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, February 16, 2013

Bad Cruises

I've been reading with interest the saga of the cruise ship passengers on the Carnival ship Triumph, and generally not feeling too sorry for them, figuring they were just a bunch of "First World Problem" whiners. Some other Submariners had the same attitude, saying things like "on submarines, we called conditions like that 'Tuesday'" and other such things. Then, a submariner pointed out that for a boat to have the same level of problems experienced by the cruise ship people, you would have essentially had to be continuously rigged for reduced electrical with the San tanks backed up and overflowing for 5 straight days.

About 3 1/2 years ago, I posted about the worst deprivation I ever experienced on a submarine; I'll repost it here:
The "Great Topeka Food Depression" of 1992: We didn't have a Chop during pre-deployment preps, and the short-timer MSC in charge of ordering the food didn't take into account that we'd have 20 riders aboard -- the type of riders that never miss a meal (you know the type). Our last port visit before our "mission vital to national security" got cancelled, so we weren't able to pick up the stores load we were counting on after the new Chop did an inventory and figured out we were running low on food. First, we ran out of yeast, but the MS's saved the last bit and tried to grow some more. It ended up dying, but that was OK, because by then we'd run out of flour. The sugar ran out soon thereafter. During the last few weeks, we were reduced to a diet of bologna pinwheels and unsweetened jello; we drank water or "diet bug" with meals (bug juice without sugar -- horrible). When we finally pulled into Bahrain, we only had four tubes of bologna and one pathetic bag of mixed veggies left. We had made a list of the riders we were going to eat first if we got extended. Luckily, we never did run out of coffee; otherwise, I'm sure there would have been a mutiny.
Since the last port visit was canx'd, a lot of guys weren't able to pick up the various personal items they had planned to get there. As a result, a black market started up for things like candy and, especially, tobacco. A couple of smart non-smokers had bought a bunch of tobacco in San Diego before the deployment and made a killing. Eventually, that supply ran out too, and I saw the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen before -- the concept of "ABC" smokeless tobacco. ("ABC" stands for "Already Been Chewed".) Luckily, that all seemed to be used by the original owner; I don't think a market ever emerged for that particular commodity.
What's your story to put the cruise ship weenies to shame?

51 Comments:

Anonymous TridentFag said...

I was on a Trident. We got underway for 82 days straight with no email! Man that sucked!

As we were pulling in, we couldn't use our cell phones.

Then, when I took the duty, I had to blow in a breathalizer.

The for a week, the coffee pot in the OCAB broke! We had to walk to the exchange to get coffee!

2/16/2013 7:41 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joel, you should be smart enough to know your CO is as much to blame as the chop. "Yes sir we can do it *gurgke vurgle*."

2/16/2013 8:14 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you blow a full san 1 dry into a full san 3 on the Miami in '91. There was shyt from the port tube nest to the trim pump on the port side. Something like 13 hours at PD ventillating and using fire hoses to move shyt around.
And that's a no-shytter, ask RADM Mulloy. He was the ENG.



hagar

2/16/2013 8:25 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

North Atlantic 'training' mission back in the day was similar to Joel's & not really all that noteworthy in the big scheme of things. Ran out of eggs (real & powdered), yeast, salt, sugar (then later, honey), butter & meat. Bowls of lard were put around the table in lieu of butter. Yeastless bread and all other baked products tasted funky but was edible. Nucs were bringing sea salt forward scraped off from brine to add seasoning. "Breakfast for Dinner" was a regular theme, as it seems we had tons of maple syrup so pancakes twice a day (we ended up low on flour but never ran out) was common. The CS1 LPO made Chief the following cycle, which absolutely boggled my mind. We never did run out of coffee, which is probably why we didn't pull in. The mission absolutely rocked though, and the crew united in their anger towards the cooks' inability to count...

2/16/2013 8:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funniest was on a door to door 77 day patrol on the Floriduh watching the cranks breaking eggs for breakfast in eab's so they wouldn't puke if they hit a bad one......



hagar

2/17/2013 12:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nearly 48 hours bobbing around on the diesel and EPM in weather just heavy enough to be crappy. Note the implied reduced electrical.

It all started with what should have been a simple drill. Alas, it found a part that was randomly failing and it scrammed the plant. The CO and Eng decided no start up until the problem could be found.

We were in the middle of NFW on a local op and would have been a long way home. If we had been "somewhere" I think it would have been a better story (-;

Long story short, it was a bear to find the problem - an iffy relay in a MCP controller. Easy fix but life sucked until it was fixed.

Interesting start up...

Old Chief from the dark ages
Jerry

2/17/2013 12:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did more emergency blows during nook drills than I did casualties. Is that logged?




hagar

2/17/2013 4:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

83 day specop on a 594 during WESTPAC...ok, no big deal...except JO's and below were hot racking.

Talk about a high pitch tonal from the goat locker! The COB, Bull Nuke, CO and XO (although he had the rider LT in his stateroom using the extra rack) were the only ones with their own rack.

The cooks/cranks had some kind of special rack arrangement in the TR.

Didn't bother me any, as I was a QM3(SS) and knew I was already hot racking regardless.

Jim C.
Retired ANAV

2/17/2013 11:18 AM

 
Anonymous EW3 said...

Bubbleheads have it easy...

Rode a 2000 ton DE during 6 days of tropical storms. Seas were about 40 - 50 feet with 60kt winds.
We lost the IFF antenna off the top of the mast (86 feet up), the 3 inch plexi-glass windows in the forward gun mount got shattered. Most sleeping areas were soaked with saltwater. I slept on the 02 level in the radar shack with a Mae West under my head and an inflatable vest under each arm.
For food we had peanut butter sandwiches. No fresh water since the evaps kept failing.
We also took a 50 degree roll on that trip.


2/17/2013 12:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Extended on NORPAC on the old NYC. Smokers (except for me) ran out of smokes. Butt kits were raided for butts and then the residual tobacco was rolled in toilet paper and smoked. I had extra cartons so I was selling a pack for $50 COD, no IOU's. I was pretty well hated though the CO came crashing down on me as he wanted a smoke free boat and I was wrecking his plans. We were drinking plastic death (powdered milk) at this point and the salads consisted of 3 bean salads that after the end of the cruise was thoroughly reviled. The CO told the Chop upon pain of death not to ever serve that again. Canned potatoes were put on the hit list plus the ice cream machine broke down. So the A-Gangers were hated as well. Ran out of TDU cans so the garbage was stacked in the virtally empty pantry which POed the cranks since they had to field day it on return. The stink killed our appetite for the by then lousy food. One MS was duct-taped for his tuna fish casserole he served for midrats that was vile and still fondly remembered today with a tinge of nausea.

2/17/2013 12:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The evaporator went down hard during one Patrol and we learned to limp along getting the 2K "still" up and running. We barely had enough water for the plant and for food services, but all showers and laundry was secured.

We did this for 2-3 weeks (my memory is hazy but it was definitely more than 2 weeks...). We were only a couple of weeks from pulling back into port...how bad could it be?

It was awful. The lack of showers was one thing, but the no laundry meant you basically stewed in your own funk for a few weeks. The Doc called it unsanitary but there was nothing we could do. The Doc did insist that the FIRST thing that we did when we docked next to the tender was an ALL-HANDS evolution to removed and BURN all bed sheeting. Then fresh sheeting was loaded onboard and everything replaced. Strangely there were no complaints from the crew on this all hands evolution!

The nukes rigged up a portable shower to use the runoff from the 2K when it was not making good water....I figured this out when the ELT walked into Maneuvering and damn did he smell purty!! I knew my time on the sub was going to be interesting - but naked in ERLL taking a shower is something I had not anticipated experiencing!!

2/17/2013 1:41 PM

 
Anonymous Pops said...

In the early sixties on a SSGN. During the last 6 weeks the GDU became inoperable. Dry trash went to the torpedo rooms and all wet garbage was frozen. The garbage was thrown overboard near Pearl. When we tied up at Sail 3, we were then envy of every Dempsy dumpster.

For 12:41 AM You don't have to wear an EAB, You knew to hold your breath when the 'sliders' sizzled on by.

2/17/2013 4:52 PM

 
Blogger KellyJ said...

On 666 doing one of those 89day Pearl-to-Pearl non-deployments we lost botht he still and evap. Secured all showers and had enough fresh to resend aft and stay at sea another few weeks. Ended up pulling into Yoko since we would never have made it back to Pearl.
First thing everyone did was hit the 'A Club' and toss back beers.

On 578 no showers were pretty standard since the 2K (that is NOT a typo) barely kept up with the reactor needs and the 1.4K never really did perform.

2/17/2013 9:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

50+ TDU cans stored in the reactor compartment and other various areas aft. 2 or 3 weeks later we finally were able to shoot trash. Originally when we packed the cans with trash and weighed them they all were within proper weight limits.

As we began to start the trash shooting evolution all the cans dried out and had to be opened, and extra tdu weights added. We had to make room for these weights. Pulling 3 week old rancid chicken bones and other rotting food stuffs out and re canning the trash was the most disgusting and horrible experience I had in the Navy. The smell was throughout the boat. I have never smelt something this bad. Sleeping next to the San blow station was a pleasant vacation after that.

2/18/2013 1:11 AM

 
Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Anon at 1:11 AM, you sure make diving the missile compartment loweer level bilge seem like fun!

2/18/2013 5:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In other News: New DANT Picked at Canoe U:

http://www.usna.com/page.aspx?pid=866

One Star List next perhaps?

2/18/2013 7:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"perhaps" but I am not sure you will find the current DANT on it.

2/18/2013 8:19 AM

 
Anonymous NHSparky said...

Worst I had to experience was non-stop "slumgolium" from the cooks for the last half of an OP on Pogy where I lost 30 lbs on one run (185 to 155, IIRC.) Corned beef hash being substituted as spaghetti sauce comes a close second.

Worst I heard of from someone first-hand was on the Sam Houston where they got extended on station, and for the last two weeks all they had were 3-bean salad sandwiches and green bug. NO coffee.

2/18/2013 8:38 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure everyone has a submarine tough-guy story that revolves around how much poo/garbage you have inhaled and how long you had between showers, but you didn't pay several hundred to over a thousand dollars to ride a submarine for vacation, plus the cost of air fare. Instead, you signed a contract with the Navy to knowingly work on vessels that routinely have broken distillers, lack enough racks for the crew, store garbage in the same place as fresh food, and house A-gangers that manage to blow sanitaries inboard. And if you didn't know that prior to volunteering for sub service, please call me because I have a bridge to sell you.

While 24 hours without plumbing is survivable, it would piss me off if the only leave I'm going to get to use for the entire year was spent in those conditions.

In short, deriding the people on vacation for being upset because you volunteered for the sewer pipe Navy is unwarranted, particularly when the cause of the fire was identified in a safety inspection prior to the cruise. A brief look at Carnival's recent history doesn't demonstrate a very good track record.

2/18/2013 9:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NHSparky,

Your worst experience was putting up with your XO.

Dial 1 for fun!

2/18/2013 9:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skatefish had a 4K and 1.6K, but Tommy Haluska could make both the evaporator and still far exceed those numbers.

2/18/2013 9:30 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In early '07 the mighty CoCC left Pearl after SRA bound for sound trials. About a week out we were running drills and the boat decided to change the drill set on us. The end result was the 10K OOC and the 1.6K making enough to keep us in water back aft and a little for the cooks to use. No showers. Needless to say we U-turned back to Pearl (hey, the CO kept the receipt, right?) stewing in our own stink the whole way. We pulled in and tied off at the finger pier and most of the cone ran straight back to the barracks for a shower. By the time we nukes finished the shutdown and made it back to the barracks for our much anticipated return to cleanliness, the barracks (Sea Wolf Tower) was experiencing a loss of hot water (or any water for that matter IIRC). Not to be denied, a friend and I made our way to the water service room on the roof and found a couple tripped breakers on the water heaters. Reset and run to the mini-mart for beers while the water heats back up and we were in business.

2/18/2013 11:03 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our torture was having to wear bellbottoms. At any time.

That alone should have doubled the pay!

2/18/2013 11:13 AM

 
Blogger Unknown said...

My final patrol on the Stonewall Jackson was sans coffee filters. Chem wipes made serviceable replacement but left a strange taste in the brew.

2/18/2013 1:14 PM

 
Blogger Roy said...

To anonymous at 9:21AM. I was going to say pretty much the same thing, but you said it better than I could.

I could almost forgive the cruise line for the casualty. On any ship, crap happens.(I hadn't heard what the cause of the fire was or that it had been previously identified.) However, for them to offer a measly $500 in compensation? I don't think so, Sparky. A refund is a given, but you would also have to compensate me for the lost vacation time, air fare, everything.

2/18/2013 2:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never anything really serious. But- had a leading MS1 who was none too popular.

On 3 successive weekly ops we ran out of 1. ketchup 2. Sugar. 3. Coffee (with 2 days left).

A few weeks later we shifted berths from one pier to another. He showed up on the pier just after the brow was lifted- and was charged with and found guilty at mast of missing movement instead of something less serious.

With 18 years in, he wasn't allowed to re-enlist to finish his 20.

2/18/2013 6:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old boomer in the early 90s. A couple of weeks of very minimal meals - not because there was no food aboard, but because the MSs had not kept control of the food. We had eaten a lot more food than we had money to pay for, so the plan was to finish patrol spending as little as possible . Tiny portions of nothing expensive. One dinner was a bowl of beans and a piece of bread. Officers were eating all 4 meals to get enough to eat, things were worse on the mess decks. One night the on-watch RO goes into convulsions because he's got a blood sugar abnormality that nobody knows about that he's been taking care of by eating sugar packets on watch. RO gets medivac'ed, and an investigation of the whole affair awaits the ship upon RTP, with ugly results

2/18/2013 6:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franks and beans for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midrats for about a week and a half when we ran low on food after being extended on station.

Once we came off and started back, they broke out what was left of the real food and there was a near riot to get in line as the whole crew woke up for leathery steaks and rubbery lobster tails.

2/18/2013 6:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good chow is recognized as a necessary countermeasure to the rather exceptional privations routine for submariners. However, there is doubtful room on any respectable submarine for someone (even a woman) who, even in utter jest, would offer this: "We got underway for 82 days straight with no email! Man that sucked!"

Guess what, gal. You are not yet prepared for your your primary mission.

Cat o' nine tails

2/18/2013 7:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like the leading MS1 who was not too popular got the shaft. Missing a berth shift is not "missing movement" under Article 87 of the Navy Regulations.

This came up on a previous boat when 25% of the O-gangers missed a berth shift one morning after having caroused excessively in Olongapo the previous evening. The XO was exceptionally unhappy with all concerned, two of whom were department heads.

2/18/2013 7:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cat 0', communication IS a fundamental necessity of the female gender. Emotional differences in men and women are characteristically stark. With that in mind, something even mightier is obvious to women.such as here

Rex

2/18/2013 7:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This came up on a previous boat when 25% of the O-gangers missed a berth shift one morning after having caroused excessively in Olongapo the previous evening. The XO was exceptionally unhappy with all concerned, two of whom were department heads."

Getting some strange while on deployement, away from the wife and/or girlfriend is an excepted reason for missing movement in the UCMJ.

2/18/2013 7:51 PM

 
Anonymous Richard Head said...

"With 18 years in, he wasn't allowed to re-enlist to finish his 20."......

Doesn't matter, 18+ will do the trick.

2/18/2013 11:49 PM

 
Anonymous Captain Obvious said...

"Getting some strange while on deployment, away from the wife and/or girlfriend is an excepted reason for missing movement in the UCMJ.".....

There is a reason why one event is called a "shift," and the other is called a "movement."

2/18/2013 11:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assuming the truth about an 18 year vet getting tossed aside, I have some real issues with that. People always bash Mess guys but think about that job for a minute. I'd never want to do it.

The Navy is very short-sighted with how it uses a 20 or nothing system. This does as much to encourage people to leave as it does to stay.

Secondly, I find it's sad that others on the boat would gladly see another guy potentially lose his entire pension for essentially being late to work. Yes, it's the military but when you consider the gravity of the offense vs the punishment it's so far out of line that you'd hope someone in the chain of command would put a stop to it.

I'd seriously question anyone who would prevent a person from completing their last two years unless it's significant misconduct. Missing movenment for a berth move is not even close to that level....

This is also why I feel ZERO sympathy for O-gangers who get tossed because the average CO/XO is over 20 years and will get his retirement before going into a double dipping job with a defense contractor as so many of them do.

2/19/2013 5:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After my time in the boats, I did a tour on a carrier. The ship ran out of ketchup on deployment. Mutiny was imminent until an UNREP revealed ketchup coming onboard.

2/19/2013 6:37 AM

 
Anonymous Boomer Cruiser said...

I was on a boomer just recently and wow was it awesome. We got a reverse osmosis unit that made more fresh water than could be consumed. I got hollywood showers before and after every watch. It was a boomer so of course I had my own rack. Not to mention that the cooks had order twice as much chicken nuggets as they were supposed to. yum. Sorry old timers this is the new navy.

2/19/2013 11:39 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Secondly, I find it's sad that others on the boat would gladly see another guy potentially lose his entire pension for essentially being late to work. Yes, it's the military but when you consider the gravity of the offense vs the punishment it's so far out of line that you'd hope someone in the chain of command would put a stop to it. "

He didn't just show up late one time. He was negligent in his duties to ensure that the crew of 150+ Sailors had adequate, nutritious meals underway on multiple occasions. IMO, he got off easy.

2/19/2013 4:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same story, different era. Food and cigarette shortages were common in the ‘70s. We would store cartons of cigarettes anywhere possible. I remember a couple of mess cooks ran short early and began recycling as suggested – desperation knows few boundaries. Saw others raid the emergency rations from the life rafts in the forward escape trunk. Those crusty old packs must have been from the 1950s. By the end our run, cigarettes would go for as much as $5 each.

2/20/2013 2:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicken nuggets, 3 bean salads, no email! I am sure you faggets would have squealed if the cupcakes ran short.

2/20/2013 2:47 PM

 
Anonymous NHSparky said...

Anon @ 0925:
Damn you. I thought I'd finally blocked him out of my mind. Why for the love of Christ did you bring that demon up from the depths???

2/20/2013 8:17 PM

 
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2/21/2013 6:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"50+ TDU cans stored in the reactor compartment."
tell us another tall tale.

2/21/2013 8:06 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most older boats they were stowed in the tunnel on one side of the tophat and lashed down. Made for a sweet smelling tunnel underway!

2/21/2013 10:31 PM

 
Anonymous Really old fucker said...

" We barely had enough water for the plant and for food services, but all showers and laundry was secured.

We did this for 2-3 weeks (my memory is hazy but it was definitely more than 2 weeks...). We were only a couple of weeks from pulling back into port...how bad could it be?

It was awful. The lack of showers was one thing, but the no laundry meant you basically stewed in your own funk for a few weeks.


Whine whine whine....That was normal ops for us old fuckin smokeboat guys. No showers at all for a 2-3 week op. Our ships laundry was a week in a pair of dungarees and you turned your fart sack inside out when your head slid off the pillow...if you had one. Most guys slept on the flash covers....

2/25/2013 10:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey "really old fuck", zip it moron. Clearly you didn't amount to much in life. I'll bet you married a man-like women named "bad cruise" or maybe.. "fart sack".

2/25/2013 7:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey old fucker, most people reading this blog don't know what a fart sack was.



hagar

2/25/2013 11:08 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

@806. He meant the tunnel, Nub.

2/25/2013 11:45 PM

 
Anonymous MMCM(SS)(ret) said...

Readin these comments is great. I remember hooking up a tygon hose with a hose clamp to a shaft seal strainer drain and taking a seawater shower in shaft alley when the showers were secured. Water was about 70f...cool but tolerable. It felt good to be clean again.

2/27/2013 6:51 AM

 
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