Discussing the perception that pre-WWII and early WWII submarine skippers lacked courage, the author contends that,
"... there was never a systemic lack of courage among World War II submarine COs. Any perception to the contrary stems from the submarine force having taught them to be cautious, punishing them for aggressive or innovative behavior, and limiting their training."The author is pointing out that the timidity exhibited by early commanders was a function of their peacetime training which emphasized safety and conformity. The author addresses today's situation,
"The need to train under realistic wartime conditions while a nation is not in conflict is perhaps the greatest peacetime challenge of any armed service. This is even more evident in a liberal democracy that views its sailors as citizen-soldiers and therefore will not tolerate casualties in training accidents."
|The Price of Success in War|
"... attack-center training time ... should occasionally challenge students with wartime scenarios in which they are forced to prioritize mission accomplishment over safety of ship ..."Peacetime training must be made as realistic as possible. It's the only way to succeed in war. Safety should support training, not preempt it.
Whether it's a plane flying mere feet above the ground or a missile exercise that isn't scripted, the Navy must accept a greater degree of risk and establish more meaningful training exercises. Additionally, we, as a society, must accept the resulting equipment damage and injuries that accompany more realistic training. Tragic as training accidents are, they are the price of success in war.
For anyone who thinks the Navy training is adequate, recall the Vincennes incident where a highly trained CIC crew made just about every mistake imaginable when confronted with a real situation.
(1) U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Rekindling the Killer Instinct, LCdr. Brian McGuirk, June 2010