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, May 05, 2010

The Good And Bad Of The Internet

The 'net can be a wonderful place; it's especially good for catching up with old friends. Yesterday, I found that an old shipmate from USS Topeka (SSN 754) had a website on which he had posted all the pictures he had digitized from the Topeka in the early '90s. Here's a picture of about half the wardroom:

I'm third from the left. All are JOs, except the guy on the far right is the Weps who went on to bigger and better things. Old Topeka shipmates will enjoy looking through the pictures, except maybe for this one -- it's one of the few pictures I've found on the 'net of "He Who Must Not Be Named".

I also found out yesterday through the 'net about how our old MDR from the Topeka is doing. Turns out he's the CMC of Naval Hospital Pensacola. Way to go, Doc!

Unfortunately, the internet can also bring the ravings of lunatics into your home. For example, if you're not careful, you may waste precious minutes of your life reading the drivel from a North Korean apologist who claims the recent sinking of the South Korean corvette was probably due to friendly fire from Americans, or this alleged French submarine "expert" who thinks an American nuclear submarine sank the French trawler Bugaled Breizh back in 2004. (His theory is that we had an SSN protecting a British freighter hauling plutonium from terrorists -- as if a submarine could do anything against a terrorist go-fast. Vigilis has more on this story.) Alternately, your brain could hurt from reading the suppositions of someone who thinks a North Korean mini-sub torpedoed the oil platform in the Gulf.

Still, without the tin-foily side of the 'net, I wouldn't have nearly as many people to mock and belittle, so I suppose I should be grateful for that too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crap! That website layout is as dated as the photos!

5/05/2010 1:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So...if it is how Bill wanted to do it. Why does it matter?

5/05/2010 6:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"he who must not be named" was my Eng in NUCON. I understand... Did he crash & burn?

5/05/2010 6:28 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Is "he who must not be named" pictured really in this photo? Really don't care. Will say this however:

During the Cold War I never saw a wardroom comprised of so many young submarine officers at one time. This is frankly a very enlightening revelation for me.

The most we ever had at one time as young as the foremost four was one, and sometimes two.

Things have clearly changed more than I had ever imagined. It brings better perspective into some of the stories about which we have been reading lately.

Please tell me the dude at the head of the table is not the C.O.

Our CO and XO were in their mid-forties. DHs were late 30s, and most JOs at least 27. But hey, we had a universal (male) draft, then, and even had 1 conscientious objector onboard.

Speaking of which, guessing Rubber Ducky must now be in either his early 30s or late 60s based upon his anachronistic descriptions of his CO years.

5/05/2010 7:00 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Forgot to add, the youthful age of today's U.S. submarine wardroom (judging by Topeka's example) is highly reminiscent of German U-Boots during WW2 of 23-24.

COs averaged only 28 years of age, BTW.

5/05/2010 7:08 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Our CO and XO were in their mid-forties. DHs were late 30s, and most JOs at least 27.

I was 26 when I left my JO sea-tour, and at the time I was the most senior JO in the submarine force, leaving at the 45 month point.


5/05/2010 7:26 PM

Blogger Old Man from the Sea said...

Nice to see a picture of the young CAPT Scanlon. I truly enjoyed serving with him on Frank Cable.

5/05/2010 7:58 PM

Blogger T said...


Average JO today is mid 20's probably the median age being about 25.

Average CO is between 35 and 40.

Obviously priors skew 5 or 6 years older.

5/06/2010 9:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Vigilis - I believe that would have been the back of the wardroom table, not the head.

I was on the Miami, the next after Topeka, so it should have been the same and there would have been a shelf behind the CO's seat, as well as comms on his right (along with hot water recirc pump, the bane of my existence). Also, the door to the wardroom pantry would have been on his left.

5/06/2010 11:07 AM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

A bit off topic but since it was a pic of the wardroom table; for those serving is cribbage still played in wardrooms these days or has the digital revolution taken over?

5/06/2010 11:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know for a fact while riding some of the boats out of Pearl the last two years they still play cribbage after meals in the wardroom.

5/06/2010 11:48 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

A bit off topic but since it was a pic of the wardroom table; for those serving is cribbage still played in wardrooms these days or has the digital revolution taken over?

It was a part of my "general submarine knowledge" sig for dolphin quals in 2002, and a daily occurrence among instructors during lunch at SUBSCOL until at least October 2006.



5/06/2010 11:52 AM

Anonymous noyfb said...

Cribbage in the wardroom? I thought all the zeros spent their off time masturbating each other in their staterooms. Or were in the COs stateroom giving him a good hard sucking.

When the thrill of doing each other wore off, they'd sometimes try to involve the goat locker. Until I'd run em off.

And as self absorbed and self improtant as RD comes off in his banal prose, there's little doubt he was at the head of the self deprecation line......

5/06/2010 11:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You stay classy noyfb.

5/06/2010 1:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Dick O'Kane's board is on the Bremerton since she's the oldest boat in the Pacific. I can tell you that JOs on the Nebraska and the Florida still play cribbage while sweating it out over Quals.

"Expert Dominiques Salles wants the US Navy to reveal the position of all of its nuclear attack submarines at the time of the sinking."

Really?...Umm so we just have to reveal the operating areas of our Fast Attacks only? Is that it? So, that means our BN/GNs are safe then right? Wow what a fucking joke. I just absolutely hate the French. They're the most bellicose and incompetent bastards ever to exist as a country. They can cook but as history demonstrates they can't fight for shit...atleast not on their on standing. I will admit that the article and recommendation was a funny read however.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

5/06/2010 3:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words that will surely date me: Uckers, Sir!

Doubt many JOs know what that mean...maybe many senior officers don't know any more.

5/06/2010 4:49 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

We had RADM O'Kane's board when I was a JO. It was less notable for being his board than it was for having photographic evidence that someone actually got a 31 using it.

I typically got 19s. Thank god Master Diver Tim was usually my partner, otherwise I would have never won a single game.


5/06/2010 6:34 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Belay my last: 29. I don't know where 31 came from. Unless LT Scrabes had been lying to me the whole time.

Now that I think about it...


5/06/2010 6:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those Navy rolls bring back some memories. At least they were fairly fresh, lol. Why the paper plates and cups? Is that a rig for reduced ridculous electrical meal, lol?

Where is the Duck at, do not see his comments?


5/06/2010 6:57 PM

Anonymous Squidward said...

MT1: Well, The Marquis de Lafayette may disagree with you about military acumen. Of course, that was some time ago, but we owe him still.

5/06/2010 7:47 PM

Blogger fourfastboats said...


That is the junior end of the table, so that should be the Chop - not the CO.

I would say that the average submarine CO these days is 39-40 at the start of his tour. The average XO is 34-35 at the start of their tour.

I sure thought my first XO was old...

5/06/2010 8:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Napoleon I believe was fairly successful for some time, and last I checked he was French. Also, don't forget comte de Grasse who commanded the French fleet that sealed the deal that lead to the British surrendering at Yorktown.

5/06/2010 9:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We played uckers on Augusta. J.D. vonSuskil introduced it to us. Have no idea if it lasted after he left.

Only game tradition in the wardroom that was fairly standard was Saturday night poker.

5/07/2010 6:01 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Spades was the game of choice on both my boats. I swear that "Pops" Crandall was a witch when he played. Never saw a luckier player in my life.

5/07/2010 11:31 AM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

Quite a few years back I taught a work friend to play cribbage. We'd play for 45 minutes before the start of the work day.

After a month or two of pre-work cribbage we decided we wanted to be able to play more games each morning without having to shorten the cribbage board.

We accomplished our goal by adding a second deck and dealing twelve cards per hand, four of which ended up in the crib.

It took a week or so to get used to counting so many points, but once we got used to the patterns, like 15 two, four, six, eight, ten, and a double double run of 8 for 46, it became easy and a lot more fun. You could get around a standard length board with just a few good hands. No more weenie little 29s.

Other games played during and after the navy were acey duecy and triangle paper football.....

5/07/2010 11:47 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...


Many thanks for your clarification.

5/07/2010 7:34 PM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

39-40 was the age of most of my COs when they assumed command. The last four were all younger than I was.

That JO at front left looks like he should still be in high school.

I've heard of uckers, but never seen it played - nor have I ever met anyone who said that he had seen it. I was under the impression that it was a Brit pastime. Spades was the game of choice on Oly back in the '80s, IIRC. On Prov, around the turn of the century (don't get to use that phrase often!) it was definitely cribbage, especially under Bawden. Don't know if it was actually included in officers' quals, but learning it was a must.

Oh, and Napoleon was Corsican.

5/07/2010 9:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Uckers did start with the Brits, but a lot of U.S. boats used to have custom (P.I.) made boards. My CO on my first boat was a fanatic about it. At both lunch and dinner, after clearing the table, the MS would put out the Uckers board for a game. CO usually directed 1 DH and 1 JO to remain to tried to leave before desert if you had something to do! Never saw it played on my other boats and didn't even have a board on the boat I commanded...

5/08/2010 5:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to rain on the Napoleon parade, but he was born on Corsica to Italian that would make him French I have no idea. He did lead the French, but that doesn't make him french.

5/08/2010 6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the 688 I was on, we played poker more than anything else in the wardroom, with an occasional game of acey-deucey (backgammon).

Can still remember hearing our crusty, ex-Marine C.O. say to the Eng, "Tell ______ to get his ass up here to play poker after watch" over the MJ when I was handing off to the on-coming midwatch EOOW.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that"...but none of us really saw the point in cribbage. Am guessing that poker is very non-PC these days. Sheesh.

5/08/2010 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"His theory is that we had an SSN protecting a British freighter hauling plutonium from terrorists -- as if a submarine could do anything against a terrorist go-fast."
No it is not.
His theory is that a SSN was there to check the security of the zone (which hardly reads as "to protect the freighter from terrorists") as the convoy went through, because the US were to send the same kind of material to this place.
If you can read french : link
As he is a former commander of the French SSBN fleet he may not be impartial but he probably qualifies as sub expert.
Being no expert myself, I have no opinion on this theory. I somehow find it strange to think that asking for the position of US SSN will lead to any result...

5/09/2010 3:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 542, sounds like my first boat, except uckers was only played after dinner! We would punch out of there as fast as we could before dessert; the MS's would hook us up w/ dessert on a small plate as we jetted.

The DH's feared the game; the CO's ability (or inability) to roll 6's had a direct impact on his mood at the DH meeting right after the game. If he won, the DH mtg went smoothly. If someone else rolled a lot of 6's, the mtgs were pretty miserable for all.

5/09/2010 8:11 PM

Blogger Loping Squid said...

We played Uckers nightly on my first boat. Agree with the comments that it was a British import. The story I heard had it as a 'Pac-Boat only' game.

5/16/2010 5:23 AM

Anonymous Evelina said...

It won't truly have success, I suppose this way.

8/26/2012 10:38 PM


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