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.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

PCU Hawaii Returns From Alpha Trials, Brags About Successful Field Day

I know I'm tilting at windmills here, but I'm getting more and more curmudgeony about submarines flying the "clean sweep" broom after two or three day underways in which they don't sink any enemy vessels. But I digress...

PCU Hawaii (SSN 776) just returned from a successful Alpha Sea Trial yesterday:
The USS Hawaii returned to Electric Boat on Saturday afternoon with a broom on its sail, a sign that the nation's newest nuclear-powered attack submarine successfully underwent the full range of tests planned for its initial sea trials in a “clean sweep.”
The Hawaii, the third Virginia-class submarine, left Thursday for its first voyage in open seas. A U.S. Navy crew of 122 tested the ship's systems and capabilities in a variety of ways during the two-day trials, including submerging it for the first time and conducting high-speed runs both on the surface and submerged.
An additional 75 riders from the U.S. government, Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News participated, said Cmdr. David A. Solms, commanding officer of the Hawaii, when the ship returned Saturday.
These being non-"first of a class" trials, they aren't quite as arduous as what Virginia and Jimmy Carter had to go through. As such, they have even less of a claim on flying the broom than those crews did -- but they did anyway:

Since I knew they didn't do anything as grand as what "Mush" Morton did when he flew the broom on USS Wahoo, I figured they must have been demonstrating how clean their boat was. But, all is not lost. While I was looking at the photo more closely, I found something that brought joy to this old submariner's heart -- evidence that the Sub Force is taking one of our most effective secret weapons more seriously, to the point where they're testing them on Alpha Trials. Look about a third of the way up from the top of the windshield to the CO's hand -- do you see it? I'm pretty sure it's a B1rD! (Probably the CGU-11 mod.) Now our enemies will know for sure we mean business!

Seriously, though, this is a big milestone for the officers and crew of the Hawaii, and it sounds like they did their jobs very well. BZ!

Update 2324 05 Dec: Here's another article about the sea trials. By now, if all went as planned, Hawaii should be back out for Bravo Trials.


Anonymous rebootinit said...

Congratulations! Now if we could actually get the Virginia's into the fleet on Wes'Pac and not be Admiral toys on the east coast......Now that would be nice.
My Alpha Trials on the Miami? Nice going until we tried to submerge. MBT 5 vents failed to fully open and we did a forward blow as we passed a 20 degree downangle at about PD depth. The rest of the short run, the AEF, AOW, and the AMR watch wore Stanke hoods on our waists in a statement. To say we were not popular with the civillians is an understatement.
I hope at least this time the Hawaii had tile on her decks for the minions to walk on, hehe....also makes it easier for afterwatch cleanup.

12/04/2006 2:19 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

I remember on my 1st boat doing a Med Patrol in the mid 80's. We flew the broom when we returned to Holy Loch to symbolize not getting detected, which we were the 1st boat to do so in quite a while, if I recall.

Then every boat I'd been on after that flew the broom after every patrol if we did well on our inspections (above average of better).

So, I guess that the meaning has changed since Mush Morton. Maybe on his Eternal Patrol he just shakes his head in disdain at us at how we've perverted his tradition. Maybe we ought to fly a purple flag when we do stuff like that instead.

12/04/2006 7:41 AM

Blogger CDR Salamander said...

I'm with you on the broom. The Royal Navy doesn't abuse the Jolly Roger.

I still remember the Royal Navy O-boats Opossum and Otus coming back through the Med post-DESERT STORM with the grey and Robin-blue camo paint job. Saw pictures of them returning home flying the Jolly Roger. They didn't just finish the CFC drive either....

The SSN leadership should can that abuse - but it is probably too late.

12/04/2006 12:01 PM

Blogger Buck said...

Not disagreeing with the decline in standards, but an alternative thought. My son is an m-div aboard Hawaii, and he didn't know about the broom. The point is that the crew didn't come up with the idea, and that the CO apparently didn't do it for them either (else he'd have advertised it better.)

Probably, the broom was one of those 'expectations' that the big guys wanted to see. After all, it's a PR opportunity, and the Navy has to scrabble for money for these boats. Remember that Adm Kirkland Donald was aboard, so it seems reasonable to think that he knew about it...

12/05/2006 6:37 AM

Anonymous xformed said...

Geez....I had the "honor" (like having the plague being an honor) of doing CNSL Combat Systems Assessments for three years. Never did one of those ships come back into port with a broom up, even the best scoring ones....but I guess it's like the Army all having berets...we don't want anyone to feel left out of the "special" class...:)

12/05/2006 5:38 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I'm not sure if it's an NR thing, or a shipyard thing. I know that when we finished Alpha Trials on the Connecticut, the shipyard tried to send a broom to the bridge, and my CO refused permission for it to come up. He was (and is) a man who understands and honors our heritage.

12/05/2006 6:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did time at EB in newcon aboard Dallas back in the very early '80s. The alpha-trial broom thing was definitely at the shipyard's instigation way back then, too.

Fact is, the yards have pretty much shanghaied the broom into becoming *their* tradition now.

And let's face it: the days of Mush Morton and trigonometric torpedo attacks are long, long gone. GThe broom not anything close to a modern tradition.

Heck...maybe flying the broom as the sign of an earnest field day is as much air time as the brooms are going to get anymore.'d look a little goofy strapped on to a photonics mast, anyway.

12/05/2006 9:35 PM


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