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.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good News / Bad News

In good recent submarine news, USS Florida (SSGN 728) was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation for firing 45% of the TLAMs launched during the Libya operation.

And in bad but not unexpected news, we read that if the sequester takes place as currently scheduled, the 2nd submarine scheduled to be ordered in 2014 is at risk, as is work on the new Moored Training Ship. On the other hand, they'll cancel of bunch of summer Middie training, so that will free up submarine crews from being annoyed by a bunch of midshipmen.

Also, we saw last week that both the CO and XO of USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) were DFC'd mid-deployment following their collision at PD last month. The dual relief says to me that maybe the CDO was stationed when the 'scope got bent. Luckily, a frigate CO got fired soon afterward, to break the streak of three consecutive CO firings from submarines.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bad Cruises

I've been reading with interest the saga of the cruise ship passengers on the Carnival ship Triumph, and generally not feeling too sorry for them, figuring they were just a bunch of "First World Problem" whiners. Some other Submariners had the same attitude, saying things like "on submarines, we called conditions like that 'Tuesday'" and other such things. Then, a submariner pointed out that for a boat to have the same level of problems experienced by the cruise ship people, you would have essentially had to be continuously rigged for reduced electrical with the San tanks backed up and overflowing for 5 straight days.

About 3 1/2 years ago, I posted about the worst deprivation I ever experienced on a submarine; I'll repost it here:
The "Great Topeka Food Depression" of 1992: We didn't have a Chop during pre-deployment preps, and the short-timer MSC in charge of ordering the food didn't take into account that we'd have 20 riders aboard -- the type of riders that never miss a meal (you know the type). Our last port visit before our "mission vital to national security" got cancelled, so we weren't able to pick up the stores load we were counting on after the new Chop did an inventory and figured out we were running low on food. First, we ran out of yeast, but the MS's saved the last bit and tried to grow some more. It ended up dying, but that was OK, because by then we'd run out of flour. The sugar ran out soon thereafter. During the last few weeks, we were reduced to a diet of bologna pinwheels and unsweetened jello; we drank water or "diet bug" with meals (bug juice without sugar -- horrible). When we finally pulled into Bahrain, we only had four tubes of bologna and one pathetic bag of mixed veggies left. We had made a list of the riders we were going to eat first if we got extended. Luckily, we never did run out of coffee; otherwise, I'm sure there would have been a mutiny.
Since the last port visit was canx'd, a lot of guys weren't able to pick up the various personal items they had planned to get there. As a result, a black market started up for things like candy and, especially, tobacco. A couple of smart non-smokers had bought a bunch of tobacco in San Diego before the deployment and made a killing. Eventually, that supply ran out too, and I saw the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen before -- the concept of "ABC" smokeless tobacco. ("ABC" stands for "Already Been Chewed".) Luckily, that all seemed to be used by the original owner; I don't think a market ever emerged for that particular commodity.
What's your story to put the cruise ship weenies to shame?

Diesel Submarine Debates

Here are a couple of good articles discussing the use of diesel submarines by Western Pacific nations -- an article about China's expanding diesel fleet, and a blog post discussing the effectiveness of the Australian boats. I especially liked one quote about the downside for China of sending their boats out more often:
For China one downside of all this training is that the U.S. Navy has more opportunity to practice hunting Chinese subs. This is particularly true for American subs, which are well equipped with passive (listen only) sonar and are even more effective if they have a lot of sound samples for enemy subs operating underwater or on the surface.
I've always been an advocate for our potential adversaries getting their boats out as much as possible, and as close to the U.S. as possible, for that very reason. I've also been a big fan of the "we shouldn't waste our money building diesel boats since we have such excellent nuclear boats" philosophy, but understand that others have a different opinion. It's been a while since we've had this discussion, so I figure I'd open up the floor for it again.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Truman Strike Group Deployment Delayed

Very interesting news on the Navy website:
The Secretary of Defense delayed the deployment of USS Harry S. Truman and USS Gettysburg Feb. 6. The deployment was originally scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8.
The affected ships have begun formally notifying the men and women of the Harry S. Truman Strike Group (HST CSG) that they will not be deploying.
"Facing budget uncertainty -- including a Continuing Resolution and the looming potential for across-the-board sequestration cuts -- the U.S. Navy made this request to the Secretary and he approved," said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little in a released statement. "This prudent decision enables the U.S. Navy to maintain these ships to deploy on short notice in the event they are needed to respond to national security contingencies," said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little in a released statement.
In order to remain ready and capable to deploy, HST CSG will conduct underway evolutions and maintain proficiency until a future deployment date is announced.
"The United States will continue to maintain a robust military presence in the CENTCOM region, including the current carrier presence and a mix of other assets, to fulfill enduring commitments to our partners. The U.S. military continues to stand ready to respond to any contingency and to confront any threat in the region," said Little.
HST CSG consists of approximately 5,000 Sailors and Marines, including coalition Sailors. Deploying units include Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 10; USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); German frigate FGS Hamburg (F220); guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron.
Since no submarines were mentioned, I'm assuming the subs that were scheduled to deploy with the HST are still leaving as scheduled. Still, this is kind of a scary preview of what we might see as long as the budgetary uncertainty goes on.

In the meantime, please enjoy these overhead pictures of North Korean submarines.

Update 1630 08 February: Now they're postponing the refueling overhaul for USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) indefinitely.