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.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Naval Reactors: Still No Sense Of Humor

[Intel Source: The Sub Report] Lately, it seems like carrier Sailors have been turning out humorous "music videos" to improve morale and unit cohesion. So what happens when Sailors trying to do something to make their lives more enjoyable draw the attention of NR? Pretty much what you'd expect. From an article in today's San Diego Union-Tribune:
The Navy has pulled the plug on a YouTube video shot aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan because it shows sailors inappropriately using safety equipment, a Navy spokesman said.
The four-minute, 18-second music clip, titled “Women of CVN76: 'That Don't Impress Me Much,' ” was posted May 23 on the popular Web site for videos. It was viewed more than 31,000 times before its removal last week – reportedly at the urging of Adm. Kirkland Donald, the Navy's director of nuclear propulsion...
...The theme of the Reagan video, set to a tune by country singer Shania Twain, is that women serving aboard the Reagan can do the same jobs as men. Until 1994, the Pentagon barred women from serving on combat ships.
“The video was a lighthearted and positive depiction of the service of women officers and sailors aboard aircraft carriers and in Navy squadrons,” Brown said. “It showed the good humor and camaraderie of the ship's crew.”
But it also included fleeting shots of the door to the ship's nuclear power plant and of a sailor dancing while wearing a full-body radiation suit – items that might alarm the Navy's nuclear-propulsion officials, who are hypersensitive about the security. Under Pentagon rules, images of any part of a ship's nuclear plant cannot be shown to foreign nationals.
“The nuclear community is totally paranoid,” said Norman Polmar, an independent Navy analyst from Alexandria, Va. “They should be security conscious. But we're not the only people in the world with nuclear technology.”
Brown denied that anything in the video compromised operational security. What worried Navy officials, he said, was the “lack of propriety” in a few scenes involving the use of safety equipment.
Neither the Navy nor the ship's command sponsored the video, Brown said. But “Women of CVN76” spotlighted sailors from many departments of the carrier. Even the commanding officer, Capt. Terry Kraft, made a cameo appearance.
Brown said someone brought the video to the Navy's attention last week.
So how do you think NR would pass on their displeasure? Maybe a P4 message? Nope, they had to rub it in the CO's face as much as possible to show him who his boss really is.
Kraft was then summoned to the Pentagon for a meeting with Donald, a four-star flag officer who is near the top of the Navy's chain of command.
Betcha that makes sure that no carrier CO will ever appear in a video again. Wouldn't want to risk having something that might be viewed by potential recruits showing them that senior Navy officers have anything resembling a sense of humor.

Update 1049 18 Aug: I should point out that I'm still enough of a nuke to recognize that it was inappropriate for the Sailors to use safety or emergency equipment to have fun with; still, that could have been handled by having the command do training. Calling the CO in for a one-on-one with the Admiral (obviously not in the Pentagon, as the story says, but most likely at NR HQ) was the overkill I didn't like.


Anonymous ninme said...

Curses, I missed it. Did you see it?

8/18/2007 10:44 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

No, I didn't, unfortunately. If I had, I probably would have posted something about how NR was getting better to allow something like that to get posted -- and I'm sure I would have made fun of the surface Navy for misusing safety gear.

8/18/2007 10:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The title pretty much sums it up. What a waste of taxpayer money. (The plane ticket to DC)

8/18/2007 1:12 PM

Blogger ELP said...

Good grief. The Navy is excellent as-is. Cut them some slack. I doubt the people that made the video endorse improper use of anything critical to ship operations. The youtube videos have had better return on investment showing the Navy spirit than any gigadollar ad campaign ever will.

8/18/2007 2:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The admiral's humor deficient is probably job-related. He was pretty funny back in the day as XO of USS Seahorse. And he's still a lot more fun than Rickover.

8/18/2007 2:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A carrier CO is an aviator first and a nuke second, typically having gone through the nuclear power pipeline as a post-command O-5. Maybe Captain Kraft thought becoming a nuke simply meant that carrier landings had to be done at the FTN Mojo Pub instead of the Cubi Point O-Club? Or perhaps he simply slept through the "Nukes = No Fun" lecture at Nuclear Power School?

8/18/2007 2:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adm Donald was my C.O. on the USS Key West. He had a pretty good sense of humor back then. He howled when we duct taped a RO nicknames 'Bosco' to an ERFW pipe in ERUL. Ah, the things we did to pass the time.

I guess he lost his sense of humor when he took over Naval Reactors.

8/18/2007 2:57 PM

Blogger Daniel said...

This is offensive. Like the CO of a carrier has the time to waste to go and have a sit-down with the DNR over a silly rah-rah video. This couldn't have been resolved with a 5 minute phone call and a quick re-edit of the video? There are so many good things about the nuclear navy - the training and the people are two. NR, however, has always topped the list of the bad things. I understand why they have always been strict. However between their almost universal humorlessness and the idiocy that is the "critique" (presuming they haven't changed it recently), NR never impressed me.

8/18/2007 4:27 PM

Blogger Pig Boat said...

I should point out that I'm still enough of a nuke to recognize that it was inappropriate for the Sailors to use safety or emergency equipment to have fun with

Dude, seriously?

I guess I shouldn't mention the wakeup one of our EDO's got when he was late for his midnight tour - PPCA and an ELT bending over him in a chicken suit, shouting, "He's still alive!"

8/18/2007 8:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The admiral's Key West gang should check out He's a good guy and I'm glad he's finally found his niche.

8/18/2007 8:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the Key West guy again.

Lt Ita.. Now that was one BRAINY nuke. He is a man I can say I was PROUD to have served with and stood watch with him.

To those who remember us Key Wester's, This is Mercury Joe!

8/18/2007 9:32 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

pig boat: I should have made it clear that I opposed them using safety and emergency equipment inappropriately while being filmed. Its use in clever pranks is always appreciated, as long as it's stowed properly afterwards (with required post-use PMS completed if necessary).

8/19/2007 5:39 AM

Blogger Pig Boat said...

I opposed them using safety and emergency equipment inappropriately while being filmed.

Ah, that's all right, then. And yes, filming your misdeeds has always seemed lie a no brainer no-no to me... ;-)

8/19/2007 11:08 AM

Blogger Patrick Hrabe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/19/2007 12:03 PM

Blogger Patrick Hrabe said...

I will never, ever run out of comedic material...:)

8/19/2007 12:04 PM

Blogger MT1(SS) said...

Can't wait to see what you can come up with regarding NR, Pat! (Hmmm... ORSE is always a good source of humor.)

Psssst.... some of us are still waiting on the comics!!!

8/19/2007 1:16 PM

Anonymous Navy Wife Wendy said...

We had the video posted on our site. It was in my opinion one of the best made, of course that had nothing to do with the fact that as the you hear Shania sing "That don't impress me much" the camera has a shot of a full bird, moves in tight on his collar device only to have the camera zoom out and the collar you are now looking at is of a female / same rank. I'd like to think they would just edit out the questionable section and re-release the video. I'm with "Elp", these type of videos are much better than the "gigadollar ad campaigns". Having just been at "The Quarterdeck of the Navy", at a graduation, the quote of the day from the husband "How can all these kids be graduating and I'm having a heck of time filling billets!" I say edit & bring back the video!

8/19/2007 3:10 PM

Blogger QSPN said...

Speaking of no sense of humor, last night the new admiral at Annapolis directed the midshipman (via another midshipman, of course) NOT to shout "Beat Army" at the end of singing the Academy's alma mater.

The silence was deafening.


8/21/2007 6:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are about rediculouse first off being onboard during the filming and participating in filming it was a gag real ok'd all the way up. let some people have some fun 6 months is a long time to go and especially long when that six turns into 9

8/29/2007 3:30 PM

Blogger RickyCWO said...

They may have pulled that off Youtube, but once it's out there, it's out there. I'm a nuke CWO who went from the cozy confines of the fast attack fleet to this freakingly huge bird farm. Culture shock to say the least. That video had to have been done by the media department, the dubbing was too good for your average laptop hacker. Anyway, love your blog, bubblehead, I'm putting you in my faves!

8/29/2007 5:54 PM

Blogger The Board said...

A few months removed from this I hear the gripes, the judgements, the I wouldn't have done it that way thoughts... 40+ Years of safe operation. I have my thoughts about how things should be done, BUT, no organization, country, endeavour, has that kind of success rate. Business leaders around the world, including notables that you all would recognize look to NR with admiration and Envy. With all the things that one would claim is wrong with NR, something must be really right. Give a little up for that.

3/13/2008 6:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...what a buzz kill...

4/17/2008 2:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Board has it right wrt the World-Class organization NR is. To have such a safety record in a field with such an unforgiving technology, they have to be doing something right. Keep in mind that the entire weight of our ops fall on the Admiral's shoulders, and he knows better than anybody that just one single accident spells the end of nuclear propulsion in our Navy.

While some of us may think this video is just a little thing, NR has always focused (rightly) on the importance of culture in ensuring safe operations. While we can have some "fun" while out at sea, they live to support us and our ops.

Also, there is the stark reality of political appearances when it comes to all things nuclear. This reaction to the video is certainly job-related...none of us have to testify before Congress every year. None of us have such a very public position, setting the sky-high standards that are associated with both NR and our people out here in the nuclear fleet.

Having met the Admiral on more than one occasion, I can vouch for the fact that he does indeed have a great sense of humor...when it's appropriate. "Counseling" the CO was also likely considered part of his "training" as he is prepared for later flag rank (sensitivity to the political side of nuclear power). And I am sure that more than this issue was discussed in that sit-down in DC.

That saying about walking a mile is more than just a's good advice when reading stories like this.

5/19/2008 12:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anon. I work directly for Adm. Donald and he is a very nice guy with a good sense of humor. However when our whole department watched that video he was unimpressed, lets just say he was unhappy. NR has a reputation to the public to upkeep and he believes rightly that these videos as humerous as it was, displayed a lack of professionalism. Nukes have a huge shoes to fill in the navy and he prefers not to have them tarnished by stupid pranks.

11/16/2008 3:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

pretty sure the time I went to collect the logs in the forward chem room on the Enterprise and "Dog Face" Mullaney was doing phosphates in only his boondockers would be frowned on as well.....when asked what he was doing, the answer was..."phosphates". what are you supposed to do out there to have a little entertainment?

4/09/2009 7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the nuclear navy's mindset of negative reinforcement --- hammer you if you screw up, don't praise you when you do a good job --- is why I got out after my six.

8/14/2009 9:34 AM

Anonymous muebles en cordoba said...

Here, I do not actually consider it is likely to have effect.

12/04/2011 3:23 AM

Anonymous said...

I found a great deal of helpful information above!

2/15/2012 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the public, media and Congress knew how much $$$ is wasted because of NAVSEA and NAVSEA 08 (Naval Reactors) policies and bureaucratic administrivia, they would have a field day and maybe only then, in the aftermath, can we bring about some efficiency to this part of our Navy. Oh, and lest I forget, the incestuous relationship between DoN and the defense industry is also pretty appalling. Retired senior bubbleheads working for EB or other submarine industry contractors have total access to insider information and no one seems to think twice about this except JAGs who are told to shut up and sit down.

8/27/2012 6:58 AM


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