My E-mail to Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.)
In my entry below, I discuss my continuing displeasure with the articles on the USS San Francisco (SSN-711) grounding by Raymond Perry. Eagle1 had pointed out that Perry may simply be a victim of "simple stupidity coupled by with an overwrought imagination", but an E-mail I got from a San Francisco crew member strengthened my resolve, and encouraged me to try to get Perry's fallacies retracted. Armed with additional information sent in by people who know the truth, I decided to E-mail Perry and invite him to respond to my criticisms. Here's what I wrote:
I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that while I generally enjoy your writing on non-submarine topics, I've been very disappointed in your writing on the USS San Francisco grounding. Your apparent need to tie the root cause back into the recent accidents where there was a senior rider onboard the subs has caused you to lose whatever credibility you might have with me on this subject. Although you mention that "reliable sources" indicate that there was a senior rider on board, going so far as to postulate that RADM Gove may have been that rider, you should have received enough feedback by now to know that this is just plain untrue.
As a professional journalist, you're probably used to getting E-mail from disgruntled readers about your articles, and may just put them in the circular file. However, I write a little submarine-themed blog titled "The Stupid Shall Be Punished" at http://bubbleheads.blogspot.com/ that your web site, sftt.org, has actually linked to. I've been getting about 250-300 hits a day since the San Francisco grounding, and those numbers surprisingly aren't going down that much, so I may have a little bit of a continuing readership. Some of my commenters have indicated that they are displeased with your articles, and you may have received E-mail from some of them. In my blog, I have made a couple of entries dissecting your articles, and have offered you the chance to respond. I wouldn't expect that a journalist of your stature would normally stoop to respond to a lowly blogger, but I felt I needed to make the offer. I also wanted to let you know that I am very confident in my sources who say there was no senior rider onboard, and if you continue to print that there was, I will continue to ridicule your assumptions in my little blog. However, if you would like to withdraw your accusation (yes, I know it's phrased as a seemingly innocent "what if" question, but I think we all know where you're going with it) and try to put out the actual truth, which is that we should honor the professionalism and camaraderie of the San Francisco crew in getting their damaged ship back to port, I'll withdraw the juvenile name-calling I've engaged in. There may in fact be lessons learned that the Submarine Force can apply from this grounding regarding operational restrictions in poorly-charted areas. If you are truly interested in the truth, I urge you to focus on these areas, rather than the non-existent link to phantom senior riders.
Joel Kennedy -- "Bubblehead"
Also a retired mustang officer, but with no need to put my rank in my signature line.
Okay, so some of the sentences run on quite a bit, but I've always said I'm not an English major; hopefully my point comes through. We'll see if he responds. I'll keep you updated.
Staying at PD...