I'm Giving Up On The Broom Thing
Almost since I started blogging (and before) I've been a voice crying out in the wilderness against the new "tradition" of submarines coming back from sea trials with a broom flying from their sail. During WWII, a submarine only came into port flying the broom if they'd sunk every enemy they'd encountered -- frequently by means of firing off all their torpedoes over the course of several weeks in the face of determined enemy resistance. Here's an example of a submarine deservedly flying the broom:
PCU North Carolina (SSN 777) returned safely from Alpha Trials yesterday; these trials involve taking a submarine to sea for the first time in local waters. Sure, it's a tough job, but let's be honest -- it's not really on the order of shooting a charging enemy destroyer with a "down the throat" shot. Here's how the bridge of the North Carolina looked yesterday:
(I added the fuchsia arrow pointing out the broom on a chopped-down version of this photo.) Having been on a few Alpha Trials myself, I'm not going to blame the CO and crew for this; I know that the shipyard is usually responsible for wanting the Captain to fly the broom. I'll just have to be happy that my CO on Connecticut told the OOD to refuse permission for the shipyard to send the broom to the bridge when we came in from our very successful Alpha Trials; he had a good understanding of how to honor our predecessors. If we were the last boat to refuse the broom, so be it. I can only hope that the next generation of Captains come up with an unwritten rule that the broom should only be flown if ordnance was used against the enemy. If so, I'll applaud them. Until then, I'll try to keep my trap shut and just honor the men (and sometimes women) who skillfully take untried submarines out to sea.
Update 1030 21 Dec: Here's a short video of the North Carolina on the surface returning from Alpha Trials.