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 09, 2010

Today's Submariners Keep Up Traditions

Word on the street is that the USS Texas (SSN 775) "lost" her ship's pennant at this year's Pearl Harbor Submarine Officers Birthday Ball. Luckily, the pennant is keeping people apprised of its activities via this Facebook page. Here's the pennant's Profile Picture:

The pennant has apparently been playing a lot of online Texas Hold 'Em and recently posted the puzzling status that "The COB wouldn't let me take leave, so I went UA." It most recently posted that it believes it might be developing Stockholm Syndrome, indicating that the pennant may have been taken against its will.

Word on the street is that the pennant will be delivered back to the Texas within a reasonable time, after it's had a chance to stretch its legs. Personally, I'm happy to see today's Submarine wardrooms and crews involved in good-natured pranks. As long as no one gets permanently hurt and senior officers don't over-react, I think that such episodes can contribute to unit cohesion and improved morale. (Of course, being on the receiving end of such good-natured ribbing might not be as fun. Once, on Topeka, we had to pick up an op for Chicago after they turned their diesel into a seawater pump. We sent them a "Wish You Were Here" card when we pulled into Nanaimo during the tasking; I heard their CO was not amused.)

What are the best boat-on-boat pranks that you've heard about?

Update 1901 09 Apr: Just after I posted, the pennant statused this: "So it's official, the fun is all over I have been turned in to the man. The USS Hawaii COB now has me and I'm awaiting transfer to cell block 775."


Anonymous SSN-775 sailor said...


My COB just discussed this with us today...and the unfortunate JO who allowed this transgression is really feeling the pain.

really funny, but I'm truly worried about the Stockholm syndrome. Hopefully we can get the Penneant home with minimal psychiatrist help needed prior to the Sub Ball on Friday

4/10/2010 1:20 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Late '60s. The two MARSHALLs operating out of the Loch. CO of GEORGE C MARSHALL (GOLD) had just left my boat, JOHN MARSHALL (GOLD,) where he'd been XO. The smaller JOHN MARSHALL returned from sea trials to pull up to the tender. CO Big MARSHALL on an upper deck watching. At appropriate point, everyone wondering what the hell he was doing, he unfurled a big canvas sign that had been rolled up on one of the lifelines. It said "Welcome Home, Wee John." Laughter ensued.

Next refit JOHN MARSHALL tied outboard GEORGE, which was moored chinese to the tender's port side away from all small craft traffic making Ardnadam Pier. Wee JOHN's sailors borrowed a paint punt from GEORGE and paddled aft to paint. No big deal. Starboard side of GEORGE outboard and not visible from tender. When GEORGE got underway for sea trials, JOHN breasted out to give GEORGE room to turn around ... at which point everyone on the tender saw that GEORGE had a giant green shamrock painted on its rudder. More laughter ensued, but not shared by CSS-14 commodore. Innocence all around. GEORGE painted out the shamrock after sea trials.

4/10/2010 4:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In lieu of the PC Diversity Czars, this might be an alcohol related pennant hazing incident. The pennant’s rights might have been compromised and violated beyond belief. The lack of proactive and invasive leadership displayed by all concerned should be reflective of lost confidence in socializing activities. Also, smoking was observed within 1,001 feet of the pennant napping. The sea lawyer critique, while not seeking to assign blame, reveals that alcohol, cigarettes, submariners, joviality, dinner-dress uniforms, socializing, lightheartedness, tradition, heterosexuals and pride in rivalry might have contributed to this sad evolution. The social czars might want to ban ALL of the contributing items and implement strict diversity stopgaps.
Master AssClown

4/10/2010 5:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In older times, the EOOW would hand stamp a grid into the log book for review sigs. There was an ink bottle in the EOOW desk to replenish the ink pad and during pressure tests of the engineering spaces in overhaul, someone would always make sure that the ink bottle was opened and shut securely during max pressure. Later, the next time the bottle was opened to replenish the pad, it would act like a shaken bottle of soda. You would only hope that it wan't the ENG that opened it.

4/10/2010 7:54 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I don't know what ship RDML Lotring had command of, but the following story was told to me by him:
"We had a friendly competition with the SCRANTON, and they were soon to be returning from deployment. [They] asked me if I was going to greet them topside. I asked them if they still had my "EAT SH&T SCRANTON" poster. The next day the SCRANTON is pulling in, and topside on my ship were three Sailors holding up a large sign "EAT SH&T SCRANTON". Be careful what you ask for."

Or words very close to that effect.

4/10/2010 9:03 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Lotring had the MSP '95-'97. Heard stories of the banner, but never corroborated. Scranton ANAV was a friend of mine, and always greeted with "Hey, Mike, I heard you were the second-best ANAV on the waterfront" which the reply was usually "Funny thing, I heard the same thing about you".

4/10/2010 9:45 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

In mid sixties on BARBEL, the crew had a number of pranksters that liked to take "symbols" of where the boat had been. It started with removing the Admirals Flag at PSNS when BARBEL left the shipyard after overhaul. It continued during a 'pit stop' in Guam when the signature object for the Officer's Club on Nimitz Hill was kidnapped (my memory says it was a pitcher of some kind but that is very hazy). COMNAVFORMARIANAS was not amused and demanded the return of the object. Faced with some dire threats, the object was returned to its home without detection after a week on board. The tradition continued when BARBEL arrived in Yokosuka and moored across the pier from the flag ship of the Seventh Fleet. Some time in our first week there the brow canvas of the flag ship "disappeared". There were numerous SOPA YOKO messages trying to find the canvas to no avail. It appeared on a MK 14 torpedo in BARBEL's torpedo room after we went to sea. Upon BARBEL's return to YOKO after the run some three months later, the canvas was returned to the flag ship with some minor ceremony. What was amazing about the brow canvas caper was that the brow was guarded by an armed marine at all times. No one would revel how the Marine was distracted or if there was any collusion with the Marine detachment on the caper.
When I returned to WESPAC on SEADRAGON some five months later, I was personally cautioned by CSF7 to make sure there were no such capers by any SEADRAGON personnel even though I was a junior JG at the time. I do not claim any involvement in any of these heists, even at this late date, I was too busy being a good NUC. They certainly did keep up crew morale and caused no permanent harm to national security even if there was momentary embarresment by some of the chain of command.

4/10/2010 9:58 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

wtfdnucsailor: who was CO BARBEL then?

4/10/2010 10:28 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

William A. Coale. He relieved Harry Train while BARBEL was in SY.

4/10/2010 12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there was quite a rivalry between the ALBANY and the SCRANTON in the mid-90s. The COs of both boats had strong, competitive personalities that made life interesting. Perhaps some of those involved will step forward - the statute of limitations has to have expired.

4/10/2010 1:55 PM

Blogger ret.cob said...

It's amazing how many parts from one T-hull will fit into same spot on another one.

4/10/2010 4:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the 594 and two tender days it was highly beneficial to have a ballcap from each tender. Made it easy to obtain the parts necessary to keep your ship maintained and ready to get u/w.

4/10/2010 4:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can neither confirm nor deny involvement in any "shopping expeditions" on other people's submarines at the Delta pier at Bangor in the early 90's. Previous poster is correct; having a couple of ballcaps from other ships was handy, as were some liberated foul-weather jackets. When you're getting underway the next morning and there are perfectly good pieces/parts next door.... Thanks, USS Florida! Couldnt have done it without you!

4/10/2010 5:05 PM

Blogger Scott said...

Sailors from NR-1 tried to steal our brow banner when we both were at the Warrior Warf in Kings Bay. In the confusion, a security violation was called away, and all of lower base was locked down. The higher ups were not amused.

4/10/2010 8:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USS Texas will always bow to Hawaii superiority.

4/10/2010 9:02 PM

Blogger Do You Think I G.A.F. said...

Officer Subball 1991 in Hawaii. USS Tunny (SSN 682) brow banner is stolen by another boat. The other boat refused to give it back. A new MMC (A ganger) and the New PACFLT Sailor of the Year was told to come up with a plan to retrieve. So, MMC makes out fake 2-Kilo with the theiving boats UIC to clean brow banners from Subase IMF. Show's up about 2100 and boat gives him the brow banners. Feeling rather cocky, the MMC, dressed in PO2s dungarees with IMF hardhat, asks if they want him to clean the dog house cover and the hatch covers.

They give him everything! He says it will be returned in the early AM so they won't be missed. Next mornign comes..guess what....CO of theiving boat is steaming mad his brow banners and such are gone.

Anonymous phone call to CO. Return the Tunny's banner and his missing stuff with be returned. Tunny banner comes back in 2 hours. MMC takes all thieving boats banners and covers to IMF and says they were returned to his boat by mistake by IMF. PO3 takes care of it for the MMC. PO3 shows up at thieiving boats brow to return stuff...promply arrested by the 15 subase renta-cops that showed up when called by command.

Hey, at least I had my brown banners back as I was the deck LPO!


4/10/2010 9:06 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Did the banners ever get cleaned? ;)

4/11/2010 10:41 AM

Blogger Do You Think I G.A.F. said...

@sjv..they got cleaned with something... :D

4/11/2010 1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

couple of SS-348 stories....

First took place when 282, 337, and 348 were operating out of Port Hueneme CA in early days of Regulus program--perhaps 55-56. All three boats would get an upkeep period in San Diego alongside a tender once a quarter. 348 sailors noticed that the Remora had a small brass Buddah mounted on the front of the sail. They put a plan together to steal it the morning they departed to return to Port Hueneme. COB organized the raid. Maneuvering watch stationed, four on the line and warmed up, lines singled up, brow still ove to Remora. Rading party charges over the brow, two guys intimidate the topside watch, Aux gang surveys the Buddah attachment to sail, pull large hammer out of tool bag and with two swings has it knocked loose. Raiding party returns to 348 boat, brow is pulled, lines are cast off and backing out of the nest.

Upon arrival in Port Hueneme message is sent to Remora that if they send two qualified sailors to Port Hueneme on the appointed date, and appointed time they can recover the Buddah with appropriate ceremony. The appointed morning two sailors in dress blues show up a half hour early and with appropriate bowing and scraping retrieve the Buddah.
Half hour later two sailors in dress blues show up to retrieve the Buddah. The sailors that actually picked up the Buddah were from the 337 boat. And so it goes...

In 1962 on 348 boat in Subic Bay following operation Talungan a huge amphib exercise there were over 100 ships in Subic. 348 was in a nest with 242 inboard and 339 outboard. Astern was a nest of MSO's. Crew on 242 got into a pissing contest with MSO sailors and ended up stealing large decorative dice that were hanging off their anchors. XO (Lt. J. G.) of the MSO comes over to 242 boat and attempts to raise hell with the XO (LCDR) on 242 boat. That night 242 boat puts a raiding party together, goes in the water and two guys get on the MSO over the stern unseen. The get into the CO's stateroom, attach silver dolphins to skippers dress blues, and attach a USS Bluegill SS-242 patch on the sleeve. Once back in the water without being detected the rest of the raiding party on the pier throws off the mooring lines for the nest of sweepers. Hell to pay the next day. XO of Naval Station shows up on pier to see skipper of 242 boat. Tells him it's time for them to depart, their presence is no longer welcome, and to make sure the muzzle loading cannon they stole from the base is still on the pier when they leave. An example had to be made. The 242 boat QMCM(SS) who organized the raid was busted to E-8 and transferred to the Sailfish in New London. One of my friends here in town who was on Sailfish knew the story. I filled him in on the details......

Some day I'll tell you about the goat locker on the 580 boat inviting Linda Lovelace to be our guest at the 1973 Submarine Birthday Ball.....

Keep a zero bubble..........


4/11/2010 2:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Budda off the Remorah isn't the one that belonges to Jim Ahern was it? He always said it helped him with the comps. Worked with Jim at PHNS a couple years before he passed away. One of the funniest and most honorable men you could know. Anyone have any sea tales of Jim? I would love to hear.


4/11/2010 7:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love hearing these old submarine stories. It makes me wish the service was still at least sort of like that.

4/11/2010 8:57 PM

Blogger Lou said...

After the Polk left Holy Loch for the last time in '91, we were heavy one cricket bat. I heard that the CPO club was light one cricket bat.

4/12/2010 8:55 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Once, on Topeka, we had to pick up an op for Chicago after they turned their diesel into a seawater pump. We sent them a "Wish You Were Here" card when we pulled into Nanaimo during the tasking; I heard their CO was not amused.)

Joel, that wouldn't have happened to be around the 1994-95 timeframe, would it? If it was, it doesn't surprise me. Let's just say I had "previous experience" with that CO on an earlier boat. Bit high-strung, that one was.

Best practical joke I was in on was one I actually got to start on my first boat. Just stationed Maneuvering Watch, and I was JA phonetalker back in Shaft Alley for SPM operator. A non-qual who had serious interpersonal relationship issues with the crew was also supposed to be with us, and I managed to convince said young nub that the SPM operator/A-ganger in shaft alley needed a 10-pound water hammer, which could be obtained from AMR. As soon as he left, I got hold of the AMR watchstander and told him to keep it going. Turns out they kept it going, alright--5 minutes before the brow comes off, the COB sees the kid wandering out of the 38N shop, still looking for said hammer. Had we been at any pier other than S-9, he would have missed the underway. My LPO wasn't amused, but the Chief was.

4/12/2010 9:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Texas threatened the Hawaii with an NCIS investigation. Then after Hawaii laughed at them for that idea, Texas responed that they were going to write all the JO's up for conduct unbecoming an officer IAW the UCMJ.

4/12/2010 11:19 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

If that's the case, then there's some folks on the Texas who need to, as the saying goes, "Lighten up, Francis."

4/12/2010 1:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 20-24 topside watch on USS Cusk SS-348 in late 1961. We were tied up opposite the old NEX laundry-dry cleaners adjacent to CSP HQ. Forward of us was USS Tiru SS-416. It was raining like hell and I was sitting inside the stbd side sail door underneath the plexiglass bubble. I spotted Three guys in dungarees running down the pier away from Tiru and towards the other end of the base. Couple minutes later the duty Chief from the Tiru and the section leader stop opposite the Cusk and ask me if I saw some guys running by the boat. I told'em yep and where I saw them headed. I asked'em, "whats going on?" Tiru duty Chief tells me, "SOB's just threw a five gallon bucket of zinc chromate primer on the sail of Tiru." Turns out it was guys from the USS Sterlet SS-392 who were getting back at the Tiru for painting red stripes on their screw guards. Sterlet deck gang spent the next couple of days cleaning up Tiru's sail.

1973 USS Barbel SS-580 spent two weeks underway playing "electric-rabbit" for P-3's flying out of Barbers Point. A week before Several of us in the goat locker had taken our wives to see "Deep Throat" which was playing at the Kaimuki Theatre. During our two weeker underway goat locker gins up the idea to invite Linda Lovelace, star of Deep Throat to be the USS Barbel SS-580 Goat Lockers guest at the 1973 Submarine Birthday Ball. We prepare a letter that the skipper Howard Eldridge thinks is funny and advises us not to send. We send it anyway c/o Playboy magazine where Ms. Lovelace had just had a photo shoot. Copies of the letter start to circulate on the water front, Beamans CPO Club and Lockwood Hall. Commodore thinks it's pretty funny also until a report is made on a radio program about a nameless submarine inviting...yadda--yadda--yadda. Turns out CSP Chief of Staff is not amused. Our skipper is out of town when the Shit hits the fan. He calls the XO John Regan to check in and hears SRDH. He tells XO to do what's necessary to get it turned off and spend what ever is necessary from his credit card to make it happen. We're a week out from the Submarine Birthday Ball. No response from Ms Lovelace. Barbel Goat Locker is the center of attention at Beamons CPO Club. One single Chief in Goat Locker. He regales Chiefs with plans to pick up Ms Lovelace at airport yadda--yadda--yadda. We get letter from Ms. Lovelaces' agent two days before enlisted ball telling us she is in France making a movie and will be unable to attend, and included a very nice nude photo that was promptly hung-up in the crews mess.

Night of the Enlisted Submarine Birthday Ball at the Royal Hawaiian, TMCM(SS) John Stein CSP CMAA was stationed outside the entrance to head off MS Lovelace when she showed. (BTW We never let on that she wasn't attending)
We had an empty chair at the Barbel table. As plates were served we divied up the plate so it always appeared that someone was in that seat. During the social hour there were lots of questions from other boats where is she. We tell'em she's here, over there, ladies room, with the wives (bless their hearts were in on the joke), etc. When dancing starts a very drunk Chief Torpedoman on the Sargo corners me and says, "OK A** H***, where is she??!!" I tell'em, "you just missed her she went up to room something or other with three guys off the boat." He tears out of there saying, "I'm gonna go find her!" It was the best dang Submarine Birthday Ball I ever attended!!

Next time I'll tell you about how the Barbel Goat Locker rose to the occasion and answered the skippers challenge to embarass LCDR Don O'Shae USS Grayback's Third Officer.

Keep a zero bubble...........


4/12/2010 1:06 PM

Blogger Mark said...

"Anonymous Anonymous 4/10/2010 4:47 PM said...
Back in the 594 and two tender days it was highly beneficial to have a ballcap from each tender. Made it easy to obtain the parts necessary to keep your ship maintained and ready to get u/w."

On the 607 we always had a couple of tender hats (USS Fulton) at State Pier. I think the biggest installed thing we snagged was a SP phone growler We grabbed little stuff all the time. We would bop into a shop and raid supply drawers, fasteners/fuses/light fixture pieces and the like. I don't remember why we didn't get them through normal supply channels, probably because of the challenge and because most of our parts were obsolete with manufacture out of business.

Math Teacher in Up State NY
EMCS/SS Retired

4/12/2010 1:07 PM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

Master AssClown,

You beat me to it. You're qualified.

4/12/2010 3:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC AssClown,

The trauma felt by the pennant will require years of PC therapy and lots of inner pennant stroking. Maybe the pennant needs a 72 hour pass for some beach time pennanting? Scuttle has it that a "Coastal Pennant Diversity Conference" is in the works to discuss pennant abuse issues (PAI) and pennant inadequacy syndrome (PIS). The pennant league is advising strict pennant counseling.

LiL Master AssClown Jr. III

4/14/2010 4:12 AM

Blogger Sublinux guy said...

The cob on the Texas is a freaking tool.

He has little syndrome to the ninth degree as I have known him for quite some time.

The underlying problem is in the age of being overly PC people loose all sense of humor. I have done typical submarine jokes and pranks during the 14 yrs I was in the navy and honestly you can't do the things you did back then now as you would be fried.

So to the goat locker of the texas I say this..... Relax and roll with it... no harm no foul....

4/22/2010 10:57 AM

Blogger Old Salt said...

back when transition season was initiation season, one of our selects on Parche was a real klepto. We pulled into San Diego for port call, and he made it his mission to steal one of the COB's treasures from every boat we visited. We got one guy's coffee cup with "world's Greatest Dad" on it, and took polaroids in various spots on board. The pics went back with a ransom note instructing said COB to send our COB a memo acknowledging the Parche as the finest fast attack in port. I seem to remember their selects coming over and singing to get his cup back. The Coronado just sent Marines to get their CMC's plaque. That put an end to screwing with the surface side.

4/23/2010 12:16 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

One more thing. Good job to the Hooligans that grabbed the flag and made the facebook post. It is things like this that keep me loving the submarine service. Let's hope the resolution doesn't involve more than return of the flag, and maybe an attempt for retribution.

4/23/2010 12:21 PM

Anonymous EM1SS2SWO said...

Seems like the Horse and Cow (both in Vallejo and San Diego) were pretty much based on this tradition. And lots and lots of irresponsible drinking....

4/28/2010 7:40 PM

Blogger Sean Peters said...

Surface ship vs. sub incident: I was serving on an oiler (USS KALAMAZOO, AOR 6), and we went on UNITAS. A feature of every UNITAS is that for every country you work with, you do a freeplay exercise where you divide up into two teams, then have a naval battle. Yay! The way the teams worked out, it was us, an SSN (sorry, this was years ago and I can't remember which ship it was), and a bunch of other ships against another team that included an LPD. So we're doing the freeplay and at some point, the exercise controllers announced that we had been sunk by torpedo fire. Which was vastly confusing, because the other team didn't have a sub. Sure enough, it was revealed that we were sunk by the USS (whoever), who had confused us with the LPD.

Fast forward to the hot wash up. Our CO presents the sub CO with a picture of KALAMAZOO (to help him recognize us next time he saw us through the periscope) and a plate of cookies as a bribe so they wouldn't attack us again! Everyone laughed. Sub CO was a good sport about it.

5/03/2010 1:12 PM

Anonymous said...

Hey, there is really much worthwhile material in this post!

10/28/2011 1:20 AM

Anonymous old blhd said...

Patrcik Henry SSBN599 out of her third overhaul in 1977; LOTS of competition between the newly split Blud and Gold crews. One examle: the Deck stantions were initally coatd with BLUE plastic, then after refit, Gold plastic, then after refit blue plastic . . . Also, while at MINSY with Geo Wash and RE Lee, MANY parts seemed to make it over to our boat while 598 and 601 waited and waited.

6/15/2012 12:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not serve as many of you have done. Thanks for your service & keep the great stories coming!

11/01/2013 11:25 PM


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