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, March 29, 2014

Submarine Force Loses Two, Much Too Soon

Yesterday marked the formal decommissioning of USS Miami (SSN 755), destroyed by an arsonist in 2012.
Past and present crew members, their families and other invited guests attended the event.
"Admiral, the watch is secured," reported Miami's skipper Cmdr. Rolf Spelker to Submarine Group 2 commander Rear Adm. Ken Perry, marking the end of the ship's nearly 24-year journey...
...During more than a dozen deployments over the past two decades, Miami fully employed her capabilities while operating in maritime regions near North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Miami was America's first nuclear-powered submarine to transit the Suez Canal, an honor earned during her second deployment in 1994.
In the late 1990s, Miami launched Tomahawk cruise missile strikes during Operation Desert Fox in Iraq and Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. She earned the nickname "Big Gun" after becoming the first submarine since World War II to fire ordnance during combat operations in two different theaters.
On a more unexpected and therefore tragic note, CDR Barry R. Rodrigues, former XO of USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and recent CO of USS Wyoming (SSBN 742)(Blue), passed away last Saturday. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, In Memoriam donations be made to the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation.

Sailor, Rest Your Oar.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

International Submarine Open Thread

While I'm mourning the booting of my beloved Jaywalkshawks from the Tournament, I'll post an open thread for whatever you guys want to talk about, with a couple of international submarine news items:

1) HMS Tireless (S88) was denied permission by the UAE to enter port for a planned port visit/crew swap in Dubai, waiting around for a week before heading off to Goa. Many family members, who had come to visit, were understandably disappointed. No reason was given. Have you ever had family members waiting for you for a port visit that was cancelled?

2) Ukrainian Navy submarine Zaporizhzhia (U-01) was forcefully taken by Russian forces on Saturday and incorporated into the Russian Navy. I know that Eastern Europeans do things differently, but I just can't understand the concept of letting one's ship be taken by an opposing force. I'm sure they had orders from higher authority to not provide any resistance, but still...

Bell-ringer 1500 24 Mar: Corrected a typo caused by my distraught state of mind after Kansas' loss; thanks to the commenter for pointing it out.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

USS Connecticut XO Relieved

From the Navy website:
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The executive officer of the Bremerton, Wash.-based fast attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) was relieved of his duties March 8 due to a loss of confidence in his ability to serve as executive officer.
Lt. Cmdr. Brett J. Sterneckert was removed from his position by Rear Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
An NCIS investigation into the circumstances leading to Lt. Cmdr. Sterneckert's relief is ongoing.
Sterneckert, who had served aboard Connecticut since June 2012, has been administratively reassigned to Submarine Group 9 in Bangor, Wash.
This kind of news always sucks, but especially when it's one of your old boats. I haven't heard any "off the record" stuff on this firing, but it is interesting that LCDR Sterneckert has been on the boat for about 21 months; back in the day, the XO tour length was about 22 months, and I think I remember reading recently that it's down to about 20 months (nominal) now, so this publicly-announced relief happened near the end of his tour. I'm also interested to see the Navy announce that NCIS is involved in "investigating the circumstances". Hopefully McGee and DiNozzo can do a good investigation.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Facepalms

Some news items about submarines (and those who wish they could be Submariners) from around the globe:

1) In which a non-technical British "Defence" Minister attempts to explain to a bunch of non-technical MPs why a FEF in a prototype reactor will result in the early refueling of their boomer fleet. Hilarity ensues.

2) Did you ever complain about the shipyard maintenance availability that seemed to go on and on? Just be glad you're not an Indian Submariner on this boat.

3) In skimmer news, it looks like they want to start a "Top Gun"/"Perisher" type course for skimmer officers. I can imagine the topics now: "How to contact the OPFOR submarine and get them to make more noise so you have a hope of finding them"; "Scheduling wardroom meetings at 1900 while in liberty ports"; "No, we can't just submerge under the heavy seas to make the ship stop rolling".

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Crimea Crisis

Russia escalated the Crimea crisis today by scuttling an old Kara-class cruiser in a chokepoint outside Novoozerne as the Crimean parliament scheduled a plebiscite to decide if the region would stay in the Ukraine or join Russia. The Ukrainian MoD published a picture of the ex-RFS Ochakov:

Popular Mechanics has an interesting article on the history of scuttling one's own ships to blockade an opposing Navy.

While I'm glad to see the 6th Fleet isn't cancelling the planned Black Sea operations of USS Truxtun (DDG 103), I was disappointed President Obama's statement just a few minutes ago didn't mention any military options NATO could take to protect the alliance's relatively new members in Eastern Europe from further Russian adventurism. (The Crimean seizure seems to be pretty much a fait accompli at this point.) Personally, I'd like to see the President announce the abandonment of the announced defense cuts from his newest budget, resumption on discussions of deployment of an ABM system in Eastern Europe, and specific reminders that the Baltic countries are an integral part of NATO. Don't be afraid to rub the Russians' noses in their failures during the 1990s.

One of the reasons I voted for President Obama's opponents in the last two elections was his lack of foreign policy credentials and his seeming naïveté about the presence of bad guys in the world who, it turns out, will not be nice to their neighbors if only their neighbors are nice to them. His selection of John F'n Kerry as his 2nd term SecState only heightened my concern that he didn't really understand that major power politics still exist in the world. I'm hopeful, though, that he's learning a valuable lesson now and can show a little more gumption in future crises.

Of note, it's interesting that Birther Central seems to be taking Russia's side. Is the anti-Obama crowd really so far gone that they're willing to support anyone who is opposing "Obummer"?

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Good Official Submarine Video

Got a half hour? Here's a good video from The Pentagon Channel that I somehow missed when it first came out. Has some good Virginia-class action shots in the middle third.