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, March 13, 2010

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Seeing this story about the residents of Portland, England, getting all in a tizzy and losing their stiff upper lip in response to a nuclear disaster drill made me think back to the "End of the World" drills we do periodically in submarine homeports. I always enjoyed the difficulty in coming up with a believable scenario for this drill, since, as us nukes well know, an actual nuclear accident in port is vanishingly unlikely with a naval reactor. (One time, we just said "Screw it" and had an RO run out of the Reactor I & C space with a black box shouting "I did it! I figured out how to melt down the reactor!" as the method of initiating the drill.) My favorite EOTWAWKI drill story involved a JO whose wife was several days overdue to have a baby, and had tried everything (including, reportedly, driving over railroad tracks) to speed up the birth. We decided that he'd be the guy to go up in the helicopter as a drill monitor, figuring that would be the one sure way to get the labor kick started. Unfortunately, even that didn't work.

What are your favorite stories from the End of the World drills? (Please remember the bounds of NNPI.) Did you ever have the locals react in humorous ways when they saw Navy guys running around with radiacs?

22 Comments:

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

"I always enjoyed the difficulty in coming up with a believable scenario for this drill"

Don't fret, Joel. Even the civilian nuke plants create scenarios that deviate from plausibility. Have to do that just enough to make sure you exercise our procedures and communications.

3/13/2010 2:47 PM

 
Blogger DDM said...

When I was EDMC we were the accident boat for the drill when Group 2 / EB moved the drill for when I was on leave. Darn the bad luck.

3/13/2010 2:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had one of those drill sets where the sky was falling, fire in the ER, Flooding in the diesel (bow) of a 637 and a ship control surface casualty. This was a mother to end all drills. Well, we had this very smart TM2 who thought that he would add an additional drill prop. There were a few problems with his drill prop and the first being that it was not in the script, no monitor was briefed and it caused a lot of confusion as to what was going on. He took an old flashlight and wired up a battle lantern type battery to it and to the unknowing it seemed to represent some type of an explosive. Also, this was way before people were tuned into the explosive under every tree mentality. It was located by the aux fwd who thought it was a simulated explosive device and he called it away on the 4MC. The drill team was confused, the CO was less impressed and all drills were secured and equipment lineups restored and a certain TM2 had a personal invitation over the 1MC “Now” to the COSRs for some one on one mentoring and a personal debrief. I suppose for initiative you might give the TM2 an “A” but in the sound and prudent judgment categories he received an “F”. Note to self, no impromptu drill simulation ever.

3/13/2010 3:10 PM

 
Blogger Lou said...

We were the designated disaster boat for a drill involving the tender. Part of the drill included evacuated the contaminated men up to the tender for decon. When the member M-Div reached the decon station, he was told to doff his dungarees and shirt. At that point he informed the decon party that he couldn't do that because he was going commando...

3/13/2010 3:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all nuclear hogwash I tell ya! Melt a naval reactor? Can't be done. God couldn't melt one of those things!

3/13/2010 3:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had an XO that decided the drills we were running were not challenging enough...he wanted the fire to go for three levels....so he could get on the 4MC and announce "The fire has gone medieval"....

We were more than happy to oblige. With three hot spots, even....

3/13/2010 7:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the conclusion of the drill on the 2MC: "EDO, SRO, come to maneuvering".

3/14/2010 11:41 AM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/14/2010 11:48 AM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

"The fire has gone medieval"....

Too weird. Anyone know what that dude is doing for a living outside the Navy these days?

3/14/2010 11:49 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When I was EDMC we were the accident boat for the drill when Group 2 / EB moved the drill for when I was on leave."

What?

3/14/2010 2:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last I knew, he was the CO of a fast attack in Pearl Harbor....

3/14/2010 8:24 PM

 
Blogger SonarMan said...

As a forward type, I never found anything even remotely "humorous" about these types of drills. They were painful, and pointless. IMO. All I ever got out of it was abuse from the nukes/missile weenies (during their missile fizzle drills)

3/14/2010 10:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this one XO whose claim to fame was making the DC response people to wear the skittles colors from the bird farms. He was fanatical about the colored jerseys. The overall idea was not bad but the color stuff became the emphasis over more important aspects of DC response. The hose teams wore red jerseys, phone talkers had a different color and the MIC had gold jerseys. Everyone had a colored jersey except the watchstanders. We had a NUB staff pickup nuke who showed up as a 1st class with no sea time or real boat experience and somehow he ended up with a gold jersey on and at the scene during an ER simulated drill. You can imagine the chaos as the young lad attempted to direct the DC efforts to support ER restoration. The after drill debrief was pretty humorous to say the least.

3/15/2010 6:14 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little off the original topic but.....speaking of crazy XOs...our nutty XO started tripping the shore power breakers after quarters on the pier about once a week, as an unscheduled/unscripted drill....he would stand there and wait for someone from E-div to come up, and would tell whoever it was that "I tripped the shore power breakers". At some point the Eng had enough of it and got the CO to make him stop. What is it with XOs and crazy drills, anyway?

3/15/2010 7:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having served on a boomer in the '70s, our drills were informal, come-as-you-are affairs. We didn't play dressup. We just went and fought the casualty.

ex-EM1(SS)

3/15/2010 7:36 AM

 
Blogger Jon said...

I remember when going through prototype (MTS-635) we used to have the Cinderella question: The clock turns to four balls, everyone on board turns into a pumpkin. What happens to the boat? (I think the eventual answer was that we sank.)

3/15/2010 8:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got to be POOD for a basewide drill with our boat at the center. My instructions were that the base was drilling, and we were "non-participants." Minutes later, some guy with a bull horn on the pier is loudly asking me why I'm not wearing a gas mask and why they can't come onboard to take readings topside, and I'm holding my ground that my instructions say otherwise. The duty officer comes up and gets the story straight, these characters "lend" me a gas mask (yay), and the drill goes on, what fun.

3/15/2010 9:04 AM

 
Anonymous NHSparky said...

As a former RO on my first boat, I made a suggestion for initation involving a simulated blantant violation of reactor safety (think prompt critical in less than 30 seconds--any former 688 RO will know what I'm talking about.) The ENG and CO were not amused, to the point they wanted to know where I came up with the idea.

3/15/2010 11:35 AM

 
Blogger SonarMan said...

Hey anonymous at 3/15/2010 6:14 AM. Did your boat happen to be the 733 in the late 80's?

3/15/2010 12:22 PM

 
Blogger DDM said...

"When I was EDMC we were the accident boat for the drill when Group 2 / EB moved the drill for when I was on leave."

What?

We were the boat with the casualty. I went to several meetings and wrote up the drill plan. A couple of days before the drill was scheduled, Electric Boat or Submarine Group 2 (don't remember which) postponed the drill and re-scheduled it for when I was on leave. Getting out of the drill as EDMC made it a great experience for me. Luckily I had capable guys who could do the drill without me. Otherwise I might have had to change my plans. Since I had already missed a vacation to Orlando for Initial Crit and Power Range Testing, I would not have neen thrilled to have missed another vacation for a drill.

3/15/2010 3:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SonarMan, No, it was the 738, another T-hull on the finest Air Force base in the Navy.

3/15/2010 5:50 PM

 
Anonymous Squidward said...

{All I ever got out of it was abuse from the nukes/missile weenies}

This is a problem, how?

Usually when I run into a sonargirl with your particular issue, I recommend a tube of this:

http://pics.drugstore.com/prodimg/88232/200.jpg

3/15/2010 6:42 PM

 

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