the four watchers, on small craft, it means that there is no overlap by the watchers, so the O.O.W. must also watch with a 360o sweep overlay.
PT boats could do speeds in excess of 40 knots. Japanese destroyers commonly traveled at about 30 knots, with a top speed of about 38 knots. The obvious point here is that a Japanese WW II destroyer could not possibly catch an American PT boat and ram it.
Here’s the deal: it is not possible, under any honest conditions, for a Japanese destroyer to have rammed PT 109 in the center and split it in half without there being negligence so gross as to warrant the court-martial to find the O.O.W. guilty of manslaughter, and have him stripped of rank busted to seaman 3rd class, and sentenced to 20 years at Portsmouth Naval prison, and then given a Dishonorable Discharge.
Here are some things to consider with this scenario. If the PT boat were manned and the watch properly set, a destroyer would have been seen coming hull-down over the horizon as the smoke from its oil burning boilers would have occluded the stars. As she came hull-up, the phosphorescence of the disturbed microorganisms would have become noticeable as her bow-wave. Traveling at 30 knots, or about two minutes a mile, the PT boat would have at least 10 minutes to observe, report, and attack, said destroyer. If, on the other hand, PT 109 were dead in the water, then, except for the black gang, the entire crew would have been on deck, prepared to abandon ship, and looking for any and all hostile activity.
With at least 10 minutes warning, if she had been dead in the water, the entire crew, with supplies, would have been able to safely abandon ship. In addition, when Admiral Halsey heard of a PT boat being rammed, he demanded to see the court-martial. There was not one. Instead, there was interference by FDR and the ordering of a medal of valor for the PT boat’s commander. Oddly enough, the commander who received this award, had a father who was FDR’s good friend and bubba. Joseph Kennedy, Sr., a man how had made his money from a ‘smart’ marriage, rum running – a federal felony, stock manipulation, insider trading, and movie producing.
This was the man whom Nikita Khrushchev euchred into killing The Monroe Doctrine, thereby creating Cuba as the safe haven for the KGB’s interference in the West Coast of Africa, and all of Central and South America; and set the stage for LBJ’s gross intervention in Viet Nam. This was the man who set the stage for the failing of integration and civil rights non-discrimination.
This reverence for a coward and philanderer has been a significant factor in the splintering of American Culture, and the criminal success for the likes of our current crop of politicians.
Look it up, there is no court-martial for the loss of the United States Navy warship, PT 109. Look up the facts, it is not possible for a functioning warship to be rammed under the circumstances reported. Look it up, if PT 109 was dead in the water, as reported in the now missing Japanese destroyer’s log book, then why wasn’t the crew at prepare to abandon ship, which means that there would have been NO casualties.
I fail to understand why anyone venerates and praises this coward. He and his are part of the problem.
November 29, 2013
John F. Kennedy, a little truth, a big problem
Camelot Jack, the coward