Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Damn, This Guy Won't Quit!

Originally posted 0724 06 Feb:

Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.) of Soldiers For The Truth is at it again. Earlier, I discussed the quality of his reporting on the USS San Francisco grounding, and not only found it to be wanting, but determined that Perry was approaching asshattedness. (Asshat: someone who wears their own ass as a hat.)

In his latest article posted at sftt.org, titled "The 'Navigator's Paradox' "Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.) has not only crossed that line, but tripped over it and fallen flat on his face. Here are some excerpts:

"An article by Christopher Drew in The New York Times last week contained one intriguing piece of information: An attached chart depicted the probable location of the submarine farther west than the optimum track of a fast transit from its home port in Guam to its planned destination in Brisbane, Australia.
"If confirmed, another question arises: Was this position determined by the presence of a senior officer onboard for some reason? Was he to be disembarked on one of the islands of the Federated States of Micronesia for a return flight to his home base, while the San Francisco then continued on toward its planned liberty port of Brisbane?
"Who was this officer? A close review of the numerous Navy press releases and other communications concerning the San Francisco revealed the names of many officers who would be reasonably associated with the San Francisco, but the presence of one officer has gone completely unmentioned: Commander, Submarine Group Seven.
"More questions emerge: Why the silence? Was he on board? Did he drive the thinking of the San Francisco’s skipper and navigator? Did they cut a few corners in order to deliver him to a planned flight home? Did these dedicated officers unwittingly attribute to their charts an inappropriate accuracy that allowed them to deliver on a tight schedule?"

The officer Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.) is accusing of being on board, with no real evidence, is RADM David Gove, Commander, Submarine Group SEVEN. (On the CSG7 webpage, click on "The Admiral" for Rear Admiral Gove's biography.) Perry continues to intimate that a "senior officer" may have been on board, although he no longer attributes this to "reliable sources". As I stated earlier, my "frequently drunken sources" say that this was not the case. Perry really is a one-trick pony-- he's convinced himself that submarines only have problems because there are senior officers on board. Maybe the reason that RADM Gove is not making a lot of noise in the press is that he is the first Flag Officer in the San Francisco's chain of command, and as such will likely be the Court Martial convening authority. Maybe he's just trying to maintain some public perception of impartiality. Do you think that might be a more reasonable explanation?

Here's the next piece of proof that Perry's sphincter muscle is wrapped tightly around his forehead; the new article claims that the position of the submarine is "west of the optimum track for a fast transit to Brisbane". It wonders if this senior officer was to be disembarked on one of the Micronesian islands to return home (hopefully one with an airport). Well, Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.), I think you're kind of reaching there. Why not get the free trip to Australia while you're on the boat? I won't go too much into it, but submarines do travel on a track given to them by a higher authority; it's part of something called "waterspace management". This seems to be Perry's train of thought: San Francisco was further west than they should have been! They'd be wasting fuel! Well, Lt. Perry, unlike the ships you're familiar with, submarines don't need to refuel but once every 20 years or so, and San Fran's got a pretty full tank. Maybe for Lt. Perry's next article, he'll find out that Sub Group 7 is the waterspace management authority for the Western Pacific (they are) and figure that the track assigned to San Francisco was approved by people working for RADM Gove (it was). This will be more proof of a great Govian conspiracy! He was probably in the pay of the Chinese! The San Francisco grounding was a plot to distract the people from problems in Iraq!

I'll probably edit this later with more hyperlinks and examples of Perry's fuzzy thinking. When I do, though, I doubt that it will change my final assessment: Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.), you, sir, are an asshat when it comes to writing about submarines.

Update: WillyShake at Unconsidered Trifles has a suggestion to help me avoid the "bad word" controversy brewing in the comments. (To ensure there's no confusion: SubBasket is my wife, and her comment was meant to be humorous - except for the new basket part. I'm just glad she didn't see what I had to say about the Democratic Underground DUmmies in this post.)

Update 2136 06 Feb: Edited to correct misspelling, punctuation, add a sentence to the update above to make it funnier, and amend one sentence to make my point clearer. I was just about to amend the portion on waterspace management issues to more clearly dismantle Perry's mistaken assumptions, but realized that I might be approaching the bounds of security classification issues if I did. (Since Perry seems to operate in the world of make-believe, he doesn't have this concern.) Also, I figured out something else that bothered me about the article. In the earlier, more sleep-inducing part of the article that discussed navigation techniques (which reached conclusions that were, in my opinion, just plain wrong), Perry's whole tone seems to be along the lines of, "They aren't doing navigation the exact same way I learned to do it 20+ years ago! Because I learned to do it a certain way, any other way is wrong, despite any technological advances." So, in addition to being an asshat, he seems to be something of a Luddite. I'm surprised he didn't complain that the San Francisco crew didn't know how to use a sextant.

Anyway, since sftt.org still has a link to me, I figure he may see this (and I'm also thinking about writing him). I renew my invitation to Perry to provide me with any additional information he has to back up his conclusions, including any additional information he has on the supposed presence of RADM Gove on board the San Francisco, and I'll publish it without editing. I'll still rip the hell out of anything that smells foolish, though. Remember, Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.), sometimes good people, like the Captain and crew of the San Francisco, can follow all the rules and still have bad things happen to them. It's called "life", and it's not some grand conspiracy (theological implications notwithstanding)...


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