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, December 04, 2006

Update On The USS Frank Cable Boiler Accident

A story in The Navy Times has some of the first technical details I've seen of the accident:

The mishap took place at 7:30 p.m. local time Friday during maintenance operations in the Guam-based ship’s engineering spaces while anchored in its home port’s Polaris Point area, according to Naval Forces Marianas spokesman Lt. Donnell Evans.
The ship had returned earlier that day from a family day cruise, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, spokesman for the Pacific Fleet Naval Submarine Force. That evening, sailors were conducting maintenance checks in the No. 1 boiler room that had to be performed while the ship was still “lit off” — that is, while its boilers, which provide steam to the main propulsion turbines and auxiliary services, were running.
At some point, a rupture occurred in the No. 1 boiler economizer — a series of metal tubes that allow combustion gas to preheat water as it flows into the boiler. Davis couldn’t provide more detail on exactly what happened, citing an investigation that’s been launched. He didn’t know when that part of the ship had last undergone heavy maintenance...
...Davis said the ship could still get underway with the No. 2 plant if necessary.
Based on this report, it sounds like they might have been doing something like relief valve testing -- the initial conditions sound right for that evolution. If that's the case, they probably had a lot of extra watchstanders in the Engineering spaces for the test. (It also makes sense from the perspective of you're more likely to have a piping rupture while setting up conditions for relief valve testing.) Normally when you do something like this, you put in the "first team", so the injured Sailors were probably the best the Cable had. Considering so few people were injured, my guess would be that the stricken Sailors took all the right immediate actions to isolate the compartment, at great risk to themselves. They, as much as anyone on the ground in Afghanistan or Iraq, should have our thanks and admiration for their heroic act in putting the safety of their ship and shipmates ahead of their own -- because that's what Sailors do.

(My initial post on the accident can be found here.)

Update 2312 05 Dec: An update on the condition of the injured Sailors can be found here, along with some background on the Burn Care Center at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. It appears that the injured will be in for a very long and arduous recovery process.

Remember last month when we had the opportunity to donate to Project Valour-IT? Well, they're on the ground in Texas, and are ready to use our donations to provide any help the injured heroes need. xformed at Chaotic Synaptic Activity has the gouge from an E-mail he received:
Just wanted you to know Soldiers’ Angels is on the ground in San Antonio and in an protective overwatch position & I am personally looking out for the injured sailors and their families. We will support them in any way we can as their treatment progresses. The families have arrived and are being tended by the staff and chaplains.
Thanks to Blackfive and the other MIL Bloggers, Soldiers’ Angels will be providing a new laptop for each of these six heroes as soon as they get out of the ICUs and we hope they will be blogging their story themselves very soon. Our prayers are with them and their families.
As always, the military community and those who support them can be counted on to step up to take care of our own.

Update 2304 07 Dec: One Sailor involved in the accident has died of his injuries. Sailor, rest your oar.

Update 0635 10 Dec: The identity of the fallen Sailor has been released. FN Jack Valentine (although the story says Seaman, I think it's more likely Fireman) was a true hero in every sense of the word, as the pastor of the Lutheran Church of Guam explains:
Meanwhile, the Lutheran Church of Guam has established the Frank Cable Heroes Fund to collect money to assist the victims and their families.
The fund name includes the word “heroes” because “I was told that they could have left the area,” said pastor Jeff Johnson, but then “there would have been much more danger to other members of the crew and to the ship.”
The men stayed to mitigate the danger, he said, “They prevented further tragedy. They are heroes.”


Blogger FbL said...

[I left this at your previous post on this subject, but I'm putting it here to make sure it's seen (if that's okay).]

To all who are friends and family of the injured sailors:

I just wanted to let you know that the Soldiers' Angels Wounded Team at Brooke has been aware of the sailors since yesterday and will be doing all it can to help them and their families (a truly vast array of assistance is available). If you know of any needs not being met or someone hasn't been contacted by SA yet, please let me know and I'll make sure it gets to the right people.

12/05/2006 7:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for carrying the water on this one....

The SA Rep at Brooke is on it for the laptops (see Navy Team email that should be in your box by now)

12/05/2006 5:33 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

FbL: Any comment you want to make on this blog is fine -- it's people like you who make the mil-blogosphere what it is. Thanks again for everything you do for our heroes.

12/05/2006 10:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say I am really surprised I haven't been able to find any updated information on this, and that it hasn't been on our local news since one of the sailors was from my area. The latest on this is that one of the sailors died yesterday morning from cardiac arrest.

12/08/2006 8:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a former Cable Sailor, PCS from there this year. We are a close team on the ship. I just want to add a Thank You for your site and for all of the support that everyone is giving to our shipmates. I personally know 3 of them and they are great guys with great faith. I know that with our prayers and strength all are going to pull thru this. Pass the word for the prayers not only for the guys in Texas but for our shipmates in Guam. And truly for the family of our fallen shipmate. You are loved and will be missed. Again, thank you for your support!

YN1(SW), US Navy

12/08/2006 8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My stepson is one of the two sailors still in critical condition. His road is going to be long, but i'ts looking better evryday. Pray for the Valentine family they need it. Also I to have not seen local media or even major national news on the death or the critical salors. They have serve just like evryone in the military just very far away.

12/11/2006 4:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Frank Cable dependent here in Guam. We have all been very sad with all that is going on. It's a small Island and it seems everyone knows at least one of the men hurt. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of them and the families. These men were bandaged and off the ship and in transport with in 20 minutes of the accident! There were some real Hero's here that night. Those men kept it from being more serious and taking more lives or cause of more injury....... from all of us that had other loved ones on duty that night, they saved their lives. I can not thank them enough for what they did. I hope they and their families know what Hero's they really are!

12/11/2006 10:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts and support. Our son died Thursday, Dec. 7. We do not have an official cause of death. Suffice it to say, he died of complications from being burned on close to 70 percent of his body and of having extensive burns in his lungs.

Please continue to pray for a full recovery for the others injured in this incident.

12/12/2006 8:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the watchstanders that was on watch when the rupture happened. I just want to say that we were all together down there trying to do what we had to do to wrap things up despite the chaos. Jack and all the other geys were my good, close friends. I escaped with minor burns to my hands and my arm, and I wish to this day the others could have fared the same. My heart goes out to Jack, his family, and everybody else involved that friday. Thank you everyone for your support.

12/12/2006 8:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son is on the USS Frank Cable. I have prayed for all involved and for all the friends of the fallen sailor since I found out the next morning. I think it needs to be said that Guam is a beautiful place but these sailors are thousands of miles from their loved ones and families and they are hero's. A place so beautiful can become a very lonely existance when so far from home.
I will continue to send good intentions and prayers for all the people aboard the USS Frank Cable.

12/13/2006 8:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a close friend of the Valentines and my son is also on the USS Frank Cable. I pray daily for the other injured sailors and I am proud of Jack's sacrifice and take solace in the knowledge that his actions saved many lives. My son will be bringing him home for us today and I can think of no better task my son can do but to bring his brothers best friend of over 12 years home to his family.

12/13/2006 9:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mother of a sailor stationed in Guam -- My son is an MA stationed in Guam and to say the least all the sailors there are doing a wonderful job for their country and the Navy. I did not have the privilage to know Jack or his family, but I feel the pain of his parents. My husband and I had to bury one of our sons many years ago and now our youngest is stationed in Guam. As much as we miss him, we are very proud of him. To Jack's parents, the pain will never go away, but the pride will only grow knowing your son saved the lives of many of his shipmates. Jack has fullfilled God's purpose for his wonderful life. I know in my heart of hearts God greed Jack at the gate and told him "A job well done my faithful servent and hero".

To the other sailors and their families; be proud of your heroric and unselfish actions! You are what has made America the greatest country on earth and helping to bring peace and freedom to others. Thank you.

12/15/2006 11:14 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

An earlier commenter left a good comment, but it included the names/nicknames of two of the injured Sailors whose names haven't yet been released by the Navy. Therefore, I've deleted the original comment, and attached it to this one with the names in question removed:

"I am on the frank cable now and i was on the fire team that responded to the casulty i was also friends with three of the people that were injured Valentine, xxx, and xxx and that was a hectic night for everyone. But for everyone that was there we all pulled together and did our best to get things under control. All of us that knew Jack are going to miss him."

12/15/2006 5:55 PM

Blogger FbL said...

Good news on the general condition of the sailors fighting to recover: Two of them are no longer in ICU and are now doing well enough to make use of Valour-IT laptops. Another is still in ICU, but is also in a condition to receive a laptop (all three laptops are in process). The fourth sailor is progressing more slowly, but a laptop will be in standby for him, and my understanding is that there is reason to be upbeat about his condition.

[Sorry, but I don't want to be too specific since I am not speaking officially.]

Just thought you might like to hear of their progress...

12/21/2006 7:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone know for certain what chief's condition is? last i heard was he had burns over 75% with "Very, very serious" lung damage. also in the POD today they said he "tool a turn for the worse"

i was there that night too, i helped HMC W. and HM3 D. with triage on chief, i'll never forget what he said... holding a chief, the authority figures of the Navy. holding him like a doll..

months later and i still can't forget it.

2/14/2007 10:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chief passed away today after his long fight. I'm sure more will follow.

4/30/2007 11:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard, too, that Chief had passed away yesterday. My son, Jack Valentine, passed away from injuries received in this accident on Dec. 7. My step-daughter is in frequent contact with one of the men, who is now in outpatient treatment at BAMC.

5/01/2007 3:18 PM

Anonymous jessica o. said...

i noticed its been a while since anybody left a comment and just want to say that the frank cable injured sailors will NEVER be forgotten... my husband, who at the time was just my shipmate and friend, was on watch that night and was fortunate enough to have just been relieved minutes before the accident occured... had he been down there we wouldnt be where we are today so for that i thank each and every one of you guys and you were all my shipmates... i didnt find out until the morning after on watch reading over the deck logs about the ambulance arrival and departure times... and i will never forget the moment the CO came on the 1MC and said jack was gone... it affected all of us... god bless...

pc3 o.

6/16/2009 1:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, little media coverage concerning this tragic mishap. The people of Guam are dear. We are certain they did all they could for timely emergency assistance. They were generous to our son when he was stationed on the Cable and discharged by its captain because of altercation w/ one of its homosexual junior officers while on liberty in Singapore. These young male American sailors must thwart sexual harrasment directed towards them by those in authority over them! Yikes! Maintenance & morale decisions are of paramount importance whether it's for a ship or aircraft squadron. Is there an investigation or summary court documents about the leadership involvement in the boiler accident? Curious as to why so little media coverage. Yes, its three years later; but there isn't a day that goes by that these parents & son wonder how the injured sailors are faring today. Also, why repeated attempts to change reenlistment code have been denied for our son. How many other sailors were discharged by this captain? Your blog is an asset to servicemembers and families. Wish we had known about you three years ago! Semper fidelis

11/06/2009 3:44 PM

Blogger j.louie said...

This is for everyone that perished and gave their lives for their country on USS Frank Cable AS-40 over 3 years ago. There are still sailors down at the burn center in San Antonio, TX.

BTC Robert Bruce

BT1 Lammey

Say what you want in regards to the MM title. These guys are BT's in my book. That is all that matters and I know they deserve the title.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Chief Dulay and Fireman Jack Valentine. I and the rest of the U.S. Navy are still crushed and have learned much from them. They saved the ship just as Chief Peter Tomich did today December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. They all deserve the Medal of Honor!

This website helped many of us through the tough situation. I am surprised that no one remembered to give these sailors the proper tribute in steam engineers fashion with the Snipes Lament. For anyone that hasn't seen this poetry this is for you as I know that everyone who has ever stood watch in a steam plant knows:

Now each of us from time to time has gazed upon the sea
and watched the mighty warships pulling out to keep this country free.
And most of us have read a book or heard a lusty tale,
about these men who sail these ships through lightning, wind and hail.
But there's a place within each ship that legend's fail to teach.
It's down below the water-line and it takes a living toll
- - a hot metal living hell, that sailors call the "Hole."
It houses engines run with steam that makes the shafts go round.
A place of fire, noise, and heat that beats your spirits down.
Where boilers like a hellish heart, with blood of angry steam,
are molded gods without remorse, are nightmares in a dream.

Whose threat from the fires roar, is like a living doubt,
that at any moment with such scorn, might escape and crush you out.
Where turbines scream like tortured souls, alone and lost in Hell,
are ordered from above somewhere, they answer every bell.
The men who keep the fires lit and make the engines run,
are strangers to the light and rarely see the sun.
They have no time for man or God, no tolerance for fear,
their aspect pays no living thing a tribute of a tear.
For there's not much that men can do that these men haven't done,
beneath the decks, deep in the hole, to make the engines run.
And every hour of every day they keep the watch in Hell,
for if the fires ever fail their ship's a useless shell.

When ships converge to have a war upon an angry sea,
the men below just grimly smile at what their fate will be.
They're locked below like men fore-doomed, who hear no battle cry,
it's well assumed that if they're hit men below will die.
For every day's a war down there when gauges all read red,
twelve-hundred pounds of heated steam can kill you mighty dead.

So if you ever write their songs or try to tell their tale,
the very words would make you hear a fired furnace's wail.
And people as a general rule don't hear of these men of steel,
so little heard about this place that sailors call the "Hole."
But I can sing about this place and try to make you see,
the hardened life of the men down there, 'cause one of them is me.
I've seen these sweat-soaked heroes fight in superheated air,
to keep their ship alive and right, though no one knows they're there.

And thus they'll fight for ages on till warships sail no more,
amid the boiler's mighty heat and the turbine's hellish roar.
So when you see a ship pull out to meet a war-like foe,
remember faintly if you can, "The Men Who Sail Below."


Love you guys!

Louie (B-DIV)

12/07/2009 7:41 PM

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