Hope Floats- The Return of the Great White Fleet?

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September 12, 2014 by JImbo

Amidst increasing calls for MILITARY support to help fight Ebola in Africa, let’s slow our roll a minute. What exactly would more troops do to help things? Do we need to really put “boots on the ground” in another country? There’s plenty of armed people in the countries of West Africa already. Somehow I think putting our soldiers there is going to help much.

That’s especially true since they’re not doctors. They’re trigger pullers. They make wounds, not fix them.

Even our medics and doctors aren’t for fighting EBOLA. They specialize in gunshot wounds and taking shrapnel out of people. They’re not trained in infectious diseases and hazmat suits, etc.

We really shouldn’t get involved there directly. Not only is it practically more harm than good (what’s to stop those soldiers from getting Ebola too?) It is symbolically seen around the world as just more Americans “invading” another country with gun toting troops.

Then I thought about it. We COULD always send our hospital ships. We have ships like the USNS Comfort. It’s a hospital ship that’s been in service since 1975.

comfort

It’s not a “Navy” ship per se. The Navy owns it, but it’s crewed by civilians (doctors, crew, etc) and Defense Dept personnel. It’s not armed and isn’t a NAVY ship though (hence the USNS, not USS.)

Okay so there’s only two of them and they have been REALLY busy as it is. But, this would be a PERFECT opportunity to EXPAND that fleet. Since it’s not NAVY, we could use other budgets to build some more. Hell, we could even ask the United Nations for money to build some. (About time we got some of those BILLIONS back we donate every year.)

In fact, it could even go beyond that. If you remember your history, back in 1907 President Teddy Roosevelt initiated a naval exercise called the Cruise of the

Great White Fleet.

Us-atlantic-fleet-1907

Back then it was about intimidation. They were the newest battleships in the world and we were flexing our muscles. It was a massive show of force.

However, we want to do the opposite now. We want to show we’re a force for GOOD. So, why not build a new “Great White Fleet” of unarmed PEACEFUL ships for DISASTER RELIEF MISSIONS?

We already have everything we need. We have cruise ships we could buy or build for hospitals. We have old helicopter carriers we’re breaking up for scraps as “extra”.. or buy more. We have some extra tankers and cargo ships we could take out of the Naval Reserve “mothballs” storage.

If we manned them with civilian crews and painted them white with big red crosses, they would make a GREAT example of all the GOOD we could do in the world. We could be involved in helping around the world without seeming to be MILITARILY involved. It’d also be a great chance for people who want to help but don’t want into the armed forces to help out.

It could even be quite internationally staffed. Any country would be allowed to send volunteer doctors and crew to apply to serve on the ships. They wouldn’t be just medical either. Construction crews and equipment for debris removal for tsunamis or earthquakes, communications gear to rebuild temporary cell phone networks, helicopters for medevac and transportaton, fuel for hospital generators plus food, water, clothing… all pre-packed on board and waiting to sail anywhere in the world!

They could even have their own fundraising channels. You could donate to a specific ship or the “Great White Fleet” and know it was going to a good cause. Think about the legacy a President would have building such a powerful FLEET FOR PEACE!

Just a thought.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Hope Floats- The Return of the Great White Fleet?

  1. Rob VanDusen says:

    According to what I’ve read the troops we’d be sending would be building hospitals and such. We *do* have some pretty good engineer types you know. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JImbo says:

    Wow there are a lot of ships on that inactive list. Lots of them are Ro-Ros too… Roll On/Roll-Off… perfect for getting heavy equipment and vehicles into position to drop them on shore.

    http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/i140731.pdf

    Sure they’ll take a little elbow grease to get back into action as they’ve been sitting awhile. However, if we can get the UN to foot the bill hey, why not?

    That’s just the parked ones. Then there’s the RRF (Ready Reserve Force) which are in better repair and are used more but can be called up quick in time of emergency or war.

    http://www.usmm.org/rrf.html

    And the National Defense Reserve Force (NDRF)

    http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/i140731.pdf

    Then there’s always the option of new too. Plenty of ships on the market from civilian cruise lines and freighters. Container ships and tankers are super easy to convert into helicopter carriers with a few sheets of metal on the deck and everything stored in pre-fab cargo containers.

    Like

  3. Patrick says:

    I have been hearing news comments that the US isn’t doing enough to stop ebola. Not other countries mind you, the US. I think the African community of nations should stand up and help each other more. Relying on us for everything doesn’t cut it anymore. Just what are we supposed to do anyway?

    Like

    • JImbo says:

      They tried using West African peacekeepers. Tends to end in looting and rape.
      I don’t think they have the whole “peacekeeping” thing down very well. Maybe it lost something in the translation.

      Like

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