On every XO's Tickler, there's an annual entry for a "Command History Letter Due to Director of Naval History". The Navigator provides all the ship's movements in the proper format, the XO writes a paragraph or two, and it gets mailed off to D.C., where I always figured it went into some filing cabinet, never to be seen again.
Lo and behold, it turns out there they're putting them on the 'net for all of us old guys to enjoy! So far, it looks like they're done for all the ship's with the first letter of their names up through "G", although there are some others that have been posted (e.g. USS Los Angeles and USS Salt Lake City, along with a few "H", "M", and "P" boats). Sadly, several boats have some years that aren't declassified yet, but most of them have reports up through 2003. The only one of my "old" boats that has theirs posted is USS Connecticut (SSN 22). I went right to the 1999 report to relive some of those wonderful old days as Engineer of an operational Seawolf-class submarine. Let's see how fun it was for me, shall we?
The year started out pretty good; I had orders to transfer right after the ORSE in the spring, and my relief was coming aboard in April. Here's what the Command History for 1999 says happened next:
1 January 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) is at Electric Boat Corporation undergoing a Technical Availability for work on the Emergency Diesel Generator (EDG) and Towed Array Handling Systems.Hey, wait, that wasn't uplifting... that time totally sucked to be the Eng! I got held over for two months, and had to do most of the ORSE workup in-port while doing a BATREP! (I detached the day after the ORSE and went up to Groton to pick up my car to drive to San Diego. Then, when I reported to my "shore" duty two weeks later, I spent 9 of the next 12 months underway on an aircraft carrier.)
15 Januarv 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) held its first change of command ceremony at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel in Groton, CT. CDR Frederick J. Roegge relieved CAPT Larry H. Davis as Commanding Officer.
7 Februarv 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) was moved to her home port, the New London Submarine Base, Groton CT.
14 February 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway for Sea Trials and Weapons System Accuracy Testing (WSAT). The ship returned to port on 21 February to troubleshoot misalignments on the Emergency Diesel Generator (EDG) Seawater (DSW) Piping and Attached DSW Pump.
1 March 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway for WSAT. WSAT was successfully conducted at the Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) at Andros Island in the Bahamas.
15 March 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) returned to home port to correct misalignment of the DSW pump and its attached piping and to troubleshoot low electrical ground readings on the ship's Main Storage Battery.
29 March 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway for an ASW exercise and to test a temporary repair to the EDG.
31 March 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) has returned to home port after experiencing low grounds on the Main Storage Battery.
3 April 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) commenced a Technical Availability with the Electric Boat Corporation and the submarine base Naval Submarine Support Facility to replace the Main Storage Battery.
10 June 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway for a shake down period. The Main Storage Battery was replaced during the Availability. This first ever replacement of a SEAWOLF Class submarine battery was completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
18 June 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) returned to port for the weekend.
21 June 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway to prepare for the ship's first Operational Reactor Safegaurds Examination (ORSE).
2 July 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) returned to home port to celebrate Independence Day.
7 July 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway to continue ORSE workup.
12 July 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) returned to port to rest the crew overnight and pick up the ORSE Board.
13 Julv 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) underway for ORSE.
15 July 1999: USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) successfully completed ORSE with superior results, and arrived in port at Norfolk Naval Station to drop off the ORSE Board and to pick up Midshipmen for summer training. This was the first-ever visit by a SEAWOLF Class submarine to Norfolk.
But no matter how much it sucked, I wouldn't have done it any other way -- except for maybe the part where I signed for accepting that f^@%!ng Main Storage Battery when it was first installed.
(Funny story about that battery -- we ended up getting the MSB that was waiting for the Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) when the Connecticut did the unscheduled BATREP, and they told me they were going to "fix up" the bad one from the 22 and install it on the Carter. I remember thinking, "I feel sorry for the poor SOB who's going to be Eng on the 23". I remembered those words again when I got my orders to be the first Eng on the Carter about a year later. I used to go down to AMR2 to curse at that battery every week when I was Carter's Eng; they ended up replacing it with a brand new one before the ship went to sea, luckily.)