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, October 14, 2009

Diggit Tools

As a shipyard Eng, I had this cartoon frame hanging on my office wall:

(This comes from the classic "Techno-Bill" series of Dilbert strips in the early '90s.) This visual representation described me pretty well -- I had a pager, cell phone, Leatherman, and flashlight always hanging from my belt, along with a TLD. Didn't have the glasses, though.

What stuff did you have hanging off your belt or packed away in your poopy suit when you were (or are) on the boat?

(Off topic, I got some E-mails that said NCDOC has placed on the listed of "denied sites", so people can't access blogs like this from Navy computers anymore. Is this worldwide, or just in certain regions?)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty basic-a leatherman and mini-mag on the belt and as an ANAV always a calculator and mechanical pencil in the pocket.

10/14/2009 11:49 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

Don't tell anyone, but I still have this today in my pocket.

I have a little crescent wrench that I "found" when I was on a boat in NNSY. It still has the NNSY serial number scribed in it.

Quite a useful little tool.


10/15/2009 1:34 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

As an ANAV, I was typically referred to as a "Walking, Talking Office Depot". 2 or 3 pens (of varying colors) and a calculator in the chest pocket(s), pencil behind the ear, left front pocket full of various wide and fine-tip sharpies (NEVER used the navy colored pens!), right front pocket full of various highlighters and a couple of white-out pens. EDMC used to give me a hard time about it on Usta-City, but he was always making new drill props and always needed to borrow something....and 90% of the time I had it on me! Oh yeah...and a flashlight on my belt! To this day, I STILL have all that stuff, along with my trusty plotting set and triangles, in my laptop bag - I use it for my classes.

10/15/2009 2:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, your site is still working for me on my NMCI computer (NAVSEA).

As for my belt, it is a LED flashlight and a leatherman, if I had to check my luggage on the way to wherever someone wanted me.

10/15/2009 4:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I became E-Div LPO, I took great pride in carrying only the key to my personal locker. If I needed any tool or pens or flashlight I simply requested one of my electricains to get it. I had a great working relationship with my electricains so this arrangement worked quite well.


10/15/2009 5:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an aganger, prior to Chief, I carried a 3-cell Maglite, my trusty buck knife (with a notch for every time I had been to test depth), a small crescent wrench for a key fob, and always, always a wheel book.
After I made Chief, I changed to a Mini-Maglite with the rig for red cover and instead of the wheel book, I carried a daytimer.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger from Iowa

10/15/2009 7:28 AM

Blogger Buck said...

Although never in the Navy, I carry a variety of stuff in my pockets at all times. Mini-Leatherman, cross point and straight blade screwdrivers, folding knife, Fisher Space Pen and nail clippers for those delicate cutting and filing chores.

10/15/2009 8:26 AM

Blogger kwicslvr said...

I remember that cartoon strip in your room! It is funny. I only had a TLD. Being an ELT nothing else was necessary since we never did any "real" work in every one else's opinion. I think they were all just jealous. =)

10/15/2009 9:07 AM

Anonymous sub-rm said...

still working from my computer here at Bangor.

10/15/2009 9:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a JO I kept a (bright) rig-for-red flashlight, black, blue, and red pens (for racked- out CO & XO for message traffick ack's), stopwatch, wristwatch, grease pencils, highlighters, TLD, notecards, PDA (briefly); since some douche's added submariner apps to the iPod, I carry that around more too

10/15/2009 9:46 AM

Blogger Bill Howell said...

Flashlight & TLD, with a wheelbook in my back pocket.

No leatherman/multi-tool. Seeing a khaki with a tool of any sort made my guys nervous.

No cell phone or pager. To quote my first CO, upon the occasion of our chop offering to get him a cell phone in 1987: "Why would I want that f@#$%^&g thing? That's what the Duty Officer is for!"

Managed to get through my entire career without being stuck with an electronic umbilical.

10/15/2009 9:58 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

As a JO I kept a...stopwatch...

Mother of GOD, he's Steed-Trained (!)

10/15/2009 11:21 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I didn't carry a flashlight or any tool on my belt until my final tour at NPTU Charleston. MTS-635 bought a mini-maglight for every staff member and made it "organizational clothing", ie it was required.

I do have a 4" crescent wrench that A-Gang had plastisoled and engraved for me because as E-Div RPPO, I kept them supplied with AA batteries back in the day. I learned early to keep YN's, cooks, Doc and A-gang on your side.

10/15/2009 11:22 AM

Blogger William said...

Framed, on the door of my stateroom on Pennsylvania...

Itty-bitty living space!

I was the Weps.
On every boat I served, all I carried was a mini mag-lite (with a rig-for-red cap that swapped ends like a pen cap), two pens (red and black ink) and 10-20 3X5 index cards -- all in my pockets. Nothin' but the TLD on my belt. 'Bout half-way through my JO tour I stitched a mag-lite pocket inside the left hand pocket of my poopy suits.

My goal was to NOT look like my dad. He ran a service station when I was growing up. For as long as I can remember, he wore a retractable key ring on his belt along with a small tool kit. Now, at work I certainly understood the utility of the stuff he carried. Heck, I proudly wear a tool belt festooned with hammers, screwdrivers and such WHEN I'M ACTUALLY WORKING on a project. Dad wore the stuff around town... He even wore the key ring to church. Embarrassing; especially when he would occassionally substitute teach at my school, wearing the gear... while wearing a suit.

I don't wear anything on my belt. Ever.


10/15/2009 11:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like a light-weight...

All I had on when underway was a tweaker and a film badge. In port I added wallet and keys.

Old RO

10/15/2009 2:30 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

As a blue-shirt I always had a Leatherman or Gerber multi-tool on my belt. Some form of flashlight on my person (not necessarily on my belt), 2 black pens (hidden in pocket) and a battle kim-wipe (stupid title but useful nonetheless). One of my dog-tags was on my keychain which served well as a wide-bladed stubby screwdriver. Usually used the multi-tool at least once a day.

As a Chief I only carried the multitool when acting as a line sup topside - always have a knife to cut someone free if things go bad. Keeping the tool on my belt underway was too much of a temptation to get overly involved. I am never afraid to put my hands on, but it usually isn't the first thing I should be doing as the Chief - keeping the tool in my rack helped keep that philosophy in force. I did get all my senior technicians SOG multitools from GSA as the new ARCI IETM calls out for them!

I also alternated between a tiny keychain flashlight or mini-mag underway. After being underway when ALL the lights went out (inadvertent scram w/ battery open circuited) on my first boat, I never wanted to be without some kind of light source (no matter how feeble). I also added index cards in my back pocket & kept the 2 pens & kimwipe in pockets as a Chief. The big light came out of a locker for Field Days & sometimes when walking spaces prior to liberty. I preferred to NOT have anything visible on a day to day basis.

In the shipyard, the badge on a breakaway chain is de rigeur along w/ hard-hat & safety glasses - folks threw a smash hat party when we finally got out of there.

10/15/2009 2:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torpedo Officer, First Lt, then COB on SS-580 70-75 always my buck knife on belt. Wheel book in shirt pocket along with pen, and aviators pen size flashlight with red adjustable lens on lanyard around neck and in shirt pocket.

Sailing as Fire Marshall on T-AE-33 and T-AE-35 over last five years, leatherman and earplugs in plastic carrier on belt. Pelican flashlight (best dang flashlight ever!!!) hooked over belt when working fire marshall stuff throughout ship.

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


10/15/2009 2:56 PM

Blogger MT1(SS) WidgetHead said...

I carry a Gerber multi-tool with needle nose pliers and a Sure-fire 6P LED Defender with both lenses. Yeah, both are expensive, but the damn things work.

As for batteries, you'll pay up to $9.95 for a pair of 123As at Best Buy (to hell with that). So, go to and get a 12 pack for $21.00 mailed directly to you. Then split the batteries with your shipmates while underway.

The only other things I carry is a pad a paper and a cheap $2.00 click pen along with a Blackberry when topside.

10/15/2009 4:06 PM

Anonymous laughter in manslaughter said...

As an electrican I carry my Leatherman Wave, my pocket knife, and 4 inch crescent wrench. I also always have a pen and extra scrap paper on me for my RPPO mojo. I never liked the green memo books because they seemed too small to write effectively. Between those three tools I can fix just about anything that breaks.

10/15/2009 5:09 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

As Eng the inside of the locker over the desk had a copy of the Engineering Log from the day I relieved.

As CO there was a sticky on the safe over my desk reminding me of three things I should never forget. Well, that and a "no whining" magnet.

Once, as XO, one of the nuc ETs had a 'bat belt.' On the next patrol peer pressure got to him and he dumped it. When asked where it was, he said, "we do not speak of the belt."

10/15/2009 5:18 PM

Anonymous Ratt said...

I carry my 2AA Mag light, the hoop for a 3D-cell mag light "for fielday" my knife, which ever one I havnt lost yet. and in my breast pocket below my fish I carry two 20 sided Dice for Chemistry. Works wonders, also useful for exposures, and rolling for LELT for the day, Natural 20 wins!

10/15/2009 7:40 PM

Blogger Bryan said...

As a JO and ENG carried a mini-mag light with rig for red lens, black ball point pen, some 3x5 cards, and a wheelbook in the back pocket. Oh, and a kimwipe. And lip balm - always carried lip balm.

Nowadays, the pen and the wheelbook remain, and of course the lip balm.

You an buy a box of 144 of the little green wheelbooks for a reasonable price, even as a civilian, in case you are interested.

10/15/2009 8:03 PM

Blogger Bryan said...

Oh, and how could I have forgotten the Gerber? The only tool I was allowed to have in my hands!

10/15/2009 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the yard, it's a scale and a dental mirror in addition to a really sharp pocket knife for those stubborn 18-20 ga. wires.

As an engineer, if I got caught with anything resembling a hand tool, I'd be sure to get grieved be some trademan...

10/15/2009 8:27 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

I always had my Gerber Gator knife on my belt, along with my earplug case and TLD, in my left breast pocket I had 2 standard issue pens and a little green book (RPPO stuff), a 2AA Maglight in the right pocket, and I had my trusty HP 12+ calculater for when I was standing RO (yes it was RPN).

Now I have my work pager on my belt, my CRKT knife/money-clip in my left pocket, and my CRKT stainless boot knife in one of my boots.

10/15/2009 11:30 PM

Blogger MM1/SS said...

Gerber Diggit (upgraded to SOG now)
Gerber LED 6" Flashlight
Gerber Knife with 3" blade
Caribiner Clip with 9/16" wrench & 1" jaw crescent wrench

As a M-div guy, and Cal Guy, the crescent and 9/16" are worth their weight in gold.

The Gerber paid for itself many many times over the years.

Knife was for boredom

and any good submariner has a flashlight. so helpful in locating items sacrificed to the Bilge Monsters

I kept things to the minimum, but I've seen some guys who basically carry an entire toolbox on their belt.

10/16/2009 12:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a nub elt in the yards, I got home tonight, read the post and took inventory from top to bottom:

Hardhat, glasses, earplugs
Two zebra pens (black and red)
ship's qual book
military id
shipyard id
keys to the lab
buck diggit
gerber gator
mini mag
4" cresent with shotline handle
blige water 20ml sample bottle
jollyranchers (qual bribes)
3-4 chemwipes

Didn't realize how much it was until I wrote it all out.

MM2(SU) Madeitoffthetestnostarforme

10/16/2009 2:15 AM

Anonymous EM1(SS) 655 said...

Keychain in pocket had all required keys, EAB dust cover w/ chain as key fob, wingnut that all E-Div carried signifying our chief, pressurizer heater seal from heater replacement and last but certainly not least, an old style adjustable wrench that opened to 9/16". You could take almost everything apart with that.

10/16/2009 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I carry 3 long tees(par 4s and 5s) and two short tees(par 3s) along with a very well worn pitch mark repair tool and a 1965 quarter in my front right pocket. In my back left pocket resides a scorecard and pencel. Nothing else matters.

Geez yous guys are geeks.

10/16/2009 11:39 AM

Blogger Old Curmudgeon said...

black GI pen, black ink
whistle on lanyard (QM identifier)
small flashlight with "twist for red" lens on lanyard
three nickels (in case of "oolie" for coffee run)

10/16/2009 11:41 AM

Blogger William said...

Anon 10/16 @ 1139,
Hey, tell us something we don't know. In today's world...


This is one of many universal identities and it has few exceptions. DBFTMC(SS) and anyone who sailed with Dick O'Kane might be the exception to the rule.


10/16/2009 11:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would have to be worldwide to be effective.

It also just happens to explain why certain ISPs in Virginia suddenly stopped monitoring my blog.


10/16/2009 11:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my pocket on a 58-day spec op: No less than 2 packs of gum, at all times. Before we pulled out I had bought an assload of gum, and anytime anyone asked for a piece of gum, he got it. My watch section in maneuvering were some happy campers, it's amazing the morale boost you get on day 46 from your very own stick of carefree spearmint (or peppermint or wintergreen or bubblegum).

10/16/2009 1:42 PM

Blogger jk said...

All those comments from the wired nukes of the present and no mention of the tool almost universally carried in the dim past. In the dark ages, when NPS was in Bainbridge and slide rules were the only calculation aid available (besides fingers and toes,)the only tool necessary was a tweaker (sp?), meaning a very small flat bladed screw driver with a clip for the pocket. I might also mention what we called a "paper brain" or "your brains) which was the shirt pocket sized, green cover notebook for "remembering" those items too slippery for the MK 1 brain.

10/16/2009 4:09 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

MM2(SU) Madeitoffthetestnostarforme,

Please tell me that was your QUAL CARD booklet and not your actual qual book that you were inventorying at home before your post...

If you have NNPI or even just general SS notes in there and it is found in an unclass residence & you get caught by anyone (BPO, neighbor, knowledgable squid buddy from other cmd), your ass is grass & the command will get alot of heat & have to explain the whole embarassing incident. Reference the banner at the top of this page...

If it is just your card, then good on you - I never let mine out of arm's reach except this one time in Crew's Mess (shudder).

10/16/2009 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my shirt pocket as the maneuvering watch and initial dive EOOW on the 13th 688: a fine, aluminum-encased and wood veneer-wrapped cigar.

And, of course...a lighter.

It was a fine smoke.

10/16/2009 10:01 PM

Blogger reddog said...

This was the mid Seventies. Most of the tools that anyone might need were in well stocked kits at the various work stations. There were flashlights clipped to lockers and bulkheads everywhere. To make them easy to find they were always next to butt kits and sound powered phone stations as well as other places. A lot of insecure guys had complete tool kits and carried them around a lot of the time. You could always get tools from those guys.

The stuff I needed at my workstations, I wouldn't need anyplace else, so I left it there. Everybody had a TLD. Everybody wore a folding, lock blade knife in a scabbard on their belt in port but not at sea, they were a pain in the ass at sea. Multi tools weren't invented yet and Swiss army knives were useless and Gay. Everybody traveled pretty light nobody even wore dog tags. I gave mine away to a girl after boot camp. I gave away several sets. Girls really liked it if you gave them your dog tags. I knew a storekeeper that had a machine that made them.

I always had an issue black pen in my shirt pocket, a pencil behind my ear, a flashlight around my neck on a lanyard, small enough to hold in my mouth for writing the deck log and plotting. A Sharpie, for writing nasty limericks about the XO, Buffalo Bob Holbrook, on the shitter walls and drawing little cartoon caricatures of him fellating various farm animals. Those were very popular.

The Navigator, Howard Chatham, had one of those special purpose programed Texas Instruments calculators, that did all kinds of celestial navigation functions. He was very proud of it and had a little holster for it. Nobody ever shot an azimuth while I was aboard.

10/16/2009 11:58 PM

Blogger Jay said...

where do i get those wheelbooks?

10/17/2009 1:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to the standatd load out of mini-mags, pens, etc, me and my FT's always had bearing-rate computers hanging around our necks.

FTC(SS) ret.

10/17/2009 6:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 80s, we had this LDO LT onboard for 2 deployments. He was the guy who was standing next to the Officer who got decapitated or something and was the subject of the safety films on snapbacks. This LT was, I believe, a CPO at the time and also got nailed with the line. He lost about half his guts and had continuous indigestion. One of his stateroom lockers was full of mylanta - and he always carried a bottle of mylanta in his poopie suit pocket onboard! I guess his skill was so special that medical cleared him to deploy and he never was an issue...well, medically at least!

10/17/2009 6:35 AM

Blogger reddog said...


Wheelbooks are just little spiral steno pads, with the perforations at the top, so that the pages flip like a wheel. The kind that can fit into a shirt or hip pocket. They used to run about four or five for a buck.

10/17/2009 7:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, I'm hearing a lot of things from FT's, Nuke ET's and JO's.
As an A-Ganger, I had the standard Leatherman, "sunlinght in a can" Surefire, crescent wrench, allen wrench for resetting reducers, multi-colored pen for PMS schedules (no sked back then) and for showing NUBs how the Trim/Drain systems interfaced in drawings, and pocket brain. On the zipper of my poopy suit was a red LED light for control at night at PD. Kept the tools in an EMT pouch on the belt.
Had tool bags for all of the guys in my division as well. They were allowed to keep any excess tools they had accumulated after they turned in what was issued to them.
Basically if you had a 9/16 and 3/4 inch wrench and an 1/8 inch allen, as an A-Ganger, you could take apart the boat. If you needed anythingelse, that's what the NUBs were for. Always had one of those in tow.
-Del, The guy who brought you the Talisman and TSRA

10/17/2009 11:48 PM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

E-Div RPPO in the mid 80's I carried a key for the divisional locker on a ring with a dog tag, a black pen, a hard-bound green wheelbook for personal record keeping, and 10-15 3x5 cards for note taking. Used the dog tag as a screw driver for fluorescent light covers.


10/18/2009 11:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NAV ET mid 60’s-early 70’s, small flashlight, black pen and a P3 (that little tweaker thing called a P3 because the guys that needed them were usually drawing pro pay at the 3 level). Also, not on me but always nearby, the green book where I kept the running tally for THE poker game.


10/18/2009 9:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


What are the three things I should never forget?

10/19/2009 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


What are the three things I should never forget?

10/19/2009 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ONE-Net took you down, can't get to your site from work out here in Guam.

10/20/2009 1:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't worry, it was just my card, thanks for looking out though.


10/20/2009 2:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A while back I came upon a Piping TAB from USS John Marshall SSBN 611 on the internet. It had been scanned in in full color. On the front page is listed "For Official Use Only", but no mention of security classification.

I printed 140 pages and then left the website.

I sometimes wonder whether there's issues with having this document.

10/20/2009 11:20 AM

Blogger MT1(SS) WidgetHead said...

I highly doubt you have a problem. If it was Topsecret/Compartmentalized information it wouldn't be accessible on the web in the eyes of the general public. Even if it were classified as Confidential, OPSEC would sit up and pay alot of attention as to who has access and who has recently viewed said information. Like I said, I don't believe you have a problem in this case.

10/20/2009 8:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benchmade (only the best) pushbutton automatic knife, Leatherman surge, Pens, pencils, little post-its and a can of copenhagen long cut. Anyone from 760 knows exactly who this is

10/30/2009 9:14 PM

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Anonymous Geoff Hayes said...

Even on a shore duty desk job, you will find me with my Leatherman on my belt, a flashlight, and a good knife. Although I have traded my usual Mag light on my belt for a single cell AAA Streamlight in my pocket.

7/02/2012 11:30 PM

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