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.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

USS Philadelphia Deploys

Here's a picture from the Submarine Group TWO Facebook page showing USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) departing on her final deployment on Monday:

What are your most vivid memories of leaving on a deployment? Mine are from my first, on USS Topeka (SSN 754) in 1992. We left to great fanfare, then slunk back in the next day to repair the fairing on our radar mast that had come loose after our first trip to PD. The wives phone tree was activated; the initial message, "The boat's pulling in a a few hours, don't bother coming to base", quickly morphed into "Come to the base McDonald's right away for a briefing from the Commodore". Needless to say, there were quite a few concerned wives on the pier.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My most vivid memory from a deployment was our super-sweet 6-month Westpac schedule (complete with a 4-week upkeep in the P.I., and trips to Korea and Hong Kong) go out the window not 2 hours after we threw the lines off.

7/17/2009 12:38 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

Mine was change of home port from PH to PSNS for shipyard. The band was playing and all of the dignitaries were on the pier. Everyone onboard was decked out in whites from the CO to the ERLL watch. The lines were singled and..... shore power was still connected. All of the EMs were on the maneuvering watch sans two very green nubs. Three of we 2nd class EMs on lesser needed watchstations were told to take off shorepower.... in our whites. Not gonna happen!

During the power struggle that insued we lost a TG when a brush rigging blew apart. We second classes relieved the first classes of their watchstations so they could investigate. But wait! They aren't going to open a TG exciter housing in their whites... More power struggle insued, but this time the EMCM Bull Nuke sided with 'us'.

Things topside were getting a little embarrassing, it was decided to depart with only one TG. Get the shore power off and the command couldn't care if we did it in gaudy aloha. So the three of us EM2's disconnected shore power - 1 guy in the trunk and two of us hoisting the cables to the shore power brow.

Me and the other EM on the pier swinging the shore power brow out of the way saw the boat's brow get lifted away by the crane. As the boat pulled away we got a salute from the EM in the trunk as he was securing it with help from the line handlers. Awesome, we thought. As soon as we see the boat hit the channel we'll get some lunch at Beeman's, then head up to Squadron One with a tale of "they forgot us".

The tug had control of the boat when we saw a commotion in the bridge. What!!! The tug is now moving the boat back to the pier. Maybe this is just our CO trying to sink another tug. He had a reputation for attempting it. Then, a dark black cloud of diesel smoke bellowed from the aft of the sail, followed by our friend opening the aft escape hatch.

We had lost the other TG. Four days later after PHNSY (No Ka Oi!!!) fixed the first one and we fixed the second one the boat was underway. No fan fare. No dress whites. No UA EM2(SS)'s drinking beer one last time at Hubba Hubba's. Three weeks of slow turns to PSNS via Adak.


7/17/2009 1:25 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Scheduled ports, right.

On my boat, we called bogus destinations revealed to junior crew before departures "liberty port myths" - these were for digestion of cold war spies, girlfriends, wives, etc., because missions could not be jeopordized by folks who might not not keep their mouths shut.

One dude actually kept track of them on a chart he kept. When our yeoman got transferred, he gave the chart to an admiral he knew as a keepsake.

We never made La Spezia, for instance. By law, the Italians would not even let an SSN tie up in Naples - we had to anchor out.

7/17/2009 1:41 PM

Blogger Sabra said...

I could give a whole list of underways the Boise had that were truncated due to some mechanical malfunction or other when my ex was on that boat, but I really wouldn't know where to start. IIRC, the '02 Med Run involved not one but two returns to port to fix something, and the boat wound up going to shipyard early, at the tail end of '03 instead of a few months into '04.

Really, I don't think there was a single underway of more than a week that didn't get interrupted somehow.

7/17/2009 2:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Configuration of the radar mast and masthead light on a Trident means that the masthead must be FULLY raised (via hand crank)to ensure that the radar doesn't roatate and strike the masthead light. When done properly there is about 1" clearance. When done improperly the radar strikes the masthead light, jamming the radar and then vibrating the masthead until the Furuno (mounted atop the masthead)comes off and falls, breaking the dome. After this snafu in front of the assembled masses and Commodore, tugs are then brought along, and testing the EPM commences, or rather does not, since the C & I was completed improperly and the EPM would not energize. We eventually got lines off and went about the business of the day, but the extra hour plus of humiliation was not what we needed.

7/17/2009 3:30 PM

Blogger FT2(ss) said...

One of my more memorable times headed out to sea would involve my gear breaking about 3 hours before we were to head out. Break as in "oh #*$@ the world is coming to an end". The only place we could get a replacement was from the Naval museum a few miles off base. We cannibalized the item we needed and got our system back up.

Its a good story, but not as great as my Dad. He used to be a flight mechanic on EC-121's in Vietnam. He has this great story about how they used to land in the Phillipeans, purchase a ton of beer, fill the entire cargo hold up and fly it to Vietnam and sell it to the marines. For a small markup of course.

7/17/2009 3:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one time I was actually topside for a departure was my first, and it was mostly memorable for a coworker's plight. His orders were to report at 0800 that day (he had never been to the ship yet, was fresh from prototype), but the brow was pulled at 0745. He barely got aboard, but he had to tell his wife and kids he was gone for 2 weeks.

I almost missed ship movement in Tasmania. A local girl had taken me to Bruny Island without mentioning that the last ferry was earlyish and her car was trouble-prone. Talk about stress! I was considering swimming....

7/17/2009 3:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:53 is me, the no common sense 3383.

7/17/2009 3:54 PM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

last deployment for the Philly pigboat. I did the med run in 86-87 and the northern run in 88.

I am here in CT so I hope I can make the de-comm

7/17/2009 7:35 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Had to pull a comment; had just a little too much NNPI. Need to be careful about that.

7/18/2009 9:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have to sat that my most memorable was trying to get out of KingsBay. After several days of heavy fog when the tides were right we got the word to leave. We could see a few hundred yards at the pier but the tug at Ft Clinch said it was clear there. Off we go then the fog comes back in and the guys in the bridge can barely see the bow. We bouy hop using radar and make it to Ft Clinch, drop the pilot off and start out...... Well with the slow speed because of visibility manuevering is tough. We get slammed by the current and end up picking up a bouy and hauling it out to the entrance bouy. We dropped it off there and waited to return...... We made it back to the pier after dark and when the investigation was over no one was in trouble and we were actually commended on not grounding

7/18/2009 10:48 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Anon, I snagged one of them damn buoys as well. Having your rights read to you by an investigator sucks. CSL signed out a letter to CSG10 that said "this happens every two years or so, what are you doing about it?" The four useless entrance buoys were removed a little more than a year later, and to my knowledge no one else has snagged one.

7/19/2009 4:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Served_CO -
I'm amazed they realized that the buoys were the senseless part of the problem, not the crews.

must have been the "good ole days"

7/19/2009 10:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi... just dropping by!

7/19/2009 11:41 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

FastNav, I think the buoys were pulled in the 2003-3 timeframe. Turns out snagging a buoy (which only affects submarine paint, nothing else), is not equivalent to 'hitting the earth or another vessel.'

Of course, if one is blessed, then then even those two might not enough.

7/19/2009 7:08 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I just realized I have to much time on my hands. I am going to have to kick the wife off the PS3.

7/19/2009 7:09 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Is Indavao is individiot?

7/19/2009 7:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I flew away to Holley loch w/ another crew one time. The indelible memory is a pair of 5 yr old twin girls waving the bus away and crying.
We then saw a fatal motor cycle accident along 2A on the way to Hartford.

7/20/2009 6:20 AM

Blogger Aaron Black said...

A week before graduating C school, I was "volunteered" to change orders and go to the USS Permit (SSN-594) and forgo the 30 days leave AND they were departing for NORPAC the day after I reported. Joy.

I get my weekend off and report on Monday ready to go to sea on Tuesday. Something was wrong with one of the antennae and the tender had to yank it. We were told to muster at 1300. My Senior Chief and the COB sat on the tailgate of the COB's truck at the end of the pier with a cooler of beer. The rest of us somehow convinced the bartender at the Porthole (long gone now) to open. There appeared to be some type of competition on how many pitchers of beer could be consumed prior to the 1300 muster.

1300 - Antennae still not fixed - come back at 1600.

1600 - Still not fixed - come back at 0800.

Since I had just reported, I wasn't in a duty section yet and just followed the crowd back to the Porthole.

This mad cycle of mustering and visiting the Porthole went on for the next 4 days. The Porthole required an extra beer delivery that week. The COB and my Senior Chief rubbed all the paint off of that tail gate and filled the near by shit can with aluminum.

We finally did make the deployment and got to kill commies.

7/21/2009 12:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After completing an extended refit and drydocking in Holy Loch, summer of 75, we were ready for some 6 on, 12 off rack time at sea.

Somewhere in the Firth of Clyde, probably within site of the Alsia Craig, the boys back aft engaged main engine while the EPM was still energized (I'm no nuke so I'm not sure if worded this correctly). In any case, their incorrect following of procedure resulted in a severely damaged shaft.

Tugs pulled us back up the Clyde and right back into the drydock we'd exited just days before.

The extended refit period was extended further and we of port and starboard got 10 additional days. Never been so happy to go to sea....


7/22/2009 11:10 AM

Anonymous ConersBlow said...

Not from a deployment per se, but from a departure.

On Topeka in 91 or 92 (you were there, Joel), we pulled into Bangor, WA for one night (big mistake). Seems like everyone who had liberty got plastered. We were supposed to leave at 5 or 6AM, but Wilbur got on the 1MC and said we would shift to 12pm because the crew was in no condition to take a sub to sea. He was pissed, and that made me very happy. That guy was a farkin dick.

7/23/2009 5:56 PM

Blogger The Lightning Man said...

Admittedly, I'm not a bubblehead; I was Army myself. However, I'm also the stepson of a retired LDO nuke bubblehead that a bunch of you probably knew who retired in 94 after 24 years.

Ennyhoo, that pic of the 690 boat headed out took me back umpteen million years to my teens, when the Philly was at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for overhaul. Captain Tom Perry was the skipper, and he very kindly invited my dad and me on board for lunch in the wardroom and cordially entertained my questions, and oh-so-artfully dodged my query on that nicely blown-up shot of a Victor III on the surface viewed dead astern via periscope. I believed he used the words "artist's rendition" and winked. I think he was just a tad surprised that a 17-year old high school junior could recognize a Victor III...

8/06/2009 6:29 PM


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