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, September 05, 2011

The "AwCrap" Moment

So there I was... onboard USS Topeka (SSN 754) in November 1992, where the boat had just pulled into Mina Salman, Bahrain, for a mid-deployment upkeep. Before we could go out on liberty, however, we had a few items to take care of. I was responsible for making sure that a couple hundred packages got signed over to the Defense Courier Service from the "special" mission we'd been doing -- the tender guys and gals couldn't come on board to start the upkeep until it was all gone.

I had inventoried everything the night before, and rounded up a working party of about 8 guys to get all the packages moved out to the government van; I checked off the items on the inventory list with the local DCS rep as they were loaded in. When the guys brought out the last load, every block was checked... except one. That caused a little bit of excitement as we ransacked all the places these items had been kept, and after about a half hour we found the package (a 9 x 12 inch envelope); it had fallen behind a bench in Radio. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and headed off to the Alcohol Support Unit at the base to start to unwind from being so vital to national security over the previous several weeks, in preparation for heading out into town to see what Manama had to offer.

Anyone care to share their favorite "Aw, crap" moment?

Update 1155 08 September: Going back through my archives, here's a story that falls under the category of "Stupid JO Tricks" more than "AwCrap". And as a "bell-ringer" (moving a link from the comments up to the main story) here's the story of the CO of USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) becoming the 18th Navy Commanding Officer fired this year for mistakenly targeting a civilian fishing vessel with inert training rounds during deployment workup.


Anonymous NHSparky said...

Cranking my first underway. ERLL took a dump in a bag and threw it in TDU room after his watch. Bag made it into the TDU can and was just about to be mashed when he came back with his eyes wide as plates.

Any other, "Aw crap" moments involve NNPI.

9/06/2011 5:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newcon EOOW on first underway with Admiral Rickover aboard. Was on watch for the first and only submerged crash back (ahead flank to back emergency), when the throttleman got a little overexhuberant...but nothing really out of bounds.

Nonetheless, to keep the Eng who was outside of maneuvering from reaching in and doing the same thing -- which to my chagrin he was in the process of -- as I was standing between the RO and the throtteman (the Admiral was of course in my seat), I just reached over without saying a word and put my hand on the spinning astern throttle for a second. The Throtteman stopped, looked at me, and then up, and then nodded while saying "oh, yeah." End of drama.

Or so I thought. Standing back closer to the EOOW desk while still watching the operations...I felt someone tapping me on the elbow. There was only one person who could've been reaching me.

"Oh, crap..." was pretty much my thought at the time.

So I turned to the Admiral as he said in an almost kind way:

Rickover: " isn't that much better...quiet like that?"

Me (struggling, as I have NO idea WTF he's talking about): "Uhm...Yes, sir...I think it breeds confidence in the men." (Clearly, I was grasping for words to help complete whatever-the-hell thought he was thinking.)

Rickover (piling on...again, for no reason discernible in the moment): "You see, it doesn't really do any good to scream, even if you know you're going to die."

Me (wall-eyed): "Yes, sir."

Only later did the magical-mystery dialogue with Rickover get decrypted. Another EOOW, and very good guy...albeit full-blooded, arm-waving, Italian...had shouted out specific immediate-action orders to the maneuvering crew on an earlier, surfaced crash back.

As we were both dark-haired young bloods, Rickover had apparently mistaken me for him and the earlier interactions...which Rickover had roundly and loudly chastised him for right there in maneuvering in front of the crew. Mystery solved.

[Sidenote: Things were *really* tense in maneuvering after Rickover railed at my fellow EOOW, an academy grad with zero interest in a Navy career...though quite capable.

To help lighten the mood just as short while after having chastised him, Rickover eventually pointed toward the throttleman at the time who had his name stenciled on his jeans (per regs), and said to the EOOW in his scratchy, 80 year-old voice, "Tell him to put his phone number on his jeans...he'll do better with the girls." This was during a planned scram recovery, and the EOOW, who was still spittin' mad over being brought up short in maneuvering by 'the' O-10, said: "Admiral, do you want me to do that...or do you want me to continue the recovery?" (LOL! The balls that guy had!) Rickover turned purple but didn't get a word out before one of the NR guys inserted himself between them and said flatly: "Continue the recovery." Somehow, we all lived to tell the tale.]

9/06/2011 8:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you will have an aw crap moment when you realize that you've been hoodwinked, that faggots will be faggots.

9/06/2011 12:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rickover: " isn't that much better...quiet like that?"

Damn, that would've been good ammo to throw in the face of the ENG during drills:

ENG: "Why didn't you give orders for the immediate actions in maneuvering?"

Me: "Because that's the way Rickover liked it."

9/06/2011 1:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While performing PPI TP&CC, I accidentally told P&A no flow!

I remember that one very clearly as it was my birthday.

PB Sterling ET1/SS

9/06/2011 1:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Running drills on an old SSBN, single loop getting ready for the recovery I was supposed to remove the fuse for #2 MCP so that it wouldn't start during a drill, I pulled the fuse for #1 MCP because they were cross powered. Pull fuse, hear "THUMP" EDEA says, damn that was a loud fuse.

Aw Crap! There are dozens of examples.

9/06/2011 1:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

EOOW, ORSE just left maneuvering after a loss of TG drill. We recover the affected NV and a MCP immediately starts in FS. "Aww, crap." Instintively reaching for the 2MC, I look at Eng who just does a slow "no" with his head, eyes wide open for a man going on 48+ hours without sleep. I left the mic where it was and nobody brought it up again for the rest of the trip.

9/06/2011 1:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a recently qualified AEA on my first patrol, I took my position at the EPM as the CAT AEA during a drill that affected the Main Engines.

When we were ready to shift propulsion back to the ME, I was surrounded by at least 4 people, including a drill monitor, the EWS (who was a spaz of a ETC), and ERS.

As soon as all stop was rung up and ordered to shift propulsion to ME, the EWS was over my shoulder looking at the rpm differential (to make sure I didn't exceed it) He said "engage" and I immediately engaged the clutch. However, the EPM breaker was still closed Aw crap!

As to anon @1:55 had that happen a few times as EO at a place Joel knew too well...

9/06/2011 2:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back on the Francis Scott Key I was the CO's phone talker for BST. We were running drills back in the ER while at BST and the CO has me ask for an update from maneuvering. While the report was coming over the phones the CO starts screaming for the status. Needles to say that I was unable to hear what maneuvering was saying. This happens a couple more times..... Finally I am getting the report and the CO starts screaming again.. I look up at him and say "If you would SHUT UP I could get the report"
The control room went silent and I was able to get the report and give it to him.
Immediately after BST I was pulled into navctr by the NAV for the ass chewing, when he was about done the ENG saved me which was funny since I was a NAVET.

9/06/2011 2:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you would SHUT UP I could get the report.


9/06/2011 3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came from a 688 to a 594. I thought the weapons shipping system was screwed up. The 'old timers' said no, this is the way we do it, we have always done it this way (I feel danger). While loading a SUBROC 'we' dropped the bomb about 2' (really lucky for me) onto the the skid. It made one hell of a noise. The XO looked down from OPSUL and asked Chief, is everything OK? While the Nuclear Safety Officer (a real good LT from Wisconsin) was pulling his underwear out of his sphincter. I figured out the problem out right after that. We just went through an NTPI with that screwed up rigging..

9/06/2011 4:33 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

On station.

OOD "Another visual contact here. Mark."
FTOW "352"
OOD "Appears to be a small craft."
After seeing said boat in the new version of the Perivis, I realize it is actually a man standing in something the size of a row boat.
Me "down scope. Go deep. Fuck."

Second. Day 1 on station.
OOD "I have a helicopter."
I have an excellent view of its underside. "Go deep. Fuck."

OOD/XO "I'm sure that wasn't a xxxx"
Me, gesturing to the sonar display having just awakened 15 seconds earlier "Can you not see it right there?" "Maintain course, and get a relief. Fuck."

9/06/2011 4:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sonar, Conn, Report classification Sierra 23.
Conn, Sonar, S-23 classified trawler making 144 turns on a four, bearing xxx.
Sonar, Conn, report aural cues supporting classification of S-23.
Conn, Sonar, S-23 bearing xxx aurally sounds like a box of rocks in a tin can. DEMON/LOFAR data visible on unit 123 all support trawler classification.
Sonar, Conn, redesignate Sierra 23 as Master four, held visually. VIII on surface.

Aw crap.

9/06/2011 4:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In transit on an SSN and, as I recall, were about to recover from single loop following some maintenance.

EOOW "Rector Operator group scram the plant."

Me "Group scram the plant aye."

I was tired as hell and went right through the stop to a full scam!

Me "Ah Crap!"

EOOW "Ah Crap!"

Went ahead with the recovery and near the end, Conn calls Maneuvering to see what's taking so long.

EOOW “We are just about there.”

EOOW to me "Don't ever do that fucking again."

Me "Aye Sir!"


Drill time with a low pressure drill. Instead of a cutback we had a scram - Aw Crap!

After 24 plus hours (yet another Ah Crap!) on the surface trying to locate the problem and I'm doing a visual inside the MCP controllers. I a slam the door on one and alarms go off. Turned out to be an iffy relay.


Sitting in Guam to replace a bad source range detector. During start up, the new one fails. Aw Crap! Went ahead got the plant up and hot while heads were being scratched as to what to do - operational commitment at hand.

A new source detector was in route so the decision was made to do the replacement on a hot pot. Really big Aw Crap!

Fifteen minute shift in a hot RC and then out to cool down and hydrate.

Don't ever want to do that again!!!

Old Chief from the dark ages

9/06/2011 5:50 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Had a few aw craps as a SPU at prototype. Came in on nights, changed a circuit breaker, and then - during the process of closing the four that the previous shift changed - shorted two phases through the load side lugs. Not even my fault, but got to see a real cool blue fireball blow out of the gear and burn my arm. Bystanders said my jaw was somewhere around my stomach, and took a couple seconds to register and move afterwards.

9/06/2011 6:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barely qualified EOOW on first WestPac. EWS comes into Maneuvering on the midwatch and tells me to tour the Engineroom (MMC(SS) to unqualified LTjg relationship). I'm at the Feed Station when I hear on the 2MC, "Engineering Officer of the Watch, come to Maneuvering." I race up a ladder and into Maneuvering. Naturally, I'm alone. I was never so glad as when I saw the RO, EO, and TH wander into Maneuvering several minutes later. The first of many times when my life flashed before my eyes on that WestPac.

9/06/2011 6:46 PM

Blogger Erica R. said...

When I was a student at prototype I was sitting EO during an engine room shut down and start up. We hear steam moving through the pipes but it sounded louder than normal. My over instruction asked about why the steam is going through the pipes at that particular time, I answered the question and the steam gets louder and louder. About that time, someone says that does not sound right and then my over instruction said, "Holy shit there is steam in the engine room!" Sure enough you could see it right outside
That was a bid "awww crap" for the upper level watch. A valve that was supposed to be shut at start up was left open.

9/06/2011 7:05 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

758 COW for drill set. Following Fire in ER drill, Drill team resets for next drill. CO stops to chat in ERF on way to Control. Drill Initiator thinks everyone ready and simulates failure of MSW valve. 4MC sounds off, OOD gives orders for immediate actions, I pass word and then simulate EMBT blow. Realize CO not there to keep me from actually blowing to the surface. Aw Crap, real flooding? I tell OOD No Skipper, He gets the AW CRAP look and orders Emergency Surface. As I open the EMBT valves I see CO come into Control. He stops when he hears the HP Air flow. The mess decks crew saw an unidentified blur going forward. Drill sets cancelled for the rest of the day. What a shame.

9/06/2011 7:14 PM

Anonymous Veemann said...

No. 1: Standing EOOW during ORSE and getting a white rat report of "fire in the port TG," after making the appropriate announcement with action taken I get a follow-up report "No...Wait...I meant starboard TG"

No. 2: Transiting into San Fran at night and taking a red buoy down the port side.

No. 3: Standing SDO when the EDO lost all AC. I don't remember what the EP line-up was prior to the loss but it wasn't a normal shore power lineup.

No. 4: Going through Strait of Malacca and focusing on a contact that I thought the Contact Coordinator was reporting until the actual contact (fishing trawler) flipped on all of his lights because I was going to run him over.

9/06/2011 7:34 PM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

During initial crit at PNSY, the NIs weren't in agreement from Port to Stbd. EOOW, ENG, XO, NR and RC div doing a lot of head scratching.

The ERUL watch and I (ERS) went back to look at the MS X-CONN. Yup it was shut. Aww Crap! Had a mechanic quietly go up in the overhead and slowly - very slowly - open the valve. Took about an hour just to get it cracked off its seat and get both sides equalized.

Amazingly the NIs came back into agreement! Everyone kind of shrugged and away we went. We told the M-div LPO about a year later....

9/06/2011 7:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saturday afternoon, just after field day. We have just relieved watch and will be starting up a side of the ER due to E-div just finishing the TG monthly.

Everything is going fine when all of a sudden there is a loud bang and a roaring noise. No actual indications in maneuvering but the roar is so loud we can't hear anything.

Newest ensign on-board opens the door to maneuvering and with a huge shit eating grin on his face says "steam! steam!" while pointing aft. I yell "that's not funny!!"

Just then my EO (who had swapped out with the AEA to second check tags) pushes past him yelling "steam line rupture!" He literally grabs the AEA out of the EO chair and pushes him out of maneuvering while shouting, "Get to the EPM, get to the EPM!" Slams the door behind him and dogs it shut. AEA actually peers back into maneuvering for a second before hanging his head and running aft.

I sound the dead nuke alarm and make the 1MC. 1MC had been grounding out periodically all patrol due to blue crew hot wiring in an extra mike and screwing up the whole system. The steam is so loud I can't hear my own 1MC and am sure no one is going to know why I died because the 1MC is broken so I angrily repeat it. While I am playing with the alarms and announcements my EO jumps up and initiates the emergency air to maneuvering. [side note: I have never heard a more depressing sound in my life, there is no way that dinky little air supply would help at all!]

All emergency actions completed and the noise stops. Shortly after ERUL reports there is no rupture. My ERS was a SMAG and he opened one of the high pressure drains too far and got pushed back from the drain by the resulting steam plume leaving him unable to shut it.

A few short minutes later we are steaming and everything is fine. Without a doubt my most exciting watch in the box.

9/06/2011 7:50 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

On local ops just settling in for the Wardroom after dinner movie (JAWS). Just as the opening theme DUM, DUM starts, fans slow down and Reactor Scram sounds on the 1MC. By custom, the CO heads aft to handle the real problem and XO (me) heads to control to get the sub to PD. Turns out to be a severe NI problem. We surface with air but there is no power to run the low pressure blower. We wallow on the surface for eight hours before the reactor is again critical and making steam. CO directs us to head back on the surface for permanent repairs. We are at the 100 fathom curve. So we set course 000 and ring up ahead full. The sub then proceeds to do what comes naturally and submerge at high speed. Depth Control is finally regained at around 300 ft. We settle out and get back up to PD and do a normal surface with the LP Blower. Needless to say, Squadron in NLON was not happy with our performance. The only saving grace was that we had not opened any of the bridge hatches so it was just a wild ride vice a real flooding. "AW CRAP"

9/06/2011 8:49 PM

Anonymous MM1/SS said...


If I was your MLPO, I would have strangled you...even a year later.

Good save though.



9/06/2011 8:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Transiting back from Westpac and I'm EOOW on the evening watch chatting with the OOD on the MJ. All of a sudden I see the throttleman wildly gesturing up at a certain water level which was rapidly rising. The opposite side was steady.

I interrupt the OOD who was telling me what movie to get set up: "umm, I gotta call you back, I got rising level in the starboard XX"

I call it away (OOD gets to 1MC first!) and we get everything stabilized. Then off to Pearl on one loop at limping speed. Turned out to be a trap pin stuck in the MFV (open).

Next deployment, I'm CAT EOOW during a major drill, albeit one that doesn't affect the electrical. About three seconds after I arrive, we hear over the 2JV "Fire in the port vital Bus, fire in the port XXXX Breaker" . . .

9/06/2011 10:00 PM

Anonymous Former Squadron Rider said...

T-EOOW for ER Down & Up on the 626. ERUL SPU opens PORT MSRV with max DP. Shook the whole boat. AW CRAP! Dial-X growls, Shift ENG up forward on the giving end: "What the F@#$ was THAT!?!" Me: "That was the PORT MSRV being opened with full DP." "...Is...everything OK?" Me (after quick look over my shoulder out the back door): "No steam outside the pipes yet!"

9/06/2011 10:41 PM

Anonymous PW said...

At PSNS with an steam barge providing steam for testing. Resistive and reactive load banks on the pier and we're testing the TGs. I'm on the EPCP with the CO, XO, ENG, E-DivO (EOOW), and SRO, along with the STE and ASTE.

Starboard TG was at full load and we were shifting to Port. I parallel and transfer load over to port. I then promptly open the port TG breaker.


I expect the hammer to drop, but no one says a thing. The STE leaves laughing (not his test) and the SRO has his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing.

Surprisingly neither TG tripped from either over or underfrequency, so I adjust frequency and voltage and spin sideways in my seat. I look at the Eng and he's ghost white, sweating, and in serious need of a cigarette or four. As I look at the CO he asks if I was going to finish the test. I confess to what just happened. He just tells me that I'm now lined up to complete the test again. Get it right this time.


9/07/2011 12:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PSNS doing SSMG testing against a load bank. EO raise freq on MG and notices shore power freq rise. Rightfully notes that MG shouldn't be able to impact, and (not so rightfully) secures both MGs on his own. Out went all lights - in the boat, in the DD, on the pier and throughout a good portion of the SY which had lost power and was being powered by our MG.

9/07/2011 6:35 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

First boat, "Aw, shits!"

--Eastpac to Bangor for DMP workup. Miserable trip overall. Late getting underway. SPM Operator didn't lock the SPM in the fully lowered position and it drifted up while trying to get underway. Helmsman didn't notice SPM still running and bridge OOD losing control. Calls back 1/3, then back 2/3. Throttleman went a bit crazy and overshot.

At the same time, 2JV phone talker in Control (I was JA in Control) and I both noticed the SPM still running on SCP, both of us on phones telling them to drop the Tie Bus. By this time, CO took deck and conn but stern planes already took out several pilings at the pier. Secured maneuvering watch, steamed overnight. Superficial damage.

--First Westpac, underway supporting skimmers. Got something fouled up in screw. First indication was that speed was below 4 knots at a Standard bell, angle is 20 down going through 700 feet, and COW can't get the trim pump started. Beaucoup puckering. Closest we ever got to hitting the chicken switches in an unplanned manner.

--First qualified SRO watch. Just as I announced shore power near limit, lost it. Incredible amounts of crap taken over that one.

9/07/2011 6:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aboard CGN-36 and hooked up to a demineralizing bed for a fill-up on the feed tanks. Water supply to the bed cross-connected to potable water. Feed tanks full and discharge closed on the bed but supply left open. The flow on the potable water side pulls the bed (glass ionic beads) into the potable water tanks. Three days out of port all the coffee machine filters are clogged, shower heads stopped up and a sediment in the drinking water glasses in the crew's mess. CHENG figures out the cause. HM1 fires off FLASH msg to NAVMEDCOM and the answer is, "This has never happened before, but we think there will be no permanent health risk."
Two days of flushing tanks, changing filters, and pulling tiny beads out of your hair.
AwCrap for the crew.
Not bad for a topside skimmer, eh?

9/07/2011 7:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two "AwCraps" sitting at the panel:

Had completed my EO interview with the ENG and all I needed was one drill (fire in a switchboard tie breaker). So, sitting UI and the drill starts, I drop the stbd AB bussed and then grab for my EAB. Next thing I know the, port NV was gone too. Turned out the wrong TGLO pumps were running and the momentary loss of pressure was enough to trip the port TG. The blue crew had the same exact scenario occur their next patrol during ORSE (at a flank bell) "AwCrap..."

As EO during staff drills on 626, ran a drill that resulted in a loss of TG at a flank bell. When I restored the lost NV bus, the RO reported "Pump Start". The discussion during the critique if any limits were actually violated was epic. Final answer was "No"...

9/07/2011 8:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished a DNSI. Was in control when the OOD came in, sat at the BCP, put his feet up on the panel and said, "My last duty day in the Navy. Got through a DNSI. I'm all set now. What could possibly go wrong?" THUMP! The whole boat shook. Missile emergency alarm sounded. Over the 47MC "Lifted missile tube 16!"

The inspection team was stopped at the gate- they were the new investigating team.

Moral of the story? Never, ever ask what could possibly go wrong- there will be an answer.

9/07/2011 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doing a recovery as EOOW with a rider as the RO. RO wanted to highlight what stud he was and proceeded to AGGRESSIVELY recover the plant. Like an idiot I stood behind him and let him do it. To this day I have no idea how he managed to put the plant on the knife edge of a high SUR alarm/ got real quiet in Maneuvering as everyone realized how close we were to the edge and I leaned next to the RO and gave the order to "shim in".

Aw crap.

The next sounds are a full scram, with all the bells and whistles. The idiot RO lost it. He has no idea why the plant has scrammed. He cuts out the scram alarm but the siren is still wailing at full strength and he has no idea why the alarm is still sounding....I lean across his body, cut out the RPAC alarm, look back at him and inform him "you also get this one".!!!!

I was pissed and already dreading the write up of another incident report. Crap!

The cause? You guessed it...the RO shimmed out , not in.

And to add insult to injury the ENG tried to tell me that my order was "vague". Which part of "shim in" was unclear? Obviously the "in" part.

Aw crap.

9/07/2011 9:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lal: Was decommissioning USS HW Gilmore (AS-16) in 1981 @ Norfolk. Was the Rad Con Officer. Had to verify all nuc material was off the ship. Found a compartment NOT on the plans some 7(?) decks below main deck. Found an access hatch but it was welded. Eventually got that open and peaked inside. Found a HUGE cask used to store radioactive resin. OOPS! Eventually learned that CHASN recorded that cask shipped for burial in the 60s. It was HIGHLY radioactive and a hull cut had to be done to remove it. Really complicated decommissioning.....

9/07/2011 12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not the EOOW, but involved in PORSE on recently converted SSGN in NNSY (early '06).

In the Engine Room, there are two pumps that supply cooling water to some other pumps in a system of primary importance. Occasionally, one of the pumps is used to provide cooling water in a thermal heat transfer sort of way to another system...of secondary importance.

With me so far?

Well, to demonstrate our ability to combat electrical fire casualties, the ship's drill team decided to run a fire in a controller for these pumps.

PORSE board approved.

ENG, CO approved.

Drill was initiated, and then we all realized what I'm sure you are figuring out now...


9/07/2011 2:02 PM

Anonymous Cupojoe said...

My boat had a modification where the galley sink drain attached to the dirty san tank. The procedures hadn't been updated and, behold, the san pump was broken.

Pressurized san tank to 150# and, yup, blew the sans into the galley. Canned beanie weenies for days until all the bacteria cultures were OK. Aw crap!

9/07/2011 2:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While not really understanding any of the Nuc talk with all the acronyms, but still enjoying what I perceive to have happened. I got two short stories. Happened on different patrols.

We were operating in Task Group Alpha in 1961 or 62, playing "Sink the Sub" with the skimmers. I was on the Trim Manifold (the manual kind)and we were at I think 200' or so. We hear sonar say to conn. "Conn, sonar torpedo in the water". A destroyer had fired an Asroc at us. Next thing was conn sonar, high speed screws bearing....Next sound we hear, was a huge Blang sound as if someone had hit a bucket that was over our head. Much later when we surfaced to go home the Mark 36 or whatever the homing torpedo's number was put a 4" dent in our safety tank. 2 feet higher it would have gone through our decking and ripped out who knows what. That definitely would have been a Aw Crap moment.

The second incident had the torpedomen congratulating each other for what happened next. We had a Mark 36 swim out of one of our FTR tubes hopefully aimed at one of the destroyers somewhere. They found out the enabling range was not set far enough out, because when they cut the wire the fish picked us up right away and headed straight for us. This time I was in the engineroom. The next sound I hear was a bang somewhere aft. That was the second time the same fish hit us. It hit us amidships then hit us in our starboard screw and bent it enough so that it squeeked every revolution, making us unable to silent run....We had the screw changed out when we came back into NORVA. So instead of having a tin can kill us we killed ourselves...The CO was slightly pissed I heard.
Another Aw crap!

9/07/2011 2:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing ERLL up North somewhere and the ERS calls me to the ladder and asks me to check my F'ing purifier lineup, his shaft lube oil gage shows about 20 gals above the pump suctions. AwCrap!!! In my "haste" I left the suction to PLO open and transferred most of the oil to the huge main lube oil tank. Fortunately for me, the ERS called the EOOW to request the Conn maintain the ship level to "clear out the oil from a bilge pocket." Now that was worth the cost of a sick-pack!

9/07/2011 3:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NORPAC on the NYC in the late 80's. in the bering Sea in Oct. Sea is running high. Helm and stern planes had their hands full maintining PD. OOD sees me and says "QMOW, take the scope". So I commenced searching followong approved sequence. Seemd the scope was getting high out of the water. I turned the scope and see water rolling off the aft portion of the hull. "OOD, decks awash" I report. OOD "Dive, get us down". COW is bringing in water. Me, "OOD, I see the Rudder". OOD panicking " Dive get us down." COW ingesting more water. Me, "OOD, I see the screw". OOD frantic now, "Dammit dive, get us down". Then it happened. KABOOOM!!! We take a wave against the side of the sail and slams gainst the underside of the port fairwater plane. The CO bolts out of his SR in his skivvies, spraying toothpaste all over the place and screams at the COW, "FLOOD!!!" COW hits the depth control joystick and down we go. All watchstanders in the control room ordered to get a relief.

AW crap.

9/07/2011 3:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere we aren't supposed to be a long, long time ago doing good things in Sonar against 'bad' guys. The TAPBB audio goes all funky (and it was never good to begin with) and the display looks abnormal (but functional). Hand the headphones to the Aux operator who shrugs his shoulders. Patch it through to the speaker and everyone listens, baffled.

Sup takes my headphones and listens closely...still nobody can figure anything out.

I look over at SAPBB and notice that about the time the sound went funky that the background DIMUS also changed slightly. Ask the logkeeper what we did 8 minutes ago and he says nothing new is in the contact log. Sup goes out to Control and comes back saying the only thing we did was change bells from 2/3 to 1/3. Hmmm.

A few more minutes go by as we contemplate racking out Chief for a green book entry over a possible audio problem.

Sup, what's total water depth? Shrug...
"Quartermaster, Sonar, report total water depth.
Sonar, Quartermaster, water depth XX fathoms.

Light bulbs go off in our heads at about the same time.

Aw crap.

Conn, Sonar, request increase in speed to 10 knots. TA is dragging on the bottom!

(Luckily the bottom was mud & there was no damage!)

9/07/2011 6:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got one for Joel's current career:

Working as a Process Engineer For Applied Materials at the IBM account in Fishkill, NY. I got tooltime to do a quick test on an AMAT RTP chamber (trying to get a steeper ramp down on a high temp spike anneal). They would only give me the tool for like 15 or 20 minutes. Basically I was sneaking in around production and I had to quit when the next FOUP landed.

On my first wafer I knew what I was trying wasn't going to work, so I aborted the recipe. Next thing I knew I see the robot extending into the chamber.

AW, Crap!

Sure enough - cold robot + hot silicon = little tiny bits of silicon all over the transfer chamber. I owed my boss and the product specialist a case each for taking the heat from the plant manager for me, and getting the tool back up with no FM in like an hour and a half, respectively.

9/07/2011 6:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

End-of-Patrol emergency blow PM off Rota. Got a Port BST buoy away light. Manned the bridge, couldn't see the buoy doors. The duty AGI was fairly close and closing rapidly. I had the Deck and the Conn, and as Weps, the BST was my baby. Captain said "Go see if it's still there". I went down the side of the sail on those little rungs, and all the way aft of the missile deck. The buoy was still in place. Then I woke up. On a rolling wet deck, no lifeline, no deck shoes, no life vest, AGI close aboard. AW CRAP!

9/07/2011 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Planesman on a 637 transiting to La Madd, doing orse/scram stuff all watch. As we proceed to PD we start joking about what a relief it will be to 'relax' at PD for a change.

Usual process was to turn up the UQC and listen as you come up, in case you hear something right above you.

I'm listening (along with DOW) and we look at each other, "is it raining topside?", then this TMSN takes control of the ship and initiates an emergency deep.

We do everything we should and we hang there at @ 90 ft, listening to the screws approaching, I'm wondering if my last memory will be hull ripping and water rushing, but we eventually start down and 'miss' the contact.

A few minutes later the CO comes out of sonar with a big grin and asks how did we like that drill?

Needless to say I did not have pleasant things to say. @ hour later, the FTOW, who has been sitting quietly, finally asks "I wonder how close that guy really was?".

More of a "Aw F$#%" moment!

9/07/2011 7:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local ops near Pearl Harbor. Roommate and I alternated OOD and EOOW watches. On his midwatch OOD, stern planes servo failed and stern planes immediately went to full dive. Had to go to manual control until servo replaced. On my subsequent evening OOD watch, Sonar Supervisor called away incoming weapon. For rest of underway, CO changed sleep schedule so that he was awake whenever we were on watch.

9/07/2011 7:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...then this TMSN takes control of the ship and initiates an emergency deep."

WTF...? Care to explain what you mean by that?

9/07/2011 8:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mid 80's, on station, at PD for the last couple of weeks. Fairly quiet morning, smelling lunch cook, anxious to get relieved. We had been tracking a "tug/tow" for a couple of hours with other "surface contacts" far off.

JOOD finally spots tug and then tow coming out of the fog on port beam. Reports tow looks "strange".

Fog starts lifting faster and he now reports possible visual contacts on stbd beam. OOD gets on the scope and quickly classifies contacts as warships "on parade"...also reports flashing light and asks me to look and try to decode.

CO comes up to control quickly (listening on the open mic) and grabs the scope from me. Swings to stbd, swings to port, asks sonar to report loud explosions. Sonar reports no explosions... 3 seconds later "Conn Sonar, loud explosions off port beam".

CO asks for camera, snaps several pictures, tells OOD to reverse course to the right and slowly make our depth "really deep", we will hug the bottom as we head south.

CO calmly lowers scope, looks around control, focuses on OOD/JOOD and says "please report to me how we became part of a battle group live fire exercise after you get relieved. In fact, I will eat lunch with you and you can dazzle everyone in the wardroom!" "QMOW, develop those pictures after you get relieved (in those days we setup our photo shop in nucleonics), so everyone can see the "parade".

Mouth was too dry to say "Aw Crap"!

Jim C.
Retired ANAV

9/07/2011 8:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st WESTPAC on a 594 after a 3 year overhaul and workup. We have a new E5 corpman from an ssbn who misses his wife and has no sympathy for someone who contracts any 'social diseases'.

After Subic we transit to Thailand and he has run out of antibiotics! Our original schedule had us traveling straight back to SD, and there are many married men who are very worried about their 1st reunion with their wives.

Then a reprieve! We are rerouted to Subic for Xmas and the corperson promises he will stock up and treat all in need! Unfortunately all of 7th fleet is there before us and the hospital is also short and will not issue any more antibiotics for us.

Now there is talk about ways to get your self restricted to the ship, special maintenance that will take weeks or months, and how to exact revenge on our corperson, who has gone from a smug "its your fault you sinned" to tearful hand ringing and apologies.

Then divine intervention! AC goes down and we divert to Guam, although the tender is leaving for Typhoon evasion. I remember sleeping on the pier (where is was somewhat cooler and then we were underway with meds for all.

Aw crap!

9/07/2011 9:37 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Well, here is an "aw crap" moment for the CO of the Sullivans DDG68

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Second Fleet relieved the commanding officer of USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) due to loss of confidence in his ability to command following Admiral's Mast Sept. 7.

Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway made the determination after Cmdr. Mark Olson failed to follow safety procedures during a gunnery exercise held Aug. 17 in the Cherry Point Operating Area range.

Olson's failure to follow established procedures resulted in USS The Sullivans targeting a civilian fishing vessel, which was mistaken for a towed target that The Sullivans was directed to engage. The Sullivans fired inert rounds that landed close to the fishing vessel. The vessel and its crew were not harmed.

USS The Sullivans was scheduled to deploy Sep. 7, but that has been delayed to allow the ship's crew to complete necessary pre-deployment certifications that were disrupted in part by changes in the ship's schedule stemming from the gunnery incident, along with some recertifications with the ship's new commanding officer.

Pictures of the faces on the fishing vessel would be priceless.

9/08/2011 6:21 AM

Anonymous LT L said...

Out where we don't belong, watching SUMMEREX to my west, nothing but two trawlers to my southeast 18-20Kyds away. Only un-located bad-guy is a Kilo that got underway two days before. Pretty normal OOD watch, get relieved, eat lunch, and try and grab some rack. 15 minutes later roommate racks me out for fire control tracking party.

"You know those two trawlers you held all watch?"

aw crap...

"Yeah, they just went active on HORSE JAW. Hell of a fish-finder, huh?"

At least that gave us a pretty good idea where the Kilo was.


9/08/2011 7:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Playing contact coordinator early '80s inbound to Toulon, France for some R&R near the end of a Med run on an SSN, after many days of kicking bad guy ass.

Though we can see the port, we're being required by the French -- y'know, an alleged ally -- to loiter outside the transit lanes for a while. Boring as shiiite.

Until we picked up a sudden radar contact at 5,000 yards. As CC, my inital reaction was "Huh? Who got in that close without my knowing it?" This quickly shifted to an "aw, crap" experience when I got on the 'scope, saw something vague, shifted to high power...and saw another 'scope...this one just poking through the waves.

Called it away, and the OOD, who couldn't see it with only a pair of binocs, later said he thought I was joking (?) or that it was a drill. Skipper went to the bridge...and proceeded to run right at the 'scope with a Full bell.

The other guy crapped his pants, apparently, and started to snorkel. Simultaneously, a French anti-sub P-3-ish aircraft that I'd noted earlier -- also 'just loitering' nearby over land -- flew straight in on the mess for an overflight to let us know that the diesel wasn't entirely acting on its own. If there was going to be a fight, it wasn't going to be a fair one. was a French boat, confirmed a short while later when they surfaced. (These are our friends??)

After getting to port, the Frenchies also insisted on putting 'their' phone in the wardroom. Too late after a dialogue or two, the discussion turned to the phone and yet another "aw, crap" moment ensued. Ditched it in the pantry after that.

Even more spy-vs.-spy horseshit went on later, but suffice it to say that we lost our initial good faith in "La France" before we even got the lines over.

Should remind as a point of history that aspects of the French nation were/are very socialist and close to the Ruskies...thus the bad behavior, IMHO.

9/08/2011 8:36 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...


9/08/2011 8:57 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Anonymous @1855 9/7 - Pretty dicey, I would have required at least PMONs for the TM.
I don't want to get into specifics (and I thank everyone for staying on what I'm estimating so far is the "right" side of the NNPI line), but I had the first, and maybe only, unplanned SCRAM of an S6W reactor as Eng on SSN 22 in 1999. I was in Maneuvering trying to figure out what happened (it's very tough to cause a SCRAM on those plants; this one involved a loss of electrical bus drill) when I hear the RCLPO running aft towards the box yelling "It worked just the way it was supposed to." I'd be interested to hear if any of the three S6W boats have had an unplanned SCRAM since 2000.

9/08/2011 11:44 AM

Anonymous PW said...

Today is the 88th anniversary of the Honda Point Disaster


9/08/2011 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto the interest in BH's question:

Have any of the three S6W boats had any unplanned SCRAMs since 2000?

Dmitry and Ivan

9/08/2011 1:41 PM

Anonymous Most_Smartest-Most_Crever-Most_Physicarry_Fit said...

Yes, we ah trury interested as werr...especiarry my friends across the pond. Prease provide most excerrent information.

Sign me,

So Ronery

9/08/2011 2:27 PM

Anonymous Most_Smartest-Most_Crever-Most_Physicarry_Fit said...

P.S. Arso, as we are arr starving these days, prease be so kind as to ask former President
Crinton where to get good, ord fashioned orange breakfast drink.

Arr our inter terrs us he knows where the Tang is...!

감사합니다. (gamsahamnida)

9/08/2011 2:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...



9/08/2011 4:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of the French...people would be suprised on how we keep tabs on even our tightest allies.

BTDT and pulled in 30 days later to drink with them (@500yen a beer)!

9/08/2011 7:50 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

Any of you lurkers in Az or SoCal? Oh wait, you can't read in the dark.

Aw Crap on a big scale.

9/08/2011 8:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw crap is right, but the great, unplanned power outage must not "specific" and "credible", otherwise HSA would have warned us in advance.

"A transmitter line between Arizona and California was severed", said Mike Niggli, chief operating officer of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., causing the outage.

"Essentially we have two connections from the rest of the world: One of from the north and one is to the east. Both connections are severed," Niggli said.

Power officials are not saying what severed those line(s).


9/08/2011 8:58 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

Typical. AZ and SoCal not talking to each other. The story I read said operator error. "Officials at Phoenix-based Arizona Public Service Co. says the outage occurred after an electrical worker removed a piece of monitoring equipment at a substation.

The blackout also caused a sewage spill that closed some San Diego-area beaches. All public schools in the city also are closed Friday as well as local state universities and community colleges."

9/09/2011 8:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blackout also caused a sewage spill that closed some San Diego-area beaches.

Literally, an "AwCrap" moment.

9/09/2011 9:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another "aw, crap" moment...from the LA Times, no less. Absolutely hilarious! Did someone at the LA Times drink from the caffeinated pot this morning?

9/09/2011 9:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE LA Times article: Holy crap! What they were consuming must have stronger than caffeine...

RE Power outage in southwest: A maintenance worker was replacing some faulty gear and why things went bad from there is not so clear. (Cascading failure ring any bells?) Something in the procedure caused a dip in power line voltage which tripped off the San Onofre nuc plants and the loss of the 500kv line in from AZ which dumped the load entirely on the grid. With it being on the hot side there was lots of AC running so higher than normal loads on the grid. The northern high voltage line in went into self protection mode and cut us off.

From what I can tell, power was 99% restored by early this morning with only isolated pockets still down. I was back on at 12:30 this morning.

We are still in fragile state because San Onofre is still not up which brings me to a question...

Why does it take so long to restart a civy nuc that is in a hot state?

Old Chief from the dark ages

9/09/2011 11:02 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Relay tech explanation time....

Looks like someone was doing testing on one of the relays (bulk transmission lines have multiple systems) and either got on the wrong relay or didn't remove all the trips prior to testing.

That's the how. Now the cascading issue is a smaller issue of the 2003 East Coast blackout. A 500KV transmission line can handle a whole ton of power (upwards of 1500MW) and given that SD area consumes, at peak, around 3200MW, you just dropped half the load, with the predictable results.

And as far as civilian nukes taking longer than Navy nukes to get back, well, considering a larger civilian nuke generates on the order of 4500MWth, and we are limited in rate of increase due to grid constraints as well as plant ones, 36-48 hours isn't unusual from drop to back online, more so if the plant is Xenon-precluded. Also, PWR's (of which San Onofre is one) also use boric acid in the primary to add negative reactivity offsetting the extra fuel--that's how they manage 18-plus months at 100 percent power.

9/09/2011 11:11 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Whoops--3500MWth, not 4500MWth.

Damn fat fingers. And dropping half the transmission, not load. Drop the transmission, the load/demand stays the same, you can imagine what voltage/frequency are going to do, which is what tripped the lines at SONGS.

And as you know: sudden loss of load means supply breakers trip, mean turbine trips, mean exciter breakers trip, mean plant trips. All as planned.

9/09/2011 11:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To NHSparky,

Thanks for the lesson on civilian nucs - I had this hazy picture of the long start up being just procedural issues.

Just an FYI - when you mentioned the San Diego area peak power I am not sure you were including the entire black out area. SD county is about 3 million but the blackout covered between 6 and 8 million which included Northern Baja, Southern Orange County, Southeastern Riverside County and parts of Southwest AZ.

I mention it only because it might effect your peak power estimate.

Old Chief from the dark ages

9/09/2011 11:39 AM

Blogger Ross Kline said...

Not to metion the nuclear plants in question might have some hot ticket stuff to fix (we call our list "the trip package") that they can't fix online, but a few hours offline would work nicely.
And the reactor engineers will need to come up with a plan to bring it back online. A reactor that big doesn't appreaciate rapid changes in power..

9/09/2011 1:46 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Chief--I only used that number because when I worked for SCE, we'd get daily reports showing peak demand for each of the major investor-owned utilities (SCE, PG&E, SDG&E) and SDG&E territory would be about 2500-3000 MW peak, versus 18,000-22,000 MW peak each for SCE and PG&E depending on time of year, weather, weekday versus weekend, etc.

That report doesn't cover municipal utilities like El Centro/Imperial Valley, Anaheim, Riverside, SMUD, LADWP, et al, but you get the idea. So no, I wasn't including the entire blackout area, just SDGE area, but even dropping a 500KV line is going to have HUGE impacts on the rest of the system, particularly on a day like Thursday where the lines were ALL heavily loaded and a lot of AC systems were up.

It's amazing the changes the grid will see when a fairly large supply or line takes a dump. I remember being at a dinky little substation in LA doing some work on the automation system when I see system frequency going all over the place (like to the point transmission lines should be tripping on over/under frequency). After the system stabilized out about 20 minutes later I called the controlling station and found out that Four Corners plant in NEW MEXICO took a dump.

Yeah, it can get that scary.

9/10/2011 11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It worked just the way it was supposed to." I'd be interested to hear if any of the three S6W boats have had an unplanned SCRAM since 2000

None while I was there (23). During a drill, we ended up in the one bus club from a full bell in fast speed pumps and not even a cutback. Material issue, not human performance.

9/11/2011 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BH - I was on SSN-21 from 2002-2006 and we never had a protective action, much less a SCRAM.

9/12/2011 10:41 AM

Anonymous ocio en barcelona said...

Quite worthwhile information, thanks so much for the post.

10/25/2011 12:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious, has anyone else picked up on the fact that this PCU CO has little or no operational experience. All his time seems to be in shipyards. Makes one think.... Hmmmmmmm how will he do if he ever deploys.

CMDR Dana Nelson
Commanding Officer

Cmdr. Dana Nelson, a native of Clinton, Conn., graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1992, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Following completion of initial nuclear power and submarine training, he reported aboard USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765), homeported in Norfolk, Virginia. During this tour, he qualified in submarines and completed a Mediterranean deployment. In January 1997, Nelson reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs. He next served as Engineer Officer onboard USS CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI (SSN 705) homeported in Groton, Connecticut. During this tour the ship completed a South American deployment and an Engineered Refueling Overhaul conducted at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. From June 2002 to June 2004, Nelson served at Headquarters, Naval Reactors as the Technical Assistant to the Deputy Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for S6G/S9G Fleet Matters. After completing the Submarine Command Course, he served as Executive Officer onboard USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN 711) from January 2005 to April 2006. During this tour the ship completed an emergent drydocking repair availability in Guam and a 6,500 nautical mile surface transit to Bremerton, Washington. From May to September 2006, Nelson served as the Executive Officer onboard USS COLUMBUS (SSN 762) as the ship finished a Depot Modernization Period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. From April 2007 to May 2009, Nelson served as Officer in Charge of Moored Training Ship SAM RAYBURN (MTS 635) at Naval Nuclear Propulsion Training Unit, Charleston, South Carolina

10/28/2011 6:45 AM

Anonymous Edwin said...

I am currently attempting to land a job and one of the requested items is my EOOW letter to accompany my resume.

1/18/2012 7:05 AM

Anonymous Dendy said...

Amazingly the NIs came back into agreement! Everyone kind of shrugged and away we went. We told the M-div LPO about a year later....

1/20/2012 12:31 AM

Blogger Sean Valjean said...

Interesting this will maybe affect the market for a lot of the lube oil tank now.

4/16/2013 8:28 PM


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