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.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Personal Thoughts On The Hartford Collision

As we discussed in my original thread on last week's collision between USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18), this wasn't the only incident Hartford has suffered; she also ran aground off La Maddalena in 2003, causing severe damage to her rudder. That grounding was very personal for me, because I had orders to be XO on USS Hartford in early 2003; only my medical disqualification from submarines kept me from being the boat's XO during that deployment.

It's been my observation that the best submariners, as a rule, are very self-confident; I think we have to be in order to be successful, like pilots and professional athletes. When we see something bad happen to another boat, we tend to think: "If I'd have been there, I would have kept that from happening." The thing is, the people who get caught up in the incidents have the same training and mindset the rest of us do. As I thought about the Hartford grounding, and if I would have prevented it had I been there as XO, I originally thought "Of course I would have. I always knew I'd recognize danger courses and put in time limits for dangerous piloting legs." Then, as I thought about it more, I decided a better attitude was, "There but for the grace of God go I."

I don't know if I could have prevented the original Hartford grounding, and I never will. I'm just glad no one was badly hurt, and the boat returned to full duty. Regarding this most recent incident, I don't know if Submariners onboard the boat made mistakes, and I don't know if I would have done any differently were I in their shoes. I'm just glad that they had the skill to return to port safely, and that none of the crew was (reportedly) injured seriously. When the Navy comes out with an official report, I'll see if there are new lessons to be learned. Until then, I'll just marvel at the technological wonders the Navy has made that travel beneath the waves and can survive unimaginable forces, and I'll be thankful for the men who man these vessels.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well stated, thank you. I hope all the monday morning quarterbacks (warranted or not) will take your words to heart.

3/23/2009 5:37 AM

OpenID bublehead10mm said...

I sertently am mindful of that benediction often when I recall the days on the boats and now driving for a living.

3/23/2009 5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubblehead says "There but for the grace of God go I" and he is absolutely correct. In our chosen trade we can never lose the humility that keeps our egos in check. Self confidence is a great thing, provided it does not devolve into arrogance.

A big thank you to bubblehead for maintaining this forum and to all who participate - with the exception of the troll who shall not be named.


3/23/2009 5:56 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

This is not in any way a Monday-morning quarterback thing, just resolving a substantial, fact-based discussion as the thread was being closed. It also somewhat falls into the "more actual information being put out by the Navy" category, at least in terms of a parallel-experience.

Before getting into this, I want to again offer my own thanks for the safe return of Hartford's crew. I fully agree -- as I've also said earlier -- that this event brings up more than a little bit of "there but for the grace of God go I" and I mean that 100% as a guy who's been there first-hand with OOD responsibilities.

What follows is the common-sense based ROR facts and references for a submerged submarine's responsibilities that we were struggling to remember/resolve.

In the Greenville-Ehime Maru collision, the Court of Inquiry (page 88) at one point had this dialogue, which is truncated here for brevity. The person being questioned for the court is RADM Griffiths, who conducted the Preliminary Investigation:

Q. Admiral, are you aware of the rules of the roads provisions related to who is the stand-on and give-way vessel as between a submerged submarine and a surface vessel?

A. Well, I know the submarine is always burdened when it's submerged, and so a submarine that wsa operating submerged or surfacing would be burdened to avoid contact with surface vessels...

Q. I would like to show you now what has been marked as Court Exhibit 2, which are excerpts from FXP 1 and COMSUBLANT/COMSUBPAC Instruction 3120.25. Sir, would you read to the court what is contained in FXP 1 with respect of the give-way and stand-on vessel?

A. I'm citing para. 3.2.1, Responsibility for Avoiding Collision in FXP 1, Revision J. "When submerged, a submarine accepts the responsiblity for avoiding collision with the surface ship."

Q. Would you also look at the COMSUBLANT/COMSUBPAC Instruction 3120.25, and would you read for the court from that document?

A. The pertinent paragraph here is, "the responsiblity for collision avoidance rests solely on the submerged submarine."

There's little doubt that all of the above docs have been updated over time, but these are the factual source docs for this basic precept -- again, one of common sense -- that we all drove and drive the boats by.

That's all merely mentioned to clear the air on that lingering conversation.

Regardless, this does not point fingers in terms of assigning blame in the case of Hartford. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the facts that emerge on this one (if they ever do, publicly ) show that the CO and crew did it all perfectly by the numbers, and simply drew the short straw from the hand of life's probabilities.

3/23/2009 6:20 AM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Well said, Joel, well said.

and Eng, I agree with you. But the original question was regarding the Rules of the Road. FXP-1 and a CSP/CSL instruction are not the official Rules of the Road(tm).

But you're right, the words are out there and it's just common sense as well. I think we all recognize the burden is on us to give way when submerged.

With that, going sinker on this one.

3/23/2009 6:39 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

When I was an ensign I worked for a department head in a cruiser. Best watch officer I ever served with and overall a splendid line officer. He boiled down the officer's job in a single phrase:

"The officer's job is to set standards."

Knowing what the standards should be, doing the training, qualifications, and monitoring to see the standards in place, and then perpetual vigilance, especially on watch - this how one avoids the 'oh but for the grace of Allah there go I' handwringing. May be true, but it's an easy out for the harder job of setting standards.

3/23/2009 7:02 AM

Blogger Jed Christiansen said...

Very well, said. I was on the Hartford when it grounded off La Madd, and it was not a pleasant experience. As everyone knows, there's never one thing that goes wrong, but a LOT of things that all go wrong at the same time.

Looking at the photos, I do NOT envy the boat and crew as they try to repair it and return home.

3/23/2009 7:05 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Good reflection on what you feelings were if you had become the XO of that boat.

I'm happy no one got hurt though.

I wonder if there will be any photos taken of Hartford once she's in drydock?

3/23/2009 7:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The officer's job is to set standards."

No it's not, the job of a officer is to make the crew see and understand the value of make the crew want to follow standards on there own.

To be self organizing?

mike mulligan

3/23/2009 7:45 AM

Blogger Oz said...

"There but for the grace..."

I don't know. I reviewed a lot of those collision and groundings presentations during quals and some of those are pretty clear-cut. The obvious one is the outbound from Norfolk (I forget which boat) where the OOD made three left turns in a head-on situation. That one's easy to pick on.

Details matter a lot, and we're pretty short on them right now. I'm witholding judgment on this one for now.

3/23/2009 8:26 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Mulligan, you're a twit.

3/23/2009 8:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what I would have done if I was on the boat in my current state of development. I would have seen the dysfunction. I would have imagined the accident or like accident, I would have advocated to pull that boat over to the pier until their problems were fix before the accident. You would have had a host of Admirals and the CNO visiting the boat trying to fix it. Maybe Obama?

I am telling you, you can see these things way before the accident, every one of the employees has been talking about it between themselves. They'd seen the holes in the organization and had been making humor with potential outcome.

I was listening to a airliner voice recording of the crew discussing a upcoming landing on snowy runway. It was a notoriously short runway and every body knew it. They were discussing the crappy reverse thrusters procedures, the poor computer simulation of using reverse thrusters, the amount of the power setting of the automatic braking, the clumsiness of the reverse thruster brakes know, that insider humorous irony, with how did we get into this vulnerable position. There was all sorts of indeterminate reports of the runway was clear, then hints that the runway was slippery. The co-pilot said clearly, we flub any part of this "we go right through the fence". It was a kind of cynical insider humor think with confident men that was going on, who did this kind of thing over and over again with success ...

Upon on touchdown, there was a delay of putting on the reverse thrusters, and then the switch got stuck in the mid position. It was just a normal safety interlock they weren't familiar with. It was like a 20 second delay with puting on the engine brakes on.

They went off the end of the runway and then right though the fence at the end of the airport runway. They crash into a building, right across a big road in a city like environment, and a family in a car was just happening to be in a bad spot.

I have seen this effect in many organizations...where the employees were snidely talking about the risks of upcoming accidents and then it occurred. They could see the holes in the organization and they thought they could do nothing about it. Gallows humor?

It ain't over, these things comes in clusters, the bad one has yet to occur?

mike mulligan

3/23/2009 8:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess what bothers me most about this whole thing, and all the comments in the other thread, is the melodrama. I feel like a lot of now non-active submariners on here have forgotten what it is like to have a ballsack. WTF are we praying for them for? They are all alive, and they pulled into port, and now, as the saying goes, "heads will roll". I don't want them saved from their peril, I want the responsible person or people smacked so they can't almost kill an entire crew and destroy one of my country's warships again.

I can honestly say that when I was poking holes, I did my job as well as I could, and I didn't walk around saying shit like "I would die for any one of those guys". Who says shit like that? It's the ones who say those things that won't be there when it counts, they are too busy planning the movie version. How about you just do your job, don't gaff off your logs, and try not to do anything too stupid and get the rest of us killed along with you? Is that too much to ask? And no, I don't want you to die for me. I want you to not screw up so much that we end up in a situation where someone has to die.

PS....Mulligan, you're a twit.

3/23/2009 8:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got cockpit like voice recorders in all of our ships...accurate accident reconstruction capabilities?

I mean, voice and camera recording of a accident...there is not better training in the world for new trainees seeing actual inside accident footage.

3/23/2009 8:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry that was me.


3/23/2009 8:59 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

AS a JO, I was in a submerged submarine that collided with a surface ship. I can't describe any of the details except to say the incident made the appendix in BLIND MAN's BLUFF. The HARTFORD Sail looks to be in much worse shape than the sail of the sub I was on. We were able to raise and lower all the masts aft of the bridge cockpit. Once we got the upper bridge hatch open we ran with the bridge trunk flooded because we could not shut the hatch again. the bridge trunk absorbed most to the collision force and was out of line by about four degrees. It looks to me that the whole HARTFORD Sail took the impact and is out of line by about ten degrees. I am amased that any masts came up. I don't envy the control room crew. It will not be a pleasant six months or so for them. In my experience, it takes around three things in a row to go wrong to cause a major disaster. I wonder what they were on HARTFORD.

3/23/2009 9:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet they were wearing those cool khammi's. First question at Commodore's mast, "Did you have on your DigiBLues?"

3/23/2009 9:21 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

These crashes have a profound affect. Careers aside (the focus here, it seems) and crew trauma aside (cowboys don't cry), these issues have to be solved:

-figure who's to fill the operational commitment and get them on station

-juggle the rest of the operating sked to handle the ripple

-find the money to fix the boat

-juggle maintenance skeds to accommodate the work

-adjust the pipeline to fill the slots of folks sent home

-make the changes needed in training and operations to preclude the next such event

-develop the right line to meet the press and deal with critics within the Navy, within DOD, and within Congress

The staffs that do these things have day jobs and job jars already full. Instead of bottom-concern for the kids in khaki (or those godamn cammies), the system's view is top-down: this hurts the Navy and the submarine force.

3/23/2009 9:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, gotta feed the troll,

MM, Your last post proved to to me you are a twit, (aka 'tard) and though I'm not a big semantics fan, if you were a submariner, it was a "sub" mariner not a submarine "r".

3/23/2009 9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a past 688I sailor who as DIVE stood watch tranisiting ther straits of Homuz, I can tell you that tranisting thru those starits wrecked havoc on Depth Control as you go from one body of water to other, let alone operating in shallow water.

The acoustice are not that great either. Very interesting to hear the outcome of this as the boat ust left DMP not too long ago.

3/23/2009 9:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, few realize that astonishing ramp up of complexity these things cause. These things generally set the stage for the next accident.

The passing metal with ungodly force is still scraping and crunching in the organization and the bureaucracy.

Everyone knew this was coming for decades...Midway airport?

Knowledge of a approaching accident happening with plenty of time to stop; it isn't enough information to prevent the accident?

Probe of Midway Accident Turns to Pilots
Posted on: Saturday, 10 December 2005, 12:00 CST

"It's not a place you can be a little off," said Richard Ward, a retired United Airlines pilot who occasionally flew into Midway years ago. "You don't have the variable of a long runway to correct any errors."

3/23/2009 10:01 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

I've been there and I can tell you that sometimes there isn't a thing you can do. We had the best Nav on the waterfront and a top notch control room team, but a new CO that did things his way. We collected a bouy and that was that. I feel for the crew of the Hartford and I hope that they recover. It is a very tough road back from something like this and I wish them all the best.

3/23/2009 10:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 1001

You are a twit.

3/23/2009 10:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber D, I always repsect your comments. We might not always agree, but you are a no BS guy and from what I have learned about your impressive CV, that stands up as well. I have a question though... Can you explain to us what happens next. What I mean is, who decides the fate of the CO, XO etc...

3/23/2009 10:47 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Suggest will be mutual decision of SubOpAuth and home Squadron. TYCOM may get involved if he thinks his minions are being too kind.

Might wait for informal one-officer JAG investigation or even Inquiry, might not. Decision will be made before next operational underway (which might be months off).

Each of these is sui generis.

From my read and Joel's good analysis, sounds like either trip to PD that went bad or bad light conditions and no sighting until Emergency Deep. I don't know the acoustics in SOH, but from shoal water, heavy traffic, and reports of water lenses, this old sonar chief thinks that it might have been 'nothing heard,' especially if the skimmer were bow on.

This may result in no DFCs unless someone was sleeping at the switch. May.

Kind words accepted... My CV shows 37 years of undetected crime.

3/23/2009 11:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but I wanted to reply to ret anav's response at the end of the last thread.

Someone asked about in the "ROR that a submerged submarine must at all times keep clear of other vessels." and ret anav responded with:

"It's on the same page that defines "Safe Speed" as "7 Knots" :-)"

That is funny, sad and true on in one sentence.

Not that long ago, my NAV came up to me and said that the XO was updating the COSO, wanted to reference the "ROR 7kt rule" and could I get it for him!

I looked at the NAV, calmed myself down, and said "NAV, why don't you and the XO make yourselves useful and go start up the reactor or something important like that".

That's what the NAV/ANAV's are working with out there.

Jim C.

3/23/2009 12:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, as "an expert in assymetrical warfare", you'll appreciate this. I'm going to start blogging on Middle Eastern websites using your name. If you see turbans, run.

3/23/2009 12:10 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Once again I find myself respectfully agreeing with the Duck.

The only thing I would add to his comments is that all the incoming traffic under a situation like the SOH is likely lying along the same bearing it might not so much be a case of nothing heard but nothing heard 'close.'

Would make sense that a front-line, just-off-the-production-line LPD such as NO would be relatively quiet compared to all the bent sh-t can oil tankers coming in for a drink.

Clearly there was some serious speed differential involved as well. That hit was more than a tap.

3/23/2009 12:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim C, Niiice! I was fortunate enough to be part of a wardroom with competent DH's and an ANAV (caps intended) that was unreal in terms of LOK. Just wanted to agree with Bubblehead on but for the grace of god... I served on the 739, but checked out about a year before their recent incident. Most khakis (I was one) like to operate in that self-confidence mode, and feel in control of events, whether that feeling is justified or not. I was lucky in my brief naval career, on my first qualified OOD (midwatch heading outbound in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, got my fish in the offcrew, no I am not kidding, no ORM conducted), I managed to get myself zoofed so badly that I was scared to take the watch for weeks. Great thing about the middle of the midwatch though, the sonarsup, ftow, and I worked it out. No yelling, no critiques, just some training about how poorly I had executed my duties and responsibilities, and where I needed my watch team to help me as a newby OOD. Just the same I have often thought about my luck in that circumstance, especially since the Nevada caught her tug in the same area some time later.

Bubblehead…keep up the good work, as a submariner now living in Idaho I grow weary of the landlocked desert life. It can be nice to listen to people who have been there, and understand what it is actually like…

Boise, ID

3/23/2009 2:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're still a twit, Mulligan

3/23/2009 3:14 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

From my brutha ANAV:
"Not that long ago, my NAV came up to me and said that the XO was updating the COSO, wanted to reference the "ROR 7kt rule" and could I get it for him!
I looked at the NAV, calmed myself down, and said "NAV, why don't you and the XO make yourselves useful and go start up the reactor or something important like that".

That's what the NAV/ANAV's are working with out there."

Yeah, I lost count of how many times I've been asked about that "Rule". Fortunately, my last NAV (who, Ironically, was OOD in a similar incident in STROG), was ALMOST as smart as he thought he was. OK, before you go blasting the parenthetical contradiction, he was the best ship driver we had and one of the better Nav's I've seen. OK, so onto another story Jim C. can appreciate:
How many of us have had anchorage charts kicked back to us because they didn't have a swing and drag circle plotted on it? (Thumping head on table here) Usta-Usta Boat anchored a LOT and my Nav never did learn, despite being told a dozen times, that those are done AFTER the fact! I digress, but can appreciate Jim's comment that, yes, this is what we are dealing with out there.

To the Boise Bubba...Don't beat yourself up about being zoofed in the Strait of Juan De Fuca. I grew up in those waters....driven boats there since I was 8 and it's a rare day when you DON'T get zoofed. The Force will guide you, young Jedei...just DRIVE!!!

3/23/2009 4:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Joel...I couldn't agree with you more... Mid 90's in Hong Kong the usta fish collided with a merchant while both were in the busy port. Prior XO left a month or two before and put his 1st star on a year or two ago. XO at time of collision never screened for command... Old man was releived back on the pier in San Diego... I doubt the old XO would have stopped it because the CO was in the bridge and calling all the shots... Luck Luck Luck

3/23/2009 5:03 PM

Anonymous OPSO said...

Bubblehead says "There but for the grace of God go I" and rightfully so. Many of us are much more familiar with "Holy $hi+" followed by either "Shouldn't have done that" or "How did I pull that off." Experience comes from mistakes, both our own and those of others.

So... if we've got so much experience documented in the collisions and groundings brief, why the continuing trend?

Driving/fighting the boat and operating the plant require two distinctly different mindsets. Driving/fighting requires decisive action in the face of many unknowns guided by both mariner skills and TTP, some with hard & fast rules. Operating the plant requires procedural compliance guided by comprehensive technical knowledge.

I suspect, but do not know personally, that the administrative requirements for non-nuclear training programs have increased drastically in the past 8 years or so. I know that TYCOM requirements for formal ops briefs and other processes was on the rise when I last served in the sub force ("creeping nukism"?). Further complicated by non-submarine force requirements for continued advancement such as joint professional military education and joint duty officer tours for officers.

Time to revisit non-nuclear submariners. Use the Royal Navy's model -- Warfare Officer (Submarines) driving/fighting supported by Weapons Engineer Officers and Marine Engineer Officers. Take the ENG and enough EOOWs for Condition 2 to sea; leave an Engineering Officer (or a few) ashore to plan the next maintenance period, including arrangements at the next port. When in port, junior Warfare Officer focus on attack centers, SPAN trainer, tactics -- anything but chem-radcon audits and EDO. Model works for the UK and for US CVNs. Sub CO would come from Warfare Officer pool after indoc at Naval Reactors (as we do for CVN CO aviators).

We need to act boldly but not recklessly. (It is called operational risk management, not risk avoidance.) The more we ingrain a management by instruction/procedural compliance mindset, the further we get from the skills and attitude to do so.

OK, I'm off the soapbox...


3/23/2009 5:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


With all due respect, nonsense. The UK model has not generated a significantly better safety record.

Hence, the recent collision with the French.

As a Perisher grad, I can tell you that they are pretty damn good forward but the standards aft leave much to be desired.

Line Officers must set the standards and be experts at the entire submarine.

Naval reactors has it right in terms of training - we could use some of that creeping nukism forward.

The nuclear part of our PCO pipeline remains far better than the new forward SCC.

We are nevertheless damn good submariners -- better than the rest of the world.

We have a significant incident (a.k.a. Hartford) about every two years - in statistical control. Has been that way for thirty-years.

We do need to balance forward and aft experience and focus on operational competence (i.e. JPME is useless) but we do not need to emulate someone else because I can say from experience we are already better.

3/23/2009 6:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Commodore Kiser is the investigating officer.

3/23/2009 6:25 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

I've been saying this for nearly 30 years: the answer isn't to water down engineering standards but rather to impose these same standards in all aspects of shipboard operations. The good guys, the really good guys like Trost and Kaufman and Kelso and Fargo and Kauderer and Thunman and Evans and - it's a long list - could do it all. That is the standard.

3/23/2009 6:42 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Good words. I disagree, however, with the adage "There but...". You can never be satisfied with the idea that if things were just a bit different it would have happened to you. The aftermath of bad events comes down to a choice of two things:
1) There was no way the bad event could have been avoided if the ship had been operated IAW established guidelines
2) There was a way the bad event could have been avoided had the ship been operated IAW established guidelines.
The times that #1 is decided on can be counted on one hand. Honolulu grounding at Truk is the only one I have knowledge of. "There but.." is a cop out. I can say that, because I've been there. You cannot take solace in that mealy mouth crap while your ship stands into danger. You might muck it up, but never say those words. Have I been lucky a few times? More than I would like to admit, but I will never say or think those words. No quarterbacking, accountability is a harsh mistress.

I suspect that within six hours of interviewing the CO/XO/OOD the investigating officer will be calling CSG7 with his recommendation on the fate of the officers responsible. The decision can and most likely will be made at his level.

3/23/2009 6:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having Chris Kaiser do this investigation is the best thing I've heard yet. Awesome choice.

3/23/2009 7:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this part of the Navytimes article and quickly thought out loud "This isn't Down Periscope". I don't know if it was done back in the day, but it's NOT done now.

The Navy has released no initial explanation for what could have caused the collision. It’s possible Hartford was trying to hide under New Orleans to disguise its entry into the Persian Gulf, although unless that maneuver was coordinated in advance, New Orleans’ crew may not have known the submarine was there.

3/23/2009 7:19 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

@prior anon: The Navy Times took a trip back into the Cold War era, but on the Soviet side of the fence, with those laughable ideas.

@Srvd_SSN_CO: You're setting the right standard looking forward, skipper...but for clarity's sake: Joel's comments, others and mine re. "but for the grace..." are looking back at close calls, not advocating a 'mealy' way of doing business. Big. Difference. Anyone who's had the metaphoric equivalent of a bullet go by his head in the SSN world has rightfully said a word of thanks or two afterwards. Quoth the Gump: "IT happens."

@Rubber Ducky: A little help for the young'uns:

Carlisle Trost

Yogi Kaufman

Frank Kelso

Tom Fargo

Bud Kauderer

Nils Thunman

Tom Evans

3/23/2009 7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that this is dangerous work, always has been. We can mitigate but not eliminate risk. It is important to understand that "risk" means that a positive outcome is not always guaranteed. Although it is the tradition of the NAVY to hold those charged with responsibility accountable, we must guard ourselves from judging. Always remember that they guys on Hartford were well trained and on deployment, had good intentions and could be anyone of us still on active duty.

3/23/2009 8:02 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

One more...

Chris Kaiser

3/23/2009 8:16 PM

Anonymous OPSO said...

"Naval reactors has it right in terms of training - we could use some of that creeping nukism forward."
Agree and am advocating allocation of dedicated manpower to benefit from improved tactical training.

"We have a significant incident (a.k.a. Hartford) about every two years - in statistical control. Has been that way for thirty-years."
Unless the figures are normalized to force size, this assertion is alarming. Consistent incident rate, dramatically smaller force size today than all of the 80s and most of the 90s -- indicates a problem.

"We do need to balance forward and aft experience and focus on operational competence (i.e. JPME is useless)..."
How does the force attain the balance fore and aft without degrading the proficiency/level of effort in engineering?

As a grad, JPME is largely useless applied to submarine at sea. Necessary evil to get the next Trost from CO to CNO. Requirement is joint and 1120 waivers are gone.


3/23/2009 8:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a Destroyer on Formosa patrol in 1960, on 590 boat and 677 boat much later. Been there done that. Got the T-shirt. I wish you all the best.

YNC(SS) Retired

3/23/2009 8:28 PM

Blogger Fast Nav said...

"I saw this part of the Navytimes article and quickly thought out loud "This isn't Down Periscope". I don't know if it was done back in the day, but it's NOT done now.

The Navy has released no initial explanation for what could have caused the collision. It’s possible Hartford was trying to hide under New Orleans to disguise its entry into the Persian Gulf, although unless that maneuver was coordinated in advance, New Orleans’ crew may not have known the submarine was there."

I've noticed that, more and more, Navy Times is willing to post things that it finds in blogs (and elsewhere on teh internets) as possible facts.

Somewhat disturbing.

3/23/2009 8:35 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

I read your "officer" standard list. Only a flipping nuke would decide that everybody involved in driving an SSN should be held to the top 1% of naval officer standard. I worked for VADM Fargo and well remember his reaction to the TR's decision to go back full power without telling the cruiser in plane guard after dark. It takes all kinds for the simple reason that the men of the caliber listed can easily leave the navy as LTs and make half million $ salaries but there's a buttload of others that can't because they don't have the drive, devotion, dedication and smarts. These are the ones who will always be with us and who must be nurtured and trained to meet an "acceptable" standard. From time to time the fleet has trouble making do with what it has in the officer pool. Once upon a time, the floaters could be relieved and sent home and a replacement found. That has not been the luxury we've experienced in the last 50 years. I can't count the number of officers I've seen that spent years aboard operational ships and failed to qualify and never would because, as Pat Healey used to say, "their position has been established." No CO in his right mind would trust one of them as OOD. Nevertheless, they linger and they take a billet because the process of telling OPNAV that it spent a $1million educating an idiot and fool at government expense was a complete and total waste.

3/23/2009 9:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why couldn't they have blown their ballast tanks and then proceed through the area while on the surface? If the boat was behind the New-Orleans, and in safe territory, then why navigate at PD in such a narrow and shallow body of water?

I hope the NAV team, Maneuvering watch, XO and the Captain don't sustain too much of a public whipping once the investigation is complete. We'll just see what happens next in the days to come.
I wish them the best.

3/23/2009 11:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhat disturbing.

Actually, great opdec, imo, until y'all ruined it.

(or did you?)

3/24/2009 1:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the above comment even deserve a comment from those of us that have served on the boats. Wrong place...Wrong time....There is no manuevering watch at pd or making preps to come to pd....Second, without firsthand knowlegde on what happend I can tell you neither ship knew the other was there...Third, the nav team has nothing to due with a collision with a surface ship while she is either at pd or transiting to pd. BZ on your possible actions she could have taken but way off...Bubbleheads back me up here.

3/24/2009 1:58 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Yeah, I got your back on this one.

Obvious neither knew the other was there, though I stipulate that the onus was clearly on HAR to keep clear. Was she at PD in a place where it was prudent to be at PD? All I'll say is *I* would have made a strong case against it. Do the transit on the surface? Not so much.

Nav...Let me know when you start to seriously entertain your "possible" scenario :)

3/24/2009 3:23 AM

Blogger Derek said...

"I suspect, but do not know personally, that the administrative requirements for non-nuclear training programs have increased drastically in the past 8 years or so. I know that TYCOM requirements for formal ops briefs and other processes was on the rise when I last served in the sub force ("creeping nukism"?)"

The formal training (i.e. classroom training) for the non-nukes has dropped dramatically in the past year or so. The training program, simply put, has shifted toward operational, skill-based training. How are OPS briefs "creeping nukism". No accident was ever caused by a knowledgeable, well-trained, well-informed crew. OPS briefs, or any brief for that matter, are a tool to ensure all key players are ready to execute the mission.

3/24/2009 3:27 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

@Curtis: You're a tad wide of the mark: Rubber Ducky, who proposed the list, is not a Nuke. He's a diesel boater who went SWS back in the day that boomer officers had such a career path.

Did he set an appallingly high standard? Yes. My first reaction was not far away from yours. But stop and think about it: if not them, who is the 'standard' to be at least in terms of stars to steer by?

As you already know, you exaggerate your case to make a point. Point taken. You can't take a middle-of-the-roader without inspirational leadership and make him into someone that could someday be on that list.

If you're in a position of leadership still, y'might want to consider what you think of as a box of rocks, look in the mirror and ask the hard question: what is my "response-ability" to make these guys into great men?

Rickover wasn't nearly the #1 guy in his class like Trost. Look what the man accomplished. He wasn't hatched like that -- I all but guarantee that good men inspired him...and I'll bet they weren't #1 in their class, either.

3/24/2009 6:26 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

I guess Curtis has the same approach to quality of naval officers as diesel submariners have to picking up girls in a bar: "If you can't find someone who meets your standards ... lower your standards."

(Guidance 2: "Go ugly early.")

3/24/2009 7:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting note: The OOD at the time of the collision is the same guy in the picture driving into port. I found that odd.

3/24/2009 7:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now where is that NYT's article explaining how the sub service has changed over the decades. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the best and the brightest academy graduates were lining up to go into submarines. Now the sub service is termed as to burdensome and not very glamorous, the graduates would rather fly fighter jets and drive surface ships, lets not forget about our bubble economy that was sucking everyone out. This article speaks of a drastic decline in the top class standing of Annapolis graduates volunteering to not go into the sub service and the burdens nuclear power...with the top graduates going into more glamorous areas and even wanted to serve as close as they can to the war front?

Any truth to it?

3/24/2009 7:36 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Cure to recruiting nukes is doubling the field of applicants by opening submarines to females.

I know this topic has been beaten to a pulp here, but the math is pretty solid and the reasons for all-male crews make a lot less sense to the age cohort we're trying to recruit than they do to the older bunch of sexist submariners.

Have always thought that much of the opposition to females in submarines was at heart a union-shop issue: improve the odds by restricting the competition.

And let the flames begin...

3/24/2009 7:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hartford must have already been at periscope depth when the collision happened. In one of those pictures of the boat coming in, you can clearly see that one of the communication masts is completely snapped off. If a communications mast was up when the collision happened, then they were already at PD and not coming up to PD.

3/24/2009 8:19 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

@prior anon: You may be right in that they may have lost a BRA, but it's already been pointed on the earlier thread that Hartford could have one of the newer masts that is actually fairly short. They were indeed slammed on the port side, so I would give your call at least 50-50 odds. Going against it: many OODs including myself wouldn't put up a mast that was directly behind the periscope unless circumstances forced it.

@Rubber Ducky: The flames will of course come via the wife-circuit...lots of arcs & sparks. But the fact is that the vast majority of the guys on the boats are single. Putting women on boats is inevitable to my way of thinking, but the risks are not to be dismissed and so this will take quite some time. It's not a near-term solution to a possible problem; I am unconvinced that the Navy is having trouble meeting nuke officer or submarine qualification standards. With far fewer boats than in the '80s, that seems ever more unlikely.

3/24/2009 8:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WRT "Anon" at 0736--A major reason for the decline in top USNA grads going submarines is laser eye surgery.

Bill the Shoe

3/24/2009 8:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two comm masts are in front of the scopes on 688s.

Also, based on the how far down on the sail the impact marks are, it also makes me think they were at PD, not on the way up or on the way down (ED).

3/24/2009 9:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

why would a captain outside of SUBRON4 where the Hartford is apart of do the investigation?

3/24/2009 9:07 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

why would a captain outside of SUBRON4 where the Hartford is apart of do the investigation?

It's that whole "Spousal Immunity" thing with respect to litigation :-)

3/24/2009 9:25 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

OK, on a more serious note.......
Let's say the investigation points to mistakes/shortcomings made at the ISIC level. Now I have to put MESELF on report, right? Who in their right mind wants to do THAT?

Easiest way out of a crisis: DON'T get yourself into one in the FIRST place.

3/24/2009 9:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how is the cloaking systems working with the comings and goings of your surface ships...the aircraft carriers, cruisers and destroyers. This tactical advantage of submarine stealth is a cold war myth. I could make a case of letting them fully see what is coming at them in the hopes they would come to their senses and back down from their insanity.

Anyways, when does submarine stealth...the cloak of security and secrecy that degrades and pervades everything submarine... when does the secretive cloak degrade operational effectiveness more than creates a tactical advantage. I just don’t think secretiveness, the war world II silent service, secretness trumps everything. Is stealthyness a world war II and cold war concept without our current technological innovations...where instant real time communication and situation and battlefield perfect technological awareness becoming much more worth than stealth? Who really is going to put a billion dollar platform at risk in a simple local skirmish anyway?

So I am saying temporary stealth is important...while the wide secrecy has becomes less effective over time and is increasingly becoming counter productive to national security and a effective of a fighting force.

I trade a ship with one fighting culture and the ship at 100% effectiveness...a whole cohesive Navy with one thought on their minds, a whole cohesive country behind the Navy ...the required transparency that creates it... than sneaking up on somebody with a barely a effective weapons vehicle. With our stand off weapons and we see everything over the horizon...has stealthyness become less important?

When does stealthyness serve officers careers and the shipyards more than serves our nation interest?

3/24/2009 10:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang, that was me.

Mike Mulligan

3/24/2009 10:01 AM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Also take a gander above at where CAPT Chris Kaiser is coming from. They're bringing in a big dog...which is a good thing for all concerned.

As an aside, I do agree with the analysis that the boat was most likely already at PD and had to pull the plug. As others have indicated on the earlier post, there may be a somewhat sensitive and perhaps relatively new reason that the boats have to transit at PD for precision's sake that which we won't be able to discuss here.

3/24/2009 10:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ Kaiser is a seriously good officer. I predict that the investigation will be fair and, most importantly, brutal on the people who screwed up.

Someone's going to get crushed after this thing is all said and done.

3/24/2009 10:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan's folly: "So how is the cloaking systems working?"

Well Mulligan, maybe Capt Kirk can beam you aboard the Enterprise and proceed to the neutral zone where you can ask the klingons about cloaking device technology.

Now get off the site you rediculous dolt.

3/24/2009 11:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD said: "Cure to recruiting nukes is doubling the field of applicants by opening submarines to females."

Are you kidding me? I work with several recent NPS and prototype instructors who left the Nav early because . . . the standards for nukes were lowered as far as necessary to get the required numbers into the fleet. This is vastly different from the philosophy that I was accustomed to not terribly long ago. Recruiting women MAY up the number of academically qualifieds, but opens up a whole other can of worms (pun intended).

3/24/2009 11:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, You never did answer why you lost your NRC license . . .

3/24/2009 11:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get it right! The neutral zone was where the Romulans were.

3/24/2009 11:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I wasn’t in the Gulf of Hormuz at PD when it happened?

Mike Mulligan

3/24/2009 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the officer side, USNA recruiting is nice, but not necessary. NR has a large pool of potential officers in the enlisted ranks and USNA shortfalls can be dealt with by increasing STA-21 numbers or monkeying with the requirements a bit. I don't think the LASIK thing is so much of a crisis. NR has been playing this game (NESEP/NECP/STA21, not to mention NUPOC) for at least 30 years now to augment JO and DH manpower.

3/24/2009 12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Mulligan, I don't think there were any Romulan spies in the Gulf of Hormuz that day.

Go away!

3/24/2009 12:00 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

Thanks for the updates. I tried to capture the facts for the rest of us uninformed non-quals on my blog. I am in awe of the strength of these incredible machines.

3/24/2009 12:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left the HARTFORD 10 years ago, and I retired 5 years ago. I was wondering what kind of changes have taken place in the world of Operational Risk Management. When I was NAV, if you got tasking, you said "Yes Sir" and you did it, whether or not you thought it was a good idea. But I have to think that in the intervening years, especially after the MSP lost 2 men doing something that they shouldn't have been doing, that ORM would have been elevated to something real, something that really could affect decision making, rather than just an idea that we paid lip service to.
What opportunity did the CO have to say "You really want me to transit the SOH at 1 am?" I know back in the day, the response would have been, "If you can't do it, I'll find someone who can." (And even if the CO went ahead and did it, he probably got bumped down a couple of places in the squadron pecking order just because he asked).
OK, I'm sorry to be ignorant here, and I'm not trying to excuse the watchstanders for messing up something that plenty of others have got right, but a couple of you have referenced the fact that there are never any new lessons learned, and so I would think that ORM would take this into account, and thus try to shield us from making predictable mistakes by keeping us out of places where predictable mistakes would be disastrous.

3/24/2009 12:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, I voluntarily gave you all of the ammo against me, which openly questioned my character and behavior....I am not like you people who hide all of your problems and faults. I am a different style person than any of you. I hope people learn from my mistakes no matter what it cost me.

I was in a very troubled civilian nuclear power buddies, the company and the federal regulators were covering up intentionally not following regulations. They had a equipment malfunction, a pump that if they couldn’t get it repaired in a month, they were required to be shutdown. They were too cheap to have a replacement pump on site...they had to designed and build a new pump form scratch. We was out more that a year from the requirement to be shutdown and we were making believing the pump was operational. I just got fed up with rule breaking and half truths. I was sick of me telling helf truths also.

So I wrote a letter to the Governor of Vermont and a few other state officials telling them of this secret rule breaking by the feds and my company. I also told them in the letter that a serious accident like we have never seen before is right around the corner. The Governor and her officials baulked at answering my concerns, you know just another nut case. I had photo copied the actually nuclear plant procedures, circled the violation wording...and submitted them in my complaint. I assumed nobody would trust just my words.

The governor almost wet her pants when I got a environmental group to accuse her of withholding or sitting on my serious safety complaint from public discloser and its persecution. I blindsided her with that accusation. Within two days she was out on a podium in press conference saying my violations were valid, the Feds and the corporation had withheld information from the state...she was requesting a full investigation.

Within a year we had a the most serious accident that the plant had ever had, we almost lost electricity to the whole site, a station blackout, our switch yard breakers all failed open and we had one valve out of position that almost starved the cooling flow to both diesel generators.

At the end of the day, everyone was outrage with me outing these problems, especially the politicians, these guys were so mad at me because I buried their nose in the crap of the plant that they actively didn't want to know for political reasons. I just figured out a way to get around everyone.

Mostly they are were mad at me for being smarter than any of these college guys. That why and how my license was removed from me...I didn’t have any friends left in the state.

Mike Mullign

3/24/2009 12:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also liked to eat the paint chips in the reactor room. NRC had a problem with that but they were tasty.

mike mulligan

3/24/2009 12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you understand my point, what makes me so different than you, I documented that you could see these institutional accidents months before it occurred. I got it down on the official records before it occurred and then it happened.

3/24/2009 12:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paint chips in 1985... That says a lot.

3/24/2009 1:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky, Re: A little help for the young'uns--

Trost, Kaufman, Kelso, Kauderer all qualified on and had smoke boat tours out of SubSchool. Suspect same for Thunman but could not confirm. I would argue that their smoke boat experience had much to do with their success as "Submarine Operators."

My personal experience on SSBN619B 62-67 with ADM Al Whittle Jr. puts him right in there with your nominee's. (Qaul on smoke boat, department head on K2, XO on one of the Tang Class boats, CO Sterlet SS-392, Co Seawolf, CO Andrew Jackson Blue) he was the consumate submarine operator. Granted, he was a product of the transition from smoke boats to Nuc Power and during the tremendous expansion of the submarine force second only to WWII.

Ain't no going back to those days, however, the ongoing changes to "submarine Operator" training should help.

Keep a zero bubble.......


3/24/2009 1:06 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET: To add to your comment, these guys also all qualified as fleet OODs in destroyers before they even went to submarines.

DIs (Direct Inputs) didn't start until '61, but the anticipated problems were not seen and guys like Dick Riddle helped show that DIs could hack it.

The final shift from old to new occurred in the early '70s when the last Reactor Safeguards Exam guys (i.e, did not have to qualify as engineer officers) went through the PCO pipeline. I think it significant that the last four Reactor Safeguards guys flunked out of PCO school. Some said it was Rickover, others said they were lightweights. I knew all four and suspect the truth was in between.

And I would cheerfully add Al Whittle to my pantheon...

3/24/2009 2:10 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

In the nineteen sixties and early seventies, the sub force had a similar rash of collisions and groundings. Some very pointed lessons learned training on board ship and some required courses for OPS NAVs as well as COs and XOs managed to lower the incident rate. In the early eighties when I was a CO, I had the last word on ship movements regarding safety. I suffered no recriminations for refusing to do a contractor required test that would have caused a grounding if anything went wrong. We did the test later when there was more water room to accomplish it safely. As a NAV in the early seventies, I caused my sub to cancel a port visit when I determined we would run aground at the pier. Some one on CSL Staff forgot to check the charts before approving the port visit. (Actually it was my second class QM who was plotting the port track who caught the error and was not afraid to speak up. He later became a highly respected Master Chief QM.)
Luck or that sudden itch that something is not right also pays off. I can think of two incidents where that occurred that no one will read about because the accident was avoided. I am sure we will never really know what happened aboard HARTFORD but "There for the grace of God and Alert Watchstanding.." go every sub driver.

3/24/2009 2:50 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

@wtfdnucsailor: was that shallow pierside in Bermuda, by any chance? Parked & unparked once there myself. Required tying the stern out away from the dock as I recall, but it was do-able. Beautiful place...just watch those left-hand turns via moped.

3/24/2009 4:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd also like to point out that everything I've ever said is a lie, or wrong. I've just trolled this website. I'm sorry everybody. I wish I could take it all back.

mike mulligan

3/24/2009 5:27 PM

Blogger David said...

Thanks for the great insight.

Certainty is never good. These days I'll stick with compassion because at least I know I may be wrong.

3/24/2009 5:34 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

ex ssn eng,

I take your point and it's clear you understood mine. You make a good argument for holding people to the very highest standard but I'm gonna have to go down the path of setting the standard well below the 99.5% suggested by making 4 star admirals the standard. We need to keep in mind that we lead men and women of ordinary capability and make all due allowances for that and for the tiny handful who are the dregs. As an eng I'm sure you joined me in the simple philosophy of check, doublecheck and verify. I didn't have to check much, rarely had to doublecheck and only took the trouble to verify for myself when it was absolutely necessary.

We are not a navy made up of perfect persons and we need to accept that there are limits on what each individual can offer. A good leader knows that and doesn't put the most limited ones in vital positions unless that is their limited one's major metier in life. I've found that usually there is a spot aboard for most every square peg if you match them to the proper hole. I am most willing to acknowledge that ESWS is a very different qual from all the rest and that failure to qual has meaningful consequences.

Only a tiny handful promote to ADM or Master Chief but they are not the standard. The service is not Lake Woebegone where everybody is above average.

3/24/2009 6:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting discussions here. One point that has been out of the discussion so far:
- Submarine force policy to reduce officer sea tour lengths.

When I was a JO, I spent 44 months on sea duty. As an XO, I saw JOs routinely rolling off the boat at 31, 32 months. Add to the fact that for a period of time we had a glut of JOs onboard, they all got reduced experience driving submarines.

Now take those JOs who were given reduced sea tours with less drive time and make them DHs. Add to the fact that their DH tours are shorter and the problem continues.

There really is no substitute for experience. I don't agree with the notion that trainer technology can truly offset reduced sea tours (yes this is contrary to the former SUBFOR's message justifying reduced sea tour lengths). Where are the days where as OOD on the midwatch you could play cat and mouse in the local OPAREA with another friendly SSN and shoot waterslugs - all honing your driving skills?

The aggregate of reducing officer sea tours, reduced underway workup times plays a role into the current readiness of our force. I have not even touched on the topic of enlisted manning/experience (that's a separate discussion).

The policy decision made several years back to roll officers to command earlier will eventually catch up (if not already) with the submarine force. We need to revisit that policy and give our young officers more time driving ships and making decisions at sea. That's where the real learning occurs.

3/24/2009 7:07 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

@Curtis: I nod to your meaning, but at the same time aiming for the north star doesn't mean that I intend to arrive at Polaris and orbit.

Learning from the masters is one thing...actually becoming one is clearly not the standard to be held to. Perhaps any confusion could've been avoided by referring to them as standard-bearers, as that is obviously closer to the Duck's intent.

Sadly, there are some great books that haven't been written by anyone on the Duck's list with the exception of Tom Evans.

Somehow Tom got the Navy's blessing to publish what he did, but what would benefit all of the submarine officers would be a compendium of basics, tactics, advice, good habits, life-lessons and in-situ decision making on the part of the Great Ones.

That would be some worthwhile reading, though likely requiring a lot of coordination re. classification issues, etc. No offense to anyone in New London, but I do not know of any equivalent for this in SOBC or SOAC.

A set of video interviews with these fellows would also likely make for a great education tool. Seeing the men more or less first-hand would pass along a style that isn't otherwise captured in print.

Oh, and as to being an Eng...actualy, I did check, re-check, and verify quite a bit as I'd relieved a fired Eng in overhaul. Hard on the constitution, but a good boat with good men came out of the yards.

3/24/2009 7:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i eat my own poo.


3/24/2009 7:30 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

As to women on submarines, no doubt they can do the work. It is still a privacy issue. Yes it can be solved on 726class, but offering women service only on Tridents (as has been done now for years ;) is unacceptable; it would have to be all or nothing. American mores are not up for this. Here is the question that all Americans must be able to answer in the affirmative before women go on subs:
"Do you approve of assigning college freshmen in 2's and 3's to dorm rooms without regard to gender..and will you let your kids or yourself be one." So, Ducky, will your 18yr daughter attend college and live an dorm room with ANY 2 random freshmen?
Most Americans are not willing to go there yet--and neither are all of the world's navies.

3/24/2009 7:38 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

@Srvd_SSN_CO: I wouldn't presume that just because they have tampon dispensers installed that Tridents have been opened to women. Those double as crying towel you can't just make the great leap to that sort of cause & effect.

On a more serious note, as to having real women on the boats, I think that a greatest concern would be one that most wouldn't want to admit to...and that's not sex with a member of the opposite sex, but the lack of ability to control one's own emotions. Nuclear weapons & nuclear reactors probably shouldn't be kept in the same locker as jealous shipmates that are gone from port for months at a time. Just a thought.

Having said that, the nature of our political establishment has proven itself to conduct social experiments with the military, and I don't think this opportunity will escape their urge to play with fire.

3/24/2009 8:08 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

And what follows from women on ships?

Why sexual interaction between the two sexes! And why is this a bad thing?

Well one reason the senior folks run in terror at the prospect is that they know they are weak and will hit on their junior female sailors with career ending results. Sure sure, it's all consensual but it aint allowed.

3/24/2009 8:24 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

I'm okay with women on the boat, provided they can do the job and carry the load. And, by load, I mean a test gear rig or a red devil blower. The last thing I want is a whole other crop of non-hackers to coddle.

And they better put in an extra freakin' head, too, or go co-ed. I'm not giving up one of the few we've got now.

3/24/2009 8:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know where this blog is going (wandering) but this little fact seems pertinent to the discussion now.

I know of a Squadron Commodore who served exclusively on SSN's, he was fast attack tough. He was relieved of command for having an affair with a PO2's wife.

3/24/2009 9:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I know of a Squadron Commodore who served exclusively on SSN's, he was fast attack tough. He was relieved of command for having an affair with a PO2's wife."

That would be Capt. Scott Bawden, former CSS-17.

3/24/2009 10:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been onboard a few surface ships... have you seen the "women" onboard there? seriously, sure had no desire there, regardless of how long you are underway.

3/25/2009 4:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, the Acadia in Diego Garcia (1987?) was apparently staffed by hotties. Or maybe the lights were turned off. Regardless, it happened.

3/25/2009 7:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


3/25/2009 9:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did all the women's underwear disapear to?? AMR or ERLL?

3/25/2009 9:39 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

USS THOMAS A. EDISON collides with the USS LEFTWICH (DD 984). The EDISON was at periscope depth preparing to surface; it damaged its sail and sail planes, but there was no flooding. Both ships remain operation after the accident.
Happened in November 1982 after the Edison became a Slow Attack

3/25/2009 10:06 AM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

Hey guy's lots of speculation and some operational details that Submariners know for a fact that are being tossed out there with the skimmers and "submariner posers" responding with opinions that generate more info from the Submariners.

Lets just wait and see what comes out of the Hartford collision report and leave it at that without chatting about PD evolutions, voice recorders and mast positions and stuff.

Remember Brothers....Silent Service

Going deep...........

3/25/2009 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Interesting note: The OOD at the time of the collision is the same guy in the picture driving into port. I found that odd."

- Really?

3/25/2009 11:55 AM

Blogger Oz said...

"Interesting note: The OOD at the time of the collision is the same guy in the picture driving into port. I found that odd."

Is it even possible to know that right now without being part of the crew or the investigation?

3/25/2009 12:42 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

My guess is that he was/is their best OOD...that'd explain why he was on the scope in the SOH, and why he had the conn for the maneuvering watch.

3/25/2009 2:56 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

My guess is that he was/is their best OOD...that'd explain why he was on the scope in the SOH, and why he had the conn for the maneuvering watch.

Two theories of which we've all seen before:
1. He was a sock-puppet at the time of the collision and nobody is going to throw him under the bus;
2. Surfaced/Submerged OOD are two different quals...just a thought.

WAR...HUH....Good GOD......

3/25/2009 5:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First item. Manning/experience level could be fixed by NOT throwing every one out if they are not ambitious enough to want the next paygrade. Served with an SN(ss) unrated who could do all the inport SNgang stuff, manuvering watch, and could drive the boat. He loved doing all that stuff, and if you let him get his rack time was perfectly happy to do them unsupervised. They kicked him out after 4 years because he wouldn't even try for E-4. Knew an E-4 who loved working the flight deck on a carrier. Kicked him out after 10 years because he wasn't interested in E-5. Keep them, makes advancement easier for those ambitious enough and capable enough to do so.
the Duke of Earl

3/25/2009 7:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second item. Women on board subs. If it is done like carrier pilots back in the day, 5 days off training per month for upper respiratory problems... not good. Reduced standards all the way around, not good. Academics are one thing, physical abilities are another, the combination of both are another altogether. Privacy/sexuality issues are difficult but not insurmountable. Emotional/pairing issues are way beyond anything the navy can control. I believe the shore/surface navy's experience validates that belief.
the Duke of Earl

3/25/2009 7:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God nobody was seriously injured. One might suspect that they were going to PD in the busiest strait in the world at 0100. If so then they did not learn anything from the OKC collision in the Strait of Gibraltar. A smart CO would have picked a quiet location to go to PD and then took advantage of the 24 hour broadcast they put you on to get as far away from the Strait as possible. The other plausible explanation is that they were sucked up by a fast moving amphib. That is why we never allow any ship to close within a mile even if we are submerged. As many have said, there will be many things that are found to have contributed to this tragedy first and foremost there has to have been an error in judgement.

Submarine CO

3/25/2009 8:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe an unrelated casualty forced them to PD?

3/25/2009 10:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(oops... sorry to the host for posting this question under an inappropriate thread; sorry for the repetition.)

I know damn little about subs... pardon the imposition. Why do some LA class subs have wing-things on the sail (stabilizers?) and others don't? Just wondering.

3/26/2009 2:18 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"I know damn little about subs... pardon the imposition. Why do some LA class subs have wing-things on the sail (stabilizers?) and others don't? Just wondering."

SSN-751 and later have bow planes, for better or for worse (Never been on a boat with them, so can't comment). 688-class SSN's are the most "Messed-With" boats you'll ever'd be hard-pressed to find two that are identical in all respects (IMO).

3/26/2009 3:44 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"I know damn little about subs... pardon the imposition. Why do some LA class subs have wing-things on the sail (stabilizers?) and others don't? Just wondering."

Buddy of mine, former A-4 pilot, finally spend some days in an SSN (he was Asst Dep SecNav at the time). Said this: "Hey, it's just like flying an airplane ... but God it's slow."

3/26/2009 5:07 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

SSN-751 and later have bow planes, for better or for worse (Never been on a boat with them, so can't comment). 688-class SSN's are the most "Messed-With" boats you'll ever'd be hard-pressed to find two that are identical in all respects (IMO).

Seems like I remember that my 688 was a "zero-deviation" boat. Had to get a SHIPALT approved through the RPPY to add a pipette holder in the lab.

I remember the approval well-- the distribution list had all these 08 codes on it, and list of CAPT this and RADM that. At the bottom of the list was MM2 XXX ( <---- me!).

I didn't drive, err... steer the boat so I've been watching from the sidelines on this one. Pretty tragic indeed. That, and all the talk about cloaking devices was pretty funny.

3/26/2009 6:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a_former_elt_2jv said...
"I didn't drive, err... steer the boat...."

I guess you got your ship quals gaffed off then?

3/26/2009 11:31 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

anon-never seen anything in a qual card that required anyone in particular to drive. You have to get a watch qual done inport and at sea.

As to bow planes/fairwater planes (those wing things on the sail), most other navies opted for bow planes.

3/26/2009 12:12 PM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

I don't know what qual card the O gang has but I have my SSN qual card sitting in front of me. Phase III - Helmsman/Planesman/Lookout
Phase IV - Steering and Diving

The reason I pulled out my qual card is because I know everyone had to do it, I wasn't completly sure if it was actually an official requirement and on the qual card. What qual card would not have it when being SS qualified means you can perform any job in an emergency. Case in point, a sonarman or FT or NAV ET in control has to take control of the San Fran after the on duty helm and plane operators become unable to man the controls after a collission with a sea mount. I think that driving and diving was even before cranking and cranking isn't on a qual card.

3/26/2009 1:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone on my boat had to stand a watch U/I at helms/planes. That is not fleet wide? WTF is up with that?

3/26/2009 1:22 PM

Blogger Oz said...

It is not fleetwide. All our qual card requires is one inport and one underway watch. (For nukes, these watches tend to be SEO/SRW and RT/AEA/ERLL.) Everything else is a knowledge factor only.

It certainly isn't required for officer quals. Even for DOOW, where it would make some sense, it's not necessary. AEF? Yes. AMR2? Yup. Helm? Not necessary. The only time I sat helm/planes was in JO1 in the dive and drive, and that was because the entire class was nub ensigns. Naturally, we didn't all rotate through.

3/26/2009 1:35 PM

Blogger Oz said...

Side note: most forward rates (I think all of them) on my boat do qualify helm/planes. If this was the case for SFO, it's not surprising that they had ample reliefs available.

3/26/2009 1:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes of course, junior watch quals in port and at sea, but a separate item (for everyone, nukes included) was standing a watch on the helm, and on the planes. You weren't required to qualify unless it was a watch you were required to qualify, but everyone had to do it.

How could you spend 3+ years on a boat and not drive at least once, even if only so you could say you had done it?

3/26/2009 1:43 PM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

"All our qual card requires is one inport and one underway watch" Really? Man they are slacking quals. What happened to the other duties? Like Battle Stations, Repel borders, DC, etc. I remember that I had to stand topside and below decks watch in port, PO in charge of line one or fathometer during manuvering. battle stations primary stack, DC phone talker, wep loadout phone talker,etc addition to my normal rate functions based on where and when.

3/26/2009 1:51 PM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

Another thought and it may create a stir but how can you even be a qualified Submariner without driving and diving duty, quals, time, etc. Submarine crews rely on each other to know what to do and when in the conditions immediatly presented. In seconds! I really don't want to imagine that 4 of the guys on the conn can't drive the boat if the helm/plane operators are injured. Especially while I am getting some rack time. The QM, FT, ET, ST, OOD, COW, etc....anybody in the control room better know how to drive the boat away from danger or to the surface. Thats like saying I'm qualified but when I am standing in XYZ compartment I can't shut a valve as its flooding because thats not my rate. BS! Look at your qual card. The basic skills and knowledge of every job and your boat are what quals are about. I say if you can't or haven't driven a boat then I don't want you on my sub regardless of you rank or rate.

3/26/2009 2:07 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

ELT___2JV said:
"I didn't drive, err... steer the boat so I've been watching from the sidelines on this one. Pretty tragic indeed. That, and all the talk about cloaking devices was pretty funny."........
And then everyone else goes high-order on the qual system. Hmmmmm........He never said he HASN'T driven, just that he DOESN'T dive. Have I sat the Stack before? Yes. Do I sit the Stack? No. Have I done a battery charge before? Yes. Do I do battery charges? No. I think y'all are taking him out of context and indicting the qual system as a result. Does the current qual instruction require a familiarization watch? Yes, it does. BUT...a 2-hour U/I does not a helmsman make...or a BSO...or a BCEF, etc, etc.
Just my observation and my $0.02 worth.

Oh, and ELT....When I referred to 688's being "Messed-with", I meant forward. Heaven forbid NAVSEA-08 have any disparities aft of the door!

3/26/2009 2:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my dictionary, the word "didn't" means "did not", as in, "never". The way he worded it, it means never. That may not have been what he meant, but that's what it says to me....and appears to be backed up by Srvd_.

3/26/2009 2:19 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

In my dictionary, the word "didn't" means "did not", as in, "never". The way he worded it, it means never. That may not have been what he meant, but that's what it says to me....and appears to be backed up by Srvd_.

A PERFECT excuse to go high-order. Thanks for setting me straight.

3/26/2009 2:26 PM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

Missing my point. I want everyone on the boat to not just be familiarized with driving and diving... I want them qualified to operate that system as per the whole Qualified Submarines to the point to where they can be trusted to change depth, level out, surface, change course, etc in an emergency. Everyone that is wearing Dolphins should know how to, have practiced and QUALIFIED on that duty. Did it. know it and can do it. Then you get that sig. I don't understand the confusion. If they took that off a qual card and you don't have to know how to surface or drive the boat.....damn

3/26/2009 2:29 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Missing my point. I want everyone on the boat to not just be familiarized with driving and diving... I want them qualified to operate that system as per the whole Qualified Submarines to the point to where they can be trusted to change depth, level out, surface, change course, etc in an emergency.

Missing mine.....but that, for the moment, is on the back burner. You're saying you want EVERYONE to be QUALIFIED to dive and drive? A fine idea (sort of), but lets get real. With that logic, an ANAV would have the ability to secure a turbine generator in an emergency. With that logic, the Galley Watch Captain can go start up the diesel. The INTENT of Submarine Qualification is to FAMILIARIZE with systems not your own and to give you the ability to perform functions in an emergency. Can I, as DOOW, grab an ELT and throw him on the helm if necessary? Sure. Does he know what those things in front of him are? Probably. Can he reach and maintain ordered depth/course? With a little help from me, yes. Doesn't take a rocket scientist and he certainly doesn't need to be qualified. In a pinch, I could care less if he can draw a block diagram of the external hydraulic system. I DO care that he at least has a clue of what he is looking at, what it does and how to use it. And THAT is the whole point of qualifications. QUALIFY your IN-RATE watches and FAMILIARIZE yourself with everything else. I aint nuclear-trained, but I damn sure know where the SCRAM breakers are and what they do.

3/26/2009 2:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't go all "high order". I just said he had his quals gaffed. Which he did, if he never steered the boat.

Oh, and wrt : "a 2-hour U/I does not a helmsman make"


3/26/2009 3:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an STS that qualified on SSN 751 about 5 years ago and no one in SONAR or Fire Control qualified helmsman/planesman. Just not the manning for it anymore. Too much to do, too little time. Our qual card only said inport/at sea watch, nothing more.

3/26/2009 3:09 PM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

I understand the diff between performing tasks within your rate. BUT, Driving and diving is like DC and firefighting. Starting the reactor or hooking up shore power is not a survival skill. I want to be on a sub with 100+ shipmates that are certified to stop flooding, fight a fire, shut a valve and drive the boat to the surface regardless of rate. I am amazed that driving and diving is off the qual card.

3/26/2009 3:28 PM

Blogger Oz said...


I don't know about the boats you were on, but a Trident isn't hard to steer. It's pretty intuitive. If you need correction, throw in a salty Dive there behind you to slap you in the head when you eff up.

3/26/2009 3:51 PM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Thank you, Oz, that's what I was going to say.

Being able to sit there and move the sticks isn't hard, and if you've got a dive with you, anyone can do it.

but can anyone do it well? That's where I agree with ANAV. The U/I's are good, but it doesn't mean they're a good helm.

Something old phrase about the difference in "certified" and "qualified" comes to mind there.

3/26/2009 5:03 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Ok. Let's settle this one.

1. ELT's are nukes. I stood a shit ton of ERF/ERLL/ERUL and a few ERS.
2. Nukes don't really know how to shoot a torpedo either, but that doesn't mean that I didn't cram and remember some simple schematic about how to do it, but if asked, I wouldn't be able to reproduce the event after about a month beyond my board. Not really necessary info for ORSE.
3. Have I ever steered the boat? YES! It's part of the ERLL qual to do it locally. Did that, got a sig.
4. Did I ever sit in the helm/plane chair (not on a duty day during turn over)? Yes. But I can't recall making any maneuvers. I think my U/I might have lasted about 10 minutes while I was getting a checkout from the dive/COW. I think I explained the hydraulics and operating system to the satisfaction of someone. It's not rocket science to steer the boat.
5. Not withstanding my rocket science comment above, I probably wouldn't be the first one selected to sit in control for watch. Nope, there's about 80 other guys better suited than me (and that includes every officer since they at least watched the operation so often).
6. Did I ever do a lookout U/I? No. I made it into the sail underway twice. It was pretty at night (both times).
7. I never, ever, EVER, let a non-nuke operate anything on my watch that was a nuclear component. Never let an A-ganger clean a LOP, never let a NAV-ET into the RC. Why-- because they weren't qualified to do it. So why would I presume to be qualified to sit at Sonar, or Radio, or QM?

If some casualty caused the immediate death of the cone, then what do I care about the COW or the DIVE? We would have been dead!

FYI. I probably could still find every fire extinguisher and OBA on the boat, and I haven't thought about that in years. So I probably took away from the SS qual what I was supposed to-- damage control.

(And as we've discussed, generally, nuke checkouts are different that those of the average coner-- see a good discussion between Srvd_SSN_CO and me about the USS EISENHOWER ORSE incident "What's Going On" - 2/26/09)

3/26/2009 5:04 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

If you're all done with the virtual slap fight over whether or not everyone should stand helmsman, you need to come Back to the Future on this idea.

Witness: USS Virginia's control room

You likely won't ever find a true nub standing watch on those controls without a lot of adult supervision. This is the new reality.

3/26/2009 5:13 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Oh, and my At Sea watch station was ELT. And my inport watch station was ELT.

Let some TM or SK sample that primary with all those people watching without getting a comment, and then you can appreciate the pain it could be.

[Agreed, most of the time it was the best possible deal on the boat, but when it sucked, it reallly sucked hard-- think 90 hours without sleep for a pre-orse degas, ORSE, and then all the monitored evolutions]

3/26/2009 5:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So then, you did steer the boat. Because you said before you didn't steer the boat. I'm glad we cleared that up.

3/26/2009 5:22 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

1. If any of you think that in 2 hrs you can get good enough at the helms/planes watchstation such that you can keep the ship at PD for a full watch in crappy weather when it counts--you are an idiot and a liar. Get over yourself. I took great pains to protect and assist my ship drivers, because they were the youngest men on the ship and just about the highest stress during mission ops.

2. It might be nice to live in a world where everyone on a sub can do everyone else's job, but in the real world we don't do that. Cones don't stand nuc watches and nucs don't qualify forward. No need. Everyone does firefighting and DC, because that is the same everywhere.

3. No ship I have ever been on required nucs to qualify a single thing forward. Yes they get checkouts on all the systems.

4. Wow, are we off topic.

3/26/2009 6:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that's going all "high order"....

3/26/2009 8:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have something to add to the non-deviation discussion. When I was on HARTFORD (10 years ago), the control room had a lot of unauthorized deviations. We had a a beautiful wooden cabinet (made out of a former keel block) as the OOD desk. We had most of the railing around the periscope stand removed. One of the ships data display units had been cut off, rotated 90 degrees, and re-welded to be more "out of the way." None of those were approved deviations, but they kind of necessary because, as you might expect, a lot of Connecticut VIP's wanted to ride the HARTFORD and these changes made it a lot easier for a lot of folks to stand around in control and see what was going on. I have often wondered how long these mid-watch changes lasted, and I wonder now if these are going to be one of the problems identifed in the investigation.

3/26/2009 9:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skimmers do it better. They always have and they always will.

Deal with it and shaddup!!

Mike Mulligan

3/26/2009 9:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The non-deveation comment above got my attention. I got quite the culture shock on 688s. I was Leading First A-ganger on Seadragon thinking about shipping over again and got a over night ride on the "ultra modern just come around" New York City. Skate boats we stored flour, sugar and coffe outboard in the eng. rm., movies in RCUL, produce in the escape trunks, eggs up between the tubes and walked on cans for a month. I could not believe the space in the engine room. I could have stored a years worth of coffee and cans back aft. AMR could have supported a dozen new lockers.

OOH---Nooo. We don't do that here. We have locker plans!! The other thing that blew me away were DRY bilges. Now what do the words dry and bilge have to do with each other?

Spent the rest of my time on 688s. Good boats. Though I did cuss the designers a time or two on the Dive up north.

Just rambling,

3/26/2009 10:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got another comment. Served-ssn-co
It does my heart good to hear your comments about your ship drivers. Most people don't realize just how much stress that 17-18 year old kid is under for six hours at PD while you're running racetracks all night. Many nights after getting relieved on the Dive I would go down to the Crews Mess and you could tell who had been on the planes--they all just looked beat -up. But the guys that were good could park that thing on a dime.

A few days before one deployment they came out with the no-smoking BS. I explained to the CO and XO that those guys on the planes were going to be under a lot of stress and now was not the time to go "cold turkey" in control. They allowed one person to light up at a time. Good job!!

The deal clincher was that I didn't smoke another cigar for 10 weeks.


3/26/2009 10:38 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"A few days before one deployment they came out with the no-smoking BS. I explained to the CO and XO that those guys on the planes were going to be under a lot of stress and now was not the time to go "cold turkey" in control. They allowed one person to light up at a time. Good job!!"

Dang...I remember the days being the Primary Plotter piloting into Groton with a pencil in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Bright Light, watch yer eyes!

3/27/2009 5:17 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"But the guys that were good could park that thing on a dime."

Hell, half (OK, MOST) of the time I was standing dive, the boys on the sticks would tell ME when to flood and pump. It's all about them, and they can make a DOOW look really smart or really stupid.

3/27/2009 5:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No ship I have ever been on required nucs to qualify a single thing forward. Yes they get checkouts on all the systems."

Station the section tracking party. I think they are starting quals for the two forward nuc watches.

3/27/2009 7:04 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Station the section tracking party. I think they are starting quals for the two forward nuc watches.

Ever wonder why NR has a two watches that are so unnecessary that they can secure them underway? Or is it that vectors just come easier to MM's and EM's than to QM's and RM's?

I always thought that any underway watch that could be sent forward for 2 months in a row probably didn't need to come back aft very often.

3/27/2009 7:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps comparing this incident to the Greeneville.

There are some major differences. The Greeneville hit a merchant ship that does not fall into the water management scheme.

The Hartford struck another Navy vessel. If I remember correctly, anytime a sub and skimmer are operating in the same area, the area around each vessel is managed and controlled. The 2 vessels should not have been in the same waterspace if the submarine was submerged.

Although I am sure there are issues with the way both the sub and surface ship operated, we may actually find out that it was a mistake made at the Group 5 level that controls waterspace management in that area.

3/27/2009 9:32 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Anon Sez:
"The Hartford struck another Navy vessel. If I remember correctly, anytime a sub and skimmer are operating in the same area, the area around each vessel is managed and controlled. The 2 vessels should not have been in the same waterspace if the submarine was submerged."

You do not remember correctly. All I'll say here.

The same ANON sez:
"Although I am sure there are issues with the way both the sub and surface ship operated, we may actually find out that it was a mistake made at the Group 5 level that controls waterspace management in that area."

It wasn't. All I'll say here.

3/27/2009 9:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to Served SSN-CO re: comments on ship control party. My last boat was SS-580. Snorkel transit standard on three (13kts) with a 1.5 inch vacuum in the boat. You dunk the head valve you got about 30 seconds before high vacuum shutdown. We stood 4 X 8 all the time because the ship control party was wrung-out after 4 hours.

Agree with Ret ANAV. On a 6 month deployment with the same ship control watch team, those guys got really, really good at maintaining ordered depth and course. I used to do the samething with my planesmen. I'd ask them how much water they wanted moved, in-out, and to where, and then see how long we could go with minimal planes usage.

About 8 months after leaving SS-580 in 1975 with transfer to CSP Staff I rode SS-581 for a week. The COB, David Babcock put me on the dive, a EMCS(SS)who was also an SS-580 sailor on CSP Staff, was EWS in same watch section. Our watch section OOD was also a former SS-580 guy. We got a lot of milage that week about the 580 watch section onboard.

Yaah those were the days............

Keep a zero bubble...........


3/27/2009 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spun up some people commenting on quals for driving and diving. I think I'm going to exit this topic with this statement. Times have obviously changed regarding quals. I still feel everybody that is (SS)should be able to regain control to save the rest of the crew when the normal watchstanders are incapacitated. Second, on the last boat I was on we had Nukes not only qualified on coner systems but they actually stood 3 section duty for months in SONAR. I'm thinking that things have changed after reading some of the responses to my post. That's a shame that they changed the quals and Nuke & Coner cross training.

3/27/2009 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to the subject at hand.....

Read an article online yesterday by psudo-submariner Joe Buff offering his opinions on "how it happened."

He offers up the notion of sneaking into port underneath the New Orleans a-la, get this, the movie Destination Tokyo. He also thought that Hartford might have been de-lousing an Iranian boat that was trailing the New Orleans. You can find the entire article at Defense

Joe, if your reading this blog as I suspect you are, quite pretending to be a submarine expert.

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


3/27/2009 12:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are being awfully vicious on Joe as he obviously has a lot of operational experience and I quote:

" of the 15 or so USN SSNs on which I've had dock tours or a Tiger Cruise..."

Why, back in my day on SSN's, we would hang around 1-SD submerged until a skimmer came by and we would sneek into the harbor under him, make a sharp left at sub base, pull up to the pier and then surface.


3/27/2009 1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that there's funny - I don't care who you are!

3/27/2009 2:44 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

You think that's sumthin? We'd tie up submerged and lock out for liberty...

3/27/2009 3:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your my kinda guy!! I can't top that one.... Wait a minute, that reminds me of a story...........

Keep a zero bubble..........


3/27/2009 3:37 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

nucs standing 1/3 in sonar? Must have been nice being 1/2 aft. There just aren't enough people for all that.

Oh, as for STP, I never used nucs. Had no need. I didn't think making extra room on the fwd watchbill was worth giving up the two guys aft.

3/27/2009 5:12 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Not much of an update, but The Day in New London has a news article out in the last several hours on Hartford.

They claim investigators confirm the "about 85 degrees" of roll, and that the propulsion plant was "not affected." Looks like the port bow plane took a hit as well during the collision and roll.

3/27/2009 6:22 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

Actually, there's better info here at this Navy Times article, as it refers to the investigating officer in the JAGMAN investigation as being the Dock Landing Ship Class Squadron commodore, Captain Craig Kleint.

(Nice work if you can get it, I suppose..."no conflict of interest here, laddies.")

An unnamed submarine officer is stated as being the senior member of the separate Safety Investigation Review. The claim is that his name is "not releasable" until the SIR is complete.

Both investigations are on a 30-day initial timeline.

3/27/2009 6:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

""" Srvd_SSN_CO said...
nucs standing 1/3 in sonar? Must have been nice being 1/2 aft. There just aren't enough people for all that. """""

No the Nucs were 1/3 while moving a few forward and would have been 1/4 in a couple watch stations. So they augmented forward for coner watch duties but still did PMs aft which made the 1/3 Nucs in a real sweat position. The STS watch section was the one that was short handed because we lost a few due to TAD "needs". This was the 80's. You know Cold War...CIC Reagan...that whole USSR thingy going on. Besides the nukes actually enjoyed the time away from the RCP or Plant and learn something new. I wasn't suprised, but the nukes who stood SONAR watches actually out geeked some of the STS guys when it came to ..... lets just say complex calculations dealing with sound travel. We used hand held calculators in those days. Nukes are good with calculators and like to sit in a dark room with headphones listening to whale farts.

3/27/2009 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant Sweet not Sweat

3/27/2009 7:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“We go right through the fence?”?

Hmmm, Didn't I talk about thrust reversers at the top of this article...we can see the accident coming?

MARCH 27, 2009, 3:09 P.M. ET
Aviation Regulators Increase Scrutiny of Engine Parts

Concerned about potentially hazardous engine components on hundreds of Boeing Co. and Airbus aircraft, U.S. and European aviation regulators are stepping up scrutiny of certain parts designed to help jets slow down after landing.

mike mulligan

The safety issues have prompted extra attention from government and industry experts in recent months, due to a flurry of incidents in which devices called thrust reversers malfunctioned on the ground, or pieces broke off in flight. Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have increased oversight by ordering a series of inspections and fixes of these systems on various wide-body and smaller aircraft models. There also has been controversy over whether some repairs were done properly.
Attached to the rear of engines, the thrust reversers have moveable panels that redirect thrust after touchdown to assist in braking. If they fail to work properly or swivel open to deflect engine thrust during flight, the results can be unpredictable and dangerous.

3/27/2009 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Mike, I guess you did say something about that. You also said something about eating poo and paint chips in reactor compartments. We believe all of it.

3/27/2009 8:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually he never said anything about thrust reversers. You are right about the poo however.

3/27/2009 8:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion Mike. Stop eating poo.

3/27/2009 8:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

but please, keep eating the paint chips, mike. They're good for you.

3/27/2009 9:12 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...


Maybe it's time to close this one too...

3/27/2009 10:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any "unofficial" news on the investigation? Please no speculation on discipline options (out of fairness for those involved).

3/28/2009 2:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how they decided to have the amphib commodore do the JAGMAN instead of the sub ISIC. I would imagine there will have to be a good bit of training on proper periscope discipline in order for him to rule on this one. Anyone remember who did the GREENEVILLE - OGDEN JAGMAN?

3/28/2009 6:56 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

To put some perspective on my doubts on a safe RTP to shipyard surfaced with no periscopes:

3/28/2009 7:48 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Yikes! I know a number of guys who made the SFO surface transit from Guam to was not fun. Round bottom ships were not made to be stable on the surface in any kind of seas. They will have to have an escort such that they drive with the bridge secured most of the time.

It's gonna suck on soooo many levels.

3/28/2009 4:18 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

Yuck, talk about sub woffers.

3/28/2009 6:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Srvd SSN CO,

Put'em in dry dock, weld on some bilge keels, and they can run surfaced just like Fleet boats. a litte rolling don't hurt anyone....

Keep a zero bubble.......


3/29/2009 10:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It waas interesting to read a lot of your comments. I have no clue what you're talking about on several levels...but I do have an opinion....(my son serves on the Hartford). One thing that I wonder about...I understand that it is pretty standard to be relieved of duty when something like that happens....but I wonder....Unless someone was REALLY screwing around, and REALLY did some totally stupid things... it seems that it would maybe be better to keep them. Fortunately, my son will retain his position aboard, but his comment was something to the effect that he learned a lot from the incident, and that he thinks that if a similar situation occured again, he'd be better prepared to avoid the collision because of the experience. Oh, I razzed him about "my tax dollars hard at work", but sometimes mistakes make you better for the experience. My dad (also a navy man from WWII) has a poster in his office that says, "Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from poor judgement." We are human... that means none of us are perfect. Accidents happen. That's why they're called accidents. If they were pre-planned, they'd be called something different. I wonder if it would be better not to have a standing rule that if a screw-up like this happens, you lose your command; but rather your whole career looked at, and on the whole, are you highly competant, or a screw-up in several other matters..... just wondering....since I don't really know much about subs.
navy parent

6/16/2009 3:10 AM


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