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(Navy Times)   I wonder what ever happened to the investigation of the USS Bonhomme Richard fire. Oh, my   (navytimes.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, United States Navy, Grand jury, Royal Navy, Jury, Amphibious assault ship, Military, San Diego, junior sailor  
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6631 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Jul 2021 at 11:04 PM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-07-30 8:29:41 AM  

UNC_Samurai: auntedrie: Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: "Bonhomme"?

Isn't that French for pretty boy"?

I am to lazy to google "Bonhomme" but the ships nickname is (was) The Boney Dick.

It translates to "Good Man Richard".  Ben Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac" was published in France as "Les Maximes du Bonhomme Richard". When King Louis gifted John Paul Jones a ship, it was given the name as an homage to Franklin.


IIRC, bonhomme has the connotation of "good fellow", "buddy", "regular guy".  So Bonhomme Richard, very loosely translated, would be something like "my buddy Richard", and "Les Maximes du Bonhomme Richard" would be "Stuff my friend Richard says"

Of course, I could be all wrong about this. But that's my recollection.
 
2021-07-30 8:33:28 AM  
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RIP
 
2021-07-30 9:05:20 AM  

Redh8t: This is reminiscent of the USS Miami fire, when a civilian sandblaster/painter set a bunch of rags on fire because he wanted to go home.
He received a 17 year prison sentence and was ordered to pay $400 million in restitution.
If that's what a civilian gets as punishment, can't imagine what the navy is going to do with an enlisted person.


It makes me immediately think whether the Navy has found a scapegoat:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Iow​a​_turret_explosion
 
2021-07-30 9:20:21 AM  

AtlanticCoast63: *There had to have been positively Biblical amounts of pressure coming from the USN leadership to find an answer and hold SOMEONE responsible, and PDQ at that.  The last time something like that happened was the investigation into the explosion aboard USS Iowa in 1989 - they were going to find someone responsible, and by God and John Paul Jones, they did.  SPOILER ALERT:  it wasn't the CPO who was conducting sketchy experiments with the goddamn 16 in guns.


You already nailed what I just posted. They're going to find the first person they can to hang for this and fit the case to them. It could be the person who first reported the fire, and they're going to take the blame.
 
2021-07-30 9:24:45 AM  

mrmopar5287: AtlanticCoast63: *There had to have been positively Biblical amounts of pressure coming from the USN leadership to find an answer and hold SOMEONE responsible, and PDQ at that.  The last time something like that happened was the investigation into the explosion aboard USS Iowa in 1989 - they were going to find someone responsible, and by God and John Paul Jones, they did.  SPOILER ALERT:  it wasn't the CPO who was conducting sketchy experiments with the goddamn 16 in guns.

You already nailed what I just posted. They're going to find the first person they can to hang for this and fit the case to them. It could be the person who first reported the fire, and they're going to take the blame.


Not a chance. This thing was already in the rear view mirror and hardly getting any press at all.  So why resurrect it just to charge a scapegoat, the risk of a very public courts martial and open the navy up to people pointing to 30 year old events like Iowa?
 
2021-07-30 9:32:11 AM  

johnny_vegas: mrmopar5287: AtlanticCoast63: *There had to have been positively Biblical amounts of pressure coming from the USN leadership to find an answer and hold SOMEONE responsible, and PDQ at that.  The last time something like that happened was the investigation into the explosion aboard USS Iowa in 1989 - they were going to find someone responsible, and by God and John Paul Jones, they did.  SPOILER ALERT:  it wasn't the CPO who was conducting sketchy experiments with the goddamn 16 in guns.

You already nailed what I just posted. They're going to find the first person they can to hang for this and fit the case to them. It could be the person who first reported the fire, and they're going to take the blame.

Not a chance. This thing was already in the rear view mirror and hardly getting any press at all.  So why resurrect it just to charge a scapegoat, the risk of a very public courts martial and open the navy up to people pointing to 30 year old events like Iowa?


Because the United States Navy, in its infinite power and majesty, isn't very bright.

Plus, their institutional memory only goes back about 25 years; it's been 32 since the IOWA.   I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single soul in the upper echelons of the USN who remembers- or for that matter, understands - how badly they screwed that up.
 
2021-07-30 9:43:47 AM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: How the hell could this happen? If the ship was this fragile to be destroyed at dock, what would happen in a battle? An older ship like the Hornet took multiple bombs, torpedoes, and kamikaze attacks before going down.


Fire suppression was locked out, and all the hatches were open since it was going through overhaul.

Nothing to stop the fire once it got going.
 
2021-07-30 9:47:59 AM  

AtlanticCoast63: Because the United States Navy, in its infinite power and majesty, isn't very bright.

Plus, their institutional memory only goes back about 25 years; it's been 32 since the IOWA.   I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single soul in the upper echelons of the USN who remembers- or for that matter, understands - how badly they screwed that up.


I mean, the CNO was in the Navy when Iowa happened, I'm pretty sure he remembers it.  I am also pretty sure he is not the type of person to allow scapegoating.  He is also a really smart motherfarker.
As I'm sure you know a whole lot of investigation and NIS (now NCIS) procedures were changed because of the fark up that was Iowa, which makes your assertion even more doubtful.
 
2021-07-30 9:57:32 AM  

BolloxReader: Pointy Tail of Satan: How the hell could this happen? If the ship was this fragile to be destroyed at dock, what would happen in a battle? An older ship like the Hornet took multiple bombs, torpedoes, and kamikaze attacks before going down.

At dock they shut down everything. No fire control, fire doors open wide, and lots of flammable stuff lying around on pallets as they refurbish the ship. And almost nobody on board to fight a fire if it breaks out. Going through maintenance is the most dangerous time for a ship


And even if you try to close a door/hatch to contain a fire, there's probably an inch-and-a-half thick temporary electrical cable strung through it, with both ends of the cable a couple hundred feet away from you.
 
2021-07-30 10:00:14 AM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: How the hell could this happen? If the ship was this fragile to be destroyed at dock, what would happen in a battle? An older ship like the Hornet took multiple bombs, torpedoes, and kamikaze attacks before going down.


Fire kills most ships.
 
2021-07-30 10:03:42 AM  

erik-k: One of the things I never quite got my head around regarding the destruction of the Bomhomme...

One generally views navy ships as being, well, pretty much gigantic ass hunks of mostly steel.

Other than the fuel tanks, what was burning?


Actually the fuel tanks are one of the *least* flammable areas. Bunker oil is essentially asphalt. They have to heat it to make it flow or evaporate for the turbines.

Everywhere else on the ship is furniture, paperwork, food, cargo, lubricants, and electrical wiring. Wire trunks being one of the nastiest fires to try to put out.

An amphib like the Richard, and nuclear carriers, also have thousands of tons of aviation kerosene for the aircraft and landing vehicles. It's a special blend with a higher flashpoint than standard aviation fuel. But once it stars burning, whoa nelly.

/I model fire fighting on navy ships for a living, fwiw
 
2021-07-30 10:07:12 AM  

Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: "Bonhomme"?

Isn't that French for pretty boy"?


The Bonhomme Richard is named for the French form of Benjamin Franklin's pen name "Poor Richard". (As in Poor Richard's Almanac)

The original Bonhomme Richard was a gift from the French for the Revolutionary war, and if memory serves, conducted commerce raiding off the French coast. It was also one of the first warships ever commissioned in the American Navy
 
2021-07-30 10:10:35 AM  

Evil Twin Skippy: /I model fire fighting on navy ships for a living, fwiw


Huh, that's pretty cool!
/You run into the most diverse, random stuff on fark!
 
2021-07-30 10:12:40 AM  

UNC_Samurai: WyDave: Pointy Tail of Satan: How the hell could this happen? If the ship was this fragile to be destroyed at dock, what would happen in a battle? An older ship like the Hornet took multiple bombs, torpedoes, and kamikaze attacks before going down.

The Hornet was at general quarters in battle, every hatch shut, every compartment isolated. The BHR was undergoing an overhaul and was wide open to allow access for equipment, workers, cables, etc. so the fire spread in ways not possible if the ship were underway.

Yeah, when an American carrier spotted incoming aircraft, step 1 was to dump whatever was in the aviation fuel lines and flood it with CO2.

The Japanese procedure was to just shut off the pumps.  Having av-gas in the lines was one of about a dozen things that made the explosions on Kaga/Akagi/etc. that much worse, whereas Yorktownmaintained operations after being hit both at Coral Sea and the first time at Midway.

Lexington at Coral Sea, being an older design, had a problem venting heat/smoke/fumes, which led to a fire in torpedo storage getting out of control and it cooked off the warheads all at once.


The loss of the Lexington is what instigated the design change you described. We use the in-theater refit of the fleet carriers as a case study in damage control implementation. The Yorktowns and essex carriers (as built) had the same issue. The procedure was cooked up by a sailor on board of (I believe it was) Enterprise who managed to talk the fixes up the chain of command.
 
2021-07-30 10:23:04 AM  

princhester: I would be interested in whether it was arson.

If it wasn'tarson and was just negligence, I would say his superiors are also in deep shiat.  Nobody that junior should ever be in a position to make a mistake that destroys a whole ship.



Yeah, my first thought was the $70 million fire on the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON back in 2008.  It was caused by a combination of smoking in an unauthorized space that also happened to have 100+ gallons of flammable liquid improperly stored in it.  The CO and XO were both fired as a result.
 
2021-07-30 10:54:20 AM  

erik-k: One of the things I never quite got my head around regarding the destruction of the Bomhomme...

One generally views navy ships as being, well, pretty much gigantic ass hunks of mostly steel.

Other than the fuel tanks, what was burning?


My brother has often joked that Navy boot camp existed to teach you haw to make a bed and fight fires. He then went to sub school, where they taught him that everything he learned in boot was wrong, and then taught him a whole new way to fight fires. The Navy is big on fighting fires because shipboard fires are terrifying, there are many many flammable substances on a ship, and even if people aren't actively shooting at your ship there is a non-zero chance it will catch on fire.

/fires on a sub are worse: a sealed tube, and the fire is also eating your air, while putting ridiculously toxic fumes into that same air.
 
2021-07-30 11:00:06 AM  
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2021-07-30 11:01:53 AM  

AtlanticCoast63: I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single soul in the upper echelons of the USN who remembers- or for that matter, understands - how badly they screwed that up.


I can't wait to hear how they probably threatened and harassed this guy for months in an investigation and then probably made him take polygraph exams that they used to bludgeon him over the head until he made some innocuous statement of regret that they used as a "confession."
 
2021-07-30 11:03:30 AM  

kozlo: Before I clicked, I thought "was that the one McCain blew up?"

Wrong ship.


McCain's aircraft was one of the first damaged by the missile that started the whole thing on Forrestal.  He played no part in the incident.  Get your facts straight.
 
2021-07-30 11:09:06 AM  

erik-k: One of the things I never quite got my head around regarding the destruction of the Bomhomme...

One generally views navy ships as being, well, pretty much gigantic ass hunks of mostly steel.

Other than the fuel tanks, what was burning?


Paint, plastics, wiring, etc.  Paint alone, since it's oil-based and on every surface, will out-gas and provide fuel for the fire.  Lots of paper around; reams of operating and repair manuals, Damage Control info sheets on the wall of each compartment (and each behind a sheet of plastic).
 
2021-07-30 2:18:30 PM  

mrmopar5287: AtlanticCoast63: I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single soul in the upper echelons of the USN who remembers- or for that matter, understands - how badly they screwed that up.

I can't wait to hear how they probably threatened and harassed this guy for months in an investigation and then probably made him take polygraph exams that they used to bludgeon him over the head until he made some innocuous statement of regret that they used as a "confession."


You may be waiting a long time.  Im not sure his defense counsel would be too jazzed with that approach.
 
2021-07-30 2:38:30 PM  

johnny_vegas: mrmopar5287: AtlanticCoast63: I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single soul in the upper echelons of the USN who remembers- or for that matter, understands - how badly they screwed that up.

I can't wait to hear how they probably threatened and harassed this guy for months in an investigation and then probably made him take polygraph exams that they used to bludgeon him over the head until he made some innocuous statement of regret that they used as a "confession."

You may be waiting a long time.  Im not sure his defense counsel would be too jazzed with that approach.


It happens all the time to people who don't have an attorney advising them before they are charged.

My cousin was offered a choice by police in his murder investigation: take a polygraph exam or go to jail. He took the exam... and they sent him to jail.
 
2021-07-30 2:42:14 PM  

Chromium_One: rickythepenguin: *ouch*

a Seaman Apprentice?  That is, E-2.  the second lowest (E-1 being the lowest) paygrade.  He's probably under two years of service.  And even if he isn't, the *entire* Armed Forces tops out E-2 pay at $2,001 per month.  There aren't any (hopefully) 11yr, 15yr, 19yr E-2s in the service (but one never knows).

https://militarybenefits.info/2021-mil​itary-pay-charts/

gonna take a long, long, lllllllllongggggggg farking time to pay that off.

Have met a couple of 15+ year E-1 types before.  It's possible to fark up hard enough to lose all rank and be thankful you've been given opportunity to avoid visiting Leavenworth.


No problem - it's easy to avoid Leavenworth no matter you do, 100% guaranteed!

/just don't be a dude
//then you get to see the NCB in San Diego instead
///you're still farked and incarcerated for a long time, but hey San Diego vs. farking Kansas - bright side
 
2021-07-30 2:52:26 PM  
johnny_vegas: You may be waiting a long time.  Im not sure his defense counsel would be too jazzed with that approach.

Heh - kinda depends on what the Court says.  Remember we're talking UCMJ here, not a civilized code of law.  I kinda doubt it though, honestly.  Conditions just don't exist that allow the DoJ to pull that kind of crap any more.  Someone would talk, more than likely a bunch of someones.  For one docked ship with a maintenance crew on it?  Not exactly time to go all Tom Clancy novel as a rule
 
2021-07-30 2:53:26 PM  

Some Junkie Cosmonaut: johnny_vegas: You may be waiting a long time.  Im not sure his defense counsel would be too jazzed with that approach.

Heh - kinda depends on what the Court says.  Remember we're talking UCMJ here, not a civilized code of law.  I kinda doubt it though, honestly.  Conditions just don't exist that allow the DoJ to pull that kind of crap any more.  Someone would talk, more than likely a bunch of someones.  For one docked ship with a maintenance crew on it?  Not exactly time to go all Tom Clancy novel as a rule


DoJ?  FUAC - DoD
 
2021-07-30 3:16:57 PM  

johnny_vegas: AtlanticCoast63: Because the United States Navy, in its infinite power and majesty, isn't very bright.

Plus, their institutional memory only goes back about 25 years; it's been 32 since the IOWA.   I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single soul in the upper echelons of the USN who remembers- or for that matter, understands - how badly they screwed that up.

I mean, the CNO was in the Navy when Iowa happened, I'm pretty sure he remembers it.  I am also pretty sure he is not the type of person to allow scapegoating.  He is also a really smart motherfarker.
As I'm sure you know a whole lot of investigation and NIS (now NCIS) procedures were changed because of the fark up that was Iowa, which makes your assertion even more doubtful.


...I would hope that the CNO would in fact be determined to find out the truth, no matter where it might lay or who it might take down. But after 20 years in the Air Force, I'm not at all sanguine about some guy with stars at the top of the food chain doing the right thing.  We had two major legal farkups just before I got out that went a long way to convincing people that they would throw the most junior person in the chain to the wolves and not give a rat's behind about whether or not they were innocent.
 
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