More Old Topeka Shipmates In The News
Hot on the heels of the story of my old Weps from USS Topeka (SSN 754) hosting a famous tennis star, I noticed two more Navy stories about some of my old wardroom buddies from the "Defender of the Heartland" -- these guys were JOs with me, so they're now on their submarine command tours.
The first discusses the recent return from the sub's 40th deterrent patrol of USS Maine (SSBN 741) (Blue), commanded by my old shipmate CDR John Tollier. Captain Tolliver discusses how the boat was out for 98 days on this patrol, thereby earning the sub and crew the Sea Service Deployment ribbon. The story also mentions something I either never knew or had forgotten -- apparently if a crew has two 80-day patrols then they also earn the Sea Service ribbon. I wonder -- does that only applies to Sailors on one crew, or do they get credit if they transfer from one sub to another and get the required patrols/deployments during a year? (Looking at the applicable instruction -- starting on page 4-45 of a big .pdf file of SECNAVINST 1650.1G -- it looks like that wouldn't be the case, which strikes me as kind of unfair.)
The second is a picture of my old shipmate CDR Mike Tesar re-enlisting three of his crewmen from USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) aboard the USS Bowfin Museum at Pearl Harbor:
You gotta love seeing guys wearing whites in November -- Hawaii is a great place. You also gotta love seeing the 3 junior nukes getting a combined total of almost a quarter million dollars for what normally amounts to about an extra two years each above their current obligation for their first re-enlistment. I think it's one of the Navy's best methods of long-term retention of nukes -- it gets them to shore duty, which gives them a chance to catch their breath after their first sea duty and evaluate their career options. Hopefully the term "buy-a-crow" for this type of re-enlistment (if the guy is an E-4, like the middle Sailor pictured) has gone out of favor; that being said, I'm still in favor of the use of the term "rent-a-crow" to describe all of us nukes and other technical rates who get automatically promoted to E-4 for finishing A-School; I liked the money, but always thought that was kind of cheesy -- especially for the MMs who made MM3 within 2 months of finishing boot camp back before they made all the nuke A-schools longer sometime in the 90s.