Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

This Is Why Ensigns Shouldn't Have More Than One Ribbon

Check out this newest Navy Nuclear Power propaganda video on the official Navy channel on YouTube. Overall, it's not too bad, except for one epic fail. Check out the ribbon "rack" of the Ensign who shows up about 6 seconds into the video:

I'm pretty sure they haven't put the Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship ribbons ahead of the National Defense Service Medal in precedence. I'm not surprised an Ensign would mess up on something complicated like that, but I am a little bit amazed that no one in the video approval chain picked up on it.


Blogger Eric said...

I suspect it's just a video editing thing where they flipped the image horizontally, but you're right, someone should've QA'd it.

11/13/2009 4:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Eric, if that was the case then they would be on the right side of his chest.

Still trying to figure out what the dive trainer has to do with splitting atoms...

11/13/2009 5:23 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

BH, thank you for the extaordinary naval humor. Very good!

Obviously, the ribbon placement is passing for skimmers (did you not see a female LT. and carrier in the same video?).

Secondly, please notice that the female LT.'s shoulder boards (at1:19) do not overlap her "broad" shoulders by 1-1/2" the way they do on the Surface Warfare Ltjg. (at 1:54).

The jovial video offers hope (much needed) for academy grads. Accordingly, one officer (0:37) offers that "with all the training" for nucs, (including ribbon placement, no doubt) "it really becomes second nature".

Finally, may we ask if you were ever an Ensign, Sir?

11/13/2009 6:27 PM

Anonymous Veemann said...

The nuclear reactor IS a complicated mechanism. Oh, boy. I hope we are learning more than that in power school. Naval Academy graduate perhaps?

Aside from the unintended humor and wardrobe malfunctions it is good that the Navy is putting motivated young folks out in front of their recruiting videos.

Did we all look like were 12 on our first boat?

11/13/2009 6:38 PM

Anonymous Veemann said...

"Did we all look like we were 12 on our first boat?" is what I, and apparently not my fingers, meant to say.

11/13/2009 6:41 PM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

Wow...that is all that I can say about this video. And I know Chris Carter, the detailer that is now an ENG out in the fleet. How old is this video?

I can see that the Navy is pulling out all the stops in an attempt not to start "drafting" submarine volunteers, but I am wondering why they continue to show all the cool stuff that has nothing to do with the reactor (i.e. torpedos, driving the ship, etc.)? Some of the officer students I saw as a Shift Engineer seemed to be shocked by the reality of what they had signed up for. I had to remind them that they will never see the cool stuff up forward if they can't qualify back aft (and that assumes the Navy isn't short LDO's either...see previous thread).

Each day, I started thinking we should consider operating our ships like the Brits (let the nukes be nukes, let the fighters be fighters...I got to see it in person for 5 weeks, and the beer was a nice touch). That way, the guys in the video can get their jollies splitting atoms, and the rest of us can focus on splitting keels.

11/13/2009 6:59 PM

Blogger Harry Buckles said...

Being able to split keels is so very important in today national security environment. Why on my JO tour, we sank skimmers every other month. Although I agree with your sentiments about splitting nuke and coner officers, the fact remains that sinking enemy ships with torpedoes is not a very important mission. If one must pick one department head to be the boob, nearly everyone would choose the weps.

Why doesn't the Navy, instead of spending some ridiculous sum with an advertising agency, offer some cash prizes to sailors in the fleet to make recruiting videos. Contrary to Navy tradition, they should be submitted on the web without command involvement, unless of course the command wants to make their own. Big Navy picks several winners. Each winner gets a cash prize. Not only would we see better and more realistic videos, but they might actually work more as well.

11/13/2009 7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with the classroom footage where every PO3 student is warfare qualified?

11/13/2009 8:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching this video made me think of the "find 10 things wrong with this picture" game.

In addition to the Ensign's ribbons there was:
- A Lt(jg) talking about how neat it is to be on the bridge (true, but not sure a JG has had many chances to enjoy it)
- Talking about submarine firefighting while showing the DC wet trainer (you don't need to call 911 because you can just let the flooding put out the fire)
- The female LT talking about the benefits of nuclear powered warships while an Arleigh Burke steams by in the background.
- The carrier CO talking about being able to use the knowledge gained in college while the video shows sailors (no college prerequisite to enlist).
- Finally, all of the annoying cuts from submarine to carrier to submarine to carrier felt very bipolar.

File this one in the category of unintentionally funny. I'm not sure who the target audience is supposed to be.

11/13/2009 8:52 PM

Blogger H. S. Normal said...

It seems likely to me that the Ensign just put the ribbons on upside down. That would put the NDSM on the outside.

11/13/2009 8:56 PM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

"...the fact remains that sinking enemy ships with torpedoes is not a very important mission."

Not an important mission? Where did you get that idea? I seem to recall that the early Navy minds didn't think much of submarines prior to December 7th, 1941. That was until submarines were the only thing standing between the US and the Empire of Japan. I guess the hard lesson paid with the life of many a submariner is that you never discount the value of a good submarine. The fact that China and Russia are building more boats (not to mention paying a visit to the East Coast) keeps our submarines well involved in the "national security environment."

And to clarify, when I mention "splitting keels," I am referring to all the missions a submarine can do.

"If one must pick one department head to be the boob, nearly everyone would choose the weps."

Ouch Harry...I'll keep that in mind as I relieve as a WEPS in a couple months. Maybe your WEPS was a boob, but I hope that isn't the general consensus in the Fleet. What good is an ENG and a NAV, making steam and plotting a course, if your WEPS can't put a weapon on target?

"Being able to split keels is so very important in today national security environment."

By no means am I saying I am God's gift to submarines, yet I plan on giving it my best damn shot. I saw too many talented guys walk away after prototype. Maybe I am crazy...maybe I simply don't feel pain anymore...but I am still willing to do the job. WEPS or NAV, doesn't matter (I didn't ask for ENG because I done my time back aft...). All I ask of those that walk away is to not discount the boat or the weapon. And pray the weapon never has to be used.

Enjoy medical school...glad you got in (surprised the Navy didn't say no like they did some of my buds)...just watch out for those nutjob Army shrinks.

11/13/2009 8:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Video editing moved the Towed Array fairing on the 688 at the very end of the show from the stbd side over to the port side of the boat.

Grumpy Old LDO

11/13/2009 10:18 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Yes, I was an Ensign, and made my share of dumb mistakes. Luckily, I was only a 1 ribbon Ensign (Good Conduct Medal), so I never made that particular one.

11/13/2009 10:35 PM

Anonymous Helpful thoughts said...

"I didn't ask for ENG because I done my time back aft..."

You'll actually want to do that Eng tour at some point if you really plan to make a career out of the submarine Navy.

One brutally honest visiting admiral (let's call him RADM "H.") at SOAC once opened his remarks by walking past the rows of nametagged/destination desks with the following commentary:

"You will screen for major command. You will not. You will screen for flag. You will not...etc."

His bluntly tipped point: competition-wise, if you don't do an Eng tour, you're cannon fodder for those that did.

Granted, RADM H. was/is a classless and MAJOR LEAGUE dickhead with a serious Napolean complex, but the fact is he's right about this one.

Good luck on that Weps tour. IMHO, it's the best JO job on the boat...unless, of course, it's on a Boomer. There are no good jobs there. Just ask the tampon dispenser repair man.

11/14/2009 5:25 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

The recruiting vids are fine just the way they are; it is no good showing everyone to be perfect. Why the DDG? Because surface nucs don't spend all their sea time on CVNs you nit. Why a dive trainer? Because you will be a sub officer, not just a nuke. Hmmm, why the CVN skipper but no SSN skipper?

To answer other mail, 'splitting keels' may not be important today, but the fact is that ONLY submarines carry weapons designed to sink other ships. It is Pathetic that the US Navy does not think it important for its non-sub forces to be able to engage other ships. Notice the ever declining numbers of Harpoons?. If you want to sink a ship with an entire battle group an F-18 with iron bombs is the best you have. 70 years of CV tradition, unhampered by progress. Good luck against a capable AAW platform....

I don't buy the "Eng or Not" idea for command and major command, but the numbers are not at my fingertips. Unfortunately, the number of flag officers may still be skewed that way. But that helps explain why there is no demand for sub drivers to be COCOMs--we have no career diversity.

11/14/2009 7:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More disturbing is that the CNRC let the video, jacked up ribbons and all, out. How hard would it have been to cut that scene?

Don't blame the ENS, we're supposed to make mistakes like that. Just not on camera.

A (different) three-ribbon ENS.

(And yes, I did just go double-check my khakis.)

11/14/2009 8:06 AM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

It wouldn't surprise me that an admiral would walk around the classroom and say those things. And, I have a petty good idea of who you may be talking about, but I'll leave it at that.

The said thing is that NOT being an ENG seems to hurt you for continuing up the COC. What happened to doing a good job? Seems to me a lot of ENGs are getting fired too. The detailers that came out to talk at the NDIA conference said they are pulling CO's from about a third ENG, third NAV, and a third WEPS. It is presenting a problem now when it comes to that "either XO or CO needs to be ENG served" interlock. They are really pushing for ways to have guys get that "ENG served" tour done...either split tour DH or MTS XO. Unfortunately, my three years as a Shift Engineer don't count for that. Sad...because I got treated like an ENG everyday while babysitting young kids at the same time. That was after being an MPA almost my entire yard tour. Six years being in the engineroom...I want to spend time in the forward end of the boat for a change.

I remember talking to someone recently about how the guys up at in DC are starting to ask questions about the whole ENG thing. Seems like many tend to get locked into "nuke it out" mode versus make the best decision in the time alloted. Thought that was an interesting way to put it. Maybe we should consider going the British officer route...I am sure those sharp guys at Perisher don't spend alot of time getting wrapped around the axle on primary chemisty. That's what their Engineer is for.

If not being an ENG means I never screen for major command or flag, oh well. I am here to serve, not worry about whether I get stars on my collar or not. One retired VADM told me that's the best attitude to have...wished many of his guys felt the same way.

Besides, if being an ADM requires playing the PC game and make difficult decisions like which NWU looks better...they can let the kids that climbs the top of that statue first at the Academy have the job. I'll go enjoy my humble retirement fishing or playing with my grandkids.

11/14/2009 8:21 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

If one must pick one department head to be the boob, nearly everyone would choose the weps.
Having suffered through several subpar Weapons Officers, I can tell you many others agree.

I don't.

A bad NAV or ENG will be more likely to ruin a CO's career more often than a bad WEPS. That I'd agree with and is probably why some would rather have a weak WEPS, especially so in the non-shooting environment we've been in for so long.

But jeez, we are on Submarines...they are first & foremost top of the line WARSHIPS, not nuclear training vessels. It always amazes me how often that seems to get lost in translation & the emphasis stays aft vice on ensuring we can put warheads on foreheads.

If the Nav can keep us from hitting something & the Eng can keep the rock hot enough to answer the bell, fine. But lord help us if the crap hits the fan & we can't put ordnance on target when we need to in time of war.

My best Weps ever was an early select for XO and will make an awesome CO someday (if he stays in).

11/14/2009 10:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

remember, the ENS might be the brunt of a prank (reverse the ribbons on his uniform when it is hanging up in his stateroom).

Like that never happens.

11/14/2009 10:31 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Good grief. Here is the ugly truth: for many years the top guys were sent (and to an extent still are) to be Engineers. Not to belabor the reasoning, but with the largest department, the toughest external standards to meet and the most equipment responsibility, it made sense. Unfortunately, that had other effects, like a whole upper echelon made of nothing but nukes.

So, for a while someone thought 'quality spread' would work, right up until you sent the weak sister to the hardest (to some) job. Sad fact is that a lack of integrity in weapons department won't be seen as a 'nuclear incident' by the public. So things went back the other way.

There are flags who are served Navigators, Bill Burke is one. My own data tells me he is in the minority however.

The best advice is to go to the DH job you think you will enjoy. Your job as DH is to run your dept and drive the ship. Good DH tour and you screen for XO. Yes, the odds are against you if you are a T-hull guy, but not excessively so. Good XO tour means a chance to screen for CO. And once you are in command, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. A great pre-CO tour means fu&k all when it is time to screen for major command. All that other stuff is just pre-req's to get into the real job. MOST COs will screen for major command, few will become commodores and tender COs, from whose ranks the flags are chosen.

Find'em, good luck to you, but even Engineers are ship drivers. As XO, my best OOD was the Nav. As JO/CO it was the Eng. I have my own thoughts on my DH tour.

I now relinquish the soap box.

11/14/2009 11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking about nuclear reactors being complicated; A student was quoted in the university newspaper where I work. It stated that he was a nuke and in the school of technology. School of Technology is the booby prize for engineering wash-outs All the former nukes I went to school with were either chemistry, physics or engineering majors. Has enlisted nuke school really been nerfed that badly?

11/14/2009 12:04 PM

Blogger Squidward said...

{Has enlisted nuke school really been nerfed that badly?}

That is the rumor. Or, at least, the word is that rocks are now sent on through. I'm sure the hot-runners are as they ever were.

11/14/2009 12:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who goes to a boat for a DH tour as Weps? Every Weps on Ustafish was an O-ganger on his first sea tour. Only DH tours anyone serious ever took seemed to be ENG or NAV. Or maybe it's just the way things used to be vs. the way they are now?

11/14/2009 3:37 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Anon, you are showing your age. We stopped doing the JO Weps thing for good about 18 years ago...I know one of the last ones, and he was a fill, not a plan.

My second XO was a srvd weps. And he was also an ace ship driver, good nuke and an excellent officer. A good number of COs in the fleet right now are srvd weps. And I know at least one who chose to be a weps.

11/15/2009 4:11 AM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

Thanks srvd_ssn_co...I was starting to think I made a bad call on the billet choice. The detailer told me that I didn't get ENG since I didn't ask for it, and we have several in my SOAC class that "have" to be an ENG. They are really pushing the DH split tours now, so I'll probably end up a NAV or ENG prior to rotating back to shore duty.

As long as I get to drive something not on blocks and / or covered in scaffolding, I'll be happy. You should have seen some of those fast cruises we did in the yards.

11/15/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger J said...

What is the purpose of the reactor plant? Is it there to support the mission of the ship - one which is executed by weapons department - or is it a self-licking ice cream cone?

'Nuff said. Some of our O-gangers and other assorted nucs need a serious perspective check.

11/15/2009 10:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

soon to be weps:

I like your attitude, but if you want to make a career out of the Navy (or any industry really) you better pull your head out of your ass and start playing the game at least little bit. It's not good that you didn't know that Weps is historically a short-bus billet...better start paying a little more attention to your surroundings.

11/16/2009 1:53 AM

Anonymous Helpful thoughts said...

"It's not good that you didn't know that Weps is historically a short-bus billet"

That's probably the most idiotic statement I've ever read on this blog. And flat-out wrong. So let's air it out a bit, and let me clarify my earlier remarks.

"Back in the day," the Weps job was given to the top JO onboard. Period. This was when virtually all Weps were home-grown, or chosen at CO discretion.

This was typically done for at least three reasons: (1) "They could." With no other forces involved, the CO/XO simply wanted their very best JO in this role, (2) That kind of responsibility is/was a retention incentive, and so they saved this plum for the top JO, and (3) It allowed 'the hot runner' to focus time and attention on NWP and weapons knowledge -- a good thing to have around in the fleet over the course of time.

Today, with billet control in the hands of the detailers, there's little doubt that the logic goes pretty much like this:

(1) ENG: Get the very best guys in an Eng tour on their first (and especially if "only") tour. This is for promotion enhancement as well, but mainly for obvious-to-(nearly)-all priorities and to avoid screw ups if they later can't be split-toured for some reason.

(2) NAV: For split tours, fill the Nav roles with post-Eng guys who want to do this whenever possible. For retention, give this job on first tours to guys who express nuke burn-out and/or strong pref for the operational side...but if it's a top-tier player, "career counseling" is in order if they really should be doing an Eng tour.

(3) WEPS: For clear-cut two-DH-tour guys, this is OK for a top-tier player on his first job, but with caveats. They probably have a "no needledicks" rule for T-hull Weps roles, again for obvious-to-(nearly)-all reasons. Top-shelf guys can/should go here on a post-Eng'll somewhat depend on preferences. BTW, this IS a fun job, so it's also a way to save a guy who wants to go do it in a big way and is at least momentarily fed up with back aft.

Bottom line: is there a talent skew? Yes, absolutely...but only kinda-sorta, not profoundly so. You WILL get top-shelf guys in this job. Is it a 'short bus' role? Not only 'no', but 'fuck no.' I can only imagine some dimbulb saying that.

11/16/2009 3:15 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

When was the WEPS a JO job? When I reported to my first boat in 1990, it was a DH billet (and he had been there a year at that point).

11/16/2009 7:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have anything to add -- I was just a blue shirt ELT.

One thing I appreciate is the frank and candid discussion that occurs here. It provides me with some insight and perspective into the minds of the types of guys I worked with back in the day. Frankly, it answers some question about the types of behavior I was observing.

Boise Dave

11/16/2009 8:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appears to be the same attitude as it was in the 1970s. Subs go to sea to train for ORSE, not to push the missile compartment around or to hunt the bear.

Makes you wonder if we will ever produce another Whitey Mack as CO

11/16/2009 9:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The submarine mission has evolved from a state-of-the-art weapon to an engineering trainer to a social engineering laboratory.

This is the PC Navy of the 21rst century.


11/16/2009 10:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's probably the most idiotic statement I've ever read on this blog. And flat-out wrong. So let's air it out a bit, and let me clarify my earlier remarks."

What you're saying is that WEPS roles are filled with the weakest people, but that these people are still very good and pretty close to ENG/NAV quality.

The slowest gazelle is really fast lion food.

11/16/2009 10:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subs go to sea to train for ORSE, not to push the missile compartment around or to hunt the bear.

Don't be silly. Subs go to sea, a lot of the time, to TRAIN, period. Whether it's for an ORSE, or a TRE, or what have you...that's the way it is. Training is important, and the way we do it is (in my mind) what sets us apart from the skimmers.

Safe operation of the submarine nuclear plant is not a's a prerequisite. If you can't operate the plant, so much for all that other stuff.

Anyone who has gone to sea on a nuclear submarine knows this.

11/16/2009 11:46 AM

Blogger FineNavyGray said...

@ 2:33 in the video, ENS (now LT) Koch. Great NNPS double E instructor. That clip was from awhile ago it seems.

11/16/2009 12:58 PM

Anonymous Helpful thoughts said...

@Anon at 10:24

No, what I said is actually what I said...not what you just said.

Most succinctly: With split tours in place as the defacto standard for rotation, top shelf guys get assigned to all three line officer department head roles. So the Weps is often top-shelf just by means of rotation if nothing else.

Is the Weps role the top priority for post-JO tour line officers? Nope.

@Tennvol: About 25-30 years ago (and prior). Weps -> SOAC and split tours cranked up about 20-25 years ago, if I remember correctly.

11/16/2009 1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Safe operation of the submarine nuclear plant is not a's a prerequisite. If you can't operate the plant, so much for all that other stuff ...

No one is saying that the plant should not be operated safely, but the plant is NOT the primary purpose of a submarine.

If you just need to train the nucs, then get some more MTS

I bet the Brits did not think the plant was the top priority in the Falklands war.

I know, failing an Orse or poor record keeping gets a CO relieved. We have seen that lateley. Bad navigation, both surface and subs gets a CO relieved too. We have also seen that lately. Unfortuneatly we have not seen COs get relieved for poor performance in the weapons area. Have to go to the air force to see that.

As for ...The slowest gazelle is really fast lion food...

If gazelles are DH and lions are the enemy, do you want your slowest, least proficient DH to be running weapons when the shit hits the fan? Is the plan to switch the Weps and Eng just prior to battle stations torpedo so you have your hot runner as Weps then?

I served under a damn good Weps on a boomer in the 70s. Yes he was a nuke trained officer. The Aweps was a mustang NESEP grad. Just happened to be a former nuke EM. By the time he got his commision, they said he was too old to be nuclear trained.

I guess now when the enlisted top performers get selected for LDO or CWO, then they never get to serve in a submarine again? What a waste of damn good talent.

11/16/2009 3:55 PM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

I can see that my presense has spurred some debate...outstanding!

I really like helpful thoughts' take on the DH billet breakdown. Since I just found this out, I should pass it along. There was only two ENG billets available for Pearl where I wanted (more like needed) to go. They are on boats in the yards...and I punched that "ticket" already (yards...not ENG). I was told in order to screen for XO, I'll need sea time period, and I am slated for a couple deployments right now if the orders hold up.

By asking for WEPS in Pearl, I made the detailers job a whole lot easier (of course, I already knew where he was going to have to send me). a good job and don't worry about the rest. Of course...I think I just got penciled in for a ENG split after the WEPS job (be careful what you bring up!).

And your right about using WEPS to keep guys with some nuke burnout still interested in serving. Some guys that were hinted as "having" to do ENG tour are doing just that...for ExxonMobil, TVA, and Intergy. Oh, and they make sure to tell me about it all the time. I hope they love driving that desk in their least my desk makes port calls and can go underwater! wife thinks I am that twisted at times.

If I can enjoy some time up forward and actually spend some time at sea, I wouldn't mind finishing up as an ENG (hopefully the fact the Navy paid for my MBA will buy me a "financial management specialist" job and not a NPEB job afterwards).

As for another Whitey Mack...there's always hope. Man the prayer watch...

11/16/2009 4:09 PM

Blogger DDM said...

To all you WEPS out there: Thanks for providing a platform for me to push around for 24+ years.

My casual observation: A good officer is a good officer. If all officers are created equal, then why sometimes does a guy who's floundering as an ENG, get split-toured to be a NAV or WEPS? It's never the other way around.

I was happy when the WEPS and NAV took their monthly exam without much prodding.

11/16/2009 4:27 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Just my $.02, but it always seemed disrespectful to send a failed Eng to a Nav/Weps job: it says to those guys, 'hey, f$ck you!.'

The split tour thing is interesting. We do it when DH tours get to long. ANYONE can be a split tour ENG if the CO recommends them. As for numbers, if you split tour and one of the tours is ENG, the detailers will count you as your other billet...Never trust stats alone.

Subs are not 'nuc training platforms' and if think that, you're just an idiot. You have to do it all "."

Just in case you have all forgotten history, the interwar period did not produce many Mush Mortons and Dick O'Kanes---the war did. The best we can do is train and try to get ready, but our peace time missions at least mean we are training some risk takers. And you don't get to comment on that last sentence if you ain't worn the badge.

11/16/2009 4:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By asking for WEPS in Pearl, I made the detailers job a whole lot easier (of course, I already knew where he was going to have to send me).

Looks like things worked out for the best in this case. You got what you wanted (Pearl) and the detailer got what he wanted (volunteer for a WEPS job). He might have coughed up an ENG billet somewhere else after some gentle pushing, but now you'll never know.

If you were heavily career-oriented, you would have pushed for an ENG job wherever. I'm guessing you didn't ask/he didn't offer. Nothing wrong with that if personal considerations are important to you.

11/16/2009 5:09 PM

Anonymous Helpful thoughts said...

@Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: Glad to add some perspective and hopefully some assistance.

As a married man, perhaps with kid as well, don't be shy about taking a boomer Eng tour, despite all my (or anyone else's) jousting. No one, including the Navy, benefits when love is left bleeding.

To me, a married man in the SSN Eng role is a sad thing. It's too often a case of highly misplaced priorities in life. Worst Eng I ever knew had a fine wife and kids both in and just out of diapers. I don't think that was a coincidence. So keep your hat on straight.

@Srvd SSN CO: With regard to 'badge,' you speak, of course, of the coveted Poseidon-Polaris Patrol Pin? (JK -- can't let the boomer (cough) 'guys' get off scott free).

11/16/2009 5:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see if "helpful thoughts" is posting from a Millington, TN. This guy is too creepy and patronizing to be a normal line officer. I smell flesh-peddler.

11/16/2009 5:37 PM

Anonymous Helpful thoughts said...

@5:37 "Anon": And I smell Mike Mulligan.

If anyone's wondering whose nose is more accurate, I'm west of the Mississippi, and east of the left coast.

A fine good evening to all...especially you, misbegotten Anon (but watch your back...boooo!).

11/16/2009 5:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fine good evening to all...especially you, misbegotten Anon (but watch your back...boooo!).


Time to get out guys...I think Jerry Falwell just got a job at STRATCOM.

11/16/2009 5:56 PM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

"It would be interesting to see if "helpful thoughts" is posting from a Millington, TN."

To all those inquiring minds, I don't think that he is posting from Millington, or at least he isn't currently there. From everything that I have been told, it doesn't matter what billet I get if I don't have any more sea time on my DH tour. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the SSGN conversions, but rumor had it that it was supposed to be manned by LDOs when in the yards. The detailers told us during our first time at NPTU that none of us were going...don't think about it. Three years in the yards would hurt you beyond belief.

Then, the ORMOD comes and I find out that I am going to one. Apparently, the Navy was short LDOs. I don't know who on high decided which JOs went, but I heard it was top performers...aka smart kids (maybe I should have enjoyed Charleston more). I wouldn't call myself that, but someone thought so (maybe they were upset I said no to that NR job when I went to interview with DNR). I tried swaping orders with other guys, including one guy upset he didn't get Norfolk...even he said no. No one wanted near those orders. So I sucked it up.

Every senior officer I ran into thought it was a shame, if not a crime to be in the yards "that long". Many told me to do a split JO tour at all costs. Such attempts were meet with a flat no..."needs of the Navy." I don't know what the Navy was planning on doing with us conversion JOs, but most got out. Most got out without seeing shore duty, opting to stay on board 4.5 years and getting out six months early on their contract. I may be one of a dozen guys that stayed in given those circumstances. Add being a shift engineer for shore duty (gotta love more rotating shift work) following that, and many O-4 and above tell me they are shocked I didn't jump ship by now. I guess "Pride Runs Deep" for me despite the concrete walls of NNSY drydock #8.

At this point, sea time and a great DH tour may only get me screened XOSS. I'll keep playing ball as long as the team needs me. Afterall, my wife loves the pay, and my boys love the boats. And, at the end of the day, I got to do something that most people never even dream of.

Some may argue that had I "wheeled and dealed" the system more...maybe called on a couple admirals that I ran into ironically outside of official work...that things would have been different. Then again, I was raised by a humble army grunt that taught me the value of doing a good job. It kind of worries me seeing some of these guys in my classes that try to game the system, sometimes getting ORMODs to the last place they wanted to go. I will simply go about my business and consider myself blessed.

With that said, I'll go where God sends me and do the best damn job I can. Once again, thanks for all the advice (whether you are a detailer in disguise or not).

11/16/2009 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"With that said, I'll go where God sends me and do the best damn job I can."

With that attitude, I'm sure that some lucky crew in the future will have you for a CO.


11/16/2009 9:27 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Helpful, the 'badge' is not a patrol pin, and I did not get mine from a boomer tour, which should be plain from my handle.

11/17/2009 3:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

""With that said, I'll go where God sends me and do the best damn job I can."

With that attitude, I'm sure that some lucky crew in the future will have you for a CO."

completely agree....

and with all this talk of split tours... is that being promoted as the standard from the detailers now? It was the rare bird who split toured just a few years ago.

and if you split tour, I've never seen someone for from ENG to something else, it's always NAV/WEPS to ENG.

11/17/2009 4:51 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

and if you split tour, I've never seen someone for from ENG to something else, it's always NAV/WEPS to ENG.

Eng on 671 split toured to become NAV in mid 90's, so it has happened.

11/17/2009 6:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Thomassoulo: But your cane's on the wrong side.

George: That's just because we're standing on opposite sides. See, when we met, I was over there and you were over here so the image was reversed, like in the mirror.

They walk over to a mirrored wall.

George: See? This looks right to you, doesn't it?

Mr. Thomassoulo: Uh, yeah, I guess.

George (passes cane from right to left and back a few times): But, see here.

Right. Wrong. Right. Wrong. Right. Right. Wrong--

11/17/2009 8:05 PM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

Anon @ 2005:

Are you trying to tell us that the detailers are getting their tactics from one George Constanza? You may be right...

Previously overheard conversation in SOAC:

"Why are you upset with your orders? You got a boat that out of Norfolk."

"Out of Norfolk...its in Portsmouth right the yards."

"Ok. But OKC is going back to Norfolk, right."

"She was...until she got picked as the new boat out in Guam!"

"What did the detailer say?"

"What did he say? Well, he told me I got a boat that was going back to Norfolk. That was after I heard it was at PNSY."

"What about going to Guam?"

"Well, the detailer told me I got a boat out of Norfolk...when he cut the orders."

"What did he say about going to Guam?"

"The boat might go back to Norfolk...on its way to Guam."

" Hope you like Guam!"

Personally...I don't know why this guy was upset. I'll take Guam and a bag of chips before I go back to Norfolk. Have you seen the traffic?

11/17/2009 9:48 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

OK City still doesn't have an official COHP letter promulgated - so until it is out the detailers can't say officially where it is headed, though most do say unofficially it is headed to Guam.

Still a slimy thing to do.

11/18/2009 4:34 PM

Anonymous laughter in manslaughter said...

I know the officer with the messed up medals. ENS (Now LTJG) Koziol. A great EO I can't believe he screwed that one up.

11/18/2009 7:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder who all reads this blog. OK City's COHP letter came out today.

11/19/2009 6:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess most folks that pay attention to Navy commercials don't have much of a real long range view of things. It's ironic that I owe Navy nuclear power school and submarining all the credit for why I work for a NASA contractor today.

The Navy should get hold of Steve Bowen (recently the first submariner to ride the Space Shuttle) and plaster him all over their ads.

12/02/2009 8:59 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

I'll take Guam and a bag of chips before I go back to Norfolk. Have you seen the traffic?

I remember it--coming down the hill past McD's out the main gate right after the 3:30 PM rain shower--just enough to make the coral-based roads slicker than icy snot. You don't want to know what I was paying to insure a 5-year old car there in the early 90's.

And to the person wondering if Nuke School was getting easier--there will always be one or two who get shuffled through with a 2.51 on the comp and overall, but they usually get exposed at prototype or very soon thereafter. Something tells me the quality of your average nuke, enlisted or officer, hasn't slipped much in the 22 years since I they shoved me through the pipeline.

12/14/2009 2:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always fascinated by this blog, both by the content and how original topics "morph" into another topics. However, to "go with the flow", I too shall digress.

I served as a Chief/Senior Chief on the same submarine as Joel aka "Bubblehead" back about 18 years ago. It was a great ship with a great wardroom full of promising young JOs and DHs, a superb XO, a cohesive Chief's Quarters, and was commanded by "he who shall not be named".

Our Weps was a great Naval Officer who later commanded an SSN, subsequently promoted to O-6, and very recently (and successfully) finished his (afloat) Major Command tour of an FDNF ship. Bottom line folks, please don't automatically assume that the Weps tour is a dead end tour. It is not. After serving for 26 years, all with the submarine force, my conclusion is that all the DH positions on a submarine are equally critical to the mission (and success) of the ship.

If the crew of a submarine is fortunate enough to have the right mix of talent and personalities, there is nothing that crew can't accomplish. What the Weapons Officer brings to the table is just as important to that success as that of the Engineer or the Navigator.

1/08/2010 1:11 PM


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