Friday, September 24, 2010

USCG needs more guns ...


If the name CDR E. A. Westfall, CDR, USCG sounds familiar, then you are a regular listener to Midrats. He joined us back on Episode 26 of Midrats to discuss the nature of Command, and is the Commanding Officer of the USCGC ESCANABA (WMEC 907).

Well, our good Skipper has had an interesting day mid-month.

From CNN:
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was fired upon by suspected drug traffickers during a pursuit off the coast of Nicaragua, a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN.

No Coast Guard personnel were injured in the gunfight, said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil.

The incident took place in the early morning of September 14, but information about the attack was not released until CNN inquired Friday about the incident.

"While it is rare to have Coast Guard personnel fired upon, this incident serves to remind us of the ruthless nature of smugglers, the disregard they have for human life and the dangers our men and women face when enforcing laws and treaties on the high seas," said O'Neil, chief of media relations for the Coast Guard said.

No shots hit the Coast Guard boat and there was no damage, O'Neil added.

The shooting happened after a boarding team from the Cutter Escanaba pursued a go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling drugs in international waters. The suspects managed to escape after entering Nicaraguan waters, said O'Neil.

The Coast Guard is still reviewing the event, he said.
No time to second guess the CO - but boy howdy, a lot of questions come to mind.

1. ROE.
2. ROE.
3. ROE.

Once you get the answer to the first three - then you can ask more questions. Shame the SOBs got away, but the important thing is that all our Coast Guardsmen are fine.
UPDATE: Exchanged a few emails with the CO, and he wants to make sure everyone knows that, yes, the USCG did return fire.

Hopefully, BigUSCG will put our more details as I think it is important for the taxpayer to know what the USCG is putting it all on the line to try to mitigate the poison coming across our borders.

This is a story that needs to be told more

44 comments:

xbradtc said...

Glad to hear our guys are safe. Sad to hear theirs aren't. 

You know, if the Bear class cutters could make a little more than 20kts, that would be pretty much what I'd want in a combat ship designed for the littorals.

Retired Now said...

BEAR Class is roughly 270 feet long.  With 76 mm  (3 inch) gun mount.
So do all the WHEC,  FFG-7 class,  many allied nations.

LCS 1, LCS 2, WMSL have a smaller main gun:  57 mm.

Why the switch ?   The Logistics, ammo, training infrastructure has been excellent for over 30 years.   Now we have to create all the infrastructure for the new (smaller) gun mounts.   Why incur all these new expenses when 76mm mounts and control systems are all sunk costs ?    Even the tiny 600 ton EGYPTIAN boats being built by HALTER, Pascagoula are equipped with 76mm mounts.   Why spend money to downsize ?    Even if you updated the old 76mm mounts, it would not incur the new Training, Ammo, etc. sunk costs.    Perhaps the Fleet should vote on any future such changes ?

Southern Air Pirate said...

Question to any of the SME's out there, does any of the Hamilton, Bear, Deepwater class cutters have mounts to put up a M240, M2HB, or similar style small caliber gun mount on the ship? Or will do they depend on sharp shooters with M-16/M-14 to protect the VBSS team as it goes across in a RHIB to the craft? If not then I think the USCG needs to review how it arms it Cutters.

Coastie said...

Yes, there are 2 .50 cal mounts and 2 240 mounts on board. the problem is the cutters are not fast enough to keep up with a go fast, therefore they have to launch the OTH and RHIB to persue the G/F. those do not have a mount for either the .50 or 240 though. they rely on the skill and traning of the Boat Crew Members

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Don't know much about USCG, tactical wise.
A few questions.
  
Was the 76 mm "weapons free"? 

   Do Cutters practice daily with the guns?

  What is the GMG (or USCG rate for guns & etc, lost track) manning on this class?

   Does the 76 mm have radar direction capability? If not, can ARPA be modified to send it to the gun from a tracker electronically? If not, is there an SP phone circuit ARPA to mount/director?. Maybe an ARPA display feed could be rigged to a laptop, I know 15 or so years ago a Perry had rigged one to the CO's SR, pretty slick too.

 They might outrun the cutter; the shell in flight, if in range, not so much.

Is VT frag in the magazine? WP? Open up the top of a fuel tank and light it off, they will stop. Survive, I'm not so sure, but they called the tune.
  
Was the low radar signature of the gofast the reason for the miss? Wood, fiberglas and 4 of the biggest Kawasaki outboards that exist, mounted on a false transom mount down low, isn't much to get a return off of.

Looks like the bad guys are getting bolder and need to get taken down hard.

Be careful out there. God bless.

ewok40k said...

heck, even 300-400 tons FAC like Tarantul or our own "Piorun" 3-strong class have 76mm guns...

ewok40k said...

On a side note, Columbia has noted major success, FARC CINC got shot dead in a raid on FARC camp. Rest in pieces, bastard!

G Lof said...

Here are a couple of suggestions.

1) Add guilded 70mm rockets to the Jayhawks

2) Sabilized 50 cal. MG for cutters and chasers.

3) Since the CG, the Marines, and the Navy seem to simular problems, have that USN take over NLOS-system and change the requirement the Army had so it could meet all more of the navys needs. Get rid of any weight and size limitations, since they cause most the design problems.

Anonymous said...

I think a few Hellfire missiles will both raise recruiting numbers and thin out the smugglers post haste.

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sid said...

the problem is the cutters are not fast enough to keep up with a go fast

Hey!

I know where you can get some -REALLY AWESOME- LCS's if you want to go fast...

Of course, your bad guys might still outrun you because they will likely spend a bunch of time welded to the pier.

Bet somebody is wishin' they hadn't removed those rails out of the stack to save weight.

Byron said...

You don't need a fast ship if you have a helo on the ready 5 and ISIR airborne to give you the warning.

I'd rather put Javelins on the Cutters...one Javelin, one go fast :)

Someone_Blogged said...

Wow, I'm very surprised at the level of fail in these replies. ROE? I'm not sure you guys understand how ROE applies here. How about Use of Force? What would a 76mm gun or rockets have to do with a law enforcement action upon the high seas?

Holy smokes batman, here is a hint: we aren't discussing a DTE scenario.

Anonymous said...

I love me some Coasties, but I'm wary of the increasingly expansive use of the USCG to conduct drug interdiction all over the planet.  If we have the manpower to do that, our seas and ports must be awfully secure...

cdrsalamander said...

So ... the USCG carries weapons for show?  On the high seas when one vessel opens fire on another you issue them a summons?  

So soup for you.

Southern Air Pirate said...

The "Use of Force" is having a Famous Class (aka Bear) Medium Endurance Cutter pull up along aside you. This is a ship that is 270ft long, 38ft wide across, powered by two ALCO V-18 diesels that control a pair of 9ft variable controlled pitched props that push the ship to 20knts through the water, fully displacing 1800 tons. Equipped with various electronics, a 76mm gun as the main mount, a helicopter landing pad on the aft, capable of also being upgunned in a conflict requirements with a CIWS mount aft. All manned by a crew of 100 sailors. 
You asking about "Use of Force" is asking the same thing of some group like NYPD or LAPD when you get run down by one of thier SWAT tactical vechicles and wondering why a whole bunch of heavily armored and armed cops have pulled you over and then you have the gall to pull a weapon on them.

Remember the use of force ladder starts at an officer of the law just being there and then it esclates from there. However, at sea and when dealing with pirates (which most drug dealers/gun runners are) it quickly esclates from beyond less-leathal force to leathal force cause it is pretty hard to run while on the ocean.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I suppose we have this "Lawfare" nonsense to blame, but who the hell came up with the idea that you aren't allowed to kill someone who shoots at you?

MR T's Haircut said...

this cutter uses Dolphins...

MR T's Haircut said...

all US Vessels excercise and use as part of their ROE and the CO's battle orders, the "inherent right of self defense".. they must use "proportionality" and "restraint" when responding.  Our Battle orders were simple when evaluating the Self Defense Doctrine.  COE.
Capability to attack
Opportunity to attack
Effectivness of an attack

The USCG has a pretty liberal ROE out on the drug transit areas.. and they most likely were serving as the end game for another sensor.

MR T's Haircut said...

"Restraint" is also know as "Necessity"

MR T's Haircut said...

It all boils down to Law Enforcement powers.  The US NAVY does not have the same domestic law enforcement freedom the USCG has.  Your comment also shows yoru ignorance.. the USCG is strategically placed in known drug trafficking transit lanes to interdict the product as it migrates north to the Drug Cartels of Mexico.. do your homework before throwing your ignorance around...

MR T's Haircut said...

<span>It all boils down to Law Enforcement powers.  The US NAVY does not have the same domestic law enforcement freedom the USCG has.  Your comment also shows your ignorance.. the USCG is strategically placed in known drug trafficking transit lanes to interdict the product as it migrates north to the Drug Cartels of Mexico.. do your homework before throwing your ignorance around...</span>
<span></span>
<span>The Drug Trafficker's are desperate.  This is a BILLION dollar industry... </span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Or, if you will, "PAIN!"

Anonymous said...

<span>"off the coast of Nicaragua"  Doesn't sound domestic to me.  Sounds like the Navy is busy on IA in Iraq.</span>

Southern Air Pirate said...

Actually off the coast of Nicuraga beyond the 12nm limit is within the US EEZ and by international law with in our rights to patrol with the USCG. On top of that the USCG via SOUTHCOM,DEA,CIA, and the rest of the alphabet has a working privilages with some of our more friendlier nations in the Carribean to be patroling. Everything from preventing human smuggling to intercepting narco-terrorists.

Anonymous said...

I don't know but this comment may be referencing the difference between ROE (under the law of war) and RUF (under a law enforcement or domestic situation). 

Curtis said...

Isn't it an interesting fact that US ships and such have an inherent right of armed self defense but half the nation fails to believe that the citizens of the Republic have that same inherent right to armed self defense?

Anonymous said...

MTH, since you profess to be so educated on this subject, perhaps you'll tell us how far you're willing to extend the Coast Guard to conduct counter-drug operations?  Would you be willing to deploy them into the territorial waters of a South American country?  If so, what about an African country?  What about the coast of Pakistan?

My comment wasn't about the difference between the Navy and the Coast Guard, or why the Coast Guard does drug interdiction, or even whether drug trafficking is bad.  It was a question of how far we should extend the Coast Guard.  Learn to read before you insult other posters for being ignorant.

Southern Air Pirate said...

The USCG has recently deployed to places like Iraq, the Red Sea, sometimes in conjunction with a Carrier Battle Group; doing so has eased the burden of the US Navy in the VBSS realm while the USCG cutter did most of the of searching for illegal contra-band on some of the merchant traffic in the region. in the past with some of their older High Endurance Cutters they helped to enforce anti-trafficking laws (including both people, drugs, and weapons) in places such as the South China Sea, in the Med, and even off the coast of northwest Africa. At various times as well the USCG has gotten into running gun battles just off the coasts of Baja California, the Aleutian Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, even as far west as Samoa and some of the protectorates in the Pacific; all over such things as fishery poachers, garbage dumpers, and drug runners. The USCG has to help defend and protect all CONUS coast line, but also US territories and land claims. Which is includes the Marianas, Samoa, and slew of Micronesian islands in the Central Pacific you may have never heard of (like Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Howland). So the USCG has a harder job at times then the US Navy and USMC team combined. Also remember that the USCG is responsible for maintaining the navigatablity of the nation's water ways. That includes all major lakes, rivers, canals, harbors, atolls, etc. To make sure the navigation equipment is in good working order and replaced when it isn't.
I would also remind you that such law enforcement agencies including the DEA, FBI, US Marshalls have routinely operated with inside national boundaries of nations both with and without thier approval all while helping to conduct law enforcement whether it is tracking child pr0n, slavery, drugs, weapons, terrorists. So

ewok40k said...

hmmm, can a Dolphin carry door gunner with M-2 or M-134? I guess M-134 would make fine work of any smuggler boat, judging by videos I saw of target practice on used cars...

Byron said...

Guest, when you're dealing with people who run drugs for a multi-billion dollar a year business who have zero regard for life, you have to expect them to be armed and ready to shoot it out. These narco's are NOT street criminals. They have the wherewithal to purchase serious weaponry and the financial desire to protect their "product" and "ensure" it reaches the intended "market". Personally, I consider all these runners to be just like rattlesnakes. You don't worry about the level of force you use on a rattler when you meet it, you just make sure there's nothing behind the snake when you shoot the sonofabitch.

MR T's Haircut said...

Guest,

Actually the term ignorance is not an insult.  I am ignorant on many subjects.  

Your comment was meant as a jab against policy using the Coast Guard as your straw man.  Our Seas and Ports, as you mentioned, are guarded by more than the USCG. 

I submit the extention of the USCG in known drug trafficking transit lanes to combat the influx of Drugs, Human Trafficking, possible terrorists and the like, is EXACTLY the same as protecting our "seas and ports"... we are just doing it farther away and before the product gets closer to our shores.  Simple strategy really.

Your comment was snarky and if I was a Coastie, it would have offended me.  But I am a simple ole Retired Sailor...  

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Curtis,

Take heart.  There are certain elements who want to trumpet that half the country doesn't believe in armed self-defense.  But in reality about two-thirds DO believe in that inherent right.  All just a battle to nullify our Second Amendment rights, on the way to pinching our First, Fourth, after already abrogating the Ninth, and Tenth.

Phib, pardon for the thread jack.  But I feel better..... >:o

MR T's Haircut said...

Guest,

the USCG Does operate in the territorial waters of other nations.

MR T's Haircut said...

Byron,

Concur.  Also, the FARC and some other South American Actors... (HC, Venezuela?) are making money off the drug trafficking.  Those same profits go to buy Chinese and Russian arms...  and I think there is more than a couple of photo's of Chavez and Ahmidinnerjacket floating around... I have connected the dots.

MR T's Haircut said...

Curtis,

I see your point.. especially in Chicago and Washington DC and New York.. they should have the same right of self-defense. 

MR T's Haircut said...

Ewok, has connected the dots. 

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Here in Wisconsin, we call it the Force Option Continuum.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

They must have fun getting parts for those ALCOs.

Anonymous said...

Oh MTH, I do get tickled when you scold other posters for being insensitive.

I don't disagree with your logic--interdicting drugs before they reach our shores is a great idea.  If we had an unlimited amount of money, I'd send our law enforcement assets all over the world to stop the drug trade where it starts.  Problem is, we don't have an unlimited amount of money, and drug interdiction isn't the only thing our Coast Guard does.  At the point where my Coast Guard is patrolling the waters of some African country instead of patrolling the waters of the United States, I think it's fair to ask some questions about return on investment.  I would have the same questions if the Dallas Police Department started sending its detectives to Miami on the theory that a lot of the drugs being sold in Dallas are coming from Miami.  That would be great if we had an unlimited number of detectives, but we don't.

MR T's Haircut said...

With your logic Mr Guest, I am glad I can provide you some entertainment.

If you have a problem with your Coast Guard, I recommend you contact your congress Rep...

Jim Dolbow said...

Great post Commander!  Yes indeed the Coast Guard needs more guns.  Hopefully the non-state actors dont have better comms and night vision equipment than the USCG like they did several years ago.

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