Crew morale aboard aboard the US Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh is dangerously low, the Navy Times reported based on information it obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
The report is based on several command climate surveys from the USS Shiloh while the ship was led by Capt. Adam M. Aycock.
Sailors noted how disastrously low morale aboard the cruiser was, even voicing concern about their readiness to fight in a climate of distrust and discontent.
One sailor commented he hoped the crew would never have to shoot down a North Korean missile, as the crew’s ineffectiveness would then really show, another said it was only a matter of time before something bad happened.
The Shiloh is part of the US Navy’s forward-deployed forces in Japan and deploys with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in addition to contributing to the ballistic missile defense task.
The low morale was the result of bad leadership aboard the cruiser. Under Aycock’s command, the ship became known as the “USS bread and water” (the captain often punished sailors by confining them in the brig and giving them only bread and water), according to sailor comments. Sailors were being punished for even the slightest offences, such as being late for the curfew.
According to Navy Times, the reports describing the situation aboard the ship are hundreds of pages long and illustrate the dysfunction on the ship.
The report may also explain the case of a gas turbine technician aboard the ship who spent several days hiding in the machine room earlier this year. The sailor was presumed dead three days before being found.
Despite being aware of the crisis aboard the ship, US Navy officials did not fire Aycock and he was rotated in a change of command ceremony on August 30, Navy Time wrote.