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.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Old Post

Going through my archives (I thought I had posted a previous conspiracy theory about Karl Rove controlling spacetime to ensure President Bush's old team, the Texas Rangers, made the World Series) I found this piece that I think will be a good source of arguments. (Not including most of the links because they're dead.) Originally posted February 2005:

Today, the blogosphere erupted in (mostly) good-natured humor as people finally realized that the Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) was about to be commissioned. While there were a lot of "attack rabbit" and peanut jokes (even from Frank J. ) there were many other posts which seriously questioned if President Carter should have been honored by the naming of a warship for him. To this question, my answer is an unqualified "yes".

First, a disclaimer. Yes, I served on the crew of the Jimmy Carter as the Engineer (Engineering Department Head) before I retired. (For those with a superficial knowledge of submarine personnel assignment procedures who may question this: the boat manned up in April, 2001. The Navy, recognizing the the long time between initial manning and the boat putting to sea in 2004 would mean that someone doing a normal 3 year Eng tour would not get any sea time, decided to bring in a served Engineer for a special "Post-DH Shore Tour" to be Eng for the first two years. Since I had already been the new construction Eng for the previous Seawolf, and was coming up for orders, they picked me.) I'm proud of my service on this unique boat, and wanted to share with you why I think the Navy did right by honoring President Carter.

Jimmy Carter is unarguably the most famous submariner in the world; not because he is a submariner, but in the same way that President Bush is the most famous former baseball team owner in the world. There are many people who disagree of the actions that Carter took as President, with his statements and actions since being voted out of office, and with his choice of family members. That's OK; as Americans we are allowed to criticize our leaders, past and present. I disagree with their apparent premise that his actions as President or since render him morally ineligible to be honored with the naming of a warship after him, and here's why. Despite what people may think about his beliefs or motives, I have never heard anyone say that he is not acting on his true beliefs. This, I don't think, can be said about other recent Democrat Presidents or presidential candidates. President Carter stood watch as Commander-in-Chief during the Cold War, when he had to live with the possibility that he might be awoken any night with the news that NORAD had detected a missile launch, and he had to decide what to do right away. Most of us remember how much the Presidency aged him; it's a tough job, and I admire anyone who can make it through 4 years of that stress. As long as ships are being named for political figures, I think that Jimmy Carter has as much right to claim that honor as anyone.

My first CO on the Carter shared this story: when he and his wife went to Georgia to visit President and Mrs. Carter, my Captain talked with Carter for about an hour in Carter's office. He noted that of all the memorabilia on the walls, there were only a few items from his Presidency, and an entire wall from when he
served in the Submarine Force. Later, President and Mrs. Carter came to Groton, CT, with several members of their family, to meet with the crew and see the ship as she was being built. He spoke with passion about how honored he was to have the ship named for him, and in his abiding interest in protecting the national security of the United States. Although many don't believe that his actions, past or present, truly accomplished that goal, I think that he truly believes that by reducing tensions in the world, the U.S. will be safer. Simplistic? Probably. Naïve? I'd say so. Evidence that he supports our adversaries, or wishes the United States harm? No.

If anything, I'd say the Carter administration is evidence that submariners, being as a general rule micromanagers, probably aren't suited for the Presidency. However, I do believe that his well-intentioned service to our country, and the respect that is due the office which he held, make the naming of the world's most capable attack submarine after the profession's most widely-known practitioner a correct action. I am proud to have served on this vessel, and wish continued success for the crew as they get ready to really start having fun!

Staying at PD...


Blogger Kin Two said...

I would think that the most famous former baseball team owner is unarguably George Steinbrenner, meaning that if you asked 100 people to name a former baseball team owner, the most frequently occurring answer would be Steinbrenner.

10/21/2010 9:35 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

True, but if you polled general name recognition, the former owner who would poll highest would be George Bush.

10/21/2010 9:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sort of agree with the Steinbrenner comment, but with the caveat that the one that comes to mind for me is the fictional one...on Seinfeld.

10/21/2010 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you are not actually incompetent if you actually believe that you are not actually incompetent?

Got it.

10/21/2010 11:15 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

Randomly pick 100 people on the planet and ask them if they have heard of George Bush and George Steinbrenner. Bush's name recognition would easily be double or triple that of Steinbrenner.

10/21/2010 12:19 PM

Blogger Kin Two said...

...unless they meant the other Bush, who didn't ever own a baseball team.

10/21/2010 1:00 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"If anything, I'd say the Carter administration is evidence that submariners, being as a general rule micromanagers, probably aren't suited for the Presidency."

Agree or not, that sentiment was engraved in stone for quite a time after it appeared in the Wall St. Journal.

Only one U.S. president had ever been an engineer. People have tried to tell me Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer, because he had taken some graduate courses in reactor technology and nuclear physics.

The real enginner said, "Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die."

Jimmy Carter said, "Aggression unopposed becomes a contagious disease."

Both got it right.

10/21/2010 1:31 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

1. The 'real engineer' gave us the Great Depression.

2. A fact not often noted: the defense budget went up each succeeding year of Carter's presidency.

3. Carter never served in a nuclear submarine. He qualified in POMFRET and was a plankowner in USS K-1 (SSK-1), later renamed BARRACUDA.

10/21/2010 1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting Ducky...I thought that Carter was a nuke... Thanks for the read.


10/21/2010 2:37 PM

Anonymous JTav8r said...

The Duck is correct. Carter had been selected for Nuclear Power training by the KOG and resigned his commission to return home and tend to family affairs, before he went to Power School.

10/21/2010 2:38 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Corrected URL:

I wonder what sort of president he'd have been had he gotten into the commissioning crew of SEAWOLF. Dick Lanning as CO. Yogi Kaufman as XO. I knew them both (Yogi got me my commission) and kept in touch with them until they died; two of the finest officers in my experience.

10/21/2010 4:01 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

Great post Joel, and thanks Ducky for the info. I thought he was a nuc as well. One more thing to say about Carter, as near as I can tell, he is the most active of the former Presidents. Whether you liked his policies or not, he is genuinely interested in helping.

10/22/2010 12:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the link - for some reason I also thought that Carter was a nuke. I had no idea of the extent of his submarine service until I followed the link.

I still say that Carter was in a unique position to explain the benefits of nuclear power to a nation looking for a way out of the energy crisis...

A missed opportunity that will not come around for a long time. How high will gas have to go before nuclear energy is seriously considered in the US?

10/27/2010 8:19 PM

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