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, July 20, 2008

Roundup Of Submarine Blogs

Continuing the tradition started by bothenook, Nereus at Right Ascension of Aries has posted a roundup of submarine bloggers who had interesting posts this month. It's a good way to keep track of who's saying what in the sub-blogosphere.

After you're done checking out what the bubbleheads have to say, check out this story of potential waste of GWOT funds by Air Force Generals. Excerpts:

The Air Force's top leadership sought for three years to spend counterterrorism funds on "comfort capsules" to be installed on military planes that ferry senior officers and civilian leaders around the world, with at least four top generals involved in design details such as the color of the capsules' carpet and leather chairs, according to internal e-mails and budget documents...
...Air Force documents spell out how each of the capsules is to be "aesthetically pleasing and furnished to reflect the rank of the senior leaders using the capsule," with beds, a couch, a table, a 37-inch flat-screen monitor with stereo speakers, and a full-length mirror...
...A military officer familiar with the program, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it, likewise said that its extravagance has provoked widespread contempt among lower-ranking Air Force personnel. "This whole program is an embarrassment," the officer said, particularly because transport seating for troops en route to the battlefield is in his view generally shoddy...
...Air Force documents about the SLICC, dated June 8, 2006, emphasize the need to install "aesthetically pleasing wall treatments/coverings" -- in addition to the monitor, footrests and a DVD player. The beds, according to one document, must be able to support a man with "no more than 50% compression of the mattress material." The seats are to swivel such that "the longitudinal axis of the seat is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft" regardless of where the capsules are facing, the document specified...
What impressed me most is the reported resistance to the proposed wastage by field-grade officers who tried to convince their Generals that this was a public relations disaster in the making (in addition to just being wrong).

What's the biggest waste of money that you've ever seen to satisfy a senior officer's desire for his/her luxury and/or convenience?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Air Force generals...

7/20/2008 12:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the mandatory and infamous "amenities package" required for Admiral Rickover back in the day?

7/20/2008 7:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the email I sent to Michael Dunn, the President of the Air Force Association:


AFA ought to beat the crap out of USAF leadership for boneheaded plans like this.

Were your organization (of which a member) less sycophantic and more objectively critical of our Air Force, it could move itself from status as a predictable cheerleading squad and into the realm enjoyed by the US Naval Institute as an independent voice that cares enough about its associated Service to tell it when it's got a problem.

USNI is a vital element in maintaining our nation's freedom of the seas and global influence. Many CNOs will tell you that it's a tough but expert and honest critic. AFA is the amen chorus for our Air Force and it adds zero to the discussion other than an echo.

Where were you when my old National classmate Johnny Jumper went way out of bounds beating up that cadet at Springs? Where is the AFA analysis of the startling (and growing) disconnect between requirements and resources within the Air Force? Are all Air Force acquisition desires always more important than all other uses of the same moneys? Is there an analysis of Fogelman's retreat or Mosely's firing beyond thoughtless dismay? Etc.

AFA could be something more than a pack of whiners. It should be. "

No response yet...

7/20/2008 8:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happened around 1980 in Charleston, SC aboard a brand new sub tender in the Pattern Maker (carpenter) shop. This tender serviced fast attack subs while another tender upriver serviced another type of sub. Being a new tender, not everything was quite ready for full service; in particular, the Weapons Repair Dept weight testing shop did not have the fixtures to be testing the submarine ordnance loading equipment.

Now instead of pushing hard to get funds to quickly complete this vital shop, the higher ups figured, well just take the gear upriver for now and test it on the other tender.

You guessed it; it finally bit them in the ass big time when the other tender did not have a particular fixture to test a loading fixture that only SSNs used. Only one sub in port and it had a load out scheduled in a few days that include a silver bullet.

The higher ups finally had to scramble and have our own tender make a test shape for this loading fixture; something we could have done all along anyway in our machine shop and carpenter shop.

As the LPO of the weight test shop, when I went up to check on the newly machined test shape, it was in the carpenter shop awaiting only the final sanding and installation of a metal support ring with about a dozen screws.

Here we had three Pattern Makers working on office tables for the Commodore and no one working on the test shape. I lost my temper and had word with their Chief which only resulted in me being kicked out of the shop.

When they finally finished it, I had to work the weekend to get the weight test done in time, but heck, the Commodore had his tables!

7/20/2008 8:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They went to college, they're officers, they're better than you. If you don't like how the military rewards them for their inherent superiority, best find another line of work. Personally, I'm more than happy my tax dollars go to stroke a few egos.

And I'd have bought Rickover a vial of crack and two Thai hookers if he asked me to; the man deserved whatever he wanted for taking on the Navy in a way none of us will ever get the chance to.

7/20/2008 8:47 AM

Blogger T said...

Ugh, Rickover? He embodies everything that's screwed up with the submarine force. Granted, he had his successes, and in some ways we're better off with it, but I think the force as a whole would be better served to let his influence go and move on.

Much of the perception from outsiders that submarine officers are humourless assholes directly goes back to Rickover and his attitude. Perhaps more unfortunately, now that I work with lots of non-submariners, it actually really is true in comparison.

7/20/2008 11:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not humorless.

Anonymous 1120

7/20/2008 11:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My MS Chief on the Maine told me of a time when Rickover rode his first boat back in the late 70's. Rickover took his personal Master Chief MS wherever he traveled just to make sure that the food was up to his standards. According to my Chief his standards were so high that he required his grapes to be peeled.

As to your original question about wasted money spent on luxuries for senior officers I have this to say being that I see at the Pentagon what most sailors in the fleet never will.

Luxuries in the 3 and 4 star positions are a MUST! Rank has its privileges and those who have attained that rank require it. Not only because they have those stars on their shoulders but MOST importantly because these luxuries make a political statement for them. From 5 star meals with a personal server for each guest to plushy decorated offices. These amenities that we see as wasteful actually show other heads of state who visit them to discuss policy and strategy that they are in a position that demands respect. It’s a political game that has to be played. Like it or not that is the way it is and that is the way it will stay. However I do disagree with the fact that the AF was using Counterterrorism money to pay for these “comfort” pods. They need to have their Pee Pees slapped for that one! The stupid shall be punished…

7/20/2008 5:51 PM

Blogger T said...

Part of the problem with flag officers is that the qualities needed to get to that position (the politicking, career management, making the right friends) and the drive to do that are exactly the same qualities that make them poor leaders. Obviously there are some people who make it on pure merit and "deserve" the position, but it seems from my interactions that the people that often screen for Major Command and then go on to be flags are the type of people who walk all over everybody to make themselves look good.

I've heard a billion times "Oh, admiral so and so was my CO, what an ass hole/incompetent/didn't spend much time at sea." The only exception I've heard over and over again is Konetzi, who by all accounts was apparently a pretty awesome dude.

7/20/2008 7:31 PM

Blogger richard said...

IRT King, I have 2 things to say to you my friend! Visit my blog if you want some good officer bashing, it is on Joel's blog roll under Rich.

First, Big Al the Sailors Pal was a class act. I remember at an Admiral's call when he was Sub Pac when a young lady asked "When are they going to put women on subs?" to which he replied: "Young lady right now it would not be feasible to have women on Submarines, the habitibility will not be condusive for it. Currently I have missions for 20 submarines and I only have 15, so my primary concern is getting more submarines, and to answer your question, if they told me to put women on submarines, I am sure my guys would adapt and make it happen tomorrow if I saked them to.

Second, If you have fish you will understand this. I am stuck in the desert doing the customs mission. I did 10 years active on boats, and 6 in the reserves so far in the sub community. Until 3-4 months ago I was going to get comissioned and pull 25-27 years in the Navy. However, having to deal with surface puke officers, chiefs, and enlisted I have a sour taste in my mouth for the "Big Navy". I have 4 years left and as soon as I get my letter I am gone. Sub officers for the most part are the shit, I could care less for any officer with a swo pin, they don't rate washing my underwear! Yes I have met some doozies not only here, but riding carriers in the reserves! If I could deploy on a boat and do a Westpace instead of interfacing with the "Big Navy" I would stay until they made me leave.

Joel, sorry for ranting in your comments section, and to answer your WFA question... Yeaterday I watched an Army O-3 watch 8 TCN's paint a wall for 5 hours! That is an 0-3 getting regular pay tax free in a war zone and all the other pay that goes along with it to watch 10 Haji's paint a room.

7/20/2008 8:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peeled grapes are an indulgence not a high standard.

A clean plate, a clean engine room, or an observation of a slight increase in TG lube oil temperature are high standards.

Senior officers should have good travel accomodations because they should be expected to work during the travel time. "Luxury" for the sake of comfort is inappropriate but even a JO needs a desk in his stateroom because he should be expected to work while the wardroom and crew's mess is occupied with the evening movie.

7/21/2008 7:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1120: I believe the quotation was "humourless assholes". Thank you for clarifying which adjective applies.

King: "He [Rickover] embodies everything that's screwed up with the submarine force." Please consult historical literature. The good (but difficult admiral) was the only reason our subs were not the deathtraps of the former Soviet navy, our COs were the most qualified for their postings, and our crews the best trained. Whatever sub force screw ups exist now in your opinion, Rickover is hardly the man knowledgable sailors can rightfully blame.

- Fast Eddy

7/21/2008 8:57 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

I think the title for the AF on this one is "No Talent Ass-clowns" that have zero clue on the big picture.

7/21/2008 2:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the infamous ashtrays installed in the cockpits of the F-14 Tomcat fighters? You can't smoke in the cockpits and to top it off they're pressurized. You could try to light one off, but it'd burn....really fast....

7/21/2008 5:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 5:28 PM How about the infamous ashtrays installed in the cockpits of the F-14 Tomcat fighters?

Do you think they were for the mainenance crews to use while they worked?

7/21/2008 6:32 PM

Blogger T said...

-Fast Eddy:

True enough, I think I meant more that he often becomes a figure head for retardation, in that he's overly glorified and asinine decisions are made with the idea that that's what "he" would have done.

7/21/2008 7:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still have the hand-written memo from the wife of COMNAVBASEPEARL concerning her requirements for arrangements at the SUBASEPEARL chapel for her daughter's wedding (NAVBASE was addu reporting senior) This included building a deck behind it AND valet parking.

7/21/2008 8:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most officer wives take some sort of perverse pleasure in the salute their car evokes from the gate guard when heading on base. Some will stop and raise holy hell if they don't get it, especially the older ones. It's bad enough having to salute officers who obviously don't deserve it; having to salute wifey-poo to boot just adds insult to injury.

7/22/2008 7:03 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Whenever I had to salute an officer who I didn't think deserved the time of day, I always remembered that I am saluting the uniform, and remembered that some of my heroes wore the same uniform. That always got me through.

Rickover had his quirks for sure, but I echo the sentiment of others here. I would kiss his ass today for the way he drove people to ensure that the ships I went to sea on always brought me home safely. Submarining is an inherently dangerous job and Rickover made it safer. Thank you ADM, for being an asshole.

7/22/2008 10:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Midnight bomber, you got it wrong. THIS CO's wife is 41, has a job, too many kids and dogs, and could really careless about the salute. (Besides, most bases use rental cops anyway and I don't think they even have to salute, do they?) I think most of us, when we hit the big 40, move on to the real world in which husband's perks are not the center of our universe. I may have been a complete asshat when my husband was a JO over that salute -- hey, I'm honest -- but now I do my own thing. I think most of us CO wives are like that. Besides, the navy spits everyone out eventually anyway. We all know that.

7/22/2008 10:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fast Eddy,

I don't think any submariner will argue that Rick was a brilliant engineer, a master politician, and a driver rather than a leader. Probably what was needed at the time. Our first generation Nuc-boat skippers had learned "submarining" on boats like the Greenfish, Wahoo, Sterlet, Torsk and Bang, and all had command tours on smoke boats prior to Nucs. the standout second generation nuc boat skippers who had no smoke boat experience learned their craft under a number of these skippers like Whittle, Holland, and Mclaren. I think it's safe to say that the submarine wardroom transition has gone from officers who were submariners first and nuc engineers second to nuc engineers first and submariners second. I think this transition has a lot to do with the boats continuing to run into "stuff" and skippers making dumb seamanship decisions that get sailors hurt and killed. Check out some back issues of Naval Institute Proceedings for articles and comments on this subject.

Keep a zero bubble......


7/22/2008 11:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On SuBase San Diego back in the late 80s, an E-4 buddy of mine was shuffling his way to the boat. He happened upon a Marine platoon being inspected by their platoon leader - some jarhead Lt, and upon seeing that the Lt was busy, the squid quietly eased by sans salute. This outraged the Lt who felt that he had to make an example of the enlisted squid who dared not salute. The Lt then proceeded to attempt to show the E-4 how to "properly snap a salute." Much to Lt's chagrin, after each example, PO VXXXXE would render a painfully slow salute. After the 3rd time and a few chuckles from the platoon, Lt finally figured out that he was being made a fool of and sent the lowly squid on his way.

7/22/2008 12:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hehe...Out in Norfolk back when I was a nub. There would be a convergence of O-3s and below gathering together after their day ended...I'd salute each one that I could just to make them salute back. I'd say in one day I had about 20 of em in a huge group when I did it and didn't see the good ol capn behind them...So I didn't salute him and he came walking up to me asking me why I didn't salute. I told him truthfully what I was doing and all he did was chuckle...And told me to salute him next time.

7/22/2008 8:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Doing my own thing..." On the Alaska, that meant the CO's wife (along with a small clique of other officer's wives) tried to order the Wives' Club around like it was some sort of twisted reserve corps. Luckily, many of the "common folk" wives resisted, despite veiled threats about their husbands' careers. Here's a hint, ladies: that sort of thing only works on lifers and their spouses.

The Wives Club elects it own leaders, just as god intended - they don't need any behind the scenes Harper Valley PTA crap in addition to the hardship of long patrols and various other Navy BS.

7/23/2008 7:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey et2,

I have a similar funny...

I was an et3 in Orlando when I passed two JG's at the trunk of their car in the NEX parking lot. They had their arms full of grocs (mostly chips & beer) so as I saluted they looked at each other like "What does he expect?" Feeling froggy for some reason and, hey, these guys were young and laden with beer, so I barked out "As you were, men!" like some sort of old salt captain. I got about five steps further when I heard the two of them bust out laughing.

7/23/2008 12:49 PM


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