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.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Most Excellent Sea (and other) Stories

bothenook has a great post on his first dive, WillyShake has a good sea story on his response to a ship's alarm while he was in the shower, and Vigilis has had a number of good posts lately. In answer to bo's question, I do remember my first dive very well, but I don't think I really understood at the time everything that has to go right in order to submerge a submarine; as a result, I didn't really do anything other than just hang around in Control and watch.

WillyShake's story got me thinking about the "real" (as opposed to drill) alarms I've been through. My first was a "fire in the pastry" at 0200 on the good ship Topeka (night baker caught some sort of cake on fire), but I never really saw any sustained smoke from an actual fire underway. (I did get to experience having flooding called away on USS Connecticut's first ever dive, but that was quickly determined to be an aux tank overflowing.)

The only time I really saw smoke from an actual fire was in port on USS Connecticut. So there I was... the ship had just been commissioned, but was still full of shipyard workers installing new systems that hadn't been part of the original contract. I had temporarily relieved the Combat Systems Officer as Ship's Duty Officer while he went to a meeting, along with the CO and all the Combat Systems senior guys, on upper base in Groton. Not much was going on, so I went to perform PMS item D-1R. (For the uninitiated, a Preventive Maintenance item coded "D" means "perform daily", and "R" means "as required". So, a D-(number)R would be something you would perform daily, or as required. Although I always euphemistically called it "D-1R", it would have been more appropriate to call it "D-2R", if you get my drift...)

So, I hear the ship's general alarm, and the announcement "Fire in the torpedo room". I secured from my PM, performed a quick wipedown, pulled up my poopie suit (very appropriate in this case), and went to the torpedo room, grabbing an EAB along the way. The smoke wasn't very dense, but it was quite visible. One of the Senior Chief nukes runs up with a fire extinguisher, already wearing his EAB. I feel bad about not putting mine on while he's wearing his, but it I figured if I passed out for being an idiot, at least we'd have someone who could still fight the fire. Anyway, we figured out that the smoke was coming out of a waveguide, and finally traced the waveguide up to a big black box that the shipyard was installing a couple of decks up (they shipyard guys had all left when the alarm went off), and secured the power. By this time the smoke was bad enough that I had everyone put on EABs until we got the ship ventilated, and called the CO to let him know what was going on. If you've never tried talking on a regular phone handset while wearing an EAB, it's quite hilarious; you can't talk and listen at the same time, so I looked pretty foolish moving the handset around.

If I get time, I'll also try to put up my earthquake story...


Blogger WillyShake said...

LOL. Great story, and told with much less "windy suspiration of forced breath" (as Hamlet would say) than my long, drawn-out tale.

And I love the D-1/2 R euphemism! ha-HA! That part of the story fits well with the kind of lucky timing I had that day in the shower.

5/02/2005 3:37 PM

Blogger Chap said...

You definitely needed some time on an older boat. You know that "fire in the MGAC breaker" they run as a drill every once in a while?

It gets dark, man. Made me glad I spent all that time giving my Dives really hard problems on the midwatch PD time ("How's your trim, Chief? Good? Helm, all stop. Dive, just let me know when you want speed. I'll just sit here and time you against the last guy to see how well you RAMOD.").

Actually, now that I think of it there were several occasions to bless the ship control team while at zero speed, minimal or no hydraulics, can't surface or emergency deep...

And an old LHA gets some remarkable fire'n'flooding, but those things are so big nobody even pays attention a couple of dozen frames over. That took some cultural adaptation on my part!

5/02/2005 3:47 PM


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