31 August 2005

Obvious Cause and Effect Relationship

RFK Jr. has found the reason for Katrina's devastation! Mississippi got slammed because her governor does not back the Kyoto treaty! That is why New Orleans got spared. Oh wait, N'Awlins didn't get spared. But hurricanes still alter course because of environmental memos that "green" politicians don't like. Oh wait, they don't change due to a little piece of paper. But Global Warming -definitely- caused this hurricane. Oh wait, it didn't.

Congratulations, sir, you have aligned yourself with the constant, unreasoning Bush-bashers overseas, further marginalizing a family name that once stood for something.
(H/T Drudge)

John at Castle Argghhh!! has a much longer and more detailed rant about this same subject up.

30 August 2005

Sub Related Notes

The Navy is always looking to develop new undersea sensor technology. Recently, they awarded several SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contracts for some non-traditional detection methods.

For example, how about trying to create detectors modeled after how sharks hunt - both for submarines and for people.

Or how about getting pulsed Low Frequency waves without having to rely on the mini-explosives used for IEER - and instead using a pulsed electrical signal?

SBIRs do not make it to full-on deployed systems very often. However, they do often explore interesting concepts that can be integrated in to other systems - which is really the point of these efforts. Of course, as I work with the more "traditional" detection systems, I predict total failure for these projects ;-)

Now that BRAC appears to have passed over the home of the sub fleet, people are looking down the road and renwing their worry about what else the future will bring, and not without cause.

The DOD's quadrennial review is due soon, and there is some question, especially after the shape of the DOD's original BRAC recommendation, as to how impartial the review will be, considering the strong personality of Secretary Rumsfeld. Possibly due to these concerns, the House Armed Services Committee is planning its own quadrennial review - something I was unaware of. Fascinating.

To file under "embarassed I didn't know this": The Navy has shut down its ELF transmitters. I wonder what system made ELF "replaceable by other communications technology"? Comms at speed and depth always seems to kick our butt - I would love to know what approach we are taking now.

Submarine funding may be at risk, but our potential threats are not in any danger of lessening. Our exhibit today: India.

Sure, they may be signing unprecedented treaties with us, but they are still building up their air and land forces.

Oh yeah, and their sea power, too. The truly concerning part of this tidbit is not just that India is acquiring some very capable subs, but that she will be building them in her shipyard in Bombay with French help - meaning that when they are all trained up by the French, the Indians can start pumping out Scorpene-variants as quick as she can manage, as well as using the knowledge gained from building these and apply it to their attempts to build their own nuke boats. The article mentions that there is concern from the Indian Navy that "its fleet, “particularly the submarine strike arm”, was de-commissioning vessels faster than it can acquire them." Looks like they are well on the way to rectifying that - too bad we can't take a lesson!

I mean, honestly, if a random journalist in North Carolina can figure it out, why can't the Navy upper command?

22 August 2005


I was rather privileged as a JO – I liked every division I got when I was on the boat. However, the job that offered me the most autonomy was being the Communications Officer. By the time I got that job, I had my fish, was Engineer qualified, and was the senior JO on board. I also had no Department Head, as our Nav got fired and we had no replacement in sight. So, the only real oversight I had was the CO and XO. The XO and I got along pretty well, which was a good thing, since, until I qualified Nav Sup, the XO had to stand over my shoulder for all my Nav-type duties, to supervise. The CO also pretty much left me alone with all things non-chart related, figuring that as long as it kept running, he wasn’t going to ask how I was making it happen (I had the astonishing reputation as the ‘sleazy’ JO – which means people *loved* having duty with me, as work got done – even if the paperwork sometimes lagged the work).

One of the upshots of this trust was my new position as ‘The Voice of the USS XXX’. Since we were a missile-shooter, and we knew we were likely to be popping off rounds soon, we had coordinated-ops missile drills -constantly-. As the only NavOps officer, this meant I got to man the radiotelephone (the red phone) during these drills, to keep the strike coordinator apprised of our status, as well as keeping in comms with other platforms, and, on occasion, when the coordinator wanted to talk to all Charlie-Oscars, impersonating the CO (with his blessing, of course – he was far too busy to bother with comms). As I was a nuke, before I started this new role, I found every instruction I could that pertained to it, and did my best to commit them to memory. As a submariner, once I had this knowledge, one of my great joys was slamming people who violated these rules when they should have known better. Hence the title of the post.

From “Communication Instructions - Radio Telegraph Procedure”:
"BEADWINDOW" is a simple, rapid procedure for use to police the security of insecure networks. It brings to the immediate attention of operators the fact that an Essential Element of Friendly Information (EEFI) has been disclosed on the circuit. Additionally the "BEADWINDOW" report serves to alert other operators on the net of the EEFI disclosure and thus acts as an educational aid, producing increased security awareness among operators and an overall improvement in the security of insecure communications.

As our encrypted voice comms were often terrible, most of our comms were in the clear. Which gave me ample opportunity to call “BEADWINDOW” on others. For those of you who can’t remember, the only allowed response to someone calling beadwindow on your transmission is “Roger, out,” – you leave the net, and everyone gets to take a step back and figure out what got disclosed. My personal favorite was when we got called in to support a missile exercise while we were in port, over a weekend. No one wanted to be there, as only one of 5 platforms participating was actually at sea, I believe. So, when the strike coordinator started getting things arranged, in the clear, and called out our boat’s simulated LAT/LONG rather than OPAREA, I could not call out “Beadwindow” fast enough. Needless to say, when that happened, it was usually the coordinator who sorted out what happened, and helped everyone reestablish comms. This time, we were headless. After a few minutes of everyone flopping around without a strike coordinator, the strike training team called the exercise off. Yes, one of my finer moments.

Why does this come to mind now? Well, a lot of the guys I work with here deal with boats and their install schedules. They just can’t seem to comprehend that while upkeep periods are unclass, boat movement dates are classified. They have been getting tired of me reminding them, as often as not by calling out across the office “BEADWINDOW!” So, while I was in Pearl Harbor last, I found a solution. The ship I was stripping equipment on had some handy little placards on all its stacks. Since the stacks were gutted, I went ahead and took some of the placards, and put them in various places around the lab. As we communicate in the most insecure medium available ourselves, I thought y’all might like to take a look, too. Just as a CYA measure:


19 August 2005

"Light" reading for the weekend

Bunch of news links and such that I have meant to comment on from the last week or so. Since I have failed to write a long, thoughtful post on each, as I intended, here is the Cliff's Notes version:

The Russian Blame Game - A Russian rescuer blamed for disabling the Russian remotely operated vehicle that was trying to free the AS-28. I have become more and more suspicious of news the Russians have put out following this near-disaster. Could this be an attempt by the Russian military to claim, "We had the right equipment, really! We just couldn't use it because this idiot broke it!"

Or they could just say they really didn't need British help, after all. Really. They wouldn't have slowly suffocated.

Submariners need to get more aggressive. Not only about protecting their bases, but by proclaiming how great they are, and how great their history is. I say let's start by re-evaluating who we claim as Sub Medal of Honor winners. Sure, these guys won them while *on* subs, but this Navy hero commanded a few. Why shouldn't we take some credit for his training? Back in the day there was no "community" pipeline, so I am sure there have to be more like him...

Hmmm, China's subs, a threat? Where have I heard that before?

Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that I would agree with a Kos poster on this. Thanks for pointing it out, Bubblehead.

More when I have time to hunt around my notes. Maybe.

Two Quickies

Lunch Break! So, two quick links:

Alex has some significant BRAC news at Ultraquiet No More.

See! There are other commited global-warming skeptics. Maybe they could polish up my post?

Multiple Changes of Command

In the past few months, almost every aspect of my upper Chain of Command for submarine aquisitions has changed. As this is of some interest to the rest of y'all, I thought I'd give you my breakdown:

Program Executive Officer (Submarines)
The head of all submarine aquisition and procurement. A previous post of mine wished fair winds to RDML Butler as he retired from this post. His replacement is RDML(s) Willy Hilardes. He was formerly the head of the SSGN program office. He is a career submariner (the PEO spot can be occupied by either an EDO or an acquisition-trained submariner), and has been playing the DC game for a long time. He has been instrumental in keeping the various sub programs on the same page, by doing things such as organizing the "Sub Bubba" monthly meetings in DC, in which all the sub program managers get together to ensure they are pursuing similar strategies and not stepping on each other's toes. This experience should be a big plus in his new job. On a personal level, while I have not worked for him, those that I know who have almost universally like him. He sounds like a great guy, and a good man to head up our sub development area.

VADM Balisle recently retired, and VADM(s) Paul E. Sullivan took charge of NAVSEA. NAVSEA, for those of you who don't realize it, is enormous. If it were a private company, it would be a top 500 corporation based on size and budget. So the head of NAVSEA has an large, underappreciated affect on the entire fleet. VADM Sullivan started out a SWO, went EDO, got sub qualified as an EDO - a hopeful note! Even if EDO sub quals are not as rigorous as 1120's, at least it means he has a better understanding of us. Even better, however, is his string of billets after that: Deputy Ship Design Manager for the Seawolf class submarine; Ohio Class Project Officer and Los Angeles Class Project Officer at Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Groton; Director for Submarine Programs for the ASN (RDA); Program Manager for the Seawolf Class Submarine Program; Program Manager for the Virginia Class Submarine Program.
So, while VADM Sullivan started out as a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer), he has been sub heavy ever since. He has overseen two of our flagship programs. Hopefully, he will be good for the sub community. He will definitely be more approachable for submariners than Balisle was - of course this is not saying too much. The only notes of caution I have here are from his first All Hands Message, in which he calls out the Aviators as doing things the right way (ack). This and NSPS (another post on that at some other time) are the only things he singles out in the All Hands - maybe to placate the only major community he has little experience with? I am not sure, but I am still hopeful.

Chief of Naval Operations
Admiral Michael Mullen relieved as CNO at the end of last month. After ADM Clark, and his submarine budget-slashing ways despite his insistence that ASW is the #1 priority of the Navy, hopefully ADM Mullen will be a step up for the submarine fleet. The new CNO, no suprise, however, is a career SWO. Very little community crossover in his postings, so I am still unsure how he will treat submarines. As I said, though, he can't be much worse than ADM Clark. Here's hoping he is significantly better. His introductory message to the fleet can be found here. The NAVSEA summary stated:
His top three issues are:

Naval Reactors - NAVSEA(08)
Adm. Kirkland H. Donald is new enough that I still have trouble remembering that it isn't ADM "Skip" Bowman calling the shots in Hades anymore. There is too much I could say about this post to fit it all in here. Instead, I will direct folks to check Bubblehead's post about them - which is unfortunately no longer the #1 Google result for "Naval Reactors Gestapo"

UPDATE: Added CNO's intro message.

18 August 2005

WTF Texas?

With its lack of income tax and tuition breaks for vets, Texas used to be tops on my list for serviceman-friendly states. Not any more. (H/T Fark)

The top spot is now occupied by Indiana, with its free state-school tuition for vet's kids benefit.

15 August 2005

Two quickies

Because I am too lazy to put together a post of my own (and my post about the Tears of St. Lawrence got lost in the aether), I present (both have, ahhh, salty language, take note):

Revenge of the Sith translated from Chinese (Who knew the Presbyterian church was Jedi?) [h/t The Corner]

An Alternative Interpretation of Govt. Warning Signs [h/t Brutal Women (found via The Corner, to end any speculation before it begins...)]

I've been wanting to take the time to properly mock the signs in the second link for a while, but now I do not think I will bother. I don't think I can outdo these. Oh, ok, I'll try. They still probably will be nothing compared to those above. See 'Full Post' to see what I've come up with...

Avoid filing cabinets and all files. Paperwork is a tool of terrorism!

Do not set your house on fire!

Big explosions are fun to watch. Pull over and enjoy the show!

In case of terrorist attack, flee into an undersized building!

Don't go to Missouri, that state is just screwed!

Read the Full Post


Resubmitted, because I really like my edit of the old WWII propoganda. I also changed my profile pic to a cropped version of this, as Mrs. PBS thought my old profile pic looked "way gay."

11 August 2005

You know you are a geek when...

...you are worried about being too tired to watch Battlestar Galactica on Friday night because you will be up in the wee hours of Friday morning to watch a meteor shower =)

And for those of you who might be wondering - I have not disappeared. Mrs. PBS has come down sick, so my blogging time is pretty much nil as I take care of the three mini-PBS's and the Commodore. I will try and post some things that have been simmering in the back of my head soon.

Until then, if you haven't already, go to Ultraquiet No More, to see new developments and theories on the AS-28 debacle. There seems to be more information trickling out almost daily, and these guys are putting together a pretty good picture as to what it all might mean.

06 August 2005

Russian Bathyscaphe Crisis Day 2

Ok, technically Day 3 for the Russians. Darn time zones.

Interfax continues to be *the* source for the word from the Russian Defense Ministry.

A quick summary:
-British and American ROVs are on scene, and being transported to the accident site. Russian naval deputy chief of staff Rear Adm. Vladimir Pepelyayev says rescue ops with the ROVs could begin as early as 2000 Moscow time (noon EST).
-Still awaiting word on wether they decided to try and blow up the chain that holds the AS-28 to its 60 ton anchor
-The crew is still ok, and in contact. Their air will last until Aug 8 it is now estimated. The increase is probably due to the crew remaining sedentary - the trapped guys are rescue professionals, they knew what they had to do to increase their chances. The is quite cold down there with power secured (5-7 deg Celsius - 41-45 degrees F), but not yet deathly cold.

So, things are looking hopeful. Frankly, this crew has the highest probability of survival - they are a rescue team themselves. The Russians were timely in asking for help, and the British, Japanese, and Americans were quick to respond. I remain hopeful, and we should have some information soon.

We are all waiting anxiously - all submariners are allies when faced with the unrelenting sea.

05 August 2005

Trapped Russian Bathyscaphe

The timeline of the rescue attempts for the entangled russian minisub are posted on Ultraquiet No More, or you can read the 'Full Post'.

However, I would like to address some comments I heard on NPR on the way home (and before anyone asks, like WIllyShake did, why I still listen to NPR - they are the only station one can get on base)

Media Mistakes:
The Russians have learned almost nothing from the Kursk incident
Wrong. They almost immediately called for help. They are disclosing every available bit of information. They are being as open as we have ever seen the Russian military.

The Russians are covering up important details.
Wrong again. This is based on the "conflicting statements" given by the Russian authorities. However, in reality, this is due to everyone trying to tell what they know as soon as they know it. It is not misdirection, it is an unorganized attempt at total openness, in order to speed rescue efforts.

The Russian sub design is "fragile"
What? It is a DEEP SUBMERGENCE rescue vehicle. It is a titanium hulled, incredibly deep diving vehicle. This statement, by an "expert" who wrote a book on the Kursk, is based soley, I believe, on the fact that it can not pull itself free of the nets. However, this is a rescue vehicle, it does not need a big main engine set like a fast attack does. A small engine is all that is required to get it down to depth. So, this statement is based on ignorance, rather than expertise. The hull is incredibly strong, and the fact that it has survived getting stuck, and then dragged, speaks volumes about the Russians skill with titanium.

They did get at least one thing right, though. The thing that will kill these sailors is CO2 build-up, not lack of oxygen as is being reported. I have stated 'air running out' as the danger so as to not cause confusion with the MSM reports. However, CO2 buildup will be the killer. However, the guys down there are a rescue crew, by virtue of being stationed on that boat, so they will know how to deal with CO2, and how best to reduce their own CO2 output.

My prayers are with them.

UPDATE (2115 EST):
Russians eyeball AS-28
00:28 Tiger unmanned underwater device inspects AS-28 bathyscaph, pinpointsits location

Everyone up until now seemed to be waiting with baited breath to hear updates. Now they have done a TV inspection of the craft. However, what they still haven't said is if it is where they expected it to be from the towing, or closer to its original position. Hopefully it is closer to shallow water as previously reported...

UPDATE (1700 EST):
Russian Sub has been moved somewhat, Oxygen Supplies Better than Thought
Again, Interfax is the source to check. Two one-liners:


So, it appears they have indeed managed to snag either the sub itself or the cables that have gotten tangled up on the sub. Trying to drag the sub using this arrangement has got to be a tricky business, but desperate times...

As for the oxygen, I would guess that having the crew rest has decreased their oxygen use, thus extending their time left on the oxygen they have.

Things are looking up for these seven sailors at this point. Possible (positive) outcomes at this point:
a) They will drag the mini-sub shallow enough to allow divers to help the crew out of the boat;
b) The extra time they are buying themselves with respect to the air situation will allow the Brits and Americans time enough to get there and help free the sub;
c) Some combination of the above.
I will not even begin to speculate on possible failures. That is non-productive, and terrifying still to this ex-bubblehead.

UPDATE (1410 EST):
Russian Sub Caught by Its Anchor
From Interfax again:

VLADIVOSTOK. Aug 5 (Interfax) - The Russian mini-submarine that sank off the shores of the Kamchatka peninsula on Thursday is fitted with a coastal observation aerial, which is being held down to the sea floor by a 60-tonne anchor, and this is impeding the operation to raise the vessel, a top naval official said. "The anchor needs to be blown up" in order to be able to raise the AS-28 submarine, Adm. Viktor Fyodorov, commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet, told Interfax. "If the explosion is successful, the system will be raised to a depth of 100 meters and lit up by the Tiger [television camera], and we can at last be 100% sure that it's the submarine, and deepwater divers will be able to continue work," he said.

"Blow up" sounds worse than what they are planning on doing, I am sure. Too bad their anchors aren't like our sub anchors. We loose those all the time! It would come right off.

My take so far: The "Coastal observation aerial" sounds like an antenna, perhaps one that is independent in some way of the boat? Would explain the need for it having its own anchor. If they were trying to test some type of remote intel gathering antenna, that just sits there on its own and gathers data, perhaps when they were deploying it its anchor got fouled on the mini-sub? Maybe this is what is trapping the AS-28, and not fishing nets? It would also explain the extra crew on board - techs to deploy and run the antenna. Not sure - will wait for more updates, and pray for that crew.

Update(1318 EST)
Interfax now Says "Maybe" Mini-Sub is Snagged by Russians
Quoted from Interfax:
Rescue vessels belonging to the Russian Pacific Fleet have managed to catch an underwater object in their trawling nets, but it would be premature to say that it is the sunken mini-submarine, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet headquarters told Interfax.

"I would estimate the situation to be 51% against 49% in our favor," the Russian spokesman said. I think this might be optimistic. As I said on Smash's blog, this sounds like a rather risk-laden plan.

However, if they do indeed have the sub, the plan is to drag it shallow and allow divers to try and free it. Again, risky, but the best plan the Russians have until the Brits or Americans show up with their UUVs.

Also on Interfax - not a story, just a one-liner blurb: The Russians are lowering cameras to see if they do indeed have the sub. You would think they would be able to have the sub tell them if they were caught - they were reportedly in "technical" communication with it previously (my guess - some sort of Russian-variant underwater telephone).

Update (1306 EST):
Reports of Sub Rescue NOT TRUE(yet)
MSNBC is reporting that the Russians have snagged the stranded AS-28 mini-sub with nets &/or wires, and are dragging to to shallower water.
However, Interfax quotes Vladimir Pepelyayev, deputy chief of the Russian Navy general staff, as saying that they were merely "trying" to snag the AS-28, and they are so far unsuccessful.

It appears that the Brits will get there with their UUV first. Dragging the AS-28 aside, they look like the best bet to save the mini-sub, by clipping away at the nets that have entangled it.

Update (11:48 AM EST):
The Brits are sending a remove UUV as well.
Bubblehead (ID) is covering other sources as well (Firewall prevents reading the Moscow Times, go figure)

Update (11:07 AM EST):
From LCDR Smash:
The US help being sent is a pair of 'Super Scorpio' UUVs. Looks like a pretty cool, and capable, system.
The Russians are sounding pretty firm about the 1 day of air estimate now. Possibly because the boat had seven crew onboard rather than the usual 3? Either way, they say the best plan is:
"The best way to get them out is to send in deep-water divers. We have the equipment for them, but we don't have the right kind of boat.''
Hopefully the Super Scorpio is the right kind of boat. If not, it sounds as if it could possibly clip the cables holding the Russians down, and let them make their way to the surface under their own power. Hopefully it can get there in time...

Update (10:39 AM EST):
The Sub Report has a bunch of different sources linked for this one, and this story is a good wrap up of the early information (h/t Rontini)

The Japanese will arrive by Monday, it seems. That is right on the hairy edge of the Russians air supply, if you use the three day estimate. Hopefully they are telling the crewmen to sleep to conserve air, as the Russians try the (dubious) plan of lifting the sub en toto to the surface.

CNN reports the US has been asked to help, too, but I cannot find an online confirmation. If so, we might be able to get there quickly with a DSRV (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle) or SRC(Sub rescue chamber) - 48 hours is what they advertise, but I do not know if there will be a vessel on location that can ferry the DSRV to the scene. So, probably a SRC will be sent, as any auxiliary vessel can ferry it about.

The SRC apparently needs either a connection to latch onto (doesn't have a skirt like a DSRV) that all US subs have (not sure about old Russian Bathyscaphes), or they need to be attached by a diver or deep submergence vessel. I do not know if a diver with a hardsuit is going with the SRC, but it sounds like even if the SRC or DSRV can get there quickly, it might be up to the Japanese. I am not sure what kind of equipment they have, but if their subs are any indication, it is probably pretty slick.

Update (8:34 EST):
Heard via NPR, still checking for confirmation: US is sending an unmanned rescue vehicle. This is not something I am familiar with. Anyone? NPR also states that the crew only has 1 days worth of air left - checking on that too. If this is so, the Japanese may be too late when they arrive.

Something I forgot to think about was info from my last job. NAVSEA has a SUBMISS/SUBSUNK bill (have to be on a .mil site to see it, I believe) that immediately gets executed the moment a sub, any sub, is reported missing or sunk. So, we were probably prepping divers and rescue plans before the Russians even asked for help. Here is hoping that, at the very least, a diver with a hardsuit, or even better, a SRC, is en route.

UPDATE (6:50 EST):
The Russians say the crewman have between 3, 4, or 5 days. I don't know who 'First Class Captain of the Russian Navy Igor Dygalo ' is, but I think his estimate is probably the one to pay attention to - not only because it is the most conservative (I am a nuke, that is how we roll), but because the others come from Fleet HQ and the Defense Ministry. I don't know about other bubbleheads, but I would rather trust a CAPT who is close to the situation than a staff bubba who is riding a desk and trying to do PR damage control.

The good news is it sounds positive for rescue conditions.

Woke up this morning to the tagline on CNN: "Russian Submarine trapped on the ocean floor by fishing net!".

Other than the initial horror (no submariner ever really wants to think about getting stuck on the bottom - a dive/surface ratio of 1 is preferred), one thing in particular struck me as odd:
Stuck by a fishing net?
In training on the boat, we were often admonished to avoid going anywhere near trawlers or fishermen, as we could easily drag them under by their nets, and that is just bad news. So something was not right here. So, the full story, as far as I can tell so far:

It is not a military sub. It is a Bathyscaphe - a low power, lightly manned, but deep diving research vessel. Probably not enough power to pull down a net.
The net, and a mystery cable, are wrapped around its screw. So it sounds as if she has no propulsion, and therefore no way to free herself.
She is trapped in >600 feet of water. A deep depth, but escapable with the right equipment.
The Russians actually asked for help this time! So, this means the Russians were probably not doing anything sneaky, or they might not ask, like last time. The Japanese (underrated submariners themselves) are sending a rescue vessel. Hopefully this will prevent this from turning into a tragedy.

I will post more as I hear more. But for now, it sounds hopeful for the seven crewmen awaiting rescue.

Read the Full Post

04 August 2005

Every Single Meeting...

...With his "So-Called" superior ... -Syncronicity II, The Police

So, any manager that can use, within five minutes, all the following
meaningless phrases:

"We either sink or swim here" ; "We are the baby in the bathwater" ; "We missed the boat" ; "We are in the Sahara, dying for a glass of water" ; "The writing is on the wall" ; "There is a different beat to the drum now" ; "It is time to get on board or face disciplinary action!"

Has either:
a) Reached "Black-Belt" status in his a$$-clown training; or
b) Gotten so overly-excitied that he cannot keep his metaphors
straight, and will only confuse his team.

Until evidence proves otherwise, I am going with b)

02 August 2005

Long time, no post

Alrighty, I apologize, it was longer than I expected before I managed to post. Call it a confluence of events. Between trying to catch up after 10 days out of the office (darn f'ing laptop would not connect remotely - I hate NMCI), trying to get a new lab organizational plan set up, finishing the latest Harry Potter (my wife read it while I was gone, I *had* to read it this weekend lest she burst from not telling me all about it before I was done), well, you get the point.

However, the trip to HI was quite good. Good sun, beautiful locations, and ripped a bunch of still-viable sonar equip off an old surface can (~5 tons of gear, sheesh). I have to admit, while sinking a surface target was always an ambition, pulling them apart piece by piece is rather sad, as is seeing a lot of our once-proud warships basically rotting at anchor. However, I did get some interesting knowledge refreshers while I was there:

(see Full Post for picture-based knolwedge checks!)

First off, under "Sometimes the Navy makes smart decisions":
Compare the two 'cans below. Take a good look. Why do I say that the ship on the right is an example of the Navy making a smart decision, and using the ship on the left to show this?
Scroll down for the answer.

Kudos to you who can identify the ships as a Spruance and a Tyco. Now why would I say the Tyco is an example of the Navy doing things right? Yes, the class is the first to carry the Aegis system, which is still one of the most dominant systems on the ocean. However, how does that relate to the Spru-can? Ahh, yes, the hull. With the Aegis system being amazingly expensive, the Navy found a way to keep the Tyco class from being too outrageous (it still cost $1B a hull) - use the Spruance hull. The Hull already had known design characteristics and performance, wouldn't require a new design or new tests, and the Spruances were big for destroyers, so a cruiser package actually fit rather neatly into the hull shape. Wow, reusing designs instead of designing a new one just because we can. What a concept.

Bonus points for the first one to tell me what is wrong with one of the above pictures.

Secondly, under the, "Huh? Ooooh, yeah, that's why!" category:
Who can tell me what that wierd thing is sticking off the front of this 'can?

Ahhh, yes, a Newport-class LST (Large, slow target). With clamshell doors in the bow instead of the traditional bow-ramp, a ramp was need to offload equipment - hence the arms over the bow - they support the bow ramp. I knew seeing it it was an amphib, but the rest I needed time (and a good look at the boat, errrr - ship, to recall.

So there is your photo-quiz. And yeah, all three pics are ships that were anchored out at the same facility where I was working (I was actually working on the Spru-can). It was rather eerie, actually, all these ships just sitting there, mostly stripped down to the hull of useful equipment, just hulks. It is not quite like walking through a morgue, but still, rather sad. Especially considering some of the hulls have been languishing there for 10 years+.

However, I will say this - seeing what just sitting there has done to the ship's components, like the cableways, tube stuffings, all the little mechanical pieces/parts, has pretty much convinced me that anyone who thinks taking a ship out of mothballs (and yes, I know they will be better taken care of, but some things will still bear true) for anything other than a dire emergency is smoking the good stuff. Refurbing a ship that has been out of action that long would be about as hard as building a new hull.

Read the Full Post