Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More San Francisco Musings

Discussing the San Francisco grounding at my SubVets meeting today got me thinking about a couple of things. Now I haven’t seen anything official, but I’ve heard enough rumblings on some other boards that it sounds like one of the things they’re holding against the San Fran navigation team is that they didn’t get their movement order early enough. Here’s how it works: submarines get a message from their Operating Authority ordering them to get underway; this message includes their route, average speed, and any exercises they’re supposed to do on their trip. There’s a requirement that the boat receive this message a certain amount of time before the underway, which may not have happened in this situation. From what I’ve seen, and from what I know of the Sub Force, this “passes the smell test” as far as being something that they would come up with to blame the boat for.Assuming this is true, I suppose the boat could have refused to get underway since they didn’t have their movement order in time. How do you think that would have gone down? Do you think the CO would have been recognized for his bravery in standing up for the letter of the law? Show of hands? I didn’t think so…

I don’t know how significant the problem of late-issued movement orders is now, but I can say that I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times the movement messages to my boats didn’t reach us within the time limits. Did the Navy go back and find out how many such messages have arrived late at the various boats, and punish the navigation teams involved for not protesting? I would guess the answer to that would be “no”, and I wouldn’t expect the Sub Force to do that. To me, it’s just another example of the San Francisco crew getting punished for doing the same exact thing as every other boat in the fleet.


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