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.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Submarine Training, Sir!"

So I was giving training at work today, and when I finished, I felt like something was missing. Then I realized what it was... no one had given me a Training Critique sheet to sign.

Submarine training is one of the most important things Submariners do, but the admin associated with it always struck me as a little silly. What are your favorite submarine training admin stories?


Anonymous mln84 said...

On my middy cruise, I saw one of the guys carried into the mess decks, wrapped in EB Green like a mummy. He was laid on one of the tables for the entire training session and carried out again at the end. No one said a thing about it or acted as if it was in any way unusual.

4/29/2013 6:54 PM

Anonymous mln84 said...

Not really an admin story, but I am sure he was counted as Present for training.

4/29/2013 6:56 PM

Anonymous MiamiEM92-95 said...

I remember the Eng being late for training, so one of the cooks came out and gave training on how to roll and smoke a joint lasting several minutes. (the Eng did show up for the latter part of the above training).

I recall a training critique form being routed, don't know how far it went.

4/29/2013 7:02 PM

Anonymous said...

Nearly 22 years ago we'd pulled into Subic Bay for a few days of liberty. When I went to the mess decks for duty section training, half the group was absent. I found them topside watching a giant mushroom cloud rising into the sky. It was the right size & shape, but it was actually one of the first of the vents that became the Mt. Pinatubo volcano eruption.

I snarked something like "Awright, you've seen one volcano you've seen 'em all, it'll still be here when we're done with training, now let's get moving!" It never occurred to us that something like that (over 20 miles away) was anything more than a fascinating natural event.

Four days later I was on duty again, the full-blown eruption began, and we were fighting for our lives.

4/29/2013 7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching the Bull Nuke fake a whole months of training records because he couldn't find them. Oh yea, it was one week before ORSE.

Best thing that happened to training was the EXCEL spreadsheet. So much easier to pick the designated failure and make the numbers match what was expected.

4/29/2013 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The designated failure thing always frustrated me. I knew guys who passed quite often who were dumb as a brick and didn't study, while the new guy did better than them but "failed." I hated studying, but if you could pass without it, get more maintenance done and go home.

With that being said, I know the guys low on the pole had to play the game, but damnit if it wasn't rage inducing at times.

4/29/2013 8:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not really admin, but I remember dozing off during some nuke trng after the mid-watch. The CO, well-known to doze during almost any training, rouses awake, turns around, snaps "Wake him up!" towards me, then is dozing again w/in 10 minutes while everyone chokes down giggles.

The Excel manipulation worked great until the ORSE team would actually compare graded quizzes to the grade sheet, then the card house came tumbling down something fierce.

4/29/2013 9:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the Tullibee, '87 or so, we have a PORSE because we couldn't get underway. We WERE bldg 597 and it wouldn't seem right.
A'gang took a good comment because we actually documented our divisional training, although most of it was made up.


4/29/2013 10:41 PM

Blogger DDM said...

New con drills:

1. CSG 2 critiques the drill guide (format which they provided)
2. Carry all the DC gear to the boat and stage. CSG2 critiques that (gear they provided).
3. Hold Drill brief. Post- drill brief critique by CSG 2.
4. Run drill.
5. Hold drill critique. CSG 2 critiques the critique.
6. Hold drill de-brief. CSG 2 critiques the de-brief.
7. Put all the DC gear away.

Took about 6 hours to run an hour long drill and CSG 2 would ask why I didn't run more drills.

4/30/2013 2:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys lived in the stone age, training has evolved. Now we must train each submariner individually on NKO. Each sailor logs into a computer terminal and completes his GMT at his own leisure!

BLUF:It sucks, there is a ratio of one computer to every 75 men. No connectivity even besaide the pier. When you could log in and open NKO it locked up or the GMT took 45 minutes of constant quizzes and tests to ensure you did not cheat the system. Most school house classes have a prereeq of a NKO course completion cert prior to showing up. No cert no entry into class.Don't forget about MYPAY/NFAS/FLTMPS/NSIPS that all require a different 7 character long password that incorporates 3 security questions! Training is great in the Navy!

4/30/2013 4:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/30/2013 4:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

USS Jack, late 1980s. One coner LPO had come from SUBSCOL where he was a Master Training Specialist. It turns out that he was also illiterate (interservice transfer from the Army). Not just having trouble reading and writing, but literally unable to read or write. Near the end of his tour, we sent him back to SUBSCOL, who complained loudly. Our response? Don't look at us, you made him a Master Training Specialist.

4/30/2013 7:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now we have a PO1 who we have picked to be our SAMI as our current one is an LDO select and not going to be around much longer.

He has done all the pre-req's on NKO but the program shows that although he finished everything it isn't printing out a certificate for multiple courses that show all those green balls for completion but still no completion cert. VERY aggravating and no way around it - if you show up Day1 without the certs you are dropped.

4/30/2013 8:53 AM

Blogger -J.Darling said...

Since I am just a submariner's spouse, who is currently finishing training, I have a few things I can throw in:
I'm a preformer in local live theater, so I'm used to saying, "I can't. I have rehearsal," to people. Well, ever since I married a submariner, our tune has changed. Now it's "He can't. He has to work."

4/30/2013 9:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onboard the Bremerton, the TM's were giving small arms training on the care and cleaning of the .45 ACP. I was sitting in such a way that the pistol was a few inches away so I completely disassembled it. It was evident he had no clue on how to reassemble the pistol so he scooped up the parts and muttering under his breath cut the training short.

4/30/2013 11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most unusual training... Cold War era

Instructed by XO early one Sunday afternoon to get myself down to Philly Naval Base ASAP for instruction on electronics gear we were using on the underway starting run tommorrow. Jeep and driver were already on the pier.

Arrived Philly Naval Base where a duty officer directed me to wait a few in an empty dining hall. Two skimmer SPs, stationed inside the door, tried to write me up for being out of the base's dress white uniform. The duty officer reappeared momentarily and lead me to a lab in the basement of an adjacent building. Met an impressive civilian who provided about 2 hours hands-on training for a very sophisticated, unnamed prototype (our SSN already had latest electronics suites). Written instructions and operator's manual not provided; written notes not allowed.

By the time we got underway early the next morning, the gear had been neatly installed. As soon as we returned from our 'run' the gear disappeared and I was debriefed.

4/30/2013 11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, to summarize....continuing training is a F'n joke. always has been, always will be. I'm OK with that. I'm guilty of every indiscretion described above from both sides.

4/30/2013 5:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never quite understood why we insisted on taking headcount for GMT while underway - were we afraid someone stepped outside? Or that someone joined us without us realizing it ... but thank goodness we took roll call and caught the extra person at GMT??

4/30/2013 5:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day, the Engineering Department's long-range training plan was required to follow highly specific guidelines for content and format delineated by the Type Commander. However, one rapscallion Engineer on USS Augusta--backed by his CO--decided that the boat's operational schedule served as a much better guide to what long-range training was really needed than the guidelines. Of course, the first hit on every inspection was that the boat wasn't following the guidelines. But because the boat did well on every inspection, the training also was evaluated as effective. Hard to imagine a command team having the stones to pull that off these days.

4/30/2013 5:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Headcount at GMT underway forces the corpsman to get out of the rack sometime before evening meal.

4/30/2013 6:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubblehead - Your 20+ page quarterly training assessment that followed your 4 page quarterly training goals....

Almost held up your relief as Eng, until the CO finally realized that it really didn't matter, and the ORSE board was coming across the brow.

Ahh, those were the days of non value added training admin, and they haven't gotten better.

4/30/2013 6:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Training DOCUMENTED is training HAD.

You fill in the blanks. It's mostly a house of cards.

4/30/2013 6:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Early 90's while assigned to CSS-7 Ops. Helped write OPORD for training with LA as bad guy, Helena good guy with coop prosecution with P-3 at NAS Barber's Point. SECNAV to ride Helena. I was assigned to ride P-3. Drove USN vehicle to Barber's Point and gate weenie tried to write me up wearing dungarees off base. Took off onboard P-3 and I had Orange Annex showing regenerative points for LA. Helena had problems with Link-11 gear but blamed it on other assets. Arrived on station and LA at PD immediately commenced Link-11 comms. LA announced going deep and comms cut off. Helena came up with blast of static, asked P-3 to climb which made me scratch my head as Link-11 is UHF. Altitude is meaningless but A/C commander complied. Another blast of static and nothing. RM at comms panel looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. TACCO announced to nobody "Now what the f--k do we do?" Big confab with aircraft crew as to the meaningless of boring holes in the air on a Friday late afternoon. I dragged out my Orange Annex, computed time distance spped from current location and advised the pilot to fly a certain course and speed for three minutes and then drop a barrier. I then told the TACCO he was on his own after that. He glared at me suspiciously since I obviously had more than what they had but he complied. Prosecution then commenced succesfully for remainder of Op. On Monday when I walked into the office, the squadron RMCM asked how it went along with the Commodore and I briefed them on my findings. Commodore said to RMCM to light a fire in the Helena's radio room. Investigation revealed gundeck PM's on radio gear and the entire radio room crew was subsequently replaced.

5/01/2013 6:32 AM

Blogger itswells said...

Pretty sure I was there with "ddm" (4/30/2013 2:54 AM) for that stupid new con drills. Even before that, BEFORE we had ANY DC gear, the XO (one of the worst Naval Officers I've ever met...but I digress) was unhappy with me (NFTI Operator) when I showed up for a Fire in the Trim Pump Controller drill without an actual NFTI (which we didn't have). So before the next drill session, I made one out of a Folger's coffee can, a pair of goggles & a stick. For some reason, he was STILL ticked when I showed up. Hey, that thing worked "found no hot spots".

5/01/2013 7:49 AM

Blogger Wells said...

USS Arkansas mid-90's, we would do GQ drills down in the engineroom which would almost invariably involve some sort of fire down there. Repair 5 (hey, this is surface Navy... we have multiple repair lockers) would go down with hoses drawn to put out the "fire". How those hoses were drawn varied over time... my favorite was when we went down with hoses charged with instructions NOT to open the nozzles.

That lasted all of about one GQ before a chief got a full blast of the hose from #1 nozzleman.

5/01/2013 10:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

6 hour post drill CSG debriefs? Schedule the drill for 1500. After about 1-2 times of a bunch of guys on shore duty working until 2000, they'll stop coming around. You get autonomy and you meet your drill requirements. Win-win.

5/01/2013 2:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a young pup JO, served as an observer aboard one of the local tugboats during a nuclear disaster drill in NLON.

Sight remembered to this day: a young female quartermaster trying to do something with the plots exhibiting the briefest of "I don't know quite what to do" moments. As soon as you can say "Bob's your uncle," the hovering (and clearly moonstruck) QM1 pounced onto the charts with an "oh, let me help you with that" sort of 'move' that was akin to helping a young woman with her golf swing.

Yeah...gotta love the new Navy.

5/01/2013 4:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

M-Div nubs were in some school before the sw hx's had to be buttoned up and hadn't finished cleaning them. We are forced to attend BS CT, so about 15 pounds of rotting condenser beasties came with us in our pockets. Slightly less offensive than when we would don drugstore cologne for inspections.

5/01/2013 5:00 PM

Blogger hughmon said...

I was the "training officer" ie admin weenie. Put together the offcrew long range training plan and turned it in to the XO.
2nd night home I get a phone call "Chief, I need you here in the office immediatly. There is a significant problem with the training plan". Damn. Found a clean uniform and hi-tailed it to the office,
"Hi XO what's the problem?"
"You didn't stamp 'enclosure X of Y' on these four pages"
me - stunned - "Go fuck yourself"
We didn't get along too well after that.
PS yes it was the same Coughlin that was jailed for lying about 9/11 injuries at the Pentagon.

5/01/2013 5:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^ Ahh, Coughlin - what a useless piece of shit.

Glad to see he's a felon and making a ton of buddies in the shower.

Too bad it took you so much time to tell him to Fuck Off!! The DHs told him that from day one, followed by most JOs. I guess that left the junior CPOs a chance to earn their fouled anchors. Glad to see that you made the good choice.

5/01/2013 6:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shipyard drill, Fire in the Diesel (637 = bow), my two young ET's are hose and nozzle. Nozzle checked and verified shut by the XO who stood directly in front of it when it was charged and knocked him on his now sweater-soaked ass. Musta missed that one last PM.

5/01/2013 7:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon (4/30/2013 11:28 AM)

Just wondering, where were you stationed when you were expedited to Philly? If it was Groton SubBase, I was your driver.

Ed House (SS)

5/01/2013 8:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's one that Miami/Jax/Montpellier all share:

Cone training requires documenting one successful training event per year for each topic (e.g. fire drill, submerged contact management, approach and attack).

Except when something goes wrong, then they ask for all the training records the ship wasn't required to keep to prove that the ship did effective training and lambaste the ship in the report when they don't have it.

5/01/2013 10:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


USS Arkansas mid-90's, we would do GQ drills down in the engineroom...

And YES, to us bubbleheads on this bubblehead blog, the surface/skimmer Navy training doctrine on damage control is a farking joke. The first time I seen everybody running away from a casualty it made me wanna PUKE. Every ship is designed to submerge ONCE, there's a lot of us here that wanted something that would submerge more than once and not stay at test depth continually.


5/02/2013 1:54 AM

Anonymous Dardar the Submarian said...

Crush depth. . . "not stay at crush depth".

I've been to test depth. Was there for a while. I am just fine. Never tried crush depth.

I agree though. Skimmer training is most assuredly . . . something. I went to a few skimmer schools. (EW schools, because I finished all of my advanced stuff, and my chief wanted me to be away from him) Those guys were not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I outscored every one of them, and it was their "specialty".

5/02/2013 7:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected Sir! :)
I think the correct term is "not the sharpest pencil in the box". Or, they have all their colors, but they are broke. Or, they couldn't bowl a strike if you laid the pins down for them.

5/02/2013 11:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no such thing a funny or happy training admin story. As a squadron deputy once told me, "if you spend more time on the administration of a program than actually conducting the program, then your dicking it up." Only one memory that brings a smile to my face was watching the idiot Eng struggle through a ORSE training review. It was inherently obvious to everyone that he did little more than sign what was placed in front of him. The SBM wouldn't let me help as the 'puppet master' matter, I just enjoyed watching him struggle. The CO just shook and lowered his head. Best A-Gang move ever seen was TDUing their training binder right before ORSE. Instead of getting reamed...just took one records were available for review. Pretty brilliant move. I'm not sure how the old fleet boats even made it thru WW2 without LRTPs and SRTPs and Assessments! Shooting weapons and sinking ships aint no way to fight a war, admin is!

5/03/2013 12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LRTPs, SRTPs, Assessments, isn't that old news. Today its CQTM, or is it TQMC. Not sure, it all started about 5 years ago and is much better than anything we have ever had. Its not just training, its quals, small group stuff, and on and on. Its so good, that we have stopped running aground and hitting other ships!! Bottom line, nothing replaces a good CPO and an engaged Officer!!

5/03/2013 11:29 AM

Anonymous STSCS(SS/SW) USN RET said...

Ahhh, the one subject in submarines that never!

My last boat, the training instruction changed every quarter the 4½ years I was on it. What a waste of time!

My last boat was a Trident (not by choice). So I only really needed 4 training periods, ORSE Patrol, TRE patrol, pre-ORSE patrol and pre TRE patrol. I kept them and roatated the whole time I was onboard. WEPS and XO couldn't understand how or why I got them done and turned in on time. I even used the same tests over and over. They never caught on!

On the four fast boats I was on, I just developed training plans based on the deployments cycles and where we were. Make a few minor changes and presto..instant training.

The problem with submarine training admin is NUKES. Nuclear officers think they know all about training, but normally don't have a clue!!!

5/03/2013 12:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think submarine training is silly? Try recruiting training! Makes me want to eat a fucking bullet! This shit sucks! 302 days left, not that I'm counting!

5/03/2013 9:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bwahahaha! How to blow a millenial and not get anything on your uniform? Or is it a crash course in the current PS/3 games?

5/04/2013 1:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a nub, I got assigned the dubius task of being the guy to update the RPMs and track location of the books, revisions, yada, yada. I hated it but my boat got a lot of E-5 and E-6 transfers from other boats leaving the yard and I was junior guy for long time and had the RPM "job" for nearly three years.

When I took over the task, the guy who had it before me was lazy and I had piles up pages to update. PILES. By default, I got a lot of time with those books early on as a nub.

After about a year, it dawned on my that doing the RPM updates was a blessing in disquise as I ended up qualified way early back aft and over time probably had the majority of the RPMs memorized to the nth detail.

It was invaluable for exams over time. Not too many times something you get stuck with for admin ends up helping you in the long run :)

5/04/2013 5:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Admirals: Brass Creep

5/04/2013 9:44 PM

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5/05/2013 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the the brass creep link. Very interesting.

I can't imagine making the decision to stay in at say the 8-10year mark only to have the Navy pull the rug from you at 15+ years in.
Major problem with the all of nothing pension.

One of the biggest issues that enlisted never realize is that by giving up 6 years, there is ZERO money put to retirement. Then say you graduate university after getting out, you're now 10-11 years post HS and likely not one dollar in retirement. You're behind the minute you sign the papers.

Completely fucked up system.

Did the enlisted guys who got tossed out get anything or just shown the door? I'll lose every shred of respect for the Navy if they just pushed them out on the street.

5/05/2013 11:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Brass creep" is indicative of a larger problem: Civil Service is one of America's most booming industries.

People who work for government agencies, whether it's municipal, state, or federal, tend to enjoy better pay, more benefits, better pensions, and better job security than their civilian counterparts. That includes military servicemembers. This wasn't always the case, but now it is.

An E-4 nub hitting the submarine at 19-20 years old make more than most college graduates at 30 if you factor in all the benefits, and 3-4x the median income with only a high-school education. A nuke JO will be in the top 5% of income earners by the time he ends his tour. I'm not saying whether or not the pay is warranted (it is), just that it's more than what a civilian would make at that stage of his career and much more than military servicemembers were paid up through WW2.

The average Congressman makes 6 figures today. When the country was formed, they worked per-diem. The President makes $400k/year for the rest of his life.

If you're Republican you probably think that government workers are milking the system bankrupt; if you're a Democrat you think that corporate executives are under-paying their labor forces while enjoying record profits. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I know there are plenty of people looking to bash "khakis" for enjoying benefits, but they're just fighting for their small piece of the pie in a larger system.

5/08/2013 7:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was using a cheesy sea duty billet to keepers pay kicker AND live in LaMadalena. Working RadCon with an "observed" valve packing job by our version of an ORSE team. LELT senior chief gets himself contaminated but inspection team was second string and missed the jackass MMCS sticking hand in the yellow. Made him buy beer for me next day.

5/16/2013 7:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) That moment when the weekly training binder came back from the COC. You had one eye shut as the other eye peeked in for the comments from the CO/XO.

2) CSG-6: Buying breakfast for the Chief in Off-Crew at the Colonial Cafeteria or McDonalds and being home by 0700 the same day (I can say Off Crew, don't ask don't tell has been repealed). Training was hard back then.

6/26/2013 2:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 80s required per the radcon manual to train male nuke submariners about hazards to the unborn child from radiation exposure. When I asked the ENG if he knew guys can't get pregnant just got "...just do it Doc." response. Maybe be an issue in todays submarine force.

8/30/2013 9:48 AM


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