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, April 21, 2012

This Is Getting Old...

Let's see what submarine-related news has hit the wires in the last few days. Well, on some official Navy websites, we see that USS Missouri (SSN 780) had a change of command, PCU Mississippi (SSN 782) is on track for commissioning this summer after successfully completing Alpha and Bravo Trials, and... wait for it... another COB just got detached for cause:
The Chief of the Boat for the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) was relieved of his duties April 19 by Cmdr. John Gearhart, commanding officer, USS Annapolis, due to allegations of alcohol-related misconduct while on liberty overseas.
There is an ongoing investigation into the alleged misconduct, which occurred while Senior Chief Sonar Technician Submarines (SS) Gregory Cordray was Chief of the Boat for USS Annapolis. The investigation is being conducted by Submarine Development Squadron 12.
USS Annapolis is currently forward deployed in support of combatant commander tasking.
Cordray has been temporarily assigned to Submarine Development Squadron 12 in Groton.
Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Ed Durrua will temporarily assume the duties as Chief of the Boat for USS Annapolis. Prior to his new assignment Durrua, was assigned to USS Miami (SSN 755).
Who had "20 days" in the "how long will it be until the next submarine senior leader gets fired" pool? And on a deployed SSN, no less? I don't know any specifics about this case, but it does seem, just based on anecdotal evidence, that the Navy seems to be pulling the trigger a lot faster when any allegations of misconduct come up. (In this case, the official word is that the CO is the one who made the call, and I have no reason to doubt that's the case. I'm assuming he got permission from Groton before he processed the paperwork, though.) Back in the day, I frequently heard the probably apocryphal canard that a new CO was generally granted one "free pass" in firing an officer or Chief before squadron started sniffing around the boat more intently. I wonder if the same rule applied to Squadrons and the CO/XO/COBs of the boats they run? Or if they now just assume that if they don't fire one, Big Navy starts to wonder what's wrong?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Shocked! Yes, shocked I am about the news that guys on overseas boondoggles, staying in fancy hotels, may have availed themselves of sampling the local culture. Such a thing has clearly never happened in the past! It's all Obama's fault! But as they say, it only takes one guy trying to wheedle out of paying the hooker to ruin a good deal for everyone else.
I honestly expected that the lid would be blown, so to speak, over the goings-on in WestPac liberty ports (not by Submariners, of course, but by other guys) during the McCain presidential run in 2008, but if I remember right a couple of stories that came out detailing some PI stories generated nothing more than a bored yawn. I think the American people as a whole understand that when guys go overseas some of them might get their freak on.
If you think I'm going to ask for comments from those who want to tell their favorite story about whoring on the government dime on a blog read by Submarine Wives, no way I'm going to do that. Of course, if you want to tell stories about what "Skimmers" and "Airdales" do, that's fine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Five New Submarines Named!

For the first time since January 2009 (and the first time in this Administration), we (finally) have new names for the next five Virginia-class submarines. I'm glad to see they went away from the anomaly introduced by the last one of naming it for a politician and went back to the class-standard naming convention. The new names are: USS Illinois (SSN 786), USS Washington (SSN 787), USS Colorado (SSN 788), USS Indiana (SSN 789), and USS South Dakota (SSN 790). If you've gotta name submarines after states (and, while not as good as fish names, it does at least recognize that submarines are the capital ships of the modern Navy), these are good choices; previous incarnations of all except Illinois saw action in WWII, and the last Illinois (BB 65) was supposed to be the fifth Iowa-class battleship; she was cancelled when WWII ended.

I'm expecting that the First Lady will sponsor the Illinois, continuing the recent tradition. By all accounts, Laura Bush did an excellent job as sponsor of USS Texas (SSN 775); hopefully Mrs. Obama will follow that lead, rather than the one provided by then-Mrs. Clinton when she sponsored USS Columbia (SSN 771), but didn't have time to even attend the commissioning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy 112th Birthday, Submariners!

Here's the official Navy video for today's Submarine Birthday:

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Congressional Reports, Boondoggles And Politics

I saw a few news items this week that I thought might prompt some good discussion as we're getting ready for the Submarine Force Birthday and "Wear Your Dolphins To Work Day" on Wednesday, April 11th. Without further ado:

1) Here's the new CRS report on Virginia-class submarine procurement. They've already backed off on the "2 boat per year" fiction they put out a few years ago by canx'ing the 2nd boat for FY2014, and the report analyzes what might happen if they cancel a few more boats in the coming years. Even without postponing any planned starts, the Submarine Force still drops below the 48 attack boat "floor" in 2022. [Update 0737 10 April: The CRS has been busy. Here's their report on the Ohio-class replacement.]

2) The latest government boondoggle to go public actually cost an agency head their job this time. One of the lines about the GSA conference in Las Vegas really jumped out at me:
The report shows that GSA employees "scouted" the location several times before the conference and that travel for conference planning totaled more than $100,000, with catering costs of more than $30,000.
Although I never got any "scouting" sweet gigs, I heard some stories from those who did (mostly aviators), but even they couldn't consume $30,000 in food and drink during their pre-event trips. About the best deal I got (other than 3 trips to Poland when I was at CENTCOM, and I did actual work during the day when I was there) was a week-long BSY-2 class at Lockheed Martin for the PCO, PXO, and I (the P-ENG) of PCU Connecticut (SSN 22) where they served us bagels with cream cheese at the introductory briefing; I thought I'd died and gone to JO Heaven. Did any of you get a Good Deal on the taxpayer dime? (Other than PNEO, which is a given.)

3) There's been a lot of Facebook discussion about the Marine who was recommended for dismissal for starting a Facebook group that was very critical of President Obama, and keeping it up even after being warned that it was against regulations. Personally, I was OK with giving up some of my First Amendment rights when I was on active duty, and I'm not a big fan of those who publicly use contemptuous words against the President while in the service. (I wasn't a big fan of it during the last Administration either.) Do you think that traditional regulations limiting the free speech of active duty servicemembers are appropriate? And for those who agree with the feelings of Sergeant Stein, in that you feel that the current President, who all evidence seems to show is in reality a pragmatic, fairly standard-issue center-left politician, is actually an America-hating socialist out to destroy the country, would you be willing to provide some specific predictions of how President Obama is threatening our freedoms? Something specific we can check out before the end of his 2nd term, like "Before January 2017, the Kenyan Muslim will have confiscated xx of my guns", or "Before November 2016, the Communist Usurper will declare martial law, cancel elections, and put xxxx Patriots in FEMA concentration camps".  We can check out the results of the predictions in a few years. (I did the same thing on other boards with those who hated President Bush before the end of his term, and had some fun bringing up the fallacy of their predictions in January '09.) For those who think he's already taken away all your freedoms by requiring that people buy health insurance, I'd also be interested to hear about your thoughts on why the Founding Fathers would have been so opposed to the federal government requiring a large number of citizens to buy a product from a commercial company, like, say, a musket or firelock.
Although I'm currently planning on voting for Gov. Romney, I really have a hard time understanding the hatred that's shown towards President Obama -- the same way I couldn't understand the hatred generated towards President Bush a few years ago. The spread of idiotic conspiracy theories, and the large number of people who are willing to believe any bad thing they hear about those they oppose -- no matter how ridiculous -- makes me worry for the future of our country. I strongly believe that those who spread idiocies should be called on it at every opportunity; maybe they can be shamed into providing at least some facts to back up their assertions.