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, November 18, 2010

Submarine Officer Board Results Announced

The FY12 Submarine Major Command Board and FY12 Submarine Department Head Selection Board announced their results today. Congratulations to all selected!

It looks like the Major Command Board was for my year group. Man, I'm old...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really want to feel old, Joel, I think some or maybe most of the guys on the DH screening list weren't even born when you first joined the Navy. :)

11/18/2010 7:47 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

Glad to see CAPT Pearson on there. He was a great CO on Kentucky.

Congrats to all on the list.


11/18/2010 7:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to CAPT Breitfelder. He was a good CO on MAINE and taught me a lot.

11/18/2010 8:32 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

What a kick-ass DH list. I know close to 20 of the names and I'm glad they all made it. It looks like our leadership is gonna be rock solid for a few years to come. Way to go Gents!

11/18/2010 9:51 PM

Blogger John said...

How does the DH board work? What departments have the zeros been selected for? How do they know what department they're headed for? Also I see that there are two LDO's on the list for SWS. I thought LDO's were history on submarines from even my early days in the navy.

11/18/2010 10:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The boat is divided into work areas. Typically most combatants have four primary departments, Engineering, Operations, Weapons and Supply. Each department is made up of divisions. A department head will typically be a senior 03 or 04 who's working his way to XO. Ranks will vary on the size and configuration of the boat. After finishing (SOAC) Submarine Officers Advanced Course and a graduate degree in most cases, the 03 or 04 will request their desired job on their desired boat.

After that, is when life starts getting very political and for most guys, that is their make or break point of their Naval career.
and people wonder why we lose so many perfectly good officers to the private sector to work 8 to 5, with weekends off and for a much heavier pay check.

How many 03s and 04s do you know who have a company car and a set of $2K Callaway golf clubs? Not to be a smart ass but you have to admit how enticing the private sector truly is. Is taking a bite of the forbidden fruit really that bad? Weigh your options and make your decision.

11/19/2010 12:54 AM

Blogger John said...

@ Anon - well of course I know how the navy is organized re: departments/divisions. What I didn't realize (or somehow never thought about) was how a navigator became a navigator or a weps a weps, etc. From what you've said it sounds similar to the dream sheet for enlisted. You request what you want and hope for the best.

11/19/2010 6:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a time when the odds that a department head made it to CO varied directly with the department head's job title: Engineers almost always made it, Weapons Officers almost never made it, and Navigator/Operations Officers were somewhere in the middle.

Is it still that way or have things changed significantly?

11/19/2010 6:30 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

"There was a time when the odds that a department head made it to CO varied directly with the department head's job title: Engineers almost always made it, Weapons Officers almost never made it, and Navigator/Operations Officers were somewhere in the middle."

By all accounts this perversion still obtains. Which explains why nukes boil water with elan but get lost occasionally and can't hit their ass with both hands in the weapons world. We will have the submarine force we need when its boats can perform as well forward of the teakettle as they do aft and when the standards are equal at both ends of the boat. I'm not knocking engineering standards. It's the slack we cut in operations and weapons that hurts the force.

The DBF crowd was dead wrong on any superiority of pigboat hulls to nuke, but they were onto something in ruing the setting aside of fundamental submarine skills in favor of steaming the plant.

Nothing wrong with the hugely talented people we have in the force. It's the standards that are skewed. Good thing we don't actually have to use the boats anymore for national defense. If ever we do, expect a Darwinian screening in favor of combat skills and leadership, just as at the start of WW-II. In the Cold War the boats did enough actual operating to keep submarining ability in the mix. Now? I worry.

11/19/2010 7:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Duck worries only because he has no idea what the boats are actually doing on mission these days. We have shifted from a blue-water ASW-centric force to a littoral force that executes missions from ISR to Strike readiness to the occasional old-school ASW op. Having seen recent mission debriefs I can say we are definitely still relevant, needed, and frankly kicking ass.

11/19/2010 7:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few questions:

Just because someone "screened" for DH doesn't mean they will stay in. The only people who don't screen on those who fail PNEO or are specifically not recommended by their CO during JO tour. Just looking at the list does not indicate "rock solid" leadership. I screened for DH (still have the congratulations later around here somewhere) and still dropped my letter.

2. A DH who actually stays in will get verbal orders at the begining of SOAC. Most peoples orders will change at least once due to current DH's getting fired/med disqual's/the Navy just likes to screw with you.

3. All DH are allowed to put in their "preferences" but NR screens the list to select the ENG's. My buddies only preference was not ENG the detailer told him their is about a 95% chance he will be an ENG because he technical score is to high (combo of your college major, power school, prototype, and PNEO grades).

4. They are trying to make it so all DH's screen to CO and XO equally but are hampered by the fact that either the CO or the XO must be a served ENG. You can get around this by split touring DH's (my first CO started as Nav and ended as ENG). When 50% (served ENG's) of the people have to come from 33% of the supply (ENG, NAV, WEPS) it is impossible for all things to balance out. So if you want to improve your chances of being a CO/XO you should try for ENG. If you love your family and actually want to see them once in a while you should try for NAV/WEPS.

My two sense:
The workload I saw in my admittedly brief single tour on a submarine seemed to be ENG 60% of the work, Nav 25 - 30%, Weps 10 - 15%. Not really sure how you could change things up to balance it out a little bit more between the DH's - A-gang seems like the easiest division to move and that would shift a lot of the subsafe stuff. In theory the WEPS is used to seeing it thanks to the torpedo men. But it would also impact JO manning since NR requires 12 months as a engineering department division officer prior to go to PNEO.

Hope this helps answer people's questions.

11/19/2010 7:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Duck may have sailed on the Holland, but he's probably right about the Darwinian selection process. No amount of "kicking ass" in peacetime guarantees similar performance when warshots replace waterslugs.

Peacetime tends to favor the advancement of individuals that know how to play the political game and look good in front of a room, rather than those that think outside the box and just get things done. In WWII, we had time to correct this problem. The question is whether we'll have that kind of time when called upon in the future.

Generally speaking, Engineers represent the smartest of the submarine officers, but not necessarily its best leaders or tacticians. This is a relatively easy problem to identify, but an extremely hard problem to solve.

11/19/2010 8:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although NR professes never to release your technical score, you can often pick up clues from your detailer. For example, a offer to be the Engineer of a submarine whose keel was laid before you were born tends to indicate a high score.

11/19/2010 8:28 AM

Anonymous bullnav said...

I don't know if you can apply a year group to it. There are 3 guys I went to NPS/NPTU/SOBC, 3 guys from my SOAC class, one guy I was a DH with, and 4 others I happen to know. They YG's this message covers are all over the place.

Congratulations to all!

11/19/2010 9:19 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Maybe it was just "first look" for my YG; there were two of my old shipmates from YG88 selected last year, and I see several guys from YG 89 this time.

Re: Technical ratings and DH selection, about the time I was in SOAC ('95-'96) they came out with a requirement that half of the people with technical ratings in the top half had to be Navs or CSOs. Of course, that meant that half the guys with above average technical ratings were Engs, and about a quarter each were Navs and CSOs. I heard that the technical rating is a number between 1-100, with essentially everyone in the 80-98 range who is serving as a DH. I've heard that it can change after your PNEO exam based on NR local office evaluation, but that's only a rumor. I also heard that the billet requiring the highest score is shipyard Eng; of course, that might just be wishful thinking on my part, since I did newcon Eng twice.

11/19/2010 10:54 AM

Blogger Alexander said...

The whole process for assigning DHs is certainly interesting. I am about to head to SOAC, so I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to be when I grow up. I think my skills would line up with the ENG job better, however as I am finishing up 12 months in Iraq, I'm not sure I want to sacrifice the family time. I'm leaning towards aiming to be a NAV as I never worked in that Department as a JO and I have the least knowledge there.

All I know is that the Navy is going to put me where they want me. So it almost would be easier to get a letter/e-mail telling me where I'm going rather than putting in all the thought and effort to decide what I "want" and then getting those hopes crushed by the "needs of the Navy".

11/19/2010 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the detailers still do this, perhaps you could go as ENG (pick up LCDR early and then stay there until you actually get promoted) and then split tour in the same homeport (even on the same submarine) as NAV/OPS. Your CO probably would be happy to have a served ENG as his NAV/OPS, particularly if you were his previous ENG.

You might even be able to split tour SSN to SSBN/SSGN (or vice versa) if you went, for example, to the Bangor/Bremerton area. That way, you could be an ENG in the yards and NAV/OPS or WEPS on an operating T-hull or T-hull conversion.

Caveat, I know one guy who did this around 1990, but his CO decided to shift him to NAV/OPS before he actually got promoted to LCDR. As a result, he reverted to LT for several months. Some scars never go away.

11/19/2010 11:09 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I guess it is a lot harder to screen for DH than in my day (last sixties/early seventies for DH tour). The only requirement then was a pulse and successful completion of Engineer exam. Off subject but pertinent - the New London DAY has an article stating that CSDG12 has relieved the CO of MEMPHIS for "loss of ocnfidence" in command and is investigating some sort of exam cheating issue.

11/19/2010 11:12 AM

Blogger Alexander said...

The whole split tour thing may not be a bad idea. However, with the way the numbers are working out for LCDR board dates, combined with the shift in promotion phasing, I'll be lucky to put on LCDR before I leave the boat...

11/19/2010 11:59 AM

Blogger Bigbill said...

Glad to see Capt Snodgrass on the list. He was one of my favorite shift engineers (next to Joel) at NPTU in the mid 90's. Good things for a good guy.

11/19/2010 12:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know the answer to ETCS's question re LDO's on boats?

11/19/2010 1:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alexander: Keep up that positive attitude and snarkiness that you're displaying on this blog and you'll be luck to make LCDR.

Anon and ETCS: Some SSBN crews have an LDO assigned as AWEPS to support the 1120 (regular nuc) WEPS and add some SWS institutional knowledge. Good program ran by the LDO community & PERS-42.

11/19/2010 2:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like submarine detailers can't spell or proofread. He probably meant that you'll be LUCKY to make LCDR.

Put in your dreamsheet. The chips will fall where they may, as they always do. At least you'll have had some input.

When I was a DH, split touring was the "in" thing. My detailer told me that I had to do it. Since I wasn't interested, he "punished" me by extending my 36-month tour to 39+ months. But at the 33-month point, the detailer suddenly needed me to go somewhere else. The bottom line is that rules are rules, except when they aren't. You get input, but rarely have the final say.

As a friend of mine says--life is tough, get a helmet.

11/19/2010 3:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 3:02
"The bottom line is that rules are rules, except when they aren't"
A saying I've heard often at NPC & personally experienced is, "Everything is waiverable."

The MILPERSMAN has wiggle room intentionally written into it in many places. Some articles directly contradict others in the same manual (not intentionally). This leaves interpretation into the eyes of the beholder (detailer).

For some things he makes the call at his level. For others (any conflicts or special cases w/ gray areas or when going against 'standard' policy on subjects like tour lengths, PAR's, etc) a waiver or request is submitted for approval. That gets chopped by the C0C and final approval from the Branch Head or Division Director in most cases. Some go to the Admiral level, depending on what is being asked for... Most of these waivers are completely transparent to the Sailor in question.

If your tour length was 36 months and you were enlisted, 1306-104 para6 clearly states the detailer can pull you 90 days early or 120 late from your PRD w/ no paperwork required. Officer side has a similar article w/ a slightly different but similar window that gives leeway. Exceptions to that normal detailing window (to fill a hot-fill for example) would require a waiver request. Those are frequently granted.

If you were being directed to split-tour, there was probably a gap somewhere. You declined so he pushes you to the right 3 months (kicking the can of identifying your relief down the street a few months) while someone else (maybe the next guy on a short list of potential candidates) filled the spot he was worrying about finding a solution for that month. I highly doubt "punishing" was on the detailers mind. Detailers are plate spinners, and frequently end up concentrating on keeping as few as possible from crashing. Pushing you right 3 months puts your billet on the back burner, simple as that.

Months later on, you end up on a new candidate list (of potential early rollers) for a completely different hotfill (except to shore this time) and end up getting pulled earlier rather than later because your relief (a SOAC grad) can be put into play one class earlier.

11/19/2010 5:47 PM

Anonymous Mentaljim said...

I only directly served with one person on the major command list. Seeing his name re-confirmed that I made the right decision for me to leave the sub force when I did.

Congrats to all the people on both lists.

11/19/2010 9:14 PM

Blogger rick said...

Anyone know if the John Sager on the major command list is the same guy who was at MTS-635 in the late 90s?

11/19/2010 11:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

submarine weapons LDO's, 6260 designator, can serve as WEP's on an SSBN.

11/20/2010 5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Sager is the same guy - he was a shift eng in 1996 at Charleston.

11/20/2010 5:55 AM

Anonymous I know where the bodies are buried said...

I wonder how many guys on this list have ever cheated on a boat qualification or training exam? The answer of course is not zero, but why start naming names now.

Now back to your regularly scheduled show "As The Submarine Force Turns".

11/20/2010 9:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a few of my best instructors from the nuc pipeline are on there. Hopefully I will see some of them in the fleet.

11/20/2010 9:15 PM

Anonymous Brandon baker said...

Congrats to Bobby Pannell, the ENG on the Louisville, one of the more down to earth officers I knew on that boat.

12/09/2010 1:06 PM


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