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.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Middie Ops On JFC

Check out this video/photo montage of recent midshipman operations aboard USS Jefferson City (SSN 759):

The poster, "malemonkley", also has up another photo montage from his boat as well as an exposé of what happens "when cranks get bored". He also shot a video of some dolphins riding the bow wave.


Anonymous Master Chief Barber said...

It was great to see the gang from the JFC again, Great video! Looks like a good time.

7/26/2009 4:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF are all those vajayjays doing there? I thought middie ops were to coax OC's to go submarines. If it's to show them what sub life is like, so they can make operational decisions down the line, why do we keep pumping them full of pizza and flicks and 12 hour rack time? If it's a recruiting tool, why waste the resources on people who cannot be assigned anyway?

7/26/2009 6:07 PM

Blogger Squidward said...

Its a recruiting tool, period. COs are given specific guidance on this. I think its a mistake, but then, I was never responsible for recruiting mids for the nuc pipeline.

Just as a correction: OCs don't go on middie cruises. If you see silver dolphins on an OC, they earned them - no pizza and movies cruises.

7/26/2009 6:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great video. I would definitely entertain female submariners if they looked like that.

7/26/2009 8:29 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"If it's a recruiting tool, why waste the resources on people who cannot be assigned anyway?"

Good point, but we taxpayers have been wasting over $300,000 a pop on too many middies who bail out 5-1/2 years after USNA graduation when there are well-qualified candidates (not as related to politicians perhaps) who would make full careers out of the Navy, if given a competitive chance.

Service academy retention is poor by historic standards. Why is this being tolerated? The public hasn't a clue. Generals and admirals dare not complain or Congress would take vengeance.

Cheers to every honorable West Point, Air Force and Annapolis graduate who stays for a full career!

7/26/2009 9:09 PM

Anonymous UNSANTAE said...

Oh my goodness, who cares if Academy Grads get out before they retire. It's a personal choice and they aren't the only ones doing it. ROTC and NUPOC get just as much if not more money wasted on them and their retention rates aren't that much better in the sub community. The bottom line is that the community doesn't treat Officers (or enlisted) well enough for them to want to stay in and doesn't pay them enough to make the Navy a competitive option

7/27/2009 7:37 AM

Blogger Buck said...

What's worse? Midshipman ops or a tiger cruise?

7/27/2009 7:47 AM

Blogger montigrande said...

Before I answer let me give my definition of each operation.

Tiger cruise: from PEV, with huge hangovers from being at Pure Platinum and Solid Gold for a few days, swap out some lucky guys who get to go home with some Tigers (mostly cool dads/fathers-in-law, etc.) and make the Chuck-Town-Express move toward home.

Midshipman Operations: Previous day: 0600-1200 watch, 1230-1530 cleanup in preparation for midshipman operations, 1500-1800 fix something (insert your favorite HIPAC, APD, Precipitator, Scrubber, ESGN). Operation day: 0000-0600 midwatch, 0600 Maneuvering Watch, 0800 BSP (riders on) in PCAN, 0900 AII to dive point (ship tours, man overboard drills) secure Maneuvering watch, 1000 Dive, 1100 Angles, 1130 lunch, 1200 Battlestations with approach on Cruise ship (shoot waterslugs), 1400 EMBT blow (charge air banks), 1500 Station Maneuvering Watch (fire drill walkthrough), 1600 AII to channel, 1730 BSP in PCAN (riders off) and dinner for the crew, 1800-2400 evening watch, 0030-0130 afterwatch cleanup. Next day 0700-1000 training (insert you flavor; NAVOPS, WEPSDEP, ENGDEP/DIV/EOOW&EWS), 1200-1800 afternoon watch. And so on……….

Definitely Midshipman operations and here’s why:
Tiger cruise, the tigers were treated like guests, their sponsors and the rest of the crew understand that the ship still has to run to get from point A to point B and there were no sales pitches. So, if the crewmembers that are not “involved” are busy, not interested or whatever that’s OK. Also, on the tiger cruses that I was associated with, the tigers got special (not to interfere with watchstanders) meal and shower hours. We did some special things, like angles and such, I think we may have even let them on the bridge for a look around.

Midshipman Operations is just that, another (important and necessary )operational commitment added to the schedule, if handled correctly, a seamless and useful training/recruiting tool, if not a huge pain in the butt.

7/27/2009 9:52 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

unsantae - you say, "ROTC and NUPOC get just as much if not more money wasted on them and their retention rates aren't that much better in the sub community."

Retired U.S. Army brigadier general Dick Behrenhausen advises otherwise, however: : "All of this has resulted in lower retention rates, which is hardly an attractive proposition for a Congress well aware that West Point graduates cost five times more than ROTC graduates do at service entry..."

7/27/2009 11:03 AM

Anonymous UNSANTAE said...

The proceedings article that you referenced talks about lower retention being a cause of the academies trending more towards a culture of Academics at the expense of "Spartan ideals." That is a problem that needs fixing and ADM. Fowler (a submariner) is trying to. Your post also quotes the service academy mission statements. Again however, you just pull small exerts to prove your point, without looking at the whole, there is much more than a "Career of Naval Service" in the USNA mission.
If we are just talking about the sub community though, the issue still remains that if Officers (of any commissioning source) were treated better or compensated correctly for their skill set, which I fully acknowledge is a result of Navy Training, then retention rates would be higher. If people don't like their jobs, there is no reason to stay. That is the issue that needs to be addressed, not which commissioning source has the best retention in the Submarine Corps, because like I said, no one of them is really winning that battle.

7/27/2009 2:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe, if we left the BS out and showed them what it's really like, we'd only get the ones who want to do it and wouldn't be stuck with the ones who feel like they were bait-and-switched.

Coincidentally, my word verification below is "cones"

7/27/2009 5:07 PM

Anonymous Carl said...

I went through NROTC. My freshman midi cruise was a full deterrent patrol on an SSBN out of KB. I certainly had no illusions of what I was getting into when I chose the Nuke program and then subs.

Though the next year on my sophomore year cruise, that one week on a sub was pretty much eat, movie & rack. The other stuff was "been there, done that". Though I did spend much more time hanging out back aft than did the other mids.


7/27/2009 6:25 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

UNSANTAE - Your arguments befit a lawyer more than a taxpayer. The USNA mission statement calls for "graduates who are dedicated to a career".

By any standard, not the least of which may be historical, the USNA is failing a major component of a primary mission, screening its freshmen class for entrants who sincerely desire a career of military service rather than a vehicle for personal enrichment as civilians at taxpayer expense.

And as Gen Behrenhausen stated, "an area in which the Military Academy cannot—and should not—compete if it hopes to retain the admiration of the American people...

Should the original purpose of our MILITARY academies be altered, or should they remain the vital learning laboratories for future military leaders who can help assure our country's prosterity?

7/27/2009 7:13 PM

Anonymous UNSANTAE said...

There are issues with the academies, and as a graduate from one of them I will be the first to admit it. There are problems with curriculum, problems with who is being admitted, problems with who is being separated, problems with who is being allowed to graduate, problems with faculty, problems with staff, etc. The academies are riddled with problems.
The original question on the table that I continue to talk about is; Is it more lucrative to use NUPOC and ROTC for Nuclear Trained Submarine Officers or graduates from the academy? My answer is no, everyone is getting out of the sub community at the same points in their careers, which is why there aren't enough department heads to fill the slate right now. You can't blame all the problems on the academies just because they have military themed mission statements. If most of anyone of those 3 groups stayed in there would be no issue with Submarine Officer Manning. None of them are though.
If you want to discuss the merits of having academies to produce officers, yes there are benefits. Does the current state of the academies make the most of these benefits? No. That is a problem. The solution isn't to shut them down though, it's to fix them and restore them to their original function. Unfortunately, government will never let the military leadership to take the steps needed to fix them, and the military will never let the government shut the places down. So what do you do?
Even if they close the doors and say no more, taxpayers will still be paying to keep up the grounds of 4 historic landmarks that will NEVER be demolished. As long as the facilities are there, we might as well use them. Even if the product isn't what we'd like it to be, it's still pretty good.
If the answer to your last question isn't clear, I agree that our MILITARY academies should be what they were intended to be.

7/27/2009 9:39 PM

Anonymous bullnav said...

Great to see the boat I built (and hit a seamount in)...

7/28/2009 9:49 AM

Blogger SJV said...

I think much of that would be solved if the services picked more high capability enlisteds and moved them into officer ranks. Many of the enlisted nukes would make good officers, and I'm sure other branches are similar. There is a small pipe that leads this way, but it's not big enough. I think these individuals would stay for a career at a much higher percentage than the current officer force. The programs already exist, all that would need to happen is to run more guys through them.

7/28/2009 1:06 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...


It would be nice if more enlisted sailors, nuke or not, could obtain a path to officer IF that is their desire. STA-21 is great, and I encouraged every high quality sailor I encountered to consider it. Having said that, I never pushed anyone into that path. I find absolutely nothing wrong with the top performing sailor setting a goal early in his career of becoming a Chief Petty Officer. I did, I attained my goal, and it's paid off for me pretty well.

7/28/2009 1:14 PM

Blogger submandave said...

BN, too bad they didn't break out the Deth Helmut for one of those Mids to wear. You still got your rock from the bottom of the Pacific you pulled out of the MBT?

7/28/2009 3:22 PM

Blogger submandave said...

630-738: Roger that. Don't know how many E-nukes (with degrees) told me they didn't want the BS that goes along with being in the Wardroom. That said, I've seen great Mustangs as well as a few who seemed to feel that paying their dues before the mast entitled them to special consideration.

7/28/2009 3:26 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Unfortunately, all four of my guys who got picked up for commissioning programs didn't go subs. All of them were of the same mind: "I saw what the O-Gang went through, NFW." Too bad since they all would have been great Div Os on a boat.


7/28/2009 4:45 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Good points 630-738. Twenty or thirty years of service is highly honorable, regardless of branch, grade, or class. I just think that there's a good pool of highly capable and trustworthy guys in the enlisted nuke ranks who get out for better opportunity, and that they might see finishing the last 12 or 14 as an officer preferable to leaving the service altogether. Or maybe use CWO's on subs for the Division Officers and then have just a core of OOD standing Line Officers.

7/28/2009 4:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not the best video in the world. I feel the suction when it ended with the chain-of-command's names and the JPJ quote. Barf.

Somewhere on Jeff City there's some PMS begging to be done.


7/28/2009 6:38 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Unsantae -
Your responses say a lot about the unfortunate expectations you share with some of your academy peers:

"If we are just talking about the sub community though, the issue still remains that if Officers (of any commissioning source) were treated better or compensated correctly for their skill set, which I fully acknowledge is a result of Navy Training, then retention rates would be higher."

And, then, you say this:

"There are issues with the academies, and as a graduate from one of them I will be the first to admit it. There are problems with curriculum, problems with who is being admitted, problems with who is being separated, problems with who is being allowed to graduate, problems with faculty, problems with staff, etc. The academies are riddled with problems."

Do you see a pattern yet, Unsantae? The average taxpayer surely can. To dissuade admission of such candidates, in my view, a simple solution would be to lengthen the active duty commitment 1 or 2 years beyond the paltry and meaningless 5 year obligation that now exists.

Cheers to every honorable West Point, Air Force and Annapolis graduate who stays for a full career!

7/29/2009 11:25 AM

Anonymous UNSANTAE said...

We are talking about 2 completely different things. I'm talking about Submarine Officer retention and Commissioning source being unrelated, and you are talking about how to get a better product from the academies. I am done talking about Submarine Officer Retention vs. Commissioning source since you seem uninterested in it.
Onto the subject you are so passionate about. I have two questions, what false expectations do I have? and What is the pattern? I don't see any relation between the two quotes since they are about different topics (see above). As far as making the product better; Step 1 is stop admitting women, there is a place for them in the officer corps, but they severely limit the ability for academy administration to maintain a "Warrior/Spartan" mindset. Your ideal of a 7 year commitment is good as well, it would have deterred many of my classmates from going to the school, a lot of whom I don't believe are or will ever be good officers.

7/29/2009 1:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not saying that this is directly related to retention, but is ceratinly related to the quality of the current O gang:

7/29/2009 7:03 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

UNSANTAE, well said; on that much we seem to be in agreement.

7/29/2009 9:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was on QM on the waterfront with Joel when Jeff City hit the mount. Still amazazed how the hell the Old Man, XO,NAV, ANAV,and QMOW overlooked the mount... Another lesson learned. Or not.

7/29/2009 9:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last middie I saw on SS-580 was a ROTC guy we took on a SpecOp out of Yokosuka in 1972. He certainly got the full DBF experience. If I recall correctly, it was next year TWB-NO more Middie cruises on smoke boats. We heard "official reason" was smoke boats were dinosaurs, needed the mids to see the real submarine Navy. Unofficially the rumor was the KOG was pissed about "his Middies" coming to visit and not liking their attitudes picked up on smoke boat cruises.

RD, whats your recall on this subject?

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


7/29/2009 9:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it's true, Rickover literally did fuck it up for everyone in the early 70s. He worked his impudent little wienie off to make certain none of us would do a tour on a smoke boat once the nuclear fleet was up and ready to deploy.

I've heard stories like this. The little wimpy bastard couldn't get a command of his own, so he does his best throughout his 63 year career to sink the very smoke boats that made a SIGNIFICANT difference during WWII. Is it true Rickover (Little Hitler) was damn near a castout when attending the Academy? Did he do more good or more harm over all?

Sorry Gents, but I've already grown to hate hearing his name.

7/29/2009 10:46 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still around, just not able to post because I'm on the road at a College Orientation week in Pullman, WA.

7/30/2009 7:00 AM

Anonymous Laughter in Manslaughter said...

Wow, somebody has a personal vendetta against Rickover. Whatever you want to say, Rickover and the nuclear navy revolutionized warfare. Nuke subs go deeper, go faster, go farther, and do more than a diesel ever could.

7/30/2009 1:02 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

As one of the few Nucs that went to a diesel boat (BARBEL) to qualify and then to my first Nuc (SEADRAGON) I have to say that even twin screwed manual valved nucs beat the single screw automatic valved diesel boat. Forward of the Reactor Compartment, the electronic and radio equipment was exactly the same. But being able to shower every day rather than once a week and having laundry done rather than wearing the same clothes for 45 days (changed to clean clothes at halfway night) made a big difference. Transiting at 400 feet rather than snorkling across the Pacific is also more comfortable and quicker. Nucs make more sense in all respects.

7/30/2009 1:49 PM

Anonymous LT L said...


Could you please enlighten us youngin's as to the difference between an "automatic valved" boat and a "manual valved" boat?


7/30/2009 3:50 PM

Anonymous SpruceGod said...

We had a middie cruise in summer of 95 on SSN-752. Three of the middies were caught butt-fucking in 9 man berthing. The XO joined in, of course.

7/30/2009 6:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lt L,

578 Skate class and 580 Barbel class were the cross-over classes. 578's basically had a fleet boat-tang class systems forward of the reactor compartment. Manually operated air systems valve manifold and a hydraulic maniforld in the control room just like the fleet boats. They did have a ship control station with aircraft type controls as all later classes had.

580 Barbel Class boats had first BCP's. I'm unsure about Halibut and Triton control room configs as both were one-off designs.

When I was on CSP staff I rode Swordfish for for a week. One of my old shipmates was TMC on her. First day underway I went to control room to talk to him, he was COW. He pointed to a crowbar in waterway underneath the ballast tank blow manifold and asked me, "do you know what thats for?". "Nope", says I. "Thats to open the hammer valve for the forward group", says he. I said, "Your S*****N ME!" The hammer valve for the forward group was so bound-up it required use of crowbar leverage to open. I was not impressed with 578 Class boats even if you could shower and change your clothes daily.

wtfdnucsailor, agree about 580 snokel transit--it sucked big time if you were on ship control party. Dive team was wrung out after 4 hr. watch. Only did that with one of three skippers I served with on SS-580. You actually made better time on the surface for long transit. On the pipe you gotta slow down once a watch to trim-up. Gotta slow down to shoot GDU. Compared to fleet snorkel boat I found the livin on 580 class pretty damn good. You gotta admit the torpedo room on 580 class was a hell of a lot more workable that 578's. Were you on board when Jim Thomas was skipper?? He was snorkel crazy!!

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


7/30/2009 10:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ironically, I was on middie ops when the QM pointed to a spot on the chart and said to me "that's a seamount. Don't run into it."

8/03/2009 7:34 PM

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8/16/2009 11:15 PM


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