Anyone Hear Anything About This?
During my visit to Democratic Underground for my morning giggle, I ran across a post that sent chills up my spine as I started reading it. I know that unsourced claims on DU are about the least-reliable "news" source around, but this one was so specific that it made me think the poster didn't just make it up. Basically, it said that the Navy had initiated SUBMISS procedures for USS San Juan (SSN 751) last night, but then she showed up this morning off the coast of Florida. Was this DUmmie just having an acid flashback when posting?
Update 0841 14 March: It looks like the DU poster wasn't on drugs. Here's a "Breaking News" story from The New London Day:
:Overnight, the family of crew members on the Groton-based USS San Juan got a scare when it appeared for a time that the submarine might have sunk.Thank God the ship and crew are safe.
Lt. Mark Jones, spokesman for Submarine Group Two, said this morning that the submarine and its crew are safe, but that during the night there were indications that the ship was in trouble.
The San Juan went out of communication while doing training exercises off the East Coast, and a flare was spotted, prompting the Navy to start up its rescue process and notify families.
Jones said that it is Navy policy to keep families informed and to make sure they are the first to know when something might have gone wrong.
Ships and aircraft from the Enterprise Strike Group searched the area where San Juan had been operating.
The sub established communications in the early morning hours today and indicated that there were no problems. The search-and-rescue operation was then canceled.
Update 1921 14 March: Here's an official SubLant statement on the incident. Excerpts:
During the early evening of March 13, units of the USS Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) received a series of indications that USS San Juan (SSN 751), a Los Angeles class submarine conducting pre-deployment training with the Enterprise CSG, was in distress.Many submariners are probably wondering if the surface ships in the area may have chosen to practice Functional Area A085 of the STG Navy Enlisted Occupational Standards. Depending how close they were to the Florida coast, though, the water may have been too shallow for that particular skill to be practiced effectively. Still, I'd assume that they would have used other FXP-1 methods to attempt to contact the San Juan. The San Juan's CO, CDR Mike Martin, was a Nuke School classmate of mine, so I hope nothing bad happens to him, career-wise, because of this.
Fortunately, the submarine established communications in the early morning hours of March 14, and indicated that there were no problems; hence, units were able to stand down from the search and rescue that was already well underway.
Losses of communications, followed by the reported sighting of a red flare, are distress indicators. These indicators, combined with establishing communications with only two of the three submarines operating with the Enterprise CSG, was sufficient information to activate missing submarine procedures.
Ships and aircraft from the Enterprise Strike group immediately commenced a search of the area where San Juan had been operating.
As always, The Sub Report has the best links.
Bell-ringer 0522 15 March: This story from The Day confirms that the San Juan had not actually fired off a flare, red or otherwise. Since the San Juan was providing OPFOR duties for the Enterprise Strike Group, the ESG staff wouldn't have know where the San Juan was supposed to be at any given time -- the SUBOPAUTH who was helping coordinate the exercise, along with 2nd Fleet, would know, however. I'm betting it turns out that there wasn't very good coordination in correlating the place where the flare was reported to come from with the San Juan's assigned waterspace. (If it turns out that San Juan did actually miss an assigned comms window, though, the boat still isn't off the hook.)