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.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Re: USS Hampton -- Someone Talked

All the stuff we've been talking around in the thread below this one is pretty much out in the open now in this Navy Times article. Excerpt:
According to one source with knowledge of the investigation, the central problem involves how often sailors analyzed the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine’s reactor, which is typically checked daily.
During preparations for the boat’s Operational Reactor Safeguard Examination, which is typically conducted as a nuclear submarine ends its deployment, officials discovered that the sailors hadn’t checked the water in at least a month, and their division officer, the chemistry/radiological controls assistant, knew it, the source said.
They also learned that the logs had been forged — or “radioed,” in submarine parlance — later to cover up the lapse and make it look as though the sailors had been keeping up with required checks all along...
...Referring to the chemical levels, another former submarine commander added: “It’s not that it’s dangerous at the instant. Blowing off the chem sample that day isn’t what’s dangerous, but the operational philosophy adopted by people who would do that, if applied to the other aspects of operating the nuclear propulsion plant watch stations or other aspects of the submarine, could be dangerous. That’s what’s scary. Besides, why the hell wouldn’t you check the chem levels? First, that’s the ELT and the CRA’s job. Second, it takes about an hour and a half each day to do it. Third, you’re on a submarine, so it’s not like you’re going to get away with doing nothing on your free time.”
The Navy had to expect that the story would get out sooner or later -- too many people are just flabbergasted at what supposedly happened. (I should point out at this time that I don't absolutely know if what was described here is what actually happened -- I've only heard rumors, and I was certainly not one of the sources quoted, even though the story does link back here.) If this is what happened, though, I think it's important to realize that this is almost certainly an isolated instance. In any division, you'd only need one guy with integrity to nip a problem like this in the bud. The odds of having 5 or 6 guys all deciding to throw away everything we do as submariners are fairly low -- before this, I would have said the odds were infinitesimally small.

So, has there ever been a time that you were the "one switch" in the chain that kept something really bad from happening? One of those "I did good, but I sure can't put this in my fitrep/eval" type of moments? I had a few (found five or six Weapons guys lowering a guy in a safety harness headfirst into a VLS tube with a couple feet of water at the bottom so he could retrieve a dropped tool, for one) but nothing like what any of these RL Div guys on the Hampton could have done. The whole situation just breaks my heart.

Update 0911 22 Oct: And here's where it gets bad -- the story migrates out from a publication that is aimed at and at least talks to people who "speak the language" and into the the general media. Distortion and hyperbole follow. Here are some excerpts from the AP story that's on the wires this morning (for added fun, count the factual errors and misrepresentations in the story!):
In the case of the Hampton, it appears from a preliminary investigation that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine's reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required...
...Other members of the squadron discovered the lapse during a routine examination required as part of the redundancy built into the system so that problems are caught, he said. The examination was done as the submarine was nearing the end of a West Pacific deployment, which was completed Sept. 17...
...A nuclear powered fast attack submarine, Hampton is the most advanced nuclear attack submarine in the world, carrying a torpedo, cruise missile, and mine-laying arsenal, according to information on its Web site...
...The reported problems with procedures and record keeping in the Navy squadron comes just after the Air Force disciplined some 70 airmen in the B-52 incident...
I'm not sure how they got from the Navy Times article that squadron members were the ones who blew off the chemistry analyses -- unless the AP writer normally covers the Air Force and doesn't understand the difference between a "squadron" and a "ship". And of course they'd try to link it to the recent Air Force nuclear weapons problems, which, let's face it, were much, much, much worse than the Hampton problem in the whole scheme of things.

Update 1142 22 Oct: Well, the story hit the CNN.com front page, so now the solid contents of the san tanks are really going to get blown into the ventilation system's rotating machinery.

121 Comments:

Blogger bull said...

The part I am confused with is did they actually draw the samples and then dump them? I mean if they have done the "messy" part of actually sampling the analysis is pretty simple, it almost takes more time to make up logs than it does to do them. There is no way more people didn't know what was going on with the samples. I am assuming they blew off the samples from on station and not during transits and obviously drills. I would be concerned with the monitoring program on the boat and if the entire division and an officer bought into this it would lead me to believe that this is indicative of a more widespread problem in this department.

10/22/2007 5:52 AM

 
Anonymous Former CRA said...

I'm gonna guess they didn't gundeck everything. They probably did the daily analyzes, but 'simulated' some of the more periodic ones.

Hope everyone keeps it vague here...we know at least Navy Times is reading.

10/22/2007 7:31 AM

 
Anonymous S5G4EVR said...

In my tenure,I saw a lot of gundecking. From daily electrical logs to ELT samples to turns on the shaft. It happens. I am surprised of how long this apparently has gone on, but we all know how these investigations go: the actual issue may have involved only a week's logs, but NR nitpicks and finds "problems" for months. Chances are the logs were not underway logs but samples that should have been done inport, like during a liberty call in a foreign destination. A month+ worth of logs underway seems unlikely unless the ELTs had a pretty good poker game going that just couldn't be interrupted.
Of course, I have seen stranger things, just unlikely.
Just remember, nukes are people to, and they make blunders just like everyone else (just don't tell Rickover's ghost).

10/22/2007 7:52 AM

 
Blogger pbsterling said...

As a former nuke ET who read for countless primary samples, I am racking my brain trying to remember all the primary analyses. I came up with a bunch but none that sounded like "pink". Anybody give me a hint?

PB Sterling
ET1/SS SSN 751

10/22/2007 10:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pbsterling - the analysis is one that was instituted somewhat recently, probably after your time onboard. Let's not go any further than that, any specifics with regards to analyses are at a minimum classified confidential. But you can stop racking your brain - you're not disqualified, you just lost proficiency.

bubblehead - why do you say the Air Force issue is much much much worse than this? Because it was nuclear weapons instead of "only" a nuclear reactor? Or because the USAF clueless idiots just blew off a procedure, instead of blowing it off and then falsifying documentation to cover it up like our USN clueless idiots did? Seems to me that in many aspects, THIS ONE is much much worse. I'm baffled how so many people could do something so wrong.

10/22/2007 10:22 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

While the Hampton incident involved several guys with an integrity problem not doing some analyses on an inherently safe and intentionally overengineered reactor, the Air Force incident involved unsecured nuclear weapons during wartime. I will agree that I may have used too many 'much's'in giving my opinion of the seriousness of the issues, and maybe it's just because I know how overengineered the plants are, but I still think the Air Force Bent Spear was worse.

10/22/2007 10:36 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article on CNN this morning, and first thing that I saw was, "RL div blasted off logs: CRA and RL div all get mast!". I googled "rl div uss hampton" and it brought me here.

As a former ELT, during the times in port, there were about 9,000 other things that are/were going on (small valve maintenance, work-plans, training, painting, field-day, studying for quals/orse), so I understand how it might be easy to assume that MM1 LELT assigned MM3 NUB to do something on a Saturday/Sunday that didn't actually get done. MM3 NUB didn't turn over that he didn't do it because he wanted to watch football all day. MM1 LELT, the CRA, all on-coming EDO/EDPO's forgot about the whole thing, signed the chemistry logs without thinking, and no one caught the fault. Some ORSE member finds it, the MM1/CRA/RL DIV/(maybe XO/CO) decide to fix it before 08 gets to see the result, and what do you have? Some ELT's who blasted off some logs. Then the NRRO rep says, "where did these come from?" and Poof! We're screwed!

I remember that there were lots of things to not do in the NTSB's and even more things that the manuals told you were "reportable events", but they never said, "If I was a dumbass and didn't take my primaries, how do I recover the plant?" What next?

On a side note, NR likes to cover things up where it seems suitable. Their contractor spilled 9 gallons of U-F8 down the hallway, and they just called it classified. See this article, then decide how much you trust anything NR says: http://www.azstarnet.com/news/197322

10/22/2007 10:49 AM

 
Blogger pbsterling said...

I got out of the Navy in 1996 - makes sense that I can't remember "pink".

I now work for Boeing (went from subs to bombers) and do have a bit of insight as to the Air Force problem.

The Hampton was purely an integrity issue where as Air Force problem was a really dumb oversight.

The B-52 could have ejected the weapons but there was no possible way to arm them - no codes, no nuclear station logic unit and no weapons interface unit were on board.

Would have made a small crater though.

PB
ET1/SS SSN 751

10/22/2007 11:01 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a time years ago while on station making four turns in the far east that my boat's CO actually ordered the ELTs not to sample for an extended period of time. The LELT protested profusely, but the CO's order stood. When we finally came off station, the ELT was racked out to draw and read the sample. Sure enough, chemistry was hosed. All necessary additions, pump swaps, etc. were completed to bring chemistry back in spec. However, on the way back to Pearl, the Div Officer relayed that the CO wanted a new set of logs fabricated to appear as though all samples were performed and chemistry was never out of spec. The LELT refused and was summoned by the CO where he was ordered to fabricate a new set of logs. The LELT again refused and told the CO that he'd go as far as necessary if the CO attempted to bypass him to create false logs. No stink was ever raised over the out of spec chemistry, and the then CO is still in the Navy as an O-8.

So before you jump to conclusions that this was the operation of five or six lazy enlisted scum, you might want to wait for additional info to filter out. My guess is that this goes much further up than most care to know about. Like others have said, it makes no sense, what else are you going to do for days on end?

10/22/2007 11:50 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep it vague, fellas. Please!

But "messy" isn't the word for this. There are no words to explain to everyone HOW BAD this really is.

For example: the second time a girlfriend cheats on you, it's easier to figure out, right? You know what to look for. The signs are all there. You can see the writing on the wall. You can sense it. You can smell the stench of it (even if she showers.) You know, and the feeling sits in the pit of your stomach.

Do you really think that this was the first time that we have been cheated on?

10/22/2007 1:23 PM

 
Blogger MT1(SS) said...

Dick Clark once said that "Humor is always based on a modicum of truth." This quote comes to mind thinking back to the old joke that goes something like this:

During an ORSE, the ORSE Team member wanted to know who was who in the Engineering spaces. He went up to the Reactor Operator and asked him, "What is 2 + 2?" The Reactor operator pulled out his calculator, punched in 2 + 2, and answered "4." The ORSE Team member said "Yep, you're a Reactor Operator."

Next he asked the Electrical Operator. "What is 2+2?" The Electrical Operator started whining on why he got asked all the questions, but finally answered "4." The ORSE Team member said "Yep, you're an Electrical Operator."

Next he asked the Machinist. "What is 2+2?." The MM started thinking and counting on his fingers, but still couldn't figure it out. Finally he said "3." The ORSE Team member said "Yep, you're a Machinist Mate."

Now the ORSE Team member wanted to ask an ELT. He finally found one coming out of nucleonics. He asked the ELT. "What is 2+2?" The ELT looked all around and then back at the ORSE Team member and said, "What do you want it to be?"

10/22/2007 1:25 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the insatiably curious (especially for all things "pink"): I have no personal knowledge whatsoever what the missed test for the "new" additive was measuring...but:

If you Google for "Recent Advances in Water Chemistry Control at US PWRs," you will come across something elemental that has been tested & used as an additive in commercial U.S. reactors for about 10 years or so.

May be off the mark. May have nailed it. You be the judge. Whoever knows for sure, please just enjoy our speculation on this -- there are enough guys in trouble right now without adding to the body count.

10/22/2007 1:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a former nuke ELT and spent 2 years on a boat after spending 2 years as a staff pick-up ELT in Idaho. I'm not sure I can add much here, but I find it hard to believe that the samples were not pulled -- too many bases to cover up [i.e. sample reader, valve manipulations, waste, etc.]. You'd need to pull too many people into the conspiracy. Assuming the samples were pulled, I can completely believe that ELTs radio'd the actual figures. The numbers should be easy to come by and should be simple enough to compile. However, some bad analytical equipment and a sensitive CRA or Eng might freak out if the results vary a bit from the normal -- and the next thing you know the whole division is racked out to fix chemistry. Sometimes its simply easier to put the numbers in and get to the rack. Command climate is vital here. I've been there and can speak from expereince that these things happen.

I'd also be very surprised if RL divisions "issues" didn't work thier way up the chain of command before Navy Times found out. Do they really mean all of the ELTs kept it quite and hidden from everyone else? I don't buy it. Someone on that deployment told someone -- RC Div, Radio -- someone and the cat was out of the bag. I'll bet you there was some high level cover up going on and when it went down, the O-gangers let the blue shirts fry for it. Typical.

10/22/2007 2:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote:However, some bad analytical equipment and a sensitive CRA or Eng might freak out if the results vary a bit from the normal -- and the next thing you know the whole division is racked out to fix chemistry. Sometimes its simply easier to put the numbers in and get to the rack. Command climate is vital here. I've been there and can speak from experience that these things happen.

Good point.
Point 2: There are no drills underway that don't involve RL division. None. Every drill, every RL-div'r has to play.
Point 3: How this didn't stay classified is beyond me. Usually, NR screw-ups are left to the "Confidential" stamp.
Point 4: Counter to NR beliefs, you can't ride a horse hard, then put it away wet. People get sloppy.

Oh, and if it's the "pink" then everything starts to make more and more sense. And I bet, as some level anyway, someone was trying to screw the CO/XO/ENG.

When was the last time anyone heard of the CO having mast for an Officer? Aren't those things usually reserved to Admiral's mast? I'm thinking like the USS Greenville vs. Ehime Maru.

10/22/2007 2:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly wouldn't disagree with the notion that some of this migh have been motivated by malice. Its that whole "command climate" thing again. I remember a particularly bad Westpac where the "care factor" was pretty low. We ended up losing our CO and the guy they brough in was a real piece of work.... Ahh the memories come back rather thickly sometimes.

I also think Navsea 08 has to accept some of the blame. I am fairly certain that there is machinery which could analyze the checmistry for the same parameters without any operator input. Just dump a little coolant in and you get a printout. A device such as that would eliminate the temptation to blow off your sample and make the graphs look good.

I got out in '94 so am not sure of all the recent advances -- i.e. the "pink." Sounds like it might be a pain to analyze for and if the sampling frequency is less than daily, well -- couple that with an unmotivated division and you have a recipe for disaster.

The final thing I'll add is that RL divisions paperwork is scrutinized really thoroughly. Probably more so than most things [I recall some of RC Divs stuff being right up there too -- startup checklists and the like]. Anyone who has gone through the discharge log knows what I mean. The point here is that htere is tremendous pressure to make things look "right." Everyone wants an above average at ORSE -- some will do what it takes to get there and stable chemistry helps.

10/22/2007 3:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly wouldn't disagree with the notion that some of this might have been motivated by malice. Its that whole "command climate" thing again. I remember a particularly bad Westpac where the "care factor" was pretty low. We ended up losing our CO and the guy they brought in was a real piece of work.... Ahh the memories come back rather thickly sometimes.

I also think Navsea 08 has to accept some of the blame. I am fairly certain that there is machinery which could analyze the chemistry for the same parameters without any operator input. Just dump a little coolant in and you get a printout. A device such as that would eliminate the temptation to blow off your sample and make the graphs look good.

I got out in '94 so am not sure of all the recent advances -- i.e. the "pink." Sounds like it might be a pain to analyze for and if the sampling frequency is less than daily, well -- couple that with an unmotivated division and you have a recipe for disaster.

The final thing I'll add is that RL divisions paperwork is scrutinized really thoroughly. Probably more so than most things [I recall some of RC Divs stuff being right up there too -- startup checklists and the like]. Anyone who has gone through the discharge log knows what I mean. The point here is that there is tremendous pressure to make things look "right." Everyone wants an above average at ORSE -- some will do what it takes to get there and stable chemistry helps.

10/22/2007 3:21 PM

 
Anonymous Burned Before said...

Anyone that thinks this is an isolated incident, accident, misunderstanding, tactical situation or othewise is (1) lying to cover their own butts (2) been out of the game so long they don't realize what the nuclear community has degraded to (3) has their head buried in the sand.

I got out less than a year ago, I was an ELT for 12 years, and I have been fighting against people like this my whole career. Ulitmatley, these "few" individuals are widespread, proficient at what they do, and do it far more often than anyone outside of "the lab" knows. I am surprised it took this long to get out. Sadly, I don't blame the ELTs for this. The truth is an ELT, as well as everyone else, only cares as much as the person watching.

The truth it is impossible for the CO to be unaware of these types of issues. There are too many checks in place.

In my opinion (based on personal experience) every officer in that chain of command was negligent at best, most likely looking the other way, and fostering it at least occasionally. (It is easy to look the other way on the midwatch.) Additionally, EVERY ELT on that boat had to know what was going on. That is a fact.

Anyone that has ever had full disclosure to "the lab" knows exactly what I am talking about.

10/22/2007 3:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hope everyone keeps it vague here...we know at least Navy Times is reading."

Um, yeah...as a current submariner (14 years in), I find this veiled discussion disturbing. You guys should take another look at the dolphins in your shadow box. ANYONE can read this. If you care at all about your brothers still serving, you'll knock it off.

10/22/2007 4:16 PM

 
Anonymous Mercury Joe said...

To any other non-bubblehead out there (or non-nuke for that matter), if you think logs to not get blazed every once and a while then you have blinders on.

Running drill back to back to back, you DO get behind. You wipe your forehead of the sweat from the last scram drill and realize that it is half past the hour and you did not get your reading.

What do you do?

1) Ignore that last hour of logs and take the next set correctly (provided you do not he yet ANOTHER 'causualty') and face the wrath of the EWS/EOOW/ENG/XO/CO for MISSING log readings?? Even though they KNOW you could not have ACCURATELY taken log readings.

-----or-----

2) You pencilwhip the readings adjusting for whatever the drill was. Those of us who stood watch can really suprise you on how close these logs could have been to reality. You have a general idea of what reading to throw out of whack and document the drill that occurred.

Am I trying to get anyone in trouble here? No.. But it is this is not a place to sugarcoat things and say that it never happens. As someone said, there is a LOT that is not being said in these news stories.

This is reality and maybe people need to hear it and realize just how hard a job those of us who served had. Just becuase we had to 'catch up' a log does NOT mean that we were not concerned on a minute by minute basis on the health of the reactor plant. Did something happen onboard? I would say yes, but not NEAR as bad as they are presenting. Just today I had to do a lot of explaining to my co-workers (who know NOTHING of RX plant ops) that this was not a near meltdown of a reactor plant.

10/22/2007 4:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote: Um, yeah...as a current submariner (14 years in), I find this veiled discussion disturbing. You guys should take another look at the dolphins in your shadow box. ANYONE can read this. If you care at all about your brothers still serving, you'll knock it off.

Screw the Navy Times. You heard it here first-- It's not gay underway. Let them publish that.

As far as my shadow box goes, there's no love lost for NR. I don't think that they do their jobs right. I think it's easier to dump on sailors, than to make a program run as well as it can. I think that the "Command Atmosphere" is always horrible on every boat. I don't know of any former nuke who can look back on their time on the Ustafish, thinking anything other than, "That was awful-- I'm glad I'm done." Remember when the schedule came out, and there was this thing called "CO Discretionary Time"? Translation, were going to sea for no damn good reason.

Maybe it's time that the Navy let the GAO, or the Navy IG investigate the NR program as a whole. Not on the admiral's level either, but through exit interviews with nukes and cone-ers alike. Find out how many other Hampton-like incidents go unreported every day. It would be enlightening to say the least!

10/22/2007 4:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMFG - someone screwed up big time.

Radiochemistry is one word, not two.

Stuff happens underway. You do what you have to do - but: Never, ever, ever, EVER on the reactor. Ever.

Agree with previous posters - some are getting awfully close to being too specific about NNPP info.

What a shame.

Ex-Sub ELT, Fast Attacks, '95 - '01

10/22/2007 4:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It surprises me how much talk there is of integrity on this board.

I seem to recall swearing an oath somewhere about not disclosing NNPI and details of submarine operations.

And so begins the death of the "Silent Service"...

10/22/2007 5:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a former nuke (albeit electrical). However, currently I work as a chemical engineer for a plant that has similar equipment to the sub. A large part of the problem is NAVSEA's reluctance to impliment new technologies and rely heavily on humans not making errors or mental lapses (and given that no company would survive at the nuclear enlisted retention rate this is a hell of a gamble). The technology has existed at my plant for the past 12 years to do the following: have continuos on-line sampling of any number of chemical parameters, having this data stored at 15 second intervals without requiring an excessive amount of hardware space, and be able to retrieve and analyze that data with any number of known relationships beyond the purely linear or hard-set equation relationships that were in use when I left the boat. Our processes here are of similar size and complexity of the back half of the sub and we have continuous monitering and recording of over 2000 parameters every minute - no logs necessary (and consequently no fact finding where you argue about what conditions may or have existed causing what over a 1-hour period).

What I feel will happen here is the same as usualy: NR will automatically assume it is perfect and cannot make any improvements. Therefore not only 100% of the blame for this incident will be placed on the boat (which it should be), but 100% of the "corrective actions" will be placed on the boat too (which it should not be. The Navy grabs 100's of the finest engineers from major universities to serve as JO's - let the engineer some long term solutions.

10/22/2007 5:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case you were wondering, the proverbial "cat" (NNPI) is already out of the bag. See http://mooj.com/rxdept_page37.htm as an example, or any of the thousands of stories on former sailors. Search for NNPP or NR or Navsea 08 here if you wish to also: www.lsnnet.gov

10/22/2007 5:17 PM

 
Anonymous Submarine Iconoclast said...

Is it "disclosing NNPI" to point out that the Emperor has not been wearing clothes for years, at least so far as integrity is concerned?

When you refuse to accept answers you don't like -- to the extent that you shape careers based who tells you what you want to hear -- then you only get the answers you want until some disaster happens that is too big to cover up.

We do have a lot of good leaders but also far too many who seem to have no clue about the long-term impacts from their decisions and policies. It's amazing to me how otherwise technically competent people can fail to imagine the human response to domineering egotism from above. This episode was itself (except for its implications) minor and will quickly fade but the "big one" is always just around the corner. And I'm betting only guys on sea duty will be found at fault when it does happen.

10/22/2007 5:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mercury joe said...
To any other non-bubblehead out there (or non-nuke for that matter), if you think logs to not get blazed every once and a while then you have blinders on.

Running drill back to back to back, you DO get behind. You wipe your forehead of the sweat from the last scram drill and realize that it is half past the hour and you did not get your reading.

What do you do?
______________________

You take your logs beginning at half past. You inform the EWS/EOOW, and make an entry in the remarks: "xx30- xx00 logs taken at xx30 due to casualty drill response. EWS/EOOW informed."

You don't radio your logs. You do your job to the best of your ability. Your fellow submariners rely on each of you to keep them safe while they're in the rack.

I've noticed a distressing trend over the past five years of people failing to do so, and it's only a matter of time before our BROTHERS pay the price for this generations' affinty for gundecking and making excuses for why they can't be held accountable.

Are there problems that need to be addressed? Absolutely. Loved the post of the ELT who told his CO not only no, but %^$^ no I won't do it. If we had more MEN like him serving, the people who should be accountable would be. (sorry ladies...don't know how else to put it)

NOT ON MY WATCH.

10/22/2007 6:32 PM

 
Anonymous ELT2/SS said...

As for the "pink" thing...4 letter word that starts with the letter Z. That's what got them into trouble. If you had ever had to deal with what the Navy considers "The most advanced technology", you have never been an ELT. There are sssoooo many advances in nuclear technology that I find myself asking "Why do I still use 1970s radiac?" among other things. I'm really not surprised at the log gaffing. Let's think about it. 3 section duty days followed by 3 or port and stbd SRW standing. Among watchstanding, you have to do the primary, radcon, and all other misc chemistry that comes up, and generators the next day. Assuming that there is nothing chemistry wise i.e. additions for that day, it is a lax day but it builds up. The next day, after standing watch and doing all chem/radcon, you turnover to the next ELT. You are tired and if you have a family, want to go home, but you can't. You have to do all your other collateral duties like go to training, discharge log, Pubs, etc. This really, really puts a strain on a man, so finds a way to cut corners. Gaff the radcon logs, gaff chemistry, make up everything as he goes along. A very vicious cycle. Many of you think that it is a Submarine thing. It's not. It's an ELT mentality. You can't change it. Hasn't anyone notice the huge jump in the SRB for nukes on subs, especially ELT's? Astronomically high. 90K and 8.5 multiple. I'm pretty sure ELT's are still going to dump the primary down the sink and generators down the funnel. Being an ELT sucks, especially the LELT. Being a monkey or a smoothie wouldn't be much better either. Being on the boat sucks.

10/22/2007 6:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last post reminded me of why I left the Navy (as an ELT): 1. No amount of money is worth your happiness. 2. McDonald's is always hiring.

Best of luck to all those smags out there who still can't have an RL div barbecue out on the beach at the same time! Oh, and remember this website: www.nukeworker.com

10/22/2007 6:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy this website as a place to learn a little more about the life my sailor leads. Right now he's on deployment and out of comm's. I have to concur with the readers who are concerned about security. Just because you think other people have already said something, doesn't mean that it is a good idea for you to do the same!

Thanks,
Submariner's Sweetheart

10/22/2007 7:50 PM

 
Anonymous Another Former CRA said...

As a former CRA I remember battling the integrity issue from time to time but it was never this bad. But I do agree with others who have pointed out integrity issues. One of my biggest dissappointments on submarines was that the average guy simply couldn't do the right thing all the time and get by. Especially back aft, guys were constantly having to decide where to use absolute integrity and when to blow something off.

And NR absolutely sucks. In both of my trips to the lovely place I found it to be a completely unprofessional organization. When I qualified engineer (which was the culmination of almost ever qualification and effort of a JO) no one even came out to tell us we passed. There was no "congratulations, thanks for your hardwork, now go out there and set the standard". Rather what I got was a YN3 came down and said "OK, you can go now." I really hope the middle finger that NR has shown sailors for decades comes to bear. I know for a time it will hurt the service, but I think over the years this institution can better serve the country if it's burned to the ground. For those of you that are still in when that happens, good luck.

10/22/2007 8:11 PM

 
Anonymous Mercury Joe said...

Anonymous posted to me:

"I've noticed a distressing trend over the past five years of people failing to do so, and it's only a matter of time before our BROTHERS pay the price for this generations' affinty for gundecking and making excuses for why they can't be held accountable."

'This' Generation??

Brother, I served back when the Big Bad Bear was still swimming. I have done my share of tails on the bad guys back when there was a cold war.

The current NAVSEA08 was my CO and the commander Submarine Squadron 11 (Jaenichen) was my Eng (yes, at the same time. A little research will tell you what boat I was on). They TOLD me *personnally* to hurry up and catch my logs up because the next drill was coming in 5 minutes on more than one occasion. These same guys told me to take it to the President if I felt they were wrong. They trusted us to do our jobs and let us speak our minds if we felt they were in error.

Be careful who you preach to. I offered no excuses, I was telling you how it was then, and how it probably is now.

10/22/2007 8:56 PM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt_2jv said...

IMO: Discussing how nuclear reactors work does not compromise national security. No one here said, "I was 6 miles off the coast in Lake Erie, and the reactor scrammed, when we launched our cruise missiles at Canada." This discussion is about the nuclear navy, it's staffing, integrity of the NNPP program, and how the program will fail. Anytime managers place a false sense of urgency on problems, workers will suffer. In the case of NR, the sailors suffer.

FYI: Discussing how nuclear reactor water chemistry, reactor theory, and reactor casualty response will not cause injury to any sailor. NNPI is classified because it is proprietary, not because of national security. Think of it like source code in Windows-- you wouldn't want just anyone figuring out how it works. It's a trade secret from the Reactor Plant Contractors Offices (RPCO), a.K.a. Westinghouse, Foster-Wheeler, Combustion Engineering, Nuclear Fuel Services, BWX Technologies, GE Nuclear, and Bechtel. The contractors want to limit competition for commercial activities, so that way other companies can't get in. The RPCOs bid on the NR contracts because of this, so they can recoup some of their R&D costs. The limitations of the reactor plant do little to compromise the limitations of the submarine, except the whole, "in excess of 20 knots and 400 feet" thing.

So long from 3 miles off the coast of "Lake Michigan"!

10/22/2007 8:57 PM

 
Anonymous PigBoatSailor said...

Anonymous @ 5:06 PM:
It surprises me how much talk there is of integrity on this board.

I seem to recall swearing an oath somewhere about not disclosing NNPI and details of submarine operations.



No details of ops have been disclosed. Nothing specific to Naval Nuclear Power has been revealed. Calm down - we all have the same concerns. But just because it was on a boat, and has to do with a reactor doesn't mean we can not talk about it at all. At this point, everything we have said could be found in a textbook.

That said, I hope everyone remembers their BEADWINDOW rules.

10/22/2007 10:26 PM

 
Blogger Mathteacher said...

No matter how you slice this, it is an integrity issue. Times past that was an automatic out of the nuke navy. Now we spend too much on nukes and we cannot let them go. We pass them in Nuke school even when they fail the comp. We give them multiple boards at prototype, until they find a board that will pass them. We dumb down the schools and require less of them. As an EM I qualified ALL my watches at Prototype and RADCON was considered in-rate for all rates.

As an EDMC/EDEA, I wouldn't even frown at a sailor who told me he couldn't get his logs done cause of x-y-z. I'd tell him to log it missed and get a current set. I still took 5 sailors to mast for radioing logs and I know it was done many times that I didn't catch. It was a sign of a generation of sailors that could not think past themselves. It is easier to lie than do what is right. Especially when they were allowed to reenlist in war zones afterwards for ungodly amounts (How with an NJP? Oh you want to reenlist, we'll make that go away.).

There are many good and great sailors out there that jump through their asses to do what is right. But there are also those out there that would not hesitate a second to lie about doing a tour or taking a set of logs. You can call it command climate, I've been in good and bad, but doing what is right is an integrity thing. Do what is right, no matter who is looking over your shoulder (or not looking) is what the program is based on.
I’d love to see more automation and get rid of the need for logs, midwatches, and underways in general. But that isn’t happening in the navy for a log time. Nuc JO’s and ELT are too hard to come by. Start getting rid of few then maybe people will realize that there are consequences to their actions. A letter of reprimand in a JO’s record ends his career, but he is still on the boat ruining sailors. An ELT that has gone to Mast is just a disgruntle sailor ruining the qualifying ELTs on how things are supposed to be done. Get them off the boat. And that includes everyone involved that didn’t say this is wrong.

(its great being retired and only dealing with middle schoolers who lie about their homework)

10/22/2007 11:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I know is that I sailed with then YN1 Baisley now YNCM and he was a real piece of work. Not in a good way either, but I will leave my personal feelings aside. I hate to see this happen to the community, particularly since I am in the Ciz-Div, I think the integrity of a Submariner is one of the things that people in the real world look up to I am sure it has landed more than one job for me. Ah well, I digress. Cool site, this is my first visit got the link through a forwarded USSVI email.

10/23/2007 1:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the posters here, as well as the blog author, who truly do believe that this is an isolated incident. Come on, guys...really? You were submariners, and you either know how things are done from time to time, or you have your blinders on. No one comes away from their submarine experience with spotlessly clean hands. Sure, your transgressions may not be as egregious as these, but show me a submariner who says he has never faked a document, forged a signature, radioed a log, blazed a qual card, made something disappear, or covered anything up to help a shipmate or the ship, and I'll show you a liar. Please stop with the holier than thou rhetoric...you know what you had to do to survive your experience. Is the Hampton's situation inexcusably bad? Absolutely. Is it possible that it's this bad elsewhere? You bet. I hope that everyone will start being more careful and smarter now that this has happened, and hopefully we won't hear of other boats getting in trouble.

10/23/2007 1:34 AM

 
Blogger Mathteacher said...

Had to comment on this…

"I'm amazed at the posters here, as well as the blog author, who truly do believe that this is an isolated incident. "

No, this is not an isolated incident. Lack of intergety is in the program and is growing with every sailor that gets away with it. They then think it is OK and tell the junior sailors it is OK and make excuses on how everyone does it.

"Come on, guys...really? You were submariners, and you either know how things are done from time to time, or you have your blinders on. No one comes away from their submarine experience with spotlessly clean hands. Sure, your transgressions may not be as egregious as these, but show me a submariner who says he has never faked a document, forged a signature, radioed a log, blazed a qual card, made something disappear, or covered anything up to help a shipmate or the ship, and I'll show you a liar."

Guilty as charged. But never with the willful intent to deceive the command, an inspection team, or get out of my responsibilities. In fact I’ve been to the table a couple of times because I did something wrong and reported it, when I could have easily not said anything and none would have been the wiser.

"Please stop with the holier than thou rhetoric...you know what you had to do to survive your experience. Is the Hampton's situation inexcusably bad? Absolutely. Is it possible that it's this bad elsewhere? You bet. I hope that everyone will start being more careful and smarter now that this has happened, and hopefully we won't hear of other boats getting in trouble."

This is the part that got my goat, sounds like you condone the selective use of integrity. Just be smarter and don’t get caught. That is the attitude that has been building in the program and perpetuates this problem. Hopefully the crews will try to do what is right, then we won’t hear of other boats getting into trouble.

10/23/2007 2:40 AM

 
Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

I'm going to offer a variant point of view on this latest of a very long line of RL div pain that'll likely go against the grain of standard, engrained thinking of many here and still on active duty. So be it.

Here it is:

(1) This is all NR's fault -- every titrated drop of it. And if the current leadership at NR has "integrity," they already know that.

(2) This was not an "integrity issue." It was a mini-mutiny, and if NR could dethaw its frozen-in-time thinking it would actually stand to learn something by honestly looking at it that way.

(3) RL Divisions everywhere have suffered from a system that for too long has sucked the life from good men who are -- likely every single day (somewhere, on some boat) -- being coerced by an archaic-technology chemical monitoring system, along with obviously unrealistic expectations in the light of the daily demands of submarine ops, into "surrendering the pink" of their integrity.

I'll repeat that last point again: in the aggregate, I would wager with confidence that "integrity" in the RL world is suffering every single day...and it is because of the system, not despite it.

But...NR already knows all of this. They're the leader, and by the natural order of things that makes it -- all of it -- their fault. They've als been doing this for far too long to not know how it really is on the deckplates.

None of this is to say that the entire Water Chem manual has been or should be thrown out the window. It is to say that integrity is being denied to the RL division, by both technology and unrealistic, desk-bound landlubber expectations, and that should've been fixed a long, long time ago.

10/23/2007 4:08 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picture this...(this is going to be some really good whining that's been latent for over ten years, and no, I wasn't an EM)
I was an E-5. My LELT got sent to MAST(see why we're blogging) so we went to C w/ yours truly as the stand-in LELT. RL-Div was still the bastard,red-headed,step-child of M-Div and in port it never seemed to matter how much of a go-getter you were and actually accomplished more than the work load put out at morning quarters, we'd still get stuck on the boat until 1900 helping M-div finish their work (ah, but I digress). I was qualified ERS and board-ready for EWS but our CO wouldn't qualify me as an E-5. So it's time to go to sea. Last u/w ERS's were 4 section(didn't happen that often but it was sweet when it did) this time E-div was short-staffed and since the NUB Aux of the Watches HAD to be 3 section so they could be secured to go plot dots, I went u/w as the port and starboard Throttleman and did S/g chem when I got off and some Radcon surveys. One time (at band camp?) I got off watch, went to Dept tng, did my ELT shit, went to Mdiv tng, gave RLdiv tng, was in my rack for about 10 min when the Ediv chief had me racked out for Ediv tng! I told him he could...(well you get the idea. "Radio"chemistry? Your damn right it's a NR problem!
Thanks guys. I feel better

10/23/2007 5:19 AM

 
Blogger Witchdoctor said...

I left as an ELT on a carrier in '77. As I recall a lot of watchstanders are involved in knowing when a primary is taken. In fact, the EOOW had to give permission as well as review results. I agree that the reason for "non performance" needed to come from higher than the CRA.

In regards to NR, they will probably try a cover up or to sweep this under the rug. After working in the carrier/sub construction business for 30 years, I have seen NR print lies in their offical reports more than once. NR will do what is convenient for them.

10/23/2007 5:21 AM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt_2jv said...

I worked it out once. Between training (GMT, Eng Dept, MDiv, RLDiv, EWS), Field Day, 4 section duty, and taking 1 primary a week in port, is something like a 65 hour week. That's before maintenance, quals, drills, etc. I remember once thinking, "I can't wait till we go to sea!" because I couldn't stand being in port anymore-- I actually got more sleep underway.

[In my best Jerry Seinfeld Voice] And whats with the startup briefs at 2 am? I mean we aren't even getting underway until noon!

10/23/2007 7:05 AM

 
Anonymous Thank God I'm not a nuke said...

Nukes....
Who let all of the nukes out of the engine room?

This IS NOT an isolated case. Not even close. I'm 100% positive you could find an eerily close example in the very same squadron within the last six months.

There are some very lofty ideals that float out of the NR think tank. A lot of them have been mentioned in previous posts. They have been codified into the Engineering Department Watchstanders guide, the wonderful thing we expect even forward watchstanders to have in their possession.

I find it amusing that we feel compelled to state and restate ad-nauseum what is completely obvious. Every watchstander already knows how important integrity, procedural compliance, questioning attitude and forceful backup are. You can't say they didn't know they weren't supposed to lie. The large number of offenders points to something else as the problem.

What is completely lacking is any sort of "questioning attitude" on the part of NR any other Navy organization as to exactly why we have so many integrity issues even after we preach about it so much?

I see no evidence of integrity in a system that treats its workers as an expendable commodity, literally taking 75-90 percent of their time to work on the boat even in port. Using inport shift work as the rule rather than a rare exception in order to make increasingly unrealistic goals for no reason other than a good fitrep bullet for the CO or Commodore.

I see no evidence of our core values in a system where a commander will sacrifice his men on the altar of his career rather than inform his superior he can not make an insanely unrealistic operational commitment.

Is it possible that the men
involved feel that they have nothing to lose? That they feel the situation they are in is so hopelessly bad that whatever brief respite they get by blazing logs or whatever is worth the risk, because they see the punishment for getting caught as still better than the situation they are currently in.
Maybe in their eyes going to mast, getting busted, and being sent to squadron in disgrace to sell candy bars is not as bad as being imprisoned on the boat.

There is a time where it would be appropriate to require our sailors to make such a sacrifice, forsaking their lives and families and spend virtually all of their time on the ship due to some national distress. WWII is a good example, but even that only lasted 4 years, shorter than a nuke's sea tour today.

10/23/2007 7:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a former life - I was a fast attack LELT. We had a guy who gundecked a primary - all of us in the Lab found out and handled it - our way. I was extremely pissed, but I didn't even have to do a thing - the other guys in RL Div were so mad at him they made him go back to Maneuvering, tell the EOOW he had made a mistake in his sample/calculations, and then he had to draw another primary and completely analyze it again.

Nobody got sold out, the Boat didn't get in trouble, and most importantly the young ELT learned a lesson he wouldn't soon forget - to my knowledge he never pulled that #@%$ again.

Maybe on a survey where you know nothing's going to show up, maybe on a generator when a lot of shit is going down, but on a primary? Fellas - common sense applies.

I agree with everyone who has said there are way too many requirements to keep up sometimes the way the system was/is designed - the Navy is always 10 - 30 years behind commercial technology, and it puts a huge burden on sailors to get it done fast and get it done right.

However, you have to be smart and selective about the corners you cut - and always have your stuff in one sock or reasonably close at hand.

It's not just an RL Div thing - RC, E, M, O-gang, whoever you are - don't bullshit a bullshitter.

Those who haven't been should keep their mouths closed. We have all been there, and done that - and we know how stuff gets done.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

10/23/2007 8:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ex SSN Eng hit it on the head. This issue is systemic and it comes from the top down. I remember being on the midshift at prototype as a staff pickup listening to sea stories from some of the "saltier" sea returnees who told of stayiong awake for 72 hours drilling and working -- yada yada yada. I actually thought they were making it up -- I actually thought that it wasn't physically possible. Boy was I wrong -- within the first week on board I was qualified as underway ELT and "because I didn't have anything to do" I was put on the drill team. Needless to say when you couple that with other quals and changing the damn demineralizer resin, I didn't get any sleep for about three days. Then it started all over again. Maybe you get a little lazy. Mostly I'd say you're just tired. NR can fix this if they choose to.

Finally, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. In my experience, I didn't ever meet a Nuke who wanted to radio logs. It was something you did to survive. Its not like I sat in nucleonics and devised ways to ignore my responsibilities. But after you've been awake for 24 hours [drilling and cleaning for 12 of those] and you are securing from some sort of Radcon drill when you find out you are about 30 seconds from missing your crud burst clean up deadline you are faced with a tough choice -- ass chewing or hustle up and make the logs look pretty. You do what you have to.

Every once in a while I get nostalgic for my Navy days. This thread has done a lot to remind me why I got out. I personally am grateful to hear all of the stories -- It makes it seem like my experience wasn't all that uncommon. I think this is a healthy dialogue. Keep it up brothers.

10/23/2007 9:23 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Lots of good comments and back-and-forth here. I would add that I'd encourage everyone to avoid any specifics that might be considered NNPI; in most cases, generalities should allow us to make our point.

On the topic of missing logs because of drills, I know there are martinets out there who just like to yell at people, but I would think most people would be like I was as Eng -- I told everyone that if you can't get your logs done in a timely manner, do them as soon as you can and document why in your comments ("Logs not taken this hour until xx50 due to casualty drill"), and inform someone. I promised them that as long as they were trying to do the right thing, and documented it, they would never be punished on my watch -- and they never were.

10/23/2007 10:20 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mathteacher said,

"This is the part that got my goat, sounds like you condone the selective use of integrity. Just be smarter and don’t get caught. That is the attitude that has been building in the program and perpetuates this problem."

Do I condone the selective use of integrity? This is hard for me to even type...I don't, but just like everyone else, I acknowledge that it's the only way to survive at times. You do what you need to do...everyone does. As a USNA grad and former submariner, I was raised on high, lofty ideals, and then thrust in to the belly of the beast to experience selective integrity from all levels. Lies. Half-truths. "Hey kid, you're going to keep your mouth shut about this one." I had never before seen documents fabricated for events that never transpired until I was on a submarine. Do I like the fact that this is how it is? No. But this is reality. This is the world. The world is a dirty, dirty place. And submarines (a place where everything is required to be documented and adminstrative requirements are so exhaustive that they're actually impossible to legitimately satisfy) are not exempt.

Like I said before, nobody is clean. Nobody.

10/23/2007 11:10 AM

 
Anonymous s5w/s5g/d2g/a4w said...

I left the service in 98. I saw much radioing of logs, from nub watches on up. Now, when an inspector or drill teamer or someone was looking over shoulders, time was taken to document missed log entries. However, when no one was looking, made-up numbers were made.
Did EVERYONE do this? No. Did MOST do this? Yes, at some point. Some were more proliic than others, especially if the supervisory reviews came 5 minutes before watch relief. I have seen 8 hours of logs appear in 1 minute.
Am I surprised someone got caught? No. Am I surprised that people are surprised? YES.
I, as many of you, have seen some BS things out there. I have seen a watchstander actively drinking booze underway, get caught TWICE, and not lose rank or see the skipper! I have also seen someone lose their crow for doing word searches on an inport watch on a decom boat!
The nuke world is no different than the non-nuke fleet, but nukes perceive it to be different. There are more BS rules, drills, training, and such, but the people are the same. Some are stellar 4.0s (or is it 5.0 now?), some are getting by, some are dirtbags....oaths are words, it is all up to the person inside to enforce it. And the way the nuke pipeline is, and the amount of extra crap the nukies have to suffer, it is very easy to ignore "right" for "convenient".
Just get over the fact that all nukes aren't boyscouts.

10/23/2007 11:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is "radio'ing" an East Coast thing? Having just completed a sea tour in San Diego and submarine-command shore tour in Japan, I've never heard that term before...

10/23/2007 2:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a current instructor at a prototype, I have to say that there is a culture where integrity is not absolute. This is most apparent in L-Div. Dirtbags come back from sea and then spend a day sitting in the shops with the ELT students telling them "this is how it is done in the fleet". I'm not saying that this is the only division with problems but they seem to be in the lime-light more often than not.

10/23/2007 3:33 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as technology being 10-30 years behind in some circumstances I believe part of that is an internal HR problem - the Navy operates as an entirely "promote from within" company. Granted, that's obviously necessary but it has its weak spots, namely, every new talent that comes in is between the ages of 18-22 and brings little to no professional outside experience to the company (or Navy). Worse yet, a culture gets promoted where everyone just learns from the person above them, who learned from the person above them...etc and even simple opportunities to make advancements get ignored.

Personal example. In 2003 or so when I got out (as an enlisted EM), we had a training initiative where the CO wanted every question of every test graded on the 4.0 scale and then averaged. The skill sets of most of the chiefs and junior enlisted personnel on board dictated that the best way to do this was manually, and if you made a mistake, you re-did it all on a paper and then typed it out into MS Word or Excel (this task once took about 4 hours for 'ol EMC). I remember my first month in engineering school as a civilian going through how Excel actually works and realizing how quickly this can actually get done in spreadsheet form. Worse yet, their probably hasn't been an engineer that has graduated college since about 1995 or so that can't figure out Excel to the point of making a test-grade-calculating spreadsheet. This group would have also consisted of most of the JO's on board at that time (partial speculation). However, the culture just simply was not in place to transfer knowledge via that path to make the non-computer educated chief's lives easier. There is just too much of that brainwashing culture in the Navy where you can learn only from the people who have been their longer, regardless of what is tangibly best for the organization.

10/23/2007 4:26 PM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt_jv said...

I got out in 2001. I remember the archaic method for calculating the chemistry. Seriously, who uses a nomo-graph for anything anymore.

It seems to me that the instructors in NPS used to tell me that it wasn't that long ago the slide rule was used exclusively in the nuclear navy. State of the art my ass~

10/23/2007 5:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like we all know what "really" happens. What now? Do you disqualify everyone? Aren't you just as guilty for not stopping it when you first suspected it?

10/23/2007 8:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could this happen?

Have a seat, I have a little something I've heard down on the pier.

A chief was getting impatient waiting for a worker to frisk out following some valve operations, decided to perform a couple steps of a procedure himself and made a series of mistakes leading to, essentially, pumping the reactor compartment bilges into the primary.

As far as I know, no corrective action was taken directed at the CPO involved- not even removed from watchstanding. Apparently training was held on the subordinate's responsibility to keep supervisors from becoming "too involved" in maintenance. Other than the required actions to recover from the chemical contamination of the reactor plant, that was the end of it.

The nuclear navy, where standards are so high they've doubled.

10/24/2007 7:43 AM

 
Blogger submandave said...

As for all the "everyone does it" comments, obviously everyone doesn't do it or we wouldn't be discussing it so much. I don't think I'm "holier than thou," just an average nuk, but I honestly can't remember ever radioing logs or having knowlege of it being condoned or ignored by the COC on any of my two boats and three COs. Granted, that was in the late '80s so maybe there's a bit of CRS disease affecting me, but to my recollection we just didn't do it. Liek Joel said, if you screwed up and didn't get a set of logs done you'd document it in the remarks and do it right the next time.

Now I did have a buddy from Nuke School who was the CRA when they got busted for radioing check chemistry. This is much easier to imagine than dailies, since there isn't as much review and oversight. In an ironic twist of fate, it was actually my friend's integrity that got him busted, as he refused to follow the CO's direction to lie to NR about it.

I always told my guys there were two basic rules to submarining: 1. do the right thing, and 2. if you [screw] up and don't do the right thing, tell someone.

10/24/2007 9:19 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, help me out here... I am a former ELT, albeit on a target.
IF the posters on the blog are correct and it was a newer test for rhymes with pink (not one I had to do, I got out in '96), that would imply that all the other samples are taken.
If you are in the sink anyway, why miss one of X samples...?

Brent (MM1/sw)
Brookmast@yahoo.com

10/24/2007 9:43 AM

 
Anonymous Another former CRA said...

@Brent

If I remember correctly, the 'sample that rhymes with pink' didn't really fit neatly into the general procedure that one follows for the daily analyses. Remember how time requirements forced you to follow a set pattern for your dailies? The sample in question, when it was required, was kind of appended on after everything else.

I think one of the problems with this sample may have been its relative lack of emphasis in power school and waterchem school. There are no 'sample that rhymes with pink' casualties (that I know of) or handy little calculations that one can throw out in Eng Dep training for explaining chemistry changes. Even when I was a CRA ~5 years ago, I barely remember doing more than looking at the results of this sample and making sure it fell within specs and wasn't trending in the wrong direction. I really couldn't care less about it.

But, of course, none of this absolves the Hampton's RL Div of its duties. I think a lot of people have already nailed the true problem here - the Hampton seemed to really have a culture of gundecking. It's not an isolated incident when an entire division is doing it.

10/24/2007 10:57 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

glad I found this blog. been out here all alone since 77, that's when I got out. Heh, what the heck is a CRA? Pink? O geez, I feel like those ole WW2 guys must have felt when I was a NUB.

I remember taking samples every 15min while at flank. I liked it. Kept me busy. Those ole permit boats were work horses. RL Div? Anyways, us nukie MM's were on top of our stuff. Every sound relayed the condition of OUR ship. Man, it was like your hot rod. I could tell the readings before I got to em. Yeh, maybe radio logs took place, but noone was stupid enuff to do that for a month, much less a hour.

Well, I for one will reserve judgement till all the facts are known. O gangers make mistakes as well, know what I mean.

10/24/2007 11:51 AM

 
Anonymous ELT2/ss said...

It's so weird to read all these comments of "Do the right thing" and definitions of integrity. As a current sub ELT, it is easier said than done. Just to clarify, the "pink" analysis is done weekly, and is relatively easy. All you do it is heat it, cool it, put it in the reader and get a number. Well, if the number zero pops up, you don't have pinks in the plant. A big no-no. To recover, you would have to add some, but there are 5 requirements to meet before doing that. Before the primary is drawn for pinks, you have to do a standard curve for it. it's relatively the same thing but with 4 different amounts of pink. Now, there are many flaws here. Given any of the added chemicals may have go bad, you could have contaminated the entire thing, or equipment failure. The Hampton had equipment failure and bad chemicals, rendering the analysis void, but they decided to enter it in the computer any way. Seems harmless, but it builds up. Sooner or later they decided to "gun-deck" the entire primary sample for a month or even longer. The days of paper chemistry logs and graphs are gone and everything is done on a computer now. Yes, ALL the calculations and reviews are all done on the computer making it super-easy. Wouldn't be too hard to gun-deck. As for all the posts on gun-decking logs i.e. ERLL, RO, SRW that does not apply to the Hampton, because it does not become national news, the COC handles that. Ironic that the Hampton made national headlines but some of the incident reports and near misses I have read should surpass this story. Just ask anyone on the USS Helena and their ELT fiasco. I'm not saying what they did was right, but I'm just giving more insight to what has happened rather than making this a debate on a nukes integrity. I'm pretty sure I haven't past along any NNPI info, since there are no explict procedures, characteristics, or specifications. Oh, and please stop beating on ELTs...the Hampton ELTs are all out of the nuke program for good, but for the rest of us who actually do our job and take some pride in doing it (no, I didn't re-enlist and I hate the Navy), stop trying to say that ALL RL-Divs "radio" logs and cannot be trusted. I personally took charge of 4 spills on my boat this past upkeep. Where is my NAM? Nowhere becuase everybody thinks that ELT's are slackers and gaffers. Not so the case. (Oh, and it's RL-Div, not L-Div as you guys in prototype or elsewhere say it.)

ELT2/SS

10/24/2007 3:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem with "pink" is that it is a giant PITA, the analysis hardly works right, and takes forever to do. i do the same one at a commercial plant and it takes me 8 minutes not an hour. and either way it is, at least when i was at ELT school, an analysis that was taught as: "you will learn it on the boat". and i didnt because no one had actually done it.

10/24/2007 3:52 PM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt_2jv said...

I started this program on my boat before I got out. I pretty much though that it was useless. The requirements are vague. The chemicals were expensive. We had no "computer input" on our chemistry. Pretty much the stone age.

Remember elt2/ss, www.nu keworker.com!

10/24/2007 4:14 PM

 
Anonymous Mike said...

In that submarine home of homes, New London, The Day has a somewhat foaming at the mouth editorial on all of this. Check it out if so inclined.

My response to their editorial:

"I'm having trouble connecting The Day's assertion that the crew was "cutting corners when it came to nuclear safety" with the subsequent statement that "...a Navy spokesman, said there was never any danger to the submarine due to the lax performance. While true..."

"This all strikes me as an overreaction to an event that no one in the public understands with any detail, as none has been forthcoming. My concern, rather, is that the Navy felt the need to go public with this, as a sort of throwback to Pilgrim era public stockades in order to humiliate the offending parties. Why? Does the Navy feel that it doesn't enough authority to enforce this apparently non-threatening, non-dangerous, non-safety-issue internally? Quite odd...all of this."

10/24/2007 4:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CWO(SS) Says;

too all the folks who are mentioning anything related to color, periodicity, what occured or did not occur on other boats, chemicals expiring etc. I went and read the classification for NNPI info today and ALL OF THIS IS NNPI. So lay off anything that is remotely related to how, when or what we use to do our jobs. You people are not helping anything by putting this stuff out there.

10/24/2007 6:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened on the HELENA?

10/24/2007 6:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALASKA 2006...integrity issues burned a big chunk of the engineering department. I think we are starting to see a trend?

10/24/2007 8:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What didn't happened? During a fast cruise, the LELT decided to wrestle with the SRW (who was another ELT and in possession of a fully loaded pistol) in ERF. Well, the SRW got pissed off and pulled the gun out on the LELT. Somehow, the gun came off safe and the Bull caught them wrestling with the weapon drawn. Needless to say, they eventually found out that all their chemicals were out of date, check chemistry behind and "radioed", another ELT who "went back into time" to read a TLD (entered the RC) along with the minor things like radcon logs. You tell me how is it that "pinks" make national news and this doesn't?

10/24/2007 8:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CWO(SS), I highly doubt that the Chinese or Russians care what we do with chemistry and when we do it. I also undertsand that the RPM
Volume I Book 1, the part on how a reactor works (Chapter 1 I believe) is also confidential. I'm pretty sure that you can find all that stuff out on the internet. There are no specifics that were leaked out. If you did your research right, then you would also know that we cannot disclose the fact that we use Standard screwdrivers as opposed to butter-knives because that is NOFORN. How do you not want us to tell people how we do or did our jobs. People can learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others. I bet it ok in your mind that NR released this incident that had nothing to do wih reactor saftey but decided to tell the world that some boat radioed chemistry for a month. Why didn't they say anything about the USS Cheyenne and their inability to handle chemistry or read/document correct exposures. Don't you think that is worthier than the USS Hampton? Get your story straight. The public has a right to know what is going on, regardless if NR releases a story about them.

10/24/2007 9:03 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having painstakingly read every comment, a good deal of the opinions suggest we should dictate the terms of our employment with the navy. If we consider our jobs too tedious, our training too sketchy, or the technologies provided to perform them too primitive, it is our right to shirk tasks we consider the least important.

Am I right? Is this how we would want our wives' or girlfriends' cars serviced before a long road trip, too?

Then, let's make that a long roadtrip across a hostile desert during time of war!

10/25/2007 4:10 AM

 
Anonymous pigboatsailor said...

Anon @ 4:10
a good deal of the opinions suggest we should dictate the terms of our employment with the navy.

Nice job at deliberately misinterpreting what was said. No one is saying we should dictate squat. Instead, I'll draw a parallel to my civil service job - the new hot management technique (like TQM and TQL back in the day) is Lean. While it is just about as helpful as some of the old initiatives, it does have one redeeming facet - it asks the guys actually doing the work how *they* would improve the process, because, while the leadership and R&D guys and Engineers might understand the requirements and theory, no one knows where the waste and stupidity lies better than the guys actually doing the work. Same thing here - most of us know where the truly stupid bits of the job, esp. Chem-Radcon, are, and what problems they cause. We are simply pointing it out to those who might have missed it.

If we consider our jobs too tedious, our training too sketchy, or the technologies provided to perform them too primitive, it is our right to shirk tasks we consider the least important.

I think if you actually re-read the comments, most everyone here has said exactly the opposite. Just about everyone on the boat wants to do the right thing. However, overbearing and poorly thought out requirements and procedures often make that difficult or impossible. While some (many, hopefully) commands will do their best to help you if have issues, but are truthful about it, others have the climate of "screw the guy that makes waves." In that atmosphere, a guy who starts slipping is going to try to make up the debt on his own - an impossible task if you consider how he got there in the first place. So, inevitably, he'll be in way over his head. No one is shirking. Plenty are trying to cover themselves when put up against the wall with no support.

Am I right? Is this how we would want our wives' or girlfriends' cars serviced before a long road trip, too?

Nice strawman. Not what anyone is saying at all. Instead, imagine if your wife designed a car herself, smart woman that she is, but told the mechanic she was going to need him to check her oil every 75 miles, and change it, just to be sure, every 150 miles. Oh, and she is going to drive through a desert war zone, so he'll have to be ready to make combat repairs as well. Wouldn't you EXPECT that mechanic to tell her it would be a better idea to just install a damn gauge to check the oil, so she can keep moving, and so that he isn't dopey from exhaustion in case of battle damage? I think so.

10/25/2007 4:41 AM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt_2jv said...

I'm not sure that I ever actually saw a CWO anywhere around my boat, or squadron. Much less a CWO(SS). How do you get that gig? Is it a surface thing, or did the dude get picked up in supply? I'm really just not sure.....

10/25/2007 7:12 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of what I've read indicates to me that the nuke side of the navy has one heck of a problem.

most of those posting are a bunch of cry babies. You guys sound liked Attila the Hun pressed you into service against your wishes.

What the Hell has happened to the greatest service in the world.

I ASHAMED.

10/25/2007 10:39 AM

 
Anonymous been there, done that, got the t-shirt said...

pigboatsailor said in reference to commands: "...others have the climate of "screw the guy that makes waves."

To put a point on it, that would be, of course, NR...who is 100% responsible for these sorts of problems, which perpetuate because of the above-noted attitude.

Example (one of several): On 688s, a certain, rather-important-while-in-port "fresh water" pump would regularly break its mechanical seals, causing the need for it to be fixed at the most highly inconvenient time while the pump was needed for "other duties." And why did it regularly break its mechanical seals? Because the waterchem dumbfucks at NR didn't know the substantial difference between a 688's and a 637's auxiliary systems.

No small problem (let those who know connect the dots re. the potential after failure of this pump) this went on regularly for over 10 years...and for all I know they're still doing this.

So...why, oh why didn't I or someone else tell NR about said fucked-upedness? Simple: see the attitude-quote at the top of this entry. It wasn't malice...it was a selfish desire to not be screwed over by whoever at NR had substantially and quite obliviously f'd this up in the first place.

We all know the story about the scorpion and the frog. Hopefully, one day, the '''NR scorpion'' will get off the backs of the active-duty frogs...and without stinging them while in the middle of the stream. From what we're seeing with NR's "outing" of Hampton, that sure ain't the case yet. It's just not in their nature.

10/25/2007 11:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pigboatsailor said:
"No one is saying we should dictate squat. "Well, pigboatsailor, apparently others read it that way, too(examples):

aononymous said ... (a fast attack LELT)
- the Navy is always 10 - 30 years behind commercial technology, and it puts a huge burden on sailors to get it done fast and get it done right. However, you have to be smart and selective about the corners you cut - and always have your stuff in one sock or reasonably close at hand. 10/23 8:07 AM

ex ssn eng said...
(2) This was not an "integrity issue." It was a mini-mutiny, ... 10/23 4:08 AM

mercury joe said...
... it's only a matter of time before our BROTHERS pay the price for this generations' affinty for gundecking and making excuses for why they can't be held accountable.
10/22 6:32 PM

So, go ahead make more excuses.

10/25/2007 2:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whiny ELT 2JV-what CWO said is true. Why bitch at the people who actually deal in fact.Way to show your ignorance about SS stuff by not knowing about who serves where.

How many people who are bitching here about the Navy, Nuclear Power and being underway have REENLISTED??

Once you reenlist you have bought into it. You have signaled your approval for the system by signing up for more. All of your complaints are nothing more than whining after you agree with it by reenlisting. Suck it up whiner!!

10/25/2007 3:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look I was on the hampton and the elt's we had weren't bad guys...Some were just a bit out there. They screwed up and got caught. I don't know how many got into trouble but this whole thing is stupid. I can tell you that I left the navy when we got our new co and xo, they were quite possibly the worst officers to be in charge of the hampton. Back when Cmdr Burke was there the hampton was one of the best submarines. I mean hell we received the battle E because of our readiness to go out constantly. Like some of the above posters have said the elt's are around the 21-25 age range with no experience and no knowledge of how to do their job properly. That doesn't mean they're s#@tbags. It just means they needed more time in the nuke pipeline. The command needs an overhaul and understanding of the lower enlisted sailors needs. The crap of having to be up for 16 hour days is bull. I loved my time on the hampton but don't judge them. How many of you signed your qual cards cause you didn't have enough points and didn't want to become dink? Everyones done something thats questioned their integrity whether it'd be like the hamptons sailors or lieing about something else...Noone is innocent

10/25/2007 4:11 PM

 
Anonymous ELT Mom said...

After first hearing about this from our son, I read the articles and then came here to read the "translation" - something I often do when something I hear in the media that sends me into Momma Panic mode.

I'm very sad and disheartened by what's happened. I've seen our "Joe Navy" son beaten into a "when will the soul sucking ever stop" version of his former self since he's been on the boat. I swear he could've written half the comments posted here and I now understand a whole lot more about why he's so determined NOT to re-enlist.

It just breaks my heart that the system is so broken. My heart also breaks for every Bubblehead who has ever served. NOBODY outside the boat community, including those of us who only get to watch from the pier, knows or understands the sacrifices you guys make or the stress and strain you're put under. And that's a damn shame.

10/25/2007 6:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CO just got fired. "Loss of confidence" in his ability to command. He was within one month of his scheduled relief (his relief was actually already onboard). Looks like command climate was the issue that ended his tour.

10/25/2007 7:07 PM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt_2jv said...

First off, I was asking who in the Submarine Nuclear Navy had ever seen a Nuke Chief Warrant Officer? I know that I certainly didn't. I was wondering if it was some A-gang chief who got picked up for a warrant officer program (in the supply department maybe) on the surface side. I guess, that it could also be someone's initials (Chris William Oswalt or something like that). If I'm mistaken about the "I know everything about NNPI CWO(SS)" then I apologize.

Step 2. I didn't reenlist. I got my 3356 at MARF (and 3355 for that matter [had to look that one up]).

"One crew, one screw."
"One shaft, and it's back aft." "No good deal goes unpunished."

These were the slogans that were thrown around my boat. It sucked. I'm not trying to be 'whinny' about it. I wish there was a way to change the system, but now that I'm out, I don't honestly care about the system anymore. I do care that some kid(s) all got screwed for something that was rampant on my boat. But the fundamental question for me always was, "is this going to break the reactor (or did we spread contamination)?" Short of a 'maybe' response, I honestly didn't care. I was cut from the same tree that these guys on the Hampton are hanging from. I feel sorry for them-- not that they did it, but that they got caught.

Someone said earlier, "you can't ride a horse hard and put it away wet" and I couldn't agree with that more. I'm not sure that it's an NR problem or a submarine problem.

Do more with less is all they told us. This translates like this: Do more [WORK] with less [TIME OFF BECUASE WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR WELL BEING BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL JUST 'BODIES' TO US].

10/25/2007 7:15 PM

 
Anonymous well wisher said...

The off-going CO (Portland) has his bio posted here on CSS11's website. It'll likely disappear soon, so read it soon if you have the interest.

Interesting items:
(1) his first sea tour was as CRA onboard USS Ohio,
(2) currently CO, he was also formerly the Weps on Hampton about 10 years ago,
(3) he was the XO on Parche while it was still active (and I say that with a great deal of respect; not just any schmuck gets that job, and, knowing Parche's CO personally, I know he certainly had a very-top-shelf example there),
(4) he has a Masters degree in profesional accounting (RL div's record-keeping is very accounting-like), and
(5) he is an ex-Eng as well.

None of that, of course, speaks to his leadership manner/style or failings...but the man certainly had the résumé to do the CO job extremely well.

10/25/2007 7:27 PM

 
Blogger David said...

"a_former_elt_2jv said...

First off, I was asking who in the Submarine Nuclear Navy had ever seen a Nuke Chief Warrant Officer?"

There are very few of us. I had a warrant who was our Overhaul Coordinator on the Houston for refueling. You don't see many on subs because nucs who go LDO/Warrant go to carriers or tenders after commissioning (they need the help up here). Other than maintenance support billets and the rare overhaul coordinator warrants who were formerly submariners don't get to go back to boats.
Dave

10/25/2007 7:46 PM

 
Blogger David said...

I should have included this in the earlier post...I am not the CWO who made the original comment and I am the only nuc warrant on the ship right now.

10/25/2007 7:49 PM

 
Blogger jq5 said...

Anonymous at 4:11 pm on 10/25 said:

"How many of you signed your qual cards cause you didn't have enough points and didn't want to become dink?"

WHAT?? Is that a serious question?
Are you talking about signing your own qual card in a casual way? Wow! The Hampton really did have a major problem, and guess what, I told ya so the second I saw that video they posted.

That thought never crossed my mind when I was qualifying, I enjoyed living far too much to even think about doing that.

I have seen several sailors go to mast and deservedly so for just that.

No wonder you posted anonymously.

10/25/2007 8:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one am still proud of what I do. I recognize that some things in the Navy are less than ideal, but also believe that the rest of the world has similar issues. I think we like to whine. We like to feel singled out.

I also would like to say that I think a few posters have it wrong on the "NR is screwing them" angle. First of all, the deficiencies were likely discovered by an NPEB (ORSE), and they work for the Commander, Pacific Fleet - not NR. Secondly, the boat's "keys" would have been taken away by the type commander - in this case SUBPAC, again not NR. The boat's corrective actions will be overseen by the parent squadron and SUBPAC - not NR. Will the local NRRO field office be participants? You bet. Will SUBPAC report to NR regularly? You bet. But the authority here lies with Navy people. Just a thought.

On a separate issue, think for a half a second about what our job as nuclear trained operators encompasses. Every other nuclear power plant in the US is monitored by the NRC. We are exempt from their oversight because we have demonstrated a strong performance history with no accidents, and an ability to self monitor. Some of you who post here probably work at a commercial nuke plant. I have convinced myself that you do not work in nirvana. We in the Navy occupy a position of trust with the public. Do your job right, and they don't care. Do it wrong and you are the Hampton. The public does not understand nuclear power any more than we understand brain surgery. Any small issue that makes the press is huge to them.

10/25/2007 10:40 PM

 
Blogger J120 Bowman said...

I don't know and never met CDR Portland, but his bio scares me. Great nuke (ENG, Staff Pick-Up), acedemic, high profile shore tours (probably how he got the covetted Parche assignment). He had Flag Rank written all over him. My guess is he was looking at the next shore tour (Being one month from a normal relief, I would love to know what it was. Probably high profile.) and getting his eagles. Probably had no interpersonal skills or looked at the people beneath him as stepping stones.

10/26/2007 6:18 AM

 
Anonymous a_former_elt2jv said...

David said...

"a_former_elt_2jv said...

First off, I was asking who in the Submarine Nuclear Navy had ever seen a Nuke Chief Warrant Officer?"

There are very few of us. I had a warrant who was our Overhaul Coordinator on the Houston for refueling. You don't see many on subs because nucs who go LDO/Warrant go to carriers or tenders after commissioning (they need the help up here). Other than maintenance support billets and the rare overhaul coordinator warrants who were formerly submariners don't get to go back to boats.
Dave
I should have included this in the earlier post...I am not the CWO who made the original comment and I am the only nuc warrant on the ship right now.


I offer my apologies. I had no idea such an animal existed. I honestly never saw one in Hawaii.

With the, "I am the only nuc warrant on the ship right now," does that mean you are on a boat? Does that make you the Div O? What do you do?

I'm honestly curious. I thought that warrant officers look like Nick Cage and flew apache helicopters in the movies.

10/26/2007 7:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, NR is taking a lot of crap in the above comments, but an oversight organization, out of the normal Navy chain-of-command, is the *only* reason the NNPP does not have its own SL-1 or TMI-2 stories.

When there's a problem with the plant, and some Zero trying to make admiral says say "Suck it up and get out there", it's *NR* who steps in with a sanity check: "not until its fixed & safe". If the $500 switch is safer than the $5 one, NR orders the more expensive part - they're not worried about shaving a few bucks off the budget to try and get a NAM. And, with all the pressure to do more with less, how well trained do you think the operators would be without an independent evaluation? If they could cut the nuke pipeline in half (to save money of course - it's a "lean" thing), they would in a heartbeat.

Be glad NR exists - its why NNPP is welcome in ports the world over.

10/26/2007 8:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've met CWO(SS)'s before, you just don't remember it. Think back to NFAS/NNPTC - many of the enlisted training DH's are CWO or LDOs. Many of them wear silver fish. When/if those guys do go back to sea, its on a carrier. I'm guessing they can qualify the equivalent of EEOW there (PPOW) but I really have no idea of the weird and wonderful world of the nuclear surface fleet. I hear they have long lines and nice watch rotations, but what do I know?

10/26/2007 2:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll tell you how this whole thing happened. The lab has a door and nobody knows what goes on behind it.

10/26/2007 4:52 PM

 
Blogger David said...

I have just recently arrived in the large and mysterious world of the nuclear surface fleet. Long lines, but similar watch rotations (I am currently 4 section). You are accurate about the CWO's (as well as LDO's), most of the NR reps in the field offices are also LDO/Warrants, and there are quite a few at maintenance facilities. We qualify PPWO (Basically EOOW of one of the multiple plants) EOOW (Officer over both plants) and even OOD. Thought you were nervous the last time you were in a shipping lane with a carrier riding your ass? It probably never occurred to you there might be a guy who was an M Div chief two years prior driving that thing did it?

10/26/2007 5:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you turn the lock on the lab door half way from the inside, you can't unlock it from the outside.....

10/26/2007 6:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, if you are trying to tell me that there are nuc MM's driving carriers then you have successfully scared the hell out of me. And I say that as a former nuc MM :)

One comment that I saw in another thread that I'm curious about is the prospect of the MLPO being relieved. Why would that happen? Most of us non-ELTs have no idea what's going on behind that door (sleep, I always assumed). Sure, we might read for a primary sample or something, but how do we know about weird primary chemistry tests?

10/26/2007 6:17 PM

 
Anonymous MMC(SS) CWO-4 NRRO said...

As a submariner, NUC, qualified EOOW and NRRO that worked for ADM Rickover. I'm concerned that the level of confinace a submariner can have in his follow submariner to keep him safe while he slept has decayed to the point.
Yes a log may get radio'ed or taken late ONE time or the other, althought it does not conform the the NR/Submarine standard, but is not a large concern, because the watch stander will check the reading that could be a problem.

To radio reading for that length of time is beyond belief. To blow off a "primary" on a 688 means that not only did the ELT not do his job, but the RT that normally reads for him didn't notice the samples were being taken, the EOOW, who is required to review the EOOW log since his last watch didn't notice that the "PRIMARIES" wern't taken, The Manurving Room watch standers that should be noting the 2JV trafic that happens when "Primry is taken" aren't being heard, 3 EOOW log enteries normally made. The EWS is normally knows the sample is being taken, should have noticed. The EOOW reviews the results of the Primaries so he should he should have known there was a problem.

I would not want to trust my "safety" aka "ships safety" to people that can't be counted on to do the right thing for ship's and reactor safety.

The ELT's, EWS's, EOOW's, Maunerving Room watchstanders, RCA, Engineer Officer and CO should be replaced in the interest of ship's and reactor safety.

10/26/2007 7:52 PM

 
Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

The list of backseat drivers continues to grow in both number and level-of-detail of reactor plant operations. Those sorts of comments, such as the just-previous one that arrogantly presumes to be able to determine justice here, serve no one but the author's overblown ego.

Pipe down, Warrant...you obviously don't know the specific details of what happened, which is not to be unexpected as they have not been released. Nor should they be.

NR needs to take an honest ook at its own set of problems that helped to foster this situation very seriously. Hampton's problems are not something separate from NR...they are embedded within it. NR owns these sorts of problems just as much as it owns its successes: you don't get to claim one without the other. It's NR's program...and no one else's.

Along with any number of others, I was both chosen by Rickover and spent time standing alongside him in maneuvering while underway. If he were alive today, I damn well guarantee you that he would say that the nuclear program -- and its problems -- are HIS responsibility. Where is the same level of leadership, accountability and let's-fix-this attitude from NR today? If all NR has come to stand for is a jackboot up the fleet's ass, this will all not end well.

10/26/2007 8:34 PM

 
Anonymous Submarine Iconoclast said...

Ex SSN Eng hit the nail on the head.
"If [Rickover] were alive today, I damn well guarantee you that he would say that the nuclear program -- and its problems -- are HIS responsibility."

Let's see how much ownership NR takes in evaluating processes and improving the Fleet's ability to do the job right. Maybe that means ensuring a higher standard for operators hitting the Fleet, maybe that means making sure we spend our limited manpower resources doing only things that are truly worthwhile (and understand why they are worthwhile at the deckplate level), maybe that means paying more attention to command climate on every submarine and how we select and groom O-Gang (JOs are PCOs in a way) to be eventual COs.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is but I damn sure know that the process had better occur at the right scope and demonstrate the integrity of taking an honest and rigorous look at the leadership that really counts: the very top. Even with a command pin on his chest, an O5 is nowhere near "the top" of our organization.

10/26/2007 10:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ex ssn eng: the problem starts with NR, but goes much deeper than that. The majority (90%) of current submarine force admirals are the main reason this type of thing happens in the first place. Just read the post from the obvious HAMPTON crew member (on the HAMPTON investigation thread) who describes how the submarine force repeatedly stabbed HAMPTON in the back during DMP, deployment certification, deployment, and change of homeport. Today's submarine force leaders are just like the politicians in Congress, they are only concerned about how to maintain or increase their position of power and control. NO ONE at the top cares about the sailors. The most ridiculous motto out there is Navy Personnel Command's: Mission First....People Always. Hah! It should be Mission Always....People FU! The current TYCOMS (VADM Donnelly and RADM Walsh) are too concerned about their own drive for 4 stars that they continually take a pound of flesh out of operational submarines to make themselves look good. Then when they have a spare moment, they make sure that officers who were JOs during their CO tour are given the best assignments in the homeports of their choice. This is done at the expense of every other hardworking submarine officer trying to compete against them. Thus the cycle continues, and the "future admirals" learn from the CORRUPT current admirals and the cycle continues. Eventually, that corruption makes its way to the people that actually work for a living and something like HAMPTON occurs. You might ask how I know all this...well, I have lived it for the past 16 years as a submarine officer who is about to take command of an SSN. The submarine force leadership is so bad that RETIREMENT is the only thing that motivates me now. My dream of being a submarine CO was blown up by the incompetent submarine admirals that can't say "NO" to their boss because they need to always say "YES" to get their 4 stars.

10/27/2007 8:05 AM

 
Anonymous ex SSN Officer said...

I've responded on the other, most-recent thread.

10/27/2007 9:47 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

ex ssn eng: the problem starts with NR, but goes much deeper than that. The majority (90%) of current submarine force admirals are the main reason this type of thing happens in the first place. Just read the post from the obvious HAMPTON crew member (on the HAMPTON investigation thread) who describes how the submarine force repeatedly stabbed HAMPTON in the back during DMP, deployment certification, deployment, and change of homeport. Today's submarine force leaders are just like the politicians in Congress, they are only concerned about how to maintain or increase their position of power and control. NO ONE at the top cares about the sailors. The most ridiculous motto out there is Navy Personnel Command's: Mission First....People Always. Hah! It should be Mission Always....People FU! The current TYCOMS (VADM Donnelly and RADM Walsh) are too concerned about their own drive for 4 stars that they continually take a pound of flesh out of operational submarines to make themselves look good. Then when they have a spare moment, they make sure that officers who were JOs during their CO tour are given the best assignments in the homeports of their choice. This is done at the expense of every other hardworking submarine officer trying to compete against them. Thus the cycle continues, and the "future admirals" learn from the CORRUPT current admirals and the cycle continues. Eventually, that corruption makes its way to the people that actually work for a living and something like HAMPTON occurs. You might ask how I know all this...well, I have lived it for the past 16 years as a submarine officer who is about to take command of an SSN. The submarine force leadership is so bad that RETIREMENT is the only thing that motivates me now. My dream of being a submarine CO was blown up by the incompetent submarine admirals that can't say "NO" to their boss because they need to always say "YES" to get their 4 stars.

Wow. That's saying alot. Pretty scary to think that this is the way it is.

On the bright side... Ok, there's no brightside to this post. I had no idea that the 'upper management' of the boat had such a pessimistic (pragmatic) view of the Navy. Wow.

Best of luck with that SSN. I'd speak to the ENG dept immediately and tell them where you're coming from. It'll go a long ways. And don't think of anyone as a 'body'. And keep field-days to a minimum-- there is no greater negative impact to the engnineering climate than to feel like a nuclear trained janitor.

10/27/2007 10:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to the "nuclear trained janitor" comment. I've spent the past 17 years working commercial nuke and the one of the most common comments from former nukes deals with an absolute hatred of the ridiculous frequency of nuke field days. "Believe it, or not."

10/27/2007 2:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"believe it or not"? Dude, we all know it. The situation where highly trained technicians spend hours fruitlessly cleaning to fulfill the fetishes of their superiors is nuts. It did confront me with a funny quandary, though - when (successfully) applying to an officer program, I had to go through a board. I knew one of the questions would be "why do you want to be an officer" and spent not a little time trying to figure out a diplomatic way of saying "I hate field day".

That being said, this entire issue is not a problem purely at the deckplate or boat level. NR needs to make some serious structural changes to eliminate situations where integrity is begging to be violated. If you back someone into a corner and they feel that they have nothing to lose, they will lie. Similarly, if you put an honest man with a bunch of sh*tbags, they will become one. NR needs to figure out how to ease the burden on current operators (relief crews?) while at the same time instilling more esprit de corp. It always amazed me how the pride could be squeezed out of folks with the training, intelligence, and drive of enlisted nucs.

I think the leadership needs to recognize they are dealing with high functioning, elite sailors and treat them accordingly. There are plenty of great examples elsewhere in the military on how to do this, but for some reason the leadership wants to fall back on techniques from the days of rum, sodomy, and the lash. Seemingly, at O4, all sense flees from our O-gangers in this regard - or is that the decent guys leaving the service?

10/28/2007 1:12 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, field day isn’t the problem. You have to live and work there, and it’s a lot easier to get the job done when the engine room is clean (think about grounds in junction boxes from puddles of crap dripping on them… think about getting slimed up from head to toe just because you had to go down in a bilge to operate a valve – life is more pleasant when you work in a clean space). Field day is also basically a hand-over-hand inspection of the plant, one of the ways we spot problems early on. The boat needs to be clean, plain and simple. (Heck, when I was a nub, we actually looked forward to field day because it was the only time nubs could listen to music underway.)

The problem is the *way* we run field day, and it’s symptomatic of a bigger leadership issue in the Navy overall. The typical field day is an all-hands evolution, which goes from some preset time to some preset time. There may be a hitlist or two to knock out, but completing it won’t get you back in the rack any sooner.
Now, common sense says this is just plain doing it the hard way. The boat has limited cleaning supplies, so why make everyone fight over them? With the whole crew up at the same time, you can’t get from point A to point B without messing up someone else’s cleaning area or getting in the way. It took me three years to convince my command that a wet-dry vacuum from Sears was much better for dewatering a bilge than a roto-flex pump (and I finally ended up having to bring one from home to make my point). The list goes on and on.

Packing the whole family into the kitchen, then telling them to look busy for three hours isn’t going to get it any cleaner. We know all this, so why do we still do it? Good leadership says clean what needs cleaning, then STOP. Use the right tools for the job. Split the boat up into zones so that you only have some of the crew cleaning at any one time. Schedule cleanup any other job, such that no one gets cycled more than necessary. Make sure they know that they’re only going to have to clean when it gets dirty.
Why don’t we do it that way? My guess is tradition; that’s not the way we’ve always done it, so we’re not going to change. The people deciding how to get the boat clean aren’t the ones who have to actually do the cleaning, so they have no vested interest in doing it faster, better, or smarter. And, I believe this is just one example of how Navy leadership doesn’t adapt itself to the modern world

10/28/2007 10:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny how one comment about field day brings back so many memories for everyone, and none of them positive.

I heard once (probably like all nukes) that if you send a boat to sea with only officers it won't ever come back. But if you send a boat to sea with only enlisted men, it will come back, but it'll be dirty. (I think someone told me that Rickover said it)

10/28/2007 3:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a ELT and just for INFO, I know the incident on the Hampton and I am very Fimiliar with it. For thoe who read the articile and thinking that it would be imppossible that they couldn't sample the primary for a month is correct. They did Sample every single day. The was only one analysis they didn't perform. Navytimes got information that they didn't understand and ran with the article they published. As a matter of fact it wasn't this that even started the whole investigation. It was something else and in the Nuclear Navy you find one thing, then obiviously there's something else too! Then you find a whole bunch of crap. They didn't find out about the chemistry thing until the CO wanted to see it done and then none of the elts could perform it.

a couple posters had already discussed the analysis and why it is not perfect. Also, what they did honestly wouldn't have hurt the reactor plant or affected it's saftey. like another poster said, the Navy reactor plants are way overengineered. anyway they shouldn't have radioed it. or atleast attempt to do it corretly everytime. 99.9% of the time the sample results come out where i would expect it to. BTW those of you who think when they say "Pink" that pink refers to the color of the water, don't think that, please. And another thing I wish the media would stop making up half truths and writing articles, I doubt NR released that cause they wouldn't have made it out like that and another thing HR would release the findings to the fleet anyway.

I read the inital report and I know the LELT who got screwed. I feel bad for him, he was a great guy and had a good head on him and knew what he was doing, but he made a few bad decisions which cause the spotlight to focus on him and his RL-Div. Anyone can find anything once they shine that great big spotlight on you and look at your records. no matter how good you think you are.

Just Remember, think before you act, because your next step might just screw you.

10/28/2007 10:43 PM

 
Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

This public Naval Reactors document discusses the fact that its supporting activities include "FY 2002: Assess S8G reactor coolant additive effectiveness at reducing radiation levels and qualify additive zinc for OHIO class fleet-wide application. Continue to monitor results of additive treatment in LOS ANGELES class primary chemistries."

So, it's not NNPI that the Navy has been at a minimum assessing zinc as an additive.

Other public documents regarding U.S. commercial nuclear power plants point toward zinc as being used since about 10 years ago to mitigate corrosion, with the principal goal of reducing Co60 activation. It serves no other purpose. As anyone with even a minimal knowledge of nuclear power plants knows, this is nowhere in the remote vicinity of being a "safety" issue, such as has been reported hysterically by Navy Times.

This is all public information, guys...but we all know that details of a specific incident are classified unless released publicly. And there is no specific public information regarding Hampton's chemistry management errors.

Whoever leaked to the Navy Times article in the half-assed way that they did should be investigated, as they've done a huge disservice to the Navy and the public. The Navy Times itself needs to realize its limitations when it comes to being able to intelligently investigate and report on a sophisticated topic. It has -- so far -- utterly failed the public's interest in this matter.

10/29/2007 8:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former ELT, all as I can say is that none of this surprises me in the least. Since I got out in ’94 I won’t pretend to understand the Zinc analyses or what it takes to get it done and to make it look good. What I can comment on with a bit of knowledge is that, in my opinion, most of these issues are symptomatic of one real problem – overwork. These guys are probably doing port/starboard watches, field day, and pre-ORSE workup at the end of a deployment where they have been busting hump for the last six months. I can’t believe people seriously wonder how this stuff can happen when you work people to the bone week after week and month after month. Particularly when you see the sonar techs waiting topside for the brow to be lowered in place when you have to shutdown and do maintenance before leaving. People [even nukes] can only take so much.

I think morale is a bigger issue than most care to admit. I got tired of the whole “don’t be a pussy” mentality. It was all about doing as you were told and don’t complain. IT didn’t matter if you’ve been up for 36 hours and had the chance for 4 hours in the rack before drills start again. People are human. The better managers understand it and do what they can. Overwork breeds carelessness and a lack of ownership. Resentment creeps in. I absolutely hated my boat by the time I left and I truly didn’t care. Too many times I had to stick around for some stupid evolution while the boat was in port, just so I could turn around and go to see for another 18 days. There needs to be some balance here. I can’t even imagine how bad it is with the downsizing of the fleet and the increased Op-tempo. Until the issue of overwork is addressed, I think that this “integrity” issue will continue to fester.

One final thing is that being on a boat adds to your perspective. I got out after 6 years [no STAR for me] after have done two years as a staff-pick up ELT and two years on a boat. Coming to the boat as a SPU certainly didn’t endear me to the saltier lads [why did I get such a good deal]. Now, nearly 15 years later I got my undergraduate degree, a law degree and a job working at a pretty big firm I have perspective. When I am in the office late at night working on some real estate deal for some guy who has more money than I could earn in ten lifetimes I take comfort in a few facts: I am making a lot of cash; I have my TV tuned into the game in my office; I have some pretty good Thai food on my desk and all the soda I need; its comfortable and cool; I am surrounded by pictures of my family whom I just met for dinner so I could get a little face time.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

10/29/2007 1:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like command "cranial rectal insertion" wasn't just limited to my time on the boats after all. Having only spent three years in subs and not being nuke, I won’t judge what did or did not happen with the ELTs. I will say that from 1972 through 1975 with two patrols, an overhaul and pre Daso on the old Thomas A Edison, SSBN 610, I saw a lot of nukes and forward guys get overworked and underappreciated.

The CO who took us through overhaul in Mare Island had us painting missile compartment white (from the FBM green) on our last patrol out of Rota, Spain. His reasoning was that if he turned over the boat to the yards in pristine condition, they would have to give it back to him that way. This reasoning (and field days) continued through the Panama canal and up the coast of California. I remember shining the deck plates in the torpedo room with a wire brush the evening before we arrived. My neighbor was a Nuke ELT during that overhaul and I saw much more of his wife (together with my wife) than he did. The only thing the Nukes got out of was fire watches (except in a radiation area). God, I hate overhauls to this day.

Sure sounds like command climate has not changed much since then. Makes me wonder if the Navy could have kept enough guys if we had stayed at the cold war level of subs instead of downsizing the number. If the good Commanders get out, then the less than good ones are left to get that fourth stripe and if they remember all the stuff they did to make it (like lack of liberty for the crew, drills, field days, etc), whether or not that was what really got them promoted, then they are going to require it of their subordinates.

I don’t have the answers, but if the Navy as a whole wants to have smaller crews on ships of the future, then we need to have more automation and ships that don’t require as much maintenance (the kind that uses a rag, a fox tail, and a greenie pad).

Kind of makes you think targets aren’t so bad after all, huh? That wasn’t a dig against submariners, but targets generally do get better liberty ports.

Chief_Torpedoman

10/29/2007 7:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, joining the military was, and always will be, a sacrifice akin to being in prison. You are literally the property of the state, and you give up your freedom so that others may keep theirs. Patrols these days suck, but no more so than crapping in a ditch and getting shot at does for guys in Iraq. For that matter, patrols have ALWAYS sucked – just imagine going out on a Gato-class boat in WW-II. Their patrols were just as grueling, they didn’t have niceties like air conditioning, and there was a one-in-three chance of ending up dead.

As we all know, its not “just a job”; being overworked and underappreciated are par for the course. You’re going to have bad leaders from time to time; sometimes even the best leader can’t make a bone job anything but a bone job. However, I believe the Navy could do a lot towards making the most of a bad situation by improving their overall leadership program:

(1) Reduce some of the cultural elitism which separates officers from enlisted. Sure, at one time there was a world of difference between the two, but now? What’s the real difference between a 24 year old with a four year degree (and no real world experience) and a 24 year old with a two year degree (and four years’ operational experience)? Is it so great that you have to physically isolate the two with blue-painted hallways? (Note, for you sub guys, this is a skimmer thing. Whole decks are off limits to blueshirts... but, oddly, the off-limits stuff is painted blue).

(2) The best leaders are those promoted from within (i.e., your NCOs and chiefs). Make serving a minimum of four years as an enlisted a prerequisite for ANY leadership position. Overall, the best leaders I’ve ever worked for were prior enlisted (the worse, IMHO, were academy men). This could even up retention – you do four years as enlisted, then the navy pays for four years of school, then you do at least four more years as an officer.

(3) Hand-in-hand with this is overlooking the occasional mistake when preparing fitness reports. People make mistakes, its part of the normal learning process. We don’t need leaders worried more about making some trivial (yet career-ending) mistake than doing a good job. Fortune favors the brave, but the Navy favors the conformist.

(4) Somebody PLEASE put a choke collar on the Supply Officers! You can’t pay the men more for the same work, and you can’t reduce the workload for the same pay, so the least you can do is make the work as easy to do as possible. I have never had a Chop who would just let you order tools when you needed them (it got so bad on my first boat that we were down to one half-inch wrench, which had to be signed out from the EOOW). I’ve had Chops that refused to buy anything but chicken for a patrol because it saved money... and saving money looks good on their record, no matter what the cost to morale. That’s just plain wrong.

10/30/2007 8:03 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fookin' A - see post 105 - this guy's got it right . . .

10/30/2007 9:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some advice on running a good nuc division (on subs, anyways):

(1) Day after is sacred. If you want to get the most out of your duty section, they need to know that they can go home and sleep as soon as turnover is complete. I’ve heard some chiefs whine about all-hands evolutions. That’s bull. If it’s a field day, find out what needs to be cleaned and have the duty guys do their part the night before. Same for training – they know they’re responsible for the info, they’ll get it on their own. Establish a good working relationship with the Eng and he’ll gladly support you on this. I know this for a fact - the only time day after is still on board at 0800 on my boat is if we’re getting underway.

(2) Duty days will suck – expect to do 12 hours of watch, and 12 hours of divisional work.

(3) On non-duty days, we’ll get the work done and then go home. If that’s 1100, so be it. I don’t keep people around “just in case”, that’s what the duty section is for. However, either I or my leading first will be on board until the Eng leaves for the day.

(4) On a fast boat, schedule most of the PMS for underway. Like a duty day, underway is going to suck, but you have to be there, anyway, so sucking at sea means more time off in port. This is especially true for E Div.

(5) Order parts. Order more parts. Keep ordering parts, you can never have enough. The same for tools. Screw the chop.

(6) Someone will always get left in port for school and for leave (again, a fast boat thing – boomers don’t need to do this). This will rotate among everyone, from the nub to the snob.

(7) Put in for awards whenever possible. It doesn’t matter if you know they are BS and the guys getting them do, too – a record full of LOCs can save you guys from mast if they screw up later.

(8) Every nub gets a sea dad. If the nub goes dink, so does the sea dad. Getting our nubs qualified is the same as any other divisional work – get it done and go home.

(9) Some times you have no choice – you are directed by the Eng or the XO to write someone up. Some offences, such as under-age drinking, leave no options. However, keep in mind that most NJP results from a leadership failure and should be used as a last resort. (When I got to the Lincoln, the first thing the XO told us during indoc was how their assembly-line NPJ system worked. If a third of your department is restricted on board, how much of a deterrent can it be?).

(10) During field day, or some other all-hands BS, stay out of my spaces. I am responsible and I will make sure the work is getting done. You want to inspect? Give me the list beforehand, and tell me if something got missed afterwards. I don’t want my guys trying to hide from you, or (even worse) trying to look busy. I know my space, I know my guys, let me do the job I’m getting paid for.

(11) Everyone in the division will complete their requirements for the next rank ahead of time. When the exam comes around, getting everyone promoted becomes as important as anything else we’re doing. For making chief, firsts need to qualify EWS/EDPO and a forward watch (COW is common, but it’s not like they are shorthanded. Better is finding someone who NEEDS more qualified watchstanders, even if its duty SK).

(12) There is no such thing as a “designated failure” for divisional training. They set the standards, we meet them, end of story. Everyone ace’ing the exam is a GOOD thing, not proof the exam was too easy.

(13) Everyone has a collateral duty, and they cycle every six months (or every other patrol, for boomers). During one sea tour, I expect that each division member will have done each job at least once, especially training, PMS, and RPPO.

10/30/2007 10:40 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, your post on running a division is spot on....that coming from a 22 yr MMCS(SS/DV/EDMC/MLPO/LELT)....oh, and retired! No, I don't miss 'it', I miss the people(the ones who are suffering, in this case).

10/30/2007 11:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a former ELT who got pinched for radioing; my LELT sabotaged some equipment needed to do the most trivial and inaccurate secondary analysis to see if I'd notice and I was just too damned tired at the time. Hearing former officers and chiefs gripe about the conditions that tanked my Navy career have been a relief.

Speaking from experience, the Navy could take some leadership pointers from the Army.

10/30/2007 4:12 PM

 
Anonymous rebootinit said...

Joel, this has produced the largest 400 cycle nook whine that I have ever seen!
I thought all nooks were the best and perfect?
LOL
Enjoy that pro-pay and SRB.

10/31/2007 12:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a passionate subject to current and ex-nukes. We all took pride in our jobs and we all saw things like this happen to others. When the dust settled we would all let out a collective sigh and were grateful that we had not gotten caught up in the 'excitement'.

As you have read all the comments you see the 'Not on my watch' and the 'but you KNOW that happens' posts go back and forth.

We had a saying on the boat. 3 rules of Nuclear Power we called them.

Let me recap them for the unwashed masses:

1) When questioned, dodge
2) When accused, make counter accusations
3) When caught, implicate everybody

In hindsight, I see how crutial these were to dodging the touble that could be created when caught between doing our jobs and trying to stay sane and alert.

This is a situation that shows the best and worst of what makes up the mindset of nukes. I hope that MAYBE, the powers that be will read this blog and gain an insight into the people who are keeping those reactors safe. Things have been said here that no nuke would make in an ORSE interview. Heck, no nuke would dare say it because the politics of the Nuclear Navy would end any hope of a career that they have.

10/31/2007 5:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if nothing else, the reaction to this incident will probably lead the CO of the NEXT Hampton to simply cover the incident up.

11/02/2007 10:29 AM

 
Blogger Mathteacher said...

The only acronym I remember is 'SWIMS', we used it for all the casualties. Smile, Walk away, Ignore the situation, Maintain low profile, Sneak away at first opportunity. It is nice having Time away from a boat, distance from it all, and a DD-214 to provide plenty of shielding :)

11/02/2007 9:21 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person that had the 13 steps of running a division, I have one thing to say. If we had more chiefs like you, I would still be poking holes in the water. Instead I got out after 12 years, and I most likely would have made chief this year or next, and I would have implented, or tried to anyways, the same things you just said. Some commands though make it next to impossible to do some of those things.

11/04/2007 9:55 AM

 
Anonymous nuc instructor said...

Thanks, but I can't take credit for them - I learned them from the few good leaders I've worked for over the years, and I'm just passing them on like they did. It sounds like they are especially important for today's work force, given all the previous comments on this topic.

11/05/2007 12:32 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

The "13 rules" are GOLDEN. As a three-time fast boat leading first, I can promise that the vast majority of guys in a division run to those rules would follow you through the flames of hell and back (and the very few who didn't take to it wouldn't take to anything).

Yet...

One example of how distanced our community got from what was "real" was field day. On my last two boats it was considered a virtual sacrament by the upper management (i.e., the COB), and there was no, I repeat, NO way you were getting out of putting your head in a bilge for 4 hours every Friday morning (or Saturday underway, for one boat at least). I had a COB point blank tell people in port there would be no appointments, special liberty, running tagouts for actual shipyard work, NOTHING. He made a guy reschedule a home closing (the guy was selling because he was transferring very soon) to make field day. Only the intervention of the ENG and EDMC kept him from yanking nukes off watch in shiftwork during plant testing to clean.

Field day is the holy commandment of the almighty on too many boats. Yes, it's necessary...no, it's not so important that it's our very reason for existence. And even if it was just field day it would be moderately tolerable, but I counted up on my next-to-last boat (left it in '04), and cleaning was such a high priority that on average you spent 10 hours a week in port (4 hour Friday field day and two cleanups of 30 minutes and one hour each day) in cleaning. Scheduled, set in granite, woe betide the poor bastard who missed it. At sea...a solid hour after every watch (even if you were coming off short-cycle from drills and had drills oncoming), four hours on Friday or Saturday, and deep cleaning expected on watch for at least 2/3 of your watch if you were a roving watchstander (time to lean=time to clean, right?)

While I know that a 40 hour inport week is a pipe dream, that is the ideal we should schedule to, right? So 25% of the job Joe Taxpayer pays me for (and that I went to 2 years of school for) is to be a janitor?

Now, add this to the other time-stealers that keep piling up as requirement after requirement gets heaped on by brass that frankly has nothing better to do in a wartime that involves subs very little, and it's no surprise that the actual job we're there to do gets short-sheeted. And believe me, it happens a lot. There are those who fight it (and spend a LONG time after "working hours" doing the job right) and those who eventually wear down and just make the paperwork reflect the desired reality. Is it right? Absolutely not. Is it more and more inevitable? Add the hours up and see for yourself. When a typical day in port consists of 1 1/2 hours cleaning, 3-4 hours training (in overhaul/shipyard...not making this up, BTDT) and another hour or two of GMT/muster to listen to the COB rant/snippets of time between training that are too short to accomplish anything/stupid admin requirements/tests/retests/other crap in the POD that eats up your time...and you have now shoved the real reason you are paid into a couple of hours (or less) of time, it's now between 1430-1600, and you are just starting your workday. You have been on the boat since 0730 (and at "work" since 0530, let's not forget the PT program), and it's mid-afternoon, and now you get to actually do your work.

By the way, fair disclosure compels me to admit I'm the guy who wrote the recent Navy Times "Back Talk" article "A Matter Of Time?" (11/5/07 issue). I firmly believe now and when I was in (got out in July 07) that this is one of the root problems in the Navy, particularly in the sub force and nuclear community. Not the only cause (these problems rarely have a single telltale dangling thread), but a significant factor.

11/06/2007 6:56 PM

 
Anonymous CVN/CGN LELT said...

I was a nub ELT on a cruiser and eventually the Master ELT (a carrier thing, i think) onboard a carrier before leaving the Navy in the early 90's I was 25 when I left the Navy. We were between Chiefs, so when I left I was running a division of over 30 (we were way heavy) at 25.

I am 40ish now. I cannot imagine who would think it would be a good idea to have a 25 year old as the middle manager for a group of 30+ other 'above average' intellegence 20-25 year olds in a profession where (not to overstate the case) only your personal integrity stood in the way of an easy job or a relatively challenging one.

I read every word posted before me. I appreciate those of you that were 'real'. I am disgusted by those of you who know the truth but try to sugar coat it here. I HOPE NR does read every word here. I once thought they were fully aware and complicite in the conspiracy and coverup. I don't believe that anymore. Well, that's not exactly right. I do believe those guys in NR that actually came from the fleet...the enlisted fleet...may be aware, but I only knew, and knew of, one of those. He had been a blue shirt who i worked with, became a chief, became a LTjg and went to the ORSE board, and then went to NR. "Harry" definitely knew the truth. Doubt he would ever discuss it with the other NR dudes though. How could he? "Hey, damn glad to be here at NR with all of you Academy and MIT grads. Did you know I used to radio my daily swipes and my shutdown generator chem logs? Hey, everyone did. I was just being one of the guys".

Which brings me to my main point. As I understand it, one guy couldnt do the SINC analysis, possibly becasue he couldnt get the time management down, possibly becasue the reagents were expired, possibly because the analytical equipment was FUBAR (wow, havent used that one in 14 years). Either way, Joe ELT couldnt do it, and radioed it in (or I guess that one cat said its not logs anymore, its computerized, so i guess its not radioed, more like IM'd). His relief realized it, but hey this is Joe, who is my roommate onshore, who i go out drinkin and whoring with, who (maybe...) is my DADT buddy, etc, etc. I am a 22 year old kid, Joe is my 23 year old buddy, and damn it, who give a care about the JINX analysis anyway. I mean, everyone knows it is never out of spec anyway. So, no harm, no foul.

Then of course, the LPO or LELT or whomever it is on a boat (see, i was always on ships) reviews the log...or computer...whatever. Now, he is a little older, maybe 24. But he too thinks eh, is it really going to hurt anything. Besides, Joe ELT has dirt on me too. No, of course i never phoned in a Primary Sample, but like Every Other ELT, I have "imagined" on paper what those midnight swipes might look like. Oh, and there was the one radcon work package where the containment tore, Joe ELT was there, and we just quickly taped the gash and continued. Hell, if I let it be known that Joe didnt actually do his MINK analysis, he might start telling what he knows about me, about Jimmy, about Rob...nah. I think the best way to handle this is to fix the logs (cause when he tried, he really screwed it up) adn talk to Joe "off line".

Oh, and then there was that TLD read when Mechaninc Bill had reading 2 times higher than expected, and for no apparent reason. yes, the right thing would have been to launch an investigation. But hey, even at 2x high, we are still talking about a really small exposure. And, anyway, we all know it wasnt really that high. we just forgot to zero the TLD before issuing it. Yeah thats it. Happends all the time, right. Besides, if we report what the reader actually said, we will ahve to at least temporarily take Bill off the watchbill. That screws everyone, and why would we do that when we know it was probably a bad TLD or failure to zero. Nah, we will just right down a smaller reading. Oh, ELT Joe is here. Thats OK, he needs to learn that sometimes you have to be smart and do the 'right' thing, not necessarily what 'the book' says.

Come on, what happened here is no mystery. From prototype on ELT's are taught to cover some things up. Small things. Redundant things. Things that don't really matter. How many times did you all actually swipe the primay tool box (oh, a ship thing i bet). Midwatch was a bitch. Getting the primary, at least one generator, all the radcon stuff, etc etc. It was doable, but it was so much easier to simply pretend on some of the non-essential tasks, and hey Everyone did that. Hell, even a Chief posted earlier that he mihgt have radioed this or that, but Never a Primary.

The point is, once you institutionalize cheating, it becomes a slippery slope as to what is acceptable and what is not. Futhermore, it makes it imposible or at least improbable that you will interfere with anyone else's integrity issue.

I sincerely hope the Navy Times or NR will read and understand that this is in no way isolated. It is prevalent. It is a culture. And, if this does not act as a wakeup call, eventually it is going to lead to serious damage.

11/08/2007 2:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just thought of something. I dont remember precisely, but I think it was the Sodium analysis in our steam plant that was difficult to get an accurate reading. As I recall the standardiztion was sketchy at best, and the results were always suspect. Nevertheless, somehow we were always in spec.

From what I have read about the Zinc analysis, sounds like some of the same issues. Poor analyis, faulty equipment, and no emphasis by the navy as to the importance of getting the result right.

I also remember from prototype that there was a now defunct analysis that iodine was used for. It was so difficult to get right that while they staff did it at prototype, they didnt even teach it to the students. The answer was "you will learn that on your boat".

11/08/2007 2:27 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, the memories that have come rushing back. As a 12 year Nuc MM1 (SW). Having read diligently every word of the previous posts there isn't much to say that maybe hasn't already been said. While I don't miss the Navy, I miss the ocean, and I miss the shipmates I cleaned all the dirt with.

I can agree that nuc's are overworked and pushed through too quickly.

I can agree that this was bound to happen.

I can agree that once you have BEEN there you will realize that sleep > spot integrity (I mean you really have nothing to lose anymore when you haven't slept, and a large portion of nukes I knew would have begged for a NEC removal {it was considered a 'good a deal' to lose it they needed us so badly}).

I can agree the system is born of high ideals with little emphasis on the reality of accomplishment (let's not look at one thing, but rather the whole deal on a whole).

I can say that I would hire a Navy Nuc any time of the day (and any de-nuked one as well) if I were in the position to do so.

My best wishes go out to those still stuck in the governmental hell called Naval Nuclear Power, with one last piece of advice. Learn to sleep standing up, because down time is minimal (from someone who has slept standing up near a Feed Pump Alarm Panel one one of the ships crowned for her ability to suck down chemicals).

3/10/2008 4:17 PM

 
Blogger Jeff said...

I have gone through this blog. I found it very interesting and helpful. Nowadays I am completing my engineering and management courses only.
And this blog really doing great for me. This blog also offers me more ideas and advices concerned to my career.


engineering and management courses

4/24/2010 1:50 AM

 
Anonymous viagra soft gel tabs said...

Wow, nice post,there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.Thank you for sharing to us.Please one more post about that..

7/20/2011 9:10 AM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home