Unexpected Trips to PD
A reader comment in this post got me thinking about the time the good ship Topeka took an unexpected, drill-induced trip to the surface. The comment, from mikeh, says:
"We had a very funny MT and during a flooding drill in AMR2LL he secured the depth sensor piping to the hovering tanks. About 10 min after the flooding drill was secured, we began preparations to go to PD and setting up for a meal. I was heading to control for my watch when we took a huge roll, launched all of the wardroom china on the floor and broached big time. As I got to control I told the OOD "I didn't think we were going to PD until after lunch?" He says as he is raising the scope "Neither did I."
"During the debrief from this incident it was found as soon as the COW placed the hovering tanks online we pumped all of the hovering tank water overboard shooting us to the roof. The cause was tracked to the sensor valves and my MT friend never got into trouble since he 'did the right thing'. We then began putting a drill monitor at the sensor valves whenever we 'flooded AMR2LL'."
Here's my story -- we were running engineering drills, and ended up losing a plug out of the diesel. Apparently something similar had happened fairly recently to some other boats in the squadron, and the COs had been told not to be the next one to damage their diesel generator. As a result, our CO ("He Who Must Not Be Named") was very interested in finding said plug, and repairing the diesel before we returned to port. To aid in finding the plug in the AMR bilge, we ended up running at 150 feet with a 10 degree up angle, and using the bilge blaster to send all the crap in the bilges to the aft bulkhead. The CO was personally leading the search efforts in the bilge.
It turns out that running with that much of an up angle makes depth control a little problematic. Somehow the Ship's Control Party "lost the bubble" and we headed straight for the surface at 10 knots. The COW pressurized Depth Control in order to try to keep us submerged, but it didn't work; we soon heard the familiar "bow planes slap" that means you really screwed up depth-keeping on a 688I. (For those who are interested: "Bow planes slap" on a Seawolf is much louder.)
The CO rushes to control, and the DOOW gets us back down to PD. They decided to stay there to clear the broadcast, and the CO went back down to AMR to resume the search for the plug. One of the things that you have to do after pressurizing depth control is to eventually vent the high pressure air from the tank; this vent is located, you guessed in, in the AMR bilge. We came down from PD, got a trim, and the COW asked for, and got, permission from the OOD to vent depth control, which he did... right in the CO's face. As I wasn't involved in any of the screw-ups, I enjoyed it immensely.
One additional funny moment from this episode: As soon as the ship broached, the OOD informed the various watchstanders of the ship's condition by reflexively announcing on the Conn open mike that he had just energized, "Raising #2 scope". The RMOW, who of course had no idea we were going to PD, and probably figuring he had missed the PD brief, immediately comes back with "In sync Verdin"... we probably were, but there's no way he had checked it, the lying sack of...