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.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

48 Up!

Check out this photo of USS Pickerel from 1952:

From the description:
USS Pickerel (SS-524). Surfacing at a 48 degree up angle, from a depth of 150 feet, during tests off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, 1 March 1952. Donation of Captain Allan Brown, USNR(Retired), 1976. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photo #: NH 85082
What's the biggest angle (or roll) you've ever experienced?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WRT Women on Subs comments, they were only not visible on the initial screen. To view the remainder of comments, one had to selct Post Comment, then option tabs were availbale to read newer posts.

Feel free to delete

3/01/2010 4:00 PM

Blogger DDM said...

41 Up

3/01/2010 4:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

55 degree up angle on USS MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL (SSN 708). Stern planes jammed on full rise. OOD ordered All Ahead Flank!

3/01/2010 4:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a drydocking evolution with an unamed 688 that must have the roll record in the free world.

3/01/2010 4:59 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

57 Down on Sculpin. All back INS to measure sternway...full rise on the stern planes, not taken off when sternway achieved.

Anon@16:10: Glad I wasn't there for that one!

3/01/2010 5:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the chiefs on my second boat had been a newly reported engineman on USS Chopper in 1969 (we checked his Service Record). He had some stories to tell about their infamous loss-of-depth-control excursion. He claimed a 78 degree down angle followed shortly thereafter by an 85 degree up angle. Although the numbers may not be exact, they are chilling.

3/01/2010 5:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On my first boat, we often parked across the pier from USS Barbel. She reportedly took a 55 degree roll after blowing her MBTs with little forward way on.

3/01/2010 5:58 PM

Blogger Ken in Yoko said...

Yeah, EMBT blows on the Barbel could get hairy. The biggest roll I experienced was in the 55 to 60 degree range.
The worst I heard of was WESTPAC 79. Dive 1889, something like 82 degrees. When I reported onboard in Dec 1980, you could still see the oil level from the bilge on the stdb bulkhead. Glad I wasn't there!

3/01/2010 6:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the Barbel out of Sasabo or the PI?

3/01/2010 6:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone here from Hartford here to claim the title?

3/01/2010 7:57 PM

Anonymous squints said...

32 degree roll on a boomer out of KB in the middle of a hurrican at 400 ft. The skipper actually wanted to...cough..cough..go to PD, just because "it would be fun!"

3/01/2010 8:49 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

38 down during a poorly thought out Jam Dive drill. We were doing flank when the XO took local control for the drill and put on a Full Dive on the stern planes. I was in the bunk and woke up standing on my head with the boat shaking wildly and all kinds of stuff falling past my bottom bunk and piling up at the forward end of the 34 man berthing.

3/01/2010 10:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@squints: I'm really hoping that wasn't my dad saying "it would be fun". In his defense, he never talked much about that stuff back home. Sounds like him, though.

The only angle I ever got was on a dependents' cruise, and I'm sure it was totally legit. That was great fun. 48 does not sound fun.

3/01/2010 10:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

42 up on honolulu. They put on some sternway and found out that wasn't a good idea. Woke up standing in my rack.

3/02/2010 3:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pickerel was a Guppy conversion if memory serves me. They had no blow system at that time or did they? Achieving that angle from that depth would seem to mean that the ole diesel boat was hauling submerged arse for its day.

3/02/2010 4:53 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Nothing like a huge up or down angle to stir all things frightening within you. I can only begin to imagine the abject terror in the hearts, minds and eyes of the sailors onboard CHOPPER. Wow.

3/02/2010 4:55 AM

Blogger Ken in Yoko said...

Anony @1857:
We were out of Pearl at the time. Barbel rotated to Sasebo in Oct-ish 85. Damn, I shoulda stayed onboard!

3/02/2010 5:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

I think that there were a few other Diesels out in the Pacific. It seems like the Grayback was in PI and some more "B" boats were in Japan, maybe the Bluefish, Bluegill or something like that. Also, no sure when the Bonefish was moved to Charleston.

I loved pulling into Yoko on the ustafish, the repair folks were outstanding. I did not speak any Japanese so I was pretty dependent upon the Ship Sup to interpret but I was very impressed with their work ethic and quality of work on big repairs.

Also, they had some kind of coffee in vending machines where you shake up the can and it activated a heat source, pretty cool.

3/02/2010 6:10 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Buffalo, Pacex-89. OOD decided to come up to PD in the middle of a typhoon because we were getting close to exceeding time for a fix (or whatever coner reason he had.) We were taking about 10 degree rolls at depth. We were taking 35-40 degree rolls at 150 feet, and he STILL wanted to come up. By the time we hit about (we guessed) 120 feet, the Captain FELL (literally) into the Control Room and told him to get his ass back to his normal depth and get out of the area before trying that shit again.
The RCLPO and I were sitting on either side of the horseshoe behind Maneuvering on watch as we were coming up, and took turns standing on the panel looking down at each other. First and only time I almost got seasick.

3/02/2010 6:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst was 40 degree rolls on a target. My first ride on a skimmer as a diesel inspector. Rode an LST from Japan to PI through a typhoon. The only thought in my head was "when are we going deep".

On my first first boat on sea trials after our first overhaul, we did high speed turns. We were able to snap roll up to 38. That was pretty hairy.

Had a good friend on one the last smoke boats that talked about 85 due to a flooded induction pipe.

Great topic Joel, this was the fun stuff.

CWO3 (ret)

3/02/2010 7:09 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

1. CHOPPER story is accurate.

2. PICKEREL supposedly went stern-first below test depth after that stunt. Higher authority: "Great picture. Knock off that crap."

3. DARTER in Sasebo, GRAYBACK in Subic, BARBEL relieved DARTER in Sasebo.

4. EMBT blow system was backfitted into several diesel boats as a modified SubSafe package. Was not aware that the B-grils did a snap-roll if emergency surfacing with little way on, but can confirm from two wild rides that this was certainly so in GUDGEON and other square-hulls.

While aboard as PCO for seatrials out of PSNSY did EMBT blow from test depth to test system. Skipper of the time did not get much way on and ship rolled hard to port. Right answer for test was 10 kts, order good up-bubble, blow forward group first and hold after group until up-angle really takes hold - did this several times and went fine if this was the sequence.

Later in command and operating with DRUM off SDGO, had the diving officer, trim-manifold operator, and XO-as-CDO all decide that the way to achieve neutral buoyancy on going to 250 ft from PD was to really hose the trim lineup and get the angle off by pumping ocean-to-forward-trim. Twice I buzzed the XO from my bunk: 'you seem heavy - all OK?' 'we're pumping it off, don't worry.' Third time I woke up - below ordered depth, 2/3rds bell, and nose going down - I found myself standing in the conn in my skivvies in the middle of a flail-ex as the XO and diving officer tried to figure out heavy-overall/heavy-forward, and pumping (they thought) like crazy to sea. I had two choices: bubble bow buoyancy and try to sort it all out while holding depth or hit the chicken switches and figure it out on the surface.

By this time we were 50 ft below ordered depth and had a 15 down, so I said screw the elegant approach and just get out of there. We did the EMBT blow. With little way on, the boat heeled hard to port - with that much vertical velocity, the sail acts as a planing surface and once it picks a direction to heel it gets a lot worse fast. Best guess at roll came from dent a CO2 bottle made in the opposite bulkhead - was above the level of the hook it flew off of on starboard side of crews mess. Suggests angle more than 90 deg. Nothing else came loose, proof that proper stowage is a good idea.

Zero ground, took 10 hours to break. Busted exercise for about 12 hours. Big concern on ordering emergency surfacing was finding DRUM above us (we had 200 to 400 ft layer and stovepipes for PD - DRUM owned everything else). But she was 25 miles away at the time.

I required the trim-manifold operator and diving officer to requalify on their watches. XO was quietly shunted onto ASR command path, where he later served well. Forward torpedo-room watch, a well-qualified TM-2, thought it not wise to be flooding forward trim with a growing down angle and so shut the tank vent on his own, keeping the accident in the really embarrassing category and not potentially a SubMiss/SubSunk.

Later recommended the diving officer for duty other than submarines (he tried to hit a cruiser in clear daylight on the surface ... among his many other stunts) but was overridden by an O-6 nuke rocket-scientist on staff. Individual went on to GRAYBACK, where he was the diving officer when they killed the 4 snake-eaters and one ship's-company in the forward escape trunk.

5. The first liar never has a chance....

3/02/2010 7:10 AM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

Not the biggest angle but the one that always got the most inquiries...neutral trim, no way on-prolonged 5-10 degree down angle on the mid-watch.

3/02/2010 7:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our boat (Drum) was in PI in '79when Barbel pulled back in after their "roll incident". The snorkel induction piping collapsed along the portside of the boat. They supposedly had T-shirts made up saying "I survived the 89".


3/02/2010 8:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky,

This is sort of off point but maybe you can answer a few questions about the submarine force when it was in transition between the diesels and nukes.

When the Nautilus and Seawolf (2nd nuke not the Big Bad Wolf) were crewed up, how were the volunteers acquired for nuclear training?

Was it a strictly volunteer thing or at some point did it become a well advised career move for men to leave the diesels for the nuke pipeline?

I realize that for a long time there were still a lot of diesel boats around but it seems like at some point the handwriting was on the bulkhead for folks to convert or get left behind in upward mobility.

Were the first nuke schools in Mare Island and Bainbridge?

Just curious what is was like during the transition from the diesel to the nuke boats.

Also, COs on diesels used to be LCDRs, did the initial nuke boats change the CO to a CDR? Also, was this just a way to open more billets and make a better upward mobility for the officer pipeline?

Maybe some cheesy questions but you can't learn this stuff in many books.

Thank you.

3/02/2010 8:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

La Jolla, Alpha Trials, 52 down after the crash back. COB on the dive and the dive team did a great job pulling us out of that one.
Shipyard workers all zipped up snug in their sleeping bags rolling to the front of the Torpedo Room and me running for the TDU room to get a wet bag so I could slide the middle level passageway.

RM2 0827 am
I remember when we pulled into the PI. I went over to look at the damage on Barbell and was amazed they survived that roll. If you remember, we transited on the surface from Thailand because our Diesel Exhaust Hull Valves were warped. But that’s a different story.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

3/02/2010 9:29 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

To Anonymous 8:48 2 MAR - I am not rubber ducky but was a JO during the transition from diesel to nuc. I went to NUc School at Mare Island when Jack Fagan was CO, Prototype in Idaho with Yogi Kaufmann as CO -Ah those were the days. I was second to last director of Officer Training at NPS BAINBRIDGE in the mid seventies. After SUBSCOL, served on BARBEL for one year to qualify then went to SEADRAGON for the rest of my JO tour. I am one of the few that can say they went from a single screw, BCP and auto valve diesel to a twin screwed, manual valved nuc. It is correct that Diesel boat COs were LCDR and nuc COs were and are CDRs and CAPT. During my time at NPS and SUBSCOL, my classmates were LTs and junior LCDRs who were "drafted" for the nuc program in the early sixties. Zumwalt's memroir (sp) talks about how he turned Rickover down during this draft. When I got to SEADRAGON, a CDR who later became an ADM was finishing his subquals. I still remember him using the ship copy machine to put together is subqual notebook. These draftees were the key to getting senior nucs for command during the buildup in the late sixties and early seventies. One of my subscol classmates was my CO in the early seventies. (I suspect that a similar "draft" of LT level woman will also help integrate the current subforce). My class was the fourth class for direct input to the submarine force after college. Prior to 1960, an officer had to serve a year in the surface fleet before going to submarines. The long nuclear pipeline and the rapid build up of submarines made this untenable so we became direct inputs.

Back to the original question of this blog - Fifty to fifty five during and untoward event on BARBEL in 1966. By the way, when I was on board BARBEL you could still see the waterline in the engine room from the Major test depth flooding she experienced in late 1962 (I think it was DEC) due to weld problems at PNSY. Unfortunately for THRESHER, the BARBEL investigation was not digested by the SUBFORCE before April 1963. The investigation report made for some hairraising reading as a qualifying JO.

3/02/2010 9:47 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

eAnon at 0848:

Not much on original crewing of the first two, though did go through NESEP with a NAUTILUS plankowner (Imon Pilcher) and saw in him absolutely none of the back-aft/up-forward divide of later years.

Enlisted guys and officers alike were eager to get into nuclear boats in 1960, my snapshot from days in the SS-244 (our skipper BTW was Yogi Kaufman, first XO in SEAWOLF). There was some competition, enlisted guys for orders and officers for entrance into nuclear power training (for the latter, Rickover's standards were absolute and unwavering - some really good guys got turned down). Not everyone wanted to go there, but for many it was an opportunity to catch the wave for the Next Big Thing in submarines ... and for the enlisted guys a chance to play with new toys.

In the early '60s, the pace of new construction and depletion of the ranks of officer volunteers led to qualified individuals being ordered to nuclear power. E.g., Nubs Greer (CO 659 and first CO Pac TRF) was a post-grad student in oceanography at University of Washington and got shanghaied along with Lee Walker and another guy I took classes with.

The DBF crap got started in the late '60s/early '70s, IMHO by officers eligible for or serving in diesel command but cut off from later key jobs for not being nukes. Art Van Saun may have been the most vocal of this crowd, but Hollywood Art was good enough at everything he did to fend off any charge of sour grapes. Best label I know for the DBFers was the little sign under the DBF dolphins in the display case at the Submarine Museum at Pearl, something about 'unauthorized breast insignia worn by incurable romantics.'

After WW-II the diesel boats were all LCDR/O-4 billets, though many made O-5 in their tour. Tour length was 24 months and I'm not aware of any changes to that over time. Efforts to open command opportunity for non-nukes/GSOs focused on ASRs, drydocks, USS PT LOMA, and other commands associated with the submarine force, plus SOSUS stations and other commands ashore. We may have done that too well (was detailer at the time and community manager for the GSOs). I think if you look at the track record of non-nukes in command in the '80s you will find a higher level of failures than anyone was comfortable with. I said then that I think the blood was getting thin. Still think so (anyone present company on this blog excluded of course). DARTER (2), BARBEL, BONEFISH (2), GRAYBACK, FLORIKAN - all had major casualties or killed crew during that time. Some was age of boats and design, but command could not be exonerated IMHO.

Dunno nuke school locations.

3/02/2010 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wtfdnucsailor and Rubber Ducky,

Thank you for your insight and feedback from yesteryear.

I have a few more questions along same lines.

At one time, non-nuke officers were used as Weps, at least I seem to remember something like this. Was this purely a manning issue with not having enough nuke officers to go around to staff all the new con hulls? Also, were non-nuke officers used in other DH jobs such as Navigators?

Were navigators ever called Operations Officers?

Also, this might seem odd and I do not care to keep the female on submarine dialogue going but is it possible that the whole issue is purely a staffing issue to be able to staff the nuke officer corp?

All speculation of course but non-nukes were used before, is there a shortage in manning
that would drive opening it up just to staff nuke officers as opposed to the social engineering crap?

Thank you for your service

3/02/2010 10:24 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Regarding non-nukes as SSBN Weps and Navs...

From the beginning, Rickover worked towards one goal in submarine wardrooms: everyone nuclear trained. He finally got there, in 1967, but his success carried the seeds of its own failure.

In the late '60s, the nuclear boats were just plain starting to run out of officers. Entire year-groups were voting with their feet, put off by lengthy sea tours and no prospect of relief. In early 1968 I was in officer sub-school class 141, with 4 nuke sections and two diesel. 6-month course. Bobby Bell was the submarine detailer/N-42 and he came up on a visit arranged by Joe Synhorst, who headed officer sub school. Bell met with the two diesel sections and said 'This is the deal: if you are enlisted-qualified or have even just served in an enlisted weapons job in an SSBN without qualifying, you are not going to a diesel, you are going to be AWeps in an SSBN - who volunteers?' All volunteered except yours truly, who worried about getting pigeon-holed into a narrow subspecialty with no way out. Bell said fine, you're going anyway.

And we all - 20 total - went to Dam Neck that summer and into SSBN AWeps jobs thereafter. At the same time, de-frocked nuke officers of the right seniority (senior LT/junior LCDR) were being shuffled through the nav curriculum at Dam Neck and going aboard as navigators. Later, served non-nuke weps went into the nav jobs as well.

In 1973 the term 'strategic weapons system' started to come into use as descriptor of the Polaris/Poseidon/Trident - then called ULMS - systems. I wrote a personal letter to RLJ Long, ComSubLant at the time, and asked him to consider making us non-nuke guys involved with nuclear boats into a new community - the SWS community - to protect manning levels and expertise in strategic weapons and navigation. He took this on and got the Bureau to work the issue, creating the SWS community and the concept that maybe these guys should be considered for a pathway back to diesels for command (you see some of the fuel in the DBF fire here).

The diesel detailers (I remember Tom Grimm and Colin Saury being active here) started 'encouraging' some of us to get back into diesels at the 3rd-officer level and some of us did, finding our way ultimately to command. Before that, in '74, the submarine force started actually recruiting officers for SWS - I made the first recruiting trip, to NROTTC Units at Universities of Idaho and Washington State. SWS was also starting to be presented at Canoe U prior to designator selection.

In 1982, back from sea and now the diesel/SWS detailer, I saw that the SWS label was now starting to hurt the community, as many good jobs were outside the strategic-weapons world and many good guys had come up purely through diesels and had no experience to warrant being called strategic weaponeers. I wrote a memo to my boss, Weldon Koenig, suggesting that the community name be changed to GSO: General Submarine Officer, to encompass the entire community of submariner officers who never were or were no longer nukes in good standing. Weldon forwarded the memo to Ron Thunman, then OP-02 when he was the 3-star submarine czar and he approved the name change.

3/02/2010 11:38 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Non Nucs were Weapons Officers on SSBNs. Generally, the only nonnuc officer on SSNs was the Supply Officer. In the diesel boat era, the Supply Officer was a line officer. The CHOPs did not join subs until nucs came along. I do remember a NESEP former Nuc as a WEPS in the shipyard for one SSN and an outstanding WEPS on my PCO boat, Will Bundy who later had duel command tours on two of the B girls.

The Navigator and the Operations Officer were generally one person, the third or fourth officer depending on the seniority of the ENG. As OPSNAV during my DH tour, I stood mostly forward watches and just went aft to maintain proficiency. The ENG and I generally worked it so it was a quiet watch both operationally and engineering wise, not always an easy task while on SpecOps when both of us were standing CDO watches as well. I suspect the troops were not as thrilled when I headed aft but didn't play too many tricks on me.

3/02/2010 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3/1/10 4:59PM. "I seem to remember a drydocking evolution with an unamed 688 that must have the roll record in the free world."

You betcha! That was Bremerton (late 90's) in Hawaii that fell off the blocks while getting set up in drydock. The story we were told was that the blocks weren't locked into position. I was the squadron bubba onboard covering for the IDC while he was on leave.

We got aligned and started pumping down. She had that initial shudder when you first settle on the blocks. A few seconds later, it was like we were in slow motion, she rolled over on her side only stopping when the stern plane hit the drydock.

On the funny side, the sail barely missed hitting the side of the drydock but it scared the crap outa one of the female Sailors. She thought the sail was gonna nail her so she jumped into the water, ocean side not in the drydock!

RP, HMCM(SS) Retired

3/02/2010 12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wtfnucsailor and rubber ducky,

Thank you for your insight. Wow, you gentlemen have seen a lot of major and different changes/transitions in the submarine service over the years. I wonder why flexibility or adaptation is not one of the Navy’s Core Values?

Thank you again.

3/02/2010 12:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

HMCM(SS), I imagine that the pucker factor was pretty high. There were probably a lot of skivvies thrown away after that roll. I know one of the Nukes that was on the Bremerton when they did the half pike in drydock. He was a little antsy about drydocking many years later. Something about docking officers, divers and blocks better have their crap in one sock, lol.

3/02/2010 1:07 PM

Blogger AB- said...

We were doing 45 - 50 degree rolls port & starboard at 400' in the Northern Atlantic in November. Angle was verfied by the ol' bolt on a string tied in the overhead using a protractor - by the highest qualified STS in the shack. (He had this set up in his make up bag).

The CO asked if the OOD could steer into the seas to reduce the roll. OOD replied, "We are".

This continued for 3 days. We did NOT attempt to go to PD until the storm passed.

3/02/2010 1:33 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

anon at 1258:

In the fifties, the "Watchwords of the New Navy" were: "Mobility, flexibility, and offensive power." Not much of a fan of core values - too close to religious virtues masquerading as intrinsic verities.

As to changes seen, I quote Cruncher Don Kniss, CO SSBN-611 (BLUE) and officer on the dive when GW fired the first Polaris: "In the Navy there are no new problems, just new people."

3/02/2010 1:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

IIRC the BREMERTON incident occurred in 1994. I was on the SUBPAC staff and one of my co-workers had been named the PCO of BREMERTON that very day.

There was an O-5 LDO at the SUBASE who was blaming the boat for rolling off the blocks. He said that the boat wasn't trimmed correctly to enter the dock. He wasn't around too much longer.

3/02/2010 2:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure on the root cause of the Bremerton drop test in drydock but some scuttle was the use of 637 block configuration which seems unfathomable to me, a 688 is much longer boat class. Also, seems like that would have been a no brainer as to block configuration but without facts its all scuttle I guess. I would imagine that some career lights flickered after that and maybe some folks went home early. Although that was a little before the wholesale zero defect Navy.

3/02/2010 4:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky,

I am not sure what CNO was at the helm when the Core Values were changed to Pride, Integrity and Tradition. I understand that Adm. Zumwalt was a fan of “Z” grams, lol.I think that Adm. Kelso was the CNO for the Honor Courage and Commitment Core Value change, also he was CNO during the big push for woman on ships. Tailhook happened and that seemed to create a firestorm of bad PR. Sexual harassment became the buzz words with the lights. There was a string of carrier aircraft accidents and safety standowns. Then drugs became a hot topic. Adm. Boorda was not long after that and his untimely ending. Hazing became a hot topic. The Navy has had its share of change over the years that is for sure. I am not sure if it has mostly been reactionary or proactive or maybe a combo of both over the recent years. Recently is was 5-vector models for uniforms and training changes. I am sure that there is a yet undiscovered buzzword and subject that will be next years hot item.

3/02/2010 4:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The COMPETENT was configured correctly to dry dock the BREMERTON. The side blocks had to be moved in to their correct position after the ship was correctly positioned over the keel blocks. Unfortunately, one set of side blocks was incorrectly retracted toward the wing wall of the dry dock, vice being moved in to their correct position. The divers that were sent in to inspect and confirm that both sets of side blocks were in their correct position did not really know what they were supposed to be inspecting. Poor visibility (not unexpected) did not help. This was definitely another one of those instances that it would have been better to have a good and effective pre-brief rather than a post incident critique. Like the title of this blog the stupid in this case were punished.

3/02/2010 4:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard the Competent referred to the Incompetent and I was not sure if they had earned that through actual theory to practice or it just rhymed. In Norfolk there was one floating drydock called the Resolute and I think that they had their fair share of FUBARs over the years also.

3/02/2010 5:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Hawkbill we ranked angles/dangles by how much noise the wrenches in the bilges made...measuring angles in degrees was for wimps...

Note that we lost a bunch of wrenches in the bilges...


3/02/2010 9:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Competent incident was completely incompetence on the part of the drydock CO, XO, and Docking Officer. Having drydocked over 18 vessels, most of them submarines, in Kings Bay and Guam, visibility would be a plus. But, the divers are there only as a QA check, not the first indication of the block position. The chains that move those blocks into position are marked and once moved should align correctly. The same concept as a valve position indicator.

Also, before we even get to that point, the build should have been verified by an independent docking officer. That verification includes the stoppers for the side blocks that should be bolted onto the block tracks. Verifying all measurements and distances. Going onto the sub to verify the centering indicators, etc.

I was on the Oak Ridge ARMD-1 when this occurred and yes we went through serious scrutiny following that incident.

CWO3 (ret)

3/03/2010 7:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


So basically the negligence with the Competent’s issue was not a single point failure by any means? It would seem that more than one set of eyes and brains were required to verify that the dock was ready to receive? When gross errors in judgment occur it just seems that a lot of times it is the no brainer and simple (obvious) things that are root causes for failure. On the other side of the problem, the follow-up knee jerk reaction sometimes does not even address the main issue of the root cause. I guess that an investigation finding that was straightforward and to the point would be too simple of a resolution. For instance, “Member “A” was a dumbass and neglected even basic safety precautions” would be way too much reality for the sensitive minds?

3/03/2010 7:52 AM

Blogger Friendly Persuasion said...

USS Augusta and SOE trials post commissioning. 48 down with a 54 roll. We were doing the trials because nothing other than computer simulatio had been done to verify the SOE and they figured out the hull and screws had changed a lot since 688 so they better verify.
Interesting thing is this was a high speed run with delayed recovery actions but the down angle and roll did not happen until we were under 10 knots and had started to recover.
Then a few months later they did the same trials on OKC without telling them what had happened to us.....and they experienced the same thing.

3/03/2010 8:05 AM

Blogger Bill Lapham said...

You guys, godammit, I haven't had a "falling off the blocks" nightmare in years.

3/03/2010 3:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a 25 degree down angle... in 300 ft of water on VIRGINIA... Thankfully it wasn't my dive comp! If we had gotten to do hydro trials then we were shooting for 42 up.

3/03/2010 4:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


For the falling off the blocks procedure would that be 2 blasts of the diving alarm or just a solid collision alarm or a general emergency alarm?

Is that officially logged as a “SOB” or an “Oh Crap” circled with red ink?

Also, does the Chop reimburse the crew for all the ruined skivvies or do you have to prove that the discoloration is attributed to a type of red lead or brown paint?

Is stowed for sea the same as stowed for drydock?

Is it better to trim HOA for that belly roll?

Just the facts COB, just the facts!

3/03/2010 4:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS HOUSTON - off Washington in 2000.
72 deg down angle due to 8 kts sternway unknowingly achieved during crash-backs.. e.g. pulling full rise on stern planes had an undesired effect. ESGNs were incorrectly left in slow response mode. Angle would have been greater if COW had not blown the fwd group at 45 down.
- Screw broached while depth still read ~200ft.
- Stream from coffee pot in wardroom walked 1/2 way up the door.
- bubble on DOOW's inclinometer went past the 60+ degree and right into the end bulb
- FT's seats fell from control into sonar
- JOOD did an iron cross holding onto the scopes to keep from falling down the CO's P-way onto the XO's OBA

3/03/2010 5:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS HOUSTON - off Washington in 2000.
72 deg down angle due to 8 kts sternway unknowingly achieved during crash-backs.. e.g. pulling full rise on stern planes had an undesired effect. ESGNs were incorrectly left in slow response mode. Angle would have been greater if COW had not blown the fwd group at 45 down.
- Screw broached while depth still read ~200ft.
- Stream from coffee pot in wardroom walked 1/2 way up the door.
- bubble on DOOW's inclinometer went past the 60+ degree and right into the end bulb
- FT's seats fell from control into sonar
- JOOD did an iron cross holding onto the scopes to keep from falling down the CO's P-way onto the XO's OBA

3/03/2010 5:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best I remember was around a 30º or so. This was the only time I got to be on the sticks during an emergency blow. I buried the hell out of the bubble on that one.

As for the Bremerton, i remember a Sonar Tech who said he just reported when they had the dry dock incident. He also told the story about his adventures in the death rack during a high pressure air rupture above his rack when he reported to our boat. Poor guy had no luck at all.

3/03/2010 5:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

word on the street is that Hartford rolled 85 degrees in one direction then 45+ in the other immediately after the collision (all within less than a dozen seconds)

When Brem did it's ERO in the 00's and was all ripped up, you could see some of the hull ribs that were permanently deformed from the drydocking accident from 90's. (although just cosmetic damage)

3/04/2010 3:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

COLUMBIA, 1996, surfaced backing bell with an "unplanned" depth excursion. Not a 42 down but just as scary. Especially when the EBguys went pale.

3/04/2010 4:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We managed a nine degree up angle on the Daniel Boone during the mid sixties. The XO's salad fork slid off the table. Boy, was he pissed..

3/04/2010 7:17 PM

Blogger Scott said...

"We had a 25 degree down angle... in 300 ft of water on VIRGINIA... Thankfully it wasn't my dive comp! If we had gotten to do hydro trials then we were shooting for 42 up."

I was in the rack for this. I woke up to the diving alarm. Shortly after, we had a much steeper down angle than I was expecting, followed by the EMBT blow. We also almost scrammed because of that angle.

3/05/2010 6:53 AM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Did Commander Krantze make admiral? I saw a mention of a similar name as a star, in a book. Curious to learn if he went up or down. I did enjoy his book "Submarine Commander", but most likely because I'm a big fan of French Onion Soup and Kittery, Maine.

3/06/2010 12:17 AM

Anonymous ex 708 RC Div said...

55 degree up angle on USS MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL (SSN 708). Stern planes jammed on full rise. OOD ordered All Ahead Flank!

Don't know about 55 degrees, but I was flat footed on the electrical panels looking up at the RPFW control panel in ER ML for that evolution. One scary azz time for an newly qualified RT. Think the OOD was Lt Genobel (sp ) This may also qualify as the largest amount of a 688 out of the water without being in drydock.

3/10/2010 12:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOUISVILLE did a 53 degree roll during high speed turns. No major depth excursion, everything under control. A good day.

3/19/2010 7:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is bragging about anything approaching the 90 degrees or more point, that seperates the men from the kiddies.

3/22/2010 12:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will post even tho this is way old. Onboard the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619 Blue) in the late 70s we were out of Scotland into the north Atlantic. One run out we were taking 30+ degree rolls on the surface. It was so bad we would literlly be on our hands and knees crawling so as not to get the crap beat out of us. Well, the few of us that had the stomach for it.
Same boat, later, we nearly sank (not according to all the records of course) but we ended up with a 50 degree up angle as we did an emergency blow from **cough cough** test depth. (Ignore those depth gages!)
But for me it was the Swordfish that nearly sank while I was at Pearl Harbor. They took an estimated 88 degree up angle at one point fighting to get to the surface. When they pulled in to port all us nukes (even on shore duty) had to go down and help find the lost sources. A number of glow sticks from life jackets had burst and so there we were looking for radioactive sources with everything glowing green. :/

8/22/2012 10:32 AM


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