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, August 09, 2006

A More Representative Submariner

While the news is full of reporting (and guessing) about an allegedly secret-selling submariner, it's important to remember that he's an outlier -- way more than three standard deviations from the mean. A more representative example of a submariner can be found over at Navy NewsStand -- CS2(SS) Matthew Julian of the USS San Francisco (SSN 711), currently serving as an IA with the Afghanistan Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Sharana. Here's his story:
As a culinary specialist assigned to the submarine USS San Francisco, Julian didn’t expect the tour to include a rotation in the mountains of Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee, pulled from his normal job to directly support Operation Enduring Freedom.
But despite being an IA deployed more than eight thousand feet above sea level and half a world away from his boat’s homeport of Bremerton Wash., Julian found that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.
Julian was selected for the Command Advancement Program by Cdr. Dave Ogburn, the Commanding Officer of USS San Francisco, and on June 15 was promoted to Culinary Specialist Second-Class.
Learning of his CAP advancement, Julian said, “It is such an honor to be the only submariner CAP-ed in Afghanistan and recognized at such a high level. I am ecstatic about the promotion to Petty Officer Second Class and am grateful for the crew of the USS San Francisco.”
“When we sat down and reviewed his performance onboard, we saw that he was the right choice,” said Ogburn. “He is a Sailor who takes responsibility and takes charge. When I talked with Cdr. Varney in Afghanistan, that confirmed his performance is continuing out there.”
Cdr. Michael Varney, the commanding officer of the Sharana Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan, performed the ceremony and pinned on Julian’s second-class petty-officer crows.
The story has some pictures, too. Here's hoping Petty Officer Julian and all his desert shipmates get home safely.


Blogger Skippy-san said...

Considering both his PRT CO and he are doing something they have no business doing, out doing an Army mission that can and should be staffed by Army Civil Affairs units or NGO's, its nice to see someone get something for the effort.

I remain steadfast in my opposition to IA's as masking the real failure of the current mamagement to properly resource both the Army and the Navy for their world wide missions.

This guy got 2 weeks in Fort Jackson and got shipped off to Afghanistan. Its wrong.

I'm glad he got recognized. Wonder if others will think they can get advanced by volunteering for an IA.

8/10/2006 3:29 AM

Blogger rachelrolen said...


I do agree with you to a certain extent. To be honest I don't really understand why they would send him maybe I missed something. However, my husband gets nominated for IAs all the time. The first one we thought he would just be sitting in an office in Bahrain or Kuwait or something but he would have been in Iraq. Then after a couple more came around and another nav ET same command got sent and he was again nominated to go to Qatar he tried volenteering for it. If only just so he wouldn't have to get sent to Iraq. Simply said he joined the Navy not the Army. Don't get me wrong I think somewhere inside he wants to go. Just so he feels like he's contributing more then basically babysitting the nukes down here ( no offense bubblehead ).

I can say though the IAs he's been nominated for the training would have been more then 2 weeks. It would have been more around 4 mnths and actual in theater time was maybe 5 or 6 mnths. I suppose it just depends on your job.

About that sailor trading secrets I read some other posts about other incidents people had and it reminded me of something my husband had said about some yeoman who was on his boat who was actually russian I guess. He would wear some Russian hat around the boat. That furry one that sits on top of the head and when he was trying to do quals or something he was asking questions about things he either shouldn't have been asking about or had nothing at all to do with the task at hand. If I remeber correctly he wasn't on the boat very long after that.

8/10/2006 12:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soldiers and sailors get sent on these missions because somebody who has access to the mission goal statement thought people with certain qualities, training and temperment could contribute positively to the sucessful completion of the mission whether it's rebuilding infrastructure or winning hearts and minds.

Everyone in uniform is an ambassador of the US for good or bad as they choose. As such we have an obligation to do our jobs as well as we can regardless of our feelings about the conditions that cause us to be where we are.

This PO2 did exactly that, and will probably continue to exhibit those qualities that make his parents, his shipmates, and this fellow American proud.

Thanks Joel for spreading this word.

8/10/2006 2:36 PM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

Would that the IA process is so selective. However, I knew a person who volunteered to go to an IA and he did not get sent to the IA he was supposedly assigned to. The Amry uses the Navy's contributions to fill their holes on Joint Manning Documents etc

8/10/2006 3:34 PM

Blogger rachelrolen said...

Lee Hickerson

While I would like to be able to completely agree with you, I've seen the actual message sent out. At least the print out of the e-mail. They could care less if he's good with kids or can place brick and mortar down correctly. It's general. They ask for names of any specific rate depending on the job. As well as a command and personal impact statment. Then based on that they make thier decision. If it weren't for the fact that hubby's office is a couple sailors deep then he would have most likely been sent.
Of course that doesn't mean that while he was on the boat he didn't do his job to the best of his abilities. I'm sure he did. I just don't think it's good PR for the CO to come out and say, "well we did it because we felt bad. " etc

Hopefully this experience for him will enrich his life and his time in the Navy.

FYI When it comes to the IAs I'm the one who complains about it. More so after those two soldiers were kidnapped. He does agree with me to a certain extent but only because after many years of training he knows what's good for him. And telling me I'm wrong wouldn't be.

8/10/2006 6:53 PM

Blogger lazlong said...

I know Julian, seeing as how I served with him for several years on board the San Fran. First of all, congrats to him, he deserves this promotion (a lot of people on that crew do, they are the best). He makes friends everywhere he goes, he is very trustworthy, and is a great guy. He will do well where he is (he was afraid about going, but excited at the same time). If there is anyone that I know that will gain the trust of the locals there, he is the one.

8/10/2006 9:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Sailor currently stationed onboard USS SAN FRANCISCO, I can asure you that CS2 Julian was not command advanced because he is an IA. He was Command Advanced because he is an outstanding Sailor. His performance while onboard has been supurb and continued at his command in Afghanistan. The take away from his command advancement should be that top performing Sailors deserve to be recognized for their performance and even though CS2 Julian was TAD, his performance was not forgotten. His command makes sure to keep in touch with him and his family. It is important that the parent command of every IA look out for their Sailors and their families.

8/12/2006 5:55 PM

Blogger lazlong said...

Damn right to my former shipmate that is on the San Fran! Like I said, Julian definatly deserved it, and I am proud that he is IA, it speaks well of the sub force that one of our own would put himself in that kind of position.

8/13/2006 3:14 PM

Blogger rachelrolen said...

Excuse my cynicism towards the command motives. Having been around commands who hand out awards etc like it's candy or a cheap piece of paper, to being around commands who could care less as long as you don't make someone else look bad. I don't remeber detracting away from his actual job performance just the command.
I'm am willing to fully admit that ever since we came down to the ass crack of the south my view on how the command treats people has gotten worse. My initial point wasn't about CAP or why he got it was about the IA process.

To my knowledge and I'll wait until tomorrow to ask hubby, it doesn't matter what force, if your nominated and all lights are basically green the IA fairy bestows a trip where ever it may be, on you.

If he honestly deserves it then awesome congrats and I hope he comes home soon and safely. I'm more then happy to sing the praises of those who deserve it.

But I'm just as quick to criticize those who don't (like someone down here who just got arrested during a police/chat underage deal). My only excuse, I'm a chick it's my job. J/K

How about them Bears...losing to the that's a crime! Thank god it's pre-season.

8/13/2006 10:29 PM

Blogger lazlong said...


I fully understand why you are cynical, you sound like a nukes wife (in Charleston, of course you are), and how some people on boats get awards for nothing, and the people who deserve it don't get anything. I (we all) have been there, and understand fully how frusturating it can be to see some dude get an award, or a CAP, just to fill a quota for the year, because the people who deserve it belong to a division that the CO is mad at right now...

Anyway, believe me that I am very critical of cooks getting a lot of awards, we have all heard of the NAM that the cook got for making a great cake that made the CO look good to the riders, while the nukes who were in shift work to fix some shipyard mistake, or the sonar div doing some emergency crap, or wepons department as a whole pulling a miracle out of their ass to get the ship underway go unrewarded for one reason or another. But this cook deserves it, he doesn't just sit in the galley and cook (well, he didn't up to the time I left the boat back in April 2005), he did a lot of stuff.

Sorry for the rant, but you know how it is, you go through life and death with some dudes, and you know that you will do anything for them to praise them for their accomplishments.

Is it football season again? Damn, I need to turn on the TV every once in a while!

8/14/2006 5:34 PM

Blogger rachelrolen said...

Actually my husband is a Nav ET we are just at a nuke command. When it comes to rewards I don't care what rate you are just the reasons for the award. But, like I said my comments were about the IA process not him. I just didn't really understand why they sent him ...was wondering if I missed what he was doing over there, since most IAs I hear and see are for more technical jobs..for lack of a better term. The CSs on his old boat don't need to do any better, he already eats better deployed then I do. But, can't complain there are a million ways to cook Ramen.

Well it's pre-season. The only making me feel better about them losing to the 49ers. I mean come on!!
See I don't have my ritual foam hat and lucky socks.

8/14/2006 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just so everyone doesn't get the wrong impression from that article let me set some things straight. And I speak from first hand knowledge since I was at the same FOB as Julian and met him first hand. One, he isn't a bad guy and does his best as a cook. Don't think one second he is out putting his life on the line or any of that. He never leaves the wire. Two, that Commander of his is a moron. It looks more like the Navy trying to dump their idiot onto the Army. I have never seen a more incompetent officer in all my time in the service. While Julian is a credit to the Submarine community and goes out of his way to help the guys going out his Commander is an exact opposite.

9/24/2006 7:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Julian is a fine example of the cooks on the subs, I am surprised anyone survives at sea. He is lazy, arrogant and a lousy NCO. He should read the NCO creed, and then listen to it. He would rather give food to the local national's than to the soldiers that lay there lifes on the line every day.

11/22/2006 2:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julian is a cook that boils water and drops bagged food in boiling water. So, he boils water-that is not cooking. They refuse to cook, except for themselves after hours. The Fob Sharana food is the absolute worst, and I am speaking from experience.

11/22/2006 10:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

im happy for julian that he got a promotion but it was definetly a PR stunt because he didnt earn it here. he only cooks food and not well for that matter. all the cooks do here is microwave food and might i add its a poor microwaving. julian doesnt even leave the wire and has very little to do with the mission here, a mission that is so screwed up it makes the CO look perfect. the CO is even worse than julian, however people keep saying he's the best of the best. if these two personnel are the finest the navy has to offer for this mission, the PRT mission is at serious risk for failure!! both incompetent and not at all qualified for their jobs, putting the people around them at risk!!

11/22/2006 10:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second what the above person said... it is bad when you refuse to give the soldiers that go out everyday as much as a case of water... yet the local nationals get food, drinks and so much more from Master Semen Collector Julian... just remember everyone... first impressions can be deceiving...

11/22/2006 10:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First and formost LTC. Varney is as stupid as stupid does. The XO is even more stupid. Masterchief Beke leaves his 9mm pistol for the afgans to play hide and seek. That damn idiot. Dont get me started on the lazy people in the aloc who call themselves supply. LTC. Varney has no sense of direction. The only reason he is here is for himself. He dont care anything about the soldiers. Were the ones who put their lives on the line not that faggot. I think he is in love with the governor of pakitika. Hes even start to smell like one of them. I dont trust him as far as i throw him. He is not a good leader. His mustache looks gay. Gay gay gay.

11/22/2006 11:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I say fuck this PRT. All we are doing is wasting our time making the DEPT of the navy look good. NAVY that has no business doing in the desert. All they do is "Lead us in to the battle" and suck each others dick.

11/24/2006 8:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bubblehead, Julian can see the montains, but never has he been to them-that would require him to leave the FOB.Secondly, our FOB is under 8,000 feet. Maybe on your boat he was a good cook and fine sailor, but here he is not. He has let that CAP go to his head, and quite possibly has been promoted to his level of incompetence. He started good, at the beginning of this pump,and has steadily gone down hill ever since the CAP. I cannot give you a reason why, only that we have pointed it out to him and he is arrogant and unprofessional. If the E9 Beke, whom no one knows what his job is had a set of balls, he could guide Julian and mold him into an NCO-or bust him back to where he was an asset. I say all this not to snub the Navy, because most of them have performed as well or better than the Army, but to set the record straight on Julian and the misguided who write about him.

11/26/2006 9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the Navy E9 Beke, he needs to Refrad asap, and retire. He is ineffective as a leader, and a disgrace to the armed forces. I think he would make a great shoe salesman somewhere, but not on the East Coast-PLEASE. He serves no purpose, has no title or job, he just exists and takes up space. GO HOME BEKE!

11/26/2006 9:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the rest of the Navy in PRT Sharana-keep up the good work. Army of PRT Sharana, less than five more months to go-HOOAH.

11/26/2006 9:18 AM

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