Greater Love Hath No Man…

Sailor on the USS Fitzgerald saves over a dozen shipmates from flooding berthing  compartment, dies trying to save the rest.

When the Fitzgerald collided with the merchant ship, 37-year-old Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., “leapt into action,” according to The Daily Beast.

The Fitzgerald was struck below the waterline, and Rehm Jr.’s family was told by the Navy that he went under and saved at least 20 sailors, according to WBNS-10TV in Columbus, Ohio.

But when he went back down to get the other six sailors, the ship began to take on too much water, and the hatch was closed, WBNS-10TV said.

“That was Gary to a T,” Rehm Jr.’s friend Christopher Garguilo, told NBC4i in Columbus, Ohio. “He never thought about himself.”


8 thoughts on “Greater Love Hath No Man…

  1. Uncommon valor.

    With all of the safety equipment on modern naval vessels, this incident is puzzling. The results of the investigation into how it happened, should be interesting.

  2. “Even though this was not an event which took place during battle, Petty Officer First Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr. sacrificed his life and died the death of a hero. His name should be added to the list of sailors who will have ships of the line named after them in the future. And a posthumous award for his unbelievable bravery, devotion and sacrifice would not be out of order. God Bless and rest in peace, Petty Officer Rehm. Few of us will ever match your mettle.”

    While some are quick to afford athletes and entertainers the title of hero we really need to reserve that acclaim to folks like Rehm. His memory needs to include Medal Of Honor recipient.

  3. My niece has a friend on the Fitzgerald. He texted her saying “you don’t want to know the whole story.” I am not sure what that means, but my suspicion-o-meter is nearing the peg.

  4. My first thoughts are for the sailors.

    Difficult to tell precisely what happened on the bridge of the Fitzgerald and what the visibility was at the time of the collision. Judging from the photos, Fitzgerald was struck on the starboard side by the port bow of the container ship. That means that Fitzgerald appears to have been crossing the bow of the container ship. Under navigation rules the Fitzgerald should have at least seen the port navigation light (red) of the container ship.

    The Fitzgerald is equipped with active surface radar, passive surface radar, 3D air radar, acoustic subsurface radar, and a collision avoidance system, manned by at least two dozen crew, plus at least two sailors on binoculars. How is it possible that the entire crew on duty were asleep as a slow-moving commercial vessel approached.
    It is difficult to imagine how this could have happened without somebody, actually quite a number of somebodies being asleep at the wheel.

    How humiliating for the Navy.

  5. Forget the radars, it was a moonlit night. Has the Navy abandoned sentries now?

  6. As to the incident itself the International Collision Regulations (colregs) are straightforward enough. Both vessels had a duty to stay clear and unless one was restricted by its ability to maneuver should have taken avoiding action and passed one another port to port (left hand side to left hand side). The container ship’s port bow collided with the frigate’s starboard side, which suggests that the frigate was on the wrong side of the avoiding action. I haven’t seen any report regarding what the weather conditions were like or, given the incident occured during the hours of darkness if one or both vessels were not showing appropriate lights. But regardless a navy frigate is a highly maneuverable beast whereas a container ship is the exact opposite. And a navy frigate is tooled up with not only the most sophisticated radar but so much spyware that it is difficult to imagine how this could have happened.

    (From Rules 15 and 17)
    When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve the risk of collision, the vessel which has the other
    on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

    (From Rule 16)
    Every vessel n sight of another and required to give way to another vessel shall, so far as posssible, take early and substantial action to give way.

    (From Rule 17)
    When one of two vessels is required to give way, the other vessel (the stand-on vessel) shall maintain its course and speed.

    Damage on the starboard side of the US Navy vessel is suggestive; it failed to give way. From a simple sailor’s viewpoint it’s not looking good for the US Navy.

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