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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another Death Aboard Nebraska

According to this article at Navy Times, another Sailor has died aboard USS Nebraska (SSBN 739). Excerpts:
A sailor was found dead Monday aboard the ballistic-missile submarine Nebraska at sea, according to a Navy spokeswoman, marking the third death aboard the ship in the last five years.
Machinist’s Mate Fireman William Mack, 21, was found dead in the submarine’s berthing spaces while the ship was underway in the Pacific Ocean. The cause is under investigation, said Lt. Kellie Randall, a spokeswoman for Submarine Group 9; she said there was no damage to the ship and there had not been an accident...
... The Nebraska sailed March 18 from Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Wash., on a normal deterrence patrol. It surfaced this week “off Hawaii,” Randall said, to take aboard agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who conducted an investigation for about 36 hours. Nebraska then met up with another boat, as was scheduled, to deliver people as part of an exercise. Mack’s body and the NCIS agents were transferred to the second boat, Randall said.
Nebraska, in the hands of its Gold Crew, will continue its patrol without a replacement crew member.
Mack is the boat’s third sailor to die aboard since 2005. On Jan. 6 of that year, Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Aaron Scrimiger, 25, hanged himself in the machinery spaces while the ship was in port. On Sept. 20, 2008, Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class (SS) Michael Gentile was killed after being “entangled and pinned” as he worked on the rudder machinery while Nebraska was at sea.
This is so sad. I discussed the earlier rudder accident here. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Nebraska family. Here's an article from his hometown paper, with a picture:

Sailor, Rest Your Oar.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

from what I've read it looks like a suicide.

4/23/2010 9:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does NCIS always investigate things like this, or only when foul play is suspected?

4/23/2010 10:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does NCIS always investigate things like this, or only when foul play is suspected?

We once had XC inadvertently initiate when coming back into port - due to a valve mispo. NCIS was on the pier waiting. ALL nukes were kept on the boat for 8-10 hours and EVERY single one was interviewed. I would think a death aboard would warrant a more intrusive look.

4/23/2010 10:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must have been a pleasant day/week/month. Who ended up bending over for that little boo-boo?

4/23/2010 11:03 AM

Blogger liza said...

how sad to lose another young sailor. let's just hope they find the cause, although, it seems pointless at this time. thoughts and prayers to the family.

4/23/2010 12:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MMFN - Does that make him an A-Ganger or a torpedoman?

4/23/2010 12:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could have been a nuke MM with a mast...

What a terrible situation. Hope the crew is doing all right.

4/23/2010 12:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must have been a pleasant day/week/month. Who ended up bending over for that little boo-boo?

Couldn't prove it was intentional, so technically, no one. Of course M-Dive had the bone-us of opening up the HX.

It was always suspected that the M-divver who immediately knew which valve was out of position and took action to halt the initiation was the perp. (He was a glory hound.) It didn't help that it was a valve only in the system to allow isolations only for maintenance purposes, was in an awkward location under a deckplate, and only a small percentage of non-M Div nukes even knew the valve's location.

4/23/2010 12:13 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

Sad and regrettable.

NCIS, though; almost useless. Have they accomplished anything besides mysteriously appearing and then some squid disappears immediately after?

4/23/2010 12:35 PM

Blogger tennvol said...

Thoughts go out to the crew from a plankowner.

4/23/2010 12:41 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

What a tragedy! If a suicide, hard to fathom the demons that were the driver.
Retired after more than 25 years and never had to deal with that scenario!
Prayers to the family and crew.

4/23/2010 1:14 PM

Blogger Lou said...

Could have been a nuke MM with a mast...

From the article:
He enlisted Dec. 3, 2008, and reported to Nebraska Aug. 4, 2009, records show. He was on his first deployment.

I seriously doubt he was a nuke unless he dropped from the program. My condolences to the family.

4/23/2010 1:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a host of wild theories out there right about now, so I won't go into it. What I'd suggest, is to just stand fast until the findings are made public.

The biggest thought on my mind is, are we actively doing enough to watch out for each other? We discussed this the other day during morning quarters. A little communication goes along way, which helps prevent this kind of tragedy in the first place.

I'm so sorry this happened.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

4/23/2010 1:29 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Heartfelt thoughts, prayers and condolences to family friends and shipmates.


As for the "Wild thoughts and theories": Read the OPREP-3.

4/23/2010 1:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sailor was a TM. Thoughts and prayers for his family and shipmates.

4/23/2010 3:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow..... and they called us "Big Dead" after Scrimiger. Experiencing this myself, I feel deeply for the crew. It is a horrible situation.

BTW, Scrimigers suicide was NOT in port.

4/23/2010 4:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was a TM and it was, indeed, self-inflicted.

4/23/2010 4:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My condolences to his wife and the crew of the boat.

This is the reason why the Doctors are so quick to yank anyone who claims to be sad - this is a nightmare for the boat and an absolute tragedy for the Sailor's family and loved ones. An unplanned loss for mental health reasons is way better than having to haul out a fallen (self-inflicted or not) shipmate out of the hatch.

Expect even more suicide awareness training requirements to follow...

4/23/2010 6:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:58 PM -
"He was a TM and it was, indeed, self-inflicted."

Taking you at your word, anonymous, which is extremely difficult, do you realize what this will mean for the vaunted boomer service on SecNav Mabus's watch?

The adopted, young lad was well-adapted in life and intellectually suited for sub service. Otherwise, psych' screening has gone to hell in a handbasket. Shame, shame!

Two suicides on a single boat (with 2 complete crews)? Heads will roll in high places over that, as well they should.

Unless this guy was bipolar, such news is entirely unacceptable. If Mack was bipolar or on anti-depressants, why the heck was he ever be serving on a submarine?

He would not have been allowed in subs anymore than Major Nidal Hasan should have been kept in the Army. Cannot wait for Sen. Lieberman to subpoena Mack's psych eval records. Perhaps our navy is getting too PC in anticipation of female crew members.

Personal problems, you say? Shame, shame, DH, C.O.B. and wardroom!

See why everyone is hoping for a natural cause of death this time? Especially his family, of course.

My sympathies to the kid's family, his friends and all of our submariners!


4/23/2010 7:55 PM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Sailors in my day, who were transferred to Squadron or NSSC due to personality disorder, or other mental health reasons, used to lose their Dolphin breast insignia as a result. I always thought that was a dumb thing for the Force to do, remove their dolphins, because the anticipated embarrassment or imagined humiliation would incline a young man to keep quiet and stay on the boat in an unhealthy (for whatever reason) situation. Unless this practice has been abandoned in the last four years, which is entirely possible, we should stop doing it now. Suicide becomes an option in people's minds when they feel trapped, like a Sailor who can't stand the situation in which he finds himself on the boat, but unable to leave it thinking he will disgrace his crew, family and friends. Submarine disqualification is one thing, remove the sailor from the boat, but don't remove possibly the one thing he takes pride in, his Dolphins. Letting him keep his does nothing to diminish the meaning or value of yours.

4/23/2010 8:17 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

I can't agree ret.cob. "Qualified in submarines" means exactly that. I'm sure that they don't confiscate the pin, anyway - and anyone removed from a boat for those reasons is not likely to remain in the Navy for long either.

4/23/2010 8:39 PM

Anonymous xem2 said...

Allowing someone to keep their dolphins when they aren't capable of handling submarine duty WOULD diminish the value of mine. They aren't a participation ribbon in 3rd Grade track and field, they represent an accomplished goal that most people couldn't achieve. Their exclusivity is what gives them meaning.

Jackson: What kind of mental contortions do you have to do to blame a suicide on "Women on Subs?"

4/23/2010 9:20 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

I don't think Jackson's a submariner, myself - too much of his post doesn't sound like he's been there...

4/23/2010 9:48 PM

Anonymous Nothing New Here... said...

First patrol, trying to get qualified, probably doing some cranking, maybe a bad email from home or GF. A lot of stress there. The system tends to weed out the weak. Obviously I don't know the details but the system is never easy and this boat already has a reputation around the waterfront. Unfortunately, death is never worth it.

4/23/2010 9:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


No one has agreed there has even been a suicide yet, much less blamed "Women on Subs", if true.

Some of us do wonder, however, if today's psych evaluations have been relaxed for PC reasons in anticipation of female crew members. That way, docs can truthfully testify they are using the same screens as they used before.

Women tend to be emotionally driven to a greater extent than qualified submariners. My question was when were submarine volunteer psych standards last relaxed?

4/23/2010 10:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend looking at your message traffic. It's pretty damn clear what the cause of death is, if you do.

4/23/2010 11:20 PM

Anonymous T.J. said...

Keep in mind that it is likely that family and friends of the deceased may find their way here. It is certain that some of his shipmnates will.

4/23/2010 11:47 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

It was indeed a suicide. What we need to stop doing now is jumping to conclusions. May have had NOTHING AT ALL to do with submarine life...who knows?

4/24/2010 4:21 AM

Anonymous gih said...

This is a very difficult job for the investigator such the situation like this.

4/24/2010 5:13 AM

Blogger ret.cob said...

(I recognize that our recently deceased shipmate in NEBRASKA probably wasn't qualified yet, and the pressure of qualifying may not have had anything to do with his passing; he was on his first patrol. Might heart does out to his shipmates, family and friends. But his passing does give us the opportunity to discuss a critical mental health matter that submariners control themselves: who wears the Dolphin pin. Regrettably, you'll have to take it on faith that I have seen the devastation that removing them can cause an already weakened shipmate.)

IMHO, really, the source of our pride in the Dolphins does not derive from exclusivity: "I got them and you don't, therfore, I'm better than you." We take pride in wearing these coveted devices because they signify our achievement of a lofty standard, a standard we set for ourselves: "I earned mine and I will help you earn yours because getting qualified is impossible to do alone."

If a Sailor is assigned to transient status for a broken bone, or an irreversible internal ailment, we don't remove his right to wear the Dolphins. Why should we insist on their removal when a shipmate suffers from a mental health malady? Because we think he might be faking it to get off the boat? That's a pretty risky assumption to make. Sailors with depression are just as vulnerable too life-threatening events as Sailors with diabetes, maybe more so.

Veterans Administration statistics show that 18 veterans are killing themselves everyday:

I just can't see why we insist on making matters worse for them by renouncing the one achievement in which a qualified submariner can take justifiable pride, wearing the Dolphin breast insignia. Taking even one set away is not worth a life. And it's been said already, they are most likely leaving the Navy anyway, why not let them walk away with their chin up?

4/24/2010 6:12 AM

Blogger T said...

Ret.cob, well said. For that matter, even if someone "goes sad" they did earn those dolphins in the eyes of their superiors at some point in their naval career. A lot of hard work goes into earning them, and once you've went through the pain of earning them, nobody should be able to take them from you.

We don't go trying to pry them off the chest of those who separate and retire because they no longer serve on ships, it's shameful to do that to people because they become ill.

4/24/2010 6:58 AM

Blogger Oz said...

+1 on ret.cob

4/24/2010 7:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, you could get this policy ret.cob is talking about changed today, and you should. -Bill

4/24/2010 7:14 AM

Blogger ret.cob said...

I meant to write: "My heart goes out..." Sorry, black and bitter please...

4/24/2010 7:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you who are saying this was a suicide... Are you on the Nebraska? Do you know that's what happened? If not, shame on you for putting that out there where his family might read it. Until the findings are made public and unless you were on the sub with him, maybe you should keep your opinions to yourselves.

4/24/2010 8:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps those who are saying it was suicide actually read their message traffic, and know what they are talking about...

Do you really think his family read Idaho's First and Foremost Submarine Blog, anyway? They have grieving to do and memorials to plan. This is where bubbleheads go to talk things over online, just like we do on board.

4/24/2010 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As ret.cob said "If a Sailor is assigned to transient status for a broken bone, or an irreversible internal ailment, we don't remove his right to wear the Dolphins."

Current research shows that many mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD have physiological mechanisms. In other words, like pushing yourself too hard physically can cause physical injury, pushing yourself to hard mentally can cause physical injury to your brain (which is just another organ). Why is working so hard that you break your body seen as noble, but working so hard you break your mind seen as ignoble?

-Prof. ELT

4/24/2010 8:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are looking for answers anywhere they can get them right now. All you have to do to find this blog is google william mack uss nebraska.
I appreciate that "this is where we go to talk things over online," but suicide is a devastating situation for any family and if that's what happened, it's even worse when the family has to wait so long for answers.
I know his family personally and the not knowing is even worse when people start speculating about someone they loved and cared for.

4/24/2010 9:08 AM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

Those of us on this blog who are actual submariners (as opposed to the wannabe harping on psych evals et. al.) are aware that the dolphin insignia mean that you're a hacker, a huge part of being a submariner. It's nothing like a broken bone or physical ailment. They're perfectly free (I would think - correct me if I'm wrong) to take the pin with them to separations; they just should not be entitled to wear it on the uniform, because they are not qualified to serve on submarines. I wouldn't think this would apply to someone who's psychological trauma was a result of combat operations, but I don't think that has come up for several generations of submariners.

4/24/2010 9:22 AM

Blogger ret.cob said...

We're talking about suicide. And if this is not a good time to talk about it, then there is no good time to talk about it. And this must be aired out! A policy needs to change and right now is a good time to change it. If this investigation doesn't take a hard look at the micro (local) and macro (Force) qual programs, then it's a waste of time. What else is a kid on his first patrol doing a this point in his career?

4/24/2010 9:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:08 AM,

They're not speculating. Trust me, we know. Every now and again it's possible to run into someone in the Navy who knows things you don't.

4/24/2010 9:40 AM

Blogger T said...


Honestly, by your logic, you should take away the dolphins of everybody who retires, lateral transfers, separates, lapses on their nuclear requirements, goes into the reserves, etc. All of these situations can result in somebody "no longer being qualified to serve on submarines". Yet we do not take their dolphins away, because they earned them, fair and square, just like you, me, and the theoretical guy who suffers from mental illness or psychological trauma. Hell, we don't even take the dolphins away from people who are relieved for cause!

Your logic is flawed, and incredibly closed-minded.

4/24/2010 9:45 AM

Anonymous RETNAVET said...

Having made 19 patrols and retiring after 20 years I disagree with you. Your logic is that when someone is medically DQ from submarines then they should lose the right to wear their Dolphins. If someone is injured during field day and is removed from sub service because of that injury should they also lose that right? A mental illness is not something to take lightly.

It is people with the mightier than thou attitude like yourself that cause problems within the submarine community.

4/24/2010 9:53 AM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

t and retired navet: I thought I was pretty clear about distinguishing psychological from physical ailments. You two are putting words in my mouth; and obviously, when someone leaves the service in good standing, still "qualified in submarines", that doesn't change. I'm all for compassion, but the dolphins mean, among other things, that you can hack it. If you can't hack it, you can keep the pin, that's fine, but it shouldn't be worn on the uniform.

4/24/2010 10:20 AM

Blogger T said...


Dolphins don't mean "you can hack it". All they mean is that you completed the qual card, passed a board, and the CO "said ok, here's your dolphins". They're nothing but the minimum bar for entry. If you wait long enough, your command is practically compelled to give them to you or they start getting nasty grams from squadron.

Yes, receiving your dolphins is a major accomplishment, and they are difficult to obtain. I don't mean to make light of dolphins, but at the same time, I know a lot of lazy barely good for anything sailors that received dolphins.

The only thing that dolphins say for certain is that that individual is better than any skimmer.

4/24/2010 10:58 AM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Mark, Anybody can walk into a uniform shop and buy a set of Dolphins as easily as they can buy a "V" device for one of their ribbons. Being authorized to wear them on the uniform, or not, is the critical matter in question. The answer has led to suicide (maybe not in this case, but there have been cases). It is a policy that could be changed with the stroke of a pen today that would save lives tomorrow, but we won't do it because some folks think Dolphins are symbol of our ability to "hack it." At one point we trusted these guys with our own lives, and because one day it dawned on them that they were dangerously depressed, we do more than just kick them to the curb, we keep kicking. That is stigmatizing mental illness as a weakness of willpower rather than a disease. And it's part of the reason some guys see no other way out than to take their own life. It's not worth it.

4/24/2010 11:01 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

All of you arguing over whether someone who taps out for psych reasons should be able to wear their fish and are comparing that to someone breaking their leg or whatever should read the regs - they are clear and the reasons are explained. I specifically refer to MILPERSMAN 1306-416, which states (in part):

Categories and Reasons. There are two categories of disqualification for duty in submarines, one of which must be cited in every disqualification recommendation.

a. Disqualified Category. Members removed from submarine duty in the disqualified category are not normally eligible for return to submarine duty at any future date. Reasons for disqualification are as follows:

(1) Inability to qualify or failure from a training pipeline leading to assignment to submarine duty.
(2) Inability to requalify (SS) members only.
(3) As a result of disciplinary and/or administrative action resulting in:
(a) disqualification prior to separation,
(b) discharge detachment for cause,
(c) unauthorized absence in excess of 30 days,
(d) classification as a conscientious objector or homosexuality,
(e) a change in rating,
(f) Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) removal,
(g) security clearance,
(h) substantiated family advocacy sexual abuse case,
(i) ineligibility for the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) when such action precludes further service in submarines, or
(j) other such disqualifying action (specify).

(4) Unreliability due to drug/alcohol abuse.

(5) Stress reaction, emotional instability, or suicide attempts/gestures.
(6) Environmental unadaptability (including claustrophobia).

NOTE: Disqualification for stress reactions, emotional instability, suicide attempts/gestures, or for environmental unadaptability must include psychiatric/psychological consultation

b. Physically not Qualified Category

(1) Members found not physically qualified may reapply for return to submarine duty when they again meet the physical requirements set forth in NAVMED P-117, article 15.

4/24/2010 12:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone on this blog actually know Mark/MM1(SS)? This over-opinionated guy/gal accused me of not being a submariner ("too much of his post doesn't sound like he's been there...") but, if he is really an MM1(SS) I wonder where he has been besides school.

BTW, psych evals are very important in submarining and they have been 'adjusted' several times in 30 year careers. Wonder why we're having a suicide problem? You are a MORON, Mark!


4/24/2010 12:43 PM

Anonymous SubIconoclast said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends, family, and shipmates of Fireman Mack.

Sailor, rest your oar.

4/24/2010 1:33 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

SubIconoclast - good on ya, for bringing things back on track. I'd never heard the line "Sailor, rest your oar" until noticing Joel's fondness (justified) for it. I was curious about its origin, and of course, it's easier to find in the "Google Age". It's worth sharing...

"Lost Harbor"
by Leslie Nelson Jennings
There is a port of no return, where ships
May ride at anchor for a little space
And then, some starless night, the cable slips,
Leaving an eddy at the mooring place...
Gulls, veer no longer. Sailor, rest your oar.
No tangled wreckage will be washed ashore.

mark - SSN 647 84-87, SSN 680 87-88

4/24/2010 1:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ret ANAV, 4:21 AM

"It was indeed a suicide."

Discovered dead in his rack, too.
Wonder what he ingested then.

We really know so little. As you say ...who knows.


4/24/2010 2:54 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


He didn't ingest anything. The details of how he was found don't really need to be aired here.

4/24/2010 3:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, receiving your dolphins is a major accomplishment, and they are difficult to obtain. I don't mean to make light of dolphins, but at the same time, I know a lot of lazy barely good for anything sailors that received dolphins.

Don't kid yourself - they aren't that difficult. Not even in the same ballpark as BCE, SRO or dive school. In fact, while I was in, nukes detested the ease of qualifying for dolphins so much, that only the very rare lifer would even wear them on their dungarees or poopy suit.

4/24/2010 3:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(d) classification as a conscientious objector or homosexuality

I wonder if they will be re-writing that one once DADT goes away?

4/24/2010 3:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ret ANAV, 3:04 PM

That tells me exactly what I needed to know. The press would only have been mislead about where he was found under exceptional circumstances.

Since both homicide and deadly accident have been ruled out, there are only 6 Q&D methods available belowdecks. Now, we are down to the most likely of 3.

The crew will need counseling and our support, as well as our prayers, for this gruesome repetition.

SSBN 739 heads will roll over this one and that will be a shame. There can now be little doubt whether psych screening for submarine volunteers has been kept updated rather than marginalized for the sake of quota. Somewhere there's an admiral sweating very large bullets.

4/24/2010 4:26 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

Hopefully, most readers of this blog know that anon @3:16 doesn't speak for any but the snottiest, most elitist of nucs, especially with the "detested the ease of qualifying" remark. True, qualifying boats is not much of a challenge to someone who's finished power school and prototype, but serving on them most definitely is. Some of us even have an appreciation for the heritage and history of those insignia. I'm no lifer, either - I'm an ELT who got out after six.

4/24/2010 9:26 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/24/2010 9:37 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Anon 4:26 (corrected from 3:04) PM

Must disagree with 75% of your startling conclusions (apparently, you need to read more carefully):

"The press would only have been mislead about where he was found..." The deceased was found in the submarine’s berthing spaces, not his rack.

"SSBN 739 heads will roll over this one..." Rather doubt that there has been any loss of confidence in USS Nebraska's leadership team unless replacements were already made before she continued in her mission.

"There can now be little doubt whether psych screening for submarine volunteers has been kept updated rather than marginalized for the sake of quota." You really do not know that, do you?

On your point re: "Somewhere there's an admiral sweating very large bullets." You got that right, if somewhat understated.


4/24/2010 10:00 PM

Blogger T said...

You really think that nobody on 739 will take a hit? I got even odds that somehow command climate is going to be a contributing factor once the investigation is completed.

4/25/2010 1:46 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

OK, so we're all assuming that command climate had everything to do with this? Whaddayawannabet NCIS is looking over all of his familygrams with a fine tooth comb?

WRT the's not so much that they're being misleading as they're being intentionally vague. For obvious reasons.

4/25/2010 6:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing what a crap storm of debate over dolphins and this issue?

Is this somehow connected to the kid's qual progress status? I am just not making the connection.

It is sad and a trajedy that such a young man must have felt out of options.

Connecting this to dolphins in anyway seems odd. That is like saying that Boorda did it merely over a "V".

Someone on here is even acting like dolphins are some kind of heroic BS nonsense. I got news for that young lad, your personal pride and professionalism are one thing but for the most part, Joe civilian employer, manager, supervisor does not give a rat's ass about dolphins. Just, "what have you done for me lately" and "are you producing now?"

Keep a zero bubble.



4/25/2010 7:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can't imagine the pressure of living up to a standard you expect other people to meet...

4/25/2010 8:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two topics, one on...on off:

On Topic:

(1) Disqualification from submarines for medical reasons does not warrant or cause a loss of dolphins. That'd specifically be against the MILPERSMAN, which grants an exception for losing dolphins in the case of medical reasons.

(2) As to suicide rates, pper MCPON: "The Navy’s calendar year 2009 suicide rate of 13.8 per 100,000 Sailors represents an increase from the 2008 suicide rate of 11.6 per 100,000 Sailors...this is significantly below the national rate for the same age and gender demographic of 19.0 per 100,0001 individuals..."

Off Topic: Per the NYT, S. Korea is now saying that their investigation has concluded that a torpedo sunk their ship a few weeks back.

4/25/2010 10:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, get diagnosed with depression and prescribed with a psychotropic drug and see what happens to your fucking dolphins...

4/25/2010 12:06 PM

Anonymous Tim said...

I had a buddy on the Maine back in '03 that had his dolphins ripped off of his chest after being submarine disqualified for medical reasons. Talk about cruel, that dude was devastated and apparently it was a common practice in Kings Bay at the time. And no he was not a dirt bag, he was a good sailor who had a problem with his legs swelling up underway.

4/25/2010 1:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sub force is definitely asking more of us, and not giving much back in return. It is no wonder why guys are more stressed. My problem is, where are this guys friends? It seems like a long standing tradition in the sub force (now correct me if I am wrong) is to treat the new guy like shit because he isn't supporting your watchbill. Of course he isn't, because he just reported on board. It is your job to help him qualify, albeit he should do most of the work. This treatment of "nubs" is usually very alienating, and he may feel like he doesn't have any friends. I'm not saying this is the particular case, or we should all cuddle on the mess decks and talk about our feelings, but why not make the guys feel accepted?

Submarines are a stressful environment in and of itself, why should we cause more pain for ourselves? The more they feel accepted, the more they will want to achieve more to earn the respect of their peers, and comradarie is really the only true thing we have to keep us going through deployments, long shipyard periods, etc.

I don't know if this is a fleet thing, but from what I've heard it's fairly common.

4/25/2010 2:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but why not make the guys feel accepted?"

That's exactly how it worked on my first boat. As NUBs, we were told that as long we keep up in class room and walk throughs, we'll have no problems. That includes standing a watch or two occasionally as well. You'll be given time to sleep, watch a movie maybe once a week and occasionally play a video game.

But if just one you go dink because you decided to fuck off during study time, you and your fellow NUB bitches will all suffer together. (promoting team work)

As long as we were making a concerted effort, there wasn't a problem. Yeah, we got fucked with, but we were accepted. As long as we put out some sort of effort while negotiating a walk through, there wasn't a problem.

It's important that we don't make a NUB feel like an outsider. If he's trying, then do your damnedest to help him. Don't kill him by answering his questions with some bullshit rhetoric when he's asking you questions on which system does what & why and how it interfaces with the other thing below deck.

Help him to learn Goddammit!!
We have plenty of time to fill his head with all kinds of shit once he quals.

Just remember, everyone has a breaking point.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

4/25/2010 3:04 PM

Blogger Do You Think I G.A.F. said...

Even as many have felt that the submarine force qualifications is not as rigorous as it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago, keep in mind we are also dealing with a whole new mentality and behaviors with another generation. During my last sub tour, I had 4 nubs that came to my division. Smart kids who knew more crap than I did when I was that age. But I found myself dealing with immature guys. One guy got ahead on his quals. One week he didn't get the required points for his sub quals. So therefore he was placed on the dink list. Later that evening, i was summoned to the towed array handling space where this individual was sobbing uncontrollably threatening to kill himself. What I took from him, was all his life, he had never been told it was ok to fail something. Learn from his mistakes and move on. We had many nubs like this one way or another.

We used to say, if the crew members picked on you as a nub, they liked you. Now if they pick on you as a nub, they hate you. Many different stresses on todays youths for differnt reasons, and they all repond differently.

Our screening process is no longer a filter, but a pump.


4/25/2010 3:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel pretty awful for this sailor and his family. It is unfortunate that these things happen and I think that more needs to be done to help people with depression and other mental illness. I understand that you have to be of a strong mental capacity to serve on submarines but as another poster said, "Everyone has a breaking point," and I agree with that statement 110%.
The Big Red is my husband's old boat and he was there from 2006 to 2008 or there abouts. He heard about this death at work and swears that the boat is cursed.
Needless to say, I don't really want him to go back there if he ever decides to serve for an XO or CO tour.
He left right before the rudder accident and actually knew the guy that was killed. He was very surprised that no one's head rolled over that incident.

4/25/2010 3:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That includes standing a watch or two occasionally as well. You'll be given time to sleep, watch a movie maybe once a week and occasionally play a video game."


There is an extra rack in MC2L bcause this guy was weak. End of story.

4/25/2010 3:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/25/2010 4:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is aboard Nebraska Gold as we speak, and it was indeed a suicide. This information was released to the wives. I have spoken with my husband, and this Mack gave no hints that he was sad, but WAS going through a divorce or having some serious problems in his marriage. The current command is very well liked among the crew and should not be blamed. They, as well as the whole crew deserve our prayers and deepest sympathy, not dissrectful speculation as to what happened and who is at fault. Will Mack's family also needs our thoughts and prayers, and most of all, Will Mack needs our prayers. I hope that he has found the peace he must have been searching for.

4/25/2010 6:18 PM

Anonymous Squidward said...

{There is an extra rack in MC2L bcause this guy was weak. End of story.}

It must be terrible to be you. For that matter, the small minority of folks who consider folks with depression to be "weak" - its a disease, not a PRT failure. I guess you didn't get enough hugs as a kid and you didn't develop that part of you that has empathy for your shipmates.

In regard to boat quals - well, they are pretty easy after prototype, but lets keep in mind that prototype is a six month training course in how to qualify on something that looks like the butt-end (i.e. the hard part) of a submarine. The pride is disjoint from the difficulty in qualifying which may induce cognitive dissonance in some.

It doesn't matter anyway - it was probably an issue with a girl. I mean, isn't it usually?

4/25/2010 6:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an extra rack in MC2L bcause this guy was weak. End of story.

As much as the sub force sucks, it does serve a purpose: keeping psychopaths like this out of the real world where they'd probably be spitting in my burgers or sleeping on the park bench and scaring the neighborhood kids.

4/26/2010 12:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Understanding this is a blog and everybody is entitled to their opinion. But come on, is it right to judge anyone especially when you do not know all the circumstances. He was loved by everybody for his caring heart and awesome attitude. Yes by the way I am part of his family and did stumble upon this, does not make the heart feel any better. We love you Will!!!

4/26/2010 9:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a friend of Will's and while I am glad I found this and know the truth (which I suspected)...its very hard to see people talk like this about him! I also knew he had isues with depression and was shocked when I heard he was going on the Nebraska! I do also know that he was brilliant and if he wanted to pass a psych evaluation he could! I was not on the inner circle and none of his close family and friends even know me and I knew there were issues...even though I do get the feeling not alot of the people in his circle knew the extent of the issues I have a hard time seeing how someone who spent months with him on a sub didnt know something wasnt right...RIP Will

4/26/2010 9:34 AM

Blogger Mark said...

Silly question..

WTF is a psyc eval? The only one I ever remember was, do you volunteer subs? None in my medical record (I went through a butt ton of pages to verify that) and none on my microfishe.

Is that a PRP thing, or non-nuc thing?

Math Teacher Up-State NY
Retired EMCS/SS
(SSN-607, SSBN-731, SSN-767, SSN-703, SSN769)

4/26/2010 10:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To any of Will's friends and family who stumble across this, please let me apologize for the coarse and cynical views of some of our brethren. As in any large group of people, we have all kinds in the sub force. And as a wise XO of mine once said, it's not that "it takes all kinds" - it's that we got all kinds, and we have to learn how to deal with them. I hope that you can take comfort in realizing that none of the offensive comments on this page came from anyone who knew Will (as far as I can tell) and that none of them should be interpreted to comment on him personally.

I grieve for your loss and for the loss of a submariner. I hope that you may all find peace and remember the best of Will.

4/26/2010 12:02 PM

Blogger ret.cob said...

Senior Chief,

I remember taking a psych test (written) in sub school. Maybe they didn't give them in nuc school. Probably afraid of what they'd find out...

4/26/2010 12:03 PM

Anonymous T.J. said...

@anon 12:02:

Well put.

I think the psych eval asks if you get claustrophobic, sleepwalk, or wet the bed. It's not much of a screening tool as far as I can remember it.

4/26/2010 12:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be terrible to be you. For that matter, the small minority of folks who consider folks with depression to be "weak"
I wouldn't use the term "weak" myself - but you can definitely understand why someone who is on a boat would use it.

If you can't handle the environment, then you are sub DQ'd. End of story. Those who admit to depression (and many of us wearing fish suffer from it & just cope as best we can w/o telling Doc or the shrinks) risk losing their quals & their careers. For a young guy like our fallen brother he could have made the crossover to the surface Navy w/o any lasting harm. But maybe he didn't know that or just didn't want to do it.

For those w/ over 8yrs of service though, with the manning the way it is - you have a snowball's chance in Hell of getting x-rated after being found NPQ'd. The #'s are less than 1% for a cross-rate pickup if you have more than 8yrs in.

So is the system broken? Somewhat. The Sailor's inclination is to NOT get help when it is exactly the FIRST thing someone suffering should be doing. With the MILPERSMAN written the way it is, there isn't much room for going back to boats after admitting to suicidal ideation/attempts..and that's for GOOD REASON because submarines are less capable of handling those problems while on deployment.

Nobody, not even his family or shipmates on NEBRASKA, knows what was going through his head when he chose to take those irrevocable steps underway.

May his family grieve in peace (hopefully avoiding this blog) and hopefully the crew make it through this trying time for the boat w/ dignity and respect.

4/26/2010 4:00 PM

Anonymous xem2 said...

The only psych eval I remember was sitting at a card table with some guy (I don't know what his qualifications were; not even sure if he was an officer) in boot camp. He asked 3 or 4 questions (do you ever think about hurting yourself or others, etc.) and rubber-stamped me OK to serve. Took less than 2 minutes.

I still feel that my sense of pride in my dolphins comes from their exclusivity. Qualifying isn't easy, but it's not as hard as other things I've had to do. Nuke School was a lot harder, but I didn't get a pin for that. Your dolphins are a symbol of your ability to hack it, not in a classroom but in the mentally demanding real world of a submarine, and if you can't, then you shouldn't get to wear them.

4/26/2010 11:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand this is a blog and each person is entitled to his or her opinion. I regret that some of Will's family and friends (including myself) discovered this blog and read the remarks made by people who did not even know Will. Will Mack was in no way weak or a psychopath. He was a young man with a good heart who loved his family and friends dearly. He believed in our Lord and chose to serve his country by joining the Navy. My heart goes out to his family and to his fellow shipmates serving on the Nebraska. Will was the third sailor to have died an untimely and questionable death while serving on the USS Nebraska in the past five years.

4/27/2010 3:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean the Lord couldn't save him either? goddamit.

4/27/2010 5:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God also hates the Thresher, Scorpion and all Russian submariners. He is not a very nice person. In fact, I don't think God could hack it on submarine!

4/27/2010 6:08 AM

Anonymous xem2 said...

My comments were only meant to express my opinion on who should or shouldn't be authorized to keep their dolphins. It wasn't my intention to cause MMFN Mack's family, friends, or shipmates any additional suffering. The discussion on this post may seem crass and heartless, but that's the nature of submariners. We aren't cryers; we're fixers. When a tragic incident like this happens, our first reaction is to critique what went wrong and how to prevent future incidents. At least that's how I see it; I can't speak for everyone.

That being said, what kind of worthless assbag taunts a dead sailor's family? Hopefully Joel deletes your posts.

4/27/2010 7:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure about his family, but it seems we got to you just fine. Did you hear he was putting in a chit for that whole Lazarus Do-over thing?

4/27/2010 8:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crass and heartless comments may be just a part of the nature of a submariner, but what about respect for the family of a sailor who has died no matter what the nature of his or her death? And what about being fixers? If your first reaction is to critique what went wrong and how to prevent future incidents, why do such incidents continue to happen aboard the Nebraska? Mack's death was the third such incident to have claimed the life of a crew member of the Nebraska since 2005.

4/27/2010 8:33 AM

Anonymous Squidward said...

The boats are FULL of people who sneak to civilian docs and have scripts for anti-depressants. They do their jobs, they stand their watches, they might just be your boss.

In a more sensible world, they would be able to get treated by Navy docs and actually be monitored for their condition. It gets out of control, they get out of the Navy, or put into a billet where they have more ability to get treatment.But saying that folks who have been stable on anti-depressants for 5 or 10 years without a blip while executing under tremendous stress, seems weird.

Of course, some of the attitude we're seeing is just insecurity. The folks who yell the loudest for people to lose their dolphins are probably the least secure in their own status.

(and yes, psych screenings are very weak, considering many new submariners are at the age - 18 to 21 - where mental illness first emerges, including stuff like schizophrenia).

4/27/2010 9:26 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

At the risk of being labeled as someone "piling on", let me just opine for the record that having dealt with both the submarine AND surface (tender) fleet, it's amazing to me that we don't have more of our young men suffering breakdowns or hurting themselves. One suicide is too many, but in relation to the civilian population, we do a pretty good job of keeping tabs on our own and making sure they get the help they need when the situation warrants.

Granted, there have been notable exception to this, such as the incident on the Los Angeles, and to a lesser extent that which happened on my first boat back in 1990. I chalk the latter up to ignorance as much as anything else, and the fact that, IMO, that person should NEVER have been allowed on watch with a weapon under the circumstances the night he committed suicide.

4/27/2010 12:59 PM

Anonymous Here To Help! said...

Looks like the boat just pulled back into Bagor a couple of hours ago. Lots of "help" on the pier. It sucks to be them. I would rather have stayed at sea and did my job.

4/27/2010 6:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

got that right bro

4/27/2010 7:13 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Mack's death was the third such incident to have claimed the life of a crew member of the Nebraska since 2005
Which, with the way officer tour lengths work out, is about one death per command tour for the last 3 NEBRASKA CO's.

The CO in the middle whose command tragically suffered from the rudder gear mishap is the only one we as a submarine force have been able to take clear measures with to prevent a reoccurence.

Other than providing even MORE suicide awareness training - there isn't anything like adding another warning sign or protective cage to submarines to keep someone from taking their life if they are committed to that act.

Would more intrusive leadership have helped? We weren't there so who knows.

I vividly remember one of my nubs complaining to me about girl problems. His true love GF was back on the mainland & the separation was getting to him. Then he flew a different girl ('just a friend') to Hawaii for a little (with benefits) visit. Of course the true love found out and dropped him like a hot rock. He was inconsolable. A trip to the chaplain and some one on one counseling (he literally made the bed he was lying in) plus asking doc to keep an eye on him (he also cried on Doc's shoulder several times) was about all we could do. I flat out asked him about suicide and he denied any inclinations in that regard on multiple occasions.

A few weeks later he swallowed some pills while on a duty night on the boat...

...he woke up w/ a sore stomach and told nobody until after liberty went down the afternoon following ingesting the pills. When I got it out of him, he was off the boat the next day. Was it a serious attempt? I don't know to this day but I'm glad he survived - even though I had to see him on liberty (TEMDU to NSSC) while the rest of my guys worked hard to get the boat ready for deployment.

I'm sorry for the family and crew's loss of MMFN Mack. You have my condolences. Hopefully a few readers here will take an extra few steps when one of their young Sailors is complaining and possibly prevent another loss like this one.

4/27/2010 7:14 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

Regrading the second incident aboard Nebraska, with the accidental death of the A-ganger in the rudder gear; can someone knowledgeable of the class help me out with something? I was on a 637, which I'm sure had less room down in that gear than a T-hull, but I still can't imagine anyone, let alone a qualified auxiliaryman being stupid enough to crawl down there while the ship is underway, with the rams, and the rotating propulsion shaft in near proximity. Granted that apparently the command was found lax in some safety enforcement - but wasn't that a little like a highway worker pulling his rig over to the side in the middle of the night, and with no traffic controls sitting in my middle of a freeway to replace some reflectors? Am I missing something?

4/27/2010 7:32 PM

Anonymous Squidward said...

I'm pretty skeptical of the "suicide awareness" training. Intrusive leadership is also pretty offensive.

Here's a crazy idea: how about ending the tolerance for leaders (from CO to LPO) who are known to be abusive jerks? Aside from "kinder gentler", I think we all know that they tend to be much less effective in mission accomplishment. And there's no way the abusive jerks will know or care if one of their guys is in trouble. Who would be dumb enough to open up to one of them?

4/27/2010 9:20 PM

Blogger T said...

As we all know, the abusive pricks all just get promoted to flag.

4/27/2010 9:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

has the actual cause of death been confirmed yet?

4/27/2010 10:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


All that you requested is in previous posting on the topic (Sept 2008), discussed in detail. In addition, the redacted findings of the Investigation are available via google search. Read and make a qualified assessment.
Having been on board for the previous suicide, I am astounded to see the situation play out again, and hope that the crew(s) can recover from yet another loss.

4/28/2010 12:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am disgusted reading these blogs. Not all of them but most of them are just speculation. I knew Mack very well. He was a fun loving, smart, growing young man. I know the outside appearance can be deceiving and I know he was having a hard time in some of his personal relationships but to assume all of these things about his short life makes me sick. My son was his best friend and shipmate. I think we should all quit assuming what happened and pray for his family and his fellow shipmates. I think there has to have been some sore of "break down," in communication during all of this but Mack was a great guy, none the less. My son is on the boat right now and I know there is a lot of pain and sorrow for him and the rest of the sailors. Somebody wrote on here that the boat had come in. Is there any truth to this comment???? I hope they did come in and are going to do some real counceling and a full investigation of this tragedy. We as civilians may never know what happened but God knows. We just have to concentrate on helping his family heal, no matter how he died. If you know that the boat has come back to port, please post here so that I can reach my son. My son is a MM fireman too. They worked side by side, on and off the boat. This was Mack's second deployment. He was looking forward to it, as far as I know. Please stop the speculation and start the healing. We will truely miss you and your great personality Mack. Rest in Peace!!! Love you.

4/28/2010 12:40 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

It is curious that all of these problems have occurred since the boat moved to Bangor.

4/28/2010 7:27 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

I can confirm the boat is back in Bangor for whoever was asking earlier. Talked to one of the crew today.

4/28/2010 6:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the post about the 637 compared to a T-hull. The size of anything on a 637 is just so little in comparison to the T-hull. The 637 had very little room left over for anything. The T-hull in most every space is like a bloated whale. Going from any fast boat to a T-hull is a major change in the space category. T-hulls will do a great job at accomodating women. There will be ample space to put a nursery in. Also, there are multiple lounges so the girls can have their own private powder and BS space. The JOs dont need their own lounge, the nubs should be working on quals anyway.

4/28/2010 8:15 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

ummm...yeah - I was asking specifically about shaft alley though, i.e. the areas around the rudder ram and shaft; I assume there's slightly more room, but I still don't get how a qualified a-ganger could be that senseless. I did go back and read the earlier posts and investigation findings as someone helpfully recommended, and it doesn't appear that anyone directed him to do what he did. Incidentally, I've seen in another forum that one of the JO's mom said the boat is going back to sea in a couple of days to "finish the mission".

4/28/2010 8:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And there it is, ladies and gentlemen, the connection from suicide to women in submarines. We can now put this thread to rest, so to speak.

4/28/2010 8:28 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

To clarify, please don't read "couple" as "two", and I suspect she's confused anyway...if the gold crew left in early March, it doesn't seem to make sense that it would go out again with the same crew for such a short time under the circumstances. It seems a little early for middie cruises, and unlikely they'd use that boat anyway.

4/28/2010 8:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think talking about his death online like this is disgusting and non of anybody's business. All any of you should be doing is praying for all involved. End of story.

4/28/2010 10:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever. This is a submarine blog. Go away if you don't like it. End of story.

4/28/2010 10:48 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

It may finally be time to point out to those unfamiliar with submarines that most of us empathize with Will, but we also empathize with the 130-150 other guys on the boat. We know what it's like to share that small space for weeks on end with that many people, and many of us have more sympathy for the poor guys who had to clean up the mess, and will have to live for months on end in that small berthing space where he committed his final act. I pray he did not do it in his rack, because their rack is the only refuge they have underway, and some poor guy is going to be assigned that rack in the future. Consider that when you scold us. There have been some disgusting comments on here, and that sucks, but most have been reasonable, and with respect, it's more our business than yours.

4/28/2010 11:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for thinking of the family when you post. The boat is in port and I have spoken to my son and Macks' best friend and he is coping pretty well. He is not allowed to say much at all, so it is all still a bit of a mystery. I know people are very upset over this and the loss of another sailor, but let's try to stick together and keep building up the sailors that have to go back out to sea on the USS Nebraska-Gold crew somtime next week. We love and miss you Mack, and if the Mack family is reading this blog, please take it lightly and post and let us know what we may do to help you heal. Mack was not crazy, and there were not any sighns or warnings that this was going to happen.

4/29/2010 2:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, your question about shaft alley is valid but it is a whole different set up on a Trident. Just much bigger and the access is a repair dream compared to the almost zero room for repair on the old workhorse 637s. I know where the area where that accident occurred and it is so large an access that one could get the mindset that it must be safe. There have been otehr problems there before and I think that a work around was to man phones anytime anyone is in the vicinity but that is from my less than dependable memory, lol.

4/29/2010 4:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the crew and family of the USS Nebraska - Will Mack's hometown honored him last Friday night by dedicating their annual National Cornbread Festival to his memory. Several Naval officers were present along with Will's family. Hundreds stood quietly with their hands upon on their hearts as a representative of the Navy played Taps. As a personal friend of the Mack family, I appreciate the kind things that many of you have written about Will. His funeral service will be held this Saturday morning at the church where he grew up. As we lift up our prayers for the Mack family during this difficult time in their lives, we also lift up our prayers to the crew of the USS Nebraska and their families. Thank you for your service to our country.

4/29/2010 7:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about a lack of OpSec, we have non-submariner family types posting deployment dates, and scolding us to boot.

As someone else said, I empathize with Mack's family and friends, but let's face it - he did it himself. In doing so, he left ALL of his shipmates victims. As a parting shot, let me add that Mack's selfish act (yes, I said selfish) screwed up plans for dozens of crew and families.

Suicide: Permanent solution to a temporary problem

4/29/2010 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he didnt ingest anything or hang himself how did he actually do this?

4/29/2010 10:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And how do all you know it was suicide when it hasnt been confirmed?

4/29/2010 10:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are of course, good reasons for the Navy to keep pertinent details of this out of the press, and it has succeeded in doing so for nearly two weeks now. Is it coincidence that the deadline for Congress to object to placing women on submarines passed last night, and today there will be a press release (don't know if there's a conference or not) announcing that it is going forward?

4/29/2010 11:26 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

And how do all you know it was suicide when it hasnt [sic] been confirmed?

Because most of us get internal message traffic, are on Delta Pier right now, or both.


4/29/2010 11:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it was suicide and have seen the subtle hints for how it was done...there are close friends and family who are lookin for answers and know that he took his own life but wont start to move past it until they know how...

4/29/2010 12:08 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


Close friends and family probably already know how. What they really want to know is WHY.

4/29/2010 12:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew Will personally and live in the same town...we dont know "how" he did it...He told me quite a few different things that have happened to him that are probably a combination with more recent events to be "why"...we all wanna know how now

4/29/2010 12:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mack's death - a selfish act? When was his death officially ruled a suicide? According to news reports in Tennessee Mack was found dead. There was no mention of cause of death. Initial reports stated another person was involved. Other reports have referred to his death as murder. According to news reports the investigation is still underway. It is beginning to seem like there is certainly some type of cover up taking place.

4/29/2010 4:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:57,
They dedicated the National Cornbread Festival to him? Really?

I will be updating my will tonight with the following:
"If any of you MF'ers go and dedicate some ridiculous festival to me after I'm gone, I hereby direct the executor to take back everything I left to you and donate it to Al Qaeda."

4/29/2010 6:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other reports have referred to his death as murder.

Cite your source. Internal reports are emphatic - suicide. Were that not true, the boat would not be making plans for an immediate underway, even reported here by civilians.

4/29/2010 6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Source of reports - ABC, CBS and NBC news station in Chattanooga, TN.

4/29/2010 6:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon don't rush to change your will tonight. You don't have a !!!!!****** thing anyone would want...not even Al Qaeda!

4/29/2010 7:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Source of reports - ABC, CBS and NBC news station in Chattanooga, TN.

I call BS. NONE of their websites mentions murder, and in fact, none have even updated their articles since April 23rd

4/29/2010 7:23 PM

Blogger Mark said...

"Source of reports - ABC, CBS and NBC news station in Chattanooga, TN.

I call BS. NONE of their websites mentions murder, and in fact, none have even updated their articles since April 23rd"

I second the BS call NBC "dies on duty" ABC killed onboard, no details available, nice piece on the kid and his parents

CBS channel 12, had nothing, went to 37 pages of news reel to finally give up

Submariners tend to check facts, especially nukes.

On a side note to those that think we are being harsh to Mack. We survive and move on when things happen, then we dissect the event to see how we could have done better. If you think we are harsh you should see what Squadron or NR does to a nuke when we screw up. If you don't like how we treat life, too bad, so sad, I won't lose sleep over it.

EMCS/SS Retired
Math Teacher in Up State NY

4/29/2010 7:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand it takes a certain kind of person to do this job and calls for hardness otherwise this kind of thing happens...Im tired of the news just saying "died while serving" and want to know how the kid took his life!

4/29/2010 8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is an old saying I have heard over the years.
"Handle it!....Handle it!"
This can apply to a lot of the posts here on all sides. Let the guy go in peace and think "But for the grace of God, there go I". We all never know.

My 2 cents,

4/29/2010 9:26 PM

Anonymous Bill said...

Bottom line is that he was weak. It is survival
of the fittest on submarines. If you can't hack it, then tap out don't off yourself and create a nightmare for your ex-shipmates.

4/30/2010 1:07 AM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

mark emcs(ss) in ny,
Dude, you're way too charitable with that piece on channel nine in Chattanooga. I sincerely hope that they're not representative, because I usually defend the South against the bum rap I think they're often given. The careless use of language in that piece they did, "he was killed aboard the USS Nebraska", repeated a couple of times; in the absence of any indications of foul play or an accident on board, - that station has some dumbass crackers writing their material. It's no wonder folks seeing that think he may have been a victim of foul play. Sad, really sad...

4/30/2010 2:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to know more about Will and his demons check out his writings here...sad but he talks about issues that caused him great pain

Not sure whats goin on with the investigation but this gives you some insight

5/06/2010 9:21 AM

Blogger 739 COB Retired said...

My condolences go out to the family of Fireman William Mack. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I was the COB on the 739 when Petty Officer Scrimiger hanged himself in the engine room. We performed CPR on him for over 8 hours before we could get an MDR on board. We were hurting very much as a crew and I was proud of those that performed CPR. At that time, the Corpsman could not pronounce death. When any death is involved with sailors whether it is suicide, accident, or murder is suspected, NCIS is involved. They came on board and stayed for about 2 days to investigate. I won’t get into the report, because it has been 5 years and I may give incorrect findings. What an NCIS agent did tell me is that when someone wishes to commit suicide (die) there is nothing that can be done; they don’t leave clues or no one has any idea. The ones that talk about it, leave clues are the ones asking for help. As far as I recall, there was no evidence that Petty Officer Scrimiger left any clues.

I want to take the opportunity for anyone that is reading this that may be contemplating suicide or knows of someone that is thinking of it, please think about what you’re doing. First, don’t make a permanent solution out of a temporary problem. Second, you will be hurting so many people, not just you; family, friends, shipmates, co-worker, the list could go on and on. The hurt and thoughts never go away. Thirdly, your eternal soul is at stake. Life is good but we all have our struggles. Get help or just talk to anyone willing to listen.

For those that may be trying to blame someone for this, stop! Your thoughts should be for the family. Most of the time no one is at fault in a suicide. Someone is just sick and should have sought help.

I think of Petty Officer Scrimiger every day. This event is one of the reasons that I retired; I blamed myself because I was part of the Command. I’ve come to realize, through much counseling, that there was nothing that I could have done to prevent his suicide. Shipmates come together and help your buddies, be a friend.

5/06/2010 10:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears as though he had predilection with death. His writings say it all if you think about it.

He's smart as hell and has little difficulty in expressing himself. I saw those attributes in his written thoughts too. How did no-one see this coming? It doesn't take much to read one another while underway.

The NEBRASKA is not cursed. Those who should be cursed are those who saw potential warning signs but maintained silence.

5/07/2010 10:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will was very brilliant! He did in fact have no problems expressing of the writings toward the end of the list was about his bein raped and I think that was one of the biggest issues he ever had :(
I do wonder how much he talked about his life with the people on the boat with him...because just from the times I talked with him...I was concerned. I shared this link only because I know there is an investigation going on and the Navy doesn't want it blamed on them...not because I want to take anything away from him...

5/07/2010 10:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm more pissed off at the fact that no-one spoke up. We all see each others pages on face book or what ever site we're using.

How much insight do you need to see that a fellow shipmate is having a problem? Does he lose his clearance if you speak up?,,,yeah it could happen. But that prospect is much better than being dumped 6feet under. This is another hard fact that shows we need to ask how we're doing.

Turn to you're fellow shipmate and ask what'sup? U alright? Try it, it is effective.

5/07/2010 11:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone posted Mack was selfish for what he did. For us, his shipmates and friends who knew he was having problems and chose not to speak up, what does that make us? Hell yeah we dealt with it that's for sure. We kept our mouths shut and ignored the warning signs! Mack is gone. Some of those damn demons that tormented him may come to haunt us.

5/08/2010 9:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever the cause, it's over now. He's dead by his own doing and that's pretty final. So let's move on to other things....field day anyone?

5/09/2010 1:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

coming from a personal and close friend of will, its heartbreaking enough that he is gone, but for people to say he killed him self just makes it hurt that much more, so please, keep your crude and heartless comments to yourself.

5/09/2010 9:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

coming from a personal and close friend of will, its heartbreaking enough that he is gone, but for people to say he killed him self just makes it hurt that much more, so please, keep your crude and heartless comments to yourself.

May I suggest that you not revisit this website. All manner of discussions take place here, and unlike in the world of ultra political correct namby pamby politics & publik skools, we usually call 'em like we see 'em. Sorry that you do not approve of the blunt force tactics, but it is what it is.

5/10/2010 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @9:08,
You'd do well to move past the self-pity and wallowing in tragedy. Getting a little pissed off may be a good thing. If a few of the commenters on Will's blog would have had the balls to call him on the self-pitying, instead of acting like suicide club fanboys, things may have taken a better course.

5/10/2010 11:25 PM

Anonymous Tim said...

I read his writings and holy shi#, This dude had NO business being on a submarine. Tragic...

5/11/2010 12:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Publix Skools:
You're right not to check out this blog. Your lack of the ability to spell public schools correctly reflects on your ignorance of state of the minds of many people. Mack's death was number 3 on the Nebreska = the 2nd possible suicide in 5 years. No doubt Mack had problems. What is the state of mind of those on the Nebraska? How come so many questionable deaths? How come no one is speaking up and asking questions? It is so easy to blame the one who died. He was weak. He was selfish. Seems like nobody really gives a damn about a fellow shipmate. For those who knew Mack and chose to ignore things - were you not just a weak and selfish? In the civilian world we are required by law to report child abuse. I guess it's ok to turn our backs on those suffering emotional problems.

5/11/2010 7:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the civilian world we are required by law to report child abuse."

In the "military world" you are also required by law to report child abuse.

Anyway, this man is dead...move on. The boat and the Navy are following the the standard playbook and getting the Nebraska Sailors back to work and doing the job expected of them by the taxpayer. Nothing more, nothing less.

5/11/2010 9:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has it occurred to you yet that the misspelling was a little too obvious, given the rest of the post, and that the poster was perhaps making a (slightly) subtle point about the state of publik education? No?...hmm...didn't think so...

5/11/2010 9:27 PM

Anonymous lisamarieelliott said...

I think everybody ought to browse on it.

4/01/2012 2:43 PM


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