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.)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

FY11 Submarine CO/XO Screening

Here's the message listing the officers who were screened for Submarine CO and XO, along with other assorted screenings. Since Submariners tend to be the loudest at complaining about who did and didn't screen (resulting in these lists not being made public until just a few years ago), I'm sure there will be lots of complaints. Fire away (but please don't make any unsubstantiated allegations of puppy molestation or whatnot for people on the list).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to these officers!

6/03/2010 3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some interesting names on that list.

6/03/2010 4:29 PM

Anonymous PigBoatSailor said...

Hey, Ken Washington made XO! He relieved me at my DC shore tour. Good dude, glad to see he is doing well.

Also know a couple of guys that didn't screen for XO, but made XOSS ... and, no comment.

6/03/2010 5:24 PM

Anonymous Squidward said...

Croghan, Poe, and Huey - all good guys. Auburn NECP rocking the CO list, I see.

I have to say, its nice to see an ex-MM1/SS like Croghan make it all the way up the greasy pole. He's a total class act. I'm not sure I'd want to be M-Div LPO on his boat though - talk about a guy who has not only done your job, but has done it better than you.

6/03/2010 5:41 PM

Blogger etc_ss_ret said...

Sorry that I'm late to the party but when I looked at the list I instantly noticed a former NRRO rep from my days at MTS.

The word had gotten out that said rep was having difficulty passing the CPO exam. I was monitoring some RC Div maintenance and the Rep walked up. All of a sudden the guys doing the work are working - and doing it professionally....but they were also talking about the Chief's test that was coming up and how easy it had been to pass the test in previous years.

It was all I could do to keep a straight face. As I recall a certain EMC had served with the rep in the past and may have been the one who let the Rep's rank and troubles with the exam "slip out".

Anyway I'm thinking about this story and I see Anoonymous link....I click and see the story about Mr. Kennedy's run in with the same guy.....

Ahhhh the memories from Charleston....

6/03/2010 6:52 PM

Anonymous cheme09 said...

Piggybacking of of PigBoatSailor's post - as an aspiring submarine officer, I'd like to see what the inside scoop is on screening XOSS vice XO...and COSS as well.

I understand that officers that get that far in their career want to one day command their own boat, but is it really that big of a disappointment to get XOSS? I mean you're still qualified and serving in the Sub community, right? Or is it like getting placed in a remedial class?

6/03/2010 7:02 PM

Anonymous LT L said...


There is a gentleman on the XO list who screened for XOSS two years ago... a real stand-up guy who I would be proud to serve under. There are also people on the XO list who are complete dirtbags who I would resign my commission before serving under (let's put it this way: smoking in nucleonics). There are also guys who didn't show up on either list and I'm sick about it (the CRA when I was MPA), and I anticipate a tearful phone call in the next week.

The point is that the board is a crap shoot and says nothing about the people selected. Reason number four that I exercise my commission one weekend a month and two weeks a year rather than every day.


P.S. Honor, Courage, and Commitment are exercised every day, regardless of who my boss is.

6/03/2010 8:13 PM

Blogger T said...

My impression is that screening XOSS is the shit. Possibly even better than screening COSS. You go on shore duty for like 8 years straight at the same command, and still have a shot at making CDR.

6/03/2010 8:15 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

My impression is that screening XOSS is the shit.

Another buddy of mine screened XOSS and spent the last four years in London's version of the Pentagon working three hours a day, four days a week as an O-5. I wish I failed as successfully as he did.


6/03/2010 8:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all can bitch all you want, but one of the people who made one of the biggest and best impressions on my life screened for CO. Congrats to Chris Tarsa! It's great to see someone screen for CO who clearly deserves it.

6/03/2010 8:47 PM

Anonymous Former 755/742 E div. said...

Can someone explain XOSS and COSS for those of us who were enlisted?


6/03/2010 10:39 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

Smoking in nucleonics is all it takes for someone to be a dirtbag? I hope you have more on the guy than that; somebody is lacking a sense of humor and proportion. Sounds like the prospective XO might be a guy the force needs more of to me, speaking as a non-smoker and former ELT. I'll retract my comment if it turns out he's the kind of officer that would hang a guy for similar infractions.

6/03/2010 10:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those wondering what XOSS and COSS are:

The SS stands for submarine support. Technically, it means you screened, but we have no room for you, so for the next year you are in standby status (think alternate). If someone who did screen does not go on to command or xo (medical, retires, fired, etc), they go to the list of XOSS/COSS officers and "call up" the next one. If you get called up you are treated just as if you screened. If the year goes by and you don't get called up, you get assigned to submarine support jobs that are usually billeted as OIC and AOICs. Some examples are CO of NSSC, XO of a PCU, CO of Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, MTS OIC, etc. Since these billets are OIC and AOIC jobs most of these officers will advance to O-5/O-6 respectively. They also keep all of their sub/nuc pay until they are no longer working in the submarine force. Additionally, for the COSS guys, most of them attend SCC (the Submarine COmmand Course) and serve their year of standby as the junior Squadron Deputy, that way if some CO gets fired or needs to be replaced you have the Deputy already fully qualified and ready to step in and take the job. While screening SS is better than not screening at all (which basically means you instantly lose all of your nuc and sub pay and begin writing a lateral transfer package or put in your retirement papers), it is like getting a kiss from your sister.

6/03/2010 11:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey on channel 10 Comcast cable at midnight (Pacific time) is the original Star Trek "Dooms Day Machine" episode in CGI. It looks pretty neat on a flat screen with surround sound on too. I always thought that was the best episode of that series.

6/04/2010 12:09 AM

Blogger Bill Lapham said...

Congrats to the selectees. I hope you have boats to drive...

6/04/2010 4:44 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

XOSS and COSS operate as described. Grew out of older practice in diesel screening to go over boat requirements, those not getting a boat eligible for and often assigned to ASRs, etc.

Builds a bank and lets folks down easy. Looks better outside the submarine force (for other boards, assignments, etc.) than 'failed to screen.'

6/04/2010 5:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:42.

One minor correction. MTS OIC is filled by a CO screened (not COSS) officer on his post-XO shore duty.

6/04/2010 5:44 AM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

I'll issue an early retraction on the smoking in nucleonics thing - I was assuming way too much. The guy would be a dirtbag if any of the following were true; a primary sample was in progress, or sources were out, if anyone else was in the lab at the time and he did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (can't be putting other people on the hook for your behavior), if he was habitually doing it, or if he was leaving evidence like butts or ashes behind, again putting others on the hook. Mea culpa.

6/04/2010 7:46 AM

Blogger Chap said...

Joel: Back in '08 I wrote some unsolicited advice on screening. I'm getting emails about it from guys and my info is old since I've been in the joint world and overseas for a long time. Here's the link; anyone who wants to update the info is welcome.

6/04/2010 9:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You all can bitch all you want, but one of the people who made one of the biggest and best impressions on my life screened for CO. Congrats to Chris Tarsa! It's great to see someone screen for CO who clearly deserves it."

+1 from me.

6/04/2010 10:54 AM

Anonymous Joe Alferio said...


On a totally seperate issue, today is the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

Here's a Bravo Zulu to the memory of Nimitz, Spruance, Fletcher, Rochefort, Browning, all the men of Torprons 6 and 8, McCluskey and all the rest.

There is literally no way to know what our world would be like right now if Midway had gone differently.

Joe Alferio

6/04/2010 11:03 AM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

I worked for both Olsen and Killila when they were commo on 719 - good guys. I'm trying to imagine a boat with the two of them together.... 8)

And Krug was an MM1 (A-gang) on 699 when I was there - another good choice, I think.

6/04/2010 11:42 AM

Blogger Bill Lapham said...

I'm with you on that whole Midway thing. Had it gone differently we'd be building and driving Japanese cars in America.

6/04/2010 11:54 AM

Anonymous Joe Alferio said...

Ret. Cob;

OK, you got me there!

Joe Alferio

6/04/2010 12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or are there a lot more prior enlisted on this list than normal?

6/04/2010 1:47 PM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

Chris Tarsa screened for CO. Congratulations, just goes to show that in order to win over the support of your men you need to get down on the deckplates with them. AHHH, the fond memories of Trotters.


6/04/2010 2:15 PM

Anonymous Former 755/742 E div. said...

@Anonymous 11:42 - thanks for the explanation. Makes sense now.

Do the SS guys promote with their class/year/whatever? Where do they go after that tour?

6/04/2010 2:48 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

...again putting others on the hook. Mea culpa.

No, I woke up around 0200 thinking "that was a stupid comment", but it is indicative of the guy's behavior. I mean, come on: the CRA smoking in nucleonics? I'm all about flaunting the rules, but do it when it counts, not just for the convenience of not having to head back to shaft alley. This guy is a dirtbag for many more reasons than this, but enough people know who "LT L" is in real life and I don't need people connecting the dots as to who I'm referring to.

First drink on me when we meet.


6/04/2010 5:18 PM

Blogger DDM said...

I know two COSS who's "good deal" after being CO fill-ins of boats in the shipyard was being selected for a year in Afghanistan.

I was one of the CO selects first CPO when he reported to USS HAWKBILL. The XO on 666 used to give me crap because my Ensign like to wear white socks in uniform. He learned very quickly that there was a big difference when I called him "Ensign" vs. "Mr. Xxxxx." We had a great CO to emulate, so I'm sure he'll do great.

6/04/2010 5:58 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

Worked with Shawn Huey back on Parche. A great JO, and I hear a great ENG as well. I wouldn't mind serving under him again. COngrats to all on the list.

6/04/2010 6:52 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

You're on LT, I appreciate that - I'm in Bremerton BTW. Another assumption I made was that you were referring to a mustang. That is an eye-popper, that a CRA did that. That's a little more irritating from my perspective also, since we ELTs tend to feel the CRA is a privileged visitor in the lab, but it's "our" workspace, so it's definitely a violation of etiquette in that respect as well.

6/04/2010 6:59 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Well... technically he was a mustang...

an AT2.

I've said too much...


6/04/2010 7:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another vote of congrats to Huey. Man's going to make flag as long as he keeps the people in the people tank, the water outside the people tank and CPA's above 0 yds.

One thing from the list I don't think would happen today. I am almost positive that one of the other screened CO's got a DUI as a JO. But he is a good guy and great officer and Big Al went to bat for him so he got a second chance and he was allowed to screen for DH and thus was able to get where is now (and deservedly so)

Not sure that would happen today, or anytime over the last eight years.

6/04/2010 11:08 PM

Blogger T said...

Considering that someone was relieved recently for a Non-dui alchol-related incident, I'm guessin that that would indeed NOT happen nowadays

6/05/2010 1:42 AM

Anonymous dodzky said...

That's sounds great... Congrats..\

6/05/2010 9:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't understand the Huey comments. Thought he was a typical nuke with no vision of anything else, and a micromanager to boot. Not a bad guy, but not what I would call CO material. Wouldn't want to go to war with the guy.

6/06/2010 4:01 PM

Anonymous Squidward said...

Anon 4:01 -

I must disagree on Shawn Huey. This is a guy who had had his eye on submarine command since he was a PO3. He takes leadership very seriously. Don't confuse Shawn being serious with him being a dick - that would be an error.

I've known plenty of guys I would be very nervous about going to war with. Huey is one of those guys that I would trust in that situation, especially if my own ass was on the line.

6/06/2010 4:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shawn is a good guy.

Good on him for knowing what he wanted from the beginning.

He's a hard worker who puts in the effort and expects the same from his guys.

6/06/2010 8:05 PM

Blogger Tanya said...

Chris Tarsa...outstanding man, awesome XO, and good friend...we're so proud of him! That's going to be one lucky boat AND crew!

6/07/2010 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concur with Anon 4:01

6/07/2010 12:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also do not concur with Anon at 4:01.

Shawn is a sharp, level-headed hard worker and one of the most dedicated guys I've had the pleasure to work with. I'd be privileged to get orders to his boat.

6/07/2010 6:32 PM

Anonymous CDR Eric Severseike, USN said...

Good Lord - a smart bunch of post-command O-6s sat around and, using a system that's as good as any that I can think of (and can be reasonably executed, to counter the 360 degree eval folks), came up with the list.

This back and forth about individuals is asinine and cheapens us all. If you don't like someone's style, take the lessons learned and apply it to your next leadership opportunity.

Posting anonymously about your perception of another individual's ability is almost worth the price of admission to Joel's blog.

BTW, Joel, you were my shift ENG when I went through in 94-07. Hope all is well.

6/07/2010 7:53 PM

Blogger fourfastboats said...

You stay in long enough, you will get across the breakers with some people - that's just the way it is. You may have caught him on a bad day - you may have deserved it.

You can complain about the screening process (and sometimes mistakes are made), but rather than complaining how about coming up with something better.

I would also challenge you to write truthful FITREPs - if someone that works for you isn't cutting it then don't recommend them for the next career milestone. Have the courage to write the FITREP accordingly - don't write something that is ambiguous because the board may tend to err on the side of the individual.

There is more at stake here than an individual's feelings.

6/07/2010 11:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feelings, nothing more than feelings, waahaoe feelings.

You're in the shit house now Pal, I'm back!

The new and improved M. Mulligan

6/07/2010 11:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shawn Huey walks on water, and then submerges, and then walks on water again.

Stop worshiping at the alter. Some of us have to post anonymously, lest we face the wrath of the rank which Shawn has stepped on others to assume.

That is all.

6/08/2010 1:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Lord - a smart bunch of post-command O-6s sat around and, using a system that's as good as any that I can think of (and can be reasonably executed, to counter the 360 degree eval folks), came up with the list.

Don't you question it...Don't fucking dare question the list.

6/08/2010 5:29 AM

Anonymous mentaljim said...

The first rule of command club is that you don't talk about command club. The second rule of command club is that you DO NOT talk about command club.

The previous post made me think of Fight Club. It will never be a perfect process. I say congrats to those on the list. Congrats to those not on the list who didn't want to be on the list. For those who both really wanted to be on the list and really thought they should've been there keep your chin up.

6/08/2010 6:05 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

I've served in two Submarine CO/XO boards and two Submarine Major Command Boards. The game's the same: individual official records are individually screened by a Board member and then briefed to the whole Board by that member (with practice runs before). The Board votes, with rules that ensure that grey-area candidates are looked at again. The result of this first trot through is a pile of sure-selects (never as many as are needed to fill that year's quota) and another pile of genuine rejects ("and this little glitch is the grounding").

The sorting and winnowing continues until the quotas are filled. Never a problem with the aces nor the slugs - it's the gray-zone guys that cause the most work. In each list of selectees there is always one individual who was one ranking away from being a reject, so the Boards know they are putting forward a few who are not stellar (and the fleet then suffers). But it's a numbers game and those on the Board do their very best to serve both the Force and the individuals being screened.

In all the four Boards I participated in was heard the comment "I wish we had more good people to select from." it's really a tough game.

6/08/2010 7:05 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

"Good Lord - a smart bunch of post-command O-6s sat around and, using a system that's as good as any that I can think of (and can be reasonably executed, to counter the 360 degree eval folks), came up with the list."

The same process was applied to select Captain Graf! The difference is she got caught. CDR Alfonso is another example. I can think of some pretty compentent and incompetent COs I have served with. Plus seen in my 6 years of running trainers.

Ducky is right, its a numbers game. You need to select 12 for command, you review 50 and pick the best 12 available. Are you pickin ghte best, or are you picking the 12 that are not as messed up as the others? Just like Battle E awards. You may get good scores for the boat, but it all depends on how well or terrible the other boats did!

I can see where there are always those that shouldn't and couldn't lead at all. But it's not a perfect process and you have to go with the flow, no matter how great or shitty they are.


6/08/2010 7:58 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

The records and performance potential are not created from the ether on the day the Board convenes. All the candidates are the end-point of the earlier screening and training processes that got them to the Board and, more significantly, reflect the culture and values of the system they come from.

The pyramid will always be too steep to allow the picks to reflect only different degrees of perfection, but it's far from impossible to imagine that we might raise our commissioned young'uns in an atmosphere that produced better crops of candidates. It takes time to turn around something as ingrained as a warfare community's culture, but I think we should look inward if the picks are less tha stellar.

Where the hell are the chiefs? When I joined, the only advice my dad gave me was 'remember, it's a chief's navy.' If that's still true, how come the officers they are raising turn out poorly? Is it the nuke culture? Is it the relative loss of mission? I can't judge if poor command skills are a big problem or isolated. But if it's much more than statistical scatter, I'd suggest it's time to take a round turn. And I'd start in the goat locker.

6/08/2010 8:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If CDR Alphonso had been a little taller, he could have developed a Napoleon complex.

6/08/2010 9:44 AM

Anonymous Carl said...

An organization is perfectly aligned to get what it is achieving. To get a different result, the organization needs to be different.

But also, riffing on Winston Churchill, if you haven't made any enemies, then you haven't stood up for something in your life.

So it doesn't bother me that some individuals earn the "anonymous blog wrath".

Congrats to those that made it and I wish them much success on their boats.


6/08/2010 10:11 AM

Anonymous See ya said...

...When I joined, the only advice my dad gave me was 'remember, it's a chief's navy.'

That you joined as an enlisted man no doubt had a heavy influence on your dad's choice of words and fatherly advice. Do you think he'd have said the same thing if you'd joined via the Naval Academy, for instance...?

Allow for the possibility that the worst kind of bombast and unhelpful advice actually comes from some chiefs.

Example: the bullshit, throw-away comment from too many chiefs -- designed solely to pump up their own ego and destroy their division officer's -- that "any one of your guys could have become what you are."

And if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass a-hoppin'. There are all kinds of "what if" scenarios in life, but how does it help anyone to stake claim to an improvable, and, worse, valueless, "fact" like that?

There's NO question with many nukes that they could have done a young JOs job. But they didn't go to college, and aren't in that role, and very most likely never will. So what's the point except ego-mania on the part of the chief?

If the chiefs really wanted to help the J.O.s, they would provide better/best feedback on what works and what doesn't. Tearing down a young ensign just because it's chief-legend sport to do so is the kind of thing that makes the good guys leave when their first tour is done. For if the 'head enlisted' thinking is that FUBAR, what the point of staying?

6/08/2010 10:43 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

"Do you think he'd have said the same thing if you'd joined via the Naval Academy?"

6/08/2010 11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In all the four Boards I participated in was heard the comment "I wish we had more good people to select from." it's really a tough game."

Duck - I think we are in a much better position now. I served on last year's Major Command board and we left some excellent officers on the table, on their final look. Certainly no comments like yours above, wishing we had betters officers in the pool. Of course, it's still a tough game, just the other side of the coin.

6/08/2010 11:29 AM

Anonymous Squidward said...

{Is it the nuke culture?}

Dude, its not always the nucs, and you know it. You're like the guy who lives in a freakin hammer factory.

{Example: the bullshit, throw-away comment from too many chiefs -- designed solely to pump up their own ego and destroy their division officer's -- that "any one of your guys could have become what you are."}

Fail - GCE. The point is that as a submariner, you are likely to be a division officer for a bunch of guys who, if they had made different choices, would be where you are. What does that mean? That means that some of your guys are as smart as you are. Some of them are smarter. Some of them (like some on the CO's list this year) will go further than you will. You want me to name the guys on the list who started as enlisted?

Your chief was not trying to destroy your fragile little ego. He was reminding you that you are in an elite force and that your guys are smart and capable. Your efforts must be based on superior leadership and maturity - anything else and your left holding your collar and pointing at it - a sad sight. In the Army, you could assume you were the smartest kid in the platoon. Not here. Sorry.

The job of the chief (and I never was one, but I saw good and bad) is to train JOs and to lead their divisions. I think Chiefs have become more status conscious and less mentoring, especially to JOs. One thing that would help is less emphasis on the enlisted/officer split - the chief's attitude is a reaction to that. Look to the Marines or Air Force for good example of a proper, reasonable dynamic.

6/08/2010 11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a chief's crew...and an officer's vessel.

And it takes both working together to create a Navy.

6/08/2010 11:32 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Anon @1129: Good to hear. Actually, major command boards were easier. By O6, lot of sorting already done

6/08/2010 11:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm jealous of the lucky Sailors that get to serve with Tim Poe, Tarsa, or Mike Majewski as their CO. Congratulations guys!

6/08/2010 2:57 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

So what's the point except go-mania on the part of the chief?
The point is you need to LEAD & treat your people with respect. Stow the OFFICER EGO that you are better than the enlisted Sailors working for you at the weapons shipping hatch. Just because you have collar devices (anchors or bars) doesn't make you better.

If the chiefs really wanted to help the J.O.s, they would provide better/best feedback on what works and what doesn't. Tearing down a young ensign...
Most of the JO's I've served with appreciated my feedback, and understood when they were tore down (privately) they deserved it.

At the same time, in my experience, watching the CO & XO tear down the JO's in public was much more prevalent.

6/09/2010 9:43 AM

Blogger DDM said...

There are so many variables that go into the CPO/JO relationship that there is no pat answer. I once had a Div-O that had been an EMC. You'd think we would have been a great team. We weren't. Later on we would be good as a watch team, but our styles working with the E-Div'rs was so different, it caused some unnecessary friction.

My best JO story was when I was a hot fill as E-LCPO during a ship's deployment. I had spent a lot of time working with ENS X who was struggling in all aspects of his duties. I would go through the XO tickler and remind him of "officer" stuff that was due so that he would quit getting crapped on all the time. We had a TG breaker fail while on mission and we worked 16 hours straight fixing it. I hadn't slept in about 30 hours when I finally got the chance to get 4 hours down before the mid-watch. He had me racked out because the SRTP was due that day and he didn't want to be late. A few months earlier I had reported to this boat (12NOV) and E DIV was working with unapproved PMS, RPPMS, and SRTP schedules, plus the QBR had not been submitted and MH had not been reviewed for about 3 months (all due 1 OCT). I guess my talks about meeting deadlines worked. It was the only time in 24+ years that I got racked out for admin.

6/09/2010 10:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's great to have goals and vision early in your naval career. Unfortunately the methods that an individual used to materialize those goals have left a wake of disgruntled subordinates. These subordinates question where the process broke down. There are plenty of examples in the recent media of Commanding Officers failing due to the negative effects they had on their crews. I pray for the individual and the crew he will command that since his goal is now reached, the self serving behavior will end and the true leader inside is revealed.

6/09/2010 8:44 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Does anyone know how to get a hold of Chris Tarsa? I believe I went to high school with him. I know he went into the Naval Academy after he left high school but haven't seen or heard from him in years.
He was from Adams, Massachusetts and he should be around 37 years of age.
Please help if you can.

Aimee Lucia

10/05/2010 6:12 PM


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