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.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

"Hazing" On USS Columbus (?)

[Intel Source: The Sub Report] There's an interesting post at the "Military Life" blog at the Kitsap Sun about alleged abuse aboard USS Columbus (SSN 762), currently undergoing DMP in Bremerton:

Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating alleged hazing involving sailors on USS Columbus.
The fast-attack submarine formerly based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, has been at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton for maintenance since September 2004. A Navy spokeswoman declined to elaborate on details of the allegations, including when the incident or incidents occurred.
Shipyard workers called Seattle's KOMO 4 TV station, a Kitsap Sun media partner, Tuesday to report the alleged hazing, but they declined to give their names. They told KOMO one sailor was badly beaten and his shirt set on fire. Again, the Navy won't confirm any allegations while the investigation is ongoing.

This sounds kind of fishy. A Sailor "badly beaten"? That doesn't happen on subs to any submariner who doesn't steal stuff. "Shirt set on fire"? Sounds more like a stupid prank to me, if it even happened.

I have a couple of theories on what happened here. Maybe the shipyard workers who refused to give their names wanted a couple of days off work, and figured an investigation might shut down the ship and give them some easy days. Or maybe they were new painter/cleaners who saw some stupid but traditional horseplay, and mistook "wedgied" for "badly beaten". Most likely, though, some knucklehead came up behind another guy with a lighter and used it to try to catch an unaware guy's shirt on fire, and succeeded, with subsequent pushing and shoving, which the shipyard "workers" witnessed.

Or maybe it was even some guys from another ship wanting to really screw with the Columbus guys by making an anonymous call to the TV station, claiming to be yardbirds. If so, that's really bad form, considering the recent (last 15 years) Navy policy of "overreacting to the point of ridiculousness whenever there's a chance that 'hazing' might make it into the news".

If it did happen the way I think it did, we can expect a Force-wide anti-hazing stand down with Power Point slides about why you shouldn't hold a flame up to a guy's shirt for fun when you're bored.

Update 0103 21 March: Based on the comments, and some E-mails I got, it looks like the hazing incident was the real thing, and pretty bad at that. From what I've heard, though, the investigation was going on long before the yardbirds called the TV station. I wish the Navy would have been allowed to handle the problem without the press looking over their shoulder, but that's the way it is in a democracy.


Blogger half said...

But you would have to use a flame wouldn't you? I mean a magifying glass wouldn't work on a sub.

3/17/2006 7:26 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I suppose that it'd be possible (though highly unlikely) that you could to the old "charge a spare capacitor on a 9V battery, then throw it to somebody while saying, 'Here, catch'" prank, and have the capacitor discharge through the guys shirt, starting a fire.

3/17/2006 7:36 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

On a slightly different tack-
Her nominal 12-13 month DMP is *still* ongoing, since Sep '04? Not to be shipyard-snobbish, but that leads me to wonder what is wrong with that boat. Just ugh - we busted our humps to get out of shipyard on time, hated it there. Can't imagine a decent crew getting stuck there for that many months past their expected completion date short of something catastophic and outside of their control.

So, either a suspect boat (which leads me to give a little more weight to the possibility of stupidity), or an act of the Almighty that trapped them in the yards, so nevermind my speculation.

Just a thought.

3/17/2006 7:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that these guys would have had no appreciation for the Dance of the Flaming AHole at the old Horse and Cow.

3/17/2006 12:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does tacking on crows and dolphins count as hazing? I know that I saw some guys take a pretty bad beating in my days. Maybe someone didn't like the backs of their dolphins buried in their pectorals!

3/17/2006 8:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does tacking on crows and dolphins count as hazing?

Yup. Can't do any of that stuff any more. Not sure if you sub guys ever went through SERE training, probably not, as Snetator Fat Ted Kennedy of the commander of the USS Oldsmobile,
finds waterboarding a torture on Iraqi's. Guess he never did SERE.

3/17/2006 9:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose then that Shellback and bluenose ceremonies are also forbidden?

3/18/2006 7:29 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


Uuuuh, not exactly forbidden, but, according to the old salts on ustafish, they were somewhat different than they used to be...

3/19/2006 6:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, apparently it is real. Not something some yard bird dreamed up. Family on the boat tells me that at least one sailor has been removed from the submarine.

3/19/2006 12:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is going to sound weird, considering I am filing under "anonymous", but I didn't feel like creating an account. I know people on the boat (used to be stationed on it), this is real. Not a joke, CNO may even be involved in the investigation. The guy who got hazed even went over the CO's head, and reported the incident to NCIS. Just hoping to put the rumor mill to rest.

3/19/2006 7:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The beating on that sub was no joke. It was blown out of proportion for the news to get better ratings. I know the family of the sailor that got beat and it is 100% real.

3/20/2006 3:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant, it was "not" blown out of proportion...

3/20/2006 3:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it did get blown out of proportion, incidents did occur, and there was some stupid desicions on the part of some junior and senior sailors. But dont believe everything you read, and take everything with a grain of salt. Oh and pig-boat . . . its the shipyards fault that the DMP is taking so long. I mean is 35% test failure on the shipyards part really not that bad a statistic? I mean c'mon, check-valves installed backwards?

3/26/2006 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am on a boat in pearl harbor and today i had to sit thru hours of training becasue of these dicks. turns out some guys thought the kid was gay...he said he wasn't and had a picture of a chick in his the roving watch pulled his 9mm on him and demanded to see it.

3/29/2006 9:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something like this has been waiting to happen for a long time on the Columbus. I've never seen such low morale from a submarine crew. But the roots of this problem started back in early 2003. Their CO at the time was almost relieved based upon a written survey of the crew.

3/31/2006 6:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the timeline that the ship has been in the yard. A concious decision was made regarding the available workforce at Puget and what the Navy's priorities were for ship repair. Essentially, there was more work there than there was workforce. A decision was made to work the carriers over the submarines in the yard. That is the overriding factor as to why the Columbus is there so long.
Also, a shame to see this happening to my boat. I'm a plank owner and dismayed to see how far she's gone.

4/03/2006 9:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a serious incident that will result in several discharges. I don't know what started this "hazing" but apparently it was far above and beyond pranking or gay-bashing. This was actually a good crew of guys with a few idiots that ruined it for the the rest of the team--to spite how long they've been at PSNS. Since when does 12-14 months really mean 12-14 months anyways? Come on folks it's the military if it makes sense get out. Too bad some idoits that are a fry or two short of a happy meal are bringing so many other quality sailors down with them. Why can't we all just get along?

4/04/2006 1:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

100% Real? I think when all is said and done it will come to light that it is a tenuous web of lies and secrets that binds people together onboard that ship. Don't be surprised if this guy ran off to make these allegations, which are in all likelyhood true, to get off the boat. I can think of a lot of shenanigans that I've seen. Most of which when taken out of context seem downright mean. The difference between that guy making the allegations and the people in the brig is that the guy making the allegations went to the authorities first. There will be a lot of mudslinging. I think we are going to find that the victim probably was considered a friend by the accused, and viceversa. We will have to wait and see though. Trying to question the motives and character of this guy is like going after a rape victim. Everyone in the Navy is going to be throwing themselves in front of this guy to protect him, and they don't even know him. I for one would like to find out more about him. I don't care about his identity, just some facts. Was he Nuke or Cone? Was he delinquent ships/divisional quals? How long was he dinq? What is the ship's dinq policy? Did he go out on his own with any of these people, after the incident, in a friendly setting? The biggest question I have is, why now? Maybe it was a timebomb ticking away. Maybe not. No one really knows. But if you have been on a boat, you know things like this are years in the making. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I bet this guy is eating it up...

4/15/2006 8:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh and pig-boat . . . its the shipyards fault that the DMP is taking so long. I mean is 35% test failure on the shipyards part really not that bad a statistic? I mean c'mon, check-valves installed backwards?"

Shoulda gone to Portsmouth.

7/03/2006 2:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I was there for the whole thing and it sounds alot worse than it actually was, the Guy who was hazed kinda blew it out of proportion and the Navy over reacted as usual. I don't hate the guy for what he did, because the Columbus was a slice of hell to be on and he just wanted to get the hell off that pig of a boat. The place was pure hell when I left and no body wanted to be their. The DMP could of been quick, but the boat ran out of money,but that was cool, because half days and stuff. Then worked ramped up and Marquez the skipper stole Christmas. I barely had any time off and if you were a Nuke, forget about it. Marquez wanted to impress the Brass by getting the boat out of the Ship yard, but turned the place into a living Hell.But, look what happened to Chaz, he's in Africa, or something. Ha! ha! You never got my crow Chaz!

9/20/2006 4:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well knowing a few of these guys from serving on the boat with them I will say this the more senior of the people are some of who when in need i would def stick up for. I can honestly say that the command as a whole sucked for a long time prior to this inncident and has had (if the allegations are true) a direct impact on them, so dont tell me things that most of you have no clue about some of the stories try not to speculate too much. mahalo
fry (and if you want to know who this is ask anyone who was on the boat from 2002 to 2003 about him)

2/14/2007 1:03 PM

Blogger greg3325 said...

i was on the uss grant ssbn 631 gold crew and i was a bubblehead for 56 days. i was hazed to the point of self destructive behavior and that place was pure hell for me. i was overworked and under apprecieated and could not wait to get off that pig. i wanted to be a target again so at least i could see the sun set while underway. i received no help with quals when i tried to get qualified. no help with the work in the galley. that place caused me brain damage and i hope this second class petty officer gets his life back on track with his career. i was returned to the surface fleet after my living with hazing for 56 days kick me off that pig. i should have stayed were i was at on surface crafts. i do not know how anyone can put up with the bullshit in those small spaces. anyone that can do that has my endearing favor. i honor those that make it underwater and hazing of any sort has no business on any boat.

10/29/2010 12:08 PM


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