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, November 27, 2011

RC Submarines

A reader sends in a link to a video of the shakedown cruise of his newest radio-controlled submarine, modeled on USS Virginia (SSN 774):

Do you have any submarine-related hobbies?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why Not The Best?

It's my opinion that every adult can lay claim to being the "first" or "best" in the world (or at least the country) at something. In much the same way that probably 95% of everyone asked would consider themselves to be an above-average driver, making this claim can sometimes require a little bit of self-deception, but no real harm is done.

For me, my claims to fame are that I run the world's most popular submarine blog, I was the fastest ever submarine Engineer on Alpha Trials (at least in the U.S. -- it depends on if the Soviets let their Alfas get up to flank on their initial sea trials, which I kind of doubt), and I lay claim to having written more Admiral's letters enclosures than any Eng in the history of the Submarine Force. (I wrote about 60, having been initial manning Eng twice; letters were due every 4 weeks in the shipyard.)

What's your claim to being the best?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

♪♫ "And Another One Gone..."♫♪

Well, another CO in another submarine-related command got the ax this month, and this one is quite a surprise. RDML (sel) Greg Thomas was temporarily relieved as CO of Newport News Norfolk Naval Shipyard back in May; the CO he replaced in 2010 was also fired. Navy Times reports that command climate was the reason for the firing:
In mid-May, Naval Sea Systems Command temporarily yanked Thomas, a rear admiral selectee, from his perch atop Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. A naval inspector general investigation completed Aug. 31 found Thomas’ conduct “went beyond the limits of professional conduct expected of persons in authority.” The firing was made permanent Oct. 25 after Thomas was formally reprimanded for conduct unbecoming an officer.
The IG interviewed 45 witnesses who served in various leadership positions under Thomas during his nine months as commanding officer of the shipyard. Nine said they were subjected to “demeaning, insulting or profane language or intimidating behavior” privately as well as in public. All names other than Thomas’ were redacted from the report, which was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
An active-duty officer with more than 30 years in uniform told the IG that while some of his interactions with Thomas had been amiable, “There have been times when it rises to the worst experience of my naval career in terms of dealing with a superior who will not listen, who wants to be very vocal and loud, and who just wants to dress [me] down. I don’t know that I’m being treated differently in that case.”
What's surprising to me is that Thomas was selected for flag in the first place. I would be very surprised if all the people on the board (particularly in a community as small as EDOs) didn't know the guy had an "unpleasant personality", and given the risk-averse nature of most Navy senior personnel decisions nowadays, I figure that would have been disqualifying.

Reading Thomas' biography, I was surprised to see he went EDO right after finishing initial training, but still got assigned to a submarine later on. Normally guys who go ED before getting their dolphins are the ones who develop some disqualifying medical condition during training. However, given that he was probably "assigned" to USS San Juan (SSN 751) in 1988, when I think the boat was in PSA, I could see them giving a medical waiver for a guy to get his ED Dolphins in that situation. However, the fish Thomas is wearing in this photo look real.

Did you ever work for an asshole? I did. And do you think that assholism may be required in some situations? (Maybe like when you're taking over for a CO who was relieved because the command wasn't getting the job done?)

Bell-ringer 1620 16 Nov: Off-topic but still of interest, here's a story by the Michael Melia reporter about the ongoing investigation into cheating on nuclear qual exams.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"94 Percent Availability Of Commodes"

From an article in Navy Times:
The Navy’s newest aircraft carrier has a messy problem. Since deploying in May, the Norfolk, Va.-based carrier George H.W. Bush has grappled with widespread toilet outages, at times rendering the entire ship without a single working head. But it’s no laughing matter. Sailors tell of combing the ship for up to an hour to find a place to do their business, if they can find one at all. Others have resorted to urinating in showers or into the industrial sinks in their work stations. Some men are using bottles and emptying the contents over the giant ship’s side, while some women are holding it in for so long that they are developing health problems, according to sources on the ship. The sailors blame the ship’s vacuum system. But the Navy is blaming sailors for flushing “inappropriate material” down the toilets. The ship, commissioned in January 2009, is wrapping up a deployment in the Persian Gulf. Three sailors who spoke to Navy Times on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media said the problem has been persistent at least since Bush began its first deployment in May. Throughout its deployment, there have been at least two times when all 423 commodes in the ship’s 130 heads went offline, the sailors said. More often, they said, all heads either forward or aft of the middle of the ship have gone out of service, or clusters of heads scattered through different departments have been shut down.
Any good stories about the unavailability of the heads on your boat?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Coming Home Safely

Welcome home to the officers and crew of USS Springfield (SSN 761), who returned to Groton yesterday after a six month deployment to the CENTCOM AOR. Here's a picture:

Some more pictures of the homecoming can be found here. As we celebrate Veteran's Day, we honor all those who have served our nation, whether they returned home safely like the men of Springfield or if they were not so fortunate. How can we, as a nation, best honor our veterans and their families? Alternately, why did you join the military? (My story isn't very uplifting -- it was the old "got involved with the wrong girl and stupidly threw away a lot of chances, and looked to the Navy as a way to restart my life" tale. I'm hoping some of my readers have better narratives.)

While you're pondering, here's a teaser for an upcoming CNN report on veterans of the Submarine Service during the Cold War.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You Pick The Topic!

I'll put it up to a vote. For my next post, would you like a) a discussion of the most recent SOBC graduation, or b) an essay about national politics? Vote in the comments!

Update 1611 10 Nov: While you're voting, here and here are a couple of random "Best of Bubblehead" posts from the "Toilet" division.

Bell-ringer 1717 10 Nov: From the comments, here's a cool "Spirit Spot" from USS North Carolina (SSN 777) for the upcoming Carrier Classic:

Update 0549 11 Nov: And here's the response from one of the USS Michigan (SSGN 727) crews.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hitler The A-gang LCPO

An submarine-related entry in the classic "Hitler reacts to current events" video meme: