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 20, 2010

USS Florida Ship Control Party

Here's a photo from the official Navy website showing the Ship Control Party of the USS Florida (SSGN 728) while on station in the Sixth Fleet AOR:

The hi-res version is here. It's pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as the SCP/BCP of a Seawolf-class boat. The Virginia-class counterpart isn't nearly as imposing.

What type of SCP/BCP do you like? The old analog versions, or the new digital ones?


Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Did you know that the MTSs still had their BCPs? pretty weird.

I liked the 688 BCP/SCP, although most of the SCP gizmos failed often and the depth control system wasn't quite as nice as a 637.

I really missed the normal blow system.

3/20/2010 2:08 PM

Blogger Vetto said...

don't know much about the seawolf panel, but between the 688 and 774 boards I prefer the latter. Where the former gave you raw data, the Virginia panels are more information driven and purposed for each specific function. (you can see the data too if you want)

Plus if feels cool to execute a complicated maneuver that used to take both planes-men and the dive all by yourself by merely touching the screen.

3/20/2010 2:12 PM

Blogger Vetto said...

And I was a dive on both, btw

3/20/2010 2:13 PM

Blogger ret.cob said...

I wouldn't care if it was the panel from the TURTLE, I just want to back to sea in one!!!

3/20/2010 2:30 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

I prefer the 637 BCP.

Never spent more time on a Seawolf than for a tour so no comment for those.

Don't care for the 688's much, and while VA class may be super-whamodyne I always worry what will happen when the computers crash...

I've had too many bad experiences with losing data(*understand VA LAN is ruggedized & has redundancy) to lose the boat because of bad data from a technological clusterf*ck, be it a single machine/screen or the whole LAN.

Has anyone taken a VA class through a de-perm? Would be interested to hear how they fared in terms of damaged hardware/software.

TSMS computer monitor on one of my boats in the ER was fried by deperm. The machine CPU worked just fine (kept sending data forward) but it made the station unusable because, you guessed it, the monitor was one whole kit & kaboodle w/ the CPU so it was one big LRU that had to be replaced as a single part.

I like the old analog meter systems, but then that's what I grew up on. Still prefer them, whether it is in my car or on the boat.

3/20/2010 2:40 PM

Blogger Will said...

I worry about what will happen when the Virginia-class achieves sentience. Do we have a casualty procedure for that?

3/20/2010 3:33 PM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Will: When VA reaches sentience, the COB will yell at it.

3/20/2010 3:44 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Got a question for the bubbleheads in here:

Is it possible that these missile boats could be used for a retaliatory strike against Iran?

I'd like to see that happen sometime. We need to get full use out of our deterrent force and start using them as preemptive and/or retaliatory strikes.

3/20/2010 4:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont think the 774 will have too!

3/20/2010 4:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In regards to the picture, looks like they are filming something judging by the guy in the civvies holding a boom mike at the far left of the picture.

3/20/2010 5:02 PM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Off topic: Just saw this on the Veterans History Project. Not sure how long it's been there. It's a special submarine section.

3/20/2010 5:10 PM

Blogger Old Man from the Sea said...

Thanks for posting the link COB.

3/20/2010 6:12 PM

Anonymous Casual Observer said...

@Steve Harkonnen: Don't hold your breath for an enthusiastic reply. Submariners generally take that part of their job more than a bit seriously, and those big vertical missiles are not an imaginary thing to them.

Yahoo jokes about missile launches in a public forum aren't much of a knee slapper.

3/20/2010 6:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love those laptops in front of the "pilot" and "co-pilot" on the VA boat, they can drive and update their twitter at the same time :)

3/20/2010 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF is up with the pressed and starched poopie suits with all of the sew on rank and other BS? Being able to be somewhat of an individual while at sea was one of the reasons I went subs.

Looks to me like it's all "Big Navy" now. Go to sea in a sewer pipe AND have to put up with all of the regular Navy BS? No effin thanks. Wouldn't recommend it to anyone now.

3/20/2010 7:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are there two chiefs piloting in the VA class pic?

3/20/2010 8:01 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

Anon @8:01: Pilot and Co-pilot on VA class are not junior watchstations like sticks were on older boats. Just FYI.


3/20/2010 8:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gone are the good old days of freeballin' in a poopie suit that *maybe* had crows drawn on in white marking pen. I remember one all hands where our COB talked about the "creeping individualism" he was seeing in the crew the same way you'd talk about leprosy.

I'm all for knowing when to put on your game face and play sailor, but there are far too many tools in the boats these days for whom it's not enough to say "two and two make five", rather you must truly believe "two and two make five".

It's guys like that who screw up the very close-knit meritocracy that submarines can be.

3/20/2010 9:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @8:01: Pilot and Co-pilot on VA class are not junior watchstations like sticks were on older boats. Just FYI.

So, is there a larger contingent of senior E-6s and up to man the extra non-junior watch-stations?

3/20/2010 9:55 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

I;m not sure about the manning, but I've heard that these new boats were designed with smaller crews in mind.

Are there any 774 guys who can shed some light? I've not served on one....yet.


3/20/2010 11:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon @ 9:28:

Ditto that! I wasn't on a sub in the "old days" but my dad was. I think the feeling of camaraderie is lost, r at least it was on my boat. We seldom did shit together outside of work, it was more like... going into a normal job, but it just sucked a whole bunch more.

I can't say everything in the Navy was a horrible experience, and I certainly learned a lot, but I can only really recommend it as a stepping stone for bigger brighter, other things, not as a *career*. And yes, I do have a separation date, so need to tell me to "vote with my feet".

3/21/2010 12:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a decent photo of a 637’s (Hawkbill) SCP here is a good tag

While the 637 was a simple platform compared to the modern boy toys and Star Trek look a likes, the 637 was a durable workhorse that met many challenging missions. People might be infatuated and impressed by the bells and whistles of the new Game Boy SCPs but sometimes simple is really better.

Additional decent 637 photos are at

Some folks might appreciate the bridge trunk access photo. How many remember the challenge of climbing that critter in nice places like the North Atlantic during the roller coaster rides? How about the lovely transit under the Golden Gate Bridge, whoa, lash down the main on that shaky passage.

3/21/2010 7:04 AM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Agree with the 637 comments above, they were really good boats, and intuitive, too.

Factors affecting "Comraderie and Shit" (a phrase we used in 670 to indicate tonight was the night, we were going out for comraderie and shit):

*Patrol uniforms - Individual uniform statements actually brought a crew closer. Inspection-ready poopies all the time piss people off. It takes time, money and effort to prepare them for sea. For what? To get ripped and dirty? I understand professional appearance for the NPEB, but christ, we're all alone out there on patrol! The things we do to ourselves... Sheesh.
*Personal DVD players - Gone are the days when the whole off-going watch sat in the crews mess with reel-to-reel movies and popcorn. Kids watch their own choices in their racks now, even non-quals, I'd bet. (I shudder at the thought.) You can't have comraderie and shit in a submarine rack. shouldn't have C & S in a submarine rack.
* Marriage - Higher percentage of crewmembers are married with children these days than in times past. Married guys stay out of trouble by going home after work. They have families to feed so they're more risk adverse. More on risk mgmt later. You can't have comraderie and shit with the old ladies around.
* Nothing good happens after midnight - The word is getting out. If there's nothing but trouble when we have comraderie and shit, then what's the use? Consequences outweigh the benefits. "Who was the senior man when THAT happened?" Someone has to be "in-charge" of the comraderie and shit. That has a ruinous effect on C & S.
* Promotion - We promote the risk adverse. Their power to quash the fun stuff affects crew morale in an adverse way. This is a peacetime (for our community) problem, and a big one when we have to switch to a war footing. We proved that in WWII. Today, we (sorry, you) fire guys for having comraderie and shit.

Be gentle with me when you disagree, boys. You might hurt my feelings.

3/21/2010 7:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on COB,

At one time there were subtle things like a different colored diesel/s vice Navy gray. Something very subtle but a sign of pride with ENs or MMs. Today there is a reach for 100% consistency in some kind of idea that continuity makes better. The rugged individualism of yesteryear;s warriors had no connection to continuity such as everyone has same underwear style. Crewmembers form a bond out of being part of a tight nit bunch who has come through adversity and suffered much. New crewmembers who have not shared the fear of death and peril can not relate.

Crews do not have a bond just because they wear the exact same uniform. Peace time seeems to breed a hunt for external things to ping on because frankly, many parts of teh job are mundane and chickenshit.

Awarding broze star medals to COs on boats that shot tomahawks in recent times is a travesty to people who actually engaged an enemy who could kill them. Chest candy is marginalized by such political BS from people who have never done anything except play Game Cube and press buttons.

These comments are not meant to diminish the modern forces professionalism but pushing buttons is not hard core and pretending that it is for anyone with a clue is a joke.

Just my two cents of an old salty wheel.

3/21/2010 7:30 AM

Blogger DDM said...

I road the 774, 775, 776, 777, and 778 as CSS-4 bull nuke. I spent limited time in the control room, but I liked to go up there and watch periodically. It's a big paradigm shift. The Pilot and Co-Pilot are the COW, DOOW, Helms/Planesman combined so PO1s and CPOs generally stand it it (doesn't require extra manning). One thing that makes it challenging is recognizing how it all affects QA. The certifications required for redundancy should (I say should) ensure that no single failure would cause a loss of ship's control. They were smart enough to allow the nukes to take local control if required.

I qualified COW/DOOW on a 637 and stood lots of COW, including a TRE, so I am not totally clueless on the BCP/SCP.

In general the 774 class is a good boat and the berthing is not nearly as bad overall as some have advertised. The worst thing for the blue shirts, in my opinion, is that everything is on laptops and there are not a lot of places to sit and use a laptop unless you have a stateroom, CPO quarters, or no training on the mess decks.

3/21/2010 8:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the VA class use paper SOPs or is everything on a computer?

The days of the OOD wearing an eye patch for nightime PD trips must be long gone.

3/21/2010 8:49 AM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Before somebody throws their Strunk and White at me, let me correct a mistake in my screed re: Comraderie and Shit. Where I used the word "adverse" substitute the word "averse." Conditions or things are "adverse" to us; we are "averse" to conditions or things. Sorry, still using the GI Bill.

3/21/2010 9:53 AM

Blogger DDM said...

774 class predominantly use electronic versions for the SOPs though they maintain paper copies on board.

3/21/2010 10:35 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Agree, the Seawolf-class SCP/BCP is pretty cool, which is not to say others are not.

What is even cooler is something I hope no AD submariner ever has to experience in a true emergency at depth.

Cold War - North Atlantic

Some of those seats had to be flipped over to expose MANUAL pumping mechanisms -- the last resort when we lost power and all hydraulics at a very steep angle compromising emergency blow capability.

An untimely reactor scram and systems failures placed us in deep doo doo. It took a long, long time to decrease downbubble so we could e-blow and stop involountary descent (which had begun deep).

No SCP/BCP pushbuttons, solid-state switches, touch screens, nor automated stuff saved our butts from that near disaster. Just superb training, strong backs, and good fortune. The situation was very close to nonrecoverable.

Gertrude came in handy, since we were operating with another sub above us.

What saved us after air to bow bouyancy had pathetic result? When the last ballasting was later rechecked, an error had been to "the good".

Shortly after retuning to port our CO suffered a bad heart attack. He was highly regarded by the crew.

3/21/2010 12:54 PM

Blogger Rogue Trident said...

Speculating - there must be a backup manual system for control surfaces on a VA class. No matter how redundant/reliable the electronic controls and user interface get, you want to have that override ability.

3/21/2010 1:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Radio Shack makes deliverys in 30 minutes or less or else its free.

3/21/2010 1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice how the steering wheels are the same on any boat. It's like the Government bought in bulk or they just keep recycling the same old ones. De-Com a boat, put wheel on new build.

3/21/2010 4:09 PM

Blogger Scott said...

Rogue Trident, it is possible to take local hydraulic control of the planes and rudder in shaft alley.

We would practice that evolution from time to time on the 774 when I was on board.

3/21/2010 4:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do have a comment about the 774 class Game Cube SCP/BCP. On the older BCPs there were switches designed by shape in case say a major fire inhibited vision such as was experienced on Bonefish. Well with the gizmo Atari screens it seems challenging (impossible)to differentiate anything. I suppose that you could say that the probablity of a total black out is remote to improbable but my submarine mentality gives me that questioning skepticism of "what if?" At the very least with the flat screens there should be some interesting midwatch pong games, lol. Just kidding, halo is more modern. I seem to remember that the chickens are still el manual variety, very smart.

3/21/2010 5:43 PM

Anonymous squints said...

re: annon @ 3/21/2010 5:43 PM

you still have the "old school" alarms in control...above the q-mater!

3/21/2010 10:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This entire picture is staged.

MTCS Harris looks like he's sitting on needles and about to back hand some one off to his right. I knew him when I was an MT3 and he was a brand new Chief who just put his khaki pants on for the first time. He's not a man who easily puts up with alotta BS in life as I happily recall.

So in the picture here, we're all freshly shaved and in heavily starched poopie suites. Someone needs to invest in Magic Sizing in order to downplay the brightness of regular starch.

We all have very serious looks on our faces and appear as though we're about to navigate and drive our way into the smokey depths of Hell and back without question. Why is the control room so bright anyway?...Or is that from the flash of the camera?

What I like is, all the guys look as if they are about to destroy all the bad guys in the world and then pull in to a remote island filled with hotties who are a cross between Cindy Crawford, Madonna(Voice) and Holly Hunter. (Yes, I have a thing for older women) Would it not be nice if we could do that somewhere in South America if the end of the world were to come as we know it? Gents that's rhetorical...Lol.

Nevertheless this pic is staged since we all look brighteyed, freshly shaved and ready to take on the evil bad guys of the world.
Gotta say, that's a good one.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

3/22/2010 12:07 AM

Anonymous PW said...

Senior Chief Harris is probably wanting to back hand the female rider. From the look of the bruise on her arm it looks like someone already did


3/22/2010 3:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do the SSGNs impact the well deserved boomer tradition? Are they half or just honorary boomeretts?

3/22/2010 5:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the 774 has the old school alarms? Maybe the alarms automatically rig the ship for each emergency?

Or perhaps the pilot reads braille to do the lineups from the cockpit?

3/22/2010 5:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the 774 gang,

How do you tag out a touch pad?

It is pretty easy to tag out toggle switches but a touchscreen seems different.

Is there jsut one big mamabo electrical de-energized switch?

Maybe you have a big red tag that covers the entire BCP/SCP like a Danger tag blanket?

Just wondering, this must be a T-rates wet dream.

3/22/2010 5:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment about filming, the film crew was embarked doing filming for a National Geographic documentary on the SSGN. It will be aired sometime in the summer. You can check the CSG-10 facebook page or blog for more information, they will post an announcement when it will be aired.

3/22/2010 6:23 AM

Blogger DDM said...

While prepping PAO photos for our Christening, Group 2 came by for some "action" photos about dinner time while we were at EB. They wanted some control room pictures. Since no Forward Area Guys were on board, they shot the photos using nukes at the different stations. My guys looked good on the sticks.

3/22/2010 9:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is some good looking static stick handling. How long before a scope is mounted in manuevering and those pesky coms can be eliminated with the con, lol.

3/22/2010 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you tag out a touch pad?

I've been out since 90 and don't know for sure, but the way it is progressing in new civvie nuke plants is that the controlling computer software has built in "tag out" features. Motors, power supplies, etc., can be clicked on to essentially lock them out from operation. To release the tag out/clearance, the component must be electronically released in the software. Tagging out the computer and/or software itself is a different animal.

3/22/2010 10:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that seems to make sense that it can electronically locked but it seems like a major shift in thinking about equipment isolation and danger tagouts from an old school perspective. If a widget malfunctions and hurts someone or something will the circuit card be taken to the wardroom for a critique, lol? I am sure that the brain team has thought of everything but it is not something that one can verify physically other than an indication of some sorts.

3/22/2010 10:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the software lockout only prevents operation, it does not remove the power supply. That still must be done via hardware (breaker, switch, etc.)

3/22/2010 11:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the software lockout only prevents operation, it does not remove the power supply. That still must be done via hardware (breaker, switch, etc.)

I wasn't clear on power supplies. They can be prevented from operating, but most plants will require actual physical lock out as an additional means of administrative control/safety.

3/22/2010 11:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure about the Game Cube auto stuff in the SCP in 774 but there was a much older technology for auto stuff that was installed but abandoned (1960s) because of the belief that people could get complacent and mesmerized by the gadgets auto functioning. At least that was the generally accepted scuttle as to why it was not used.
I believe that it was probably a prototype design in the mid to late 1950s but that would probably take some old IC knowledge to know the real deal on this design.

3/22/2010 11:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO the software lockout is the equivilant of tagging a switch out but the power source is still isolated or removed. Ok, that makes sense. I am sure that multiple power sources are all indentified. It just seems so different than switches and toggles. Ok, understand all, sort of lol...

3/22/2010 11:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a general question. When did Chops on submarines become a specialty officer? Were'nt the initial supply officers line officers?

3/22/2010 11:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What in the world happened on the Columbus in 05 that got the CO flushed and later the CSS got the boot. Was there something in the water out in the NW?

3/22/2010 12:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SSGN photo is mislabeled for being in the AOR or is the 6th Fleet AOR now in the shipyard?

When did shipyards start falling under Fleet AORs?

3/22/2010 1:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That T-Hull control room is big enough to play football in. That is one big space. Is there a spa, bowling alley and a Starbucks in there also? Next you will say that the nav plot has its own space which would be a real hoot. Where does the QM hang out at, behind the SCP?

3/22/2010 3:08 PM

Anonymous Jack Brewster said...

I was on 728 Gold from 88-92, back when she was still a boomer (my only boat, for the record). Started as a no-good non-rate and spent a ton of hours on those sticks.

Thanks for the pic. It was fun to share with my family to give them a little idea of what I used to do.

Re: Chops being specialty vs. line, our Chop was Supply Corps back in 88. I don't know if that was Trident specific (we still had O-6 Captains) or fleet wide.

3/22/2010 3:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah the T-hulls initial crews were both Full Birds until COC then O-5s came onboard. The initial XOs were 0-5s from what I remember. Or maybe they stopped that before the Wyoming or Louisiana, not sure.

3/22/2010 3:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONALOG seems like the very old auto driver, that was old stuff.

3/22/2010 3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon@ 342

T-hulls were commanded by full birds until early to mid nineties. PCU SSBN was always full bird w/ PCO other crew being a full bird well into Trident II newcon. Newcon and follow on XO's were almost always 0-4's but it was not at all unusual for them to get picked up for 0-5 towards the end of their tour.

3/22/2010 5:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did T-hulls have full birds in shipyards?

Why did'nt fast attack have four stripers?

3/22/2010 5:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does that wheelman have a patch on the coverall on right pocket? Is this new fangled uniform regs?

3/22/2010 5:38 PM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

Boats are allowed to put unit patches on coveralls at command discretion.


3/22/2010 8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other wheelman does not appear to have one, is it a personal choice or a command directive. Maybe it is just out of the photo.

3/22/2010 8:21 PM

Anonymous 609B/631B MO said...

For the record: our Chop on U.S.GRANT in 1964-65 was Supply Corps.

3/22/2010 9:00 PM

Anonymous 609b/631b mo said...

Sorry, I meant "our Chop IN U.S. GRANT" -- and to think, I was the official grammar police for patrol reports.

3/22/2010 9:13 PM

Anonymous Bwildrd FT said...

Why does anybody rate a four-stripper? Clout. I ordered a whole Mk 19 Plotter PRI-1 in NLON and got laughed at by the NSSF Chop. I put my captain Captain (rare bird for an old boomer) on the phone and we had the plotter on board (from Keyport WA) the next day. That CO had to be one of the best, though. Matt Hutmaker. Great guy.

3/23/2010 3:50 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Don't know ground truth on this, but O6s on SSBNs was initially a statement about the importance, and more major command billets. Then, we realized we didn't need all those O6s in major commands that were nothing more than command they had previously.

SSGNs sounds like more major commands to me, but at the loss of 8 O5 commands.

CHOPs have been supply corps since the early 80s.

The fly by wire system on a VA class is analogous to the fly by wire that controls every commercial plane in the last 10-15 years. Strenuously tested, and it is not quite the same as microsoft crashing.

Nothing wrong with poopie suits actually being presentable. And they ARE personalized.
You have your name on it. So there.

3/23/2010 4:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 70's era EM, we were only issued the poopie suits that were turned in by other divs for being too ragged and torn. The COB stated that he wasn't going to spend good money on poopie suits for battery well divers.

My best poopie suit on five FBM patrols had both sleeves (shortened by some previous occupier), no name or any ornamental patches, just iron-on patches around the private parts. To say that E-Div looked scruffy underway was to state the obvious. In port we wore dungarees.


3/23/2010 5:39 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

Don't know ground truth on this, but O6s on SSBNs was initially a statement about the importance

I always heard that it was a tiff with the Chair Force, as someone in that other service with that may special weapons under his responsibility was usually referred to as "General"; the O-6 captains were a compromise.


3/23/2010 6:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if a WWII sub had 4 lookouts and an OOD then that was a lot of people to scramble down a hatch.

I wonder how long it took to get 5 men below decks?

I suppose that the dire necessity to avoid an airplane or whatever bad guy sighted would make the evolution all that more intense and important?

I suspect that all hands would be under the hatch in less than 20-30 seconds or is this even too long?

3/23/2010 6:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you Tagout of the touch screen?...

I would like to answer as for the past 9 years I have helped design and implement the VA Class SCS....

We utilize the current T/O system SOMS. A qualified ET will go to a maintenance computer (DMAC) and select which controls we "disengage/tag out electronically" at the SCS that has to do with "remote" activation of the equipment being worked. The "i.d." of the local tags (produced from SOMS) is input into that computer so you can track each and every job that may need that button at the station that will control the equipment being worked to be "unelectable" . This will ensure that every job (that is dependent on that button at the station) is cleared before that equipment can be controlled remotely at SCS for "safety". They still using local isolation of hyd and electrical tagout.

3/23/2010 7:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sort of long but WELL WORTH the read. From U.S. Naval Submarine League Heroes section at
A ceremony April 5, 2004 at the U.S. Navy Academy's Memorial Hall honored a recipient of the Navy's highest decoration. Retired Navy Captain Charles W. Rush, Jr., of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and a 20-year veteran of the submarine service, was awarded the Navy Cross 59 years after the event for his heroic efforts during combat patrol aboard USS Billfish during World War II. Under the banner in Memorial Hall emblazoned with the famous admonishment "Don't give up the ship," Rear Admiral Paul F. Sullivan, Director, Submarine Warfare Division, who represented Secretary of the Navy Gordon England for the presentation, told the heroic story of the stricken submarine.Then-Navy Lieutenant Rush was the chief engineer and diving officer aboard Billfish in enemy-controlled waters of Makassar Strait November 11, 1943, off the coast of Indonesia when the submarine was attacked by a series of depth charges. As the assault burst stern tubes, hull fittings and the after pressure hull, the attack also incapacitated all officers senior to Lt. Rush; many of the crew gave up hope of survival. The young officer cooly assumed command of damage control efforts and spent 12 exhausting hours under continual depth charge assault by courageously directing actions that saved the ship, including efforts that maintained the boat almost 170 feet below test depth. He understood if the Billfish sank much further, the ocean pressure would crush the ship. After another officer relieved him from damage-control leadership, he rushed to the conning tower only to discover no one available to direct evasive action. Realizing the enemy had been tracking the submarine from oil leaking from explosions that ripped open the ship's fuel ballast tanks, he directed the ship to retrace its path through the strait and into its own oil slick, confusing efforts from the surface to track his submarine. Four hours later, the submarine safely surfaced far from the attacking enemy forces, where he charged the ship's depleted batteries with a single operable generator to complete the escape. "I was not alone when this attack happened," the retired Captain remarked during the ceremony, "and I'm not alone today." He smiled as he looked over the audience at several members of his former crew aboard Billfish as well as friends from his 1941 Naval Academy class who visited Annapolis for this event. The story of then-Lieutenant Rush's even-headed leadership under the difficult stress of enemy attack came to light when the officer began steps to honor his friend, Navy Chief Electrician's Mate John D. Rendernick, for his emergency repair efforts that terrible day. As an independent investigation led to awarding a Silver Star to the Chief before he passed away in December, facts eventually were revealed that led to the Navy Cross for Captain Rush.
Over the years, Captain Rush never lost the pride he had as a member of the silent service. "Submarines did the job when no one else could do it. I think it's important today to maintain our undersea fleet because it is very important to the security of the U.S.," he said during the ceremony. During Captain Rush's 20-year career, he served aboard five submarines, including Billfish, and began the program leading to the successful transarctic journey of the Navy's first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus. Since his retirement from the Navy in 1961, Captain Rush has served as a representative for a major aviation business and has served as a consultant for ocean systems and submarine safety matters.

3/23/2010 8:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having used eSOMS in the commercial nuke world, I only hope the Navy version is better. The commercial version sucks big time.

3/23/2010 9:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did submarines start using the Danger Tagout system and what was used to control maintenance safety before the Tagout System was implemented?

3/23/2010 10:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did submarines start using the Danger Tagout system . . .

I was in for six and got out in '90, and we used it the entire time I was in.

3/23/2010 11:24 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

eSOMS. The program is fundamentally the same, although the execution is a little different. I actually like eSoms and think it works pretty well, if used correctly.

3/23/2010 12:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems all the men are Gone. Submarines are now manned by Boys with PMS... Now is the right time to put the ladies on the boat. Seems there are no urinals needed anyways with the Biotches already assigned.

3/23/2010 12:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many class of subs had WCs (Urinals for landlubbers)in the ER?

Note, a WC is not the bilge or hull cuts in drydock for sand crabs and yardbirds.

3/23/2010 1:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSBN 619 had a WC/decom shower in AMR2UL, and had a urnal right next to the skullery window in OPSML passageway that was removed during the '68 refueling.


3/23/2010 1:58 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Seawolfs have a urinal back aft, on the starboard side of Maneuvering; still need a bag to go #2, though.

3/23/2010 3:57 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"How many class of subs had WCs (Urinals for landlubbers)in the ER?"

585's (I was on 590) and 640's (I was on 642 as an SSN) both had 'em. If memory serves, the one on 590 was a fresh water head - no idea why. Neither were technically in the ER, though just FWD of it: 590 in AMSUL and 642 in (I think) AMR2.

3/23/2010 3:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

637's had a urinal just fwd of maneuvering.

3/23/2010 4:21 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

671 had a urinal in the ER outboard of nucleonics. Of course, there WAS no AMR2, only ER.

3/23/2010 4:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many 637 class stretch hulls were made?

The easy one is the Parche but there were more.

3/23/2010 4:59 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

No urinal on my first boat (first flight 688), although when I was cranking (yes, nukes cranked) I almost put a bag of #2 that ERLL watch made before he found me with a panicked look on his face. My second boat (637) had a urinal just forward of maneuvering in ERUL. There was a guy in M-Div on my second boat who did "custom" stencils for our poopy suits that looked badass. That's about as formal as we ever got with them. I still remember the new-guy RM1 on my first boat (we were in the yards pulling 14-16 on, 10 off) who actually sat on the "quarterdeck" of the barge with a white stencil pencil, telling us our dungaree stencils were too faded. There must have been a dozen white stencil pencils in the bottom of PHNSY Drydock #1 before the ENG set him straight. Ah, good times.

3/23/2010 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the guys curious about the 774...

Tagging out the control stuff usually involved tagging many amphenols, basically just big power lines going into those things or going to the component. Plus there are RIC's and RIB's which can be tagged out rather easily which deal with the control circuits for the components operated by the SCS. These only required tagging fuses and switches, which made it pretty simple. SOM's is a great program, I can remember many a day sitting in Man with the EB rep rolling 50-60 tag out's to get tags off of one component! So much fun...

I really did like the SCS on VIRGINIA, I am not looking forward to having to learn the 688 version, or basically having to learn an entire new ship, but if many of you have done it then I can as well! I served as the diving officer on VA for a few years before transferring, I pushed to requal Pilot so I could sit it, get a break from the OOD slot, or just relieve for a smoke break :-)

We were working on a surfaced pilot qual to help get 2nd classes into the seats, not sure if it ever panned out.

3/23/2010 5:41 PM

Blogger SJV said...

I traded dolphins with a Canadian submariner in the 90's and put them on my poopy suit underway. EDEA told me to take them off since I hadn't earned Big Navy was alive and well long ago even in the sub force. Mind you I had to wake his ass up several times from his "eye resting" in the horseshoe. I think he was tired because he had too much bunky off watch!! Verification phrase is "subcop"

3/23/2010 7:25 PM

Blogger SJV said...

With the track record of even PC based control systems used in industry, the reliability of fly by wire is bulletproof. I remember back when there was resistance to going to microprocessor based controls for PNA - predecessor was magnet wire.

I do marvel at how engineering systems has changed in the last twenty years, with nuke reliability methods being documented and spread to general industry. I laugh when I talk to folks in the drug business who think they started things like procedures and change controls.

BTW, I'll take the fly by wire any day, although it was cool to shift the EP with eyes closed by the feel of the at least as close to being in phase with DG as we did in North Atlantic ; )

3/23/2010 7:32 PM

Anonymous ss said...

"EDEA told me to take them off since I hadn't earned them..."

Which begs the question, is it ok for a submarine qualified sailor from another nation's Navy to wear our dolphins on his underway uniform? Or, would you be offended (if you knew, of course)?

3/23/2010 7:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure entire topic but it seems to be dolphin related.

At one time doplhins (sub warfare qualified) seemed to have a more serious and significant meaning. Boats/commands handled things differently. Some boats would not allow non-quals to wear ANY dolphin until qualified. Some made the Sailors to cover the ballcap dolphins up with tape and no dolphin belt buckles. Again, this was up to each command/boat.

At one time they were doing dolphin giveaways for midshipman on the brief summer cruise which was a very controversial thing. I believe that the dolphin give away was cancelled and it was a very bad program. The midshipmen had a cheesy and abbreviated qual card,. make a 1MC, man a fire hose etc... It was very superficial and really was disrespectful to crewmembers who actually earned their doplhins by hard study and work.

Anyway, some boats would prevent dinks and non-quals from watching boat movies but I heard that this is not the case across the board today.

Foreign Navy and U.S. dolphins seems highly unlikey unless exchange program with Brits, Aussies etc... I know that at least two U.S. officers attended Brit Perisher but that is not a sub qual program.

3/23/2010 8:20 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

SJV--I have a pair of Canadian dolphins as well. Also have a set of Aussie dolphins, but the guy wouldn't trade me my fish for them--he wanted by boomer pin. And off they went. I never wore them on my poopy suit, but there was a guy in my division (RC) on Buffy who every time we went out one Westpac, had his fur hat with the Russian Naval Infantry insignia pinned to it--and this was still before the collapse of the Wall. COB wasn't overly thrilled about it, but he had bigger fish to fry, like the ST who taped a razor blade to his wrist, with pen marks on his arms, and the caption, "In case of counterdetection, open along dotted lines..."

3/23/2010 8:42 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Which begs the question, is it ok for a submarine qualified sailor from another nation's Navy to wear our dolphins on his underway uniform? Or, would you be offended (if you knew, of course)?
If they had fish from their own country and it was a submarine brotherhood swap for cultural exchange - I wouldn't care. If they EARNED our fish doing the whole card and some underway time (like w/ a PEP exchange), I also wouldn't care, but I'm sure a UNIFORM REGS enforcer would.

We have a one way exchange (for a few years now) where we send some of our boat guys Down Under to serve on the Aussie's diesel boats.

Our guys can earn their Aussie fish but they can't wear them in our uniforms.

3/23/2010 9:12 PM

Anonymous Jack Hammer said...

I had a urinal in my rack, came in handy from time to time.

3/24/2010 3:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A urinal in your rack? Was that a local alt on a T-hull?

3/24/2010 5:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

COW, route the green book, the rack # 28 urinal is clogged and overflowing in the rack. ALCPO, DCA, Eng lay to rack #28 for emergent repairs and restoration. Station WC overflow watch with a wetvac and a pack of chemwipes. Better yet, use the non-absorbing rags.

3/24/2010 7:41 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

If they had fish from their own country and it was a submarine brotherhood swap for cultural exchange - I wouldn't care. If they EARNED our fish doing the whole card and some underway time (like w/ a PEP exchange), I also wouldn't care, but I'm sure a UNIFORM REGS enforcer would.

Seconded. I taught some Taiwanese diesel guys at SUBSCOL, and at the end we swapped dolphins at the O-Club. Initially got a strange look, followed by "where did you get those, and do they have any more?" They now sit on my desk.


3/24/2010 8:44 AM

Anonymous coolerthanelvis said...

What's up with the EAB manifolds? They have all four connections capped. Is it just an engine room thing to have one connection with no cap? I seem to recall that it was for the guy in the silver suit in the event of a steam leak, but I thought the rule was carried out through the whole boat.

3/24/2010 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One Dust cap removed only required in Steam Space (ie Engineroom) except with new style suits which are fully contained no plugging in required.

Also Florida has been out of the Shipyard since 2006.

3/24/2010 11:56 AM

Anonymous PC Assclown Here said...

Ltjg OOD to pilot on VA class, "Senior Chief, Mind Your Helm and steer south by south,south west".

Same Ltjg OOD to messenger of the watch, "Chief, go get me a black and bitter, and don't rim the cup". And by the way, do your wake-ups ten minutes early. I'm tired of being releaved late by that bitch.

3/24/2010 12:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is too funny.

One time in a trainer I was the adult supervison and during a flooding drill the OOD wanted to have a pow wow session with his watch team about the casualty response, note: he took no immediate actions as the numbers ticked away on depth and ocean volume in people tank. I prompted him that he might strongly consider executing the procedure but he said based on his experience (jg) that the emergency procedure was "optional". LOL. I was rolling and told him that we can hit the reset button in here but in the deep he better familiarize himself with all procedures and DO THEM when appropriate. OPTIONAL, lol, I still laugh when thinking about that. He was also one of the boat OODs for a graded POMCERT session, lol.

3/24/2010 12:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assclown it sounds like the JO was well versed on watchstation formality and he had the IC manual down pat.

During an underway we had a drill and the AEF said to the COW, "COW, AEF, Fwd compt is Shaka" accompanied by the hang ten sign. LOL. He picked that moment to have a brain fart and the squadron monitor appreciated the initiative and imagination of the AEF but the monitor's drill debrief comments were less flowery.

3/24/2010 12:52 PM

Anonymous FLORIDA GOLD said...

The SSGN photograph is NOT mislabeled. The photograph was taken aboard USS FLORIDA (SSGN 728)(B) while the boat had a film crew embarked near Souda Bay (which is Sixth Fleet AOR). The CO, CAPT Randy Crites, had covers put on some of the control panel due to classification of the gauges and the film crew not needing to film them.

3/24/2010 1:14 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Love the shaka report but agree probably not amusing to a monitor. I've had to be the "formality" guy and absolutely hated it.

I will never forget one of our jg's on the used to fish. He was ESL and Chinese was his first language. Wickedly smart but had to translate everything in his head twice (once going in, again going out) for communication.

Major gagger drill in the ER when he was EEOW. He grabs the mic w/ procedure in hand, trying to make an announcement, loses his train of though halfway through, and (very stressed out) ends up just shouting (heavy Chinese accent),
"Faht the fahr, faht the fahr! on the 2MC"

We on the hose team (& the drill geeks watching us) lost it. Thankfully, OBA's (no SCBA's back then) w/ VOD's on hid alot, but we couldn't see even w/o them on because of the tears from laughing so hard.

"Fight the fire, fight the fire" said very rapidly was the catchphrase of the (very long) underway. The jg ended up xferring for a 2nd chance somewhere else & made it to his DH tour.

3/24/2010 6:38 PM

Blogger Rogue Trident said...

Scott, thanks for your answer about local control a few weeks ago. I was off the grid for a while and am just catching up on blogs. - Rogue

4/10/2010 6:13 AM

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