Sunday, October 10, 2004
"The Right Thing"
About two years ago,I found this book on the new book table at Borders. I sat in the coffee shop area and read it, which is what I usually do, rationalizing paying for expensive coffee is tribute the the Corporation. Different from most other books, I then walked to the cash register and bought it. Subsequently, I have bought two more copies and handed them out as gifts, for this is one story worth reading. The book, "The Right Thing" by Scott Waddle, is the story of the fateful day in 2001 when the USS GREENVILLE (SSN-772) surfaced off Hawaii and hit the Japanese fishing boat, killing 9 Japanese citizens. CDR Scott Waddle was the Commanding Officer that day. You can't get any better an account than the one through the eyes of the one who was there, who can also lay out the thought process that lead to the collision. I was assigned to assist in conducting one major JAG Manual investigation, and had to completely conduct two others (not near as major) as the investigating officer. In early 1993, I was sent to all the East Coast ships that had a particular missile system, in the wake of a major international incident, as a follow up to the investigation. The details Scott lays out in the book are precise and the way it's done. It's fascinating to see how a few little things, when left to continue unhindered, can lead to a major disaster, and at the core of all the investigations, was human failures as the proximate cause. Once it has happened, then you are to learn as much as you can to keep it from occurring again. For any of you military readers, I'd highly recommend this well written book by Scott, for you will connect with the pressures that do come as a result of VIPs in the area, and how that needs to be highlighted to watch closely if you have them around. For anyone elese, who wonders what goes into the military investigations in these circumstances, you will be rewarded with the first person insight of the inner workings.