April 13, 2016 – UPDATED with email from a Navy pilot April 19 (below) – What is going on here? We publish this as an example of a rather strange puzzle. Same ship, same incident, two or possibly three dates over two years. In April 2014, the USS Donald Cook was supposedly buzzed by a Russian fighter jet in the Black Sea, which disabled the entire ship’s electronic capacity. Nobody but a few internet sites paid much attention to the story. Why? Because it was dismissed by the military: “I have difficulty believing that two Russian pilots, on their own, would choose to take such an action,” Col. Steve Warren said during a Pentagon briefing…
A defense industry chatroom asked, “Is this nothing more than Russian propaganda or could there be an element of truth to it?” So, today, April 13, 2016, the Military Times published it as a “breaking story” with the screaming headline, “Russian attack aircraft just flew within 30 feet of a U.S. Navy ship.” What, again? Is the Navy so unfortunate as to allow two or three incidents over two years in the same place to the same ship? Or is it another ploy to alarm an already alarmed population, for the purpose of goading us into more spending? If the Navy, with its immense budget, 2/3 of which goes to defense industry contractors, can’t get their act together after three incidents, or, more likely, it allows the defense industry to publish lies which are now getting picked up by major news outlets, then what are we to make of that? Sounds like the Navy better do some serious disavowing soon, or come clean on what really happened.
UPDATE APRIL 19: Email from a retired Navy carrier pilot: “This incident has been the subject of several emails from my old Navy buds. Low-level passes have been common by both countries since the beginning of the cold war in 1946. I was personally guilty of it on four occasions. The troops on deck love any break in the boredom. Someone chose to make this an international incident. Here is one comment:
”Russians put on an air show for the lonely sailors in the Baltic Sea and the typical black shoe response was to call it an international incident. Personally, if I were sitting on a tin can at sea in today’s Navy (that’s code for soft drinks only) I would welcome the sight of some Fencers at sea level doing 450 knots. Perhaps a better response from the skipper would be all hands on deck except for the Block 1B Phalanx guys who need some low level tracking practice.”
And a response: ”…could not possibly agree more. We’ve all done this. Russian flybys by their F-111ski. Bring it!”
Your WCAA comment is right. Someone is pedaling hardware. Feel free to post it.”