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 07, 2008

Submarine Stuff From The 'Net

I'll be busy most of the day emotionally preparing myself for tonight's NCAA Men's Basketball championship game (in which my alma mater will hopefully be beating favored Memphis), so here's a couple of quick submarine tidbits to tide you over:

1) Eagle1 has a good post on size vs. mission for submarines.

2) Galrahn has a post going over Sen. Dole's call for increased investment in large-scale weapons systems from the submarine point of view; Wired responds with a post that, other than implying that they think we still have battleships, actually seems to agree that submarines are a decent investment.

3) The Navy 1-star list came out on April 1st (no foolin'!), and from what I can tell, here's a list of all the submarine Captains that were selected:

Doug Biesel
Barry Bruner
Jerry Burroughs (Acquisition Corps)
Brad Gehrke
Dave Johnson (ED)
Mike McLaughlin
Robert Thomas
Let me know if you see any others on the list. Promotion from O-6 to O-7 is the most competitive promotion flowpoint there is (other than, of course, the special case of E-9 to E-10), with a selection percentage of only about 2-3%. In my experience, the Armed Forces do a pretty good job of getting competent guys into flag or general officer ranks -- where "competent" = "knows how the world really works". I've known a lot of stupid O-6s (especially when I was working with Marines at CENTCOM) but I've never known a dumb O-7. They might not reach the right conclusions with the knowledge they have, but they at least have the basic information down pat.

I was thinking this might be the year that my first former boat CO might make Flag, but it didn't happen. Did you ever have a former CO of your sub make Flag, and did he ever help you out after he became an Admiral?


Blogger Galrahn said...

That 0-6 list is impressive this time around I think, very merit based. I quickly noted PEO subs got 2, and PEO ships got 0. We start the century concerned about sub costs, and find ourselves less than a decade later finding its the only program meeting cost targets.

Not sure if you noticed, but Adm Goddard called the DDG-1000 a dreadnaught at the signing ceremony last month, does that mean we get to call the SSGNs Leviathans?

While not agreeing specifically with Wired, I think calling the CGs and DDGs in the Navy today battleships is legitimate, by all modern rating systems they are the first and second rate BBs of our time.

Thanks for the link!

4/07/2008 9:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yogi Kaufman was a boat CO of mine and rose to 3-stars. Did he ever help me out? Officially, no, but his wise counsel continued throughout his time in service and after. I treasure the late-night phone call I got from him just a month before he died last year.

Guys like him and Frank Kelso, another old boss, give the lie to the idea that nukes can only boil water. Wish that was true for them all, but - alas - some nukes are as dumb as a post on real submarine matters.

Witness the series of t-bone crashes throughout the years between a nuke boat and the earth crust.

Witness the sometimes hapless record of torpedo shooting.

Witness the zero-for-N results of the first attempted combat use of submarine Tomahawk in the first Gulf War.

It's not that many can only boil water - the shame is the promotion to command of those few who get there only on engineering credentials. To quote an old SubPac Ops Boss, these guys get into the easiest job on earth ... and still manage to plumber it up.

4/07/2008 10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never a CO but an XO who went on to three stars, James Metzger, and a weps who sat my qual board in now COMSUBLANT.


4/07/2008 12:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My old CO (G.R.Sterner)on the 637 boat got his 3 stars and went on to Command NAVSEASYSTEMS.

I was surprised that he showed up when the Sturgeon deactivated at Charleston in '94, and was totally surprised that while he didn't remember my name, he did remember (after 13 years, no less), that I was an A-ganger that was with him on his first command.


4/07/2008 5:54 PM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

One of my early COs is now DIRSSP.

I know a couple of these guys from current job. One definitely great selection, one I'm reserving judgment on.

4/07/2008 6:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The XO on my first boat, USS Plunger SSN-595, was the future Admiral Fargo. Other than being a good role model, did he ever help my career? Well, as a young QM2, he did talk me into re-enlisting for 20K and a MP tour in Subic Bay! Someone had to do it!

Our paths crossed a couple of times since and we were still on a first name basis...I called him Admiral and he called me Chief.

Jim C.

4/07/2008 7:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My second XO on the 677 is currently the COMSUB GROUP SEVEN, Rear Admiral Douglas J. McAneny.
I got out in 1990, so it's been a while. Surprisingly, he looks the same.

4/07/2008 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! Dan Cloyd was on my crew at MTS when he was a Prospective Executive Officer (PXO) student. I know he's not a submariner, but even Airdale Nukes get a nod from me.

4/07/2008 10:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

47 years ago my 1st CO was a LCdr William Crowe.

4 stars, CNO, Ambassador to the Court of St James...

He did OK. We didn't keep in touch.

4/08/2008 3:41 AM

Blogger Mike said...

Mike McLaughlin was my CO on the LaJolla, good guy but I was almost sure he had retired.

4/08/2008 5:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you didn't keep in touch. You think a CO is going to remember some anonymous blueshirt from 20 years ago? Heck, you're lucky if they know your name while you're actually subject to their tender mercies.

4/08/2008 8:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heck, you're lucky if they know your name while you're actually subject to their tender mercies

You're actually luckier if they don't...

4/08/2008 8:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no advantage to them knowing your name - some khaki is going to get the NAM if something goes right, and you certainly don't want to be the name that comes to mind when squadron/NRRO/comsubpac demands NJP after a screwup.

4/08/2008 9:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My CO on SSBN 735 - Mal Fages, went on three stars, and a tour at CENTCOM. He didn't remember me at all, but it was almost 10 years.

My CO on SSBN 739 - Mel Williams also got three stars. I ran into him at Grotom when he was Squadron 2. He remembered me, even though I was only there for one patrol.

My ENG on SSBN 735, who's dad was CNO at the time (guess who? hint - early 90's).

There might be 1 other, but I'm not sure. alot of them, however, I know retired as full birds.

4/08/2008 4:45 PM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Does a temporary Div O count? My first boat (717) was under construction, so they sent me TAD to the 699 for two weeks to get some underway experience. 699's Commo at the time was a LT Grooms; I believe that's the same man as the RADM Grooms who just relieved as CSG 2.

4/08/2008 5:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting statistic: percentage-wise, about as many Ensigns eventually make it to Captain as Captains make it to flag rank. True stuff.

4/08/2008 6:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know any of these guys! Bring back Big Al the Sailors Pal!!! I miss that dude. What an inspiration he was and still is to our kind.
Seriously though, times are changing men, these guys are too smart for their own good. It is(has gotten) getting to the point that you have to be "robotic" smart to make flag.

4/08/2008 7:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first, and my boat's (Hampton - 767) first CO, Dave Antanitus, made two stars. He finished up as a (the?) senior officer at SPAWAR and, last I heard, was retired and working for a contractor. Great submariner & leader. He was not just good at his job, but was great at teaching others how to do theirs. He also knew how to have fun. I remember an exercise with Canadian surface ships: right after we'd launched our green flare out of the CM tube, signaling an attack, he got on the radio and, in his best (awful) John Cleese impersonation, told the skimmers to "go away, or I will taunt you a second time!"

4/08/2008 8:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I know four of those guys. Brad Gehrke and I are friends (served in Charleston, and in PXO school together). Know Barry Bruner well enough. Rob Thomas and I crossed paths several times while I was a Force Retention wienie and he was ROTC Instructor, among other things. Rob's Dad was a ROTC Instructor at Berkeley during the 60s. They had rocks and bricks thrown into the front window so often, his Dad had a steel barrier installed in front of the front window just behind the curtains to keep them from spreading damage into the house. And I relieved Mike McLaughlin on Hartford after he had been XO for one month. Long stupid story, but I'm glad to see these guys make flag. They all deserve it.

And no one I ever served with made Admiral for more than a couple of months and helped me out. Hence my work for the "evil" oil and gas industry today. I'm a lucky guy.


4/09/2008 4:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Whittle Jr. was my commissioning SSBN 619 Blue crew skipper in 1963. He went on to four stars and was the last Chief of Navy Material when it was disestablished in late 70's? He was CO of USS Sterlet SS 392 and one of Ricks early days CO's to go Nuc. Prior to 619 he was skipper of Seawolf when she was converted from liquid sodium to pressurized water reactor. He was a real Submarine operator and still had his smoke boat genes when I sailed with him 62 through 65.

My Gun Boss on USS Barbel SS-580 in 74-75 was Lt. J.G. John Morgan Jr. Today he is a Vice Admiral # 24 in the pecking order I think, and is N3/N5. He is I believe the last Smoke Boat qualified flag officer on active duty. "Morg" elected to surface following his tour on Barbel as he was not interested in going to work for Rick. Obviously he has done well. He also was an excellent submarine driver and an "operator", and very smart. He assisted me with an article on Submarine Mine lants I wrote for the Submarine Review last year. He continues to stay in touch with the "B Girl" reunion organization.

Keep a zero bubble.....


4/13/2008 5:00 PM

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To my mind one and all ought to look at this.

10/02/2011 11:21 AM


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