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.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"White Rat" Follies

As all submariners know, the term "white rat" serves as both a noun and a verb; it is both the speaker box that broadcasts sound-powered phone communications to a space, and also describes the act of listening in on conversations that don't really apply to you (and passing on the information to those standing around). As an example of the verb form, it almost seemed like it was an immediate action for all hands, whenever the ship was on the surface and they heard over the Bridge Announcing Circuit "XO, Captain, JA", to pick up the nearest JA handset to listen in.

My favorite story comes from the humorous things you'd hear over the 2MC white rat in Maneuvering, though. Hearing A-gangers talk (they're notorious for not following proper IC protocols) was always good for a laugh, but the thing that amused me most was during loss of lube oil drills, where the white rat was used for "talking down the shaft". Here's what you'd normally hear: "Shaft is spinning slowly ahead... slowly ahead... slowly ahead.... Maneuvering, Control, secure rig for high speed.... slowly ahead..."

For some reason, the complete absurdity of that order always cracked me up. Anyone have any other humorous "white rat" stories they'd like to share?


Anonymous Paul said...

For a minute there, I thought this was going to be about the NSA 'white ratting' on AQ conspirators in America.

I don't recall any good white rat stories, but I always hated the 5 milisecond pause between 'line clear?' and the whoop, whoop!

5/30/2006 9:42 AM

Blogger bothenook said...

i have many at sea white rat stories, but one of my favorites was when i was a nuke test engineer.
during the crit and power test phase of an overhaul, we rigged a data collection station with all kinds of chart recorders and computers pierside. we also had a white rat on the 2JV, because the DRSS (data reduction station supervisor), usually a junior STE, could listen in on the evolutions and plan out what data forms to have ready.
we were shutdown, and hanging out in the trailer waiting for a repair to allow us to return to testing.
a couple of sailors, one of them the shutdown reactor operator, were on the phones because of plant conditions. the watchstanders were pretty free with what they were saying, because when the phones were manned in maneuvering, they turned off the white rat.
so they were talking about the two chicks they had picked up at the horse and cow, and reliving the exploits of the night before. in graphic detail.
while the skipper, and the head of the mare island naval reactors listened in, because they had come to the trailer for an update.
two watchstanders, off the watchbill.

reactor operators ended up port and starboard for the rest of the testing.

and what's worse is there wasn't any way we could tell them to shut up.

5/30/2006 3:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it's a new EOOW, I like to ask Maneuvering to page the ERS to the 2JV, then say "ERS, ERF, can you, uh, bring a lot of kimwipes to the ladder? Yeah, thanks, and if you see any off-watch ELTs, send them down here." One time I did that, though, and the CO happened to be talking to the Eng in his stateroom while the Eng's white rat was on. Oops.

My favorite, though, was during resin discharge. They had hooked up a white rat to the 2JV that broadcast all the comms into the drydock floor, and then turned on in advance, the night before. So super-sat super-JO resin discharge officer comes into maneuvering in the morning before the brief. For some reason he had picked up the 2JV to say something to a watchstander, just as the STE said something about the CTE wanting something else before we could go on with the discharge, some kind of last-minute jump-through-our-behind-or-else showstopper. So with the handset still keyed, he lets loose with "You've got to be $%^& KIDDING ME! THAT %^**%*ING ^&((&^..." Which was entertaining to hear coming across the brow, above bunches of shipyard bubbas, engineers, CSP, CSS, and NRRO/RPCO monitors.

Nobody ever said anything, though. Discharge went as planned.

5/31/2006 10:55 PM


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