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.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Green Flares

This story from Australia reminded me of the old Broadside cartoon for some reason. Excerpts:
A SUBMERGED Collins class submarine and a female sailor had a lucky escape when she accidentally ignited a signal flare.
HMAS Waller was submerged off the WA coast, conducting anti-submarine exercises with the frigate HMAS Toowoomba and the replenishment vessel HMAS Sirius, at 9pm on Wednesday when the accident occurred.
The sailor was loading a green pyrotechnic flare into a tube in the ship's office when it went off, seriously burning her arms. Signal flares are routinely used by submerged submarines to communicate with surface ships.
The flare ignited a small spot fire that was put out by a sailor with a fire extinguisher. The boat went to emergency stations and made a dash to the surface.
No serious damage was suffered by the submarine and the sailor was treated by medics on board.
Have you ever hurt yourself doing something stupid on a submarine?

(For those who have forgotten what various flares meant, here's a reference.)


Anonymous Stsc said...

I fell in a line locker topside pulling in to EHW...more embarassing than painful. I ended up with a goose egg on my shin but no real damage. A miracle I landed on my feet.

2/12/2011 1:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Weps, once had a skipper order me to withdraw a loaded green flare from a 3" launcher -- a major no-no by procedure, specific fleet guidance, and largely physically prevented by a detent inside the tube whose purpose is to stop anyone from doing something that stupid.

The reason for all the layers of prevention is that if a loaded pyro somehow gets a taste of conductive seawater in the wrong spot, it WILL go off once you withdraw it from the tube [hmmm...the source of the Collins class issue as well?].

But the skipper was adamant. He was sorta pissed that the he had loaded it for an anti-skimmer exercise wherein we didn't catch said skimmer (an aircraft carrier and its escorts) due to exercise constraints gamesmanship, not any inability to eventualy find and 'shoot' them. An NR-type nuke, he simply didn't like the fact that we had to shoot the flare once it was loaded, and thought I could probably figure some way to get it out.

Felt like it was the first and only order that I needed to disobey for safety of ship...but it was a legal order, and the CO was well briefed by me on the risks.

So off we went. I had a charged firehose standing by while we made our surgical attempt. My TM LPO was stumped on how to extract it because of the detent.

As much as I didn't want to, I quickly saw that if we were to place some sheet metal between the detent and the body of the flare we could slide it out.

Then the thought occurred to me: y'know...I can't figure this out after all. Had the "y'see, there's this detent, Captain..." conversation, and despite some royal outrage we shot the flare when the time was right despite being Condition 2. As a result, no squids (including me) were harmed in the process.

Hope the lady sailor recovers alright. Nasty stuff. Can't help but wondering if there's more to the story, and perhaps along the lines of the above.

2/12/2011 7:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well this is not on submarines, but it sure is stupid. A B1 Bomber landing in Diego Garcia, but the pilots forgetting to put the landing gear down.

What is really funny is the nose art on the Bomber: "Oh! Hardluck"

2/12/2011 7:47 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

We had our taller than usual Communications Officer attempt to hurriedly ascend the ladder from crew's mess into the wardroom (directly above crew's mess on this older nuke).

The LT struck his head on the overhead and falling unconscious to the deck. No, it was not the same LT.

Anon @ 7:47 AM
Regarding landing without lowered landing gear, during the Viet War airdales were stationed at Alameada NAS runways with binoculars to avoid gear up landings. Now, of course, their are voice alarms to remind pilots.

2/12/2011 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised - perhaps even impressed - that this didn't devolve into "that's why women can't be in $community" within twelve hours.

2/12/2011 4:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During ORSE workup on a 637 class we had a 'fire in the Engine Room' drill. SOP for ERUL is to shut the bulkhead damper and watertight door to M2UL. The engineroom is supplied air through the damper and return air forward is through the hatch. Due to the nature of the equipment deemed to be on fire the diesel generator was lit off for both electrical generation and ventilation.

The drill monitors declared drill secured verbally in the engineroom. An MM2, having responded to either the fire or repair of the equipment damaged by the fire, headed forward. He GRABBED the latch to the watertight door and pushed down. The differential pressure across the door opened into M2UL with such force that it pulled MM2 into M2UL and flung him face first into the port coolant pump breakers (he now let go), bounced off of backstop without latching open, and slammed shut again.

I looked out of maneuvering at the door when it slammed shut and all of our ears popped in maneuvering to report there was nothing there, but over the 4MC, then 1MC, for the corpsman to lay aft.

MM2 had only broken his nose but was otherwise OK, and the first responders had done a fantastic job cleaning up the blood before Doc made his way aft.


2/12/2011 5:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS Skate during drill set during the early 1980s. Reactor Technician in the reactor compartment tunnel taking logs. DC diesel generator running in engine room lower level. A bad ventilation lineup results in drawing a vacuum in the engine room and operations compartment relative to the tunnel. Since the forward and after hatches in the tunnel seat with pressure, the RT finds himself trapped in the tunnel and no one can go forward or aft in the boat. After securing the diesel, the Engineering Watch Supervisor equalizes pressure across the after hatch through a gauge line that normally indicates air pressure in the tunnel or the RT would still be in there today.

2/12/2011 6:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous as Weps,

The TM LPO was playing stupid for his own survival. There is/was a PM to test/lubricate/overide/make sure it works for the detent mechanism. He knew how to extract the pyro. Your TM LPO let the O-Gangers figure it out so he didn't burn to death. No disrespect Sir!



2/12/2011 8:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's because we're better than everyone else, and we KNOW IT.

that's the true reason why skimmers hate us so much.

2/13/2011 1:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an new TM2 and the TM LPO because the TMC was on leave in the middle of deployment and the skipper ordered the green flare removed from the rear launcher. I told him about the one way detent and that it was sub safe so he had weps draw up the paper work and apart it was, slid the safety pin back in before full removal and stowed away in the rear locker (637). Goat locker told the Cheif what a good job I did while he was gone so I heard. All I recall was my cool and calm Cheif of 2 years standing in the TR in Kakis with his shirt out and no shoes on laying down the law of sea water and pyros and the stupid get pushished even following lawful orders. He had a word with the skipper and weps on the same subject.

2/13/2011 11:30 AM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Neither true (AFAIK) or on topic, I offer this amusing piece.
Dear Sir,
In your terse, in fact rather brusque message of yesterdays date, you
raise some issues relating to the behaviour of my men at the recent
Tandem Thrust exercises. I am grateful for the opportunity to set the
record straight.
Firstly, we have been instructed on a number of occasions that we are
not mere sailors, but ambassadors for Australia and the RAN. So, when
tied up at Guam, we immediately invited many citizens of the town
aboard for a tour of the ship. The fact that these people were young
simply shows that many young people are interested in a naval career,
and the fact that they were all girls shows, in my view, that our EEO
policies are working.
The riots which started outside the ship were, in my view, because word
of our excellent hospitality had spread, and many people were anxious
to have their turn. It was not, as you claim, "sparked by men who saw
their daughters dancing topless on the heli-pad".
Riot police had almost restored order when the Harpoon missile was
fired. I cannot accept your allegation that two officers were drunk
and "attempting to play space invaders on the console" I concur with
Comander McAffreys version of events, in which they heard on the radio
an aircraft transmitting that it was having difficulty finding the
airport. Conscious of the recent crash of a jumbo jet with similar
problems, he fired the missile with the intent of detonating it on a
nearby hillside, helping the pilot maintain terrain clearance. I
consider this to be an excellent show of initiative, and am considering
recommending the two officers for medals.
An eventuality like this should have been foreseen by the city
planners, so they must bear responsibility for the destruction of the
building that was in the missiles path. The presence of the Mayor in
the building was an unfortunate coincidence.
The firing of the missile must have startled some of our guests on the
ship, who, I understand, fell overboard. Our courageous sailors,
naturally, dived to the rescue. Such is the courage and team spirit of
our sailors that over forty were involved in the rescue, and I do not
understand how you can refer to such an act of mass heroism as "a water
polo game".
The helicopter should have assisted in the rescue, but it was busy
controlling the disaster scene at the Harpoons impact point. The crew
performed an excellent job of controlling the scene and directing
assistance, and not, as you put it "buzzing the scene and mocking the
victims to impress the girls they had with them".
This feat of airmanship is more impressive when you consider the fuel
leak that occurred during the flight. Jet fuel can be coloured pale
yellow, so it is easy to see how locals could have mistook it for a
leak of a different nature. Engineering are trying to trace the leak.
In response to your allegation that the helicopter crew were "drunk
enough to knockout a donkey", I am pleased to report that the pilot and
observer were just as sober as they were during most of their flight
I was of course honoured to receive a visit from USN Admiral Benson,
who appeared pleasantly surprised by our standards (often, in fact,
struck dumb with surprise), and stated that he intended on "warning
every ship in the USN about this" (I understand this to mean that he
was warning them to meet the standards we set or accept their place as
second-best navy in the world). I simply replied that if he was
impressed by us, he would be bowled over by the gallant men of our
submarine squadron.
In short, I believe we did an admirable job and upheld the fine
traditions of the RAN.
Your servant,
Captain XXXX
Commanding Officer
RAN - 75 years of tradition unhindered by progress.

2/13/2011 7:33 PM

Blogger Rick said...

I was on watch in the forward compartment on the MTS-635 when I heard an announcement on the SITE PA "Man Overboard, MTS-635". I heard Maneuvering order stopping the shaft over the 2MC as I raced topside. I had no sooner seen that the kid was okay (he literally walked off the end of the pier into the Cooper) when I heard a second Site PA announcement: "There is a medical emergency on the forward end of the MTS-635". Returned to the Ops compartment to find a certain ET1(SS) lying on the deck between the diesels with blood pouring out the front and back of his head. Seems he had heard the Man Overboard and in his haste to respond, leapt off the top of the stairs, clipping a ventilation duct with his forehead. He then rotated 90 degrees backwards and bashed his head on the deck grating at the bottom of the stairs. He had zippers forward and aft on his skull for a couple of weeks. Very Frankenstein-esque.

The kid who walked off the pier reported back a couple years later as a Sea Returnee staff member. I've often wondered if he shared the story with his sea pups.

2/13/2011 8:38 PM

Anonymous STS2 said...

About any underway longer than 2 weeks, I would generally develop tennis elbow......

2/14/2011 6:44 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I still remember the ONI briefing that started with the guy telling the TM's to, and I quote, "... and don't be that boat that shot the 3" launcher on station..."

Little did he know, the TM1 who hit the launch button was in that brief.


2/14/2011 6:44 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

I keep going back to ANON at 2/12/2011 7:10 AM, the second comment in this thread. "Never back-haul a pyro into the room." That's about as close to a sacred mantra as anything in submarining. Whatever his skills at boiling water, the CO in this case was not qualified in submarines.

2/14/2011 5:17 PM

Anonymous Travis said...

When I was in "A" school the instructors would talk about backhauling a pyro by saying "it's dangerous, there's a checklist, it's requires CO's permission"...etc. Then they would always close with, "you'll never actually do it, though. Nobody's that crazy." As it turned out I ended up doing it twice. Reminds me that even great Captains sometimes make terrible decisions. Kind of like humans do.

2/14/2011 6:31 PM

Anonymous 4-Stop said...

One of my FT's launched a 6" CM while doing maintenance. Luckily, it was a dud and we were not on station.

Intentional vague to protect the guilty.

2/14/2011 7:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No accident. During ASWEX, the skipper got fed up with the skimmers ignoring his gren flares. Got ahead of the carrier, timed it right, and landed a green flare on the flight deck. Got a royal chewing out by several folks, but got a lot of satisfaction.

2/14/2011 7:52 PM

Anonymous ANON at 2/12/2011 7:10 AM said...

@Rubber Ducky:

The problem was two-fold:

a) This CO, otherwise a good guy, was the most contrary SOB this side of the solar system. ONLY the chop mastered the CO-DH relationship amongst the wardroom, and this was by always recommending 'black' when it was 'white' that he wanted all along. While the rest of us knashed our teeth at the outcome of e v e r y single recommendation, the chop laughed at us all the way to the bank.

2) There was (still is?) "known folklore" amongst braggadocio-prone sub skippers that pyros can be backhauled safely, when done with great care. As others have indicated, this is true at least insofar as when/if you have a perfectly dry pyro on your hands AND the safety pin gets put back in place at the right point in the outhaul. It's a fuckup either way, and the gamblers choose to roll the dice...especially when their fellow sub skipper buddy has told the tale about when he did it (against all directives) and got away with it.

I'm more than a little bit suspicious that the Collins skipper tried this and drew the short the detriment of his lady sailor. Pyros don't ever just "go off" on their own. Ever.

2/14/2011 10:02 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Perhaps the TMC should require the CO to "assist" in backhauling the pryo. Here Captain, hold this while I look for the safety pin.

Concur that pryos NEVER go off on their own.

2/15/2011 11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once zipped up my poopy suit after taking a leak in the engine room and caught the end of my crank in the zipper. Does that count?

2/15/2011 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anon 11:40 " Oh man, how did you get the franks above the beans."

2/15/2011 12:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the three times on Submarines that I thought it was time to kiss my butt goodby.

1987 – 88 time frame on a 688, after New Construction and playing games with skimmers, I was in the rack in fwd berthing. I felt a positive pressure and heard a thrump and the whole fwd compartment was filled with black smoke. General Alarm of Fire in the 3 inch Launcher. Hopped out of the rack with heavy black smoke and donned EAB. Couldn’t see 2 inches in front of my face.

We were shooting Pyros and TM2 and TMCS tried to back hall the Pyro. It lit off in the 3 inch Launcher exhausting into the people tank. TM2 was burned a little but TMCS was naked on the Wardroom Table with the Doc using a black light to remove phosphorus particles.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

2/15/2011 4:16 PM

Blogger b777jetsetter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/15/2011 5:06 PM

Blogger b777jetsetter said...

An MT onboard on board a boomer who decided to recreate his child hood slip n slide in the missile compartment during angles and dangles managed to break an arm at the very least and made us meet up with the puddle pirates to helo vac him off.

2/15/2011 5:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT: In other news, the original 688, USS Los Angeles, has just been retired in the last week:

Any number of 688s have already headed toward the razor blade factory, but it's somehow special to see the first of the girls headed that way.

She had a good run.

2/16/2011 4:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also OT: A new & improved narco-submarine has been nabbed.

2/16/2011 4:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
I once zipped up my poopy suit after taking a leak in the engine room and caught the end of my crank in the zipper. Does that count? "

Bak in the day - our poopy suits were all velcro closures - may that's why??!! I had never really thought about it!

2/16/2011 10:20 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

I do remember the velcro on the poopy suits instead of a zipper and back then they were only for Polaris crews as well. The damn things would fall in the crapper as you stood up.

2/16/2011 11:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't we switch over to two piece poopies like the Coastguard?

Yes I know we're not the Coastguard, but it would make taking a dump much easier. Plus we could tress up much faster.

2/16/2011 5:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Previous post is spam...check the name-link.

2/17/2011 8:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose at least we're now starting to get spam here about Netflix...that's a whole lot more interesting than reading lame one-liners from nukes who get their dicks caught in their own zippers. Even if that is about as close to getting laid as they'll ever see, I'll go with the Netflix spam when it comes to interesting reading.

2/17/2011 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coners get laid? If seen some of those hawgs coners call women.

2/17/2011 1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, now! Let's not be pointing fingers at A-ganger wives! I've seen more than my share of nukes with a Jack Spratt Complex.

2/17/2011 2:54 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Deleting three Spamments.

2/17/2011 3:00 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Not painful, but stupid and embarrassing...was doing something topside one Saturday morning towards the after MBT's when I slipped on the moss and slid into the water. Fortunately I got out as quickly as I got in (topside and pier sentry hadn't even noticed until I went forward.) Still got a lot of laughs when we did nuke duty section turnover in the RC tunnel.

2/19/2011 11:49 AM

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