Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

60 Minutes Story on SFO Grounding

I'd like to be able to provide some strong opinions on last night's 60 Minutes piece on the San Francisco grounding, but... since I just got home from work, I haven't exactly seen it yet. (Note that a complete state of ignorance on the subject at hand normally doesn't keep me from providing an opinion, but in this case I thought I'd hold off.) I did Tivo it though, so as long as my sons didn't cancel the recording to record their fifth episode of X-Play for the day, I should be able to see it soon.
In the meantime, Ron Martini's Submarine BBS has quite a few posts on the story, including this one that looks to be the longest thread. They also have a post with instructions for downloading the story from this link (23 MB, 12 minutes, Windows Media Player format).
Also, here's a CBS story that's probably based on the 60 Minutes piece.

Staying at PD...

Update 0927 19 May: Just finished watching the piece, and I thought it was quite good, given the limitations of the format and the target audience. The thing that jumped out at me as being "wrong" was that one of the pictures they showed is from a series of photos that most sub-bloggers have avoided showing because... well, just because. Anyway, since I assume the Navy vetted the final cut, and they included that shot, I no longer feel any hesitation in linking to this drydock photo (which I think is the one they used).
Captain Mooney, as expected, continued to display the courage and honesty he used to inspire the crew to their heroic actions in returning their damaged ship safely home. The part the affected me the most, though, was seeing the emotion in Senior Chief Hager's face as he discussed MM2(SS) Joseph Ashley, and the love in his parent's eyes as they looked at the video tribute to him at the Navy Memorial. As much as I've been harping on what I consider to the Submarine Force's unwillingness to publically recognize some of the forcewide lessons learned from this tragedy, this story made me remember that the true story of the San Francisco's travails is the bonds of brotherhood and, yes, love, that holds a submarine crew, and their families, together. It's something that can only be understood by those who have been lucky enough to be part of such a brotherhood, and I am proud to consider Captain Kevin Mooney, Senior Chief Danny Hager, Petty Officer Joseph Ashley, and the rest of the crew of the San Francisco as my brothers... Brothers of the 'Phin.


Blogger ninme said...

It takes a big man to say on national television he screwed up. Especially when the interviewer is totally giving him an opportunity to ease up on himself.

One question that no one seems to have addressed, so it was news to me: Why didn't they design the stretcher to fit through the hatch? I mean, not to sound too critical, but "duh"...

5/19/2005 3:12 PM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


I may have it a bit messed up here, but from what I understand, it was not the normal forward of aft escape hatch they were trying to move Ashley through. From what I understand, the seas were too rough, so they were trying to get him through the bridge trunt, which is, to put it mildly, a very tortuous path - not designed for that at all. The escape hatches, though, esp. the aft one, definitely could have handled the stretcher...

5/19/2005 3:24 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Oh good. Cuz from the video, it sounded like it was just a teensy bit too wide, and I was sitting here thinking "no one checked?" But then, how would they have got it inside unless it fit somehow.

Btw, that photo? I think it is the same one, but they don't show the parts every two-bit dictator is busily trying to copy, or whatever's so bad about seeing it.

5/19/2005 5:11 PM

Anonymous old sailor said...

I liked the part where CDR Mooney accepted responsibility for the navigation, as he should have. 60 Minutes seemed to want the responsibility to be place ashore in the staff doing the subnote message. Not true, the skipper has total responsibility and Mooney understood that. I wish some of our public "leaders" had the same sense of duty and responsibility.

5/19/2005 7:16 PM

Anonymous QM3(SS) said...

I served with CDR Mooney on the 762 boat when he made LCDR. Stood many watches as his QMOW while I was there. Some who know him personally say he was a hard a$$. Myself, I say he was a fair man. Always upfront, and never tried to hide or cover anything up. Probably the most memorable O-gangers of the Columbus, even before all of this. His acceptance of full responsibility is no surprise to me, that't the way I remember him. I remember him always pushing my nav skills (he loved to do TMA on anything) and was always the OOD that would actually check posits from the log. Can't say anything bad about the man and I believe he showed a fine example of what a CO should be. The CO is responsible, but anyone who knows anything about sub navigation knows that the QM's prepare the chart, the QMLPO, the A-Nav, the Nav, and the XO also review those charts. It would have been easy to point the finger at any of them, yet not a mention was made of them by Kevin. He took full responsibilty, which is how it should be, especially on 60 Minutes. Awsome. Awsome guy.

5/19/2005 8:20 PM

Anonymous zero bubble said...

Cmdr. Mooney is the definition of an officer and has my most sincere respect.

For anyone who has served in the military, in any branch, knows how rare an officer like that is. The 60 Minutes piece was very moving, especially the moving words of MMCS Hagar and seeing Mr. and Mrs. Ashley.

5/20/2005 9:41 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

The TV audience observed Mooney's impeccable standards of personal integrity, loyalty and. yes, competence. The personal stress he was under was also very evident. I sincerely hope he is getting all the help he needs to overcome depression and finds a satisfying path to recovery. Unfortunately, submarining like other forms of pioneering lingers for a lifetime.

Ninme pointed out something that still bothers me immensely, since storage space is always at a premium: the stretcher should have been required to fit the smallest passageway and hatch. The mismatch described was certainly not worth any sailor's life, in my opinion.

5/20/2005 2:20 PM


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