So Much To Blog... So Little Time
There are quite a few interesting things going on in the submarine world today, and here I am without enough time to blog about them. Hopefully I'll get back to them, but until then, here are some snippets:
1) The CO and former XO of the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN 708) received punitive letters of reprimand for the incident in which two crew members lost their lives when they were washed overboard late last year. From the Stars and Stripes:
Rear Adm. Jeff Fowler, commander of Submarine Group 8, conducted five nonjudicial punishment hearings Tuesday related to the Dec. 29 incident and issued letters of reprimand for the top two officers, said Lt. Chris Servello, a spokesman with Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet. Fowler dismissed charges against three other crewmembers: two officers and a chief petty officer, Servello said.From what I've heard about the accident, this seems like a fair resolution. I knew then-Captain Fowler when he was CSS-3, and I always thought he seemed like an outstanding leader. This decision on his part bears that out, IMHO.
The sub’s commander, Cmdr. Edwin Ruff, took command of the Minneapolis-St. Paul in December 2004. Servello declined to name the former executive officer, citing privacy laws. Typically, information on nonjudicial punishment hearings is not released publicly. The former executive officer had been replaced because of a normal rotational cycle, not because of the incident.
“The decision made today was made in the best interest of crew safety and future mission success,” Servello said when asked why Fowler decided to keep Ruff as commander.
2) My "favorite" writer for Soldiers For The Truth, Lt. Raymond Perry USN (Ret.), is still writing about submarines -- in this case, the recent collision between USS Newport News (SSN 750) and a Japanese tanker. I haven't had a chance to really check the article for evidence of asshattedness (only for poor spelling in the first 4 paragraphs, like "contruction" and "quntity"), but I expect to find some soon.
3) Today's the 52nd anniversary of USS Nautilus' first underway on nuclear power. Here's what I wrote for the 50th anniversary.
4) Strategy Page has a story up on the recent submarine accidents and the Stand Down. Part of it says that "...now the admirals are paying more attention to the chiefs (Chief Petty Officers, senior NCOs) complaints about how much tighter things were back-in-the-day." Whenever I asked crusty old Master Chiefs what things were like "back-in-the-day", they talked about a lot more grab-ass and significantly easier drill scenarios. So what's the real story? (Personally, I think it's a combination of 1) operating a lot closer to traffic lanes, and 2) having every little hiccup make the press, that's making it look like the Sub Force isn't doing as well nowadays.)
5) A reader pointed out this photo in the SubSim coverage of the USS Texas (SSN 775) media embark last August; the caption says: "The COB dispensing liberty passes". Look at the photo in the link above and see if you can see "what's wrong with this picture".
Doesn't it seem like there are a lot of petty officers with dolphins lining up for liberty cards? Was that just a photo op for the press, or is there some new requirement for qualified NCOs to have liberty cards?
6) Almost forgot this one -- a former Russian admiral has an explanation for the USS Newport News collision:
Former Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Edward Baltin said Tuesday that the presence of so many nuclear submarines in the Arab Gulf waters pointed to likely plans for a US attack against Iran.[Emphasis mine] And this guy's a former submariner, too. No wonder we kicked their asses in the Cold War.
Baltin, who was quoted by Interfax news agency, said the presence of US submarines in Gulf waters meant that Washington was contemplating a strike against Iran.
"The presence of the submarines indicates that Washington has not abandoned plans to launch a sudden attack against Iran," the admiral said.
He blamed Monday's collision between a US submarine and a Japanese sea liner near the Strait of Hormuz on the fact that US submarines needed to sail relatively higher than their usual depths to get clearer vision enabling them to zero in on likely targets.