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Surface Forces: YTBs Fade Away
   Next Article → COUNTER-TERRORISM: The Trip From Glasgow to Dubai
January 1, 2008:  Soon, the U.S. Navy will lose another entire class of ships. These are the YTBs (Yard Tug Big), which are the military equivalent of the civilian tugs you see in any large port. The YTBs have been around for over a century. The last military ones built, in 1975, were about 110 feet long and displaced 350 tons. In the 1980s, the navy realized it would be cheaper to outsource the tug jobs (moving large warships and support ships into and out of docks, and moving barges of supplies around). For one thing, civilian tugs were more modern, and efficient. A navy tug had a crew of twelve, a similar size civilian tug had only four sailors on board.  Despite the increasing breakdown rate of the remaining 30 tugs, the navy has not been able to scrape together the money to build new ones. If this is not done in the next 10-15 years, the existing ones will all be out of action and no YTBs will be available. This will cause problems in foreign ports, where you can't always depend on the locals to forget politics and just move the damn ships. In the United States, portions of some bases are highly classified, and getting civilian tug crews with the appropriate security clearances might be difficult.

 

 

Next Article → COUNTER-TERRORISM: The Trip From Glasgow to Dubai
  

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Herald12345    Way to go, Navy!   1/1/2008 8:52:43 AM
Its !@#$%^ &*  the little stuff like this, that drives me, the taxpayer, NUTS.

Herald

 
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JFKY       1/1/2008 9:35:09 AM
Herald I see part of your anger, but only part of it...why NOT out-source tug operations to civilians?  Unless the civilians make more than three times the Navy's wages and have more than three times the Navy's overhead it's cheaper.  Right now MSC is mostly civilian, they folks that do the job of the AKA's of the Second World War.  The military doing everything "in-house" is a result of the Napoleonic "Nation-in-arms" and later the draft.  Suddenly militaries had the manpower to do everything themselves and they only had to pay it $50-75 per month.  All that's changed, troops are running at about $100,000-$200,000 a piece, total, so you'd better focus them on things that only troops can do.
I think a solution might be to "MSC" the tugs, for overseas work, in Yemen or Cairo, and in Kings Bay Georgia, Groton, and on the West Coast for the SSBN's.  Otherwise, let civilians, US and foreign-British, German, Dubai-move the boats if it's cheaper.  Congress is not going to fund tug-boats, they aren't sexy.  And they Navy isn't going to push too hard for them, for the same reason.  Lastly, the accountants say it's not a great idea.
 
Call your Congress person and suggest the useful compromise and let go the bulk of your anger.
 
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Herald12345       1/1/2008 9:50:02 AM

Herald I see part of your anger, but only part of it...why NOT out-source tug operations to civilians?  Unless the civilians make more than three times the Navy's wages and have more than three times the Navy's overhead it's cheaper.  Right now MSC is mostly civilian, they folks that do the job of the AKA's of the Second World War.  The military doing everything "in-house" is a result of the Napoleonic "Nation-in-arms" and later the draft.  Suddenly militaries had the manpower to do everything themselves and they only had to pay it $50-75 per month.  All that's changed, troops are running at about $100,000-$200,000 a piece, total, so you'd better focus them on things that only troops can do.

I want American tugs moving American warships.  [USS Cole Lesson].  Civilians are fine,  both tugs and crews, as long as they are AMERICANS doing the moving in hostile ports.

I think a solution might be to "MSC" the tugs, for overseas work, in Yemen or Cairo, and in Kings Bay Georgia, Groton, and on the West Coast for the SSBN's.  Otherwise, let civilians, US and foreign-British, German, Dubai-move the boats if it's cheaper.  Congress is not going to fund tug-boats, they aren't sexy.  And they Navy isn't going to push too hard for them, for the same reason.  Lastly, the accountants say it's not a great idea.

 MSC solution works for me.  Mandate for the US merchant fleet to contract US tugs to USN operations overseas; works for me as well.

I'm one of those taxpayers who thinks the funding for gruntwork, training, and the logistics MATTERS more than all the shiny toys.  I guess I'm a rarity.

Call your Congress person and suggest the useful compromise and let go the bulk of your anger.

My congress nitwit wouldn't know a davit, from an anchor fluke; or why it matters.

Herald

 
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YelliChink       1/1/2008 9:51:52 AM
A lot of those port support ships are logistic debt, but sometimes they are essential to major operations. Imaging that all commies need to do is to set up tug companies.
 
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Herald12345       1/1/2008 10:26:07 AM

A lot of those port support ships are logistic debt, but sometimes they are essential to major operations. Imaging that all commies need to do is to set up tug companies.


The PRC bandits will, YC. They will.

PRC bandits at work.

Herald
 
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JFKY       1/1/2008 2:41:23 PM
Herald it doesn't make sense for "mehrikunz" to move US ships overseas.  USS Cole wasn't attacked by a tug, it was attacked by a Zodiac.  If you leave a YTB or Open-Ocean Tug stationed in Yemen, IT will be the focus of the attack.. not the Cole or it's successor.  I say get rid of ALL the YTB's, contract with civilians overseas, and use MSC-type operations for the sensitive areas in the US.  Again, focus on what the Navy, alone, can do for the Navy and examine all other functions in light of cost, using some effectiveness or OPSEC considerations as a veto on certain purely accounting decisions. 
 
I would point out that Cole and the "Sammie B." did not sail to the US, but were carried home on a Norwegian Heavy Lift Ship.  Should the US have one of those, too, just in case?
 
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YelliChink       1/1/2008 2:58:43 PM

I would point out that Cole and the "Sammie B." did not sail to the US, but were carried home on a Norwegian Heavy Lift Ship.  Should the US have one of those, too, just in case?

What do you think pushed Cole and Sammie B onto the Norwegian heavy lift ship? During WW2, a lot of ships were saved and put back into front line by tug boats and floating docks.

 
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JFKY       1/1/2008 3:07:11 PM
All of that support came from:
1) US WARSHIPS
2) Foreign tugs
3) Foreign Docks,
NO US tugs or US Support vessels. 
 
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Herald12345       1/1/2008 3:28:33 PM

Herald it doesn't make sense for "mehrikunz" to move US ships overseas.  USS Cole wasn't attacked by a tug, it was attacked by a Zodiac.  If you leave a YTB or Open-Ocean Tug stationed in Yemen, IT will be the focus of the attack.. not the Cole or it's successor.  I say get rid of ALL the YTB's, contract with civilians overseas, and use MSC-type operations for the sensitive areas in the US.  Again, focus on what the Navy, alone, can do for the Navy and examine all other functions in light of cost, using some effectiveness or OPSEC considerations as a veto on certain purely accounting decisions.

A tug destroyed is [regrettably because the loss of life is always first consideration when factoring worst case costs] CHEAPER than repairing the Cole.

 Don't make me blow additional holes in your arguments this New Years. I'm in a good mood. The point in using Americans to do this ship movement and to pay Americans to do this movement; as well as to tranship supplies to our warships is to reduce the exposure of our expensive WARSHIPS to the bandits who inhabit the hostile ports where we currently operate.

That Zodiac should never have been filled with bandits to approach the Cole. If the Cole needed local supplies she should have the US Consular agent purchase them and  then transhipment should be by one of our lighters with the supplies picked up from trusted vendors afloat or ashore.

A tug, if manned by local bandits who arranged it, could be turned into a huge bomb.  That  means the loss of that referent Arleigh Burke with all  330 souls.

Besides why should American dollars go to the enemy locals when we should serve and pay our OWN people first and always?

I would point out that Cole and the "Sammie B." did not sail to the US, but were carried home on a Norwegian Heavy Lift Ship.  Should the US have one of those, too, just in case?

Why not? Do we not conduct salvage? Besides the Norwegians [trusted and vetted allies] the last time I looked were not bandits.

Herald

 
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JFKY       1/1/2008 5:40:55 PM
Herald your good moods really aren't much different than your bad moods.  So don't let that worry you, it doesn't worry me.
 
You're wrong, bottom-line....If it's cheaper to use non-US crews/vessels use them.  And a dead US tug crew looks as bad, in fact it's easier to KIDNAP the tug crew.  The problem, in the case of the Cole, was that we were basing in Yemen, no US vessel would have been safe there. 
 
Sorry, this isn't a question of SMASH, or SPECTRA, or RCS, or any technical question (which you specialize in), it's a question of software, not hardware.  And as a taxpayer I am in favour of most efficiently using my tax dollars to support the US Navy, and the use of civilian tugs does that.
 
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