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, September 23, 2009

USS Texas Departs Groton

Check out this artful photo of USS Texas (SSN 775) departing Groton for her new homeport of Pearl Harbor:

As they're transiting, the Navy is holding its first Senior Enlisted Continuation Board, whereby E-7 through E-9s with more than 20 years of service and 3 years time in grade will be evaluated to see if they can continue serving on active duty; those that aren't will have to retire by the end of next June. So what do you think: is this a good idea that will "reinvigorate the Chief's Mess", or another way the Navy will lose more experienced leaders? (Personally, I think it sounds like a good plan, as long as they're really telling the truth that there aren't any quotas for how many have to be let go.)


Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

I think the success of the continuation boards really depends whether they use a scalpel or a chain saw. My guess is they're going to get the low hanging fruit; low performance marks, PFA failures, etc. What's next? Do you adopt a system where if you don't promote after so many looks you go home? Do you look at the 9's that are sitting in 7/8 billets moving from shore duty to shore duty. The 9's that can't or won't screen for COB/CMC? I'll be curious to see how they do it after the obvious ones are gone.

FTC(SS) ret.

9/23/2009 2:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the article:
Additionally, personnel holding a nuclear, special warfare boat operator, special warfare operator, explosive ordnance disposal technician or diver enlisted classification code, plus fleet, force and command master chiefs are exempt from the board.

As with everything else, nukes need not apply :)

9/23/2009 2:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really depends on how it's done. If criteria are established and all are treated the same - fine. If the diversity directorate gets involved - not so good.

I remember a gold hash mark seaman as the mess decks MAA when I was going to boot camp at GLAKES. Crusty fellow with an impressive array of chest candy. No room for folks like him any more.


9/23/2009 2:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, a recently advanced nuke MMCM(SS)with 20+ years who has marginal evals, a couple of NJPs early on, and a history of spousal
abuse is exempt just because he's a nuke? That's a bunch of crap. Fire the bastard........

9/23/2009 3:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a great prvilige to be "A CHIEF" in the US Navy. There is nothing like it in the world. It is unfortunate that our chiefs mess is in the situation it is in. Call it the "Good old boy Network" or the "Master Chief Mafia", but every chief in the mess has a responsbility to look after one another. We need to take a hard turn on the impression we are providing the fleet. With the rapid advancement of some rates it is even more imperative than ever that we properly mentor our junior chiefs. As a the nuclear motto goes.."It only gets better after the selection board"

9/23/2009 4:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas has returned to SUBASENLON, problems not yet revealed. FTP was this a.m. 9/23.

9/23/2009 5:23 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Agree with FTC here, and the metaphors are perfect. Of course, the INTENT is to get the "low hanging fruit"...we'll see how this really plays out. As I understand it, there are about 6000 that face Judge and Jury. Not sure I agree with ALL of the exemption criteria, but I left my steam suit at the office, so I'll leave that alone!

Hopefully the guys serving AT SEA are either in the SAFE pile or at the top of the "Second Look" pile. As was said earlier, we need experianced leaders AT SEA. Kick the guys handing out basketballs to the curb.

9/23/2009 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Personally, I think it sounds like a good plan, as long as they're really telling the truth that there aren't any quotas for how many have to be let go."

If you actually believe that not to be the case, you've spent too much time away from federal entities and have forgotten how anything touched by gubmint actually operates. Of course there is a quota.

9/23/2009 7:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 9's that can't or won't screen for COB/CMC and the guys handing out basketballs, are eventually going to have to be added to the list. If a rate is manned at 110% or more, then yes, the board will eventually have to dig deeper. One would conjecture that this next potential step would only pertain to rates which are consistently overmanned.

9/23/2009 7:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the continuation board is executed AS ADVERTISED, I don't see how it is such a bad thing.

PRT failure, DUI, NJP....I don't have a problem with those folks being asked to retire.

9/23/2009 8:01 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

Texas has returned to SUBASENLON, problems not yet revealed. FTP was this a.m. 9/23.

Maybe the continuation board already made its cuts?

9/23/2009 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting rid of those crusty E-3's is why we are asking chief's to retire. Too many good sailors were told to go home just because they reached their levle of competence. Some men know when that is, others must exceed it to know what it is.
the Duke of Earl

9/23/2009 9:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An E3 wearing gold Seaman stripes? How in the hell is that even possible? Even a 3rdclass is not able to stay in long enough to wear a gold stripe without making 2nd. Or are we talking about the reserves?

9/23/2009 10:41 PM

Anonymous CPO said...

As with any other Navy function politics will, of course, play some role in the decision making. How much of a role is yet to be determined. But I wouldn't bet on any of the "low-hanging fruit" that is politically well connected to the tree to be easily picked. On the flip side, we are going to lose a lot of fine leaders because they are simply not in with the power players at their repective commands. I have the feeling that these boards will backfire and hurt the chiefs messes around the fleet a lot more than they will help. Sure we will thin the heard and lower the numbers, but at what cost?

9/23/2009 11:03 PM

Blogger . Becca . said...

I think this photo gives new meaning to "God bless Texas," no? ;)

9/24/2009 12:53 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

In spite of my nuclear status, I've objected to the protected status that nukes have had for years. There is low hanging fruit in the nuclear ranks just like every other rating. It's hard to fully put away old habits, and the tendency to think of a nuke as a dollar sign rather than a sailor is still prevalent. It was always in vogue to talk about how much it costs to train a replacement nuke, and that is only amplified when you talk about a CPO, but there are other ratings who are facing the continuation board whose training costs are nearly as high. This process would be a lot fairer to all if everyone were included.

9/24/2009 4:41 AM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB said...

It's about time a board of this magnitude is being held. Nothing used to piss me off more than as a CMC (post COB tour) going to the Goat Locker on the SPRU-CAN at 0900 and seeing a bunch of Chiefs sitting around (ESWS non-quals at that), looking like crap, watching TV or bagging a few Z's while their troops are out on deck. When asked what are your troops up to and all you get is a shrug of the shoulder...leave it to your imagination what this former COB did and said, not appropriate for this forum. Needless to say, I ended up shutting down the Goat Locker to force these guys to get involved until just before chow. These are the types of bafoons (-2pts spelling) that need to leave the our Navy to make room for the First Class Petty Officers who want to move up. I've seen too many PO1's that should have been advanced, but unfortunately, there were no quotas for them. Too all of the E-7's who read this blog and are wondering if they will be on the "C-ya later" list, start packing. If you are even wondering, that should be a good sign that it's time for you to leave. I spent 30 years in the USN working my way from E-1 to CWO4 and have seen a lot of GREAT Chiefs in addition to the clowns who you meet and just shake your head and think "what was the selection board thinking". Enough rambling, bottom line, the board is a great idea. These crappy Chiefs are what give the junior Sailors the bad taste in their mouth and make them not want to respesct the good Chiefs!

9/24/2009 5:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon @ 10:41 - the gold stripe seaman I saw was in November of 1971. We asked our company commander about him and he said that the SN's goal was to be leading SN on a battleship - power without the burden of NCO responsibility. That was before the up or out policy.


9/24/2009 5:32 AM

Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

ex anav/cob:
I don't think would dispute what you have said. I certainly don't. I think the real concern is making sure the board gets the guys you described and leaves the good Chief's alone. If it's a numbers game some good guys are going to get sucked into the vortex.

9/24/2009 9:42 AM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB said...

FTC(SS), hopefully there is a mechanism in place for an appeal if the wrong Chief inadvertantly gets sucked into the pile of those who NEED to leave. I'm sure with the number of records to be reviewed, there has to be some errors. It would be a travisty to loose a good Chief due to an error.

9/24/2009 9:56 AM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB said...

By-the-way, that picture rocks! That would be a great command pic instead of the typical overhead shot on the surface running at a full bell.

9/24/2009 9:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is off topic but maybe worthy of it's own thread. ADM Mullin is quoted on Fox News today saying he supports women serving on submarines. Here's the link


9/24/2009 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Admiral Mullen is a practical man. Women in boats is long overdue.

9/24/2009 12:31 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Admiral Mullen is a practical man.

No, ADM Mullen is a political who likes his job. His remarks are in response to a senate query, rather than words he arbitrarily laid out on the table. If I were a betting man I'd guess that, given a choice, Mullen wouldn't touch this topic with a 10-foot pole. But one does have to answer to his patrons.

9/24/2009 1:06 PM

Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

"Admiral Mullen is a practical man. Women in boats is long overdue."

Yeah because it's been such an unmitigated success in the surface Navy.

I hope you were kidding.

9/24/2009 1:08 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


Believe it or not, CSG2's daughter (SURFOR O-2) is one of my students at the moment. Maybe I'll ask her thoughts on this :)

9/24/2009 1:40 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

It seems pretty clear that if you just look at the bottom feeders (there are some of those around) you can cut enough without endangering even the low average performers.

As CO the only guy I wanted to can was a no load E7 who was benched in favor of his E6 LPO. The E9s dorked it up from the start since no NavET should EVER make E7 without ANAV qualifications...that scumsucker needs to find new employment and quit wasting a paycheck.

9/24/2009 3:21 PM

Anonymous John Litherland said...

Having built the TEXAS and commissioned her 3 years ago, it's great to finally see her headed for her initial homeport ready to commence her operational career.

9/24/2009 5:34 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

I asked Captain Falardeau (sp?) face to face about the Continuation Board very recently.

THERE IS NO QUOTA. He was emphatic about that.

If they find 10 to boot, they are okay. 100, the same. There is no magic # they are trying to hit.

From data that they had already collected, they have an IDEA that the # will be in the hundreds, but it is JUST A GUESS based on limited data. That's why so many are getting looked at.

They are applying the same rigor to the Continuation Board that they do to Officer & Enlisted Selection boards. It may not be a perfect process, but it is about as good as it can be without revamping our eval/fitrep system yet again.

What they ARE looking for are E9's in E5 billets who are severely overtouring on shore. For CPO's who have been DFC'd and have fitreps that back up the DFC yet are still serving or are going to sea in leadership positions.

For anyone w/ >20yrs who has 3 PFA failures in 4 years. For anyone with not recommended in the retention block or significant problems on their performance mark.

The reasoning that CMC's are exempted because big Navy is already pretty happy w/ the CMC screening process so for now they aren't going to rescreen those who have already passed the CMC program.

I can't speak to the other exemptions except to say that they have habitually had our worst retention issues. Not that it should matter - if you are cutting dead weight off even a weak limb it will strengthen that limb, not make it worse. Just my opinion...

The Captain who is running it does not envision the Continuation Boards as a permanent thing. He sees them as definitely happening this year and next, and then after that rolling some of the processes into already existing procedures (like the CPO Selection Boards).

They aren't on a witch hunt, but they are looking to get rid of the bad eggs in the basket.

9/24/2009 6:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too can't possibly see these continuation boards lasting more than a couple of years. If the axe falls upon a number which ranks into the 100s across all three Chief rates, then that should be plenty of time to mop up the swabs who need to retire and go home.

This whole thing makes sense and it seems quite fair. Anyone who complains about this process is probably one of the guys who stands a good chance of being sent home. The next few months are going to get interesting for sure.

9/24/2009 6:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Army has used this same process and very similar conditions as the Navy is using now. In the early 90s just after Desert Storm, to early 2001 the Army did this same thing.
Except, unlike the Navy, the Army also included E-6s as well. If you didn't pass ANOC, (Advanced NCO Course)or were an habitual PFT failure, a wife beater, a drunk with a DUI or a non-performer in general, you could be sent home even before you retire at 20years as an E-6.

This whole process is new to you Navy guys. Some of you are scared and pissed off about it happening. Hey, that's okay. That's perfectly damned normal. This whole thing will go much faster then you think. You have to be a real F**k before you actually get sent home regardless if you're an E-6 or E-9. Those of you who still have the heart and strength to lead your guys effectively, will be perfectly fine. The Navy no-doubt has a few bad apples, but let them be dealt with accordingly. Just remember, the Army is alot bigger in personnel#s than the Navy is. So if we can do it, you can do it.

Atleast we're not in the airforce. I don't even want to talk about what kind of changes their enlisted system is presently going through.

9/24/2009 7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the Navy did the same thing in the mid-90s, too. I forget what it was called but the purpose was to make room for advancement for well-deserving careerists by cutting out the Retired-On-Active-Duty scholars.

9/24/2009 9:33 PM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB said...

A point to ponder:
This blog is called "The Stupid Shall Be Punished", shouldn't the board be titled the same? It would be appropriate.

9/25/2009 4:43 AM

Blogger Joe and Samantha said...

It's a GREAT way to reinvigorate the Chief's Mess. Get the dead weight out of there so the experience/hard working leaders can get promoted! It's about keeping standards well AFTER you make Chief. It's about time. Cheers.

9/25/2009 5:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

exnav/cob..Amen to your comments. The Navy has placed itself in this predicament. What the senior leadership is saying is, we promoted too many and not enough of you are retiring. They promote some in anticipation of maintaining end strength. With the lousy economy, many khakipants got scared to retire when this economy went south and decided to stick around. Now that we are top heavy, this is the Navy's long term fix to reduce manning. Either that, or whent he CPO/SCP or MCPO reaches HYT and leaves the Navy, their replacements were the PO1s that didn't get advanced and are retiring, there by aloowing for a large gap in experience and time in service planning. what happens are PO1s getting advanced to early and thereby getting in this predicament all over again.

I am all in favor of people making Chief. There are some, like said above, how the hell did he make it? Then there are PO1s you see retiring at 20 asking yourself why the hell he didn't make Chief.

Making Chief is all about sustained superior performance (sometimes) and how well or bad your rate was managed during your timeframe!


9/26/2009 5:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSG2's daughter has a really tight asshole and a clean, shaved beaver. She loves getting it in both holes!!!

9/28/2009 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Senior NCO system is still broken. When was the last time a STSCS was promoyted to STCM who was NOT a COB or ACINT rider? Why are the 2 Force Sonarmen E8s who finish their tours at the most senior in-rate billet and face the prospect of either retiring or going back to a boat to smack around some snot-nose LT still as an E8.
Once someone enters the CMC pipeline they should stop counting against the rest of their rating for the 2 or 3 promotion spots vaialble each year (same with ACINT...let them compete amongst themselves based on their NEC).

9/29/2009 8:43 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

The ACINT 0416's have been tossing around the idea of going closed community for some time. Frankly, they are in the catbird seat as they make more MCPO's so except for the STGCM side (a problem w/ their rates billet structure), ACINT promotions are (as stated)well ahead of fleet norms.

If they close them off, it will affect ACINT accessions and they are really hurting for them at the moment. That's why 0416 has a 75K SRB cap and a multiple of 5.5 - to entice new guys into the program and keep the ones they have w/ nuclear rating level bonuses, plus as much pro pay & other incentives.

BN's are billeted a CPO to run the shack.

SSN's are billeted a STSCS, commonly filled by an STSC. So that's why they go back - because that's where the at sea billets are for STSCS's.

Look at how many total in-rate billets there are for STSCM's...

If there aren't any MCPO billets for us we can't get promoted. Thus COB & ACINT [b]are[/b] pretty much the only paths to the second star.

We have 21 STSCM's in the fleet (shore & sea). Several w/ FRR's in.

I fully expect to make SCPO and retire there. We either have to take the hard job (COB/ACINT) or make way for the younger generation we trained. For those who waited too long, the ACINT path becomes closed. But, if you are under 20 TIS now, submit your app - ONI will probably take you!

9/29/2009 7:50 PM

Anonymous Tiffany said...

This will not really work, I suppose this way.

9/06/2012 12:56 PM


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