Has The U.S. Navy Lost The Will To Fight? The Rivervine Boat Mystery

(`)  rivervine craftI had a chat with this guy I know, Ed, who goes around carrying a veteran’s discount card. He tells me that he uses it at motels and other places to get 10 to 15% knocked off the bill. He sometimes puts on a fake limp to make people think his is a disabled vet which might get him a bigger knock off.  At least he does not wear a Silver Star which he never earned like LBJ.

Ed is amused that people thank him for his service. The idea behind being thanked for something is that you did an act where you had a choice whether to do it or not. No one thanks you for serving time in prison.

Back in the days when Ed served you had no choice: there was this thing called the draft which sad to say no longer exists. The hoi polloi like Ed and me thought it was mandatory for all healthy males to serve; it was not until later that we saw how many such as the Clintons, Cheneys, Deans and Trumps through connections or trickery managed to avoid doing so. But that’s a story for another day.

Ed is what is described as a Vietnam veteran having served as an intelligence officer during that period in the Navy. He told me one particular hair-raising tale of a treacherous journey he made flying from the waters off the Luzon Peninsula to NAS Atsugi in Japan on Christmas Eve to retrieve a packet that had great significance to the captain of his ship. If you ever run into him, you may want to ask him about it.

We ended up talking about our military exploits because of the recent event in the Persian Gulf where Iran captured two of our Navy vessels that ventured into their waters. I had not paid too much attention to it. Ed, still in contact with his Navy friends, had. He asked me if I thought the actions of the crew violated the Military Code of Conduct.

Wow!  It never entered my mind to think of that. I knew that I had learned it but it had been so long since I was under its mandate it was something I no longer thought about. In the articles I have read to this point in time about the incident it is not mentioned. Most people who have not served would not know about it.

Ed said the Code went back to the Revolutionary War. I had read that it was introduced by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 but upon further research found here  and here  that it “is based on time-honored concepts and traditions that date back to the American Revolution.”

I went back to refresh my recollection about it. Here is the code.  I will set forth the parts that I suggest are relevant to the discussion involving the sailors captured by the Iranians.

It starts: “I. I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense. II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist. . . . V. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause. VI. I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.” (my emphasis)

Here is a good story on what happened.  Here’s a video of the capture.   As you can tell from the video and from this article here the boats the American sailors were operating were well armed.   Here’s a closer look at the boats capabilities and armament.

The initial report that one of the boats had mechanical problems was erroneous.  Later it was reported there were no engine or propulsion problems.    Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the boats made a navigational error that mistakenly took them into Iranian territorial waters.

Now I see the reason for the astonishment by former Navy men. Two fully operational and well-armed riverine capable of speeds up to 50 mph (43 knots) surrendered without putting up any fight. The question is did those sailors violate the Code of Conduct by not defending themselves and their vessels?

A more basic question is why didn’t they fight to prevent their surrender? I’ll explore this more.






9 thoughts on “Has The U.S. Navy Lost The Will To Fight? The Rivervine Boat Mystery

  1. I think I will go back to shining shoes
    in Scollay Square.

    This news just in from the Old Howard.


    The Story You Aren’t Being Told About Iran Capturing Two American Vessels
    Foreign Policy
    » The Story You Aren’t Being Told About Iran Capturing Two American Vessels

    Justin King
    January 19, 2016

    (TFC) Tehran, Iran – The airwaves in the United States were filled with images of sailors on their knees while a US Navy vessel was searched. Unjustified outrage swept the nation. The US Secretary of Defense blamed the incident on a simple navigation error, however a chain of events leading back to 2009 demonstrates the facts are a little more complicated than first appear. The chain of events leads defense analysts to one unmistakable conclusion: Iran has the ability to disrupt US GPS systems. For western military analysts, the thought is terrifying. The West uses GPS for much more than replacing a compass and a map.

    In 2009, Lockheed Martin’s RQ-170 Sentinel showed up on a runway in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The aircraft entered service two years earlier, but the public was unaware. The bat wing styled drone is reminiscent of the Stealth Bomber. The similarities extend beyond the cosmetic, and the RQ-170 is the premier spy drone in the US fleet. This was the drone used to map out Bin Laden’s compound. It was tasked with keeping an eye on Iran’s nuclear program. That’s when things got interesting.

    On December 4, 2011 a RQ-170 Sentinel crashed into the Iranian countryside. Iran claimed its electronic warfare unit brought the plane down. The US Department of Defense stated the aircraft was flying over western Afghanistan and crashed near or in Iran. The aircraft was 140 miles inside Iran’s borders. The west laughed at the idea of Iran’s military obtaining the capability to down one the most sophisticated drones in the world. One military official remarked it was like:

    “dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”

    They probably shouldn’t have been so quick to laugh. It appears the Iranians didn’t just dow

  2. America is not at war with Iran. One doubts that the strict rules of war apply to a police incident with a peaceful infraction with another nation. The crew was not authorized to start a war. The American military does not have a blank check to kill and maim when they are caught in what may be or may not be an authorized illegal act.

    The parties involved, the Iranian and American governments, have closed the incident. Let sleeping dogs lie.

    Those most agitated appear to be from a demographic that greatly underserves in the US military. They do not carry their fair share. The purpose of all this fuss is to provoke another war for Israel. This is not a good idea for the rest of the nation.

    Iran and America live at close quarter in the Persian Gulf. There are ‘incidents’ on both sides and they are worked out by the command structures on the ground. There is no need for back seat drivers. There was no valid reason for the US ships to resist with violence the legitimate policing actions of the defense forces of Iran.

    If anyone wishes combat against the Shia, ISIS is accepting recruits. Go to it. If you are wounded you will receive free medical care in Israel. Have your war and leave the rest of us in peace.

  3. Stupidity might explain everything. First, the boats wander into Iranian water. Oops! Second, the nitwit lieutenant in charge assumes the approaching Iranians just want to talk. This would explain why the speedy boats didn’t simply make a run for it. Third, he doesn’t get on the radio because he’d have to admit he’s involved in some kind of screwup with the Iranians. How much better if the two sides talk and then go their separate ways with no one at headquarters the wiser.

  4. Were they sent there intentionally? Were they trying to provoke an incident to scuttle the Iranian nuclear deal? Was this an act of defiance by the military against BHO? Was this an intentional probe to test the Persian’s defenses? Was this a Gulf of Tonkin act? Remember the Pueblo? It was a spy ship that could only go 13 knots. It had no chance to escape the North Koreans. Yet even there some questioned the captain for surrendering. Why fight and lose lives? Seems to have had a happy ending.

  5. Matt, looking forward to more on this and (of course) on the Dersh Rag. Also looking forward to more of the following from today’s post, though you may be extremely busy writing about so many other topics:

    “…through connections or trickery managed to avoid doing so. But that’s a story for another day…”

Comments are closed.