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.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Cubic Buttload Of Submarines

From my old XO's Facebook page, a photo of ten Los Angeles-class submarines in port at Norfolk in the mid-90s:

As the inboard submarine, what's the funniest thing you've ever done to the outboard submarine?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Simple Pleasures

I enjoy the simple things in life. I'm happy now because I have a wonderful family. I'm also happy that the local store is finally carrying Grape Crush. I also like finding cool submarine pictures, like this one of USS Pasadena (SSN 752) in Yokosuka, with Mount Fuji in the background:

What makes you happy?

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Doesn't Pass The Smell Test

A standard article about a submarine switching homeports to Portsmouth for an overhaul has one sentence that stands out like a sore thumb:
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard union officials hailed the Navy's decision announced Friday to have the USS Virginia call the shipyard its homeport as a key move that could stave off future threats to close the facility...
... O'Connor said the shipyard will now be the homeport of the Navy's newest Virgina-class submarine, which "could level the playing field for us."...
... New Hampshire Sens. Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen, and Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins jointly announced Friday the U.S. Department of Navy directed that the USS Virginia (SSN 774) will have its homeport changed to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard effective Oct. 1, 2010. The USS Virginia will undergo a planned maintenance period at the shipyard through April 2012...
... O'Connor said the Navy's announcement could also usher in a new long-term relationship with the shipyard that will not be as tenuous as it has been in the past.
He said the submarine's crew members and their families will be permanently stationed in the Seacoast region instead of just during scheduled overhaul maintenance periods.
Overlooking the problem where they say the Virginia is the "newest" (as opposed to the oldest) Virginia-class submarine, I'm pretty sure that the union official talking in the last quoted paragraph either doesn't really know what's going on, or is being intentionally misleading. He seems to be saying that the submarine would stay homeported at PNSY after the overhaul ends in 2012. Since there's no training infrastructure there, that makes no sense at all, and I really hope the Navy isn't seriously considering such an idiotic move. Since the press release of one of the Senators involved doesn't mention anything about a continuing homeport shift, I'm assuming there's nothing to this at all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Old Boats And Old Shipmates

The Navy website has quite a few new photographs of one of my old boats, USS Connecticut (SSN 22), participating in the U.S. - Japan ANNUALEX a few days ago. Here's one:

Others can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

It's always good to see your old boat. I also enjoy seeing old shipmates and friends do well, so I was happy to see the results of the FY11 Submarine Major Command and Major Program Manager Selection Board. It looks like this would have been the year I would have been up had I made it that far. I was especially happy to see two of my old JO running mates from USS Topeka (SSN 754) on the list. Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

USS Hartford JAGMAN Released

Two media outlet -- The New London Day and Navy Times -- both published stories based on obtaining the "heavily redacted" investigation report into the recent USS Hartford (SSN 768) collision in the Straits of Hormuz. Excerpts:
The Hartford's command leadership routinely observed informal behavior by sailors operating the submarine, the report says, but did not immediately correct it. Those driving the ship would often slouch in their seats with one hand on the controls, and sometimes take their shoes off. Sonar operators and radiomen were missing from their stations for extended periods. Stereo speakers were added to the radio room to listen to music during work.
There were five known "sleepers," or sailors who would routinely nod off on watch, but no disciplinary action was taken, the report states. Two of the five sailors were working during the collision, although investigators found no evidence they were asleep.
The hands-off leadership style created a climate that "gave the appearance of tolerating routine inattentiveness and lax professional standards," the report concludes.
On the night of the crash, sonar operators chatted “for the majority of the time [in the hour before] the collision.” An officer of the deck did not look through the periscope prior to the collision after taking over contact management duties.
The navigator, off-watch, was found to have been taking an engineering exam in the wardroom “while listening to his iPod,” despite the hazardous evolution underway.
Brookhart was never in the control room during any time crossing the strait, the investigators found.
Prior to the accident, speakers had been installed in the ultra-sensitive radio room “that allowed music to be played from an iPod while on watch. This was hidden from the Chain of Command.”
Please read both reports; they include some interesting info on how the submarine's crew was able to get onto the bridge after the collision (it took 4 hours using wedges and a portable hydraulic jack).

Here's my take: the report is pretty damning. But honestly, I think that you'd be able to find similar examples on most boats if they had an investigating team crawling up their butts looking at everything. We've seen this before, where Big Sub Force seems to go out of their way to make the crews of boats that have mishaps look like the biggest bunch of shitbags in the Fleet. I think that it's more likely that most Submariners could look at what goes on in their own boats and think, "There but for the grace of God go I". That being said, this particular instance does look pretty bad, considering where they were at.

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.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Submarining Is Scary

There are lots of scary things you have to put up with in submarining. To me, the scariest involved things like seeing an officer with a tool, a Doc on the Dive, the Nav or Weps heading back aft for their monthly proficiency EOOW watch, or a YN in ERLL for any reason.

What are some of the submarine things that give you the clammy shivers when you think about them?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Day To Honor Veterans

Today, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we take time to honor the Veterans of our Armed Forces.

To all my fellow Veterans, thank you for your service.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Please Support Project Valour-IT

It's almost Veteran's Day, so you still have time to donate to Project Valour-IT, a wonderful organization that provides adaptive laptops for disabled Servicepeople. The drive is running through November 11th, so if you can, please contribute to this worthy cause through Team Navy. (You can find more information through this post by the Navy team leader.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Prayers Going Out For Soldiers At Ft. Hood And Their Families

Reports of a shooting incident at Ft. Hood indicate that 11 are dead (plus a shooter) and 31 are injured. Initial reports indicate that the dead shooter is Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, and that two other soldiers have been detained as suspects. The dead major is reportedly a psychiatrist. My prayers are going out to the victims, their families, and fellow Soldiers.

We all know that initial reports of incidents are often in error, so hopefully this was a case of one guy losing it, and not a coordinated attack -- hopefully the two suspects are found to just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, the name of the dead shooter could lead reasonable people to believe that he is of Muslim heritage. I really, really hope that this wasn't a sleeper cell, and if it was, that people will remember that there are a lot of Muslims and people of Muslim heritage serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Update 1700 05 Nov: Newer reports are saying the two Soldiers arrested have been released, indicating that it was a lone gunman.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Inadvertently Humorous Submarine Fiction

Anyone remember this blurb from The Hunt For Red October?
"The engineers went about their duties calmly. The noise in the engine room spaces rose noticeably as the systems began to put out more power, and the technicians kept track of this by continuously monitoring the banks of instruments under their hands. The routine was quiet and exact. There was no extraneous conversation, no distraction. Compared to a submarine's reactor spaces, a hospital operating room was a den of libertines."
Discuss. Remember, though, that we have some wives reading, so you should avoid stories that go something like "the throttleman fell asleep so the RO put his junk in the throttleman's ear"... unless they're really, really funny.