Monday, March 27, 2006

Submarine Golf Cartoon

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

My local paper, The Idaho Statesman, carries a sports cartoon called "In The Bleachers". It's normally pretty funny, but I liked today's strip more than normal, since it combines two of my favorite topics -- golf and submarines. Click here to check it out; I'll try to get it posted when the Blogger photo function is working better.

Update 2229 27 March: Here's the cartoon --

You know you're getting old when...

We just finished up a bit of shiftwork on the retired/no longer on active duty fellas remember the joys of shiftwork, don't ya? (Well, the nukes...did the coners forward personnel ever do shiftwork?)


Seriously, shiftwork has it's funny moments. Seems to me a pattern has developed over the years:

First shift (days)...doesn't do squat. Causes problems, writes up DLs/DRs, runs into problems with the procedures, calls the JTG, has test interruptions, plays a lot of cards.

Second shift (swings, or simply "the other 12 hours" when in 2 section shiftwork)...fixes the problems.

Third shift (mids)...does the work. :) So much more gets done when the "powers that be" get off the friggin' boat and we can just "get 'er done".

(I'm going to get beaten by all those guys who spent their time on "days" for this...and the guys who were "the powers that be"...any former NRRO guys around?)

And some other shiftwork observations:

-You're doing 12 on/12 off (and as we all know, that's actually more like 14 on/10 off), yet someone (usually a weaponeer, sorry in advance to all the STS/TM/FT types out there) comments "man, they get out of field day". This actually happened to my chief and I last week, as we headed off the barge after our pre-shift brief. The barge watch (a forward ET) actually (seriously, I might add) said "that's f**ked up, you guys don't have to come in for field day?" His section leader (a TM1) was standing there, and he smacked him upside the head for that one...

-No matter how good your brief is, some &*$*&$# NRRO guy always finds a question to ask that no one know the answer to, but that we all should know.

-There's always this guy who is obsessed with when we're going to roll out of shiftwork. We had one on my shift...near the end, he was sure we were going to roll out by coming in for swings (which ended each night at 2330) and then having to return at 0730 for a normal workday on Monday. How did I defuse his fears? "No, we're going to roll out on Thursday, get off at 2330 and come back in at 0600 for field day". Ain't I a stinker? (We actually came out Sunday on days, the day shift took the duty and swings/mids got Sunday off, Monday was a normal but very short day for non-duty guys).

-There's always one guy who just doesn't "get it" about shiftwork at first...until he realizes that yes, indeed, we are coming in on Saturday and Sunday. You'd think standing duty would have answered that one for him...

-And then there are those who have plans that get hosed by shiftwork going long. Ours did...right through a concert that several guys on swings/mids had tickets to (311 was the band in question). This is where the "you know you're getting old when..." part comes in...not only had I never heard of 311, but what our "Bull Nuke" did was something that just never happened in the "old days".

Our "Bull" is an old-school MMCM (former ELT). He had a reputation for being a stickler, for being "by the book", before he even reported aboard. So when he came up to our pre-shift brief on swings and announced that the command was working on a plan to get the guys off for the concert, all of us "old timers" were floored. That had just never, ever happened in the times I'd been in shiftwork on usetaboat's #1 and #2...I lost a good set of Garth Brooks tickets on my first boat due to shiftwork that went long (and I was an extra on the watchbill...I could have been cut loose and the shift wouldn't have been missed). And true to his word, every sailor who had tickets got to go to the show. One had to (because of qualifications and watchbill requirements) swap shifts and short cycle, but the command went out of it's way to accomodate them. Color me impressed...and the "Bull" has a group of sailors who would cheerfully walk through downtown Fallujah for him after that one!

Some other shipyard observations:

-You know that smell...the freshly drained drydock smell? It usually goes away after a few weeks, but if you can avoid it don't dock in Hawaii during the worst rainy season in 30 years. Our drydock hasn't been too "dry", and it stinks like day #1 in the basin a full two months after hitting the blocks.

-Who knew that shipyards have a spec for the tint on safety glasses? They do...which we found out about after a lot of guys bought tinted glasses. For the record, they can be no more than 45% tinted, and most guys bought the ones at the exchange that were about 10% too dark.

-Move a crew off a submarine onto a barge and you'd think we'd say "wow, look at all the space". Reality...we've got everything packed in like a sardine can, gear stuffed outboard the benches, and we are squeezed into a barge made for a destroyer crew like we are aboard the boat. And there is enough empty space to play football...two games at once.

-Shipyarders get reserved parking...every one of 'em and their dogs, it seems. And they get really annoyed when you park in their spot. I came in at 1830 for backshift (when we were on 12/12s) and parked in a spot that in the dark and pouring rain didn't look reserved (the marking on the ground was very worn, and partially covered with gravel washed over by the rain). Next morning the normal "owner" of the stall had flattened my tires. Creatively, I might add...he didn't puncture them, he backed out the valves just enough that the air leaked out. Buddy is still half a word, it seems...

That's all for now...I would say (like Bubblehead) "staying at PD", but I figure "landlocked and drydocked" is probably a more fitting sign-off :)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Intrinsic Value of Submarine Cachet

Some things are rare and for that reason will command precious value and appreciation not comprehensible by their generic description alone.

Case in point, the helmet shown at left was recently featured on Ebay's auction site here at an opening bid around $50. It was described as a SUBMARINE CAPTAIN'S M-1 helmet from a New London Connecticut basement. After 46 bids, it went for a mere $2,202.51. It makes a swell, if pricey, accessory for the long-haired dude modeling it.

On the right is another Navy issue M-1 helmet from Ebay in better condition, but without submarine cachet. It is still selling for $49.95, (no bids at this writing). The DOD may not get it yet, but the put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is public seems to understand fully.

If one begins to appreciate the symbolism civilians place on inanimate objects, one might try to imagine the dependence submariners must place upon each other when all is at risk. Yet, this pales still beside their reverance for their number still on eternal patrol.

CDR Kevin Mooney's Retirement Remarks

CDR Kevin Mooney, who you may remember as the CO of USS San Francisco (SSN 711) during her recent grounding, held his retirement ceremony this week. Here are his remarks:

Good Afternoon, before I get into the guts of my remarks I want to spend a few moments acknowledging the people who made this special day possible.

To Laura McNett and Bob Crann at the Fleet Reserve Association -- thanks so much for the use of the clubhouse. I cannot think of a more appropriate place to host this event. And don't worry, I've had a few words with the boys and told them to go easy after the ceremony.

To all of my former shipmates, particularly Senior Chief Rob Enquist and Chief Tom Riley, and the rest of today's ceremony participants. You are my brothers in arms.

To my fellow Veterans, I have reserved a special place in my heart for all of you. I have enjoyed interacting with you throughout my career, and I can never repay the debt of loyalty and support that you extended to me not only in my time of personal crisis, but also as I have worked through the transition to civilian life.

To all my family and friends who traveled great distances to be here today � words cannot do justice to the depth of my gratitude for you making such a monumental effort just to see me say goodbye to the Navy. I look forward to thanking you in a more personal way later today.

There are a few more people who I must mention by name. The two men sitting on the stage with me, Karl Hasslinger and Hass Moyer, and your lovely wives Donna and Katie. You all have taught me more about life, leadership, and friendship than any others. Also, my good friend Andy Hale who has just returned to the mainland from Guam. I'm truly blessed to have you as friends and I know we will continue our close relationships well beyond each others' Navy years.

And of course, most important of all is my family: My brothers and sisters and my extended family, who are represented here today by two of my sisters, Kathy and Maureen, my Aunt Mary, and a cousin and Navy veteran himself, Neil Gallagher. My second family in Ireland, proudly represented today by the indomitable Joan D'Arcy, better known to the Western World simply as Mum. My Dad, who has cheered my Navy career from the sidelines for the past twenty years. And finally, my ladies, Avril, Laura and Tara. My speech would end abruptly if I even tried to explain out what my wife and kids mean to me. In short, you are my world, so we'll leave it at that and I'll get on with it...

I love the United States Navy. From the day I was sworn in as a midshipman with my good friend Bob Benford at the Duke University Navy ROTC program, the Navy has provided me one opportunity after another to lead a rewarding and fulfilling career and personal life. The Navy paid for my education at Duke that otherwise was well beyond my means as the fifth of seven children in a large Irish Catholic family from Long Island. After Duke, the Navy topped off my undergraduate education with its own special form of learning -- nuclear power school. I hated it, and was happy to be shipped off to my first boat, USS BREMERTON based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Navy gives, but the Navy expects payback as well. As BREMERTON underwent an extended overhaul in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, I processed hundreds of work permits and thousands of tagouts. I think it's fair to say that I paid back the Navy for all its education and other opportunities.

There's no place quite like a Navy shipyard. Let me give you one example of the types of serious problems I had to deal with in this environment: Nuclear power safety regulations dictate that we must have a precise status of the reactor plant at all times, so we maintain this large, laminated status board, which stands waist high right behind where the engineering duty officer conducts his daily business in the engine room. On this status board, we keep track of hundreds of valve positions with tiny grease pencil markings: an "x" means the valve is shut, and a "o" means the valve is open. Well, we kept losing status of valve positions and we couldn't figure out why. We were always very diligent and formal in our communications and operating procedures. Finally, one day we noticed some black grease pencil markings on the backside of one of our more portly officers. Being well-trained in the art of "root cause determination" Brad Buswell and I soon discovered it was a big butt that was getting us in trouble. I left these experiences much wiser and more astute, and fully ready for future assignments that would call on my problem solving skills.

All joking aside, I did learn a lot during my submarine first assignment. I had a great set of teachers on BREMERTON, including my first skipper, Red Dawg McMacken, who made a special point of spending many hours one-on-one with each of his officers. The effect was contagious, and that crew on BREMERTON was the most knowledgeable of all that I ever served with.

But we really need to look back at history to place my first submarine assignment into context. The Cold War was raging, and our Submarine Force was at its zenith in size and influence. Our exciting and relevant missions played a huge part in the eventual demise of the Soviet Union. I was lucky enough to participate in several of these missions on USS HONOLULU. At this time, submarines were universally acknowledged as one of our nation's primary assets in the battle against communist tyranny.

So as my first sea tour came to a close, I was faced with the decision to either remain in the Navy or join the rank and file of everyday civilians. As already mentioned, I had repaid my debt to the Navy for the opportunities it had given me. In the end, it was not chasing Soviet submarines that drove my decision to stay in the Navy. It was something else -- it was the opportunity to lead great people like the very Sailors who have honored me by showing up today. I came to recognize that I enjoyed leading men to accomplish difficult missions in challenging environments, so I set a new goal for myself: become the Captain of a nuclear submarine.

Next up was a shore assignment on exchange with the Royal Navy, which taught me that there were different, and in fact BETTER, ways of doing business than the US Navy way. During this assignment, I fought in the final stages of the Cold War from a busy headquarters directing US and Royal Navy submarines on special reconnaissance missions. I also managed special programs with our Dutch, Danish and German allies. In my plentiful free time - remember what I said about the Royal Navy having better ways than we Americans - my new wife Avril and I traveled throughout Europe.

Revitalized after two years with the Brits, my next assignment brought me back to Pearl Harbor, this time on a boat fresh from new construction and ready for operations, USS COLUMBUS. First as Combat Systems Officer and then as Engineer, I enjoyed great success with my COLUMBUS shipmates. Thanks to great people like Glenn Robinson, Tom Wieshar, Mike Heck and Tim Sielkop, we discovered how to achieve excellence while still maintaining the focus where it belonged: on the people. After over 3 years on COLUMBUS, I knew that one day the Navy would give me the opportunity to command a nuclear submarine.

However, there were more dues to pay before this would occur. After leaving COLUMBUS, I reported to the Pentagon, where I learned a new combat skill: powerpoint warfare. While in the Pentagon, I was fortunate enough to work in a position where I had access to senior submarine Admirals, who were faced difficult decisions affecting the future of our undersea fleet. Since the Cold War had ended, many submarines fell under the budget axe as part of the so-called "peace dividend". Despite these hardships, we still won some important battles, such as authorizing a new class of fast attack submarines, known today as the VIRGINIA class, and figuring out what to do with 4 TRIDENT SSBNs that were due for early retirement, which today are being converted to SSGNs. My Pentagon experience challenged me in many new ways, but was valuable primarily in that it brought me into contact with Captain Karl Hasslinger and a slew of other top-notch naval officers.

I soon had my best view of the Pentagon -- in my rear view mirror -- and Avril and I accomplished yet another cross country move -- this time to Bangor, Washington for my first exposure to the ballistic missile submarine community. On USS GEORGIA BLUE with Hass Moyer as my skipper, my XO tour was a blast. Hass patiently let me learn and grow into the job. He laughed off my minor administrative blunders, and set me loose to fix the nagging problem areas while he led from the front with a big stogey in his mouth. Hass always had his priorities straight and taught me look at all issues through the prism of leadership. We had a magical chemistry on that fine ship and GEORGIA BLUE quickly became the assignment of choice for Sailors on the Bangor waterfront.

Avril and I returned to England in 2001, this time for a truly international assignment on a NATO staff. Now some of you may think NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NOT TRUE. We never did settle on what the acronym NATO really denotes, but here were some of the contenders:
- Not At The Office
- Not After Two O'clock
- No Action Talk Only, and my personal favorite:
- Need Alcohol To Operate
All accurately describe NATO operations.

My most exciting day in NATO came when I received the phone call informing me of my next assignment: Commanding Officer of the USS City of Corpus Christi, based in Guam. Remember what I said about difficult missions in challenging environments? Well, I got it! And the mission would soon become even more difficult: COMSUBPAC re-directed me, along with several others, to the USS San Francisco. Despite SAN FRAN's recent troubles, it soon became clear that I had gotten a great deal. SAN FRAN had a top notch and enthusiastic crew. Sure, there was a lot of work to do, but we dug in our heels and drove forward despite some huge challenges, particularly with the ship's material condition and the inadequacy of Guam as a submarine home port. In just over a year, we had made remarkable progress. We steamed over 7000 miles from Guam to San Diego replace our propulsion shaft in a submarine drydock unavailable in Guam. We persevered through numerous ship's casualties including several major freon ruptures, a major electrical fire, two hydraulic ruptures, and on and on. Just like the SAN FRAN Creed states, we never gave up. We fixed the material problems, disciplined ourselves to operate efficiently and effectively, and finally went to sea for extended periods to conduct special reconnaissance operations. Just after being ranked as the best submarine in the Force in engineering readiness, we set off from Guam to Brisbane, Australia in January 2005. You all know how the cruel sea punished us during this journey, so I'll bypass the details, but please allow me to shed some perspective on the events that followed. After suffering the worst possible shock in the history of nuclear submarine operations, every single Sailor on SAN FRANCISCO -- yes, every single one -- did his military duty. Some did much more than their duty and acted in truly heroic fashion: Matt Parsons, Craig Litty, Billy Cramer, Danny Hager, Jake Elder, Max Chia, Chris Baumhoff, Doc Akin, Gil Daigle, and more: Key, Miller, Pierce, Powell, Smoot, McDonald. I could go on. But one hero clearly stands above all the others, he was my favorite Sailor, and the one who I miss every day, Petty Officer Joey Ashley.

In the aftermath of our tragic grounding, we, the crew of SAN FRANCISCO, forged bonds that never can be broken:
- not by investigations, nor Admiral's Mast, nor punishments
- not by grief, nor anger, nor sadness, and
- never by distance, space, or time
Why, you may ask, are these bonds so strong? Because as Chief Johnny Johnson surely would tell you, THERE ARE NO BONDS STRONGER THAN THOSE FORMED BY MEN WHO HAVE FACED DEATH TOGETHER. And on a very personal level, there is something even more remarkable: even though it was I who brought harm upon my men through my own shortcomings, today this room is filled with my SAN FRANCISCO brothers. Shipmates, I shall never forget your courage and loyalty and I was proud to serve as your Commanding Officer.

My final year in the Navy was spent under the command, for the second time, of my good friend, Hass Moyer. Hass warmly welcomed me to his staff at the Trident Training Facility, and gave me the freedom to work on a few projects while recovering from the wounds inflicted by that deadly uncharted sea mount. Outside of work, I kayaked among the orcas, became a soccer dad, ran a marathon, and prepared for my next career. In my new job, I will continue doing what I love most: Lead people to accomplish difficult missions in challenging environments. Avril and I hope to settle down after our next move for a long time, and give Laura and Tara some stability through their school years. We intend to be active in our local community, and share our time and talents with those less fortunate than ourselves. But most of all, we intend to love each other and be happy, just like we have done throughout our wonderful 15 years of marriage.

Let me finish now where I started: I love the United States Navy. But now it's time to move on. Master Chief Sielkop, I am ready to be relieved.

Fair winds and seas abeam, Captain... (although I know he's not the type who's gonna be slowing down anytime soon.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

EB Green Tape – the stuff of urban legends

I recently read piece in Wired on-line titled “Worlds Greatest Tool: Duct Tape” and it got me to thinking about the “EB Green” variety.

Cross-posted a submarine urban legend over at the "Hundreds of Fathoms" blog about EB Green tape. Is it true duct tape saved a submarine from flooding?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

the brits aren't the only ones with funny looking submarines

i posted a picture of the seaskunk at a Geezer's corner. the paint scheme is "DSRV training White"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

UPDATE: Submarine Pennant ID Challenge WINNER is MT1(SS)

The Winner is MT1(SS); Congratulations! You are again one of Molten Eagle's Honorary Naval Historians for 2006**, joining RM1(SS) (ret) ; and Submandave, winner of 2005's contest .

Your correct answers: Submarine Operating in Area. You can also read about it at the link he gave HERE. The 'flag' was almost certainly made of metal.

Vintage photos show that the flag was removed when subs moored in port and is a nonflexible material.

This three-part challenge originally appeared as a slightly easier, two-part challenge over at Molten Eagle here .

Degree of Difficulty (scale 0-5): 4
Explanation of scale (answer in): BJM = 0; your branch library = 1; Bubblehead's memory = 2; Chapomatic's extended library = 3; Eagle Speak's virtual (online) library = 4; only the National Archives = 5)

Here is an enlarged (old and blurry, sorry) photo of the mystery pennant displayed by the H-2 in NY harbor. U.S. submarines (on both coasts) flew this starting before WW1. Now, there are unfortunately no WW1 era sailors around to ask, but some UQNM readers have proven excellent naval historians.

Here is the challenge:

1- What was this pennant/flag called?

2- Of what material was it made?

3- How did you verify your first two answers?

Will confirm correct answer Saturday. First individual with correct answers for all 3 parts becomes an Honorary Naval Historian - Submarines. Good luck.
Rules: No prize is involved; no certificate will be issued, but your name will be added to a short list of previous winners for everyone to see right here. Not open to employees of NARA or their dependents. If your spouse is a librarian, you have to tell us only if you cheated. If you are an ex-nuke and would rather have REMs than recognition, please contact Bubblehead or Geezer Nuke for an ionizing consolation prize. If you use a pen name to blog, that is what gets published. No cartoon faces or unfamiliar aliases. There are many more rules, but frankly this is not that big a contest. There are no restrictions on orientation, etc. Matter of fact, if you know some orientations besides submarine eating disorders, have a ball. Al-Qaeda members must provide working telephone numbers with their answers. If you ever resided in KY, WY or WV this is much easier than winning the lottery. If no one enters an answer, Pig Boat Sailor wins by default. Please do not ask for more time, it would really be embarrassing for Skippysan to win a submarine contest (his shoes are brown).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Call Me Steely Blue

[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles]

What's next, yellow?
Submarines are being given a makeover by the Royal Navy and repainted blue.
Navy bosses have decided to replace the traditional black to make the fleet harder to spot. The first submarine to get a facelift, HMS Torbay, has already been restyled in blue and the rest of the fleet should will soon follow.
Actually, I have the wrong song in mind! Given that the new hue is called "Steely Blue" (yes, I'm aware of the internal rhyme of that last line) perhaps we need a hit by the jazz rock band Steely Dan ....hmmm, "Deacon Blues" comes to mind!

I joke, but actually, I think this is seriously a thoughtful move--not some defense contractor scam. It is reported that:
Terry Goodship, 71, of Gosport, chairman of the Submariners' International Association , said the move was unsurprising. He said: 'All submarines in the Med used to be blue. 'Blue is a good colour and is hard to spot. It is only in the very dark waters that we need to have the submarines painted black.' The end of the Cold War means British subs spend less time in the Atlantic. More time in the hotter areas of the world, such as the Middle East and Indian Ocean, means the fleet needs to adapt to brighter waters.
And in fact The Sun reports that:
Navy boffins picked the colour after exhaustive trials and lab tests. They also discovered black was the WORST low-key colour to deceive an enemy.

Lieutenant Commander Steve White, in charge of the change, said: "This should make subs twice as hard to spot.

"“It may not look as macho as dark black, but when sailors realise what it does they'’ll love it."

As unmanly as it might strike us at first, perhaps we submariners--known for our innovativeness--need to take a page from our USMC bastard step children brethren and "Adapt. Overcome."

Oh, and apparently, there is still testing to be done "in the field" (as it were):

HMS Torbay has left Devonport, Plymouth, on a secret six-month mission during which her new colour will undergo visual tests from the air, land and sea.

And Admirals have challenged holidaying Sun readers to spot the hunter-killer sub anywhere in the world and then tell them if they think the colour works.

Your thoughts?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Possible bomb threat probed at Groton -- Navy Times

Quick post on a search dog that alerted during a routine car search at the submarine base in Groton. (hat tip:

Possible bomb threat probed at Groton

The incident occurred this morning at 6:30 am with EOD dispatched from Newport Naval Base in RI. A Navy spokeswoman described the response as routine and precautionary.
Update 3/13/06 19:30 : No threat after Navy shuts down road near sub base

Early this evening, after completing a inspection of boxes from a truck which a search dog alerted on, no threat was discovered. The road that was closed due to security concerns has been reopened.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Video - Iran's (Whale) Nahang 1 sub

MEMRI TV has the video clip up of Iran's Nahang 1 submarine. If it isn't on the Home page here then go to the search page here and search for clip# 1065.

There isn't much information to be found about this new domestically produced mini-sub other than it looks different than the previous one Bubblehead had photos of here.

Crossposted by Lubber's Line at "Hundreds of Fathoms".

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

what do those dolphins mean?

i'll just post the link here since the post is too long.
what does it mean when someone wears dolphins? check it out.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

50,000 Visitors!

Earlier tonight, we had our 50,000th visitor here at Ultraquiet No More -- a reader from Reston, Virginia, who came here from Unconsidered Trifles. In the little over 9 months this group submarine blog has been running, we've had 440 posts and proved to be the source for the blogosphere to visit for in-depth submarine commentary during the rescue of the crew of the Russian mini-sub AS-28. Thanks to all the contributors and, most importantly, all the visitors who make this site what it is. BZs all around!

Drinking Games & Shore Tours

[Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles] *SIGH* When I read stories like this, I really get depressed over the state of our secondary educational system, particulary wrt the sciences, as well as the fact that our newspapers and news rooms seem to be full of sensationailsts & actors rather than truth-seekers:
Years of radioactive waste water spills from Illinois nuclear power plants have fueled suspicions the industry covers up safety problems and sparked debate about the risks from exposure to low-level radiation.

The recent, belated disclosures of leaks of the fission byproduct tritium from Exelon Corp.'s Braidwood, Dresden, and Byron twin-reactor nuclear plants -- one as long ago as 1996 -- triggered worries among neighbors about whether it was safe to drink their water, or even stay.

"How'd you like to live next to that plant and every time you turn on the tap to take a drink you have to think about whether it's safe?" asked Joe Cosgrove, the head of parks in Godley, Illinois, a town adjacent to Braidwood.

Cosgrove and some scientists and anti-nuclear activists who monitor health issues related to nuclear power say the delay in reporting the spills is indicative of industry and regulatory obfuscation bordering on cover-up.

Exelon and the NRC say a 1998 spill of 3 million gallons of tritium -- a form of hydrogen that becomes radioactive water when it contacts air -- did contaminate ground water that breached the Braidwood plant boundary. But the radioactivity had not risen above federal limits where people live or have their drinking water wells.

At Dresden, the 276,000-gallon (1 million-liter) tritium leak is still on-site, and the spill at Byron was found inside concrete vaults along an effluent pipe.

Time to dig around and see if there is film or photo documentation of Rickover drinking that glass of primary coolant in front of Congress! The caption would read (ala Hamlet 1.2.376), "We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart."

Ok, I've got the's got its problems, but here it is:

*We require that all ex-Navy nukes (officer and enlisted) go teach a semester of high school science as part of their shore tours!*

What do you say shipmates?!

Over time, this would go far to eradicate our society's ignorance toward nuclear power/radiation AND would have the side-benefit of serving as a great means of recruiting the best and brightest. Best of all, I wouldn't have to do it since I've satisfied all of my commitments to Uncle Sam (not to mention having also survived the trench-warfare of teaching high school!), so I can leave it up to other people to handle--it's flawless! LOL.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

do you remember what it was like?

cross posted from a geezer's corner

i sit back and think of the first 24 hours i spent onboard my boat, and shake my head. talk about going through some changes. while climbing down the ladder into the boat for the first time, i saw a bunch of sailors in poopie suits. they were all playing with yoyos, and giving the LCDR ( i could tell he was on officer because he was wearing a brown belt, brown shoes, gold dolphins, and had gold oakleafs on his collar) twirling a duncan butterfly yoyo) crap. "hey eng...when the hell are you getting off of your fat butt and signing my qual card, you lazy bastid." "hey eng, you really pissed me off during the last drill set. kiss my ass, you fat pig" and more along those lines.
this is not the navy i was expecting. having spent the last two years of my life working through the nuke pipeline, i'd never seen anything like this. i WAS NOT PREPARED for the culture change.
of course, it was all a show put on for the two new guys, with the role of Engineer played by one of my new division mates. took a couple of days to figure it out though, because the eng and greg both went on leave as soon as liberty was set.
so here are a couple of posts by a submariner OLDER than me. he was both a DBFer and a nuke.
check out WELCOME TO SUBMARINES, and then read the second installment HOT BUNKING.
i may have been on the 575, which was a nuke boat, but his stories about life on a diesel boat sure ring familiar.
oh, the blog is Musings of an Old Man. hiya Ted

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Attack Subs Moving West

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

More examples of secrecy going down the tubes today. On the same day that announces that the "United States Navy plans to secretly transfer submarines from its Atlantic to Pacific fleet" we see announcements from Congresspersons that the boats are going to be transferred... maybe it's not as big a secret as the overseas papers would like us to believe.

Anyway, the news is full today of stories talking about the Navy's plans to move six attack boats out west; the first two Seawolf-class boats to Washington State, three LAs to San Diego, and an additional LA to Pearl; Guam will apparently stay at 3 boats.

The move of USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Connecticut (SSN 22) to the Puget Sound was expected, although I admit I was taken by surprise by the initial announcement that the boats would be going to Bremerton Naval Base, rather than the Sub Base at Bangor. The Congressman's later "clarification" that the Navy hadn't decided between Bangor and Bremerton made me think that the Congressman had messed up his announcement, and was trying to save face.

This Seattle P-I article says that the other boats that are moving, sometime before 2010, are USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) from Groton to San Diego, USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) from Norfolk to Pearl, and USS Hampton (SSN 767) from Norfolk to SD. The 3rd boat moving to San Diego hasn't been identified yet, but since all the PacFleet VLS boats are stationed there, it could easily be one of the newer boats -- maybe a Virginia named after a Pacific Ocean state?

The articles all mention the same final numbers of attack boats at each port -- Guam 3, San Diego 7, Pearl 18, and Kitsap County 3, for a total of 31 on the West Coast, leaving 21 on the East Coast -- Groton dropping from 17 to 14, and Norfolk from 11 to 7. Since the East Coast is losing one more boat than the West Coast is gaining, and we'll still be bringing Virginia's into the fleet, I think this is telling us that the number of attack boats we'll be decommissioning in the next four years is one more than the number we'll be commissioning.

My opinion --it's a good move. I've said before that the most likely locations for wars involving submarines that we don't start are off Korea and Taiwan, and having boats closer to the action makes sense -- but maybe not too close, which might be why Guam didn't plus up. Also, if something happens in the Straits of Hormuz, it's nice not to have to think about transiting the Suez Canal...