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, July 19, 2010

USS North Carolina Photos And Story

Here's a really good story, with embedded videos, about USS North Carolina (SSN 777). Almost 30 pictures of the boat can be found here, including this one of the Command Center:

The CO is CDR Wes Schlauder, who was Weps on USS Connecticut (SSN 22) when I was Eng. He done good. He has a fine boat -- even if it's a lot slower than his Department Head ride.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang, Joel, give it a rest! Your single-minded obsession with speed is almost comical. You need to ride one of these boats so you can understand how much better they are than SEAWOLF or CONNECTICUT - NORTH CAROLINA would be great since it is now TI-08 / APB-09. Although the reporter on this story did pretty good job, I would love to see someone with actual 1120 experience and perspective write a story. What do you think gang - should the blogger get an underway and do a real report?

7/20/2010 6:32 AM

Anonymous Subbasket said...

Anonymous, I think you might need to give it a rest and why should Joel give it a rest. If he believes in something then he should follow what he knows is true. Have you been a two time NCONN Eng on two Seawolf class subs or any other sub for that matter. I do believe he might still hold that stupid record. So you just give it a rest and let the man say what he wants after all it is his blog and he welcomes nameless human beings to make their stupid comments.

7/20/2010 6:52 AM

Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

You guys can argue back and forth all day long about which class is better. For me, as a sailor on four Posieden boomers, these new boats are mind boggling. Even the Tridents blew me away when I worked on them as a ship superintendent. Aside from all of the political crap, I'd love to geta chance to work on one of these boats.

7/20/2010 9:16 AM

Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

PS - Also agree that this is Joel's blog and he can do and say what he pleases. There isn't a better submarine blog on the web. I'm thankful for this one (even if there is too much bullshit at times IMHO).

7/20/2010 9:18 AM

Anonymous VA fan said...

Looking at the 1st comment above, I think the gist of it is very supportive of Joel...he's just taking some heat for the speed thing, and that's OK, too. Joel can handle a little back & forth smack talk.

We're all hungry - as the commenter points out - for REAL submariner commentary on the Virginia class, which appear to be downright amazing from a control room perspective.

And I second the notion that it's a GREAT idea for Joel to be granted a friends & family run on a VA class boat. If he doesn't some other submarine blogger's just too interesting not to.

7/20/2010 9:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me say, I was stationed onboard NORTH CAROLINA from February 2007 until October 2008 as a split-tour ENG qualified JO. I came from USS FLORIDA (having completed conversion and sea trials on that submarine).

While the two classes (SSBN-turned-SSGN and VA SSN) are as different as can be, they are both awesome platforms.

That being said, I LOVED my time on NCA. Seeing the ship being completed in the shipyard, taking the ship out for the first time (as the OOD, mind you), was the most satisfying thing I have done in the Navy.

From the weapons systems, to the optical systems, to the equally incredible ship control systems (picture this: I order the pilot to proceed to Periscope Depth. He acknowledges my order, touches three or four flat-panel display buttons, and we go.), this class of submarine is AWESOME.

While it may not be the fastest (Joel), it is the most capable we have.

And if it weren't for the meager living space (a guy has to sleep, you know), it would be an awesome place to live for six months.

I left the boat the week before CDR Schlauder relieved CAPT Mark E. Davis (now COS of CTF-69), so I spent some time with him. He's a great leader and I'm sure has been a great CO.

Awesome article, awesome pictures, and...Burchwell and Cook!!!

Hoo-Yah North Carolina!

7/20/2010 11:53 AM

Anonymous Michael said...

Joel -

If you want to go, I'll work to make it happen. Drop me a line -

7/20/2010 12:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read your info here:

Yes I think you could make this happen.

7/20/2010 1:31 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


"There's this guy, see...."

Sounds like an offer he can't refuse!

7/20/2010 4:13 PM

Blogger Buck said...

I am a civilian. My son is a Virginia class nuc MM. I was there when his boat was christened, and my biggest hope was to be able to walk topside. I was so happy to be able to go below!

I was there when the boat was commissioned. I was double thrilled to go below again and see her alive.

Then I got to ride her from PCan to Groton.

It was like living my lifelong dream of being an astronaut.

It's the most frustrating situation imaginable. On the one hand I want to tell everyone I meet about the boat and especially her crew - they were uniformly kind to a geek who was sucking down their air but doing no work. On the other hand, I will never ever say something that might compromise their security.

And so I've never made much public noise about my Tiger Cruise. I have some photos - cleared by the Navy - and my memories but I have no idea what I could, or should say. I suspect I'd bore most of this group.

If I had to summarize it, I felt like an astronaut. I met an incredible group of men. I got to smoke a cigar on the bridge with my son. I even got to eat midrats with him (chili dogs) which sounds so mundane, but it's a bond, it's something that is so rare. How many Dads get to eat a meal with their son onboard, underway, with a lot of water overhead?

It was a very rare privilege and I can't thank the crew enough.

Nice find Joel.

7/20/2010 6:25 PM

Anonymous Rapidnadion said...


That's a once in a lifetime father-son experience and I envy you for it! As a civilian who spent a long time wanting to go Navy submarines (I blame Michael DiMercurio's excellent sub novels), I'd be interested in hearing the full story. I had a few opportunities to tour an SSN back in college but could never get the time. Now that the opportunity has passed, I feel like a moron. Stories like the once referenced in this article and yours are what I live for!

7/20/2010 7:34 PM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

As soon as the bugs get worked out regarding the new technology I'm sure this will be a great platform. I give it another 10 years.

7/20/2010 7:49 PM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

I wonder how long the CO will hold a grudge for that Sonar Tech who backed the bus over him regarding sonar statistics. Actually sir, your off by 100. Hilarious, you can't make this stuff up.

7/20/2010 8:11 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

I can understand buck's sentiment because I have had the opportunity for my Dad and my wife to ride the boat. Dad was really impressed with the ship because it was his only chance to tour one. I really enjoyed having the wife onboard. We (both about six foot tall) shared my bunk for a nap, which was the best sleep I ever had on the boat.

I know that civilians are really impressed with being underway, but who else hated those long long days for VIP cruises? I have many a bad story and a couple of good ones supporting VIPs. I got to drive around Alcatraz at sunrise then out through the Golden Gate. I also was OOD for a Super Bowl Sunday puke-feast off the coast of PCAN with a bunch of VIPs.

Family cruises were always better. And by the way Joel it is always cool to be reminded that we have one of the fasts boats still afloat.

7/20/2010 8:20 PM

Blogger tennvol said...

That periscope view down the Thames sure brought back some memories.

7/21/2010 8:10 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Anon @ 7/20/10 11:53--You know Captain Toti? Was my first ENG on Buffalo. Outstanding guy.

7/21/2010 10:53 AM

Anonymous pc assclown said...


Way to stand by your man. Maybe you're really Tammy Wynette in disguise.

7/21/2010 11:18 AM

Anonymous ret.cob said...

Could hardly see that guy. Blended right in the background radiation.

7/21/2010 11:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pic 22: Most of the crew stay in six bunk rooms, and up to eight crew members can share those rooms (with at least two on watch at any given time. The North Carolina is big enough that most often, it is not necessary for that form of "hot cotting," which is what it is called when one crew member climbs into a bed recently vacated by another.

Never heard that term - it was always hotbunking, even now w/ the multitude of ex Navy nukes where I work.

7/21/2010 6:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel -

If you want to go, I'll work to make it happen. Drop me a line -

Jabaley? Dude, I remember you as a nubbly EOOW from Vanderbilt wasn't it? You and your USNA bud Kyto?

A former Drum EM

7/21/2010 6:51 PM

Anonymous Michael said...

Ouch. I guess that's the danger of posting on a blog. Yes on Vanderbilt, and I do remember Kyto - he of the cloven hooves....

Wouldn't necessarily call him "buddy" though.

You can drop me a line too if you wish!

7/21/2010 8:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to know there are still 637 sailors out there.

According to Wikipedia (which is always correct!):

The non-profit Mare Island Park Historic Foundation is raising money to return Drum to Vallejo as a floating museum ship. In Fiscal Year 1997, the United States Congress authorized the transfer of Drum to Vallejo at "no cost to the U.S. Government". If enough money is raised to cover the cost of that transfer, Drum may be transferred to Vallejo after removal of her nuclear reactor and decontamination of her hull.

7/21/2010 8:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia (which is always correct!):

The non-profit Mare Island Park Historic Foundation is raising money to return Drum to Vallejo as a floating museum ship. In Fiscal Year 1997, the United States Congress authorized the transfer of Drum to Vallejo at "no cost to the U.S. Government". If enough money is raised to cover the cost of that transfer, Drum may be transferred to Vallejo after removal of her nuclear reactor and decontamination of her hull.

And once again, Wiki is wrong. This used to be correct, BUT funding never materialized and Drum is slated to be moved into drydock at PSNS (if not already) for scrapping. Too bad - I was hoping they would succeed in getting Drum back to Mare Island. If I remember correctly, Drum was the last sub built at MI.

7/22/2010 6:41 AM

Anonymous Peanut Gallery Benchwarmer said...

Just jawboning here, but I doubt we'll see another nuclear submarine saved for show-and-tell besides, maybe, USS Dallas...and that's a stretch.

It takes some serious coin to add the 'strap on' reactor compartment replacement to any boat, and so sealing off the de-toothed RC is the only $$-feasible way to make this happen. That clearly comes with at least mild radiological concerns as well.

So my guesstimate is that we will not see another nuke preserved, especially in today's unfolding financial/budget scenario. It's a pity...but it's reality.

If someone knows/believes differently, I'd love to hear a reality-based argument.

7/22/2010 7:00 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Actually, there is a move afoot to do just that with ex-NARWHAL, after a failed attempt in Cincinatti, OH. Here's a link to a video of the plan:

7/22/2010 9:12 AM

Anonymous Peanut Gallery Benchwarmer said...

Nice video, but -- and with no offense intended -- I have to call bullshit on some of the cost estimates.

For example, building a concrete pad to support a 4,700 ton submarine for $175K...? And moving it for just over $1M...? Me thinks not.

Best of luck to those who are selling this, but the low-ball numbers may hurt you more than help you. I note, for instance, no cost built in for severing the boat into three pieces and then reassembling it. My guess is that this will cost a couple of sheckels.

To your favor, you're not trying to hit up cities or taxpayers directly for this. That approach these days is a lead balloon.

To end on a positive note, if any similar project can be done this looks like the one to bet on. It does look like a least-cost approach...even if the $$ estimates look way too low to me.

7/22/2010 10:42 AM

Anonymous Peanute Gallery Benchwarmer said...

P.S. Especially in an earthquake-prone region (e.g., this one in Puget Sound being 7.1 on the Richter scale, and just 60 years ago.)

7/22/2010 10:48 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

For the record, I have nothing to do whatsoever with this project, just providing a link to it.

As far as cutting the boat in 3 pieces, that will already be taken care of when the reactor compartment is removed and packaged for storage at Hanford, as are all submarine recycling program RC's. No extra incurred cost either to those ramrodding the project or the government, since they were going to bear the cost regardless.

As far as the other costs, perhaps a lowball cost, but it still is a damn sight cheaper than the plan to put it on a barge and moor it in the Ohio River, as originally planned.

7/22/2010 11:24 AM

Blogger Old Salt said...

Kyto, now there's a name that brings back memories (Mostly bad). Is he the one that used to clip his toenails on watch?

As for the Drum, I have a friend working at PSNS that was a Nuc MM there back when I was a nubly ET. He says that it being chopped right now. Oh well, so passes another bit of history.

7/22/2010 2:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rode an old Sturgeon-stretch boat for 3+ years. I was able to tour the USS Virginia a few years back and was amazed by the size, layout and technology advancements. But she certainly smelled exactly the same...they still can't come up with something to kill that boat smell.

7/22/2010 3:31 PM

Anonymous Watching the paint dry said...

As someone else has pointed out, that submarine smell is mainly B.O. (body odor) and paint.

Tough to get rid of those two completely, but I think that better, HEPA-style filters would help out.

To the ladies joining the submarine force: welcome aboard!

(Can almost hear the "ewwww"s now...)

7/22/2010 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say as a Junior Officer who learned from the previous anonymous on board the North Carolina, She is an amazing Ship. BTW, it's not "Hotbunking", it's called "Hotracking".

BTW, I was lucky enough to serve under CDR Schlauder and also got to serve as OOD on Sea Trials when coming out of PSA!

7/22/2010 9:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, it's not "Hotbunking", it's called "Hotracking".

Hotbunking was used on the berthing bill.

Hotracking was the boat vernacular.

7/23/2010 10:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Females serving aboard SSNs give new meaning to the term "hotracking" if ever junior enlisted females are assigned to SSNs.

7/23/2010 10:46 AM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

The terms "hotracking" and "hotbunking" are vulger, and "hot-cotting" sounds gay in a British sorta way.

I think "bunk-sharing" sounds much more agreeable to the sensitive among us.

7/23/2010 10:55 AM

Blogger KC said...


I enjoyed reading your post about your son and you being able to join him on a tiger cruise. I too was able to join my son on a tiger cruise in 1998 and like you, it was something I cherish and will always remember.

I appreciate, understand and agree with your concern about security. Before I went on the cruise I read Tom Clancy's book "Submarine" which was very thorough and very technical about what a sub can and can't do. This book was published in 1993 and made the New York Times Best Seller list. It seemed to me that there is a lot of information in that book, that, if true - and I believe it is, should be classified. It helped me become familiar about what to expect while aboard and the best thing was that when anyone later asked me anything about the sub I could say, according to Tom Clancy "-------------‘, and then just quote him. I would never say what I saw, only what Tom Clancy had to say. (By the way he wrote the submarine book “Hunt For Red October”)

I too appreciate all the efforts the crew did to make my (and 35 other fathers, sons, brothers and friends – as long as they weren’t female) two day, one night stay so enjoyable. Everyone was very friendly and made all of us feel very welcome. I know it was a real inconvenience for the crew – thank you. (In 1998 this blog wasn't available to able to thank you at that time.)

If you have the opportunity, there are two things related to the Navy that one shouldn’t pass up. One is spent time underway on a submarine while the crew goes through its training drills and the other is to observe flight operations on an aircraft carrier. Both are very impressive and are the epitome of real team work.


7/23/2010 3:09 PM

Blogger Old Man from the Sea said...

And now en-route to Pearl:

7/24/2010 1:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, look at those chins!

Must be great chow and no workouts.

Doesn't bode well for transfer to CSP.

7/25/2010 6:11 PM

Anonymous fxhawaii said...

I totally match with everything you've written.

4/09/2012 4:40 AM


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