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.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Reader Shares His Memories

A reader sends in his memories of serving on submarines:

“The Stupid Shall Be Punished!” Yeah I heard that from MMCM/SS Tommy Connell back when he was the Unfiltered Camel Smoking, 2-3 pack a watch COB on the 617B out of Holy Loch in the early 80’s, he was my first COB and the man did make an impression. During off crew he was also famous for saying during the weekly all hands “One if you will die this off-crew.” And he was right, someone either died in an accident or came damn near close to it but lived. Interesting times which seemed to happen so long ago but also seems like yesterday.
Every once in a while I catch a whiff of boat or what reminds me of the boat smell, a few years ago I found my old A2 jacket I wore on the boat, yeah the green one and the one I stole and kept for my personal use. It was brand new and the guy responsible for the inventory on the boat was my running mate so we all know how that works. Anyway I pulled it out of the box and it still had that smell. Not as strong as it used to be but that smell alone just brought back a flood of memories both good and bad.
I was Boomer Sailor more specifically a SWS Nav ET a SINS Tech and I was never going to a fast attack unless I got another NEC. In Sub School our entire class was SWS, everything we were taught was boomer-centric, all the instructors were SWS and we were either going to be Nav ET’s, FTB’s or MT’s, we would find out that after the Sub School Survivors all went to Dam Neck together for A school. But we were segregated for a reason, every day we were reminded what we volunteered for…Submarines and Nuclear Weapons. We were the ones who were going to be trained to launch those missiles no matter what. Think about it…. who in there right thinking mind would give 19 and 20 year olds the knowledge and skills necessary to destroy the world? Pretty nuts if one thinks about it but it was and still is necessary.
SWS ‘A’ school was nothing but math and electronics for 26 weeks and LOTS of drinking, partying and being reminded daily that we were going to be nuking the world! It was also drilled into our heads we were the cream of the crop, better then the nukes, which IMHO still believe to this day. That is when people started dropping out of the SWS program out of my original A Schools class we lost 50% most were sent back to redo a week or 2 a fair number were sent to easier A schools after failing to many weeks but unless they were a total fuck up they stayed in the submarine community.
‘C’ School was across the street from ‘A’ School at Dam Neck, only lost 2 out of a class of 10 and the party did not stop either. The guys I went to sub school with were all in C school classes together but after about 16 weeks of C school guys started heading off to the fleet. Being a SINS Tech my C school was the longest out of all the SWS classes, when I left Dam Neck only the guys in my class were left from my Sub School days that was by now over a year later.
I end up on the USS Alexander Hamilton, SSBN 617, Blue Grew. The COB was MMCM/SS Tommy Connell, not the biggest fan of NAV ETs and us SWS types but he did not pick on us, he pretty much left us alone as did most of the crew. A couple guys I was in Sub School and A school with were already on the boat too. We were special, we did not stand topside or below decks watches, we sat on our ass in the NavCenter in port. Most times actually working but still lots of time sitting on our ass. Well let me take that back we did sometimes stand top side and below decks but it was not often when it happened and it usually was only for a day or 2 at most. As for special, yes we were, all our guidance for the SWS Weapons System came from SSPO, they trumped all, even SEA08, Naval Reactors. The boat revolved around the Weapons Systems and the Nukes hated us for it too. They had to keep the NavCenter nice and cold, they had to keep the power on and chilled water flowing, their drills could not disturb the SWS Weapons System else they got their asses reamed. So I can understand the fair about of resentment some have for us SWS types, I almost think of us as our own little sub community of the larger submarine community.
I don’t have any good sea stories of Tommy Lee, I do know he was one of the best people I ever served with but I did not realize it at the time. He did sign off on the DC portion of my Qual Card, most were too terrified to have him do it too and yes it took a few hours to get the signature Still to this day I can name the location of every piece of DC gear on the boat. Even today I remember Tommy Lee on his hands and knees during field day scraping gunk out of the corners on the deck. The man never asked anyone to do something he would not do himself; he earned more respect for doing that then anything else he did. To this day that is how I operate with people who work for/with me.
Thinking back over the years Tommy Lee Connell made one of the biggest impressions upon me….” The Stupid Shall Be Punished” is a truism and applies to everything one does. Another thing he used to say was that ‘the people you served with on the boats are the best people you will ever work with in your life.’ That is also true. From time to time I get to work with people who wear dolphins some I know some I do not but without exception they are always the best people to work with. Another truism I learned in life was told to me by a Retired RMCS/SS, Fast Boat Sailor…”You Wear Dolphins, You can do Anything!” and that is also 100% true.


Blogger kendallseo said...

Thanks for the blog on SWS program!
Miami Ram

10/22/2012 1:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/22/2012 12:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dafuq did i just read?

10/22/2012 3:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nukes hate everyone forward of the RC bulkhead, don't count yourself so special.

10/22/2012 5:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always wondered: was there ever a "B" School? If so, why was it removed? Seems A & C schools are more pumps than filters these days (sailors' abilities to fix stuff themselves is more & more limited, sadly for all).

10/22/2012 8:01 PM

Anonymous SparkyWT said...

ANON @ 5:42PM:

First warshot fired in latest Nukes v. Cones thread hijacking.

10/23/2012 10:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boomers...the best shore duty I ever had!

Nukes, MT's and NAV ET's...twice as useless!

10/23/2012 7:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

one wonders why the owners of miami dodge find it appropriate to spam this blog.

10/23/2012 8:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For god sakes Joel, WTF, were you drunk? I stopped at the A-2 jacket so I wouldn't hang myself.
At least I still got a A-2 jacket with a faded SSN-597 on the back of it.
I need some news on the Miami, what are they doing now on her? or is she just shittin in the dock? I'm still pissed about them destroying my plank owner boat.
We were dicks in NewConn for sound silencing space hits. Supship groton and the yard hated us. We ended up one of the quietest 688's in the program to be commissioned.
Now it's all a fart in the wind. Gack.


10/24/2012 2:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re. Miami: a mercy flush would seem to be in order.

From Wikipedia (not copyrighted; see article for citations):

"...USS Miami is expected to return to service sometime in 2015.[14] (Jeez...THREE YEARS?? It took about that much time to build her in the first place!)

"To keep costs down, spare parts from the recently decomissioned USS Memphis will be used to repair the Miami.[15] (New name: USS Memami or USS Miphis?)

"Furthermore, integrity checks on the hull didn’t show changes to its metallurgy or strength. Fixing the internal sections will be much cheaper than replacing hull sections.[16] (Ugh. A patched hull/frames.)

"At first glance it seems more prudent to repair USS Miami in the same manner as USS San Francisco since such a repair would cost "only" (around) 80 million USD.[17] However, it should be noted that the hull of USS Memphis is already 36 years old (as of 2012).[18] (Bleh.)

10/24/2012 5:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think someone holds his old rating/division in higher regard than anyone else on the boat did. To nukes, anyone up front other than the A-gangers are the same, just another one of those divisions...NAV-ET, Radio, Sonar, MT, TM, doesn't matter, they all lump together pretty much.

10/24/2012 6:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I saw the weapons consoles in the torpedo room, they were removed and brought to NUWC Newport to be refurbished, rewired, etc. They were nasty looking. The server cabinets for the weapons systems had the tops melted but were empty at the time, they will be replaced

10/24/2012 7:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miami again: 'sequestration' (automatic budget cuts) = no mo' Miami?

10/24/2012 11:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they should convert her to a MTS, that'd be the best route. Thanks for the update!


10/24/2012 11:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was an MT on the old boomers the purpose of you Nucs was to push my missiles around the ocean. When I was a Chop the purpose of you Nucs was to push my food and parts around the Ocean. Face it, all you Nucs are good for is pushing something greater than you around the ocean. V/r CDRCHOP

10/25/2012 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:58 AM Don't forget we also made all the hot water for the sonar girls to shower after every watch.

10/25/2012 4:12 PM

Blogger DDM said...

Thanks for the fine article. My first tour was on the 633B. I don't remember being jealous of any of the ballistic missile guys. Maybe it was because our Weps was a bad ass and treated them roughly; or maybe it was because we got stuck fixing their crap when they couldn't.

10/26/2012 2:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut up and push the dome and pull the array, and thanks for all that hot water...


10/26/2012 7:58 AM

Blogger Bryan Lethcoe said...

If I am not mistaken MMCM(SS) Connell was COB on Tennessee (Blue) back in the early 90's when I rode her for EOOW quals as an Ensign - certainly a solid COB, who introduced me to the phrase which is the title of this blog. as well as some sort of Filippino phrase all of the young SN's would repeat - something like "Ding Wa Mushi Mushi" or some such phrase

10/26/2012 5:18 PM

Anonymous SparkyWT said...

If not for the nucs, you MTs would have been in the Air Force. Since you were too stupid to join the Air Force, STFU and acknowledge you were part of the team.

11/04/2012 12:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it weren't for the MTs you wouldn't have had a purpose Sparky.

11/04/2012 7:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfiltered Camel Smoking I'd like to see how ole Tommy could handle Picayunes. Too bad they don't make them anymore. A fellow WOC smoking an unfiltered camel on the sidewalk was boasting about how he'd smoke anything. I went home on leave to south Louisiana and bought a pack of Picayunes. I gave the pack to him unopened. He returned it four cigarettes light and said I could have em back and keep em. I imagine he had one and then let three of his buddies try the others.
If they still made them, a cartoon of Picayunes would be a great thing to keep in your freezer to pull out whenever you encountered someone prone to bum too much.

11/04/2012 11:07 PM

Blogger phlebotomist said...

For those who are researching this incredible claim, let me be clear -- the Illinois is NOT going to be the first submarine with an "all female crew" when she's commissioned in 2015. There will not be any female Submariners with enough experience to be XO, let alone CO, by 2015.
phlebotomy training in ID

1/10/2013 11:22 AM


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