Sunday, June 18, 2017
As to what happened afterward, let’s just say that you should pray that you are never onboard a naval vessel during a fire or flooding situation. All the sailors are trained in damage control (DC) and everyone has DC assignments during an emergency. A fire below decks can turn those cramped passageways into a living hell with zero visibility and your protective breathing apparatus is the only thing keeping you alive. Flooding can be even worse. And while at sea, there are no fire departments or first responders to call. The sailors are the fire department. If your ship catches fire you put it out yourself or you die. If the sea is rushing through a breach in the hull, you find a way to seal the watertight bulkheads or you either die or have a long swim ahead of you. The fact that the sailors are able to muster the will and strength to battle such situations is almost miraculous, but it’s what every sailor is trained to do. The Fitz was flooding, and badly from all the reports we’ve seen. Somebody had to go below to stop that disaster and some of the men sleeping in their quarters may never have even had a chance to make it out. It’s a situation most of us can only imagine and we really don’t want to.