First, the still-unfolding semi-official story:
As more information has come to light through the debriefs, it's now understood that the crew decided to "cut a corner" to make up time to get to a planned refueling point. It's not clear whether they were lower on fuel than expected.I don't claim to be an expert in naval affairs, and I damn sure don't underestimate the capability of junior officers to make 'unexpected' decisions, but I just can't see the Navy LT in charge of the mission to "cut a corner" in that dangerous and sensitive part of the world.
That change of course began a series of events that led them apparently unknowingly into Iranian waters, officials said.
The crew stopped to fix an engine problem on one of the boats, not realizing they had drifted too close to Iran's Farsi Island, the official said.
Two others defense officials also said it appears the crew was so involved in fixing the engine that they didn't realize where they were until the Iranians boats approached them.
I also question how both boats could lose communications at the same time. Ditto for the 'mechanical breakdown' story. After all, I carry a tow strap in my truck. I'd like to think the US Navy is more prepared than me.
Apparently, I'm not the only one questioning the 'official' story.
...unlikely is any notion that with the multiple communications channels of special ops vessels and multiple navigation aids anyone on board them got lost, was without communications, or drifted while doing repairs anywhere near the Fars Islands. Look at a map. The course from Bahrain to Kuwait is not only direct, it is almost directly N-S and given the shallow draft capability of these vessels, both boats could have proceeded with the Arabian coast in sight the entire time.Shades of Benghazi.
So how did they get more than 70 miles and 90 degrees off their course, (some “short cut”) which at their speeds of more than 40 mph would have taken over an hour one way, and fall into the 12 mile limit of the Farsi Islands claimed by Iran?
In short, they didn’t.
Fifth Fleet knew exactly where they were at all times, just as it knows exactly where all the other NATO vessels, which practically pave the Persian Gulf these days are. And they had the option to back them up with air and sea power if they were allowed to.
Here's what a former SEAL has to say:
... I was a Navy SEAL officer in the 1980s, and this kind of operation (transiting small boats in foreign waters) was our bread and butter. Today, these boats both not only had radar, but multiple GPS devices, including chart plotters that place your boat's icon right on the chart. The claim by Iran that the USN boats "strayed into Iranian waters" is complete bull$#it.That sure makes more sense to me than the nonsense being peddled by obama and kerry. I think they just wanted another excuse to showcase how well they can grovel and apologize...
For an open-water transit between nations, the course is studied and planned in advance by the leaders of the Riverine Squadron, with specific attention given to staying wide and clear of any hostile nation's claimed territorial waters. The boats are given a complete mechanical check before departure, and they have sufficient fuel to accomplish their mission plus extra. If, for some unexplainable and rare circumstance one boat broke down, the other would tow it, that's why two boats go on these trips and not one! It's called "self-rescue" and it's SOP.
This entire situation is in my area of expertise. I can state with complete confidence that both Iran and our own State Department are lying. The boats did not enter Iranian waters. They were overtaken in international waters by Iranian patrol boats that were so superior in both speed and firepower that it became a "hands up!" situation, with automatic cannons in the 40mm to 76mm range pointed at them point-blank. Surrender, hands up, or be blown out of the water. I assume that the Iranians had an English speaker on a loudspeaker to make the demand. This takedown was no accident or coincidence, it was a planned slap across America's face.
Just watch. The released sailors will be ordered not to say a word about the incident, and the Iranians will have taken every GPS device, chart-plotter etc off the boats, so that we will not be able to prove where our boats were taken.
The "strayed into Iranian waters" story being put out by Iran and our groveling and appeasing State Dept. is utter and complete BS from one end to the other.