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.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

SSN Seen In Puget Sound

A reader sent in some pictures recently taken from a ferry on the Puget Sound of a newer SSN; here's one:

Based on the "boot" at the front of the sail, she's clearly a Seawolf- or Virginia-class boat. And based on the length of the main deck vs. the height of the sail, I'm thinking the reader got a rare glimpse of my last boat, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23). What a pretty submarine...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that is the Jimmy Carter, more like the Connecticut or Seawolf. The JC is longer, the picture looks like a "normal" length SSN21

11/29/2008 9:35 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I'm not sure... it could very well be, but I'm thinking she looks a little "longer" than a normal 21. Still, there's a 2 to 1 shot that it is the 21 or 22 instead of the 23 if you're just looking at Seawolf-class boats that normally hang out in the Puget Sound. I'll say there's a 2/3 chance it's one of my old boats, either the 22 or 23.

11/29/2008 10:09 AM

Blogger Gary said...

Why don't they put hull numbers on them?

11/29/2008 12:37 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Gary - Hull numbers were taken off all submarines in the mid seventies for security reasons. In the sixties the hull numbers were removed when a boat went on a classified mission so it would not be identified if forced to surface for some reason. Since all subs were doing classified missions almost all the time in the seventies, it was decided just to not paint on the hull numbers at all. Doesn't it make it fun, guessing which SSN21 class sub is in the picture?

11/29/2008 12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wtfnucsailor has it almost right...

The hull numbers were painted out pre-deployment not pre-classified mission. That would sort of give away the missions now wouldn't it?

BTW, I was on a two day local op that turned into a "mission". We came back almost three weeks later. The humor comes from the fact the squadron folks were on board to make their quota for sea pay.

I must add that the crew was generous in providing them with the necessities they had failed to bring with them.


11/29/2008 4:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I took the pics, I figured the sub in question was roughly 20 yards away as it passed our ferry. With my exceedingly limited knowledge of Nuclear boats, I figured it was a Fast attack because it looks a bit smaller than a Seawolf class.

But, it turns out that I'm probably wrong. I recently showed these pics to a buddy who is a medically retired SK2(SS), and he tells me it is one of the 3 Seawolf class boats. I just wish my pictures had come out a bit more clearly as the sub passed us.

Thanks, J.

11/29/2008 5:16 PM

Anonymous yarddog said...

"I figured it was a Fast attack because it looks a bit smaller than a Seawolf class." The Seawolf class is a fast attack class. Along with the Virginia class and Los Angeles class. The boat pictured is either the Connecticut or the Seawolf. The Carter is indeed longer. Great picture!

11/29/2008 8:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

20 yards from the Ferry?!

Wow I bet the CO let that JO have an ear-full.

11/30/2008 1:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

60 feet?? No way. I do admit that subs look closer than they appear out on the open water. Since the Connecticut is out playing in the Pacific somewhere and the JC is over on the other side of the sound with no ferries close to her, my bet is the Seawolf. Great shot though.

11/30/2008 9:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry and wtfnucsailor, Thanks for the heads-up on hull numbers. I too wondered why subs don't generally have any visible identification.

Yarddog, you're quite right. I meant to say: "I figured it was a Virgina class because it looks a bit smaller than a Seawolf class." The word "Fast Attack," was in my head at the time I posted here.

Anon, I can tell you that I felt the ferry slow down as the sub passed us. The sub was going slow enough that it wasn't making much wake on the surface. There was also a Coast Guard cutter following the sub to it's next destination. I know the C.G. can pull over and cite any vessel that might be going too fast, or not following the rules of the road. I remember smiling to myself thinking if that sub had done anything wrong...I wondered how in the world a cutter could possibly pull over and stop a nuclear submarine. What's the CG gonna do, give sub captain a ticket?...Lol.

I have to say that was the closest I've ever been to a nuclear boat. It was a pretty cool sight to see.



11/30/2008 10:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is SSGT J. Casey the same guy who signs off as "J", or are they two different people?

11/30/2008 11:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the same guy.
Sometimes, I sign my posts just simply as J. rather than my former rank and name all the time.


11/30/2008 12:03 PM

Anonymous Jon said...

The USCG cutter was probably there to provide force protection for the SSN as it transited on the surface.
Sea story: On 9/11/01, my wardroom was meeting with the USMC and USCG in crew's mess to brief a force protection exercise for the out-bound transit the next day. We were going to have a USCG cutter escort us down the river in lieu of the usual sea tractor. Then the planes hit. It was a really busy day...
The next morning, our outbound escort was a guided-missile cruiser.

12/01/2008 9:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point Jon. I was being a bit of a wise ass about the CG cutter escorting the sub across the sound.

I've never understood why we have a Coast Guard. There is nothing they can do that the USN can't and already does do on a daily basis.

So, you went from a CG cutter with limited defensive armament as an escort, to a USN guided-missile cruiser, which has the capability to destroy damn near anything out of existence within a 100 mile radius and then some. On many levels, you gotta be proud of that.

Speaking of 09/11/01, I'll never forget spending a 19 hour day on High alert at Barksdale AFB. As a Senior Airman(E-4) SP (USAF Security Police) I was stationed that "lovely morning" on the secondary ECP for the flightline.
I remember hearing the order over the base P.A. "All pilots and crews to your planes. Stand by for take off." Just under 30 minutes after almost all of our bombers and refuelers were up in the air, the base was at a stand still. No shift reliefs and almost no movement. The rest of our SP squadron had been quickly formed to maintain and patrol both inner and outer perimeter base defense(Airbase Ground Defense).

Those of us stuck on the flightline spent 19 to 20 hours on station. That's like a USN crew remaining on battle stations for close to a full day with no relief in sight. We were given MREs, chips and candy bars and bottles of Evian water throughout the day because we couldn't leave our posts. It was a long and hard day. But as I look back on it, it seems like one fast blur where time was simply suspended and forgotten for a few hours as we stood there and did our jobs accordingly.

I used to wake up to the nasty scent of spent JP8 fuel and hearing CSC radio chatter, in a cold sweat in the wee hours of the morning. I think it comes from the cold shock of knowing that our country sustained a direct attack that morning.

Nevertheless, I digress. I've heard other stories that a lot of our Navy brothers spent a day to a day and a half on High Alert status or Battle stations with no relief in sight as well.

Thanks, J.

12/01/2008 4:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: I've never understood why we have a Coast Guard. There is nothing they can do that the USN can't and already does do on a daily basis.

The Coast Guard is in essence a maritime police force unless war is declared at which time they become a part of the Navy.

Sorta like the FBI/CIA thing - only the FBI is supposed to do domestic intelligence and the CIA is only supposed to do foreign intelligence.

The boundaries for both have become blurred in recent years.


12/01/2008 11:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USCG is a lot more than just a maritime police force. They are responsible for testing and Administering licenses and Merchant Marine Documents to US merchant mariners. FYI, MSC employs about 5000 Civilian Mariners. They Maintain all the aids-to-navigation in US and territorial waters with a fleet of buoy tenders. They work with the American board of Shipping conducting seaworthyness inspections of US Flag merchant ships. This includes all MSC operated ships including the 40+ service force ships. Marine life saving services. Ice breaker services on the great lakes and in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

USCG does a lot of important and largely unrecognized maritme work for the benifit of all mariners.

Keep a zero bubble.....


12/02/2008 11:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET is correct so for a complete picture - from the CG site...

The United States Coast Guard, one of the country's five armed services, is a unique agency of the federal government. We trace our history back to 4 August 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling. Known variously through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service, we expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew.

The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. The nation then had a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws. The Coast Guard began to maintain the country's aids to maritime navigation, including operating the nation's lighthouses, when President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the transfer of the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939. In 1946 Congress permanently transferred the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard, thereby placing merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under our purview.

The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and, until the Navy Department was established in 1798, we served as the nation's only armed force afloat. We continued to protect the nation throughout our long history and have served proudly in every one of the nation's conflicts. Our national defense responsibilities remain one of our most important functions even today. In times of peace we operate as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation's front-line agency for enforcing our laws at sea, protecting the marine environment and our vast coastline and ports, and saving life. In times of war, or at the direction of the President, we serve under the Navy Department.


12/02/2008 4:45 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

I would add one thing about the Coast Guard. The have to power to make an arrest wheras the Navy does not. I am sure the CG escort of the SSBN is in part to stop and/or arrest any overzealous anti nuc protestors.

12/05/2008 10:57 AM

Anonymous yarddog said...

"I am sure the CG escort of the SSBN.."
The boat pictured (Seawolf) is a fast attack. The CG escorts all subs (east coast as well) in and out of ports for security purposes.

12/09/2008 8:30 AM

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