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.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

More Info On The Hartford Collision

There's an article in Stars and Stripes that seems to say the Navy is confirming that USS Hartford took a very serious roll when when was hit; the article in question says the roll was as much as 85 degrees. The fact that the boat was able to continue operating after such a transient is a testimony to the skill of her designers and builders.

Also, Lt. Raymond Perry USN (Ret.), noted skimmer asshat, put in his two cents about the Hartford collision; as usual, his suppositions are the equivalent of suppositories, in that he just pulls stuff out of his ass. He apparently thinks that submariners get hurt from 10-20 degree rolls, even through we routinely practice angles in excess of that. Read his article over at SFTT (Motto: Badgering good men to suicide since 1996) if you want a laugh.


Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Angles and dangles. Beats me what the roll angles were. I was always back aft chasing the water down the walkways with kim-wipes. [Those damn spot coolers!]

4/01/2009 6:38 AM

Blogger Chap said...

How about, you know, just driving on the surface in iffy weather? You can get quite a good little roll with a good wave or two...

4/01/2009 6:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was helmsman on Miami during initial sea trials where we were required to reach and maintain significant rolls in both directions for equipment testing. I'm not honestly sure if I can say exactly what roll angles we are tested to, but it's more than the 10 or 15 mentioned here, and its a lot of fun.


4/01/2009 6:52 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Once had to emergency surface a diesel, TANG class. Boat had SubSafe EMBT system, but 'successful' EMBT blow in this class required boat to have considerable way on before blowing or vertical speed would cause sail to act as planing surface and roll boat hard.

In this case, had no chance to speed up - extremely heavy forward, heavy overall, and OOD had just backed down to try to kill nose-down progress so essentially DIW and sinking (don't ask). We hit the chicken switches.

On ascent took roll to port estimated at over 90 deg from impact mark of CO2 extinguisher hitting bulkhead higher than hook it came off of on opposite bulkhead athwartships in crews mess.

No injuries. Only gear adrift besides cooking chow was the CO2 bottle, so boat well rigged for sea (one really worries about the fish in the skids). Zero ground - cleared it in about 4 hours. As an old XO once said, "If you ain't lucky we can't use you."

4/01/2009 7:08 AM

Anonymous Carl said...

I was a middy 3rd on summer cruise on the Lewis & Clark. We were in the North Atlantic and under the left overs of a hurricane when we went up to PD. I was the helmsman and we had some severe rolls during that time. Part of it was my fault as I lost track of heading during all the excitement which put us at on the wrong track with the seas abeam.

A similar occurence, this time with myself as OOD many years later (different boomer, same class). We were under a good storm at about 400 ft and rolling about five degrees or so. The captain wasn't liking the motion so he came to the con and ordered me deeper to make the ride more comfortable. It worked and that ability to adjust one's environment is just one reason I enjoyed being on the boats vs the skimmers.

4/01/2009 7:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity how many people have gotten sick on these boats traveling in storms?

4/01/2009 8:20 AM

Blogger Submaster said...

Looking at a picture in the Navy looks like a STBD list but its not, the sail is bent STBD. This is some serious damage. They may have to cut the entire sail off and put it back on. What a mess.

4/01/2009 8:21 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

"Out of curiosity how many people have gotten sick on these boats traveling in storms?"

Ain't a horse never been rode - ain't a cowboy never been throwed...

4/01/2009 8:57 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

"Out of curiosity how many people have gotten sick on these boats traveling in storms?"

It's nice to be able to change depth to reduce rolling, unfortunately mother nature sometimes doesn't cooperate. Typhoon above + 300ft below = lots of puke.


4/01/2009 9:48 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

A night in 25+ foot waves and no water to operate in. So bad the Skipper brought the OOD down, but that just meant dancing with the one eyed lady all night. Many a cookie was tosssed by all.

4/01/2009 10:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surface transit across the English Channel. Helsman tied a trash bag around his neck so he had something to puke in. Flipped it over his head, puked, pulled it down to check course. Water down the bridge access trunk and rolls much bigger than 20 degrees. I think the contact coordinator barfed down the scope well.


4/01/2009 11:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1975 - post overhaul sea trials on SSBN 610. Big waves and full of shipyard riders. Got some good rolls on the surface. They were probably not more than 20 to 25 degrees, but they came unexpectedly and caught people off guard. Why the head cook picked spaghetti and meat sauce for supper remains a mystery.

Imagine the sudden roll and the big platters of spaghetti flying across the mess decks to land on several other sea sick people. That seems to have triggered a lot more of hunting for "Ralph".

4/01/2009 12:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god! we are all going to die!!

I'm going to the store for more tin foil!


4/01/2009 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god! we are all going to die!!

I'm going to the store for more tin foil!


4/01/2009 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Bubblehead, can you clean up the mess? It double posted and the link was supposed to be


4/01/2009 1:12 PM

Blogger phw said...

...Previous Anon "Jerry"

This is hyperventilating crap.

4/01/2009 1:25 PM

Blogger Joel Croteau said...

You should do what Keith Olbermann does and start calling him "Comedian Raymond Perry."

4/01/2009 1:30 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Some interesting comments over on the USNI blog, including report of pretty severe damage to p-hull.

4/01/2009 2:37 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

The USNI blog was interesting and disturbing.

I am amazed at the idiots who are clearly posting as if they have corporate knowledge when they clearly don't. One guy asks if the Hartford was scheduled for refueling; no more 688s are scheduled for refueling and I have to believe EVERYONE knows that. The stars and stripes said the port bow plane was on the sail.

Yikes. Then someone said PH was closer to Bahrain than Groton. Come on! The Atlantic is a puddle compared to the Pac. As the crow flies it is 2000+ miles further to HI.

Oh, as for rolls and angles, it is rare to roll the ship more than 10 degrees unless you are in crappy weather on the surface. Yuck.

4/01/2009 4:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Transiting from Groton to Block Island on the La Jolla in 1981 in state 7 seas. Maneuvering from Control on the Scope. Every hole on that boat that went to a San Tank had someone puking in it. The watches had garbage bags tied to their necks. I wasn’t sick but I was going crazy with the DP on the O2 Gen.
The XO, JC McMaccon (Spelled that incorrectly) came in to the Machineray Space eating Sardines. Great man with a twisted sense of humor.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

4/01/2009 4:24 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

"The XO, JC McMaccon (Spelled that incorrectly) came in to the Machineray Space eating Sardines. Great man with a twisted sense of humor."

We used tins of smoked oysters on Ustafish. Effective even in sea state 2 on NUBs.


4/01/2009 5:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - John McMacken - there's a name I haven't heard in awhile. He once wrote an eval that had only one sentence in it:

"I wouldn't trade this Chief for a case of Jack Daniels."

The guy made E-8.

4/01/2009 6:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had to drive in on the surface to the Loch in the early 90's to do a PERTRANS. The seas were so bad that we had to go all the way into the Clyde, so we got to spend 18 wonderful hours on the surface on the way in. We estimated that we were taking 30+ degree rolls most of the way in. Back aft, it was roll left, "HONK; roll right, "HONK" nonstop for hours. It got so bad at one point that the thottleman's bench broke loose and the thottleman kissed the evaporator. Best Christmas Day underway underway EVER!

4/01/2009 6:25 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

Okay, you already said Perry wears his ass on his head. Even so, how does it logically follow that "bowplane damage" automatically indicates an "up angle?"

4/01/2009 7:20 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Wow. Mad Dog--what a character. I was but a mere mid on his fast attack command back in the day. 0200 PD he'd show up on the conn looking through the scope wearing nothing but red Speedos. Spectacular wirebrusher, too, but consistent from what little I saw of him. His crew didn't like the wire brush but said they'd go to war with him any time...

4/01/2009 7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


RE: "This is hyperventilating crap."

I damned near hyperventilated from laughing so hard at the article (-;

Don the Baptist,

RE: "...does it logically follow that "bow plane damage" automatically indicates an "up angle?"

My guess would be that a near 90 degree roll would put the plane straight up and and I would bet that is what ripped the tanks on the NO rather than the sail.

On the puke topic...

In the early 70's we ran out the Straits of Juan de Fuca on the surface in a Skipjack class boat in crappy weather. I spent as much time as I could on the AMSUL steps as that was near the CG. It was not the rocking and rolling that was getting to me as much as the smell of all the puke running up and down and sideways!


4/01/2009 8:37 PM

Blogger MM1(SS) - ELT said...

I just found this blog a couple weeks ago looking for info after the Hartfort's get together with the New Orleans.


Back in the early 70's the Tulibee colided with a freighter in a storm while surfacing off of New London. Ripped a big hole in one of her forward ballast tanks. She came limping into New London with a pronounced list and down at the bow.

Served aboard on a boat in SubRon6 and DevGrp2 in the early 70's. Like all boats out of New London during that period we did our share of time transiting across the North Atlantic with some pretty nasty storms blowing topside. I have no idea how big the rolls were. Suffice it to say that it was nearly impossible to stay in your rack and we had guys getting sick while running at 400ft.

4/01/2009 9:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On puking:

Leaving Hong Kong, sea state 0-1. I was the ANAV on the scope, puking the whole time. Might have been the beer or someone I ate.

The NAV told me those where some of the best fixes that I had ever shot. I didn't have the heart to tell him I couldn't recognize half the NAVAIDS. Lucky I had made the transit several times before and I was a good guesser.

Ahhh, the good old days!

Jim C.

4/01/2009 9:21 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"My guess would be that a near 90 degree roll would put the plane straight up"

Sorry, maybe I was mistaking the plane being straight up for the plane itself being set at an up angle.

4/01/2009 9:40 PM

Blogger Jay said...

Best nights ever at sea, massive storm above, nice gentle rolls at 300 feet. probably no more than 5-10 degrees, but so good for sleeping.

ahhhh, those were the days.

4/01/2009 10:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

don does raise an interesting question.

Since I have only witnessed LA class from afar...

Many if not most were designed for under ice ops so my assumption is that the planes retract into the superstructure as opposed to folding externally?


4/01/2009 11:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Many if not most were designed for under ice ops so my assumption is that the planes retract into the superstructure as opposed to folding externally?"

They're only extended laterally for surfaced operations. Normally they're deployed in the forward hydrospike configuration, which allows for a 2-3 knot improvement in cruising speed at design reactor power (1.21 jigawatts)

4/02/2009 12:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity how many people have gotten sick on these boats traveling in storms?

Transiting the Irish Sea on the Grant. Heard a 688 caught in the same storm had her upper torpedo loading hatch torn off in the seas! I won awards for "Volume, Distance, and Style". (The two corner spaghetti bank shot in the starboard head put me over the top in the competition.)

4/02/2009 3:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

18 hours in the wash of a hurricane with no reactor (busted card the XO had to solder back together). Like the guy above it wasn't the rolls that bother you, it was the fact that I was getting no sleep and everything smelled like vomit and beenies & weenies. (Yes, beenies & weenies, then field day, then the reactor pops a cork.) Strangely I didn't puke that time, the only time I ever did was as a mess cook packing trash on a surface transit. (Damn bacon.)

-Draamal (MM3/SS)

4/02/2009 5:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon, 4/10 @6:09 and Chap:
Skip Beard was the CO and JC McMacken were, IMHO, the best CO/XO team I served with. Beard had a great ability to see the whole picture and he was fair in all that I saw him do. McMacken was aggressive but a regular Joe type guy. He wasn’t afraid to come down to AMR, kick his feet up and ask my opinion. I don’t have too much of a filter between my brain and my mouth so he got what I thought.
I saw him a few years later when he was in San Diego on the Trident he was CO on. I understand he passed away while teaching at Canoe U.
Great boat, Great Crew.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

4/02/2009 7:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's true - McMacken died of brain cancer around 1998. To many people, that explained some of his stranger behavior. Still very sad, left a young family behind.

4/02/2009 7:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"1st – The damage was significant but not major in the sense that neither ship’s hull suffered damage such that either the watertight envelope of the Hartford was pierced or that might break the back of the New Orleans. If the Navy photo does indeed show that the sail has been bent to starboard then this was no small “bump in the night."

Its called a "keel". I doubt this guys was ever in the Navy.

4/02/2009 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber ducky--RE: EMBT Blow on 563 class boats. I was on 619 in off-crew in charleston SC in 1964 when one of the fab-four (Harder-Darter-Trigger and Trout always in and never out) I think it was Trigger, went on sea trials following installation of EMBT Blow system. Reports we heard at the local submarine watering hole on Reynolds Ave. re: her test of the EMBT blow system was same as you reported in your post. They didn't know about the speed requirement on Tang Class at that time. After surfacing with an 80 plus degree roll and about a 15 degree up angle the skipper is reported to have said, "The G**D*** boat can sink before I'll ever use that system again."

On smoke boats where most of your transits were surfaced very common to experience rolling in heavy weather. My worst experience was on a fleet snorkel boat enroute Okinawa for mine plant. We brushed a typhoon and were constantly corkscrewing with rolls between 15 to 45 degrees to starboard as well as taking green water over the bridge when the bow and forward deck would get crushed by rollers. Shut down #2 and #4 engines due to concern loss of suction for cooling water. Ran the LP blower on the tanks every half hour. I swear, looking forward from forward Battery compartment through WT Door into FTR you could see the hull twist when we got socked by a really big one. I grabbed three come-a-longs out of the after engine room to back up sea straps on the drill mines in reload postion for TT # 8. Pretty scary for a newby submariner in 1960. Funny thing, I never did barf in heavy weather, stomach did get a bit queasy from time to time.

Keep a zero bubble......


4/02/2009 12:52 PM

Blogger John Byron said...


Similar surfaced conditions in the Bashi Channel Christmas '75 in TROUT. Plus we were (for a short time) down to one engine. Problem wasn't the sea state itself (a solid 5 at least) but that we just could not make headway - PIM was a dot receding in front of us. Can was full, so skipper said screw it, pointed the seas, and submerged. We made good speed deep (standard bell as I recall), drained the can, surfaced and jammed the can, then repeated. Our SOA was significantly better this way than running on top.

And the tender point when COG and COB coincide, slap-on-sail will turn you over? No hint of a problem ... but we sure were careful to point the seas on diving.

4/02/2009 2:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky,

I heard that stuff about diving in heavy weather, never on smoke boat that did. Don't know about roll over, willing to bet you'd get a bad knock down though, is that what you ment?

580 boat on surface in heavy weather was a real treat. Short hull 219 feet. Heading into the seas with green water over the sail. Snorkeling on the surface with bridge watch secured. Period between waves was such we'd go over one then under the next. Got driven down to 90 feet several times. Good thing we were only on one engine, think we were under for damn near 45+ seconds. What a trip!!!

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


4/02/2009 4:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo jackass - why are you discussing specific failure modes of the engineering plant on an open forum?

1) It adds no value to the discussion
2) It's boring

It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that ships aren't designed to operate sideways.

4/02/2009 6:14 PM

Blogger MM1(SS) - ELT said...

I'm sorry Seabag, I must have missed the post where you were declared King.

4/02/2009 7:57 PM

Anonymous Carl said...

What was written could be deduced from any PWR operation. Didn't see anything particularly "enlightening".

4/02/2009 9:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Shut Up!

MM1 was talking about back up systems, Propulsion Equipment, and Plane Control Hydraulics.

All of this shit can be looked up on Wiki, Yahoo search and plenty of other search engines. MM1 said nothing out of order here. Not everyone knows what a ballast tank is or why one might feel a tit bit sick after multiple roles past 30 degrees.

It's not like he's relaying intel on what boat is where and which boat is doing what at this very given moment.

4/02/2009 9:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Velly Intellesting, American Joes.

4/02/2009 9:37 PM

Blogger Bigbill said...

When I was on the usta-state in the late 80's I was doing a gas cal on an EOG when we got sucked up in heavy seas. The COW said that we rolled 48 degrees to port and then 40 to starboard. All I know is that I slid across the space on my back hugging the hydrogen bottle and had to get six stitches above my right ear but I had to wait my turn in the corpsman line.

4/02/2009 9:43 PM

Anonymous ELT1(SS) said...

I wonder what Nucleonics looked like after that!

4/02/2009 9:55 PM

Blogger Spearfish said...

Did she roll 85 degrees out of the vertical or 42.5 degrees each way?

4/03/2009 2:44 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

ELT1(SS) said...

"I wonder what Nucleonics looked like after that!"

Probably not much different than it did before the roll :P .


4/03/2009 6:41 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Much as I hate to mention it, virtually everything back aft is designated NNPI, whether it's classified or not (unclassified still means NOFORN). It doesn't matter what they're GUESSING in Jane's or Wiki, when it comes from a squid, it's being confirmed.

Yes, a lot of what we do seems simple or obvious to us, but remember, it is the end result of a fifty-year long effort that makes the great pyramid look like a tree house in comparison. Do you really want to give some country run by religious nutjobs a fifty year head start towards messing with us?

4/03/2009 7:28 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

So the bad guys are going to know how to build a nuclear submarine. Got it. Two questions: how do they launch it from a cave...and where do they get the money to pay the nuke bonuses?

Get a grip. Paranoid fantasies about the security of common knowledge are just that: paranoid.

4/03/2009 7:56 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Get back in the tub, Ducky. 5510.32c (not me) spells out exactly what is "common knowledge" and what isn't. If you want to tell '08 they're being paranoid, go for it. But I'm thinking they know a lot more about it than we do.

And I'm not worried about someone in a cave, I'm worried about someone like India. Are you going to tell all of us India doesn't have the industrial capability of building a plant *if* they knew how to go about it?

4/03/2009 8:47 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

4/03/2009 8:54 AM

Blogger phw said...

Got news for you dude-- India already knows how to build nuclear submarines.

They also have leased nuclear submarines from Russia. There is nothing here that aids them or anyone else in how to build or run nuclear submarines.

4/03/2009 8:58 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

Rubber Ducky,

You signed a non-disclosure contract with the government legally binding you to not divulge information that the government determines as classified. The U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to free speech; you voluntarily forfeit that right concerning classified material when you signed that piece of paper.


4/03/2009 9:01 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

An overview of the classification guidance topics are provided below to help reviewers determine classified NNPI that is exempt from automatic declassification (XAD) NSI. For more specific topics and further detailed classification guidance, reviewers shall refer to CG-RN-1, Revision 2, DOE-DOD Classification Guide for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. NNPI shall not be declassified or released without the authority of Office of Naval Reactors personnel. This does not include information classified by statute, such as the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954, as amended, export control statues and other government regulations. RD and FRD shall be handled, protected, classified, downgraded, and declassified in conformity with the provisions of the AEA and regulations issued under that Act.


4/03/2009 9:02 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

As far as India, I was referring to the ability to build a modern plant like S9G as opposed to an S2W. But that just helps prove my point - any sufficiently industrialized nation *can* built one, if they get the know-how. India didn't develop it from scratch.

4/03/2009 9:06 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Those of us who swore an oath at commissioning swore to uphold the Constitution, not the paranoid fears of NR.

The cat's out of the sack. Any idea that simple design concepts and common operational details are in any way secure is simply ignorant. The folks who are curious about how we boil water have no real barriers to that information. It's a silly concern.

4/03/2009 9:09 AM

Blogger phw said...

Anything here might be applied to S1W. And they are leasing Russian nuclear submarines, so I would say they are beyond first generation.

4/03/2009 9:10 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I deleted a comment, so all the subsequent discussion of NNPI might not make much sense. It was a close call, so hopefully the commenter won't feel too upset that I deleted it, and I hope he continues commenting.

4/03/2009 9:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Ducky gets to choose which regulations he obeys? Where do I sign up for THAT navy? The one I'm in is a little more strict.

4/03/2009 9:41 AM

Blogger phw said...

Ducky has not broken any regulations that I can see. Further the physics and machinary related to steam plants, nuclear plants, and propulsion plants are well known and are not classified. Nothing said or was said here earlier was specific to Naval plants.

4/03/2009 9:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think previous anonymous post was referring to the statement:

Those of us who swore an oath at commissioning swore to uphold the Constitution, not the paranoid fears of NR.

Which, coming on the heels of a post listing a rule against releasing certain information, tends to imply that rubber ducky feels no need to follow said rule. No one was saying rubber ducky himself broke any rules, but I think some of us might have a problem with the argument he made that it's okay to do so.

Also, how screwed up is it when FTN, of all people, raised this issue?

4/03/2009 10:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USS Lipscomb was a one off experimental sub, long, underpowered and heavy. We was in the North Atlantic with a raging winter storm about us. We got a scram and we couldn’t determine what caused it. So we came up to PD to go on the diesels. We had a terrible time controlling the boat. We kept rolling big time, it was actually was quite exhilarating, and submerging, depth control...this caused our diesel generators to trip about three times. We started up the reactor twice and it tripped each time...we had a intermittent short somewhere and we couldn’t find it.

We decided to surface because of issues with the DG and battery drainage. The rocking and rolling even got worst...biggest I have seen by a way lot. For some reason they put men up on the sail. She just couldn’t be controlled with the big waves. One wave came and it submerged the whole sail under the ocean with three men up there. We got a ton of water flooding into the maneuvering. We resurfaced and it was lucky we didn’t lose somebody overboard...never mind the ship.

The CO called them from the sail and he order us to dive to 400 feet. He ordered us to use that big “override” switch and start up that god damn reactor as quick as you can. That baby came right up without any problems. It was a insignificant short in the nuclear instrumentation and a new card fixed it.

From then afterwards in the history books, it was written we had issues with maneuverability and control.

Mike Mulligan

4/03/2009 10:31 AM

Blogger phw said...

Well, this thread about NNPI begs the question--

Isn't about time that NR declassify S1W?

4/03/2009 11:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


This last post just almost proves your only contact with submarines and sumbariners is when you masturbate while reading "Run Silent, Run Deep".

Sea water coming in through the bridge access trunk goes into the control room, not maneuvering. You twit.....

4/03/2009 11:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: comments on Indian Navy and Nuc boats. Have it on good authority that IN first experience with soviet Nuc boats (November Class?) was a disaster. That boat spent most of it's time in drydock or pierside.

Given Soviet/Russian track record with Nuc Powered ships/submarines, I say let India buy a dozen or so, and use Russian Nuc Plant Designs as their basis for domestic development.

Leasing a Russian boat only gives you a piece of the picture of what the real cost of operating a serious Nuc submarine force is VS it's effectiveness.

I've got a lot more concern about potential adversaries that buy state of the art AIP boats.

HMS Gotlands two year "fleet familiarization" tour with the USN was a real wake up call. We're still trying to figure out how to master it.

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


4/03/2009 11:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mikey Mulligan!!

This is your kindergarten teacher speaking!...Report to the Principal's office NOW!

How many times have you been told not to talk out of turn and not to be running around loose without adult supervision? No afternoon recess for you young man! Now sit there and be quiet and think about what you did.

4/03/2009 12:01 PM

Anonymous Spade said...

"Those of us who swore an oath at commissioning swore to uphold the Constitution, not the paranoid fears of NR. "

There's a part of that oath that makes reference to 'orders'. Orders that might involve paranoid fears, classifications, opsec, and need to know.

4/03/2009 1:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Duck -

Shut yer hole. You don't make the rules, you just get to follow them. No one gives a crap whether you agree with them or not. I tend to think the folks back east kinda know what they're doing, seeing's how we're still here and the soviets aren't. You wanna talk nukes? Go back aft and talk away. But keep that crap on the boat where it belongs.


4/03/2009 4:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gathering intelligence is like a 1500 peice jigsaw puzzle, if you get enough pieces that fit together, it is not long before you have most of the picture.
Aloha Friday,
Retired Spook

4/03/2009 5:52 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

No, PHW, I don't think they should declassify anything that has to do with nuclear power.

Submarines have been a decisive weapon for the last hundred years, and I have no desire to see more countries with nuclear powered ones, even if they are Nautilus-era designs. Even the Nautilus was vastly superior to the conventional submarines when it appeared; couple that propulsion with modern electronics and you've got one hell of a threat.

People often talk about how our technology is commonly available. Some of it is. But, that's like saying the answer to a riddle is obvious after someone told you what it was. There may have been fifty different ways a system could be put together; it's classified because we tried all fifty and figured out which way was the best. We want everyone else to do the same, not hand them the information on a plate because you or the Duck feel like forming a one-man derivative classifier team.

4/03/2009 6:17 PM

Blogger phw said...

Wow! You guys are really wound up tight around this. I asked if you thought it was time to Naval Reactors to declassify S1W (ie open up the engine spaces of Nautilus). The prevailing opinion is no-- You are really worried about 50 year old technology. And no, Rickover did not build 50 prototype power plants before he came up with S1W. And S1W is not the perfection of sub plants. Even the Russians built better and they sell it.

There are only a few countries capable of building such ships and they already know how to do it. They are either already doing it (Russia, China, US) or choose not to (Japan, Germany). Few other countries are remotely capable of affording such an activity. I am sure that NR has a good reason to keep S1W under wraps, but I am very sure it has nothing to do with proliferation.

Look, I am not advocate of violating instructions, breaking rules, or insulting the sensibilities of the fellow posters on this blog. Also I will not provide details or confirm the details of another post (a point you security guys seemed to have missed). I just wish people followed a little more common sense and realize, as Rubber Ducky pointed out, that boiling water is not classified. In any event, Joel removed the offending information.

4/03/2009 8:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan must have been a cook!

4/04/2009 3:51 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

jeez. Yes a lot of NNPI is classified, but the general workings of the plant are not. The keys to the kingdom are quieting and long lived cores. Many, many countries build and operate PWRs. For submarine use you have to make one small and durable. Challenging, but not impossible. The PRC launched their first one a very long time ago. India, when and if they ever launch theirs, is just the latest. But possession is boring.

The more interesting discussion is what do you think the IN and CH navies plan to do with SSNs that they can't already do with SSs? Need a lot of plusses to equal the cost. But then again, having a big johnson is a big plus.

4/04/2009 6:20 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

You guys who are so tightly wrapped about keeping the 'secrets' of nuclear power secure - you ought to get out more. The real secrets - things like how the nukes have kept the bonus alive all these years - are well protected. But baseline info about fundamental design and operations? It's available, easily and readily.

In the early '80s the Naval Institute asked me to evaluate a book manuscript for possible publication by the Naval Institute Press. I did the review. My initial recommendation was to not publish it - too replete with classified information.

I got two phone calls within 15 minutes, one from my buddy the editor at Proceedings, who said the author swore he got all his information open source. I said I didn't believe it. Then I got a second call, from the author, an insurance guy named Tom Clancy. He also claimed vociferously that all his info was obtained open source. I said again I didn't believe it.

He then went on to reveal his sources, something I've never heard again from Tom in the many years I've known him. He asked me if I knew where he lived. No. '"Owings, MD." He asked if I knew what was nearby. No. "Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant." "I sell insurance to the guys who work there. I drink beer with them, talk about the good old days back when they were in submarines. They tell me sea stories..."

After this input, I reversed myself and recommended to the Naval Institute that they publish the book, predicting that it would get onto the New York Times best-seller list. Neither the editor nor Clancy believed me - it ended up number 2 on the list and got Clancy a trip to meet President Reagan.

And Ron Thunman, OP-02 at the time and the head submariner, bought the book by case lots and handed it out to anyone he was lobbying for submarines ... even though it had a grunch of classified info in it. Frank Kelso had me ship him 20 copies to his Sixth Fleet HQs in the Med so he could hand them out. Somehow these two great submariners thought the classification issue was a non-issue.

Go back and read the level of 'classified' info in The Hunt For Red October. Open source, gathered by an insurance salesman in rural Maryland. In the height of the Cold War. Now tell me how important it is to safeguard otherwise unclassified information about old nuclear plants and their operation.

You need to get out more....

4/04/2009 7:17 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

"I sell insurance to the guys who work there. I drink beer with them, talk about the good old days back when they were in submarines. They tell me sea stories..."

That's not open source, Duck, that's more submariners forgetting their oaths. It's just this sort of thing that NR is trying to prevent.

If the information was classified (and the SOSUS net *was*, before that dingledork Clancy) it should have stayed that way. In your place, I would have reported Clancy to NIS, stamped "classified" on his manuscript, and slept easier at night.

4/04/2009 7:36 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Right. Get out more...

4/04/2009 7:52 AM

Blogger phw said...

If I were you, I would be less concerned about nuclear technology and more concerned about battery technology. Imagine electric submarines with the submergence range and speed of a nuclear submarine. This coming and coming sooner than you think.

4/04/2009 8:04 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

"The Silent Service's greatest single injury in World War II was inflicted not by the enemy, but by a politician. In 1943, sixty-eight-year-old Congressman Andrew Jackson May, a member of the House Military Affairs Committee, held a press conference and mentioned the unmentionable- Japanese claims of submarine sinkings were way too high because they set their depth charges to go off at too shallow a depth.
His statement outraged every submariner in the service. It was an amazing breach of security, unrivaled during the war. And it didn't take long for the Japanese navy to learn of it through newspaper reports, and then quickly adjust its depth-charge settings accordingly. Lockwood was furious. "I hear Congressman May said the depth charges are not set deep enough," he explained in a letter dripping with sarcasm. "He would be pleased to know [the Japanese] set them deeper now." Later, Lockwood stated: "I consider that indiscretion cost us ten submarines and eight hundred officers and men."

(From Escape from the Deep, by Alex Kershaw)

4/04/2009 8:06 AM

Anonymous KEY said...

Duck-man, are you the turd responsible for Clancy? Just for that, I'd have you smashing trash for the rest of your days on our boat. Even Mulligan didn't sink to that level of douche-baggery.

4/04/2009 8:16 AM

Blogger phw said...


Your argument around Congressman May does not apply here as that was not common knowledge. What Ducky and I are talking about refers to common knowledge.

You should really think about the consequences of what you are saying. If I were to follow your logic, nothing that was ever classified would be declassified. So we would be likely neither confirming nor denying the existance of submarines. Nuclear power itself would be a rumor. I could go on and on.

There are enough kooks in the world who grasp on the most tenuous information and turn it into sinister plots. Earlier in this thread, someone posted a link to a Greenpeace website. Follow that link and you will get an eyefull of the stupidest crap you ever saw. These are the type of kooks I am talking about. If we turn into a nation that keeps secrets beyond their time, then who can tell the kooks from someone who is truly knowledgable? We would be like Pakistan.

We are free country and while secrets have their place, they cannot be forever and they cannot fly in the face of common knowledge. Doing so creates unnecessary suspicion in the citzenry that runs counter to stable governence.

4/04/2009 8:59 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

How nuclear power works in general is common knowledge. How to successfully use it to propel a submarine with it is not. Even more precious is the trick to doing it safely, year after year.

What it comes down to is a very simple concept every submariner should be familiar with: Need to Know. It doesn't matter how old the information is, I have yet to see a convincing argument that anyone outside the boat needs to know anything about how the propulsion plant works. And we are specifically forbidden from passing along any NNPI, classified or not, to anyone who doesn't have a need to know.

The age of the information is irrelevant.

All classified information is automatically declassified after a fixed period of time, unless it's specifically exempt. And, guess what? Nuclear propulsion is one of those things that's specifically exempt. That means people smarter than you or I decided that the information could be useful to our enemies, no matter how old it was.

I'm sure you and ducky don't understand why, just like the good congressman didn't understand why he couldn't brag about how few subs we lost. But look at the consequences.

Since none of us can look into the future and figure out what the consequences might be if we all "lighten up" about NNPI, I suggest we fail conservatively and assume that nothing good will come from it.

But one thing you could share with us all: why do you and Ducky actually care? Do you want to write a book? Do you want to share some juicy stories that hinge on knowing how things work back aft? Or do you just want to say any goddamn thing that comes into your head without worrying about the consequences?

4/04/2009 9:17 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

And, as far as "common knowledge" making it okay to release information, consider this:

Let's say your department is tasked with designing the ammunition for a cruiser's main guns. While the basics are common knowledge, the *best* design is not. You come up with a workable design, but two years down the road you find out that the propellant you chose combines with seawater in the air to form an acid with is slowly corroding away the inside of the gun barrels.

And this is just one of the engineering problems to solve.

It takes years of effort and lots of resources to solve all of them, but it's worth it because your basic design gives your country a nice edge in combat over everyone else.

Then, one day, a gunner's mate who's been out of the Navy for a few years gets drunk and starts bragging to some insurance salesman about how much better our shells are, who just happens to be looking for material for a book.

This guy can't write all that well, so he has to spice up his work with information most people don't have access to. Even the most boring person becomes interesting when they're dishing out "inside" information.

So, because the sailor didn't know (or care) why the information was restricted, we gave up that expensive competitive edge we worked so hard to develop. Now everyone has that same ammunition, especially countries which couldn't have produced them on their own. After all, it's common knowledge.

Smile every time one is fired at us; you got just what you wanted.

4/04/2009 9:46 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

But FTN, why do U care? With a moniker like that it is clear you don't care. Anyone who champions a cause by saying "FTN!" in a forum like this is silly.

Hey Duck, hands off my NOIP!

4/04/2009 9:47 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Just because I have some problems with the way it's run doesn't mean I don't give a crap about the people in it.

I have issues with having to bow and grovel before some people because they got their degree before I did. I have issues with some people screwing over honest, hard-working sailors to further their own careers or to compensate for their shortcomings. And I have issues with the whole "machinery first, people last, 'cause you can't take a pump to mast" approach.

But I *really* have issues with people like Ducky and his team who forget WTF the term "Silent Service" really means. My biggest fear is that someone is going to mistake his argument for tacit approval to shoot their mouths off. Once it's on the net, you can't ever get it back. This sort of thinking killed good men in the past, and can do the same in the future.

4/04/2009 10:09 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

"But I *really* have issues with people like Ducky and his team who forget WTF the term "Silent Service" really means."

Sonny, I made my first dive in the BATFISH in 1957. Alas, you boots just lack perspective. Get out more.

4/04/2009 1:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does when you joined the service have to do with anything? Walker was pretty senior, too, when we caught his ass. I think FTN is right on track, for once.

4/04/2009 2:28 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

To put things in perspective, phw is a skimmer nuke and The Duck is not a nuke in the classical NR sense.

phw is just wishing he'd gone submarines and done something interesting rather than boil water for a bunch of thankless fellow skimmers & aviators.

The Duck is just sitting home alone and antagonizing his way toward having a conversation rather than sitting home alone kindly but without conversation. Guys like him have spouted off on every park bench in the country. He's OK...just poking at the perimeter for some yucks, and never wanting to jab NR's sense of self-importance when the opportunity presents itself. As regards NNPI, he'd have made a good riding partner for Don Quixote.

4/04/2009 2:35 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

of course: "...ever wanting" reads better (per my intents)

4/04/2009 2:36 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Eng said...

As regards Tom Clancy, we're all better off for the exposure. Would safely guess that more than one or two people now on the boats wouldn't be there if we hadn't had that exposure.

The Navy's general attitude when "The Hunt..." first came out was both surprise and condemnation. One particularly harrumphing O-6 at the time stated that "any submarine officer could have written the book...and any submarine officer would have gone to jail for doing so."

Sense an ironic point coming? Quite right: that very same O-6 later came full-about and now has his name listed in the credits for the movie by the same name as the principal technical advisor.

Met Clancy once myself in '85 at a party at Pax River where he was jawboning the nasal radiators for info for his forthcoming book then "Red Storm Rising." As I'd been Weps on the real USS Dallas, I honestly admired what Clancy had accomplished and yet thought of myself as being the real deal while he was just an insurance salesman. Ego set aside, we were introduced and had a chance to chat.

Confirming the very valid point that FTN makes here (the heart of which The Duck agrees with by the way...he's just poking), his response to my question as to how he got his info:

"It wasn't so much what people was what they didn't say. When you have enough conversations that end with "but I can't tell you any more than that," pretty soon you can put together an entire picture."

Trues stuff.

4/04/2009 2:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clancey's technical acumen is vastly overrated. I read tHfRO first time in 10th grade and thought he was the [stuff]. I read that book again sometime after I got my dolphins and found it ridiculous.

4/04/2009 4:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One guy that gets tech accuracy correct - to the borders of beadwindowing - is DiMercurio. But he was a JO after all. But the only book I read of his, 'Attack of the Scorpion', had a plot so much more ludicrous than any of Clancey's that I couldn't finish it.

4/04/2009 4:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean I should turn myself in because somewhere either in my garage, barn or storage shed there is an old yellow oil stained marked up piping tab that is probably older than most of you posting here? Yeah, it was color coded and fit in my back pocket!

I hope someone would use that info. Probably set them back 20-30 years. We still used leather seals in the scope dashpots. NNPI???

4/04/2009 4:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clancey's technical acumen is vastly overrated. I read tHfRO first time in 10th grade and thought he was the [stuff]. I read that book again sometime after I got my dolphins and found it ridiculous.
4/04/2009 4:27 PM

It was the same situation with me almost six years ago. I read it my senior year and then flipped through it again only a few months after I finished my quals. My MTCS wouldn't allow us to read or glance at "civilian wanna be novels." If caught doing so, we could spend our remaining sleepy time smashing trash and cleaning the mess deck. After our pinning party that included an early morning splash & swim (about 58 degrees surface temp in Bremerton)
I did flip through same of the same horse shit, and noticed that Clancy must have been using clif notes and analogies from drunken retires to support his writings.

What was most entertaining was to make comparisons to the love novels from what we actually do in the real world. Even on mine...the youngest generation, the term "SILENT SERVICE" is still ingrained and harped upon in BESS, at Kings Bay and throughout our almost eight months of being a NUB. This Clancy crap is much ado about Nothing. But it is fun to chuckle at when making comparisons. You just gotta have a sense of humor about it.

MT2 widget-head
serving somewhere close to Bangor or out swimming in the Pacific NW.

4/04/2009 5:10 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Let's look at the record. 'Secrets' involving SSNs have been revealed in 3 primary-source documents. Hunt For Red October is certainly one (though I agree that it also contains a ton of bum dope). Second would be Blind Man's Bluff, Chris Drew's and Sherry Sontag's tell-all book about Cold War submarine ops. Third are the writings by Seymour Hersh in the '70s about Holystone Operations etc. in the New York Times.

Here's the point: except for the opening chapter in Blind Man's Bluff (GUDGEON surface by the Soviets and then compelled to continue around the world to give credibility to its cover story), the sources for all these writings were certainly card-carrying nukes. I can't agree that these revelations have been harmful, but for those nukes with their undies in a knot about improper release of classified submarine information ... look in the mirror, it's the nukes giving it away.

4/04/2009 5:37 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

FTN, et alii:

Lets think this NNPI thing through for a moment. I'll relate my stories.

I took a tour of the HMS Vigilant during it's initial certification in the Atlantic test range. Tied up in Florida, I figured it'd be fun to walk down the pier, and say, "What's up". I didn't present myself in uniform, but told them I was a US Navy Nuke. They proceeded to take me on a tour of the entire boat, engineroom, sonar, radio, and crews mess (where the beer was stored). Didn't as for ID, but I was pretty impressed with what BAE Systems put together. The UK Navy didn't mind showing off their equipment.

In Hawaii, when you've got your shipyard badge, on could basically walk on board every submarine on the water front without escort. I walked back to Maneuvering on at least 5 different boats looking for ELT's to trade this for that, or get some ideas on something. And remember that some boats have a designation in Hawaii so I'll just leave that at that.

So what's the really super-duper important classified thing on submarines? Uh, duh! The metallurgy. The steel, piping, vessel, pumps, turbines, and hull metallurgy make the submarine classified. You could tell the Indian or Iranian Navy everything there is to know about operating a nuclear power plant, but without the metallurgy, it's worthless.

Now some things that you wouldn't think shouldn't be classified are. Consider this: the most classified thing in Maneuvering is the plate by the throttles with ship speed v rpm.

Things that give a secondary indication about ship depth, speed, and sound-silencing are what matter. Primary chemistry is related to metallurgy, which could be reverse-engineered to speed. Steam header size, speed. Pump design, sound-silencing. You get the picture.

The one thing they had right on The Hunt for Red October is that it would take months to work out the metallurgy.

S1W Nautilus is no longer classified. Shouldn't be. The metallurgy doesn't matter any more, the ship was slow, and it couldn't go very deep (I'm assuming). It wasn't a tear-drop hull so the stresses of the ocean wouldn't allow it to do much.

And if you look at the derivative classification authority for NR items, it's from an EO, not from a USC. It's the difference between a CFR and a DOE Order. So it's really an Executive decision about when, and since Congress had little input about the what and why, one day, a President will open the door back aft on S1W.

4/04/2009 5:50 PM

Blogger phw said...

I have a similar story concerning a tour of the Corpus Christi as it was tied up in Cape Canaveral while I was in Nuke school. A fellow skimmer(yes, I'll admit it) and I got a full tour...

4/04/2009 5:59 PM

Anonymous KEY said...

You never know what might be useful to an enemy. Revealing information not already in the public domain is a risk. What's the corresponding reward? Another book about submarines written by a civilian "expert"? More interesting blogs? I'm having a hard time seeing why anything should change.

4/04/2009 6:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The one thing they had right on The Hunt for Red October is that it would take months to work out the metallurgy."

That's actually quite true. No argument.

When I was NUB on some boat in the Pacific NW, The 3 of us occasionally received a movie pass only after all of us as a group were ahead in weekly qual points.
The movies shown were always Red October, Crimson Tide and U-571. Even after seeing them umpteen times + infinity, us NUB-bastards loved to hear all the cat calls and ad-libs from the rest of the crew. It was always so much fun to hear the LPOs and Chiefs making their "well placed" comments during each scene of the movie in question. Since we were to be seen and not heard, we had to hold our hands over our mouths when laughing and hearing a bellowing comment from anyone other than a NUB at present.

Isn't amazing how Hollywood tells the "Perfect" story?...kind of like most of Clancy's work as well if you really think about it.

MT2 Widget-head

4/04/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

The real question should be what could possibly be so secret after 50 years that the taxpayers who bought the thing can't see it?

And if it's so secret, then why isn't the Navy making use of this weapon still?

[Rhetorical question Woodcock]

4/04/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I just have to say this...
Specs about the Diesel...the DIESEL..are NNPI.

That said, discussing how the plant responds to things like 85 degree rolls, more than to say it kept hacking, are not appropriate. I suspect most other nations cannot make that kind of statement.

Of course, it would be better if we didn't test our ships by knocking them on their sides and by running them into mountains at flank.

And getting out of an organization is not the way to fix it...but at least you can bitch about it when you're gone. (Gotta have something I guess)

4/04/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

Guys, Guys, speaking of Clancy, Hollywood et al... Just what is it you have against disinformation?

4/04/2009 7:27 PM

Blogger Henson said...

Regards to leaving the force rather than fixing it, sir, your perspective may be skewed. There really IS only so much that a single First Class or Chief can do to fix his individual unit, much less the entire submarine force and/or Navy.

An O-5/O-6 can gather positive attention to his constructive criticism. An E-6 is seen as just bitching, regardless of how well presented, thought out, or documented his input is. The unfortunate truth is that, all protestations to the contrary aside, for the vast majority of field grade and above officers input from the ratings is neither required nor desired.

This sentence made my day, though: "Of course, it would be better if we didn't test our ships by knocking them on their sides and by running them into mountains at flank."

4/04/2009 7:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the Nautilus had nukes on shore duty there but that could've been BS too.

I wonder what's left back there anyway

50 Years of Idaho Nuclear Power

4/04/2009 7:51 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

J, what exactly is a "field grade and above officer"? The Navy I'm in has "Junior Officers", "Senior Officers", and "Flag Officers".


4/04/2009 7:53 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Mine also has "great officers", "douche officers" and "clueless officers", but that's about it.

4/04/2009 8:24 PM

Blogger Henson said...

Field grade officer and senior officer are synonymous. The Navy and Air Force prefer to use the term senior officer, but it generally refers to O5/6 in the current rank structure.

Come to think of it, I referred to those ranks in my post... But if arguing semantics over substance makes you feel better, it serves to illustrate my point.

4/04/2009 8:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, Guys, speaking of Clancy, Hollywood et al... Just what is it you have against disinformation?

How do you know that all the complaining that Hollywood is getting it wrong is not itself disinformation, eh?

4/04/2009 8:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Field grade officers are 0-4 to 0-6.

4/04/2009 8:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky,

Clancy had a dedication, or a big thank you to a "person" in the front of the book. Do you know him??? I do, I served with him on SS-580 72-75. He left submarines went on to be a Burke Scholar, and held down a big job in the Reagan star wars program. I vaguely remember he wrote a somewhat technical article on submarine something or other in the NIP during the 80's. Let me guess---Clancy sold him insurance, and the rest is history....

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


4/04/2009 9:48 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"How do you know that all the complaining that Hollywood is getting it wrong is not itself disinformation, eh?"

PING! Ouch.

4/04/2009 10:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There really IS only so much that a single First Class or Chief can do to fix his individual unit, much less the entire submarine force and/or Navy.
The Blackwell Plug comes to mind as a counter-argument...

4/04/2009 10:52 PM

Blogger John Byron said...


Yes. Knew him well. PhD in laser physics, expert on blue-green lasers. Clancy asked me if I wanted to be on the dedication page. I said 'not with this guy.'

His brother (former nuke and a really fine officer) worked for me in Trident Program.

4/05/2009 4:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Clancy is a traitor who ranks somewhere between Jane Fonda and John Walker. All three of them weakened this country for their own personal gratification. Rubber Ducky, if this man is a friend of yours, you should be ashamed.

4/05/2009 8:52 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Anon: Ronald Reagan welcomed him to the White House specifically for writing Hunt For Red October. As I said above, VADM Ron Thunman and ADM Frank Kelso thought so highly of the book that they handed them out by the dozens. Odd treatment for a traitor.

Tom has been friend over the years and am proud of that, though he took a hard turn to the right politically after the money started to roll in — that would seem to put him a lot closer to you now than me. Get out more...

4/05/2009 10:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A cook is the most important person on a submarine if you want my opinion.

Anyways, this is how all you guys are losers; the only safe national security stance is not depending at all on a technological and information classification’s the highest national security priority to make technological and human resource innovations always outrun the ability of your competitors to copy last year’s invention. Simply you just invent new things quicker than they can copy you.

Mike Mulligan

4/05/2009 10:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nothing you just said changes the fact that the man revealed classified information for his own gain. How the government dealt with it afterwards is irrelevant.

I have no idea why they didn't charge him, but they didn't charge Fonda, either, after she did so much to help our enemies. Perhaps someone decided that, since the info had already been released, they could minimize the damage by *not* prosecuting him, thus making us all wonder how much was real and how much he just made up.

Nevertheless, as someone pointed out with a quote above, loose lips sink ships. The man may have risked my life and my friends' lives, not to mention the security of our country and our allies, to make a buck. That makes him a traitor in my book. You can tell him I said so.

Finally, what makes you think because I (or anyone else for that matter) disagrees with you we don't get out enough. You still going to sea? I am. I get out plenty. And I still think you should be ashamed.


4/05/2009 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky,

Got a great story about RC's first OD stint going into patrol area. I was his DO. To long to post here. I'll pass it on sometime. He was an interesting guy and kind of an "odd fit" in the 580 wardroom at that time.

Lot of fun on the smoke boats back then--I miss it..........

keep a zero bubble.......


4/05/2009 1:12 PM

Anonymous Boat Goat said...

So... Lockwood, Rickover, McKee... they all say that releasing classified information is bad. Lockwood and Rickover have buildings named after them.

Rubber Ducky, on the other hand, says releasing classified information is fine as long as you get it to print before anyone stops you. They named a bath toy after him.

He also says "get out more", to which I reply "get out".

4/05/2009 3:20 PM

Blogger phw said...

If Tom Clancy can put those pieces together, than so can the KGB. And they probably did long before Clancy did. Clancy revealed secrets alright-- he revealed Russian secrets-- in particular their sources. Not that he intended to.

Jane Fonda deserves the criticism she gets. And I hope John Walker rots in jail.

I also think Clancy sold himself out as an author, BTW.

4/05/2009 4:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Admiral McKee was the officer who relived that bombastic tyrant Rickover 0n 2 Feb 1982. Thank God for that. If Rickover had retired in the mid 60s like the Navy wanted him to, he could have continued to serve as a civilian. He never liked wearing a uniform anyway and had no respect for Naval tradition. Did you know that Rickover had to be told to wear his dress uniform rather than civilian attire when he was to receive his 4th star? One might wonder why Rickover was held in such contempt and hatred during his years at the academy all the way til his forced retirement. John Lehman never did anything so well as firing that little bastard back in 82.

Mckee and Lockwood, cared for their submariners regardless if that man were the CO or just a simple cook slaving away over a hot stove and grease fryer.

Oh wait a minute, Mckee and Lockwood actually commanded real live submarines and SUBRONS during war time and then during peace time there after. They came home respected and revered with 5 or 6 rows of battle ribbons on their chests.

Did Rickover do any of that? Which Boat did he command? No, being in command of a mine sweeper back in 1937 for 67 days doesn't count. Hiding away in a D.C. office for close to 43 years doesn't count either. We could have easily have gotten to where we are now as submariners without Rickover.
He had a little Hitler complex from hell. It really is that simple. You never saw Lockwood or Mckee or Kelso treating everyone within range with such contempt.

Never include Rickover with the same names mentioned above in any way. They were real men, real warriors and commanders who would give their lives for their men. They did their best to look after their crews. Rickover held none of those qualities and strengths. He learned how to play arm chair admiral for close to 4 decades after he made rear admiral. Nothing more.

4/05/2009 6:09 PM

Blogger phw said...

Who said great men had to be nice men. Or conventional.

Rickover was a bastard from hell, but he was not the only bastard. So was Admiral King. General MacAuthor was pretty full of himself too. We can go on and on about it.

You are right, we should not be stating Rickover's name with McKee or Lockwood or Fargo. Rickover stands alone.

4/05/2009 6:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

back to the subject at hand it's been roughly 2 weeks and
nobodys been fired

me thinks weird

4/05/2009 6:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand King's jack ass ways in life and he's a man to be respected. I know very little of MacAuthor. But yes, Rickover definitely stands alone. You know why? Because he was alone. He chose to be. He was a rediculous cutthroat and everyone saw it. Even his contemporaries have confirmed such evidence.

4/05/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

If Rickover had been forced out in the sixties, before the program was firmly established, we'd have had our own TMI by now.

I'm not crazy about NR, but you have to admit they're the only group with the balls to stand up to the fleet admirals and say: "You operate SAFELY or you don't OPERATE." I've seen plenty of times where Zeroes would willingly sacrifice the safety of the men and the ship to shine a little ass and meet some BS commitment.

No one liked Rickover. That just meant he was doing his job. I, for one, thank god he did. I have to live and work around these plants, and I trust them. You know that doesn't happen by accident; that's someone holding someone else's feet to the fire until they do what they said they would do.

Rickover did his time on boats, the same as anyone else here. He qualified for command of them. And he showed more care for his men (that's all us nucs) than just about any other Zero by giving us a safe place to work.

Even today, the emphasis is on "cheaper" over "safer", in every area except the engine room. That's not magic, that's Rickover.

4/05/2009 6:41 PM

Blogger phw said...

No, no word that anyone has been relieved... It was much quicker with the Port Royal.

Well, if it's going to happen, it's probably going to happen soon.

4/05/2009 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Granted, this needs dolphins on it, but it's otherwise an appropriate message when worn on your average submariner.

4/05/2009 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Commodore who is doing the investigation isn't back in town yet. He's a thoughtful guy IMHO and not prone to rush things. Heads will roll (or not) when he's done.

From the scuttlebutt I've heard, they WERE in dip scope when they didn't have to be for the situation - probably because of a reportable event that preceded the collision by a few days. In both cases they violated that little 3-colored pyramid which will probably end up as the de rigueur CONN TACAID for the next year or so.

4/05/2009 8:00 PM

Blogger phw said...

BTW, would anyone mind explaining what "dip scope" means. I am terminology challenged...

4/05/2009 8:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's when you put mouthwash in the salsa.

Nevermind, that's scope dip.

4/05/2009 9:37 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

I'm a durned furriner. And while I'm a member of an Allied "Military-Industrialist Complex", who has held clearances you need clearances to know even exist in the past, everything's expired by now, so I'm down to base level SECRET.

When in doubt, say nothing.

If you've been exposed to classified info in an area, say nothing.

If you haven't been exposed to classified data in an area, then keep records of where you got the data from before re-publishing, lest you be given a thorough grilling.

I've populated default values in tactical databases with open-source material before now. It was close enough to accurate to help develop the systems, and it was really convenient to have an UNCLASS version of the data to work with. Sometimes I had to bite my tongue - they were so nearly right, but I put in the duff data anyway, simply so it could remain unclass.

As regards the S1W, and its classification. There's method to their madness.

Look, an S9G requires a potload of infrastructure, and advanced metallurgical techniques. It must do, even though I know nothing about the details. "Ya canna change the laws of physics, Cap'n!". Darn few nation states could build one, even if given complete details. They'd have to build the tools to build the tools first.

But an S1W can be constructed using cutting-edge late 1940's technology. That's commonly available to just about anyone in 2009. The NORKs. Iran. Botswana. The Medallin cartel. While you can look up the theory on Wiki, the hard-earned practical lessons are missing.

I've not been exposed to any data about the above, but it doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to deduce that this *has* to be the case.

So before revealing anything - such as exactly what coolant tests are used - think about it. Before you joined the USN, did you already know this stuff? Because odds are you didn't join blind, you should have researched the issue. If you did, so does everyone who matters.

Is what you're saying merely a mind-bogglingly obvious application of known physical laws? Then that's safe too.

Is it a detail with no general application, specific to a class of boat that's long been scrapped, or even to a single boat in that class? Also safe.

(e.g. the use of the decommissioned aft torp tubes in our old O-boats for beer storage at a nice 4 degrees C...)

THFRO had just enough inaccuracy in to be safe to publish, and enough accuracy in to give the silent service some much-needed publicity at a time where it was faced with starvation through ignorant neglect. Tom Clancy did good.

Blind Man's Bluff I won't comment on, as there's not enough open source data available for me to tell the degree of inaccuracy.

4/06/2009 6:16 AM

Blogger phw said...

Nevermind, I'll take it as a lookup...

4/06/2009 7:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all multiple guess. Do you honestly believe the Navy is going to simply hand over Top Secret material and knowledge?

Clancy and the like were only given a taste and a rare glimpse of what we do on a daily basis. Then he used such information in an elaborate way to sell a book or two. That's all it amounted to really.

How much Missile Technology is in his books? (loosely based on rediculous hearsay maybe) What specifics are in his book regarding Patriots, the family of Tridents and more, are actually setting on the shelves of Barnes & Noble? How about maintaining our long rang rifle shells on a daily basis? Any clue there, not according to Clancy.

Clancy is an action writer. His writings are the target towards the common man who has no idea of what it might be like to serve & suffer and toil on an actual ballistic submarine. We work & sweat hard, but most of our work consists of mindless checks and maintenance work for hours on end to make absolutely certain we are good to go at a moment's notice.
Check it and then check it again. Do it, do it now, or else we might have a problem. We can't afford a problem so let's be systematic and make certain we're loaded for bear and ready to fire. Don't ask questions, just do it Dammit!

Yeah guys, that is the simple philosophy that us kids nowadays are taught at Groton, then at Kings Bay and then later onto Bangor. Just maintain your checks and you'll be fine. It's a system and it works.

MT2 Widgethead

4/06/2009 3:10 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

"Dip Scope," slang for 'interrupted search', english, submarine variant.

Normally you have the scope up all the time. If you need to lower it for whatever reason (while at PD), there is a routine called dip scope.

Obviously, this is to reduce the chance of seeing the scope. Generally speaking, at night this is not necessary.

4/06/2009 5:55 PM

Blogger phw said...

Thanks SSN CO

4/06/2009 7:33 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

wrt Jane Fonda, is it possible to be anti-war and not be a traitor? Hmmm. How much 'aid' did Jane give the north? If you support getting out of the war, does it matter where you say it?

Good thing we were fighting for freedom--including freedom of speech. That doesn't mean you have to agree with her, but she has a right to her opinion.

Back to the other issue though, exactly what 'aid and comfort' did she provide the north other than a voice in front of a camera?

4/09/2009 6:37 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Srvd_SSN_CO: spot on.

4/09/2009 2:41 PM

Anonymous Boat Goat said...

>>How much 'aid' did Jane give the north?

A ton of propaganda, including that infamous photo of her manning one of the AA guns that was killing our Naval Aviators. She didn't just protest the war - she flew to the enemy's homeland and helped their PR immeasurably. Tokyo Rose did time for less.

Sure, they would have been happy to have any American in front of the cameras, but as a celebrity she was supplying the enemy with her stock in trade: herself.

If a farmer gives the enemy some of his produce, he's aiding them. If a nuclear scientist shares his knowledge with the enemy, he's aiding them. And, if a celebrity prances around on camera for the enemy, she is most definitely aiding them.

And why am I not surprised to see duckman on Fonda's side? After all, he's all for traitors like Clancy, provided said traitor is famous.

I know, I know... I should "get out more", then apparently I'll think like you. Where do YOU get out to that makes selling out your country okay? A cave in Afghanistan?

4/09/2009 7:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF!!! Jane Fonda--Tokyo Rose??? VN War been over for 25 years WWII been over for 64 years... We got Navy ships pulling into port there now for Liberty. John McCain is on Liberty in Hanoi as I write this for God's sake. He's meeting with the government there and visiting his old Cell in the Hanoi Hilton and lecturing the commies about human rights!!!

Lets move on to something current, or better yet get back to the subject of this post!!!

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

BTW, VN war zone on Submarine Spec Op 1972 during Operation Linebacker. Where were you???


4/09/2009 8:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More political idiocy, I see. Fine.

Guys, it's OK to say that Jane Fonda was wrong. Even JANE says that what she did was wrong. Trying to excuse her makes you look like a complete (political) idiot.

As far as McCain goes (and WTF does he have to do with anything?), let's just hope the Manchurian Candidate stays in Vietnam.

Submariners always look stupid when they get political rather than honest...and there's no way that you be both one and the other at the same time.

Get honest and stick to the truth. Submariners are good at that. Hard-partisan political points of view are ALL dogshit.

4/10/2009 9:06 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

anon 4/10 9:06am.

wow. nothing to add.

4/11/2009 11:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, for everyone concerned about what info is discussed here, you should go to you local book store and buy a copy of "The Complete Idiot's guide to Submarines" which descibes in detail a reactor start and ALL systems on a modern 688 class submarine.

4/14/2009 12:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CO finally got fired today:

4/14/2009 7:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re.: The Complete Idiot's guide to SubmarinesAs the above anon is almost certainly aware, this book is not carried at any bookstores (except used books) as it is out of print.

Sure, you can buy one on Amazon...but priced by used book sellers from $80 to $800.

4/15/2009 5:52 AM

Blogger donnux said...

While on the SSN-673, I gave the Conn a verbal readout from the SINS, well over 35 degrees nose up when doing an emergency blow from test depth.

But for real thrills, I highly recommend that you read the story of the Chopper. Go to:

7/06/2009 7:29 AM

Anonymous Roxanne said...

What exactly you're writing is a horrible mistake.

9/20/2012 6:53 AM


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