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.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Non-Quals In The News!

Long-time readers know I love checking out pictures of the Crew's Mess of the different boats as they show up on the Navy website; it's one of the few places where a boat can show her own "personality". Earlier this week, they showed some pictures from the CNO and MCPON visit to USS Columbia (SSN 771); the Crew's Mess shots are here:

And here:

Did you notice the same thing I did? It appears that the Columbia decided to have a whole table full on non-quals just "happen" to be studying diligently as ADM Roughead and MCPON Campa came through -- and in both cases, the visiting dignitaries were shown talking with the scrubber loaders. I'm assuming they're giving them crap for being dink, but there's always a distinct possibility that they are giving them encouraging words. (After all, neither the CNO or MCPON are submariners, so maybe they don't truly know how to handle non-quals.)

All kidding aside, I'm interested in your opinion. Is the best way to get guys qualified to make life as a non-qual as unpleasant as possible so they want to get their fish just to end the abuse, or is it best to provide a nurturing environment for the new Submariners as they work diligently to earn their dolphins? I had COs of both persuasions -- before I got my fish, the CO had all non-qual officers standing 3 section EDO so the qualified guys could stand 6 section inport duty. Right after I finished all my quals, the new CO had the qualified guys stand 4 section inport duty while the non-OOD/SDO qualified NUBs only stood EDO every 5 or 6 days -- his stated theory was to give them more time to work on their quals. (I think he just didn't trust them with the plant.) The fact that I ended up taking it in the shorts under both regimes notwithstanding, I actually saw value to both approaches. What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qualifying an inport and at sea nuke watchstation was far more important than qualifying ship quals. My division's (M-div) philosophy was as long as you were not on the dink list you could take as long as you wanted. SRW was the most important qualification since I was on the 'Wolf' 21 boat at EB pretty much my first year of my tour.

8/21/2008 8:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Body language says it all. maaybe someone should tell the clown.

8/21/2008 8:48 AM

Anonymous Former STS2 said...

We treated our nubs like shit, and for the most part what we got were quality guys once they got their fish. The people who couldn't hack it, and were dink all the time, were pieces of shit for their entire tour, and couldn't do their jobs anyway.

8/21/2008 12:15 PM

Blogger ssncob91-93 said...

What is that PO2 non-qual staring at? Is the CNO's zipper down? MCPON does not look very receptive to the witty repartee.

8/21/2008 12:16 PM

Blogger T.J. said...

The notes in front of those nubs probably aren't even theirs. The CO figured he could impress the big guy with how tight a ship he runs so some poor JO spent the last two weeks making up simulated study materials for the nubs to blankly stare at for the big moment when the CNO breezed through the crew's mess and asked some Seaman Apprentice where he was from. Just the thought makes me glad that I will not be on another boat.

8/21/2008 1:21 PM

Anonymous gomerb said...

Reminds of when a bunch of dignitaries toured us. After cleaning the same 10 square feet for the eighth time I was rounded up with the rest of the duty section and sent to MCLL to be reeeeeaaallly quiet. The only other guys on the boat were the watch standers, in their dress whites. One Admiral in the group seemed almost as disgusted with the whole deal as we were. He asked a QM2 (who also happened to be the boat's best smarta$$) "So son, how many days were wasted cleaning up for this visit?" John replied "Three, sir!"

8/21/2008 2:13 PM

Anonymous Glenn 555 said...

All I ever got was SIBS, SSHORM,and a kick in the ass every day. What's with the binders? I thought in this day and age, they'd all be on laptops, with CAD/CAM drwings, and vitual tours of the boat to help them in thier quals.
Glenn 609B, 555, 595

8/21/2008 2:33 PM

Anonymous Sparky said...

gomerb's comment reminds me of when my old SSBN changed homeport to Nofolk in the early 90's. You'd think that they never saw a boomer before. I think every COM*LANT paid us a visit, even The Admiral showed up.

Like the first commenter, once I was qualified AEA/SEO I was pretty much left alone as far as boat quals went. It didn't hurt that I finished quals in one patrol(got a squadron letter for it), but I'm sure that the load of rocks that in during the same off crew gave the rest of the coners plenty of entertainment...

8/21/2008 4:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in "The Day" I could quote page and paragraph of a qual subject, the current qual process on CD's is a broken mess of the former process. God help us all.

8/21/2008 5:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's best to handle people as individuals. Some need nuturing, some need a kick in the ass. Trying to decide on a "policy" of which one to do is absurd.

8/21/2008 9:03 PM

Blogger beebs said...

The USTAFISH wasn't too hard on non-quals. I did get shit on for not studying hard enough for my engineer's exam by the XO on Easter Sunday, which was a topper in my book of memories. We ran engineering drills for eight hours that Sunday.


8/21/2008 10:26 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

As XO and then CO I followed the lead of my first submarine CO, Yogi Kaufman: 'play it straight.'

This is the way I put it to the crew (and wardroom & chiefs, who were the ones who really had to get it right): "If you're in this crew, you're a citizen of the ship. You'll be treated decently and according to the rules. If you go dink, you'll get extra time and attention to get back even. If you want to haze someone, you're on the wrong boat."

8/22/2008 4:34 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

Nobody is smiling. Everybody looks uncomfortable. if these are supposed to be PR pics, the photrog should be fired. The posing is bullshit, it's horrible. The MCPON and the CNO should be sitting with them, or they should all be standing, not standing over them.

As a non-qual, I was pushed hard, but as long as you weren't dink, you didn't get shit on - as much. My 2nd boat was about the same.

One of my TAD boats was absolutely brutal on non-quals, dink or no. Some guys wigged out from the pressure and abuse. I mean it was physical at times.

My last boat was ambivilent about it. If you were on the dink list, no one said anything to you, unless you tried to watch a movie. The problem was that they expanded the dink list to include every qual; phone talker, PQS, trash compactor operator, RPPO, you name it. Everybody, and I mean every blueshirt, was on the list at one time or another. If you gave someone crap for being dink one week, you could be dink the next. It was a very effective way to squash incentive.

8/22/2008 4:37 AM

Blogger richard said...

I think the overall big problem is 1) The kinder gentler new Navy. 2) The Assholes that took things too far on hazing.

When I was the duty section nub and not standing watch I worked my ass off and was told when I was "A productive member of society" i.e. qualified topside, life would get easier.

Life as a nub should be hard, but within reason. It makes your fish that much sweeter! Unlike the skimmer pin where you show up for enough classes and whallah, your qualified!

My fish were tacked on by people I respected, and I was proud to be "accepted" by them.

But back to the question at hand, I think nubs should be treated accordingly. All like crap, but some more than others depending on performance!

8/22/2008 6:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

4,5,6 Section inport duty rotation??!?!? I was hardly ever out of 3 section on both the ships I was on (Tunny, Columbus).

8/22/2008 6:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best method has nothing to do with what we think; it has to do with the individual who is qualifying. First, you have to decide if they are worth it. Then you need to determine if they need hardening with harsh treatment or if they are already committed enough to be trusted so you give them some room to run. Read your nubs first.


8/22/2008 6:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just glad those days are long over for me. The only thing quals really prepared me for was the monotony of grinding up my toons in WoW.

8/22/2008 7:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No movies for non-qualified personnel. That's the way it was on my 1st boat, and it was a good motivator for some.
Some people whined about the policy and said that Dolphins were just a "movie pass," but they were generally part of the FTN crowd and are probably still whining about some trivial crap.
We didn't have a big Ship's Qualification dink problem on that boat.

On my 2nd boat, it was no dinks could watch movies and the senior man on the Crew's Mess was responsible to enforce the policy. Seemed like we had more dinks...and some serious perma-dinks on that boat.

On my 3rd boat, I think all "personnel requiring special assistance in qualifications" were required to watch movies daily....just kidding...

On my 4th boat...
(crap, I'm old)...

Anyway, I go onboard the boats today and I see non-quals playing video games instead of studying and it blows my mind.
Oh, back in the day...

Grumpy Old LDO

8/22/2008 7:38 AM

Blogger DukeRulZ said...

take the wind right out of a newly qualified sailors sails? Then do what my COB did to me. Qualify, then go right back to cranking. There were two of us in the galley with Fish. We stenciled them on our crank shirts.

I had a smart ass nuke (I know, redundancy) demand a refill before this Sasquatch from A-gang set him straight about harassing a qualified crank.

8/22/2008 9:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a non-qual nuc in 77 and we hit a seamount. We spend 13 months in DD in Charleston getting a new front end. I was qualified SRW and was sent to be a crank and M-div went to 3 section vice 4 or 5 as the rest of the boat was. Cranking was the best time, sling slop and give not get too much crap since I was a qualified an import watch. Never spend a day as a dink.

8/22/2008 12:48 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

The reason we have a "kinder and gentler Navy" in relation to quals IS the A-holes who took messing with non-quals too far. Additionally, those who considered it their duty to physically maim a kid who just earned his dolphins, such as the morons who cracked ribs on one kid in the early 90's, causing a medivac. I got my fish pounded into my chest (the first guy to nail me was the XO) like everyone else, but no one stood me up against a steel bulkhead to maximize the impact.

To anonymous poster #1- EVERY qual is important- some are more difficult than others, but they are ALL equally important. The AEA might be the guy who finds the hydraulic rupture and reports it on the 4MC- does that seem important to you? Ship's quals are just as important as any other qual. You may not like the big deal non-nucs make about it, but that doesn't diminish it's importance.

Nubs? Treat 'em like the dogs they are, just keep it within reasonable limits.

8/22/2008 1:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinda of off the subject, but in response to the last post, nukes on my boat clamored to be cranks when the COB first "threatened" to make nukes crank. In fact, he did select two fully qualified (engineering wise) third classes to crank. Doing so meant that they were off of the watchbill, were not eligible to be used as drill team members, couldn't do maintenance, no nuke training, etc. In short, those guys looked at it as a great deal and they bragged about it being a great deal - so much so, that the COB started and ended the program with those two nukes. Never again in my time on the boat did nukes crank.

As for qual vs. non-qual, the philosophy on my boat was mainly set by the division. If you were qualified to support your division and were not dink on boat quals, no one cared. About the only exceptions were that non-quals had to attend School of the Boat, and during movies non-quals were subject to be ousted from seats. And truth be told, (and I know this comment will catch a lot of grief) most nukes didn't put a whole lot of value in qualifying subs because it was considered an easy qual compared to Engineering quals.

8/22/2008 1:04 PM

Blogger J120 Bowman said...

Attitude has a lot to do with how you are treated as a nub. Act arrogant and expect a beat down! Act humble, treat people with respect, and good things will come your way!

It was almost 15 years ago, but I still remember the best checkouts I ever received for my OOD and Dolphin quals. The Nav was standing a 1800-2400 proficiency watch in Manuevering. Knowing that he would be overwhelmed with the maintenance and chemistry checks scheduled in the night orders, I showed up (being a qualified EOOW and normal watchstander) and "helped" him while he blazed through my qual cards. Absolutley priceless!

I qualified submarines ahead of two other JO's who had a 6 month head start on me because I made it a priority. After getting my dolphins I even helped the other JO move out of his stateroom to make room for a dolphin wearer!

8/22/2008 1:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you even read my post? I never said that ship's quals were not important. They are. The point I was trying to make was that being inport in M-div, qualifying SRW meant you support the watchbill aka supporting your division. Also, your example about a hydraulic rupture doesn't really fly because immediate actions for that casualty and others are covered in other quals besides ships. I don't remember ever needing my fish to qualify anything in the engineroom. And I never said I didn't like the BIG Deal CONERS made out of ship's quals. Each division had there own view about ship's quals I was just stating how my division's philosophy on quals was.
MM2/SS 'the Wolf'.

8/22/2008 2:21 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Yes, MM2/SS The Wolf, you did not call ship's quals unimportant. You did, however quote the typical nuke party line (BTW, I am a nuke EM- no nuke envy here).
Yes, the AEA/hydraulic rupture DOES carry weight, since no procedure in the world will protect a ship if a diligent, qualified watchstander doesn't take his immediate actions. This has nothing to do with ship's vs. engineering/weapons/navigation/any other type of quals, my point is ALL QUALS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. If you can't recognize that, that is truly a shame. Congratulations. You went through a tough but rewarding part of the life of a ship, and contributed to the birth of a great class of warfighting vessel. My hat's off to you, MM2.

8/22/2008 4:06 PM

Anonymous Nukenomore said...

Meh. You get what you put in when it comes to NUBs. If you treat them like crap, they're more likely to become FTN types, or tap out (but hey, he didn't belong here-- What do you mean we have to go 3 section now?!). If you're nurturing, they end up taking longer; they also are less likely to hate the Navy/Subs. I saw a boat where mistreatment of NUB's was doctrine: No movies, No desserts, No iPods for cleanup, poor barracks, automatic Hotracking (2 Nuke 1sts did it for a while), NUB Hats, etc. The Cones (as usual, most of the Nukes didn't care) saw this as license to mess with the NUBs even more. This boat had at least one guy tap out every 2 weeks while this was going on.

They just made the news recently, too. I wonder if they might have done a little better if they hadn't wasted so much time messing with non-quals.

8/22/2008 4:46 PM

Anonymous Waldo Emory said...

I agree with J120 Bowman. The best way to get qualified is to qualify as soon as possible and help out by watchstanding.

Being a submariner is a continuous learning evolution. You learn to handle pressure and events better as you mature.

8/22/2008 6:26 PM

Blogger reddog said...

It just wasn't that hard to qualify. First, of course, I made sure I got qualified for my at sea and in port watch stations, so I would be of use. Then I found guys in each department that would mentor me in their specialty systems.

While I was cranking, these guys always got the best chow, condiments, an extra dessert and a bowl of mixed nuts during movies. I had guys tripping over themselves wanting to help me out. I paid attention, asked questions, spewed it back and got my sigs. When tricks got played on me or jokes were made at my expense, I just laughed along with them and got back to work. By the time I was ready for system walk throughs and qual board, they had already made up their minds I would have no problems and nobody threw any fancy pitches at me. It took me a hundred and thirty four days from the time I reported on board, I counted. I don't know if that's fast or slow but nobody ever put me on a dink list, not once.

I was just a 3X6 coner. I know NUCs and zeros had a tougher time. On the other hand, they had the benefit of a lot more training and they are all effing geniuses, of course. At least that's what they kept telling me. I figured it all evened out.

Once I got qualified, I had the next couple of years to be the no load asshole that I really am. I had so much fun tweaking the XO, I missed him after I mustered out. The second XO, that is. The one we had when I got aboard was a good guy and how mant XOs can you say that about.

8/22/2008 9:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You obviously did not read both my posts or misunderstood them. Qualifying an inport and at sea watchstation is more important in terms of supporting a watchbill. That is the point I'm trying to get across.
(BTW, what was the 'typical nuke party line' I quoted?) I agree with you that all quals are important. Believe me, I am very proud of qualifying subs.
Lastly, I maybe taking this wrong but your sarcastic remark "My hats off to you, MM2" about my time on the Seawolf, I take great umbrage to. I busted my tale on the Wolf for my four and half year sea tour even as far as qualifying EWS as a second.
Former MM2/SS

8/22/2008 10:46 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...


First off, you did misread my compliment to you. I am constantly in awe of nukes in the shipyard. I did one complete refueling overhaul, the end of another and a decom. I know how hard nukes work and I truly commend you for that. My apologies if I made it sound sarcastic.
I don't discount the importance of watchstation quals in supporting the watchbill, especially in a shipyard environment. I still maintain that ALL quals, ships included, are equally important. We will just have to disagree on that.
The "typical party line" I refer to is the ol' "ships quals are for coners to have something to mess with the nukes". I can see that wasn't your intent, and I'm a big enough man to admit when I was mistaken. It's comforting to me as an old retired EMCS seeing sailors get passionate about their jobs. Thanks for doing what you do.

8/23/2008 6:32 PM

Anonymous MM1 said...

Nuclear MM1 here. And be your Nuke or Forward Area Guy (FAG...sorry, couldn't help myself), the qualification of NUBs is in dire straights.

I am sick of this kinder and gentler Navy. I came into the Navy on the tail-end of the brutal days.

You were expected to qualify in-rate, and get your Fish. Period. No whining, no slacking. The entire boat ensured you had the proper mental and physical adjustment.

I believe I am a better Submariner for it. I know DC like the back of my hand. I know how to combat every casualty on the boat. I know where all of the significant P panels are, and where every single pump/motor is on the boat.

I have no patience for the latest flock of whining little NUBS who believe everything be handed on a Silver Plate to them.

The qualification program of today has become a myriad of shorter trunctuated qual cards, and electronic media with VIDEO's. Many a NUB sits on his butt and plays with a laptop all day. Then goes for a check-out expecting to be told everything. There is no reason for them to expend any effort. My last boat had a great Dolphin give-away every Patrol. Anybody over 6 months in Quals got a freebie board on Return to Port.

And honestly, it really destroyed my faith in what Dolphins represent. What is that phrase? Something to the effect of "Full confidence and trust". I've got about 0 in these NUBs of today. To some extent, my Dolphins became nothing more than my Movie Pass.

My life as a NUB sucked. It was miserable and dirty. Hence it only lasted 3 months to get my Fish and <1 yr to get fully qualified ERS. I had lots of incentive to apply myself. But when the CO pinned my Dolphins on, it meant something. I became part of a group. I sadly rarely feel that way anymore.

People that believe in being nice, and fair are just hurting the system. You don't necessarily have to be brutal and unrelenting, but a strict hard line is preferable. Otherwise the undesireable's slip through. Then my life and my buddies lives are dependant on a worthless sack of crap who cannot handle himself in an emergency.

8/23/2008 11:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a buddy of mine told me a story from when he was on the henry m. jackson. they followed the kinder, gentler thing to the fullest degree. several people almost went to captains mast at the slightest hint of hazing or nub bashing. so the nubs got coddled. and they got comfortable. and they got lazy. and time came for the ship to get to sea. and guess what? nobody was qualified anything. the ship could not get underway. think about that. a naval vessel, responsible for the safety of ours and countless other families, could not get underway because the navy wants to play nice and let these kids with this "all about me" mentality not do their job, in effect, paying these kids to listen to ipods, fuck off on their computers, basically do whatever they wanted to do, except for what they were getting paid for, the very same thing they signed a piece of paper saying they would do. now, i've had guys that needed absolutely no supervision. you could literally put these guys on autopilot and they'd be a healthy contributor (note i didn't use qualified submariner) in no time. some guys, actually more often than not, needed a push. not everyone comes into the navy knowing exactly everything to do. some guys really do need that push. to be told "look, you're here to do a job." and they need it to be told to them forcefully, in a not-so-nice way. i won't lie, i was one of these people. and i honestly don't think i would be where i am today if i did not have those guys to give me that "push" and teach my 19-year-old punk ass what is expected of me and what i need to do to get myself there. getting your dolphins means the difference between actually being a submariner, which means that we are trained to run toward danger, regardless of the circumstances. and if we continue to have these fucking kids running around thinking someone else is gonna save the ship because nobody broke it off in their ass when they were a nub, we're gonna lose a sub. can you imagine 160 families finding out their breadwinner isn't coming home because some fucking kid decided to hide in a corner when some real shit was going down? and THAT is why i support nub bashing. BECAUSE MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.

8/24/2008 4:05 AM

Anonymous The Tick said...

Getting your fish just meant you'd survived a few months underway and hadn't terminally pissed off A-gang or any of the other cones that control that qual with an iron fist. The quals that matter are the ones that let you stand a watch.

That being said, I agree that the average 19 year old products of our current culture of entitlement certainly need motivating (as I once did) if they're going to become anything other than another punk at mast.

So we can't tape them up. You're just being lazy if that (and other "classic" forms of motivation) are all you can think up. There are literally hundreds of ways of screwing with someone on a boat without the risk of being charged with hazing.

The few non-hackers on my boat voluntarily transfer after their first patrol, because we still do our jobs, even if they don't do theirs.

8/24/2008 8:01 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Thanks Tick for proving my point about the typical nuke attitude towards dolphin quals. If you don't understand the importance of those fish you wear on your chest, you probably never will.

8/24/2008 8:45 AM

Anonymous The Tick said...

If the fish mattered, the block covering the aft section of the boat would be larger than the block on auxiliary A-gang equipment (not the main crap, but the stuff even A-gang says is minor). However, the fact of the matter is that A-gang owns three whole blocks (on my boat, anyhow), while the entire engine room is a single block.

No, I don't want the cones to go through nuc school to get their fish. But some of that stuff back there (like how power distribution works) matters a heck of a lot to the whole boat - maybe as much as how many freakin' hose extensions there are in middle level.

Yet the cones get one solitary checkout on the whole electric plant. No wonder they can't tag out even their own gear, and are perpetually confused why their butt massager died when a bus gets deenergized for maintenance (I'm looking at you, sonar girls).

Yes, watch quals matter more. That is the nuc attitude. But I don't hear any cones complaining we don't know our stuff. Quite the opposite - we end up doing a suspiciously large portion of the DC work during coner crap like TRE, which is certainly NOT reciprocated during ORSE. Why not?

8/24/2008 3:32 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Coner Crap? DC? Did I miss some change to the design of a submarine where only the coner end goes down during a casualty? Cmon Tick, you know better than that. DC is ALL HANDS. If your cones on your ship aren't intimately involved in ALL ship's casualty training where they can, that's a problem with your ship, not the ship's qual program. The ship's quals program is platform specific, as laid out in the Submarine Readiness Manual. There is very little room for personalization by ship. I don't know what class of ship you're own, but on the classes (5 different, if you're counting) I was on, the Electrical distribution had it's own block, with Mimic Bus, 450VAC, 120VAC, and lighting distributions.
For the record, I never said watchstation quals were not important, but I will restate: If you don't understand the IMPORTANCE of dolphins, you never will, and you need to find another line of work.

8/24/2008 4:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief 630-738! I was on a 637 class and got out in 1990. The four years I was on the boat, the (sorry to offend) nukes ALWAYS pulled double duty in everything. Then when we bitched about it, the standard reply was that's why we got pro-pay. It didn't matter the scenario or workup, nukes always got it in the end, no pun intended. For precisely the reasons pointed out by Mr Tick, nukes didn't give a rip about boat quals other than to avoid the dink list. While I will agree with you that it certainly had "some" value, it was for the most part a charade. Were it not, as Tick pointed out, the nuke part of the qual card would've been significantly larger than the rest of the card.

And to the point about nukes pulling double duty, we nuke electricians actually were forced to take over ALL interior communications on the boat (away from the IC div) so that all they had to maintain was the freakin' gyro. But alas, nuke school has also gone the way of the kinder and gentler navy and has become a pump rather than a filter - I know, I work with some of these goobers coming out of the program now. If I were in my 24th year in the Navy (thank God I'm not), it would probably be a pretty scary time.

8/24/2008 5:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The secret is about being both strict and fair. I've seen crews where you are pushed and positively reinforced. That tends to work out very nicely. Then, I've seen crews with a real mean streak, where a few bullies have set the tone and the leadership is either complicit or ignores the situation. The chiefs and first classes set the tone on this, 100%. If they are wimps or bullies, things go badly.

As far as nuc's getting it too tough. Please. I hate to point this out, but nuc's get faster promotions, very valuable schooling, pro-pay. huge SRBs, and very attractive post-Navy employment. The rest of the Navy considers Nuc's to be perfumed princes. I just hired a former ET1 (skimmer-type) RO for a six figure salary. And he had multiple offers, 5 years out.

Rangers in the army don't complain they have to run farther than the regular infantry. They do it because thats part of the deal. You have the dubious privilege of being one of Hymie's Troubled Children. Suck it up.

8/24/2008 8:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe I'm reading this stuff!! Whats the matter with you people!!!??? The boat comes first!! the mission comes first. engineers, your job is to get the front enders to where they can deliver the weapons!!! When I rode a nuc (1963-1967), everybody recognized this reality!! I know, I know, I'm old school, however even the nucs back then knew the boat came first and department second because most had qualified on smoke boats. what your spouting here is the result of Hymie's legacy that everything revolves around engineering and the hell with the rest, (well not all of you anyway) I don't want to hear a lot of stuff about front-enders not understanding, I had a TS Clearance, worked with the A2 Polaris missile, Astor and Subroc. I know something about attention to detail, port and starboard watches, drills, NWAI's, NTPI's and TSI's. In 1973 my boat had a ZERO deficiency TSI with ASTOR. do you realize how much effort the entire crew put into that??!!

The issue is todays Submarine CO's need to reinforce the boat and the mission come first. Yes, agreed! The plant needs to be operated safetly! However, your their to ensure the front-enders get to where they need to go to do the mission!!!

Now quite bitchin about the qual program and get back to work!!

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET Qualified USS Cusk SS-348 1962, COB USS Barbel SS-580 1974-75, and proud to be a submariner!!

8/24/2008 8:43 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...


What you are seeing is the attitude that has developed as a result of what the nuclear submarine force has become. No longer does the submarine force operate with the mentality of "one ship, one crew". The focus has shifted so far to the engineering end that all appearances are that the ship's weapons and navigation systems exist to protect a mobile engineering training platform.
I disagree with the nucs who are posting here as to the relavence of ship's quals, but I fully understand their frustrations and attitudes. The folks in charge of them get so used to doing everything "the nuclear way", that nucs seem to dominate processes onboard. It gets old quickly to a young EM when he's tasked with setting up an electrical safety area in the Nav Center or Radio, stand section (and fire control) tracking party time-bearing plot, respond to every casualty on the ship right at the scene, crank, serve on the torpedo reload team, etc. etc. etc., only to notice at every ship's drill in the engineering spaces, the only folks on the hose are nucs, no fwd phone talkers are in the engine room, and the fwd guys are at the watertight door handing in DC gear, but not taking it in. You can call me what you will, but I have seen this very thing in action. I've even had a Nav ET Chief rip off his EAB in disgust and toss it on the deck in the middle of a drill because he couldn't find an EAB connection in the side passage of a Trident! (needless to say I grabbed this guy, took him to the forward end of MCUL and had a little "one-way" communications with him.)
Yes, DBF, things have changed a lot since your day. None of it has to do with the laziness of sailors, it all has to do with how they are trained. Until we return to training how we would actually fight the ship, the rift at the forward tunnel door will not only remain, but will tear farther apart.

8/25/2008 5:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


It also doesn't help that NUC pipeline training standards have fallen (pump, not filter) while demands in the fleet have only increased. A lot of the folks who failed out of the Nuc training pipeline in the old days were not necessarily rocks - they were those who could not self-motivate, or couldn't properly respond to the motivational techniques commonly used in the submarine force. Now, they make it out to the fleet and are in over their heads. Of course the engineering quals seem to be all important if they seem so very difficult to marginally motivated and qualified NUCs.

I agree with you concerning training 100%. I wouldn't blame this on Rickover - this didn't happen on his watch and i don't think it would have. He did some screwy stuff in terms of a zero-defect mentality (right or wrong), but he certainly understood the whole-ship concept. Sometimes disciples are more fanatical than their master - thats been true all throughout history.

As far as the "DBF" guy - come on, that attitude is one of the things that makes some NUC's into skeptical FTN types.

8/25/2008 8:34 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Yep, I concur- the pipeline has changed, and not for the better. In my opinion, the training pipeline has lost some of it's prestige due to the apparent pump mentality. It's getting to the point where one can no longer say "Not just anyone can be a Nuke." Laugh at that if you will, but that was a selling point of the program when I enlisted, and it still works for SEALS and Marines.

I don't blame Rickover for today's training mentality. As you stated, I blame his disciples, for taking it to ridiculous levels.

As far as DBFTMC(SS) is concerned, I have no problem with his position, I just don't think he has a full grasp on today's problem. Unless you have lived it today, you can't fully understand why the attitude of FTN is so pervasive today. I hate that attitude, but I at least understand why it exists.

8/25/2008 1:23 PM

Anonymous The Pervasive Tick said...

Pervasive TODAY? In the late 80's it was etched into every surface (back aft, anyhow) and chanted like a mantra. No wonder it gives rise to so many angst-ridden blogs. The Navy uses relatively modern equipment, but it's personnel management is mired in 18th century traditions which are simply embarrassing today.

For example: Why do we salute officers and not chiefs? What about an ensign makes them worthy of a different peer group these days? Certainly not four years of college - lot of the nucs back aft have that, and we're talking the guys who are scrubbing the bilge for a living.

8/25/2008 2:40 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Yep, your right tick, it was pervasive in the 80's as well, but just in case you didn't notice (and since you are still griping since then, I'm pretty sure you haven't) the 80's are over. In effect, what's your point? Nukes have hated their job since Rickover first started the program.
Yes, many nukes have college degrees today. So do many coners, again I ask what's your point? The term you're looking for is tradition, Tick. Like it or not, all military services, USN, USA, USMC, USAF, British Navy, Iranian Army, etc. are steeped in it. Last I remember the Navy is an ALL-VOLUNTEER service, and you are free to go at the end of the contract you signed. If the "18th Century Traditions" bother you so much, do your time honorably, and then move on. No shame in that at all. In the meantime, do your damn job, get qualified, salute that officer, and clean the bilge! (Dam it really irritates me when people bring out the worst in me).

8/25/2008 4:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with -108 above, the job sucks so vote with your feet. The civilian nuclear power industry is gearing up for a major comeback; there's no reason to clean bilges for a living.

Unless traditions like that give you a big ol' warm feeling, of course.

8/25/2008 5:23 PM

Anonymous The Pointless Tick said...

My first point was more of an observation: at least some sailors have hated their jobs enough to spend extra time back aft just to carve "FTN" in the bottom of the shim switch since at least the late 80's. Hence, it's not a modern problem but an ongoing one.

(Check the bottom of yours - if you find FTN there, you may be on my boat!)

My second point is that some of the sucky things about being in the Navy that lead to this problem (the example I gave was kowtowing to officers, but there are many others) are completely unnecessary and done simply out of (drum roll please) "tradition". It used to be tradition that black people could only be cooks and stewards, yet somehow we got past that tradition and the Navy was actually better for its loss.

And let's not kid ourselves. It's a lot more than just "some" sailors who hate their jobs.

8/25/2008 5:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that was our command's unofficial motto on the 72: "Shut up, Suck it up, and Get Out if you don't like how we do business."

No wonder nuke school has to be a pump instead of a filter - anyone smart enough to make it through under the old system was too smart to stay in.

8/25/2008 6:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a lot of your opinions when I rode the boats in the 60's and 70's. back then we had people coming in the Nav for 4 years so they wouldn't have to go to Nam as an Army draftee for 2 years. some even made it to submarines and we're saying the same things I'm reading hear about tradition, officers-VS-white hats, etc. Lets try and get to the bottom of all this....

engineers on submarines today are bought. Yep!! thats what I said. You'all get a lot of $$$$ to put up with Hymie's cultural legacy. that legacy says we'll work you till you drop, then work you some more. If your an enlisted engineer you won't be trusted to do things on your own, we'll check, double check, and triple check what your doing, and if you screw up we'll kill you. Negative reinforcement at it's finest. todays wardrooms are superb nuclear engineers and only get about a quarter of the training time on being a sub driver and "operator" as compared to engineering training time. If they ain't got a check list, their lost. Ok, maybe I'm exagerating a bit here, but you get my point.. It's all upside down or inside out or something from what it ought to be. there's something not right about buying peoples souls to put up with this stuff and I think some of you'all are pissed off because after you got to the boat you discovered they lied to you and then you had to let the Nuc Power Program treat you like shit.

sounds like their ain't a lot of leadership--real leadership, not that intrusive type of leadership I been reading about that seems to be popular right now. $$$$$ can be a motivator all right, but it sounds like it ain't working real well. does any submarine officer today really know how to be a leader and a submarine operator? Like Ramage, Whittle, Eldridge, Van Saun, and Mack? for those guys, the boat and the mission came first. Submarine quals were most important because you we're your brothers keeper. they also knew how to take care of their crew. You were expected to do it all, and you were expected to do your best.

It wasn't all perfect "back in the day". There were some lousy skippers and crappy boats, but for most of us it was the best of times.

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble........


8/25/2008 10:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look its a couple guys I went through the pipeline with. We came out here to Pearl at the same time.
Ships quals for me are mainly something I just want to get done to have them over with. There is some amount of pride associated with, but as Ive been told "fish dont fill watchbills back aft". On my boat NUBs dont watch movies, and the NUB hating is there, but not to the point where it really bothers anyone.

8/26/2008 2:23 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...


I must say you put a lot of effort into trying to explain the reasons why you hate the Navy so much; I'm impressed. Please allow me to counter a couple of your points.
1. "Kowtowing": How did you come to the position that rendering a hand salute constitutes kowtowing? It is simply rendering military honors to the office he holds. There is nothing more to it than that. There are many officers I have saluted over the years I held little regard for, I always keep in mind the others who stood in that uniform and salute that instead.
2. Comparing Navy customs and traditions to racial discrimination is a slap in the face to the sailors who experienced it and those who worked to overcome it. I would just love to hear you make that argument to BMCM(MDV) Carl Brashear.
I'm quite aware that many sailors are dissatisfied with their jobs, and there are things that could be done to make the job better. I believe returning to a true "train as you fight" mentality would be a good start. If, at the end of the day, you have more reasons to quit vs. reasons to stay, I renew my recommendation to you to do your time and move on. Keep this in mind, however.. The problems the Navy have right now are not new. Everything is cyclic, even the big time accidents we have had recently. San Francisco? Research USS Ray from the 70's. Hampton? Research USS Narwhal from the early 90's. Greeneville? USS George Washington. We learn from our mistakes, and try to improve, but mistakes are rarely new.
I salute you for your service, even if it didn't turn out to be everything you expected.

8/26/2008 5:30 AM

Anonymous The Kowtowing Tick said...

Boy, if saluting was the only difference between officer and enlisted! Here are some others which exist only to place one caste above another (i.e., have no leadership value):

(1) Imagine my surprise when ordering replacement matresses to find out there was actually an "officer" matress and an "enlisted" matress. Both fit into the same sized bedpan, and both cost about the same, but the officer one was thicker. How's that for a little "first class vs coach"?

I'm thinking the chiefs needed the thicker ones the most - they're the old arthritic goats.

(2) On surface ships (my experice is limited to carriers) officers have their own decks. Color-coded, so even us dumb enlisted mules know when we're somewhere we're not supposed to be. The only time you're allowed is if you're cleaning up after them.


(4) Saluting and calling them sir/ma'am. Sure, it's traditional, but so was flogging. Somehow I can work with a chief just fine without having to do either of those things. It's just a little ego storke for the 24 yo ensign.

(5) Even more retarded, saluting their car, especialy if wifey is driving.

(6) Officer and Enlisted versions of the T-manuals. What, are we too dumb to understand calculus and statistics all of a sudden? They didn't exacly use pop-up books when I got *my* degree, but here's yet another slap in the ol' face from uncle sammy.

This list could go on, I suppose, but I'm late to go get inspected, as I'm too dumb to dress myself without supervision.

8/26/2008 7:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, so much angst. Unfortunately it’s not anything new. When I was finishing my career in the 90’s as an SSN COB we had some of the same issues, but we managed to resolve them. We operated as one crew. No Nuc’s , no Coners. The sonar system and torpedoes were useless unless we went to sea. The engineering plant was useless unless it moved the sonar system and torpedoes where they were needed. A casualty anywhere brought about a whole ship response.
As far as quals went the non-quals could watch movies if, and only if, they were on track with ship’s and watchstation quals. Dinks were dealt with on a case by case basis, usually by the LPO. Hazing was prohibited.
In general, it seems that the proliferation of “qualification” devices throughout the Navy has cheapened the elite nature of a breast insignia. When I first entered the Navy the surface warfare crossed butter knives/me-too pin was just making its appearance. Now we even have insignia for chair warming shore birds (Integrated Undersea Surveillance System). Even the Army with its “Berets for Everyone” decision has cheapened the elite nature of what used to be a damn hard thing to earn.
In the end dolphins are what you make them. If it’s just a movie pass I feel sorry for you. If it’s the continuation of a legacy that decimated the Japanese fleet, dogged Soviet boomers, inserted and retrieved “assets”, formed the most dependable leg of the nuclear triad and all the other things we can’t mention then I’m with you.

8/26/2008 9:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tick is certainly correct that the officer/enlisted dichotomy is way to strong in the Navy. Having been on both sides of that divide, I always thought it was way too sharp - it better reflected the Navy as it was in the 19th century than what we have today. I think many of the submariners here are scratching their heads about this - its much more noticeable in the surface fleet. I've noticed that both the Marines and the Air Force have a considerably lower-key officer/enlisted dynamic.

The problem isn't really the officers, though. Its the Chiefs. They are the ones who perpetuate the Khaki/non-khaki dynamic as it currently stands. The other services lack such a sharp point of departure. Disclaimer: I was certainly never a chief, but having bracketed the CPO ranks on either side, it seemed obvious.

That being said, salutes are a reasonable tradition. Differing T-manuals are just practical. Just grab an officer version if you want the calculus. Its not like anyone is going to slap your hand. Haven't you ever seen an officer with a copy of MM2/3? Of course, some of them feel weird about toting around an enlisted rate qualifying manual. Funny, it works both ways....

8/26/2008 10:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Tick,

If you ain't happy in the Nav you need to get out when your enlistment is up. Hope you'll find something positive for the future but not sure you'll know how to do that.

Keep a zero bubble......


8/26/2008 10:51 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Ok, that was a nice drive-by comment blaming Chiefs for the divide between Officers and Enlisted. How do you justify that? I've never had an enlisted person
1. Wash my clothes
2. Make my bed
3. Clean up after me
4. Salute me (scratch that, I was a Company Commander)

You say you've bracketed both sides of the CPO community. Based on what you wrote, it appears to me that you stood by and never attempted to engage the CPO community and learn what a real Chief Petty Officer contributes to the smooth, effective running of a good command. It takes everybody engaged with each other to run an effective organization. The differences between junior and senior enlisted may not be as apparent in the other services, but they are there, just the same.

8/26/2008 11:15 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Yes, I would agree the Army, Marines and some portions of the Navy (SEALS, Divers, SEABEES, and to a certain extent, Submariners) have a less-defined separation between officer and enlisted. In the case of Army/Marines/SEAL/SEABEE, it should be obvious. When the stuff hits the fan, everybody pretty much does the same thing. Ordnance doesn't respect rank at all.
Perhaps some reevaluation of the officer/enlisted structure would be beneficial, but I've never been made to feel like a servant by any officer. Just like ordnance, bad leadership knows no rank, they can be enlisted or officer. Good leaders respect people for who they are, not just the color of their uniform.

8/26/2008 11:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God a'mighty damn! Now we'll blame the Chiefs for all the khaki-non-khaki problems!! I love it when Mustangs who were never Chiefs blame the CPO's for all the problems. Here's reality.... Everybody, Officers, CPO's, and White Hats own the problems identified here. The question is, what ya gonna do to fix it?? If you ain't working on a fix your part of the problem. At least the current MCPO of the Navy is leading the charge in the goat locker. The question is, who's leading the charge in wardroom???

My two cents and keep a zero bubble........


8/26/2008 11:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking back at the various 'Tick' comments, I'm getting slightly confused. They go from talking about fish and discussing sub quals to ranting and raving about the Enlisted/Chief/Officer dichotomy and claiming experience only on carriers.

If they are from one poster, and he/she does only have experience on carriers, I wonder if the opinion on nuke quals vs ship quals reflects that (along with the hatred of poor ensigns)?

From what I understand, the Surface Warfare pin really didn't become important until the surface fleet saw the benefits of mandatory fish qualifications in the sub fleet. Between that and the fact that it is pretty hard to lose a surface ship to flooding, jammed planes, etc...(especially a carrier), I can see how ships quals in that community would be maligned by nukes.

On the other hand, driving around at crush depth all the time is pretty dangerous so I could be wrong about that!

8/26/2008 2:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ACN 26AUG2008-1


"Between that and the fact that it is pretty hard to lose a surface ship to [...]"


"Between that and the fact that it is pretty hard to lose a surface ship in peacetime conditions to [...]".

The Cole bombing, of course, shows the extreme importance of ships quals regardless of platform.

8/26/2008 2:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the end dolphins are what you make them. If it’s just a movie pass I feel sorry for you. If it’s the continuation of a legacy that decimated the Japanese fleet, dogged Soviet boomers, inserted and retrieved “assets”, formed the most dependable leg of the nuclear triad and all the other things we can’t mention then I’m with you."

Out of everything on this page, those words make the most sense. I just wish I could call myself RM1(SS) and wear the sparks. Some of us understand what it means to be a Submariner, and some of us just want to bitch about how much harder divisional quals are, and how worthless they are. I work at Subgru 7, and I can tell you that ESWS pins mean shit compared to dolphins. I'm not a diggit by any means, but working on a surface base, I cherish every opportunity to show off my fish. I worked hard enough to get them. Not everything is for everyone. If submarines aren't for you, then go do something else. Do what you signed a piece of paper saying that you agreed to do, and move on with your life. Too bad we'll never get a combat patrol pin.

8/27/2008 5:26 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I gotta stop coming back to this blog, because every time I find something else to comment on. The last poster has two points I would like to respond to:
1. "I just wish I could call myself RM1(SS) and wear the sparks." Yeah, RM1, I wish you could to. The rating mergers that happened in the 90's (ET/RM/IC/QM and MM Aux/TM) were, in my opinion, just plain stupid. I only wish the Submarine Force would realize it and turn back the page.

2. "Too bad we'll never get a combat patrol pin." I'm on record (even in Navy Times) as opposing combat patrol pins for SSN strikes in areas such as Irag/Afghanistan and such. I certainly don't dismiss the skill, professionalism and devotion to duty sailors on those ships displayed, but when I think combat patrol pin, I think of those WWII sailors who conducted daring surfaced attacks on enemy shipping and warships, followed by intense depth-charging from angry destroyers intent on exacting a measure of vengeance for their losses. I would venture to say that Saddam Hussein's Iraq or the Taliban's Afghanistan were incapable of inflicting that on a SSN. Just my .02.

8/27/2008 10:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Redemption at last!!!! Many months ago I posted a comment where I mentioned that officer's mattresses were thicker than those of enlisted. Quite a few (uninformed) commenters disagreed, saying that they had never see officer's matteresses that were any different than those slept upon by the enlisted ranks.

So I think you Tick for finally substantiating my claim. I can go to sleep tonight knowing that I was right and that officer matteress thickness wasn't just a figment of some Borkum Riff/hash induced hallucination brought on during some UI mid-watch in the sonor shack while listing to Dark Side of the Moon instead of North Atlantic biologics.

And why would a qualified EWS be standing mid-watch UI in the sonor shack? Because I was working on third boat ship's re-quals.

8/27/2008 11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shipmate 630-738, Appreciate your thoughts and comments, so don't go away.

RE: ratings mergers, there is an argument to be made with I believe supporting evidence that turning over QM duties to ET's has led to some of the recent groundings. I think most submarine Naviguessers would be really pleased to have the knowledge/experience base of a submarine qualified QMC(SS) backing them up. Not to sell the ET's short, I think they got screwed on the navigation end. No way can a senior ET accumulate 10 plus years of knowledge/experience of a senior QM during the time it took to make that turnover happen.

RE: TM to MM merger on the boats, I knew the TM's days were numbered in the late 70's when I was in the Tactical Weapons shop N61 on SubPac Staff. It was common knowledge that the design plan for the MK 48 was for it to be as simple as preparing and loading a "telephone pole" into the tube. We knew then that with the demise of the MK 14/16 torpedoes there really wouldn't be a need for TM's on submarines. The powers-that-be just needed to wait until the end of the cold war to get around to it. They finally finished off the TM rate last year and made the few remaining TM's Gunners Mates.

Keep a zero bubble......


8/27/2008 11:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Strongly agree on the combat patrol pin issue. This is like (/opening bag of worms) that stupid broom. Do people not understand the danger of WWII combat patrols? The insane casualty rates? I feel it dishonors the memory of those brave men to wear a combat pin for popping off some tomahawks. Its not combat if the other guy can't shoot back. Sorry if that offends...

8/27/2008 2:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as the QM/NAV ET deal - I can't believe people didn't see that one coming. I sympathize with the RMs and what not, but the QM thing was massively dumb.

8/27/2008 2:04 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I totally agree with the broom thing too. The opposite crew CO of the last boomer I was on (Trident) used to lash a broom to the sail when they would do well on ORSE/TRE. Pissed me off to no end. I guess we aren't smart enough to establish our own traditions, rather we (They) try to diminish the traditions of those I consider my heroes.

8/27/2008 4:45 PM

Blogger David said...

Is there a place to share pics here?

I have some good shots of the LA Laker cheerleaders visiting the USS Pintado SSN-672 during the '96 WestPAC...

8/27/2008 5:28 PM

Blogger David said...

Speaking of the broom thing,

reminds me of how we made a midnight mission when we were outboard the USS Cavalla right before we left Pearl on our way to decommissioning.
The SDO had us steal their brow banner while their topside watch was dickin' tha dog.
Said brow banner ended up at the Horse and Cow with our crew's signatures.
F'n Battle E boats....
Couldn't even guard their brow...

8/27/2008 5:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I got to the boat after prototype and they give you the qualcard to get your fish, I was amazed at how easy it looked. The other guys were overwhelmed, and I kept asking where the rest of it was.

This is it? 30 sigs or so. In prototype each watch station had a book full of sigs you had to get.

I did go dink on my sub quals but I qualified AMR2LL for my first at sea, but since I was somewhat usefull I did not get much shit by my pears tho the coner chiefs had issue with it of course.

I have been a civillian for 14 years now and I say fuck you chief asshole coner. You took things way too seriously, and it turns out that even with my shitty non military bearing attitude I was able to get a good job in the outside world.

8/27/2008 11:16 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

And yet 14 years later, you carry sufficient angst to make a comment such as that. Who is taking it way too serious? Seriously, you need to relax. It's good, no great that you got and maintained a good job. Any nuke worth his salt has NO EXCUSE not to find meaningful employment after Navy life, whether they are out at 6 or 26 like myself. I'll just never understand the bitterness I hear in some of them years after they left. I assure you I was the recipient of raw deals just like all the others, I just choose not to dwell on them.

8/28/2008 6:21 AM

Anonymous The Expansive Tick said...

You're in good company, -108. I'm sure the trustees in prison don't understand the bitterness some prisioners have, either, even years after they've been released.

BTW, since none of you said it, I will offer my opinion as to why officers deserve to be in a different peer group: It's not the college (though the military mistakenly thinks that better educated = better leader). It's the fact that an officer can order you to do something that will most certainly result in your death. Even if you know it as well, it's die doing your duty or die with a bullet in the head for disobeying an order. Chiefs are also leaders, but I doubt a chief ever had to knowingly order someone to their deaths.

Why am I personally bitter? Because I personally was ordered to do something that probably would have killed me. I knew so, and said so, but the officer in question would NOT be questioned, least of all by a pathetic peon such as myself. Having no other choice, I did my duty and risked my life for nothing.

Well, not for nothing - I'm sure the SOB got a little ego stroke out of "motivating" me.

So, -108, you got any "raw deals" to compare with that? Or is a coner raw deal more along the lines of them being out of pizza by the time you got up for midrats?

8/28/2008 7:06 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Well, lookie here. Mr. Tick can perform basic math functions, congratulations. Thanks for taking the time from "World of Warcraft" or whatever video game world you must live in to impart your wisdom.

So you allowed an officer to put you in a life or death situation. I'm assuming that either you were:
1. in combat or
2. In danger of a Reactor Accident or
3. Safety of ship was involved.

If none of the three were the case, no officer in any service will be able to get me to put my life on the line for anything. No person could influence me to compromise my personal safety. I assure you I would fight that all the way to the end. I would rather end up kicked out of the Navy than compromise my safety. End of statement.
Or, could it be that you are exaggerating a bit?

For the record, I'm a retired nuke EM, not a coner. Of course, if you read my posts instead of figuring out ways to enhance your screen name, you would know that.

8/28/2008 10:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon...
Gotta stick by my previous comment re: being sold a bill of goods about how great nuc program was and then discovering they lied to you when you got to the boat. You make my point about being pissed off because you were suckered and then had to take all that crap during your enlistment. What surprises me is how many former nucs still carry so much anger with them after all those years of being out of the Nav. Life ain't meant to be fair. Those that figure that out find a way to work through that "stuff" and move on instead of being fixated on it. Looks to me like you can't leave it alone because you keep coming back to this blog. Kinda like picking off that scab and poking at that sore that never healed. For a guy that dislikes what happened to him on the boats
so much why do you keep reading this stuff?

Don't know what a "coner" is. When I rode a nuc boat for a couple of years in the early 60's we were "front enders". The big divide in the crew was married vs single. Went ashore with my single engineer shipmates all the time cause I was the only single senior Torpedoman in the crew at the time.


Don't think he was talking to you, probably fixated on my smelly old smoke-boat attitude. Being pissed off gets his adrenaline pumping.

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble...........


8/28/2008 12:10 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...


I'm quite sure he was: 630-738= -108. He's a clever fellow, ain't he?

8/28/2008 12:13 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Oh DBF, almost forgot:
Coner- shortened version of nose-coner, aka fwd puke, whatever derogatory remark you can imagine. Sailors today have figured out many ways to divide a crew, not that I can blame them, the way boats are run anymore. "Creeping nukism" is the usual suspect which breeds comtempt, and as much of a nuke as I am, I'm largely in agreement with the "coners" who say that model isn't always the best to use.

8/28/2008 12:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


What I don't understand, why the need to divide the crew up based on forward and aft? I mean, if your getting paid all the extra $$$ to be a Nuc Engineer shouldn't be a big deal right?? Onboard MSC ships those that work their asses off are jokingly referred to as "overtime whores" to use a Military Sealift Command unofficial term, and are working for "blood money" cause their blood is all over it. They laugh about that term and sometimes brag about being overtime whores. Guess I don't understand guys like anon who couldn't figure out that he'd sold his body and soul to the Nuc Power program and just get on with it.

I'll say it again, its Hymies legacy that continues to get refined, and refined, and refined until the Submarine Force looses the bubble. But it ain't just the Submariners, the entire Nav is getting that way. All you gotta do is look at the personnel policies in 7 Fleet. The bleeding edge of intrusive leadership. It's disgusting to see the way enlisted sailors are treated today. A major reason I'm hanging up sailing with MSC as a CivMar is 7 fleet wants to impose that kind of stuff on me. I'm 67 years old and I don't need a buddy to go ashore with, to sign in and sign out with, and provide a written liberty Plan!

Damn, beginning to sound like Anon! Guess I oughta take my own advice. If you ain't happy doing what your doing, it's time to go.

Where the hell did this thread start? Wasn't it about Boat Quals??

Keep a zero bubble.........


8/28/2008 4:39 PM

Anonymous ET2/SS said...

I took the full 10 months to qualify (10 months to the day, my board was that last morning and my lookups were handed in that afternoon). I didn't rush, but I never went dink. I took my time and I didn't get things gaffed off. By the time I went to board I had such a positive reputation for knowing my shit when I went to checkouts that my board was (to me) shockingly easy. Nowadays I try to nurture the non-quals on my boat, yes, I am a "hugger". But I think it requires both the hard-asses and the huggers to make sure every sailor who can qualify will do so, and that those who earn their fish are actually worthy of them. With nothing but harsh treatment towards nubs and no friendly faces or encouragement, you get a lot of sailors tapping out who could have been contributors (and then hypocrites whining about manning issues). With nothing but soft treatment you will get serious shitbags wearing fish (happens anyway, but we don't need more of them).

8/28/2008 6:09 PM

Anonymous The Oft-Wrong Tick said...

I actually play "City of Heroes" almost exclusively - hence the "Tick" moniker. But I've played WoW and virtually every other online game since Ultima Online (pardon the pun). I'll take virtual reality over any other kind.

Sorry I thought you were cone, 738. I've just never seen that attitude in a nuke before (I mean, even your online photo is in whites - I'm sure I have a set somewhere, but I couldn't find them right now if it meant an early out).

Again, no offense intended.

8/28/2008 7:59 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...


There IS NO NEED to divide the crew. It doesn't always happen. What happens is that ridiculous requirements get placed on people and it breeds resentment in some ships. Example: Electrical Safety. The general consensus on many boats is that EM's are the only ones who do it right, and since that's the case, EM's end up setting up safety areas in places such as the Nav Center, Radio, Launcher, and Sonar during non-nuclear drills. I didn't have a problem teaching them how it's done, but when my guys were done like that, it breeded resentment. This wouldn't have been a problem if, during say, a fire in shaft alley, you would find ST's, MT's, ET's and RM's on the hose, or manning the phones at the scene, but in many cases those guys were stopping at the tunnel door, because "That's nuke land back there." I'm not saying EVERY ship is like that, but there are enough to breed that resentment. If the force would return to training like we fight and EVERYONE pitched in ALL THE TIME, the divide would go away. Again, just my .02.

8/28/2008 8:01 PM

Anonymous The Continuing Tick said...

The time I almost bought it due to stupidity wasn't tactical, just our new Eng trying to impress the CO.

We were in Pearl and moving from Sierra Beemans to Westloch for the day. When it came time to take off shore power, one of the pierside breakers wouldn't open. We could have got 25D to open the supply breaker at the substation, but it would have meant leaving about a half-hour late. The Eng didn't want to be the one holding up an underway, so he ordered us to pull the last cable energized.

I think he really thought of it like lifting a lead in a panel. I tried explaining that it wasn't the voltage, it was the fact there was no way to guarantee it wasn't under load, and pulling it under load would probably mean getting flash-fried.

Back then, it only took the Eng's permission to work on energized gear, though, so there was no sanity check but mine. I was in charge and got told point blank to do it or else. We were between chiefs and the bull nuke was a mechanic (and had his head firmly lodged in the Eng's crack, anyhow).

Sure, I could have said no on principle, but he just would have made another electrician do it. We had a lot of nubs and he could have easily bullied one into it, since they had never seen the aftermath from a shore power screw up.

So I pulled it myself. I wasn't going to risk losing someone for that SOB. It arc'd a little but no fireball (actually, closing the cover was the scariest part). And, here's the kicker: while the CO almost certainly found out what happened, he did nothing.

I've been scared before, and had to do risky things, but nothing that asinine just to make sure we got to the other side of the harbor on time. In this case, the stupid didn't get punished, they eventually got their own boat.

8/28/2008 8:24 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Dear God Tick,

That happened fairly recently in the fleet on a T-Hull. The electrician who pulled it dropped it back on the hull plug, shorted it and put himself and another EM in the hospital.
I respect that you were trying to protect another EM from that, but I assure you my friend, there is NO WAY IN HELL that would have happened with me in charge, EM1,EMC, EMCS or whatever rank I was. I would have used myself as a shield to prevent that for sure.
I'm as much mission first a guy as there was in the Navy, but there are limits to the amount of unneccesary risk I'm willing to take.
I can see where some residual bitterness might be lingering. Glad you survived that, you should have knocked his ass into the drink.

8/29/2008 5:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

May be everyone can lighten up a bit. I found this over at in the Navy forums.
- Chief Torpedoman -

In the vein of humor, this is for the nucs...

A Shift Engineer's Christmas
LT Bruce Jobe (Shift Eng Crew A, NPTU Chasn 1994), written after it was decided that the staff instructors would keep the NPTU steaming while the production students would be given the day off. Not popular.

Twas the day before Christmas when all through the MTS
Nothing was happening, but the normal BS.
Daystaff was snuggled at home in their beds,
While Naval Reactors crapped on our heads.
When up on the deck there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the doghouse I ran in a flash,
I threw off the chain and slammed open the hatch.
When what should my disbelieving eyes see?
But a miniature submarine pulling up next to me.
With a little old driver so wrinkled and bent over
I knew without asking it must be RICKOVER!
Faster than neutrons his little sub sailed,
And he ranted and screamed that all his successors had failed.
He ranted and raved for hours on end.
I tried to explain things but he would not bend.
He called out “send me the OIC, the ENG, the MO!”
Said “bring me the PMC, the TM, and the STO!”
He cused “I’M DISGUSTED!” with an undisguised scoff.
There are tests to be given and drills to be run.
Nuclear power is never, never supposed to be fun.”
He continued to fume until his face turned bright red,
And I thought in an instant we’d be better off dead.
Then he jumped in his sub with a last evil glower
And steamed off through the haze on nuclear power.
But I heard him exclaim as he faded from sight,
“Write this up as a critique before you go home tonight!”

8/29/2008 7:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chief Torpedoman, I think I know you. Were you 619 Gold commissioning crew? I was 619 Blue commissioning crew.

Keep a zero bubble.........


8/29/2008 9:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To DBFTMC(SS)USNRET ... I think I might know you.

Naw, I only did 3 years on the boats. I was a young TM Launcher Tech on the Thomas A Edison from 1972 to 1975. As a TM3 nub I did manager to spill Terracotta paint all over the light green missile tubes in lower lever during my first refit in Rota. May be you heard of that. LOL.

Took me forever and a lot of paint thinner to clean that up.

I had some issues in my first marriage that lead to a California divorce and a sub disqual and finihed out my career as a TMC(SW), but I do have fond memorys of the boats.

- Chief Torpedoman -

8/29/2008 1:56 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

"Twas the day before Christmas"

Now that's funny! (And, sad but true-we still did that in 2002-2005 as best as I remember.)

8/29/2008 2:46 PM

Blogger David said...

nubs and paint are a disaster waiting to happen.....

I remember some nubs painted FTN on the sail when we were in Guam.
Boat got underway before the paint could dry and when we surfaced the faint silhouette of the FTN was there!!!

Luckily the captain had finally tied one on before we got underway and he actually handed the issue over to the COB.

8/29/2008 3:26 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuc said...

David, what was you timeframe on the Pintado? Do you remember Itchy's first underway where we almost backed into the Lake Erie?

8/31/2008 7:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chief Torpedoman,

Thanks for that memory. I was at NPTU in 1994 and that was how I spent my Christmas. We had an all blueshirt enginroom; I was EWS, another 1st class as EOOW, and an entire plant full of SPUs.

Fun times...

9/02/2008 10:50 AM

Anonymous Bobblehead said...

WHIPS! Whips and lashes for the nubs, says I! Submarines go deep and they hit things! Don't wanna hit things downdeep? Lash the nubs! All hands DC and no excuses! No movies no iPods no COMIC BOOKS! Qual qual qual, dammit; I wanna get home alive.


9/12/2008 6:18 PM

Anonymous your sexual said...

So, I don't actually believe this will work.

10/22/2011 12:57 PM

Anonymous Regena said...

Very helpful piece of writing, much thanks for this article.

9/20/2012 7:17 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home