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.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Officer Duty Section Watchbill Agonistes

Resolved: There is no activity in submarining more likely to cause lifelong grudges than the wife-generated politics and perceived fairness involved in generating an inport duty watchbill for officers. Discuss. (I'll add my take on the issue tomorrow. I find it interesting that the two officer-and-wife couples with whom I served who absolutely refuse to have anything to do with me post-Navy were on the boat where I served as Senior Watch Officer.)

Update 1015 16 May: When I was an unqualified JO on USS Topeka (SSN 754), the CO's philosophy was that the non-qual officers stood 3 section EDO U/I until qualified, then 3 section EDO until qualified Ship's Duty Officer. Since we generally had two EDO-qual'd / non-SDO-qual'd guys at a time, they took two of three days, and that left the other qualified officers in basically 6 section duty. I got qualified just as that CO left, and the new guy ("He Who Must Not Be Named") went the other direction -- the non-quals needed time off watch to work on their quals, so they stood 5 section and the fully qualified JOs stood 4 section SDO. (Obviously, required monthly proficiency watches for the Department Heads made the schedule somewhat flexible.) The SWO on Topeka was the Nav, who came up with an elaborate "point" system to make it "fair" -- he generated a watchbill that gave you 1 point for Mon-Thurs duty, 2 points for Friday, and 3 points for Sat/Sun/Holiday; he even put a handy "point total" table on the side of the watchbill to show everyone how "fair" it was. However, it always seemed to work out that the DHs were assigned weekend duty when the boat was scheduled to be out to sea, so they racked up their "points" that way. One month we broke and had to come back in, so he regenerated the entire watchbill, giving the DHs duty on weekends on days that had already passed on which we were at sea to make the "points" add up (giving the JOs duty on the future days where we would now be in port when the original fictitious schedule had the DHs standing duty) and seemed amazed that anyone would bitch about it.

When I was SWO on the Connecticut, after trying to pawn it off on the Nav but having the XO veto that (he said "you're the senior officer who stands watch, so you're the Senior Watch Officer"), I remembered the lessons from Topeka and tried to make the watchbill as fair as possible, with no special "reduced requirements" for DHs. Inevitably, however, one JO's wife complained about the perceived unfairness and word got back to me, so I did the only thing possible under the circumstances -- I assigned her husband to generate the watchbill for me for the rest of the time I was on the boat. Since he was a decent and fair guy, he ended up generating watchbills that didn't give him the days off that his wife felt he deserved, since jumping through all the school/TAD/special request hoops really is a tough row to hoe. (They're one of the couples that now won't talk to me.)

Counting my time on the Jimmy Carter, I ended up being SWO for 62 months overall, which might be a modern Submarine Force record. (Granted, for many of those months in NewCon, we didn't have any watches manned, so it was a title without responsibility.)

[Off topic: During my two tours as NewCon Eng, I also generated the first draft and training enclosure of about 60 NR Admiral's Letters, which I'm almost sure is a record. Continuing the off-topic aside on NR, anyone have any bets on who will be replacing ADM Donald this year?]

[Off-off topic: My other record is "fastest American submarine Eng on Alpha Trials".]


Blogger Curt said...

The word Agonistes, found as an epithet following a person's name, means 'the struggler' or 'the combatant'.

It is most often an allusion to John Milton's 1671 verse tragedy "Samson Agonistes," which recounts the end of Samson's life, when he is a blind captive of the Philistines.

5/15/2012 4:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Is this an 1120 thing?

5/15/2012 5:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wives are like children...they should be seen and not heard.

It must be an 1120 thing.

5/15/2012 5:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people post on this site who are not 1120s? Of course its an 1120 thing. Its a submarine blog you twits!!!!

When you are married and are either 3 or 4 section, of course the wives are going to get pissed. When they don't see you 75% of the year, and then have to give you up every 3 days, they are going to get pissed. When you work 12 hours a day on your off duty days, of course they are going to get pissed. I don't blame them. Some wives have no clue what they are getting themselves into when they marry a submariner.

My wife is a champ though. Best wife ever. Never said a word and was always supportive.

ANON @5:49 - You must be divorced and don't have children. Get off this blog you SWO-tard.

5/15/2012 6:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We only had one wife explosion, and it involved "he has to be home for church because if we miss church our whole family will burn in the fires of hell".

So he got Saturday duty for the next two years, no problems making the 10:00 Sunday services.

5/15/2012 6:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:06...

sighhhh... all submariners are not 1120's.

5/15/2012 7:00 AM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

Don't recall too much high drama in that regard-we always had one or two who would show up late for relief on the week-end or holiday. That indiscretion got them an extra turn on the following month's rotation. And they never seemed to care-perhaps the boat was refuge:)

5/15/2012 7:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like any good DH, our SWO simply had one of his JOs do the heavy lifting for the in-port watchbill... myself.

It was annoying indeed because in any situation where there was one "shitty duty" leftover you had to screw somebody and try to ensure someone else got screwed the next month, or screw yourself. I opted for the latter most of the time. It did eventually pay off though, the next in-port period my baby was delivered and the other JOs actually arranged to for me to take off for like 3 consecutive days.

To the other questions, yes it is an 1120 thing. It was hard to make just a straight 3-section or 4-section watchbill between DHs being available for duty one week but not the next, schools like PNEO, certification trainers, the "wishes of the CO" (don't have nub 1170 as EDO this day, etc.)

On top of that you had the requests of the JOs/DHs themselves (often reasonable), not even counting the wives (though I honestly never heard a word from any of them -- wives in my wardroom were smart enough to make sure their husband did the asking).

5/15/2012 7:43 AM

Anonymous johnnuke said...

We let the JO's AND their wives know that he would be 3 section EDO U/I until qualified EDO, and then 3 section SDO U/I until he got Fish. No questions asked. If you bitched about the watchbill before you had Fish, an RPM or SSM would be coming through air in your direction about 3 seconds later. Once you got fish, you went something like 5 or 6 section (EDO singling SDO if maintenance permitted) and life was good.

5/15/2012 8:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sighhhh... all submariners are not 1120's.

sighhhh....I think you meant "not all submariners are 1120's". What you said translates to "no submariners are 1120's", which is of course, false.

Where's Mr. Spock when you need him?

5/15/2012 8:57 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

A very decent XO once confided to me that he enjoyed returning to sea --- just to get away from his wife.

Like many of you I was single at that point and would totally reject his wry logic.

5/15/2012 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart bleeds for O-Div JOs.

Try one section, port n' stbd SRO for a few months. If you're lucky, your wife gives you a conjugal visit in the parking lot when you're good.


5/15/2012 10:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait until the chief is home with his wife and Duty Officer, LTJG 24yearoldSoCalGirl, calls him in to fix the trim pump, or better yet, "fix the drain pump"

5/15/2012 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the 24 year old LTJG call the captain first to get permision to tag out the drain pump and fix it? Is there an alternate means of dewatering the ship?

If so, im ok with calling in the chief.

5/15/2012 11:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


5/15/2012 11:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refits in Rota. Since the Weapons Duty officer was Port & Stbd and both Weps and Aweps were qualified, guess who always had ships' duty officer.

5/15/2012 11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an 1110. Being the Senior Watch Officer is never an easy thing. No one is ever happy, blah blah. I agree with the getting a qual thing. I had some JOs who tried to be rack monsters on duty days, and I made their life difficult. No qual, noted. Late for watch, 1-3-5 rule. 1st watch, 3rd watch, 5th watch. Never late for a watch again, and they got qualified.

Being married/single, it is different and the same. The married guy wants to get home to his wife, and the single guy wants to take a girl on a date so maybe someday he can get married. I was never one for the double standard either. I hated the folks who always tried to pin stuff on single folks, like duty every holiday, etc. Never really made sense to me.

5/15/2012 12:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Anon 11:48am

Only Chuck Beers types in all caps.
Don't remember you ever being a dick, but then, I was not married to you?

5/15/2012 1:25 PM

Blogger Dave in St. Louis said...

"It is to laugh..."

Try being an enlisted submarine guy - especially a Nuc. Port & Starboard is not fun. I had the High Honor to have been In Port Duty Section Leader (Aft) for a couple of years, so I do remember something about writing a watch schedule and it wasn't always pleasant trying to balance the needs of watch rotation and the needs of ship maintenance during refits.

5/15/2012 1:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't been on a surface ship, but I hear they have something called "5" or "6" section duty (higher numbers have been whispered...)

Can you imagine??

On the other hand, I've heard of carriers confining their crew to the ship during heavy maintenance periods. For months.

5/15/2012 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never understood 3 section U/I or 3 section EDO as a "punishment" for not having dolphins. As long as the guy was on track or ahead on quals, why eat the young? 3 section duty isn't motivating, it's a way to burn people out. Seems like a way for the more senior (I use that term loosely, as more senior is can be as little as a couple of months and you don't earn promotions as an o-ganger until O-4) guys to justify making themselves 6 or 7 section SDO at someone else's expense.

The officer watchbill is usually better than the enlisted watchbill, though, so if the wives are complaining with that...

5/15/2012 2:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

True that the officer watch bill is a little better than the enlisted watch bill but when you have enlisted tell you that there isn't enough money in the world for them to do our job.... it all kind of equals out in the end.

There is no reason to eat our young. If you are ahead, you get rewarded; such as, movie and game privilege. If you are behind, you get punished; such as, more time on the boat and out of the rack.

Lets leave the eating of our young to the dirty SWOs.

5/15/2012 3:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dave in St. Louis, I might have killed for 3 section duty. Always P&S work maintenance all day and if you get done before 8 or 9 maybe you feel up to going out for a few hours. More than once spent over a week with the entire M Div working on overhauling equipment. Watched the EM's work just as hard on MG's and TG's. lucky to get 4hrs rack time on duty days 6 on off duty days. To the captains credit when we were working on major projects like that the DO's and Chiefs didn't leave the ship either. The weren't confined none of us were but we were given a time table to complete the work in. It did make for some great parties after the work was done though.

5/15/2012 3:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ my comment above yeah I know its a boat.

5/15/2012 3:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a single guy, I would sometimes take the duty of a married guy while in port. Then I would ask for the favor returned while deployed. If they didn't return the favor, then I ensured they followed me on the inport watchbill and I bag them with anything I could blow off on them. Rarely was there a second occurance of that nature.

5/15/2012 3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Often felt being a good EDO/SDO cursed the competent. First to get put on any P & S duty if needed.

Funny timing, this morning I sat down with 3 day old 1170s and explained how a watch bill worked. This was after the first one they submitted didn't include any names of officers with families. Training held.

5/15/2012 4:00 PM

Blogger Ryan said...

My roommate was the MPA on Carl Vinson when I was MPA on 683; he had 12-section duty when I had three. Needless to say there was much questioning of career choices over BEvERages on the day I had "off".

5/15/2012 7:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous WEPS @11:48...that attitude doesn't seem like something to be so smitten with yourself for.

Like the occasional errant USNA grad that spoils the bunch, I guess that's why DHs tend get a bad wrap. Leave the "beat it and qualify, Nub" to someone's permitted in the wardroom to treat other people like human beings.

That being said, we never had too many controversies with the watchbill or the SWO. Maybe I was lucky. Although, it did seem odd that every time there was a dining out or other wardroom function, the Eng was magically SDO that day...

-LT 7-And-Dive

5/15/2012 9:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just think it is hilarious that this post has and is going to fill with "I stood watch for 6 days, without water, and then they beat the soles of my feet," stories. Especially Ex-EM1s whose hearts bleed for the JOs.

Act like a watchbill doesn't get stretched in O-Country...


LTJG 26yearoldsocalgirl (That is cute, I am going to take that back down to the boat)

5/15/2012 11:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh... those were the days. Get over it! It is the freaking Navy. Enjoy the unique experience while you can. You will have 40+ years of 9-5 while sitting on your fat asses in front of computer screen. After which you simply fall over dead.

5/16/2012 12:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tullibee, 86-88, we stood 3 section with duty weekends. The JO's always got the weekends. Sure the hell wasn't fun, but it was workable.


5/16/2012 12:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A submarine wife that's not keeping company with her husband's shipmates when he has the duty or on a deployment isn't self actualizing the full potential of the Naval experience. There's never any reason to be lonely or unoccupied when hubby has the duty.

5/16/2012 2:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also volunteered for duty whenever there was a social function - 2000 reports sure get easier when the CO's half in the bag.

5/16/2012 5:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Took P&S duty over the holidays with another JO so that the rest of the O gangers could enjoy the holidays and travel if they wanted. Once stand down was over I put in a leave chit for a week. Then I come back to p&s duty. I asked the SWO, "whats the deal?" His response? "You took leave after stand down, while the rest of us were here working." XO told him to fix it. He did, by giving me 5 weekend duties in a row. Unfortunately for the SWO, the XO's wife was trying to get my wife to go out for 3 weekends in a row, but my wife couldn't because of my duty schedule. The following Monday, I found the watchbill on the SWO's desk with my name circled 5 times in green ink and the comment, "Fix this, then you're fired. R/ XO"

5/16/2012 6:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Hagar

Building 597? you might as well have been on shore duty if you were on the Tullibee in 86-88 she tied up in April and didn't move again until she was scrapped.

5/16/2012 8:46 AM

Blogger Dave in St. Louis said...

Which EM-1 has commented, Anonymous @ 5/15/2012 11:23 PM? Certainly not me. I was an RO (ET-1/SS). I had the best deal amongst the enlisted nucs.

5/16/2012 9:19 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I am sure some will find this a strange comment. When returning from WESPAC in late sixties, the O Gang was fully qualified forward and aft and the watch bill was a one in five or one in six depending whether it was OOD or EOOW. This rotation lasted for about four days before we all agreed that it should be no greater than one in four (ENG and NAV got off the watch bill to work on Patrol REport and Overhaul work package respectively). The feeling was that you lost perspective and the plant continunity in a greater than one in four. When I became SWO on my next sub, I remember that and did my best to get to a one in four rotation at sea (It generally occurred on the return from a deployment) and a one in five in port. Obviously, there were the times of Port and Starboard watches as new people worked to get qualified. P&S Sucked!. One in three is better but one in four was the best rotation.

5/16/2012 9:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the next NR is (will be) VADM John M. Richardson.

5/16/2012 1:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Richardson rumor is pretty solid. The real question is whether he will remain a three-star in that job or be promoted to four-star. There are rumors that the status of the job is being downgraded.

5/16/2012 3:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"choose your rate choose your fate"

"you did not come in my sea bag"

That's all this wife needed to know...ok it took a few years to sink in....

And my husband is still active duty with enough years to retire...but HELL he has a job...we have insurance...we are doing better then most of America..
Spoiled these wives are these days....spoiled

5/16/2012 3:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be an A-ganger on Florida with Hagar and have fond memories of 3 section duty, 4 with both crews, and the expectation was normally 2-3 watches a day and then no sleep. If you got a couple hours skid time, you were lucky. It's REFIT. But, you got off early the next day most times. Since then, I moved on to be a SWO and I'll never forget the first couple of duty days as "OOD" in port on a surface ship. Basically POOD. CDO was for second tours and DH's. (I also stood EDO once qualified, but I digress.) My first duty day I had the mid watch while the "alternate" duty chief left at 1700. Come to find out that there were two duty chiefs per section and they would swap who had duty during 6 section, essentially giving them 12 section while their sailors stood 2-3 watches per duty day. They typically never gave officers more than 2 until I opened my mouth. I stood the first day, brought it up with the first class that wrote the watchbill for the chief and then had the mid watch the next duty day which wasn't how I was supposed to rotate. Plus they weren't standign watches like some other duty chiefs were. (I think they thoght I was some NUB officer that had never been in the Navy before or something. Plus, duty chief on a boat and a surface ship is totally different.) My solution in typical A-gang fashion? I went to the chief and told him that i wasn't standing watch until everyone assigned duty for the day was pulling their equal share INCLUDING the guy who was going home. He said he was going to the SWO saying I wasn't standing watch. SWO approached me abut it and asked me what the problem was I gave him the same answer to which he replied in typical SWO fashion "that's how it's done". I said "roger sir, does the XO and CO know that sailors are leaving during duty days?" Next duty day, SURPRISE!, no one left and max anyone had was two watches because the two guys that weren't doing jack but sitting in the mess watching movies or playing video games were standing a watch. I guess the bottom line is that there should be standards that are fair for EVERYONE regardless of rank. Just because you outrank someone that doesn't give you the right to benefit if your people are suffering. Of course there are benefits of rank, but if you want to be divisive and make yourself look like a total tool, then go for it. I will admit that if you qual a higher watch station like CDO and they're in a differnt watch rotation then so be it. You could reply and say the same thing about duty chief, but there's essentially no qual for it other than being a chief and sitting on your ass so they should stand a watch. Some of the best duty section leaders I recall would stand the mid or rev watch to help out. STS1 Shoup (spelling) on the Florida was one of the best. He let me run when we pumped and did evolutions and was always fair. I'm off my pedestal.

5/16/2012 4:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT stories and overall 'good stuff,' Joel. Looks like you're getting your second wind back. Nicely done!

5/16/2012 4:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

About NR: I'm thinking VADM Richardson. The guys is going supersonic regarding his career, although I don't know if they will pick him this soon after he introduced the Design for Submarine Warfare.

5/16/2012 6:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Executive Order 12344--Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program:
Sec. 4. An officer of the United States Navy appointed as director shall be nominated for the grade of Admiral. A civilian serving as director shall be compensated at a rate to be specified at the time of appointment.

5/16/2012 7:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could reply and say the same thing about duty chief, but there's essentially no qual for it other than being a chief and sitting on your ass so they should stand a watch.

Maybe I am misunderstanding what you wrote, but on Ustafish, the Duty Chief had to be a qualified COW. We had the rare PO1 who stood "Duty Chief", but it was typically self-serving so the coner CPOs could go to some ridiculous rotation. Same thing with EDPO..they went 4 section before anyone else did.

5/16/2012 7:51 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

There are several on here that suffered through my SWO tours on the TN, so I will keep my head down. I tried to always be fair, but there were always outside influences such as COs and XOs. There was some thought that there should be equity between DHs and JOs on watch standing by some XOs, which is insane because the DHs usually had lots of other stuff that resulted in them being pulled off the watch bill by the same XO, which resulted in screwing someone to accommodate the request. Srvd CO it wasn't you, but you know the guy. SWO is a crappy job and it sucks even more when you have extended periods of combined crews. Never had the wife thing, but I am sure I was hated by many a JO at times.

5/16/2012 8:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My JO tour was during a refueling. The first odd watchbill matter was that the ENG never stood duty once we hit the dock. Some of the department heads bitched about it on occasion, but I don't think they were exactly eager to switch places.

The second thing was that for most of the overhaul our CO decided that we needed to have three-section EDO in order to ensure the EDOs "maintained continuity of plant knowledge" or something. This resulted in a very fat SDO rotation. One nice thing was that having a U/I was very rare since the nubs cross-decked to work on quals. (I'm all for training new people, but it's a bit of a hassle when you're spending fourteen hours in the box working through a procedure nobody in your section has ever done.)

5/16/2012 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To: 5/16/2012 8:46 AM
I was a non-qual that was standing U/I watches on the boat while in Aux-Pac school, did an O2 charge and loved it. Did the 597's last med run. Let's see, 2 flooded diesel casualties, refrigerant rupture, hydraulic ruptures, controlled seawater leaks, flooding from the negative tank. A russian oiler trying to run us aground in naples. Pretty boring med run. That's just the shyt I can talk about. 2 years of inport 3 section duty standing 8-12 hours of watch every duty day and duty weekends. Hah, if you call that shore duty. You forgot to throw in fixing all the shyt that blew up or failed each day. Ever hear a air bank drain line blow off and vent? Or mebbe a flood control air line blow off and vent?
Dorph, you expected reality on a skimmer shipmate? hehehe....I taught you when you were young! At least you can't use a diggit tool on an EOG anymore, huh? 8) I saw Chaser before he left the ESL, he's now a damn good Chief.
Watchbills? In '91 I was port and starboard machinery room watch, and STILL stood BCP time to qualify COW as the junior 1st onboard. Guess what, I got qualified and stood 14 section duty chief. Only the second blue shirt to be on the watchbill. I took ALL of the shytty duty, day before underways, and first day inport. I even had to dress down
a farked up ENS select Senior Chief when he couldn't support underway as EWS, and the EOOW told him he wasn't following a lawfull order and to proceed.
I do not miss the duty nights of sleeping on naugha and wearing a farking pistol.
Anybody remember fart sack time? hehe......


5/17/2012 3:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT: I heard that there is another nuclear exam integrity issue with a submarine down south. So bad it caused a change to the patrol schedules. Anybody have details?

5/17/2012 7:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would expect ADM Cecil Haney (COMPACFLT) might ascend to the job. VADM Richardson is another good bet!


5/17/2012 8:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Navy has bigger plans for ADM Haney than running NR (i.e., CNO during Obama's presumed second term).

5/17/2012 11:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: ADM Haney as CNO: would they have two submariner CNO's in a row? Has that happened before? I'd hope a CNO would be picked on credentials and leadership, but alas there are always other things considered...

5/17/2012 12:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hagar Yeah I heard about it I was on the radcon barge at the other end of the pier. Stood the type of duty unless there was a resin blow or something similar going on I watched how hard you all worked blow some more smoke.

5/17/2012 12:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Mel Williams? He was running hot, and the few times I worked with him he seemed like a great guy — and then he disappeared.

5/17/2012 1:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mel Williams is trying to help straighten out DOE as the Associate Deputy Secretary.

5/17/2012 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consecutive former CNOs from the submarine community--Watkins, Trost, Kelso.

5/17/2012 2:26 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Ah, good on him. Though someone needs to buy him a suit that fits:


5/17/2012 4:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody I know thought the current NAVSEA 08 was going to be VADM John Grossenbacher.....ADM Donald came from out of nowhere to assume the position.

While I've heard Richardson mentioned as the heir apparent for over a year now, I wouldn't be surprised for someone else to get the nod.cityuir frasfic

5/17/2012 5:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Executive Order 12344, it can be changed at any time with a stroke of the President's pen.

Even under the current Executive Order, the officer only has to be nominated as an Admiral. Whether the Senate confirms that nomination is another story.

5/17/2012 6:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all Joe, thanks for the intriguing post! Being attached to the non-submarine environment I presently am (i.e. no regular SIRR access), your website is one of the best I can find to keep abreast of the current status of the Submarine Fleet!


Having never posted on your site, this chain was rather intriguing to me as a former SWO and a future XO. I got it - a if a submariner is not complaining about something, they are not happy and I will contend that all submariners are not equal. Growing up as a JO, I did my time - and rightfully so! - standing three-section EDO as a JO (even through the holidays) while my wife and five children were at home... For those who have forgotten their Oath of Office or their contractual obligations, I suggest you re-read them.
My sincere apologies for those who had a bad experience! I took a significant amount of time and effort as the SWO to appease the majority, sending out the watchbill months in advance and doing my best to incorporate all of the feedback to "screw" as few of the guys as possible.
Are there those out there who believe they are old school (I say this sarcastically after my 23+ years of service in the Submarine Force)...Yes, absolutely so! But I would like to believe that this is the exception rather than the norm!
I think this all goes to the command climate concept, especially as it pertains to the esprit de corps of the Wardroom. I'll submit to you that all of the harshly negative posts were of those who had a poor command climate. Even in the worst case, I had to tell some of the guys "I'm gonna bend you over and f*** you up the a**." But I never forgot their sacrifices and ALWAYS made amends in the long run.
In summary, "for those who have never been there and never done that," feel free to get some time on the pond before casting stones!

5/17/2012 6:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody body else try to 'stand duty the entire weekend once a month while trying your damndest to single' thing?

5/17/2012 8:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 kids? Well, you're definitely making your 'in port' time count!

5/17/2012 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, notice how no 'off-crew' type folks are posting here.

5/17/2012 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off crew folks do not stand duty. Duh!

5/17/2012 8:15 PM

Blogger Curt said...

Anonymous @ 5/17/2012 6:11 PM said...
'Regarding Executive Order 12344, it can be changed at any time with a stroke of the President's pen.'

Not so - PL 98-525 Codified
EO 12344 Under 42 USC 7158 and PL 106-65.

5/18/2012 2:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As was once explained to a couple of bitching married O-2s by a married EMCM EDMC, "Your wife was not issued to you as part of your sea-bag, therefore she is not a concern of mine. You are a sailor first and foremost, and a husband and father after you get out."

A wife and family can be a mighty motivator to a man, but the minute they get between you and getting the job done, they are now a liability and you are no longer fit to serve. This may seem harsh and unfair, but when you sign on the dotted line, you are making a commitment to be a sailor/soldier/etc... ahead of anything else, including a husband/father, period!

5/18/2012 5:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the "off-crew" perspective 25 years ago...

Duty while in off-crew was nothing more than being the office b*tch for the XO. Normally the only ones in the off-crew office after lunctime were the Yeoman and his crowd, the Duty Radioman, and the XO. Everyone else had disappeared by lunchtime, or by 2pm at the latest.

As with most things, that was how it was in the beginning but the longer I stayed in the worse it seemed to get with off-crew. Not that there was too much complaining on my part as once we went back to Holy Loch that meant a return to 1 in 3 EDO along with continuous grief as the DCS/QAO during a ball-busting refit on an ancient (but serviceable) boomer.

Out at sea it was mostly as other describe....normally 1 in 3 with occasional glimpses of 1 in 4 if you were lucky (and one memorable five day period of P/S EOOW which SUCKED!).

When we combined crews my CO refused to let people go and basically operated the submarine with twice the crew that it needed. No one was really watching him and he got away with it for a long time before it caught up to him. Underway we were some goofy watch rotation - I stood OOD in a 1 in 6 watch bill and the EOOWs were 1 in 5. It was almost dangerous as you really had no idea what was happening with the ship since it was a day and a half since your last watch!!

As far as the wives were concerned, on my crew the only married JO was the non-nuke AWEPS (which fucked up the watchbill in its own right having a non-nuke officer other than the Chop - both the WEPS and the AWEPS on our crew were non-nuke) so the wife issue was a non-issue for the JO's. When we combined crews some of the JO's were married but they quickly realized that our SWO did not factor that in at all when making out the watchbill.

5/18/2012 5:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DCA - not DCS....

5/18/2012 5:35 AM

Anonymous dirty blueshirt said...

The solution to these issues has always been the same....everybody gets the same treatment, regardless of age/race/sex/religion/marital status or whatever other discriminatory label you would care to use. The job is the same for everybody, so why not act accordingly. Favoritism or preferential treatment lead to resentment and a poor command climate.

5/18/2012 5:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Anonymous said...
> BTW, notice how no 'off-crew' type folks are posting here.

My comment was at 5/15/2012 7:43 AM, I was an 'off-crew type' at the time.

Duty on a BN (when you have it!) is actually harder to wrangle -- you normally can't single up with the EDO and you also have to supply SWDO (though you /can/ sometimes single that one up with qualified-enough SDOs, as long as no SSBN-type missile work is ongoing).

And when you have MT-work going on for a long period you normally lose the WEPS/AWEPS off the SDO rotation.

The payoff of having every refit be an SRA is "off-crew"... or at least it used to be. :)

5/18/2012 8:02 AM

Anonymous pauljose said...

Agree with is true that life is not fair, but we should do what we can to try to make it equitable...

Just my .02....

5/18/2012 8:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That EMCM quoting a cliche is an idiot. The Navy will spit you out eventually, but your family will always be there. Seems unreal to a crusty senior enlisted lifer, but he lost the "big picture" a long time ago. Besides, officers don't get issued sea bags.

Having said that, married couples shouldn't get special treatment. It's a personal choice to start a family, and doesn't give one the right to dump duty on single guys.

Re 4+ section u/w, skimmers do it all the time. Its no less dangerous than 3 section if you do a proper pre watch tour. Certainly less dangerous than tired watchstanders from port and stupid or vulcans.

In port should strive to be at least 4 section. 3 section edo is pretty draining, and should only be done if absolutely necessary.

5/18/2012 10:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One problem with duty section watchbills over a prolonged period is that personnel tend to shift around among the duty sections. Though not a problem in itself, the good guys typically end up inhabiting one or two of the duty sections and the dirt bags tend to end up together, as well. Smart COBs periodically go through the watchbill and redistribute the talent. This doesn't seem to be as big a problem back aft, perhaps because nukes are typically three section, while coners are often four section.

5/18/2012 1:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While standing my first few SDO watches on a New London boat back in the day, I noted that one forward duty section seemed to be so incompetent that I actually had to report the problem to the XO (the CO and COB weren't the best). Among other things, the duty section struggled literally for hours to load potable water. Thankfully, the XO directed the COB to redistribute the talent ASAP. That hadn't been done in a couple of years.

5/18/2012 1:32 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"struggled for hours to load potable..."

Sounds like a Sunday duty section for a diesel boat. The problem more than likely was one too many inexperienced single guys standing duty for the married ones, and one of the latter was probably an A-gang PO. Never served on a diesel myself, but a few were still in service when I went into subs.

Where have we heard THIS before?

5/18/2012 2:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, it was an SSN. The potable water hose was rigged in through a hatch and, because of the height and orientation of the connection, it almost completely cut off access fore and aft through the upper level of the operations compartment. You could barely squeeze by if you tried hard enough.

The potable water hose was rigged through the hatch for more than six straight hours, an entire watch for the assigned below decks watchstander. Yet even though he could barely squeeze by the hose and sunlight was beaming in the hatch while he did so, he dutifully logged the hatch as shut on every round. That was his last below decks watch--ever.

5/18/2012 4:56 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

That's more like it! So many facts were begging in the original telling that you actually made yourself look lame. Happily, you were not!

5/18/2012 6:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vaginus said: actually made yourself look lame.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

5/18/2012 6:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:59 PM

Nut your futile wishing and bad-mouthing cannot make it so.


5/18/2012 7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funniest is standing BDW for the other crew during refit support. (Blueshirt duty Chief/DOOW qualified). Takin the watch and on the first round noticing that the tdu was shut and breach door were locked since midnight on the logs. Well, the tdu ball was removed, indicated open, and had a hydro flange installed. THEN ENG Sampson kindly decided they didn't want LPO's standing duty during refit support. Standing combined crew refits were interesting on the Floriduh in the late '90's. Do they still do that?


5/18/2012 9:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the word around the Pentagon concerning Flag moves: VADM Richardson to NR and RADM Conner to CSF. Not likely for haney to go to NR because he just relieved as PACFLT and the NR job is up this Fall. It will be interesting to see how it plays out!

5/20/2012 8:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a waste of John Richardson's talent! NR is a dead end...period. He should stay on the operational side of the house - eventually ending up as CNO or CJCS. Haney would be a terrible CNO and NR. Surprised he is where he is!

5/20/2012 2:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree anon @2:24... but think it's too late for him to change course. Unfortunately....

5/20/2012 3:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@224 pm

The CNO is not an operational position. He handles Navy wide admin policies like uniforms in port and PRT standards. Also, CNO gets forced retirement at the end just like NR.

I'm not sure why you think heading the Navy's nuclear program is a waste of talent but mulling over whether NWU's should be authorized for wear on travel isn't.

CNO is more famous, but NR holds a lot more actual responsibility and, imo, is more prestigious.

5/20/2012 4:18 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Sure but how many boot camp recruits ever had Rickover's name committed to memory using a mnemonic like....John F$#%ing Lehman. Memorizing the COC like that is probably verboten nowadays.

5/20/2012 7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richardson is too much of a people person to be NR. Haney is a hard ass who thinks his shit don't stink.
Both were my COs on the Honolulu. If I was in a fighting war, give me Richardson any day to shoot the fish. If I was worried about the reactor and it's operation, Haney is by far the better nuke. I can remember all the JOs and DHs lined up outside for Haney when they heard, "HONOLULU, ARRIVING."

Wasn't Trost at CLF for a few months before he became CNO?

5/20/2012 9:57 PM

Anonymous Penna Happiness said...

Life is unfair and sometime in quest of pursuing happiness we are labelled as selfish but its nothing to be ashamed of..

5/21/2012 11:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 4:18,
I strenuously object! You are either joking or don’t have a clue. The CNO holds much more authority (see title 10) than “admin policies like uniforms in port and PRT standards”. The influence of NR has faded over the years due to the incorporation of technological advances that almost make the Rx “sailor-proof.” It’s about time the NR positional authority is reduced.

5/22/2012 11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ever served time in the Navy you would know that nothing is sailor-proof.

5/22/2012 3:52 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Speaking of uniforms-

Who exactly is LT Daisy Betts and why is she wearing submariner dolphins in this photo?

5/22/2012 4:16 PM

Anonymous Xenocles said...

I knew you were stupid, vagilis, but it says in the very picture you posted that Daisy is an actress playing the role of a naval officer. That makes it a costume, not an attempt to actually claim submarine qualification. See, her nametape even says "Shepherd" which isn't her actual name. Get it now?

5/22/2012 4:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xenocles, you are no doubt an anonymous impostor because your Greek namesake was considered an exceedingly ugly man who wrote a play about Oedipus.

If not a very twisted young woman (hanging out here, after all), we are left to deduce that you are male with very significant personal issues (the Oedipal thing, for starters).

In either case, with considerable effort, a modicum of self-discipline and better
communication skills you may aspire to a temporary commission (O-1).

Good luck with your self-discipline thing; I have known felons with considerably more than yours.

Sigmund Dunn

5/22/2012 8:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can just about guarantee that no one anywhere near the hotness factor of "LT Betts" will ever even sniff the inside of a submarine. Think Bremelos and Grotopotamusses.

5/22/2012 9:42 PM

Anonymous Fawks Sake said...

But seriously thought, "Zipper Heads," all alike, enjoyed the pleasure of servitude.

Americas young men waiting-on pathetic "daisy lifters" who would soon win status aloft as to win a War.

Prove Me Wrong!

5/23/2012 12:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fawks Sake... WTF are you saying?

5/23/2012 1:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have Nipples Fawker, want to milk me?

5/23/2012 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wan't the SWO, but did the watchbill for over a year. I thought it was stupid to punish people for just showing up to the boat, but important that they received the experience, so we made our Nubs 3 section M-F, and gave them the weekends off. If they fell behind on quals then that would be reconsidered.

We usually had 3 guys that were qualified EDO and not SDO so they stood the EDO rotation, and we usually put someone else back there once a week to even it up. The DHs were forced to stand watch as well, but that usually amounted to a JO doing it for them during the day, and they took it at night.

5/23/2012 11:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @9:42-

I bet you've got movie star looks, just like all the guys on my boat. Yup, you're probably 6' 4" and nicely tanned with washboard abs.

5/23/2012 2:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except for the blonde hair (brown), you got it right - and I've been out for 20 years. Not your typical pasty faced soft serve eatin' dough-boy.

5/23/2012 2:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fire on the USS Miami

5/23/2012 6:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS MIAMI Shipyard fire. Happened at 5:30 Wednesday evening.

5/23/2012 7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that drydock too well...looks like a pretty miserable duty day. Thoughts to our two injured sailors...

5/23/2012 7:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

VADM Richardson is relieving ADM Donald as NAVSEA 08.

5/23/2012 9:17 PM

Blogger Mickey said...

VADM Richardson will be NAVSEA 08.

A, because RUMINT says so.
B, because he fits the modern pattern of being a junior 3 star who will have spent a short time at SUBLANT to get the TYCOM experience prior to elevation to 08.

Best way to handle the watchbill is to have the senior JO draft/generate it and the SWO forward to the XO/CO. He's a JO, so the other JOs can all complain to him. But he's been around the block a little, so the starting product is always reasonable.

5/24/2012 7:36 PM

Blogger Query said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/24/2012 9:30 PM

Blogger Jim Houston said...

You must be talking about the first Nav- I was SWO after you for a long time! My absolute best plan was Christmas 2000- I wrote a plan that had everybody stand watch for 2 days straight in stead of was perfect! You did 2, then had the rest of the whole vacation without interruption. Best watchbill I ever wrote...

5/24/2012 9:34 PM

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