Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pin-Up's fer Vets... Good fer this Gal....

Well Sir...this article was sent t'me by Missy Susan from Eagle Lake, Texas who received it from "Black Five" (A Military Blog). Susan is a military mom...and she wanted me to pass this along to the rest of my's a real good cause so lets "Heave too Mates"...

**UPDATE:** Hey mates...since placing this post, I've had communications with Ms.Elise ( yes...I'm a lucky man indeed ), and it seems she's going to be going to Walter Reed Hospital in January and would like to take at least 100 calanders down fer the'n ya cain't buy a calander cause yur wife won't let ya...then, If'n yur a blogger (amigo or amiga)...please re-post this article on yur own blog's so's we can help her to help our brave Military men & women...besides men...look how much fun it will be perusin through all them photygraffs to put yur post together...

BTW you'll soon see...The Cookie had a lot of fun (and enjoyment) puttin this here post together...

Send a Pin Up Calender to a Hospitalized Vet

Gina Elise is a model with a BA from UCLA. She has spent 2006 and 2007 on her project that combines what she knows (modeling, photography, history) to help a cause dear to her heart (hospitalized veterans and soldiers in need).

So, she created a project called Pin Ups for Vets which is co-sponsored by American Legion Post 360 of Lake Arrowhead, California. Her 2007 Pin Up Calendar sold out and now she has her 2008 Calendar available. Gina Elise says this about her project:

Over the past year, I have heard and read incredible stories about the injured soldiers returning from military service. Their hardest battles have just begun, as they attempt to recover in Veterans Hospitals all across America . I was touched by each story, and knew that I had to try to do something to help our hospitalized Vets.

I came up with an idea to recreate a World War II style pin-up calendar that would have the dual purpose of raising money for programs that support hospitalized Veterans, and also serve as a GIFT for each and every Veteran, as they recover in a Veterans Hospital.

I always loved the beautiful pin-up photos and paintings from the World War II era that American soldiers took overseas with them to boost their morale. The troops often carried these “cheesecake” pictures with them into war to help remind them of what they were fighting for back home. One of the most famous pinup shots was taken in the 1940’s of actress Betty Grable, in a bathing suit, looking back over her shoulder.

With these old glamorous pictures as inspiration, I decided to try to recreate the feeling of these nostalgic pin-ups in my own photo shoots, and then assemble my pictures in a calendar for a fund-raiser to benefit the programs that support the hospitalized Veterans, injured in ALL wars, past and present.

Your calendar donation will go towards: eyeglasses for Veterans, the home health program, recreational therapy, spinal cord injury & amputee programs, substance abuse program, women’s Veterans’ program, chapel improvements, homeless program, reading materials and subscriptions for the Veterans, patio improvements, parking lot shuttle, courtesy cart, social relief fund, televisions, wheelchairs, and outreach programs for the visually impaired...

You can purchase a calendar for yourself, one to be sent to a soldier (any soldier or one you give the address for), or one for a hospitalized veteran. Gina will be visiting our Soldiers at Walter Reed in January and needs to bring (at least) 100 calendars with her. Purchase a calendar to give to a Soldier at Walter Reed here (option #2).

So OK amigo's and amiga's...start hitting those links in the article and start buyin a calander or two. Lets help this very attractive young woman to help some our brave men & women....


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Those Were the Days, My Friend; We Thought We'd Make Them End

Did Monty Python Know About This?

A recent headline (H/T Sub Report ) brought back memories: British nukes protected by bicycle lock keys - BBC Two:

Britain is the only nuclear weapons state which does not have a fail-safe mechanism to prevent its submarines launching a nuclear attack without the right code being sent, according to tonight's Newsnight on BBC Two. The programme also reveals that until less than ten years ago, the locks on RAF nuclear bombs were opened with a bicycle lock key.

The BBC alleges that British Trident nuclear submarine skippers can still launch their missiles -- without authorization codes ( Permissive Action Links or PALs ) from Whitehall. According to the BBC, the Ministry of Defence claims that safeguards built in by other countries were not relevant to British submarines. Trident commanders can still launch a nuclear attack without any command from Whitehall, if the worst comes to the worst. Why is Britain unique?
According to this, Posted by one Alex G. Nov 16, 2007 10:49:57 AM
... The Vanguard-class boats are a second-strike deterrent, so the patrolling boats need to be able to launch even if Britain (along with the Prime Minister, who has the launch codes) no longer exists. They still (AFAIK) use a dual-key system, so a single insane captain couldn't launch the missiles. It works like this: There's a safe on the boat, containing the trigger device and the Prime Minister's instructions in case of the destruction of Britain. Only the weapons officer and his deputy know the combination to the safe- the captain doesn't, and it's committed to memory not written down. The captain does, however, have a key without which the trigger device doesn't operate. So launching the missiles requires:The weapons officer to open the safe and connect the trigger to a control panel. The captain to turn the key in a different control panel.

Which still leaves two questions for Monty Python's Flying Circus to investigate:

Why bicycle lock keys? My submarine was a cramped, SSN - not a relatively spacious missile boat (SSBN), whose crews were often referred to as coners. Coners had something we never did - exercise bicycles. The 'B' in SSBN probably stands for bicycles with ballistic wheels.
So having bicycles aboard was a handy excuse for American officers to wear bicycle keys around their necks at all times like their British counterparts. This was intended to confuse Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

Are coners reliable types who can be trusted to do their jobs reliably considering access to nuclear warhead launch controls? To assure their mental faculties remain on even keel, recreational diversions are provided on missile sub decks (photo).

For concerned citizens who have never been submariners: this has been satire, cross-posted from Molten Eagle. Only coincidentally does SSBN stand for Submarine stationary bicycle neurosis.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Groundhog Day For "Breaking" Submarine News

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Remember the story from last year about the Chinese Song-class submarine surfacing in the vicinity of USS Kitty Hawk? Well, it turns out a reporter from the Daily Mail in the UK did as well (he was probably looking up "what happened this week in history in 2006" in hopes of finding a story he could write quickly), and by the simple technique of saying the event was "recent" he started a blogswarm of fair-to-middlin' proportions. Even UPI picked up the story without adding any embellishing information. While various commenters in the forums -- as well as Vigilis and Galrahn at their own blogs -- have pointed out that the incident came to light in November 2006, the posts at Hot Air and Slashdot are generating lots of discussion (almost 400 comments so far at the last link).

While we're talking about it again, it's worth reiterating the main lessons learned from the whole incident: 1) Any submarine of even modest capabilities can get close to a carrier in peacetime, 2) Any submarine that surfaces near said carrier almost certainly isn't doing it because he wanted to, 3) It's important to give the U.S. Submarine Force more money to help it guard against the Chinese submarine threat, and 4) Submariners are really cool, and you should buy them a beer whenever you see one.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sub Launched Helo

No, it's not the new toy I want for Christmas (though it might be kinda kewl), it's a submarine launched helicopter. According to the article found here...
"Though it looks like an unmanned drone, and probably a tiny one at that, the Waterspout is no flying shrimp. The autonomous craft is designed to fly up to 80 miles, pick up two passengers, and return to its starting point on the open ocean."

"The small helicopter, designed by a team from Technion University in Israel and Penn State, would be able to launch from a submarine swimming 50 feet below the surface. The craft would float to the surface, deploy its blades, take off even in rough seas, and fly autonomously to pick up its passengers."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Matter of Time?

(Crossposted to The Online Magazine Formerly Known As Rob's Blog)

The below article appeared in Navy Times in the 11/5/07 issue. I feel safe, in terms of copyright, reprinting it here whole, since I wrote it (if it's anyone's intellectual property, for better or worse, it's mine).
A matter of time?

Workload no excuse for ‘gundecking,’ but rushed submariners more likely to cut corners
By Rob Schumacher -
Posted : November 05, 2007

As a former Navy submarine nuke, I’m at once shocked and not shocked by the recent news from the attack submarine Hampton.

It’s shocking to find out that anyone may have been “radioing” primary chemistry, and for the length of time they allegedly were doing so. Shocking that anyone may have radioed any logs, as anyone in the nuclear community (and even the Navy as a whole) recognizes the inherent wrongness and potential danger in this most dishonest of practices.

Yet I’m also not shocked.

First, let me be clear: I am not in any way condoning or excusing what these sailors reportedly did. Not one bit. There is simply no excuse for misrepresenting or falsifying records.

But of the 24 hours in a day, more and more are eaten away by the increasing demands on our time. Over the years, I’ve seen training requirements creep upward, inspections grow in number and frequency, and other requirements rise and rise.

A standard workday in port for a submarine nuke consists of two to four hours of training — that’s just nuclear training. Add an hour or two more for general military training, meetings and musters for this and that, and you’ve taken up a big chunk of the day already — and accomplished no real work.

Then you add in cleaning — every chief of the boat or engineering department master chief feels this should be at least an hour a day, or more.

At a minimum, that’s four hours of the day, possibly up to six or more, with no real work done.

See where I’m going?

At sea, submariners commonly are in a “six-on, 12-off” rotation. The 12 hours “off” are for work (the six hours following your watch) and sleep (the six hours preceding your watch). But that “off” time gets eaten up by cleaning, training, drills and paperwork. Any submarine nuke will tell you that the six hours “off-going” translates to, at best, two hours for “the job.” The leadership packs those off-watch times with more “required attendance” stuff than you can shake a broom at.

When you are finally done, your job has now been shoehorned into your sleep time, making you all the more likely to rush the next off-watch to catch up on shut-eye.

As one former submarine commander stated, the Hampton’s electronic technicians could simply have been lazy. But when you take the example above, you can see where the “job” has been relegated to back-burner status. In port, the rush this puts on the actual job we are supposed to do is the rush to get done and get home. At sea, it’s the rush to get some sleep. With a three-section watch rotation and drills, training, and qualifications taking up a significant portion of the available rest time, the motivation for sailors shirking duties often is to get some rest, some downtime.

Do we scrap training? Cancel drills? Eliminate quals? No, but leaders often get blinded to the effect their scheduling decisions have on those doing the work. At a planning meeting, do the boat’s department heads and department chiefs say, “Where are we putting the rest time?” or, “When are the divisions actually supposed to get their maintenance done?” All too often, they’re packing in more training, more drills and more cleaning, all at the expense of what we are really there to do: our jobs.

Rushing and cutting corners was a common theme in the reviews of incidents such as the San Francisco’s undersea collision, the Greeneville’s collision with the fisheries training vessel Ehime Maru and Greeneville’s later grounding in Saipan. We spend more hours training for our jobs than we do on the deck plates performing — and supervising — our jobs.

Is this lack of actual job time the root problem in these incidents? No; in the Hampton’s case, it appears to be integrity.

But what even tempts a sailor to “gundeck”? A sense of urgency, all too often brought on by the lack of time allotted to do the job correctly. Some sailors will gundeck regardless, out of laziness or a lack of personal responsibility — that’s a separate and even more serious issue. But many get there gradually, by chipping away at what’s acceptable by cutting corners to save what little time they have.

Is the fix to reprioritize training, drills and other requirements to put the job back in front? Not completely, but it’s worth considering.

Submarine life has never been abundant with free time. Old-timers likely will say, “We had it tough and we did it right,” and that is true. But is that a good enough reason to ignore the problem? Is adherence to something that is needlessly cumbersome just because “that’s how it’s always been” really sensible, when that problem has become a beast that eats up hours like an SUV guzzles gas?

The writer, a former submarine electronics technician first class with 16 years of service, works in the nuclear power industry in New Mexico. His e-mail address is

Technorati Tags: , ,