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.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Regarding Polonium 210

Radioactive isotopes are much in the news lately because of last week's death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The specific isotope found in Litvinenko's body is a really nasty one if you're trying to kill someone -- Polonium 210. In the non-spy world, polonium is best known for it's very high power density, although its relatively short half-life makes it not very suitable for things like longer space missions. For the nuke geeks out there, 210Po84 is made by a β- decay chain from Pb-210 to Bi-210 to Po-210; the Polonium alpha decays to Pb-206 with a half-life of a little over 138 days, with a decay energy of about 5.4 MeV. This relatively moderate half-life, which means it lasts long enough to deliver it to the target but still decays rapidly enough to cause serious damage, makes it one of the "worst" alpha emitters.

Still, unless it's ingested, it's not going to cause random bystanders any problems -- despite the warnings of articles like this one that persist in calling it "plutonium". Much like "depleted uranium", this is one of those things that probably serves to scare the public about anything having to do with radiation more than anything else. Remember -- if it's an alpha emitter, it can't hurt you unless it gets inside your body, and if it has a long half-life, it most likely won't even hurt you then.

(Disclaimer: I should point out that as a former Navy nuke, I have a kind of institutional disdain for alpha-emitters; it's the neutron-emitters that scare the crap out of me. Contributing to this is the "Great Neutron Conspiracy" that exists in the Navy Nuclear Program. For those who don't believe in the GNC, I would ask you: why is it that dosimeters that monitor for neutrons are sent off the boat to be read? And why are the neutron-"detecting" radiacs the only ones we have to send away for calibration? Kinda makes you go "hmmm", doesn't it?)

Submerged Submarine Sinkings

Britain's Navy News tells of a BBC documentary tonight on the sinking of U-864 by HMS Venturer in Feb. 1945, which they say is the first ever sinking of a submerged submarine by another submerged sub:
U864 was torpedoed by HMS Venturer near Bergen, Norway, in February 1945 while both vessels were submerged. She sank with all 73 hands – and with a cargo of Messerschmitt jet engine parts, missile guidance systems, and mercury, all bound for Japan.
Intercepted radio messages had alerted the Admiralty to U864’s secret mission (codenamed Operation Caesar), and Venturer lay off Bergen waiting to intercept the U-boat as she left Norway bound for the Far East.
Venturer picked up the German boat on her ASDIC (the original British name for sonar), and visually sighted U864’s periscope sporadically, tracking the submarine for a good hour before firing a spread of four torpedoes from a range of about 3,000 yards; one found its mark, destroying the German vessel.
The wreck was found three years ago and Norwegian salvage experts are preparing to recover it because of the danger the mercury poses to the environment.
I had thought I remembered reading about an American sub that sank a submerged Japanese sub in WWII, but couldn't find it during a quick Google search. Does anyone know if there are any instances of a U.S. boat sinking a submerged enemy submarine?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How To Scare A Sub-Blogger

Normally I don't get worried about too much regarding my blogging activities, but I'm worried tonight. The reason? I noticed a couple hours ago that I was getting several hits from the "private" forum over at the Submarine Wives Club. Even scarier, they were coming into my home page, not just one of my individual posts. It got me thinking -- what are these wives saying about me? Are they making fun of me? Is it someone saying "This guy was my husband's Eng -- he probably never did find that dead animal they put in his seabag when he transferred off the boat". I thought about asking SubBasket to log on and see what was up, but she'd probably just dish some more dirt about me.

Because as all of us know, nothing is scarier to a Submariner than a bunch of Submarine Wives getting together and planning something...

Updates On Some Recent Stories

Back in August, I blogged about the USS Albuquerque sailor who had been arrested for attempting to sell secrets to some foreign government. Today, we found out that he's planning on pleading guilty to at least some of the charges against him, apparently as part of a plea deal:

Weinmann has agreed to plead guilty to some of the charges under a pretrial agreement that also includes the maximum possible sentence, said attorney Phillip Stackhouse, a retired Marine lawyer from Jacksonville, N.C.
Stackhouse declined to say to which charges Weinmann will plead guilty or to give details about the sentence.
“I anticipate during the hearing a lot of things will be explained,” Stackhouse said. He said the sentencing phase of the trial could last the week.
Weinmann is charged with espionage, desertion, failing to properly safeguard and store classified information, copying classified information, communicating classified information to a person not entitled to receive it, and stealing and destroying a government computer. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of espionage.
As I said earlier, a young, good-looking kid like him will be really popular in Leavenworth.

Regarding the story of the CSS-17 Commodore who was unexpectedly fired earlier this month, someone from the more mainstream portion of the blogosphere finally came out and said what a bunch of anonymous commenters have been mentioning since the story broke:
One of the things commanding officers are not supposed to do is commit adultery with the wives of subordinates. But a U.S. Navy captain was relieved of his command of Submarine Squadron 17, in Bangor, Washington, for that reason. Actually, no official reason was given other than that the navy had "lost confidence" in the officer. But all over the base, sailors were talking about the sexual escapades that apparently led to the relief. The dismissed officer was a former enlisted marine, who worked his way up to a job that would have led to admiral rank. But no more.
I was really worried that my old friend Raymond Perry was going to "break" the story, so I'm glad someone else did. (Actually, Trickish Knave did post about it last week.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

All Submarines Look Alike To The USPS

Update 1950 28 Nov: Check fire. It turns out the item discussed below, while sold at and apparently licensed by the Post Office, is actually from a company called American Stamp Collectibles, so the USPS probably shouldn't be held responsible for their error.
A submariner E-mailed with a scan of a Postmark Gallery he bought at his post office for $29.95 that honors the U.S. Navy. It has a picture of a submarine on it:

He thought the picture of the submarine didn't look like any American submarine he'd ever seen, so he did some digging, and found the picture they used on the montage:

As most submariners can tell, that's not an American boat. In fact, it's a South Korean Type 209/1200 Chang Bogo-class sub, apparently the Nadaeyung (SS 069). (The picture was originally taken from Navy NewsStand.)

Cookie has more over at his site. (Bad word warning!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Arabian Gulf Now A SubLant Pond?

In an otherwise run of the mill article on current SUBPAC operations in The Honolulu Advertiser, I found an interesting tidbit:
The Pacific submarine fleet has had so many missions assigned to it recently that it no longer sends submarines to the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea to support the war in Iraq. Instead, submarines are deployed there from the Atlantic Fleet.
I realized after reading this that it had been quite a while since I'd read about a PacFleet sub doing a 5th Fleet deployment -- for example, the Ronald Reagan Strike Group didn't have an attached submarine during their deployment earlier this year. It makes sense, though; there are a lot more threats that submarines might be expected to deal with in the Pacific than in the Atlantic or Med. It'll be interesting to see when PacFleet subs start returning to the Indian Ocean.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure

The Summer 2006 Undersea Warfare magazine finally got posted. This issue looks pretty good; in addition to the annual "Force Organization Map" (listing boat's homeports and COs as of August 2006), there are articles on SSGN capabilities, SEALs and submarines, and submarine "Docs".

Happy reading!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The "Nuclear Power Bible"

A former USS San Francisco (SSN 711) Sailor has a great website, Vulpes Libertas, that a reader just brought to my attention. In addition to a section on what happened to SFO since the grounding, he has a section of "Submarine Art" that boat Sailors will appreciate (but others may find offensive). I personally liked the in-progress "Nuclear Power Bible". Some excerpts:
OI 1.1 The Creation
1.1-1 In the beginning was Rickover. Submarines were void and without form and the spirit of submarines patroled over the surface of the deep. And Rickover said "Let there be reactors", and there were reactors. Rickover saw the reactors were good and there was turnover and watch section clean-up, the first watch.
1.1-2 And Rickover said "Let there be two conditions, one to govern in port, and one to govern at sea". Rickover saw that the conditions were good. The greater condition he called condition two, and the lesser condition he called condition one and there was turnover and watch section clean-up, the second watch...
...1.1-6 And Rickover said "Lets make watchstanders in our image, male and also other males", and Rickover created watchstanders. Rickover saw that it was good and there was turnover and watch section clean-up, the sixth watch.
1.1-7 And Rickover looked at all he had created and saw that it was good, then he made procedures because he damn sure never rested any day of the week. And there was turnover and watch section clean-up, the seventh watch.
4.1-1 Chief Abraham
Chief Abraham had no petty officers in his division. Rickover came to Abraham and said "At this time next year, I will give you a petty offcer". So at the appointed time, a petty officer arrived in Chief Abraham's division, his name was PO3 Issac.
4.1-2 Rickover came once more to Chief Abraham. "Chief, I want you to sacrifice Issac, your only petty officer, at a critique." So Abraham took his only petty officer out into the wardroom and there prepared a critique. PO3 Issac asked his chief "Who is in trouble? What incident are we critiquing?". "Rickover will provide," said chief Abraham unto Issac.
4.1-3 Chief Abraham grabbed PO3 Issac to throw him into the wardroom, but an Engineer sent from Rickover stayed his hand. And there, caught in the passageway was a RAM 3400. Chief Abraham took the RAM 3400 and placed in the wardroom and it was sacrificed at the critique.
Some good stuff. I'm looking forward to his next installment, "The Poopy-Suit of Many Colors".

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Home For Thanksgiving

This past week saw the return of the deployed submarines USS Alexandria (SSN 757) and USS Albany (SSN 753) (pictured below) to their homeports in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm thankful for their safe return from war, but on this day I'm especially thankful for the men who remain on the front lines while we celebrate safely in our homes; thankful that they give of themselves on and under the oceans, in the air, or in far-off lands. I'm also thankful for their families who wait patiently for their return -- your support for these brave men and women is what gives them the strength to continue.

To you and yours from me and mine -- Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Zamboni In The Boise Burger King Drive-Thru -- A Guy's Perspective

A story from Boise that's making the rounds of the national "News of the Weird" circles caught my attention today:
Two employees have been fired from the city of Boise's ice skating rink after making a midnight fast-food run — in a pair of Zambonis — earlier this month.
The ice-groomer jockeys, both temporary city employees whose names and ages weren’t released by Boise Parks and Recreation, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.
An anonymous caller who alerted a telephone hot line set up by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was gassing up his car at a nearby service station at about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10 when he saw the Zambonis roll through a Burger King drive-through, order food, and then return to the skating rink.
The rubber-tired vehicles, whose top speed is about 5 mph, drove about 1 1/2 miles in all, said Parks Department Director Jim Hall.
“They were fired immediately,” Hall said. “We’re pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn’t seem to be too concerned about it. I don’t think they understood the seriousness of it. Even if they had felt bad about it, they’re not going to be employed here.”
The incident was reported on a Web log,, whose author, David Frazier, has fought City Hall over such issues as whether the city must ask voters before going into debt to build an airport parking garage.
A manager at the Burger King contacted Wednesday confirmed the incident happened, but declined to comment further.
While these guys were being stupid, and they were punished for it, I actually support what they did. Why? It's because I, too, am a guy. Not a man, like Boise Guardian author Dave Frazier, whose post made sure this story got public attention for the purpose of trying to stifle further guy creativity. Seriously, who would you rather be in 30 years when his grandkids ask him what he did in the Naughties? Which would you rather say: "I exposed inefficiencies in Boise City government", or "I drove a Zamboni through a Burger King drive-through"? Speaking as a guy who once wasted government resources by paging my boss six times in two hours with "Low Battery" pages (resulting in the discarding of two sets of perfectly good pager batteries), I'd chose the latter. I think most submariners who were never ORSE Board members would chose the same.

Hopefully the Internet's defender of guy-dom, Dave Barry, will give these guys the props they deserve.

Update 1808 22 Nov: This just in -- an actual, totally non-photoshopped picture of the incident! Must credit Bubblehead!

Why would anyone want to harsh these guy's mellows?

Update 1819 22 Nov: Speaking of Burger King, how long did it take you to notice what was wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Update On JDS Asashio

The Japanese training submarine JDS Asashio, which collided with a Panamanian-flagged chemical tanker yesterday, has pulled into port for inspection. From the article:
The Asashio was cruising submerged with its periscope up when the crew felt a shock. It made contact with the tanker at around 9:49 a.m. Because the sub crew did not immediately realize the cause of the impact, it maintained course, the MSDF officials said.
According to the Japan Coast Guard, the tanker also kept to its course, unaware that the impact it felt came from a submarine.
Later in the day, the tanker arrived at Shibushi port in Kagoshima Prefecture to undergo an inspection, and the Asashio arrived at Aburatsu port, as instructed by Japan Coast Guard, for questioning, the MSDF said.
The article also has a picture of the sub's damaged rudder; I wouldn't want to submerge in that thing until it gets fixed:

(Note for non-submariners: The rudder is supposed to be vertical.)

Staying at PD...

People Need To Settle Down

I wasn't surprised this weekend when a meme spread through the "progressive" side of the 'net that resurrected the "we're about to attack Iran with the Eisenhower and Enterprise Strike Groups" pre-election scare. This seemed to get a new jump-start from an article by former Gary Hart military advisor William Lind saying that:
Sources indicate increasing indications of 'something big' happening between the Nov. 7 congressional election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.
This was coupled with an article by someone named Dr. Elias Alkeh that said:
The US and NATO countries had amassed the largest military armada in the Middle East. The US armada consists of Carrier Strike Group 12 led by nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Eisenhower Strike Group – another nuclear powered aircraft carrier with accompanied military vessels and submarines, Expeditionary Strike Group 5 with multiple attack vessels led by aircraft carrier USS Boxer, the Iowa Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, and the US Coast Guard. Canada has sent its anti-submarine HMCS Ottawa frigate to join the American Armada in the Persian Gulf. On October 1st the USS Enterprise Striking Group had crossed the Suez Canal to Join NATO armada at the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Emphasis mine. As usual, the moonbats had no clue about how normal military deployments actually work, and decided that a routine Strike and Expeditionary Strike Group relief indicated that we were about to attack Iran. Interestingly, the wailing and gnashing of teeth continued throughout the 'net throughout the weekend, despite the fact that the Enterprise pulled back into her homeport of Norfolk on Saturday.

I'm not surprised that the tin-foil hat crowd continued to bray about the issue without regard to the facts, but I'm kind of surprised that the very respected Hugh Hewitt asked about the "four carriers in the Gulf" reports, and as of this posting, none of his commenters had mentioned that the Enterprise had come home.

For those who were still wondering -- no, we're not about to attack Iran. If we were, there would be warning signs that people experienced with the military would recognize. I'm not seeing any of them.

Somewhat off topic, the aforementioned William Lind used to be fairly influential before his tinfoil hat cut off circulation to his brain; I remember him addressing the NROTC unit at the University of Kansas when I was there back in the mid-80s. Back then, he talked about how we needed to switch from nuclear subs to diesel ones. He's still pushing that point (using the recent Kitty Hawk v. Chinese Song-class sub encounter as a goad) in an article he put out today. In it, he says:
Another lesson is that diesel-electric subs can be as effective or more effective than nuclear boats in same situations. The U.S. Navy hates the very idea of non-nuclear submarines and therefore pretends they don't count for much. You can buy four to eight modern diesel-electric submarines for the cost of a single American "U-cruiser" nuke boat.
At this point, the Chinese sub's successful interception of our carrier does raise an interesting question: how was that sub in the right position to make an interception? What a nuclear submarine can do but a diesel-electric sub cannot is undertake along, high-speed chase. Was it just dumb luck the Chinese sub was were we were in effect ran into it? Or were the Chinese able to coordinate the sub's movement over time with successful tracking of our carrier battle group? If the latter is the case, the Chinese Navy may be starting to become a real navy instead of just a collection of ships. That transformation is far more important than whether China has this or that piece of equipment. It won't happen fast, but it bears watching.
Or does it? The somewhat regrettable message from the world of real war, Fourth Generation war, is that deep-water battles or prospective battles between navies means little if anything. Speculating about the balance between U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and Chinese submarines is like wondering what would happen at Trafalgar if the French Admiral Villeneuve's van had responded immediately to his signal to wear and support the center of the Allies' line, or Admiral Gravina had led his Squadron of Observation straight for the British Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's column. It's fun to think about -- personally, I enjoyed it immensely -- but c'est ne pas la guerre: It isn't war. Control of coastal and inland waters may play highly important roles in Fourth Generation war, but deep water naval battles like the Glorious First of June, if they occur, will be jousting contests, with broomsticks. In real war, the U.S. Coast Guard may be more useful than the U.S. Navy.
That is the real lesson of the Chinese sub incident: the U.S. Navy, like the U.S. Air Force, without a torpedo fired or a single dogfight, is on its way to Davy Jones's Locker through sheer intellectual inanition. Preparing endlessly for another carrier war in the Pacific against the Imperial Japanese navy, it has become a historical artifact.
Normally, I'd feel the need to argue against his thesis, but based on his demonstrated idiocy discussed above, I don't feel it's necessary. If you have the desire to either agree or disagree with him, though, feel free to start a discussion in the comments.

Update 2305 21 Nov: For those who like to get ahead of the game, here's the next thing the moonbats will be holding up as "proof" we're about to attack Iran:
Stennis, Reagan Strike Groups Join Forces, Make Carrier Task Force

Here's what they'll say: Two carriers never work together! The John C. Stennis is about to deploy, even though they just finished an overhaul last year! Bush is a warmonger! It's all Israel's fault! (Actually, they say that last one about any news item.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Little Ship, Big Ocean

In what many may see as an ironic accident, a Japanese submarine, JDS Asashio (SS 589 / TSS 3601), reportedly brushed against a Panamanian-flagged 4,000 ton merchant, the M/V Spring Auster, while surfacing off the southern coast of Kyushu earlier today (tomorrow on the other side of the dateline). From the AP report:
None of its crew of 16 Philippine nationals and a South Korean was hurt, but the extent of the damage was not immediately known, he said.
No injuries were reported among the 75 crew on the submarine Asashio. It apparently hit the ship's hull while surfacing, and the top part of the submarine's aft fin had been dented by the impact, the defense spokesman said.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The submarine had re-submerged and was expected to enter a nearby defense port for inspection, he said.
Coast Guard officials made radio contact with the Spring Auster, whose crew reported feeling a small impact. They maintained course because no other vessel was in sight, Nagasaki said.
Interestingly, lists the Asashio as a training submarine; it's apparently the newest of the Harushio-class boats. While it's hard to tell exactly what happened from this report, it looks to me like they came to PD underneath the merchant in preparation for surfacing. This would be a different scenario than when USS Greeneville (SSN 772) sank the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru -- they did an emergency blow into the surface ship, which packs a much bigger wallop. Luckily for all involved, a controlled ascent to PD involves much lower forces in the event of a collision.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Old Technology Trumps New

Earlier today, I was telling my family about a story I remember reading back in my hometown newspaper about 20-25 years ago. It seems that at this amusement park somewhere in the South, the most popular ride was called "The Whirl" -- it was some sort of rotating contraption. The story went that the ride seized up just before Christmas break, which was one of the park's most busy times. The local mechanics looked at the ride, but couldn't figure out what was wrong; so, the company called the original manufacturer, who sent out a technician, who I think was named "Joey".
Anyway, Joey showed up, and could tell immediately what the problem was -- they had been using a new synthetic lubricant for the rotating gears. He said that the new stuff would break down in less than half the time of the lubricant called for in the specs: animal fat. So, he told the park management to get about 50 pounds of lard, and he'd get it up and running in no time.
While they sent someone out to find that, he took the time to check out the other equipment in the park that his company had made. The animal fat came back sooner than expected, and the park manager was frantic to get "The Whirl" back up and running. "Where's Joey?", he asked. No one knew, so he went to the park's PA system and made an announcement:

"Joey, to The Whirl -- the lard has come!"

HP And The OOTP Teaser Trailer

[Intel Source: Right Mind] For all you Harry Potter fans out there -- a 1 minute "teaser trailer" that was clearly taken by someone with a portable camera in a theater.

Less than eight months until the 5th movie comes out, and probably about the same amount of time until the 7th book.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Movie Review: "Casino Royale"

While I've always been a James Bond fan, the last two movies really let me down; while you normally have to suspend disbelief a little bit, they were just over the top. (I admit that my opinion might be slanted because of the absolutely ridiculous submarine finale of "The World Is Not Enough".) I like the films in which Bond is portrayed as the cold-blooded assassin, because let's face it -- that's what he is. Needless to say, I didn't like Roger Moore as Bond.

The makers of Casino Royale were smart -- they "reset" the Bond character back to the beginning of his "00" career, and set it in the present day. While I was disappointed that they seemed to imply that his military background was in the SAS rather than the Navy, everything else worked very well. You get the feeling that Bond is still "learning the ropes" as a Double-O; he makes mistakes, he studies his face in the mirror, he wonders if he's losing his soul -- in other words, the character is more complex than we've seen him in quite a while. (My oldest son thought it made him too "wussified", but I thought it made for a better story.)

The new Bond, Daniel Craig, did a good job -- I'm not saying that he did better than Sean Connery would have done in his prime with the same script, but he was believable as Bond. SubBasket thought he was quite good looking and buff; I had no opinion on that score.

One quick spoiler: If you see it, don't start collecting your stuff to leave when Bond is canoodling with the girl after the mission is "done" -- there's still quite a bit of movie left. Overall, I think it was my favorite Bond movie ever -- even better than From Russia With Love -- and probably the best movie I've seen all year. I give it 4 1/2 thigh-clenching torture scenes out of five.

Ninme Turns Two!

It's Ninme's 2nd blogiversary -- head on over, congratulate her, and tell her it's time she revealed what "Ninme" means...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nice Picture Of The Ohio

It's a few weeks old, but here's a Navy NewsStand picture of USS Ohio (SSGN 726) in the Hood Canal last month:

If you download the high-res version here, you'll be able to clearly see both of the Dry Deck Shelters. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the SSGN conversion to point out any other obvious changes from a normal T-hull, but maybe some of my readers can.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did You Ever Worry About This?

Over at Navy NewsStand, they have a good picture of USS Asheville (SSN 758) as she was participating in the U.S.-Japan ANNUALEX that made the news this week because of the Chinese sub that was poking around. Here's the picture:

Do you notice anything? Other than the fact that Asheville seems to have had her B1rD system removed, nothing seems out of the ordinary. However, take a look at this blown-up portion of the picture, focusing on the bridge:

It still looks normal, and that's the problem. Many of us have stood watch on the bridge just like these guys, on the 751 and later boats. Look again -- where is the radar going to be pointing when it rotates another 270 degrees? How high off the top of the bridge is the radar elevated, and where does that correspond to the bodies of the people standing on top of the sail? You can see where I'm going here...

On surface ships, they have to tag out their radars whenever someone goes aloft. On subs, since there's no room to do that, they just had us stand there right in the middle of the beam without even giving us lead underwear. And we all thought that the reactor was the thing that was going to mess with our future kid's DNA...

This is just another in the long list of reasons that Sub Pay wasn't nearly as much as it should have been.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's That Time Of Year Again

The 2006 Weblog Awards

The 2006 Weblog Awards are here! Last year, we had WillyShake, bothenook, and Alex Nunez nominated from the submarine blogosphere; this year, we hope to have even more finalists. To nominate someone, find the appropriate category and post a comment with the blog's name, URL, and RSS feed (if available). For example, here's what you'd post if you wanted to nominate, say, me in some category:

The Stupid Shall Be Punished

The hyperlinks get automatically added when you post your comment (Typepad does that), so all you'd have to do, theoretically, is copy and paste. For example, I nominated Ninme in the "Best of the Top 6751-8750 Blogs" Category because she has a really, really good blog. To find out where a blog is ranked in the TTLB Ecosystem, either find them on this list, or search around their blog and click on their TTLB link.

Let's start the circular nomination process! Just remember to get your nominations in by November 24th.

Another Submariner On The "Net

Through my referrer's log, I found Jim C. at DCS Security. Maybe we can convince him to share some of his submarine stories.

Update 2327 17 Nov: Jim's put some good submarine stuff up, here and here. The first link is a story that everyone should like -- it's about a NUB Ensign standing watch back in Maneuvering.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Save The Cheerleader... Save The World"

Without a doubt, the best new television show this season is "Heroes". Those of us with a "Y" chromosome in the Bubblehead household watch it religiously, and we think we've figured out which way the storyline is going...

Deepdiver delivered the breakthrough when he picked up that Radioactive Guy said that he might "blow up like an atomic bomb" if he got killed. We realized that the nuclear explosion Hiro saw in the future in Manhattan probably wasn't a terrorist bomb (this is a Hollywood production, after all, and they certainly couldn't have terrorists committing attacks against the U.S. -- only Homeland Security agents would be allowed to do that), but instead was Radioactive Guy blowing up. That's when we realize why they need to "save the cheerleader" -- she can heal herself, but she can probably also heal others, but just doesn't know it yet. Either that, or Whiny Brother can use his "leech" ability to heal Radioactive Guy, and keep him from exploding, as long as the Cheerleader is close enough. We're pretty sure that Reaches Through Walls Dad and Electronic Circuit-Fixing Son will be needed to get the team of heroes into the Secret Government Prison where Radioactive Guy is being held; also, Reads Minds Cop will be needed to figure out that Hot Girl is working for the bad Cheerleader's Dad guy (who is probably a Government Agent). We're thinking that Hiro will be able to save Google Girl, and she'll do something useful. We still can't figure out how Jumps High Politician or Junkie Artist will be needed for the climax, but they'll probably fit in somehow -- maybe they'll distract Crazy Nutjob Mom. And we hope that Boring Indian Professor has been written out of the storyline long before it gets to that point.

We can't wait to see how it turns out...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

USS Kitty Hawk And The Chinese Sub

The Drudge Report has a headline up right now saying: "PAPER: CHINA SUB STALKS USS KITTY HAWK". There's no link yet, and my search of my standard link sources doesn't turn anything up. So, this is pretty much a placeholder until something comes in. Of interest, the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), with portions of her Strike Group, just pulled into Sasebo last week as part of their group's "fall deployment". I expect the article will be some breathless claim that a Chinese sub was trailing the carrier. Absent from the article will be any indication that it's not tough at all for a submarine to trail a carrier; what's tough is doing it when they're at a heightened alert level and have a friendly submarine attached to them, without having the friendly submarine ready to take you out at any time.

Staying at PD...

Update 0513 13 Nov: Here's the article, from the Washington Times' Bill Gertz. It's even lamer than I thought; the Song-class diesel boat was spotted on the surface about five miles from the Kitty Hawk. So, either the Chinese were trying desperately to let us know that they could get that close to us, or this is another of a series of attempts by the Chinese to send their submarines farther afield where they just can't seem to stay undetected and/or submerged. Since they have nothing to gain by taunting us like that, I vote for the second option.

For some background: the Chinese were probably interested in checking out preparations for the Annualex 18G exercises taking place south of Kyushu. The media will probably try to make a big deal out of the presence of Asheville and Seawolf in the exercise, and claim that even our vaunted nuclear attack subs couldn't stop the Chinese sub from approaching the carrier. Even if that is true, it's more likely that the subs would have been some distance off, tasked with preparing for the exercise. To re-iterate: any decent diesel boat could approach this close to a carrier during peacetime. This doesn't mean they could do it during periods of heightened tensions. The Chinese Song-class sub is a tiny little 2,250 ton boat that is the first indigenously-designed Chinese boat; it's probably about two generations behind Western or Russian diesel boats.

Staying at PD...

Update 2303 13 Nov: It looks like ADM Fallon confirmed the basic accuracy of the facts presented in the story. Michelle Malkin, Allahpundit at Hot Air, and Daily Pundit collected some more reactions that are worth a read. Some of the comments to those posts are pretty good, and some are hilarious.

While I stand by my basic theory that this isn't necessarily something to get our panties in a wad about, there's one group I wanted to address specifically. If you're a Congressional staffer who's stumbled upon this post, you should forget everything I said above; your take-away should be: "I have to tell my boss to vote for more money for the Sub Force to counter the dangerous Chinese submarine threat."

Update 2359 13 Nov: Eric at The Sub Report blog adds his thoughts to the debate.

Update 2246 19 Nov: Vigilis at Molten Eagle has more thoughts.

Movie Reviews: "Flags Of Our Fathers", "One Night With The King", and "Borat"

After about a month of no movie-going, I tried to make up for it with a vengence this week by going to three. Here are my short thoughts on these movies, in the order I attended them:

Flags of our Fathers: This isn't one of those movies where you're going to walk out all energized and loving life. While the most fascinating sequences are the ones of combat action on Iwo Jima, the overall "downer" tone of the movie comes from the scenes of the surviving Iwo Jima flag-raisers trying to reconcile what they've seen with doing what's expected of them back home. The last 15 minutes are pretty much complete anti-climax, but I think they contain the heart of Eastwood's attempt to redefine what "heroism" really means. I've never been in land combat, but I've read a lot about Iwo Jima, and it seems like the movie does a pretty good job of showing what the fighting in this hellhole was actually like. Based on that, I'm really looking forward to Eastwood's "companion" piece, Letters from Iwo Jima, that's due out next year -- it purports to tell the story of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective.

One Night with the King: Basically, the story of Esther from the Old Testament. I liked it a lot; it was better than the standard Bible story movie, in that you didn't have a feeling that you were going to see a plane flying by in the distance at any time. They made some changes to the biblical story to make for a better movie narrative, but this didn't take away from the main themes: faith in God will be rewarded, and true love conquers all. (Off topic: Ever since we went to the movie, SubBasket has been asking when I'm going to become all bronzed and muscular like the King Xerxes character. I told her that's a ship that unfortunately has already sailed...)

Borat: I'm not sure where to begin here; I had read most of the reviews of the movie, so I wasn't as surprised (or shocked) as most of the audience by some of the stunts they pulled. Cutting to the chase: If you like South Park and the Monty Python movies (particularly "Life of Brian") you'll probably like Borat -- unless you really have something against nude men wrestling around in disturbing positions. If you're at all sensitive about having everything you hold dear being abused, though, you probably shouldn't go. The movie's been #1 for two weeks in a row now, and has spawned a couple of lawsuits, so it can't be all bad. (I don't think the lawsuit by the frat boys has any merit, although I think the Romanian villager who was filmed with the "rubber fist" sex toy taped to the stub of his arm has a better case.)

I can highly recommend the first two movies; as far as "Borat" goes, you'll have to decide for yourself.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thanks For Helping!

Thanks to everyone who contributed over the last few days, the Project Valour-IT Veterans Day 2006 fundraising drive was a success; as of 2300 EST, the four teams have combined to raise over $180,000 to help our injured troops.

If you haven't contributed yet, there's still time; I recommend helping Team Air Force, since they're still a little short of their goal.

Happy Veterans Day

Eighty-eight years ago today, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, America's first great overseas crusade came to a successful end. Each year on the anniversary of this victory, we honor the service of all Veterans. Here's part of what the Secretary of the Navy, Donald Winter, had to say:
On Veteran’s Day, America honors those who have served in uniform. It is a day that reminds us that a nation’s freedom exists only as long as its citizens are willing to defend it.
Throughout our history, brave Americans have answered the call to duty in defense of this nation. Those who have fallen while following this path of honor will forever live as heroes in the annals of American history, and we will always stand humbled by their sacrifice. You who serve today do so willingly with unbounded dedication -- stepping forward to ensure that the freedom we enjoy as a nation is protected from those who wish to take it away.
America’s destiny as a beacon of liberty in a turbulent world is built on the courage and patriotic devotion of all who serve. Let us resolve to be worthy of the sacrifices made by our nation’s veterans.
The message sent out by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is here. To all those who've served, or loved those who did: Thank you for supporting our freedoms.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Helping Out The Marines

Thanks to everyone's great participation (plus a little assist from Power Line), Team NAVY has reached our goal of collecting $45K for the Project Valour-IT Veterans Day 2006 fundraising drive. Now, it's time for the Navy to do what they do best, and help get the Marines to where they need to go. If you have a little change left over to help provide Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops, just click on the "Make A Donation" button below -- you'll be helping out some people who really need it, plus helping out the U.S. Marines on their birthday.

You can still bid on the most excellent stuff over at the Valour-IT auction, including the USS Seawolf coins I have up for bid -- that auction closes tomorrow morning, though, so you'll have to hurry.

Update 2347 10 Nov: It turns out that I was a little confused about the time conversion, so the auction for my items actually ended late tonight (Mountain time). Seawitch from Thoughts By Seawitch was the high bidder, donating $100 to Project Valour-IT, and now finds herself the proud owner some some high quality USS Seawolf memorabilia.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

From The SecVet: Wear Your Medals On Saturday

From the Department of Veterans Affairs website:

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson called on veterans across the country to pin on their military medals Saturday as a show of patriotism on Veterans Day.
"On this holiday we honor the 24 million among us who once wore our nation’s uniforms to serve the cause of liberty," he said. "By displaying their medals, veterans can band together again by to show their pride in America and its Armed Forces on this special day."
Nicholson launched the "Veterans Pride Initiative” for Veterans Day 2006 to encourage the wearing of military medals as a gesture of patriotism. Veterans are urged to show their medals no matter what they are doing on Veterans Day, but especially when attending public events. Nicholson said he hopes to see the movement become a tradition.
Additional information about the initiative is featured at VA's Web site at, where veterans can also learn how to replace mislaid medals or confirm the decorations to which they are entitled.
Nicholson said he hopes veterans will sustain the trend by wearing medals on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, and continue to show pride in their military service on these patriotic holidays for years to come.
Major U.S. veterans organizations joined Nicholson at a recent kickoff to endorse the Veterans Pride Initiative.
They even have a poster publicizing the initiative (as a large PDF file; next year, they should make it a reasonably-sized .jpg to help us bloggers):

Personally, I never updated my large medal rack after about 1999 (I never had occasion to wear them after the Connecticut's commissioning -- I did my retirement in summer whites) and I know I'm missing at least one miniature medal. Still, I think if I go out in public I might at least wear my dolphins on Saturday...

NPTU Ballston Spa Shutdown

It appears that a regular maintenance shutdown at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory Kesselring Site ("NPTU Ballston Spa" to us Nucs) is lasting a lot longer than planned:
The reactors were shut down several weeks ago for regular maintenance, said spokesman Gene Terwilliger. But six large water valves were discovered to be improperly installed. Removing and reinstalling them will mean a much longer shutdown than inspection crews had at first anticipated.
``Normally, we would have been back up by now,'' Terwilliger said.
He said the valves would have operated normally but may have malfunctioned over the long term had the problem not been discovered and fixed. He said the issue did not pose any safety risk, to workers at the site or to the public.
But it does pose an inconvenience for 80 Navy personnel who had been training at Kesselring. Kesselring is operated by Lockheed Martin on a contract with the Navy to train sailors how to operate nuclear reactors that power submarines and aircraft carriers. Eighty personnel training in Milton were transferred to another training site in South Carolina, Terwilliger said.
The "transferring the students" part is what says it'll be a long shutdown. Reading between the lines, this is just a standard example of Naval Reactors being their normal anal selves -- which, in nuclear power, is a Good Thing (especially for the land-based prototypes).

And since a lot of the staff there won't be as busy for the foreseeable future as they would have been with students around, they might have more time to contribute to the Veteran's Day 2006 Fundraising Drive for Project Valour-IT -- there are only a couple of days left, and Team NAVY has a very tight lead to defend. And most importantly -- you don't have to be from NPTU Ballston Spa to contribute by hitting the "Make A Donation" button on the right.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Election Day

Voting is one of the greatest freedoms we have. For Idaho voters, I encourage you to vote for Jerry Brady over "Butch" Otter for Governor, and for those in the 1st Congressional District, I likewise encourage you to vote for Larry Grant over Bill Sali as our new Congressman. I've written before about why I support Larry Grant, but as good as Larry is, an equally good reason to support him is because of how bad a candidate Mr. Sali is. Despite his promise, on statewide TV, to reveal his position on Proposition 2, he still has not done so. I don't think there's any doubt that the reason for his reticence is his desire to avoid going against his New York bankrollers / leash-holders who paid petition signature collectors to get the issue on the ballot. More than 8 times as much money has been spent in support of Mr. Sali from out of state as he has collected from Idahoans -- that should tell you where his bread is buttered. He's the wrong man at the wrong time.

Update 0007 07 Nov: On Sunday, I predicted, for the record, to my son and wife that the Dolphins would beat the Bears, but since I didn't put it on my blog, it didn't really count as a "public" prediction. (And yes, I did it before the game started. I just figured that the Dolphins always seem to beat Chicago when the Bears have a chance to go undefeated -- at least, they did in 1985.) Therefore, I'll put out for public abuse my predictions for this election: I think the Dems will pick up 22 House seats and 4 Senate seats, leaving control of the chambers split -- which I think is a good thing.

As far as the Idaho races go, I really don't have a good enough feel of how us Idahoans vote in close elections to make an educated guess.

Update 1103 07 Nov: Despite my earlier threat to cast a straight Democratic ballot, I ended up voting for a few Republicans -- none in any of the competitive races, however. (I don't consider the Lt. Gov. race, where the current Governor is running for his old job, as competitive.) I voted at 10:30am (I had a 7am meeting, so I took a long lunch), and the polling place was busier than I've ever seen it by a factor of 5. Since I'm in one of the most conservative precincts in the state, I'm not sure if that's a "good" thing for Democrats. More later tonight after I get back from work.

Update 2217 07 Nov: Updates on the results as they come in are in the extended entry.

Based on the long lines reported in Idaho, I'd say it looks pretty good for the Democrats; people don't wait hours to vote to maintain the status quo. With control of the House going to the Dems, it looks like the big question here in Idaho is whether we're going to be represented by a powerless minority party extremist or someone who provides an important moderating influence on the new Democratic majority. Early returns can be found here.

Update 2240 07 Nov: The link to the Secretary of State's statewide election results page is here. Sali's ahead by about 3%, but doing much worse than Otter, so when the more Democratic parts of the state come in, it should start trending to Grant.

Update 2252 07 Nov: According to the Idaho Statesman results page, Larry Grant has a 2,700 vote lead (11.1K to 8.4K), but the SoS office still has Sali with a 900 vote lead (9.9K vs. 9.0K). Strange...

Update 2302 07 Nov: Speaking of elections, Team NAVY has taken a huge lead in the Project Valour-IT Veteran's Day fundraising drive, providing Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops. (Team NAVY got a big push when the guys at Power Line joined the team.) Now that you don't have to give money to candidates anymore, you should consider donating to this worthy cause by clicking the "Make A Donation" button to the right.

Update 2331 07 Nov: Believe it or not, CNN seems to have the most useful graphic, showing in one place how all the counties are voting. The fact that Sali's only getting 50% of the vote in Canyon County should be very encouraging for Grant supporters.

Update 2346 07 Nov: Dennis Mansfield is providing commentary and results from Republican Party HQ, and Jill Kuraitis is doing the same from where the Dems are meeting.

Update 0035 08 Nov: The Congressional race for the district that includes Subase New London is very close -- the Republican incumbent, Robert Simmons, is down by 239 votes with 97% of the precincts reporting.

Here in the Idaho 1st District, Larry Grant is behind by 1,200 votes with 59% reporting, but based on which counties are still to report, it looks like Sali might just pull it out; I doubt he'll get 50% of the vote, though, so it won't exactly be a ringing mandate in a district that voted 68% for President Bush two years ago.

Update 0050 08 Nov: Unfortunately, I've gotta work tomorrow, so I'll have to find out how it all turns out in the morning. It's looking like control of the Senate will come down to the recount in Virginia; I'll admit that I would have rather had split chambers than Dem control of both, but hopefully this will convince the national Republican leaders that they need to make some changes -- and fast.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bill Whittle Speaks -- Of A Child's Longing For Submarines

[Intel Source: Chapomatic] The incomparable Bill Whittle has emerged from wherever he hides at to grace us with another essay. This one starts out with a topic we all know about -- how submarines are so completely fascinating to children:

I grew up on an island. I was in the water almost every day. I wanted this Polaris Nuclear Sub more than I wanted the sun to rise. I had picked out a grotto where I could keep it docked. Taking the ferry across the bay from Hamilton, I would look over the rail in anticipation of the day when I would shadow that churning wake, the periscope a thin reed lost in the foam, pursuing those fat clueless prefects into a perfect firing position and their watery graves!

And I am not alone. In finding this picture, I discovered that there are thousands of boys like myself, begging and pleading for the six dollars and ninety-eight cents it costs to build a fully functional, 7-foot, 2-man nuclear submarine that had:

•Controls that work!
•Rockets that fire!
•Real Periscope!
•Firing torpedoes!
•Electrically lit instrument panel!

I stared at this ad for months and months on end as a small boy. And though I must have read each word a thousand times, I have no memory of the phrase “sturdily constructed of 200 lb. test fibreboard!” It finally fell to my father to inform me that “200 lb test fibreboard!” is, in fact, garden-variety cardboard. My immediate response was “but wouldn’t that get all soggy out in the ocean?” And I am deeply ashamed to admit that after all that time, it is only now, in posting this on the internet at 47 years of age, that I realized for the first time that the damn Polaris Nuclear Submarine doesn’t even have a propeller.

Well, that’s seven-year-old boys for you. Had I been so inclined, I was certainly smart enough to have determined that one could not build a Polaris Nuclear Sub with missiles and firing torpedoes and all the rest for $6.98. All $6.98 would buy you in 1967 was a cardboard box painted like a submarine.
Bill goes on to give a logic lesson to the loony left. Like all his writings, it's worth the time to sit back and give it a good read. You'll be glad you did.

And after you're done, make sure to vote tomorrow -- and, if you have time left over, please consider making a contribution to Project Valour-IT by clicking the "Make A Donation" button to the right. That's another thing you'll be glad you did.

CSS 17 Commodore Relieved

I haven't heard any "behind the scenes" info yet, but the Commodore of SubRon 17, Capt. Scott Bawden, has been relieved for the standard "...loss of confidence in his ability to remain in command". From the Navy Times article:
No further information on the relief was provided by Group 9 officials.
Capt. Brian McIlvaine, the deputy squadron commander, will assume temporary command.
Bawden commanded a squadron comprised of ballistic missile submarines Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Nebraska, Louisiana and Henry M. Jackson and the attack boats Columbus and San Francisco.
He took command of the squadron on June 17, 2005.
When we last heard of Capt. McIlvaine (my old XO on the Connecticut) he had taken temporary command of USS Columbus (SSN 762). As of now, there's no indication that Capt. Bawden's firing had anything to do with the hazing problems on the Columbus, but that would be a good guess as to the initiating event -- whenever you have something like that happen, you end up with a whole bunch of investigating types from higher authority crawling around with microscopes, and something bad in normally bound to turn up.

If anything gets announced, the Military Life blog at the Kitsap Sun will probably have it first.

Staying at PD...

Update 0002 07 Nov: Elaine Helm at the Military Life blog writes that CSG9 is saying the relief wasn't because of the Columbus hazing incident. We'll see...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Son Of Bubblehead On The Blue Turf

High school football is over for the season for those of us here in south Meridian, Idaho, but we still have our memories of the season gone by. One of mine is seeing my oldest son (#63) playing on the famous blue "Smurf turf" at Boise State:

Orson Scott Card On The War And The Election

[Intel Source: Instapundit] Mormon sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card recently wrote a very interesting essay on the importance of this election with respect to the War. An excerpt:
What really scares me is the 2008 election. The Democratic Party is hopeless -- only clowns seem to be able to rise to prominence there these days, while they boot out the only Democrats serious about keeping America's future safe. But the Republicans are almost equally foolish, trying to find somebody who is farther right than Bush -- somebody who will follow the conservative line far better than the moderate Bush has ever attempted -- and somebody who will "kick butt" in foreign policy.
So if we get one of the leading Democrats as our new President in 2009, we'll be on the road to pusillanimous withdrawal and the resulting chaos in the world.
While if we elect any of the Republicans who are extremist enough to please the Hannity wing of the party, our resulting belligerence will likely provoke Islam into unifying behind one of the tyrants, which is every bit as terrifying an outcome.
I hope somebody emerges in one of the parties, at least, who commits himself or herself to continuing Bush's careful, wise, moderate, and so-far-successful policies in the War on Terror.
(Note that he says "policies", vice "tactics", in describing President Bush's successes in the GWOT.) While I disagree with his assumptions about Tuesday's elections (I think the new Democratic House majority will be too scared of being labelled "defeatists" before 2008 to reduce funding for the war effort), he makes some good points about the next Presidential election. Personally, I'm expecting both parties to nominate goofballs, which could allow something like a McCain-Lieberman "Party of Realism" to emerge in the middle. (This realism is represented in the 1st Idaho Congressional District by Larry Grant.) In the meantime, hopefully the shock of losing control of the House will jolt the Republicans back into reality, and allow the realists to get control of the Party away from the Incompetent Right that's currently in charge (as represented in the 1st Idaho Congressional District by Bill Sali).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Project Valour-IT Update: Now With Submarine Items You Can Bid On!

While Team Navy isn't doing quite as well in the interservice competition as we'd hoped in the Project Valour-IT Veteran's Day 2006 fundraising challenge, it's clear we have the momentum. How can we not, with Frank J. of IMAO on our side? It's obvious that one thing is needed to put Team Navy over the top: more submariners. It's easy to join Team Navy; if you have a blog, just click here and follow the written procedure -- submariners are good at that.

One area where the Navy has taken the lead is in submitting items to be auctioned off to benefit Project Valour-IT. Lex and Chap both have several items up for bids, and I'm putting a lot up as soon as I'm done with this post. And what will I be offering? Only the best in submarine SWAG: a collection of three items associated with USS Seawolf's Alpha Trials and Commissioning. In addition to a commissioning coin and rare commemorative keychain that doubled as a VIP ticket to the SSN 21's postponed commissioning scheduled for Nov. '96 (she was actually commissioned in July '97) I have an actual Alpha Trials coin. These were given out by EB only to those who were actually onboard for the Alpha Trials; what makes this coin even more valuable is that EB only made up the coins for 1st of a class Alpha Trials; for SSN 22's, I think I remember everyone getting a commemorative pen. Anyway, here's a picture of the loot:

Head on over to the Valour-IT auction page if you'd like to bid on these pieces of recent submarine history! And if you've got a lot of stuff cluttering up your closets, please consider getting rid of it for a good cause. Or, just hit the button to the right to make a contribution now.

Go Team Navy!

Update 2053 05 Nov: Ken over at SmadaNek has the most current update...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Navy Times Publishers To Call For SecDef Resignation

Breaking on, it's being reported that Army Times Publishing, which publishes Navy Times along with independent newspapers for the other three services, will call for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's resignation:
"Basically, the editorial says, it's clear now, from some of the public statements that military leaders are making, that he's lost the support and respect of the military leadership," said Robert Hodierne, senior managing editor for the publications' parent company Army Times Publications.
"That they're starting to go public with that now, with their disagreements, added up with all of the other missteps we believe he's made, that it's time for him to be replaced,"...
Not that it'll do any good, but it's a start.

Update 1755 04 Nov: Rumsfeld (actually, the ASD for Public Affairs, but I'm sure the Secretary had some input) responds here (currently on top, but no permalink to the individual story).

Not Your Grandpa's Diesel Gageboard

Or even your Dad's... unless your Dad works on one of the Virginia-class boats. Going through the SSN photo archives at Navy NewsStand, I found this picture of the SSN 774's LCD diesel gageboard from back in 2004:

Not even the Seawolf-class boats I served on had something this "fou-fou" for the diesel. Another picture of the gageboard with its surroundings is here.

Update 2315 04 Nov: For comparison purposes, a reader sent in a picture of USS Sturgeon's Diesel Gageboard, ca. 1994:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Moonbats: Wrong Again!

Back in September, the moonbat universe was a-twitter with the word that President Bush had come up with the nastiest "October Surprise" yet: he was going to attack Iran with two (!) Carrier Strike Groups! In a move that I guess they thought was totally unprecedented, the Eisenhower Group was going to be joining up with the Enterprise Group for relief in place. Here's what the main moonbat said we should watch for:
One solid indication that the dispatch of the Eisenhower is part of a force buildup would be if the carrier Enterprise--currently in the Arabian Sea, where it has been launching bombing runs against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and which is at the end of its normal six-month sea tour--is kept on station instead of sent back to the United States. Arguing against simple rotation of tours is the fact that the Eisenhower's refurbishing and its dispatch were rushed forward by at least a month. A report from the Enterprise on the Navy's official website referred to its ongoing role in the Afghanistan fighting, and gave no indication of plans to head back to port. The Navy itself has no comment on the ship's future orders.
Well, today the Navy did comment -- the Enterprise Strike Group is on their way back home. Of course, it's obvious what happened; because the vigilant moonbats publicized Karl Rove's evil plan, he had to cancel it. Instead, he used is Rovian Mind Control Rays to make Sen. Kerry sound like an elitist boob. That darn Rove!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Project Valour-IT: The Navy (And The Troops) Need Your Help!

I'm a little late getting started on this, but a good portion of the mil-blogosphere has been taking part in one of the best causes I've seen: fund-raising for Project Valour-IT. Here's what the Project's all about:
Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of voice-activated laptops for wounded servicemembers. As of October 2006, Valour-IT has distributed nearly 600 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country.
During its initial phase, Valour-IT created "libraries" of laptops equipped with voice-controlled software for the severely wounded staying at major military medical centers. In many cases a laptop was provided to a wounded hero for permanent use...
Quite a few Navy bloggers are already involved in supporting this effort, including Chapomatic, SMASH, Neptunus Lex, and our illustrious leader for this effort, Curt at Chaotic Synaptic Activity. If you get a chance, hit the "Donate" button below (or to the right), and together we can make life a little brighter for our wounded heroes.

Find Of USS Wahoo Confirmed

The Navy has confirmed the reports I mentioned back in August and September -- the final resting place of the legendary WWII submarine USS Wahoo (SS 238) has been found. From the PacFleet press release:

"After reviewing the records and information, we are certain USS Wahoo has been located," said Adm. Gary Roughead, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander. “We are grateful for the support of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and appreciate greatly the underwater video footage of the submarine provided by our Russian navy colleagues, which allowed us to make this determination. This brings closure to the families of the men of Wahoo - one of the greatest fighting submarines in the history of the U.S. Navy."
In July, the Russian dive team “Iskra” photographed wreckage lying in about 213 feet (65 meters) of water in the La Perouse (Soya) Strait between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin. The divers were working with The Wahoo Project Group, an international team of experts coordinated by Bryan MacKinnon, a relative of Wahoo’s famed skipper, Cmdr. Dudley W. “Mush” Morton.
As I've mentioned before, it was "Mush" Morton who really taught the Sub Force how to fight. While we always "knew" it, we now have confirmation that he and his gallant men went down fighting. Now the families of these brave men can have some closure, and can know that their loved one's ship will be suitably honored:
The Navy has no plans to salvage or enter the Wahoo wreck. Naval tradition has long held that the sea is a fitting final resting place for Sailors lost at sea. The Sunken Military Craft Act protects military wrecks, such as Wahoo, from unauthorized disturbance.
Wahoo’s discovery comes on the heels of a similar discovery of USS Lagarto (SS 371), which the Navy confirmed was found in the Gulf of Thailand in June.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the brave men on Wahoo and to all of our WWII submariners who performed so magnificently during the war. Much of our submarine force heritage, and many of our traditions, can be traced back to their legacy.” said Rear Adm. Jay Donnelly, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “One of my favorite quotes is from Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz who, after the war, said: ‘We salute those gallant officers and men of our submarines who lost their lives in that long struggle. We shall never forget our submariners that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds.’”