USS cruiser Shiloh attends the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force fleet reviews off Sagami Bay, Japan's Kanagawa prefecture on October 14, 2012. Forty-five MSDF vessels and one ship each from the US, Australian and Singaporean navies participated in the fleet review.      AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI        (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GettyImages)
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
USS cruiser Shiloh attends the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force fleet reviews off Sagami Bay, Japan's Kanagawa prefecture on October 14, 2012. Forty-five MSDF vessels and one ship each from the US, Australian and Singaporean navies participated in the fleet review. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GettyImages)
Now playing
01:35
Report: Low morale on ship monitoring N. Korea
CNN
Now playing
02:55
Trump awards Medal of Honor to retired Navy SEAL
From left: (top) Jacob Drake, John Hoagland, Dustin Doyon, Kevin Bushell, Timothy Eckels Jr., (bottom) Charles Findley, Kenneth Smith, Logan Palmer, Abraham Lopez. Not pictured: Corey Ingram
US Navy
From left: (top) Jacob Drake, John Hoagland, Dustin Doyon, Kevin Bushell, Timothy Eckels Jr., (bottom) Charles Findley, Kenneth Smith, Logan Palmer, Abraham Lopez. Not pictured: Corey Ingram
Now playing
00:59
Navy identifies dead, missing USS McCain sailors
USS John McCain missing sailors remains found_00001530.jpg
CNN
USS John McCain missing sailors remains found_00001530.jpg
Now playing
00:46
US Navy: Remains of missing sailors found
ryan browne ath
CNN
ryan browne ath
Now playing
00:43
Russian jet flies within feet of US Navy plane
171112-N-TQ088-1754 
WESTERN PACIFIC (Nov. 12, 2017) Three F/A-18E Super Hornets, assigned to the Eagles of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 115, fly in formation over the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and their strike groups along with ships from the Republic of Korea Navy as they transit the Western Pacific. The strike groups are underway and conducting operations in international waters as part of a three-carrier strike force exercise. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia Pacific region routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional security, stability and prosperity. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Aaron B. Hicks/Released)
Lt. Aaron B. Hicks /U.S. Navy
171112-N-TQ088-1754 WESTERN PACIFIC (Nov. 12, 2017) Three F/A-18E Super Hornets, assigned to the Eagles of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 115, fly in formation over the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and their strike groups along with ships from the Republic of Korea Navy as they transit the Western Pacific. The strike groups are underway and conducting operations in international waters as part of a three-carrier strike force exercise. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia Pacific region routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional security, stability and prosperity. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Aaron B. Hicks/Released)
Now playing
00:54
US Navy carriers put on a show of force
us military vietnam china uss carl vinson rivers pkg _00014607.jpg
us military vietnam china uss carl vinson rivers pkg _00014607.jpg
Now playing
02:39
US aircraft carrier visits Vietnam
US Navy
Now playing
01:35
Watch the US Navy's laser weapon in action
US Navy
Now playing
00:58
New US Navy warship launches into river
The US Department of Defense has released video showing reports of a UFO flying off the coast of San Diego in 2004
US Department of Defense via The New York Times
The US Department of Defense has released video showing reports of a UFO flying off the coast of San Diego in 2004
Now playing
01:04
Moment UFO spotted by US Navy jet
naval collisions watson looklive_00002623.jpg
CNN
naval collisions watson looklive_00002623.jpg
Now playing
01:39
Navy publishes report investigating collisions
Cmdr. Troy Amundson, right, speaks with members of the Philippine navy before a closing ceremony for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and promote maritime security.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Bidwell/US Navy
Cmdr. Troy Amundson, right, speaks with members of the Philippine navy before a closing ceremony for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and promote maritime security.
Now playing
01:12
Navy officer was bribed with prostitutes
Twitter/@mykamarul
Now playing
01:13
US Navy destroyer collides with ship
Dr. Ryan Kincer demonstrates the elasticity of the hagfish slime secreted from the the Pacific hagfish within the net aboard Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Nov. 29, 2016. U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome (Released) 161129-N-PB086-014
US Navy
Dr. Ryan Kincer demonstrates the elasticity of the hagfish slime secreted from the the Pacific hagfish within the net aboard Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Nov. 29, 2016. U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome (Released) 161129-N-PB086-014
Now playing
00:59
Navy developing defense tools from fish slime
Navy SEAL trainee James Derek Lovelace, 21, died while taking part in basic underwater demolition training in Coronado, California.
US Navy
Navy SEAL trainee James Derek Lovelace, 21, died while taking part in basic underwater demolition training in Coronado, California.
Now playing
00:45
SEAL training death a homicide
US Navy warplane F-35 lightning II Watson_00002909.jpg
US Navy warplane F-35 lightning II Watson_00002909.jpg
Now playing
03:16
Destroyer shows US flag in Pacific

Story highlights

"Even the taxi drivers on base know us for being the 'USS Bread and Water,'" one survey respondent said

The Shiloh is part of the US Navy's 7th fleet, which has been beset by a series of problems

CNN —  

Morale aboard a US warship operating in the Pacific reached such a low ebb that one sailor described serving aboard the ship as being akin to being on “a floating prison,” according to surveys obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

The Navy Times obtained three command climate surveys featuring hundreds of pages of anonymous comments from sailors revealing widespread morale issues aboard the USS Shiloh, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser based in Yokosuka, Japan.

Two Navy officials told CNN that the information reported from the surveys was accurate.

According to the obtained surveys only 31% of the sailors who responded to the survey said yes to the prompt: “I trust that my organization’s leadership will treat me fairly,” compared to 63% under the previous commanding officer. The commanding officer at the time of the survey, Capt. Adam Aycock, no longer works on the Shiloh.

Additionally, only 37% agreed with the statement “I feel motivated to give my best efforts to the mission of the organization,” compared to 69% agreeing to the statement under the previous leadership.

The Shiloh is one of 84 US ships equipped with the Aegis Missile Defense system, which is capable of shooting down hostile missiles from adversarial states like North Korea.

One sailor hinted that morale could affect the Shiloh’s role in the US’ entire missile defense architecture.

“I just pray we never have to shoot down a missile from North Korea,” one said, “because then our ineffectiveness will really show.”

US President Donald Trump touted the effectiveness of missile defense systems in a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97% of the time,” he said.

It’s important to note not all military and weapons analysts share that level of confidence in US ballistic missile defense systems, as they have never been used in wartime.

More surveys

The Navy officials added that the poor results of one climate survey caused Navy leadership to increase the frequency of which such surveys were conducted to help prompt the commander, Capt. Aycock, to improve his performance.

One of the officials said they could not explain how Aycock managed to retain command in the face of the poor survey results.

Aycock served as the Shiloh’s commanding officer from June 2015 to August 2017 and is now at the US Naval War College.

One official said that Aycock remains on active duty and was not prematurely reassigned from his command of the Shiloh.

The survey responses also showed that junior sailors were concerned about receiving harsh punishments from Aycock, including being placed in the brig and fed only “bread and water,” an arcane form of punishment that is still available to commanding officers.

“Even the taxi drivers on base know us for being the ‘USS Bread and Water,’” one survey respondent said.

Language prohibiting that form of punishment was placed into the current version of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Shiloh is part of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet which has been beset by a series of problems including two deadly collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCain, both of which are also equipped with the Aegis system.