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.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Video

As we head into the long weekend, here's a video the Navy put out last month about USS Maine (SSBN 741):

A couple videos with more in-depth information about Maine put out at the same time are here and here.

Meanwhile, the Russians are reporting that they'll put one of their new Borey-class boomers in each ocean. That means NUC opportunities for both east and west coast American SSNs (as well as spare-part cannibalization nightmares for the Russkie supply officers). w00t!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Update 1405 31 August: While you're at it over the long weekend, you can have fun reading the ill-informed captions that go with the excellent photos in this Business Insider story about Virginia-class boats.

Friday, August 24, 2012

While I've Been Off-Line...

Sorry for the non-existent posting over the last many days; I was visiting my folks back in the land of the dial-up Internet connection. Here are some submarine-related items that have been in the news since then:

1) The Navy announced a schedule for the rebuilding of USS Miami (SSN 755) following the shipyard fire.

2) DARPA has an "unmanned submarine hunter" program. It won't work until we get computers that think like humans since there are so many extraneous submarine-like noises in the ocean that it'll lock on to something other than a submarine, but it's still pretty cool from a geek perspective.

3) PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) released their official ship's crest. I've seen worse. Not so much with the ship's motto "Strength from the Soil", which sucks just about as much ass as any boat's motto I've ever heard. It's especially disturbing that they chose that when they had the much better option "Reapers of the Deep" alongside it on their crest. I'm guessing the PTB decided the latter was too "warlike", so they had to adopt the pussified version as the official motto; I'm glad they kept the better version visible on the coat of arms.

4) Here's an interesting report from a Guardian reporter about his ride on HMS Triumph (S 93).

5) And here's the long-form trailer for the upcoming new ABC series "Last Resort", apparently about a boomer that declares themselves an independent nation after getting genocidal orders from the evil U.S. military establishment. I'm not guessing it'll have a lot in the way of an accurate depiction of submarine life, but I'm sure we'll learn a lot about how evil either the CIA or conservatives in the U.S. military/government are (or maybe even the evil military/industrial complex, along with oil companies).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Not Everything You Read On The Internet Is True

I'm really hesitant to post this drivel purporting to be a "news" report that a Russian Akula spent a month in the Gulf of Mexico without being detected, but I've gotten enough requests that I figure I'll throw it out there. All I ask is that those discussing how either idiotic or manipulative (depending on if you think he really believes it, or if you think he knows it's not true and also knows that those who know the truth are constrained by confidentiality from saying so) the writer, Bill Gertz, is, not reveal anything classified about why his imaginary tale couldn't really happen -- I know it's tough, but please try. Like with all the uninformed conjecture about the Chinese submarine that surfaced near USS Kitty Hawk back in 2006, this is unfortunately one of those cases where someone with an agenda is allowed to run roughshod over the facts and those who know how the real world works aren't allowed to contradict them.

For those non-submariners having a hard time reading between the lines of what I'm saying, I'll make it a little clearer: Obviously, it's possible that a Russian SSN could travel to the Gulf of Mexico and cruise around for a month in international waters during peacetime, even though that has no real military value, as we have no real naval bases with things like major combatants in the Gulf, and what do you expect the U.S. to do to stop them from transiting international waters, fire at them and start a war? -- it's the "undetected" part that strains credibility to the point of humor.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Wow. Just Wow.

A week ago, USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) had a change of command, with CDR Michael Ward relieving CDR Michael Savageaux for what I'm sure he hoped would be a successful command tour with a band playing at the end.
Unfortunately, life doesn't work out that way, as he was relieved of duty due to "lack of confidence in Ward's ability to command" just one week after putting on his sheriff's badge. What, you may ask, would cause this quick turnaround in his Commodore's opinion of this young CO? This news article provides some clues:
Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II, who a 23-year-old Chesapeake, Va., woman said had an affair with her, has been relieved of his duties as the commanding officer of the USS Pittsburgh, just one week after he was put in command.
The woman said she met Ward, 43, on a dating website in October 2011. She said he told her he worked in "special ops." She said Ward, who is married with children, told her he was separated. She said he impregnated her and, in an effort to end the relationship, faked his death in an email in July...
...The woman said Ward sent her emails using the name Tony Moore. On July 6, she received an email from his address purporting to be from a man named Bob who worked with Ward.
"He asked me to contact you if this ever happened," the email says. "I am extremely sorry to tell you that he is gone. We tried everything we could to save him. I cannot say more. I am sorry it has to be this way."
The email goes on to say, "He loved you very much," and that Bob had something Ward wanted to give to the woman.
The woman said on July 9, she drove with her family members to Ward's house in Burke, Va., to pay her respects and learned from the new owner that Ward was alive and had moved to Connecticut to take command of a submarine.
Have you ever heard of a CO story to top this one?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rate The Port Visits, Get An Award!

Not much submarine news lately (as indicated by the length of time that's passed since my last post), so I dug around and found a couple of items:

1) USS Louisville (SSN 724) returned from WestPac yesterday; here's photographic proof:

Excerpt from the story:
During the deployment, 26 Sailors qualified in submarines and are now entitled to wear the submarine warfare insignia, also referred to as "Dolphins", after completing a rigorous qualification process that included in-depth understanding of submarine construction and operations, and practical assessments of the Sailor's ability to combat a wide range of casualties that could be encountered while onboard the submarine. A majority of the crew also completed advanced qualifications, including Engineering Watch Supervisor, Diving Officer of the Watch and Chief of the Watch. These qualifications provide greater watch bill flexibility and help ensure that Louisville's performance will remain strong.
"We left on WESTPAC with a fairly junior crew but, they worked hard to keep the ship clean and stowed, and rapidly became qualified for senior watch stations," said Master Chief Fire Control Technician (SS) Joseph Bransfield, Louisville Chief of the Boat.
Despite steaming over 40,000 nautical miles in support of the nation's defense, the crew enjoyed several memorable port visits which included Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan; Sepangar, Malaysia and Subic Bay, Philippines.
I'd rate that as an above average set of port visits compared to a lot of boats recently. What was your best -- or worst -- combined set of port calls during a full deployment?

2) Here's a story from The Dolphin about the SOAC Director getting an award, the Naval Submarine League’s 2012 Rear Admiral Frederick B. Warder Award for Outstanding Achievement. Pretty cool. The only named award I ever got was the "Military Order of the World Wars" Outstanding Recruit award, given to a graduating recruit every week at Great Lakes back in 1983. (I also earned several Engineer's "Yellow Stickies" when I was a JO.) Did you ever earn a cool award?