Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Putting this into historical perspective

The new realism of the 0bama wrecking yards that will be the fate of the Navy- and the longer tours don't look so onerous compared to:
Sir Francis Drake-
In December of 1577, I set off on the Golden Hind on my trip around the world. I had the best-equipped expedition ever launched by England--5 stout ships, well armed, and a crew of 150 men. We reached the coast of Brazil in April of 1578. On May 21st we entered the Straits of Magellan at the southern tip of South America.

We turned northward and sailed up the coast of Chile and Peru attacking and destroying Spanish ships. We continued north along the coastline, exploring as far as Vancouver, Canada. Then we sailed across the Pacific Ocean to the Celebes and Java, and still westward to the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.

We crossed the equator in July and sailed into Plymouth Harbor in September of 1580. I returned with one ship and a half-starved crew of 58 men who had not set foot on a populated shore for 6 months.

Ferdinand Magellan, the Portugee
The voyage began September 8, 1519, and lasted until September 6, 1522 (almost 3 years). Magellan sailed from Seville, Spain, with five ships, the Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria, and Santiago. Three years later, only one ship (the Victoria) made it back to Seville, carrying only 18 of the original 270 crew members. 

Captain James Cook
Two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure left in July, 1772 and headed to Cape Town just in time for the southern summer. Captain Cook proceeded south from Africa and turned around after encountering large amounts of floating pack ice (he came within 75 miles of Antarctica). He then sailed to New Zealand for the winter and in summer proceeded south again past the Antarctic Circle (66.5° South). By circumnavigating the southern waters around Antarctica, he indisputably determined that there was no habitable southern continent. During this voyage he also discovered several island chains in the Pacific Ocean.

After Cook arrived back in Britain in July, 1775, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and received their highest honor for his geographic exploration.

Where we hear from Old NFO, from the Navy Times about what's coming down the road for the fleet.
Long cruises, however, seem to be becoming a habit. The destroyer Roosevelt, an independent deployer to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, returned Nov. 6 to Mayport, Fla. It spent 200 of its 213 days underway and at one point pulled 113 straight days at sea. The ship did make three port visits, the Navy said.
Bataan's 2009 cruise lasted 210 days -- just shy of seven months. The pace didn't let up. Thirty-four days later, Bataan and the 22nd MEU got underway to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

That deployment lasted 10 weeks. Four months of ship maintenance began in August 2010, followed by at-sea training -- and the current deployment, which started months ahead of schedule

Ok, I really shouldn't compare a modern Navy made of steel to 17th century ships made of oak. BUT!
Those leaky ships didn't have water distillation plants, fresh food from UNREPS, instant communications or modern antibiotics- not to mention that they were only then finding out that limes cured scurvy.

But then again, you can't just run a 1000' carrier onto a Pacific atoll to careen it to fix hull problems and refit with native timber.

1 comment:

  1. Of course your anecdote also helps to explain why ships were often crewed with press-ganged sailors who could be flogged and hung for breaches of discipline whereas our ships our crewed by volunteers.