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.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Annoying Phrases

Lately, as I've been doing my TPS reports at work, I've been using the phrase "charted data" in certain situations, because it's the most accurate and concise description of what I'm working with. Every time I typed it, however, the hairs would raise up on the back of my hands and I'd feel as if I was in a classroom with dozens of lions running their claws down the chalkboards. Last night, I figured out why that was.

There are certain overly pretentious phrases that just rub me the wrong way. Being a nuke Submariner, I found a lot of them in my work life that I learned to loath whenever people said them; a frequent example is "threaded fasteners". ("Why can't you just say 'nuts and bolts'!" my internal monologue would shout whenever I heard my XO or an ORSE Board member use those words.) My least favorite phrase, though -- and the one whose similarity to my new work term set me off -- was that old block to check off on a Training Assessment sheet: "Logs and Plotted Data". Argghhh!!! It still pisses me off just to type it. My ex-ORSE Board member XO would ask about it every time he sat in on training. ("Where were your Logs and Plotted Data?" he'd ask whinily, with each word capitalized in the inflection of his voice. "Are you just an unthinking robot? There's more to good training than just mindlessly checking off a bunch of boxes with phrases taken from one sentence of the EDM", I'd scream silently in response, wondering how "Logs and Plotted Data" would help in an RC Div Troubleshooting Seminar.)

So, are there any submarine phrases that set you off like this one obviously does me?


Blogger Mark said...

As a former Sonar Technician, the phrase "active echo ranging" used to drive me to drink...I'd like to see that other type of echo ranging..."passive" ?

9/09/2008 5:52 PM

Anonymous Veemann said...

Be nice to the old XO. Or as he would say "don't upset the applecart for blind compliance..." I am still trying understand that now even as I recall being cornered in the Chop's seat in the wardroom. Uh oh, the hairs are standing up on the back of my neck, never mind....

9/09/2008 6:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me have your attention...
This is anonymous.

For the information of all hands....
at this time...
be advised....
that I have passed no useful information.
That is all.

Carry on.

9/09/2008 6:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"nuke Submariner"

You're either a submariner or not!

9/09/2008 6:27 PM

Anonymous Glenn Hogg said...

As to the last,,,,,Well Said! Nuke submariners.........Mutter mutter mutter. SSSHHHEEEEESSHH!

9/09/2008 6:36 PM

Blogger Pat said...

I obtain passive echo ranging all the time..... Except I call it SWAG. (Used in conjunction with a hand motion pulling an invisible object out of my @$$ and throwing it toward control)LMAO

9/09/2008 6:37 PM

Blogger cheezstake said...

When our COB left the Boomer, he secretly stole the dive klaxon used (like all boats did) for congratulating newly qualified Submariners. The XO then read from a book written by a WWII sub captain. The task during his recitals from this book was to count the number of times he said, "Salvo".

9/09/2008 7:35 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

Had a great JO who would go off each time the announcement was made to "Make preparations to get underway". "Why the hell can't they just say 'Prepare to get underway?'", he would scream at the 1MC speaker. Then one day he was the duty officer and made the self-corrected announcement.

Since he deviated from the SOP (or whatever the proper alphabet soup name for that book was) the XO had him relieved and during that weekly op he had to write an essay on Naval history and traditions as it pertained to communications. He then delivered it to the crew over the 1MC during a field day.

About a year ago, after he had completed his second CO tour of a Trident, I emailed him and asked him if he'd successfully changed the wording. He said he hadn't, but mostly due to the fact that our XO had just retired as a Vice Admiral. But it was still on his mind each time one of his crews made that announcement.

9/09/2008 8:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most over-used and repulsive phrases:

"All hands"

"The smoking lamp"

"Verbatim compliance"

"Mark your head"

"The XO wants to see you"

9/09/2008 8:56 PM

Anonymous Pauljose, QM2/ss said...

Men working in the sail....

" not raise, lower, rotate or radiate any mast, periscope or antenna..."

I would, as belowdecks, change it to "radiate FROM...", without the consequences listed above.

And "At this time" would spin tha NAV up in no time flat...

9/10/2008 3:08 AM

Anonymous Anon E. Moose said...

From the RPM - practicable.

Still not sure what that word means, some sort of hybrid between practical and possible?

9/10/2008 5:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like a little OCD going on, Im just saying.... Oh yeah. We're going to need you to come in on Saturday. Mmmmmm, Yeah and by the way, Sunday too. Regulat hours.

9/10/2008 5:51 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

"Theory to Practice"


...and my personal favorite (to loath)...

"You get what you inspect, not what you expect!"

9/10/2008 6:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You get what you inspect, not what you expect!"

Annoying, yet so true!

9/10/2008 6:30 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

"Don't work harder, work smarter." as if your working stupid.

"Clean the smart dirt..."

"I'll be in the Goat Locker doing what I do best... nothin'!"

"The Chief is always right!"

"Suck it up." I have to admit I'm guilty of saying that, too - but only to my kids when they're whiney.

"If it was up your ass eating a ham sandwich..."

But the one I hated worst of all: "I can't..."

9/10/2008 6:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day, the IC Manual required submariners to call a high pressure air compessor an "H.P. Air Compressor." Of course, everyone called it a HPAC (pronounced "high pac"), except on the 1MC. Eventually, the IC Manual got updated when some sufficiently frustrated individual got promoted far enough to fix it. However, even that took decades.

9/10/2008 7:58 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

* Turn two and clean up ship
* Prepare to place a LP Blow on....

And of course my favorite item to really piss me off:

* "ELT, 2JV!"

9/10/2008 8:31 AM

Blogger Lou said...

"That's why you get pro-pay."

9/10/2008 9:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Field Day till I say it's clean.

All Hands Stores Load (with the exception of)
The Radioman going to the tender for message traffic,
Any RPPO running parts(usually all of them),
The 3M Coordinator running to the tender,

It took till my last boat that the COB had the balls to stop that and really make it "all hands"

9/10/2008 9:56 AM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

" not raise, lower, rotate or radiate any mast, periscope or antenna..."

I would, as belowdecks, change it to "radiate FROM...", without the consequences listed above.

We had "from" in our warning, but everyone else pronounced it as if it were "...lower, rotate or radiate, from any..." I always carefully enunciated it as "...lower, rotate or radiate from, any...."

When we had spill drills on my last boat, the Nav would make 1MC announcements about the "un-i-SOL-a-ble" leak. Every time I heard that, I wanted to go out and beat him with a dictionary.

Ditto "POT-a-ble."

9/10/2008 10:18 AM

Blogger submandave said...

"I'd like to see that other type of echo ranging..."passive" ?"

OK, maybe not strictly "echo ranging", but haven't you ever heard of ping-steal or pulling an estimate from dual-path delay? STS, I'm disappointed in you.

9/10/2008 11:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one thing that always pissed me off on my last boat was being called
"Maine Warriors" every time the skipper got on the 1MC

"Maine Warriors"..gimme a freaking break.

9/10/2008 12:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Reveille, Reveille,Up All Bunks"
This one would piss me off even if I was already awake.

And of course, the dreaded:

"All Hands Turn To, Commence Field Day!!!"

9/10/2008 3:41 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

There's always the ever popular:

Suffer in silence.

9/10/2008 3:45 PM

Blogger beebs said...

They just established drug testing about 1981 or thereabouts.

Every time the 1MC keyed my urinary spincter would relax because it was
"all off watch nuclear trained personnel muster in the CPO quarters" or "All PRP trained personnel muster ..."

It seemed we were getting tested about twice a week at first. We did catch a few dopers, including my leading first.

ex-DCA 637 class

9/10/2008 4:08 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

"Maine Warriors." That made me think of one of the most ridiculous things I ever heard on any boat-- "Fighting Mary." It was the nickname of BB-46 USS MARYLAND, and our CO effectively hijacked it for the SSBN-738. It just sounded so stupid, especially with him saying "Fighting Mary, let's kick ass" on the 1MC prior to ORSE/TRE/whatever.

9/10/2008 4:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the end of the day.
Boots on the ground.

9/10/2008 6:14 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

My favorite time for annoying 1MC announcements was when there were both men working in the sail and divers working over the side. I recall more than once the BDW getting confused on the alternating "short" announcement and saying that there were divers in the sail and men in the water.

9/10/2008 6:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Had a great JO who would go off each time the announcement was made to "Make preparations to get underway". "Why the hell can't they just say 'Prepare to get underway?'", he would scream at the 1MC speaker. Then one day he was the duty officer and made the self-corrected announcement. }

I feel for him, but man, I always wondered about the sanity of people who would talk back to the 1MC speaker. I always tried to be helpful and noted that "they can't hear you", but no one ever appreciated it...

9/10/2008 6:56 PM

Blogger Oz said...

Personally I hate both the "divers in the water" and "men working in the sail" announcements. The way I see it, all the things they say not to operate are already danger tagged, so you're basically saying "Do not operate any danger-tagged components," which can of course be further distilled as "Operate normally."


9/10/2008 6:57 PM

Anonymous gomerb said...

When asked if he had made any progress on something he was asked to do, my machiny mate buddy, Elmo, would respond "I was about gettin' ready to start doin' that." Eventually a lot of us began using that line, but when we swiped it it sounded more like "I was about gettin' ready to start thinkin' about lookin' into maybe startin' in on that pretty soon."

9/10/2008 8:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This wasnt annoying but I did rather like it and still use it today "Assistance is neither desired or requied" when running a drill with outside activities aborad

9/10/2008 9:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything with the word "binder" in it!

I remember the EDMC right before ORSE printing documents, filling in numbers, getting them signed, and putting them into pretty binders.

Of course, the papers had to look old, so he would send people out to get kimwipes with hydaulic oil and smear it on the paperwork or spill a little coffee on them.

Nuclear integrity goes downhill the closer ORSE gets...but love them binders!

9/10/2008 10:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


- favorite term of my former XO


9/11/2008 7:19 AM

Blogger Derek said...

"All hands not actually on watch..."


with no prior notice,

"20 man working party muster topside with the COB or CSC or SKC,"
like we are such a well oiled machine that the 20 people actually know who they are and can drop what they are doing and muster immediately at the drop of a hat. This phrase was usually followed by,

"All Chiefs muster in the Chiefs Quarters, time now"

9/12/2008 3:29 AM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Oh, yes - and my absolute least favourite word in the English language: "Utilise."

9/12/2008 10:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated during the divers over the side warning when dumbasses would say "Do not activate sonar" was usually on, it's active sonar, learn the difference NUB!

9/12/2008 11:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My personal favorite is "All hands not actually on watch....(report to crew's mass, stores load, etc...)"

Why not say "All off-watch personnel"

What is "not actually on watch" ?

9/12/2008 1:38 PM

Anonymous ET1(SS) said...

Our old XO used to use the term "Break" to separate things he would cover in his 1MC's. Everyone would always snicker when we heard it, but never to his face of course. He eventually must have caught on though, because by the end of his tour, "break" would only slip out if he wasn't paying attention.

9/12/2008 4:43 PM

Blogger Oz said...

"Our old XO used to use the term "Break" to separate things he would cover in his 1MC's."

Ah, the classic problem of confusing your internal with your external comms. That's a pretty extreme case, though. MC handsets are also known as "retard activation devices" on my boat due to the manifest effect that keying the mic has on the user.

9/12/2008 9:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While at our building in EB, the coners rigged up a $20 PA circuit just so they could call away reveille in the morning, all the while standing less than 20 ft away from the small bunkroom. I think this was after Joel left us for San Diego.
That and it seemed every single khaki used "vice".

9/13/2008 8:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To beebs: “They just established drug testing about 1981 or thereabouts”

I can remember getting the “whiz quiz” back in 1973 on the SSBN 610. At first (as I remember it) it was only for E6 and below with the implication that all Khaki (especially officers) were not going to dabble in drugs.

Chief Torpeoman

9/13/2008 9:01 AM

Blogger carbs said...


Whether they're administrative or quality, they're what the chain of command wants. And we can't reallt combat it.

- ET2(SS)g

9/13/2008 5:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

mine is by far when you're knee deep in something or bored outta your mind to start work and some douchebag walks up to you and says "having fun yet"

9/15/2008 1:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta be when the watchstander you just relieved says, "Oh, by the way..."

9/15/2008 8:22 PM

Anonymous Ex-MSP Nav ET said...

Hmm... from an IC Heavy NAV-ET, my least favorite overused phrase was, and still is the ever-infamous "Checks with Chart" and not far behind is "Navy Tradition." I hate hearing people use "Navy Tradition" anymore because most people use it an excuse for continuing an outmoded or obsolete practice or procedure simply because it would require too much effort to change it or because it has always been done that way, even if the practice or procedure no longer serves any useful purpose or has any signifigant history behind it. (Example, the previous post on IC Comms.) There are many fine Navy traditons out there, such as ringing the ships bell, but many "Traditions" are simply obsolete.

9/16/2008 11:56 PM

Blogger Oz said...

Another thing would be the phrase "IC comms" itself. "Comms" is implied by "IC," it's like saying "ATM machine."

9/17/2008 6:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife's least favorite and one I've come to use frequently: sh!t@ss (Navy for Hawaiian "kine")

9/18/2008 7:53 AM

Anonymous ET1(SS) said...

"The smoking lamp is lighted in all authorized spaces."

God forbid that proper English and proper IC communications are the same thing. The other day, our BDW announced, "The smoking lamp is lit." He must have been corrected, because a few minutes later, the 1MC chirped, "The smoking lamp is lighted."

9/18/2008 6:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about "shipmate"? Big Navy is throwing a fit recently, and has assigned a task force on regaining the term. What do ya'll think about it?

9/21/2008 8:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Codify", from 2005-2006 our wardroom tried to codify everything that happened, the CO/XO eventually stopped saying it when they realized that DH's and below were mocking them for it.
"lessons learned"
and the stupid statement at the beginning of critiques about not assigning blame, I was DCA/QAO for a while and never made it out of a critique without some poor bastard getting hammered.

10/15/2008 4:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the XO would come on someone would click over the 4MC and cut the XO off for a split second. It got to the point the XO would make the JOs/CPOs stand by each 4MC during his announcments. He was the same XO that would say "ahh" after everyother word. (i.e. and "ahh")

6/13/2011 9:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once as a young submariner standing topside watch, I had to announce the "All Hands Muster Topside for Stores Load" and I said "Thank You" at the end. I knew the CO was gone and I would have to face the COBs/Weps rath, but it was funny as heck to see the crew members laughing so loud when they came topside.

6/13/2011 10:00 AM


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