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, May 28, 2012

USS Illinois Will NOT Have An All-Female Crew

[I really dislike having to post this on Memorial Day, when a more legitimate topic is in order, but this story is gaining too much traction and needs to be addressed.]

The White House announced today that, as predicted, the First Lady will sponsor PCU Illinois (SSN 786), slated to be commissioned in 2015. Several news outlets reported the news correctly. Several others, including most Fox News outlets (along with The Hill, which should know better), decided to report, based on no evidence whatsoever, that this would be the first submarine with an "all female crew".

For those who are researching this incredible claim, let me be clear -- the Illinois is NOT going to be the first submarine with an "all female crew" when she's commissioned in 2015. There will not be any female Submariners with enough experience to be XO, let alone CO, by 2015. Even if the White House wanted to do this for some perverse public relations reason, Naval Reactors would shoot it down, because they would not give approval to a CO who did not have the requisite submarine experience. You can't just take a female surface nuke CDR and make her CO of a submarine; too much submarining is learned by the hard lessons of experience and discussions in the wardroom. Naval Reactors would not in a million years send one of their submarine reactors to sea under a CO without the submarine training you can only get by doing at least two full prepartory sea tours on a submarine. No female will have that level of experience by then.

However, if someone out there believes everything they hear on Fox News and wants to claim that the Kenyan Marxist Communist Muslim Usurper is going to override NR because he's evil and wants to destroy the military, please let me know, and I will bet you $1000 that the Illinois does not have an all-female crew when she gets commissioned. We'll put the money in escrow, winner collects all. And I will win that bet.

Update 2006 28 May: Actually, I posted this too quickly without doing my customary research, and found that the Navy has already not only refuted the report, but says that Illinois isn't even planned to have female crewmembers. Here's a comment from the SUBFOR PAO under the article from The Hill:
Hello, this is the Public Affairs Officer for Submarine Forces. The USS ILLINOIS will not have an all female crew. Today the First Lady accepted sponsorship of the USS ILLINOIS and she met with the group of female Submariners that have already reported to Submarines. This group is the first for the US Navy. Currently we have females serving on some ballistic and guided missile Submarines. The USS ILLINOIS will be a Virginia class Submarine. At this time, we do not have any females serving on SSNs. Tried to call your agency to correct, but received an answering machine.
Update 2223 28 May: It's not just FoxNews and The Hill (who, from all reports, made up the original story) who're making mistakes. In this story, MSNBC incorrectly reports that the Illinois will be the first U.S. submarine to have female crewmembers. While I doubt Illinois will have any female crewmembers for the foreseeable future, we do know that several other submarines already have females aboard as part of the crew.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, if someone out there believes everything they hear on Fox News and wants to claim that the Kenyan Marxist Communist Muslim Usurper is going to override NR because he's evil and wants to destroy the military

Geez, been hitting the media matters kool-aid a little bit hard, Joel?

5/28/2012 8:01 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

No, mostly Free Republic.

5/28/2012 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This all started with misreporting by Carlo Munoz at The Hill, and has been picked up by every wingnut on the internet today.

Whatever happened to editors at news organizations? Don't they even bother to check the facts anymore?

I'm also amused by "anonymous" and the standard "kool-aid" comment. You people really are shameless, aren't you?

5/28/2012 8:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that story and laughed, imagining 120 plus women all on the same lunar cycle. Cripes, it might start World War 3.

5/28/2012 9:01 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

Joel, your knee-jerk and over the top bashing of Fox News at every opportunity is beneath you. They're not the only ones to have gone off half-cocked picking up an inadequately fact-checked story originating in other media. Professional reporting standards were certainly not upheld here, but you know full well that incompetent reporting is widespread, and editors dropping the ball is not a surprising thing on a Memorial Day. Criticism of yes, the mostly conservative news outlets that ran with this is warranted, but your rant is way over the top and does you no credit.

5/28/2012 9:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Romney is going to be the sponser?

5/28/2012 9:22 PM

Blogger KellyJ said...

Mrs. Romney would sponsor a USS Massachusetts should he be elected this summer and the USN select that name.
Mrs Obama gets the honor for USS Illinois since that is her home state.

5/28/2012 9:44 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

No, the current First Lady, Michelle Obama. Even if she's no longer First Lady at the time of the commissioning, she'll still be the sponsor, since that honor goes to the person, not the position.

5/28/2012 9:45 PM

Anonymous Carl said...

Mark/MM1(ss)- the commentary is on the spot. If Fox News goes off half-cocked on a submarine-related story, then they should be called on it. The blog is about submarines and the Navy. It is not a blog on incompetent reporting and thus there is no beholding to ensure that all incompetent reporting is challenged. Though if the New Yorker, NYT, WP, etc, went off half-cocked on a submarine story, then I'm positive Bubblehead would be the first to call them on it. But in this case they didn't and Fox did. Shame on Fox.

5/28/2012 10:12 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I certainly would. And in this case, it looks like the blogger from The Hill was the one who generated the untruth, and the FoxNews outlets just posted it without checking. I did notice that a couple other outlets from the alphabet networks had updated their stories when I checked that they had removed the part about "all female crew"; when I posted, the FoxNews locals hadn't.

5/28/2012 10:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frankly, the bigger story is that Mrs. Obama met with several of the female submariners recently. How much more of a sunshine enema can we continue to give these women. This will only hinder their integration and make them feel like unique, special flowers for us to rally around and support. Bottom line I'm not opposed to women serving but we've got to get over them as something so remarkable and actually see how they do. At this point they are just nubs.

5/29/2012 4:25 AM

Blogger dark cloud said...

Of course there are idiots who believe everything FoxViews puts on the air. See Vigilis for ref.

5/29/2012 5:37 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

NBC's Chicago affiliate says, "First Lady Michelle Obama will sponsor the first U.S. Submarine to allow female submariners."

This apparent error hints at how the original error was made and reported by MSNBC, FOX, etc. It also reinforces an obvious liberal agenda to destroy the world's premiere submarine force, because liberals love the military so much, don't they?

"In order to fulfill the political agenda of attracting female volunteers to vessels with spartan facilities and comforts, the Navy must have a female role model to command of a submarine ASAP. Otherwise, high attrition will eliminate the first 24, the recruiting pipeline will falter, and the social shoehorn will be an obvious disaster writ all over with the names of admirals." -

If symbolism is your thing, Dark Cloud, go for it and it will shower your head (pun intended).

5/29/2012 6:25 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Liberals wish PCU Illinois to become the first SSN to allow any female crew member. Why?

Obviously to associate with the Obamas and garner political points with women. For slow thinkers like Dark Cloud (presumed female), Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, and served in the Illinois Senate prior to his last inauguration.

5/29/2012 6:34 AM

Anonymous STS2 said...

Vigilis, ,maybe they want the Illinois to be an all female crew because they want the ship to accurately represent its namesake. By putting an all female crew in place the Illinois will suck on par with the Chicago Cubs, who define the word suck.

5/29/2012 8:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


To say that the Fox Affiliate in DC is Fox News, is the same as saying KTVB NBC 7 Boise is NBC news or KNIN Fox 9 is Fox News.

These are local AFFILIATES. Most owned locally, and do not have the editorial oversight of Fox News, NBC News etc.

Stick with the Submarine news and commentary. I do appreciate your commentary, but bashing Fox News makes you look like a moon bat.
Anonymous - Seattle

5/29/2012 8:59 AM

Blogger Curt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2012 9:34 AM

Blogger Curt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2012 9:38 AM

Blogger Curt said...

The Whiners were Joe Piscopo / Doug Whiner, and Robin Duke / Wendy Whiner, who spoke all their lines in a whining, nasal tone.

They both suffered from diverticulitis and would eat only macaroni and cheese.

5/29/2012 9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @5/29/2012 4:25 AM To be fair to the submariners brought to DC to meet with FLOTUS, they really don't like being thrust in the spotlight either. It makes them stick out and appear special when they should be qualifying so they can help out the watchbill. They don't feel unique, and they do want to integrate quietly.

5/29/2012 9:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Joel! How dare you have an opinion on this blog!!!!!

Everyone else sticks to facts on this blog, how could you deviate so far and give use your opinion?!?!?!?

The rest of us are trying to make this blog as objective and factual as possible. Please stop with your political overtones......


5/29/2012 10:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT but Congrats to the USNA Class of 2012! BZ

5/29/2012 11:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you read the S&S story on the first sub females?
I especially like the part by LT Rebecca Dremann where he calls himself the 'trifecta' of the sub force. They even put a picture of this beast on the front page. Is this really the face of women in subs that the leadership wanted? Must us.

5/29/2012 12:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Vigilis et al:

What evidence is required for you to re-evaluate your stance towards women in submarines (or in the military in-general) and admit you are wrong?

If the answer is "Nothing", then you are not worth our time debating so please cease posting here.

If the answer is "{something}", then at least we can start discussion as open-minded citizens.

5/29/2012 12:22 PM

Blogger Ranb said...

I'm sure if she finds smoking too much of a hassle, she can quit.


5/29/2012 12:37 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"What evidence is required for you to re-evaluate your stance towards women in submarines (or in the military in-general) and admit you are wrong?" - Anon 12:22 PM

My personal objections have been patiently spelled out at M.E. for the past 5 years now.

Evidence required for me to admit error in the matter of Mabus's co-ed subs program is as simple as it would be compelling. Yet not only has it been absent under Ray Mabus, indications are that it has been wired exactly opposite to fairplay.

In only one sentence (last paragraph) HERE it is.

5/29/2012 12:56 PM

Blogger The Motivation Group said...

STSC(ss) Joe Hall
The PCU Illinois could have an all-woman crew, as long as it stayed that way, PCU!
You are right, Joel, you can't take a female CDR from a nuke surface ship and cross-deck just to meet a socially acceptable goal!
Those not familiar with NR and the tactical training requirements of an SSN are unable to provide intelligent input on this topic.
Even if there were a half-baked idea of just having an all-woman sub to be a floating PR machine, poorly trained and poorly operated subs are a disaster waiting to happen!
It takes time to train and gain critical experience on a sub and the timetable can't be pushed without having a Challenger type catastrophe!

5/29/2012 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, you have once again waged a pathetic rant, and yes you could have posted something more suitable on Memorial Day (but you didn’t). Now that you have stuck you dick in the fan, tell us again how that Kenyan Marxist Communist Muslim Usurper sends a tingle up your leg.

5/29/2012 1:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@1:49 PM Anonymous above: Wow! Either you are kidding or being very sarcastic or you are the biggest assclown to ever grace this blog. Please leave...

5/29/2012 2:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote assclown.

5/29/2012 2:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Double down on ass clown!

5/29/2012 2:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll admit to not being a fan of women on submarines, but it is purely based on potential impact on operational on-station time and mission effectiveness. The basis for it is not any "sexism" on my part, but numerous discussions with my wife (a Navy Nuke Officer) and other female officer friends who regularly recount the issues with pushing nukes off the carriers because of pregnancy and other issues.... in most cases they cited there was no replacement and the departure was immediate. Imagine a submarine having to pull off station leaving an area uncovered because the rules dictate that they have to be shipped off immediately... we would be losing a chunk of our most effective selling point...persistent days on station. I know some amazing female officers...some who are submariners in other Navies. They can certainly do the job, but there will be plenty that come along with them who won't be up to snuff and I fear we'll further water down requirements and do things for the publicity instead of doing things focused on excellence.

5/29/2012 4:58 PM

Anonymous portnstarboard said...

Ah yes, that super-duper ultra-conservative hard right totally biased news outfit Fox News must be at it again. Or not. They just constantly berate and dog our most beloved hard-core capitalist, dedicated Christian, and most natural born citizen president. What an evil news site. If only they could be more fair like MSNBC or NPR or CNN or even Pravda then this entire misreported incident could have been avoided. Or not.

Thanks for the link to your blog, vigilis. I just book marked it.

5/29/2012 4:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop commenting Vigilis. Vigilis is like a stray dog that will keep coming back if you feed him....

5/29/2012 5:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you a woman that got pregnant while serving on a Navy nuclear-powered submarine? Does your baby have any of the following symptoms: eats a lot, cries a lot, or poops a lot? We are ready to represent you in court. We will win big bucks because the Navy has absolutely no defense against the known vulnerability of the unborn fetus to ionizing radiation.

We are Dewey, Cheatham & Howe. And if you think that John Edwards was a lying scumbag, you ain't see nothin' yet. Call us today at 1-800-BLL-SHYT.

5/29/2012 5:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


So many people trying so hard to seem clever.

5/29/2012 5:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we couldn't quailfy enough females in time to crew up ILLINOIS, then how about a combination gay/trans gender/female crew. Certaintly 120 could be found...It'd make quite a statement. Can you imagine the 1/2way night festivities? Show tunes all 'round.

5/29/2012 6:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the female submariners went to go meet the FLOTUS huh? So much for treating them "like any other sailor"...

5/29/2012 7:34 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Anonymous @ 1:49 - Here's the deal, just because I don't think that President Obama is evil and stupid does not mean he gives me a "tingle"; I know it's hard for you to understand, but it's possible to not agree with his center-left philosophy without believing that he has a secret plan to destroy America. Not everything has to be at one extreme or the other. The real world is analog, not binary.

5/29/2012 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a minute. In the 60's, in order to fill 2 SSBN CO slots a month, the Navy pulled the very best Surface CDRs and Captains, gave thm a crash Nuc course, and put them is submarine command. Usually one boomer crew had a regular boat sailor, the other crew got a surface makeover guy with a strong XO and Eng.

5/29/2012 8:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article in the 'Hill' and laughed at what should have been an obvious error to anyone with more than a passing familiarity of the world of submarines.
It's hard to imagine anyone in the submarine community taking the story seriously or willing to advertise their naivety by using the reporters mistake to attack the President.

5/29/2012 9:40 PM

Anonymous Ripping and Tearing said...

Also heard Dirty Dave Turley is going to be recalled to actice duty and become the COB of the USS ILLINOIS.

He is going to be one tired COB!

5/29/2012 10:23 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

well said, BH

5/29/2012 10:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. Just saying that your post came accross a bit too strong againts those who oppose the anointed one's policies.

My respects sir.
graceful assclown

5/29/2012 10:59 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

@anon 9:40
- gift to QEII on first state visit to UK: ipod loaded w/ American "classic" films
- bows to King Fahd and numerous other foreign heads of state
- selects and continues to stand by Eric Holder (Philly BP thugs, Fast and Furious, just as a start)
- Solyndra and myriad other money pits "stimulus" funds squandered on for social engineering
- names US Navy warship "John Murtha"
- "please tell Vladimir I'll have a free reign to fold on US an allied interests in missile defense after election"
et al ad infinitum...

point is: yes, any non-halfwit submariner should smell a fish in the original story, but who's to say an administration with such a lengthy track record of incompetence wouldn't have gone off half-cocked, an floated on initiative like that without fully vetting the notion - OK, probably not, but still not a completely preposterous notion. The story didn't get the initial editorial oversight it should have on a holiday because nobody in the loop was familiar enough with the business of submarining to recognize that the notion of an all-female submarine in three years is reckless to an extreme.

5/29/2012 11:09 PM

Blogger 4MC said...

I've called out Liberal Joel more than once about his moon-bat BS rantings from time to time.
Quite frankly, his failure as an Officer has carried on into his Blogging habit. Bitter and sour for his own failures that led to his retirement as a measly O-4 (Like retiring as an E-5 for the Enlisted Folks), he lashes out at anything to the right of his bitter leftist ideologies.

5/29/2012 11:58 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

Fuckups can be listed for every single president we've elected.

I can still remember when there was common ground between American voters; now you must agree with every point of one or the other extreme.

Some would call me a RINO, but I remain a proud Republican. One that voted for Bill Clinton.

5/30/2012 12:27 AM

Blogger Curt said...

Nice piece in the WaPost this past Sunday - Conservatives used to care about community. What happened?.

5/30/2012 2:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading your silly rant and tirade against Fox News, Joel, I noticed that at least Fox and The Hill had the stones to admit their error and publish a retraction. MSNBC the mouthpiece of the left on the other hand silently changed the text to remove the all female crew part of the story. No retraction no correction by MSNBC, just cover their tracks and to hell with journalistic integrity. The media equivalent of blazing the logs. Go follow the same. MSNBC link you posted and see what I mean.

5/30/2012 5:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to modern America. Where reasoned thought and moderate opinion makes you a "moonbat."

Those of you who don't like Joel's opinion, head on over to Vigilis' blog. Lord knows he needs the page views.

5/30/2012 8:34 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

To 5/29-8:42 - Those LCDRS and CDRS who were moved from surface to submarines in the sixties got the same "crash course" as us fresh caught Ensigns and JGs - Six months NPS, six months prototype, six months sub school and then the year to qualify although most got their dolphins in nine to ten months. They were front runners in their yeargroups and many made admiral. I have to say it was interesting to have a sub school classmate (and my section leader) as a commanding officer a few years later and to meet a former shipmate as an Admiral even more years later.

5/30/2012 9:33 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Anonymous @5:03 - Good point about MSNBC editing their piece without pointing out the previous error. Definite violation of internet journalistic ethics on that one. I'm not seeing where the Fox outlets made corrections, but I wouldn't doubt that they did. In my book, making the correction after being called on it without admitting it is a worse violation than improperly vetting a story on a holiday weekend.
@4MC - I hadn't noticed you calling me out before. I guess you're just not very memorable. Sorry about that.

5/30/2012 9:34 AM

Anonymous EoGuy said...

Rush Limbaugh reported that and added "No se(a)men on board.

5/30/2012 3:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

4MC, I don't know Joel from Adam's house cat, and I typically grit my teeth when he opines about politics because we just flat out don't agree. But given that he served two successful new-con Eng billets and was medically disqualified, I'm not really sure how one can come to the conclusion that his career was a failure. I certainly don't see it that way.

6 & out EM1(SS/DV)

5/30/2012 9:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. Anyone who can do one new con as an Eng without hanging theirself is a hero in my book. Takes quite some strength to go back for more. Sure, you don't go to sea as much, but honestly, you get the same amount of time at home. Reminds me of a new COB we got one time in the middle of a PSA that said we shouldn't get sea pay because our job wasn't arduous. Engineering wanted to fucking kill him.

5/30/2012 9:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't see too many E-5s responsible for an entire reactor plant, engineroom, amr, and the training of 40-50 sailors. Retiring as an O4 is nothing like retiring as an E5 (you have to get masted to accomplish that feat, for starters), and especially not when it's medically related. Where do you get off calling someone who did TWO sea tours successfully and safely getting new cons out to sea a failure?

There are many designators in the Navy where even O4 is highly selective, let alone other services. Officer promotion is not the same as enlisted, and the Navy picked Joel to be an eng. Those guys tend to be a lot better than avg.

5/31/2012 4:28 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Thanks, guys. And if this @4MC guy comes back and wants to say "well, he didn't do much sea time with all those shipyard Eng tours", I'll point out that for my post-DH "shore" tour I volunteered for an SLO job and did the 2000 deployment with the Stennis Battle Group. When that deployment ended, my options were to sit around and work 4 hour days with the BG staff while the Stennis did maintenance while waiting for my YG to start PXO or do another NewCon Eng job, and I took the latter. (I'm actually pretty sure I didn't have much choice, but I officially "volunteered" because I figured it would look better.)
If I was at all interested, I might go back to see what "liberal" things I said that he called me out on. Is it my belief that a person can be a misguided center-left politician without being inherently evil? My opinion that the 2nd Amendment doesn't give people the right to shoot Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers who a person thinks represent an "oppressive" government?

6/01/2012 5:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been far right and far left, it all depends on the issue at hand. Anybody that takes their news from any one source is a damn fool.
Not usually calling anybody names, this is one of those that really gets to me at times.
We all served, we all did our best to be part of the best.
I was part of 6 sea commands, 3 shore commands and one joint service overseas command. In all these places there were people that as a person I may or may not have liked. But, none of them were less or more than I was at anytime no matter where I served. That was what made "Submarines and Submariners" the cut above and a team like no other. We were not a crew, we were a family.
I was a chief, had many officers I could have just wanted to shoot out the tubes, but then I have had those that wanted to shoot me out of the tubes.
Problem is, we all knew that none of us was there because we were stupid or lazy or anything less than professional.
This is the first time I have read this blog, and for the most part, some neat stuff. I personally don't know anybody so I only know what I read.
I am just sayin, calling people losers and less than ... that is part of the disease that is being fought against in the current submarine force. People that think they are better than others because of rate or rank.
We only have two sets of dolphins, officer and enlisted. Perhaps, if nothing else, a person could use the intelligence they once used to get those dolphins in the first place. What ever happened to critical thinking skills amongst adults.

6/05/2012 11:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call me old-fashioned, call me sexist, whatever. I believe that there is something perverse in a society that sends its young women into battle and onto battleships. O brave new world.

6/07/2012 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The FOX News DC article doesn't say anything about the USS Illinois being an "all-female" crew. It just says the White House welcomed a contingent of the first women submariners. That doesn't mean the ship will be all-female.

6/23/2012 9:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furthermore, the FOX DC article says the 24 women submariners that were welcomed to the White House serve "throughout" the Navy. You should read the article more closely before being so quick to bash them.

6/23/2012 9:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work for a FOX affiliate and if you read their article, you'll notice that this is not an original story by them. In the attribution at the top, you'll notice it says Newscore, which is a wire service that we use to add content to our websites. So, while yes, we use their services, FOX did not write nor research this story and must take it at face value. None of the FOX affiliate's websites have the staffing to vet every detail in a story that comes across the wire. But the above posts are correct, nothing in that story suggests that the USS Illinois would be an "all-female" crew. I'm glad you noticed you rushed to post too quickly without vetting your information.

6/23/2012 9:45 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Fine information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Very much thanks again and good luck!

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6/30/2012 9:39 PM

Blogger Phil Gardocki said...

This explains why the Illinois shot the cruise missile at the Colorado in "Last Resort", and why they probably nuked Pakastan :)

9/28/2012 6:45 AM

Blogger phlebotomist said...

“Hello, this is the Public Affairs Officer for Submarine Forces. The USS ILLINOIS will not have an all female crew. Today the First Lady accepted sponsorship of the USS ILLINOIS and she met with the group of female Submariners that have already reported to Submarines. This group is the first for the US Navy.
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1/11/2013 7:32 AM


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