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, February 26, 2009

What's Going On

Ninme was kind enough to drop by with her iBook, so I'm able to post some actual content with links. Unfortunately, I developed a touch of post-operation pneumonia, so I'm probably stuck here at the hospital for a while longer. Here's some news of interest that you might want to discuss in the comments:

1) Space Submariner CAPT Stephen Bowen was in Groton yesterday discussing his recent trip into space.

2) Eighteen senior Sailors aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) were disciplined for cheating on the ORSE written exam. Show of hands -- who thinks that providing the exams to the ship ahead of time is just setting people up to fail in a high profile situation?

3) SubRon FOUR is leading the way with "Warrior Wednesday", wherein the Squadron leadership dons the new Navy Working Uniform. Excerpts:
Every Wednesday, Capt. Robert E. Clark II, CSS4 Commodore, the Commanding Officers and Chiefs of the Boats don the grey and blue digital camouflage Navy working uniform (NWU).
"The idea behind Warrior Wednesdays is twofold," said Clark in a recent interview.
"First, it's a great way to show the uniform to the Sailors who will eventually be wearing it. And secondly, it allows us to reflect and honor the sacrifices of our shipmates who are forward deployed, whether they are on or under the sea as well as on the ground."
When Sailors see the uniform, Clark noted, they ask questions: What does it feel like? How does it wear? When do we get to wear it?
"Not a day goes by that I don't get stopped with a 'Sir, is that the new uniform?'" he said. "And to answer the questions, I am very satisfied with this uniform. It's comfortable, wears well and is right for the times. It is a warrior's uniform."
The effects can already be seen from the warriors on the waterfront.
"Besides giving the crew the opportunity to see the new uniform, it also makes us feel like we are more closely related to combat operations," said Cmdr. Dennis Boyer, USS Miami (SSN 755) commanding officer.
Since I'm still kind of drugged up, I won't go off on a rant about this story; I'll leave that up to you in the comments. 

104 Comments:

Anonymous steve CPO usnr ret. said...

Warrior's uniform? I guess it has come to this. Perception carries the day. Utility and tradition quit the field in disgrace.

2/26/2009 2:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like Bob Clark, so he gets lots of b.o.d. from me.

2/26/2009 3:27 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Cheating on an ORSE. There's a shocker!

Like my XO said, "It's not speeding if you don't get caught!"

I'm mostly surprised the story got out. File this one under dumbasses who got caught.

[See my previous comments in the USS Hampton thread to figure out what I think about the rest of NR]

Joel, I'm glad your feeling better, even if it's drug-induced. Keep the 'magic lolipop' stuff to a minimum though!

Best regards to those who lost their NEC today too. You'd think an E-7 would know how to not get caught a little better.

2/26/2009 3:46 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Warrior Wednesday: from the Smothers Brothers ..."if you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy too."

2/26/2009 3:56 PM

 
Blogger T.J. said...

If sailors really ask "is that the new uniform?" then maybe the CNO and MCPON are right and we are too dumb to be trusted to wear a new uniform in public.

On the other hand, if it is such a great and inspirational uniform then why hide it on base?

Take care Joel.

2/26/2009 4:08 PM

 
Blogger Oz said...

Wednesdays? Up here in the PNW COs and COBs are wearing it full-time on the waterfront. What's more, we're still a year out from adopting it.

2/26/2009 4:19 PM

 
Anonymous Veemann said...

I'm not sure exactly how this makes one feel that they are "...more closely related to combat operations." I personally am looking forward to Service Dress Khaki Saturday. It will make me feel more closely related to Chester Nimitz I suppose.

2/26/2009 4:50 PM

 
Anonymous Gunner said...

Cheating on an exam is something I expect out of my E-3s and E-4s, NOT my Chiefs.

2/26/2009 5:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...were disciplined for cheating on the ORSE written exam."

Sounds like the Alaska Blue in Jan 2006. The cheating scandal took down 7 or 8 sailors, E-7 and below. Also some officers involved. The test was accidently put on the LAN by radio and sent out to some enterprising nucs.

As the scandal onion was peeled, it was determined that, gasp, training exams throughout the ship may have been compromised and, another gasp, there may have been intentional failures to make the numbers come out right.

Since the two crews were combining for a overhaul on the east coast, the scandal was slowly put aside.

Can't have our nuclear personnel cheating and not doing everything by the book now, can we? Of course not, what would the public say?

2/26/2009 7:25 PM

 
Blogger Chap said...

"Warrior"?

Well, isn't that consistent.

2/26/2009 10:16 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/26/2009 11:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't quite get the new cammies the sailors have to wear. It just doesn't compute in my head. I mean, when they're in a sub, under the water, will they be hiding from each other? LoL

2/27/2009 2:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When we had seals on board, they used to play rambo. They would pull out some tubes, grab their favorite grease pencil and lay too.

A little cammo might have evened the odds a bit...

2/27/2009 5:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Captain Clark is probably one of the most approachable O's I have met. Lead by example, that is what he does. I have no problem with Warrior Wednesdays or what he is doing. One cool Bird

2/27/2009 5:37 AM

 
Blogger Pistolmom said...

www.freedoms-fight.blogspot.com

2/27/2009 5:50 AM

 
OpenID fastnav said...

I've always said that fatigues are fine if they do it right.

I want sea-foam green fabric with pipes and whatnot running across it.

with faux-wood paneling on the back so I can blend in with middle level pway.

2/27/2009 5:55 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

One is reminded of the Army general who criticized camouflage thusly: "I've never seen a successful use of camouflage..."

This warrior wannabee crap has permeated the Services. I blame the Air Force, stuffed as it is with envious non-pilots flying desks. Air Force has always been in the van of those who think costume makes reality (or is it fashions make the man?).

I wish these new uniforms had been around when my crew was wearing its normal underway uni of trou, tee-shirt (any kind), and shoes of some sort. It's always good to have something for the crew to giggle about...

2/27/2009 6:11 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur with Rubber Ducky. A uniform/costume does not a warrior make. And why only Wednesday? He's also correct about the chair farce leading the pack on this stupidity. Camo on a concrete runway.

Cheating on exams - no surprise. We had a totally useless nuke MM on my boat in the early 90's. He somehow made E8 (note I did not say Senior Chief) and would up as the Bull Nuke on new construction. Got caught falsifying training records. Probably sucked to be him but couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy.
OldCOB

2/27/2009 6:19 AM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

BH, very interesting stuff!

2/27/2009 8:35 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Duckey.... Somthers Brothers, I don't get it? The uniform is being used as a symbol to pay respect to fellow soldiers that are forward. What is wrong with that?

2/27/2009 8:43 AM

 
Blogger Submaster said...

Warrior Wednesday: from the Smothers Brothers ..."if you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy too."

Now that's funny. You have to be a Smothers Brothers fan (I am) to appreciate that joke.

2/27/2009 8:52 AM

 
Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Warrior Wednesday: from the Smothers Brothers ..."if you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy too."

Now that's funny. You have to be a Smothers Brothers fan (I am) to appreciate that joke.


Yep. Best laugh I've heard all week.

2/27/2009 9:00 AM

 
Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I'd like to comment on a comment here:

Gunner said
Cheating on an exam is something I expect out of my E-3s and E-4s, NOT my Chiefs.

No offense to what you said, Gunner, but I think that naval leadership's biggest blunder is making that assumption, and I have often seen it the other way around enough to realize that integrity does not necessarily come with higher rank.

2/27/2009 9:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FASTNAV said

"I want sea-foam green fabric with pipes and whatnot running across it.

with faux-wood paneling on the back so I can blend in with middle level pway."

OMG now that was funny...best laugh I had all week!! Thx

2/27/2009 10:20 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume that the "warrior uniform" will vanish from sea duty sailors after the first guy goes overboard wearing blue and gray cammies... wrong time to blend in, in my opinion.

After that, the cammies will only be worn by shore duty jerks who are insecure about the size of their genitals.

2/27/2009 11:02 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

anonymous said...
"Rubber Duckey.... Somthers Brothers, I don't get it? The uniform is being used as a symbol to pay respect to fellow soldiers that are forward. What is wrong with that?"

Respect my ass. S'posed to be a working uniform. Wear dungarees ... show some respect for real sailors.

Google 'Smothers Brothers The Cowboys Lament' to get updated (at least to the late '60s) on the void in your cultural knowledge.

"Respect..." Indeed. ICFBI.

2/27/2009 11:26 AM

 
Blogger Lou said...

Replying to Steve's comment above:

It seems to me that this kind of cheating, when it occurs, is always going to occur at the senior enlisted / officer level, because those people are the ones that have access to the testing material.

As for those E-3 and E-4s, hopefully those are getting filtered out of the pipeline early so they never make to the fleet (except as a needle gun operator).

I'm not surprised I guess that this occurred. Back in the day, the most common phrase heard during the workup to ORSE was "If you're not cheating, you're not trying."

2/27/2009 11:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we are losing the big picture. There are lots of ways to pay respect to forward deployed troops although dressing like them is silly. We need to be true to our profession of being sailors. Wearing a uniform that looks like a sailor is part of the battle. The CNO is very concerned right now about us losing our core competence of excellence in taking ships to sea. We are mariners and should be proud of our long tradition of looking like sailors. The new uniform is dumb. If anyone has ever taken care of cammies, it takes a concerted effort our you will look like a bag of rags.

2/27/2009 11:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised at some of these comments. I guess I lived a sheltered life. On my boat (P.H. 637 in the mid-80's), there was no cheating on exams. Why the hell would anyone have to cheat? The stupid things were easy, and you only had to get a 2.5 to pass, what ape can't do that? I did catch a student cheating on an exam while I was a prototype instructor, a little attention to detail on my part and I nabbed the dumbass. That was my only visit to the green table, and I didn't like the environment in that room very much (even though I was only a witness.) Byb-bye, dumbass...have a nice life chipping paint.

Maybe this is obvious, but I bet these idiots weren't cheating to get a passing grade; they were cheating to pump up their numbers...which IMHO is just plain dumb. Was it really going to make that much difference in the ORSE grade?

WTF happened to integrity? If people fail the exam, you kick their asses out, or you upgrade their knowledge level and get them where they need to be.

Effing dumbasses. They probably deserve more punishment than they got.

2/27/2009 12:03 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber ducky Why so bitter with Warrior Wednesdays? Are you bitter with the uniform, or the initiative Captain CLark set forth. That is the question? I can get the uniform part, although I would not lose sleep over it. But the initiative part is a good thing. please try to explain. I usually agree with most of your posts. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around what you are saying. THanks

2/27/2009 12:15 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Rubber ducky Why so bitter with Warrior Wednesdays? Are you bitter with the uniform, or the initiative Captain CLark set forth. That is the question? I can get the uniform part, although I would not lose sleep over it. But the initiative part is a good thing. please try to explain. I usually agree with most of your posts. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around what you are saying. THanks"

God I wish the crew of the PORT ROYAL had been wearing these new pajamas before they ran the boat up on the bricks - what a difference that would have made!

The point: there is no reason on god's green earth to wear camouflage unis in a warship. It's wannabee crap and unworthy of the profession.

2/27/2009 12:40 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I'm pretty sure that every RL-Div/M-Div/Eng-dept exam I took we cheated on. Basically everyone. Who's got time to study for shit like that? Who could honestly pass those exams? The M-div exams always had shit like "Name 8 reference books needed to perform heat exchanger cleaning, and give a brief synopsis of each." Eng-dept questions like, "Name all portions of the six-factor formula, and provide derivations of each," or the ever popular "Given this set of conditions, calculate CRH."

Questions like these make any training program ridiculous. Who wouldn't cheat?

I'm pretty sure that I had a 'jump-smile-jump' question that I put on the RL-div exam once. No training on it, but I needed a hard question for the great equalizer. Remember, 3.02 training is effective while 2.95 and 3.05 training is not.

Maybe NR training as a whole needs a good look. If the average nuke engineering dept can't do training '4.0', then what's the point? It's a real slippery slope to 3.02.....

2/27/2009 12:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky, thanks for trying to explain. So, I get it... You think the uniforms are a joke, OK. But, can you at least admit that the initiative is A) proactive and maybe even a must to try to get people on board with something that obviously is not popular both in design and in regulation. It is not like the SUB force can call up Roughead and say, " Yeah, SUBRON4 here, we don't want to play with the new uniforms. Can we stick to the dungerenes and poopy suits" Not going to happen.

2/27/2009 1:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, I hope you are doing better. I would be interested to hear your perspective on this. You were both and officer and apart of SUBRON4. Sometime leaders need to motivate their troops. Can you see the point of what CAPT Clark did with the Warrior Wednesday?

2/27/2009 1:51 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Rubber Ducky, thanks for trying to explain. So, I get it... You think the uniforms are a joke, OK. But, can you at least admit that the initiative is A) proactive and maybe even a must to try to get people on board with something that obviously is not popular both in design and in regulation. It is not like the SUB force can call up Roughead and say, " Yeah, SUBRON4 here, we don't want to play with the new uniforms. Can we stick to the dungerenes and poopy suits" Not going to happen."

...or perhaps the CNO could say "Monday everyone wear the new uniform." Watkins did that when he mandated salt-&-peppers for officers in '82. Sometimes the right thing to do when faced with an order is to obey it.

All this foreplay and silliness about these silly new uniforms adds to the Sigmund Romberg character of this whole fiasco (those of you stumped by the Smothers Brothers reference will really be challenged by this).

I have often thought that the Navy's Uniform Board was peopled exclusively by folks inexperienced at sea and untroubled by competence. This cammo uniform - stupid in itself and made worse through the agonizing rollout - proves my thesis.

2/27/2009 2:08 PM

 
Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Just reading all the comments here since I last posted. Looking back, I wish I had went nuke SS instead of being a surface RM....but unfortunately that darn NFQT stood in the way!

2/27/2009 3:30 PM

 
Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Lou: You're probably right and thanks for commenting on what I had said earlier.

I feel that cheating, regardless of rank, is going to occur eventually.

I sure would be interested to find out what punishment is handed out to those E7's.

2/27/2009 3:31 PM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I'm not bitter about a new uniform. I am bitter that my service feels it is so out of the loop and unimportant that they only way to be competitive is to 'look like' everyone else.

Why just where it on Wednesday? I wore coveralls every day--unless I had to brief someone or give a tour. Wore it to everything. That is the uniform we wear on the front lines of submarining. If it is good enough when we are 12.x miles away, it is good enough for the damn CNO, the SECNAV and the President.

BT BT

Cheating is cheating. Shoot them. The mail ahead exams are the greatest thing since sliced cheese, great deal for the ship, so if the word gets out it is the ship that suffers. It is wholly avoidable.

Joel- I was in Seattle but the cold kept me from walking all the way to the hospital. Get well soon brother.

2/27/2009 4:49 PM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Oh, and I love it when ELTs say things like "just don't get caught." Glad to see it was a 'former ELT 2JV'. You know, for years the radcon guys at NR said ELTs were egg-stealers. I hated that then and now. I hate your attitude even more because it tends to prove them right.

2/27/2009 4:51 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Oh, and I love it when ELTs say things like "just don't get caught." Glad to see it was a 'former ELT 2JV'. You know, for years the radcon guys at NR said ELTs were egg-stealers. I hated that then and now. I hate your attitude even more because it tends to prove them right.

I'm not sure what an 'egg-stealer' is, but I'm sure it's not nice.

I was giving a fair assessment of the situation. Training was out-of-control on my boat. There was no way to possibly manage it the way it should've been managed. I'm more upset at the "Education Psychology" types at NR who instituted the 3.02 thing-- the attitude that a 4.0 on an exam is what started the whole problem. I'll chronologize it for you:

1. Smarter than average, but lack of motivated sailor joins Navy. Sailor's IQ=165
2. Sailor gets motivation necessary to continue with life, but now has about 5 years remaining on enlistment.
3. Sailor understands HTFF, RP, CMR, etc probably better than the instructors. {Think photographic memory}
4. Instructor cannot give Sailor 4.0. Give NPS grade of 3.97.
5. Sailor reports to fleet. Now begin countdown to EAOS.
6. Sailor attends ENG-Dept training on something out-of-rate.
7. Sailor takes Eng-Dept test. Receives 4.0 because of recent-grad-of-NPS/high-IQ/photgraphic-memory/etc. Command (i.e. XO) comes down on Training PO. Says "Test not hard enough, make harder!"
8. Training PO puts ridiculous items on test. Items not covered in Eng-dept training.
9. Senior MM1/EWS or MPA/CRA/EA/RCA fails test. XO/ENG/CO chew into senior leadership failing test. Take LTjg away from family in-port to "upgrade himself".
10. Training PO takes pity on LTjg, doesn't want to take shipmate away from kids/wife. Begins to offer exam "preview" to senior enlisted and officers.
11. Junior enlisted start to fail exams.
12. Training PO takes pity on junior enlisted since they're basically on boat 120/168 hours a week. Training PO offers easy "upgrade exams" to junior enlisted.
13. 'Intermediate' enlisted start to get preview of exam. Training PO doesn't want to cut out his buddies, wants to continue to go out on weekends.
14. Training PO now achieves 3.02 on every exam. 10 percent failures, all junior personnel. No EWS/CRA/MPA/EA/RCA test failures.
15. Training PO gets NAM on way to shore-duty.


I hope this clairifies the situation.

2/27/2009 5:32 PM

 
Blogger Lou said...

Thanks Steve, I appreciate that.

Is the mail ahead exam a new thing? Back in the day, I thought that the boat generated the exam and key and the board graded the the exam and key as part of the training grade.

2/27/2009 5:44 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Joel,

Maybe it's time for a poll-- how many people cheated on at least 1 exam on the boat?

2/27/2009 5:48 PM

 
Blogger Lou said...

I always hated the dungarees the most, because of the whole battery well thing. I see the baby nukes running around town in the new khakis shirt, and frankly, that doesn't bother me a whole bunch, not because I was never a chief, but it is a decent looking uniform and looks so much better than what it replaced.

I know that we used to joke about our "prison uniforms", but they were functional. These new NWOs are just plain stupid. Like a previous commenter, how long will it take for the SafetyGram that will require all sailors topside or on weather decks wearing NWOs to wear an orange vest with reflective tape so they can be spotted in the water...

2/27/2009 6:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky is on the money with his uniform comments.

You'all don't look like sailors anymore. You'all look like a bunch of Smurf's.

Dungaree's were worn by enlisted, CPO's and Officers (authorized for O's and CPO's in the 20's for engineering duty and Submarine service.) they were utilitarian, could take a lot of abuse, be washed many times and still worn, and you looked like a sailor!!

I wore dungarees underway as a CPO on my last Boat (SS-580) as did several other CPO's for the same reason. Brown shoes, Khaki belt and if a hat was needed a Khaki pisscutter or hard hat. It's what I learned from CPO's on my first boat, SS-348, several of whom were WWII boat sailors. They were not concerned about how they looked, they were concerned about how the boat operated and ensuring the competency of the crew!!

I've said this before.... IMO Admiral zumwalt started all this uniform change BS in the early 70's as an effort to make senior PO 1's who couldn't promote to CPO for a variety of reasons, feel like CPO's. (Look it up in ancient NAVY TIMES from the era) On my boat when I was COB It was a major pain in the ass trying to provide hanging locker space for 60 plus "bus driver uniforms" and the enlisted sailors really didn't care. Probably no different today if you ask them off the record.

Re--dungarees and battery wells, it was a "badge of honor" for electicians on diesel boats. Try a Guppy II or Guppy III with four batteries of 526 cells. BTW, as a TM3 I worked in the torpedo battery shop in 1959-60 at Subbase PH on lead acid batteries for Mk 27 Mod 4 and MK 28 Mod 2 and 3 torpedoes. I was issued new dungarees every three months due to acid holes. BFD!

My two cents--as we learned in the 70's, a uniform change is no substitute for correcting the "real issues" that impact on morale and retention. Instead of spending all the time and energy on when, where, and how to wear that "thing" how about doing something about C7F
"intrusive leadership" that is unecessary, just pisses everyone off, and drives junior sailors out of the Navy.

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

2/27/2009 9:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky is on the money with his uniform comments.

You'all don't look like sailors anymore. You'all look like a bunch of Smurf's.

Dungaree's were worn by enlisted, CPO's and Officers (authorized for O's and CPO's in the 20's for engineering duty and Submarine service.) they were utilitarian, could take a lot of abuse, be washed many times and still worn, and you looked like a sailor!!

I wore dungarees underway as a CPO on my last Boat (SS-580) as did several other CPO's for the same reason. Brown shoes, Khaki belt and if a hat was needed a Khaki pisscutter or hard hat. It's what I learned from CPO's on my first boat, SS-348, several of whom were WWII boat sailors. They were not concerned about how they looked, they were concerned about how the boat operated and ensuring the competency of the crew!!

I've said this before.... IMO Admiral zumwalt started all this uniform change BS in the early 70's as an effort to make senior PO 1's who couldn't promote to CPO for a variety of reasons, feel like CPO's. (Look it up in ancient NAVY TIMES from the era) On my boat when I was COB It was a major pain in the ass trying to provide hanging locker space for 60 plus "bus driver uniforms" and the enlisted sailors really didn't care. Probably no different today if you ask them off the record.

Re--dungarees and battery wells, it was a "badge of honor" for electicians on diesel boats. Try a Guppy II or Guppy III with four batteries of 526 cells. BTW, as a TM3 I worked in the torpedo battery shop in 1959-60 at Subbase PH on lead acid batteries for Mk 27 Mod 4 and MK 28 Mod 2 and 3 torpedoes. I was issued new dungarees every three months due to acid holes. BFD!

My two cents--as we learned in the 70's, a uniform change is no substitute for correcting the "real issues" that impact on morale and retention. Instead of spending all the time and energy on when, where, and how to wear that "thing" how about doing something about C7F
"intrusive leadership" that is unecessary, just pisses everyone off, and drives junior sailors out of the Navy.

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

2/27/2009 9:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was the same deal with the A.F.
To some degree we cheated on our 5 Level and 7 level tests regarding PMEs and CDCs. At Barksdale AFB, we found out from our personnel & education division, that all one had to do was memorize the review questions at the end of each volume. 5 level had 4 volumes of material. By 4 volumes I mean, each of the 4 manuals were about 2" thick.

Each volume had 75 (multiple guess) questions to look up in the reading and then find the correct answer. Then memorize them!!
Do that, and you'd score between 85% to 100%. That means you'd have to literally memorize 600 test questions. When you'd go into take the test, you would find that the questions are the exact same as you found in the volumes.
That's how one would pass their PMEs and CDCs in the A.F. I actually memorized the questions and answers for each volume. It took me almost 6 months to memorize 600 questions for 5 level Security Police. I did the same thing 2 years later for 7 level as well.

That's how I learned to attempt to beat the system. We all knew what to do. We all knew that there were only 3 different versions for the 5level and the 7level tests. I found out that this shit worked!! YEA!! But then, as I became a junior NCO, I thought about what might happen if I teach my E3s and E4s how to cheat. Know what I did? I let my first sergeant (an E-8) do it for me. He had to interview and sign off on each stage of an Airman's career progression. He always told me not worry about it. As long as they are standing watch and performing with in our standings, then there won't be a problem.

Fortunately, during my career, there never was any problems too costly. Everyone did their job and came home safe. That was what I was going for. I learned from the old school...I learned to teach my Airmen how to maintain the security of a main gate and immediate perimeter with their eyes, radar and communication. It's called hands on. The old guys taught me to learn by doing, not by taking a bunch of idiot tests on paper. So, what is that? It's called leading by example.

That works when being deployed to some God-awful place that no-one cares about. The draw back is that it doesn't teach an 18 or 19 year old boy that cheating isn't the best way to get ahead in life.

I guess I look at it like playing a $20.00 black jack table in Vegas, Eventually, You will lose.
If you continue to slip & slide, You will Lose. I never saw it that way when I was on active duty. Even when I was 19 years old and hearing about the ways to cheat through our CDCs, I still knew it was wrong. But it seemed to be a solid system that worked. So why fight the system? As Security Police, we learned early on that we would be educated by a physical and hands on method. That's still true today actually.

I just wish I didn't have such a half assed attitude about seeing just how fast I could make it through my PMEs and CDCs...and then passing my bad habits onto the younger guys placed in my charge.

It sounds like alot of the Navy guys here feel the same way.

Thanks, J.

2/27/2009 9:35 PM

 
Anonymous Moondog said...

My .02

Warrior Wednesday...WTF? When I was in, we were warriors every day. What's next Commodore Lumbergh? Aloha Friday a la Office Space?

Cammies on a submarine are ridiculous. Non-stop uniform changes are ridiculous. I'm old school - khaki's and dungarees - improvements on theme were good -keep it simple.

2/27/2009 9:47 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's kinda funny reading Srvd_SSN_CO ripping on a_former_elt_2jv about ELT's integrity. Funny why? Because on usta fish on a Westpac to "nowhere" the CO refused to allow chem adds that would require pump shifts. The LELT protested much to no avail. However, once we were clear of the op area and allowed to make adds, the CO actually ordered the RCA and LELT to fabricate new logs to appear as if chemistry was never out of spec. However, the LELT stated that he would carry out the order, but would then report his actions up the COC as far as necessary to get the desired result. The CO backed off.

The CO went on to get a star (hint, he's listed here: http://www.nmcrs.org/board.html) and the LELT is now an Ops training manager at a commercial nuke.

Bottom line: Don't give me that pious CO crap about attitudes - the attitude fostered by the command is what is gets returned.

2/28/2009 1:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its not the call ahead exams that are the problem. The problem is that the exams are important. Long ago the training quality was measured by drill performance. If you could perform it didn't matter what the training records or exam scores looked like. The exam was a small portion of the overall grade. Now Day to Day ops is the all important metric and drill performance is only a small percentage of the ORSE grade.

2/28/2009 3:36 AM

 
Blogger Lou said...

DBF,

Re--dungarees and battery wells, it was a "badge of honor" for electicians on diesel boats. Try a Guppy II or Guppy III with four batteries of 526 cells. BTW, as a TM3 I worked in the torpedo battery shop in 1959-60 at Subbase PH on lead acid batteries for Mk 27 Mod 4 and MK 28 Mod 2 and 3 torpedoes. I was issued new dungarees every three months due to acid holes. BFD!


It wasn't that big of a deal on the boat. It would have been less of a deal if the chop would have actually issued us the dungarees that we should have been able to get :(

At a training command, it was a BFD. We had to dive the well time to time and acid spotted dungarees at a training command was a big no-no...

2/28/2009 5:57 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Can one assume that the new cammies will be issued as wellers, for offloading lead, for filling the sandblast hopper, for diving tanks, for painting topside. etc.?

Or will the new uni be too dainty for actual work? If so, would fit the premise: what you wear is who you are. And - in this case - the 'who' ain't a sailor.

I liked it a lot better when who you were determined what you wear.

2/28/2009 7:54 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Two things to comment on:

Even when I was 19 years old and hearing about the ways to cheat through our CDCs, I still knew it was wrong. But it seemed to be a solid system that worked. So why fight the system?

In the circumstance described here, not one enlisted Navy nuke would consider that cheating. Not even close to being considered an integrity violation. Nope, that'd be called "Studying".

It's kinda funny reading Srvd_SSN_CO ripping on a_former_elt_2jv about ELT's integrity... once we were clear of the op area and allowed to make adds, the CO actually ordered the RCA and LELT to fabricate new logs to appear as if chemistry was never out of spec. However, the LELT stated that he would carry out the order, but would then report his actions up the COC as far as necessary to get the desired result... The CO went on to get a star (hint, he's listed here: http://www.nmcrs.org/board.html) and the LELT is now an Ops training manager at a commercial nuke...Don't give me that pious CO crap about attitudes - the attitude fostered by the command is what is gets returned.

This guy gets it. If I had a NAM I could give out for TSSBP, I'd give it to him. {Joel would get a TSSBP Bronze star obviously}

I was trying to tell it like it is (or was not that long ago). But since I keep reading about the ALASKA this, the HAMPTON that, SAN FRANCISCO this, and EISENHOWER that, I'm 99% convinced that the status quo is the same now as it was then.

My advice (for those secret NR types reading this now), fire the "Education Psychology" types, and realize that they give out 4.0's at MIT, CalTech, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and USNA, so how is it possible that the sailors that could attend these places (except for the motivation problems) can't get a 4.0? Fix that! There are some pretty smart Navy nukes who deserve it. And the last big key to fixing the training isn't "Call ahead testing", it's set a monthly agenda for everyone, send out Eng-dept exams for everyone by ship-class, send out the answer key, have XO and Eng grade exams, and quit trying to evaluate 23 year-olds effectiveness in training 22 year-olds.

2/28/2009 8:22 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first post on here. The comments about the cheating are really quite interesting, but I think I can infuse some facts on the situation into the comment string. I was one of the Chiefs "disciplined" on the Ike. Here is the way it went down. The exam questions were sent to the ship prior to the NPEB arriving. The Rx Department Training Division prepared the exam and key. However, the Reactor Training Assistant foolishly left the finished result saved onto the LAN without protecting the file. Needless to say, some enterprising nukes found it. One of them was an LDO working in M-div, and the other was an ELT Master Chief. The LDO, printed out the answer key and created a miniature crib sheet with some xerox machine magic. The ELT created a list of "study topics" and e-mailed them out to most of the chiefs in Reactor Department. The "study topics" were obviously the exam questions, but contained no answers. Not all of the nuke CPOs received the e-mail. This was simply because he forgot to add some of them to the list, with the exception of the two that were involved in writing the exam (he left them off for plausible deniability). The exam was administered on a Sunday afternoon/evening with extremely aggressive proctoring as dictated by the Reactor Officer (I personally heard him describe how he wanted it done). There was not a Sailor on board from E-4 to O-4 who did not in some way compromise their integrity during that exam (about 350 nukes on board a carrier). When all was said and done, the lowest exam grade in the department was a former sub electrician, now LDO (different than the aforementioned one), who was very disliked by the Reactor Officer. So, the RO called him to his office so that he could give him some crap about his grade. His response to this was, "Well, I could have done better if I cheated like everyone else in the department". When questioned further, he produced a crib sheet that he said he "found" in the exam room. I think the RO would have just let it go, but his relief was on board and I think he wanted to do the "right thing" since he was being watched (this is purely speculation on my part based on working for this individual for 2+ years). So, the command informed the NPEB that the exam had been compromised and that an internal investigation was underway. I'm not sure about all the details of the investigation, but the exam key & crib sheet was figured out, and the e-mail from the ELT Master Chief to all the CPOs was found out. That is where they stopped looking. The exam key and crib sheet was a pretty open and shut case. The LDO responsible when to CO's mast and will be processed out of the Navy shortly. The other half of it was much more complicated. Everyone who received the e-mail was officially investigated (rights read to them, etc..). Anyone who admitted to using the material to cheat on the exam went to CO's mast. The ELT master chief lost his NEC and was forced retired. The Rx Dept Master Chief was relieved for cause. The M-Div LCPO lost his NEC and was relieved for cause. An EMC lost his NEC and was relieved for cause. Two other M-Div CPOs had their cases thrown out. So, amongst the CPOs that got the e-mail but were not masted, plus the two who had their cases thrown out, we 13 received formal letters of reprimand and were assigned EMI for not coming forward and reporting the e-mail to the chain of command. The EMI consisted of the following: Complete a 5000 word paper on integrity and present it to the CO in a powerpoint format, with 10 sources. We had about 2 months to complete it. So, the first half Christmas leave period happened, and on turnover day, the CO met with all of us again. He had been summoned to NR to see the Admiral, and was told that he needed to justify why he didn't remove the NECs of every CPO who received the e-mail. So, he came back to the ship with an addendum to his EMI. He reopened the investigation (although this time it was not a legal investigation, but instead a purely administrative one). This time, the questions were more probing and didn't center completely on the exam, but asked questions like: During your Naval career, have you ever known what was on a continuous training exam prior to taking it? The next day, 7 more CPOs were informed that their NECs were being removed and sent TAD off the ship. We weren't told what answers we gave to trigger that action. The remaining 6 had to complete the EMI as previously stated. As far as I can gather, anyone who said that they didn't read the e-mail (complete BS, probably) retained their NECs. So, was there cheating amongst senior enlisted and officers? Yes there was. However, amongst the ones "disciplined" per the Navy Times article, most of us were guilty of nothing more than failing to immediately report the wrong doings of a friend, and mentor, who had at least 10 years of seniority on any of us. I'm not sorry to say that I would not do anything differently. I, for one, am incapable of making a moral decision such as that when someone who I respect and admire is involved. Believe it or not, I actually have to think about it before I stab a fellow chief in the back. Would the right thing to do have been telling on him? In a black and white world the answer is certainly, yes. However, I have been in the Navy for nearly 15 years, and did an extensive tour as an instructor in the pipeline, and I can truly say that the world of nuclear power training is not black and white. It is so blurred by "metrics", and "measurable performance", that we easily lose sight of what is actually important, and that is actually training our Sailors to be good watchstanders, with system knowledge that can truly help them anticipate and operate. We focus so much on BS, because it supports our short term and long term goals. We prepare for ORSE, rather than preparing for actual plant operations, and that is where integrity starts to become compromised. And I am here to tell you that on the Ike, it started at the very top and trickled downward.

2/28/2009 11:00 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Wow-- that last one was real eye-opening. Sorry about the "discipline" that some bull-shit CO came back on you for.

From the RO/CO perspective, I'm sure nothing they could've done, once they were summoned to NR, would have been enough. It was only every going to get worse.

As far as cheating on an exam, I suppose they take away my NEC too. I'm obviously culpable.

I'm thinking they could disqualify basically the entire IKE and it wouldn't have been enough people. The out-going RxO should be de-nuked too-- it's no less severe than running his department aground into the sandbar of the unattainable, while trying to pull into the shore-duty-pier at a flank bell & without a tug.

Chief, you should quote the HAMPTON lessons learned report or NRTB in your power point. That's probably the first, best place to start.

I'm sure the Srvd_SSN_CO would say, "See! It all started with an ELT Master Chief! Those GD egg-stealers!"

Good luck on your EMI Chief. When it's time, get a job at San Onofre. It's the best location anywhere in the world for a Reactor!

Best regards to the other RxDept folks who lied, cheated, and now basically stole their NEC. They earned it!

2/28/2009 11:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very insightful post.

2/28/2009 11:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad I flunked out of NUC school ( Sect. 1 all MMs). A-gang my whole career. With all the nuc crap coming forward, PC correctness and the boomer "looking over your shoulder mentality." I couldn't put up with it today. It seems to me that getting the boat to sea, keeping it there, and running a professional no nonsense kick-ass watchsection are not what counts anymore. Any khaki that serves today or E-4 and below that decides on boats as a career deserves a BZ and has my hand salute.

Just venting! Guess I'll go take it out on the weedeater.

The new cammies need some red lead stipes so you can blend in with the bilge and the digital format kimwipes.

panamared

2/28/2009 12:19 PM

 
Blogger Scout706 said...

Aabuot the uniform - I thought the whole idea was to camouflage all the grease stains accumulated from shipboard living.

2/28/2009 1:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chint"(hint, he's listed here: http://www.nmcrs.org/board.html)"

Well it's got to be Engelhardt on the Drum circa 1990. He's the only person with the bio that fits.

2/28/2009 2:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the story @ 11:00 2/28 reminds me of every resolution of honor code violations at annapolis (i'm ocs, not an alum myself)

Those who eventually come forward with the unvarnished truth get kicked out, but those who continue to equivocate during the process manage to by kept on.

2/28/2009 2:14 PM

 
Anonymous KEY said...

Sounds like there's a lot more open CPO billets this year. The only down side is that whole "being on a surface ship" thing.

2/28/2009 3:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a Bingo!

2/28/2009 5:39 PM

 
Blogger soon to be civ said...

I'm the annonymous chief who left the long post earlier about the Ike. Sorry, I didn't have a user name earlier. In response to a_former_elt_2jv, the Rx Officer retired the day after ORSE. That was pre-planned because he couldn't make O-6 (the ship he commanded previously had a collision at sea, and he had failed a few PRTs).

2/28/2009 6:52 PM

 
Blogger Patty Wayne said...

I feel really stupid now knowing that all I had to do was get caught cheating to get out of being a nuke. In my last year (in the shipyard) I told the COB to @#$% himself in front of a bunch of other Chiefs (twice), purposely missed reporting back for evolutions (three times I can remember), and told off an NRRO rep who accused me of sleeping as SRO, then kicked him out of maneuvering. I still made first class 77 days before I got out (1988).

And all I had to do was get caught cheating.

PW

2/28/2009 8:26 PM

 
Blogger Lou said...

When all was said and done, the lowest exam grade in the department was a former sub electrician, now LDO (different than the aforementioned one), who was very disliked by the Reactor Officer.

Big Bill, this you????

2/28/2009 8:32 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Soon To Be Civ:

Are you forgoing the last 5 years without a retirement on principle, or are you counting down the days already?

2/28/2009 9:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell? This sure isn't motivating me to continue with my academy education. With all the BS i have to put up with here, I was looking forward to hitting the fleet amongst professionals and true leaders, but the more I find out about the fleet, the more it discourages me.

3/01/2009 12:40 AM

 
Anonymous MM1/SS (Nuc Type) said...

Warrior Wednesday...and the other 6 days are for what?

___________________________________

Sounds like the Alaska Blue in Jan 2006. The cheating scandal took down 7 or 8 sailors, E-7 and below. Also some officers involved. The test was accidently put on the LAN by radio and sent out to some enterprising nucs.

As the scandal onion was peeled, it was determined that, gasp, training exams throughout the ship may have been compromised and, another gasp, there may have been intentional failures to make the numbers come out right.

Since the two crews were combining for a overhaul on the east coast, the scandal was slowly put aside.

Can't have our nuclear personnel cheating and not doing everything by the book now, can we? Of course not, what would the public say?




I lost a very good friend and Mentor to that B.S. The Chief (note I said Chief, not E-7) who took the fall in that was one of the best Nuc Mechanics I've ever met...he was the type of Chief that guys follow willingly and make life better for those under him.

He didn't deserve the de-nuking and the ensueing fallout. It was a sad day when that happened.

Crap like that is why I cannot wait for my term to finish. Everybody knows it happens.

It's no surprise that the entire training enterprise is a farce. The policy of continueing improvement will ensure that this continues

3/01/2009 1:02 AM

 
Anonymous MM1/SS (Nuc Type) said...

oh yeah, keep on with the + recovery man. I love your blog, even though most of the stories tick me off to some extent.


look forward to your next post.

3/01/2009 1:11 AM

 
Blogger Patty Wayne said...

And congratulations to Captain Bowen for a successful mission.

In the article about CAPT Bowen there is a picture in the wardroom of the USS Texas where the CO is wearing cammies. He stands out more than the khaki uniforms. Must have been a Wednesday in Groton when the picture was taken.

To the anonymous Academy student. Be the kind of officer who will make a difference. Don't be the kind of CO who makes his crew paint during a three week underway, just that it will be freshly dry when you pick up the ORSE team. Be the JO who questions the CO giving that BS order. Be the officer who understands that when your guys have been doing testing for all 24 hours of their duty day that the next 6 hours for training might not be the most effective use of their time.

3/01/2009 1:17 AM

 
Blogger soon to be civ said...

a_former_elt_2jv:

I'm forgoing the final 5 years because I was one of the ones who lost his NEC, and am unable to Force Convert since every other community is above 100% for CPO, so will be discharged due to needs of the Navy. Nuke ETCs just don't reclass very well anyway. The MMs and EMs have a fighting chance. The job market is pretty good though, so it has a silver lining, not to mention actually getting to be around my family for a change.

3/01/2009 1:18 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Soon to be Civ:

Now that's a bummer. Are you considering the Navy reserve or anything to hit the retirement? Maybe National Guard?

Me personally, I'm thinking about a lucrative career in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. (Last part not true, I saw it on Boston Legal).

Keep your options open. And keep us posted on what the fallout is.

Good luck Chief!

3/01/2009 7:32 AM

 
Blogger Lou said...

Warrior Wednesday...and the other 6 days are for what?

Engineering department training! (sorry, couldn't resist)

Hope you're feeling better Joel

3/01/2009 8:14 AM

 
Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Speaking as one now viewing such things from afar, I'm most appalled -- of all the words I've read here -- by the EMI that resulted in a 5,000 word writing assignment on "Integrity."

If you can't define Integrity in 25 words or less in a fashion that you can live by, you can't possibly know what it means. Everything else is obfuscation.

This was certainly not the Navy leadership's most shining moment.

3/01/2009 12:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so very very glad I am retired. Not that an observant individual couldn't see this coming...we all could. I just happened to not make CPO, so I was more than happy to pick up all my marbles and leave at the 20 year mark.

This sort of thing was discussed more than once between my EDMC and I...how can you make training work, given the insane constraints? The answer is, you can't. You make your formal training program (continuing training) meet the wickets and teach your sailors hwta they really need to know on the deckplates.

3/01/2009 1:19 PM

 
Blogger Bigbill said...

About the cheating:
Can't say I've never seen it. I was supposed to get one of the SCPO's that got busted on the Ike to fill my MMCM billet.

In the mid 90's (Joel was there), all of the staff at MTS 626 was herded into a classroom because a CT exam was found on a copier not in Staff Training. The OIC was beating the lecturn say that no one was leaving the room until he found out who was responsible. The site CO was there as well. No one had anything to say until a very short time EM1 raised his hand. He said, "isn't the question we should be asking is why people feel they have to cheat to pass this exam?" The CO quietly said something to the OIC and the discussion was over. We got to go home. After that, the exams became more realistic and actually covered topics from training.

Concerning the uniforms:
I wear coveralls at work so I don't trash my khakis. The new uniform accomplishes the same thing but I have concerns about damage control. If the new uniform is worn underway in a hot engineroom, the sailor will work in his/her t-shirt with the blouse available at the watchstation. A sailor in coveralls can immediately roll down his sleeves if he needs to fight a fire. Can't do that with the blouse unless you are wearing it.

3/01/2009 1:38 PM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Hmm. It seems that cheating is status quo because we make it that way. BS. If you get a 4.0 on a legit test, so be it. Maybe the exam was to easy, but not based on one score. Former_elt_2JV, you had some crappy people to work for. And I will be pious because cheating is just out. If you set the atmosphere where it is the only way to survive then you are to blame.


Speeding is speeding, even if you don't get caught...or do you walk out of stores with stolen goods and convince yourself it isn't stealing cause you didn't get caught?

For the record, LOK on ORSE has always been graded on Oral and Written exams. That has not changed. Although I despise the importance of DtD over things like operating the ship during casualties, it did not make much impact on LOK.

BT BT

Seen a lot of interesting comments here. A number of them reflect really, really bad leadership. Before you decide to quit over that, remember: you will always get a new boss within 3 years, and the civilians have crappy bosses to.

3/01/2009 3:57 PM

 
Blogger Navy Blue Cougar said...

None of the ORSE exams I took seemed exceptionally difficult. I took many ORSE EWS exams. Sometimes, the questions required you to think instead of just regurgitating what you wrote down in your notes at training, but nukes are supposed to be good at thinking.

In any case, if I had failed an exam on ORSE, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. The worse that would have happened would have been an ass-chewing from the CO, and I don't think even that much would happen unless it was obvious that I just didn't give a crap. I didn't particularly care for ass-chewings, but it in the end, you just take what he says to heart and make an honest effort to do better. All in all, that is not such a big deal.

Everyone knows that if you get caught cheating, the potential downside is a lot worse than getting yelled at by the CO. Choosing to cheat is a bad decision. Better to just do your best on the exam and take the lumps if your best is not good enough.

3/01/2009 4:27 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I think I'll agree in principle with Srvd_SSN_CO-- cheating is bad, and it needs to stop (in principle). And I completely agree with him in that, I "... had some crappy people to work for." If the nuclear Navy had given, or would give, the tools needed for success out to their sailors, then maybe it wouldn't have been such a shit-hole to live/work. The upsides of the program are so much less than the downside that it makes the "shortcut" mentality very persistent throughout the entire engineroom, because on a fundamental level if you take the average nuke submariner, he can't help wonder 'what's in it for me?' And if you can't answer that question to their satisfaction, then the crystal clear waters of the CO's career can get pretty murky in a hurry.

These are probably things that you didn't worry about too much when "CO's discretionary time" appeared on the calendar.

I'm thinking maybe as part of PXO/PCO school, and even with the NR LDO's, they need to teach a course in "Human Resource Management". Basically, how to treat people fairly while still maintaining the respect needed for command. There seems to be too many SSN_CO's out there (not the Srvd one's necessarily) who choose to Ride the horse hard, and put it away wet.

I also think we need FTN (a.k.a. free the nukes, or the EM-log) back. His insights on management were pretty much spot on, from an engineering perspective.

If you cheat the people, the following things will suffer, in this order:

1. Logs will systematically get blasted.
2. Training will suffer, and cheating will become pervasive.
3. PMS routinely won't get done correctly, if at all.

Once anyone of these things gets caught, even if self-reported by a CO, XO, or RxO, it's not good news for the officers. It'll never be NR's fault. And it won't be squadron's either.

The upside of the enlisted nuclear Navy:

1. Good sea stories to tell about, "this one time, on the submarine..."
2. The junior enlisted people I served with.
3. Relating to other submariners and nukes regardless of when they serve.
4. Learned to cram for a test effectively (really helped with physical and organic chemistry).
5. GI Bill did pay a salary during college.

Things that were total lies from what they told me in NPS:

1. I got shit for credits for college. No real school takes very much of anything and applies it towards anything. Without the calculus, nuke school training was basically worthless. All that OPWACHEM, ELT, NPS did for me in college was 30 un-designated elective credits, which doesn't mean anything towards a BS in engineering or a physical science. And I'm talking your average WAC school.
2. Can't really walk into a civilian plant (anymore I'm told). They don't like the rigidity of the nukes mentality, and they can hire anyone and take them through Aux Operator school just the same. Turns out nukes are more interested in "saving the plant" than "making money", which is contrary to the macroeconomics of running a public utility.

Sorry for the rant, but I miss FTN and Joel. Too bad there's not a good discussion from them!

P.s. I'm not bitter or anything....lol

3/01/2009 5:17 PM

 
Blogger Oz said...

Srvd_ssn_co:

I applaud your attitude toward exams but every official instruction on the subject says that (paraphrasing) if an exam average is 95% it is much more likely to be indicative of a weak test than a department with 95% of the knowledge. I understand this idea; I even agree with it in principle. Codifying it, however, has a chilling effect on the training program. It has become an effective ban on 4.0.

3/01/2009 6:49 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Oz and Srvd_SSN_CO: See Item number 7 of my comment from 2/27 @ 5:32pm.

The "Test to easy, make harder!" was previously accounted for in my theory of cheating on exams...

Maybe my tag-line should be:

If the average nuke engineering dept can't do training '4.0', then what's the point? It's a real slippery slope to 3.02.....

On a side note:

It's funny how ORSE and uniforms can bring together some pretty good discussions.

3/01/2009 7:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few comments...

1. People who cheat on exams are idiots. There is no justification for cheating on an exam. If the exam is ridiculously hard, the easiest way to get it fixed is to have everyone fail it. Integrity is important.

2. I think we all know that the CO can break whatever rules he wants with regard to plant operation...he just has to justify himself to those above him when the time comes. The CO was acting within his authority right up until the time where he asked someone to falsify logs.

3. I would think that a former CO would know the difference between the words "too" and "to".

4. Generally, I believe people who use the term "spot on" are completely gay.

3/01/2009 8:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh one other thing...something about that "stab a fellow chief in the back" comment just burns my ass....that is EXACTLY what you are supposed to do as a US Navy CPO. You are supposed to be an example, to lead, to set the standard...ten minutes after the whole email thing started, there should have been 18 CPOs standing in someone's office raising hell...and then they would all still be employed as nukes instead of trying to find a place to go. Chiefs sticking together is one thing, Chiefs cheating together is another.

Even if the 18 chiefs didn't turn anyone in (maybe unrealistic?), the least they should have done is kicked someone's ass for being a dope and risking so much for so little.

3/01/2009 8:39 PM

 
Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

It goes without saying that cheating is unacceptable. But attempting to make that the core issue here obviously misses the real one.

Two thoughts, a question, and a final comment:

(1) At it's core, this was an instance of a systemic integrity problem...not just a horse/gouge/cribsheet/"cheating" problem.

(2) Being as the Navy is a hierarchial organization -- like it or not -- the problem unquestionably lies at the top. It always does when it comes to front-page ethics failures...even in the civilian/business/government world.

(3) How has Naval Reactors, and the operational submarine Navy, specifically defined "integrity?" If they haven't, I would offer that this would be a substantial part of the problem, if not in fact the core issue. I would also suggest that this definition likely isn't contained anywhere in any of the 5,000-word assigned papers.

(4) I remember to this day -- 27 years later -- some of the idiotic "oolie" questions that were on my Engineer exam in Crystal City. I knew the answers and did quite well, but only because I'd memorized the outright stupid stuff as well as the important stuff at Engineer School. From all the comments here, it's obvious that the 4.0-busting pea brain questions live on, to -- quite clearly here -- no one's benefit, and to a good number of people's detriment. If #3 above ever gets honorably and honestly dealt with at the highest levels, I think this #4 issue will go away entirely.

God bless and "thank you" to all active-duty types for putting up with this kind of nonsense while keeping our nation safe.

3/01/2009 9:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think ORSE exams were tough, try an NRC exam to become a licensed operator. ZERO comparison.

3/01/2009 10:22 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

The upside to the NRC exam is $140K+ a year (I'm sure the SRO exam might even rate a $250K salary at the right plant). What is it for the nukes? $180 a month in pro-pay....

The money brings the motivation for those tests....

3/02/2009 6:19 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-03-02/

It just seemed appropriate for the conversation at hand

3/02/2009 8:06 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the uniform:
It will be worn at all appropriate times except where the uniform for the job will be worn. (This means the poopy suit for underway on a boat.)
The funniest thing is that they say the new uniform will be more useful as it has more pockets, but anybody that has been in the Navy for a day knows that bulky pockets won't go well, even if that is what we have them for.

As for the cheating:
Nukisms are horrible and they are spilling into the very fabric of what it means to be a submariner. I once saw my Chief argue with the CO because he wanted us to Point-Read-Operate in SONAR. It ended when my Chief said to him "The is no way in HELL my guys are going to Point-Read-Operate a trackball!"

NR training requirements have gotten to be ridicules, and it is one of the primary reasons that enlisted nuclear personnel are getting so undermanned. I have had more than one Nuke friend say that it plain out isn't worth the $90,000.00 even if it is tax free to stay in. Most of the people that stay are those who are unemployable (at equivalent pay) as civilians. In my opinion, if NR wants to not have people cheat, they need to take a common sense approach to the problem, as someone in here had said in a story "The question should be, why do they feel they have to cheat?" Especially since for this particular instance it is very high up the food chain.

About Integrity:
Integrity in the Navy has become a serious issue. Instead of using common sense, I see many "leaders" using the policy "do as I say, not as I do" based on the fact that they are senior and they cannot be questioned by those below them and no one above them wants to interfere.

If you show me good leadership, I will follow you, regardless of my feelings. If you do not give me good leadership, then screw you, I'm gonna go have an ice cream.

3/02/2009 12:57 PM

 
Blogger Lou said...

I also think we need FTN (a.k.a. free the nukes, or the EM-log) back. His insights on management were pretty much spot on, from an engineering perspective.

Someone must of heard you FELT2JV, the EM-Log just popped back up in my RSS reader.

3/02/2009 6:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, change. Ain't it great? We went through a change from dungarees to the Utility Uniform in the mid-70's if I'm not mistaken. A medium blue pullover blouse and black trousers. Made of a nylon or polyester material. Then one of the carriers had the major engineering space fire and the dead operators were found with these blouses melted over their heads as they tried to remove them at the bottom of the melted aluminum engineering space ladders. The Utility Uniforms disappeared soon after in favor of dungarees. Ahh, change. I also remember the change-over from thirteen buttons and white hat to the coat and tie (in CGN9 we changed over one item per month. We manned the rail comming into Seattle with crackerjacks and combination caps - everyone on the pier thought that the Russians were invading). Once again we went back to something similar to the original crackerjack (albeit the material being much like the old illegal far-east bought items). Dare I repeat? Ahh, change. I believe that whomever is responsible for these changes, changes that affect so many people for so little reason whatever it may be, are the typical "work it may, shine it must"individuals which politically move up past the real leaders. Here we go again.

I'm an old retired nuke. Thirteen years in CGN9 over three tours. I'm currently a manager at a site for the world's largest chemical company. Integrity is not the long suit of today in civilian industry. I saw it slowly disappearing in the Navy when ADM Rickover (bless his black heart) left the scene. I see the Navy going down the same "management" road toward what is trendy in the civilian world - a road that does not include integrity but where the ends justify the means. I am not suprised at what has occurred on these ships - someone's ends justified the means. Command of vessels has always been a rightly tough weeding-out process but who is doing the weeding? People with a "trendy" outlook reading the latest business journals for new management philosophies? Remember that in the civilian industrial world, the word management is thought of as leadership. And, I am sure, these philosophies are impressed upon juniors looking for command or promotion.
The issues of uniforms and integrity are related. Once again, Ahh, change.

3/02/2009 7:02 PM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

fmr_ELT_2JV--I agree with your entire post from 3/1/9 5:17--excellent points. I won't say my boat was perfect, far from it. But I can guarantee the crew didn't feel 'rode hard and put away wet.'

Take care of the crew, and they will take care of the ship.

BT BT

One downside to NRC licensing: you are still in nuclear power. HAHAHA! I love it when people hate nuclear power then get out to do it some more!!

3/03/2009 4:51 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"I believe that whomever is responsible for these changes, changes that affect so many people for so little reason whatever it may be, are the typical "work it may, shine it must"individuals which politically move up past the real leaders."

To the contrary: though the Navy Uniform Board (http://buperscd.technology.navy.mil/bup_updt/508/unireg/chapter1/Chapter_1.htm) is formally composed of senior leaders who in most cases got there by merit, at the working level it is pure bureaucracy and producing bureaucratic busywork is what it naturally does. One would not need permanent jobs for these staff cats if uniforms were not subject to continual change. Ergo, protect the jobs by screwing around with uniforms.

The fix is to totally and forever eliminate the permanent Uniform Board staff and the Impact and Requirements Panel. It would also help greatly were the convenings of the Uniform Board changed from semi-annually to 'every five years and as directed by the CNO.'

If a name is needed for the program changes I suggest, how about "Give The Fleet A Break."

3/03/2009 5:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes we get out, but not because we hated "nuclear power" - just the asinine BS we had to put up with as enlisted scum. And BTW, collecting ~$200k/year makes the job much more tolerable

3/03/2009 12:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, Rubber Ducky, with all due respect.This is a good thing for the perception of the fleet. Warrior Wednesdays is win/win for the navy. I have no problem with leadership and the way they are introducing this. Sincerely, Adm Roughead

3/03/2009 12:15 PM

 
Anonymous Crushdepth said...

Most of us who got out did not, in fact, hate nuclear power, or the Navy. The mickey mouse and 19th century caste structure forced on a 21st century force, on the other hand, was not a plus.

former enlisted nukes who leave the Navy can do very well indeed, either in or out of the civ nuclear industry. My firm has several former nuc enlisted on staff. Several of our customers have more. Average salary is 110k+ and we are not in nuclear power.

The deal is this: the typical enlisted nuc is an unmotivated, high IQ kid, certainly as smart as the average officer in the military as a whole (if perhaps not quite on level with nuc officers on average). We then send him through a training pipeline which, in most cases, gives this kid confidence, motivation, and the realization that other education and jobs are easy, in comparison.

Then, we subject that kid (now, not such a kid) to a bunch of mickey mouse and are surprised when they leave. We console ourselves with stuff like "they had a bad attitude" or "they hate the Navy" or "they hate nuclear power". I was one of those kids, and the Nuc program was the best thing that ever came my way. Thanks, Navy! That being said, I had enough of being treated like a second class citizen.

3/03/2009 12:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If thats really the CNO commenting on the "ducks" right on the money comments re: uniform board the Navs in serious trouble.

Unbelievable the amount of $$$$$ and valuable time that will be spent on shaking down the new Navy smurf suits......

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

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

3/03/2009 12:54 PM

 
Anonymous Ross Kline said...

I didn't mind nuclear power. I didn't mind operating the plant. I actually enjoyed drills - the idea of making the plant do what I needed it to do was fun.

I didn't like the mickey mouse. I didn't like field days. I couldn't stand the training system. I was fed up with working for (and covering the butts of) people who didn't care, except that the right "i" got dotted and the right "t" got crossed. I got very tired of being away from home.

I am in civilian nuclear power. I am an AO, and want to stay one. I don't have to field day. I get to go home at the end of my shift, regardless of what may or may not be happening at work. I can make over 100K if I want to, but I usually settle for about 80K.

Life is good.

3/03/2009 2:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Words from my 2nd CO on the 1MC as the ORSE embarked: "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'". What he didn't realize at the time, some entrepanurial nukes compromised the Engineers LAN login. For the entire patrol, several people had been reading the approved drills and weekly written exams 24 hours in advance.

If NR wants to maintain absolute integrity in their training program (integrity in both the program and its people) then training needs to be entirely external to the commands. Having the boats hold the exam keys to their training success compromises the integrity of the program from the very beginning. Yes, there are obstacles that would need to be overcome, beyond the scope of this blog. Regardless, from the boats perspective, no training program would be honest and aboveboard until then.

As far as the comments about the desire for Navy Nukes in the commercial power world... Yes, there is strong demand still. Commercial Power and Navy Nuclear are both small worlds and there are more connections than many realize. Some utilities have unwritten requirements that they recruit heavily for. They won't ever publically say it, but if you're getting out from a prototype then you're good to go. It's up to you to convince them not to hire you. To make it even more blunt: I'm talking to all of you 8 year EOOW's.

3/03/2009 5:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And EWS qualifieds - were hiring them by the boatloads - no pun intended.

3/03/2009 10:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you guys and your magical salaries. So which is it, $140K, "~200K", $250K or the much more realistic $80K? Oh, and if you make $140K and have to work a 3000 hour work-year to get it, your base salary is really $80K or so, assuming the overtime was paid at your hourly rate x 1.5.

3/04/2009 7:46 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ain't magical. ~130K is the base for an SRO. With retention bonuses now being paid becasue of looming retirements and new construction and AT LEAST one outage per year, it's EASILY closer to $200k. If you're an OT hound - $250K. A newly qualified AUO working ZERO OT will make ~85k per year. It's not uncommon for OT hound AUOs to make well over $150K.

3/04/2009 8:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2 guys I know who are licensed SRO's both make <$90K base, and their licensing bonus (and OT) is what puts them in the $120K range. You say a brand-new AO makes about $85 with no OT, but an experienced AO just posted on here that "I usually settle for about $80K", which (to me) means he does some overtime to reach that level. If what you say is true, I guess that dude needs to go get a raise.

3/04/2009 10:12 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depends on where you work. Newly qualified AUOs working only built in OT - not volunteering for any - make ~$85K/year. Keep in mind that this is a "qualified" AUO, meaning that they have completed the (typically) 18-24 month training and all qualifications.

3/04/2009 11:14 AM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I have a list of things on the "do not put me in charge" list.

A perennial entry is getting rid of uniform deals with companies run/lobbied by retired E9s. Check the email addy for uniform questions: Bob Carrol. (my apologies if the spelling is wrong) I know him from a previous tour...he was kind of off the deep end. One time insisting that it was unsafe for submariners to wear sneakers underway. My thought is that the E9(ret) mafiosos have connections with the sweatshops that turn out new uni's and need a constant flow of cash. We don't need them-provided anyone will listen to reason.

BT BT

As for working for nuclear power, I suspect many don't like it but have an aptitude for it. You cannot keep someone in a job they hate unless the pay is really good. So nucs get out but stay in the same job, but with much better hours and compensation. Hence, it is tough to keep nucs in the Navy. I retained a lot of nucs (and non-nucs), and the way is to make sure people like coming to work (or at a minimum--they do not hate doing so.)

3/04/2009 1:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

". . . and the way is to make sure people like coming to work (or at a minimum--they do not hate doing so . . ."

EXACTLY! But the problem is that not everyone in a CO, XO or COB billet understands or care about that very real point.

3/04/2009 2:56 PM

 

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