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.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

USS Pasadena CO Fired

Looks like 2013 is off to a fast start for submarine CO firings. The CO of USS Pasadena (SSN 752), currently in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, was fired today:
Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group 2, relieved Cmdr. Luis Molina, commanding officer of USS Pasadena (SSN 752) on Jan. 25 due to loss of confidence in executing his duties as the submarine's commanding officer.
"I have lost confidence in Cmdr. Molina's ability to effectively lead USS Pasadena through its maintenance overhaul," said Breckenridge.
The boat has been in the yards since September 2011; CDR Molina took command a couple of months before that. Haven't heard any specifics yet on what may have precipitated the DFC. This one is tough for me personally; then-ENS Molina was a student on my crew at NPTU Charleston back when I was a Shift Eng on MTS 626. I remember him especially because he was a really, really good runner, and he got TAD orders from prototype to represent the Navy in some big race.

109 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess he is the lucky one. Shipyard periods really suck!!!

1/25/2013 8:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not exactly sure what happened here and I somewhat agree with the above post. SY periods can suck. But you DO go home every night to your family- if you have one. There is value in that.

The CO can bridge the gap in the suck or he can widen it further. My gut tells me that things weren't going well and despite all efforts- the gap got too large to ignore the man standing over it.

1/25/2013 8:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was a great XO and I would never believe that he was a cause of any decrease in morale.

1/26/2013 12:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable; with all of Luis' experience at EB on the PCU HAwaii and PCU Virginia, shipyard CO should be a slam dunk.

Best of luck to Luis, he deserved better then this regardless of what the details were in the background. Great guy, well regarded by his shipmates.

1/26/2013 4:28 AM

 
Anonymous Brian Montwillo said...

He was my CRA on the Grayling back in the early '90s. I liked that guy. He was one of the more reasonable and down to earth guys to work with. I never pictured him as staying in long enough to be a CO back in the day, but I am surprised that he would be relieved since he did make it that far. Best of luck to you Luis.

1/26/2013 5:11 AM

 
Blogger Henson said...

Lots of experience as an Eng, obviously, but I gotta tell ya that, as a Weps about ten years ago, he wasn't a bad ship-driver either. The best we had on board. Willing to do the hard jobs, but basically reasonable and approachable - which is SO RARE. A lot of good traits combined in this guy.

1/26/2013 8:08 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a shipyard CO sucks on so many levels. The impossible workload shoveled on the crew, NR and Subgroup Rep microscopes - second guessing everything the ship does and trying to make mountains out of molehills, etc.

The groups and ISICs have lost their way and instead of helping / shielding / guiding / mentoring ships in a shipyard, they just jump on with both feet and a gallon of gas.

This looks like a clear failure of the group 2 staff. Did PASADENA catch on fire? Did she undock on time? Did she have any incident reports (don't answer that one).

Time to pull your head out and do your job!

1/26/2013 9:55 AM

 
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Back in the day (Rickover years) there were two "sins" that could get you fired in the shipyard - Getting across the breakers with the NR Reps or the TYCOM Rep in the shipyard or improper fraternization with the crew (too much to drink at a party with scandalous behaviour). The CO generally only got one chance to change his ways if it was an issue with the NR rep. IT was always better to bring the hammer down on the crew yourself than let the outside lookers make that decision. I have no idea why the CO was relieved but judging from the wording about "Confidence to lead in the overhaul.." something must have happened and the CO didn't take the internal corrective action to the satisfaction of NR and the TYCOM or didn't explain his corrective actions in sufficient detail. IT is very easy to get into trouble in a SY.

1/26/2013 11:00 AM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Sounds like Cmdr. Luis Molina is being scapegoated for the wholesale failure of high naval leadership of the shipyard.

You should be cleaning house from the head on down...

I bet you this is all related to budget pressures...

1/26/2013 11:38 AM

 
Anonymous 594Tuff said...

@ANON 0955,
You hit the nail squarely on the head. I'm personally tired of senior leadership getting a pass. If you looked at some of the history of these leaders over a long period, I think you could find some interesting trends of issues that fell on the shoulders of the CO alone with no examination of the support they either did or did not receive. The “Charge of Command” apparently stops at the brow at change of command.

I have personally had the pleasure of working with Luis and know that the number of times he has taken one for the team and persevered, deserves much more respect than leadership has given. Not many more competent, respected, and level-headed officers out there. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for some of the powers that be that can’t or won’t recognize the sacrifices required in the SY. Granted the board precept letters gives voice to its importance, but that is only to encourage those that would not normally succumb to the detailer pressure to “volunteer”. The boards generally don’t care.

1/26/2013 1:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no idea if this is true but a comment made on the Portland Press Herald was that's somehow related to a weigh loss program for officers.

Just reposting a comment. Hard to believe that would be the reason but who knows.

As for the shipyard, I have to believe the Navy has the data showing how crews get in more trouble in the yard. I know when my boat was in Portsmouth/Kittery the issues because exponential.

A lot of it was really small level stuff but they amplified everything because you had extra eyes on the boat.

Alcolol issues also go way up as guys compensate for the grind of the the yard by drinking.

The SY and everyone else focuses on getting the boat out faster and in our case the CO has no concerns whatsoever for crew burnout. He used to have us come in a 3AM on Friday mornings for field day so we "would not interfere with the shipyard day shift". Pathetic. And almost no cleaning took place either. Now image port and stupid three section duty days and having Friday duty.

And, to pile on we have several guys masted for "sleeping" on watch (SEO, SRO, rovers, etc).

1/26/2013 2:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any sailor who did at least one enlistment has almost certainly gone through the SY. Big Navy needs to nut up or shut up. Did they seriously forget what it's like to be in the yards? These top brass must have gone through a yard period while on their JO or DH tour. It blows. Sailors are made for the sea, not the yards. Why shit can a good sailor in the yards when he can be so useful at sea. Zero tolerance is always a bad policy, and if he is lacking in some area, then he needs some mentoring. I don't know how much breckenridge had to do with this, but I never cared for the guy while he was commodore of my squadron. Always seemed like a yes man. I can't speak for his track record though. Maybe he's good at getting the job done.

1/26/2013 2:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breckenridge...Good man. Lost confidence...schedule boned up. Molina...fall guy. Semper Procinctum

1/26/2013 3:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No such thing as a boned up schedule in the shipyard, it is the definition of being in the shipyard. If there was ever a loss of confidence over a schedule, then our priorities are JACKED UP!

1/26/2013 4:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 3:19PM

"Breckenridge...Good man" - HE HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE SHIPYARD for a Major Availability!!!! That is his own proud badge that he throws around.

Now, he's not the guy attending the critiques (hopefully), it's his staff - guided by his chief of staff.

How come none of this stuff happened with the last several GRU-2's?? - Maybe their Chief of Staff (CAPT Lowery) had the leadership skills and common sense to keep the big picture.

Any COs heading to the shipyard and want to survive need to throw any leadership skills out the window and chop heads at the first mistake. Only blood placates the waters these days.

1/26/2013 5:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be one thing most of us can all actually agree on.

The suckage being a nuke in the yards is without question.

We had a certain sight glass (related to primary) that had to be pressure tested that they did not want to use a rubber gasket so after several failures guess what, they went back to rubber gasket. We spent 10 days in 12/12 shiftwork for just that shenanigans alone.

Unless it was a major screw up that was actually directly related to a CO decision this is not a reason to fire someone if it's the case. If the schedule is hosed and someone on the boat gets fired then the shipyard management should be having heads roll too. They control the pace of the work (unfortunately to the crews demise). And I despise the typical entitled Annapolis grads with every cell of my body.

1/26/2013 5:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The project sup got replaced a couple of months ago.

1/26/2013 6:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were today's leadership, I would make a prerequisite for Flag Officer to have done a major shipyard tour. That is where you learn the art of leadership, negotiation, tact, and management. Decision making at sea can be difficult, but you are in a relatively narrow rule set and the number of times you have to decide outside these parameters is few. Try balancing crew, shipyard management, union, and SPOUSE interests 24/7.

1/26/2013 6:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget those that are "here to help"...

1/26/2013 6:41 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To annonymous @ 5:57PM: We can't stand your whining ass either!!!

1/26/2013 6:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did two overhauls in my career and a few SRAs in the shipyards.

First of all, the shipyard does not care if you leave on time. What they do care about is spending the time getting paid for doing nothing. For shipyards, it only becomes a pain cause your there is when the higher ups are tired of waiting.

Shipyards dont give a shit about the crew. They wish the crew would stay out of the way, so they can milk the project all they want.

Why can't you make make the CSP Rep the CO of the boat and let him be the lone crew member? When the overhaul is done, let a sub crew transfer to the boat and get profieicint at running it and then take it to sea.

I've had some COs who tried to save the crew as much as possible and some COs that could careless how much they screwed their crews.

Shipyard is a fucked up domain. There is a reason why they only work on Naval ships, cause if they were a for profit shipyard, they'd be line the US govt. Operating in the red!

1/26/2013 7:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rickover's birthday is today...113 years ago now.

Can't help but wonder what the kindly old man would think of today's submarine force.

1/27/2013 4:58 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He'd turn over in his grave because the coners aren't brainwashed err... Nuclear indoctrinated.

1/27/2013 7:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The SY and everyone else focuses on getting the boat out faster . . . . "

Based on my experience in the shipyards at Puget and Pearl, there is very little the crew can do to get a boat out of the yard faster. A big screw-up by the crew can delay things, but otherwise the boat will get out when the yard finally decides it should. And if you think that date is somehow tied to the money the shipyard gets from Uncle Sam, you might be smarter than a 5th grader.

1/27/2013 9:26 AM

 
Anonymous k said...

mulligan @11:38-

that might be the goddamn first half-way intelligent comment you've made in what? Almost a decade here?

1/27/2013 9:53 AM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Gets you wondering about the conflagration fire in the USS Miami...all these so called big naval investigation going on with that. Maybe the results should have come out a lot sooner so you could fix a lot of what is wrong with this shipyard.

1/27/2013 1:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But you DO go home every night to your family- if you have one."

I did an ERO and the only person this applied to was Doc.

1/27/2013 3:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to CDR Molina, have spent some time in PNSY and if given the chance would rather do that whole time at sea than deal with the castration that begets a crew in the SY. My first CO said when we hit the pier in Portsmouth "time to surrender one of my command testicles". Not sure what the factors were, but I feel for him, he spent his whole time in command as basically an EDO, not an 1120 ship driver.

WRT the Miami, the report is at fleet forces but has not been released. My suspicion is that this has everything to do with the politics of a public SY and how they are funded.

Think about it like this: the SY that hired a worker that committed arson on at least two occasions and was woefully inadequate at combating the fire (the SY firefighters who are by NAVY AGREEMENT the main firefighting entity for the boats during the availability had no clue even where certain compartments and spaces were, let alone how to combat them), as well as many other incredibly egregious oversights is getting OVER $500 MILLION to fix the same sub.

How does that look to a public that is increasingly skeptical of waste, fraud, and abuse with our tax dollars. I'm not suggesting we don't fix the sub. I just believe that there is some pressure from the powerful senators and congressmen from NH and Maine that have a stake in suppressing some of the findings that point the finger at the very SY that stands to gain from the incident.

I'm not suggesting a vast conspiracy to cover up anything in particular just politicians trying to prevent bad press on lucrative jobs(=votes) in their states. It is tragic, though, that the Navy would let politicians prevent us from widest dissemination of findings that could have huge impacts on safety of our sailors in our Shipyards.

And if you think this type of behavior is isolated to just PNSY, you are kidding yourself. This exact same thing is one or two moves away in any of the public or private SY's that build and fix all our ships. We should be shouting from the mountain tops that we have serious safety concerns that have the potential to kill sailors and destroy valuable assets needed as sea.

1/27/2013 4:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I challenge your comments about the SY firefighters. I don't think you have a clue on the topic. 688, and a scattering of Virginia hulls are all that yard has worked for several years, and they drill regularly. From what I've heard, the fed fire depts' response was exemplary. Not that the SY will have to acknowledge responsibility in some other areas...

1/27/2013 5:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... sorry, meant, "not that the SY WON'T have to acknowledge...

1/27/2013 5:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I challenge your comments about the SY firefighters. I don't think you have a clue on the topic. 688, and a scattering of Virginia hulls are all that yard has worked for several years, and they drill regularly. From what I've heard, the fed fire depts' response was exemplary. Not that the SY will have to acknowledge responsibility in some other areas..."

You heard wrong and believe too many newspapers. Anonymous before you was exactly right.

The SY will always be all fucked up until the Navy changes its regulations and signs full control and accountability of ships in the yard over to the shipyard. SY workers are capable of hanging tags, turning valves, and switching breakers to set status for their own work. Then the crew should go to the next boat ready to go on sea trials, and forego the shiftwork and under-the-microscope bullshit from naval reactors.

1/27/2013 5:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing can be called exemplary from anyone's point of view when the entire forward end is a total loss. Courageous, maybe, but exemplary: not even close.

I know from first hand accounts that the SY firefighters required ships force escorts into the spaces to combat the fire and from one of the MIAMI crew, the direct quote from the SY fire chief/assistant when he first arrived and heard that the wardroom was a potential source-"where is that".

We need to stop lying about this and FIX it! Don't put your head in the sand.

anon 4:38

1/27/2013 5:51 PM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Department of the Navy Core Values Charter

As in our past, we are dedicated to the Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment to build the foundation of trust and leadership upon which our strength is based and victory is achieved. These principles on which the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps were founded continue to guide us today. Every member of the Naval Service – active, reserve, and civilian, must understand and live by our Core Values. For more than two hundred years, members of the Naval Service have stood ready to protect our nation and our freedom. We are ready today to carry out any mission, deter conflict around the globe, and if called upon to fight, be victorious. We will be faithful to our Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment as our abiding duty and privilege.

“HONOR”

I am accountable for my professional and personal behavior. I will be mindful of the privilege I have to serve my fellow Americans. I will:
Abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking full responsibility formy actions and keeping my word.

Conduct myself in the highest ethical manner in relationships with seniors, peers and subordinates.

Be honest and truthful in my dealings within and outside the Department ofthe Navy.

Make honest recommendations to my seniors and peers and seek honest recommendations from junior personnel.

Encourage new ideas and deliver bad news forthrightly.

Fulfill my legal and ethical responsibilities in my public and personal life.

“COURAGE”

Courage is the value that gives me the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity. I will:
Have the courage to meet the demands of my profession.

Make decisions and act in the best interest of the Department of the Navy and the nation, without regard to personal consequences.

Overcome all challenges while adhering to the highest standards of personal conduct and decency.

Be loyal to my nation by ensuring the resources entrusted to me are used in an honest, careful and efficient way.

“COMMITMENT”

The day-to-day duty of every man and woman in the Department of the Navy is to join together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves. I will:
Foster respect up and down the chain of command.

Care for the personal and spiritual well-being of my people.

Show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion or gender.

Always strive for positive change and personal improvement.

Exhibit the highest degree of moral character, professional excellence, quality, and competence in all that I do.

1/27/2013 6:33 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shit. I knew and respected Luis during his tour as a Shift Engineer on the MTS-635. This is terrible news.

1/27/2013 10:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SY will always be all fucked up until the Navy changes its regulations and signs full control and accountability of ships in the yard over to the shipyard. SY workers are capable of hanging tags, turning valves, and switching breakers to set status for their own work. Then the crew should go to the next boat ready to go on sea trials, and forego the shiftwork and under-the-microscope bullshit from naval reactors.

Wow...step back from the bar, shipmate -- you've obviously been drinking more than a bit too hard if you think this will ever happen.

I've done tours on 688s in newcon with PSA time and in overhaul, and can say with some certainty that:

(1) You can't imagine (none of us can) just how much more it would cost to pay civilian nuclear engineers rather than Navy nukes to accomplish this task, not to mention all the non-nuclear work that bubbleheads accomplish, and

(2) You can't imagine (and some of us can) just how dangerous it would be to the guys who actually had to take the boat to sea when the time came. Any one of us who've done the dirty in shipyards can relate stories of finding broken glass in hydraulic systems and their actuators, the wrong material used for SUBSAFE systems, blah...blah...blah. The only reason this kind of crap was found and fixed is because squids like us found it to be much in their best interest to deal with it first-hand.

Sucks to be in shipyard, but the 'alternative' you propose really isn't one...just wishful thinking.

1/27/2013 10:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please stop feeding the Mulligan. I thought he was gone until one of you knuckleheads stroked his oversized ego and brought him and his cut and paste skills back.

1/28/2013 3:39 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sucks to be in shipyard, but the 'alternative' you propose really isn't one...just wishful thinking."

Oh I know that. As for your points:

(1) I don't think it would cost significantly more to pay people to "operate" a shutdown reactor. For reference, average nuke (E-5/E-6) in PNSY is making around $70-80k/year with all pay and allowances factored in. Then there's the full healthcare and dental costs that no one really knows what they cost.

The SY already pays STEs who are trained like EDOs. They only need a handful more guys trained like SROs. The SSWs don't need to be nearly as highly paid or trained to take logs on bilge temperatures. Once systems are ready to come back on in preparation for sea trials and you actually have equipment running, the new crew comes in to take the ship.

As for point (2), that is a direct result of the shared accountability and would take care of itself if the SY owned the boat 100%. If the SY no kidding owned the boat and made its supervisors go underway on sea trials, you'd see a significant rise in the quality of work and SY managerial oversight.

I know it's a pipedream and it's scary to everyone, so it'll never happen. However, it's the only way to make the SY truly own all of the work production on the boat, and takes the crew away from being the shit shield for their poor work practices and bad planning. Then when the SY tries to make up lost time by just keeping the duty section awake for 24 hours straight, the shipyard can figure out how to pay the guys overtime and can't use Sailors to say "the ship won't support production." Then when you find glass in hydraulic systems, the shipyard can't say "Sailors aren't doing their inspections properly" while the idiot SY worker who did it is fat, dumb, and happy on his 40 hour work week going onto the next project.

1/28/2013 7:42 AM

 
Anonymous Rick B '77 said...

The news upon arrival said USS Pasadena arrived for an 18 month availability in September 2011... well it is now time for trials if the operating forces are going to avoid paying extra. If there is some make-up work to be done to stay on schedule it doesn't make sense to stick with the guy who allowed the preps to fall behind in the first place. Operating the boat is next month's problem.

1/28/2013 10:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @5:51 - I will happily concede your point, and your rising to my challenge. That was some interesting info in your post.

1/28/2013 11:27 AM

 
Anonymous Radioactive said...

Having slogged through the last complete full length re-fueling overhaul done at PNS as a JO on the EDO watch bill, I can tell you first hand that the experience sucked beyond all measure. PORT & STBD shift work for 90 days straight (16 hour days when you add in extensive pre-shift tours and briefs and keeping up with the training schedule. Then it was back to three section duty with the average punch out time on day after duty being 5:00 p.m. Going back to sea was a vacation compared to that hole.

Whenever anyone asks me why I punched after close to 9 years with 4oh fit reps, I give them one answer. NR!! The NRRO reps werabsolutete bast@rds.

I watched our ENG and CO (who were both top notch nukes and ship drivers) get crucified week after week.

I personally found a ship yard slouch asleep in the sonar shack once while on my midnight security tour, and called the ship sup. in and told him to escort his bum off the boat. And the next day, they tried to file some kind of half a$$ grievanceivance against me! My XO told them that I didn't work for them and they could take their grievance and stuff it, but who knows what kind of flack he got later on.

1/28/2013 11:52 AM

 
Anonymous Radioactive said...

"For reference, average nuke (E-5/E-6) in PNSY is making around $70-80k/year with all pay and allowances factored in."

How much does he get paid for his OT?

You can bet your sweet patuty the the STE get's paid for his....

It's called comp time.

1/28/2013 12:06 PM

 
Anonymous Radioactive said...

As for the Miami.... I'm friends with a crew member and after the crew was ordered to evacuate the OPS compartment, the SY fire fighters let it burn out of control for 9 hours while they hemmed and hawed about what to do. They waited around for a massive foam truck to arrive from Logan airport, and then never even used it.

I'm suprised the union isn't backing the nut job that torched her.

And there is no way I'd go to test depth in a pressure vessel that has been exposed to annealing temps from an out of control hull insulation fire.

1/28/2013 12:21 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How much does he get paid for his OT?

You can bet your sweet patuty the the STE get's paid for his...."

Again, that's the shipyard's planning problem. Knowing that they have to pay guys overtime when they get bright ideas to conduct major maintenance overnight or do extensive operations on sunday to set status for work on monday will force them to rethink their maintenance planning strategy.

I reiterate that's for the yard to figure out, and Congress to hold them accountable. Perhaps Congress will take away overtime allowances in their next contract if they abuse the system. Either way, it will become blatantly obvious who the crooks are once there is no "ship's force won't support" shit-shield for the yard's piss-poor planning and maintenance practices.

1/28/2013 12:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We build jetliners and send people into space on vehicles arguably as complex as those on submarines, and we do so with minimal involvement on the part of the future crew.

I understand the value of having skin in the quality control equation, but you have to wonder if more cost effective practices could achieve similar safety results without the crew being involved in the morale sapping environment of the shipyards.

1/28/2013 2:14 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were only five manned space shuttles ever launched and two of the five were destroyed on missions, killing everyone aboard.

Would anyone be willing to accept the idea 40% of all submarines being lost with all hands?

1/28/2013 2:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a prior COB and having done a shipyard period at one of the worst shipyards on planet earth, I have to ask what was the role of the COB, EDMC and CPO Mess in driving the schedule. I have been deservedly snapped in half for falling behind in production. The CO is not alone on this one. Unfortunately the support for the ship is on par with CPO Initiation/Induction/Phase II. In the beginning and end everyone wants to play, but during the main part of the evolution no one is interested.

1/28/2013 2:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say "one of the worst shipyards on planet earth", and I say No Ka Oi to that.

1/28/2013 4:33 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad state of affairs you Sub guys are in, I've been retired 32 years and served on/at AS 15, AS 37,Subase's PH,Groton, SubSupportFac SD, plus 3 other skimmers,It looks like the SubGru's are skewering you to look good for CNO (SS),,

1/28/2013 5:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^ Smoke'm if you want to be one of them!!!

Couldn't meet a shipyard schedule deserves firing a CO? GTFO!!

Let's see if the SY Commando, err... SY CO (EDO) makes flag. I'd guess there are several Maine and NH Senators that would vote YES to preserve jobs, but the navy should vote - NO! Look at the results under his command - FIRE HIS ASS YESTERDAY! - Maybe VADM (Select) Hilarides who spent his entire command tour in the shipyard fighting their BS can make it happen....Maybe - now that he'll be at his terminal 3 star rank.

1/28/2013 7:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or, how about all the EDOs at the LCDR level and above level at the shipyards that condone this shit, and smile nicely and say, "I agree" to every GRU or NR comment.

I'd say - do your job now, and force the shipyards to be accountable - screw the unions!

1/28/2013 7:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarides was my CO on KEY WEST. We finished DMP in around 19 months, I remember a lot of the SY bubbas saying we got in and out a lot faster than other projects (721 got stuck there way past schedule), but IIRC we did a short (3 mo.) WestPac, and an WestPac after. Hopefully he can figure out what's wrong with the shipyards and fix them.

1/28/2013 7:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey radioactive, when I commissioned the Miami, she didn't have an ops compartment. You do a skimmer alt?



hagar




1/28/2013 10:04 PM

 
Blogger KellyJ said...

Anon 4:33
I'll call your No Ka Oi and raise you 1 "No Can Do, Brah."

As for nuke watches (SRO, etc) in the yards should you go the route of pulling the crew and turning the boat over to the Yard...Why not a cadre of nukes on shore duty (perhaps working out of the NR Offices) whose sole function is to watch that panel for 4 hours, twice a day, once every 4 days. Add in 4 CPOs and 4 JO's for Supervisory Tours along with a Post DH Eng to run each "crew" and call it done. A day on duty, a day off, 2 days of training/whatever of which the middle day is a standby day in case an emergent relief is required.
You get sailors doing nothing but manning the plant (under the auspices of NR so the shipyard can't F with them without some level of repercussion) and it provides some more shore billets at something other than an MTS or RadCon shop.

1/29/2013 12:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reasons behind CDR Molina's firing are not nearly as salacious as many of the readers here want to argue about. CDR Molina was fired because he was responsibile for the poor performance and readiness of his team. It is as true at sea as it is in the shipyard. The poor performance of the PASADENA project is directly attributable to the shipyard and the ship's CO. As continued poor performance was noted over the last year multiple personnel from the PNSY project team were provided direction and feedback in how to improve and when they did not, they were removed from their positions. The same is the case for the CO. Repeated advice from the CSG2 SYR office along with direction in how to prepare the team to be ready for upcoming events was ignored. Problems that the CO encountered in preparing his team were often undiscovered until it was too late to be ready to support key milestones. Critical divisions were grossly undermanned, unqualified, and untrained--not because BUPERS didn't send them, but because the CO agreed to transfer many who arrived with the ship at the onset of the EOH early and the CO/ENG/EDMC made no provisions to figure out how they would be ready for key events when the time came. CDR Molina knew he was responsible to prepare his team. He also knew that he was accountable for their performance. Anyone who has worn the pin knows that they do so with the absolute responsibility for the performance of their team (good and bad). That's why it is unlikely that you will hear from him on this blog. He was in charge and his boss became convinced that under his leadership, the substandard performance was not getting better--it was getting worse. You can't lay the blame on NRR, PNSY, or the SYR--only CDR Molina can be responsible for his team's performance. Best of luck to CDR Cooper. I hope the crew of PASADENA quickly loses their "victim mentality". As soon as they can own their performance they will be able to flesh out why they are falling below standards and put corrections in place to get better. No one who has been there will argue that life doesn't suck in the shipyard and the solution isn't to pass that suck on to someone else. It is our assignment to get the ship back in the best possible condition and in the shortest time. CDR Cooper knows that the weight has now shifted to him--to take charge, assess what's wrong, and build a team that can perform as required and bring that ship of the line back to bear.

Why we are likely on the path to our third CO firing (all from SSNs) in the first month of 2013; it is a similar sad story and all about team performance.....

1/29/2013 2:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would keep my eyes and ears open on a boat in Puget in the next week or two. Some heads are pretty close to the chopping block. This might be a top down purge.

1/29/2013 3:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anon 2:57

Sounds like the most articulate reasons yet.

For those trying to "Help" - look in the mirror and ask why you were ineffective, instead of saying "I told him what to do"

Very easy to be an Armchair Quarterback and second guess a shipyard CO.

1/29/2013 4:39 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've known Luis a long time. He is one very smart and squared away guy. Hard to believev this happened, but then again, bad things do happen to good people. I've been in the shipyard for every tour and I can tell you IT SUCKS no matter where you are on the totem pole. Best of luck to you on your future endeavors Luis; keep your head high.

1/29/2013 10:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One way to fix the SY problem is to start doing things the way the civilian world does them.

If Sunship (Sunoco's shipping company) puts a tanker in overhaul it has an arrival and departure date with the shipyard. For every day the shipyard gets the tanker out early the shipyard gets a bonus, for every day over Sunship deducts an amount equivalent to the daily bonus from the final contract. They also insist on a 90 day warranty on the work performed. To my understanding Sunship has never had a tanker out of overhaul past 30 days early.

1/29/2013 10:15 AM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

Anon ^^^^

You left out one vital detail: USS Pasadena (SSN 752)is in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, not a "civilian yard".

Had the CO of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard been in a civilian yard that let the USS Miami travesty occur, hw would have been fired long ago, because the DOD could have sued for recovery of damages.

Notice how the U.S. government tends to shove accountability downhill.

1/29/2013 11:14 AM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

These aren't ships' like an oil tanker serving a profit oriented corporation...they are military vessels serving the highest interest of our nation.

There is a huge difference...

1/29/2013 5:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^ Not really Mulligan, just a product of screwed up Govt contracting laws.

Fixed price (no penalities), Cost plus fixed fee % (worst case, and encourages this behavior).

There is no Fixed Price (with bonus or penalty). Wouldn't make congress happy...their re-election coffers would suffer.

And Navy shipyards, essentially do the same thing with cost overruns, and the very easily passed bill funding $500M+ repair cost for MIAMI.

1/29/2013 5:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan God Damn You!!!,

You shut your fucking hole, both now and forever! Allow the grown-ups to speak in an intelligent fashion. Some of them might just be a bit more informed on life's present proceedings than you are.

Mulligan you rediculous bombastic simpleton, when will you learn to simply observe and hold your tongue in check?

Such discipline is taught to young Ensigns and Seaman Recruits within the Navy. Any chance you were ever in the Navy in the first place Mulligan? Something tells me from your past conjectured and misplaced thoughts that you were not.

The only active ability which you preserve is, that you might have the strength to fuck up a perfectly good wet-dream.
Am I right, you fat little misguided fuck?

Get the hell off this forum and stay off you ridiculous Jack-ass.

1/29/2013 10:47 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon at 10:47, you need a psych eval. Anger much?

1/29/2013 11:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1/29/2013 2:57 AM,
I could not disagree with you more. The shipyard puts the schedule out and does the work. Back aft it's the squids who are present to simply follow

You have STEs present at every evolution back aft. A review on the barge, training, etc and many are mandatory. All this we know but you do not bring up. Either you are the typical "yaard bird" (in my best loser Yankee accent) or a CO/XO who's now out of touch with the vagaries of the BS the "crew" deals with.

Trying to blame a crew is ridiculus. They get told where to be and when. Screwing up? How? I'd love to hear that since there are multiple reviews and people around for every portion of the project.

Can't wait for PSNY to finally get hit in a BRAC round. Long overdue.

There are many things the CO can do to hose over the crew but being responsible for a boat getting out of the yard late is a tough sell to me short of an absolute refusal to let his crew work with the SY or blocking access to the boat.

1/29/2013 11:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yard bird? Nice term. I prefer sand crab. 2 steps forward two to the right and one step back. Unless you put them in overtime that is.
What's the nook morale on that boat and who else was shyt canned????

1/30/2013 1:01 AM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

@5:13
I am fucking fat... My resting heart beating rate is 56. I ride my bicycle all winter long...I was riding it in 15 degree weather (many times) for 25 miles just a few days ago and I had a blast. I do 50 miles a week over the winter and sometime in the snow. I on average hump my bike over the New Hampshire mountains 100 miles a week in the better weather. I commonly take 50 and 60 mile rides on my bicycle just for sight seeing.

I take my bike in all weather conditions on the majority of local errands. My wife says I got different legs on than from when she first married me...they are hugely muscular. Fucking huge!

Hey buddy, what is your resting heart beat rate. I'd kick your ass in a bike race with my 60 year old body. I am 6'2" and 195 pounds, rippled with muscles...you want a date?


1/30/2013 5:11 AM

 
Anonymous Lance Armstrong said...

Mulligan, Ithink you gave me a hard-on!

Love always

1/30/2013 6:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mikie, I used to walk to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways...

1/30/2013 7:00 AM

 
Anonymous Radioactive said...

"Hey radioactive, when I commissioned the Miami, she didn't have an ops compartment. You do a skimmer alt?"

LOL... nope... 637 class alt. :^)

FWD Compartment if it makes you happier....

But I'll take a few extra water tight doors, thank you very much

1/30/2013 8:22 AM

 
Anonymous Radioactive said...

The crew can indeed screw up and cause a schedule delay.... How?
Do a tag out audit and find the second check signature block blank. Do a valve line up and find a valve out of position. But all that said... my experience was that the SY caused most of the delays.

Yes, the CO is ultimately responsible. It is and always will be thus. My guess is that the Eng. Dept. tubbed their RSE and NRRO pulled their keys and won't let them proceed with initial crit. But that's just a guess. If the group commanders are canning this many COs, perhaps they need to look in the mirror and ask if they aren't setting them up to fail.

As for letting crew members rotate early, that could certainly come back to bite you. But part of the COs responsibility for training the crew is to have them complete their quals. And you can't complete underway watch quals while rotting on a barge in the yards. The CO has to farm these guys out TAD to complete their quals if he wants to have a crew who can actually take the ship to sea. Managing that schedule is difficult enough, but it's even harder when other boats won't take riders. They have their reasons... and nobody wants to hot rack for a rider nub. But these guys MUST go to sea.

As for the PNS CO(AFAIK, it's not written PNSY in any official docs), he already did get his star and as far as I can tell (I know him casually, but not professionally) it was well deserved.

1/30/2013 8:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wuzza matter there Mikey? Did someone get under your skin? Sometimes the truth hurts doesn't Mikey?

Now late last night, you made an inquiry about a date. Mikey are you in fact coming out?...is that it? It's perfectly acceptable if that truly is the case. I'll make the assumption that you enjoy being on the receiving end. So do you prefer the diaper position or do you like getting it from behind?

Which is it Mikey?

1/30/2013 1:29 PM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Depends: can you ride a bike?

1/30/2013 5:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mike Mulligan...him and Jim Nabors finally pulled the trigger!

Now hop back on that seatless bike!

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/01/30/gomer-pyle-actor-jim-nabors-on-marrying-partner-just-wanted-it-legal/

1/30/2013 5:57 PM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

No, I mean I wear 'Depends'.

1/30/2013 6:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

radioactive, a crew can not possibly be the sole reason ship is appreciably late. Just not happening with issues during the evolutions.

Every ship has the occasional wrong tag hung. Every ship finds the occasional valve out of position. That's reality.

Even with multiple issues, they still would not prevent a boat from being on time UNLESS, during the evolutions there are actual issues that come up. I could list a ton of items that cause the boat to so a test, and then you have to fix that item and do the evolution over again.

The shipyard controls the pace of the work. That's often not a good thing and why guys on the boat are so fried but 100% the truth.

The hull work is all shipyard stuff.

The front end of the boat is typically gutted, crew moves to barge and most tagouts don't change until the stuff is reinstalled.

The engine room is simply following the RPM line by line with an STE during nearly every step of the way.

Having been out a while, I'd like to think that the Navy has the RPMs set up so when you're ready to do an evolution, you hit print and it spits out pre pinted tags with all the necessary things included.

Not buying that the crew was the culprit here. In the yard, the ENG and CO have far less power than people want to believe.

I can definitely see a SY trying to throw chafe with a missed schedule. And you have to look from the very beginning as to how things evolved because delays early in the game can make it near impossible to catch up.

Just can't possible see how the crew would be at fault for a major delay. If there have been problems for months, it's not the crew. When they want to catch up they just go 12/12 and no days off.

PNSY has a laser beam on them due to the Miami so I suspect they are going to do everything in their power to deflect and blame.

1/30/2013 10:15 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, kinda, whatever happened about the Jacksonville "Bump" in the Persian Gulf earlier this month? How's that C.O.'s career doing?

1/31/2013 6:32 AM

 
Blogger Curt said...


http://bubbleheads.blogspot.com/2013/01/uss-jacksonville-collision.html#comments

1/31/2013 8:25 AM

 
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2/03/2013 2:23 AM

 
Blogger tennvol said...

Happy commissioning anniversary, bubblehead!

2/03/2013 1:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone whos actually served with CDR Molina during that time, all I can say is that your descriptions of him as a JO or XO are probably accurate. However, When one puts the command pin on and are responsible for an entire crew, his perspective can be dramatically altered. Wether it be feom the fact that 150 men, or from the constant pressures from squadron or ISIC to get the boat out to sea on time. There were a lot of things going on that wohkd cause his superiors to lose confidence in his ability to command a nuclear powered submarine. But the impression I got from him was that he either didn't know what was going on in the ER or he acted like he didn't to keep plausible deniability. Morale was exceptionally low even for a SY period. I have seen three COs on that boat and seen what happened to our XO who went CO. As a XO he was amazing and led us to excellent ORSES. When he took command of another boat, Squadron molded him into th Skipper THEY wanted and not the one the boat needed. Due to th inferior leadership skills he displayed, morale sank lower and lower. ARIs and drug abuse and several cases of "I'm too sad to be a submariner anymore!" have left those who are trying to grin and bear it because we know that the submarine force sucks and we volunteered for it with diminishing confidence in believing it will get better. There were other stories negatively affecting the public's view of the Pasadena and th Navy as a whole. Things like involvement in a prostitution ring does not bode well for a CO. Granted, that in and of itself cannot be pinned on the CO, however, in the string of events that the Pasadena's crew combined shows he has no ability to control his crew or find ways to reach out to them to prevent them from seeing alcohol and drugs as the only escape. I understand that being a CO is an arduous duty, and unfortunately it is not for everyone. Just another perspective...

2/05/2013 6:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Involvement in a prostitution ring"? Details!

2/05/2013 11:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^No shit. You can't leave an opening like that and not deliver.

2/05/2013 4:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When one puts the command pin on and are responsible for an entire crew, his perspective can be dramatically altered." - Anon 6:15 AM

You omit a very basic factor. When one is responsible career-wise for the performance of hundreds of people he/she never personally selected one has assumed the greatest risk of all and had better lay down every important ground / at-sea rule with maximum dispatch, clarity and discipline.

Apparently, big Navy (and Army. AF, etc) frowns on even slightly upsetting today's batch of double volunteers for military service.

Woe are our COs, and woe is us!

2/05/2013 6:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me guess - their ISIC was there to help them with their manning and made them a priority.....laughing out loud right now!

The CO is held responsible for a team that he can't pick. If he holds them responsible, he's fired for "Bad Morale" or "Too many unplanned losses". If he doesn't hold them responsible, he gets the boot.

How is that anything more than a 36 month "Red Ass" tour.

My advice to current COs and PCOs - Suck it up and hold your breath. Put enough blood in the water, smoke and mirrors, divert attention to the obvious Class A mishaps, and continue rowing the boat. Don't kid yourself that your leadership matters to your ISIC, unless you wear kneepads!

2/05/2013 7:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough with the hijacking of this thread, let's get back to the topic at hand: Prostitution Rings. GO!!!

2/05/2013 8:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are the stories of the San 1?

2/05/2013 11:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Sen Robert Menendez could tell us how its done! Sen, GO!!!!!

2/06/2013 8:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More evidence of punishment for "failure to coddle crew"? fired Sunday 'because of offensive comments and behavior towards the crew,” said Naval Surface Forces Pacific.

"Pickens, a former enlisted cryptology maintenance technician, was commissioned in 1997 via the enlisted commissioning program and later served in Baghdad as an individual augmentee."

2/06/2013 9:28 AM

 
Anonymous EdwinTheNuke said...

I’m just reading this thread, so I apologize for the timeliness.
Then CDR Breckenridge was the CO of the MEMPHIS for the reduction gear replacement. Only 11 months at EB, but he gave up his served ENG XO to the USS DALLAS deployment when they lost theirs to an emergency. Additionally, he gave up his experienced NAV to a split tour without a relief to preserve the old NAV’s career. He made one of the Jos the OPS.
I’ve done three Depot availabilities: one as a young nuke USS CONNECTICUT with Joel as my ENG, one on the MEMPHIS with CDR Maher as my ENG and RDML Breckenridge as my CO and an ERO as the ENG. I’ve been in public and private yards for seven of my 25 years. I can speak about yard time with almost as much authority as Joel.
RDML Breckenridge definitely has his shipyard management/understanding chops.

2/07/2013 7:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wonder where the stories of the San Juan are. Anytime you can surface with a 59 up and be considered less dangerous than a bent scope...well, just sayin'.

2/08/2013 3:02 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what idiot says leadership does not matter? Yes, you get a random selection of people--and so does everyone else. Some do well, some do not, and some fail. Gee, that's news. Success is not made by sucking up. Those who feel otherwise have clearly never worn the badge.

2/08/2013 3:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^ Look in the mirror IDIOT!!! ^^^

2/08/2013 3:08 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Success is not made by sucking up."

OK, Back on your knees Bitch! Tell us how it really is...

2/08/2013 3:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More justification that just because someone makes you a leader does not mean you are a leader. The submarine force is full of great nuclear engineers and some are great leaders; but most are just nuclear engineers. Too much emphasis on one thing you forget the other. What ever happened to the GSO? The submarine force needs to put LDOs on every submarine. Too much focus on nuclear and not enough on leadership and tactics!

2/09/2013 1:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is the shipyard to blame? Seems to me if you are behind schedule the shipyard should be the one to take the fall. What about the squadron? Seems that the squadron always gets a pass. 1 or 2 fired COs in your squadron (or group) you'd think the commodore or group commander should be responsible for some of the stupidity? What does oversight really mean?

2/09/2013 1:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the Pasadena fail their PORSE?

2/11/2013 11:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So where are the new michigan and san 1 stories, oh do tell?

2/11/2013 10:58 PM

 
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2/12/2013 10:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in other news, CO/XO of the Jacksonville were fired last Sunday.

2/13/2013 6:35 AM

 
Blogger Brad said...

Served with Molina when he was a hard-charging and well respected J.O. on Grayling. Good man. I would be interested in knowing the real details. Anyone actually know anything about it? All I hear here is a lot of bs and blather regarding the reasons...what?? On a comment string?? On the interweb? Nahhh....

While crews can and do force shipyards to keep schedule some of the time, more often people just survive yard periods - hopefully without getting fired, divorced, or permanently disgruntled. I've always thought "Sailors belong at sea" - so, turn the ship over and let the shipyard have it for two years. Why not? Topside watches? Roving patrols while cold iron? Ownership? Never understood the resoning behind any of that. The crew and the yard are natural enemies if it's not done just right.

Fair winds and following seas, CDR Molina!

Brad Green
MMCM(SS) Retired

2/15/2013 9:09 AM

 
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2/15/2013 12:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard the P-CO of the Seawolf was temp reassigned? Anyone know why? Heard it was not due to medical reasons.

2/20/2013 9:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the recent fleetwide radcon msg that outlined some GROSS radcon incidents that happened in SY avails--that might have something to do with it (strictly circumstantial supposition, but the timing and situation makes sense).

2/26/2013 8:29 PM

 
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5/25/2013 2:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USS Pasadena is still in the yard, I motored by and saw it the other day. It was an 18 month overhaul. The boat entered the yard in September 21 201.

8/22/2013 2:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was my CO on the PASADENA. I know the stories and saw him first hand. This story does not suprise me at all. The things he did on deployment, at balls, and as XO pale this event that got him fired. Not suprizing at all. His moral compass pointed south.

2/18/2014 8:55 PM

 

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