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.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

USS Buffalo Undocks

From the Navy website, here's a picture of USS Buffalo (SSN 715) undocking in Pearl Harbor:

My best sea story from being in drydock is when I was Ship's Duty Officer on USS Topkea (SSN 754) in San Diego during the magnitude 7.3 Landers and 6.5 Big Bear earthquakes on 28 June 1992.

This was the first night I had felt comfortable enough as SDO to actually sleep in my rack; prior to that, I had always slept on the Wardroom bench when I was Duty Officer. It was our first night in drydock, and I woke up immediately as the ship started shaking. My first reaction was "Earthquake?", then I thought, "No, the drydock's afloat". (I didn't remember, being mostly asleep, that pins connected the drydock to the pier when it was in its normal raised position.) I next wondered if the drydock did LP blows on their ballast tank, and had just about decided that it was a carrier sailing by at a high speed when the Duty Chief burst in and said "Earthquake!" I immediately headed up the Weapons Shipping Hatch ladder and found the topside watch still clutching his desk. I verified that we didn't have any real damage (other than that the CD overboard connection duct tape had come loose) and got ready for turnover.

The duty section had all turned over, except for me (the oncoming SDO was late) when the Big Bear quake hit. I was back aft, and one of the nukes had real fear in his eyes when he yelled out, "What's happening". Being an "old hand" at this, I calmly said, with arms akimbo, "Don't worry, this is only about half as bad as the last one."

Do you have any good drydock stories?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not on the boat, or drydock. Became good friends with a "wrecker" from HMS Churchill when she was here for tomahawk cert, late 70's.We were out in the desert drinking beer, riding buggies, drinking beer, etc. After a long day, a good dinner and beer around the campfire, we settle down to sleep on the mesa. Just as things are settling down we hear a low rumble and looking east see what appears to be ocean swells approaching at a fairly good clip. The waves passed beneath us, producing quite a ride, and much profane commentary. Scouse the wrecker, when informed as to what had really occurred exclaimed, "They say we're crazy to ride the boat? You're Fing crazy to live in California!" Luckily we were not out of beer.

10/03/2009 12:56 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Two good stories, one earthquake and the other drydock.
In 1964, the crew of my first sub was moving from the living barge to onboard near the end of overhaul. Just as the second brow was coming down so that loading could commence, the crane began to sway back and forth and the dock quivered, and the sub felt like it was underway. The Crane operator came out of his cabin bracing for a fall. The swaying soon stopped and we figured out it was an earthquake. In any case, it was a memorable start to the final days of overhaul.
My second sub was in overhaul in Pearl Harbor NSY during the filming of TORA, TORA, TORA. A number of the crew were extras in the film. I didn't think much about the filming until one day I noticed that the "Japanese" fighter bomber making his run had to waggle his wings to get between two cranes that were abreast our drydock. I could just see the headlines if the pilot misjudged that maneuver. It was also impressive to look down at the pilots as they flew past our living barge which does appear in the movie since it was of pre WWII construction.

10/03/2009 1:10 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I remember the Media Discharge in 2000 in that drydock. Those were the bad-old days....

10/03/2009 1:31 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

I remember being underway off the coast of California and being caught in an earthquake. At the time we had no clue what the heck was going on, but when we pulled in the next day it was all over the papers. We happened to be right over the epicenter. It felt like the boat was emergency backing and we jumped around in depth by 10-15 feet depending on which gauge you were looking at.

10/03/2009 1:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Others may elaborate a bit more than me, but part of the EB experience for the "23 Boat" was having part of the wall for the graving dock collapse while we were being prepped for our initial float back in May of ‘04. They brought in fire engines from the surrounding cities to help pump the Thames into the dock, with all the equipment left behind in the dock (JLG lifts, scaffolding, etc). For once EB hit a milestone ahead of schedule; float off occurred the next day, to which they patted themselves on the back for. To quote the XO, shipyard workers were running off the ship, while we were running onto the ship.

Pictures towards the bottom show the wall collapse:

10/03/2009 2:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the early 90's, after a long weekend, the first in a long time, I was walking down the pier in San Diego to the boat. Got to the brow area and noticed no boat. Hmmm, a little concerning, as I was the ANAV!

Turns out the boat had a sonar issue and did a dual duty section docking on Saturday.

After I found the boat, I asked the two duty QM's, one my First Class and the other a Second Class why they didn't tell me they were moving? They said "Chief, you only have a few months left and we didn't want to bother you". My First Class was going to relieve me as ANAV for about two months until a SCPO could arrive and be there permanently. He was good but still pretty junior so I had some doubts, especially working with the CPO quarters.

The COB said he did a great job, as both the Section Leader getting the boat ready to dock and the nav/control room ready to support.

That day I wrote a memo to the CO and Nav recommending he become the ANAV and cacel the SCPO's orders.

They did and he made CPO his first time up and made SCPO the first time.

That's why we train our reliefs...for those long relaxing weekends!

Jim C.
Retired ANAV

Ps. We came out of dock on Wednesday. Quick and painless before things start getting torn up.

10/03/2009 3:54 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

@ Sandy Salt

Was that the one were right afterwords the OOD came on the 1MC and announced to the crew "something just happened"? I heard sea stories about that one.


10/03/2009 5:37 PM

Blogger DDM said...

More on the 23: I remember the JLG lifts starting up and moving and raising up and down on their own. Don't know how they missed the boat. I was on of the guys running on while the EB guys were running off.

I also remember being moored in PH on the 666 and watching the Bremerton roll over in the drydock. Quite a sight.

10/03/2009 5:46 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

As a JO I was duty officer when a hurricane went by while the ship was in dry dock. Overnight we plugged up the boat best we could, then rode out the storm as the ship shimmied on the blocks in 70mph winds.

As CO the ship was on the blocks for a big earthquake. Aside from all the power going out, not to big a deal...Of course, I had to drive to the ship to find out since cell phones were not working. The SDO told me it was quite the shaker.

10/03/2009 6:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going fishing for drydock nubs with forty feet of rope and a pipe wrench. I also made it a point to steal at least one piece of equipment from each shop that came onto the boat. Still not sure how they didn't notice me walking away with a four foot torque wrench...

10/03/2009 8:13 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

More on the 23: I remember the JLG lifts starting up and moving and raising up and down on their own. Don't know how they missed the boat.

Ha! I remember standing on the edge of the graving dock watching the lifts start moving on their own and thinking "this ought to be good...".


10/03/2009 9:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a good story by any means. The same drydock Joel was in at Pt.Loma turned out to be a nightmirror deadstick move. 1994 a sonar guy had his face hit by a line that snapped topside while the 677 was getting on the blocks. I was part of the deck div and remember it like it was yesterday.

10/03/2009 11:05 PM

Blogger BlueShirtO said...

USS Flasher had just finished a NORTHPAC where most large pieces of electrical gear (STBD SSTG, STBD SSMG, battery, among others) had decided they no longer wanted to operate very well, just before heading to PH to decommissioning and inactivation. We were tied up in the shipyard along the pier, and had shut down most everything - the last major piece of gear was the decay heat pump.

Stood up a watch, started the DC diesel, loaded the diesel and shifted power off of shore power. I was in maneuvering and as the report came that the shore power cables had been removed from the ship, the light on the EPCP for the diesel breaker went out. Asked for the phone talker to get a status of the diesel - the report came back, "It's pretty bad." That's the kind of report that really pisses you off. Asked for a 'real' report, the diesel operator came back, "There are arcs and sparks everywhere; request permission to secure the engine."

Turns out the diesel generator failed catastrophically, with the windings shearing of and creating a casing full of spaghetti. The Command Test Engineer for our boat made the decision that the safest course of action was to go ahead and move the boat into drydock, with the battery the primary source for decay heat removal, and the time curves the secondary source.

Docking and draining proceeded without incident, and by the end of the day the ship was back on shore power. The NRO head for the shipyard, Mr. Hardin if I remember, wasn't happy, and got the CTE fired as a result. The lessons to me were:
- when the major electrical gear begin to fail, it is time for overhaul or decommissioning
- Naval Reactors was a zero-fault, establish blame kind of organization, not one I wanted to spend a career in
- the unplanned can always happen

As it happens, Flasher's decom went pretty fast for PH standards.

10/04/2009 1:26 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

BlueShirtO--that guy, Hardin, was a complete tool and everyone knew it. Only good thing about him was his relief. Without even trying he made sure the next 20 years had sensible people in that NRR post.

As I recall, a CTE killed himself and gave a detailed account of Hardin's leadership influence on his decision. Hardin did not survive the aftermath.


Anyone got a story from the Bremerton falling off the blocks?

10/04/2009 4:07 AM

Blogger Fast Nav said...

Standing SDO during a refueling. Getting close to the point that fuel comes off, so Marines were in the area.

One night, I get a "Duty Officer, Topside, JA". Topside watch says "I don't know what's going on, but there are Marines running around everywhere with M-16s up here."

I go topside and watch with the Topside and DCPO as Marines are running all around the dry dock with weapons. As one runs towards us, I start walking toward him with a WTF look on my face.

He must have recognized my look because he (still at port arms) looks at me and says "Drill..." as he runs by without missing a step.

10/04/2009 10:05 AM

Anonymous Carl said...

Was in dry dock in Charleston as EDO one fine day. Sometime in the morning word came down of a private plane that had targeted one of the old oil tanks down the road. The tanks had SWO and dolphin insignia painted on the side and the pilot had aimed right for one of the insignia. The plane was a twin engine job and all that was left were the hulks of the engine blocks.

Always wondered what would have happened if the guy had tried for something more "exciting" and aimed for a boat on the blocks.

10/04/2009 11:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't really have a good drydock story, but I was in San Diego in June 1992 for my CORTRAMID cruise. I was on the 32nd St base and I remember waking up with the bed shaking and wondering what I had gotten myself into.

10/04/2009 1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going into drydock 4 (I think that was the number anyway) for decom with three other boats. Normally lining up over the blocks is a bit of a pain, but when 4 boats have to do it at once it you can imagine the fun.

We had no potable water, no ventilation, no shitters, no galley, no LAN, nothing really. Just a porta potty topside. I was not on the watchbill, checked on my preunderways (I was the MPA), talked to my chief, told a few trusted JO's my plan and stepped off the brow seconds before it was lifted off. I spent the day in building 50 getting work done - it was quiet and the computers worked. Went home about 1700 or so. About 2030 got a call from the ENG - he was a little upset - turns out he spent about half the day looking for me before he figured I wasn't there. The other JO's kept saying things like "I saw him a few minutes ago" or the infamous "I think he's in shaft alley".

I really went to great pains to make sure I had taken care of everything before I split, well who knew that the thing that got me was the ENG was trying to hunt me down and give me my division's E-6 evals. He told me that I should've asked before leaving - I knew better - I would've been stuck onboard for 12 hours with nothing to do like he was. Not my best moment, but I managed to get away with it.

10/04/2009 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about partially submerging in a drydock leaving only the sail as access to not get knocked off the blocks during a hurricane?

10/04/2009 2:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Srvd_SSN_CO: were you at PHNSY in 2007? I was IWO the day when the earthquake hit with 3 boats in dock and a slew of SSNs at Subbase with diesel troubles. Funny thing was, I never felt it - the road was so bumpy & the IWO truck had such crappy suspension,I was probably the only guy in Hawaii to not feel that earthquake!

I was a docking officer too, but nothing we did was as funny as this story I found on '':

There was a certain no-nonsense aura about individuals who were in charge of docking and undocking ships, particularly in floating dry docks. They were in a class with harbor pilots and many years of experience as an assistant were prerequisite for achieving the title dock master. As soon as the bow of a ship crossed the sill of a dry dock, the dock master assumed command. The story that I was prompted to tell was about the dock master in a Brooklyn shipyard years before megaphones were electronically amplified. I’ll call him Sven, a dour product of Scandinavia who, at some time in his past, had acquired reason to mistrust everyone.

Regardless of the weather, with the carpenters and riggers standing by, Sven personally measured the height of every block and checked to see that the chains for positioning bilge blocks were free. “Why doesn’t he spot check?,” the workers grumbled.

Immediately before each docking, with line handlers manning the dock’s wing walls, even during a downpour of rain mixed with sleet, Sven took his sweet time in a final check, and from the dock floor gave the command to start flooding ballast tanks.

Barely an instant before the dock floor became immersed, in fact with uncanny timing that exuded professionalism, Sven stepped into a rowboat. Just then, the dock suddenly dropped a few feet due to what naval architects describe as a diminishing waterplane area. While sculling the boat with one hand and holding the megaphone with the other, Sven didn’t miss a beat in barking orders to the line handlers. He repeatedly circled the ship while yelling terse commands for positioning and deballasting. The process seemed to take forever.

The frustrated line handlers collaborated with the exasperated carpenters in preparing for a February day when a docking would be further complicated by ice flows. Chunks of ice that came down the Hudson River, due to tidal action, accumulated in the basin where the dock was located.

The night before, the carpenters nailed Sven’s rowboat to the dock floor.


10/04/2009 3:00 PM

Blogger Rick said...

Late summer of '98, we had the MTS-635 in a drydock at Norfolk. I was the SDO and taking a tour around the dock when I heard a loud "POP" and hiss. I looked over to the north side and saw, where the duty van had just driven over a hi pressure shore air supply line and parted the joint, a 2.5" bright orange "cobra" lifting its head a good thirty feet into the air. The hose flopped down into the dock and proceeded to thrash around for a good minute, smashing wooden boxes and lifting tons of dust into the air before the yard was able to secure the air supply. I don't think the van driver even knew what he had done.

10/04/2009 3:43 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Post to the author:

Were you on the Topeka when she was in Bahrain at all, sitting out from a tender across the pier from the USS LaSalle?

I remember the Topeka coming in for a few days. I was on the LaSalle at the time, and that bubblehead I mentioned before, Bob Torresin, was on the LaSalle with me.

10/04/2009 6:20 PM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

While throwing some trash away at the end of the day, I noticed the cooks had thrown all the wardroom silver into the dumbster. I thought ones man trash is another mans treasure so I took the silverware back to my barracks. After a couple days my shipmates spooked me into thinking the navy would say I stole it, so I put the silverware back in the dumbster. What a stupid mistake!!!

10/04/2009 7:42 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

Another hurricane story. On the 728 in drydock when hurricane isabel made landfall in 2003 (i think). Dead electruc with a temp. diesel topside. They built a temporary addition to the drydock wall in case the storm surge went over the pier level.

During the hurricane, the surge did definitely exceed pier level by a good foot at least. Looking out of the LET shack, it was a waterfall into the drydock. Luckily, the pumps kept the water level down. The drydock next to us however was a mess after the storm. The caisson had failed and the drydock was flooded. I believe the drydock was already considered ooc, so there were no vessels inside.

Also, on an interesting note, an old osprey nest that was preventing the teardown of an old crane was gone after the storm. Crane destruction began immediately.


10/04/2009 7:42 PM

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10/05/2009 3:48 AM

Blogger Brian said...

There's no such thing as a "good drydock story". The worst day underway is still better than the best day in the shipyard.

10/05/2009 8:26 AM

Blogger kwicslvr said...

When we were pulling back into Pearl Harbor we were going behind the drydock(in)Compenant. I was topside at the time and just happened to look in the drydock as we went by. I noticed the sub in there look a little strange since it's rudder and stern planes did not form a cross but instead formed an "x". Come to find out the drydock forgot to put the side blocks in and when they started to raise the boat out of the water it rolled.

I do know my boat was in drydock in Mare Island getting refuelled when the big quake hit the bay area in the 80's. The SRO at first thought they were pulling the shaft out until NR called to see if everything was alright and to let him know what happened.

10/05/2009 9:01 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

Drydocked in Holy Loch in winter.

'Nuff said.

10/05/2009 12:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very much off topic, but I have a suggestion for a new thread. Since the "Skimmer CJCS Supports Women On Submarines" thread has gotten rather lengthy, what about a thread on how the guys feel about their wives making the argument to congress about no women on submarines. The last two responses #223 and #224 on that thread might are good ones.

10/05/2009 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1982, we were the first 688 to pull into Mare Island for PSA. They dredged a chanel for us to get into the dry dock. After we were done, they pulled us out and put in to 637’s and proceded to do hull cuts.

We went out on sea trials and while at PD we bumped into our chase boat which bent the top of our rudder a little. Ok, a lot.

As our dry dock was taken, they had to wait for the highest tide of the month to pull us into the new dry dock. We had 7 inches of clearance over the sill and from the time we were positioned over the blocks to the time we were sitting on them was 9 minutes due to the outgoing tide.
We didn’t bother to take crankwebs on the diesel because we were only going to be there a little while. That was until EB sent us a Trident Rudder and then Christmas stand down came around. To give everybody as much stand down as we could, me and Jake decided to stand port and starboard during the stand down.

The bay area got hit with the worst storm in 50 years and power was knocked out to the whole region, including the shipyard. I got a call from Jake and told him to start doing crank webs. When I got to the boat, the DO was very nervous about starting the diesel. Shipyard was in a crane basket, hooking up sea water for the diesel and crank webs looked good. I talked to the Eng on the phone and said that I could see not reason not to snorkel and he asked if I was willing to bet my stripes on it. I Assured him it would work. Ten minutes later the CO called and told us to snorkel. As the senior guy, I did the line up and commenced snorkeling with three hours left on the battery. Jake and I stood almost four days of diesel watch. We stayed on watch until we were too tired and the other one took over.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

10/05/2009 1:10 PM

Anonymous Write Your Congressman said...

REGARDING Women on Subs:

Since this proposed 'policy change' (a.k.a. idiotic social experiment) WILL be decided upon by the U.S. Congress before it starts to be implemented, that is very definitely the focal point for expressing intelligent thoughts.

Some collective outrage over the fact that the idea has gotten as far as it has is certainly in order as well.

If putting young men and women in a steel tube for MONTHS at a time makes no sense to you, I duly encourage you to express yourself both clearly and respectfully to your U.S. Congressman.

The more Congressmen involved, the better.

Direct link to YOUR Congressman:

Stand up and be counted. The only thing required for idiocy to succeed is for intelligent men (and women) to do nothing.

P.S. I would encourage the use of printed letters, not (just) e-mail. The Congressman you're communicating with will respond in kind, and IMHO it simply makes for a greater impact.

HOW TO write a letter to Congress -- see link.

Note that this author also supports the use of a personal letter over e-mail.

10/05/2009 1:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even the MCPON is sitting on the fence on this whole thing. He has to be very careful publicly. But as a Bubblehead, do you really think he wants girls on the boat??
When he retires, I can't wait to read his memoirs...I'll bet he'll have some serious shit to say about this whole mess since it being seriously discussed on his watch.

This is his only public response on his facebook page....

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West
Great comments and discussion. Keep it coming. As you can tell by the above this will not have a simple solution. There are many things to consider.

... Read More
September 26 at 8:16pm

10/05/2009 3:13 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/05/2009 3:33 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Wasn't it Kissinger who said (on more than one occasion) "What's Meatball done now"?

I can picture Rick West, shaking his head in his hands feeling very close to Dr. Kissinger right now. Not surprised he hasn't weighed in (much) yet, but looking forward to his response. It will be one for the books

10/05/2009 3:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fastattackchief, you may have dodged a bullet.

You know how batteries for flashlights & etc. get PMSed and are shitcanned & replaced if voltage is below whatever point? A sailor on the Last Real Cruiser (1987 or 88) retrieved a pair of those discarded batteries from the trash to power his Walkman. He went to mast and was busted; I think it was for misappropriation of gov't property.


10/05/2009 5:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a drydock story, but an earthquake tale- When the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake hit, I was driving home and was just going over a RR crossing. My radio went silent right then and I cursed my Plymouth and beat the dashboard, thinking the radio had failed.

Once home I was puzzled by the ceiling light swaying on it's 8' chain until my spooked neighbor clued me in.

10/05/2009 5:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've totally had it with that "HOOYAH" crap...and those stupid digiblue semen-stained jarhead wannabe-lookin' rags.

I am taking my marbles and going home.

10/05/2009 6:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am taking my marbles and going home."

Going to miss you, goodbye.....HOOYAH!

10/05/2009 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the MCPON is onboard with the women on subs transition. From his Facebook page dated September 30 at 4:21am.

"MCPON's responded to this question a few times the last couple days. The overall direction of his answers has been that he believes it's possible and that our Navy is ready from a cultural standpoint. He's also quick to point out that this would not be an easy transition, or one that could be done quickly.

Here's how he replied to a recent question from Navy Times:
... Read More
"As a former COB and CMC of a mixed gender ship, I have every confidence in the world that our Navy could do this. Structurally I realize some work may be required, but culturally our men and women would adapt quickly and this would be a seamless change.

When and if we integrate women aboard our submarines it will be the maturity and professionalism of our Sailors that would ensure success and as with everything we do, CPO leadership will be the key.

I have no doubt our Sailors can make this happen. In fact, I would not hesitate to be that boat's first COB."

As for wives crying about it....remember, they are just wives and were not issued in the seabag!

10/05/2009 9:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for wives crying about it....remember, they are just wives and were not issued in the seabag!"

Clearly, you are not married. If you were you would not have uttered your last.

10/06/2009 3:07 AM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB & CWO4 said...

Back to the dry dock thread. I'm tired of talking/reading about females on subs. If it happens, it happens.
Pain in the drydock, the Docking Officer on ARCO late 90's, a few years after the roll ove. It was a painful process it was to dock/undock a vessel. Divers had to pull chem-lights from each side haul to ensure they were hauled in correctly, every nail, scrap of wood, saw dust had to be cleared from the dock, the bird lady had to inspect the dock to ensure no flying rats were caught up in the docking/undocking process. I guess it was all for he good, never had a problem on my watch. Key word and tricky phrase...MY WATCH. My first day in Docking Department, a SN drove a JLG over the side into 45ft of water. She didn't drive it in, the brakes failed as evidenced by the chunks of brake left up-and-down the ramp. Fortunately, she was violating the #1 JLG rule, have your safety harness on and attached to the basket. Had she followed the rules, we would have been digging her out of the mud onthe bottom. Docking Officer was one of the most rewarding tours in my 30 years. If only I could do it again.

10/06/2009 4:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moving pretty fast!

10/06/2009 6:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was involved with many interesting dockings at Mare Island. Docking the USS PIGEON (ASR 21) with 3/4" clearance was fun. As was docking 688's with our BAMS. Docking the 603 once, the divers swore they removed the mine clearing cable, but NOT.

10/06/2009 8:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While qualifying Docking Officer on ARDM 1, we were undocking a boat, one of the 640 boomers. This was to be the last undocking for the CWO4 that was the Docking Officer. The ARDM-1 is a little bit different of a floating drydock. It has a closed in bow and a stern gate that makes it like a big bathtub. So as we start binging the boat out, said CWO4 increases the speed on the outhaul line, moving the boat faster than normal. As the stern of the boat reaches the stern of the dock, the boat suddenly stops and had we had a couple more turns on the outhaul capstan, we would have parted a 2" kevlar line. CWO4 says we must have a side block that didn't pull out and the boat got caught on it and stopped. So, we pull the boat forward and try it again. Same result. Sent down divers after the second attempt and we find that the stern gate had not opened although the indication indicated open. Not a good day on the dock. Ended up conducting a water-born screw change on the boat after we finally safely moved the boat out of the dock.

I was the Assistant Docking Officer when the Bremerton happened. Yes, it significantly changed the way we docked and undocked boats.

CWO3 (ret)

10/06/2009 11:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shaking closet doors in my Spring Valley bedroom, resulting from the Landers quake, woke me. I was going to be late for my early morning Coronado Island golf course tee time.

Until that day, I never went out into public without a shower. I guess getting to the first tee on time was more important that day, cuz the shower was skipped. When I got to the course, guys were standing around comparing notes of the morning's event.

A while later, I was standing over my second shot on the par 4 third hole. The Coronado Bay Bridge serves as a backdrop for the green on this hole. All of a sudden the light standards all along the bridge began to sway. It was the Big Bear quake/aftershock. Within seconds the ground swell approached from the east. It raised me up maybe 20 inches and then let me back down. The four of us looked at each other somewhat amazed. I think our common reaction was, "wow, that was cool".

I went on to birdie the next three holes. And that ain't no shit...

10/06/2009 11:54 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

We're underway submerged and the boat starts rocking. I run out to the CONN to yell about not being told about backing bells (array was out) to find everyone looking puzzled in Control.

We call back aft and EOOW is equally clueless. Still punching holes as planned.

PNB looks mighty funky on the low end - none of the guys on the stacks have a clue what happened.

CO comes to Control a little bleary eyed asking what happened.

I tentatively offer the idea that it was an earthquake - nothing else fit & I'd never seen PNB look like that (& fade away minutes later). Everyone laughs in disbelief.

We come to PD an hour or so later and I am vindicated.

Docking & Undocking a 688I w/ BAMS just blows.

10/06/2009 5:10 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Dockings and undockings were all, thankfully, pretty benign, but I'll contribute to the earthquake pool.

Summer of '98 (ish) a few mile off the beach in Guam, spitting SEALS out the back. Hear the rumble and the boat starts shuddering a bit. ALCPO is the Dive, and I'm NAVSUP. I look over at him, who is already looking at me...both of us with looks of "What did you DO"? on our faces. Frogs got to the beach and told us it was indeed an Earthquake. If memory serves, it was a 6-ish or so...enough to shut down Andy's Hut for a while but not do any serious damage. Hell, I was just happy we didn't scrape the bottom!

10/06/2009 5:35 PM

Anonymous EM1(SS) said...

More of a funny story after all the drydock horror stories. Refueling overhaul of the 655 in Newport News, winter of '82-'83, boat is sitting in the refueling drydock. The 'Gator, (LCDR Buck), is a nuke standing some oversight role, comes down from the drydock and says that the shitter has hot water piped to it. Became a popular "resting spot" the rest of the refuel.

10/06/2009 7:08 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Does anyone have pictures of Bremerton taking a 45° roll in the dock? My old PROJ was XO of ARDM-1 when it happened and he had a picture, but Google has nothing.


10/06/2009 8:39 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

DDM, I remember that incident well, as we had just arrived back in port from our UNITAS deployment (SSN672). I was sent topside to do shore power, and I remember looking at the drydock and thinking, "Something doesn't look quite right" as the sounds of various alarms could be heard coming from the Competent.

I also remember the Indianapolis incident over in the Competent as well (altho that was more of an IMA/ships force problem).

10/07/2009 11:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff City was in the ARCO on 9/11. I recall alot of shuffling going on to try to undock us, and send us to sea. Unfortunately, we were too taken apart to put us back together that quickly, so we were the only boat in port at Pt. Loma for the week. I would've rather been at sea, especially when we went to 2/3 duty for that week (2 days on duty, one day off) to support all the required security watches in THREATCOM D. You will never see a crew happier to go Port and Starboard as we were the following week.

10/08/2009 8:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a drydock, but we nearly set the boat adrift in the Tampa Florida harbor in '90 or '91. Pulled in for liberty (after Dan sent us to the the Gulf and the Mexicans sent us back.... LOL)

Anyway, we tied up and got the Shore Power rental diesel running and shut down the teakettle. Big cargo ship went by, boat started rockin' and lines kind of ....came loose. Boat was holding on by the shore power cables. Topside watch went over and "scrammed" the shore power diesel, and then waves subsided and all was okay. Retied mooring lines, checked cables...."We meggered 'em, chief!" And all was okay believe it or not. Must have been dumb luck, because there was no way to check the ampacity of those cables. I guess the ENG and CO figured it was better to hazard the chance of a fire than to fess up to the Admiral so we could get new cables from somewhere ;<)

10/08/2009 1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To: Srvd_SSN_CO story of the Bremerton

I wasn't on the Bremerton, but I was at NSTCP and heard about it. Got down there an hours after the tip and saw the boat while the drydock was in the same position when it fell over.
What got my attention was the amount of flag and general officers looking at it.
Seems everyone from COMSUBPAC to CINCPAC that has a star was there watching everything. There were like 20 of them and they just puttered away.


10/08/2009 1:51 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

If I recall correctly, some 22 people lost jobs/stripes over the Bremerton incident. It really put a crimp in the ability to do overhauls/SRA/DMP work at Pearl for quite a while until they got re-certified.

10/08/2009 7:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I may say so, the Buffalo looks terrific! A story here: husband was MPA Plankowner on the Buffalo. On leaving the shipyard and pulling into Norfolk they pulled outboard another boat. A wonderful skipper, small in stature, would cross the brow of the other boat and inside it was announced "Buffalo Crossing". Not only did most folks smile...but you saw pride on his face...

It was a great crew and our daughter one of the first born while being built. It was mentioned one day she might serve on subs...but, its not to be 25 years later. She's a contractor working on ASW at the Washington Yard and very proud of her background and her country.

Only the right people, man or woman, should be allowed to serve in the sub force. It takes a special person and a special family, to live and serve through their obligations.

Hopefully, the right decision will be made for each person selected and may they never forget once selected whom they are working for.

10/17/2009 8:25 AM

Blogger MarkT said...

Two good ones from the 22...
-Shipyard worker asleep on scaffolding 30 feet up on a SDO day, and going back to sleep after I woke him up
-EB panting the bottom of the boat 6 hours before flooding the drydock and convincing everyone that was fine. Still don't buy that one.

10/22/2009 8:58 PM

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12/16/2011 12:09 AM

Blogger reshma M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/07/2013 9:42 PM


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