Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What is it about shipyards and holiday weekends

Once again, the good folks at the shipyard managed to hem, haw, find problems, delay, and shove our latest evolution into the July 4th weekend.

Amazing how that works. Overtime, braddah...

Now I'm not griping (well, OK, I am a little)...I understand why (we have a hard deadline for turning over the Reactor Compartment, it's set in granite, and due to delays in various support systems our setting of plant conditions got delayed...beyond our control). I have been doing this enough to know that sometimes you have to just bite the bullet and "get 'er done".

However, we've spent the last two holiday weekends in shiftwork. This makes three. I'm not making Christmas plans...

I'll say this...our command is very, very good about making it up to the crew. I've been on boats with commands that either simply said "suck it up" or said "we'll make it up to you" and...well..."forgot". This boat puts it's money/liberty where it's mouth is.

It's part of the job to do the hard jobs on the undesirable days. Part of the "Saturdays, Sundays, and Nights" of SSNs, I suppose.

It's odd, in a way...I've had duty or been in shiftwork over a couple of July 4th holidays, and rather than really be resentful (I'm a sailor, there's going to be some grumbles...a b*tchin' sailor is a happy sailor, right?), I remember back to a July 4th duty day when I was EDPO and a good friend of mine (and fellow first class...c'mon, the Goat Locker was sure to be off that day :) was Duty Chief. We sat out topside on the pier for the fireworks show and at the end looked at each other and he said "just think...someone like us a couple hundred years ago made that possible".

So this July 4th, remember...days off are great, liberty is something every sailor looks forward to, but it wasn't a long weekend that won the war back in the 1700s...or any of 'em since.

I'm never thrilled about working on a holiday...but deep down, I know why we do, and when it's all said and done I really wouldn't want to give up what we have for a few holidays off. There are always more, and despite how it sometimes feels you don't really draw the duty every holiday.

Now all you other submariners I'm sure pulled your share of holiday duty/shiftwork/sea time. How and/or what did you do to make it pass a little better? Like for me with Christmas in Freemantle, Australia...let me tell you, the Aussie sub that hosted us put on a Christmas dinner on our boat that would put a top chef to shame (I had duty, figured if I couldn't be home with the family I may as well take duty and let the single guys have a day with a local Aussie family). The dinner was so good, guys stopping in from liberty were not only staying aboard to have chow, they were getting their buddies to come back for some (no kidding!). And there was that July 4th where my buddy the Duty Chief and I cornered the duty cook and explained reality to him...he was going to break out the ice cream and cookies the MS chief had hidden away in the freezebox or the ship's qual card just wasn't going to get signed (we were evil, I know...but we did have plenty of ice cream, and MSCS was only slightly angry with us...we only had to scrub the decks in crew's mess, not strip and wax...).

Any good holiday stories on duty/at sea?

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i've been in a seastory mood. and of course, most seastories are repeated ad nausem. but they keep getting told, just in case someone new hasn't heard your favorites.
so here's another... how did you come by your nickname?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Decommed Russian Sub Sinks

[Intel Source: The Sub Report] An old diesel boat being towed from Petropavlovsk to China sank under tow, it is being reported today. Apparently no one died in the sinking. From MosNews:
The written-off vessel was being towed to China where it would be cut for metal scrap. Passing the Kuriles, the sub gave a lurch and started to sink. The crew decided to return to the port of Petropavlovsk, but could not lead the sub to the shore. The vessel sank with no people aboard.
The Emergencies Ministry said the sub’s tanks must have been badly sealed, so water could leak in.
The sub, which was the property of a private company, had been dismantled several years ago.
The article has a picture of what looks like a Kilo, but I'm not sure if that's supposed to be the boat that sunk, or if it's just a stock picture of a submarine they put in the article. The article also mentions the last sinking of a decommed Russian submarine under tow, when 9 people died in the Barents on K-159 back in 2003.

Monday, June 26, 2006

just a couple from my corner

these should be read in order: Subschool speach and then sea stories as cautionary tales
enjoy, and comments welcome

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Trying to Explain Why Submariners...

…can be so caustic.

As some of you might have noticed, I reveled in a wee bit of intra-Navy squabbling on the MilBlogs site.  Apparently I ruffled a few feathers, so I have attempted to explain submarine humor.  However, I *know* my explanation is lacking.  A little help, shipmates?  Please tell me what I missed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Musings of an old man: Submarines and the Cold War

Musings of an old man: Submarines and the Cold War

Wow, What A Week

Cross posted from USS LAGARTO (SS-371)

It’s hard not to have noticed all of the news about LAGARTO and the Navy’s recent dive on the wreck to confirm its identity this past week.

I really do consider myself lucky to have been able to follow the events of the past year as the LAGARTO and her submariners are, in a manner of speaking, brought home to their families and finally able to rest once and for all.

For a number of years I’ve been drawn to the history of the Manitowoc submarines and this has been a unique experience for me to witness the newest chapter in that history being written with each passing day.

Fifty-two boats went down during World War II and not a few of them were lost without the families of the crew and their country really knowing where they came to rest or what might have happened in their last moments. Without a doubt, LAGARTO family members can take comfort in knowing that their loved ones are now at rest. But maybe the family members of the other lost submariners can take a measure of comfort from the discovery of the LAGARTO as well.

The LAGARTO represents more than just one boat and the 86 souls that lived, worked and fought aboard her. She represents not only the other fifty-one boats on Eternal Patrol, but every submarine and submariner of her day. The LAGARTO, once lost to the dark waters of the Pacific, now stands as silent and solemn monument of the sacrifice and courage displayed by so many during the war.

I’m grateful to have been around to witness the Pacific Ocean returning the LAGARTO to her country and her loved ones. I’m grateful to the submariners aboard the LAGARTO and could never hope to repay their dedication and sacrifice. So maybe this site is my way of paying respect to them and their beloved LAGARTO.

I’m sure that the story of the LAGARTO is yet to be finished but at least it’s good to know that she and her submariners can finally take their long overdue and well earned rest.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

After many long decades, Lagarto finally found

Yeah, yeah, I know this isn't "new" news. Still, being as it's somewhat "local" for me, Ultraquiet's resident Hawaii sailor, I had to chime in.

Honestly, given how busy I've been lately, I'd not even heard about it. But my building manager, himself a retired diesel boat COB, clued me in to the finding of the USS Lagarto (SS-371) near Thailand.

I'm sure the families are elated to finally know what became of the Lagarto. And at the next Submarine Ball here in Pearl Harbor we'll certainly have a special mention of Lagarto when the bells are tolled for our shipmates on eternal patrol.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Submarine Hawaii Christened

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

The christening of PCU Hawaii (SSN 776) apparently went off well at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton today. From the article:

"A Hawaii delegation, including Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and Gov. Linda Lingle, were among the invited guests at the christening ceremonies. Lingle is the submarine's sponsor.
"Most people, when they hear the word Hawaii, they immediately conjure up pictures of beautiful beaches, lovely dancers and moonlit nights," said Inouye, a decorated World War II veteran. "Hawaii is all that and more: Our sons and daughters have participated in every war since we became part of the United States."
"The 377-foot-long Hawaii joins the USS Virginia and USS Texas in the new line of Virginia Class submarines. The sub, built jointly by Electric Boat in Groton and Northrop Grumman Newport News in Virginia, will carry a crew of 132 officers and men. It is expected to be delivered to the Navy early next year. The Navy has not announced the location of the sub's home port.
"The submarine received a traditional Hawaiian blessing by guest Raymond Ganoti, of Oahu. Ganoti chanted and prayed in Hawaiian and English as he anointed the submarine's hull with a ti leaf. After the blessing, Lingle broke the ceremonial champagne bottle across the sub's hull."

I previously discussed the christening here -- there's no word yet if the protesters were able to cause any disruption. (When I was on the Connecticut, a couple of protesters actually got tickets to the event, and stood up and started shouting during the ceremony. They'd apparently gotten their tickets from a "progressive" state legislator.)

I what I think might be a first, EB did a webcast of the ceremony -- it's supposed to be available to view for the next week at this link. I'll have to check it out when I get a chance.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can Someone Explain Something to Me?

Cross posted from Zero Bubble:

Like tens of millions of other people yesterday, i found myself standing in Wal Mart buying things that i think i actually need.

While looking across the DVD titles, i saw the latest release of Crimson Tide (1995). While this particular edition lays claim to be the Unrated Extended Edition it can also claim to have a giant bonehead mistake on the cover.

Beneath the images of Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman is a view of the starboard bow of the USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236).


Now this movie, as entertaining as it might be, isn’t known to be very truthful to real-world situations and submarine tactics/operations but this kind of mistake is just plain stupid. Didn’t anyone clue the graphics designer in on the differences between a Balao class fleet boat and an Ohio class SSBN? Couldn’t they at least find an image of a 688 to use? Hell, even a Skipjack.
i know that this mistake doesn’t mean much, but come on. The way i look at it, instead of the SILVERSIDES, they could have used an image of a Model T Ford instead because that makes as much sense.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

LAGARTO and the Manitowoc Submarines

... with the recent activity at the LAGARTO wreck site, i thought it would be a good idea to provide some history about the Manitowoc submarines.

You can read about this unique chapter of US Naval history on the LAGARTO web site.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

US Navy Diving On Lagarto Site

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Divers operating from USS Salvor (ASR 52) will be diving on the recently discovered resting place of the WWII submarine USS Lagarto (SS 371) over the next several days. From the Navy NewsStand article:

"The rescue and salvage ship USS Salvor (ARS 52) and divers of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 arrived June 11 at the site in the Gulf of Thailand presumed to be the resting place of the WWII–era USS Lagarto (SS 371) and its crew.
"In May 2005, British diver Jamie MacLeod reported finding Lagarto, which was last seen May 3, 1945. On May 8, 2006, MacLeod joined U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force Commander Rear Adm. Jeffrey Cassias and families of crew members who served aboard Lagarto at a memorial service in the crew’s honor hosted by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wis.
"Over the next several days the divers from Salvor and MDSU-1 will conduct diving operations in an attempt to confirm MacLeod’s discovery, in keeping with a longstanding Navy practice of independently verifying such finds when possible.
"Salvor is in the midst of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series in Southeast Asia and with the agreement of the Royal Thai navy – a CARAT exercise partner – was able to incorporate the Lagarto operation into the Thailand phase."

Much more on the USS Lagarto can be found here.