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, 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?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Crap Batman! Bad juju. I can recall when a camera lens cover went down the bowl and fouled the isolation valve for San #2. A reverse blow INTO the head was required...we were out of business for about six hours. Horrible! Messy, smelled bad, and E-Div was chasing the worst sort of grounds for a week...

I do recall from riding on skimmers a little FTN action going on where people would go out of their way to jam up the heads. Always struck me like shooting yourself in the foot kind of mentality...

11/14/2011 8:41 PM

Anonymous news reader said...

Flushing inappropriate material = flushing tampons and sanitary napkinss

11/14/2011 8:43 PM

Anonymous Hamptonplankowner said...

Plenty of drain funnels in the engineroom, they just need a few portajons on the flight deck that should solve the problem or the old fashion toilet seat hanging over the aft end of the ship.

11/14/2011 9:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dumb ass skimmers?
We blew san 1 to san 3 on an '88, over 2000 gallons of shyt in lower level, from the port tube nest to the trim pump in machinery room. All because of a lazy AOW. FCKR didn't even get busted. 18 hours at PD emergency ventillating and hoses flushing the outboard. I betcha you can still find shyt on the port side of the Miami in lower level.
Seen a boat pull in that couldn't rig the overboard for dive, pulled out a LS1's digget out of the hull valve. He's an LS2 now.


11/14/2011 10:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect example of how the 21st century Navy can't get it shit together.

11/14/2011 11:43 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

The GHW Bush doesn't take any shit.

But does every other US naval ship only flush appropriate materials?

I recall water sloshing around the head, with brown trout once, but that was unusual. And the toilets were still usable, you just had to be motivated.

11/15/2011 2:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @1051,
We did the same on the Dallas in 2000 in the Med. The san 3 charcoal filter looked like a chocolate fountain as san 1 found its way through san 3. Ugly clean up.

11/15/2011 4:52 AM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

Yeah, the ER shitter on the 690 used to get fouled up all the time. Freaking nukes dropping turds the size of the Hindenburg!

Oh, wait, we didn't have a shitter in the ER. It must have been someone taking a shit in a plastic bag and then one of the cranks compacting it that caused the problem.

If you were on board, you would remember the XO's announcement, "Whoever felt the need to shit in a goddamn plastic bag and put it in the TDU room better come see me. There will be no liberty until then."

11/15/2011 4:53 AM

Anonymous Dardar the Submarian said...

On one of the old boomers, the off-going Auxiliaryman forward had to compact trash. When he compacted 2 plastic buckets from the engine room, he got the poop-tastic surprise of his life. Someone - ERLL somewhere - shit in a bucket and then put another bucket over top of said feces. When the compactor squished the 2 buckets, the MM2 had the rare opportunity of getting Hepatitis shots. We waited a few days before we gave him a ration of . . .

11/15/2011 4:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the NIS on the GW Bush is investigating this, but so far they have nothing to go on!

11/15/2011 5:19 AM

Anonymous What's that smell said...

How much do you want to bet that the Old Mans shitter has worked just fine all along....

11/15/2011 7:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@news reader, Now SUBFOR will have write some stupid ass instruction of where women will have to dispose of that "inappropriate material" on boats.

11/15/2011 7:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do skimmers call 'em shitters too ?

11/15/2011 7:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just makes me proud to to be a submariner. And to not have to deal with the red rabbits yet

11/15/2011 9:17 AM

Anonymous laughter in manslaughter. said...

Someone shat their pants underway and flushed their dirty underwear down the shitter. It made it all the way to the San Pump which then burned the damn thing up. Once it was found the A-Gang LPO had it in a bag and was walking around checking everyone's sizes.

11/15/2011 10:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aboard a 688 during a northern run; AOW forgets to shut the san tank vent before blowing. Crap flies everywhere outboard LL head and 21 man berthing. In order to contain, someone grabbed the first rack mattress available (mine). Spent the entire return trip sleeping on a blowup mattress that had a slow leak. Don't remember how long it took the Doc to sanitize everything. Good times...

11/15/2011 10:51 AM

Blogger dumpy duluth said...

someone managed to flush a digget tool and a very lucky aganger had to go into san 7 and get it. he washed it in the amr2 ultrasonic sink and kept it.

11/15/2011 3:17 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

as it appears the vast majority of surface ships are not suffering an epidemic of 'inappropriate flushing', I find it sad that so many people think the cause _must_ be women. Given that the trouble started after deployment, that means it wasn't a problem all the other times the ship was underway with women. I would suspect simple human stupidity (along the lines of what someone has already mentioned). Go figure.

11/15/2011 4:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Believe it was the San Fran....unless there are more than one stupid AOWs with the name that rhymes with "Deckwall" out there.


11/15/2011 4:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Headed toward berthing in the bow of a 637 and as I passed the head (sans being blown) I glance to my left and see a nuke ET, as if in slow motion, opening a ball valve. A shit geyser erupted in his face and bounced off the walls & ceiling all over the head. The ET immediately shut the valve, looked at me with TP hanging from his eyelashes and in a Beavis & Butthead sorta way muttered, "I'm ok." I said, "Have fun" and headed to my rack.

11/15/2011 5:14 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

Boat during SRA in the yards...all heads secured. Portapotty was a long climb off the boat, up some ladders, down some, then to platform between wing wall and boat. At that point might as well climb out of the dock and hit the yard head which was sure to have TP and running water (also not avail belowdecks). Several were too lazy and would leave yellow bombs in berthing inside Gatorade, juice, etc bottles. Some idiots would pry the duct tape off the middle level urinal and relieve themselves, causing a dry tank to be cleaned before work could recommence. Giant headache for leadership and some of the SDO's were the worst offenders. Do not miss that at all.

11/15/2011 5:31 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Belt buckle from decades back wound up fouling a hull valve for a while.

And then we had trouble with a head blogging up all the time. The capable and put-upon A-gangers had to keep clearing the line in the wardroom head. Everybody assumed it was the darn officers etc etc. After a while we finally got in a position to snake it right...and found that after thirty-eight years or so, the uric salts and such in a sewage line caused about three feet of the line to have maybe 1/8" of clearance. The guys had to cut and replace the piping.

This knowledge later came in handy on an aged skimmer I rode...

11/15/2011 5:57 PM

Blogger DDM said...

I think it was the 666 where someone blew sans inboard and everybody cleaned for a long time, thinking we'd gotten it all. Several weeks later during field day a crew member was cleaning some outboard are when he found some crusted over area. When he broke the crust, uncovering a liquid layer of splooge, he puked in the bilge and respirators were required to clean it up.

11/15/2011 6:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USS George H.W. Bush solved its problem and devised a backup for any future occurrence.

A 16-holer was temporarily fitted to the poop deck. Eleven of the enclosed crappers are fitted with combination locks available to pilots and females.

The other 5 are open to men. Bubbleheads on I/A are apparently on their own, resourceful bunch that they are.


11/15/2011 6:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...after thirty-eight years or so, the uric salts and such in a sewage line caused about three feet of the line to have maybe 1/8" of clearance."

During this time you never made it to the yards, or never reported the problem?

11/15/2011 7:01 PM

Blogger Chap said...

We kept being told that we were wrong, that it was operator error or that there was no way the pipe was that gacked up. Took some convincing and a few people to change out at PSNS during deployment, I think.

ANAV, you want to check my work on this one?

11/15/2011 7:10 PM

Anonymous 4-Stop said...

IC Chief blew sans on himself not once, not twice but a full hat trick while on board. His name was officially changed to chief “Residue”. And after the second time he was not allowed to use the CPO facilities anymore.

11/15/2011 7:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Halfway through a patrol we noticed that the san tank for the forward crew's head wasn't emptying when we pumped. That shut it down for most of the rest of the time. I forget what tipped the situation, but it all came to an end with us emergency ventilating the MC, opening the tank, and sending an A-Gang volunteer in to clear it in a wetsuit, EAB, and duct tape. He found lots of paint chips and sound mounts, but the strangest artifact I remember was a large serving spoon.

11/15/2011 8:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During a med run in 1980 the COW of my 637 couldn't keep the boat in trim to find out the san was filling to fast so the Aux chief sent a 1st and 3rd brown trout fishing at PD and they did catch a small pocket slide rule to which no one owned. Same week prior to the fishing trip a TM3 used the head and pulled the warning sign off the lever and took it full on, turned around and saw a EM3 at the sink shaving and said yep taste like sh-t and the nub blew chunks. Always a adventure.

11/15/2011 8:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd hate to be the on the supply ship during an UNREP receiving 'supplies' back from the carrier.

11/15/2011 8:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hough, the San Fran shit-ex in 2002 was blowing san-3 to the galley grinder, another lazy AOW. Was also deckwall, blew shyt all over the Squadron CMC, Commodore was onboard also. The Commodore was my ENG on the Miami during shit-ex 1991. He looked at me and said "Chief, if my memory serves me right? Didja do this on purpose?". I just told him I couldn't make this shyt up.


11/15/2011 10:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was on a SSBN with A-gang cleaning out the aft san pump that wasn't working well. Our doc heads down to check it out and starts complaining that they don't have proper personal protection, its unsanitary, they'll need shots, etc. So the A-gang LCPO reaches down and holds up a bag to the doc's face: it was filled with 800mg pills (might have been codeine or some other controlled med). "We're fixing the san pump because THESE had f*$#('d it up!"

Apparently, Doc had flushed down a couple bottles of "expired" pills a few days earlier. He beat a hasty retreat back to his shack before anything else was shoved into his face!

11/15/2011 10:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

U/W on SLC and the TMOW decided he needed a shower on the off-going. He cracked the antlers to speed up the venting after blowing sans. 10 pounds of pressure blew it out the carbon filters over CO/XO staterooms, all the leaking deck drains, and shitter ball valves. The O's ignored the signs and filled the bowl. It gurgled over and ran down into the WR. From upper level to the TR, there was wet, black sand dripping everywhere.

11/16/2011 12:18 AM

Anonymous SparkyWT said...

On Pulaski in early 90's the WR toilet line was fouled. a gang LCPO recommends placing a bucket over the ball valve an pressing the San tank up ~5#. If I recall correctly the tank was a hard tank and 5# would not even deflect the Gage needle. So ~25# was in the tank when the skinniest Aganger sat atop the bucket and popped the ball valve.
A bunch of us were in the chow line when our ears popped and a gray - brown cloud drifted through ops ml. I immediately headed aft and relieved the watch 1 1/2 hrs early

11/16/2011 6:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing topside watch on the NYC pierside at S-9 Subase PH. The BDW sticks his head out the weapons shipping hatch and says he is pumping SANS but wants to hurry the process so he wants to throw a little air to speed the black water on its way off the boat. I said bad idea. A few minutes later the SAN hose starts to really wiggle and a hideous stench fills the air. Black water starts to leak around the flange and drips into the harbor. I yelled over the 1MC to secure pumping SANS and I took cover behind the sail. There was a crack and the hose blew off the side of the hull spraying pierside the CO's, XO's and COB's car and across the road to the base barber shop. Not a very pleasant experience altogether.

11/16/2011 11:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"ANAV, you want to check my work on this one?" -Chap

Would never imagine a need to check your work on anything. Curious about the obviously omitted portion of your story, primarily to see if your old boat got the same treatment as mine.

It wasn't the same. In my day, we could not spend the dough for minor extras. One of those "minor" things almost killed me later, and got a chief axed.

Best regards, "ANAV"

11/16/2011 4:01 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

ANAV, you want to check my work on this one?

...Or were you asking me? (since we sailed together on that 38 year old submarine) :)

Vague memories of the LL Outboard head giving them fits as well for the same reason. Finally did the chop-n-swap during the (first iteration of the) pre-inac SRA. Still never really worked right, but better than it was. Seem to remember the Frogs using the tubes on occasion.

11/16/2011 4:21 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Yes, that was the SRA. I remember that was a particularly challenging time. Glad we're well done with it.

For the other anon ANAV, cost might have been in there somewhere but I didn't see the discussions with PHNSY about the clog COAs.

11/16/2011 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One time when SSN 751, was in port in Groton, a junior A-ganger lined up to blow the sans to the pier sewage system. However, instead of using 100psi air as directed by the "in port" procedures; He used the "at sea" procedure and used 700psi air. I was fun watching the man hole covers up and down the street rattling and jumping. Glad the hose held though. Still stuck like a dead skunk.

PB Sterling ET1/SS

11/17/2011 6:58 AM

Blogger Lou said...

In Holy Loch after a berth shift from outboard the tender to outboard the dry dock, M-Div forgot to re-align San 4 discharge from the topside connection to the normal O/B discharge (it was SOP in the Loch to blow sans to the tender, but if the boat was moored to the dry dock, then the boat blew sans to the loch). When it came time to blow san 4, we blew it all over the wing wall of the dry dock.

11/17/2011 2:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In drydock MINSY. About 1978 or so. Sanitaries wouldn't blow. Called public works to the drydock to snake the blow line from outside in. Poor confused PWC civilian showed up at the drydock, and looked at the boat like it was radioactive. Called back to his boss to ask if he could actually do it, and was told "Yes." Pulled out a sneaker. With no identifying marks, darn it.

11/17/2011 4:02 PM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

IC Chief blew sans on himself not once, not twice but a full hat trick while on board. His name was officially changed to chief “Residue”. And after the second time he was not allowed to use the CPO facilities anymore.

699 boat?

11/20/2011 9:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the Captain isn't impressed with bloggers:

11/21/2011 5:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was OOD for a BSP to pick-up some ships force and drop the squadron riders after the first few days underway...I get Skipper's permission to bring the tug along side and give the tug the go ahead on the B2B...I am watching the tug approach on the port side and suddenly I notice this nice stream of brown water shooting out of the hull. It took me a second to realize what it was but before the CO could even react I was screaming at control to secure pumping. Thankfully they secured pumping fast enough to avoid putting all over the tug. Turns out the WEPs (who was control room sup) thought he could control that evolution without permission from the would have been one bad day if the tug had actually been alongside with the brow across and guys moving across.

11/23/2011 5:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were you within 3nm from land when the pumping happened? A big no-no in the states!

Of course overseas, we used to pump on a high out-going tide in some countries while inport.

11/23/2011 8:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

International dolphin wearer here. UA Boeing 777 LA - DC. The shitter beckons. I answer. Out comes Richard Dreyfus' Devil's Tower from Close Encounters. I recognise it as such and am very pleased with my creation, although the five tonals are not present. I flush - all hell breaks lose. instead of flushing, I have a Hiroshima shadow on the door. 30 seconds of absolute fury before I start laughing for a half hour whilst I de-poo my hair, face and clothes. I roll up my outer layers, stick them in my wife's bag, order a double Capt Morgan and recount the story with the plea that it isnt the first thing she tells her mates from VA that will pick us up. It doesnt work.

11/24/2011 5:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were you within 3nm from land when the pumping happened? A big no-no in the states!

Ummm, we used to do that every night anchored off Lahaina.

11/24/2011 7:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words... pee funnel.

12/08/2011 12:40 AM

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12/08/2011 7:47 AM

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12/29/2011 5:17 AM


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