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, August 05, 2009

Russian Subs Off East Coast Of U.S.

This article in the New York Times says that there have been two Russian Akula-class submarines hanging off the East Coast in international waters this summer. Excerpts:
According to Defense Department officials, one of the Russian submarines remained in international waters on Tuesday about 200 miles off the coast of the United States. The location of the second remained unclear. One senior official said the second submarine traveled south in recent days toward Cuba, while another senior official with access to reports on the surveillance mission said it had sailed away in a northerly direction.
The Pentagon and intelligence officials spoke anonymously to describe the effort to track the Russian submarines, which has not been publicly announced...
...One of the submarines is the newer Akula II, officials said, which is quieter than the older variant and the most advanced in the Russian fleet. The Akula is capable of carrying torpedoes for attacking other submarines and surface vessels as well as missiles for striking targets on land and at sea...
...The official said the Navy was able to track the submarines as they made their way through international waters off the American coastline. This can be done from aircraft, ships, underwater sensors or other submarines.
In case the NYT article goes behind a firewall, here's another article with pretty much the same information. And here's an article where a Russian general is trying to sound all blustery.

Personally, I think it's great that the Russians are bringing such an excellent training opportunity so close to our shores. We have to be careful that we don't waste it; I'm hoping we have most of our ASW assets in the area practicing their craft on the visitors (who, let's face it, probably have their hands full just keeping their boats on station without too many things breaking). Since the Russians have indicated a willingness to return to playing at the varsity level with this deployment, I say we don't disappoint them; we need to remind them how the game is played. If a surface ship gets an indication that the sub is close to them at PD, I say they kick it up to a flank bell and head straight down the bearing of the contact. No kneeling on the ball... let's run up the score. The lesson learned from this opportunity is not "how could the Navy let the Russians get so close to our shores" -- what do you expect us to do, blow them out of the water for sailing in international waters? The lesson learned should be, "There are still submarine threats out there, so now is not the time to cut back on our ASW assets, the most formidable of which are our own submarines".

In discussing this topic, please avoid anything classified, including any other possible times Russian subs may or may not have come close to the U.S. in the last 10 years or so.

Update 1722 05 Aug: Here's a CNN story on the Russian deployment; check out this line:
The Akula-class nuclear-powered submarines, which are normally equipped with surface-loaded cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles, have stayed in international waters, the source said.
What the hell is a "surface-loaded cruise missile"? Idiot journalists...

Update 1044 06 Aug: Since I'm getting visits by people looking for information on "surface-loaded cruise missiles", I suppose I should explain what the reporter really meant (since they haven't corrected it yet). It seems that what most likely happened is that the reporter Googled for info on Akula-class submarines, and saw they carried "SLCMs". The reporter then asked their source what an "SLCM" was, and the source didn't know, so he/she made up something, instead of the correct "submarine-launched cruise missile". The reporter then printed what they were told without verifying it.

Update 1044 12 Aug: Now even the Canadian media has picked up the phrase "surface-loaded cruise missiles".


Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Ping time, baby, ping time!

And the ASW units don't have to even think about the really hard stuff ... like getting on the right frequency, showing up in the OpArea on time, and trying to muster up the impression that they actually give a shit.

Would love to see the contact stats on these cats. Our Navy has always proclaimed ASW as a key function, though almost always honoring these grandiose statements in the breach.

SSNs: need not make a big fuss here. Just find these guys and trail them as long as you want. No big deal.

8/05/2009 8:31 AM

Blogger phw said...

Knowing the Russians, they are probably looking for good ex-soviet dentists, but their intelligence is not so good. Isn't Orly Taitz on the west coast?

8/05/2009 8:31 AM

Anonymous anETwife said...

I think the Russian's heard about the Cash For Clunkers program...

8/05/2009 9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame how the Associated Press can't get a picture of an Akula (the as-reported visitors) in their article, but instead show a pic of one of the Borei boomers.

There's a bit of a difference between the two.

8/05/2009 9:43 AM

Blogger SJV said...

@anetwife: Cash for Clunkers. That was great! You should pass that on to Dave Letterman.

8/05/2009 9:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck... maybe even a "recreational vehicle." And drive from state to state. [Comments heard from one of the boats]

8/05/2009 10:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they were upset at the Discovery Channel's recent airing of a submarine program depicting Russian boats rusting pier-side???

8/05/2009 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russian captains sometime turn suddenly to see if anyone's behind them. We call it "Crazy Ivan." The only thing you can do is go dead. Shut everything down and make like a hole in the water.

8/05/2009 11:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan

8/05/2009 11:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are coming to finally see Montana! Look out rabbit farmers!

8/05/2009 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This business will get out of control! It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it!

8/05/2009 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama at today's press conf:"Y'know, I seen me a mermaid once. I even seen me a shark eat an octopus. But I ain't never seen no phantom Russian submarine"

8/05/2009 1:32 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Cash for clunkers is good.
They might have also came for a beer at the White House!

8/05/2009 2:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Captain... He's turning!
Which way Jonesy?
To starboard sir.
All back full.

8/05/2009 2:20 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I wouldn't worry about training time. I am certain there are a lot of assets involved. After all, they are in our home waters...the Atlantic!

8/05/2009 2:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Мы - здесь для ваших женщин. Мы хотим купить ваших женщин. Мы - также вне водки.

Безумный русский

8/05/2009 2:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Beaumont, at Caltech we used to do this in our sleep! You hear it now? "

Us bubbleheads crack me up.

8/05/2009 3:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here it is translated......

"We - here for your women. We want to purchase your women. We - also out of the vodka."

"Reckless Russian"

8/05/2009 3:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Мы - здесь для ваших женщин. Мы хотим купить ваших женщин. Мы - также вне водки.


We - here for your women. We want to buy your women. We are - beyond the vodka.

8/05/2009 3:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Вы капиталистическая свинья заплатите цене вашу мирскую дерзость.
Теперь, если Вы дадите нам хорошую цену за некоторых из ваших женщин и хорошей водки, то мы простим ваши раздражительные отношения к нам.

Безумный русский

8/05/2009 4:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone hear singing?

8/05/2009 4:18 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

"You capitalist pigs will pay to price your mundane boldness. Now, if you give to us good price for some of your women and fine vodka, then we will forgive your irritable relations to us. -Reckless Russian"

It was actually easier to translate when I was 2783efakjwoughioergjjmn..........[[[LOST CARRIER]]]


8/05/2009 4:43 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

Aside from the movie quotes.

I find it interesting that the Russians are asserting to the rest of the world that they have a military status. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and due to the extremely poor financial situation of the Russian Navy, we haven't seen any real activity in many years.

This added to recent announcements about shipbuilding would make one think that the Russian military was looking to rebuild and become a major player in the the world again.

The real question here though, is can they sustain this trend? While this forward looking action worries some people, I have serious doubt that this could continue for an extended period of time. Only time will tell.

That being said, this is a good opportunity for surface and submarine crews to practice their ASW skills. Let's just be cautious and not cause any incidents.

Happy hunting out there.


8/05/2009 4:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? Aren't Russians capitalist pigs now, too...?

Oink is as oink does.

8/05/2009 4:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These guys were probably detected and trailed by a Canadian Upholder class SSK.

Nothing new... July 09 SUBMARINE REVIEW has an unclas HMCS Ojibwa (1960's vintage RN Oberon Class Diesel boat) patrol report from 1985 where they tracked and trailed a Delta Class boat for over 6 days near South West Greenland. They trailed at times from about 2k yards with a firing solution and got as close as 800 yds. they also played tag with a Victor III "delouser". Over the six day period they were able to snorkle and charge batteries several times without being detected. It's a great read!!! Check it out!! It's now unclas!!!

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


8/05/2009 4:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

U.S. submarines have little experience with the Akula, much less Akula II. Better send a first-flight 688 and not compromise the acoustic signature of a VIRGINIA Class.

8/05/2009 5:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"These guys were probably detected and trailed by a Canadian Upholder class SSK."

Do they have any that even work right now? Corner Brook maybe?

Porbably scared all our SSBN's into port or deep into the patrol areas far away. Just like 1997 in the PNW.

8/05/2009 5:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

U.S. submarines have little experience with the Akula........

I think you got it backwards?

8/05/2009 6:37 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

If we had any class, if we were smart, sassy and sophisticated, we should have invited the Russian’s in for a port visit when this first came out...we could have said we know how difficult the job is of a submariner. We could have guilded them to a pier where it could have handle a nuclear submarine.

These young Russian sailors would never forget their visit to the USA...we should have made them comfortable while they were our guest.

8/05/2009 7:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

pay no attention to the most recent failure of our next generation SLBM (6 failures in 11 launches)...

8/05/2009 7:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why was this publicized? To let them know they were tracked.

Then the Russian clown comes out acting all "blustery" (Joel's word) to cover up the fact that they violated the second cardinal rule of submarining - don't get detected. Whoops.

Only keeping water out of the people-tank is more important.

8/05/2009 8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What the hell is a "surface-loaded cruise missile"? Idiot journalists..."

That's a good question. I'm guessing the journalist in question, did a "limited" research on missile technology. Yet they came up with their own phraseology. Personally I think that's funny as hell. Maybe they were looking at ICBMs or medium range toys, who's to say.

A surface-loaded cruise missile...well, I've heard a rumor that most cruise missiles are manufactured, assembled and "loaded" on land before they are stored or brought on board the boat. At least that's the way it works most of the time. Maybe that's what the reporter meant.

Yeah, one can't help but wonder where the media gets some of this shit. Some of it is actually funny.

MT1 WidgetHead

8/05/2009 8:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they will go back home if Bill Clinton flies to Moscow.

8/05/2009 9:17 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

I heard the NKs let the spies go, because Bills time in country would worsen the food shortage.

8/05/2009 11:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

200 miles off our coast isn't really lurking, now is it? I don't consider it lurking until you're at PD less than 1 mile from Dear Leader's fabulous beaches.

8/05/2009 11:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could "surface loaded" mean in external tubes?

8/06/2009 7:19 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Surface-Loaded, huh? Methinks one of the Talking Heads saw the "SLCM" acronym and never even bothered to Google it?

8/06/2009 8:12 AM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"Shame how the Associated Press can't get a picture of an Akula (the as-reported visitors) in their article, but instead show a pic of one of the Borei boomers."

C'mon, media types don't seem to care. National Geographic Channel can't tell the difference between our OWN Attacks and Boomers, as far as showing footage and describing a particular type.

8/06/2009 9:38 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

C'mon, media types don't seem to care. National Geographic Channel can't tell the difference between our OWN Attacks and Boomers, as far as showing footage and describing a particular type.

A little off-topic but on-point here...
Back in the late '90s when a boat had an "issue" with their PZR, CNN ran the story (How they got it in the first place, I have NO idea). Seems the only "file footage" of a submarine they had within easy reach was of my boat (Kam). CNN used the phrase "Reactor Accident" which, combined with the file footage of a submarine that (at the time) looked like no other in the fleet, led to the natural assumption that it was my boat that had the "accident". We got LOTS of phone calls and had to answer LOTS of idiotic questions after that little fracas. Merely underscores the "Idiot Journalist" moniker.

8/06/2009 10:50 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

There's a comment needed on the 'dumb journalist' theme. If there's a story at hand, it will be printed/posted/slotted on the tube. How many column-inches/minutes coverage it gets is a judgment call on the story's importance and public interest.

Now the tricky part: content and content accuracy. The lament in the thread above seems to be that journalists don't know as much about submarines as we do. OK. True. But they face time and resource/dollar pressures that often prohibit extensive research, plus they often don't know they don't know something important.

Here's the trick: we submariners need to educate journalists as an important aspect of our overall public-relations effort. Take them to sea. Teach them submarines. And be available as a source (background if active duty, maybe on-the-record if not) quick to respond to favored journalists when a story breaks. An example: Tom Ricks and his team at WaPo pretty much got right their extensive coverage of the original GREENEVILLE story. Trust me - he had help.

But in general, the attitude of submariners to the Fourth Estate is typified in the comments above: "dumb shits." Well so are we for not making them smarter. In a nutshell: if you want journalists to get it right, help them get it right.

8/06/2009 11:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

rubber ducky i would like to clarifiy your statement and please I do apologize if I come off antagonistic. If a doctor who is alwasy operating under time constraints(due to medical procedures) makes a mistake do we not hold him accoutable. I did not chose to be a journalist, the individual reporting or creating the news cast teleprompter readout did. why should we have to help them they need to be held accountable just as much as you or I. Im a mechanic for instance if I get stuck or make a mistake its my butt I dont go to the customer asking him to help me fix his piece of equipment.


8/06/2009 12:51 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Hmm, we have never seen what is going on now. The 4th estate is near bankrupt and the don’t any more have a viable business model anymore, they have been losing customers by the doves, they now have a very narrow audience they play too....they all racked up unproductive debt during the bubble years. If you have a need to talk to newspapers...we aren’t even in the same world as we were five years ago.

We effectively lost the 4th estate!

8/06/2009 1:01 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

713/725/713/725: my comments are meant to help the submarine force help itself, not improve journalism. These guys are going to write something. If we have the chance to make it more accurate, that's to our good. If we pass up that chance ... well, we've passed up a chance to help the force.

Mulligan: back under your rock. In dealing with you I have the frustration voiced by Brigader Lethbridge-Stewart in Dr. Who: "Just once, I wish we would encounter an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets."

8/06/2009 1:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD I understand that but they (journalists) are not willing to accept help and will continue printing inaccurate/incorrect info on all topics. the only thing we can do at this point is to hold their feet to the fire publicly decry their inability to do their job and basically point laugh and ridicule them. If i was approached sure id give what info i could. but they never approached anyone in the community and thats obvious by their reports and thats their fault. and for that they are "dumb shits"


8/06/2009 1:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD - this is the New York Times were talking about. Accuracy is not their core competency. Kind of like a newsprint version of mulligan.

8/06/2009 1:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with trying to educate the public is that they just don't care. Submarines don't do a lot of easily comprehensible stuff (warheads on foreheads, delivering baby formula to third-world countries) and even when they do, submariners can't talk about it.

Negative sole-source intelligence is not something we want the public to know about, because if you think the funding is going away fast right now...

8/06/2009 1:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"U.S. submarines have little experience with the Akula, much less Akula II."

Um, I know a guy, who knew a guy, who read a book, about a guy who tracked an Akula on a third flight 688.

Surprised they made it that far from home.

8/06/2009 2:06 PM

Blogger Manus Dakadil said...

Cash for Clunkers is right. Maybe we can start trading with my home country.

8/06/2009 2:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CNN article that refers to the "Surface Loaded Cruise Missle" has a picture with the caption; "Russian attack submarines like this one have been spotted in the Atlantic." Now I confess that it's been quite awhile since my ship ID training, but that sure looks more like a Delta to me than an Akula. th

8/06/2009 2:13 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

We even recently lost a democratic military...the ideal that the majority of the Navy is transparent to the America public and to those who the Navy serves. If the military was more transparent the public would never tolerate the current level of dysfunction, waste and lack of war fighting capability. We are hiding the valor of our service people in order to protect politicians, careers and income streams. As least when we had a draft, our rich families worried about their children...they made the military transparent. The public now thinks we pay well our service people, they willingly who care what goes on in the services.

Once upon the time the rich were good for something!

We lost a lot with this way excessive secrecy game!

8/06/2009 2:43 PM

Blogger Jay said...

A Delta is like an Akula, in many ways (they're both Russian submarines, come on!).

Someone beat me to it, but they actually are Surface-Loaded Cruise Missiles.

I can see the writer and editor now. "Hmmmm, SLCM, Surface launched cruise missile? No, these are submarines, must be surface loaded cruise missile. How do they load them submerged? Yep, that's gotta be it, surface loaded. Run with that."

BTW, hit number one on SLCM is the wikipedia entry, and you don't even need to follow the link.

Most journalists were C-students at best. They're too lazy to think, much less do research.

8/06/2009 2:49 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Ah, Mulligan. As Henry the 8th cried, "Will no one save me from this turbulent troll?"

8/06/2009 2:50 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Most journalists were C-students at best. They're too lazy to think, much less do research."

And we are the silent service ... to our detriment.

8/06/2009 2:57 PM

Anonymous #Q$ said...

RD, you're probably right that the sub force needs to speak up and help the journalists with submarine-related news stories, but most of the stupid errors in news stories (like "surface-loaded cruise missiles") don't really require "extensive research" to correct. Basic information like the meaning of SLCM can be found extremely easily with Google, Wikipedia, etc. This makes me wonder if journalists are even capable of using those resources.

BTW I love the Henry VIII quotation!

8/06/2009 4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flaps are a goodthing ; too many of todays VP crew weren't around when a flap was a daily event. Hope they get some good training out of it.

8/06/2009 4:12 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

A rooskie SSN/SSGN/SSBN making a port call here??? As my first CO said, not as long as NR is around. Those clowns have the most abysmal nuclear safety record around. Which is also why our CVNs/SSNs never make port calls there (reciprocity).

To my knowledge, only the French (and sort of the Indians) have allowed RU nukes into their ports. It's their funeral. World reactor safety should be even better now that the Russians have helped India put a reactor to sea.

8/06/2009 4:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kinda feel that attempts to enlighten the general public on what we do always fail, and make people ask the question of why we have submarines.

These days there seems to be a lot of buzz around the necessity of submarines in the "war on terror," since we launched a few tomahawks into the sandbox. If anything truly fails to justify our existence, that's it.

If we try to tell them what we really do, but without violating opsec, what comes out on the other side of the filter is basically "we spend billions of dollars to follow around other countries' submarines," which sounds pretty lame and useless to joe civilian, compared to tanks and fighter jets.

8/06/2009 4:32 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

"sounds pretty lame and useless to joe civilian, compared to tanks and fighter jets."

Of course, we continue to build more VA class boats and the F-22 got schwacked; so someone pays attention to what we do.

8/06/2009 4:35 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I don't see the fuss over this. Everyone knows that Russian subs have been off the east coast for years now.

Further, nothing classified about it at all. I can clearly remember us on our tin can offering to assist a Soviet Victor sub on the surface. They got some sort of cable tangled in their screw. We asked them if they needed help and they responded "can you take our rubbish?"

8/06/2009 4:56 PM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"The lament in the thread above seems to be that journalists don't know as much about submarines as we do. OK. True."

Okay, in general RD has a point. However, I am an outsider, but I know how to read and look at pictures. To an outsider, at first glance it's hard to tell the difference between surfaced shots of a 688 and an Ohio. I know, that sounds lame but it takes some experience to notice the fairwater on the Ohio. However, I can't understand why people reporting on a subject do not have enough interest to do a LITTLE research.

8/06/2009 4:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We literally are stuck between a rock and a hard case when dealing with reporters.

The Duck has a fine solid point in trying to educate the media as they polish up their latest expose or news columns. But most of these ridiculous fuckers simply choose not to listen. They ACTIVELY choose not to hear you or even attempt to comprehend. Most of their half-assed efforts in sourcing and background research is like that of a pack mule trying to win a horse race. It's actually more fun to go to Bazooka Joe's Nudy Bar and try and explain what my rate is. Ever try explaining the difference between hydraulics and pneumatics to a 20Yr-old dressed like Little Red Ridinghood as she brings us another beer or two? Now, if you mention, anything like fluid control and pressurized liquid to one of them, then you might receive a whisper of how much that will cost ya later on in the evening.

When we're asked how we magically go up and down in the water, and one tries to explain how tanks and vents'll still get a blank stare as she shakes her pretty head in attempting to comprehend.

It's fun to do this with cocktail girls and strippers. It is NOT fun to try and educate a reporter on such operations and technology. Again, they don't listen. It really is that simple.
That is why it is actually fun to roast and torment slacking-hack when they screw up due to their own half-assed efforts while formulating a storyline. Is that counterproductive on our part? Yes Sir, I'd say you're right. But then again, we wouldn't be having this conversation if the media hacks would STOP & LISTEN occasionally. So, that's the rock.

Here's the hard case.
We have to be exceedingly cautious about what we say and who we say it to. It doesn't matter if you're an ET, MT or a CS. More than half of what we do, see and hear cannot be discussed openly in public. The media doesn't understand that we live with the risk of losing our Clearance, Certs, NECs, and our Rate. Instead of the hopes of wearing Khakis in the next five years, I might be wearing a bright orange poopie suit while policing cigarette buts at Leavenworth for the next five years instead.

Some think we are being sarcastic and distant when we utter a few syllables appearing beside the point as we dodge a technical question. It's the same when an inquiry is made as to where we've been and what we've done. The media in general, doesn't like us very much because of that. They think we're a strange bunch of hermits.

So what's my plausible recommendation or magical wish to fix this problem? Ask us. Call the nearest MC and public affairs office of the nearest Naval base. Every COMSUBRON has a land line as well. It's just a matter of the misguided media picking up the phone. Once that begins to happen, hopefully, someone will be able to answer a reporter's questions aslong as it doesn't cause a compromise. But, most journalists are too lazy to do that. That's about 80% of the communication problem we have in our midst.

MT1 WidgetHead

8/06/2009 6:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I know a guy, who knew a guy, who read a book, about a guy who tracked an Akula on a third flight 688.

I heard about a guy who knew a guy who read a similar story, only it was a 637.

8/06/2009 7:14 PM

Anonymous Old target driver said...

steve harkonnen

I stood JOOD in USS Peterson (DD-969) for most of the fun with the surfaced Victor-IIIs. We made them feel so welcome. My favorite part was the muscle-bound sailor with a hatchet trying to part tail cable. Every three hits a swell would wash him off. A line-handling party would drag him aboard. This only lasted four cycles.

The sub sure didn't like us getting close. Red flare and a little metal Uniform flag.

The tug was very professional in the hookup. I believe the Soviets had a lot of practice, even in those days of yore.

Good times.

8/06/2009 7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Russians have been laying off the Atlantic coast for years. If we were seriously worried about it, we'd have done something about it by now.

Rubberducky and Widgethead are the most accurate regarding the press. Checking out the back ground details for a story isn't that hard.

8/06/2009 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hot intel from CNN reporter!!! The two russki boats are accompanied by an ATF! He also goes on to report that previous russki deployment to Hugo Chavez land in the not to distant past also had attached ATF.

Same old-same old. Do ya think CNN can analyze that data, connect it to cold war ATF patterns and figure out something??? OOOPPS--- they don't do analysis.

At least they're not being towed to their deployment area which is big improvement over cold war russki tow jobs.

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


8/06/2009 9:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the posts above decided to take another shot at the NYT. To be fair to its the CNN story that has the error. This is actually a relatively small example of how print media often has better reporting, most likely because they aren't competing to get it out as fast as possible at the expense of accuracy.

8/07/2009 8:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD: It's more that a little bit difficult to educate the press when they don't list the reporter's name, or contact info, or provide for public comments. The AP story that ran the pic of the Borei-class boat was a classic case in this regard.

The bottom line is that these guys like to pontificate...not educate...or be educated. They are indeed the "C" students we all remembers so well.

8/07/2009 9:36 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Old target driver:

Were you onboard the Peterson when the USS Sellers tried towing it because she couldn't get her engines started and was DIW? This was down in GTMO circa 1983. I have covered that story in my book (still seeking an agent; remains unpublished).

8/07/2009 10:16 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

There's an old saying: 'Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.' Inveighing against the press is baying at the moon.

New rule for this thread: nobody gets to post unless they've spent at least 8 hours of their life in a serious discussion with a real live journalist. The rest of you shoe clerks: better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

8/07/2009 11:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD: And how much does the ink cost for the blogs that reach hundreds of thousands of people...?

New rule: people of retirement age are hereby invited to go fishing instead of blotificating.

8/07/2009 11:58 AM

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

Is that eight hours running, confined to a single journalist, or cumulative?

8/07/2009 12:05 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Don: tallied and tabulated.

Anon: respect, Grasshopper.

8/07/2009 12:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lesson learned should be, "There are still submarine threats out there, so now is not the time to cut back on our ASW assets, the most formidable of which are our own submarines".

Not exactly.

The Soviet submarine threat has greatly diminished from its peak, and China (or any other hostile nation) has yet to pick up the slack in that theater.

The fact that Russia can still manage to get two(!!) submarines underway simultaneously should not affect the USN's ASW aquisition or disposal plans in any way.

To suggest otherwise is to either a) fall prey to sensationalistic reporting, or b) be party to the civilian tax-grabbing structure.

8/07/2009 12:38 PM

Anonymous Old target driver said...

steve harkonnen.

Yes, I was onboard for the towex. How embarrassing. Learned to never run out of HP compressed air in a gas turbine powered ship with no diesel.
Those of us in engineering were having a rough time those two month.

A few weeks later, transiting a dredged coral channel, our e-board operator punched out our only working generator for high vibes. Ship's bow heads for coral head with the current. Deck crew did a fine job of getting the bow anchor down in time.

Is that story in your book also?

Keep me posted on when you get a publisher. I'll buy it.
-rot-13- AnPyl_qbt@pbzpnfg.arg

8/07/2009 1:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget...its budget time again! This is great PR on how important the SUB Force is!

'cash for clunkers!' Thanks for the chuckle!!!

8/08/2009 8:49 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Old Target Driver:

That sad moment for your ship was a political one for our CO at the time. He wanted it videotaped and had it sent off to DESRON 4.

That particular CO of USS Sellers happened to be one of the finest CO's I would ever encounter during my 20 yr career.

Thanks for your email address - I may send you the portion of the book where that is being discussed; I've sent the book off to several agents and none of them are biting...I wish I knew of a literary agent that could help me with this!

8/09/2009 12:06 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...


nobody gets to post unless they've spent at least 8 hours of their life in a serious discussion with a real live journalist.

Seeing that Journalism is my minor, do I qualify?

8/09/2009 12:17 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

harkonnen: sure you qualify. So what is your educated opinion: should journalists labor in dark ignorance of the silent service or should we submariners occasionally help them find the errors of their ways? And do these ink-stained wretches have infinite time and resources to labor on a story or are they pressed by deadlines and dollar limits?

8/09/2009 12:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky, I'd like to see you embark on a mission to educate every journalist currently publishing news, and then set up a system, a tickler if you will, to catch every new journalist graduating from university or random person who loses their real job and becomes a "freelance writer". Don't forget about those freelance journalists who just got arrested by Iranian forces. I recommend coordinating with Switzerland on that. Maybe if you just prioritize them last they will be free by the time you get to them. Get the ones Bill Clinton just freed before they go wandering near a border on the Axis of Evil and get arrested again. Seriously, how are you going to educate the press? Do you realize that they don't care? They just want to be the first to publish, and they know that 99.9% of the public won't know the difference, which is true. Does it really matter that a farmer in Iowa listening to the news doesn't realize that SLCM doesn't mean surface launched cruise missile? Sure, we're offended but it's not worth our time. You crack me up on this blog. Knock yourself out, though. Most of us have more important problems to solve.

8/09/2009 10:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They just want to be the first to publish, and they know that 99.9% of the public won't know the difference, which is true."

That is absolutely true. That's called sensationalist journalism.
It's also why they get called out on the B.S. meter alot of the time.

I also like what The Duck has to say. But the difficulty is that reporters willfully choose not to understand or listen. If it doesn't fit within their little box of "limited" understanding, then they'll almost certainly twist or distort the knowledge/information provided to them.

Their dicks go limp when you talk over their heads and then they become frightened. Even in the most plain terms, if you mention anything that they regard as unfamiliar territory, you just inadvertently turned this whole thing into a game of Russian roulette. Why is this, you might ask? Because Journalists are some of the laziest mother fuckers on the face of this earth.

Do a follow up on the info provided which might support your storyline at present. But what I've found, is that most what do this, so they start playing guessing games instead.

MT1 WidgetHead

8/10/2009 12:46 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Alas, making every journalist smart on every subject all the time would be a feckless task, similar to making all the players in this blog intelligent — I advocate neither as useful endeavor.

I do advocate a less silent service and routinely more open dealings A). with submarine stories (we really screwed up the first GREENEVILLE incident) and B). with journalists who cover the submarine beat (i.e., military reporters in general and local reporters in submarine towns). Radical ideas, I know — never can satisfy the froth-at-the-mouth crowd.

8/10/2009 5:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If, somehow, RD failed to give a black eye to you, personally, casual time, try leaning a little closer to the screen.

Wouldn't want to miss anyone who's stupid (i.e., who disagrees with the Duck on anything) .

8/10/2009 6:10 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

That's it, stand right there on the bulls eye...

Three targets, those who bloviate, those who post anonymously, and Mulligan. Or: windy, cowardly, and Mulligan.


8/10/2009 6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, RD, join us on the bullseye because "Rubber Ducky" is no less anonymous than anonymous, now is it. I just did a quick check, and this whole thread started with a story from the New York Times. I didn't even have to navigate away from the page to figure that out. This is not a military reporter from a military publication nor is it from a submarine town. So, your plan won't work.

8/10/2009 6:47 AM

Blogger phw said...

The problem with Anonymous is that it is hard to distinguish one anonymous person with another. Get a handle. You can be super secret with it or not, but at least we can follow your train of thought without confusing it with other anon posts.

RD is not that anonymous. People here know who is. I am not that anonymous either-- a number of people here know who I am. Also those who knew me, know me, or share my interests can pretty easily figure it out.

8/10/2009 7:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever -- and I mean, whenever -- I hear or see someone issuing forth epithets in their dialogue, my first, only, and always-accurate assesment is: in their heart-of-hearts, that's what they truly think of themselves.

So fire away, RD. We're all enjoying the show.

8/10/2009 8:17 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Anon: advice from the After Battery: don't be a dickhead.

8/10/2009 8:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the wardroom lunchtime advice I used to regularly give a 'favorite' XO of mine: "Don't choke on that."

For some more lighthearted fare, check out the Best of Craiglist. At least it's good for a few laughs.

8/10/2009 2:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet again, I agree with The Duck, on his latest advice.

It was short & sweet too. BZ, RD.

8/10/2009 2:49 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

BX, widgethead (a grand attaboy for anyone who knows what 'BX' means...)

8/10/2009 2:53 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Give up, aye?

The earlier versions (ca. 1960) of ATP-1 Vol. 2 Allied Signal Manual carried the signal "BX." Was deleted from all later editions.

BX: 'Splice the main brace.'

8/10/2009 6:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, you're talking about tack lines and flaghoist signaling. You got me on that one. I had BX figured for AC electrical cable, or an acronym for Base Exchange on an AirForce base.

Um yeah, I clearly need to work on my PMK in the near future.

Good Shot R.D.

8/10/2009 7:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD sings for us in this compelling video.

8/10/2009 8:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just clicked on RD's profile and it's not available. This matches any definition of "anonymous", and when matched up with his comments on posting anonymously match any definition of hypocrisy.

So, if this press training thing is such a great idea, RD, then get your little band of supporters together, generate a LRTP, SRTP, goals, execute, assess, and we'll see how it goes.

Why do I care? Here's the source of my frustration. There is a lot of my life that I will never get back because of "good ideas" that add no value. These ideas that add no value are distracting to the submarine force, and I think that they contribute to the disasters that continue to happen.

This press training idea is a great example of a no-value-added idea. I can see by inspection how it would be a waste of time because the press doesn't care. It'd be like trying to explain the effective delayed neutron fraction to a sonar tech. I don't think you understand your audience. But hey, any of you who don't agree, get up and get this idea off the blog and make it happen. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of air, like I believe in the first place.

8/10/2009 10:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's true the press doesn't care. But, why do you insist it's The Duck's fault?

He presented a decent idea as to how to communicate with the media. I just wish we could make it happen in a more active sense. But then again, it makes almost no-sense in trying to get a reporter to understand us even the most modest or simple terms.

As for The Duck's public profile, he keeps it to himself for his own good reasons. From what I can tell, he's a commissioned officer, either still active or recently retired. Nevertheless, he adds alot of accurate and positive thoughts to this blog.

There is alot of shit he can't discuss here in public. That's why his profile is restricted. It's the same deal with my profile. I can't go into any meaningless discourse of my job and rate. Atleast not very much there of. Late this afternoon, I put a google blog together just so people can contact me. Plus, I don't look like JoeBlow ANON.

But, I can't expand on my blog. I'm afraid to do so. Unless my first name is COMSUBRON or MCPON, I have been advised to not start a blog until I retire. Especially in my particular Rate. You can have an online I.D. but be careful what you say. So, it's gonna be awhile before I expand on mine, if ever. I suspect it's the same way with The Duck as well.

8/10/2009 11:47 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

RD: Give up, aye?

The earlier versions (ca. 1960) of ATP-1 Vol. 2 Allied Signal Manual carried the signal "BX." Was deleted from all later editions.

BX: 'Splice the main brace.'

Duck, I had you pegged for a user of the Dolphin Code. Methinks "Dolphin Four-Five" is appropriate here.

8/11/2009 9:57 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

ret anav: negats Dolphin Code.

8/11/2009 1:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooooooo.......!!!!! I'm really worried now!!! Senator Saxby Chambless R-GA, wants answers to what the big bad russian submarines are doing in our waters!!! John McCain has weighed in as well!!!

Somebody (Hell, I'll just go ahead and do it myself!!)needs to be tellin those pol's we hired'em to give our surface and air ASW guys and gals some ping time.. WTF is with the pols now days???

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


8/11/2009 9:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just sent off a ripper to ol'Sax to quite worrin' about them two russki boats hanging around Savannah and get back to work tearin' up the health care legislation.

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


8/11/2009 9:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MT1 Widget, if you look up you might see my points flying well above your head. I'll try to re-hash in the simplest arguments possible.

First of all, no one blamed Duck for the press' ignorance. I can't even imagine where you pulled that out from. Are you just making stuff up to try to respond?

To answer the gist of your question, though, the 'why', read on. The point is that Duck's idea adds no value, and the recipients of his training don't even want it. He is exactly the kind of make-work leader that distracts the fleet from important things, operational things. Our fleet is not impacted at all by a reporter missing an acronym. Why would we waste man-hours and sea time on such an idea when we have real, operational problems to solve? Delightfully, on this blog, no one is obligated to carry out his ideas. If he wants them implemented, he'll have to do it the old fashioned way, motivate people to do it on their own. Or, possibly, he's still active and there's a crew of sailors I pity who might actually get tasked with this. At least it won't be me!!!

Finally, no one, including me, doubts why Duck's profile is not public. You don't need to explain the obvious. What you missed is the hypocrisy of his criticism of anonymous posts, as if he's out there for all to see. Sure, a few trusted individuals know who he is. That doesn't quite pull him out of the anonymous crowd.

8/11/2009 10:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD is/was a boomer sailor.

'Nuff said.

8/12/2009 8:37 AM

Anonymous An Old Shipmate said...

RD is also retired Navy Captain John Byron, a 37-year submarine veteran.

Sample thoughts: NTSB interview re. Greenville

John: You have a lot to contribute, but you'll gain cred if you throttle back on the personal and political attacks and low-brow namecalling. It's just beneath you (one rather hopes).


An Old Shipmate

8/12/2009 8:50 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

That include Mulligan? And the wingnut right? Sorry. As WC Fields said, 'Never fail to kick a man when he's down.' And thanks for outing me, grommet.

8/12/2009 11:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Been tryin to figure out who are for a while. Now that "Old Shipmate" blew your cover I'm really pleased to be bloggin with you. I've read your stuff in NIP over the years and always appreciated and respected your point of view and readiness to lay-it-on-the-line. Sorry I never got the chance to sail with you, you've got a great rep in the smoke-boat community.

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


8/12/2009 11:20 AM

Blogger phw said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/12/2009 11:56 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...


Obrigado. You be at the SubVets hoohah in San Diego in Sept?

8/12/2009 12:46 PM

Blogger phw said...

A man in my position should be mindful of the impact of statements... Editing, and reposting.

RD was actually outed back in March on a submarine coins discussion for those who were paying attention.

I like reading his posts-- there is a lot of common sense and experience in them.

8/12/2009 12:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Gonna pass on the USSVI shindig in SD. SSBN 619 having a reunion. not enough guys from my era (62-67)attending for me to make the trip. If your going and run into John Chamberlain, tell him the TMC(SS)who reported onboard SS-580 in 1970 when he was XO says hello. I understand he is ramrodding the LPSS-574 roundup. I liked that guy. Wish I coulda gone to Grayback with him.


8/12/2009 1:27 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...


8/12/2009 3:18 PM

Blogger Brian said...

Journalists have no clue about submarines. Check out this story from NBC Nightly News:
I especially like the "2 attack submarines like this one" narration while they show a Typhoon...and then, despite the story saying there were 2 Akulas, their graphics show an Akula and a Typhoon. Even if they don't know what either of them look like, you'd think they'd at least know that the 2 pictures aren't the same and couldn't therefore represent 2 Akulas...

8/12/2009 8:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

told you the Canadians were tracking the russki boats!! Confirmed in Canadian press today. Nothing about their submarine being involved, all patrol plane tracking. If the last unclas release of Canadian SSK-VS-two Soviet Nucs follows the pattern we'll have to wait 24 years to find out.

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


8/12/2009 11:14 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


Been tryin to figure out who are for a while. Now that "Old Shipmate" blew your cover I'm really pleased to be bloggin with you.

Second the motion, here. Don't ask me why, Duck, but I kinda had you pegged for Tom Nutter (Grin).
That NTSB interview is a damn fine read. Covered my screen with coffee when you referred to AK as an "acquired taste", but there ya go.

8/14/2009 9:48 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

ret anav: back at ya. A 'nutter,' perhaps, but not a Tom...

AK: my view all along has been that he got caught in a real bind but did the right thing and went on. I owe him for his kindness to one of my old officers at CSS-16 - used him well and treated him well.

We all owe Al for his insightful and courageous action as Chairman of the Naval Institute Board of Directors when he fired Tom Marfiak as CEO of the Institute and brought in Tom Wilkerson as his replacement. This may have saved the Naval Institute.

I'll see Al at the diesel fast attack dinner in San Diego on 11 Sep and looking forward to it.

8/14/2009 10:39 AM

Anonymous CAPT Deepdiver said...

Wow? How many people know Tom Nutter?

8/15/2009 4:58 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

What's a Tom Nutter?

8/15/2009 6:11 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Wow? How many people know Tom Nutter? I've dealt with him and his henchmen on a few occasions. Methinks he's retired now and his #2 (A.G.) is the honcho now? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

What's a Tom Nutter?

Appropriately posed, Duck! He (was?) a bigwig in the SUBLANT -34 shop for a long time...ran a lot of "things" and associated "Thing-Ops"...affectionately known as "Nutter-Clutter's", especially when the "Thing" broke.

8/16/2009 9:57 AM

Anonymous CAPT Deepdiver said...

Tom Nutter was retired Navy and worked in the 34 shop for a long time doing exactly what you said. Dealt with him a lot. He retired from the 34 shop and was picked up by some Contractor for a third career...dealing back with the 34 shop I believe...saw him just a couple of years ago doing that.

8/16/2009 12:33 PM

Blogger ayura said...

Hey, thanks for your reply. Your helpfulness and friendliness are much appreciated. All the best and have a nice day to you and your friends. I'll looking forward to your next blog. ;)
Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

8/16/2009 11:11 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

harkonnen: sure you qualify. So what is your educated opinion: should journalists labor in dark ignorance of the silent service or should we submariners occasionally help them find the errors of their ways? And do these ink-stained wretches have infinite time and resources to labor on a story or are they pressed by deadlines and dollar limits?

RD: Without bubbleheads, journalists can't write stories about you guys. Period.

I read your profile. Wouldn't mind reading some of your essays. This is me posting a day late and a dollar short, but you can reach me via my profile's email address that's posted.

8/19/2009 9:29 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home