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, April 29, 2007

Surprising Submarine Officer Detailing News!

Shocked... yes, shocked I was to read about the new CO of USS Virginia (SSN 774) in The Day:
Cmdr. Todd W. Cramer turned over the command of the attack submarine USS Virginia to Cmdr. James P. Waters III Friday.
The change of command ceremony for the Virginia (SSN 774) was held at the Naval Submarine Base.
Cramer led Virginia, the first ship of its class, on its first deployment. Waters was previously assigned as the submarine executive officer detailer at Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn.
[Emphasis mine] I'm sure CDR Waters will be an excellent CO of a new, sea-going submarine -- but just once wouldn't you like to see the PXO detailer pick up an old boat going into DMP for his command tour? But, as the detailers always said, I'm sure that there's no relation at all between who you work for on shore duty and the relative desirability of your sea duty orders.


Blogger Chap said...

I'm shocked. Shocked, I am. Right there on Integrity Drive and everything.

Speaking of detailer stories, you know about the Auburn deal, right?

4/30/2007 12:43 AM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Please, fill us in. Love the scuttlebutt.

4/30/2007 5:50 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

No, what's the Auburn deal?

I've been really, really mad at detailers in general ever since I took orders to be a Shift Eng at MTS Charleston because they said that would give me choice of homeport for DH, and when time came for DH orders, they said "did you get it in writing?" (The guy who said that got orders to be NR-1 Eng for his DH tour.)

4/30/2007 5:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly HATE detailers. ALL of them and YES it is personal. I hope all of them go to.............I won't say it because I know all three of my kids read their fathers blog so I won't say that wonderful word that would describe exactly how I feel towards those(insert what ever word you would like to) detailers. Now all I can say is that "Tiny" Bubbles needs to buy me basket.

4/30/2007 6:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite episode: my detailer told me, in person, "There are only two places you can go in the Navy--Korea or Pakistan. Either you and I can pick, or I can pick."
Clearly there were more than two since I went to a CARGRU.

4/30/2007 7:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loathe detailers...may they burn in a very warm place for all eternity. First they send a long line of dirtbags to my boat over a three year stretch. Then when it comes my time to transfer, I oddly get choices of crap, crappier and crappiest. I chose civilian and don't regret it.

4/30/2007 9:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, this o5 wifey thought the same thing! I was wondering if Waters would take a hit here.

4/30/2007 10:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the worst officer detailer stories I've heard involved Joe B, a submarine officer. After graduating from Department Head ("DH") School in Groton, CT, Joe and his family headed west for his new assignment in Bangor, WA. At about the same time, a DH in Groton was relieved for cause and the detailers, in their wisdom, decided Joe was the man for the job. Unfortunately, Joe and his family were already on the Interstate somewhere in the western U.S. No problem--the detailer called the state police and asked them to be on the lookout. Imagine Joe's surprise when he got pulled over by a state trooper and told to call his detailer--who promptly sent Joe and his family back across the U.S. to Groton--with a speeding ticket courtesy of the previously alerted state trooper. To top it off, Joe's household goods were already in Bangor and the USN didn't want to pay to ship them back to Groton because the detailer had changed Joe's PCS orders to reflect a Groton (school) to Groton (submarine) move.

After that, whenever the detailers would come to give a road show, I could always make them squirm by saying I knew Joe B.

4/30/2007 1:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, detailers, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways...

As an ensign, I asked for an SSN on the west coast. So they sent me to one in a refueling overhaul at PSNS. As soon as we finished that little slice of heaven, she went back to her homeport of Norfolk...

As a department head, my name shows up on a message inviting me (and about 100 other officers) to apply for the MIT-WHOI joint program. So I research it, jump through all the hoops to apply and get accepted by MIT. Then the list comes out and there's only two names on it (when there are four slots available each year) and mine isn't one of them. So I call up the WHOI guy at BUPERS to ask what was wrong with my application and he tells me the sub detailers scratched my name. So I call up my detailer and ask him WTF, over. He tells me "the force can't spare me" and I need to go to the Pentagon. Unfortunately for him, I'd read the instruction, like a good little anal nuke, and I pointed out that he was required to scratch me off the initial message. Each community's detailers got a chop on it and if they left you on and you got accepted, they were required to cut you the orders. He responded: "We don't read those messages, we just sign off on them." This to an Engineer with a foot tall stack of QA packages on the desk in front of him, evey one requiring him to put his rear end on the line with a signature! When I pointed out the irony, my detailer responded: "That's not the same thing at all!"
My response: "It is to me, jackass."

The conversation went down hill from there...

4/30/2007 2:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all fairness to Waters, wouldn't Naval Reactors, Chief of Staff CAPT McBrearty, and the Squadron Four commodore CAPT Breckenridge have to sign off on these orders?

That said, I'm just a wife, but it is my impression that my husband's recent CO orders were decided by his chief of staff. I believe he had very little interaction with his detailer.

4/30/2007 3:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved my detailer. As an E-5 he warned me that sea shore rotation for me would result in 17 years of sea duty for a 22 year career. I took the hint and went to civlant.
Duke of Earl

4/30/2007 3:23 PM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

I happened to have a guarantee in writing from the detailers (in pdf). When time came to exercise my documented option, they seemed to have forgotten about the prior process. I was astonished, but not surprised. Emailed the pdf back to them, cc the XO and CO - instant orders.

4/30/2007 5:52 PM

Blogger Chap said...

SSN Wife's got a point--stay with me here. When detailing COs, the technical ratings of the ship, XO, Eng, and DHs are taken into account. In addition, strengths and personalities of the different leaders need to be taken into account; I know of at least one collision where the root cause was that both XO and CO were go-along-to-get-along types and the results were that two guys, who in the right wardrooms would have been functional, helped engender disaster. Different detailing could have changed the situation.

This is what causes the dissonance Bubblehead notes, my guess anyway: the detailer, prior to becoming a detailer, is nominated to the job, already Anointed, and is going to get a top job anyway (with occasional examples where the stress of being a detailer causes bad enough integrity failures that more than the guy's peers notice). I wish the man going to the hot boat the best of tours--and I realize that kind of billet was in the cards when the powers that be sent him to the detailing job in the first place assuming he lived through it.

Detailing is a hard job. One of the challenges to go along with the long hours welded to a telephone with some guy whining about why he wants to go to England is that moral courage is different from physical courage. Talking to the guy on the phone who's learning for the first time that what he wanted isn't what he's going to get is a different kind of hard, and the culture of nuclear integrity isn't necessarily supportive in Millington's non-nuclear culture. I'm not rationalizing bad acting--just acknowledging it's a crap job that guarantees you'll lose friends no matter how good you are or upstanding you are. The sub force doesn't do itself favors either when expectations don't match what's really happening. The 42 guys have been more secretive than the other warfare communities since I can remember, too, which doesn't help.

I know of one detailer (I'm not saying where I knew him) that failed the integrity test, not so long ago. I called him on it in public, too. It wasn't pretty.

I also know of one submarine detailer who shot straight, did the best he could, and because he knew how to work with people dis very well indeed. I'll buy him a beer any time.

The police car story is entertaining since it wasn't me. (Nowadays, AFAIK, if the money's been spent on the move, it's much harder to change orders.) I once worked for a guy who was boarding a plane for point A with his family, having bought a house, and got a phone call in line saying he was going to Japan instead. These things happen a lot more often when you've lost Anointed status, by the way.

4/30/2007 6:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like that O-Ganger detailers are only a different shade of a$$hole from the enlisted. I think they delight in making you as miserable as possible. Or maybe they learn it detailer school. Who knows.

My detailer story is that he wouldn't let me stay on sea duty. I said what about the old adage of sailors belong at sea. Nope - I had to go to shore duty. If that isn't truly the Catch-22, I don't know what is. He wanted to send me, of all places, to the weapons station at Yorktown. A sonarman in a torpedo shop. WTF? What would I have been doing I so bravely asked? I quote the scumbag, as I'll never forget those words as long as I live: "Oh, you'll paint a torpedo green one day, and then paint it orange the next." I couldn't believe my ears. That's what was so important for me to go to shore duty for? Unbefrakinlievable.

I ended up interviewing and getting accepted for SSEP (the Sonar Groom team) in Groton. At least I knew the area. And it ended up being the best tour I ever had. No thanks to STSCS(SS) Douchebag.

4/30/2007 6:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an E-5 non-nuc mm a few years back, I yearned for Operation Deep Freeze, would even waive all the good orders after. " sorry, only EN's, but you can go IMF anywhere" I managed TTF Bangor, within a few months another detailer shared with me how Rectal-cranial inversion detailer number one had sent non-nuc MM's. He wasn't the same guy who promised me there would be carpeting in my private room at RTC Great Mistakes, or was he?

4/30/2007 7:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4/30/2007 8:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, I was a submarine department head ("DH"). Out of the blue (my PRD was at least a year away), detailer #1 called my CO and told him that I had to depart the boat ASAP for an overseas submarine staff billet (but he'd graciously allow me to stay onboard until the ongoing major inspection was over--2 whole days). I told him that I didn't have SCI access at the time, he said "no problem," he'd already checked that. The next day, he called back and said "oops."

About two months later, my boat was headed for a surprise deployment. Still without SCI access, I couldn't go on the deployment as a DH. Detailer #2 (who worked directly for detailer #1) called me and said he wanted me to go to a different overseas submarine staff billet. I reminded him that I didn't have SCI access. He said "no problem, the submarine staff will find something for you to do during your two-year tour" (Kool-Aid, anyone?). He also told me not to worry about my wife, who was seven months pregnant, with a one-year old at home already, because the submarine staff would let me relieve in the billet and then immediately go on leave back to the States for the birth of our second child and subsequent family move overseas (Yes, I'd love some Kool-Aid!). When I called to check those minor details with the submarine staff Chief of Staff ("COS"), he begged to differ (apparently, the COS didn't like Kool-Aid).

Lest anyone think that honesty, competency, and plain hard work isn't rewarded, both of those detailers became COs, very senior O-6s, and nearly flag officers.

4/30/2007 9:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh well, I've heard Waters is a really good guy. I wish him well.

Continuing the OT, hey Navy Wife, I've got you guys on my ipod shuffle. It's becoming sort of like my husband's ESPN talk radio habit. I look forward to downloading tomorrow's archived show.

5/01/2007 12:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is cool you download us to your iPOD.

Thanks for listening!


**Back to your regular scheduled programming** ;)

5/01/2007 6:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

chap had it pretty well right, speaking as Pers-42 alumnus. It was, without doubt, the worst job I had in my 36-year mustang career. A typical week was 6 1/2 days of 12 hours each trying hard to match impossible requests to unimaginable requirements.

"First thing you gotta do is find your relief, 'cause that ain't easy" is what I was told by the jerk who offered me a choice of his job or XO of a boat soon to be decommissioned. That was my reward for screening early.

Probably the worst day of my tour was being pulled out of the office and sent down to the Pentagon to help ensure a full auditorium for a National Hispanic Day program. But there were plenty of other bad days too.....

5/02/2007 8:09 PM

Anonymous tabletpc-shop said...

Here, I don't actually consider it is likely to have effect.

6/11/2012 10:25 AM


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