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.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Screen(ing) Door On A Submarine, FY12 Style

It's that time of year again for Submarine officers -- time to check out the list of who screened for CO/XO/DH for FY12 and wonder how the puppy molester/dirtbag/jerk you don't like screened and who he sucked up to in order to do so. Back in my day, they never released the list -- even within the community -- due to the complaints it generated. Apparently the new generation of Submarine officers is better behaved.

Here's the list for those of you with Facebook access; it appears that this is a Facebook exclusive for now, as the ALSUBFOR message won't be released until Tuesday. I'll post that link later from the PERS-42 site for those of you who are Facebook-deprived. I note that this year several of the guys I taught at NPTU are screening for XO -- just another indication of how old I am.

Here's last year's thread for those who want to see how this discussion might develop. Congratulations to all those selected!

Update 2015 01 June: Here's a link to the PERS-42 page with links to all the selection messages.

Friday, May 27, 2011

You Can't Spell "Submariner" Without "Mariner"

"When you see the Southern Cross for the first time,
You understand now why you came this way..."
- "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Many of my fondest memories of submarining involve the most basic aspect of operating a ship -- getting from point "A" to "B" without hitting land or another vessel. While the internal operation of a ship or submarine is incredibly important, the simple acts involved in driving the ship and making sure you don't hit other people driving other ships are among the most intense and satisfying part of being a Submariner.

Whether it was being on the Bridge during a quiet surface transit into some southern port under the summer stars or making the right decision to avoid a close-quarters situation with some dumb merchant, or even freezing while doing a 6 hour transit in December out of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and down the Washington coast because some boomer owns the submerged water, these are probably the memories of at-sea Submarining I'll hold onto the longest.

What are your most intense memories of getting own-ship's plotted position to move across the chart? (Alternate question inspired by the song at the head of this post: How many of you joined the Navy because of a girl/woman? One hand raised right here.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Submarine IDC Videos

A Submariner posted a video he'd come across on the Facebook page for TSSBP; it appears to be the official video they show to HM students introducing them to the Submarine Independent Duty Corpsman job. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be on YouTube (yet).

For those of you without Facebook accounts, check out this video I was able to find on YouTube of the Doc on USS Montpelier (SSN 765):

(Not to be a spelling Nazi, but I am intrigued that an official Navy video managed to mis-spell Independent in the title.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

USS Boise Wins Battenberg Cup

LANTFLT announced today that USS Boise (SSN 764), named for one of the world's great cities, is the winner of the 2010 Battenberg Cup was the best warship in the Atlantic Fleet.
Boise is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., and is only the third submarine to win the Battenberg Cup. The other winners were Los Angeles-class attack submarines USS Memphis (SSN 691) in 2005, USS Miami (SSN 755) in 1999.
"The outstanding achievements by the crews of each ship nominated for the Battenberg Cup made the selection process extremely difficult," said Harvey. "All of the finalists distinguished themselves through exceptional performance and should be proud of their accomplishments.
"For the crew of USS Boise, you have shown yourselves to be among the best Sailors we have, and you made Boise the best ship in the Atlantic Fleet. I'm very proud to serve alongside you and congratulate you for your achievement. Bravo Zulu," said Harvey.
Other ships in the Battenberg Cup competition included aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) representing Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic; and amphibious warfare ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) representing Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
"Boise was outstanding this past year," said Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. "They approached every challenge in a dedicated and very thorough way. Every member on the Boise team knows their job and knows they are valued by their command and the Navy as national treasures. Boise's integrity and humble sense of purpose really set them apart as an example for others to follow. I'm super happy about them receiving this prestigious award."
Here's a picture of the winner returning from her last deployment:

As Idaho's first and foremost submarine blogger, I have to say that I'm quite excited by this honor for the ship that represents my state's capital, almost as excited as I as that we now have a COMSUBLANT who uses the phrase "super happy" in an official press release.

In other submarine news heading into the weekend, PCU Minnesota (SSN 783) had her keel laid (you can watch the video here), and PCU California (SSN 781) is probably heading out for Alpha Trials pretty soon. Meanwhile, NAVSUBASE Kings Bay celebrated diversity.

In personal news, I got a new air compressor today, so I'm totally stoked. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

USS Hampton In Hong Kong

USS Hampton (SSN 767) made the first port visit of a U.S. submarine to Hong Kong in three years this week. Here's a photo:

Unfortunately, one of the boat's Sailors got some unwanted press attention after having a little too much "fun" at the end of the first night ashore. I visited Hong Kong back in 2000 when I was the Submarine Liaison Officer on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and liked it a lot; it was probably my 2nd favorite liberty port, after Hobart, Tasmania. In general, did you like the big cities or smaller towns better for a mid-deployment liberty call? And did you like heading out on the town the first night, or taking duty that day so you could get the "gouge" from the guys coming back in from the first night?

Update 1421 23 May: Here are more pictures of the Hampton in Hong Kong.

Friday, May 13, 2011

An Age Old Question

[Reposting due to the Blogger maintenance fiasco that caused one dropped post and several dropped comments here]

As a result of a combination of me being out at sea a lot during our early years as a family and the fact that I have absolutely no sense of fashion or color coordination, my wife and I have evolved a system of gifting whereby my wife tells me exactly what she wants, and I get her those things, or else she just buys them herself and lets me know what I got her.

My wife's birthday and Mother's Day are always close, occasionally on the same day. She's always been very insistent that she get separate gifts for those two important days, which I think is reasonable and fair. Since this is her 25th Mother's Day as a mother (she was carrying our first child on Mother's Day 1987) I thought I should get her something special. [This should set off alarm bells already among experienced husbands.]

She had given me a list of exactly two things she wanted, so in an effort to surprise her I decided to spend the same amount of money and get her one of the things she wanted (but of lower quality), and one item that she has always kind of said she wanted but never really asked for. She was very surprised at the "bonus" item and seemed very happy, but now, a couple days later, she's saying, "I love it, but why didn't you just get me what I asked for?" I don't really have a good answer; it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

So what do you think? Should husbands just get the presents their wives want, or should they try to surprise them?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"What We Really Need Around Here Are More One- And Two-Star Admirals"

The O-7 board results have been announced. The only names I picked up on right away as being Submariners are CAPT Michael Jabaley, CAPT Stuart Munsch, and CAPT Kenneth Perry; there should be one or two others. [Bell-ringer 1616: A commenter says the other Submariner on the list is CAPT Dave Kriete.]

Also, here's the O-8 list that was recently announced. From a previous thread's comment:
Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Barry L. Bruner has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Bruner is currently serving as commander, Submarine Group Ten, Kings Bay, Ga.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Jerry K. Burroughs has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Burroughs is currently serving as program executive officer for command, control, communications and intelligence, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Bradley R. Gehrke has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Gehrke is currently serving as defense attache China, Defense Intelligence Agency, Beijing, China.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) David C. Johnson has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Johnson is currently serving as program executive officer for submarines, Washington, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Robert L. Thomas Jr. has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Thomas is currently serving as commander, Submarine Group Seven/commander, Task Force Seven Four/commander, Task Force Five Four, Yokosuka, Japan.
Congratulations to all those officers selected! I've seen plenty of dumb O-6s (mostly Marines), but I've never known a dumb Flag or General Officer. Misguided ones, yes, but never dumb.

Female Officers Report To SOBC

Hoping against hope that this can generate a useful discussion, here's a Navy announcement that eight female officers reported to Groton for the Submarine Officer Basic Course earlier this week, and here's a DoD video announcing same:

According to the February 2011 Submarine Officer Detailer Community Status Brief, there were 18 female prospective submarine officers in the Nuclear Power pipeline, and eight prospective female submarine Supply Officers. This Navy Times story says that 10 of them have completed Nuclear Power School and moved on to prototype as of late April. While it's possible that there are a group of women that are going to SOBC between NPS and NPTU, I'm guessing that the eight officers who just reported to Groton are the Chops. I haven't heard if any of the original 18 nukes selected have been attrited yet, but the initial plan of putting two female nukes and one female Chop on each of 8 Ohio-class boats indicates that they're planning on losing up to two of the nukes, which is probably normal officer attrition -- of course, previous submarine officers haven't had to worry about pregnancy contributing to the dropout rate.

Update 1456 11 May: It looks like these eight young officers are actually nukes who are taking the "NPS/SOBC/NPTU" path, which totally sucks for anyone who draws that particular short straw; as a commenter mentioned, SOBC is supposed to be the chance to relax between nuke training and your first boat, instead of spending the whole time being worried about prototype and trying to remember everything from Nuke School.

I was interested in Pravda's take on this story. Excerpt:
What if the initiative will become a starting point for numerous sex scandals in the US navy? The wives of US submariners do not welcome the idea either. Needless to say that if two submariners, a man and a woman, want to have sex on board a sub, they will face a big problem of finding some room for it. Anyway, the command of the US Navy hopes that women's presence on nuclear subs will not result in an eruption of sexual activity.
The author of this article, a former submariner of the Russian navy, recollected a story, which happened on board a nuclear submarine of the Northern Fleet. The story took place at the end of the perestroika period, when sex toys began to appear in small commercial stores in the country. The submarine was navigating for two months, when it suddenly became known that submariners started to catch a sexually transmitted infection one after another.
It was later revealed that the wife of an executive officer submariners gave him a sex toy - a rubber woman - prior to his departure. The officer had a separate cabin, so he could please himself with a toy woman from time to time. A young submariner found the appealing toy when he was cleaning the officer's cabin. The young man decided to give the toy a try.
The news about the toy was spread on the submarine very quickly. Apparently, one of the submariners was already infected with a veneral disease, which the rubber woman subsequently spread among the others.
One may say for certain that Russian women will never serve on Russian submarines. No one can say, of course, what is going to happen in 100 or more years, but for the time being it seems absolutely unacceptable and out of the question.
That pretty much says it all.

Friday, May 06, 2011


[Intel Source: Midwatch Cowboy] As Idaho's first and foremost submarine blogger, I would be extremely remiss in not posting this:

Have you ever done a science experiment on the boat? I'm not talking about the standard "let's see what happens when we put a drop of silver nitrate on the sleeping guys face" type of stuff, I'm wondering about the stuff with actual scientific value, like "how small can the styrofoam cups get if we put them in a mesh bag and leave them in a free-flood area when we're going to test depth" sort of thing.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Goodbye SUBRON 8

Submarine Squadron 6 absorbed Submarine Squaron 8 in a ceremony held on April 28. Excerpts:
COMSUBRON 6 will be the immediate superior in command for the six Los Angeles-class attack submarines homeported in Norfolk: USS Albany (SSN 753), USS Boise (SSN 764), USS Montpelier (SSN 765), USS Newport News (SSN 750), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), and USS Scranton (SSN 756). The COMSUBRON 6 staff will be responsible for preparing and certifying their submarines and crews for operations and warfighting in support of the combatant commanders’ objectives.
COMSUBRON 8 was originally commissioned in February 1946 in Groton, Conn. It was decommissioned in December 1969 and re-commissioned in August 1979 in Norfolk, where it has remained until the consolidation.
Are those six the only submarines left in Norfolk, other than the 774s being built at Newport News? Since the Sub Force is normally loath to give up O-6 billets leading to Flag like this, I figure they had a lot of budgetary pressure to combine the staffs.

In other submarine news, both USS Florida (SSGN 728) and my old boat USS Connecticut (SSN 22) returned home from historic deployments. OK, Florida's deployment was probably a little more historic.

Have you ever been part of a decommissioning crew or staff?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The President's Speech

Breaking news banner up that the President is going to speak in about an hour. I'm guessing he'll be announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden. Any other guesses?

Update 2220 01 May: It's official. They're reporting that it was a SEAL Team that carried out the operation; if so, I'm glad the Navy did it. While they'll probably never be able to publicly announce the name of the SEAL who did the deed, I'm guessing that he'll never need to buy his own drinks for the rest of his life.

I'm glad we shot him, vice killed him with a bomb. It seems more personal that way.

For those who didn't see the President's announcement, here's a link.

Update 0006 02 May: This guy unknowingly Tweeted the attack on the Bin Laden mansion. As far as "what happens next", lots of people are worried about al Qaeda retaliation. It could happen, but it's not like they haven't been trying their best to attack us for the last 10+ years. I'm guessing that if anything does go down, it'll be missions they have in place being launched before they're supposed to be, with concomitant reductions in efficiency. As far as U.S. public opinion, I expect a drop in support for staying in Afghanistan; a lot of people will say, "Well, we got what we came for." And the next time President Karzai whines about the way our military does its job, I would support the President if he were to say, "Fine, we'll leave, I guess you can take care of yourself. And, by the way, you should leave a note to your successor that if we're ever attacked by a group based in Afghanistan again, we won't send in ground troops next time; it'll all be from the air, and not precision-guided, either. B-52s."