For decades, there was a ship in the Navy with the popular name USS Neversail. It was based in San Diego and was landlocked on the Naval Training Center. It’s formal name was USS Recruit, and was used for training of future sailors. Sadly, we may have a new Neversail, though its purpose is supposed to sail the high seas — I speak of the littoral combat ship USS Freedom which just failed a critical “open-book” inspection.”
The Freedom (LCS 1) which has been plagued with design problems, engine and equipment failures, a warped propeller shaft, corrosion, cracks in the hull, water leaks, is undermanned, and now the inspection conducted from May 3 to 5 at Naval Station San Diego shows the crew is woefully overwhelmed by the ship’s problems.
The inspection, called a TYCOM (Type Commander) Material Inspection is designed for the Surface Fleet Commander to help prepare a ship for the formal Board of Inspection and Survey. It’s like a pretest in the civilian world.
You can read the report yourself and see the grades for USS Freedom:
R 071920Z MAY 12
FM COMNAVSURFPAC SAN DIEGO CA
TO USS FREEDOM
INFO COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
COMNAVSURFPAC SAN DIEGO CA
PRESINSURV VIRGINIA BEACH VA
COMLCSRON SAN DIEGO CA
MSGID/GENADMIN/COMNAVSURFPAC SAN DIEGO CA/0805/MAY//
SUBJ/TYCOM MATERIAL INSPECTION REPORT FOR USS FREEDOM (LCS 1)//
REF A IS INSURVINST 4730.1 SERIES, MATERIAL INSPECTIONS OF SURFACE SHIPS.
REF B IS INSURVINST 4730.3 SERIES, TRIALS OF SURFACE SHIPS.
REF C IS COMUSFLTFORCOMINST 4790.3 SERIES, JOINT FLEET MAINTENANCE MANUAL (VOL IV).
REF D IS INSURVINST 4730.11 SERIES, DOCUMENTATION OF DISCREPANCIES.
REF E IS OPNAVINST 5090.1 SERIES, ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES PROGRAM MANUAL.
REF F IS OPNAVINST 5100.19 SERIES, NAVY SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH (SOH) INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR OIL POLLUTION ABATEMENT (OPA) SYSTEMS IN U.S. NAVY SURFACE SHIPS AND CRAFT.
REF H IS CNSPINST 4730.2, TYCOM MATERIAL INSPECTION (TMI) PROCESS.//
1. A TMI WAS CONDUCTED ON USS FREEDOM (LCS 1) IN SAN DIEGO, CA FROM 3-5 MAY, 2012. THE TMI TEAM (TMIT) ASSESSES FREEDOM AS A HIGH RISK TO PASS THEIR SPECIAL TRIAL AND DOES NOT RECOMMEND THE SHIP PROCEED TO THEIR SCHEDULED SPECIAL TRIAL UNTIL THE SHIP COMPLETES A SATISFACTORY RE-DEMONSTRATION.
2. SENIOR INSPECTOR COMMENTS: USS FREEDOM (LCS 1) IS EVALUATED AS A “NO-GO” AND IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO PROCEED WITH THE SCHEDULED SPECIAL TRIAL (ST). FREEDOM’S CREW AND CONTRACTORS WERE NOT PREPARED FOR THE INSPECTION. BOTH ENTITIES WERE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE CONDUCT OF INSURV MATERIAL CHECKS. EXECUTION OF THE SOE WAS VERY POOR. THERE WAS CONFUSION BETWEEN CONTRACTOR AND CREW RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF EQUIPMENT CHECKS. THE INSPECTION EXPERIENCE LEVEL FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE CREW IS LOW ALTHOUGH THEY DID DEMONSTRATE A GOOD POSITIVE ATTITUDE. THE CREW AND CONTRACTORS NEED TO CONTINUE TO FAMILIARIZE THEMSELVES WITH THE SHIP’S EQUIPMENT, OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES, IMPROVE IN PRESENTATION/DEMONSTRATIONS AND AGGRESSIVELY MANAGE/COORDINATE SOE. THE SHIP WAS CLEAN. SEVERAL AREAS REQUIRE PRESERVATION. SAFETY PROGRAMS ABOARD THE SHIP ARE NON-EXISTENT. THE SHIP DID DEMONSTRATE THE ABILITY TO SELF-ASSESS. HOWEVER, THEY ARE NOT AGGRESSIVELY REPORTING AND PURSUING RESOLUTION OF THE DEFICIENCIES THEY HAVE IDENTIFIED.
3. DEMONSTRATION RESULTS:
A. FULL POWER-RED
B. QUICK REVERSAL ASTERN-RED
C. QUICK REVERSAL AHEAD-RED
E. ANCHOR DROP-YELLOW
F. AFFF TEST-RED
G. SD DTE-YELLOW
H. LONG RANGE AIR SEARCH- GREEN
I. 57MM LIVE FIRE-GREEN
4. FUNCTIONAL AREA RESULTS:
C. INFO SYSTEMS-GREEN
I. MAIN PROPULSION-RED
J. DAMAGE CONTROL-RED
L. ENVIR PROTECTION-YELLOW
M. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH-RED
R. ABILITY TO SELF-ASSESS-GREEN
S. 3M SPOTCHECKS-RED
T. ATIS DATABASE-NOT DEMONSTRATED//
Isaac Cubillos, an award-winning journalist, has spent the past 19 years in the news business as a reporter or editor.
Throughout that time, he has covered the military as one of his beats. Isaac has won several journalism awards, including a chapter award of the Society of Professional Journalists for his series of articles on the D-Day invasion of the Normandy beaches by soldiers of Hispanic origin.
He is on the board of the Military Reporters and Editors Association, and a member of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Isaac is the author of “Military Reporters Stylebook and Reference Guide.”
Find out more about him on his miltary reporting blog.