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, September 15, 2010

Aboard USS Rhode Island

USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) recently hosted some journalists for an at-sea media availability, and an Armed Forces Press Service reporter filed this report, posted on As with most reports where a civilian journalist goes on a submarine, some interesting "facts" are presented. Excerpt:
The Trident subs, known as “boomers,” are powered by a single-shaft nuclear reactor. They can carry more than 16 tons, travel more than 20 knots -- more than 23 miles per hour -- and submerge more than 800 feet, according to Navy officials who keep their exact capabilities secret.
I was interested in the "single-shaft nuclear reactor", and I really have no idea what statistic the reporter misconstrued to come up with the "16 tons" factoid. I'm guessing some crew member said it to the reporter as a joke, and nobody caught it during the editing process.

I was interested to see a mention of a CDR Michael Sowa, identified as the SubGru TEN Deputy COS for Strategic Weapons. I know there were two Mike Sowa's in the Sub Force back when I was on active duty; I'm wondering if this is the one who was one of my JOs on USS Connecticut (SSN 22).

The article also has a picture of the Dolphin Ceremony for PO3(SS) William Corring:

Congratulations, Petty Officer Corring!

Update 1700 9/15: Maybe the reporter meant 16 tons of food -- or 16 tons of crew. It's been so long since I've done a dive comp that I can't remember what we used to put in for a full stores load and crew complement, but 160 guys (for an Ohio-class boat) times 200 pounds would be about right.


Anonymous scoop said...

Not the Mike Sowa you are thinking about from our boat. I don't post often but like following your blog - it's great!

9/15/2010 4:46 PM

Anonymous MentalJim said...

Nope, as scoop said...the Mike Sowa in the story is the one I refer to as the good Mike Sowa.

9/15/2010 7:18 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Congratulations PO3(SS) Corning.

"21,000 biodegradable weights" New kind of TDU weight?

This is probably a pretty neat article for the "unwashed" folks. It's ok at any rate.

9/16/2010 3:08 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Oh yeah, just remembered. Back in the day when I was writing aircraft load directives in NALCO Naples; a dead man in a casket was called 200 pounds. If I recall correctly a passenger was 160 pounds. I don't know how many folks are on a boomer, but call it 160 @ 160 equals 25,600 pounds. 16 tons; somewhat off the mark, but maybe that's for homecoming weight.

9/16/2010 3:50 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"... single-shaft nuclear reactor. They can carry more than 16 tons,"

While I like YNC(SS)'s theory better, dollars to donuts says this site is the erroneous source.

9/16/2010 6:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No big mystery, in the briefing the reporter was probably given displacement figures and really didn't know what they meant.

If I remember from my DOOW days, the ship is 18.7k tons submerged and about 16.6k tons surfaced.

Jim C.

9/16/2010 7:06 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

What we must also understand is that the FEMALE reporter probably quick-referenced the U.K.'s Vanguard class, which sports 16 rather than the U.S. complement of missiles.

9/16/2010 7:07 PM


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