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, January 31, 2009

USS Nebraska Command Investigation Into The Tragic Death Of Petty Officer Gentile

Submariners worldwide mourned the tragic loss of MM3(SS) Michael Gentile during a field day accident aboard USS Nebraska (SSBN 739)(Blue) last September. Beebs over at beebsblog has obtained a heavily-redacted copy of the Command Investigation into the tragedy; you can read it -- along with the endorsements -- here, here, and here. (Click on each .jpg to make it readable.)

The bottom line from the investigation is found on page 9: "MM3 Gentile was a hard-working and respected member of the command. The EMT efforts were heroic and inspiring, prolonging the life of MM3 Gentile. The crew united to expeditiously surface and conduct a safe helicopter transfer while treating a wounded shipmate. The death of MM3 Gentile is recommended to be deemed 'In the line of duty and not due to his own misconduct.' "

Hopefully this tragedy will prevent this from happening to someone else. Submarining is a dangerous business, and the inviolable safety rules are written in blood. It's important that all Submariners remember that, and keep in mind Petty Officer Gentile and his tragic fate in everything we do.

Update 0539 03 Feb: Closing comments.


Anonymous Short said...

I hate seeing stuff like this. MOST IMPORTANT - It is a horribly tragic event for the people effected my this.

However, I also feel bad for the long-term effect on sailors across the fleet in the corrective actions that will surely come that will make day-to-day activities more difficult for what sounds like "a sailor that can't read posted warnings or was following instructions from a unsatisfactory leader."

1/31/2009 11:47 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Tragic. The only word. It is also unfortunate that any submariner with more than a day's experience isn't fully aware of the rudder ram. There are many dangerous things on subs, and you have to keep your eyes open. PO Gentile was not the first, but probably not the last, to be injured by the ram. You cannot make everything 100% safe.

1/31/2009 2:33 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

So here are some quotes from report:

“Warning possible injury may occur beyond this point when the rudder ram is operated. USE EXTREME CAUTION”

“The disregard of the visual posting warning was the direct cause of this accident. Ultimately each sailor has the personal responsibility to adhere to the posted visual warnings.”

Actually I heard that often with "personal responcibility", it is the conservative ideology’s declaration that it’s always the individual’s fault.

Plainly the warning sign wasn’t adequate...the command and the Navy didn’t provide and adequate safety environment for their young sailors.

The sign “should have been” in the form of a not go past this point without the permission of the officer of the watch, the engineer, OOD, the captain, with a requirement that communication be made to you forward pukes.

This is unsafe signage...and it question if the Navy’s signage in general is adequate.

Now I got safety concern, say when the ship's institutional knowledge of this is gone, sailor and officer turnover....if the sign gives the same vague warning how would you prevent the next fatality?

If all rudder ram areas in the submarine fleet are signed in the same way...then other sailor are be in danger.

It is noted that if you change that sign to a exact prohibition like it should be, then that act would make the Navy’s culpable for this accident.

1/31/2009 2:34 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Anyone know how I could make a official complaint and declare a safety hazard?

1/31/2009 3:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, you're a damn fool. You can't make anything idiot proof. The simple fact of the matter is that this guy, despite a visible warning, was where he shouldn't have been. He was also a qualified submariner and was still where he shouldn't have been. While this event was tragic, the guy made a mistake and paid with his life. Big Brother and Mikey Mulligan ain't gonna save everyone.

1/31/2009 3:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naval Safety Center
375 A Street
Norfolk, VA 23511
(757) 444-3520 // (DSN 564)

1/31/2009 3:47 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I was thinking about the Pearl Harbor/ West Coast command Inspector Generial?

1/31/2009 3:56 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

"PO Gentile was not the first, but probably not the last, to be injured by the ram."

A little too casual for me considering the loss of life here. Sometimes a needless hazard is a needless hazard.

A simple, removable, orange plastic web netting (at a cost of about $50) to fence out the danger zone, would have prevented this.

And the signage could be beefed up as well. A stark "WARNING: POSSIBLE INJURY OR DEATH MAY RESULT"...yadda, yadda...would clearly be more appropriate.

For the opponents of more substantial corrective action, I say get off your intellectually lazy, business-as-usual, fat asses, guys. You all know better.

I hope P.O. Gentile is in fact the very last guy that gets injured or killed by a submarine ram.

1/31/2009 4:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very sad event, it illustrates the inherent risks involved in operating a boat. I noted that the discussions are leaning towards prevention methods, which is good, but I cannot help but wonder if the recovery actions could have been different. It is my understanding that the fatal injury happened when the ram was moved in the wrong direction during the attempt to free him. I would think that isolation of normal hydraulics and use of the hand pump would give a finer and slower control of the ram action. I don't mean to "arm-chair" this event, but think that all aspects of the tragedy should be examined, to help prevent future accidents.


1/31/2009 4:27 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I am torn between Pearl or the Washington IG, Washington would be busier, but Pearl might not be impartial?

I think I am now doing the Washington DC IG.

1/31/2009 4:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Mike, no one's thought of that but you. Maybe they'll name a boat after you for your astute take on the situation.

1/31/2009 4:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it common for reports of this nature to be obtained by someone? Or after a while does it become available to the public?

It's just an absolute shame what happened to this young man, but hopefully, sailors all over will have by now heard his story, and that will be in the back of their minds while working.

1/31/2009 5:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tragic is definately the word that best captures this event. We will make efforts to prevent it from happening again, but it won't get Petty Officer Gentile back. I applaud the thoughtful and caring comments of the former and current Submarine Sailors on the Blog.

Unfortunately the TROLL Mike Mulligan has again dropped in to ruin an otherwise quality submarine dialog. I am all for hearing and voicing differing opinions, but I have no patience for Mulligan's self-serving poisonous threads. Joel if it were me I would banish him, but I know you are more tolerant.

My condonces and prayers to the family and shipmates of PO Genitle!

1/31/2009 5:41 PM

Anonymous Short said...

Mike, you troll, I hate reading your psycho babble. The signs, training, and current precautions are (in my option) adequate.

Your logic is like putting a putting a barrier on train tracks to prevent people getting hit by trains. The job is dangerous and nothing - NOTHING is sailor-proof regardless what the brass think. If you had ANY knowledge about what you talk about, you'ld know the training involved regarding the Ram.

So, please, complain! I'm sure they'll take your advice under consideration

1/31/2009 5:42 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Do you have to be fatalistic to be a that a coping mechanism?

1/31/2009 5:52 PM

Blogger beebs said...

beebs here. I submitted a freedom of information act request to CSP Trident to get the command endorsements.

Command climate towards safety was called out as a potential cause in enclosures part three.

1/31/2009 6:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post just fires me up! First of all this Mike Mulligan troll needs greased and EB greened to a ladder upside down for a couple watches. Second, was nobody else helping field day the shaft alley? This concientious A-ganger was putting diapers in drip trays and cleaning up by himself. Third, I wonder how many times the watchstanders or the chief had been racked out or chewed out because of the eee-vil hydraulic oil drip in shaft alley?

I have worked and cleaned around the rams and shaft underway and can tell you that the chains and warning signs are routinely ignored-BUT-you do it with the utmost caution and consideration. There have been times when I carefully briefed my guys and there have been times when I've went outboard instead because I knew the risks.

Mike M., submarineing is a dangerous business but men do it because you beat the danger or out smart it or whatever. It's always there and it only takes a moments inattention to bite you.

My heart-felt condolences and sorrow to the family and the crew. Believe me that Chief and COB (whole crew) will never be the same.


1/31/2009 6:26 PM

Anonymous Tom said...

Bottom line, he was crushed by the rudder ram because he was doing something unsafe. Submarining is not inherently dangerous, but certainly it provides plenty of opportunity to get hurt, or worse.

Yes, its tragic - as tragic as those sailors I knew that got killed in car accidents.

Rest your oar Sailor

1/31/2009 6:49 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Do you think the hydraulic leakage was normal...was the boat well cared for?

Frankly, now we got two issues, the signage and now the contents of that report?

1/31/2009 6:59 PM

Blogger beebs said...

PO Gentile was not the first, but probably not the last, to be injured by the ram. You cannot make everything 100% safe.

Bullshit. I have never been on a Trident in the engineroom aft, so I don't know the layout. BUT, Pinch points in the real world are locked out or guarded by shields when you work inside of them.

You CAN make things 100% safe. It's just a matter of the will to do it.

1/31/2009 7:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, save your vitriol for some other blog. Signs and orders that say anything such as "Do not do X without the OOD's permission" are worthless and contrary to instruction (at least when I was AD). Warnings should include the nature of the hazard and the consequences for violating it.

The rudder ram is within the confines of the Aux Aft, ERUL, and ERS watchstation and they have the authority to go in the vicinity if the situation merits it.

Like MMCS(SS) said, there were probably contributing factors post accident that probably could have lessened the severity and maybe even saved him. But, those are just that: Contributing Factors. Bravado, Exuberance, and "It can't happen to me" are more than likely the reason he went in the danger zone.

This event is tragic, but avoidable by the Petty Officer. I hope his family and the crew find peace.

1/31/2009 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beebs, I don't know what "real world" you're working in, but I'm in the commercial nuke world now and nothing is "100% safe." We train non-stop, train some more, take every precaution that can REASONABLY be taken, then go about our bidness. "100% safe?" It doesn't exist - in ANYTHING.

1/31/2009 11:13 PM

Blogger beebs said...

Anon 11:13.

You are, of course, correct that nothing is 100% safe. However the mindset that accidents will happen is poisonous to a safety culture.

A pinch point big enough to crush a man should be shielded. It is obvious that signage and administrative controls did not work in this case.

1/31/2009 11:47 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Beebs, Mike M., both completely wrong. Nothing is completely safe. Not driving, not walking, not drinking water.

There are any number of lethal things on ships of all kinds. You simply cannot blame the institution because people make mistakes. Put up any sign you like, establish any rules you like. Something will not go as planned.

We always think there won't be another collision, but you know what? You won't have the same people next time. Won't ever be people washed over the side again: but you just cannot predict it.

The best you can do is educate, train and monitor. Once or twice a year an officer loses a finger in the scope dashpots. No signs their either, but if you are stupid, you shall be punished. And I am not aware of one of those idiots trying to sue anyone because there wasn't a sign saying "Don't be dumb."

2/01/2009 4:03 AM

Blogger beebs said...

I accept the criticisms.

I lost a MM2(ss) in a motorcycle accident twenty seven years ago. Perhaps this shades my perspective.

ex-DCA Sturgeon Class

2/01/2009 4:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, TM-1(SS) says:

What is all this foolishness about inadequate warning signs? The man was qualified. Or is qualification so easy nowadays that you can not learn about life and death hazards on you boat?

2/01/2009 5:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to post about how ridiculous the idea of making a submarine (or anything) 100% safe really is - I mean that is a totally absurd comment. Do you want to replace all metal with rubber to it doesn't hurt when you fall or bumop into something? Maybe subs shouldn't be in and under the water, because that could hurt us. Maybe we should Keep the reactor shut down at all times. I could go on and on, but I do not wish to because I think we need to remember that one of our brotherhood lost his life. If you want to go file a complaint about signs or safety devices go do it, but please don't post about it here as it just leads to posts that in effect say the sailor died because he made a mistake. If he was your son, would you want to read the comments posted so far? I wouldn't.

2/01/2009 5:33 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Safety has to be in the mix of things a skipper holds to be vital. As XO and then CO, I set the goal that no crewmember would be killed or seriously injured during my tour. I told people that. Frequently.

So when the priorities were 'fix the frammis' or 'get the boats clean' or 'have fun on the beach,' the crew and their chiefs and officers knew that safety was still paramount - no excuses - alongside the other pressures.

Does it work? It did for me.

Is it foolproof? Of course not. But it is necessary. And those who go into command without a strong emphasis on safety always all ways take risks that show up as statistics, investigations, and a crippled crew, or so I observed among contemporaries who were less lucky than me.

The sea stalks the unwary and one can never turns one's back.

2/01/2009 5:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think the hydraulic leakage was normal...was the boat well cared for?"

ahahahahhaa - another ignorant comment Mike. You should have joined the submarine service, got qualified, and then you'll understand how stupid you really sound!

2/01/2009 6:12 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I actually spent a lot of time studying the USS Scorpion accident. As I lot of you know, I served on the USS Lipscomb SNN 685 from 1976 to 1980 as a nuke.

2/01/2009 6:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


You'll write a letter or two (or even three-- you might be really motivated today) to the IG, the CNO, and congress. Guess it's a bummer that you actually have to go to the post office to get some postage, but maybe you can google up some email addresses or some of the nice gentlemen here can send you those email addresses.

When all is said and done and the IG has collected his heads, and the years of congressional hearings on the matter are complete, and Charles Rangle has given his sanctimonious speech, you will be able to stand proud, Mike Mulligan-- because you have effected social change without having left your house (or even changing out of your bathrobe).

So Mike, in anticipation of all the hubbub, I nominate that you be awarded the fuzzy pink slipper for all your hard work. Thank you Mike, and BZ.


2/01/2009 6:52 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Don’t forget my buddy, your commander and chief Obama?

The only relevant debate here is...what would the American public think about this. After all it’s their money you are using. I just think this is contrary to our Constitutional ideals with how we should value human life.

I’ll tell you what, I would not value you as a shipmate brother if after I died in a accident, you didn’t stand up for me.

I do like that movie “V for Vendetta”. Do we all wear masks?

See, I got into a lot of trouble with my comments on this message board when the Nebraska fatality came out...that’s what made me immersed in it.

2/01/2009 7:13 AM

Anonymous anon e. moose said...


Your initial comments on this thread sound exactly like my first CO - he never saw a situation that couldn't be solved with a new CO's Standing Order or Tac-Aid.

Each time a sailor (O or E) made a mistake, be it on a tagout, or log entry, or executing a procedure (i.e. loading potable, pumping sans) our CO would respond by ordering the responsible Div-O to draft a standing order to address the situation.
Additionally, whenever he thought that a watchstander didn't perform his duties well - didn't know his part of the liturgy - he would require the responsible Div-O to create some sort of crib sheet or tac-aid to rectify the problem.

So what did we get? A COSO binder that was 5 inches thick, couldn't be fully comprehended by anyone, and O's and E's who used tac-aids and checklists as crutches. End result - a less safe and effective crew.

You see, Mike, when you have a sign that says 'Do not X without Y's permission' you remove personal responsibility and critical thinking, both which I need in a sailor.

Actually I heard that often with "personal responcibility"[sic], it is the conservative ideology’s declaration that it’s always the individual’s fault.

This, Mike, is a cop out statement. We go to sea with sailors, not wards. If he was untrained, that's one thing. But wearing this uniform, and these dolphins means you take personal responsibility for your actions, and the actions of those you are responsible for.

We have a term for people such as yourself, Mike: Sea Lawyer

It's always someone else's fault you didn't get you're 3rd wakeup. Someone else's fault you did read the watchbill. Someone else's fault you were not wearing your PPE.

2/01/2009 8:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


We don't support and defend Constitutional "ideals" (which I'm sure you'll define for us); we support and defend the Constitution as written.

2/01/2009 8:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Hell, this is getting serious!

Hey M. Mulligan, you may wanna shut the hell up for a while. You're definitely losing the battle here Pard.


2/01/2009 8:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you need to take a mulligan, Mike.

And by that, I mean a massive, smelly dump.

2/01/2009 10:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of comments.

For ex-ssn-eng. A simple removable orange plastic net is exactly that, removable. Would serve no more purpose than that.

For Mulligan, I would think if you were in the Engineering spaces you would remember, there are times that you need to access these areas. A prohibition sign to not enter is equally as worthless.

Does that mean do nothing. Of course not. As a CO commented you need to be constantly stumping safety and DUIs and recreational safety, and ... It gets old quickly and is one of the more timing aspects of Command, but you just can't let it ever rest. You are constantly getting new sailors and current sailors memories are short. You need to foster thinking sailors, not machines that just follow prohibition signs.

Just because I can't let it go and Mulligan bashed on the conservative side, the liberal side proclaims to be the great protectors of freedom, but in reality set up policies that take away freedom of choice. Don't worry about you health care choice, the govt will take care of all decisions for you. Don't worry about saving money for retirement, the govt will take care of you. Don't worry about getting into a home loan that you can't possibly pay if the interest rate on your ARM goes up, the govt will go spend 1.5 trillion for your dumb decision. I like President Obama idealism, I just hope the reality of the Democratic party (notice how I didn't blame it all on one person as the Dems have been doing for the last couple of years) policies don't result in the govt making all the decisions for the person.

2/01/2009 10:08 AM

Anonymous I <3 Mike said...

To my dear troll Mike,

Do me a favor, run a stop sign and get into a car "accident" so I can write a letter to the D.O.T. complaining how the stop sign is not large and red enough.

I'm sure my letter will move mountains with the "American public" also.

2/01/2009 10:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any time you have heavy industrial machinery you have a high risk of fatalities. These machines are designed to produce forces far beyond the human body's ability to survive. It is amazing how quickly and easily these things can crush any body part unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place. It really IS the individual's responsibility to avoid being injured, since it's HIS ass on the line.

There are a lot of factors in this accident: Was there an expectation that the watchstander should place himself in a potentially dangerous place to clean an oil spill? Was PO Gentile properly trained and aware of the danger the ram presented? Should we consider changing the wording on the warning sign? But the fact is, this poor guy made a dumb mistake. I'm not saying he was a dumb guy or a bad sailor -- the fact that he actually gave a crap about cleaning means he was probably a good guy. But this machinery is just plain unforgiving, and sometimes a simple brain-fart is fatal.

I don't think we need any more safety rules. If everyone followed all the rules all the time, accidents would be virtually zero. But everyone (myself included -- I've had some near-misses that left me a little pale) has conflicting motivations that sometimes lead us to do things that are JUST a little outside the rules. The one thing that can come of this tragedy is for us all to stop for a minute and think, "There but for the grace of God go I."

My thoughts go out to the family and crew. I hope that they will remember him in his best moments.


2/01/2009 10:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Is the fuzzy pink slipper higher than the Yellow Sticky of Appreciation?


2/01/2009 10:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway, speaking of Bangor Tridents - any truth the rumor of a COB (Louisiana...color unknown) being relieved due to molestation?

2/01/2009 10:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes...Louisiana blue I do believe. I know name and rate. He is in the hospital now for attempted suicide. If the police were three minutes later he would be a dead ex Louisiana COB. The local newspaper hasn't said one word about it. It is pretty hush hush.

2/01/2009 11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could try to make the rudder ram area impenetrable. and then when the O-rings down there wear out and you get a hydraulic rupture from hell the investigation report will make some comment about how the safety obstruction prevented taking action to save the ship or something like that.

Point is, you can't make everything 100% safe because you have to be able to get into every space to fight casualties if and when they happen.

Mike, write the IG all you want. But please, before you do, learn to speak English. It hurts my head to read what you write.

2/01/2009 12:04 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

What an amazing difference, I imagine, between the perspective between of a hypothetical MM3 a-ganger and a CO of a Sub.

The MM3 has been disconnecting from his home environment in the last few years...maybe staying close to his family...but he is not home anymore. He’s probably has limited education going into the navy...what does he got but a 6months of a limited technical school to be a A-ganger. Maybe a few short weekly schools they send him away for in his off duty and other times. Most of his education is on the job experience. For the most cases, I bet you the MM3 cleaves to the friendships of his division and the ship in general. We forget how extraordinarily isolating the sub service can be for the lower ranks. All this MM3 knows is the world of one submarine.

How about a Commanding officer of a submarine. He’s probably gone to the Navy academy...that in itself creates life long interconnectiveness of belonging to a premier group of individuals. He got a advance degree of something plus a Navy graduate school. In his view he sees the world through the events of many submarines. How many subs has he been on in a lower rank. He must see through the view of the whole Navy and many other foreign foes services.

You see what I am getting at, this guy has had the best education that money can have immersed him in the big picture of many made sure he was immersed in a interconnected life with officers of all ranks and vessels. You would want it no other way with the level of responsibility he holds.

Now how about a Commander or the admiral’s perspective that they operate on. Their view is through a encyclopedia of events broadly seen throughout their privilege lives....they sit on top of the mountain seeing completely the valley below them. You can basically go through this with a LPO, chief, engineer and other officer.

An MM3 is in the valley fog...he can barely see below when he needs to see to place his foot.

So, think about the amazing view of the CO, then think about the isolated life of a MM3 a-ganger. The Navy ought to be ashamed of blaming this on him.

2/01/2009 12:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is a terrible tragedy that MM3 (SS) Gentile died in so terrible an accident. I feel for his family and his shipmates. Let's focus on that rather than continuing this flame fest...


2/01/2009 12:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry - I can't let Mulligan's latest go unasnwered, but will try not to flame too much.

Mike, that was the most ridiculous piece of crap I've ever read. Don't make any more out of this than it is. The sign said be careful. He wasn't. He's not being blamed because of his family life, his education, his division, his lack of a USNA degree, or being in the fog of the valley. By all accounts he was a good guy and a good sailor, and he will be missed.

Of course the Navy will look at improving anything it can to try to prevent this from happening again. But if the answer is "the warnings were adequate" then the majority of the blame must fall on the sailor. Not that some didn't fall elsewhere - you may have glossed over the final recommendations - it's clear there was corrective action applied to the leadership on NEBRASKA. But the principal cause of this tragedy was the sailor not taking the appropriate precautions for what he was doing.

2/01/2009 12:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are only showing your true ignorance by continuing to keep adding posts.

If in fact you were a submariner, which I have deep doubts about, you would understand that there is no way to keep peoeple from getting hurt. Most of the time, nothing happens, but that poor sailor was that one guy who got hurt. Don't you think his family and his poor soul have suffered enough and yet you keep opening your hole spouting out garbage?

Just stop.

2/01/2009 1:08 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I’d like to get this in front of a group my this an adequate warning to prevent a fatality to a 21 year old.

I’d own the submarine and the weapons on it.

“Warning possible injury may occur beyond this point when the rudder ram is operated. USE EXTREME CAUTION”

“The disregard of the visual posting warning was the direct cause of this accident.

Those words in the warning don’t add up to a adequate warning and prohibition for a 21 year old...let alone somebody on the boat for a can’t hold somebody accountable to their own death with a warning like that. You shouldn’t be allow to defame a young death like that.

It is just plain wrong, and this intimidation of death blaming after the are creating a chilled atmosphere with the bottom ranks of the ship.

That I have the power to dictate death blaming, even as it goes against standard word usage...does somebody in the navy have that kind of power to override truth and justice?

2/01/2009 1:31 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Department of the Navy
Core Values Charter

As in our past, we are dedicated to the Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment to build the foundation of trust and leadership upon which our strength is based and victory is achieved. These principles on which the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps were founded continue to guide us today. Every member of the Naval Service – active, reserve, and civilian, must understand and live by our Core Values. For more than two hundred years, members of the Naval Service have stood ready to protect our nation and our freedom. We are ready today to carry out any mission, deter conflict around the globe, and if called upon to fight, be victorious. We will be faithful to our Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment as our abiding duty and privilege.


I am accountable for my professional and personal behavior. I will be mindful of the privilege I have to serve my fellow Americans. I will:

Abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking full responsibility for my actions and keeping my word.

Conduct myself in the highest ethical manner in relationships with seniors, peers and subordinates.

Be honest and truthful in my dealings within and outside the Department ofthe Navy.

Make honest recommendations to my seniors and peers and seek honest recommendations from junior personnel.

Encourage new ideas and deliver bad news forthrightly.

Fulfill my legal and ethical responsibilities in my public and personal life.


Courage is the value that gives me the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity. I will:

Have the courage to meet the demands of my profession.

Make decisions and act in the best interest of the Department of the Navy and the nation, without regard to personal consequences.

Overcome all challenges while adhering to the highest standards of personal conduct and decency.

Be loyal to my nation by ensuring the resources entrusted to me are used in an honest, careful and efficient way.


The day-to-day duty of every man and woman in the Department of the Navy is to join together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves. I will:

Foster respect up and down the chain of command.

Care for the personal and spiritual well-being of my people.

Show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion or gender.

Always strive for positive change and personal improvement.

Exhibit the highest degree of moral character, professional excellence, quality, and competence in all that I do.

2/01/2009 2:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


No one calls it the "Navy academy". It's clear your only navAL experience comes from reading old Clancy novels. HIS vast experience comes from a career selling insurance; what's your excuse?

2/01/2009 3:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, is that how you command your little bath tub fleet of rubber duckies? The SS Soap on a Roap?

2/01/2009 3:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good God, what an awful existence it must have been for nukes unfortunate enough to have to compensate for Mulligan in their division - if he were really there!!! Oh the misery.

2/01/2009 4:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Mike,

Thanks for the Navy core values cut and paste. It took you a minute or two to do it, some of us live it.

What's your next endeavor, go to an Army blog and complain there isn't a warning sign on an M-16 saying you could kill someone with it?

2/01/2009 4:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem like a very intelligent individual who has chose to argue for the sake of arguing. what the heck? Based on your argument we should park the entire Navy....for safety. Sorry but we were meant to be at sea and this IS an industrial environment you can NOT protect everyone from everything.
p.s. Use your intelligence to fix something......all your doing is pissing people off with your nonsense

2/01/2009 6:16 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

You should have more maturity and self control than being pissed off at me.

2/01/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I can’t take down the whole US military at the same time(humor)...I got to leave something standing.

As far as the M 16, I’d be leading a Army wide rebellion against this rifle and their brass that tolerated this. My beef is the rifle is just not lethal enough. I be leading a army wide rebellion against the M16. The M-16 is ridiculously obsolete and prone failure...

The mark 48 is not far behind the M 16?

2/01/2009 6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

COB: "This engineroom looks like sh!t! Look at all this oil back here!"

MM#: "COB, we can't get back there right now. Chief says to wait till we get back to port to get that puddle, until then we'll clean as much as we can."

COB: "BU##SH@T! Stop being such a F*cking P*$$y! Fine. I'll get ETSN(SU) Schmuckatelli to clean that. He's a hotrunner, y'know!"

MMC: "COB, you know that's a violation of the SORM."

COB: "What, like you've never changed a light bulb without a tag-out? C'mon, we've got ORSE/TRE next week. Grow a pair; you're submariners godd*mnit!"

MM#: "Don't send a nub in there, COB; I'll do it. I'll do it."

Bless you, Mr. Gentile.

2/01/2009 7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, what the fuck are you doing??

You've actively managed to piss off more than half the people who read and post here. From what I can tell, we're talking about sailors who started out on Diesel boats all the way to submariners who presently serve on today's boomers and fast attacks. We have damn near 3 generations of guys telling you you're completely full of shit. Are you oblivious to the fact that people are catching you on your every half-cocked thought?
I begin to think you're just out to provoke anyone into an argument. Is that the deal?
What boat did you serve on? What Subron? Which coast? What years?
I'm an outsider looking in, but Mike, are you sure you were a Submariner?


My working knowledge of Submarines is exceedingly limited. But my appreciation of their active presence in this big bad world is overwhelming. That being said, everything I've read thus far from other guys here pertaining to multiple safety checks, general operations on a sub, making sure their crews are cocked and locked along with just seeing to it their subordinates are happy, warm and safe...all makes sense to me. So again Mike, what are you doing?

Kindly explain yourself wouldja' please?

Finally, are you comparing the Mk-48 torpedo to an M-16 rifle?
What the hell for? They are two completely different weapon systems both in design and original purpose and intent.

Can you even tell me what an M16's maximum range is? What's the effective maximum range for both an area target and then a point target? Does an M16 rack and fire a 5.56 round or a .36cal black powder load? My real question is, where are you coming up with all the crap that you post Mike?

You may wanna knock it off, Pard.
It's just not funny anymore.

Thanks, J.

2/01/2009 8:34 PM

Anonymous Anon E. Moose said...

Re Anon 19:46

This is what we should be focusing on, instead of Mulligan's distracting comments.

If the command (Read: CO down to LPO) didn't foster an atmosphere were even a NUB or MM3/SS would say, "Whoa COB, lets talk about with this with the EOOW/OOD/ENG/XO/CO," then we have a problem.

There is a time and place to tell a sailor to stop being a Sea Lawyer and do his job, but reckless disregard for safety cannot be tolerated (I'm not suggesting it happened in this case)

2/01/2009 8:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least forums, you have moderators. This is the second blog topic with a serious tone ruined by this Mike's BS.

I don't see him popping up when Joel talks about his cancer battle or movie reviews.

2/02/2009 5:34 AM

Blogger montigrande said...

I can visualize the situation posed by anon 2/1/09 7:46 pm. I had a similar experience on my last fast boat except it was with painting underway. Luckily for all of us, none of the adverse effects listed by the manufacturer occurred (or did they?). Standing on the requirements of the atmospheric control manual, I would not let my men paint underway. That was it until I was personally counseled by the CO in condensate bay. This is one of the prime reasons that I am retired today. The tragedy is that someone lost his life over a puddle of oil for whatever the reason.

2/02/2009 7:45 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Seeing how you submariners have a new boss.....with his election theme being would you begin to demonstrate transparency?

How about a member of the Navy department in a official capacity...who is knowledgeable...come out of the closet and openly talk to us on this blog.

You still got any Navy submarine commanding officers who have guts and intelligence, who have the courage to speak in a open forum to the people of to USA?

But I’d prefer a commander or admiral or somebody who sees the big picture.

2/02/2009 7:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As COB during field day I constantly walked through the entire boat. Not just to make sure guys were doing more than polishing a bulkhead, but that they were doing everything safely. Part of that included making sure that the Chiefs supervised field day in their spaces, not from the goat locker.

There are plenty of ways for someone to get injured, maimed or killed on board ship. No signage is going to be 100% effective 100% of the time. The most effective safety program is one that insists on good supervision and a command climate that requires everyone to follow the established safety protocols. Commands that follow safety protocols less than 100% of the time are asking for problems.

As for the trolligan, it's easy to say ignore him, but it's like watching a train wreck - too horrible to look away. Thanks to all those who take him to task for his infantile blather. I seriously doubt that he ever actually served - too many holes in his stories.

Former SSN COB

2/02/2009 8:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the last post about painting, the atmosphere control manual has not been updated but there are several NAVSEA letters that exist that allow latex painting underway.

2/02/2009 8:34 AM

Anonymous Guinness said...


Please, please, make it stop.

I really enjoy your blog, and sharing the insightful comments of the other members of the community. However, this Mulligan guy, and his obvious troll tactics, ruin any discussion that he latches on to. He's evidently getting some perverse pleasure from the flaming responses he receives. The result is that the discussion is no longer about the original topic, it is now about Mike's idiocy.

Please ban Mike Mulligan from this and all future posts. He adds nothing to the discussion, and he detracts a great deal.

For the rest of the members, I'd like to suggest that the best course of action would be to stop arguing with him, and just ignore him. Hopefully, he'll just go away.

2/02/2009 9:18 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

This accident sounds to me like a structural design revision could possibly take place. But I bet that lessons have been learned from this accident.

The worst accident I ever heard of was on the USS Detroit when some young guy was doing maintenance inside a boiler and it wasn't tagged out properly. Of course he ended up being parboiled.

2/02/2009 9:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard about the Detroit, but wouldn't doubt it. Skimmers never seemed big on tag-outs.

Engineman friend of mine was on a skimmer and was a big believer in tag-outs. They were putting a new engine in the Captain's gig while it was sitting in the boat davit. He had the davit power secured and taggged out as well as the safety pins that held the frame in place. The BM's were painting the davit and decided the boat was in the way. They overrode all the red tags and placed the boat in the water. The boat sank (partially) as the engine sea water cooling system was not completely installed. CO was pretty pissed.

2/02/2009 9:55 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Right, you have a group of people engineering throwing gasoline on the mike mulligan controversy, they blame me for what occurred and then going crying to bubble head.

I have talked to some people. I have seen horrendous things in this world. I got a really thick skin and everyone knows that. I talk to right to your faces. I don’t care how many of your buddies were watching, and I don’t care how much power you got or what you do to me. I known for that. But they tell me this mike mulligan crisis and open insults to me....they are really trying to scare off the younger people who might add something fresh to the discussion. They are really bulling these young sailors.

Can’t you see these bullies on these ships, you never were and you will never be a true submariner if you don’t do exactly as I say. We can take away your dolphins at our whims...even if a trinket is still pinned on your uniform. We have the power to make you a outcast on the ship...we got a legitimate command structure, and then we got a secret “honor code” structure that is as powerful, and in many ways more powerful than the command structure. You know it is dam close to being dead if a crew makes you an outcast through rumors while at sea.

And the end of the day, the status quo are really trying to scare off a young sailor who just might say something on this blog who might bring widespread changes to the submarine fleet. That’s why everyone is picking on me.
Everyone is terrified I might stir up that young sailor. That is what is going on here.

2/02/2009 10:13 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

iI really tried to ignore trolligan (what an appropriate name for him). This incident is a tragedy of huge proportions, and unfortunately there are those who try to join the big boys club by stirring the pot with an instrument they have little or no knowledge of.

Troll: (I'm talking directly to you, so I'll use small words that you can understand)

I find it laughable that you consider yourself to be "thick skinned." You're the same troll who proclaimed "All of you can go to hell" a few months back when the posters here called you out on your drivel. In this very post, you whine about "folks picking on you."

Look you idiot: This is a tragic accident, plain and simple. There are and have been FOR YEARS protective measures in place to minimize the potential for such an accident. They failed here. The Navy and the Submarine Force sure ain't perfect, but I know from the many years of experience that corrective actions will be put in place to FURTHER minimize the potential. Something else I know with near certainty is that another accident will happen. Such is the nature of this business. It's inherently dangerous, with high pressure fluids, steam, rotating machinery, high voltage electricity and 90-150 human beings in such close proximity to each other. Something else I know is that there is no conspiracy to stifle a young sailor from speaking out. If you honestly believe that is happening here, you are even more dicked up than I originally thought, and I didn't believe that was possible.

Once more, for the sake of those who desire to discuss this accident rationally and thoroughly without Chicken Little running around, GO AWAY. STFU.

2/02/2009 10:49 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Ok. Here I go....

I was one of those ELT's who actually stood a lot of ERS/ERLL in my time, and even I understood that X,000 psi hydraulics, combined with, lets say my arm, were probably not in my best interest.

1. Didn't the accident happen during a field day? Did the A-gangers only have the MM3/SS back there, or were there others who should've seen what was happening (i.e. ERS, EDMC, EWS/EOOW, ERLL/ERUL????) What about the A-div chief or DCA-- where were they? Why didn't someone else warn the MM3/SS?

2. What would possess anyone to try to clean next to a hydraulic ram? That does not make sense. If some stupid EDMC/COB chimed in saying, "The hydraulics are leaking past the seals, so go wipe down the ram with a kim-wipe", they deserve to be shot.

3. MM3/SS A-ganger. Hmmm... Seems like the kid should've definitely known better.

4. Field day. Cleaning the God damned engineroom actually killed someone. Now when the EDMC says "Suffer in silence" a smart-ass ELT (like me) might say, "But it might ACTUALLY kill me!"

I really do feel bad. But this probably needs to be filed in the "hydraulic accidents, accumulator accidents, rotating machinery accidents" book. It's definitely NRTB worthy too!

2/02/2009 11:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the best we can do is recognize Mike's laziness-- after all it is easy write letters and troll a blog. We can also recognize that he really doesn't care about the people he supposedly advocates for. If he did, he would realize that there are much more pressing issues that he could actually do something about-- such as veterans issues (dare I say). Mike is a "professional whistle blower" looking for some cause to raise a stink about so he can be a "hero". He doesn't really care if he helps somebody, he just wants attention (poor soul).

So let's give it to him. Just don't argue his causes. Let him be the issue. What is the psychological makeup of guys like Mike-- Are they pathetic loners? Was he previously in the Navy, but got kicked out so he some sort of chip on his shoulder? Did he truly want to be a nuke in the 70's and Rickover make him cry?

phw above proposed awarding him the fuzzy pink slipper. I second it...

2/02/2009 11:22 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I was just looking at a graph of the Dow Jones Industrial average between the end of Sept 2008 till today. MM3 Gentile accident happened around Sept 21. Towards the end of Sept 2008 the DJIA was at about 11,000. Now it struggling to maintain 8000. All of the Wall Street investment banks have been wiped out and we have effectively nationalized our largest banks. I mean, as the year ended in 2008, we were seeing statistics and data that we hadn’t seen since the 1930’s depression. What an ugly decline we have seen with the DJIA and the harm this represents to the planet as a whole. It has been historic with the amount of trauma that our nation has undergone in the last 6 months.

The trauma got Obama elected and this has caused all branches of government to become democrat led. The conservative republicans are in completely disarray....shockingly they are so frighten with the future, they have elected their first black northern republican chairman. The republican chairmen is more black than Obama. It a brand new world opening up to us.

This is a once every hundred year national traumatic storm. I mean, we are sitting outside the experience of history...we become a different country than we were at the end of September 2008. It will be decades before we see the times of Sept 2008 come back to us. One must remember how insular the Navy and submarines are.

Imagine going out on a 6 months deployment or mission beginning at the end of Sept 2008, then coming back now. The ship must have re-entered a completely different US of A. Imagine the decompression these sailors must overcome. You don’t see that very often in the history of the USA. We are now throwing around trillions of dollars as if was penny candy.

Most of the talk on this board has been pre 2009 talk. That is old world. I just trying to remind everyone of the traumatic tsunami that has swept over our nation. Everyone is thinking differently than we were on Sept 21, 2008. It’s all about accountability, openness and transparency. Everyone on the planet knows the crooks of Wall Street has brought us to this moment.

We are in a new world! We have a opportunity to see the death of MM3Gentile in new eyes.

2/02/2009 11:59 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I spent a life time in a government inner city low income housing project before I joined the Navy. I was fleeing for my life by the time I was 21 years old from the project gangs and actually the gangs in city hall. I hail from the city of Springfield Mass. They gave me a high school charity diploma.

Abut a year before I got of the service I got caught driving in a drunken blackout. I didn’t hurt anyone as the police just pulled me over. I haven’t had any alcohol in almost 30 years.

I served 4 years in New London Connecticut and I was 1.5 hours away from Springfield Mass while stationed on the USS Lipscomb SSN685. I got a honorable discharge.

2/02/2009 12:21 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Come on, think of the millions of us whose lives will never be the same since the end of Sept 2008?

JANUARY 30, 2009, 5:58 P.M. ET
Worst January on Record for Stocks
Stocks wrapped up their worst January on record with a final plunge on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished January down 8.84% on the month. Perviously, the worst January for the Dow had been that of 1916, when it fell 8.64%. Friday, the Dow dropped 148.15 points to 8000.86 after briefly dipping below the 8000 mark. The Dow has fallen five straight months and in 12 of the last 15.
The S&P 500-stock index lost 2.28% Friday to end at 825.88, for cumulative losses in January of 8.57%. Until Friday, its worst January from 1929 onward occurred in 1970, when it lost 7.65%.
Both stock-market indexes are off by more than 40% from their 2007 highs.

2/02/2009 12:35 PM

Anonymous Dave Do-Over said...

I agree with Anon (2/02/2009 11:22 AM)

Let's delve into this Mike Mulligan issue. I'm not a fan of personal attacks, but I imagine if I went through life with a name that meant "Do Over," I'd have some personality issues also!

2/02/2009 4:01 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I like my 1937 children’s book about me better: “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel”.

They all like to play golf with me?

2/02/2009 4:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do stocks have to do with the content of the post?

2/02/2009 5:00 PM

Blogger montigrande said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/02/2009 5:17 PM

Blogger montigrande said...


My original post was grammatically deficient so here it is after revision (REV1, ACN 0)

I am a proponent of first amendment rights and believe that even in the blogasphere these rights apply. And in the interest of all of the “non-mulligans.” I have a request. Please make a separate post with at title like “do steam shovels suck” or “why is Mike such a whiner” or “is Vermont Yankee a Union plant?” so that Mike can voice his voice and those that want to watch the train wreck may do so without having to have it spill over into your other most excellent posts. And BTW I did spend some quality time on Mikes blog before recommending this.

2/02/2009 5:20 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

The stock market is the primary mechanism that fuels our military industry complex...a well run and adequate military. It’s broke now! You guys are so insular by asking that question.

I would say by Sept 2008 collectively we were at a end of the greatest psychological and economic bubble the world has ever known. It affected all of us. I hate that word effect/affect I still can’t get it straight in my mind.

The main reason I brought it up is as a tool for us to recognize the amount of trauma this country has seen...the unprecedented economic dislocation were are feeling right now. I wanted to remind people how much we all have changed. We see with new and different eyes collectively right now than last Sept. I wanted to remind you that we will all have new eyes again in six months, because we are going through such a disruptive period.

I know out in the civilian world, throughout the planet, everyone is having basically a inhumane time dealing with priorities. Right, priorities have got us into this mess.

I tell everyone being forced to make a priority is inhumane! Priorities are the main causal factor in all of our accidents and institutional breakdowns.

It is pushing the planet in a historic shift towards dehumanizing an enormous percentage of the population. It is close to the 1930’s and what has brought us WW II.

I tell you what, I’ll give you a mulligan, do that MM3 Gentile accident report over again.

2/02/2009 5:41 PM

Anonymous short said...

...cocaine is a hell of a drug.

2/02/2009 5:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those mentioning the Louisiana COB, he was ACCUSED of molestation (this is still America, y'know), and attempted suicide when the accusations were made. He is still in the hospital, and therefore has not been arrested and formally charged yet. Thus, it has not hit the papers. It's not some cover-up, and nobody has any real expectation that it won't be on the front page of the Kitsap Sun. Once he's released from the hospital, he'll be arrested and arraigned, and it will be a shitstorm.

Back to topic, hopefully the Gentile family can find some type of closure with this report. My family's prayers are with them.

2/02/2009 6:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are in a word "pathetic" hijacking an important issue with your self serving crap. You are truly dishonoring this kid. You don't give a sh** about him its allllll about you. You slimeball. Get a life.

2/02/2009 6:26 PM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

To the COB patrolling the ER during field day....

Look in the ME and TG pukas for any missing nukes. Probably find a nice bed of kim wipes under there.

If my memory serves me, on an LA, the hydraulic rams for the rudder and stern planes are generally protected. There was one under the deck plates and the one in the overhead had an expanded metal guard around it by the local control station. We always used bilge grabbers to clean up in there. It wasn't that often because the shaft seals on my boat leaked so bad that the oil just got washed away with all the seawater.

Mike Mulligan - my momma always taught me that if I didn't have something nice to say, than don't say anything..... It is really hard but I am going to stick with saying nothing. My momma means more to me than you.

2/02/2009 6:57 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Ok, are you saying there was a cage that protected the entry into the ram area on the LA, while on the Nebraska there was just a warning sign. A cage couldn’t be on the Nebraska protecting the ram?

I am all confused about spaces because the Lipscomb was so different from other boats with their ships design.

What the heck would a COB know about the nuke spaces? He’d get lost and never be able to find his way forward again. They would end up reportjng him missing.

2/02/2009 7:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's not some cover-up, and nobody has any real expectation that it won't be on the front page of the Kitsap Sun. Once he's released from the hospital, he'll be arrested and arraigned, and it will be a shitstorm."

As well it should be. After he receives a fair trial...let him rot!

2/02/2009 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's try to lighten up this a little. I always used to tell everyone that once the oil was out of the pipes, it was gear adrift--and belonged to the COB. Never got any traction.

Hydraulics to the vibration reducer will leak into PLO. One Westpac I loaded Hyd. oil every time we pulled in anywhere. M-Div had more oil than when they left Pearl.

I'm sure the troll will find that totally unsafe, unprofessional and against some Naval reg somewhere. But that's OK! The M-div MMC did buy my beer one night in Pusan.

Be safe out there!

2/02/2009 7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time reader, and Industrial Safety Engineer. I've been looking at accident reports and summaries for years, and to be a little general, I've found that 80% of accidents/injuries can be traced back to either the individual involved or a coworker nearby violating some procedural or safety regulation. The rest can usually be traced back further to a person making a mistake during the pre-planning stages or a poorly developed plan of action.

I am wondering at the full reasoning and issues around this incident, but I would imagine that the full findings will not be released due to security concerns.

To those who speculate, I can only say that you are doing this young man a great dis-service and likely generating conflict without adding anything constructive to the discussions.

I send my condolences to the family he leaves behind, and I hope that they remember him as a man who willingly put the needs of others ahead of his own with his service in the Navy.

Thomas Jameson

2/02/2009 10:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked closely with our Safety department to implement fixes for safety discrepancies -our safety folks cared and were dedicated, but needed me to put ideas into practice.

Areas where automated (or, in this case, remotely operated) machinery are accessible can almost always be guarded or mitigated somehow, even against unintentional contact (dodge a forklift? or a collision?) Production (or operations) prefers signage, but the temptation to override safety to acheive other goals is ALWAYS there. Even the lamest barrier, even a painted one, should be considered a no-cross boundary and, if necessary to cross while the machinery is energized, should require special procedures, paperwork & signatures, buddies, communications; something more than a sign.

I've been in both worlds, and I have seen too many instances of the company or the fleet blame the person at the lowest level possible. OSHA would have some specific comments, solutions and penalties, I do not recall a Naval equivalent.

Surely something can be changed beside the size of the letters on a sign.


2/03/2009 2:34 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Closing comments -- we've had lots of good discussion, but also so unfortunate ones from Mike. Sorry about this.

2/03/2009 5:38 AM


<< Home