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

Monday, April 12, 2010

By Popular Demand...

I wasn't originally going to post this uninformed piece on the recent USS Hartford collision that appeared in the UK newspaper The Sun, but I've gotten so many E-mails about it that I figure I should let you guys have at it. Do you think the general public really expects that Submariners are supposed to be 100% at their posts and fully engaged at all times?


Blogger Vigilis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/12/2010 7:11 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"Do you think the general public really expects that Submariners are supposed to be 100% at their posts and fully engaged at all times?"

What a silly notion; even Prophylactic (Rubber) Ducky, whom I expect we will be hearing from shortly, must agree that modern sailors (especially commissioned types) cannot be expected to be "at their posts" 100% of the time. But somewhat more than casual attentiveness to primary duties is, surprise, expected!

After all, how could a navigator otherwise make a head call?

What a silly notion; have things changed that much since Rickover's time? Modern Lieutenant Commander pay is fabulous by industry norms compared to that in Rickover's day. Why should taxpayers ever expect attentiveness to primary job responsibilities of any navigator instead of embarrasing, multi-$Million repair costs (with hidden options) and lengthy unavailabilty costs? Even a female navigator could perform much better than the Hartford's navigator did.

BTW, M.E. did not post about this latest IPOD allegation because it had been hinte

4/12/2010 7:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to see how truly ignorant the public is on this topic, read a few of the comments. In general, most people are so woefully uninformed that the most logical (to them) question that they can ask is, "Don't you get claustrophobic?"

4/12/2010 7:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the lesson learned here? How about when you are writing the investigative report, you need to remember that it will be FOIA'd at some point and be read by completely clueless reporters. Explain EVERYTHING in an attempt to stave off articles like this one.

4/12/2010 7:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or be read by completely clueless congressmen. Check out this video of Rep Hank Johnson asking ADM Rat Willard about the ill effects of shifting Marines from Oki to Guam. Priceless. And depressing.

4/12/2010 7:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is more to this than the navigator listening to his iPod in his stateroom. There was a pattern of non-conformance with the standards that are required for safe navigation. Watchstanders on-watch not at their posts, etc. That is inexcusable and the CO was rightly fired.

4/12/2010 8:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure that I understand the scenario. Was the Nav the OOD? The piloting party was not set. If the Nav was not the OOD and they were not in some piloting or modified piloting why is the Nav's location an issue? Maybe the Nav was CDO? Maybe it is something new where the Nav assists the OOD in some transiting evolutions?

4/12/2010 8:35 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

You'll probably want to check out this thread from several months back. One of the comical things about the Sun piece was it's profound untimeliness...

4/12/2010 9:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Navy's investigation found that Hartford was solely to blame for the accident. According to the Navy, the accident was caused by poor, lax leadership on the submarine and failure to adequately prepare for and conduct the crossing of the Hormuz Strait by the sub's crew.

Hartford's CO was relieved of duty for loss of confidence in ability to command. The COB, a Master Chief ET, was also relieved. In addition, the sub's navigator, executive, and 10 other sailors were NJP'd. administrative action was taken against three direct support element members assigned to Naval Information Operations Command in Georgia plus a fleet intelligence specialist based near Washington, D.C.

Major screw up.

4/12/2010 9:21 PM

Anonymous xem2 said...

I think most members of the general public (including reporter/commentators for The Sun) probably don't understand that "Navigator" is a title, like "Store Manager". They are probably under the impression that it is a watch station or position.

Either that or the general public is utterly clueless, a little bit dumb, and always on the lookout for the chance to trash people with jobs more difficult than thy can comprehend.

I suppose both could be true.

4/12/2010 9:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


OP 61-17 (UNCLAS) Sect. 2.3.4.f, required the Navigator, OOD, and QMOW [sic Feb/2005] to check intended tracks paying close attention to areas where navigation hazards exist.

4/12/2010 9:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"title, like 'store manager'"?

One gets a sense of complacency in the boat service.

4/12/2010 9:52 PM

Anonymous Dan Wilson, former N4 NSS staffer said...

The COB (Prevot) was a lush who loved to fraternize with the junior crowd (especially young black Sailors). He would let them get over easy for popularity, while continually nailing-on the E-6 and above group over ridiculous self-righteous expectations. The guy had already been fired once as a COB, and to be given another COB billet was a travesty. Shame on the Groton Master Chief Mafia.

4/13/2010 12:59 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

anon@ 9:40:

The Navigator checks intended tracks during the review and approval process, while the QMOW and OOD check it on a watch-to-watch basis.

With THAT said, proximity to navigation hazards was not relevant in this collision.

And finally....OP61-17 went away in Sept. 2007.

4/13/2010 3:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One gets a sense of complacency in the boat service."

That is a ridiculous sweeping generalization not warranted on these facts.

4/13/2010 3:40 AM

Anonymous Think Defence said...

How about a comment from Blighty

I wouldn't get too worried about what the Sun says, its a tabloid rag with little relevance to the world of defence and security.

As with all newspapers they exist to sell what their advertisers want, not disseminate news and inform their readership so a little scandal goes a long way and don't forget the Royal navy's little brush with the iPod a few years ago in the Gulf, it makes a neat point to hang the story off.

Ask yourself who owns the Sun and does that person also own a certain television station in the US!

4/13/2010 4:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Page 3 of The Sun is usually the most interesting to submarine sailors.
Navy Dad

4/13/2010 8:13 AM

Blogger Lou said...

Page 3 was daily required reading during refits in the Loch

4/13/2010 8:59 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

If the Ipod story rings truth, then the CO needs to be clapped in irons, relieved from command, and the kid behind the wheel kicked out of the Navy as well as the morons who allowed him to listen to music while driving a submarine.

Far too many collisions at sea involving submarines - and it's stupid things like this that are the cause of it.

A major safety stand down is in order along with increased periods underway. Training is become lax on your boats. WTF. The surface navy laughs.

These accidents are not only an embarrassment to the realm of the submariners, but to the entire navy as well.

Square away your comrades before they start killing their own crews. This never happened on any of you old salt's watches. What the hell is wrong with today's bubbleheads????

4/13/2010 9:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add completely clueless bloggers (Harkonnen) to completely clueless reporters and congressmen....

4/13/2010 10:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:40 AM

"That is a ridiculous sweeping generalization not warranted on these facts."

Here's another fact: This was Hartford's second collission in 7 years; and just 7 years after USS Greeneville suffered 2 collisions and ran aground all within a 24-month period. The very next year Hartford ran aground at La Maddalena, and last year, of course, she put Ogden OOC.

These and San Francisco's tragic seamount collision (2005) have been looked upon as somewhat (not entirely) isolated incidents in their ensuing investigatory processes.

Somewhere in the higher chains of command, however, recruits to sub service have been lead to believe submarining is an inherently safe occupation that pays extra for its historical travails.

Where are such unorthodox thoughts implanted. My guess is at the Pentagon and perhaps in naval academia - sources with continuing immunity from resultant blame.

If, as Dan Wilson suggested above, Prevot was re-frocked as COB by tht "Groton Master Chief Mafia,"
it was not without the blessing of SubLant and Squadron.

While Wilson's description of Prevot is carefully inexplicit, Wilson introduces Prevot's race popularity as possible motivation for Squadron's blessing.


4/13/2010 10:18 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"If the Ipod story rings truth, then the CO needs to be clapped in irons..."

Can we PLEASE NOT go down this road again?

4/13/2010 10:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


"With THAT said, proximity to navigation hazards was not relevant in this collision."

Do you realize what you have just said, man? The Board found the Nav's demeanor (very lackadaisical)
contributory to an environment of lax leadership. He received administrative action.

What was he doing right, performing important primary roles of commissioned leadership, or minor details of a NAV?


4/13/2010 10:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't let all of the anonymous loons get to you for offering facts with sincerity.


4/13/2010 10:37 AM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

Seems like 60 Minutes got "Scooped" by the SUN. Too bad. The SUN's twisted/slanted journalism style was right up the CBS' alley.

4/13/2010 11:04 AM

Anonymous skimmers-be-gone said...

Harkonnen: how about that Port Royal on the beach in Hawaii? Now that was a major laughing moment. Did skimmers such as yourself enjoy that one as much as the submarine force did?

4/13/2010 12:44 PM

Anonymous skimmers-be-gone said...

Now here is the top former-skimmer story of the day...though it might actually be more notable if a Democrat congressman had not been groping male staffers.

4/13/2010 2:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sleeping dogs lie where beaten horses trod...

4/13/2010 2:03 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Can we PLEASE NOT go down this road again?

No - WE SHOULD. Why the hell is a guy driving a sub while listening to music?

That is, if the article is telling the truth.

Whoever the source was...the American media were mum about it on the day it was released.
So let's just ask the friggin' OBVIOUS:

Why the hell are we having so many submarine collisions with surface vessels? I thought we'd have left that up to the Victor and older foxtrot class Soviet subs who tried hiding under transiting merchants from the med.

4/13/2010 2:36 PM

Anonymous skimmers-be-gone said...

Harkonnen: is it possible that all skimmers are as incapable of processing information as yourself?

You're adding 1+1 and getting zero.

Even that dogshit Sun article doesn't say that the helmsman was listening to music.

Maybe it's the voices you're hearing?

4/13/2010 2:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harkonnen -

Read the boards, read the report, read the tea leaves - but don't read the Sun. The Navigator was NOT ON WATCH. He was not "driving a sub while listening to an iPod." The board found that he should have been more involved in the transit of the Strait of Hormuz. The iPod thing is a red herring to sell newspapers. If he wasn't in control supervising the team then it doesn't matter what he was doing where he was!

4/13/2010 2:42 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


"With THAT said, proximity to navigation hazards was not relevant in this collision."

Do you realize what you have just said, man? The Board found the Nav's demeanor (very lackadaisical)
contributory to an environment of lax leadership. He received administrative action.

What was he doing right, performing important primary roles of commissioned leadership, or minor details of a NAV?"

I know exactly what I said. What I'm failing to see is the connection between your comment and mine. Never said the Nav wasn't a dumba$$ (but I never really said he WAS either), simply stated that proximity to nav hazards was not a factor. Which it wasn't, as the JAGMAN clearly (and correctly, IMO) pointed out.

4/13/2010 3:07 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

So I find myself taking a brief sabbatical from my personal policy of indicting the PROCESS rather than the PEOPLE:

Harkonnen, you're an idiot.

Brief sabbatical over.

4/13/2010 3:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is really messed up is listening to the open mic in control just prior to the collision (got to hear it recently!) I think about many times being in control and being pre-occupied with something else but def not at PD at night while driving somewhere dangerous!

The Nav was not on watch and maybe should have been more engaged, the Ipod thing is ridiculous.

4/13/2010 4:46 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

"The Nav was not on watch and maybe should have been more engaged, the Ipod thing is ridiculous."

If, by "Ridiculous", you mean "Irrelevant", then I completely agree with you.

4/13/2010 5:16 PM

Anonymous xem2 said...

I wasn't trying to defend the Hartford, I was just saying that to most people who read an article (or write it, apparently) the Nav not being in Control sounds as bad as the OOD not being in Control.

The Hartford made some serious mistakes. But non-submariners can't understand the actual mistakes, they only get what SOUNDS really bad.

4/13/2010 6:01 PM

Blogger Oz said...

"This never happened on any of you old salt's watches. What the hell is wrong with today's bubbleheads????"

I'm confused. Where did we get two volumes of collisions and groundings training modules from then?

4/13/2010 6:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There could certainly be many more volumes of collisions and groundings if some of the old ones weren't removed as the new ones occurred.

What is disturbing is the growing severity of the recent accidents.

4/13/2010 6:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the exception of the tragic loss of life on SAN FRANCISCO, the recent accidents are no worse than the previous ones. Find pictures of the USS RAY after grounding in the Med in 1977 and wonder how no one died there. And we did lose 3 shipmates on the BONEFISH in the fire in 1988. It's a dangerous business, but no more so now than in the old salt's day.

4/13/2010 6:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know how to tell an active-duty poster? They print SHIP'S NAMES as though they HAVE TO BE SHOUTED. ;-)

4/13/2010 9:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of @SSHATS in this
thread. And yes Prevot was a swell fella when he was replaced off of the COCC.


4/14/2010 1:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think that is a compliment from a knuckle dragger!

Speaking of AssHats, the new ship the Murtha sounds like it is named after a real winner.

Master AssClown

4/14/2010 6:20 AM

Blogger Mark said...

The article is as bad as Jane Fonda screaming the "Reactor is critical" in China Syndrome. It was done to invoke sensationalism in something that they don't have a clue about. We have already dissected the Hartford incident, mistakes were made, hopefully as a fleet we learned from them. Yes there was a lot of political bullshit as people tried to cover their asses, but they were doing something hazardous and they were lax, same shit happens when ships go by Gib. Squadron rode us and made sure our professionalism was topnotch for that transit, too bad the same wasn't done then.

Math Teacher in Up State NY
retired EMCS/SS

4/14/2010 8:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What pictures of the Ray? Where can they be found?

4/14/2010 10:42 AM

Blogger J said...

I'll try to be clear.

The Navigator on a submarine is one of three department heads. He is not the guy driving the ship, nor is he the guy actively navigating 24/7. He is the guy who happens to be in charge of the radiomen and the quartermasters. He was not on watch, and his listening to music was not only wholly appropriate for someone not on watch, but it also had precisely nothing to do with the collision.

Got it?

There was plenty of stuff that happened on the Hartford to get mad about. I know the offgoing FT (GREAT guy, awesome FT). After his first-hand account of command climate and the incident, the NAV's iPod was completely irrelevant, and was the least of our worries. The FTOW, Sonar Sup, OOD and others being complete jackasses directly resulted in millions of dollars of damage and a life-threatening incident.

get a grip folks. Some of you clueless morons are refusing to listen to over 100 years of submarine experience trying to tell you that the iPod thing is a red herring. I was actually alarmed that it was included in the report. Who the hell wrote that crap???

4/14/2010 11:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a few have mentioned already. Anyone decrying the collisions in recent years has never had to give or sit through the semi-annual grounding presentation required for the anyone in the navigation party.

Back in my day we had the GW sink a Japanese merchant and then not render assistance. The Norfolk hit a skimmer on the surface trying to get for ORSE. Atlanta slammed into Gibraltar. These are not secret things.

Ships have been running aground and colliding during the entire course of submarining history. It is a dangerous business. The surface fleet has their share of these incidents as well. To pretend that these things are new or unprecedented in frequency only shows ignorance of the past.

4/14/2010 11:20 AM

Anonymous skimmer-be-gone said...

"To pretend that these things are new or unprecedented in frequency only shows ignorance of the past."

Harkonnen: this Bud's for you.

Please skimmer elsewhere.

4/14/2010 12:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were they listening to their iPods or using them for the Ekelund Range and Maneuvering Board apps?

4/14/2010 1:13 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...


After reviewing available JAGMAN text must congratulate you for your clear, sensible and steadfast statements relative to Navigator's involvement. Although he was one of the officers who allowed the lax command climate to exist, he bears no direct blame
for the 30 root causes, any one of which, if corrected, would have prevented collision according to one of the admirals.

The command environment on USS Hartford was as poor as McHale's Navy.

Had to keep reminding myself this was not a comedy outline, but a huge blackeye and near tragedy.

Unbelievable for one of our SSNs.
If a few submariners do not clean up their own acts, the surface Navy will play a growing role in decisions for all of our boats. Hope it is not too late!

4/14/2010 1:45 PM

Anonymous skimmers-be-gone said...

(1) "If a few submariners do not clean up their own acts,"...(2) the surface Navy will play a growing role in decisions for all of our boats."

Given the Port Royal disaster - running a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser aground 1/2 mile from the beach on Oahu, in broad daylight, on a perfectly clear day - how do you logically connect those two thoughts, Vigilis?

Or are you deriving that purely from politics, given that SecNav, CNO, and CUSFF are ALL skimmers these days?

4/14/2010 2:33 PM

Blogger Oz said...

"Anyone decrying the collisions in recent years has never had to give or sit through the semi-annual grounding presentation required for the anyone in the navigation party."

Semi-annual? Those were nearly weekly for us, and I was a boomer fag.

4/14/2010 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone is looking for pictures of the Ray's excursion with solid objects? I seem to recall a website for the USS Ray and on it there is a photo section. Not sure of the index method but there was a photo of the Ray in DD I believe. I had a friend on the Ray and he said that the longgggg surface transit was less than great.

4/14/2010 4:35 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...


"how do you logically connect those two thoughts, Vigilis?"

You are absolutely correct. To my mind skimmers in charge is not only illogical, history has proven it absurd. As you pointed out, however, that seems to be where subs are headed, at least in this administration.

4/14/2010 5:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoking on submarines made "The Onion"!!!

4/14/2010 6:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Master Assclown:
Please, please say you were yankin' our chains about a ship being named after that cocksucker.

4/14/2010 7:30 PM

Anonymous skimmers-be-gone said...

I knew I was forgetting one of the skimmers-in-chief: the Chairman of the JCS.

So the lineup for the all-skimmer Navy network looks like this these days:

the Secretary of the Navy, the JCS Chairman, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (as well as his deputy, by the way) are ALL skimmers these days.

Wow...! Talk about an "in-series" kind of problem-waiting-to-happen. But can you imagine the knuckle knocking that goes on when these guys get together...? "We won, we won...!"

Just how in the world did the submarine force come to - as the saying goes - sink so low...?

4/14/2010 8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't mention that the VCNO and MCPON are both submariners.

Normally I don't feel the need to defend the Navy brass or skimmers, but the selective reporting of facts to misrepresent the overall picture gets tiring.


4/14/2010 9:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's obvious how the submarine force got this way.
1) The Cold War ended, thus a lot of the super-secret spy submarine stuff was not as important.
2) We haven't figured out a way to carve a meaningful niche in the War on Terror (well, other than sending our guys over to do the Army's job).

Despite several people's China Cold War II Fantasy, the reality is that China's Navy today is a joke compared to the USSR's in the 80's and they don't have a very strong operational presence in most of the world's oceans. Further, while our relationship with China is perhaps not "friendly" we certainly tolerate each other, at least at present.

In other words, the submarine force has lost a lot of its relevance. Yes, we still do stuff, yes a lot of it's still important/meaningful, it's just not AS important as what we used to do.

4/14/2010 11:27 PM

Anonymous gih said...


Hmm, perhaps you are right. I am also looking forward to that.

4/15/2010 3:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, 0730,

Reagarding the naming of a ship after that low life Murtha is no joke. The politicians named a ship that will carry real MARINES after Murtha. Just when they do something weird, another stranger thing comes along. I thought that it was a joke but it is no joke. Just more blatant disrespect from the same old crowd. A sad testimony of a crowd once known as honorable.

Master AssClown

4/15/2010 6:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

unless you have been living under a rock for quite while, naming ships has been political for quite some time.
One of the ways the Navy/Rickover sold the LA class was to also change naming to cities so that they could be doled out as favors.
The military having to figure out new ways to kiss Congresses arses is as old as the country is.

4/15/2010 7:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naming ships after politicians is not the issue with the low life Murtha. He kicked the Marines under the bus before the facts were in. He was just a total scumbag and that is the disgusting and pathetic aspect about naming any ship after him, especially one that will carry something that he was not, honorable, Marines.

Master AssClown

4/15/2010 7:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems as though SUBRON4 has done well:

4/15/2010 7:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Honorable Congressman xxxxxx,

I recently learned that a U.S. Navy ship would be named the USS John Murtha. This is a very disturbing fact in light of his disrespectful, dishonorable and disgraceful conduct towards U.S. military combat forces and the U.S. Marine Corps in particular. Furthermore, the ship will carry Marine Corps personnel and this seems very much a disrespectful slap in the face of the proud legacy, tradition and rich heritage of the U.S. Marine Corps and all military personnel. Request your assistance with replacing the name with a suitable honorable name to correct this imprudence.

4/15/2010 7:02 PM

Anonymous SubIconoclast said...

1. HARTFORD screwed up several dozen things egregiously. Their leadership deserves a fair amount of blame... and you have to wonder how our training, development, personnel screening, and inspection processes could allow such an ineffective watch climate to come to pass on an operating SSN.

2. The iPod story is completely irrelevant. The Navigator's screwups all happened well in advance of the collision. It's irritating to see passion misdirected against one of the few things that WASN'T going wrong on that ship. There are plenty of actual misdeeds to focus attention against.

3. Shockingly, The Sun doesn't appear to be a model of investigative journalism.

4/16/2010 1:53 PM

Anonymous squidward said...

In the interest of beating a dead horse thoroughly - has anyone ever had anyone miss a drill or real emergency due to having (recreational) earphones on - ipod, video game, dvd?

I'd having trouble seeing how that could happen, but you never know...

4/17/2010 10:01 AM


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