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?