Self, Shipmate, and Ship: Bringing Balance to Naval Leadership

By Jimmy Drennan

Secretary of Defense James Mattis was on a plane last year, wrestling with how he would explain President Trump’s “America First” policy to our allies, when an idea came to him. He would draw a parallel to flight attendants requesting passengers put their own oxygen mask on first in the event of an emergency, before assisting family members. Say what you will about our national leadership, this is a wonderful metaphor. America can only contribute to the common interests of our Allies when we first secure our own national interests, across the entire political spectrum. Taking care of our own interests first allows America to be what our allies need – a strong, legitimate partner in promoting freedom and democracy.

Sliding all the way down the U.S. military chain of command, the youngest Seaman Recruit swabbing the deck on a Navy warship receives a very different message. He or she is taught a traditional saying that sailors use to succinctly describe their priorities: “ship, shipmate, self.” Like most nautical jargon, the aphorism has a certain graceful ring to it that captures the Navy’s mission-first mentality in very few words. It evokes dramatic notions of sailors agonizingly shutting a hatch on shipmates to save the ship from flooding, or sacrificing their own safety to save a shipmate from an engine room fire. Unfortunately, like most dramatic notions, these are largely fictional. In the real world, the U.S. Navy does not jump from one dramatic moment to the next. It operates a global force of six fleets, 284 ships, over 3700 aircraft, and 324,000 sailors, and it does so 24/7/365. Instead of maximizing mission effectiveness, using “ship, shipmate, self” as a set of priorities creates unrealistic expectations and tension in the minds of U.S. Navy sailors.

In truth, neither “America first” nor “ship, shipmate, self” are perfect models for sailors.

There are times when sailors truly should sacrifice their own interests and the interests of their shipmates for the sake of the ship, but more often than not, the energy they pour into the ship is in line with their own interests, not contrary to them. There are also many times when sailors need to prioritize their shipmates over the ship – just consider the massive amount of operational resources and time dedicated to recovering a single man overboard. Furthermore, and perhaps controversially, sailors often encounter situations in which they should prioritize themselves over their shipmates and their ship, although these situations often go unnoticed due to Navy culture epitomized by “ship, shipmate, self.” Over the past ten years, an average of 44 active duty sailors died by suicide each year. Imagine how many sailors could be saved by focusing on “preventive self-care” vice reactive clinical treatment. Many will probably view this “selfish” approach as subversive and contrary to what the Navy stands for, but radical ideas are often viewed this way at first. In fact, it is a dynamic approach to leadership that encourages emotional intelligence, in leaders and followers alike, to optimize mission effectiveness. To truly achieve sailor wellness and promote an effective mission-first culture, the Navy should use “ship, shipmate, self” not as a set of priorities, but rather as a triad with each element being critical to the mission.

Ship

Understandably, the ship is traditionally the focal point of naval operations. For centuries, ships were the only means that the world’s navies had at their disposal to project power on their enemies.

Today, even with the advent of naval aircraft, missiles, and other deployable systems, ships (and submarines) remain the quintessential element of maritime presence and power projection. There is no metric for naval strength quite as easily understandable as the number of ships a navy operates and maintains. Much naval strategic planning happening right now in the Pentagon and D.C. think tanks revolves around President Trump’s stated policy of achieving a 355 ship Navy. So, it makes sense that tradition would coalesce around a maxim that prioritizes the ship over all else. After all, sailors literally rely on the ship for their survival, and to return them to their loved ones after deployment.

Yet, for all its traditional primacy in Naval operations, the ship is no more important than the people who operate her. Just as sailors rely on their ship, the ship relies on her crew. It has long been said in naval circles that a new ship is “brought to life” when the commissioning crew runs aboard. What’s needed now is a shift in mindset away from the idea that the ship is something separate that sailors need to prioritize over themselves, toward the idea that sailors and ships are interconnected parts of a larger system that drives toward mission accomplishment, neither being more important than the other. Viewing the ship as a separate and distinct “other” for which one must continually sacrifice their own interests naturally breeds tension and eventually resentment, especially when sailors hear lip service about their wellness being the Navy’s top priority. In truth, the Navy’s top priority is, and always will be, to win our nation’s wars at sea. People, platforms, and payloads are all equally important to that mission. The message to sailors needs to be “take care of the ship, take care of your shipmates, take care of yourself, you are all critical to the mission.” When sailors view themselves as a critical element of a system of mission accomplishment, they begin to find purpose – a reason for the incredible sacrifice all sailors must make. Military leaders have long recognized a sense of purpose as being one of the most powerful motivators for transforming individuals into effective warfighting teams.

The nature of this generation of young sailors is another reason compelling reason to reshape the way the Navy characterizes its priorities. Millennials, as children of the “Peace Dividend” of the 1990s that followed the end of the Cold War, watched their parents pursue individualistic dreams and often expect the opportunity to do the same. Many Millennials were not raised in a time period that was as focused on the same selfless sense of service that some previous generations took for granted. Patriotism just looks different today. However, every American generation has been convinced the following generation was deficient in some way. Even the parents of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation” probably lamented in 1920 that America’s youth were not ready for the challenges of the “real world.” The prevailing view of Millennials is nothing new, and it’s also not helpful. The fact is, the Navy’s workforce is composed mainly of Millennials, and the challenge of leading them rests with senior leaders, to put it plainly. In this author’s experience, what is often misinterpreted as a “what’s in it for me?” attitude, is in fact a Millennial trying to determine “how do I fit in?” Sailors today seek to thrive personally even as they serve the nation. 

Shipmate

In the past, it would have been obvious to say that sailors will put the needs of their shipmates ahead of their own. They are military servicemembers after all, and most of them joined the Navy motivated by some level of selflessness. There are countless times throughout a sailor’s career when they will rightly sacrifice their own interests for the sake of a shipmate, but as a hard and fast rule, it is not necessarily beneficial to the mission for sailors to constantly put themselves last. Sailors sometimes need to prioritize their own health and readiness to ensure they are capable of contributing to the mission. Sleep, for example, is a hot button issue in the Navy right now. Some claim that systemic lack of sleep in the fleet is causing sailors and officers to perform sub-optimally on watch, potentially contributing to two tragic collisions in 2017. To be sure, the Navy needs to examine its own processes to ensure it is affording sailors the requisite time to rest so that they can do their jobs. Still, some responsibility falls on individual sailors to ensure they are getting enough sleep. This is not strictly self-interest. Sailors are one part of a system geared toward mission accomplishment. So, by declining to help out a shipmate on a late night task so they can get enough shut-eye before watch, a sailor is not only taking care of themself, but also supporting their ship’s mission. A four-star admiral once said “Tired staffs are okay, tired commanders are not.” This was not permission for commanders to work their staffs into the ground, rather it was meant to illustrate that staffs have built-in resilience due to depth, whereas commanders represent single points of mission failure. The admiral was directing his commanders to ensure they prioritized their personal health and readiness, because a commander who cannot make sound decisions due to exhaustion could actually endanger the mission, vice support it.

Today, Millennials are often motivated by more individualistic goals. That does not mean, however, that they are not willing to prioritize their shipmates over themselves, and even their ship. Consider a “man overboard” scenario. When a sailor falls into the water, every sailor stops what they are doing and supports the recovery in some way, even if it is just to muster for accountability to help identify the sailor in the water. Prioritizing the sailor above all else is not just contained to a single ship. Every ship and aircraft that can be contacted proceeds to the scene at top speed. Small boats are deployed in questionable sea states. Helicopters might be launched with winds just outside acceptable limits. Short of actual combat or avoiding collision, nothing is more important than recovering an overboard sailor. Every day, sailors put their piled-up workloads aside to give their junior shipmates on- the-job training. Entire career paths, such as Culinary Specialists and Yeomen, are dedicated to the service of other sailors. In fact, every sailor puts in work to serve their shipmates, their ship, and, ultimately, the mission. The key for leaders is to enable sailors to see how they contribute to the mission.

Self

Taking care of yourself is not necessarily selfish. Usually, it is the mindset of “ship, shipmate, self” that leads sailors to perceive those who prioritize their own wellness as “selfish.” On the contrary, when sailors understand how they contribute to the mission, they can maximize mission effectiveness by ensuring they are prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally to give 100 percent focus and effort toward their duties. It is important, of course, for sailors to understand how they fit in to the overall Navy system, and to not take “self-care” too far. Inevitably, there will be times when sailors will only be looking out for themselves, regardless of how their actions affect their shipmates, their ship, or the mission. Clearly, in a “ship, shipmate, self” culture, these sailors are highly frowned upon and quickly corrected. If they cannot be corrected, they are typically shunned.

The problem with this dynamic is the Navy ends up with sailors who are not contributing to the mission. Worse, in almost all cases, selfishness is not an immutable aspect of a sailor’s character, but rather temporary behavior that can be discouraged through sustained command-wide effort. So, the key is understanding one’s role on the ship and in the mission. As one Commanding Officer once put it, “Everyone can contribute. It’s up to the leader to help them figure out how.” Sometimes that might involve creative solutions such as reassigning sailors to other divisions or so-called “Tiger Teams” – small groups dedicated to specific short-term tasks. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as effective command indoctrination, mentorship, and training. Once a sailor truly understands that they are part of a team and how they contribute to the mission, performance will inevitably improve, usually significantly. This growth process requires leaders to exhibit emotional intelligence – the ability to manage emotions in oneself and in others to guide behavior and achieve one’s goals. To help a person who doesn’t want to help themself is often emotionally taxing, and it can be tempting to dismiss that person, but this does nothing to advance the mission.

When the leader views their relationship to an unmotivated sailor not in an adversarial way, but rather in terms of an interconnected system, that leader can begin to see even small ways the sailor might contribute, which is critical because that enables the sailor to then grow their own emotional intelligence. The key insight is that the sailor’s health and readiness are critical elements in an overall readiness system, not afterthoughts to be prioritized behind the ship and shipmates.

Conclusion

Importantly, transitioning from the idea of “ship, shipmate, self” being a set of priorities to a description of an interconnected system not only improves individual sailor wellness, but overall mission effectiveness as well. As much as Navy leadership discusses the importance of sailors and ships, nothing ever comes before the Navy’s mission to “maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.” Fundamentally, accomplishment of the Navy’s mission comes down to individual sailors working as teams to operate the finest ships, submarines, aircraft, and supporting systems in the world. To truly contribute to this mission accomplishment, every level of leadership, from work center supervisors to fleet commanders and beyond, should seek to understand how their organization fits into the overall Navy system. When the Auxiliaries Officer sees how auxiliary services support the ship’s mission, and a Strike Group Commander understands how naval air power supports their fleet, they can empower the most junior sailor with a motivating sense of purpose.

Every sailor should understand more broadly how the Navy contributes to national defense. When a sailor examines how they fits into the overall Navy system, it can be extremely fulfilling to realize that their nation depends on him to keep enemies far from its shores. If Navy leadership wants to move toward a more effective warfighting force, a good first step is the recognition that ship, shipmate, and self are all equally important, interrelated elements dedicated to mission accomplishment.

Jimmy Drennan is the Vice President of CIMSEC. These views are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of any government agency.

Featured Image: (June 19, 2018) Hawaii-area Sailors render honors to retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate and Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Emory during a farewell ceremony held before he departs Hawaii to be with family. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Pacheco/Released)

Déjà Vu at the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue?

By Tuan N. Pham

Introduction

Last year, CIMSEC published an article analyzing Beijing’s decision to send an unusually low-ranking delegation head, Lieutenant General (LTG) He Lei who serves as the Vice President of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Academy of Military Science (AMS), to the 2017 Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). The selection was a sharp departure from general past practice. In 2011, Beijing dispatched its Defense Minister (the highest-ranked representative to date) followed by the Vice President of the PLA AMS (lowest-ranked representative so far) the following year. From 2013 to 2016, the Chinese delegation was led by a deputy chief-level PLA general officer, closer in rank to the other attending defense ministers. This year, Beijing chose once again to send LTG He to the premier security forum in the Indo-Pacific region, despite last year’s pledge to send a delegation led by a four-star officer of Central Military Committee rank.

It was speculated that Beijing’s decision was a subtle refutation of last year’s stated agenda of “upholding the rules-based regional order, practical measures to avoid conflict at sea, and nuclear dangers in the Asia-Pacific” and pointed to a deeper problem that China has with the annual dialogue itself. Beijing chooses not to discuss its maritime disputes in any multilateral forum, asserting that bilateral negotiations are the appropriate mechanism to deliberate such contentious issues. The South China Sea (SCS) is a recurrent SLD topic – and China, much to its chagrin, has little influence over the non-friendly and as the Chinese might suggest, hostile agenda. There’s a growing sense within Beijing’s political elites that the SLD has become nothing more than an international forum to highlight (and shame) China’s perceived rule-breaking behavior in the region.

It was also suggested that Beijing may have been short-sighted. By downgrading its presence at the SLD, China ceded the strategic narrative and initiative to the United States and its allies. China yielded another highly visible international platform where its competitors could stake out their strategic positions, counter Chinese strategic messaging, and further challenge and encourage Beijing to become a more responsible global stakeholder that contributes positively to the international system.

The following analysis compares and contrasts the 2017 and 2018 dialogues in terms of Chinese themes, narratives, responses, and outcomes while trying to answer questions such as why did Beijing again send LTG He, what message is Beijing trying to convey, and what does it portend for the region in the near future?

2017 SLD Highlights

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered the keynote speech, averring that Asia’s future peace and prosperity depend on preserving the rules-based regional order that has worked so well for so long. He suggested that China can only expand its strategic influence to match its economic might within the bounds set by the same rules-based regional order. The message implied that Beijing was undermining the rules-based order in Asia and warned that a coercive China would drive its regional neighbors to bolster alliances and partnerships between themselves and the United States. Prime Minister Turnbull also exhorted his regional neighbors to assume greater responsibility for their own security and prosperity.

During the first plenary session (United States and Asia-Pacific Security), U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis called out China for disregarding other nations’ interests and international law, militarizing the SCS, and undermining regional stability. He reiterated that the United States would continue “to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, and demonstrate resolve through operational presence in the SCS and beyond.” Secretary Mattis urged China to recognize that North Korea has become a strategic liability and cautioned Beijing that seeking cooperation on Pyongyang did not mean Washington would not challenge Chinese activities in the SCS. Secretary Mattis also restated America’s steadfast commitment to the defense of Taiwan as outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act. 

During the second plenary session (Upholding the Rules-based Regional Order), then-Japanese Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada leveled similar criticism against China in her speech. She implied that Beijing bore most of the responsibility for the extant regional instability and criticized China for “unilaterally” altering the status quo in the East China Sea and SCS. Minister Inada also urged Beijing to follow international law and respect the prior year’s tribunal ruling on the SCS and expressed support for U.S. freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the SCS.

Chinese diplomatic and media responses were expectedly swift and coordinated, but ultimately uninspiring. The PLA delegation held a media briefing on the summit’s sidelines at the end of the second day, defending China’s position as a rising power that abides by international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The delegation repeated longstanding policy positions on Taiwan, North Korea, and the SCS while expressing frustration that Beijing is unfairly singled out for criticism. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed the tepid response the next day and called out Mattis and Inada’s statements on the SCS and Taiwan as “irresponsible.”  

During the second special session (New Patterns for Security Cooperation), LTG He presented a self-serving speech underscoring the need for a new Asia-Pacific security framework featuring “common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security.” LTG He emphasized China’s peaceful and benevolent rise that contributes to global peace and prosperity and promoted the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) while promising to advance within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations the adoption of a Code of Conduct framework for the SCS.

2018 SLD Highlights

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the keynote speech. Although the tone of his speech was largely conciliatory and deferential to Beijing, Prime Minister Modi repeatedly used the term “Indo-Pacific,” highlighting the critical role that America plays in the regional (and global) order, and underscored the imperative for a common rules-based system based on the consent of all.   

IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2018 – Keynote Address by Narendra Modi (Photo by IISS)

During the first plenary session (U.S. Leadership and the Challenges of Indo-Pacific Security), U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis rebuked China for “intimidation and coercion” in the Indo-Pacific and declared that America does not plan to abandon its leading role in the region. He also specifically called out Beijing’s destabilizing militarization of the SCS, while further encouraging and challenging China to act responsibly in accordance with established global rules and norms.

During the third plenary session (Shaping Asia’s Evolving Security Order), the Vietnamese Minister of National Defense General Ngo Xuan Lich made the emphatic point that “under no circumstances could we excuse militarization by deploying weapons and military hardware over disputed areas against regional commitments.” Two weeks later, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry denounced China’s recent redeployment of missiles to Woody Island as a serious violation of its sovereignty in the SCS (Vietnam also has its claims) and that this has threatened freedom of navigation and overflight in the SCS. Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry also “requests that China immediately put an end to these wrongful activities and withdraw the military equipments it had illegally deployed on Vietnams Hoang Sa Islands (Paracel) Islands.”

During the fifth plenary session (Raising the Bar for Regional Security Cooperation), the French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly and British Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson largely echoed Secretary Mattis’ sentiments with the former making the bold statement on the SCS…“fait accompli is not a fate accepted” (referring to Chinese attempts to deny international access to the disputed waters). Both announced their intent to jointly sail their deployed naval vessels across the SCS to demonstrate their nations’ inherent right to traverse international waters and to send the “strongest of signals” on the importance of freedom of navigation.

Chinese diplomatic and media responses were again expectedly swift and coordinated, but much sharper and more assertive (and perhaps even better prepared) than last year. The PLA delegation forcefully defended Beijing’s military activities in the SCS and sharply criticized Secretary Mattis’ “irresponsible remarks” on the issue and for his unhelpful “hyping” of the situation. LTG He also took advantage of the public forum to reiterate Taiwan as a Chinese “core interest” and a “red line that cannot be challenged.” This is part of its deliberate campaign to push back hard against the Taiwan Travel Act, approval of marketing licenses to sell U.S. technology to Taipei that would allow for building of advanced Taiwanese submarines, a U.S.-Taiwan agreement to share defense research, and the dispatch of formal U.S. officials to the opening ceremony of a new office building to house the American Institute in Taiwan (the defacto U.S. Embassy).   

During the fifth special session (Strategic Implications of Military Capability Development in Asia-Pacific), LTG He vigorously defended Beijing’s actions and activities in the SCS to include the recent deployments of weapon systems to its military outposts. He re-asserted the Chinese strategic narrative that the islands belonged to China, Beijing was only acting to defend the country’s indisputable sovereignty, and that U.S. FONOPs were the “real militarization of the SCS.” He also reiterated the point that China has not obstructed any military vessels following international laws and was open to discussions on the interpretation of FON. The rest of his speech characterized the ongoing PLA reforms and modernization efforts as benign and largely defensive in nature, praised Beijing for its constructive role in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and repeated last year’s talking points on the need for a new Asia-Pacific security framework and the BRI.   

So What’s Next

At the end of the day, the scope, nature, and extent of China’s present participation in the SLD can best be summed up as taking the middle road (hedging). Beijing wants to respond to any policy criticism and challenge any narrative counter to their own at the forum, but does not want to openly endorse or promote the SLD. It seems content for now to limit its role in the special session, and reserve the right to speak at the higher-visibility plenary session when warranted (only individuals of full ministerial rank can speak in plenary).

That said, Beijing may one day conclude that the juice may not be worth the squeeze. Why bother with the biased and fading SLD, when it can focus instead on building up its own Xiangshan Forum? This regional forum is already widely seen in Beijing as a growing counter to the SLD and an important part of a strategic agenda to displace the extant Western-oriented world order with one without dominant U.S. influence. If so, one can expect a re-emerged, revitalized, and restructured Xiangshan Forum after an unexpected and self-induced one-year hiatus.

The BRI (with its hidden nationalist agenda and subdued geo-strategic implications) ultimately needs an accompanying and complementary security framework with Chinese characteristics that the forum can help foster and promote under Beijing’s terms.

The new Chinese strategic approach calls for the balanced integration of interests – both long-term economic development with concomitant security reforms intended to restructure and realign global political and security order. This will be pursued in tandem with safeguarding and enhancing the internal apparatuses of China’s socialist and authoritarian system until it can be the center of that new Beijing-oriented global order. 

Conclusion

Beijing clearly views the SLD as an adversarial international forum used by its perceived strategic rival – Washington – and its allies to unfairly criticize (and contain) China. But despite the critiques, Beijing may also see some value (but not necessarily the overwhelming need) to participate in these multilateral dialogues and perhaps begrudgingly accept the criticism of China as a natural outgrowth of its rise as a global power.

Tuan Pham is widely published in national security affairs and international relations. The views expressed therein are his own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Government.

Featured Image: SINGAPORE (June 1, 2018) Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis delivers remarks during the first plenary session of the Shangri-La Dialogue 2018 June 2. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/Released)

Learning War and The Evolution of U.S. Navy Fighting Doctrine with Author Trent Hone

By Christopher Nelson

Author Trent Hone joins us today to talk about his new book Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898-1945. This is a great book. And as others have noted, it’s a fine compliment to John Kuehn’s work on the Navy General Staff, Scott Mobley’s book Progressives in Navy Blue, and I would add, Albert Nofi’s To Train The Fleet For War: The U.S. Navy Fleet Problems, 1923-1940.

We talk about everything from Admiral Frank “Friday” Fletcher to “safe-to-fail” systems vs. “fail-safe” systems. And stick around to the end. Trent Hone offers some advice to the CNO on how we can build a better learning organization.

Nelson: For the readers, could you tell us briefly what your book is about?

Hone: My book investigates how the U.S. Navy of the early twentieth century learned to innovate. I explore how the Navy invented new technologies, created new tactics, and found ways to rapidly evolve its combat doctrine based on peacetime exercises and wartime experience. Today, we would describe the Navy of that era as a “learning organization.” I explain what that means and describe the mechanisms the Navy used to effectively learn and innovate. I believe there are lessons from that time that are very relevant for today’s organizations, both military and civilian.

Nelson: Why did you want to write this book?

Hone: I’ve been interested in naval tactics for a long time. I remember reading Wayne Hughes’s Fleet Tactics when it first came out in the 1980s and being fascinated (It’s a great book now on its third edition). In the 1990s, I decided to explore the Navy’s surface warfare tactics before and during World War II. I wanted to know what Admiral Husband E. Kimmel might have done if Pearl Harbor hadn’t been attacked. That research led to a series of articles on the development of Navy tactics—including a prize-winning one in the Naval War College Reviewand, ultimately, began to overlap with other work I was doing. 

I started my career as a software engineer. As I assumed positions of greater responsibility, what became most interesting to me was not the development of the software, but how teams organized to create software and do innovative work. I studied various techniques and methods to improve the teams I supervised and eventually transitioned into advising and coaching organizations to help them get better at learning and innovating. 

As I continued looking at the evolution of the Navy’s tactical doctrine in the early twentieth century, I saw patterns that resonated with today’s most-effective learning techniques. The language was quite different, and the specific processes were different, but some of the underlying principles were remarkably similar. I realized it was a story that had to be told. I describe an arc of innovative creativity that stretches back decades by charting the evolution of surface warfare tactics.

Nelson: Early in the book you talk about “fail-safe” systems and “safe to fail” systems. The latter, you say, are best for a culture that encourages innovation. With this in mind, what would you say Rickover’s submarine culture consisted of? Is he a rare exception in the case of a system that is “fail-safe” yet innovative?

Hone: I’m glad you brought this up. Alicia Juarrero’s term “safe to fail” gives us a new way to think about failure modes and how to account for them. The key difference between the two is that with “fail-safe” we attempt to anticipate possible failure modes and design ways to mitigate them. With “safe to fail,” we recognize unanticipated failure modes will occur and organize to ensure survival when they do. This has relevance to organizations because when we want to learn and innovate, we are going to fail. A “safe to fail” organization finds ways to explore new ideas and experiment with them without endangering its long-term survival. The Navy was good at that in the early twentieth century. 

I’m less familiar with Rickover’s time, but from what I understand, it would be inaccurate to describe the culture he developed as primarily “fail-safe.” Certainly, it used procedures with rigidly prescribed steps in order to prevent known failures, so in that sense it was “fail-safe.” However, he recognized that unanticipated failure modes can and will occur. Defined procedures are inadequate to account for these circumstances. Instead, it’s essential to rely on the collective skill and experience of people, so the culture integrated crewmembers together. Layers of human observation and experience became the means to identify, anticipate, and address unforeseen circumstances. In that sense, the culture has a “safe to fail” component. Things will go wrong; people will make mistakes. But trust and experience become the means to identify and resolve them. 

As it turns out, that’s the most effective way to deal with problems in complex environments. Standard procedures and automated routines free our mental capacity so that when unforeseen circumstances arise, we can quickly identify and address them. That’s what made the Combat Information Center (CIC) and its successors effective: the artful integration of standard processes, technology, and human judgment. I worry that with the increasing emphasis on automated systems, we might be taking the talents of our people too far out of the loop. There’s no substitute for human experience and skill when the unanticipated occurs. 

Nelson: What is the “edge of chaos” and why does it matter to any organization that is trying to be innovative?

Hone: The concept of the “edge of chaos” is easily misunderstood, so I’ll try to explain it succinctly. In any complex system—like a corporation or a military service—there are processes, procedures, and rules. In the language of complexity, these are called “constraints.” They channel and limit behavior. When constraints are restrictive, they inhibit the ability of people to experiment and try something new. Obviously, that’s a problem if you want to innovate. But the other end of the spectrum is problematic also. If constraints are too loose, there’s no coherence; it becomes difficult to assign cause and effect or make sense of an experiment. The “edge of chaos” is located between these two extremes. It is a space where constraints are sufficiently loose to allow room to explore new ideas and concepts but also rigid enough to focus that exploration and provide feedback on its effectiveness. 

Many of us intuitively understand this from our own experience. Software teams, for example, are most innovative (and generally most effective) when they’re given a clear objective and the creative freedom to determine how best to accomplish it. The objective serves as a constraint and focuses their energy. They use their initiative to explore several potential solutions, often arriving at the best combination of technologies that addresses the need. That’s why there’s been such an emphasis on moving away from rigidly detailed requirements documents; they overly constrain teams and limit their creativity. The parallels to military command, and the importance of well-written orders that foster the initiative of subordinates, are obvious. 

Nelson: What was the importance of the 1921 Destroyer Instructions?

Hone: The Atlantic Fleet’s 1921 Destroyer Instructions were important for two reasons. It was the first Navy doctrinal manual produced by a deliberately created system of learning. Immediately after World War I, the Navy was transitioning back to peacetime. Many valuable lessons had been learned during the war and officers set out to capture them. Two “colleges” were established, one in the Atlantic Fleet and another in the Pacific Fleet. They combined exercises at sea, wargames ashore, and experience from the recent war to devise new approaches. A regular correspondence was maintained between these two fleet colleges and the Naval War College. The result of their collective learning was incorporated into the Destroyer Instructions. 

The Destroyer Instructions were also important because they assumed individual commands—each destroyer squadron—would develop their own specific doctrines that reflected the strength of their ships and men. The Instructions were deliberately written to foster creativity within subordinate commands and avoid being overly prescriptive. The War Instructions of 1923 took the same approach, so Navy officers spent the interwar period exploring a variety of options for how to coordinate and employ their forces, leading to new and innovative techniques.

Nelson: Who was Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher? What were his battle instructions? And why are they an important milestone in naval history?

Hone: Frank Friday Fletcher led the intervention at Veracruz, Mexico, in April 1914 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his conduct. In September 1914, he became commander of the Atlantic Fleet, which contained the Navy’s most modern ships. The Atlantic Fleet had been regularly conducting exercises to work out how best to operate in battle, and Fletcher continued that practice. By May 1916, he and his staff had gained enough experience to issue a set of Battle Instructions. 

Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher.

Fletcher’s Instructions marked a departure from previous approaches. He assumed battle was fundamentally uncertain and that centralized control would likely be impossible; this led him to emphasize two things. The first was the use of a plan that would outline objectives for subordinates. Fletcher wanted to encourage their individual initiative and creativity without overly constraining them. Second, Fletcher stressed the coordinated use of all weapons. Previous battle plans had emphasized battleship gunnery. Fletcher recognized that other weapons were coming into their own, particularly destroyer torpedoes. He planned to use his destroyer squadrons very aggressively. These two concepts—the use of a plan and coordinated employment of all arms—remained central to Navy tactical doctrine through World War II.  

Nelson: I enjoyed your comment about “type commanders.” You note in your book that during World War II that minor actions were neglected.  This mattered. And type commanders were born in light of these shortcomings. What were these “minor actions” and how did the type commanders address them?

Hone: The Navy’s primary focus in the interwar period (1919-1939) was a trans-Pacific campaign. It was expected to culminate in a “major action”—a large fleet battle—somewhere in the central Pacific. Accordingly, most of the fleet-level tactical doctrine focused on “major action.” Tactics for “minor actions”—engagements between smaller task forces—were left to subordinate commanders. It was assumed that these lower-level commanders would have time to develop doctrines for their forces, and, during peacetime, this assumption was largely correct. 

However, there were shortcomings. This led to the introduction of the type commands in 1930.

Type commands became responsible for identifying and capturing new tactical approaches for each various type—destroyers, cruisers, battleships, etc.—and there is evidence that new approaches were more rapidly developed after that date. The real problem, though, was the assumption that subordinate commands would be able to develop specific doctrines for their forces. 

In 1942, that process fell apart during the battles off Guadalcanal. Ships and commanders moved about too rapidly to develop cohesion. “Scratch teams” were formed and they often performed poorly, as you might expect. The Pacific Fleet addressed the problem by applying some of the same techniques used for “major tactics” to “minor tactics” and leveraging the type commands to rapidly share and disseminate lessons. 

Nelson: During World War II, how did the Fleet quickly inform commanders with updated doctrine? This is a problem throughout history, is it not? We make some assessments on what will or will not work in war, and inevitably we will be surprised. What would you recommend to a staff today on how to prepare for such things?

Hone: I love this question because when I first started my research decades ago, I thought that manuals—published doctrinal materials—would be the key to understanding tactical doctrine. I learned very quickly that’s not the case. Doctrine is a set of assumptions and mental models. The documentation provides a backdrop, but what really matters is how individuals think about problems and work together. During World War II, the Navy effectively used personal connections, like in-person conversations and conferences, to rapidly share and disseminate new ideas. There were formal means to do this (like Joseph C. Wylie being brought back from the South Pacific to help develop the CIC) but informal mechanisms were at least as important. Published doctrine tended to lag behind the information shared through these informal networks.

USS SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38) At the Mare Island Navy Yard, 20 May 1942. (Photo via Naval History and Heritage Command)

If I were making recommendations, I’d stress the importance of informal mechanisms. Staffs can easily create mountains of briefings and other documentation. What’s more difficult is creating an environment where subordinates can readily exchange information, learn together, and build on the knowledge of their colleagues. I think a staff should actively work on enabling that. It’s not just about creating space and time; it’s about introducing the appropriate constraints to enable creativity to flourish. Then, once that is in place, the staff needs to keep tabs on what’s happening. New, more effective ideas will arise. When they do, the staff needs to act quickly to exploit them and make them available to the entire command. 

Nelson: How does the size of a navy – the number of ships and sailors – affect innovation? Quick growth, during World War II, for example, and steep reductions – ship numbers from the 80s to today for instance, do these affect innovation in different ways? How?

Hone: I think both offer serious challenges. The rapid growth in World War II made it very difficult to maintain the effective culture the Navy had nurtured during the early twentieth century. Rapid “scaling” (as we call it in the software world) tends to increase centralization, reduce flexibility, and inhibit innovation. That happened to the Navy as it grew during the war. 

The challenge I see with steep reductions is overburdening. Organizations often reduce their size without an equivalent reduction in their commitments. This leads to overwork: people become spread too thin; maintenance gets delayed; and equipment is overutilized. Individuals may still be able to sustain the pace of operations, but they frequently lose the ability to experiment with new ideas. Innovation slows as a result. When commitments are reduced along with reductions in size—as with the Navy after World War I—this can be avoided. 

Nelson: Trent, to close, if you had ten minutes with the Chief of Naval Operations and he asked you what he needed to do to create a learning organization – what would you say?

Hone: I had about thirty seconds with Admiral Richardson last year when he presented me with the second-place award for his Naval History Essay Contest, and in those thirty seconds, I encouraged him to read my book. If I had ten minutes, I’d urge him to introduce a set of integrated feedback loops that couple regular experimentation regarding the nature of future war (tactics, technology, etc.) and OPNAV’s programming process. The goals would be twofold. First, officers need to be encouraged to regularly experiment to vary their tactical approaches to discover new, more effective techniques. They need to become accustomed to adjusting to unanticipated circumstances and leveraging the creativity of their commands. Second, the lessons from their experimentation need to revise and guide the Navy’s program so that force structure and procurement reflect—and ultimately anticipate—the new learning. 

We’re all familiar with the interwar Fleet Problems. What made them really powerful—what allowed them to transform the Navy—was the way they were integrated into the Navy’s planning and procurement processes. The second CNO, Admiral Robert E. Coontz, was primarily responsible for that. He created the feedback loops that allowed the Navy to not just experiment with new tactical doctrines, but to evolve force structure and war plans in light of emerging lessons. If Admiral Richardson wants “high-velocity learning,” if he wants to fully leverage the skills of the Navy’s officers, he needs to devise a set of similar mechanisms. Given the organizational changes since Coontz left office in 1923, a new set of structures and interfaces would have to be introduced. I have faith Admiral Richardson could do that, if he sets his mind to it. 

Trent Hone is an award-winning naval historian and a Managing Consultant with Excella in Arlington, VA. He is an expert on U.S. Navy tactics and doctrine. His article, “U.S. Navy Surface Battle Doctrine and Victory in the Pacific” was awarded the U.S. Naval War College’s Edward S. Miller Prize and the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Ernest M. Eller Prize. His essay, “Guadalcanal Proved Experimentation Works” earned second place in the 2017 Chief of Naval Operations Naval History Essay Contest. He regularly writes and speaks about organizational learning, doctrine, strategy, and how the three interrelate. His latest book, Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898–1945, was published by the U.S. Naval Institute in June 2018.

Christopher Nelson is a U.S. Naval Officer stationed at the U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School. He is a regular contributor to CIMSEC. The questions and views here are his own.

Featured Image: USS Indiana (BB-58) fires a salvo from her forward 16″/45 guns at the Kamaishi Plant of the Japan Iron Company, 250 miles north of Tokyo. 

A History of the Philippine Navy in the Korean War (1950-1953)

By CMDR Mark R. Condeno, Philippine Coast Guard

Introduction

On Sunday June 25, 1950, the existence of the Republic of Korea as a democratic nation was shattered when armored and infantry elements of the North Korean People’s Army crossed the border into Seoul. The surprise attack caught the Republic of Korea Armed Forces off guard who lacked the equipment to withstand a massive communist invasion.

On that same day, the United Nations Security Council Resolution Number 82 was enacted which called for the immediate withdrawal of the belligerent forces. After it went unheeded this prompted the world body to pass UNSC Resolution number 83 calling on member countries to support militarily the ROK in deterring communist aggression.

Although having its own counterinsurgency problem, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian country to deploy troops in support of the UN cause and the Third member of the UN Body to do so. On September 7, 1950, President Elpidio Rivera Quirino announced the historic decision of the deployment of Filipino Soldiers to the embattled republic. It fulfilled the country’s obligation as a member and signatory of the United Nations and the interest of combating the spread of communism in the Asia-Pacific region.

Unknown to many, the Philippine Navy (PN) would actively participate in the Korean conflict. The five Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) of the Service Squadron of the Philippine Navy, namely RPS Cotabato (T-36), RPS Pampanga (T-37), RPS Bulacan (T-38), RPS Albay (T-39), and RPS Misamis Oriental (T-40) would serve as the workhorse in transporting Filipino soldiers to and from Korea for five years. Another great significance for the service was the assignment of two Filipino naval officers at the Philippine Liaison Group-United Nations Command in Tokyo, Japan.

BRP ALBAY (LT-39) Ferried troops of the Philippine Army’s 19th and 14th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) to and from Korea from 1953 to 1954. She is skippered by LTSG JOSE ORDONEZ PN. (Photo by Richard Leonhardt, courtesy Navsource.org)

This paper seeks to provide a summary of the Philippine Navy’s role and exploits during the Forgotten War and the naval legacy that was fortified between the two navies after the conflict.

The Philippine Navy in 1950

Five years after the end of the Second World War saw the reestablishment of the offshore patrol  (OSP). The swarm of former OSP personnel-turned-guerillas were eager to re-join their mother unit. A modest rearmament of the service followed as surplus naval vessels from the United States found its way to the OSP fleet in the form of patrol craft escorts (PCE), submarine chasers (SCs), patrol craft (PC), minesweepers (AM), and landing ship tanks (LSTs).

During that period the order of battle of the Philippine Naval Patrol (PNP) under Commodore Jose Francisco AFP (USNA ’31) comprised of the following: The fleet minesweeper and flagship RPS Apo (PS 21) which also served as the Presidential Yacht in which President Quirino and his cabinet met during the opening days of the Korean conflict. The Patrol Force under LCDR Heracleo Alano PN (PMA ’40) is composed of RPS Cebu (PS 28), Negros Occidental (PS29), Leyte (PS 30), Pangasinan (PS 31), IloIlo (PS32). The rest of the fleet is made up of 16 submarine chasers, six survey vessels, two landing craft infantry (LCI), one rescue tug, and six auxiliary ships.

Departure for Korea

Eight days after the signing of Republic Act 573 “Philippine Military Aid to the United Nations Act” by then President Elpidio R Quirino, the whole element of the 10th Battalion Combat Team boarded the U.S. naval transport USNS SGT Sylvester J. Antolak (T-AP-192) for a four-day voyage to the Korean peninsula. She was escorted from the vicinity of Corregidor Island up to the outskirts of the South China Sea by RPS Negros Oriental (PS 26) and RPS Capiz (PS 27). The battalion would be the first of the five BCTs, namely the 20th, 19th, 14th and 2nd to immortalize the Filipino soldiers gallantry and courage on the field of battle. Each Battalion would serve for about a year in Korea with the last troops leaving for Manila in 1955.

USNS SGT Sylvester J Antolak (T-APA-192)- Brought in to the Korean Theater of Operations the First contingent of 1,303 Filipino Troops (Army, Air Force and Navy) of the 10th BCT, Philippine Army arriving at the Port of Pusan on 19 September 1950 after 4 days of voyage from the Port of Manila.

The combat service support operations of the Navy would begin with the homecoming of the 10th BCT in April 1951 aboard RPS Cotabato and the departure and return to and from Korea of the 20th, 19th, and 14th BCT’s. The 2nd BCT would have the distinction of being ferried to and from Korea aboard U.S. naval vessels.

Early Philippine-Korean Naval Relationship

Quite unknown from the early days of the ROK and the formation of the Korean Naval Defense Corps to the Korean Coast Guard (later becoming the Republic of Korea Navy), Filipino naval officers played a pivotal role as it brought in the first ships of the KCG to Korea from Subic Bay Naval Base. It was in August 1947 that then LTSG Ramon A. Alcaraz, PN (PMA ’40) was designated as head of mission to ferry former U.S. and British Royal Navy auxiliary motor minesweepers that would form the backbone of the Korean Fleet, where their ports of destination were 3 of the 7 ROK Naval bases namely Chinhae, Busan, and Seoul.

Another notable skipper of one of the ships to be transferred is LT Dioscoro E. Papa, PN (the Second Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard). Later on at the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, now Commander Ramon A. Alcaraz would be the service squadron skipper of the five LSTs that served as the mainstay of the fleet in ferrying troops of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) Battalion Combat Teams.

A Naval Officer in the Battle of Yuldong

On April 22-23, 1951 during the Chinese communist spring offensive which could have ended the conflict, Filipino soldiers, airmen, and sailors demonstrated prowess on the battlefield in the greatest defensive operation etched in the annals of Philippine military history. Although outnumbered 10 to 1, the 900 strong 10th BCT withstood a massive attack of the Chinese 12th Army at Yultong Ridge, known today as the Battle of Yultong (Yuldong).

Emilio S Liwanag- Then-LCDR Emilio S. Liwanag PN was attached to the 10th BCT as Supply Officer and later designated as Senior Naval Advisor to the Philippine Representative Mission in Korea. He is shown here as a Captain during the SEATO Naval Exercises as Exercise Director (Photo Courtesy, N-3, Headquarters Philippine Navy from Capt Liwanag’s AGO Card).

A notable naval role was the presence of then LCDR Emilio S. Liwanag, PN (PMA ’38) as the logistics and artillery officer of the 10TH BCT who commanded a battery of 105mm howitzers during the battle. LCDR Liwanag was a graduate of the Advanced Infantry Gunnery Course at Fort William Mckinley in 1950 days prior to his deployment to Korea. Early on, as a logistics officer LCDR Liwanag was also responsible in securing from an American depot a squadron of U.S. made M24 Chafee light tanks and heavy weapons for the tenth’s reconnaissance and heavy weapons company.

The Sea Voyage Rough Seas, Storms, and Typhoons

On the evening of September 30, 1951 the last elements of the 10th BCT would depart the port of Busan aboard RPS Cotabato under LCDR Florentino Buenaventura, PN, on a 2,400 kilometer voyage by way of Japan (as the LST would undergo four days of repair and provisioning at Yokusuka Naval Base). Upon reaching open seas they would encounter heavy gales and the ship’s entire complement mercilessly fought the waves for hours. As furious waves became stronger they sought refuge at Kagoshima Bay. On October 23, 1951 RPS Cotabato escorted by a pair of submarine chasers that entered Manila Bay with a tumultuous welcome from surrounding ships, a flyby from a formation of P-51 Mustangs of the PAF, and a jubilant crowd.

In September 1951 both RPS Cotabato and RPS Pampanga under CDR Tomas C. Robenul, PN would again undertake the task of bringing the second Filipino battalion the 20th BCT under Col. Salvador Abcede to the Korean theater of operations. A year later, the return voyage of the first batch (Albay) and second batch (Misamis Oriental skippered by LTJG Pablo Pascua, PN) of the 20th BCT would again be hampered by a tropical storm off Northern Luzon but the ships would go unscathed with the skillful maneuvering of the vessels officers and crew. A warm welcome and a jovial parade would again be received by the troops and sailors as they approached Manila’s Pier 7.

BRP MISAMIS ORIENTAL (LT-40) Brought home troops of the 20th Battalion Combat Team. (Photo Courtesy Navsource.org).

On March 1953 RPS Bulacan under CDR Tandiko Centi, PN – the First Filipino Muslim naval officer and LTSG Jose Ordonez, PN of RPS Albay –  lifted anchor at South Harbor. Aboard the two ships was the fourth Filipino contingent to the UN Command, the famed 14th BCT also known as the Avengers, a veteran unit of the HUK campaign. Based on the book These are your Boys by the battalion itself, the passage was eventful with film showing singing and guitar playing among the soldiers and sailors and the chow line serving Paksiw (fish cooked and simmered in vinegar with garlic, salt and spices) and Sinigang na Bangus (stewed milkfish in tamarind broth).

From a 14th BCT veteran’s account the expedition to Korea was cut short as an essential stopover was made at Poro Point, La Union to repair and replace a part of the one of the ships engine. With these developments adding some free time sports competitions were held between the townsfolk and sailors stationed at the naval base with the PEFTOK troops emerging as winners. Four days later, the ships hauled anchor and again encountered rough and heavy waves often bigger than the ships seen at the Balintang channel, the crossroads of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

Twelve days after departing Manila, the Albay and Bulacan dropped anchor at the Port of Busan, although prior to entering harbor the troops and allied naval ships observed the proficiency of Filipino ships and sailors as anti-aircraft and anti-submarine drills were practiced with U.S. Navy counterparts involving one of their submarines which surfaced beside RPS Albay.

The combat service support and escort operations of the Philippine Navy during the Korean War

Prior to debarkation, the Avengers thanked the ships officers and crew along with CDR Octavio Posadas, PN (N4) who handled the administrative and logistical matters in support of the Philippine contingent.

Philippine-Liaison Group United Nations Command, Tokyo, Japan

CDRE Santiago C Nuval AFP- Then Commander Santiago C Nuval was the head of the Philippine-UN Mission in Tokyo, Japan. He later became the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy. (Photo Courtesy N-3, Headquarters Philippine Navy)

As mentioned earlier, after his stint with the 10th BCT, CDR Emilio S. Liwanag, PN would serve as the Assistant Commander of the Philippine mission to the United Nations Command in Tokyo, Japan instead of CDR Santiago C. Nuval, PN (PMA ’38 and a future PN FOIC) as head of the mission. The veterans recall the massive support of the two officers to Filipino troops while in Japan. CDR Liwanag was also the senior naval advisor to the Philippine diplomatic mission in Korea which would earn him the U.S. Legion of Merit for valuable logistical assistance to Filipino troops in the Korean conflict.

Naval Legacy Braced by War

The LSTs mentioned were originally built from 1942-34 and eventually transferred to the Philippines in 1948 and would have a long career. They would again answer the call to arms with the deployment of Filipino troops during the Vietnam War. RPS Cotabato (a veteran of the 1944 Normandy landings) and RPS Pampanga were decommissioned in early 1978, while RPS Albay, Bulacan and Misamis Oriental were mothballed in 1979. The escort ship RPS Negros Oriental was transferred in 1948 and was sunk during a Typhoon at Guam in 1962. On the other hand, RPS Capiz was stricken from the Fleet list in 1979. The Flagship RPS Apo was acquired in July 1948 and would undergo several name changes as well as refits and served as a command ship into the 1960s. It was re-classified as a corvette of the Miguel Malvar class and eventually retired from the service in 1970.  

RPS Capiz- 15 September 1950 Escorting USNS SGT Sylvester J Antolak (T-AP-192) carrying troops of the Philippine Army’s 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) to Korea. She is one of the 16 Submarine Chasers then in service with the Philippine Navy (Photo Courtesy of the late 1LT Faustino Tumamak PA (Ret) 10TH BCT).

24 years after the conflict, the Philippine Fleet would receive the ROKS Kyong Ki (DE-71) and ROKS Kang Won (DE-72) in 1977. The former was the ex-USS Sutton (DE-771) while the latter was the ex-USS Muir (DE- 770). The ships were of the Cannon-class destroyer escort type in which at that period the PN has three in its inventory, namely RPS Datu Kalantiaw (PS-76), RPS Rajah Humabon (PF-6), and RPS Datu Sikatuna (PF-5).

Regrettably, the Kyong Ki and Kang Won were never commissioned but were utilized as sources for spare parts for the three active units. Almost 20 years later another milestone in Philippine-Korea Naval relations occurred as 12 Haeksang and Chamsuri-class patrol craft were sold to the Philippine Navy at a friendship price as the Republic of Korea valued the splendid bilateral relations between the two countries that begun in 1949.

The Haeksang (Conrado Yap) and the Chamsuri (Tomas Batilo) class patrol craft entered the fleet in 1993 and 1995, respectively. These ships were acquired during the incumbency of then President Fidel Valdez Ramos, himself a Korean War veteran and reconnaissance platoon leader who captured Hill Eerie on May 21, 1952 against Chinese communist forces.

12 of the Haeksang and eight of the Chamsuri were transferred during those years and through the recommendation from the Philippine Navy to President Ramos on June 24, 1995 presidential approval was granted to name them after Filipino Korean War heroes and veterans, in which the lead ships were named after Captain Conrado D. Yap, PA and then 1LT Tomas G. Batilo, both of the 10th BCT PEFTOK.

The other units of both classes were named after the PEFTOK BCT Commanders, NCOs, and enlisted personnel who sacrificed their lives during the Korean conflict in the name of freedom and democracy.

Three years ago in 2015, the ROK Navy transferred the landing craft utility (LCU) ROKS Mulgae and announced the prior year what would be the second largest naval vessel allocation in terms of size and tonnage from the ROKN to the Philippine Navy in the handover of a Flight III Pohang-class corvette (Ex-ROKS Chung-Ju PCC-762).

Conclusion

Although none of the LSTs and submarine chasers were directly engaged in action around Korean waters, the invaluable role of their combat service support and escort operations along with the naval exercises conducted with allied navies in theater enabled the Philippine Navy to hone its tactics in the various aspects of naval warfare and contribute to the mission. The Navy’s mission enabled the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) troops to accomplish and succeed its its mission in upholding democracy against communism and maintaining the sovereignty of the Republic of Korea.

CDR Mark R. Condeno is the Liaison Officer, Foreign Armed Forces Attache Corps, International Affairs Directorate. He was briefly the Research Officer of the Office of the Naval Historian, Philippine Navy in 2007 and Projects Officer of the Maritime Historical Branch of the Fleet-Marine Warfare Center, Philippine Navy. He holds a BS Degree in Architecture from Palawan State University. He is a 1997 Graduate of the Basic Naval Reserve Officers Training Course, Philippine Navy and with the Bravo Class of 1999 Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer’s Indoctrination Course. He also took up the Aerospace Power Course from the Air University, United States Air Force in 2002. He is a longtime member of CIMSEC and published “Navies for Achipelago Nations” for CIMSEC’s 2013 Maritime Futures Project.

References

1. The Fighting Tenth by Major Mariano Manawis
2. These are your boys by the 14th BCT (PEFTOK)
3. Notes on the Korean War by the author
4. Veteran accounts as related to the author
5. Jane’s Fighting Ships 1981-82
6. Conway’s All the Worlds Fighting Ships 1947-1995
7. Newspapers from the 50’s detailing the deployment and return of Filipino Soldiers to and from Korea.
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_S._Liwanag (Accessed 17 October 2013)

Featured Image: T 36 10th BCT- October 1951- Troops of the 10th BCT aboard RPS Cotabato (T-36) bound for Manila. (Photo Courtesy of the late 1LT Faustino Tumamak PA (Ret) 10TH BCT).

Fostering the Discussion on Securing the Seas.

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