Saturday, October 22, 2011

Veteran home leased out for decades while vets left homeless

LA vets demand housing at giant VA campus

 The West Los Angeles property -- some of the most valuable in the nation -- was donated in 1888 to "establish, construct and permanently maintain" a branch of a national home for veterans, according to the original deed.---The VA saw fit to lease parts of the property to several businesses. In September, the VA canceled three leases after rising criticism. But other entities remain on the property including a public golf course, a college baseball stadium, a theater and practice fields for the exclusive private Brentwood School.
Seems the lease money was far more valuable to the VA than actually taking care of veterans. Hmm...why don't we have a department of the government that exists to take care of vets, anyway?

Oh, wait, that IS what the VA is supposed to do...not be in the land leasing business. Silly me... 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Submarine Currency

From a reader:
I am a current JO who just came back from my first underway. One thing that I observed is that energy drinks have become the new "currency" on board. Need a hair cut or some paperwork by the end of the day? A 5 Hour Energy, Monster, or Red Bull will help get the job done quickly. In addition, the value of these items increased as the patrol wore on. I would be interested to hear from the group regarding how things used to get done (cigarettes, coffee, hard candy...)
What was the most popular "currency" on your boat?

Happy Birthday to the United States Submarine Force

111 years ("eleventy-one", to quote Bilbo Baggins). The most potent and deadly force any Navy has ever fielded. Submarines can hunt surface ships, other submarines, attack land targets, perform surveillance, insert and retrieve special forces, and devastate entire nations. And they do it all from underwater, undetected, where they can stay hidden nearly indefinitely.

The most fearsome force in the world, more so due to the truth of their nickname...the "Silent Service".

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Submarine Blog

Check out Underway Life, a new blog by a submariner. He's already got some pretty good posts up.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Run Wired, Run Deep: Subs May Finally Get Online

A nuclear submarine in deep dive may be the last place on Earth where it’s impossible to get a phone call, a text message or the day’s dose of spam. But all that may soon be over, if a Lockheed-led program works out as planned.
Comms at Speed and Depth will be the first two-way underwater communication system for submarines. The exact depth at which subs will be able to deploy the buoys is classified, but Reints asserts that the length of the buoy cables is “measured in miles, and it’s long enough to allow the submarine to launch at significant depth and continue at normal operational speeds during a mission.”
All of this underwater communicativeness might just take the thrill out of boomer movies. What kind of drama will stoke the next Crimson Tide if the captain and XO get crystal clear instructions from D.C. that they can verify real-time?

I can see the value in this, but also the danger. Imagine a sailor on the mess decks with his iPhone (which sends it location data if so enabled). He tweets away before watch, and all of a sudden the subs location isn't so secret anymore.

I'd imagine this will be very, very, very tightly controlled when it's finally deployed for full use. Internet is all well and good, but opsec is far more important.

However, being able to email home would sure be nice.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Back in the day, the U.S. Navy Submarine Service-1915. "Diesel Boats Forever" (Tommy Cox)

I'm sure all you bubbleheads, past and present will enjoy this all too brief footage of the United States Navy Submarine Service-1915. It was sent to me by my friend Don from over at "Don's Mind". Thanks again mate!

Those old boats were powered by diesel engines and were filthy, dirty, grimy and smelled of oil sweat and God knows what, hence the nick-name "Pig Boats". In my book, the men who served in those unsafe and often untested death traps had balls of iron. "Iron Men in Steel Tubes."

"Diesel Boats Forever".

Y'all have a safe and great 4th of July weekend mates.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"U.S.S. Barb, The Submarine that sank a Train."

This is a great war story that
should be told more often!!!

This is a pretty good WW-II story that I would think is little known.--

U.S.S. Barb: The Sub That Sank A Train

COOKIE'S NOTE: Cookie served on a Balao class Boat, and Y'all will notice that the men that sank the train were SUB-MARINERS, NOT Marines! Stick that in yur peace-pipe and smoke it Chief!

Eight SUB-SAILORS conducted the ONLY GROUND COMBAT OPERATION on the Japanese “homeland” of World War II.

In 1973 an Italian submarine named Enrique Tazzoli was sold for a paltry $100,000 as scrap metal. The submarine, given to the Italian Navy in 1954 was actually an incredible veteran of World War II service with a heritage that never should have passed so unnoticed into the graveyards of the metal recyclers. The U.S.S. Barb was a pioneer, paving the way for the first submarine launched missiles and flying a battle flag unlike that of any other ship. In addition to the Medal of Honor ribbon at the top of the flag identifying the heroism of its captain, Commander Eugene “Lucky” Fluckey, the bottom border of the flag bore the image of a Japanese locomotive. The U.S.S. Barb Was Indeed, The Submarine That “Sank A Train”.

July, 1945 (Guam): Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz looked across the desk at Admiral Lockwood as he finished the personal briefing on U.S. war ships in the vicinity of the northern coastal areas of Hokkaido, Japan. “Well, Chester , there’s only the Barb there, and probably no word until the patrol is finished. You remember Gene Fluckey?”

“Of course. I recommended him for the Medal of Honor,” Admiral Nimitz replied. “You surely pulled him from command after he received it?”

July 18, 1945 ( Pat ience Bay, Off the coast of Karafuto , Japan ) It was after 4 A.M. and Commander Fluckey rubbed his eyes as he peered over the map spread before him. It was the twelfth war patrol of the Barb, the fifth under Commander Fluckey. He should have turned command over to another skipper after four patrols, but had managed to strike a deal with Admiral Lockwood to make one more trip with the men he cared for like a father, should his fourth patrol be successful.

Of course, no one suspected when he had struck that deal prior to his fourth and what should have been his final war patrol on the Barb, that Commander Fluckey’s success would be so great he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Commander Fluckey smiled as he remembered that patrol. “Lucky” Fluckey they called him.

On January 8th the Barb had emerged victorious from a running two-hour night battle after sinking a large enemy ammunition ship. Two weeks later in Mamkwan Harbor he found the “mother-lode” . . . more than 30 enemy ships In only 5 fathoms (30 feet) of water.

His crew had unleashed the sub’s forward torpedoes, then turned and fired four from the stern. As he pushed the Barb to the full limit of its speed through the dangerous waters in a daring withdrawal to the open sea, he recorded eight direct hits on six enemy ships. Then, on the return home he added yet another Japanese freighter to the tally for the Barb’s eleventh patrol, a score that exceeded even the number of that patrol.

What could possibly be left for the Commander to accomplish who, just three months earlier had been in Washington , DC to receive the Medal of Honor?

He smiled to himself as he looked again at the map showing the rail line that ran along the enemy coastline. This final patrol had been promised as the Barb’s “graduation patrol” and he and his crew had cooked up an unusual finale. Since the 8th of June they had harassed the enemy, destroying the enemy supplies and coastal fortifications with the first submarine launched rocket attacks. Now his crew was buzzing excitedly about bagging a train.

The rail line itself wouldn’t be a problem. A shore patrol could go ashore under cover of darkness to plant the of the sub’s 55-pound scuttling charges. But this early morning Lucky Fluckey and his officers were puzzling over how they could blow not only the rails, but also one of the frequent trains that shuttled supplies to equip the Japanese war machine. Such a daring feat could handicap the enemy’s war effort for several days, a week, perhaps even longer.

It was a crazy idea, just the kind of operation “Lucky” Fluckey had become famous . . . or, infamous . . . for. But no matter how crazy the idea might have sounded, the Barb’s skipper would not risk the lives of his men.

Thus The Problem: . . . how to detonate the charge at the moment the train passed, without endangering the life of a shore party.

Problem? Not on Commander Fluckey’s ship. His philosophy had always been “We don’t have problems, only solutions.”

11:27 AM “ Battle Stations!” No more time to seek solutions or to ponder blowing up a train. The approach of a Japanese freighter with a frigate escort demands traditional submarine warfare. By noon the frigate is laying on the ocean floor in pieces and the Barb is in danger of becoming the hunted.

6:07 PM Solutions! If you don’t look for them, you’ll never find them. And even then, sometimes they arrive in the most unusual fashion.

Cruising slowly beneath the surface to evade the enemy plane now circling overhead, the monotony is broken with an exciting new idea. Instead of having a crewman on shore to trigger explosives to blow both rail and a passing train, why not let the train BLOW ITSELF up. Billy Hatfield was excitedly explaining how he had cracked nuts on the railroad tracks as a kid, placing the nuts between two ties so the sagging of the rail under the weight of a train would break them open. “Just like cracking walnuts,” he explained. “To complete the circuit (detonating the 55-pound charge) we hook in a micro switch ...between two ties. We don’t set it off, the TRAIN does.”

Not only did Hatfield have the plan, he wanted to be part of the volunteer shore party.

The solution found, there was no shortage of volunteers, all that was needed was the proper weather . . . a little cloud cover to darken the moon for the mission ashore.

Lucky Fluckey established his own criteria for the volunteer party: No married men would be included, except for Hatfield.

The party would include members from each department. The opportunity would be split between regular Navy and Navy Reserve sailors. At least half of the men had to have been Boy Scouts, experienced in how to handle themselves in medical emergencies and in the woods.

FINALLY, “Lucky” Fluckey would lead the saboteurs himself.

When the names of the 8 selected sailors was announced it was greeted with a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Among the disappointed was Commander Fluckey who surrendered his opportunity at the insistence of his officers that “as commander he belonged with the Barb,” coupled with the threat from one that “I swear I’ll send a message to ComSubPac if you attempt this (joining the shore party himself).”

Even A Japanese POW Being Held On The Barb Wanted To Go, Promising Not To Try To Escape.

In the meantime, there would be no more harassment of Japanese shipping or shore operations by the Barb until the train mission had been accomplished. The crew would “lay low”, prepare their equipment, train, and wait for the weather.

July 22, 1945 ( Pat ience Bay , Off the coast of Karafuto, Japan ) Pat ience Bay was wearing thin the patience of Commander Fluckey and his innovative crew. Everything was ready.

In the four days the saboteurs had anxiously watched the skies for cloud cover, the inventive crew of the Barb had built their micro switch.

When the need was posed for a pick and shovel to bury the explosive charge and batteries, the Barb’s engineers had cut up steel plates in the lower flats of an engine room, then bent and welded them to create the needed tools.

The only things beyond their control were the weather .. . . and time. Only Five Days Remained In The Barb’s Patrol.

Anxiously watching the skies, Commander Fluckey noticed plumes of cirrus clouds, then white stratus capping the mountain peaks ashore. A cloud cover was building to hide the three-quarters moon. This would be the night.

Midnight, July 23, 1945 The Barb had crept within 950 yards of the shoreline. If it was somehow seen from the shore it would probably be mistaken for a schooner or Japanese patrol boat. No one would suspect an American submarine so close to shore or in such shallow water.

Slowly the small boats were lowered to the water and the 8 saboteurs began paddling toward the enemy beach.

Twenty-five minutes later they pulled the boats ashore and walked on the surface of the Japanese homeland.

Having lost their points of navigation, the saboteurs landed near the backyard of a house. Fortunately the residents had no dogs, though the sight of human AND dog’s tracks in the sand along the beach alerted the brave sailors to the potential for unexpected danger.

Stumbling through noisy waist-high grasses, crossing a highway and then stumbling into a 4-foot drainage ditch, the saboteurs made their way to the railroad tracks. Three men were posted as guards, Markuson assigned to examine a nearby water tower.

The Barb’s auxiliary man climbed the ladder, then stopped in shock as he realized it was an enemy lookout tower . . .. an OCCUPIED tower.

Fortunately the Japanese sentry was peacefully sleeping and Markuson was able to quietly withdraw and warn his raiding party.

The news from Markuson caused the men digging the placement for the explosive charge to continue their work more slowly and quietly. Suddenly, from less than 80 yards away, an express train was bearing down on them. The appearance was a surprise, it hadn’t occurred to the crew during the planning for the mission that there might be a night train. When at last it passed, the brave but nervous sailors extracted themselves from the brush into which they had leapt, to continue their task. Twenty minutes later the holes had been dug and the explosives and batteries hidden beneath fresh soil.

During planning for the mission the saboteurs had been told that, with the explosives in place, all would retreat a safe distance while Hatfield made the final connection. If the sailor who had once cracked walnuts on the railroad tracks slipped during this final, dangerous procedure, his would be the only life lost.

On this night it was the only order the saboteurs refused to obey, all of them peering anxiously over Hatfield’s shoulder to make sure he did it right. The men had come too far to be disappointed by a switch failure.

1:32 A.M. Watching from the deck of the Barb, Commander Fluckey allowed himself a sigh of relief as he noticed the flashlight signal from the beach announcing the departure of the shore party. He had skillfully, and daringly, guided the Barb within 600 yards of the enemy beach. There was less than 6 feet of water beneath the sub’s keel, but Fluckey wanted to be close in case trouble arose and a daring rescue of his saboteurs became necessary.

1:45 A.M. The two boats carrying his saboteurs were only halfway back to the Barb when the sub’s machine gunner yelled, “CAPTAIN! Another train coming up the tracks!” The Commander grabbed a megaphone and yelled through the night, “Paddle like the devil!”, knowing full well that they wouldn’t reach the Barb before the train hit the micro switch.

1:47 A.M. The darkness was shattered by brilliant light and the roar of the explosion. The boilers of the locomotive blew, shattered pieces of the engine blowing 200 feet into the air. Behind it the cars began to accordion into each other, bursting into flame and adding to the magnificent fireworks display.

Five minutes later the saboteurs were lifted to the deck by their exuberant comrades as the Barb turned to slip back to safer waters. Moving at only two knots, it would be a while before the Barb was into waters deep enough to allow it to submerge.

It was a moment to savor, the culmination of teamwork, ingenuity and daring by the Commander and all his crew. “Lucky” Fluckey’s voice came over the intercom. “All hands below deck not absolutely needed to maneuver the ship have permission to come topside.” He didn’t have to repeat the invitation. Hatches sprang open as the proud sailors of the Barb gathered on her decks to proudly watch the distant fireworks display. The Barb had “sunk” a Japanese TRAIN!

On August 2, 1945 the Barb arrived at Midway, her twelfth war patrol concluded.

Meanwhile United States military commanders had pondered the prospect of an armed assault on the Japanese homeland. Military tacticians estimated such an invasion would cost more than a million American casualties.

Instead of such a costly armed offensive to end the war, on August 6th the B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a single atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima , Japan . A second such bomb, unleashed 4 days later on Nagasaki , Japan , caused Japan to agree to surrender terms on August 15th.

On September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Harbor the documents ending the war in the Pacific were signed.

The story of the saboteurs of the U.S.S. Barb is one of those unique, little known stories of World War II. It becomes increasingly important when one realizes that the 8 sailors who blew up the train at near Kashiho , Japan conducted the ONLY GROUND COMBAT OPERATION on the Japanese “homeland” of World War II.

The eight saboteurs were:

William Hatfield

Edward Klinglesmith

John Markuson

Lawrence Newland

James Richard

Paul Saunders

Francis Sever

William Walker


Eugene Bennett Fluckey retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral, and wears in addition to his Medal of Honor, FOUR Navy Crosses . . . a record of awards unmatched by any living American.

In 1992 his own history of the U.S.S. Barb was published in the award winning book, Thunder Below.

Over the past several years proceeds from the sale of this exciting book have been used by Admiral Fluckey to provide free reunions for the men who served him aboard the Barb, and their families.

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson

Submitted By Cookie

Friday, June 11, 2010

Back in the Day; The Buoyant Ascent. Submarine Escape Training New London, Conn. 1964 and now.

Well Sir, I was just over at a feller Submarine bloggers place, "Vigilis" at "Molten Eagle", and upon read'n his post about how today's modern Navy "Bubbleheads" escape from a disabled and downed Submarine, I was reminded that back in May of 2006, right after I first began bloggin, I had posted an article regarding a personal adventure of mine doing what is called "The Buoyant Ascent".

Thought y'all might just enjoy read'n it if'n ya ain't already done so....

The Buoyant Ascent, Submarine Escape Training Tower in New London, Conn..

A few days back...for nostalgic reasons...I posted an article about one of my duty stations while in the article about the USS Piper SS409. This brought back some other fond memories of those days back in 64 and the's an article about a once in a lifetime experience(hopefully)...The Buoyant Ascent.

For oh so many years, this tower at the US Naval Submarine Base was the defining motif of the Groton, Conn. skyline. Any old "Bubbleheads" (fer all you land-lubbers that's slang fer Submariners) who were stationed at New London/Groton during the 40's, 50' and 60's and 70's, I'm sure y'all most certainly remember this landmark.

This is were we learned the rudiments of escape from a disabled sunken "Boat". For many of us...this 125 foot tall(if memory serves me correctly) old lady also helped many of us to achieve new self confidence and courage...and a sort of "right of passage" from Sub School student to, an almost Submariner.

This was generally one of the first sites that greeted us as our "boats" cruised up the Thames River returning home from a patrol...and the last site to see as we went down river to begin a new adventure.

If you went to the Base Exchange to buy some sort of souvenir (Post Card, coffee mug, T-Shirt, hat...) for the folks and friends back home...more likely as not it had this image on it. Oddly took me two full days of "Googling" to find this old photo...and that was by accident (naturally). all you lubbers and people unfamiliar with Submarine School and the types of training...what's so special about this "water tank"? Well Sir....this is where one did what is called The Buoyant Ascent"....a Submarine escape procedure.

A "buoyant ascent" is when a person surfaces from a depth of 50 or 75 feet underwater using ONLY the air in his/her breathing apparatus. Here's how it works.....

Dressed in just our Navy issued swim trunks, we would proceed to the top of the tower where we were greeted by a site that looked something similar to this.....

Once you became familiarized with your surroundings and instructed for the 10th time on just what to do and what not to descended (via the stairs on the outside of the tower) to an "pressurized Escape trunk" 50 foot under the surface.......

...much like this one...but without the safety apparatus these men are wearing.....

Once in the 50 foot "escape trunk" with your instructor, the outer hatch was closed and you received your last set of safety instructions. The escape trunk was then filled with water just a little over your chin (if you were 5'11" tall) and the hatch to the inside of the tank was opened....and now........"It's Show Time".....

You ducked through the hatchway into the tank and you were now 50 feet below the surface, where you were then greeted by Navy divers who, for safety reasons...would accompany you to the surface...

Once outside the Escape would first notice a large "No Smoking" sign just above the hatchway...don't laugh out could be fatal.

The Submariner would then grab a bar on the side of the tank, arch his back so he was looking straight up through 50 feet of water above him...and then let go....the ascent had started. The air in your lungs would carry you to the surface.

Now's the catch! If you held your breath...your lungs would explode somewhere between there and the surface...not a pleasant to avoid this most uncomfortable had to EXHALE air all the way to the surface...a trip that took about 8 seconds. This was also the reason for the Navy safety diver...if you stopped exhaling...he would punch you in the diaphragm to expel air...if you exhaled too much...he would give you an air hose.

If all went well...and you did exactly as arrived at the surface with a renewed sense of self confidence and one real great adrenalin high......

Now was mandatory for all prospective submariners to perform the buoyant ascent from the 50 feet level...and optional from the 75 feet level. Myself, the buddy I joined the Navy with, and three other men opted to do it from 75 feet...a trip, that if I recall correctly, took about 14 seconds (remember...exhaling ALL the way). WOW...what another great rush that was....

I just thought old Cookie would share that nostalgic adventure with y'all...after all...what's an adventure in'f cain't tell no one about it.....take care and may God Bless everyone......

Now Sir, I guess this is the new way of escaping from a downed Sub. You'll notice that nowadays these bubbleheads use a contained suit fer escape'n, WUSSIES!! We did it with NUTHIN!! Just bustin balls mates. With the depths today's boats cruise at, and usually in Arctic waters ya gotta have a suit like these.

This video takes you from inside the pressurized escape trunk as it fills with water, to your buoyant ascent ride to the surface. Pretty good video.

NOTE: Although the sound is lost briefly and then returns, you'll hear the man yelling all the way to the surface. It's NOT because he's scared (although it could be), but remember, you MUST exhale all the way up or your lungs will EXPLODE!

Clicky de Linky to watch!

Posted by Cookie frum over at Thecookshack--Gab & Grub

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Submariner Dream Sheet Duty


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New USS Hawaii Blog

From a ComSubPac news release:
A newly-created internet blog is being facilitated by Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) Public Affairs in conjunction with USS Hawaii (SSN 776) crewmembers to chronicle the submarine’s historic arrival to its new home port of Naval Station Pearl Harbor.
The blog will feature posts from the submarine’s leadership on topics such as the transit from Groton as well as the crew’s activities and training accomplishments. The blog can be accessed through the COMSUBPAC official website ( or independently at
The public is encouraged to comment on any posts that interest them and to check back for the newest USS Hawaii information and arrival updates.
You can visit the new blog here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pirate Catch and Release

Members of the submarine community (all nationalities) who find this humorous are free to copy and distribute or republish this cartoon without alteration. If you are also a member of PETOP, please use your discretion.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Bump in the Night

Given the heavy traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, it was perhaps only a matter of time before this happened, which is not to say it is not a serious matter...
The submarine, the USS Hartford, collided with the USS New Orleans about 1 a.m. in the strait, which runs between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the busiest commercial routes for oil tankers.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Al Qaeda's Leadership Opens Up at last!

Adapted for UQNM by Juan Caruso from original at M.E.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vanguard & Triomphant Collide!

UPDATE (2/17/09; 9:12am): Journalist ignorance and arrogance reigns supreme in the coverage of this story ("How could you allow this to happen?! How dare you not be perfect!? You could have destroyed the world!!! etc. etc.) *YAWN* ... meanwhile, beyond the hype, it turns out that events were apparently much less dramatic that has been portrayed by the media & anti-nuke groups:

French and British sailors did not realise their nuclear submarines had crashed into each other until their governments got in touch over the incident, France's defence minister admitted Tuesday.

After the French navy announced on February 6 that Le Triomphant had hit an unidentified object under water, British officials approached them "and said 'well hey, we also had a problem'," Herve Morin said on French television.

Original post follows below....

The British press is reporting that one of their SSBNs, the HMS Vanguard, collided with the French SSBN Le Triomphant in the "mid-Atlantic"...
[Vanguard] was last night towed into Faslane in Scotland, with dents and scrapes visible on her hull. Triomphant limped to Brest with extensive damage to her sonar dome.
Details of course are still sketchy. According to the UK Daily Mail:

During heavy seas in the middle of the night between February 3 and 4, French sailors heard a loud ‘bang’ that all but destroyed the submarine's sonar dome.

This part of the boat should have detected the Vanguard in the first place, but Le Triomphant’s crew of 101 neither saw or heard anything before the collision.


Le Triomphant took at least three days to limp back to her home port, although she did not have to be towed.

HMS Vanguard, by contrast, apparently had to be towed back to her home base in Faslane, Scotland.
This makes it sound as if one of the boats was headed to PD and collided with the other which was masked by the wave action of "heavy seas" near the surface. But that of course is sheer conjecture on my part at this point.

I once enjoyed Christmas dinner as a guest aboard HMS Vanguard--a massive, lovely ship that the Brits are very proud of. It would be a terrible blow if she can't return to sea.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nevada CoC

Congratulations to my good friend, Al, who has been slated to take command of the USS NEVADA (SSBN 733) Blue Crew later this year or early next.

They have no idea how lucky they are in their new Commanding Officer.

The Nevada is home ported out of Bremerton, WA (now known as Naval Base Kitsap) and I intend to be at the Change of Command, so if any readers or fellow submariners have recommendations or "must-sees" in Bremerton, please let me know!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Submarine Coloring for the Kids

[Cross-posted from "Unconsidered Trifles"] Hmm, let's does that Christmas carol go?
A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen;
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Well, shipmates, I'm here to help you keep your sanity until the kids are back in school. I found this link to a fun page where you can print-out sketches of your ol' boat for the young'ins to color.

Enjoy--and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sailors blast wear rules for blue cammies

Below is my submission for a Navy Times op-ed ("BackTalk"), I have done a number of these in the past few years (both before and after I left active duty). It's a bit strongly worded, but the rules regarding the NWU prompted my "can't suffer idiots" gene to become dominant.

As a civilian now, I can officially (and legally) say this and not get into hot water with my Chief of the Boat…so here goes.

The Navy leadership is certifiably Stupid. Yes, that was a capital “S”. It was intentional.

I refer to the recent rules laid out for the new Navy Working Uniform. I remember the restrictions placed on dungarees way back when, and how we looked forward to the (current) utilities when they were new in the late 1990’s. The idea then was the utilities were supposed to be acceptable for off-base wear, at least for routine things like stopping at the bank, the DMV, the grocery, or to pick up one’s kids at school. And it worked…somewhat. The restrictions loosened to a fairly reasonable degree (though not near the degree other services had). Don’t get me wrong, the restrictions were still a bit silly given that we are all adults, but they weren’t overboard.

Now the Navy is returning to the realm of sheer idiocy with the rules for the NWU. For a uniform that is in cut/design nearly identical to uniforms worn by the Air Force and Army, the rules on where they are worn will herald a return to the situations that I found myself in back in Hawaii in the 1990’s.

I had a problem with the local DMV in Hawaii…they never sent the renewal for my car in the mail, forcing me into an in-person visit to register my car with the military exemption. Not a huge deal, I would just swing by the DMV satellite office after I went on liberty one day, on my way home. If I were lucky, the Chief would actually cut me loose early that day by a half hour or so, too. However, since the DMV satellite office was in the local mall, I had to stop by crews berthing first to change into civilian clothes. Again, not a real problem, though I caught flack for obviously going on liberty early (in civvies) as I left the boat (yes, boat…I’m a submariner). But imagine the irony as I stood in the DMV line, ahead of me an Airman in cammies from Hickam, behind me a Soldier in cammies from Tripler AMC, and in the next line a Chief in khaki. Of the four of us, the only one not in uniform…me, the Navy “blueshirt”. Once in the long line I got into a conversation with an Air Force buddy (in cammies), a neighbor who wondered just why it was I had to change. I think my overheard reply annoyed the Chief near us, as I explained, “the Navy is embarrassed at our working uniforms, and doesn’t trust it’s enlisted personnel to wear them right”. Oddly, he didn’t dispute my take on the situation…I don’t think he could.

The newest rules further that attitude…enlisted personnel are children, and cannot be treated as adults by letting them (GASP) wear a working uniform off base. Good grief, imagine if they wore something DIRTY? Or in POOR REPAIR?

I won’t get into the pros and cons of the new uniforms…that’s another discussion entirely. But to the leadership of the Navy, I’d say this…start treating enlisted personnel like adults, and stop making stupid rules that even your Chiefs admit are nearly impossible to enforce. As a service we should be proud of our uniforms…aside from being a uniform, they are a symbol of our service and sacrifice, and something that in one form or another have been worn by honorable, courageous, and committed Sailors for over two centuries. When they are worn properly, they do us credit. When worn improperly, well, that’s part of the job of the Chiefs, officers, and senior enlisted to correct, and if they do their job right they do us all credit, too.

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Crossposted at The Online Magazine Formerly Known As Rob's Blog

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quotes from one of my favorite American President and greatest patriot.

I Stole these from Right mind, But given the times and situation, We all need to reflect on those who came before us and made this nation what it is....

* Thomas Jefferson: When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
Thomas Jefferson: The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Thomas Jefferson: It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
Thomas Jefferson: I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson: My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
Thomas Jefferson: No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Thomas Jefferson: The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson: The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Thomas Jefferson: To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Thomas Jefferson: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New SECNAV a Lawyer?

Caruso cartoon was lifted from article at Molten Eagle site.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

"A date which will live in infamy..."

Sixty-seven years ago, the devastating surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Station drew the United States into the largest war in world history, World War II. Nearly 2,500 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and civilians were killed, several ships and hundreds of aircraft were destroyed, and the "sleeping giant" that was the United States was aroused to war.

It's an attack that we should never forget, and a war that we should always remember and always hope we never have to repeat.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Supreme Court Rules in favor of USN

UPDATE (11/12/08;10:28pm): For some background on this issue, see Hugh Hewitt's interview of Admiral Locklear from last year.

[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles] Finally, the Supreme Court reverses all of the environmentalist misdirections and half-truths regarding US Navy sonar:

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling that national security trumps environmental rules, lifted restrictions on the Navy's use of sonar during training exercises off the coast of Southern California.

A divided high court rejected arguments by environmentalists that the judge-ordered restrictions were warranted to protect whales and other marine mammals.

The environmental interests ``are plainly outweighed by the Navy's need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines,'' Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

If you value your freedom...take time to thank a veteran. Today is Veterans Day, a time to remember all who served this great nation.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

More Information On Russian Submarine Fatalities

Following up on WillyShake's report below:

Russian media sources are reporting that 20 sailors and shipyard workers were killed during "testing" after a "fire extinguishing system unexpectedly went off". From a BBC report on the incident:
Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman Igor Dygalo said both sailors and shipyard workers died in the incident, which occurred during sea trials.
He said the submarine itself had not been damaged and there had been no radiation leaks...
...The submarine, whose name and class have not been revealed, has been ordered to suspend sea trials and return to port in the far eastern Primorye territory, Capt Dygalo said...
...There were 208 people on board at the time, 81 of whom were servicemen.
Twenty-one injured people have been evacuated from the submarine, sources at the fleet said.
Reports say the incident occurred in the nose of the vessel. The nuclear reactor, which is in the stern, was not affected.
The first linked article says that the sub is "now moving to a temporary base. It is being escorted by an anti-submarine ship and a rescue vessel."

The number of civilians on board indicates that the BBC report is correct that this seems to have happened during sea trials. I mentioned late last month that the Akula-II submarine RFS Nerpa, rumored to be heading to India on lease after shakedown, was out on sea trials. As I doubt that the Russians would have enough shipyard resources to have two boats out on sea trials in the Pacific simultaneously, I'd guess that this is the affected boat. This AFP article on the new incident reaches a similar conclusion.

Russian submarines operate with much smaller crews than American boats, so I would imagine that they rely more on automatic fire suppression systems than our boats do. (The Russians have lost at least one submarine to fire relatively recently, so I imagine they have a special interest in designing robust fire extinguishing systems.) Most naval fire suppression systems would probably use either CO2 or a Halon-like chemical, both of which would displace oxygen in the environment. While you have to take everything the Russians say with a grain of salt, I could imagine the fire suppression system emptying its contents into the torpedo room, and the inexperienced crew following their fire procedures and isolating all compartments; this could have resulted in the O2 concentration in the Torpedo Compartment dropping below that required to support life. If so, this is quite a tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the families and shipmates of the fallen mariners.

Update 1006 09 Nov: I'm updating this story over at The Stupid Shall Be Punished.

Russian Sub Incident in the Pacific

[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles] The details are still sketchy, but it appears the Russians have yet another fatal sub incident on their hands.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - At least 20 people have died and 21 been injured in an accident on board a Russian nuclear-powered submarine in the Pacific Ocean, a Russian naval spokesman said on Sunday.

Radiation levels on board were normal, he said.

Russia's navy has suffered a string of fatal accidents, including the loss of the Kursk nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea in August 2000. All 118 sailors aboard died.

"More than 20 people were killed on a nuclear submarine in the Pacific Ocean during routine testing as a result of the unsanctioned functioning of the fire extinguishing systems," the navy spokesman, Igor Dygalo, said by telephone.

Dygalo did not give the name of the submarine or specify where it was located. There were 208 people on board at the time of Saturday's accident, some of them from a shipbuilding company, he added.

"The reactor section (of the submarine) is working properly," the spokesman said. "The radiation levels on the ship are normal."

A Russian destroyer, the Admiral Tributs, was providing assistance and taking some of the injured crew from the submarine to port, Dygalo said.

He did not say where the ships were but the Tributs is normally based at Vladivostok, Russia's main Far Eastern naval port, according to Russian media.

President Dmitry Medvedev has been informed about the accident, Russian news agencies reported.

The state-owned RIA news agency quoted a highly placed official in the Pacific Fleet as saying the accident happened in the bow of the submarine.

Be sure to stay tuned here as well as to Bubblehead's blog and The Sub Report for updates and further insights.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Secret of Submarine Speed

Cross-posted from Molten Eagle.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Any of my fellow sub bloggers read Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers?

Looks like an interesting read, mostly because it combines three of my enthusiams--diving, WWII history, and subs.

Eager to hear your thoughts about the book.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 2008 Submarine Blogger roundup

The August Listing of Active Bloggers Posted At
Right Ascension of Aries

Saturday, August 02, 2008

SiteMeter Causing Blog and Website Internet Explorer Failures

For all fellow Sub bloggers and Submarine website Owners. If you are seeing Internet Explorer failures when trying to view your website, You are also most likely using Site Meter as your tracking and stats counter. You need to log in to your control panel and temporarily remove the Site Meter Code.
Story Here:

Site Meter causing Internet Explorer failure
Took me awhile to figure that out as was compromised as well. Man, I thought the CIA was after me for sure this time and I was on my way to Club Gitmo.
Hey CIA/Men in Black guys, I didnt say anything about USS Houston. Look at Joel at TSSBP, he released the details before I did, It wasnt
Hopefully Sitemeter will have their problem figured out shortly and you can restore the page element later.

Friday, August 01, 2008

USS Houston Radioactive Leak Reported

It's just my luck... on the day that my normal blog, The Stupid Shall Be Punished, is unavailable for posting after being erroneously identified as a potential "spam blog", we get a story about submarines and nuclear power that shows up on the front page of Excerpts:
Water with trace amounts of radioactivity may have leaked for months from a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine as it traveled around the Pacific to ports in Guam, Japan and Hawaii, Navy officials told CNN on Friday.
The leak was found on the USS Houston, a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, after it went to Hawaii for routine maintenance last month, Navy officials said.
The problem was discovered last month when a build-up of leaking water popped a covered valve and poured onto a sailor's leg while the submarine was in dry dock...
...Officials with knowledge of the incident could not quantify the amount of radiation leaked but insisted it was "negligible" and an "extremely low level." The total amount leaked while the sub was in port in Guam, Japan and Hawaii was less than a half of a microcurie (0.0000005 curies), or less than what is found in a 50-pound bag of lawn and garden fertilizer, the officials said.
While us nukes know that this really isn't that big a deal, we really can't talk about it in the open like this. All of us know where the leak came from (it's obvious they weren't using the "drum" this time) but any discussion of coolant discharge is pretty much covered by NNPI, so we can't go there. For example, until this post, there's only one Google return for the search "coolant discharge log"; luckily for me, it's from an official Navy site (Vol. VI, Chapter 25, Para. 25.2.4 of the JFMM), but it only says that the discharge log can be used to determine the number of days in-port or in drydock for URO periodicity determination -- that brief mention at least allows me to mention that such a document exists.

Pretty much all we can do is confirm that the amount of radioactivity reported discharged in port is very, very small and wouldn't be likely to cause any problems. I can also add that, in my experience, the discharge log is one of the most closely audited pieces of administration on the boat, so you can be pretty sure that the numbers the Navy is putting out are right.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

TSSBP On Short "Spam Blog Verification" Hiatus

The Stupid Shall Be Punished has been temporarily locked while the Blogger humans verify that it's not an objectionable blog. I'm not sure if it was some 'bot algorithm, or some skimmer, that generated the action, but they claim I'll be up and able to post again within two business days.

Until then, there are lots of other submarine blogs that you can check out over on the sidebar.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Aussie Submarine In Successful SINKEX

The breathless and somewhat misleading headlines in the Australian media notwithstanding (here and especially here), there's a great video that just came out of HMAS Waller (SSG 75) sinking an unidentifed U.S. hulk with a Mk 48 Mod 7 CBASS torpedo. Check it out:

This SINKEX occurred off the coast of Hawaii in conjunction with the upcoming RIMPAC 08 exercises. It brings a tear to an old submariner's eye to see a skimmer's bow slipping silently beneath the waves...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Submarine Cartoon

(Cross-posted from Molten Eagle)


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HMS Superb Grounds In Red Sea

(Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished)

The British Swiftsure-class submarine HMS Superb (S 109) grounded while running submerged in the northern Red Sea on Monday, the Royal Navy announced yesterday.

The 272-foot vessel had passed through the canal and was in the northern Red Sea when she grounded. No other vessel was involved.
An MoD spokesman said the submarine's nuclear reactor was "completely unaffected" and there was "no environmental impact" from the collision.
"There were no casualties and the submarine remains watertight, is safe on the surface and able to operate under her own power," he said.
The vessel is in international waters but unable to dive because of the damage to sonar equipment.
The Sub Report has many more links to this breaking story. The most recent similar accident, the grounding of USS San Francisco (SSN 711), is of course very familiar to American submariners, and I'm thankful that this grounding seems much less severe in terms of casualties.

Staying at PD...

Friday, May 16, 2008

new bubblesphere blogger roundup posted

over at the Geezer's Corner


Thursday, May 01, 2008

"The Dive's We've Known" Tommy Cox

Well is my custom, I was perusin most of the old Subariner blog's, and when I got to Myron's, he had posted this here video by Tommy Cox regardin all the various and famous ( or infamous...dependin on yur point of view), "Sub Bars" across the world....

Now Sir, I'll be a bettin that there are more than a few of y'all out there that can recall some of these here fine establishments...I know I can. I think I made at least one mortgage payment fer at least one third of em....

Posted by Cookie

Friday, April 25, 2008

WWII Sub'"Happy Ending"

[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles] They've been having a discussion/debate about pornography in the military over at NRO's The Corner. And while my view is that it should probably not be sold in the NEX, NRO's Andrew Stuttaford (who often leans libertarian on many issues) offers this intriguing submarine "sea story" from the WWII era as a counterpoint. Apparently, sub skippers were given advanced copies of the Daily Mirror's racy comic strip "Jane" so that their crews didn't miss out on any developments...
But who was Jane? ..She was the woman who kept British soldiers smiling through their gloomiest hours, and one story comes to mind that best illustrates her effect on those in the armed services. A British submarine had been attacked, and was crippled and powerless on the bottom of the ocean. Sea currents swirled round the vessel and there was always the chance the enemy would swoop in for the kill. The crew inside fully expected the vessel to become their tomb, but knew how they wanted to spend their last moments. A request was put in to the captain. The submariners wanted to live out what time remained gazing at pictures, currently in his safe, of a stunningly beautiful woman from Eastleigh, Hampshire. Their commanding officer obliged and the images of the supremely sexy Christabel Leighton-Porter, aka "Jane," were distributed... Christabel was, quite simply, Britain's first bona fide sex bomb... As the inspiration for Jane, photographs of Christabel were everywhere, slapped on the walls of mess halls and bars all over the country. Her image was painted on aeroplanes and daubed on jeeps...
More on the history of "Jane" here. So what was the fate of that "doomed" crew? Well, the story survived, and so they must have as well--and did, thankfully.

I guess you might say they received an, er..."happy ending"? Yikes!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Some borrowed stuff....

Hey Mates, Cookie here....Last week, I was visitin my good buddy Myron over at his blog, Myrons Random Thoughts, and he had posted some pretty good stuff regardin Sub's, the proud day he received his Dolphins, and other related subjects, so, I thought I'd some of it and post it over here fer Y'all t'see....

Now Sir....this be a SMOKER!


For I am a Submariner...

By John Chaffey
SSN639, SSN687, SSBN619

I served on the Holland over a century ago.

I still serve to this day on the Trident, Los Angeles & Seawolf class boats

and look forward to shipping on the Virginia, Texas and Hawaii.

Places like Fremantle, Rota, LaMadd, Chinhae, Pattaya, Sasebo and Subic stir my soul.

For I am a Submariner.

I rest in peace beneath many seas across this earth.

I was on the Barbel off Palawan, the Scorpion off the Azores and the Bonefish in the Sea of Japan.

We gave them hell in the harbors at Wewak and Namkwan.

I am a Shellback, a Bluenose, a Plank Owner, a MCPO of the Navy, a CNO and a President.

For I am a Submariner.

I heard Howard Gilmore’s final order, “Take Her Down.”

I heard the word passed, “Underway on Nuclear Power.”

I have done every job asked of me, from Messcook to Torpedoman to Motormac to COB to Skipper.

I know “Snorkel Patty” and Admiral Rickover.

For I am a Submariner.

I have twin Dolphins tattooed on my chest and twin screws tattooed on my ass.

I know the difference between a Lady and a Hooker but treat both with equal respect.

I know Georgia Street and Magsaysay drive.

And although the Horse & Cow keeps moving I will always find her.

I know the meaning of “Hot, Straight and Normal.”

For I am a Submariner.

I have stood tall and received the Medal of Honor and been thrown in the Brig for being Drunk and Disorderly.

I know the reverent tone of “Diesel Boats Forever” and the Gudgeon’s “Find em, Chase em, Sink em.”

I was on the Spearfish evacuating nurses from Corregidor and the Skate when she surfaced at the North Pole.

I have spent time in the Royal Hawaiian.

For I am a Submariner.

I have gone by names like Spritz, Cromwell, O’Kane, Ramage, Breault, “Mush” and Lockwood.

I have served on boats like the Nautilus, Thresher, Parche, Squalus, Wahoo and Halibut.

On December 7th I was onboard the Tautog at Pearl Harbor.

I was also on the Tusk in 49 and sacrificed myself for my shipmates on the Cochino.

For I am a Submariner.

I have stood watches in the cold of Holy Loch and the heat of the South Pacific.

I know what the “41 For Freedom” accomplished.

I was on the Sealion at Cavite in 41 and the Archerfish in Tokyo Bay in 45.

I have endured depth charges and POW camps.

I was on the Seafox when we lost 5 sailors to a Japanese ambush on Guam.

For I am a Submariner.

I tip beers over sea-stories with my shipmates at yearly conventions.

We toll the bell and shed a tear for our buddies who are on eternal patrol.

Many pilots have been glad to see me, including a future president.

I have completed numerous highly classified missions during the Cold War.

Because “Freedom Is Not Free,” be assured that I am out there at this very moment.

For I am a Submariner.

Dr. Joyce Brothers Wrote The Following About Submariners
April 10, 2008 in Submarines

Shortly after the loss of THRESHER Dr. Brothers wrote the following.


The tragic loss of the submarine Thresher and 129 men had a special kind of impact on the nation…..a special kind of sadness, mixed with universal admiration for the men who chose this kind of work.

One could not mention the Thresher without observing, in the same breath how utterly final and alone the end is when a ship dies at the bottom of the sea…..and what a remarkable specimen of man it must be who accepts such a risk.

Most of us might be moved to conclude, too, that a tragedy of this kind would have a damaging effect on the moral of the other men in the submarine service and tend to discourage future enlistments. Actually, there is no evidence that this is so.

What is it, then, that lures men to careers in which they spend so much of their time in cramped quarters, under great psychological stress, with danger lurking all about them?

Bond Among Them

Togetherness is an overworked term, but in no other branch of our military service is it given such full meaning as in the so-called “silent service.”

In an under sea craft, each man is totally dependent upon the skill of every other man in the crew, not only for top performance but for actual survival. Each knows that his very life depends on the others and because this is so, there is a bond among them that both challenges and comforts them.

All of this gives the submariner a special feeling of pride, because he is indeed a member of an elite corps. The risks, then, are an inspiration, rather than a deterrent.

The challenge of masculinity is another factor, which attracts men to serve on submarines. It certainly is a test of man’s prowess and power to know he can qualify for this highly selective service. However, it should be emphasized that this desire to prove masculinity is not pathological, as it might be in certain daredevil pursuits, such as driving a motorcycle through a flaming hoop.

Emotionally Healthy

There is nothing daredevelish about the motivations of the man who decides to dedicate his life to the submarine service. He does, indeed, take pride in demonstrating that he is quite a man, but he does not do so to practice a form of foolhardy brinkmanship, to see how close he can get to failure and still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. On the contrary, the aim in the submarine service is to battle the danger, to minimize the risk, to take every measure to make certain that safety rather than danger, is maintained at all times.

Are the men in submarines braver than those in other pursuits where the possibility of sudden tragedy is not constant? The glib answer would be that they are. It is much more accurate, from a psychological point of view, to say they are not necessarily braver, but that they have a little more insight into themselves and their capabilities.

They know themselves a little better than the next man. This has to be so with men who have a healthy reason to volunteer for a risk. They are generally a cut healthier emotionally than others of similar age and background because of their willingness to push themselves a little bit farther and not settle for an easier kind of existence.

We all have tremendous capabilities but are rarely straining at the upper level of what we can do; these men are.

The country can be proud and grateful that so many of its sound, young, eager men care enough about their own status in life–and the welfare of their country–to pool their skills and match them collectively against the power of the sea.

Posted by Cookie....

Thursday, April 03, 2008

4/4/08 bubblehead bloggers roundup posted

here's the latest in an ongoing roundup of submariner blogger's posts over the last week or so. Link


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Floyd Matthews Passes, Was Oldest Living Submariner

Back in 2006, I wrote about Floyd Matthews, who at the time was said to be the 2nd oldest living submariner. He passed away this week in Alabama, aged 105; his memorial service is today. I'm happy to see that the Patriot Guard will be there, and at his internment tomorrow at the Pensacola National Cemetary.

From the announcement of his passing on the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. website:
Drum Base & SVWWII member Floyd Matthews of Florence AL departed on Eternal Patrol Sunday, February 24th 2008.
Floyd qualified on the USS S-44 (SS-155) in 1925. He was the oldest member of USSVI and celebrated his 105th birthday on February 3rd.
Arrangements are being made for Floyd to be buried at Barrancas National Cemetery, NAS Pensacola, in the coming week.
Although Floyd joined the Navy in WWI to fight the Hun, he was too late to get to Germany before Armistice Day. Floyd later volunteered for the Submarine Service, serving in boats without names, identified by Letter & Number only; i.e. O-6, S-12, S-4, R-13, O-4, R-14, S-43, & S-46.
Although eligible for retirement prior to the out break of hostilities in Europe in WWII, Floyd remained in the Navy and subsequently accepted a commission.
During WWII, among other assignments, he served as Commanding Officer of USS Chickasaw ATF-83 and USS Diver ARS-5. Floyd attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander prior to his retirement in 1949.
Floyd is preceded in death by two wives and is survived, among others, by his son John and Daughter Priscilla.
Bill Matthews asked me to "thank all your fellow submariners for all they've done for "Skipper" over the past many years. The family will never forget their kindness."
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in rememberance of 'Skipper' to the US Submarine Veterans Charitable Foundation, PO Box 3870, Silverdale WA 98383 or via the internet...
Sailor, Rest Your Oar...

I'm assuming that LCDR Matthews was the oldest living submariner by the time he passed, and not just the oldest USVVI member. Does anyone know who takes the mantle from Floyd as the oldest living submariner?

Friday, February 22, 2008

new submariner blog roundup posted today

over at geezer's corner

Saturday, February 02, 2008

NOTU Provides 21 Gun Salute for Astronaut Memorial Service

A Memorial Service was held at the Astronaut Memorial Plaza, Sand Point Park, Titusville, Florida. This is a annual event held as a remembrance for all the Astronauts who gave their lives for the exploration of space. Click here for more info, photos and video clips from

Friday, February 01, 2008

Up Scope: Small Town Development Company has a Mast of Ideas for Military Applications

My Home Town, Titusville Florida is small by most town comparisons, but being located next to the (KSC) Space Center we are graced by an array of high technology companies both small and large in the surrounding area. Tonight at TITUSNites, a monthly community event, I ran into George Woodruff Director Of Geo Systems Inc, in which he had one of his products a SAM (Situational Awareness Mast) on display.

Mr. Woodruff states that this incredible compact robotic device has the interest of the U.S. Military from applications in Army Tanks to Navy Seals and Submarines. Touted on the Company website as the The worlds "smallest" mast that can extend to the "tallest", the mast can be outfitted with sensors, communication devices and scopes for both Military and Civilian uses. This rugged piece of gear made from stainless steel and aluminum, can be deployed in both harsh combat zones and undersea environments on manned or unmanned vehicles.

Just a short stroll down the street and you run across people with big ideas and equipment that keeps are warfighters and ships just one more step ahead of the enemy.

Be sure to check out for more information on their Company and Products.

Eric Ryle
Submarine News

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Three New Submarines Named

The Secretary of the Navy today announced the names of the next three Virginia-class submarines:
Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced today the names of three Virginia class submarines -- the Missouri, California and Mississippi.
The selection of Missouri honors the continuous support of the military by the people of the “Show Me State,” and its leaders. Designated SSN 780, Missouri is the fifth ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state. The last Missouri (BB 63), a U.S. Navy battleship, saw action in World War II, Korean War, and the 1991 Gulf War. Missouri was also the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and many other U.S. and Allied officers, accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II on Sept. 2, 1945.
The selection of California, designated SSN 781, honors the thousands of men and women from California who serve in today’s Armed Forces, and the millions of Californian veterans and their families. As home to major Naval and Marine Corps installations, the selection of California also reflects the tremendous support provided to the Navy and Marine Corps by countless communities across the Golden State. This will be the seventh ship to bear the name California.
The selection of Mississippi, designated SSN 782, is dedicated to the state’s long standing tradition of shipbuilding in support of our nation’s defense. It also honors the indomitable spirit of the people of Mississippi who have made great strides in recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This fighting spirit will be an inspiration to all sailors who embark aboard Mississippi. There have been four previous ships named Mississippi. The first Mississippi, a side wheeler, served as Commodore Matthew Perry’s flagship for his historic voyage to Japan and fought with Admiral Farragut’s forces on the Mississippi River during the Civil War.
I'm sure submarine bloggers of the future will be looking forward to a picture of the new USS Missouri rendering honors to the old one.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"My Right Inguinal Hernia Surgery" -Video Review

UPDATE: Good News: As of 16:46:39 Eric is back at home and doing well, according to his lovely wife.

As many TSR readers know by now, the editor of The Sub Report placed his site on automatic news feed for the rest of this week during a medical leave starting tomorrow (Tuesday the 22nd) for outpatient hernia repair. Check out the TSR's submarine news feed often for breaking stories.

A hernia is the protrusion of an organ through the wall that normally contains it. An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin area, when an organ, usually an intestine, protrudes through the abdominal wall. For those who do not know, the overall incidence rate for inguinal hernia is about 1 in 544 or 0.18% in the USA.

Hernias can be both serious and very painful. Between 1995 and 2005, 16,742 Americans died from hernias.[1] Unless common hernias happen in your family, most Americans are little informed about these painful, tissue protrusions.

Have you ever heard of a deadly brain hernia (not one of the 5 more common visceral hernias),
for instance? The good news is that if common hernias occur in your family, you can be extra cautious about what you lift and how you perfom proper lifting. All of us need to be cautious to avoid serious back injury, and hernia, as well.

So this posting would not become too morbid, I asked a fellow submariner (who wished to remain anonymous) to review a 3-part inguinal hernia video. Here is what Bubblehead X sent back:

MOVIE REVIEW (Rating 4 of 10):
Though very short, "My Right Inguinal Hernia Surgery" was probably as good a medical documentory as I will ever see. All in all, I'd say it's the 3rd best movie I've seen so far this month --- camerawork was steadier than it was in "Cloverfield."

After three, graphic incisions of incredible depth (spoiler), some highly interesting miniaturized devices are inserted directly into the patient's belly. The medical procedure gut shots are captured with the help of a remotely controlled miniature TV camera, which required a rather large incision, itself.

The soundtrack is clear and the actors (all male, including an ex-submarine corpsman Y) appear very professional in their medical skills and happy (you can almost make out gleeful smiles under their surgical masks). Background music is truly the best thing about this video. Special effects are too realistic for young or squeemish audiences, although no gratuitous flesh scenes are shown, thanks to well-placed surgical towels. Action scenes become monotonous for the audience, because the victim (patient) is always the same, faceless body in the same setting.

Part 1 of 3 ended fairly abruptly, although it was fairly clear to me why that had to be (lunchtime). I lost my lunch while starting to write my impressions of Part 1. I did not, therefore, feel compelled to watch Parts 2 and 3. For me, I give it 4 Uncomfortably Vivid Appendectomy Reminders out of ten. Please consider my review incomplete and get someone else to review the other parts, or do it %#@*#& yourself!

If you want to watch the videos one at a time at YouTube:

My Right Inguinal Hernia Surgery - Part 1...

Who is Bubblehead X?
What sub was submariner Y on?
Was the surgery set in an outpatient clinic or navy hostpital?


Sunday, January 20, 2008

TSR Med Leave


Update 27JAN08: Thanks for all concerned during my absence. I'm still not 100% but some systems are starting to come back online. Special Thanks to Vigilis for posting this and checking on my progress for the last week.

(UPDATE: Good News: As of 16:46:39 Eric is back at home and doing well, according to his lovely wife.)

The video shown in his post is different than the repair I had received. My repair was a Open direct type with a 4 inch incision to the groin area. I would have rather had the other one done.

Be careful as you get older fellas. Always get help when lifting heavy objects and adhere to proper safety techniques and you hopefully can stay away from the surgeon.



TSR Readers and Shipmates,

I will be taking a medical leave of absence starting on Tuesday. I have a hopefully simple outpatient hernia repair. Big Fun huh? Auto generated news feeds will be up on the website for the rest of week. I also encourage you to visit these websites and blogs in my absence to get the latest in Submarine News and Commentary.

If all goes well, I will have things back up by the weekend.

Thanks for reading


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hard to Find True Sub Ops Stories Like This One

Do yourself a favor and read Midnight Cowboy's account by Admiral Larson of one mission the Sculpin completed during a conflict called Nam.
Submarines are always silent and strange.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

crazy topside watches

did you know any? i know, stupid question. if you served on submarines, you knew, or yourself were, one of the crazys that kept our boats safe in port.
here are a few from my 575 days.
i'd like to hear some sea stories, dudes. all this politics on the web and surrounding us 24/7 is getting old. and we have 9 more freaking months to look forward to. so lets get some of those old dusty memories out of their corners. it's time for sea stories, dammit.


Friday, January 04, 2008

2007 Submarine Photos Year in Review

Video Compilation of 2007 Photos of the United States Submarine Force. Presented by

All Photos courtesy of Naval Media and

Click Here for the Google Video Link if the above does not work.

If you are interested in an original copy of this presentation, please contact

Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sailor, Rest Your Oar

The Navy Submarine family suffered a great loss recently with the sudden passing of CDR (Sel) Chris Riley, assigned to PEO Submarines in D.C. CDR Riley was on vacation with his wife and three children at Disney World when he died in his sleep last Sunday.

From a TEAM SUBMARINE update:
Chris' funeral will be in St Louis, Missouri on Thursday, January 3rd at
1200. NAVSEA will send a small official party to represent Chris' co-workers at the funeral.
There will be a memorial service in DC hosted by Chris' church on Saturday, January 5th at 1100. The entire NAVSEA family is invited to honor Chris and pay their respects to his family at this event. It will be held at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1225 R St, in Northwest Washington DC. Further details will be provided next week.
I expect a fund will be set up shortly to help the family, particularly for the education of Chris' three young children. In the meantime, condolences may be sent to:

CDR Chris Riley Memoriam
614 Sicard St SE
Washington Navy yard, DC 20376-7004