“Nerves were shattered, and the training seemed nonexistent.”
The USS Vincennes Incident 
US Defense Department officials said that the investigation into the downing of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes on July 3 blames the error on the high level psychological stress of the crew and its inexperience of combat situation.
The investigators have found no malfunction of the radar and electronic equipment of the US battleship. Instead, the crew appears to have believed that the ship was under attack and misinterpreted the signals provided by the radar.
The report strongly contradicts the early findings of Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
”Our judgment (is) that based on the information currently available, the local commanders have sufficient reasons to believe their units were in jeopardy and they fired in self-defense,” Crowe had said.
The investigation headed by Rear Adm. William Fogarty also states that the USS Vincennes radar properly indicated that the plane was flying at the 12,000 feet and climbing. Initially, the Pentagon said it was descending from an altitude of 7,500 feet
According to experts interviewed by New York Time reporters, the crew of the USS Vincennes was highly experienced.
”The crew of the Vincennes had extensive training experience. Officers and enlisted men assigned to Aegis ships, like the Vincennes, who are to be involved in tracking air operations, undergo a year and a half of instruction and training on the ship’s system before being qualified to operate at sea. The ship itself underwent nine months of training and evaluation before it went to the Persian Gulf and reportedly passed all requirements with flying colors before its departure.”
Not everyone agrees… “It was, however, a known fact that many of the senior officers on board the Vincennes knew very little about computerized warfare. The tactical officer for surface warfare, Lt Cmdr Guillory, knew so little that he routinely used his computer screens as a surface for sticky notes instead.
Petty Officer Anderson, who missed Flight 655 on the schedule because it was so dark, also later claimed that he was confused by the gulf’s four different time zones, something proper training could have easily helped with.
Lt Clay Zocher was the boss of Air Alley, which was responsible for air warfare, but he had only stood watch at that post twice before and had never fully learned and mastered the console routines.
In fact, when he was finally given the green light to fire upon the incoming aircraft, he pressed the wrong keys 23 times, until a veteran petty officer leaned over and hit the right ones.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1 USS Vincennes Incident, Aeronautics & Astronautics, Spring 2004, MIT, MA, USA.