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, August 01, 2011

Proposed Change That Will Adversely Affect Future Submarine Manning

By the end of the year, we'll be seeing a dramatic change in the makeup of some submarine crews. The first women submarine officers will be arriving at their boats as early as November, and even before that, prior to the end of the summer, homosexual or bisexual Submariners will have legal cover to be open about their sexual preference. (Note that I don't say that gay Submariners will start arriving after that time; anyone who's honest about it knows they've had gay shipmates in the past, and current Submariners have gay shipmates now, and it will continue in the future.)

So are these the changes that will adversely affect submarine manning? Well, there could be some issues. Since Congress never modified or removed Article 125 (Sodomy) from the UCMJ, it's possible that an overzealous chain of command could bring a media sh*tstorm on themselves by writing up a gay Submariner for telling too much about whatever penetration -- however slight -- he may have enjoyed over the weekend. Likewise, it's possible that the 10% of military members who said in a 2009 Military Times survey that they'd leave the military if DADT was repealed weren't just blowing smoke, and they'll take their chances in the current job market. Of course, the old method of getting out quickly -- the "phrase that pays" -- won't exist anymore.

As far as women on submarines goes, of course that will introduce new challenges. I'll admit I'm a little concerned reading about one of the young officers getting ready to get to her boat saying "I have a feeling more people will be focused on us. Our mistakes and successes will be magnified more than they deserve." When women were being integrated into the surface and air arms of the military, the stories you saw make the press were Senators ending the careers of Admirals for dropping women out of flight training. While it's possible that some Submariners will try to make it harder for women to qualify, I think it's more likely that one of the women just won't be able to cut it, and despite the fact that about 1 of 25 male submarine officers can't finish their qualifications after they get to the boat, the press will make a huge deal out of this happening to the same percentage of women. Hopefully the senior Submarine Force leadership won't overreact when that happens.

So are these two changes going to be too much for the Submarine Force to handle? Of course not. We'll handle it the same way we've handled other changes in the past -- by making a commitment to doing it, and then carrying out the plan. Any dislocation will be minimal, and certainly not Force-wide. I mean, c'mon, skimmers could do it; of course we can make it work. (Speaking of skimmers, when I was on the Stennis in 2000 I laughed about the ship's "no dating" general order; now, if I were a submarine CO, I'd be thinking seriously about implementing one on my ship sometime in the next few months.)

So what is the "Proposed Change That Will Adversely Affect Future Submarine Manning"? It's this one -- the proposal to radically restructure military retirement from the Defense Business Board. Their presentation can be found here. Excerpt from the first-linked article:
In a massive change that could affect today’s troops, the plan calls for a corporate-style benefits program that would contribute money to troops’ retirement savings account rather than the promise of a future monthly pension, according to a new proposal from an influential Pentagon advisory board.
All troops would receive the yearly retirement contributions, regardless of whether they stay for 20 years. Those contributions might amount to about 16.5 percent of a member’s annual pay and would be deposited into a mandatory version of the Thrift Savings Plan, the military’s existing 401(k)-style account that now does not include government matching contributions.
I can seriously see this proposal being adopted, and if it is, I think we'll see significant attrition of experienced Submariners starting about the 10 year point, the time when they should be running divisions or departments. With the attacks we've seen on public employee pensions from some who subscribe to Tea Party principles, I fully expect to see them move towards attacking military pensions -- not now, but as we finish with the "easy" cuts and they realize that people like me have been getting over $35K/year since I was 41, along with free health insurance. If this proposal is adopted, that's when we'll start seeing problems with getting enough qualified Submariners to man the boats. And then we'll be glad we haven't eliminated 51% (or so) of the population from serving on submarines, like we do now.

So what do you think? Will having women on submarines cause a plague of locusts o'er the land? Will having openly homosexual Submariners cause the Earth to stop spinning on its axis? Or will the sudden change in centrifugal force fling all the locusts into space and result in a wash? (Yes, for Dilbert fans who thought that sounded familiar, I didn't come up with that on my own.) Personally, I think the only result of having "out" homosexuals on board will be a reduction in overt acts that any observer not familiar with submarine culture would classify as "gay" (e.g. "swordfights" in the tunnel, various spit games between the ERUL and ERF watchstanders, etc.) as people don't want to be accused of actual gayness. Having women onboard will probably cause more issues, but I don't think it's something we can't overcome with minimal effort. Let us know what you think in the comments. (I'm not planning on running any more "gays/women on submarines" posts unless some specific incident makes the news, so this could be your last shot. Have at it.)


Anonymous NHSparky said...

Manning is hard enough as it is. Will women and gays alone hurt retention? No, but chain-of-command OVERreaction to the issues they raise sure as hell will.

And as far as retirement plans go, hey, DoD has been screwing retirements up since the mid-80's. Nothing new here, although I would rather see a 401(k) type of plan for junior folks rather than an all-or-nothing plan or, God forbid, another Savings Bond drive.

8/01/2011 7:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reportedly, some of the inbound women have book deals.

That can't be good, considering that conflict makes for good reading.

8/01/2011 7:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oy Veh Joel..... Gays and women on the same thread.... I will put the over/under on posts at 100. I am taking the over.

8/01/2011 7:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NHSparky said Manning is hard enough as it is...

You said Hard... Hee Hee

8/01/2011 7:49 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

The challenge isn't to the submarine culture, which is bought and paid for and will not change. Rather, the challenge goes to the newcomers to figure out that culture and fit in. They will, just fine. There will be problems in the transition, but the crews and the Force will handle them and make it work.

And there will be distinct upsides to the changes:

- gay sailors will have more freedom to do their jobs

- the talent pool drawn from for officers will double in size (who knows - maybe we'll finally be able to knock off the nuke bonus!)

- the males in the crew will get their asses calibrated on how to deal with female crewmembers, perhaps reducing the number of dumb-shit personnel problems that have plagued the Force ever since women became equals in the Navy.

8/01/2011 8:33 AM

Anonymous The pc wardroom said...

Submarines will now have flaming screaming queens not just fertive poofs -- hip hip hooray says the Democrat cheering section.

8/01/2011 8:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see some of the Flamers clammering to pick the homecoming song.... Village People anyone!! Yeah.

8/01/2011 8:36 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I think that Joel hit the nail on the head regarding which change will have the most impact. The ten year point is when most officers are finishing up their department head tour and looking forward to an XO tour. However, at home, their family is at a stage where having Daddy home is becoming increasingly important (the tween and teen years). Since submarine officers do very well (as a group) in CIVPAC or CIVLANT, no matter when they leave the service, the added incentive of a small nest egg from military service at the twelve or fifteen year point in a career, accompanied with a six figure salary in a civilian job that is not necessarily Saturdays, Sundays, and Nights (SSN), could be debilitating to the XO and CO pipelines. The current system keeps much of the cream of the crop sticking around for those tours which, by the way, are usually the most satisfying of a naval career.

8/01/2011 8:55 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

As we contemplate all these maybe manning woes in the future, we should also be cranking the sure fact that there's going to be a hell of a lot less submarine force to man. The Force will have to focus on selectivity and pursue rewards for the best of the best (officer and enlisted) to man the fewer number of boats with topnotch talent rather than with those too slow or lazy to get out. Gay sailors and females in the crew are minor issues compared to downsizing the Force while maintaining quality high.

8/01/2011 9:00 AM

Anonymous fast track the queers said...

Sure, so let's lower the standards for sub crews even more by having set-aside quotas for fags.

8/01/2011 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaaaand, there goes the end of intelligent discourse.

8/01/2011 9:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's all the hub bub. I would love to serve on a long hard steel tube... Sincerely Harvey Milk

8/01/2011 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a DIVO all I see is my sailors going to least initially or some Chief's career getting ruined. Say what you want, but you'll see it on the front cover of navy times in a year.

As far as the revamped retirement, or 401k contributions, the flood gates out will open. Sure I may pay a penalty if I withdraw when I get out, but 50k in hand will pay for an MBA no problem. It makes easy decisions easier.

The airforce is currently offering an 0-4 with 12 years experience, 196K for voluntary separation pay and an 0-3 with 6 years 40k+, and based on ADM Greenert's comments in the news, the Navy will have a policy soon to follow. Its cheaper for the navy to give 1 yr salary+ vice keeping people in and the money for the officer is a nice bonus or schooling down payment. I think the voluntary separation pay may solve a lot more things that people thing, which is why certain year groups more senior are now undermanned. And regardless of the drawdown in the number of boats, its not that significant when you consider normal medical dq attrition and the fact that the jo's now on shore duty will most likely face an amazing civilian economy based on when they are rolling from dept. head.

8/01/2011 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligent discourse back on...

When I was on the La Jolla in the mid-80's we didn't have a problem with the two known gay crewmembers, one was a YNSN who was one of the most squared away sailors on the boat and the other was the FTC who was great at his job and well liked by the wardroom and crew. The only problem that we had was that the FTC's BF, who in a hissy fit called NIS to report the chief for having classified material, to wit, a copy of a photo taken through the scope of something that he really shouldn't have had at home...
Poor SOB went to court martial where they threw the book at him and sent him to the brig. We saw that as an overaggressive prosecution where they used his sexual orientation to really hammer him.

One of the good things to come out of letting people be out, is that it does remove the possibility of individuals with TS clearances being blackmailed.

Then there is the story about how the Cavalla became known as the "Gayfella"...

8/01/2011 12:22 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

If you go to this link:

and scroll down about 1/3 of the way, you will find this:

Under personal privacy, the creation of separate bathroom facilities or living quarters based on sexual orientation is prohibited. Commanders cannot physically segregate members by sexual orientation.

This was the press conference given by Major General Steven Hummer, U.S. Marine Corps on 22 July 2011 telling about the end of DADT.

No they may not have meant it that way, but the way I read it, all males and femaale enlisted must share the same berthing areas. It says no segration by sexual orientattion. Is not a straight male or a straight female a sexual orientation?

Just saying...

8/01/2011 12:40 PM

Anonymous sonarman said...

Nobody gets it. There is a perfect example already in existence about what happens when you bring females onto submarines. That alone may be disastrous. I hope I'm wrong.

The Aussie submarine force has serious problem "manning" their boats. They can only man 3 of their 6 boats sufficiently to go to sea. Many of the male sailors I spoke with while I was down under said that females make their life hell, especially as one makes their way up the leadership chain. G** forbid you have to counsel one of them; it results in a sexual harassment allegation, of which I saw one 1st hand. Many in the know in the Aussie Navy blame their poor submarine manning on the presence of women. A recent recruitment campaign (subtly) focusing on women aboard yielded dismal recruitment levels. When the switched to "There's free beer here" campaign, it picked up.

Citing that the Norwegians (or is it Sweden?) don't seem to have a problem with women on their subs is mixing apples and oranges. They have a different, more permissive culture than we and the Aussies do. Just because it works for one Navy doesn't mean - as we can see with the Aussies - that it will work everywhere. Plus, we don't have all the facts about the Norwegians. We don't know if that's altogether true.

Case in point: my cousin (surface FC)retired after 30 years in '95 (broken service w/reserve time). He could tell hours of stories about how women in the Navy have been nothing but headaches - including getting him court marshalled due to false allegations of S/H. He eventually had the bust expunged, but he never advanced past Chief after that. And that's not the only horror story I've heard from others on that subject. Some of it was hearsay, true, but many 1st hand accounts corroborated the hearsay.

Why is everybody afraid to acknowledge that 700 pound gorilla sitting in the Control Room? Haven't we all (meaning Navy vets here) heard and/or seen how females on skimmers has been a disaster to readiness, morale, and good order and discipline? We've had to work up a whole new set of rules and conditions just to accomodate them. Granted there are a few success stories. But in general, it hasn't worked for the skimmer navy, despite what the PC propaganda tells us - why do we think we can make it work in even more spartan conditions on submarines?

I have no doubt that women are capable of doing (some of) the job, but that doesn't mean they should. It doesn't mean its good for the Navy.

On the sodomite side, it will be an interesting spectacle watching the flop and flail in DC when the male sailors bring discrimination lawsuits against Big Navy for not being allowed to wear female uniform items/accessories. It'll happen. Not right away, but I give it about 18 - 24 months.

8/01/2011 12:41 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Been on record warning of the unintended (at least officially) consquences of the new manning regimes. While RD is right about "making it work", human nature is an immutable constant. Bringing aboard female crew will eventually usher in more than the near-term disciplinary issues, including drives for handicapped categories, and
litigation issues connected with quashing DADT will surface, as
also predicted.

The more bombastic among you will silently eat your words about the impact on recruiting 3-4 years out: Down, way down. Not as if Australia's sub service has not provided ample precedence. Let's hope that I am wrong, I do!

8/01/2011 12:46 PM

Anonymous fast track the queers, redux said...

Recruiters pressed to reach out to gays once ban is lifted

8/01/2011 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

imma sit back and wait for the court martials, njps, harrassment claims to show up on the front cover of navy times. it will be some good reading at least.

8/01/2011 1:56 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Be clear: if the troops hose this, they will be doing serious harm to our submarine force. We all do a lot of bragging about how good we are. This will test that. Hope we've been right all along.

8/01/2011 3:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 1120 community is already in the hurt locker with current O-4 and O-5 manning... The change to the pension plan would gut the future of our senior leadership.

The department head years turn many of our best 1120s sour, and only the promise of pension (and no reward for pulling the ripcord) keeps them in past 12 years.

I would have punched out at 12 years following my DH tours, and only the recognition that my pension was an extremely valuable commodity kept me going. I definitely would have taken the money and run, given that alternative.

WRT women onboard submarines and the end of DADT? All I have to say is that it will force the submarine comunity to grow up, long past time when they should have.

8/01/2011 4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you all notice the part that says "unlike prior retirement plan changes, this one will not have a granfather clause, but all current active duty personnel will be shifted over to the new plan"

The new plan that (by my casual read) would offer a 20 year retiree about 24% less pay then the current high 3 system. That should send chills up the spine of everyone who is almost at retirement age, and cause a tidal wave of individuals over 20 to duck out before the new plan comes into effect.

How is it that military pension plans suddenly are talked about as one of the causes of our nation's current debt problem?

8/01/2011 4:07 PM

Anonymous Pops said...

How is it that military pension plans suddenly are talked about as one of the causes of our nation's current debt problem?
Because the DOD budget must be cut to satisfy the 50% who do not pay taxes and to also protect the pensions of the elected and breaucrates...

8/01/2011 4:35 PM

Anonymous SSN/SSBN (ret) said...

RD - Check your facts. The talent pool for officers has NOT doubled in size. There are far fewer women in nuclear-qualifying science and engineering fields than men, and the women in tech are heavily recruited by the private sector and other government organizations. At best, the talent pool has increased by 10%. Hope that's enough to counteract the degradation in readiness caused by all the extra requirements and other BS that will result from having women on submarines.

And don't pull up that National Science Foundation report that shows 50.3% of science & engineering degrees going to women (in 2008). "Science" for the purpose of this study included social sciences like "intercultural/multicultural and diversity studies," political science, and agricultural sciences, among other non-qualifying majors. If you really look at the data, the number of women earning science and engineering degrees that might qualify for nuke is closer to 25% - and if the number of qualifying women in NROTC units is any indication, it's closer to 10%.

I predict women on submarines will, at best, have no effect on recruitment or retention and, more likely, will have a negative effect on both. Time will tell.

8/01/2011 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do enjoy the mentality that these changes are such a huge challenge for the force. What, now you have to treat shipmates with respect and professionalism? Shocking!

8/01/2011 5:24 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Geez, I guess things have really changed. I went to sea with one nuke who was a philosophy major from Holy Cross. And a whole bunch with no college education at all - grads of the Naval Academy.

There's a field-of-dreams approach to nuke recruiting: offer a genuine opportunity and the potentials will make themselves qualified to take advantage of it. For the foreseeable future, females in submarines will be quota-limited, not qualification limited. I predict these best-of-the-best in these first cadres will show the complacent males that they're not quite as hot as they think.

As to the facts, females constitute 50.7% of the US population. If you add them to the 49.3% males, I guess that about doubles the availables. Or is that too much radcon math to suit you?

8/01/2011 5:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Retirement:

From what I saw JO retention to DH breaks down into 3 categories:

1. 10 - 15 % prior trying to make it to retirement
2. 10% actually good at their job and enjoy it
3. 75 - 80% too stupid/scared to make it in the real world

Of those only category 1 is really effected by the change in retirement system. The small portion of the DH population who can tie their own shoes, drive the ship, and actually lead people (not just review their paperwork) will still be there in about the same numbers. And those to stupid or scared to join the civilian world will still be there to suck up the rest of the spots.
I think overall the change will be a good one without a drastic effect on retirement.

On Women:
It was bound to happen and now it has. I mourn the loss of the submarine force I knew and loved. One of the things that attracted me to the submarine force in the first place as not having to deal with women and all their bull shit.

I actually joined the military not having a problem with women serving as well. And then I went to the naval academy. The double standards, the gender based performance grade quotas, and the false rape/sexual harassment accusations quickly cured me of that notion!

At the academy each company independently selects its own company commander. Fall semester of the 2004 AC Year each company picked the best candidate in their company and forwarded it for approval. The list came flying back down so fast it made peoples head spin. Turned out that 27 of the 30 best qualified also happened to be white males. Such things are not allowed in the modern navy!! Once the list was suitably corrected to be properly gender and race biased - i mean based- the dant was able to sign it.

Just wait for the fit rep quotas to join the sub force. Right now either the CO or XO has to be a served ENG. How long until at least 1 CO and 1 XO per squadron has to have a vagina?

With that said, aside from the soul crushing wrongness women bring to everything men find fun I don't think the overall effect will be too drastic.

On Gays:
They are already there and every knew it. I don't think it will be that big of a deal but it sure was nice not having to see a queer and his boy friend make out at the ships Christmas party.

Overall, I think there will be very little impact.

8/01/2011 5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Saying they double the pool ignores the degree qualifications in place by Naval Reactors. While it is true more women attend and graduate college then men, women do not make up 50% of STEM majors. Unless of course you want the standards lowered to admit more women.

And the pool of women who want to join the military is already very small. Of that small amount even fewer want to serve on a submarine.

So you can radcon math your way to whatever lies you like, adding women to the sub force does not double the available pool.

And based on historic retention rates you actually need to recruit 2 women for every man you recruit. Historic female retention rate is about 20% verses about 40 - 45 % for men. So even if you recruit equal numbers of men and women you will still have to recruit more just to get the same number of DH's then if you only recruited me.

8/01/2011 5:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A whole lot something about nothing. The Chief's will make this work. Will there problems? of course. Will they be fixed? of course.

The submarine force has bigger problems and it has to do with funding. People need to focus on the real problem like a laser beam.
Funding will bring the force down (sooner than later)...not hags and fags.

Joel, this is no fun when you actually let us talk about split-tails and butt pirates. I like it better when it comes up radomly in other posts and make you mad. Next post please!

Ps. There is already "no dating" policies on submarines...boomers, of course.

8/01/2011 5:59 PM

Anonymous T said...

RD: As usual, you get your geriatric panties in a bunch over nuke bonus envy. I get that maybe it was better in the days of diesels, and I'm sure it was a different Navy and so forth, but it gets pretty tired hearing you call for an end to the nuke bonus.

As much as I think the sub force is heading the wrong direction at flank speed, the nuke bonus is not going away anytime soon. SSN/SSBN(Ret.) is right on the money about the effect of women, and anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying close attention to the flag officer bait and switch on the "evidence" that "requires" women to be added to the submarine force. Without the nuke bonus, you wouldn't be able to keep the wardrooms even half full. The promise of the future nuke bonus is a big carrot for JO recruitment as well. I will say it, along with NUPOC $$$ is probably in the top 3 reasons I joined the Navy out of college.

As for the retirement thing... HAHAHA! I've been telling my father this for months (retired submariner) as soon as I saw the attack on Unions and public benefits. It serves all you Tea Party masturbators right to potentially take it in the pants for voting for the most irresponsible Congress in the history of the US.

Though the thing I find really curious about this is... What does this do to the already completely abysmal USNR retention and recruitment? As a reservist, I already only barely give a shit about the USNR, and 16.5% of $750/month is not exactly a nest egg that makes it worth working 12 days straight once a month... There are some other benefits to the reserves.

This change will gut the military, unless pay goes up substantially to match.

8/01/2011 6:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

STS2(ss) You must not be listening to the news. The Ruling elite want to cut Military pay and benefits. Part of the "Debt Crisis."
On women and double standards: When they wanted to be pilots, they got 5 days a month for "Upper Respiratory Distress." How's that gonna affect underway manning. "I'll be in my statroom for the next 5 days, I have an Upper Respiratory problem."

8/01/2011 6:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One of the good things to come out of letting people be out, is that it does remove the possibility of individuals with TS clearances being blackmailed."

Wrong. Just changes the way the blackmailing is done.

Rubber Ducky said...
"Geez, I guess things have really changed. I went to sea with one nuke who was a philosophy major from Holy Cross. And a whole bunch with no college education at all - grads of the Naval Academy. "

Little sore about something? I attended USNA for 2.5 years; didn't graduate. Sat in on courses in other colleges. Ultimately got a BS. Trust me- USNA is a college. What they have lost track of is that USNA should be a training program for officers. West Point hasn't lost that. (My son is a graduate of that institution.)

As for women aboard ship- anyone who is honest realizes that women aren't pulling their weight. Career officers cannot afford to be honest about it, so they all say how great it is. Causing further erosion in honesty and candor- becasue if you're forced to lie about one thing, you'll find it easier to lie about another.

8/01/2011 7:32 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Nuke bonus: a crutch for those who can't hold themselves up as professionals.

8/01/2011 7:49 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

How about chainging Congress' retirement plan to a 401k and not Grandfathering any of them either? Never happen and if you have 20 in already they can't take our existing plan away. They would have to phase any new plan into effect. OUT Gays / women are coming - we'll just have to deal with it. There will be bumps but the crews will evolve and adapt.

8/01/2011 8:19 PM

Anonymous T said...

The Nuke bonus is the only thing keeping butts in seats on most boats... I'd love to see it go away, so I can laugh at the lifers ;-), but let's be realistic.... There is no submarine officer corps without the nuke bonus.

The suggestion that it is a crutch is just asinine. Being in the Navy is a job. We're all here, in part because we get paid. Nobody is trying to work twice as hard for less pay (i.e. no nuke bonus) than they could get in CIVLANT, I don't care how patriotic you are.

8/01/2011 8:52 PM

Blogger Flip said...

Let's be honest. The current retirement system just doesn't make sense. Any normal company doesn't leave those who stay less than 20 years high and dry (no 401k/TSP match). The fact that you get the Cadillac retirement pay and benefits by staying 20 is a HUGE motivation for me as an LT considering a DH tour. Without the great retirement plan, however, it will make getting out before XO/CO tour much easier. Odds are the job market will have bounced back by then as well. A lot of good talent in the sub force will certainly be lost.

8/01/2011 9:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The end of smoking on subs is by far the biggest threat to readiness. A lot of dip shall be spat as boats adapt to the two subjects of these posts while dealing with the normal stresses of sub life.

8/01/2011 10:13 PM

Anonymous T said...

For nuke officers, the job market truly isn't that bad. If your choice is basically DH tour and then get out or get out right now, then get out right now. DH tour will just be a waste of your time, unless, maybe you go into military contracting.

Nobody else gets the difference, or gives a shit. At some places, it may even be a hindrance, because people worry that you are "too indoctrinated" into the military. This is a real concern, because honestly, a DH on a submarine gets more deferential treatment from their direct reports than my Director gets from me (2 steps up).

But the big reason to leave now, is you're extra "experience" doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot in terms of pay to most industries. The initial drop from LT on the rent-a-nuke to the initial pay on most jobs (outside of nuke power) is an adjustment, but not too terrible. Honestly, in my current line of work, you could take a DH and plop him into my job... that I got straight off of shore duty, but he would be lost as my manager. The job is just too different. Which, basically (and most recruiters will tell you this) means that DH are competing for the same jobs as JO's, The extra three years in the Navy is just a waste of time.

8/01/2011 10:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few thoughts on the government's mandated NAMBLA-fest/women-in-subs topics:

* People only get the government they demand, thus they deserve what they get. Always. Don't like the situation? Vote. Use your feet as necessary.

* If you think this is all clearly and utterly stupid, and you vote Democrat, you repeat yourself.

* IMHO: Women on subs is a bad idea whose time has come, and the reasons are apparent from the XX failures in the rest of the Navy. Pluses: de-gay-ification of submariner 'humor,' a more genuinely human environment, and in the event of an extinction-event meteorite strike, we've got an Adam and Eve shot at a comeback over time. Minuses: the much lower retention rate of the ladies vs the men will make those with honesty (and takes both) question why this experiment ever took place.

* Permitting overtly gays on subs: not a hater, but I don't see any upside from a combat readiness standpoint. My best guess is that the overall hit on retention will not be small -- being forced to be in a steel tube 24x7 with overt gayness isn't what most submariners signed up for.

Who can save us from political correctness? John Galt?

8/01/2011 10:47 PM

Anonymous acuurentelt2jv said...

As a sub elt with four years in and four years left, I don't really plan on staying in and it would be nice to have something retirement-wise to show for it. That being said, I came into this contract with my eyes open, not expecting anything and have put a sizable amount in my own Roth. That nuc bonus that everyone who doesn't (or didn't) get comes in handy on the enlisted side for stuff like that too. Still, for guys in my situation, this retirement plan actually makes a little bit of since.

8/02/2011 12:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To compound RDs argument about how to keep the best and brightest during a draw down, here is an abstract of a study that shows the (fairly dramatic) lower retention rates of female officers. Not to say at all that they aren't capable or that we shouldn't integrate, it's one more thing we have to consider in selection boards, retention plans, etc. I love the final line, that it is of course a leadership issue, maybe, just maybe, there is some evidence that we are going against nature or at least societial norms...

Study is from 2008, couldn't find any newer stats quickly.

This study is the second in a series funded by the Chief of Naval Personnel to address low retention of officers in the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) community. Low junior officer retention is a concern, particularly with respect to SWO women—whose numbers have steadily declined since the repeal of the Combat Exclusion Act in 1994.

Studies conducted in this area have found that family-related factors, as well as leadership and culture factors (including morale and lack of mentoring), push both men and women out of the Navy. Nonetheless, the Navy’s primary effort to improve retention has been to introduce the Surface Warfare Officer Continuation Pay (SWOCP) in 1994 and, subsequently, to offer a Critical Skills Retention Bonus. Retention bonuses have not offset the non-monetary concerns, particularly for women. The present study focuses on the non-monetary factors that have received little attention in the past with respect to changes that could be made to improve retention. The findings apply to both men and women.

Unlike previous studies that have assessed intentions of SWOs to stay or leave, the current study is based on a survey of officers who have actually made the decision to leave active duty and who are now in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

The data show that family-related factors are the highest-rated influences on the decision to leave active duty; this holds true for both men and women and older vs. younger year groups. Women felt more strongly than men about the influence some of these factors had on the decision to leave active duty, but the similarity between the opinions expressed by men and women was surprising. Further, monetary incentives have less influence on retention than family or leadership factors. “Total military pay” was more important to men than to women, but still placed lower on the list than many other factors that caused men to leave active duty.

Other findings are reported that concern mentoring, gender issues, feelings about the separation decision, and incentives that could encourage this group to consider returning to active duty. More women than men would consider returning, and improvements in leadership were mentioned most often by all groups as a change that needs to be made to improve retention. Finally, recommendations are made for training interventions and research to address leadership issues.

8/02/2011 7:14 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

I do not have the energy to argue about the whole women on subs thing, so I would love to point out a lengthy discussion that was had on this very blog a little over a year ago.

P.S. If the comments get turned back on, a person can scroll through all 250+ comments on the page where the comments are actually typed in.

My husband will also be finding out what it is like to work with women. Not that he has not before, he did on shore duty, but he just reported to a boat that will be getting two very soon, and they'll more than likely work for him. I am very interested in seeing how it goes, and yes, I am hoping that it goes well for all parties involved.

8/02/2011 10:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The retention rates are interesting. Let's say you agree with Rubber Ducky's argument and we bring in 50 percent female and 50 percent male officer new accessions. If females are retaining at significantly lower percentages than males (as history has shown), then we will screen a greater percentage of males that are performing at lower levels.

I know right now the female billets are excess billets, and maybe the comments above from 2008 are old. But as Rubber Ducky points out how to you keep the very best in while force size is shrinking. I'm sure N133/PERS42 is ready to follow the stats, but they won't be know for another 6 or 7 years.

8/02/2011 10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{If you really look at the data, the number of women earning science and engineering degrees that might qualify for nuke is closer to 25%}

And a lot of them are pre-med. Medicine is becoming predominantly female. Jane the chemistry major will become Dr. Jane the oncologist, rather than Lt. Jane the MPA. At least, playing by the numbers.

8/02/2011 10:59 AM

Blogger Curt said...

Just like the Women Nucs on CVNs, we will only 'fill the pipeline' to keep the Women Racks at sea at 100%. So, no 'doubling,' etc.

What does happen, since the number for Women are so much lower, our Women Nucs all have the potential to be superstars (very selective @ CNRC).

Frankly, in the Officer community, it may be enough to offset the Tremendous Hit our Submarine Wardrooms have taken due to Lasik Eye Surgery (Now they can all be pilots, too, and the Sub Force is taking a hit...)...

8/02/2011 12:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Lasik now providing a fix to the eye acquity problem, it's little wonder that Canoe U. has to force its graduates into submarines/nuclear power.

As a many-year former SSN guy, I'd have done that in a heartbeat if I could have, and can only imagine the stampede towards flight school and away from becoming nuclear eunuchs...albeit now with an outside chance at a stateroom rendezvous followed by court martial for being human.

Having been around the block once or twice, an old, grizzled O-6 aviator at BuPers/NMPC/acronym-du-jour once held forth briefly in private on the women-and-sex thing in the Navy. His opinion: "you can't stop Mother Nature."

But...maybe things are different now (y'right!).

8/02/2011 3:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xoph said: Been out almost 20 years, but will add my 2 cents.

Gays - We had them - as long as no one tries to get treated different and isn't in your face, I don't think there will be a problem. There will be some problems, because people are people. Used to be a person could be dq'd pretty damn quick - special protection or different standards for a minority are what will cause the problems. Will senior leadership hold standards or political correctness?

Women - Women are different than men. I recommend reading "Sexual Paradox" by Susan Pinker. Many women change early to mid career to be more family or society oriented. The draw down is going to hit hard. Women can fight. In a force that is going to have limited funding going with a more expensive manning option will not give us the most effective force.

The force always tried to burn people out. I got out with some bad acid reflux problems that went away once I was out. Maybe we should look at some of those issues from the 2008 study and focus on keeping our best. There are a lot of reasons aviators are the choice, not subs. Ask Mids what the reputation is...

People are people. There are going to be fraternization issues no one wants to deal with. It will make a very hard job harder and chase more people out, especially if the offending minorities get a pass where the majority would not.

Leaders work with imperfect people and take imperfection into account. Social Engineers ignore this. A few more straws, a few more broken backs, and the remainder will carry on. We are now worried about having the most politically correct sub force, not the most proficient.

8/02/2011 4:10 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

For a very short $.02, we have quit excluding gays and women from subs because we ran out of excuses that people would buy. You can be gay in OSD but not uniform...I have heard not fewer than three distinct arguments against women in subs, each of which was systematically tossed out. In my chats with SWOs and airedales they tell me the good/bad ratio for men and women is the same as for men. Gee. Go figure.

So women may not have percentage wise the same number of engineers and scientists--so what? Some of the best nukes I know are history and English majors. I am not a engineering major and nuclear power still makes sense to me. Saying you need to be an engineer to be on submarines is like saying you have to be an aero major to be a pilot. The Navy teaches you to do the job. And if you are untrainable, there's the door.

And if you join the Navy to write a book I hope you end up like the last sub guy I know to publish...Waddle.

8/02/2011 4:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some of the best nukes I know are history and English majors..."

Really? Sorry, dude...but having been an SSN Eng with one or two of those types of JOs, I'm calling bullshit on that one. But name a few senior submarine officers who were 'history and English majors' if you can. We've got time.

It's not that there's something inherently wrong with being a liberal arts person, BTW. Before he was overseeing successful efforts to kill Osama bin Laden, Bill McRaven graduated with a degree in journalism at the University of Texas.

But a history or English major as a nuke JO? Spare me. A glorious counterexample of what you're speaking of: Christopher Brownfield, author of "My Nuclear Family."

In a word: "sheesh."

8/02/2011 4:44 PM

Anonymous 1460 said...

I was a history major and I did zero-hour weeks at power school and ten-hour weeks at PNEO. News flash: being a nuke isn't that hard.

8/02/2011 5:22 PM

Blogger Curt said...

I'll name one (check this out: a Midieval History Major).

Owen Travis (SSN 709 LCDR) - Engineering Officer.

8/02/2011 5:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"News flash: being a nuke isn't that hard."

- Said the former line officer, current EDO. I rest my case, except to point out that if you'd have been pumping the pooch and off of my boat's watchbill with 10-hr weeks at PNEO, a blanket party would have been too good for you...boomer fag.

As to 'Curt': take a clue, dude...a LCDR isn't called a 'light' Commander for nothin'. Reload, and come back with the name of an accomplished SENIOR submarine officer (O-7 or above, but I'm open to a SENIOR O-6) who was also a history or English major.


8/02/2011 6:04 PM

Anonymous T said...

1) I'm a good nuke and I'm a history major is a stupid discussion. Very, very few History majors take two semesters of Calculus and Calc Based physics, and thus aren't even eligible for the nuke program. USNA History/English/Etc majors are FORCED to take a whole bunch of engineering courses, which makes them not real history majors.

For an example Owen Travis... A bS in History from USNA. I bold the S because at real schools, nobody gets a BS in history.

2) Non-engineering grads are very heavily screened for the nuke pipeline. History majors that are good nukes are good nukes DESPITE being history majors, not because of it.

8/02/2011 6:04 PM

Anonymous A COB said...

Who manages the berthing and watchbills? Who is the first guy (or the last one, unfortunately) to hear about and handle personnel problems below the level of NJP? The COB, which will stand for 'Crapped Out Bubba' after all this 'goes down.'

8/02/2011 6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Light reading for T:

8/02/2011 6:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

YA know, I've picked up on RD's nuke envy in previous post. But these put it in black and white: This dude has a SERIOUS inferiority complex.

Not to worry RD, all of us can't be part of the Rickover club.

8/02/2011 6:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From this JO's perspective, there is Big Navy that is pushing the politically correct BS down our throats, and the Admirals a step down who are concerned to getting us back to our roots and prepping to fight. They arent working well together.
I came across a TM topside during a midnight tour who was so mad about the women on subs issue he wanted to turn his fish in, because he said they would mean nothing anymore cause the women will just be given them. Turns out when the brass sat down with all the wives to address their concerns, he got quite an earful. COB said the admiral got beat up pretty bad by them. The wives know whats what.
As far as retention, most JO's arent staying in anyways; not even the priors. There is only one in my wardroom that is for sure staying in. If you cut out the pension and signing bonus, good luck. We are already being prepared for the next few years when "money will be tight, less boats, and more missions". Can you imagine retention rates then?
I had a professional job before the Navy and I will here again in a few years. I signed up because I wanted to give back to my country. I love submarines and what we do. I love my crew and I have an awesome CO and good command climate. I cherish my fish and the community with which I am forever linked. I do not care for the crap that goes with it, and the politically correct Big Navy is messing with the fun we have left. This is a hard job we do ( officers and enlisted), probably one of the hardest in the world. The bonus pay and pension are just little things that the American people can give us to help make up for missing Christmas and birthdays because we are off the coast of country X holding the line. When you fight back the tears from hearing the little ones on the other side of the world who are proud of daddy, but also know they miss him and just want him to come him. This is our sacrifice; money doesnt ease those burdens, but it softens worrying about security. Those soul-less, maternal copulators in congress should have to go on those rides before they cut our stuff. Hell is too easy a punishment for those that suggest it.

8/02/2011 7:34 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

I've served with and worked for some splendid submariners who happened to be nuclear-trained. Their identity was 1120, not nuke. Their profession was naval officer, not water-boiler. They did their jobs both fore and aft well and with panache. And they did not whine.

Got nothing against nukes, nothing but highest admiration for true submariners. Hate whiners. Expect many will continue to defend their whining. Probably should quit red-assing nukes - too much like shooting fish in a barrel.

Excellent comment by Srvd_SSN_CO above. Thank you.

8/02/2011 7:48 PM

Anonymous T said...

Anon @ 6:29 PM:

OK, I get that I argued against a logical fallacy (Biased Sample history majors make good nukes) with... a logical fallacy? You know that argument is stupid on its face, it doesn't even have to be proven. I agree that there are nuke O's that are history/english/poly sci majors that do just fine. They are the exception to the larger community of History/english/poly sci majors.

AS for the big argument against women on subs: It's a waste of money. Female retention is roughly half of that of men in the rest of the Navy and they're hard to recruit. The certain problems are really a sideshow to the fact that the force will waste a lot of time, money, and effort on "fixing" female manning during a time of budget cuts, and possibly future force downsizing.

It just seems like adding this into the mix makes the retention and manning problem worse, not better. It was sold as "needed" to keep boats manned, but that argument was built on heaping piles of BS... We kept 80 boats manned in the 80's with just men, and the population of college grads was overall smaller. Somehow, it doesn't add up that we need women to man our future 10 boomers and 30 SSN's...

8/02/2011 8:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I got my degree from a no-name in-state school in Computer Science, and went from being forced to attend preschool at NPS (proudest achievement: logging 0.0 hours one week) to being offered a shore tour at NR (had to decline -- they wanted a contract). Going from weird random degree to being a nuke can certainly be done. That ME degree gives you a leg up on O-HTFF maybe, but not supervising a plant.

Plus, many things about our nuke plants are much easier to understand than we make it out to be when we're bragging to our non-nuke friends. And the things that are difficult require memorization, and damn near any random jackass can do that, as it turns out.

As far as finding senior nuke O-6s or O-7+'s with History majors, good luck. The requirements for going nuke were not always the same, NUPOC was not always around, etc. You're comparing apples with oranges.

None of this changes the fact that the reason Big Navy states for integrating women is disingenuous. I agree with Srvd_ssn_CO: The Navy ran out of excuses to keep the status quo.

I'm honestly surprised the Navy even bothers trying to jazz it up with "widening the pool of applicants" or any of that. None of you want to admit it, but telling scandalous non-PC sea stories in Control is *not* what puts warheads on foreheads, it's drills, and level of knowledge, and button-pushing, all of which are perfectly within the realm of possibility for females just as much as males. Or in other words, there's no military reasoning for excluding them just due to the shape of their poopy suits.

8/02/2011 9:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to excluding women from submarines, these days, like most others, monetary reasoning is plenty of 'military' reasoning.

Question: if you knew in advance that a particular sector of the population had a 50% lower retention rate than the current one...tell us, why would you pursue the expensive education of that particular group? Out of a misbegotten sense of fairness? Because the PC patrol says that they say so?

Whatever. From my standpoint, I'm personally gladdened that some otherwise poor-life-choice JOs(example #1: nuclear power training) are not going to have to return to port to get laid...which in some of their cases was a dubious prospect anyway.

May the Love Boat protocol expand and continue its mission, until all submariners are s a t i s f i e d . I'll settle for watching from afar...admittedly with an occassional snicker or two...and be thankful that we're making LOVE out there, not War. Things could certainly be worse.

8/02/2011 10:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

[...] And the things that are difficult require memorization, and damn near any random jackass can do that, as it turns out.

Which is completely the wrong attitude to take. Very few things need to be memorized. Immediate actions mostly, with some initial conditions/short procedures for a few select things. Everything else you should be able to reason out from overall system knowledge. Under tense situations, the guy who has everything memorized is screwed if he forgets something. He'll then have to depend on recommendations from his other watchstanders without being able to give them good backup. I've seen that happen multiple times during drills and it never ends well for the EOOW (or the boat if they would have been actual casualties).

So memorizing things is all well and good, but it's not the safest way to supervise a plant. It'll get you high test scores, but that's not much solace if the boat ends up on the bottom because the EOOW acted on a bum recommendation by a watchstander because he didn't understand and couldn't get propulsion back in time.

All that being said, nuclear power is pretty straightforward and easy to get. Most of the time when talking about what I do when I stand watch back aft is I say that I watch people who watch gauges and meters that don't move for 6 hours at a time. Sometimes I say stuff over an announcing system.

Or in other words, there's no military reasoning for excluding them just due to the shape of their poopy suits.

I do not ever recall that being put forward as an argument. Some grumbled about reduced upper body strength putting shipmates at risk during casualties, or preventing the turning of hard valves, but no one really takes those seriously. I think the two strongest arguments against it are related to manning (which this purports to fix).

One is: if a Chop or the CRA or whoever gets pregnant (since that tends to happen) just prior to a 6-month deployment for several missions vital to national security, will that boat go to see Chop-less? Or not being able to man a 3-section officer watchbill? Yeah you can pull someone from squadron, but what if it happens to another boat in the same squadron? Are they SOL now since there's no ready spare? Boats can't really tell female crew that they are not allowed to conceive when not at work.

The second has been written in this discussion several times. One of the stated purpose is to double the pool of available candidates. This would tend to be able to let the navy pick and choose from better candidates. However, since half of this new section of the pool has roughly half the retention rate post-JO tour, you are now shrinking the size of the DH pool. This could imply that the DH ranks could be filled by less qualified personnel or there simply won't be enough warm bodies to go around (obviously that's worst case).

I have not heard a good response to either of those, nor have I really ever heard a good reason for doing this, other than that it will give everyone a warm fuzzy.

8/02/2011 11:37 PM

Anonymous MM1/SS said...

For those who are Pro Integration:

Have you ever actually served with women in a Military setting?

I have had that misfortune. As a general rule of thumb, they recieve preferential treatment, and the standards applied/expected of them are vastly different from those for Men.

I was told 10 yrs ago that if I ever had to interact with a woman while at work that I should always ensure I was never alone with them in a room, and to always have a witness present. That was sage advice.

I truly feel sorry for the Tridents that are getting these women. Specifically, I feel for the COB, the XO and the CO of those boats. They have a loaded gun pressed to their temple that will go off any moment. It's not a matter of if, but when.

Working with Navy women gives me the creeps. You never know where you stand with them. Treat them as you would a man and you might very well find your number called and be standing before the Green Table for Sexual Harassment. Don't hold them to the same standards and you protect yourself, but they aren't doing their job and the slack has to be picked up by someone.

And then you also have the small issue of pregnancy. Yippee. Manning already sucks. Lets introduce women. Then she gets pregnant, gets pulled off the boat for 9-10 months, then spends 12 months recovery. That's almost 2 yrs off the boat. Oh wait, she is still counted against the boats manning. So no replacement body will show up. And if she does what 99% of other women in the Navy do, she will get pregnant again during her 12 month recover period. If she times it correctly, she will never see a boat again and will get a free ride on permanent Shore Duty.

If you think that doesn't happen, you are NAIVE. It happens now with Surface will happen for Subs. And all the while the boat is shorthanded

1 last little bit about women on subs. How is it economical to place them on subs when the very Sub itself must be retrofitted for them? That seems counter-intuitive. Why not take some of those millions of dollars being spent...and instead focus it on a Media campaign to educate the 18-25yr old body pool and entice new recruits/officers? I don't know. Anything would be better utilized than removing precious rack space to create a "womens only" area.

as for gays...blah. They're already here. Just as long as they keep it toned down I just don't care.

8/03/2011 3:33 AM

Anonymous MM1/SS said...

Oh yeah, and in lieu of the season (CPO results), I was just reminded of another awesome thing.

Thanks to the Navy and it's love of Affirmative Action and the PC stance, when we introduce women onto Subs, you are now taking away from male sailors ability to advance.

There are already quota's in place. And only so many spots available vs. the body pool.

Women will make this even worse. They will have pre-defined #'s set aside for their gender. And due to the low saturation women will achieve on Subs, they will have an unfair advantage over men for promotion. I'm betting on pretty much a 1st time up advancement for them. "Did you pass the test"? "Yes, well congrats then. your uterus means you automatically made rate"

Just more food for thought. This will apply to Officer and Enlisted ranks.

8/03/2011 3:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a humorous story to probably fuel the fire.

Was one of those ORSE Board guys some years back. On CVNs there had been a general trend of very poor reboiler material condition, so I was sentenced to purgatory for several exams watching non-nukes start up the reboilers.

Anyway, this particular CVN was determined to not take the comment that many valve had packing leakage, so they gronked the crap out of every packing gland.

Very sharp, 4 foot nothing female was picked for the evolution. Probably the best procedural compliance, professionalism, level of knowledge, ggood operator practtices I had seen on board a CVN, nule or non-nuke. She had a stool in the spaces to reach the higher valves, which was fine, adapt and overcome. Problem was she couldn't over half the valves because the packing was so tight.

OK, so my moral is going to be the the male observer saved the day by operating the valves. Sort of, several valves took both sailors to operate.

I'm not sure there's a point to this, but you just read it!

8/03/2011 5:10 AM

Anonymous T said...

Admiral Caldwell is on record saying "there's going to be a lot of pressure to make sure one of the first women gets command" to a mixed crowd of 1120s about a year ago. He then ran through a few possible scenarios that sub forces might use to improve female retention, usch as letting women (only) take sabbaticals of a few years mid career to start families.

It seems to me that its already been established that women will get preferential treatment, only the details of 'how' remain.

8/03/2011 5:30 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Has the issue of a "non reported" pregnacy been raised yet? If a sub deploys and the woman does yet know she is pregnant (or chooses to hide it), how is the radiation and possible exposure to other contaminents in a closed atmosphere going to affect the fetus. I belive someone brought up something about amine hazards before, but I don't know the details.

Would someone be pulled off the sub in mid deployment because of this?

8/03/2011 6:04 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

t: After two centuries of preferential treatment for males, guess it's time to give the women an equal opportunity...

Cheese with that whine???

8/03/2011 6:06 AM

Anonymous T said...

Chief Torpedoman:

There was an undersea medicine guy who was raising the idea that we don't really know what effect the underway air quality on a submarine might have on a developing fetus (low oxygen, atmospheric contaminants, etc) and recommended that we should conduct some form of scientific research.

I believe the Navy's answer is that we will remove a woman from the ship immediately (break off from mission, etc) if she is pregnant. However, I still foresee this situation. ENS Smith gets pregnant by some dude on the boat, doesn't realize it right away, and doesn't report it when she does because of potential for administrative action for fraternization.

If that happens and then she goes on to have a child with autism, or some other kind of disorder where the cause isn't clear, she will immediately turn around and sue the Navy on behalf of her child. My understanding is that you can sue the military on behalf of non-military family members for medical problems resulting from neglect, you just can't sue on behalf of yourself (not a lawyer, so YMMV).

RD: I'm USNR these days, so it doesn't affect me personally. I just think it's poor leadership to actively pursue discrimination within the ranks to promote one class of sailor over another. I don't see how this policy doesn't create a situation where women are marginalized by the male crew because of the perception the accurate perception that they are receiving preferential treatment.

8/03/2011 6:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was with the enterprise in the yards. During the first part of their yard period a very low pregnancy rate, then prior to first deployment back out, something like 50% of female nucs were pregnant, granted their population size is small, but talking to the CMC he said" well i am not supposed to tell you this, but this is what happens every time before a deployment for the past 15 years or so, so officially i cant say it but facts are facts, just because the command says i cant say the sky is blue....its cough cough blue"

The swo watchbills can take hits from losing people but based on the smaller JO population on a boat of like 5-11 based on schedule, maybe you can just augment your crews all the time. In a wardroom of 40 o-gangers plus, sure we could lose a few and still not go less than 5 section, but dont kid yourself. One of my RO's told me he knocked his wife up to get her out of the next deployment (Navy-Navy). You can say what you want but the system is how it is.

And the system is garbage, now, even if you are a minority legally, for the navy its not enough...i'm hispanic...well your picture makes you look too non-hispanic. I'm glad its not enough to do your job, but to be privledged because of what ethnicity you are..I'm glad my kids are 1/4 african american, and I have told them to use the which they said, no need they reach out to us and we dont have too. These policys are actually even somewhat of an insult to the hardworking minorities.

If you ever want the truth about things, talk to a chief or lower behind closed doors or an 0-3 or lower. Afterwards everything is screened.

8/03/2011 7:05 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/03/2011 7:13 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

I had a lot of typing errors so I am reposting...


I think that while you may have been given sound advice, you are exaggerating and giving all women who have served in the Navy a bad name. For instance, I was a Navy nuke who worked on air craft carrier with about 50-60 other women in my department. Of those women, I know of five, maybe six who got pregnant in the four years that I was on board ship. The pregnancy rate was low, and we had two women transfer to my ship after they had their first baby, so the 99% pregnancy thing is way off.

You might argue that this will be detrimental if it were to happen on a sub, but I will be very surprised if this happens at the beginning. JOs are the ones who are actually going to be manning, and in my entire time on board the ship, not one female JO got pregnant while stationed on board, and we had a handful of them.

I am not joking when I say that getting through the pipeline is one of the things I am most proud of because it was very hard for me. I was put on mandatory study hours, and I did that plus extra hours. Learning plant ops and standing watch were much easier because like it or not school was a lot of memorizing for me. Visualizing how things operate made it easier to understand the theory. I am not whining, just talking experiences here.

However, some of you people ARE whining louder than most of the women I worked with, and who is to say that any of the up and coming female submariners would want to have sex with any of you? That is a little pretentious don't you think?

Oh and for the record, I did not want special treatment. I qualified SRO in a timely manner, and I did not expect things to be handed down to me because I am a woman. I expected it because I am fairly intelligent, hardworking, and I earned it. I also made it very clear that I was engaged and not interested because of couple of guys did have it in their heads that they were going to get a piece, and that is shame on them for not being professional. Never had a problem with my chain of command. They knew the consequences of stepping out of line and it never occurred to me to accuse some one of sexual harassment unjustly. Why would anyone ever do that?

Man, and those ratings exams. They suck. I took the same exams as the sub guys so I was in the same pool with them. I had to answer questions about equipment I knew nothing about because our rate on the surface was much more specialized and we did not work on washers and fryers. That is the beauty about being on a carrier because they are bigger and therefore have room for my bodies, however useful.

I would never ever volunteer to work on a submarine. I did a family day cruise, and that was about all I could handle. I do not do closed in spaces very well, but I am very proud of the men who have served and are still serving on subs. I worry about the safety of my husband and his peers every time he goes out to sea. (I would say shipmate but for us Reactor Department people working on the surface, it was kind of diggity and insulting all wrapped into one.)

8/03/2011 7:36 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

Stupid spell check. It is more bodies not my bodies. That is a little weird.

8/03/2011 7:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I personally think its all a cultural/command climate thing, then again, some of the sailors will get into trouble as always.

For example, under a previous CO I had a sailor say "I would rather eat garbage and live in a card board box, than re-enlist", a new CO and 3 months later, "even without money, I would re-enlist for God and Country" food for thought from a CPO.

Set the example, and be upfront..hammer the stuffin out of people when they do wrong, the PC issue is not one that will soon go away and will get more attention that it deserves. I welcome these young women on submarines, why? Not because I have to, but I do, but because if this was my wife,sister, or daughter I would not want them mistreated and I would not want them givin preferential treatment either; though I'm sure in an attempt for a command to stay out of trouble they will be givin preference. Growing pains yes, but something we deal with.

And for my sailors, behave, behave, behave. Some of you will, some of you wont, and for the ones that won't, I'll be at mast with you, and I'm sure the stories will be entertaining as usual, though bad life decisions. Pride runs deep! and Good luck to the new Chiefs in dealing with the issues that lie ahead.

8/03/2011 8:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{OK, so my moral is going to be the the male observer saved the day by operating the valves. Sort of, several valves took both sailors to operate.}

I could have told a similar story about a male officer student at prototype and a staff instructor who had to turn valves for him during his U/I watches. Ironically, he scored very highly on the PRT - he weighed about 90 pounds, soaking wet. Could run fast and do pushups all day long, but not turn that tough valve.

Until the Navy has sensible physical standards, related to actual shipboard ops, this stuff will happen. I'd still rather have than locked-on female working for me, though, rather than a stronger yet dumber guy.

8/03/2011 8:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been following this discussion somewhat disgusted. I am also going to follow up on Erica's post. Resume here is important. I'm a SWO (read other communities blogs as it is important as a leader to see what you are worried about). I have had command. I have served on six ships and and afloat staff. I was at sea well before we put women on combatants, I am one of the first.

Across this, I know of two Sailors who got pregnant to get off sea duty -- and if I could prove it and mast them I would have. I have taken a female Sailor to mast for a false accusation of sexual harassment (accused was no saint and pretty borderline, but it was not across the line). I have taken male and female officers and enlisted to mast -- which sends the officers into CIVLANT -- for fraternization. I have lost more Sailors to 1. Softball 2. motorcycles 3. drugs, either in raw numbers or percentages, than to pregnancy. I have seen highly qualified women not be selected for XO, CO, promotion, you name it...meritocracy regardless of the perception.

I actually have been sexually harassed -- grew up in the pre-Tailhook Navy, dealt with it per the instruction at the lowest level. I have known excellent leaders of both sexes and horrible ones of both, and been glad when they did not progress. I have had junior Sailors expose themselves to me to try to get a reaction and faced down chiefs over Penthouse pinups in our spaces. I have been hit on by deck seamen trying to score and officer and survived all the malicious gossip. If I had done even a tiny fraction of waht gets said, I would never have had the time to leave my stateroom. Not a single qualification has been "given" to me: OOD, EOOW, TAO or command. I have had shipyard workers tell me "go back to typing sweetie," right up until the failed QA check because they didn't think I would actually go in tanks and inspect the work.

It is insulting to every woman you have ever known the way you are making assumptions about the intelligence, professionalism, motives and assumed behavior of these women. They are right, every thing they do will be magnified, you are already doing it and they haven't reported yet. These women aren't going to subs to look for a boyfriend, tehy are excited about the opportunity to work in such a storied community. you are only making yourselves smaller in much of this discussion.

Time to grow up, act like professionals and lead.

8/03/2011 8:24 AM

Anonymous Squidward said...

{.. school was a lot of memorizing for me. }

NPS is a lot of memorizing for everyone, Mando-Commando.

{.. who is to say that any of the up and coming female submariners would want to have sex with any of you? That is a little pretentious don't you think?}

Ironically, I was thinking about it the other way, having met several female surface nucs. No offense, but 75% of them are not hittable by any self respecting person. Even underway. Especially the officers. No offense, Erica.

{ They knew the consequences of stepping out of line and it never occurred to me to accuse some one of sexual harassment unjustly. Why would anyone ever do that? }

Because you're normal, and some % of people are f-cking nuts. Sorry, but that's the truth. When a guy is nuts, the damage is limited. When its a female, and they have the sexual harassment weapon, the damage can be large and a defense is difficult. Assume 10% of people fall into the "f-cking nuts" category. It will make many aspects of life (politics, work, relationships) make far more sense.

BTW, this is a real fun argument, but everyone needs to suck it up. And, I guess we'll find out if the E-9's running around are really COBs or just flashlight wielding suckups, won't we? Because real COBs will make this work or not, and we all know it.

8/03/2011 8:30 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...


I was in the 25%, once upon a time.

I would love to beat the ass of a woman who uses the sexual harassment card just to screw oversomeone else. While women like that are few and far between, that is what men who do not work with women on a regular basis remember the most. While I do not blame them for stereotyping, it makes it harder for the honest, hard working females.

8/03/2011 9:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or in other words, there's no military reasoning for excluding them just due to the shape of their poopy suits.

Unless of course it reduces readiness by making it more difficult and more expensive to man boats because of poor retention brought on by the inclusion of women and overt, in your face, faggots.

8/03/2011 9:29 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Erica, here's my experience with females (albeit on the tender, not a bird farm):

--Married guy falls for junior unmarried female.
--They start a relationship.
--Married guy divorces.
--They're in the same section.
--He, as the senior duty section guy, gives her the "good deal" (no midwatches EVER).
--Issue is raised. Watchbills produced.
--Issue dismissed by chain-of-command as they don't want to appear to be poking the bear unnecessarily.

You can see where morale was in that shop until they were separated by transfer.

While I did not experience the entire spectrum of horrors (short division due to pregnancy, etc) that others might have, I can say that I've seen a good bit of it. Both sexes are to blame, yes.

Perhaps this is why the program is starting with officers first--fewer wrench turners, fewer (supposedly) opportunities for fraternization, although we've seen that too with several CO/XO firings. A carrier can handle an influx of 20/30 nub nukes at once. A submarine, not so much. Imagine trying to do this on a 688, for example. Even converting one of the 9-man (whoops, 9-PERSON) berthing spaces on a T-hull would be a real hoot. (Sorry, guys, you don't get to use the head this off-watch.)

But as I've stated before more than once, it's not, nor has it ever, been a question of can women do the job--we've seen on carriers that they can. It's a question of can they do it IN THE ENVIRONMENT OF A SUBMARINE. It's a challenge that I don't believe the higher-ups have really considered, and one that even though the person who signed off on it might have fish, they're so many layers removed from operating to boat they've forgotten the challenges, or worse, don't care.

Couple that with the costs that WILL be incurred in this process, and you'll understand why I'm less than optimistic about the chances of expanding this program to more boats or to the enlisted ranks. YMMV.

8/03/2011 9:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is insulting to every woman you have ever known the way you are making assumptions about the intelligence, professionalism, motives and assumed behavior of these women.

I don't think anyone can make a legitimate argument that women can't or won't do the job on boats. The issue is should they? I don't think so. It will change the entire dynamic, it will reduce readiness (as has the inclusion of women into every fighting force), and serves no valid purpose other than to satisfy some man hating wo-man's PC desire to get even.

8/03/2011 9:49 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Admiral Caldwell is on record saying "there's going to be a lot of pressure to make sure one of the first women gets command" to a mixed crowd of 1120s about a year ago.

Captain Holly Graf, CO, USS Alaska (Blue).


You see where I'm going.

8/03/2011 9:52 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

You guys are all writing about one experience, and I am telling you not to let that one experience ruin it for everyone else. I had four years of experience and in my department, there was not one issue with sexual harassment, and Only a handful of pregnancies.

I do not agree with pregnancy especially when there is an obligation to finish, but it happens. I honestly believe that starting out with JOs is actually a great decision. Like it or not, I think that officers are held to a higher standard and by starting officers in the pipeline first it can pave the way for what is to be expected.

I do not have anything to add as far as retention. I got out because my husband got commissioned and him being sub and me surface, there is no way we could have ever had a family. He got the better end of the deal, as far as jobs go.

I do think that if there is some kind of pension/incentive for getting out, then there should be another incentive that is just as appealing to those who stay in. I know that bonuses are outstanding all ready, but up them or up sub pay.

I also disagree with a sabbatical. If men cannot do this,then why should women be able to? I know that Admiral Caldwell is trying to think in the best interests politically speaking, but from a woman's point of view, I would not want to be treated any differently than my male counterparts and something like that would create an even bigger rift.

8/03/2011 10:19 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Erica, you may not *WANT* to be treated any differently, but history says what you want and what you get will be substantially different.

Not bitching about it, but it is what it is.

8/03/2011 10:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I find ammusing is how those who make the most in government both in salary and in pension (after serving one whole whopping term)get to dictate what those of us who serve 20 years can and cannot have for retirement. You want to save some money...make congress and the senate serve for a minimum number of terms/years which should be greater than 2 in order to get any type of pension. After all, I bet Weiner gets a lifetime pension, but a military person who did the same thing would have been booted with nothing. I sure wish I could vote for my own salary, raises, and pension plan.

8/03/2011 11:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe that anyone is saying they can't or won't either, but everyone seems to be operating on the assumption that they will fail or cause problems or behave badly or fill in the blank. Based on limited experience. The challenge is recognizing that because SOME women in the past have acted stupidly, and SOME men have acted stupidly and SOME leaders have failed (the tender example above) doesn't mean the majority or ALL are that way. I certainly don't judge all sub captains as foolish based on the ones fired for cheating or for taking home classified material. Nor should every female leader be judged by CAPT Graf. The ONLY thing most of us have in common with her is being female, and I have worked for at least two women that are superb leaders I can only hope to measure up to.

But all these comments assume the worst of all women, not just the few. And the troublemakers are the few of each sex.

8/03/2011 11:15 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...


Here is the difference: some women choose to take advantage, and some do not. Myself, I choose the hard road and actually studied. It is much more gratifying to qualify when you know you have worked your butt off for it, rather than batting eye lashes like some of the other girls did. However, that will only get a person so far. They still have to take tests to qualify.

8/03/2011 11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During a deployment in 2006, I took 24 enlisted females on DDG/CG X out of X. 19 of them got pregnant during deployment, 8 of them by people other than their husbands. 6 of them went to mast for getting pregnant during underway period of 60+ days. That being said, same type ship in my squadron, same schedule 6 months later, no pregnancies during deployment and won the battle E...all about command climate, just dont distort the facts. stuff happens, and as far as grown men go...i've pulled more of them out of jail than I care to remember, but less than my friends in the Gator Navy. GL sub people hope your on the right boat

8/03/2011 12:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what will happen to manning if the Navy gives out voluntary separation pay like the Air Force : 196K for a 0-4 with 12 years, 46K for an 0-3 with 6 years. Based on the revamping of retirement and someone giving you almost 200k, some more 0-4s than you think may be taking their last underway shortly. Although like any other good deals, I'm sure the navy will exclude the Nucs, and Pilots just like the Air Force did..making an already happy bunch of folks happier.

America: Give us your tired, give us your poor; New Navy: give us your diverse, give us your different

-SittingBack and laughing

8/03/2011 12:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best junior enlisted I had work for me in the division was gay. Never bothered anyone and gave a great 6 years of service. He did good work for the division and we took care of him as well. The type of work you do is generally not dependent on who you go to bed with at night. I could see where some one if they were hot racking may whine and complain, but he's not in the rack with you.

On a side note, I do think the Navy is splitting hairs about the bi's and trans' peoples, shame on them for excluding them as a way to save a few bucks.

8/03/2011 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


"After two centuries of preferential treatment for males, guess it's time to give the women an equal opportunity..."

The way you employ history is misleading at best. An honest appraisal of male naval history must include:

Impressment (involuntary service) of seamen from American ships caused serious tensions between Britain and the United States in the years leading up to the War of 1812. The Continental Navy (U.S.) had also impressed men into its service during the American Revolutionary War.

Males sailors also received other preferential treatment such as being drafted more recently.

Your one-sided coloring of history to imply evil discrimination against women might be remiss for an enlisted man, but for an officer with your education it this forum is almost shameful.


8/03/2011 2:31 PM

Anonymous Retired ANAV said...

"Hags and fags, love them or leave them, they are here to stay. Now suck it up and commence field day!"

Overheard this in the Bangor exchange the other day...almost spit out my Starbucks!

Two seaman discussing life on the boat? nope.

Two old Chiefs talking about the "new Navy"? nope.

Two young (to me) LT's talking about their boat? Yep.

Right or wrong, one thing is for sure...this is going to be entertaining!!!!

8/03/2011 5:08 PM

Blogger DDM said...

Gays, women. Next thing you know they'll let the Irish join the submarine force!

BTW, my retired health care is currently about $115 per quarter. To cover my daughter I had to buy my company's health plan since she's over 21 (Tricare isn't part of health care reform act). I now pay $120 every two weeks plus higher co-pays for pharmacy.

8/03/2011 5:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ddm: is your daughter HIV-positive, a submariner, all of the above...or how exactly does this relate to the subject line?

8/03/2011 6:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To cover my daughter I had to buy my company's health plan since she's over 21 (Tricare isn't part of health care reform act). I now pay $120 every two weeks plus higher co-pays for pharmacy."

Time to put her firm, juicy buns to work!

8/03/2011 7:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Your one-sided coloring of history to imply evil discrimination against women might be remiss for an enlisted man, but..."


8/03/2011 10:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh who gives a shit?!

Girls are going to be on the boats very soon. Shut the fuck up and get used to it. Everyone is afraid of change, that is why no-one wants girls on the boats.

8/03/2011 10:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our young enlisted men will extend a great deal of respect to women Officers onboard. So who onboard would most likely be offended?

As for gays onboard, openly gay that is, Yes they were on in '70s and they did their job well. In one example I remember a gay MM1 was always first to dawn an OBA and last to leave an incident scene. On a submarine, what more can you ask for?

8/03/2011 10:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Rubbery Ducky's assessment of the train's a-leavin time to get aboard. BUT (there's always a but) let do it across the board.

-Why does the CNOs morning OPREP/SITREP summary always label each and every person as a male E-5 or female E-5. I thought we are being told they are all sailors. Stop this now!

-Stop any of the ridiculous expenditures of government ttime and resources supporting all of the various women's officer professional societies, and womens mentorship programs. If we are all sailors, stop them now. I hope the former female CO who commented is writing a letter to stop these. Is there a male officer professional society, hell no, never allowed. The time for these to exist is past.

-Delete the women's history month celebration. Yes, women have done greta things in history, but we don't need to celebrate the women we need to celebrate tthe grea things. Don't have a men's history month, do we?

-Two years ago, I think, all of the Navy wide sailors of the year were female and everyone was celebrating. Where was the diversity crowd saying that this was bad? I think it points out a very big bias in the selection process.

Last year I sat through a women's history month presentation when a very senior female made a big deal about how great it was that the salary of recent female college grads was above that of the males. Thunderous applause from the females in the audience. Wait, if it was such a bad thing when male salaries were higher, why is it now a good thing that female salaries are higher. I thought unbalanced was wrong.

Point I'm trying to make, is yes, 100 percent, let's move forward. It is about comamnd climate and if you want to improve acceptance, get rid of these decisive groups. Let's make it about performance. No more Navy News about female this or female that, just about this sailor did this and this one did that. Black, white, gay, straight, male, female, don't care. Just good sailors, now you have my complete and undying efforts.

8/04/2011 5:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for gays onboard, openly gay that is, Yes they were on in '70s and they did their job well. In one example I remember a gay MM1 was always first to dawn an OBA and last to leave an incident scene. On a submarine, what more can you ask for?
Oh, how 'bout not meat gazing at my package. If I catch you and you're a flaming homo, you might leave the boat in a bag.

8/04/2011 6:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this blog to keep abreast of all the cultural changes going on in the submarine force and it scares me. I served during the Cold War, when the submarine force had a serious mission. Because the Navy has become this politically correct Petri dish of social engineering, while at the same time experiencing severe force reductions, we will be so screwed when the Chi-Coms get their sea legs and start exercising them.

At best, the US might be able to get a sternly worded resolution out of the UN Security Council because “America’s Navy” will only be able to sit on the sidelines and watch.

8/04/2011 7:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Oh, how 'bout not meat gazing at my package. If I catch you and you're a flaming homo, you might leave the boat in a bag.}

But its ok if the guy isn't flaming? Or its ok if he's supposedly straight? Or is it ok if the flaming homo is really thinking "wow, what a tiny penis. I feel so sorry for LTJG Smallpackage!"

Relax, Francis. If you are good looking enough for gay guys to check you out, you don't care because women are throwing themselves at you. Otherwise - not so much.

8/04/2011 8:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the future, retired former submarine commander Hanna Blix getting to the very, very angry point in her now-supreme UN government negotiations with the Chi-Com.

(And, sadly, yes...this is as good looking as Hanna ever was.)

8/04/2011 12:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just FYI, some of the females going into the submarine force had their original service selection taken away, i.e. "you were going pilot, but now you can go submarines or we will send you SWO,". Its interesting what someone junior will tell you if you just listen.

Sounds just like that middie leadership list that got revamped for not being pc enough.


8/04/2011 1:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 8/03/2011 10:18 PM

Since my comment was addressed directly to RD and held all enlisted men blameless for misuse of superior educations, glad my remarked registered with you RD. So much for your anonymous pretense!

Rubbing it in to Rubber Duck,


8/04/2011 2:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd cut the Duck a little slack if I were you.

Condolences, John. Hope you're healing up just fine and have found some peace. Love certain of that much in life.

- Just Another Duck-bashin' Anon

8/04/2011 2:19 PM

Blogger DDM said...

anon@8/03/2011 6:00 PM

"ddm: is your daughter HIV-positive, a submariner, all of the above...or how exactly does this relate to the subject line?"

I was speaking to Joel's comment about "free" health care.

8/04/2011 3:01 PM

Anonymous murse said...

Be Afraid, very afraid. Former enlisted, three boats,non nuke,got commissioned in the staff corps as nurse. Have worked with some great females. Hard workers, provide great care. But...something all comes up. Mostly rumors and untruths but the that causes so much hate and discontent. Plenty of frat going on. You know how it goes everybody on the same shift every day for twelve hours. Everyone gets along until one person gets too friendly with another andralma then the jealousy... and the bitches start on each other and the weak have to choose sides. Seen it every place I have worked.

8/04/2011 4:34 PM

Anonymous sonarman said...

I guess BH took down my rather scathing (but true nonetheless) post, so I'll try this excerpt.

If we truly want equality, then I propose this: Open up submarines to all genders and rates/ranks. No extra efforts will be made to seperate berthing between male and female, or any adjustments to head/shower schedules. Everyone must sign a page 13 stating they acknowledge that there will be no expectaton of gender privacy aboard a submarine. This solves the problem of funding submarine alterations, juggling assignments based on gender, a few others I've thought of before, but have succumbed to CRS.

Everybody will be truly equal, no special treatment whatsoever for anybody. Not even a hint of fraternization or sexual harassment will be tolerated - both ways. Skippers will be relieved at the 1st whisper of a pregnancy by a shipmate, fraternization, or sexual harassment, and those involved will be DD'd, including CMCs if warranted. The CMCs will at least have letters of reprimand and/or relieved as well. Everybody will have to behave with the utmost in professionalism and maturity.

I know what everyone's reaction to this is going to be: "That's impossible, never going to happen, nobody will put up with it, wives will go apeshit, etc.,etc."

That's exactly my point.

If we say we can all behave maturely, then let's put our money where our mouth is. But we know thats not going to happen because this issue is not really about equality - its about political correctness and social misengineering.

8/04/2011 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


So if they have to force wome into subs to get to 16.... how is this supposed to help manning again? LOL!

8/04/2011 6:09 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

anon @ 8/04/2011 2:19 PM: Thanks Babe. Doing OK.

8/04/2011 6:15 PM

Anonymous 4-Stop said...

Better than a mid-watch convo about what body part would you cut off to bang (insert hot piece of ass here male or female now). What was the original question? Oh yeah, “How will it affect future submarine manning?” we will have an influx of people who have something to prove and an out rush, or is that a trickle? Of people who just can’t stand to continue in the Navy with these sub-standard sailors. Bottom line is who cares? Don’t we already serve with homosexuals, disgruntled lifers, and no-load’s who couldn’t fight their way out of an EAB?
Keep your eye on the Pendulum, it’s going to swing the other way in a bit.

8/04/2011 6:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing by to Read the NavyTimes, good luck. Remember articles during integration of females in the surface fleet? I'll be saving a few bucks and not have to visit the commedy club because of all the laughs being provided.

I do think that the retirement plan change will greatly hurt the subforce in particular. I got out, went to a standard nuc job, pays 90kish, plus bonus,plus O/T and I love it; I could have made more doing other stuff but didnt want to travel. I considered staying in but when I was told I couldnt get orders to a certain command because the remaining spots were "political" billets, that was it for me.

I hope they dont say they retain the best because they don't. I was ranked #1 of my peers, and I'm out. The #2-rest are all headed out the door as well due to the upcoming retirement changes.

I would have done it without the nuc bonus, but the political rhetoric and the retirement rug pull, im so glad i didnt stay. I never went to mast, and was smart enough to listen to my now senior chief.

I'm glad Congress will make no attempt to overhaul their retirement system, whereby Rep. Weiner and other clowns such as he serve as little as 2 years and then get a pension....what if I told my wife, hey sweety, its okay I can run around on you, make others suffer, and set a bad example and its okay.

Your new pal Mr. Leon will cut the force just like the 90's especially with the voluntary sep pay Greenert mentioned coming the navy's way. Trust me give a E-5 40k for getting out sep pay and you will see him at a nuc plant before you know it driving a decent vehicle paid in cash, some in savings and a maxed out ROTH IRA for the year. I would have done it.

I got no problems with the women or the gays. I dont go home with them at night, and they don't come home with me. Work with them fine. I think its more the PC people making a big stir that makes it worse for everyone. The women/gays dont want the attention, and the hardworking people are tired of hearing about it.

8/04/2011 8:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you here that the academy was raising the number of math/technical majors to 65% of all graduates. I heard at a bar recently from a reputable white uniformed source that they would accomplish that by forcing people to take those majors. Dont get me wrong, I support math/techical majors, but maybe look at who you are recruiting and figure out why they can't hack the harder material.

8/04/2011 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PRK/ Lasik eye surgerys were the start of the brain drain on the sub force whereby the average aviator is now has the stats to prove it. May be the females and the gays can save us, but why did we leave out the bi's, trannies, and others?

lol, thanks for the post good laugh

8/04/2011 8:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

fmr watchstander

for the ~5 years I was on a boat, all of our command advance where minorities. I asked why once or twice, and they (CPO's) said that was the policy squadron was putting out from HQ at the time. It was a while ago, but judging from the sailors of the year for the navy, it looks like its business as usual.

Its similiar in the private sector, but if you cant hold your weight, you get a position change or showed the door...unless you are in a union, then you are like a bad termite infestation that wont go away whether you work or not. haha, not to ruffle feathers, just saying it how it is. maybe next year obama can put through a plan to let sailors unionize?

8/04/2011 9:04 PM

Anonymous 610ET said...

I wasn’t going to mention this but seeing as how Sonarman brought it up, I also had a post pulled on this topic. Mine wasn’t scathing or disrespectful (IMO) and it was re the new retirement proposal and Joel’s characterization that it was somehow a Tea Party thing.

Joel, it’s your blog so your rules but maybe some guidelines so at least those who want to conform can?

8/04/2011 9:39 PM

Anonymous T said...

How is it not a tea party thing? The whole manufactured debt crisis is a Tea Party thing, driving defense cuts, which drives this proposal... ergo, it's a tea party thing. It may be an unintentional consequence, but you might as well feel what a "cuts only" balanced budget looks like, and you're not getting there by cutting planned parenthood funding alone.

Luckily, the solution is a bait and switch "future congress" solution, so it's unlikely any of the "cuts" from the deal will actually ever come to fruition

8/05/2011 12:01 AM

Anonymous Bullshit Be Gone said...

PRK/ Lasik eye surgerys were the start of the brain drain on the sub force whereby the average aviator is now has the stats to prove it.

Let me guess: that's a "no shitter?"

Who, exactly, in 'navy' would have this info?

And just how would one "prove it" as you say? SAT scores? Un-comparable college GPAs? Penus/vagina length? Time-delay from listening to your statement and saying "BULLSHIT"...?

What COMMON test would exist between aviation and nuclear propulsion training officers to prove what you say? Dude...there just isn't one.

You really should practice your bullshitting skills someplace where you're less much likely to get called out on them...especially when they're as bad as yours.

8/05/2011 12:07 AM

Anonymous Aussie Blue said...

Gday all,
Long time reader, first time contributor. As a >20 year dolphin wearer in the RAN, I thought I'd drop a few comments here that are devoid of emotional rhetoric and based on the last few years at sea with female crew members. I've served on exchange with the USN so I have seen and spoken to many USN guys about this topic.
Firstly fellas, its not the end of the world. In fact over here the female enlisted sailors now bunk in the same sixpack as the males (no less than 2 females per cabin). This follows on from female O's and senior enlisted doing the same for many years.
When this first happened here in 1999, there was a shedload of problems with wives and girlfriends objecting and, yes, some submariners left. Not many, but some. I thought at the time that if your buttons get pushed over something minor like this then you probably should go anyway.
My first experience with females in my crew was when I was a CO the first time around. Let me categorically say right now that of the personnel problems that we do get, I have just as many per capita issues (if not more) with the blokes than the girls.
The key to this is dealing with things maturely. Young men and young women, when forced together on a ship or submarine will see some form relationships. If they are honest and fess up one or both are posted somewhere else without prejudice. If they aren't honest then there are mechanisms to deal with that. If one or both of them are married then that is bad news for their marriages but it probably would have happened anyway.
For those worrying about the practical aspects of the change "what if X happens?", then let me point out we run small diesel boats and have put things in place to ensure it runs smoothly. I'm sure with all that space you guys have in SSNs/BNs and GNs it won't be too much of a problem to sort out.
Lastly, and as I like to point out often, we accept the pay that the people of our country give us, so we do the job that our Admirals and elected officials tell us. Sure if a decision is bad, argue your point smartly and respectfully, but there comes a time when it is our duty to accept the decision and make it so. If you don't want to do that, don't take the pay and go somewhere else. In the end though, for all the nay-sayers reading this, females on submarines are a non-issue. You guys have bigger fish to fry than worrying about something that in the end is what society expects.
Let me finish by saying that some of the girls have been some of the best submariners that I have ever served with in my 9 sea tours. Some haven't been but they are in pretty much the same proportion as the blokes in that category.
Seriously, fellow dolphin wearers, it isn't worth discharging over. You'll soon see that after some initial minor teething problems that it will be a storm in a teacup.
Regards to your great Navy. I look forward to serving with you again.

8/05/2011 3:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOPS! I missed the memo.

"Its George Bush's fault" - Out.

"Its a Tea Party thing." - In.

8/05/2011 5:30 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

If they are honest and fess up one or both are posted somewhere else without prejudice.

Problem is, sir, that unless things have changed drastically since I left AD, that's exactly what DOESN'T happen here. The hammer drops, and drops HARD.

But for the other issues, good on ya, mate. Miss me some Aussie beer. Don't miss the broken collarbones our guys got when trying to take ya'll on at rugby when I was on Proteus back in 1992.

8/05/2011 6:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding PPK/Laser surgery, there are some midshipman who would have chosen subs before, but now choose aviation because they can (after surgery). I've got one in my family. He was being recruited hard by the sub folks, but is now in PCola learning to fly.

Whether that significantly skews the statistics of either group is open for debate--probably depending on your definition of "significantly"--but it does make sub recruiting harder from a numbers perspective. Some would argue that to get enough people, the floor for submarine officer recruiting has been lowered.

To put it another way, one way to get enough qualified candidates for the Submarine Force is to adjust the definition of "qualified" as necessary to achieve the desired number of candidates.

8/05/2011 6:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@RAN Skipper "Blue": All good thoughts, Captain, and we thank you for them.

One rather large difference between RAN submarine ops and U.S. ops is the mission. Power projection isn't going away as U.S. SSN / SSBN / SSGN missions, and this necessarily entails months away from homeport rather than days or weeks associated with coastal protection.

Not saying you guys (and gals) don't get out a bit, but this is a rather enormous difference in terms of the two sexes being mingled together in a steel tube, and one which our leadership does not address head-on.

Again, U.S. mixed-sex crews will routinely be together and away from home for months at a time...I'd find it very hard to believe that this is anything but a very rare experience in the RAN.

Any additional comments or insights along these lines?

8/05/2011 6:31 AM

Anonymous Absurd said...

Gays onboard...fine. Trannies...whatever. Women...sure. But bisexuals on submarines? no way. There is absolutely nothing worse than having someone onboard who can't make a decision!

Ps. get those fat people off too!

8/05/2011 6:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Another major USN vs. RAN difference is the expense associated with nuclear propulsion training, and the 50%-less retention of females.

The RAN has ZERO nuclear submarines. The U.S. has 100% nuclear-powered submarines.

There is more than a bit of apples-to-oranges comparison here, and it gets a bit tiring to see this being ignored by higher-ups who have to damn well know better.

Our two navies may both operate submarines, but when it comes to incorporating females the comparisons pretty much stop at that nose-bleed level of abstraction...which is perhaps all a politician (in uniform or not) is capable of understanding.

8/05/2011 6:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


You really diluted the response to the proposed change of retirement by grouping it with the gay/female on submarne controversy.

The message of the effect the the change of DOD retirement policy is huge, and deserves its own showing.

8/05/2011 9:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aussie Blue said: ..." we accept the pay that the people of our country give us, so we do the job that our Admirals and elected officials tell us. Sure if a decision is bad, argue your point smartly and respectfully, but there comes a time when it is our duty to accept the decision and make it so. If you don't want to do that, don't take the pay and go somewhere else."

I'm printing this out and hanging it in my stateroom.

8/05/2011 9:12 AM

Anonymous t said...

Anon: Blue's statement is a very nice way of saying 'shut up and take it'

I would suggest that despite his assurances thatt all is rosy with combined crews, and deferential attitude to the powers that be, evidence says that aussie sub force is so mismanaged that you shouldn't listen to him.

They currently have 6 collins class boats and can take less than half of them to sea due to manning. He says 'if you don't like it take a walk'. And many have.

On the plus side it must be easy to screen...'you f'ing guys' is not a retention plan.

8/05/2011 9:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sonarman @ 8/04/2011 5:49 PM: I've said a similar thing for years. The best way for this to go is to eventually get to the [admittedly crappy movie, never read the book] Starship Troopers method: mixed gender bunks/heads/showers. The problem is that this would be the first time that many of these guys (all black clothes/boot camp issue boots/all-weather coat wearing despite it being >90 degrees outside; don't act like you didn't see guys like this in the nuke training pipeline) see a girl not-fully-clothed, so we'll spend a ton of money in retrofitting/design changes to accomodate.

Unfortunately, I don't expect us to grow up enough during my lifetime to get past the "oh look, boobies!" reaction.

As far as gay dudes are concerned (I don't have a problem with them, either, by the way), the open berthing/heads/showers concept is already in play. Whether you know they're gay or not, I'd guess that the majority of them have gotten past the "oh look, dongs!" reaction just fine.

8/05/2011 10:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor formatting on my part: only the first sentence was directed to sonarman. Other people can comment on the social skills of those in the nuke pipeline.

8/05/2011 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@t: Agreed re. the RAN skipper's comments...and most especially the fact that "you-fucking-guys" spiels are not successful regarding a 'real' retention plan.

He blithely glossed over the biggest relative problems with women on U.S. subs -- wasted, expensive NUCLEAR education in terms of retention, and spending MONTHS (not DAYS) aboard ship -- much in the same fashion as our own, head-in-the-sand 'leadership.'

Maybe he's destined for admiral...? Or Member of Parliament...?

8/05/2011 10:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a a very decent Wiki article on the failures in Collins class submarine manning (womaning?) and retention.

Bottom line: t's comments regarding the Aussies only being able to 'man' half their boats are smack on.

I wonder if that's the next stop for U.S. submarines? What say we roll the dice and find out in fine social-experiment fashion?

8/05/2011 10:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The women/gays dont want the attention, and the hardworking people are tired of hearing about it.

Huh? Flamers are ALL about attention. Why else do they act/dress/walk the way they do? Take a look at this pair

8/05/2011 10:39 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Poor formatting on my part: only the first sentence was directed to sonarman.

"oh look, dongs!"

Lemme guess--the second one WAS a sonar"man" talking?

I keed! I keed!

But look for those jokes to die, better or worse. Can't dip, can't smoke, can't drink, can't cuss, can't make fun of anybody... SRB ain't high enough for this shit, boys...oh wait. They're taking that away too.

8/05/2011 10:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aussie Blue also conveniently left out the topic that they can't even man their paltry fleet of boats with men or women. Why is that?

8/05/2011 10:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NHSparky--you can still "Dial 1 for fun" and wake up the XO in the middle of the night. Although you didn't serve under a female XO on your boat, it was as close as you could get.

8/05/2011 10:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous at 8/01/2011 5:52 PM:
As for JO’s I think your three categories are fairly accurate (also from my JO & post JO shore experience).
Where the new retirement plan will really sucker punch our manning however is when those in category 3 (the 75-80%) have a miserable DH tour because they can’t live up to the expectations of their CO/XO and finally get fed up with it all & punch after the DH tour (or at least post DH shore).
Between this which I’ve seen to be more than an isolated incident under the current system & category 1 (priors trying to get to retirement) who finally punch at the same time… that will leave us with, by your numbers, no more than 10% to make XO’s & CO’s.
Rumor has it that NR already is hesitant to assign prior E’s as ENG since many of them exit after DH tour leaving too many non-ENG served XO & CO candidates, which makes it hard to meet NR’s requirement to have either the XO or CO on any given boat be a served ENG. I’ve heard that this is a hot topic of discussion at NR lately. This would indicate that we already have a significant problem with DH’s punching out and causing issues for the O-4+ manning. If this is the current state of affairs what will be the result of eliminating the military retirement incentive, which becomes a big issue once past the 12yr point.
As a DH, who actually likes this business, I would perceive there to be ZERO retirement incentive for me (as someone who had joined) under the new system. A 10yr served DH who has been accessed under the new system would be faced with the option of getting out without much loss in pay as well as no impact to his ability to keep any retirement benefit earned, nor any impact to his ability to continue to contribute to retirement, thus ZERO retirement incentive to stay in. At this point in my life I just might decide I’d served my country honorably for 10 years & now its time to tend to my growing family while still providing all the lifetime benefits I’d have in or out of the service. Please tell me how this does not affect retention beyond DH, and by direct extension affect the ability of our service to select quality CO’s.
Personally at this point I’m really only in this for the submarining and the retirement incentives for my family. So then what would I do under the new system if I screened XO(SS)? I’d punch immediately. And I like this business a whole lot more that most of my peers & I do not believe that the majority of my peers would stay in, just so that they can go to sea again.
As for the “Any normal company doesn’t offer such a retirement……” argument. I say yes! And if that is your standard I’ll gladly get my “normal” retirement from any number of “normal” companies that “normally” do not send me away from my family for months loaded to the hilt with explosives to meet the business end of politics, and that do not “normally” make me work 80+ hrs a week at the advertised salary during the time when I’m “home” & not doing the aforementioned business end of things.
If anything happens to the nuke bonus because of such a change in retirement, its that it will have to increase significantly after the 1st 5 years of contract (10 years of service).
Women…. Check we’ll make it all work but I don’t think it’ll have a perceptible effect on accessions.

8/05/2011 1:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they Navy is going to have significant problems retaining DH or post-DH, especially b/c officers are most attractive for the private sector at that point. Maybe the JO's depending on the state of the economy, but from what I'm hearing, the ones with engineering degrees are having no problems getting placed in jobs 80K-low 100's. I think the DH position will be the real kicker because at that time (somewhere 7-12 year point) the private sector beats military pay hands down. Of a cycle of 9 JO's I have 6 using the GI-bill/getting a MBA/Master's, 1 getting out from sea, 1 going to work and gradschool, and one staying in. The one staying in was by far in the bottom half of my performers (both in competance fwd/aft, common sense, and respect from the o's and e's) and the one most scared of transition to private sector. Good job whatever the Navy has done to turn my studs into cynics and my sloths into career guys despite my best efforts. The good ones wouldnt stay for the 30K carrot, but I woulda got'em to stay for free without some of the garbage/PC, retention boards talk, retirement overhaul,etc. Its strange, they exempt nuc's from basically most good deals (dwell time, better sea/shore rotations), but cant give my fellas a break on retention boards, and be upfront with them about detailing b/c the've got plenty of bodies and frankly dont care about the slugs they keep. i'll keep sub-ing with the fellas, but they need to change the attitude of what they are putting out.

Btw, if they want to charge 100/month vs 425 a year for retired tricare to people working 2 jobs, im all for it. I have tricare standard for my family, pay ~3k per year in deductibles and I can afford it with one job. My .02, which is of course worthless to some, but still said nonetheless.

8/05/2011 1:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That PRK stuff, helped my bro go pilot instead of being forced to go subs. thats a fact, no opinion at all. I promise PRK/eye surgery brain drain on the sub force is real. One of the assessions sources has avg GPA pilot vs GPA subs and the pilot has been higher for the past few years...was notably lower before eye surgery became popular

8/05/2011 1:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK...but GPA in _what_? Business versus Engineering?

Back in the day (way back), pretty much every pilot from my top-25 university's was a business major, and pretty much every nuke was an enginer or a hard-science guy.

BTW, I wish nothing but good things for those who were able to go pilot via PRK rather than eat crap via the nuclear path. Good for them...seriously. But I'd be very circumspect of any GPA propaganda that didn't label the details.

8/05/2011 2:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is forced to go subs, it is an all volunteer force!

8/05/2011 4:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" is an all volunteer force!"

True for some...not so much for others (USNA). Needs of the Service and all that.

8/05/2011 5:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anonymous 8/01/2011 5:52 PM

Not all "priors" are just staying alive to retire

your assessment shows that discrimination is not the only problem with the training being given to academy 'kids' on the tax-payer dime

8/05/2011 6:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 8/05/2011 6:54 PM

from anonymous 8/01/2011 5:52 PM

I didn't say all priors were staying in to retire, I said of those who stay in 10 - 15% are priors just trying to make it to retirement. The rest of the priors fall into either of the two categories.

I will resist replying to the second part of your statement with an insult.... but it is difficult.

Instead, I will offer a word of advice. In the future try to think and process things logically instead of jumping to emotional based conclusions about all academy "kids" hating priors or whatever it was your were trying to imply with the second part of your statement.

8/05/2011 7:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For academy "kids" they make them go submarines, some of them, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. I talked today to midshipmen 1/c x and he said "well i said i wanted to go pilot, then they said thats great you have an interview at NR next week, congrats on volunteering to go submarines, and if you dont show up we will fry you"....all volunteer force...right? If it was all volunteer and friendly you wouldn't have conscripts..i mean enlisted guys under contract just let them give the navy 2 weeks notice and we can all be friends.ha

i know many priors and the majority...all except one of the 40+ i know now say, they are staying until 20-22ish and then getting out.

the academy kids get an education on the tax payer dime, but then so do the 1million per year+ illegals getting pell grants, so for those 4k citizens of the U.S. i dont mind chipping in.

by the way, submariners are known by the middies at the academy to be absolute jerks with an ax to grind (quote from middies rotc and usna) it or not thats how we are known, and we do not not help our cause of recruiting a higher quality officer by doing that.

im glad you begrude those 4k "kids" an education...those kids btw have died for our country in recent times, what have you done to be so much better than them.

take a strain shipmate.

8/05/2011 7:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Rumor has it that NR already is hesitant to assign prior E’s as ENG since many of them exit after DH tour leaving too many non-ENG served XO & CO candidates, which makes it hard to meet NR’s requirement to have either the XO or CO on any given boat be a served ENG. }

I thought they fixed this by stopping the retirement clock for STA-21 OCs while in college? That way they need to do an XO tour to get to retirement...

8/05/2011 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Maybe the JO's depending on the state of the economy, but from what I'm hearing, the ones with engineering degrees are having no problems getting placed in jobs 80K-low 100's.}

I'm hiring exiting JOs right now - 90k. I need two, in a hurry. I could use a chief, too.

8/05/2011 7:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All these retention problems go away if we cut the hull count by 30-50%. This is probably close to the plan: Navy leadership may be stupid sometimes, but I don't think they're braindead.

Look at the big picture folks - if the Nav is giving such a clear middle finger to sub officers, there's probably a decent reason. The people making the calls went through the same "elite" pipeline you did.

8/05/2011 11:06 PM

Anonymous T said...

"All these retention problems go away if we cut the hull count by 30-50%. This is probably close to the plan: Navy leadership may be stupid sometimes, but I don't think they're braindead."

They just don't give a shit about being good at warfighting and submarining. They give a shit about looking like they are good at warfighting and submarining. I used to argue til I was blue in the face that we shouldn't do things that the inspection teams expect to see, we should do things because it is the best way to do them, and if the ORSE board didn't like it, make our case for why our way is better.

I think this really started during the great JO overmanning of the early 2000's. Our CO said to our face that he didn't need to train all of us, just the ones he thought were going to stay in, because that was all they needed... Well... here we are.

I hold "Navy Leaders" in the very lowest esteem (with some exceptions). For the most part they are callous, short-sighted, careerist, and unimaginative. In a sense, it's a microcosm of how the entire country is slowly going into the toilet. We have devolved from a once great nation of free men, to a dog eat dog "I gots mine" country, who struggles to stay at the top of the heap through torture, murder, and self-inflicted erosion of the ideal that every man is equal. History will not look kindly on the last 10-20 years of American history.

As a result, we intend to gut the benefits of the men and women of the military. We let government officials blatantly break laws with no recourse, and collectively gang up on those that try to expose injustice. The rich get richer, and we all are worse off for it.

The degradation of our submarine force is merely a symptom of that general, unfortunate trend

8/06/2011 12:00 AM

Anonymous Aussie Blue said...

As a quick addendum - I didn't "gloss over" any nuclear issues. I have no training in this aspect, so I don't feel that I am able to present a solid argument on this front. The point of my post is that females at sea is not the end of the world.
As for claims regarding RAN submarine manning, it's well publicized that we have three submarine crews for six hulls. This was a considered decision a couple of years back to give people an opportunity for respite shore postings. We in Australia run our Navy a little differently than yours and quite obviously have less people. Our crews - and particularly the non-engineering officer types - rarely ever had a shore posting. Several sea tours without a shore tour was common. We have aligned ourselves a bit better now to give our troops a better life balance. Sure, the is a cost, but you also have to take into account that we over-man each of our hulls by up to 30% so people have the opportunity to take leave, go on career courses etc etc. "3 crews for 6 hulls" whilst accurate in terms of pure math is far from the full story. We are scheduled to stand up a fourth crew soon.
Anyway, I digress.
What the hard-over need to consider is that these decisions are rarely made arbitrarily, and knowing your Submarine Force Commander, it most certainly will be thoroughly implemented including any nuclear-related aspects. It is going to come down to an easy decision for those who are unplacatable - harden up or get out.
I joined up to serve my country. Nothing is more important than that to most submariners - certainly not this non-issue.
Aussie Blue

8/06/2011 12:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a considered decision a couple of years back to give people an opportunity for respite shore postings.

This is the PC spin to the result of the problem they created. In the real world it's known as bullshit.

8/06/2011 8:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a Masters in Nuclear Engineering to address the fact that expensively-trained female nukes have a 50% lower retention rate, and thus do not warrant special efforts to be put on submarines -- including being kidnapped/hijacked against their will -- all just in order to make some dumbass politician feel good about their cataract-disabled world view.

The financial/retention reason alone is enough to shut this dumb idea down...and right now. The icing on the cake is that apparently it's gotten by the 3rd-rate (uniformed) politicians that U.S. subs go to sea for MONTHS...not days as Australian and Norwegian boats most typically do.

There are a good number of very valid reasons that the U.S. Congress is held in disdain by 82% of the American populace. Forcing the senior Navy hierarchy to put women on subs would one of them.

Having said all that, believe it or not, I actually do have some empathy for the submarine admirals who've been ordered to make this happen.

Stand in their shoes for a moment, take your legal-but-dumbass orders into account...and consider the bottom line: what's your alternative? Resignation à la the Revolt of the Admirals?

Given the Congressional mandate, and the lying/covering-up of the surface fleet regarding their 'successes' in incorporating women, choose the Revolt path and you are going to go to your grave as "that misogynist, male-fascist former admiral," I guarantee you. And at the end of the day, guess what? Women would still be forced onto the boats by the same ilk.

So...if you disagree with women on subs, play the I'm-a-submarine-admiral game for a moment (skimmers, with zero relevant experience, can most distinctly STFU)...and tell us: what would YOU do to head off this stupidity, with 'stupidity' defined as being unwittingly self-defeating?

8/06/2011 9:44 AM

Blogger Curt said...

T @ 1200 today - Great post.

Joel - Love coming to your board and reading the insight (incite?)!

8/06/2011 11:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I thought they fixed this by stopping the retirement clock for STA-21 OCs while in college? That way they need to do an XO tour to get to retirement..."

That change just went into effect this past year, but I think that when coupled with the proposed retirement changes, there could be a large snowballing forthcoming. Here's my take:

Given the large number of STA-21s who get picked up as students or SPUs (read: don't have much time in) (also, students and staff are the only STA-21s who can apply directly for nuke, which is why sailors with <4 years in make up a huge % of the nuke STA-21s), I have a feeling that you're going to significantly more guys get out after their JO tour than you do who stick around for XO.

I got picked up at the end of my SPU tour (4 years active), so if I do a year of the o-pipeline, 3 at sea, and 2 on shore, I can cash in on this proposed 10 year vesting and go ahead and get on with my life. Even if the proposed retirement changes don't take hold, I still don't see the real incentive to stay in for the extra sea tour. At least before, I would've considered it, but the difference between your commitment ending at 9 and at 12 is pretty stark.

I know this is going to come across as whiny, seeing as how I haven't been to sea and am talking about getting out, but please don't take it that way. I've got kids (had my oldest when I was in highschool who was the impetus for me enlisting in the first place) who I've enjoyed watching grow up, both of whom be out of the house before I was out of the Navy. All that said, I do realize how blessed I am to have all these opportunities afforded to me by the Navy, but even if I stay in due to the investment the Navy has made in me, there will be droves of guys and gals who follow the thought process outlined above.

8/06/2011 11:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A continuation of the pilot versus submariner discussion.

To some degree, you've got to separate the discussion between USNA and NROTC. USNA exerts more forceful control over their mids, so the "voluntary" part definitely comes with quotes at the Academy. Also, the Navy changed the scholarship process for NROTC to mimic the Air Force's approach. Back in the 1980s, all Navy scholarships were the same--if you got one, it paid full tuition. Now, it only pays full tuition for selected (generally read as "technical") majors. Obviously the details are a bit more complex than that, but the granting of NROTC scholarships can be used quite effectively to shape and enlarge the pool of candidates for nuclear power training.

On the subject of majors and statistics, at least one of the USNA mids that got away from the submarine folks had a 3.8+ GPA in Aerospace Engineering, and then got a master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, as well. In that case, laser/PRK made all the difference. Otherwise, the individual would be on the way to a boat instead of learning to fly a helo.

8/06/2011 3:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The subject of NROTC scholarships might be worthy of its own thread. Demand for them right now is extremely high, but the awarding of them often seems misguided.

Just to pick an example, college program students--already participating in NROTC without a scholarship in the hopes of earning one--at some of the country's best universities are having difficulty earning 3-year scholarships, while high school students are getting 4-year scholarships to attend lesser colleges. It seems like a much better investment of the taxpayers' dollars to give a 3-year scholarship to a student who got into Harvard and survived freshman year there than some untested high school student who couldn't dream of getting into Harvard.

The fact that the Harvard student might be an Economics major wouldn't bother me a bit. Cream rises to the top.

8/06/2011 4:11 PM

Anonymous T said...

Here is an even more revolutionary idea for ROTC. Turn it into a NUPOC-like program. You can stand down (for the most part) the ROTC units, let students focus on their school, and allow students to choose schools that don't currently have ROTC units, some of which are very good schools.

Pay up to $30K in tuition + a living stipend of some kind during the school year ($500-1000), and have some kind of clawback mechanism for students that fail classes, don't keep physical standards, fail drug tests, etc.

Overall, this will probably be somewhat cheaper, and you can free up some billets in the undermanned O-6 level, and reroute the JO's to more traditional shore duties (which are also undermanned for many designators). Then just route all of the students through OCS.

8/06/2011 7:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this talk of how to keep and recruit more about thinking outside of the box and reduce the officer corps? For that matter, reduce the enlisted side. We need to work towards automation and unmanned vehicles.

Unfortunately that takes the human out of war. What would happen if we threw a war and nobody showed up?

8/06/2011 8:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't let an instant-classic thread like this end on anything but a toast to those who've gone before us.

Three cheers for:

Rear Adm. Maurice H. Rindskopf, the youngest commander of an American fleet submarine during World War II who directed the sinking of 15 Japanese vessels, one of the highest totals in the war, died on July 27 at his home in Annapolis, Md. He was 93.

His boat, USS Drum, was ranked #8 for total tonnage in WWII.

Much more here in today's New York Times.

8/07/2011 8:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Admiral Rindskopf reportedly had several memorable battles with Admiral Rickover. Having survived WWII, the necessity of taking on Admiral Rickover didn't seem to faze him too much.

Admiral Rindskopf was quite the athlete, as well. A long time lacrosse player, he was still playing lacrosse at the grand master level (over 45 years old) while he was in his 80s.

Upon meeting him at a Submarine Ball in the relatively recent past, I was amazed at how good he looked physically and how sharp he was mentally. Quite an individual.

8/07/2011 9:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Late Entry)

For the record: here's a summary of the medical and operational arguments against women on U.S. nuclear submarines that went unaddressed by the powers that made this political/non-military decision...specifically SecNav Mabus and CNO Roughead.

8/07/2011 4:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of hearing Adm Rindskopf speak at the USNA sub ball two years ago. I was almost able to cut the cake with him but a fellow instructor had his dolphins 2 or 3 less months then I had.

Truly an amazing individual! Wartime submarine CO at age 26? Hard to imagine someone so young bearing so much responsibility - and bearing it so well!

I can only pray those of us who wear dolphins now are worthy of his legacy. His and all of those who served during WWII.

8/07/2011 4:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like him much better than Rickover.

Rickover was way too political. (and no I don't hate Jews) But he hated the uniform and the academy which gave him life and purpose for the next 63 years. I understand why Carter kept him on. But, Nixon or Ford could have sent Rickover packing much sooner. Besides, Rickover could have stayed on a civilian contractor. What would have been wrong with that?

8/07/2011 5:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stayed on as a civilian contractor" is what I meant. Sorry, sometimes I'm illiterate.

8/07/2011 5:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rickover was exactly as political...and he needed to be.

On occasion, the Navy is quite capable of dishing out unreasonable bureaucratic horseshit, if you hadn't noticed.

Is your complaint that Rickover went over 'their' heads...and succeeded? Boo hoo.

Read a real biography of Rickover before casting aspersions. And, having attended the institution, the man was in any case entitled to his own opinion on the USNA's dysfunctions...which undoubtedly exist.

By all means as well, massive respect goes out for Admiral Rindskopf's impressive life. Who wouldn't want to be him when they grew up? May the sub force see much more of that right stuff, in the right place, at the right time.

And thank you, Admiral Rickover, wherever you are. The legacy speaks for itself.

8/07/2011 6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

3.6 Mech E from USNA, thought about submarines, but PRK-ed my way to pilot. much happier and well treated than my counterparts in talking with them plus their 2 year vs. my 3 year shore tour just eggs them on more .

8/07/2011 8:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

8/07/2011 6:14 PM...who are you bullshitting?

You speak from the heart. I speak from raw reality. Rickover would have been a valuable commodity as a contractor. He could have retired in the 60s and continued on well into the 80s. What part of this common reality don't you see here?

8/07/2011 8:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO WAY that Rickover could have accomplished what he did in the Navy as a contractor. It's a ridiculous assertion, and frankly either very, very dumb, or ignorant at best.

8/08/2011 9:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rickover didn't "hate the uniform". He didn't like the impact it had on technical and engineering decision-making. He didn't want rank to be substituted for intellect, which was common. So many of the things we take for granted would have been impossible without Rickover - the idea of an enlisted man or JO giving someone senior to them a checkout would have been considered insubordinate.

He was a USNA grad who saw the institution with open eyes - good, bad, indifferent. He selected many USNA grads as nukes - remember that.

As far as being a contractor - that's just nuts. He would have been completely ineffective. He certainly made mistakes, but that makes no sense at all.

Reagan handled his retirement with a great deal of class, unlike his direct superiors at the DOD.

8/08/2011 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a good rebuttal tot he obviously biased report:


8/13/2011 1:20 PM

Blogger tom said...

Department of Defense and the US Military have a mission... defending American soil against any foreign enemy forces. This mission has evolved to global proportions. The US submarine fleet is vital to protecting the passages of America and her allies to Earth's oceans. These subs cannot be put on 'automatic' pilot; sailors are a vital function on subs. We can spend billions on keeping this fleet ready. Is the Navy asking for women and gays to be part of this mission? No. But unless the Navy is funding these crews and boats from private dollars... welcome to diversity America(There are more than white straight folks in this country.) Belligerency is UCMJ punishable! If unit cohesion can fall apart this easy, maybe it's time to get people in there that can make this work?

8/20/2011 1:43 PM

Blogger tom said...

Can US submarines function without women and gays? Yes. Can women and gays do the work and live in these environments? Yes. But, this isn't about practical issues. This is about politics... The 1940s had this question,"Niggers, sitting on my toilet?" It fixed. There was a lot of friction, austerity and a few dead bodies. But it fixed. I understand military discipline... and frankly it will be up to Petty Officers and the commissioned ranks to get this job done. Otherwise, the system will find people who will!

8/20/2011 1:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Department of Defense and the US Military have a mission... defending American soil against any foreign enemy forces."

Actually, it is "...against all enemies, foreign and domestic;"

8/21/2011 11:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most "actually"...the American military has zero commitment to "American soil," per se.

The oath that millions of members of the U.S. military have taken over time includes the line: "...I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;..."

Just felt the need to rein in some of the above non-qual nub-edness.

Semper Fidelis

8/21/2011 2:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think the US military doesn't have commitments on US soil, then you obviously don't know because you don't have the "need to know"!

8/22/2011 6:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhh...right. The Secret Handshake oath of office. Damn. Forgot about that.

8/22/2011 8:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure about the secret handshake oath, but the poster is right, there are in recent times military commitments on US soil.

As the oath says "...against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

8/22/2011 5:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we're quoting out of context, why not just say: "...against all.."

8/22/2011 6:11 PM

Blogger Luis T. Puig said...

... MM1/SS here, and having served my last few years in the surface fleet and seeeing what happens with women in ships I think women in sub is a very very very bad idea... many ships in the fleet are know as "love boats" including the tended I served on... many guys are more worried about looking good for the ladies than doing their jobs well, wives pissed off at the "extra curricular activities" of the sailor husbands at sea, lower readiness due to fear of being accused of S/H, lower moral because some of the ladies get pregnant, that why they are left behind on deployments, screwing the divisions they are in, since they are technically still part of the crew and their "body" can not be replaced, and therefore the guys left are forced to do port and re-port watches( you wouldn't have this issue with al male crews)... gay openly ALSO a very very very bad idea, gays "behaved" in the past due to the fear of being quicked out if they acted openly they homosexality, but their lifestyle is very detrimental... oh well. What DC is doing to the Sub force and the military as a whole is the "death of a thousand cuts"... in the end I am glad I am retired and don't have to put up with politics in the military at the high level it is in the military now adays.... this is kind of the Carter/post Nam years, perhaps a Reagan will come and make it better, although I am not holding my breath....

9/11/2011 11:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1)Swedish Gotland class submarines have female officers serving on them (really good looking ones at that)- tiny submarines with far less space than nuclear submarines and yet morale seems to be fine.

2)While I am not a supporter of gay rights I have to laugh when I read about Naval, Army, Marine etc officers and enlisted personnel railing against legal cover for gays. Who on Earth do you think you are serving with? I venture to say the percentage of homosexuals serving in the service- where they get to spend time with other "manly men" in tight quarters for weeks if not months on end is much higher than their percentage in the civilian world. Get used to it.

9/15/2011 7:41 PM

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10/08/2011 1:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@gay civvie here...though I have shipped on both merchant marine and oceanographic research vessels. I was pleasantly surprised at how accepting and generally positive the comments here spoke of an awareness that there are already lots of gay men in the service and most have gotten along fine. Actually, I do agree that the Flamers are out of place in tight quarters. But, y'know, fellas....a pair of Prada heels, as amazing as they are, will not not perk up a poopy suit. So, the hot tranny messes are going to stay ashore close to their clubs; not going to flock to your boats. On the other hand, the 'regular', 'mainstream' gay men do have a life and ought to be able to talk honestly about it when asked what they did last weekend. For the sailor who is freaked out that someone might be stealing a glance at his meat locker, check "The Marine's Lament" at

12/31/2011 7:29 PM


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