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.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Things Retired Submariners Do With Their Kids

As we do most years, my family and I set up a gaudy, neighborhood-property-value-destroying Christmas display at our house:

This year I went with the rare-yet-tasteless "triple lawn Santa" theme, and topped it off with intentionally-unsynchronized lights sets along the roof over the garage. Someone once asked me if there was any limit to how inartful I would sink; I decided that while I would go with the "gutted reindeer hanging from a tree" display if my wife would let me, I would draw the line at Santa on a cross.

Meanwhile, over in Britain, a retired submarine CO's E-mail to his kids expressing his disappointment with them has gone viral. Personally, I'm very proud of my children -- my daughter with a great job, one son who's graduating from college next month, and another who returns from a two year mission for our Church next week -- and I couldn't personally imagine going off on my kids the way Crews did, I would imagine there are people who are disappointed with their family.

If given a choice between spending the holidays with your entire extended family or spending them deployed on the boat, which would you choose?

Monday, November 19, 2012

USS Delaware Chosen For Submarine Name

From the DoD today:
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the next Virginia-class attack submarine will be named the USS Delaware. Dr. Jill Biden will sponsor the USS Delaware. A longtime Delaware educator and military mom, Dr. Biden started Joining Forces with First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage all Americans to recognize, honor and support military families.
Mabus named the future USS Delaware in honor of the first state in the Union. The name honors the great contributions and support Delaware has given the military through the years and pays homage to the state’s more than two centuries of naval heritage.
“I chose the name Delaware to honor the long-standing relationship between the Navy and our nation’s first state,” said Mabus. “It has been too long since there has been a USS Delaware in the fleet and this submarine will remind future deployed service members and state residents of their strong ties and many shared values for decades to come.”
Although not mentioned in the article, I assume this name will be attached to SSN 791, the last Block III boat, scheduled for commissioning sometime around 2018.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Drinking On Base

Back in the day, we'd hold "JO Retention Team" meetings at The Dive on SUBASE Groton. I wonder if boats are still doing those, and if they will be able to have them in the future following the upcoming review of on-base drinking ordered by the base commander (one of my old COs) in response to an incident reported in The Day:
Capt. Marc W. Denno, the base commander, said the incident did not set a good example for junior sailors.
"That's probably why Command Master Chief Vatter decided it was in the best interest of everyone that he retire," he said. "We dealt with this quickly, at the appropriate level, and the effect was minimized."
According to a heavily redacted copy of the investigation, obtained by The Day through the Freedom of Information Act, Vatter drank seven or eight beers at a poker night May 18 at the Chief Petty Officers Club on the base. He and his wife then took a cab to the Wicked Pissa, the Gales Ferry bar formerly known as Legends Rock Bar.
While the names in the report were blanked out, witnesses told investigators that Vatter and his wife got into an argument and the couple began yelling and swearing at each other.
I've always thought it's better to drink on base than off if we're looking to control alcohol-related incidents -- keep the more inexperienced drinkers within walking distance of their racks. What do you think?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Some News Items

Here are some items of interest:

1) Submarine arsonist Casey Fury pled guilty and faces a recommended 15 to 19 year sentence. Although I would have loved to see them go for life, I'm really hoping they put him on the hook for the $450 million in damage after he gets out, such that the maximum allowed portion of his post-prison income goes to restitution.

2) A Russian Sierra II attack submarine (or "Seirra 2", according to ABC) has been detected off the East Coast, and is now heading home. It's a good sign of US-Russian cooperation when they send their boats to us for our submarines to get their training in. Thanks, Vlad! I'm just hoping that boats returning from deployment don't get delayed from coming home to join in the fun.

3) USS Boise (SSN 764), named after the capital of Idaho, celebrated the 20th anniversary of her commissioning this week, and returned from deployment yesterday, the day after the anniversary. I note with interest that she deployed on May 2nd, and returned from deployment on November 8th. I guess LANTFLT is adding 6 days to normal deployments nowadays. Here's an article with a video, and a picture:

4) The Iranians fired, unsuccessfully, on a U.S. drone over the Arabian Gulf. Having spent a deployment on a carrier in the Gulf and becoming very familiar with the Iranian claims of territorial waters vs. what we recognize (the Iranians claim some "straight baseline" water more than 12 miles from their shore that we correctly state is not in accordance with international law), I have no doubt that 1) our drone was over international waters as we recognize them, and 2) the  drone was over waters the Iranians wrongly claim. When we were seizing Iraqi tankers back in 2000, we'd board them in those "grey" area waters, since the Iranians gave the tanker skippers charts showing how they could stay in Iranian waters, and they included the portions that we didn't recognize. I'm glad to see we're continuing to defend the international standard in determining territorial water, and hope we don't back down from the mullahs.

5) On a personal note, I just remembered I posted this right after the election 4 years ago. Now cancer-free for 44 months. Thanks to all the readers who supported me back in the day and throughout the process.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Changes At The Top

Today, ADM Kirkland Donald was relieved by ADM John Richardson as the head of Naval Reactors. Also there's an election this upcoming Tuesday between the current Commander-in-Chief and an opponent who wants to significantly increase defense spending, including increasing submarine procurement to 3 Virginia-class boats a year.


Update 1220 04 November: For those who don't want to discuss national or NR politics, here are a couple of links you might like: A Cold War story about a Northern Run by HMS Conqueror (S 48), and both the official Navy story and an NBC News story about the CO and XO, along with the CHENG and OPS, of USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) getting relieved in response to a drunken port call to Vladivostok a few months ago. ("Party on, Ivan!" "Party on, Joseph!") I just like any story about the Eng getting to have fun on a port visit.