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.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

USS Montpelier Collision

The Navy got an unwanted present on its 237th birthday when USS Montpelier (SSN 765) and USS San Jacinto (CG 56) collided off the East Coast today:
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- There were no injuries as a U.S. Navy submarine and an Aegis cruiser collided off the coast of the Eastern United States earlier this afternoon.
The collision between USS Montpelier (SSN 765) and USS San Jacinto (CG 56) occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight time.
No personnel aboard either vessel were injured.
Overall damage to both ships is being evaluated. The propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision. Both ships are currently operating under their own power.
The incident is currently under investigation.
Both the submarine and the ship were conducting routine training at the time of the accident.
Montpelier returned from deployment in February, while San Jacinto is assigned to Carrier Strike Group TEN with USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), which is in a deployment workup cycle. Here's some more information from the ABC News website:
The Navy official says that at approximately 3:30 p.m. the bridge watch aboard the San Jacinto saw the submarine Montpelier rise to periscope depth about 100 to 200 yards ahead of them. The bridge ordered an “all back,” but still collided with the sub.
According to the official, the initial assessment of damage is that there was a complete depressurization of the sonar dome aboard the San Jacinto. Located below the water line of surface warships, sonar domes provide the bulbous shape to the bows of warships.
After the collision the official said the submarine surfaced and communications were established between all the ships on the scene.
Will update as more information becomes available. Staying at PD...

Update 2130 14 Oct: The Navy reports that both ships are pierside and being evaluated. In this picture of Montpelier, it appears that the upper section of her rudder is missing.

I've always thought that there was no more dangerous peacetime evolution (other than some ORSE prep drill sets) than fleet ASW exercises away from an instrumented range. During Topeka's 1992 deployment, we did an opposed UNREP against the Ranger Battle Group. After one simulated attack, we moved ahead of the group to get in position for a follow-up green-flaring. As we were coming to PD with the CO ("He Who Must Not Be Named") on the 'scope, the Weps watching the ASVDU, and me on Pri-MATE, the dots were stacking in such a way that it looked like a contact was coming closer and closer, and we started getting near-field effect on the sonar displays. The WEPS recommended we abort the PD trip, and the CO ordered emergency deep. When the contact (probably USS Rentz) passed astern and came back on the other side, the CPA calculated out to about 50 yards.

In this case, we don't know if the cruiser was operating a quieting system (some have questioned if discussion of such a hypothetical system skirts the bounds of confidentiality, but we'll assume the commenters are referring to the possibility of a system such as the one described in this open-source Wikipedia article), who was on the 'scope, and what the sea state was. I'm used to the CO or Command Duty Officer (when stationed) always being on the 'scope during a Battle Stations scenario for ASWEXs, but Montpelier might not have that requirement. Another thing to consider is that Montpelier, having recently returned from deployment, is probably on one of her first FLEETEX support missions after likely losing a lot of key players from the deployment to transfer, and is training up new Fire Control and Sonar teams. Alternately, they might have just been coming up for normal comms during a break in the exercise schedule, and, as one commenter suggested, didn't have a good track on the San Jacinto, having either missed a 180 turn or putting one in that didn't exist. (For a quiet target, a zero-bearing rate, decreasing range sonar track looks a lot like a >20K yard contact.) I've been in situations when the seas were high enough coming to PD that I didn't get a good look at one sector until my 3rd or 4th sweep after the optics break the surface -- and who knows, if they had a UI or two on the ship's control party, maybe they had a hard time keeping the 'scope optics out of the water. However, this is unlikely since it was reported that a lookout on the cruiser saw the submarine. I'd be more likely to guess a possible sail broach, with the OOD more concerned about yelling at the Dive to get the ship back down than completing his safety sweep. We really won't be able to have an informed discussion on potential lessons learned until we do know those things -- but, as usual, that shouldn't stop us from holding forth, since that's what us Submariners do.

And for non-Submariners visiting here and wondering, no, Montpelier is not yet one of the submarines with female crew members.

Staying at PD...

Update 1635 16 Oct: The heads of the crawl up their assholes with a microscope investigation boards have been named:
Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, deputy commander of USFF, appointed Rear Adm. Ann Phillips, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, as the investigating officer to lead a command investigation into the collision of USS Montpelier (SSN 765) and USS San Jacinto (CG 56).
The investigation is administrative in nature and will look into the cause of the collision and determine any fault, neglect, or responsibility. Additionally, the investigation will identify any shortfalls in procedures and make recommendations for corrective action.
USFF has also directed a Safety Investigation Board (SIB), which will be led by Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander of Submarine Group (SUBGRU) 10. The SIB will identify hazards and causal factors for the collision, and make recommendations to prevent future mishaps.
I'm guessing they'll find that people on the submarine were doing a lot of things that happen on every single submarine in the world (like the Throttleman cleaning around his watchstation instead of standing straight and monitoring his panel 100% of the time) that will prove that Montpelier was grossly deficient but there are no Force-wide issues, as Montpelier was an outlier. [/sarcasm]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder if this will add to the growing list of CO/XO/CMC firings. Glad no body was hurt

10/13/2012 8:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my extensive armchair investigation:

There are no new lessons learned.

10/13/2012 8:44 PM

Anonymous montynucplankowner said...

Wow, the Monty was my first and only sub, although that was 15 years ago. I hope that all is well aboard both the ship and the boat. Look forward to hearing what really happened.

10/13/2012 9:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bye Bye Skipper!!!!

10/13/2012 9:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From history - is it inevitable that both COs will be relieved and careers ended? Or will on of these guys be ok?

I always thought firing everyone seemed extreme.

10/13/2012 9:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree on no new LL (at least for the SSN). If the report is true, maybe the skimmer CO will survive but doubt the SSN CO.

10/13/2012 10:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hate to have to agree with Anonymous 8:44 PM, but unfortunately I don't think that there are many new lessons waiting to be learned about going to PD. Been there, done that myself a few times not too long ago, so I think that I'm entitled to feel like I have an informed opinion, anyway. An evolution that always involves risk, but is completely manageable during peacetime, especially during local operations. You would think that with today's technology, these incidents would occur much less often than they did in the 70's and 80s, but it doesn't seem to be the case. It's difficult to imagine facts in this scenario which would lead to the SSN CO not being found at fault.

Former SSN CO

10/13/2012 10:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a submariner (retired Navy fighter pilot) but I have a nephew who is in submarines so I'm familiar with the dangers of surfacing or being at periscope depth. (eg USS Hartford & USS Greeneville). My question is -- doesn't the listening sonar let a submariner know when a surface ship is close and therefore to stay submerged. I know submariners don't like to use active sonar as this would be taboo in wartime and obviously they want to train like it's wartime. I'm sure with active sonar the submariner would know the exact location of all surface ships.

10/13/2012 10:34 PM

Blogger reddog said...

I must be a dummy. I thought the whole point of these mondo billion $ Aegis systems was to coordinate the exact positions of and intelligence data from, the entire battle group and provide it to the control parties on each of the friendly ships, insuring a seamless choreography of attack and evasion, even in the heat of hostile conflict at battle flank.

I guess that's the rosy scenario. Shit happens!

All the rigorous selection and training seems to not produce optimal results. Perhaps we should offer a special "lifetime" submarine option to incarcerated 3 strike felons and set up simulators at selected maximum security penal institutions. Maybe a program through ITT Tech, with subsidies for the chronically unemployed. Would the Vatican be interested in a special placement program for pedophile priests, do you think? Couldn't be any worse than what we got now. Especially in the wardroom.

10/13/2012 10:35 PM

Blogger LT H said...

@Anon 10:34 PM:

I am a serving submariner. There is an active sonar installed that is specifically for these types of situations, but it has a limited field of view. So depending on which course the sub came to PD on, the active sonar, if it was being used, wouldn't have seen it anyway.

The passive sonar arrays may have seen it, but if the cruiser was running its masking system, it can make it extremely difficult to classify. Speaking from experience, a submarine sonar shack would be doing extremely well to classify a warship running its masking system as anything other than an environmental trace - not a ship. So it's possible the submarine contact management team never knew a ship was there until they came to PD.

Very likely no new lessons learned here. Glad everyone is ok on both boats.

10/13/2012 11:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks "It h" from "10/13/2012 10:34 PM." for answering my question. That was a great explanation and I appreciate your taking the time to explain the problems involved.

You guys are the best.

10/13/2012 11:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other question "It h" from “10/13/2012 10:34 PM”

From what you said, it sounds like surfacing, especially when you're in the vicinity of the surface ships who are using masking systems, is a crap shoot.

A former SSN CO said the following in this blog about coming to periscope depth, "An evolution that always involves risk, but is completely manageable during peacetime, especially during local operations." I would assume when practicing tactics a sub practices under simulated wartime conditions not peacetime conditions and practice as though they are in enemy waters and not local operations. If not, what a waste of time and assets.

If that is the case, and surfacing is a crap shoot (as it appears) and the sub did everything correctly, how can the CO be fired, He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and it could happen to anyone.

10/14/2012 12:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The surface ships don't (normally) run their systems that make them look like things other than ships during exercises like this. In fact, they generally become intentionally noisier (i.e. running the fathometer at max power) - all in the name of safety. It's not clear if these two units were involved in an exercise together, or just happened to be in the same water at the same time doing different things.

10/14/2012 1:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expect a safety standown. Seems to be the regular reaction to these types of incidents.

10/14/2012 3:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10/14/2012 12:35 AM

The submerged submarine is the giveway vessel per the rules of the road.

I strongly suspect we are going to have a Change of command

10/14/2012 5:07 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

The submerged submarine is the giveway vessel per the rules of the road.

And what Rule would that be covered under?

(Didn't we clear this up when NOL ran over HAR?)

10/14/2012 5:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reactor Plant Control Panel

10/14/2012 6:43 AM

Anonymous Eng SSN 754 said...

First, the disclaimer. It has been more than 20 years since I was driving the boats, so I am well out of date with respect to the tactics and the safety protocols. And, understanding the responsibilities of command, in that (paraphrasing from another individual who was "in command") the buck stops at the CO's desk (maybe a weak metaphor, but you get the idea), I expect that the SSN CO will be looking for a new job very shortly.

All of that being said, assuming that the SSN was operating independently, aren't they assigned op areas and transit lanes that other warships are supposed to stay out of? And, assuming that they were operating with the CG, aren't there safety "stovepipes" that the SSN uses to come to PD and other warships are supposed to stay out of? Or are these outdated safety protocols? Or am I just confused?


10/14/2012 6:46 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Rules 11-18 don't apply to submerged submarines, since they apply only to "vessels in sight of one another". So, the General Prudential Rule applies, which would almost always make the submarine the vessel responsible to avoid a collision when coming to PD.

10/14/2012 6:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rule 2 Responsibility

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.
(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.
This is often referred to unofficially as the "Rule of Good Seamanship" or the "General Prudential Rule." This Rule first states that all the Rules must be complied with, and the customary practices of good seamanship must be followed. But it then goes on to recognize that there may be "special circumstances." Its intention is to apply common sense to the interpretation and application of the Rules, and to prevent any perversion of the Rules to avoid the consequences of their misconstruction or misapplication. It recognizes that a departure from the strict language of the Rules may be required to avoid immediate danger - no vessel has the right of way through another vessel! There may be special situations where a departure from the Rules is not only desirable, but is required. Should a collision result, strict literal compliance with the Rules may not be a defense.

10/14/2012 6:53 AM

Blogger SJV said...

^^ Agreed, but my age is similar to yours. Seems like somebody had to be in the wrong place.

10/14/2012 6:56 AM

Anonymous 714boy said...

Eng 754 asks the right questions.
However, both ships ultimately failed to avoid the collision at the last minute by:
1. Sub should have made several 360 sweeps with the scope to verify no contacts
2. Aegis should have used his rudder instead of a backing bell

10/14/2012 6:57 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Agree that Rule 2 is germane here. The unfortunate part of that is that it is uusually applied implicitly, rather than explicitly to submerged submarines. Of course, the entering arguement being "so as to involve risk of collision", the point of the exercise is NOT to get to the point where risk of collision exists.

10/14/2012 7:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

reddog - you're retarded. Please enlighten me on how radar can see a submerged object.

Back to the original incident - sounds like they didn't do a very good job at clearing baffles. It's not hard to hear a warship at that distance unless they had a really shallow layer.

10/14/2012 7:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was saddened to learn of this story. I know the STSC for the MontP and he is (was?) well regarded. I can't imagine how his shack could have missed this.

Regarding using a Masker or not, I wouldn't come up w/ even a large environmental (or any other) trace off the bow. You put the big ones away from the bow (near the beam drawing aft if you can & contact situation supports) just in case something comes out of the 'rain' w/ turning screws. But the limited info in the story makes it sound like the cruiser was in the boat's baffles on the ascent leg.

It will still be the boat's fault though for not doing enough preps/ TMA legs before the ascent.

The PNB guy looking for a CG (even w/ a masker) should have had a few lines that would help cue the sup, but if the array wasn't stable during the preps then he'd have no good bearings to pass & no ranging opportunities. OOD's in a hurry have been known to do 3 quick legs (triangle up) and never let the noodle get straight until the ascent is in progress. PNB would probably not report "CG in the baffles" during the ascent as it wouldn't be deemed a collision threat w/ no supporting Rh info.

It will be interesting to see the investigation results about all the preps for PD...

HFA would show a contact ahead of them, but if the SAND JACK was behind them during the ascent ( blind spot) but was rapidly overtaking them, I could see HFA giving them no warning or cues.

The stovepipe question is a great one. Someone definitely seems to be where they weren't supposed to be...

The SAND JACK Sonar shack not seeing the Montpelier is a given. Now they won't be seeing anything AT ALL for awhile until their bulbous bow is fixed...

I'm very glad nobody was hurt.

10/14/2012 7:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frequently Bios=Actual contact. A well trained crew should know that and act accordingly.

@Anonymous 10/14/2012 1:22 AM
Depends on how much common sense was used in pre-planning of the exercise (assuming one was in progress) and how much the sub was willing to push back for the unnecessary/unsafe things swos want to do sometimes.

@714 Boy - Though not guarantee, a rudder probably would have been a better idea but you don't know how fast they were going or how close they actually were which would effect the OOD's decision while he/she is taking making a note to change his underwear because a sub just popped up 100 yards in front of them.

Question to be asked by the investigators: Why didn't the Sub OOD see the ship on the ascent or after initially reaching PD and take appropriate action? Of course maybe he did.

10/14/2012 7:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see what RAM held as the scope broke the water. ES is a huge weakness in the fleet and it shows when things like this happen.

10/14/2012 8:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That should say ESM not RAM

10/14/2012 8:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be mistaken but I thought stovepipes were only for sub on sub exercises?

10/14/2012 8:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats exactly what the training exercise was... I don't know who said they don't use masking systems during exercises. Duh.

10/14/2012 9:36 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

"Don't believe anything you read in the newspapers."

10/14/2012 9:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stovepipes are, in fact, to prevent sub-sub collisions. They are stay out zones for the shallow sub so that the deep sub can come to PD.

10/14/2012 9:46 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Sounds like we are eating $50 million dollars?

10/14/2012 10:14 AM

Anonymous MMC765 said...

As a former sailor in the Mighty Monte, I am glad there are no injuries other than to the pride of the surfacing OOD and the CO.
BTW, what about ESM????

10/14/2012 10:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both ship and Sub were involved in training exercises with USS Harry S Truman off the coast of Florida in preparation for their 10 month deployment in February to the strait of Hormuz. I have a son serving on the Truman, and from what it sounds like there may have been comms issues before, during and after the incident. I a, just glad no one was hurt. Not sure what this will do to their scheduled deployment as CSG 10

10/14/2012 11:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for the navy to go high and to the right again. FT's and ST's get ready for some more TMA exams.

10/14/2012 11:15 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

It has been thirty years since I was a sub CO but I doubt the rules of engagement have changed that much for workup exercises. I suspect that the Montpelier was making an approach on the San Jacinto and did not have a good range before coming to PD. Over my twenty year career on the boats I experienced a number of similar situations. Fortunately, only one resulted in a similar incident to the sub I was in (Can't say which sub or when due to classification). I also remember a number of similar incidents to other subs. Even NAUTILUS had a collision with an Aircraft Carrier during an exercise. I agree that there are probably no new lessons learned but each generation has to learn the old lessons just the same. Does CSL and CSP stll send out "Recently a ship of this force...." messages?

10/14/2012 11:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible this happened during SCC ops? The timing seems about right.

10/14/2012 11:22 AM

Blogger ***** said...

The passive sonar arrays may have seen it, but if the cruiser was running its -----------, it can make it extremely difficult to classify. <----- think before you post classified information on here shithook.

10/14/2012 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing that bothers me about these sorts of incidents is that all of us that weren't on the boat get the opportunity to postulate as to how it wouldn't have happened if we were there. There are certainly lessons to be learned. There were likely things that should have been caught. But it could have happened to any of us. They don't just stack up one boat at a time with all of the dregs of the submarine force. These were competent people, who were trained, and somehow ended up in this situation. Please don't forget that.

10/14/2012 12:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't care what the surface ship was running, you're going to pick up a trace inside of 1 kyds.

10/14/2012 12:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

41 comments and so far no one has blamed women in submarines or the repeal of DADT. May be a new record. Thanks Mulligan for keeping 'your' impeccable record intact...

10/14/2012 1:10 PM

Anonymous tsm said...

100-200 yards in from of the skimmer? No way he is going to get faulted for this one. No matter how alert he was, I doubt that there was anything he could do to avoid it.

Turn instead of back emergency? Neither one would have helped him out unless he was going 5 kts.

to anon at 1034pm: PD is dangerous. Sometimes you get a shallow layer at 90-110', blocks all sound and bends it shallow, so it doesn't pass through to the ships sonar when you are deep. By the time you pass through the layer, you are committed. Turn around and go deep, and you will stall out while the COW floods water on like crazy. But that is more likely off od SOCAL then the east coast.

Armchair quarterback prediction: they will find that sonar had a tracker on the skimmer, and the FTOW was tracking him, and reset his solution from closing to opening about 15-30 min prior to PD.

Lots of chances for lots of sailors and junior officers to be the hero, and they all let the skipper down. Cause he probably already has been relieved of command.

Now I just wonder which new Dept Head that P42 is shopping for.

10/14/2012 1:15 PM

Anonymous bullnav said...

The underway part of SCC is next month.

10/14/2012 1:29 PM

Blogger Mike Chapman said...

Ouch. The world is full of "Oh, s**t!" moments, but you gotta think that seeing the bows of an Aegis that close would ruin a good pair of shorts. Glad the damage is limited to machines, not people.

10/14/2012 1:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the damage is also to people, just not physical damage.

10/14/2012 2:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The passive sonar arrays may have seen it, but if the cruiser was running its -----------, it can make it extremely difficult to classify. <----- think before you post classified information on here shithook.

What element of that post do you consider classified, shipmate? The existence of Prairie/Masker is hardly a national secret. It has its own Wikipedia page, for crying out loud.

10/14/2012 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To ANON poster"***** Shithook" Here is the link describing the supper squirrel secret device on the CG. Now pull on the back of your knees until you hear a "pop" then you can talk to us qualified guys. Cary on NUB.

10/14/2012 2:39 PM

Blogger Dolphin743 said...

There are still too many unknowns about this incident. We don't even know if the sub was actually already at PD or not (just the report from the SJ OOD)--you can't tell the difference from a surface ship between a sub coming to PD and one that is just raising it's scope that was down. We don't know if the SJ was running it's fathometer per guidelines or if they had a masker operating (which is done for some exercises), or even if they were ensonifying the entire ocean with high power active sonar, making it hard for the sub to hear anything. There will be a lot of analysis, and the full story will be determined (I've done a few of these...they really do get to the bottom of things). Until then, trying to guess the circumstances is pointless. That said, I will be very surprised if the sub is somehow not considered to be (at least mostly) at fault since they are really the only ones able to avoid this situation.

10/14/2012 2:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TSM, don’t quit your armchair QB day job just yet. Yes SONAR had a tracker on it, all traces are required to have a tracker assigned to it IAW fleet guidance. Also from previous lessons learned (think Hartford) the new way of conducting PD trips is to not let the FTOW update system solution on contacts w/o permission from the OOD/ JOOD after the PD brief. Well any ship worth a damn, and no this is not a knock against The Monty I don’t know the crew and won’t even speculate on what happened because I wasn’t there. “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”
That is all, so sayeth FIDU the FT TMA GOD

10/14/2012 2:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The unfortunate part of that is that it is uusually applied implicitly, rather than explicitly to submerged submarines."

IIRC, the rules don't deal explicitly with submerged submarines at all. That said, I think it should go without saying that when one vessel is intentionally trying to be invisible the responsibility to avoid collision rests entirely on that vessel.

10/14/2012 3:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^^^^^^^ Um....Duh.

10/14/2012 3:26 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Another sub collision was not unexpected by some of us, nor will the next be.

In the Cold War, however, we stuck up a radar mast in coastal waters off Florida. Yet DFOWN (direct feedback on what is nearby) is just as important today with boats carrying more crew and costing twenty times more. Go figure.

10/14/2012 4:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most likely a strong shallow layer, probably in the gulf stream or near it. Didnt see the skimmer until it was too late. How new is San Jacinto? Newer con skimmers are pretty quiet. Also if they were having an exercise, she was probably going slow as well. Hellen Keller had better hearing than most surface sonars do. Either way patiently awaiting the investigation.

10/14/2012 5:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most likely a strong shallow layer, probably in the gulf stream or near it." - Anon 5:30 PM

What you are, in fact, saying is that
if it was "most likely" it was also predictable. I totally agree! So, why did it happen anyway?!

10/14/2012 6:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:27 pm

It happened anyway because the navy and its academy neglect (rather than ignore)an obvious "policy of inertia" as regards submarine safety.

Yes, at least a few on the sub must be fired depending upon the facts and circumstances of the "training exercise". Totally avoidable nevertheless.

10/14/2012 6:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To reply at anon at 6:27

Just because its measurable/predictable does not necessarily mean avoidable. Yes you would use more caution when ascending, but if its a very shallow layer, like was earlier stated once you get up to close to pd (You all know what depth im talking about, doesnt need to be said here) your at the point of no return. You will never get down fast enough to avoid the collision if they were that close. I dont care how shit hot your control party is.

However, if she was that close on the ascent, That would have to be an ungodly strong layer for them to see nothing. Again i am looking forward to the report in a few months.

10/14/2012 6:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just because its measurable/predictable does not necessarily mean avoidable."

Sorry, forget that some readers here think like women. Want to know what the report in a few months will say? It WAS avoidable and someone did not do the job for which he/she was trained.

Hope it won't be CMDCM Shannon Howe, but the COs and XOs might be casualties for starters. This WAS avoidable.

10/14/2012 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They pulled into King Bay. Boat came in on the surface.

10/14/2012 7:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'exercise' was no doubt planned by skimmers with rubber stamping by Commander, Submarine Group Two.

Almost a clear-cut case of subservience to skimmer hierarchy. What a shame!

10/14/2012 7:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be anxious to see if during the "training exercise" they were running drills for training and the surface picture prior to the start was completely wrong.

10/14/2012 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad day. Blame it on a video

10/14/2012 8:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:42

All submarines pull into port on the surface....

10/14/2012 8:45 PM

Anonymous NaCly Dog said...

I'm a former skimmer with experience in Spucans. The CG should have been able to do a crash-back in 200 yds. With controllable pitch propellers the ship should be able to stop in less than a ship's length from normal exercise speeds. A delay in execution by the OOD, JOOD, and helmsman can lead to being an interested party at the JAGMAN investigation.

This ability used to be tested in INSURV and OPPEs, but not sure about today.
I've gone All back full from Flank-3 and stopped in less than 200 yds, but in a lighter ship and with no submarine in front of the bow.

10/14/2012 8:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

should you see more rudder in this pic? or has it been a few months too many I havent seen a 688??

10/14/2012 9:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, assuming submarine is doing 4 kts opening and CG is doing 15 kts closing, you have approx 333 yds/min closing RR.

You are supposed to do 3x 8 second sweeps coming to PD, totalling 24s. By my calculation, you had 36 s to collision, and assuming you didn't "catch" the warship until the last sweep, you still have 12s to do an emergency deep.

Awaiting what failed.

10/14/2012 9:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Generally good discussion, though what USNA has to do with sub safety is beyond me.

No way in hell this was unavoidable. Yes, CBDR looks like >20k, but it isn't getting louder at 20k and it only appears that way on one leg of the baffle clear. I suspect they got in a hurry, blew off some cues, and came to PD with a contact on something classified as other than a warship.

And while I am sure a surface ship could stop in 200yds, there was most certainly a delay from spotting to giving the order to carrying it out. Very different if you are expecting to execute a back emergency.

I think a COSS just got a call up, we just don't know who as of yet.

Disappointing, but TSSBP.

10/14/2012 10:04 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Collision of Navy Ships Prompts Pentagon Inquiry

OMG, a Pentagon inquiry...

10/14/2012 10:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, it's always good to know that we can count on your unintelligent, ungrammatical, self-absorbed, messianic, yet entertaining drivel. Keep it coming, little buddy...

10/14/2012 10:39 PM

Anonymous STSCS said...

Someone asked, "How new is San Jacinto?"

FYI - She isn't new. I did a UNITAS with her in '92 while an STS2 on usetafish. Now she probably has had an upgrade or three since 1992, but the hull itself is not even close to being new.

10/14/2012 11:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - at least the top half of the rudder is completely gone. Wonder how the steering is.

10/15/2012 1:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the top half of the rudder does anything other than a minor assist on the surface!
GFQ dumbass.

10/15/2012 2:50 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I was trying to behave myself in front of your perfectly grammatically correct dummies.

It looks to me this submarine captain was immaturely hot dogging his submarine,...reckless flying and repeated violation of rules. Pulling a "Top Gun" maverick with a submarine. You know boys and their toys...trying to shock the skimmer and something to brag about drinking bear....he intentionally surfaced right in front USS San Jacinto for the shock effect. Can't you hear the rumors and bragging for years if he pulled it off.

I'll bet you there was minor flooding busting the shaft seals...the shaft connected to the screw.

10/15/2012 3:41 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

That age old competition and contempt between sub hunters and subs...

They were probably taking turns chasing each other...

10/15/2012 3:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@2:50 AM - you're not thinking it far enough through. The question is with a blow hard enough to shear the upper rudder (and maybe more) then what else was damaged? Rudder stock? Ram? Hydraulics?

Stop being so shallow.

10/15/2012 3:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rudder Ram Hull Penetration? Getting wet inside? Low Pressure Blower is gonna get hot for a few days until we find a drydock. Venting the ballast tank inboard is never good!

10/15/2012 6:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

M. Mulligan - Monty captain is not a hot- dogger - Good man. If you don't know the person you have no right to speculate.

10/15/2012 7:21 AM

Anonymous Cupojoe said...

I have a hard time believing that the rudder would have broken away. I saw the Greeneville rudder after their collision, and all it lost was a little paint.

10/15/2012 7:23 AM

Anonymous Sparky WT said...

Jeez Mulligan, you must see conspiracies in everything from Happy Meals to the Sunday Best-Buy sales circular. Someday you'll be as batty as John Nash. Copy down license plate numbers at the Canadian border or something useful.

10/15/2012 7:35 AM

Anonymous 714boy said...

Here is why you turn to avoid. The rudder responds immediately.
(Note: 688's are also pretty good at pivoting around things dead ahead - practice on your OOD watches in unrestricted waters.)

10/15/2012 7:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still shaking my head, by it does indeed look like Montpelier lost the top of it's rudder in the collision.

Have a look for yourself.


10/15/2012 8:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...'s a direct link to the post-collision videos.

10/15/2012 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On my boat, I know we had at least a couple times come to PD only to find a contact that wasn't ID'd before the ascent.

Now I was just a dumbass nuke but something tells me every boat in the fleet has a similar story to tell over their lifetimes.

Doesn't make it right but goddamn am I glad to be long removed from the Navy. Reminds of just how many of you assholes were out there.

Think back to your time in, for those so "holier than thou" where there was a case that by absolute right you could have gone to mast (officer and enlisted).
We pretty much know they fucked up and even though guys will get shit canned, this crew would probably be the *least* likely to make the same mistake again. Of course big Navy doesn't think that way.....

10/15/2012 8:29 AM

Anonymous TxTalInFmrd said...

fThis is 2x in same years numbered, what is this here? I told sent new plan after 1x incidents and they did not listened, this coud not have to ocurr. Simply,k all before surfacing submarine is reqkwired to SHOOT 3 FLARES as warning. Make it in internatital rules of navigations, all to adhere NOW! This aways, ships will knowledje that submarinen is coiming to float, to g et away. OKay! other ships, gett ing out of the way of flares , pound active frequency soNar, addded to safety so subm arine can SEE, no HEAR and GET AWAY. Bam, problum solvedd..okay, just simplisticial changing to the coast guarders rules to AVOID this AGAIN and I TOLK THEM SO> SUBMIT.

10/15/2012 8:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between Hartford's sail and now Montpelier's rudder, I'm wondering if enough mechanical strength for side-forces is being built into the 688s...even the underice boats.

Had the boat's rudder run into the skimmer via its leading edge, I have no doubt who would have won that little battle.

But, c'mon, EB. guys don't plan for collisions in ship design? Shit happens out there.

10/15/2012 8:46 AM

Anonymous Spit on a skimmer...they'll be cleaner said...

@8:31 Anon:

Thank you, skimmer fuck, for articulating so well as to why only nuclear submariners should ever run the US Navy.

10/15/2012 8:52 AM

Anonymous BoomerChop said...

If you've never come up to PD through a strong, shallow layer, (i.e., if you are a skimmer and have never come up to PD, *period*) please don't sit here and try to speculate what it's like, or how it does/does not affect the situation.

As someone said earlier, just because it is expected/predictable doesn't make it any less significant or avoidable, nor does it necessarily make for an excuse to not carry out PD ops.

It's hell on both the tracking party and the ship's control party, and for the latter, it often means you are going to get to a point where you end up being stuck above the layer for a short amount of time...and a collision with a ship that is that close (especially if she is traveling at normal surface combatant speeds) doesn't take very long to happen.

10/15/2012 10:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is what little we know with certainty:

The latest collision was avoidable short of a dire emergency justifying unplanned surfacing by the submarine, which may have done so without announcing said maneuver to naval vessel(s) presumed present afloat.


The exercise called for a scheduled sub surfacing at a predetermined point (time and position) that was either sloppily executed by navigators on the SSN, the CG, or to some extent both.

Reporting has been fact-challenged. Although submariners may agree with the analyst who wrote this:

“Nuclear submarines are, for the most part, pretty safe and I doubt there was much of a chance that this collision, or really any collision, would have the ability to actually start a nuclear chain reaction. Most likely what would have happened, at worst, was a crippling of the vessel and sinking it to the bottom of the ocean, dooming the sailors to a watery grave,.” - Scrape TV Military analyst Michael Kent.

However, most articles cite only minor damage to the sub's sonar dome. Anechoic tile and upper hull features have hardly been mentioned.

10/15/2012 1:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sonar dome damage is on the San Jacinto. Montpelier is missing the upper half of its rudder, and likely has a flooded MBT aft

10/15/2012 1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it get any dumber than this????



O 120256Z OCT 12






7. AGE: 41

13. AGE: 24

19. AGE: 38


26. POC: XO,


10/15/2012 1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Reporting has been fact-challenged. Although submariners may agree with the analyst who wrote this:

“Nuclear submarines are, for the most part, pretty safe and I doubt there was much of a chance that this collision, or really any collision, would have the ability to actually start a nuclear chain reaction. Most likely what would have happened, at worst, was a crippling of the vessel and sinking it to the bottom of the ocean, dooming the sailors to a watery grave,.”

That's pretty much too stupid to respond to. But I will say this: the vessel that was most at risk was the surface ship...bitch. And that's a no-shitter.

10/15/2012 1:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we now have to read skimmer OPREP 3s that have exactly jack shit to do with this thread?

We don't need no stinkin' skimmer OPREPs to tell us just how idiotic that world is.

10/15/2012 1:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GERTRUDE check anyone?

10/15/2012 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's pretty much too stupid to respond to. But I will say this: the vessel that was most at risk was the surface ship..." Anon 1:25 PM

Your conclusion, jack, is NOT supported by the long history of U.S. submarine collisions with surface vessels. So, readers have probably guessed you pulled it out your a$$.

10/15/2012 2:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/15/2012 2:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^'Ehime Maru' much...dipshit?

10/15/2012 3:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With apologies to the families who lost loved ones, here is the most memorable (to most) result of submarine rudder versus surface ship.

10/15/2012 3:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And who can ever forget "There goes the mail" except for neuron-deficient skimmers?

10/15/2012 3:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few inches of HY-120 or HY-80 versus a skimmer's hull? Not much of a contest.

10/15/2012 3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more for old time's sake (and the training of skimmer's who make stupid comments here): USS George Washington versus the cargo ship Nissho Maru in 1981.

10/15/2012 4:23 PM

Anonymous Served SSN CO said...

Definitely missing the top of the rudder.

A lazy Saturday afternoon watch, with the CO enjoying a well earned workout aft? Maybe stuck in EOOW/EWS training, or monitoring a primary sample?

For you COs, or those who strive to wear the Command at Sea pin - No PD trip is ever so routine that you shouldn't at least look at the Sonar displays and listen to the open microphone.

If you may get fired, at least, get a vote!

10/15/2012 5:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the YCMTSU category regarding skimmer stupidity: in the collision between USS Bainbridge and the submarine USS Blackfin, the skimmer's captain announced to all hands that they could come topside to watch Blackfin submerge alongside, as they were close by and on a parallel course.

Stupid Skimmer Trick: Bainbridge then proceeded to turn towards Blackfin, which was still at PD, golly...collided.

Photos and story at this link.

10/15/2012 5:18 PM

Anonymous Wheeling Wizard said...

I am personally far removed from PD operations (1980), and cannot therefore comment on subtleties of modern practice. I can admit that I was typically quite nervous (or frightened) coming to PD and only more so in the Mediterranean. Even if it turns out that the submarine never heard the surface ship with prudent baffle clearing and compliance with present methods; it’s not likely that the CO and the OOD are going to survive the experience with their careers intact.

10/15/2012 5:22 PM

Blogger ST said...

I find it hilarious that so many armchair QB's can sit back and discuss how superior they're skills are when something bad happens. YUP there was a collision...yup it is likley that someone screwed up thier job...and YUP there is not a single person here who even has the slightest clue as to the actual facts of the situation and therefor is just speculating on things like masker, sonar, thermoclines, hy-80, stovepipes, and how well the control party on Monty or the bridge crew on San Jac did thier jobs. Speculate on fellas, I'm gettin another beer to watch the fireworks.

BTW I especially like it when you juveniles call each other things like "shithook".

10/15/2012 5:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some simple facts to consider here:

A quieted surface ship can still be tracked at safe ranges in any SVP.

Search depth and layer depth matter and must be considered for ascents to PD.

Exercise provisions are established to preclude closing range, and if such a closure does occur, it is evident to the exercise participants and they are obligated to open range.

A narrow aspect target at close ranges can be misinterpreted as a distant contact if the watch team does not understand the fundamentals of TMA and relative motion.

Rarely are there new lessons learned in collisions at sea, it is usually just new people learning the same lessons.

Submarining is a challenging profession that demands a depth of knowledge, tactical discipline, respect for the ocean, and a decisiveness that delivers results.

Sometimes bad things happen even though the crew and the officers believe they are doing the right things. Too many times the risky nature of our business is assumed away because it is convenient to do so.

Finally, the officers and crew of the MONTPELIER are volunteers in the worlds greatest submarine force with wives, sons, daughters, parents and friends that are very proud of them. No one goes to sea with the intention of having a collision...

10/15/2012 5:34 PM

Blogger ST said...

well said

10/15/2012 5:41 PM

Blogger ST said...

well said

10/15/2012 5:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2 3:27 PM
USS Greeneville (SSN-772)
6,096 t
Ehime Maru
830 tons displacement


Anon @ 3:34 PM
USS Secota (YTB-415)
Displacement: 237 tons
USS Georgia (SSBN-729)
Displacement: 16,499 long tons


Were you guys only qualified on boomers? Geez! No wonder a bulkier displacement (70:1) damaged a tiny skimmer.

10/15/2012 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this conversation gets any more stupid, we're all going to turn into skimmers.

Inches of a U.S. submarines HY-80 or HY-120 versus your typical skimmer hull -- no matter what the displacement is -- will always favor the submarine. Always. It's called physics.

10/15/2012 10:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the bio of the flag officer who will be heading up the investigation into the collision.

This should be interesting.

10/15/2012 10:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^^^ INDEED, Should be Interesting! ^^^^^^^

Probably much like the HAR JAGMAN, headed by a SWO, but probably not any new lessons for the Submarine Force here. Do the basics all the time, including Saturday afternoons and it will remain routine.

10/16/2012 4:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure what happened, but thankfully as always we didnt lose a boat.

- Recently on an SSN, never saw a single PD trip without the CO, plus one of the two senior dept heads or the XO, call it c.y.a or being lucky or just over risk mitigation, regardless the backup was good for training, quick trips, and safety, if nothing else

- Never allowed to put bios in the baffles as a JO, unless it met skipper's sound test: "Flipper better be having an loud opra session with the boat, otherwise you find a better course"

- Had to brief the CO and get permission prior to coming shallow, plus a baffle clear prior to coming shallow....paranoid or risk mitigation, but it worked either way

- Personally I blame the enviromentalists some here, if they would have just let the boat go MFA for Safety of Ship, you can bet this would have been avoided. Never during any of my tours have I seen a CO be willing to go MFA out of being scared from the berating the higher ups would give them.

- HFA is money, and I used it every time I could during local ops.

- Good luck to the guys on the water/shore, sorry it happened, but one person's bad incident, can hopefully turn into career enhancing for the person who steps into that situation next...gotta look at the bright side right?

10/16/2012 5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Inches of a U.S. submarines HY-80 or HY-120 versus your typical skimmer hull -- no matter what the displacement is -- will always favor the submarine. Always. It's called physics." - Anon 10/15 @ 10:08 PM

The sail, planes, rudder and ballast tanks are HY-80/120? ...Not!

The SSN and CG had almost identical displacements. Which vessel had greater buoyancy at PD, the SSN? ... Not!

It is physics, you got the easy part right. Guessing you were not yet awarded dolphins, however.

Mad Dog

10/16/2012 10:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mad are just one very dumb fuck. Get used to it. And TSSBP.

10/16/2012 10:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats the point of the Early Warning Receiver? That boat should have been screaming.

10/16/2012 10:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facts are facts, crybaby. Get qualified! You say "...always favor the submarine. Always."

We are now down by non-operationl SSNs for at least a year. One will cost about $500 Millions to repair, and Montpelior ($ _ Million). If the CG came out so poorly ("Always"), how much will it cost to repair and how much sooner will it return to sea?

Stop pretending to be a submariner, child.

Mad Dog

10/16/2012 10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

IN assessing the relative risks in a submarine vs. skimmer collision scenario, the matter is pretty much easily settled by the historical body count.

And as an 'oh, by the way': a submarine with NO conning tower or MBTs can still surface...just not very well. The same cannot be said of a very holed skimmer.

10/16/2012 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"IN assessing the relative risks in a submarine vs. skimmer collision scenario, the matter is pretty much easily settled by the historical body count."

Good try, shoolboy/gal, but as the real submariners know, you don't have the "historical bodycount".

10/16/2012 11:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, back-of-the-classroom don't have the historical bodycount.

Name one post WW-II U.S. submariner killed in a collision with a surface ship. There aren't any. Submarine total: 0

Starting with Ehime Maru and going backward in time to include any surface ships sunk with loss of life in a collision with a submarine, you're talking dozens of people.


10/16/2012 11:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There goes the mail"...and Mad Dogshit's understanding of even high school physics.

10/16/2012 11:20 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

NYT's: "The three ships were participating in an antisubmarine exercise in preparation for a deployment as part of the strike group lead by the Truman."

Lets just back up here a little bit, didn't SecDef just speak about a cyber-Pearl Harbor. And Iran and countries unknown have recently attacked our banks at home and oil facilities in the middle east It just might be Israel making believe they are Iran and attacking us....egging on the USA to jump into the fray. It won't be the first time. And everyone is tightening the screws more on Iran. Are you gaming out if Iran flooded the Mediterranean Ocean with crude" Would crude clog up the cooling water of our military ships?

So is all this antisubmarine warfare training aimed at Iran or China? My bet it is aimed at Iran.

We really should have a small fleet of diesel electric submarines. They would be more realistic to the types of submarines they would see in the med. That way our anti sub warfare forces would be better "tune up" in training for that kind submarine threats we would see in the med if they practiced on diesel subs. It would leverage the resources of the fast attack nuclear submarine fleet.

And the Israelis are being tagged with assassinating 5 nuclear weapons scientists in Iran. That is a low intensity war. And this carrier group was training in warm waters.

Does anyone remember SOCUS...can you even imagine a high tech 2112 version of SOSUS and then those crazy Israelis teamed together in a defense against Iran. And this carrier group in the accident was training anti submarine warfare in warm waters.

Right, these Israelis are our brothers and sisters...

10/16/2012 11:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/16/2012 12:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should sound very familiar:

28 May 1958-

USS Stickleback (SS-415) broached about 200 yards ahead of USS Silverstein (DE-534). Silverstein backed full and put her rudder hard left in an effort to avoid a collision but holed the submarine on her port side.

Stickleback crew was removed by a Navy torpedo retriever before it sank sank in 1,800 fathoms of water.

Third time not so lucky?

Mad Dog

10/16/2012 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sucks to have a hull that is test-depth rated at 400 feet.

Maybe in Mulligan's world of diesel boats that'd be a problem...but not today's realities. Or body counts.

10/16/2012 12:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at a map moron, and please share how Iran could flood the Med with crude. We've been training with late-model diesels of friendly Navies for years BTW.

10/16/2012 1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerns over Iran's diesel boats is likely overplayed to serve someone's "DBF" agenda, and not much more.

Libya used to have (still does, in decommissioned status) Foxtrot submarines. Back in the day when Libya was acting up in a bad way, they were told in no uncertain terms that Foxtrot submarining was a very risky venture.

They sent a boat to sea to test that theory, and were met by a 637 that intentionally but briefly broached at a flank bell across their path.

Foxtrot went home...and lived long enough to be decommissioned.

I doubt that Iran will be given as much courtesy. When/if the shooting starts, odds are they'll be the second one to know.

10/16/2012 2:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me throw this scenario out there and see what comes of it:

30 minutes prior to collision-
Gulf stream environment, current running to the NNW at about 3.5kts
3-ship formation: CG in the center, CVN 2nm N, DDG 2nm S, all moving ENE at about 10kts

SSN about due E of the CG

15 minutes prior to collision-
Formation (still oriented on a N-S axis) reverses course to the left (to WSW) and concurrently increases to about 25kts

Assuming the SSN was traveling in a northerly direction:
1. Is it plausible that the CG remained narrow-aspect for the entire 30 minutes prior to the collision?
2. Assuming the ZIG was detected, is it plausible that the post-zig analysis was for speed only, assuming course remained constant?

10/16/2012 2:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Answer: Dude, who TF knows?

Unsolicited advice: y'might want to stop doing that too much in the bathroom, on account of, as mom was sayin', you'll go blind.

10/16/2012 3:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, didya notice that the only "assumptions" I made are on the part of the SSN?

10/16/2012 3:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody posted wondering why the Navy has to automatically relieve somebody? Really?? This is a Class A mishap (over 1 million in damage for sure) and somebody needs to be held accountable.

10/16/2012 4:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all Skimmers and Mike Mulligan,

Respectfully disappear from this blog. You offer no value added.

If the skimmers want to blog, go to "Sailor Bob" and leave us alone.

10/16/2012 4:19 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

TSSP readers 22 years of age or older...

Accidents like the latest happened rarely during the Cold War, when the U.S. navy operated many more subs, skimmers and operational days.

Can anyone venture a meaningful guess as to why?

HINT: Some of you "modern" submariners (as well as most of you pretenders and adult impersonators) are neither as modern as you think of yourselves nor as well-read as you should be. You wer all alive during the era of SSNs that still had teakwood decks.

Get over it, and learn history before you become statistics.

10/16/2012 5:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accidents like the latest happened rarely during the Cold War...

Are you fricking kidding me.
Accidents happened then too, you just didn't hear about them.

10/16/2012 5:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Accidents like the latest happened rarely during the Cold War, when the U.S. navy operated many more subs, skimmers and operational days."

Not sure if you ever served (at least on a submarine) during the "Cold War", however, I can definately say accidents like this happened all too frequently.

I was onboard a submarine for two and investigated two others...and this was just in the SOCAL OPAREAS. I also investigated a WESTPAC SSN vs. Destroyer.

The classified Collision and Grounding Presentations is full of Blue on Blue collisions along with those involving civilian ships. In fact, there has never been a shortage of material for training.

Before you speak about something you don't know anything about, please ask someone for help.

Jim C.
Retired ANAV

10/16/2012 5:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^Lighten up, Francis. You're being as arrogant as you are forgetful. LOTS of shit happened back in the Cold War that simply isn't public.

Have a cold one...or a hot one...and chill out, brother. Life's too short to spend it spreading 'screed' on the Internet.

10/16/2012 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record: My just-prior comments are addressed to Vigilis...not Jim C. Though he is welcome to have a cold one as well. Me, too.

10/16/2012 5:51 PM

Anonymous Ret ANAV QMC said...

During the cold war I was involved in 2 seperate incidents on a T-hull that never made the paper. In both incidents there was visible damage that took a couple weeks to repair. Alot of stuff was kept quiet back then and you didn't have a bunch of bloggers hitting the screens of thier smart phones as soon as you hit the pier.

Whether or not the tech age is good or bad for submarines is anyone's guess but IMHO it sure does bother me to see so many submariners in here that try to point the finger with only the media information they receive. They don't put all the smart guys or stupid guys on one boat. That boat could have been your buddies or even yours. Have some consideration for those who are doing the job. It isn't easy.

10/16/2012 6:14 PM

Anonymous xsonarx said...

My question is, was there a skylight for the SSN to come to PD in? Every exercise we have done for the past god knows how many years plot out several for us to go to PD to ensure no damn surface ship runs us over.

10/16/2012 7:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^We're not likely to get that info anytime soon on Joel's blog, as the investigation is still unfolding and clearly has legal ramifications.

That said, and at least to my own experience as a 2x SSN Dept. Head: most likely, hell yes -- a 'stovepipe' for ship's (boat's) safety was likely in effect.

Somebody fucked up. That's fairly plain. Best guess...and just a guess, obviously, based on past that the SSN will most likely be found to be most responsibly in error. I say that with more than a little bit of compassion for those who's necks are about to get stretched.

Having gone to PD as OOD while IN the Strait of Gibraltar with too many contacts to track is something I'll never forget. Like many, many other submarine OODs, I know what a confusing ASVDU looks like. And yes, very humbly, some skill was involved in doing it successfully, but I damn sure could just as well have hit something...and I freely admit that, because it's just plain true. TBFTGOGGI.

10/16/2012 8:44 PM

Anonymous serving SSN CO said...

Does anybody here really believe that anyone on MONTPELIER's crew woke up last Saturday morning and said "Let me see how I can get this ship to collide today?" Really, most of you make me sad that you would denigrate the men whose very shoes you've walked in knowing damn well that on any given day this could have very well been you. I promise you that each and every one of you had a day when you were lucky, not good, as each of you undoubtedly were in your day. We, as submariners, are some of the hardest working service members in the world. That was true 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 10 years ago...and it's still true today. And it is true for every member of that crew. It's unfortunate because some damn good men will lose their careers over this event and one of our finest ships of the line will be out of commision for some time. But I would not hesitate to take any member of that crew on my ship - including the CO.

10/16/2012 8:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^Seriously, skipper...I have no idea which posts you're referring to, much less the validity of the "most of you" comment.

And I see no one denigrating the crew, with the possible exception of Mulligan. He's kind of a nut, so I don't think it's worth working yourself into a lather over.

Going to PD is always a dicey proposition. Most trips don't result in a collision, so it's fair to say that somebody fucked up. It happens. That's not the same thing as denigrating the crew. It's just the cold light of day.

All of us who drove the boats, particularly SSNs, know the upsides & risks of the job. Getting off scott-free when a collision happens isn't one of them.

10/16/2012 9:26 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

We had to emergency surface in unfriendly waters with another SSN nearby. We used our Gertrude to alert the other guy, also submerged.

No one is kidding doubters. Served in both Atlantic and Pacific. Yes, collisions with merchants were just as rare, but SSN collisions with units of the navy surface fleet (other than dockside) did not keep pace with events of the last several years.

Tug bumpings were not unusual; unless someone got injured or something leaked, so what? That's what they do. Commercial fishing vessels? Nets torn once in a while, but no Greeneville-like tradgedies.

Again, I ask you to go figure. Never suggested submariners at fault here, although some of you STs have been hyper-defensive. If safety applied in Soviet waters during the Cold War, why the heck couldn't it apply off Florida? This was only an exercise. Was the restriction dictated by a skimmer admiral (my suspicion)?

By the way, lots of boomer stuff still gets covered up these days and we all know why that would be.

10/16/2012 9:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mad Dog
688Is HAVE HY-80 ice caps on the sail and rudder. Get qualified.

10/17/2012 1:10 AM

Anonymous STSCS said...

"That boat could have been your buddies..."
It is.

10/17/2012 1:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Med run 85/86, there was a reason we had a helm with the nick name "Tango Timmy". She surfaced, we photographed.
Submerged ahead 1/3 collisions are just enough to knock you outa the rack.

10/17/2012 2:30 AM

Anonymous Zero Collisions or Groundings said...

@ Serving SSN CO:

"Really, most of you make me sad that you would denigrate the men whose very shoes you've walked in knowing damn well that on any given day this could have very well been you."

Sad? Really? I agree that submarining is a risky business, but it's how you manage the risks to prevent a collision or grounding, so you don't have to be "Sad"

10/17/2012 4:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You still need to tone it down, Vigilis. To say that there were no Greeneville-like incidents with fishing vessels during the Cold War is just ignorant. Not stupid...but certainly ignorant.

Fishing vessels were indeed sunk by U.S. SSNs back then. And with loss of life.

Also see: from Blind Man's Bluff

10/17/2012 5:29 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

The damned of the Truman Carrier Strike Group

Maybe the Irishman in charge of the show isn't up to the job?

4 Truman sailors hurt in unrep incident off Fla.
By Sam Fellman - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Oct 16, 2012 16:00:19 EDT Four sailors on the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman were injured Tuesday when a line parted during an underway replenishment, Fleet Forces Command said in a news release. All of the injuries are “non-life threatening,” FFC said.

With satellites, internal guidance, ship to ship and ship to shore submarine Greenville there is just no excuse for damaging so much readiness equipment and putting at risk so many sailors. I'll speak for the parents of these sailors...there is just no god damn excuse to risk precious human lives and damage national security components.

I smell a safety stand down....

10/17/2012 7:39 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"To say [Vigilis] that there were no Greeneville-like incidents with fishing vessels during the Cold War is just ignorant. Not stupid...but certainly ignorant." Anon 5:29 AM

What you just wrote does not square with what I wrote, and unless you routinely call everyone else ignorant and stupid you owe me an apology. Examples:

Me: "Nets torn once in a while, but no Greeneville-like tradgedies."

You: "Fishing vessels were indeed sunk by U.S. SSNs back then. And with loss of life." (you DO NOT mention even a single example, not one)

Me: "Yes, collisions with merchants were just as rare, but SSN collisions with units of the navy surface fleet (other than dockside) did not keep pace with events of the last several years.

13 OCT 12 -Montpelier / San Jacinto
19 MAR 09 -Hartford / New Orleans

By the way, the sub collisions you pointed out in Blind Man's Bluff are with subs of an aggressive Cold War opponent. I clearly confined my comparisons to collisions away from dockside with units of our own fleet.

This was not done to blame our sailors, but to ask for an answer.

10/17/2012 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Class A mishap is actually $2 million or more in damages, or if there is a fatality or permanent total disability of a servicemember. In any case, I'm surprised the 765 CO still has a job.

10/17/2012 11:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

News: here we go again...Navy rape case in Japan.


10/17/2012 11:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope. Aviators (enlisted). One confession down, one to go.

It'll be interesting to see which gets more media coverage...but at the same time there's little doubt which way this will roll.

10/17/2012 12:03 PM

Anonymous 610ET said...


USS Thomas Edison SSBN 610, 4/9/62 collision with USS Wadleigh DD 689 during ASW OPS. Rudder damage to sub.

USS Thomas Edison SSN 610, 11/29/82 collision with USS Leftwich DD 984 during ASW OPS. Extensive sail damage. She never dove again and was decommissioned.

10/17/2012 1:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

November 1966: USS Nautilus (SSN 680) collision with skimmer USS Essex (CV 9) (photo of serious sail damage).

10/17/2012 1:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^correction (of course): SSN 571

10/17/2012 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're here: a fairly great 2012 summary of today's submarine force (.pdf of a recent Powerpoint).

10/17/2012 1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retired AWC (and ALFA XRAY); suspect there's blame to share on both sides especially in Sonar for both vessels. How could either have NOT known early enough to make appropriate maneuvers to avoid this "are you shitting me!" event.

10/17/2012 2:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job posting a pdf with secret pictures on it, dumbass.

Don't you see those red bars at the top of the fire control screens?

10/17/2012 3:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's on the Internet, it's about as secret as yo' momma's tush, spanky.

10/17/2012 3:21 PM

Anonymous 4-Stop said...

OH MY GOD!!!! they are showing node status on 4 screens, periscope viewer on the upper eye and (gasp!!!!) ITEM on the lower eye in front or the operator. Well that does it for the U.S. Submarine force. Once China reverse engineers these SECRET displays they will have to adopt the TI/APB upgrade process like we do. My god man do us all a favor and choke yourself. What a NUB!

10/17/2012 5:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think da' NUB is spendin' wayyyy to much time chokin' himself already. It's an occupational hazard, y'know.

10/17/2012 5:33 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"USS Thomas Edison SSBN 610, 4/9/62 collision with USS Wadleigh DD 689...

USS Thomas Edison SSN 610, 11/29/82 collision with USS Leftwich DD 984..." - (SSBN-610) ET

Congrats for at least citing your facts (very few in this forum do).

However, the rate of collisions you provide seems to be one every ten years versus current history (1 collision with another Navy vessel every two years). Do you see my point yet?

10/17/2012 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

pictures of Sonar show ownships speed and depth, which is classified.

10/17/2012 6:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^Nope. Reload, NUB...or just STFU until you get qualified. The numbers shown are within the limits of Navy-released public information.

Why aren't you qualified yet, NUB? Spending too much time surfing the Internet?

10/17/2012 6:47 PM

Anonymous Served SSN CO said...

"In any case, I'm surprised the 765 CO still has a job."

Even in the HARTFORD Collision case, it took at least a week for the official investigations to progress far enough to state the obvious conclusions that led to firing the CO. Same for the recent DDG PORTER collision in the Gulf. It is a legal progess that takes a bit of time to do correctly.

It must really suck having to wait to be formally told that you've been DFC'd.

To the CO(s) and others who get fired for this, life will go on, but at a different, slower pace. Enjoy well earned time with family and friends, because in the end, that is what really matters.

10/18/2012 4:12 AM

Blogger dark cloud said...

Just a point of clarification: there is no specific legal process for DFC in the case of "loss of confidence."

The CO and crew of the 765 are of course worthy of unconditional support. They are our brothers. They have trained like us, operated like us and have the same culture. Learn from the mistakes and move on. It isn't about blame or scapegoating, but trying to get better.

The unfortunate truth is that we can never, never afford to say, "wow, that could happen to anyone." It doesn't, and it cannot.

10/18/2012 4:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with nearly all of your sentiments in this case, Dark Cloud, but the Navy's insistence on zero mistakes pretty much flies in the face of the entire course of human history.

People make mistakes. It's just intellectual laziness, if not downright cowardice, to not make an attempt at displaying the necessary leadership for sorting out the punishable yet salvageable mistakes from true incompetency/deeply-rooted flaw.

The ready example for not throwing out the baby with the bathwater: Nimitz

When we see the Navy stand by someone who has a front-page news error AND YET is too damned good to lose, I'll know that we have leaders in the Navy instead of second or third-rate politicians.

Just sayin'. And certainly not holding my breath.

10/18/2012 6:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Paul Jones: “Those who will not risk cannot win.“

[And misattributed, but nonetheless true: "An officer of the Navy...should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time, he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well meant shortcomings from heedless or stupid blunder."]

10/18/2012 6:50 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Back in the day, we would say "There but for the Grace of God and alert Watchstanding go I." In my experience it takes three minor mistakes in series to lead to the major casualty, whether it is a collision or an error worthy of an incident report in the power plant. I suspect we will find three or maybe more minor mistakes by more than one watchstander in series that led to the collision. I suspect that the control room watchstanders on Montpelier are already agonizing on the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" that might have prevented the collision.

10/18/2012 10:16 AM

Anonymous 610ET said...


Actually what I provided was the sub vs USN skimmer rate of collision for ONE submarine only.

I don’t have a position on your point. I just provided some data.

10/18/2012 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gore Vidal: "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."

O let me give you a hand up shipmate ... oops was that my thumb in your eye? Well, pardon me dumbass.

10/18/2012 12:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD!!!! they are showing node status on 4 screens, periscope viewer on the upper eye and (gasp!!!!) ITEM on the lower eye in front or the operator. Well that does it for the U.S. Submarine force. Once China reverse engineers these SECRET displays they will have to adopt the TI/APB upgrade process like we do. My god man do us all a favor and choke yourself. What a NUB! You are going to get your Nav and CO fired with that attitude, and earn an award of reduction in rate to go with it. It doesn't matter what YOU think about the information, publicly posting something stamped secret, even a computer screen, is a breech of information security. It doesn't matter if that information is made publicly available by the Navy elsewhere -- you don't get to speak for the Navy or its capabilities unless you're a PAO, and you don't get to decide which part of a classified piece of material isn't actually classified. Last I checked, there are no (U) markers next to any data displayed on the fire control and sonar stacks.

There was a CO fired for this very thing within the last year (secret stamped fire control screen repeated in crew's mess was posted on facebook).

10/18/2012 2:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Paul Jones: “Those who will not risk cannot win.“

But those paid to manage risk (CO, XO, COB, OOD) will win when they manage that risk, which failed in this PD trip.

[And misattributed, but nonetheless true: "An officer of the Navy...should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time, he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well meant shortcomings from heedless or stupid blunder."]

Of the choices presented above, a collision like this at PD = error, incompetency, and heedless or stupid blunder.


10/18/2012 2:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets have a vision:
1) Great CO (after a good deployment, well respected by ship's crew and ISIC)
2) Ok crew, building teams post deployment (with the usual 30% turnover)
3) Not enough experience in control to question CO

Unfortunately, I, like many people who know the 765 CO, believe he is a top notch guy. With that respect, goes the hazard: if you do not cultivate a culture of the ship questioning the CO, the crew will let the CO do less than great things...

In all collisions in the submarine force, we have tracked the target we hit. ALL. This one is no different. Sadly, it does not appear the team backed up the CO when he needed it most. This is a tough team sport and we must prioritize developing teams.


10/18/2012 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a load of crap. If the CO were as great a leader as you suspect, then he would have recognized the inexperience of his crew and would have taken measues to ensure his watchteams were successful.

Blaming poor backup is the typical sickening culture of senior officers blaming their incompetence on their subordinates.

10/18/2012 4:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not blame the crew. If I blame anyone, it would be Tom (the CO). He should have recognized his weak spot.

I simply stated a peril of many COs- not realizing how much ahead of the team you are. This may not be as bad as Greenville 1... but it is a very similar circumstance.


10/18/2012 5:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But those paid to manage risk (CO, XO, COB, OOD) will win when they manage that risk,..."

Soon we may add to CO and XO the "Queen of the May".

10/18/2012 5:33 PM

Anonymous Served SSN CO said...

^^^^^^"Queen of the May"^^^^^^

WTF?! As, in "Maybe this PD trip will work out"...."Maybe the big ocean theory will be in my favor"...."Maybe I'll get some backup?"

The PCO pipeline (via a now useless SCC ops) trys to create a "decision rich environment", but the scenarios are "Canned" for obvious submarine protection.

Makes the COs and XOs who bluff their way through (minimal to non-existent failure rate) feel that they know what they are doing.

They proceed "Hoping" for backup.

10/18/2012 6:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^^^^Served SSN CO said^^^^^^^

You made it, didn't you?

10/18/2012 6:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. There is a huge disparity between training standards for operating the nuke plant and driving the boat.

Nuke training makes you memorize things how much shimming will affect Tave; how much electrical load changes will affect reactor power; what every alarm on every panel really means; IAs for every CP verbatim. They do this because you should never do an action in the plant without fully understanding its effects.

You'd struggle to find officers who know the ship's advance/transfer at various bells, how long it takes to arrive at various bells, load supportability at various bells, stopping distances for the ship from various speeds. That's because the only time these things are ever emphasized is for initial qualification.

With such a clear lack of understanding of the very basics of shiphandling, it's no wonder that officers suck at applying those basics in contact management/mission scenarios. Seems like the big policy answer is just keep everyone far away.

Those limits don't do anything to train officers to drive ships, all it does is keep them from ever being in a situation where they have to use the skills they are paid to have.

10/18/2012 6:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day, I worked for a total of six submarine COs during my time in.

1 ran aground while hanging out in the WR with his boss (yes...the sqdrn cmdr)

1 was a nuke's nuke, fresh from NR and never confident in his own ship driving

1 was more or less fired during ovhl

1 was destined for Great Things (and was a truly good guy) but DUI'd out

2 later became COMSUBPAC (one was a shore boss, the other CO on an SSN when I was his Eng); both, no huge surprise, were the best of the bunch

The afloat, later COMSUBPAC boss did one simple thing that pleased me, personally, to no end and enabled himself to be surrounded by the boats best ship driving talent most of the time.

Rather than have the JOs driving the boat as a sort of default setting (which was the common practice with the other at-sea skippers), whenever possible the Dept Heads did. His rationale was that driving the boat as an officer was one of the best parts of the job, and had to be earned.

That this enabled him to have his most experienced ship drivers on hand at most times was undoubtedly not a coincidence.

Some might think that he missed a chance to train the next gen of JOs, but they got their time in the barrel, too. But they were not the 1st string, and he did not hesitate to let them know that.

10/18/2012 8:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Tying in to an earlier thread, the WR skipper (no disrespect) who ran aground survived the grounding in terms of keeping his job. He later had a major command. Much. Later. No so for the sqdrn cmdr, who BTW was shit hot and very personable. He took the bullet.

10/18/2012 9:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bottom line, it's all about accountability. The 765 CO is a good man, a good CO and a good leader. But, when something like this happens, someone is accountable. In the Navy that's the Commanding Officer. All that being said, I think it's asinine that its ALWAYS a career killing event. I think we lose some great guys this way....just imagine WWII without ADM Nimitz, who once ran his ship aground......

10/18/2012 9:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"1) Great CO (after a good deployment, well respected by ship's crew and ISIC)"

The same was said about CDR Waddle (GREENVILLE 1), CDR Brookhart (HARTFORD 2 w/ NEW ORLEANS), and now of CDR Winter (MONTPELIER).

I'd suggest it's a poor metric to be loved by your ISIC, because we all know how F'ed up they are, and you then become like them :)

When you wear the Command at Sea pin, the ultimate responsibility for your ship is yours.

10/19/2012 4:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....just imagine WWII without ADM Nimitz, who once ran his ship aground......"

But did he run his ship aground with 20 years of experience, served on at least 4 ships, and after a successful deployment? No, he survived because he was very junior and relatively inexperienced, and there weren't a ton of other qualified guys waiting for their chance to "Not have a collision or run aground"

Now, all submarine COs are on their 4th or more ship in their career. Building their experience, both good and bad, from each assignment.

Getting DFC'd doesn't have to be a career killer, but it's in your record, and you'll stand out in a negative way at selection or promotion boards.

10/19/2012 4:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the recordd, Nimitz had three years of experience when he ran Decatur aground on a sand bar. He wasn't fresh from the Academy, as is often imagined.

A junior officer he was. Very junior he was not.

Nimitz' ship was apparently undamaged, and was pulled free. The relative lack of effect and drama doubtlessly paid a bigger dividend than his being junior.

10/19/2012 6:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. And Decatur was Nimitz' fourth ship.

10/19/2012 6:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good CO's have been fired for less - but then again I've never understood why, after the amount of training, experience, and cost, the Navy is so quick to dispose of good leadership. If Winter did make a mistake, he's unlikely to do it again. He could go on to do as well as he has in the past, but most likely the Navy will fire him and continue to lose good leaders.

10/19/2012 9:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good CO's have been fired for less - but then again I've never understood why, after the amount of training, experience, and cost, the Navy is so quick to dispose of good leadership. If Winter did make a mistake, he's unlikely to do it again. He could go on to do as well as he has in the past, but most likely the Navy will fire him and continue to lose good leaders.

10/19/2012 9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

4th ship in three years? not much experience in any case even if you just walk across the pier there is time lost in getting acclimated to the new ship. Not making excuses but The Decator was the 4th ship of a different type and Nimitz was court-marshaled and found guilty of neglect of duty and removed from command. Now all this happened as an Ensign with three years in and not as an O-5 or O-6 with 15-20 which I am sure makes a huge difference. You guys keep bringing this up like its an apple to apple comparison when it is an apple to trout comparison.

10/19/2012 9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You brought Nimitz up (again). I merely pointed at the facts, not the fiction, and chastised the outright falsehoods.

Nimitz keeps coming up because his case clearly has a lot of heft to it. I don't see anyone calling it apples to apples. But he has a compelling life story and life lessons for us, very apparently.

I think the reason the Navy fires skippers so quickly in the event of an unfortunate outcome is two-fold: knee-jerk habit (they always have; it's tradition); and...much to their discredit...outright superstition. All IMHO.

10/19/2012 10:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zero brg rate overtaking from deep in the baffles. Near surface sound layer, bow null, target's bell less than standard, OOD in a hurry, meaning the TA pretty much looks like a pretzel, eklund no help? Not enough energy bleed showing on PBB baffles? Who knows what all happened here. My advice: ALWAYS take the time to do it right - I don't give a rat's a#@ what time the OP order says. Better late than sorry...or dead. That being said, I've been there when going to PD WAS done right - in all respects - only to have a 60+ BR come out of NOWHERE on a converging course out from behind another contact FORWARD of the beam. STA trace was damn near horiz. Sometimes, in light of it all, it just pays to be lucky. Granted, they don't pay us to be lucky. Just pray it's the good kind. Just sayin'. Best wishes to the skipper and crew of the Monty. Keep pushing the envelope. You know how. From:Knotonmywatch! (XSonarSup}

10/19/2012 3:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^Chalk it up to PFM?, or a Bad Day?^^^

I've been to PD numerous times in that area without a collision. It can be done - not rocket science.

10/19/2012 4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to best wishes to the Monty Skipper and those directly involved in the collision - life will go on, but at a slower pace as previously pointed out.

Best wishes to the PCO in the pipeline who has to fix the problem and do all the corrective actions when his orders are changed and he heads to Monty in the next few weeks.

10/19/2012 4:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^Chalk it up to PFM?, or a Bad Day?^^^

You're missing the point. Too broad a brush. The sea, as many have noted in the past, is a capricious mistress. The sheer number of variables any one unit is presented with on any given occasion, if not infinite, sure can seem that way. Environment, target(s), and ownship variables can combine into a very challenging complexity indeed.

You can do everything right and still get screwed, iow. We manage the risks with our procedures, experience informing us as to degree of application for the situation. The uncertainty principle still applies to the people in situ, however. Only us armchair types have the benefit of hindsight, which affords us an unfair advantage in the probable outcome sense...

I believe those investigating the incident will determine the causative factors and make the appropriate findings and recommendations. Then, heads will roll. Just the way it is. We all know s@#t happens, and bad things do happen to good people (and, sadly, the converse is also true).

In the final analysis, those tasked with oversight will-in eminently deterministic fashion-decide to uphold the highest standards for Command, for the arguable purpose of ensuring QC standards for sub skippers. And I'm sure they are not relishing the prospect. I know I wouldn't, but since those decisions are weighed in the etheric realms far above my paygrade, I won't presume to second guess the outcome (except as intellectual exercise, of course).

To quote Bill Cosby, "I've seen the boss's job. And I don't want it!".

When the CO's sign that B card, they know what it means. And those that do so knowingly and willingly are worthy of the utmost respect (unless and until they prove otherwise). The level of absolute responsibility and inescapable accountibility of the position is, in my opinion, a most formidable undertaking. (Hand salute). I'm not sure I'd want to pin my career hopes to some kid's grab assin' inattentiveness while on watch. But we can all thank our lucky stars those people are out there.

Now, as to this statement:

"I've been to PD numerous times in that area without a collision. It can be done - not rocket science".

Well, all I can say to that is:
Good for you! You are indeed most fortunate not to have been presented with a set of circumstances that led to a collision. We do go in harm's way, that's the job. And contrary to some opinions, not all those circumstances we encounter while doing so fall within the sphere of our direct control. And, sometimes, avoiding a collision can be a "rocket science" level exercise all by itself. Another poster above mentioned JOOD's having to earn their slot on the varsity. He has an excellent point. It's a fine line we tread, (on occasion) in getting the JO's the experience they need without killing us all! ;-)

Going deep, clearing datum at flank. From: KnotonMYwatch!

10/20/2012 12:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. That sums it up.


10/20/2012 12:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/20/2012 6:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OOD in a hurry"

Nope. There's nothing an OOD has to do in peacetime that justifies cutting safety corners. Maybe the sensor data didn't reveal anything, but there's no way "I was in a hurry so I didn't take the time to ensure I was safe" flies. An OOD who thinks that is just too stupid to live.

10/20/2012 6:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ KnotonMYwatch!

So, let me get this straight....Just because someone always avoids a collision by careful management of the risks inherent with every PD trip, makes them "Lucky"? It's not, it's called "Skill" and requires a well trained team from the top down that is willing and empowered to provide backup. It's not a one man show.

I prefer not to rely on "Hope" or "Luck" as a military option

10/20/2012 9:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nor would I, sir. And I agree 100% that it's a team effort. From the top down AND from the bottom up, concurrently. I'm saying that even with all the training and proficiencies and materiel readiness - while they optimize our chances of success - they in no way GUARANTEE it.

It CAN happen to the best of us in spite of all the carefully managed risks we prepare to assume.

I trust most of us can recall a close call or two that might serve as a ready example. I know I can. One of mine convinced me. (It was nowhere near the Florida coast). Lucky he wasn't on a slightly different course is my call, and I'm stickin' to it. With all due respect. Sir.

From: KnotonMYwatch!

10/20/2012 8:26 PM


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