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.)

Sunday, December 01, 2013


Here's a story of a Brit Submariner who got caught doing a boondoggle -- a luxury Med cruise with his wife under the guise of "Surface Ship Familiarisation (sic)". Excerpt:
Details of Commander Dunn’s cruise, from October 24 to November 8 this year, emerged after the Ministry of Defence answered a Freedom of Information request, referring to his voyage as a ‘Surface Ship Familiarisation’ mission.
The trip was sanctioned under the Merchant Navy Liaison Voyage Scheme, designed to foster relations between the Navy and commercial vessels. In the past 12 months, 53 Royal Navy and Royal Marines officers have taken advantage of the scheme.
Commander Dunn was the commanding officer of HMS Vigilant, a Vanguard-class submarine that is part of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent. He was awarded an OBE in 2009.
This is a pretty good boondoggle, but this was one that had official sanction from higher-ups who knew what was going on; the story says that over 50 officers have done something similar. Some of the better stories I've heard have come from guys who pulled on over on their chain of command and got the sweetest of deals paid for without taking any leave. (One of our riders on the Topeka '92-'93 Westpac ended up staying in Phukett for several weeks after he left the boat and met us on the beach when we showed up for a liberty call; he claimed he paid for the trip, but I wasn't buying it.) My best boondoggle was convincing CENTCOM to send me and my relief as the Individual Augmentee J5 Coalition Financial Officer to Warsaw for a week to work with the Poles, but I actually got a lot of work done on that trip.

What's the best boondoggle you ever got?


Anonymous Doug @ said...

2.5 years at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA as a "student".

Hey, I got a degree in Weapons Systems Engineering and I did a follow-on tour as a Weps. But I think I got a lot more from Monterey than the Navy got from me.

12/01/2013 6:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Submarine advisory committee for Keflavik Iceland. Basically, 5-6 days stationed at NAS Keflavik helping P3s and German submarines hunt for participating US SSNs. Even got a NAM out of it!

12/01/2013 7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pulled in to Yokosuka between ops and was being augmented for school at Pearl. Flew out of Yokosuka and arrived in Pearl where I realized the yeomen had "screwed up" (wink, wink) my orders giving me 10 free days in HI before I had to report for school. No one who cared was ever the wiser.

12/01/2013 8:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every school I have ever attended was a boondoggle - including prototype.

12/01/2013 9:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awarded an OBE in 2009?
Overcome By Events? hehehehe...


12/01/2013 9:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Broke my arm in a motorcycle accident in '85 got out of PNH with a brace screwed on to my arm. No one ar SIMA Norfolk could figure out what to do with a one armed MM1 so I was told to muster in person on Monday morning and phone muster the rest of the week some idiot actually put that in writing, so off I go to PT to arrange PT for Monday afternoons. Then home to Maryland for the rest of the week. This happy situation lasted 10 weeks until the brace came off. Then they decided they needed a night babysitter for one of the barracks, why I couldn't do this with the brace on no one could ever figure out. I had to muster the duty section at 1600. The I was on call until midnight, actually worked for about 30 minutes a day for my last 6 months in.

12/01/2013 10:12 PM

Blogger Sammy Young said...

I talked my XO into letting me go TAD to a course that I really didn't need at Meridian NAS in Mississippi, which is only a couple hours away from New Orleans. What made it a TRUE boondoggle was it was during Mardi Gras and didn't figure that part out!

12/02/2013 3:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In between prototype and reporting to my boat when I showed up to squardron for check-in my boat was not do back for 6 weeks.

The squadron chief who was getting out of the Navy explicity said to "enjoy the next six weeks"

Sucked when that deal came to an end :)

12/02/2013 4:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geo-Bach'ing on a boat in Hawaii, with my family in WA. Did a 5-month SRA at PSNS (there with my family), and even managed to get...Wait for it....Wait for it...Family Separation Allowance (FSA). Never expected it, never asked for it...Just got it, and nobody ever asked for it back.

12/02/2013 7:44 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Two weeks in Plymouth, England as a watchstander in the Channel Ops Center during Exercise Ocean Safari. Stood a eight hour watch but had plenty of time to see the sights around Plymouth and do shopping for the family back home. I also missed two weeks of an overhaul. Two of the JOs were watchstanders in Northwood in London so they had an even better deal.

12/02/2013 10:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Five letters and one word:

NROTC Instructor !!!

12/02/2013 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boondoggles existed in Caesar's army. Yet, it is extremely rare for a military leader to approve a single one at the insistence of any volunteer(s).

Don't forget the budgetary reason pressing modern militaries in countries like the U.S. to encourage travel (familiariztion) and training (billet readiness) before a fiscal year ends. With another round of sequestration looming, this longstanding practice promises to become more transparent to those on active duty, while less apparent to ordinary civilians.

There have also been many, many cases of apparent boondoggles for which some participants were never apprised of, nor even managed to guess, true objectives. More often than not, these have occured under stories for cover of of code-named "projects' that while they have not been heard of later, we are not at liberty to discuss.

M. Hills

12/02/2013 11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tore ligaments in my ankle while I was at Dive School in Pearl and was summarily medically disqualified. Boat was on WestPac, so I was sent back to Point Loma where the Squadron off-crew coordinator told me to follow my PT schedule and muster once/week-day . . . for two months. Once the OCC did have the audacity to have me take a van and fill it up with gas.

Best part was when the boat arrived back at Point Loma - looking to hose me for getting "a good deal" - I had just started dive school again. LOL

12/02/2013 5:00 PM

Anonymous Navy Recruiting Sucks! said...

Biggest boondoggle in the Navy is being a career recruiter. They don't go to sea, get special duty pay for being a CRFer. They are senior to the fleet guys coming in and treat them like crap.

These civilians on permanent shore duty even can get advanced to E7, E8 and even E9. As an E9, these department E9s get paid big bucks to collect numbers! If they don't get the numbers they want, some poor real Sailor gets destroyed.

My last two "Chief Recruiters" had over 25 years since they were last at sea.

I can't help but laugh my ass off at a CRFer retiring and acting like he is this leader of Sailors and like they have been at sea all this time!

Now, they even have a CRFer officer corps called HR officers! To bad CNRC is a "Career Recruiter." She has no warfare or USS in her bio!

For real Sailors, recruiting is a 36 month living hell! My worst day at sea will ALWAYS be better than my best day in recruiting!

12/02/2013 8:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me whole bloomin' career. All 30 years of it. The best, however, was when I landed in Magaluf on a Tuesday and the boat I was to meet got delayed for a full week. I was left there to rot on my own for the next seven days..........Have a closet full of Daquiri Palace shirts to this day!

12/03/2013 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two tours on a shore duty ever and still got sea pay!

12/03/2013 9:31 PM

Blogger Gunner Goz said...

Completed Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer school in Memphis, was given thirty days paid leave prior to reporting to NAS Moffett Field for advanced maintenance management training and when I got to Moffett, they were just shutting down for an extended Christmas/New Year break, so I was told to come back in another 30 days. When I asked about my original 30 days leave, they said don't worry about it and it was never even taken off my books. So I ended up with 60 days of paid vacation before I eventually reported back to Moffett and discovered that the "advanced" training was a re-hash of what I'd already had at Millington. When I told them that, they said, "take the next couple weeks off then come back." So there were two more weeks of paid vacation. Finally, once I came back, they packed me off to join my VP squadron at Barbers Point. That squadron had just returned from a 6 month WestPac and was not scheduled to go out again for 18 months. When I got there they were just instituting very liberal post-deployment leave policy and they asked me if I wanted a couple of weeks off. By then even a lazy ensign like me was fed up with time off and I stuck around and pulled some lightweight duty officer watches, considering flight ops were basically nil at the time. It was weirdly frustrating since I'd joined up thinking I'd be a busy beaver. Later, once the deployment cycle began all over, I really missed all that time off.

12/04/2013 1:59 AM

Anonymous Brandon STS2 said...

Between BESS and STS "A" school there was a 4-5 week period where I was assigned to a work detail, I spent the first couple of days waxing every floor in Groton. Then one morning I get sent to MWR to stuff welcome packets. The next day I get sent back, the FT1 was like "What the fuck are you doing here, I only needed you one day" He laughed and said "Nub, I'm going to hook you up, go to mcdonalds and get a cheese danish and coffee, get yourself something too" Until "A" School started, I would check in there, get breakfast, maybe change a light bulb or something, then go to the gym, and fuck off the rest of the day.

12/04/2013 8:58 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

NSTC PAC on Ford Island for OPWACHEM. Two weeks of work, six weeks off. Duty once a month was to open the Ford Island building. I had to do it twice one month, and they didn't schedule me to do it again for 6 months because I got "screwed". LOL

Best job in the Navy. Ever. I started delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut just to pass the time.

12/04/2013 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got stationed at NAVMAC for my last tour - Oct 01/May 04. Finished the last 2/3rds of my bachelors degree and got a masters degree. Took four classes at a time and went to "work" and did school work. Moved and went to work for a defense firm while I was still on terminal leave.

12/04/2013 2:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After DH tour, PCSing to a deploying expeditionary strike group, where we stayed in flats and received per diem at over $100/day, in addition to mostly tax free, receiving hazardous duty pay, and investing with the guaranteed 10% return on the "Desert Shield" savings program....oh yeah, and TSP limits change from 16k or so to almost 50k so you can live almost like there is no tomorrow and invest like nobody's business.

12/05/2013 6:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

any word on the 0-7 Boards which from what I understand, we held recently....

12/05/2013 8:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember transferring to Hawaii back in 1990. The family and I stayed in a hotel on Waikiki collecting that big TLA check for 45 days!

With all that extra cash, we paid off all the bills and took scuba lessons and still had cash over for equipment. It was a very good tour on Oahu!!!

12/05/2013 8:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on a boat out of Pearl Harbor. I began having problems with my right ear . I ended up having a surgery at Tripler that didn't go too well. I got medically cleared to return to the boat. A couple of days later we left for Westpac. My ear got worse as we were underway. We pulled into Okinawa and I flew back to Pearl. I was put in X-div at NSSC. One morning I was told to go see the CMC of NSSC (CDMCM Mitch Erhardt). He told me we were going across the street to see the Force Master Chief at SUBPAC for an interview. For the next three years I worked in the front office at SUBPAC, working for the Admiral, Chief of Staff, and Force Master Chief. Not a bad gig at all for a nuke machinist mate!

12/05/2013 9:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teaching at the Naval Academy. Loved teaching; loved the area; great for the family; managed to finish grad school at night; end of tour there coincided with retirement.

12/05/2013 7:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boondoggle at sea. CVN-70 as LPO of QM Div. Assigned to teach TDY JO's by order of the Navigator during WESTPAC. Off the watchbill conducting classroom and practical application of celestial navigation. After 3 months of this, switched for a new passle of JO's for 2nd half of WESTPAC. QMCM massivley pissed and tried to get Navigator to change his mind. During port visits not on inport watchbill. Had a blast and got a NAM out if it despite QMCM's best efforts to kill it.

12/06/2013 7:13 AM

Blogger Steve Meyer said...

Second the earlier comment re: "NROTC Instructor" with my own twist. Send as 'Midshipman Coordinator' to Pearl Harbor for 6 weeks during the summer. Golfed every damn day of it. Hickam AFB has gorgeous course even with a 0630 tee time.

12/06/2013 9:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torpedo practice at AUTEC and had some additional coner testing that required a bunch of riders. They picked 5 of us to stay ashore. Navy sent us to the NAS in Boca Raton, set us up in our own barracks and rented us a station wagon. Spent a week and a half on the beach in Key West on the government's dime.

12/06/2013 11:24 AM

Blogger nate said...

One of the JOs on my first boat left the boat a week early so that he could "get started with PNEO studies", get qualified Engineer before the end of offcrew, and the "soak up the duty" at the end of refit while the rest of us were wrapping up the Engineer's exam.

The boat got extended on patrol for another week. We had to cover another boat's alert time because they were still broken. So the guy essentially got another week away from the boat.

So dude is over at the training facility "studying for the exam", but since it's self-paced & the facility is open round the clock, he starts "coming in at night" to study. Months passed with no sigh of the guy. We would write messages in the dust on his study desk, and they'd be there days later.

PNEO comp exam came around, and dude begged off saying that "he wasn't ready to take it". Well, no kidding, he never came into work. In his defense he "came down with migraines".

So now that he "has migraines" he can't make the next patrol. We leave him in port and go back out to sea.

We come back from sea & go over to EHW for a strategic offload. One month later all of the missiles went bye-bye, and we haven't seen a hint of the dude.

One of the other JOs starts pulling the strings & he asks NSSC if they've seen the guy, and they said "We thought he was assigned to Squadron". We ask the Squadron guys and they say "We thought he was assigned to NSSC".

That kicked off some administrative action, the dude was eventually rounded up, and a couple months later after a refit & a shipyard prep period the dude shows up to tell us that he's getting medically discharged. Because it's an "involuntary" separation the Navy was giving him $50,000 in severance.

Bottom line: Dude literally doesn't show up to work for 9 months, collects full Lieutenant pay, including sea pay & sub pay, gets $50,000 & VA benefits for the rest of his life.

12/06/2013 11:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's real low, but he's a genious for pulling it off.

12/06/2013 5:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 12/06/2013 11:24 AM

“... Navy sent us to the NAS in Boca Raton, set us up in our own barracks and rented us a station wagon. Spent a week and a half on the beach in Key West on the government's dime”.

Boca Raton is north of Fort Lauderdale and over 200 miles from Key West.

How did that work?

12/08/2013 5:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe he misspoke, should have said "NAS Boca Chica"

12/10/2013 7:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best boondoggle ever? 3 months as a lifeguard on the beach (Officer and Enlisted beach) at Dam Neck while waiting to class up for A school. TAD to the Beach, no duty, after 40 hours was paid 5.50 per hour by MWR. Oh the memories!!!

12/10/2013 8:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Boca Raton is north of Fort Lauderdale and over 200 miles from Key West.

How did that work?

12/08/2013 5:45 PM"

It was over 30 years ago and most of the time there was in an alcoholic haze. It was Boca Chica NAS.

12/19/2013 8:37 AM

Anonymous Michael Altieri said...

Emergency Welding School in San Diego. Was TAD for 4 months after qualifying at S1C and before reporting aboard Lewis & Clark. Normal working hours were 06:00 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. Command prohibited us from welding in the afternoon due to heat conditions. Was out on Mission Beach or Coronado everyday by 12:30 with a cold beer in the hand, sucking up the sunshine, and hanging out with the USD and SDST coeds. Best 4 months of my 10 year Naval career

12/24/2013 8:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he meant NAS Boca Chica which is on Stock Island connected to Key West.

12/31/2013 5:58 PM


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