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.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TTSBP Commenter Makes WaPo

John Mason, who sometimes comments here at TSSBP, was mentioned in this Washington Post article about the upcoming smoking ban and gender integration policy changes in the Submarine Force. The article includes a link to John's petition opposed to stationing women on submarines.

32 Comments:

Blogger T said...

This blog post is pretty interesting: http://csg10.wordpress.com/. It basically confirms what I and others already knew: *Big Navy* doesn't really have any answers for the legitimate questions surrounding bringing women into the submarine forces. About the only thing nailed down is where the women will sleep and shit.

John Mason again has a pretty good list of questions in the comment section which Admiral Bruner just ignores in his later response. I think it's interesting that the big impetus behind this is supposedly to help out with Officer Accessions/retention

Well, here's your answer, fix recruiting and fix the napoleonic leaders and bullshit admin requirements that make everyone want to get out. If female SWO-Nukes are staying in at far lower rates than men, what could possibly make someone think that submarines are somehow going to have better luck? Is there some assumption that women are just automatically attracted to submarines because of their phallic imagery? It's certainly not less arduous duty than being on a carrier. If anything, I think the submarine force is setting itself up for worse retention problems down the road because they're going to replace some portion of 30% retention men with 15% retention women. I guess we can go back to 16 JO wardrooms again... I'm sure it IS tough with out a LAN DivO

4/21/2010 10:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were far less than 16 JOs on the boat when I transferred off not too long ago. And that was a boomer, with the extra JO in the Weapons Dept.

I wish CSG-10 would have answered John Mason myself, since he's essentially the only dissenting voice I've seen who can put forward a cogent argument, whereas 99% of those opposed sound like a freakin' 5-year-old being dragged out of the candy aisle.

One thing that submarines have going for retention: Our officer corps doesn't eat their young. Hopefully that will continue even after the transition...

4/21/2010 10:41 PM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Aw geez, not this shit again...

4/22/2010 3:27 AM

 
Anonymous ANAV's For Congress said...

I am with RD, hasn't this been beat to death already?

This is going to happen. The Chief's quarters will be tossed this bone and told to put it where it belongs (pun intended). As usual, they will make it happen.

Will there be problems? You bet. Will they become public? Absolutely. Will we survive? Definately.

The reality is that the sub force "lacks a mission" in the eyes of the money holders. They are in no position to bargain. This makes them vulnerable to every scheme that comes down the road. It sucks, what else can you say.

I am retired so it is easy for me to say anything. I do feel for the guys on the boats right now. It is just one more item on the "do everything" checklist. But they are smart people and will make it happen!

On a more serious note: When did boomers shift to all male crews?!

4/22/2010 7:22 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know we've given tours of boats to members of Congress here and there, but what we should do is split Congress into five crews of 107 people and put each crew on a boat for a couple of days. Let's see how the men and women of Congress enjoy themselves.

4/22/2010 7:48 AM

 
Blogger Lyle said...

I find it interesting that SECNAV thinks that integrating women will improve retention by adding another body pool. From a nuclear enlisted standpoint, I can assure you there are no shortages of new sailors to send to submarines, since we're training the largest classes ever at prototype right now, and they're just going to get bigger.

ETC(SS)

4/22/2010 8:02 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a nuclear enlisted standpoint, I can assure you there are no shortages of new sailors to send to submarines, since we're training the largest classes ever at prototype right now, and they're just going to get bigger.

Since the filtering process of the nuclear pipeline was long ago removed, the above should read:
From a nuclear enlisted standpoint, I can assure you there are no shortages of new sailors to send to submarines, since we're pushing the largest classes ever at prototype right now, and they're just going to get bigger.

However, I kind of doubt they are the largest numbers ever, given the draw-down that has occurred over the last 20 years.

4/22/2010 8:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lyle,

Are you training the largest prototype class ever because in an increase in recruitment, or because Nuke School doesn't wash many students anymore?

Also, are all the hot-runners in prototype being sent to the subs and all the dinks to the aircraft carriers?

-Prof. ELT

4/22/2010 8:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are NO plans to integrate women on the enlisted side as there is no need seen due to high retention. The women are seen as a means to improve meeting the required recruiting numbers on the officer side - they are saying that only 3 in the last 8 years have they met the officer quotas. My question is have they accounted for the horrible management of the officer corps in the last 10 years? YG 00-02 were horribly over recruited which had a downstream affect. Also, they probably didn't catch on that those retention rates took a horrible hit once the IA deployments hit the streets - going straight from a deploying boat to the sand box. A lot of guys got out from the boat to avoid that possiblity.

4/22/2010 8:27 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if they are drawing the fleet down to 30 something boats, why all the concern over retention?

4/22/2010 8:52 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current prototype classes are the largest ever. They are double the size of my class from four years ago. The reason they are so large is to try to make up for the lack of output from the prototypes especially in NY due to various shutdowns. The boats have been seeing reduced manning in the past two years because of this.

4/22/2010 9:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current prototype classes are the largest ever. They are double the size of my class from four years ago. The reason they are so large is to try to make up for the lack of output from the prototypes especially in NY due to various shutdowns. The boats have been seeing reduced manning in the past two years because of this.

So, one prototype has a larger class, but overall, numbers are still lower than in the past - they have to be - the nuke fleet is almost 60% what it was 20 years ago.

4/22/2010 11:01 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ anon @1101

There may be fewer total students but each prototype is putting out more students per class than before. There used to be two additional prototypes (Idaho and CT) and D1G and S3G in NY which allowed for smaller classes by dividing them up more than today. 4 years ago my class at prototype (S8G) was about 85 students total. Now classes in NY are about 150 at MARF and S8G will get 140 soon. The amount of time the prototypes have been down has caused a backlog of students (students on hold for over a year after power school before there is room in a prototype class for them). For the first time in the history of the program, there are officer students on hold waiting to class up. The problems in NY for the past few years in conjunction with normal shutdowns at the MTSs are having deep manning impacts in the fleet. There are manning deficiencies at prototype because they are not sending operators to the fleet to replace individuals that should be getting sent back to prototype as staff.

4/22/2010 2:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And with no classes coming through S8G for a year, we have lost SPUs with no replacements from graduating classes as there usually is. All joking about SPUs aside, this is becoming a problem.

4/22/2010 2:25 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see where this prototype issue is headed. Joe Supernuke re-enlists to go back to prototype or NPS, but gets voluntold he will stay on his boat for an additional 18+ months. It won't take but about two of those before anyone considering re-enlisting, says "Naw, I'll go to a civplant and start at the bottom at $80k/yr."

4/22/2010 3:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better off on the boat these days than at the career killers that are the prototypes.

4/22/2010 3:18 PM

 
Blogger Lyle said...

To answer some questions:

Yes, the class sizes in Charleston have increased due to NY being off-line, however, once NY and the 635 come back, I don't see why they wouldn't continue the mammoth class sizes to maintain a larger throughput, and to catch up since so many sailors are on hold down the street. Also, if we prove we can provide quality training at these larger loadings, I'm sure it will continue since the enlisted community managers have told us that there is no shortage of new recruits for the nuclear program. All that aside, our current class is about 165 students. When I was a student, is was 81.

ETC(SS)

4/22/2010 4:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other reason prototype classes are larger than normal is that we've cranked up the demand signal for enlisted nukes. The brainiacs in Millington finally figured out that in order to make up for crappy retention, we need to recruit more people. Of course, the crater in mid-level enlisted manning will follow us for years as they become LPOs, LCPOs, and EDMCs. Whoever made up the enlisted recruiting numbers 6-7 years ago should have been masted instead of getting the fat EOT award they undoubtedly got for "shifting the paradigm" to "maximize our ROI" by their focus on "optimal manning."

End rant.

4/22/2010 7:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other reason prototype classes are larger than normal is that we've cranked up the demand signal for enlisted nukes. The brainiacs in Millington finally figured out that in order to make up for crappy retention, we need to recruit more people.

I have news for them - retention is about to get a whole lot worse. Within three years there will be a minimum of four new construction nuclear plants in the U.S. Coupling their staffing requirements for construction and utility personnel with the massive wave of nuclear worker retirement, it's easy to see that the Navy will have a difficult time keeping anyone who isn't 110% sold on going to sea for 20 years.

4/22/2010 8:28 PM

 
Anonymous NHSparky said...

Anon @ 3:10 said, "Naw, I'll go to a civplant and start at the bottom at $80k/yr."


Try closer to $100-110K, assuming you're not going to one of those plants under construction or going into Ops, otherwise try closer to $140K. Maintenance guys are averaging roughly $38-42 an hour within a year of hiring, plus OT. Even the "low dollar" plants have a hard time getting people for less than $35/hour.

4/22/2010 11:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, where do you apply?

4/22/2010 11:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try closer to $100-110K . . .

True, but I was referring to starting at the bottom of the Ops pipeline.

4/23/2010 7:07 AM

 
Blogger Old Salt said...

Interesting how a post starts on smoking, and women, and ends with a big discussion on Nuc manning and retention. As a long time ET I have been living with manning shortages for years. USS Drum- 3 RO's. One takes leave, the other 2 are P&S. Fast forward 20 years to my last boat where I was standing 3 section RO at sea to get the boat underway. Conditions are bad, and the outside market is good. This makes retention poor, which in turn makes life suck. Add to this breathalyzer testing for duty sections every day, and commands that blow their stack when a crop of J.O's show enough team spirit to take the pennant of the guys across the table who were innatentive (or drunk) enough to loose it, and what is left? For years, we have somewhat covered the hardships of the Sub-force with the fun that goes along with our little society. It will be an interesting couple of years...

4/23/2010 6:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been the no fun navy for at least a couple of years. It just seems to get worse and worse.

4/23/2010 11:19 PM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/24/2010 10:52 AM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/24/2010 10:55 AM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/24/2010 10:58 AM

 
Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

Please forgive my posts and deletions; I had to make a URL correction. I am not very good at blogging.
I understand most of us are tired of this issue. I know I am. Joel, I appreciate you posting this thread. I have just one last thing to add and then I'm going to bug out. The deck plate is hearing from CNO/SecNav that SUBFOR is ready to execute and that they have heard nothing but positive comments from the community. Comments on the petition indicate otherwise:
http://tinyurl.com/23dwwfv

**************
In this article SecNav says he’s heard nothing but positive comments from Congress and the community. Huh?
Kitsap Sun article dated 13 April (with my comments published):
http://tinyurl.com/265dob3

In this article the CNO says: "It is a good plan," Adm. Roughead testified. "I can assure you of that and the submarine force is prepared to execute." Huh?
Washington Times article dated 5 April:
http://tinyurl.com/25xfdaj

The Washington Post covered this issue in this article titled “Plans to allow women and gays, ban smoking shake world of Navy submarines” dated 21 April:
http://tinyurl.com/25xfdaj

Thanks folks...
@ rubber ducky and others - I'm out of here and appreciate everyones comments and the discussion, nasty and as irritating as it has been.

4/24/2010 11:05 AM

 
Blogger T said...

Yeah, but... there were like 100 volunteers this year for 18 spots... It's already a success!!!! *rolleyes*

4/25/2010 1:48 AM

 
Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

As much as you can spout about making up for manning issues with a huge prototype class, that doesn't fix the problem that the prototype is a pump now. The boats aren't helping this either.

Consider this: I had a student roll through a class of mine recently, who had been on the boat over a year and a half, had his dolphins, and was a nuke qualified mechanic. I had to reteach him that the SNNV existed and physically had to show him how to use lockwire pliers.... because he actually didn't even know they twisted.

But....great training at prototype there.... pat yourselves on the back some more.

It doesn't matter how many you pump out if they can't support the work.

---
MM1/SS

4/26/2010 11:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey everybody, I was a nuke electrician on a boomer that did 6 & out. Talk about no-fun navy; when I got to the boat, the guys transferring told me how much worse the place was now compared to when I got there; when I left, it was horribly worse than when I got there, and I'm sure the trend continues.
As far as manning goes, it was terrible. My division went over a year, without receiving any nubs while still having a normal out-rotation. We then received two utterly worthless new-guys. I heard recently that one of them tried to danger-tag open a remotely-operated breaker by locally shutting it--genius. This is after he's been on the boat about a year-and-a-half. That is the caliber of students coming out of prototype these days--thanks.
All of the other divisions were in similar straights. Our J.O. manning also dropped precipitously during my time on board, and as crappy as our lives were, I wouldn't want to be them for anything. Their retention was terrible as well. I got out in January and got a job as an EO at a nuke plant, base pay ~87k. I can't believe how happy I am and how content with life I am now compared to being on the mobile orse training platform I was on before. It was ridiculous, when the Russian subs were off the coast right before we were going to leave, they talked about being quiet all of the time; you know, actually doing what we're supposed to be out there for. Well, Russians left, then it was back to the usual mission of orse training and field days. Gee, why wouldn't I want to stay in longer? (PS--I was not only disgruntled, I was LPO as an E-5 thanks to the superstar E-6's in the division and well-liked by the COC.)

4/30/2010 3:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey now!

I take great offense to that comment. We all know that SSBN's are not just mobile ORSE training platforms. They are actually mobile ORSE AND TRE training platforms!

5/01/2010 12:21 AM

 

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