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.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This Sounds Like It's From The Onion...

...but it's not. From a story on the actual, verified webpage:
NORFOLK (NNS) -- In order to generate innovative ideas on how to best maintain the capabilities and capacity of the Navy and mitigate risks in an era of constrained resources, the Navy is hosting an online collaborative event to solicit input from a broad, diverse audience.
cap2con MMOWGLI - or Capacity, Capabilities and Constraints Massive Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet - seeks creative ideas to spread mission requirements across the active, reserve and civilian forces to keep "warfighting first."
The game will be played in two phases: Phase I - an idea discovery phase - will take place Nov. 4 - 10. Phase II, which will focus on further refining the ideas from Phase I, will be played Dec. 2 - 8.
cap2con MMOWGLI is sponsored by the Chief of Navy Reserve, Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC), Office of Naval Research and the Naval Postgraduate School.
"Some of the best ideas come from the deck plate," said Vice Adm. Robin Braun, chief of Navy Reserve. "I believe this exercise will draw out ideas that can help the Navy best leverage the talents of our active and reserve component Sailors."
Results of the game will be used to inform high-level discussions about future Navy force structure, strategies and capabilities across the active, reserve and civilian components.
The internet "card-based" game is easy to play. Root cards start off the game, and players build on, counter, refine or seek further information by placing their own cards on top of root cards.
Promising "card chains" form the basis for action plans that further develop the participants' ideas. Participants can play for as little or as long as they want, 24-hours a day, from any internet browser.
For those competitive "gamers," leader boards recognize players with special achievements and bragging rights, all in good fun.
"Internet crowdsourcing games are gaining traction helping the Navy to address some of its more challenging problems," said Rear Adm. Scott Jerabek, commander, NWDC. "The CNO's Reducing Administrative Distractions (RAD) initiative received nearly 1,500 ideas, had more than 7,600 comments posted on these ideas, and 91,000 votes casted to help easily identify the top ideas. We are looking forward to similar collaboration in cap2con MMOWGLI to address this very serious challenge for all of us."
Interested players can sign up at anytime and will be notified once the game is open for play Nov. 4.
Anyone gonna play this newest version of Buzzword Bingo? They even have a blog so you can learn more! And a portal with a link to a video and a .ppt!

I'm guessing "we need to kill more enemy troops" won't be one of the major conclusions coming out of this one; I've got a sneaking suspicion the game is set up to yield results like "increase acceptance and celebration of diversity" and whatnot.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

News From The NSL Symposium And Other Submarine News

With the Naval Submarine League symposium going on last week, there's a lot of interesting submarine news on the web. Here's a roundup:

1) Enlisted women could start reporting to submarines as early as 2016. I expect this will be more problematic that the integration of female officers -- due to berthing and maturity concerns (not wanting to sound elitist, but, c'mon, anyone who's been around Navy female enlisted women recognize that there are, in general, certain differences between them and female officers in various areas relating to self-control and considerations of the long-term effects of decisions they may make...). I hope I'm wrong. (My data set is based on one deployment aboard an aircraft carrier in 2000.)

2) VADM Connor warns of a submarine shortfall due to the upcoming retirement of Los Angeles-class boats. The "we might have to extend the service life of some boats" suggestion always worries me, since a LID boat has obvious tactical liabilities -- unless they've got more engineering data that says they can increase hull life safely or have figured out a way to anneal the hull.

3) A very good .ppt presentation of the future direction of the Virginia class and Ohio Replacement can be found here. Here's a cool slide from the presentation:

Here's an article discussing this slide.

4) Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the grounding of USS Hartford (SSN 768) off La Madd. As I've mentioned before, that one was kind of personal for me.

5) Interesting story from Down Under about an O-Boat Cold War mission that almost went very bad.

6) Topside watchstanders in Norfolk reportedly are now required to wear life jackets at all times as a result of the tragic loss of a USS Boise (SSN 764) crewmember in July. Not sure if the change is being implemented Forcewide.

7) Lastly, in Meridian, Idaho, local retired Submarine Officers are still able to reduce property values throughout their neighborhood but putting up gaudy decorations for Halloween, although with their sons off at various schools they don't feel the need to put up roof inflatables anymore:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Humevac Video And Other News

Here's some IR video of a Coast Guard HUMEVAC from an unidentified 688i about 160nm west of San Diego:

Speaking of SSNs, here's a story about which two boats are going to be the first attack submarines to get female officers. Am I correct in assuming the Virginia's have 4 WRSRs? (I left EB before that module showed up on Virginia so I'm not sure.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Odd Surface Ships

With today being the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attack on USS Cole (DDG 67), I was looking through some material and saw this picture of Cole being carried home by MV Blue Marlin:

Other pictures of Blue Marlin show it carrying lots of interesting large loads that would be fairly unusual to see through a periscope. Probably the most unexpected thing I saw was when I was on USS Topeka (SSN 754) doing a Mission Vital to National Security off the coast of Country Orange. We were taking over from the previous watchsection that was led by the Nav, who had notoriously bad eyesight. He was on the 'scope, and turned over to me to look at the "trawler" that was our only visual contact; he had assigned it a masthead height of 50 feet, giving it a range of about 6000 yards. I took a look and realized it was a very small powerboat, and the "mast" was a guy sitting on a bench in the middle of the boat -- MHH ~ 5 feet. You do the math.

What's the strangest thing you've ever seen through the periscope?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tacking On Dolphins -- A "Good" Tradition?

Check out this letter to Navy Times decrying the "death" of Navy Tradition due to the influences of PC thought. Excerpts:
He made sure that promotions were celebrated with an appropriate “wetting down”; crows, dolphins and wings were tacked on as a sign of respect from those already so celebrated; chiefs were promoted in solemn ceremony after being “initiated” by their fellow brethren; and only those worthy were allowed to earn the title “shellback.”...
...In lieu of flowers, the family of Navy Tradition has asked that all sailors who have earned their shellback and drunk their dolphins; who remember sore arms from where their crows were tacked on and were sent on a search for “relative bearing grease” or a length of “water line”; who’ve been through chiefs’ initiation or answered ship’s call in a bar fight in some exotic port of call, to raise a toast one more time and remember Navy Tradition in his youth and grandeur.
What do you think? Are the various "hazing" rituals that many of us old-timers went through an important part of establishing and maintaining unit camaraderie, or just a way for us to bully the NUBs? I went through a "real" Shellback initiation in on USS Topeka (SSN 754) in 1991 (and was on the other end of one in 1993 where we shaved the letters "XO" into the XO's back and several Wogs lost portions of eyebrows), and thought the ridiculous PC one I saw on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in 2000 wasn't worth anything, but a case could be made that the "old way" didn't really add anything to a boat's efficiency. As I've said before, Submariners are very good at welcoming those who fit in as brothers (and now, sisters), but we're pretty ruthless at getting rid of those who don't really fit in with the culture -- or at least we used to be. Personally, I think that the various "tests" we did to discover if the new crew member would really make a good Submariner, or might be better off exercising his particular talents on a surface vessel, were worthwhile. On the other hand, making someone risk alcohol poisoning to get his dolphins maybe wasn't as useful. YMMV.