Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weighing Anchor

Actually, we already weighed the anchor and judging by the bumps we just experienced, we're probably in the first Gatun Lock by now.

You can actually watch the ship, or any ship pass through the Canal via the webcams at the Panama Canal Authority. So forgive my overlooking of OPSEC at the moment.We're going to be hanging around Panama for a bit, conducting PANAMAX on the Caribbean side. We'll not be getting much liberty, so I'm looking at Norfolk, VA, as my next opportunity to get off the ship for a bit.

The exercise with Ecuador was interesting if not frustrating. In the U.S. Navy we operate under a concept of decentralized control. We divide the war up into different areas of responsibility and each commander acts indepentently in his area unless directed otherwise by the overall officer in tactical command. We're faster and more flexible that way.

The big difference I've noticed in operating with the various navies of South America over the past two months is that they are extremely centralized, in that one commander has overall control of everything and no one makes a move without getting it OK'ed by him.

Ecuador so far has been the most frustrating example. Twice in 24 hours I was directed by the Ecuadorian commander to recover my helicopter immediately after I launched it, becuase he hadn't said it was OK for me to launch it - even though it was in support of an event the required the helo to be on station at a certain time. In the U.S., if we say the helo must be on station at a certain time, it is expected that the ship will act independently to get the helo airborne and on station on time. The Ecuadorian commander was adamant about having each event finished before we could even prepare for the next one, and therefore nothing started on time.

Peru and Chile weren't nearly as bad, but also very centralized. I'm interested in, but not looking forward to, seeing what working with Panama will be like. There are a lot of other American ships and special forces down here now, so it should be pretty cool.

Want to see a picture of my ship? It's really tough to make out on that webcam, this picture is better.

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Blogger Lone Pony bloody well said...

Pretty cool Matt! Thanks for sharing! Glad to see you blogging and very good to read about your deployment. It's so interesting!

19 August, 2006 12:24  
Blogger jgf bloody well said...

I agree with LP. It is interesting and I love learning more about someone's deployment. (It's been the Army for my family. I hope that doesn't offend you...)

I have always been fascinated by locks and would love to see the Panama Canel.

19 August, 2006 19:11  
Blogger shoprat bloody well said...

It's all a matter of trusting the abilities and intentions of your suboridinates. If either cannot be trusted then you need total control. It's sad that a military can be so untrusting of its officers.

19 August, 2006 21:54  

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