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, February 18, 2012

USS Wyoming (Gold) CO Relieved On "Slightly Accelerated" Schedule

From Navy Times:
The commanding officer of a Kings Bay, Ga.-based ballistic-missile submarine [USS Wyoming (SSBN 742)(Gold)] was fired Feb. 4 for mishandling classified materials, just three weeks before his scheduled relief, a Submarine Group 10 spokesman confirmed Friday.
Cmdr. Diego Hernandez was found guilty of dereliction of duty by Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander of SUBGRU 10 at admiral’s mast and relieved of command, SUBGRU 10 spokesman Lt. Brian Wierzbicki said.
His relief “was slightly accelerated due to some issues with the handling of classified information,” Wierzbicki said. “The whole case, due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, is all classified.”...
...Asked why SUBGRU 10 waited to release information until queried by Navy Times, Wierzbicki replied: “He wasn’t relieved for cause, though. There’s no DFC involved,” he said, referring to the administrative measure known as detachment for cause, which is used to quickly find a relief. “It was just accelerated.”
While I obviously don't know any specifics behind the classified material mishandling charge, this seems to be a little bit of piling on unless the powers that be are really trying to reinforce to all COs the specific importance of the mishandling of classified information. I always figured that the two reasons to relieve a CO early are 1) you don't believe he can fix the specific problem(s) on the boat, or 2) to send a message to current and future COs ("If you do this, you won't get a band"). To give someone a non-band relief three weeks early seems like a very clear message to send to his peers. On the other hand, if it was just a case of "he did something wrong, so we have to fire him because we always fire COs who do something mastable", I think this breeds the worst kind of "zero defect" mentality that could negatively affect the Force's war-fighting capability and could potentially limit a ship's self-reporting of problematic issues. (Not to mention it sends the message that "once someone goes to mast they're not really fit to be part of the crew anymore", a philosophy with which I strongly disagree.) I really hope that's not the case.

As always, remember any comments you make about a Submariner here can be read by their families or potential future employers, so please don't put out any rumors of bad behavior unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they're true, and then only if they pertain to the subject at hand.

NPTU Charleston To Get Newer Moored Training Ships

From the Charleston Post and Courier:
Over the 10-year span, the USS Daniel Webster and the USS Sam Rayburn, both built in the early 1960s, would be replaced one by one with the 1970s-era USS La Jolla and the USS San Francisco...
...Here's what's coming
Expansion plans
Renovate X-Ray piers to hold two larger submarines
Replace the USS Daniel Webster and USS Sam Rayburn with the USS La Jolla and USS San Francisco
Remove older office, classroom and storage barges, replace with shoreside buildings
New gate, fencing and other security improvements
Nearly double parking to 1,900 spaces

Training plans
2012 -- 1,200 students per year
2015 -- 1,500 per year
2022 -- 1,800 per year
2020-2022 -- 2,800 per year*
*Temporary assignments while the school at Ballston Spa, N.Y., is refueled
The draft assessment mentioned in the story is here, and says, not surprisingly, that the new training ships will be designated MTS 701 and MTS 711. With Charleston Naval Shipyard closed down, the conversion work will obviously be done elsewhere; I'm guessing Norfolk. When I was a Shift Eng on MTS 626 in '93-'95 and half of our trainees were going to skimmers, I always wondered why they didn't bring of the the cruisers that was decomming during that time in as an MTS; it could have provided lots of office space as well. I think the ship's sailed on that idea...

Caption This Photo!

A non-Submariner reader sent in this picture, wondering what the Submariner was doing. I was guessing a ship's diver got sent topside in relatively rough seas to clear some sort of sound issue, and might be watching his bag wash overboard. In any event, I figure it's a good candidate for an old-fashioned "Caption This Photo" contest. The winner earns the admiration of his or her peers.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nebraska (Gold) COB Fired

The Chief of the Boat of USS Nebraska (SSBN 739)(Gold) was fired for "administrative reasons" on January 3rd, according to Navy Times:
After his relief, the Navy began an investigation into allegations that Turley had had an inappropriate relationship with a female Naval Academy midshipman onboard Nebraska, officials familiar with the investigation said.
The firing came only a month after the first female submariners arrived in the fleet. They began reporting to ballistic-missile subs Wyoming and Maine and guided-missile subs Georgia and Ohio.
Turley’s relief was “unconnected” to allegations of an inappropriate relationship aboard the sub, Early said. Due to privacy concerns, he declined to comment on the nature of the alleged relationship or whether Turley was a subject of the investigation...
...Asked why SUBGRU 9 did not disclose the firing until pressed by Navy Times, Early said that because Turley wasn’t “relieved for cause,” there was no requirement to make his relief public.
Some discussion of this issue before it became public can be found in the comments of an earlier post; I have no idea about the accuracy of anything that was posted there. In general, I'll allow comments to stand for a story that's likely to make it into open source unless someone E-mails me to complain with a good reason why it should be pulled. In general, however, I would ask commenters not to attach names to rumors that aren't open source yet; the comments still show up on a Google search even if the story never does go public or just plain isn't true.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rogue Submariners

ABC bought a pilot for a new series that could be interesting, "Last Resort":
The series tells the story of a U.S. nuclear submarine crew who refuses direct orders to fire nuclear missiles and must go on the lam. They find sanctuary at a NATO base where they declare themselves the world's smallest nuclear nation. Braugher will play Capt. Marcus Chaplin, the commander of the U.S.S. Nevada. A veteran of real combat and a leader by nature, Chaplin is a patriot, though won't follow any man blindly.
Sometimes on the midwatch the conversation would turn to methods by which a submarine crew could go rogue. I never got much beyond the "surface and tell a cruise ship you'd sink them unless they turned over all their valuables" or drug-running; I don't think I ever heard someone come up with the "declare yourself an independent nuclear power" plan.

So what would you do if your crew agreed to follow you into rogue-ishness with a submarine?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Where Have All The SUBRONs Gone?

Yesterday's disestablishment of Submarine Squadron 3 follows up last month's folding of SUBRON 2, with their assigned submarines being farmed out to SUBRONs 1, 4, and SUBDEVRON 12. If I'm counting right, we're back down to the same low number of Submarine Squadrons we had at the bottom of the drawdown in the late '90s.

"We're from Squadron and we're here to help" has always been an intentionally ironic statement among Submariners. Have you ever been in a situation where Squadron actually did help? I always liked how they could order sister submarines to give up parts to my boat, not so much the other way around...

[Non-related personal note: As I saw the date of this post, I realized that I was commissioned an Ensign 23 years ago today in Newport. Happy Anniversary to my fellow graduates of OCS Class 89001!]

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Two Of My Old Ships

In between my two Eng tours, on Connecticut and Jimmy Carter, I did a deployment as the Submarine Liaison Officer on the Stennis Battle Group staff. So I was happy to see this picture of USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) moored at the same pier in Singapore a couple of days ago:

Does seeing pictures of your old boat generally bring back feelings of happy nostalgia or some other emotion?