Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A German Story

It's an interesting German story.  One of the 'legends' of Germany is the Gorch Fock....a mast & sail boat that the German navy uses to train junior officers.  It's a vessel out of the 1800s and routinely used today to take junior cadets out on long voyages and introduce them to the harsh environment of sailing.  If you bring up the topic....everybody in Germany knows the Gorch Fock.

A number of weeks ago....there was a cadet to fall from a full mast to her death.  Things kinda went downhill in a hurry when the Captain tried to order crew to continue the mast duties.  Yes, you still have to climb to the top to rig up the masts.  Well...the remaining crew took the climbing duty as unnecessary and too harsh.  They rebelled and refused.

In essence.....a mutiny took place.

They ended up in a port, and the German navy ordered the Captain to fly out, and a crew was flown in to sail the boat back....minus the Captain and his student crew.

A number of folks came up to blast the German military....especially the Secretary of Defense....Von Guttenberg.  It was thought that the leadership of the German military had allowed a number of things to occur.  It was discovered that the instructor crew allowed boozing and various unauthorized activities to take place.

This week.....it came out that this female student that fell.....was severely overweight.  She stood around 5'2" and weighed near 180 lbs.  Based on US regulations....the max she could have weighed and been allowed to stay in the military would have been around 135 lbs at that height.  She was basically 45 pounds overweight and likely the worst possible candidate to send forty feet up on a mast.

Why did the instructors allow her to remain onboard?  No one has explained that.  The folks who dumped on the chief of German defense?  Well....they've kinda shut up now and avoiding any negative comments at all.

There are simple rules that the US military keeps in effect to ensure you don't have people of great weight trying to accomplish thing that are practically impossible.  I'm guessing that the German navy probably had some rules but just chose to overlook most of those because they needed volunteers and were desperate to  keep anyone who raised their hand.