I witnessed the same thing (ships rotting at piers, low morale, no payraises) during the Carter and Clinton regimes. These damned Democrats CUT the Department of Defense and look what happens. The current regime is doing the same damned thing... SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan -- For the second time in seven months, mechanical or maintenance issues have prevented the USS Essex from meeting a commitment at sea, Navy officials said Wednesday. The 21-year-old flagship of the forward deployed Expeditionary Strike Group 7 was scheduled to depart several days ago for Cobra Gold 2012, an annual exercise with Thailand. The mission was scrapped due to an equipment failure. It is true, the Essex will not be making Cobra Gold, Task Force 76 spokesman Lt. Richard Drake said. The cause is wear and tear. The Essex, known as the Iron Gator, is scheduled to undergo a hull swap with its sister ship USS Bonhomme Richard next month. The scrapped mission is the latest in a series of problems for Navy ships. More than one-fifth of Navy ships fell short of combat readiness in the past two years, and fewer than half of the services deployed combat aircraft are ready for their missions at any given time, according to congressional testimony.With an ascendant China on the high seas and deep Defense Department budget cuts over the next decade, the Navy is facing glaring deficiencies that are nothing short of alarming, U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House Readiness Subcommittee said in July. Vice Adm. William Burke, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, told the committee that the Navy has a limited supply of forces. When you have these additional deployments, you sometimes impact the maintenance, or you impact the training, which will impact the maintenance, he said. So what we have is one event cascading into another, so we dont get either of them quite right.