The USS GONZALEZ blog is different from many of the excellent blogs on the web. As Commanding Officer of an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer, this is my personal blog and an avenue for me to reach out to the family and friends of GONZALEZ Sailors and give them an insight into the good things their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and shipmates are doing. I do not view it as an appropriate venue for me to comment on the goods and others related to my own training, maintenance, or operations for instance. For that type of commentary there are many excellent Navy sponsored and Navy-centric blogs such as:
The U.S. Naval Institute's Blog:
US Southern Command's Blog:
Observations of an Armchair Admiral:
Of course, there are many others, but the above are three that sprang to mind as I started writing this post.
But for this post, I am going to offer something a bit different. Over the last two weeks the Navy has endured two tragedies I felt compelled to comment on for GONZALEZ family and friends. Earlier this month, a Sailor onboard USS SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17) died at sea during an accident which occured while lowering a small boat. Less than a week later, USS PORT ROYAL (CG 73) grounded off the coast of Oahu while conducting a small boat transfer at night. Both of these events hit very close to home for me. The Commanding Officer of SAN ANTONIO is a very good shipmate of mine, and I am a former Executive Officer of PORT ROYAL. Particularly after the grounding of PORT ROYAL, I received many questions from Sailors onboard my own ship and from my own family and friends asking how these events could have happened? First, I do not have any personal insight into either event, and it would be inappropriate to speculate as to the circumstances of either event otherwise. In fact, what I told my Sailors and family and friends is that speculation is exactly what is not needed at times like these. What is needed is thoughts and prayers for the Sailors and families involved. The Sailors involved in both tragedies are shipmates and what they need is our support. At the end of the day, the Navy will conduct an investigation into both events, and we as professional mariners will learn from any mistakes made. What we do every day at sea, whether forward deployed or in home waters, is often routine, but always inherently dangerous. All Navy men and women are professionals who serve their country with honor, courage, and commitment, but even in the most professional organizations and services, tragedies occur. Until the investigations are complete, our continued thoughts and prayers are what the Sailors and families of SAN ANTONIO and PORT ROYAL need more than speculation.