Recently, a sailor on the cruiser Shiloh started to behave erratically.
He claimed he had the ability to shoot fireballs from his hands and that he had traveled into outer space.
Despite his obvious insanity, no action was taken.
The sailor, named Peter Mims, then hid aboard his ship, and no one was able to find him for a week.
Peter Mims was a troubled sailor who wanted out of the Navy.
He had financial problems, his marriage had fallen apart[,] and his chain of command was riding him about qualifications. He’d sought mental health counseling, but was not treated when he needed it most.
Or discharged from the Navy when he needed to be.
Before he disappeared from the cruiser Shiloh on June 8, Mims was known for making crazy yet sincere claims. Shipmates recalled him saying he had been to space, and that he could shoot fireballs out of his hands.
Mims … told the ship’s command master chief that he believed another sailor “had a poisoning scheme against him that involved injecting him with a needle,” the investigation states.
Why wasn’t he relieved of duty and locked up?
He had gone missing during watch as recently as June 5, a few days before he went hiding. [Captain] Aycock and the command master chief … thought Mims was tired “but not a danger to himself or others,” according to the investigation.
The command counseled him in 2015 for being late on qualifications. Yet that same year, he was listed as “must promote” in his annual evaluation.
“His enthusiasm and motivation are contagious!” a supervisor wrote on his eval. “A rock-solid performer with unlimited potential!”
How could an evaluation miss his obvious mental illness?
After he went missing and sparked a massive, 5,500 square-mile man overboard search across the Philippine Sea, the ship’s crew continued a hopeful and fruitless search for him inside the claustrophobic catacombs of the ship’s engineering spaces.
A week after he disappeared – and after his family was notified of his presumed death – a search crew found him hiding in an escape passage leading out of a sweltering engine room.
He was covered in urine and feces, and had a camelback, a multi-tool, Peeps candy[,] and an empty peanut butter jar with him.
Mims could have been apprehended prior to his discovery when another sailor spotted him in the middle of the night, days earlier. But that sailor just went back to sleep instead of sounding the alarm.
What? It sounds as though there is a general discipline problem on this ship.
The chiefs searched the ship’s catacombs, a tight-fitting series of stiffeners and ribs beneath the engine modules, but they thought that area would be too hot to hide in for an extended time.
“(Main engine room) 2 catacombs were not cleared because of overwhelming smells, assumed at the time to be fuel and oil, but later assessed to be urine and feces,” the investigation states.
“Based on the small size of the space and the unknown state of GSM3 Mims'[s] state of mind, fearing the safety of their personnel, they did not complete the catacomb search, which requires crawling through a series of small compartments,” the investigation states.
There were a number of obvious failures here.
1) Mims was never competently evaluated by his superiors. He was obviously mentally ill and derelict in duty, yet his superiors never took action.
2) A crewmember who found Mims was derelict in his duty in not apprehending him.
3) The crew proved unable or unwilling to search their own ship. They claimed they confused Mims’s feces for engine oil. How can this be? It looks as though they just didn’t want to search because it was too unpleasant. How would these soldiers perform in a real crisis, in combat?
4) Not mentioned above is that the cruiser’s helicopter was nonoperational, which explained why Mims could not be transferred off the ship immediately. The ship’s helicopter is a vital piece of equipment, especially in anti-submarine warfare, and should have been operational at all times.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
There have been repeated incidents of slow-moving ships ramming into Navy ships, which should not even be possible.
A fishing boat rammed into the USS Lake Champlain in May of last year.
The USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship in June.
In August, the USS John McCain hit an oil tanker.
In January, the USS Antietam accidentally ran into Japan.
How does one run into Japan?
The situation got so bad that the commander of the Pacific Fleet was relieved of duty.
What’s going on with the U.S. Navy?
Is it simply years of neglect under Obama or something else?
What do you think?