Toilets (Navy calls them heads) on the two newest combat ships clog up too often. It requires the ships’ sewage systems to be cleaned frequently with specialized acids, costing about $400,000 per ship-wide flush.
A congressional audit estimated $130 billion in long-term maintenance costs on the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS George H. W. Bush. On the subject of Navy toilets, I have memories of my own toilet experiences.
During the 1945 campaign to retake the Philippines from the Japanese, I was assigned to a Navy forward unit that established bases in the islands as Army units advanced. After we set up camp on Samar, we lived in tents. Our toilets were outside boxes, each with two sets of four back-to-back holes and no privacy.
When we squatted on them during the day, native Filipinos would walk by and pause to sell us local fruits or just offer friendly greetings. However, as we sat there we always kept our weapons with us, in case less friendly Japanese soldiers happened to appear. Let’s hope the contemporary Navy toilet problems on the aircraft carriers are flushed away quickly.