“IAmA US Naval Officer who spent 5 days onboard an Indian Navy warship.”

USS Stethem during Malabar 2011 exercises with the Indian Navy

USS Stethem during Malabar 2011 exercises with the Indian Navy

There’s a thread on Reddit by a “US Naval Officer” who spent some time aboard the INS Delhi. Assuming the post is real (and it seems to be), there is some fascinating information available in question & answer form.

Some particularly interesting tidbits:

How knowledgeable did you find the officers to be?
Well, their captain was driving the ship when it came within 50ft of the stern of a USNS replenishment ship and at any given time there were multiple officers on the bridge screaming at each other. They were generally clueless and had almost zero seamanship skills. I found their enlisted guys to be far more competent than their officers on the bridge.

How do they runs things differently then the USN?
Their engineering practices were abysmal. No undershirts, no steel-toed boots – they wore sandals – no hearing protection in their engineering spaces. No lagging (sound dampening material) in any space. No electrical safety whatsoever. No operational risk management. No concept of safety of navigation. Absolutely did not adhere to rules of the road. They more or less did not have any hard-copy written procedures for any exercise or event, at all. They had no concept of the coded fleet tactical system that US coalition forces and allies utilize (they literally made it up as they went along, and when I tried to interject and explain to them how it worked, they ignored me). When I arrived onboard they thought I was a midshipman and treated me as such. I had to be frank and explain that I was a commissioned officer and that yes, I stood officer on the deck onboard my ship and was a qualified surface warfare officer. They don’t entrust their people with any responsibility until they are very senior Lieutenants (O-3s) and junior Lieutenant Commanders (O-4s). At this point in the US Navy there are literally guys commanding ships, and these guys couldn’t even be trusted to handle a radio circuit.

They have an entire “class” of civilians onboard. I still don’t know what to make of them. I think they were some sort of cheap labor, but everybody onboard referred to them as slaves. As in, they used the word “slave”. Anyways, the quarters those guys lived in was awful, it was basically a big open space partitioned with a sheet. They slept on a steel deck with a simple blanket and a pillow. Good times.

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