Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back Home!

Finally made it back home from the hospital in Seattle yesterday; I don't think I've ever been so happy to leave a place. I got held a few days extra because some post-op pneumonia developed, and just lying there waiting for anti-biotics to work bordered, to me, on being a soul-destroying experience. I understand now why people don't like the hospital. On the other hand, Southwest Airlines was very good to me, changing my cutrate ticket return date with no extra payment required. Thanks, Southwest! (Plus, they don't even charge to check a bag.)

Now that I'm home, I noticed that USS Helena (SSN 725) has left home in San Diego to take part in ICEX-09, reportedly along with USS Annapolis (SSN 760) from LANTFLT. ICEX has been in the news during this decade because of the tragedy aboard HMS Tireless (S 88) during ICEX-07, and the pictures of the polar bear "eating" the rudder of USS Connecticut (SSN 22) during ICEX-03.

I'm surprised to see Helena participating; I remember always being told that the non-688I Los Angeles-class submarines (before SSN 751) couldn't normally operate under ice due to sail hardening issues. Does anyone know if the older 688s got a shipalt, or did they redo the calculations with real-world data?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

3/03/2009 7:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, you are really out of the loop. Al Gore told us that the ice has all melted remember? Now that there is no ice and all the polar bears are treading water older 688 will do fine.

3/03/2009 9:10 AM

Blogger Sagey said...

Welcome back!!

I don't know about a re-fit but this isn't the first ICE-X for the Helena... my husband did one with them on his DH tour... he did so many mini-deployments with them I am not sure what year it was, but between 01 and 04.

But yes the sail is not designed to punch through the ice and not need repair, but it can punch through in an emergency. At least that is what I was told, but maybe that was just to reassure a wife. :-)

3/03/2009 10:31 AM

OpenID fastnav said...

I did an ICE on 711 back in 2000. We didn't surface, but we were working on the procedure to do so.

The First flight boats just have to find a thinner patch of ice to punch through, and there's a different method to doing it then an i boat does.

And welcome home!!!!!

3/03/2009 10:39 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Yup, they just need to find a thinner patch to surface through. The first time this was done, to my knowledge, was with SLC prior to her decommissioning. Good timing for a test like that.

Great to hear you busted out of the joint!

3/03/2009 11:28 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

The real world intervened, especially after someone noted that you could get to the Yellow Sea faster from Groton than from San Diego.


3/03/2009 12:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome home Joel!!


3/03/2009 12:59 PM

Blogger blunoz said...

Yep, I was on HELENA when we went under the ice through the Bering Strait for PACSUBICEX 2002. That was before SLC did her test of punching through the ice on her way to decom. Every time we passed an open water polynya, we carefully mapped it out with our top-sounder and kept it on the geoplot so if there was a casualty, we could drive back to the last polynya we had passed. We actually did vertically surface in two polynya's, but the weather wasn't conducive to us staying up there for sight seeing. We were up there in the worst part of winter though. Not long after our trip, I think OK City was one of the first LANT boats to deploy to WESTPAC via the Arctic.

3/03/2009 6:50 PM

Blogger Liza said...

You're amazing you know that! Glad to see you're home.

3/03/2009 10:37 PM

Blogger Mark said...

Welcome home, Joel. I've been missing your learned commentary :-) Glad to hear you are doing better.

3/04/2009 6:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Svrd_SSN_CO is exactly right. I was the on watch OOD on SLC SSN 716in 2005 when we conducted the first first flight 688 surfacing through solid ice. We were in route from San Diego to decommissioning in Portsmouth NH. It was a perfect time to see what she could take. We surfaced through greater than a foot of ice with nearly no damge. We did crush our stern light and cracked a running light cover but thats about it. The sail is still pretty rugged despite not being designed or hardened for under ice ops. We latter conducted a second surfacing through the ice with no additional damage. It was a great experience and I think we will continue to see more artic ops for the pre I boats. Welcome home Joel.

3/04/2009 6:58 AM

Blogger Sabra said...

Glad to hear you are home again.

3/04/2009 10:14 PM

Blogger BostonMaggie said...

I'm glad Southwest was good to you.

Welcome home.

3/05/2009 7:39 AM

Anonymous Wendy - Navy Wife Radio said...

Welcome Home Joel!

3/05/2009 11:22 PM

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