Friday, May 15, 2009

Deconstucting the SAR response to the F/V Patriot

Richard Gaines, a graduate of my alma mater in Hartford, continues his work focusing on the life and times of Gloucester, Massachusetts, with his recent article in the Gloucester Daily Times: Leader leaving with no word on Patriot probes. And, I'm sure I'm going to take some heat.

So be it.

Richard Gaines is certainly out to shine a light on truth. In a recent column (Stop upsetting my routine!) in the paper, Ray Lamont opines that the Gloucester Daily Times is using it's fourth estate position to dig through the muck and expose what's really going on in our public institutions. He wrote,
Let freedom ring shouts the editorial policy of the paper! Shine a light on the news, the boards, the process.
Mr. Gaines continues today, using documents provided to me in a FOIA request.

And that's where, I'm sure, some will say I've betrayed the service. Well, I've betrayed the service if what we're about is hiding the truth, not letting the public know what's going on, and not learning from our mistakes.

Mr. Gaines notes that the Gloucester community and the family of the men on the F/V PATRIOT were told they'd be given, in fairly short order, the results of internal investigations about the case.

Hasn't happened, notes Mr. Gaines.
Indeed, the [agency] has offered no further insight into the cause of the sinking — which is the subject unfolding litigation involving a Louisiana-based ocean tug company — or the [service]'s own performance in evaluating the flow of information in the overnight hours of Jan. 3.

There were signs and signals, none unequivocal but together imprecisely pointing to a vessel in distress not far from reach. There were the many steps in the assessment process — uncertainty, alert and distress — that finally led to an all-out effort to search for and rescue Matteo Russo, 36, the captain of the Patriot, and John Orlando, 59, his mate and father-in-law.

An official chronology of the response — known as a "case report," which was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Peter A. Stinson, a civilian employee of the [service] living in Virginia, and posted on, a document sharing Web site — adds some clarity.
You can follow along the chrono here as Mr. Gaines deconstructs the events of that fateful morning. And the deconstruction is troubling, at best, and, I believe, highlights training and juniority issues within America's smallest military service.

Hopefully, we will receive a full accounting of the events of January 3rd. And, even more hopefully, we will learn from those events, learn as an organization, so that we will not make the same stumbles in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment