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US Navy games itself

By guest editor Richard Caldwell

Posted October 27, 2017
US Navy games itself
I see no ships: Only the ones we just crashed into. ┬ę Ignatius Rake

Love gaming and ramming into ships? Then the US Navy is the place for you, writes Richard Caldwell.

The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that the US Navy's nuclear subs will soon be incorporating Xbox 360-like controllers, evidently because the previous, helicopter-style joystick is just such a bother for the men and women proudly serving in the world's most expensive navy.

From their article:

"The Xbox controller is no different than the ones a lot of crew members grew up playing with. Lockheed Martin says the sailors who tested the controller at its lab were intuitively able to figure out how to use it on their own within minutes, compared to hours of training required for the joystick."

Which admittedly is mildly embarrassing, for the largest and self-professed most exceptional military on the planet to even need to dumb things down to such extent.

Maybe if they could reverse the GI Bill and enable full collegiate degrees prior to enlistment then this would not be such an issue.

While such statements are not extremely popular, this news is clearly a response after a line of costly and hazardous collisions committed by US Navy personnel.

In August of 2017 a navy ship collided with an oil tanker off Singapore.

In June of 2017 a destroyer collided with a merchant ship off Japan.

In May of 2017 a guided-missile cruiser collided with a South Korean fishing vessel.

In August of 2016 a nuclear ballistic-missile submarine collided with a Military Sealift Command support vessel off the coast of Washington state.

In November of 2014 two navy supply ships collided with one another in the Gulf of Aden.

In July of 1994 an aircraft carrier and a dhow, a small Arab sailboat, collided in the Persian Gulf.

(That same carrier was involved in an earlier crash in the Mediterranean Sea way back in November of 1975 and again in September of 1976).

Meanwhile, in February of 2001 a fast attack sub collided with a Japanese fishing boat near Hawaii.

In July of 2000 an amphibious transport dock collided with a fleet oiler, also near Hawaii.

And in June of 1989 an attack submarine collided and sank a tugboat off the coast of southern California.

And these are just the publicly-known incidents that made it onto the headlines.

To our credit, the Rake & Herald has only collided with half as many ships.

And all but one of those were believed to be alien in origin.

(The other is actually a really funny story.)

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Granted, considering the thousands of men and women proudly serving in uniform, these accidents may ultimately seem few and far between.

However, they still prove enough of a hassle for their own powers that be to look to video games to make life better.

Although arguably some of these accidents probably resulted from servicemen looking at video games to begin with, with the remnants of whatever poor fishing boat arising past the stern of their ship compelling the recruits to have to start their Minecraft levels all over again.

Relatedly, Erika I Ritchie reports on the Pentagon's growing concerns over the surging numbers of injuries and deaths of military personnel exiting stage left from the theatre of war.

Whereas previous generations of soldiers might meet their end through friendly fire, today's troops can have their lives destroyed through mere training exercises, without ever entering combat at all.

Which is further confounded by military leaders currently asserting how one in three modern military hopefuls are turned down for enlistment altogether over being too obese for service.

And by that they obviously mean that too many fatties on Navy ships would only sink more Navy ships.

Not to suggest any disrespect for the indentured servants of the military, of course.

But if we're being honest here, as with every other military of the Earth, people should not be so willing to lay down their lives for their government when their government provides them no other options in life but to lay down their lives for said government.

They can just play video games at home.

With non-gas-powered generators off the grid in remote cabins surrounded by pot plants and a bonfire ready to fire up as soon as the girls swing by later with their moonshine to trade.

Because we all know having crazy, illicit substances-enthused sex round the clock outside is a fine way to trim down the muffin-tops.

Unlike the wishes of the men in suits condemning others to death by the multitudes, it's genuinely a thing worth fighting for.

Ships are rarely sunk by drum circles within cabins in the woods.

UPDATE 19/11/17

The trend continues, with news just in that a US destroyer has collided with a Japanese tug.

Honestly, don't these people read the Rake & Herald?

Tut, tut, tut.

Cheers, Richard. And on the subject of computer games and the military, readers might want to have a geek at this article from Atlantic (there are plenty more to choose from online) on how the military works with and funds the computer gaming industry "to recruit soldiers, to train them and, most recently, to treat their psychological disorders, such as PTSD". Something to bear in mind the next time you play Space Invaders, eh? Here's the Rezillos.

See also Berlin's backwards bear, posted 24/10/17.

Richard Caldwell
used to write for the now sadly defunct New Comics Day. Fortunately, his writings still abound elsewhere on the interweb, such as on his flippin' ace blog that you are strongly advised to check out here.

Engage with the Rake & Herald on FaceBook here and Twitter here. Better still, buy a T-shirt here.

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