Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Off base on Navy Uniforms

The flack is starting to rise in the ranks over the ridiculous uniform regs for when to wear the new NWU off of base. Back in the hazy past, I once heard of a group of students at Subschool in Groton that would sneak off base to a grinder shop near the shipyard in New London.

Since they were all under the rank of Petty Officer, nobody had a crow on their working jackets. We, I mean they just drove out the gate and looked confident and enjoyed a great grinder for lunch.

Man those grinders tasted great! Or so I hear.

Keep up the pressure people! The Navy brass needs to elevate the NWU to the same status as the Air Force and Army. Marines, we'll just have to say a prayer for you guys.

Latest name for the NWU: Aquaflage

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uniform Bad News.

The more I hear about the new intructions for wearing these blue camos, the more I begin to think they will go down in history being known as "those damn blue camos." We have all enjoyed the sweetness of getting out of the convict's suits but now come the bitterness of a "new" way.

  • Goodbye ball caps. New rules will only allow the ballcap in your command area if approved by your CO. Leave the pier, go down to Subtrafac for training and you'd better have that 8 point cover. If I need to carry two covers, one will stay in the barracks.
  • Goodbye foul weather jackets. This one is not so bad since I could never get one when I needed it anyway. Every queer in the sonar shack had one but God forbid some poor seaman in Deck Div get one to work (aka chip, paint, chip, etc.) in topside. BTW, what ever became of those nylon flight jackets issued to CO's, XO's and COB's? (Not to mention the Chop and SKC.)
  • Since we couldn't roll up our sleeves the right way, we get to roll our sleeves like the damned Army. Not a big gripe, just different. I think the video mentions some sort of damage control usage for the new method.
Sorry to see the ballcaps sidelined. The subfleet sailors really stand out around the base with the dolphins on the hat.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Navy Unit Patches Emerge From the Shadows

Below is the latest video on the wearing of the new camo uniform has a startling revelation: Navy unit patches will be allowed to worn on the right breast pocket. Unit patches in the Army have played an important part in unit camaraderie, cohesion and pride while the Navy's patches were relegated to name tags and ships plaques,unless, of course, you serve in the semi-autonomous, self-superior naval air forces.

This is a fairly big deal for the Navy. I wonder how this will impact the fleet. The design of these patches themselves could be a problem in itself. While most surface sea commands tend to use the heraldic crest format, the subfleet tends to be very graphic design oriented or to use even commercially inclined design. The aviation community varies from cartoons to lewd.

My guess is that some of the airdale squadron patches will have to be reigned in. We'll have to see a NAVINSTR message about wearing only command approved patches on the NWU.

Congratulations, Navy. One more step toward sanity! Now, if we could only wear the damn things where someone might see them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No More Nuke CO's?

There is a really intriguing book making the rounds in DC right now called America’s Defense Meltdown. The biggest point they make about the Navy is that the it is run by engineers not warfighters. Conservative author William Lind wrote the Navy portion of the book and slams Lord Rickover's basic philosophies of Nuke power first, everything else second.

Get a load of this part: Lind contrasts the dominance of engineers in the Navy to what he describes as the preference for tacticians elsewhere. All U.S. submarine skippers are nuclear engineers, “in strong contrast to Britain’s Royal Navy, whose submarine commanders have nuclear engineers where they belong, in the engine room,” and

"...the Navy’s culture is inward-focused, risk-averse and centralized, preferring obedience to initiative and relying on top-down control rather than self-discipline."

While all of this Nuke bashing is music to Coners ears, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Despite stating that it supports a strong defense but opposes excessive expenditures or forces, the Center for Defense Information has opposed nearly every new major U.S. weapons system developed over the past two decades - including the B-1 bomber, the Trident submarine, cruise missiles, neutron warheads, and even the stealth bomber.

Additionally, CDI is a spin-off project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank that often has Marxist-leaning policies and you can make your own judgements by their board memebrs with deep military experience like the late actor Paul Newman and his wife Joann Woodward and Ben & Jerry's founder Ben Cohen.

Despite their leftist tendencies, America’s Defense Meltdown is at least a good read and can be downloaded here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Submariner to Become Next MCPON

QMCM(SS/SW) Ricky West has been tapped to be the next Master Chief of the Navy. Master Chief West has served aboard the submarines USS Ethan Allen, USS Thomas Edison, USS Sea Devil, USS Tecumseh and USS Portsmouth, a good mix of boomers and real submarines. Here's wishing him well on his new job and let's hope his bullshit meter is set to alarm early.

One note of question I have from the Navy Times article is the mentioning of something called the chief’s standards and conduct boards — a chief’s mess alternative to captain’s mast. While I am all in favor of any alternatives to the green tablecloth, I have to wonder how this would work.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Navy Keeps Camos Onbase

Rumors are starting to circulate about how the Navy brass intends to treat the new Navy Working Uniform (NWU). While us blueshirts were dressed as convicts "'scaped off tha farm," it seemed to make some sense that the needs of the Navy were not met when some A-Gang 3rd class strolled into the quickie mart covered in grease or "gray"water.

The brass made sure to keep us denizens from below the anchor away from the prying eyes of the public. I guess they were afraid the local cops would mistake us for fence jumpers from the penintentary. But with a new uniform and a new "look", I had hoped we could get past one of the last remenants of bleushirt discrimination.

Apparently not, according to Navy Times. The brass will restrict the camo NWU to base and vehicle only.

The shame of it is, now the O-Gang and the chiefs are confined to base or car too! Lets see how long this lasts.

The maritime forces leadership needs to wake up to reality. Prohibiting Marines and Sailors from wearing their work uniform off the base does not increase you combat readiness one iota. We are a military at war and we don't have time for this petty bullshit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vegan Women Down Under Submariners

The Sub Report has a link up to a great story in the Sydney Morning Herald about cooks onboard Her Majesty's Australian Submarines. My favorite line was "Smith says crews are rarely fussy, although the officers can be on occasion. He has also had a woman who was a lactose- and gluten-intolerant vegan. "All I could do was chuck a lettuce leaf at her," he says."

Who in the hell recruited and assigned a nutty woman that won't eat dairy, wheat or meat to a submarine? I know the Aussies have had a hard time keeping their sub fleet manned but, come on! Life is full of choices but why let her inflict her choices on the sub's culinary dept.?

Good luck Australia.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Contemplating Poopie Suits

Recent talk about the new cammo uniforms has got me thinking about what used to be a sub exclusive: the underway coverall, aka the poopie suit.

Way back before I was even a nub, I was subjected to a propagandized version of the undersea world thanks to Hollywood and Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October. I ate it up with a spoon. I was confined to Admiral Rickover's preschool for wayward boys in Orlando and, somehow won tickets to the premier of the flick at the Colonial Mall theater right off of the base.

I remember my bunkie from boot camp went with me to see the daring exploits of America's Undersea Heroes. Every dig it from the base was there. Anybody that had ever heard of a submarine had gotten tickets.

It was in the movie that us pre-nubs were given our first lessons in life aboard a sub. And the thing I remember the most was how cold it must be on the boat since everybody had on white turtlenecks. (Somehow, the blue shirts aboard the movie version of the Dallas weren't permitted the glories of the poopie suit and had to wear their prison issue dungarees.)

So I report to the Ustafish around the same time as my birthday and my well meaning aunt, a YN1, gives me the aforementioned white turtleneck before my first (after cranking) underway. Its Novemember, Norfolk and as usual, its cold.

We leave the pier, I race to my rack in the Torpedo Room and quickly try to look like the natives. And, I put on the movie inspired, white turtleneck and quickly realized...I was freakin HOT with that thing on. I took it off on a coffee run and never wore it again.

I realize nuke boat sailors only have a passing idea of what hot really is. The DBF crowd can testify as to why submarine sandals were still in the NAVSUP catalog at least into the mid 90's.

Just goes to show you how much Hollyweird can screw up reality. I'll save the movie Crimson Tide for another rant.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Navy Camo Coming

Navy Times has the latest announcement of the next generation of Navy Camouflage Uniforms. The powers that be have been seduced into the whole "digitized" pattern craze that the Army and Marines rolled out two years ago.

My questions as a bubblehead are these:

Will these fatigues replace the poopy suits of underway fame?

Will sailors be able to wear this "working" uniform off base? I understand why nobody wanted us to be seen in the cool-hand Luke hand me down dungarees. They looked like I had just escaped off the chain gang.

Will sailors assigned to Marine bases be hazed and shunned until they hide their blue cammies and go green?

And, again, I must ask, camouflage? What are you hiding from at sea? Does it have a blaze orange interior for those man overboard evolutions?

Just remember, in the subfleet, we really do expect to recover the man overboard, unlike those poor guys in the carrier fleet midnight diving squad.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Submarines & Suriname

While reviewing the site statistics yesterday, I noticed I have visitor from Suriname. For those of you lacking geography knowledge, its on the northern coast of South America.

So, I got to thinking, why would somebody in a former dutch colony want to read about submarines? (Then again, who wouldn't, right?)

There is a small link in addition to the U-boat attacks on bauxite freighters.

Back in the 80's, Suriname had the same problems that Grenada had: a local thug kissing up to the reds. Moscow was so excited about the idea of bringing Suriname into the red fold, they even planned a huge embassy and....wait for it....military bases.

Its seems that Cuba wasn't able to provide enough air coverage of the Caribbean and the Soviet Anti-submarine planes wanted another base to better track our brothers in the FHI's (Floating Holiday Inns = SSBN's)

Enter, Ronald Reagan and the Intelligence dream team: Bill Casey, Director of Central Intelligence and National Security Adviser William Clarke who worked behind the scenes to keep the Soviets out of Suriname. Mission accomplished and you never read about it until now. Check out the details at National Review.

I don't know if this is the reason I have a reader in Suriname or not but I salute his blog selection none the less.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mystery Dolphins Revealed!

Ok. I was hoping somebody might be able to figure out what these dolphins are. But, alas, I only had two guesses and they were both wrong. The eponymously named "Anonymous" thought they might be a new "trident" form of dolphins while another coincidentally named "Anonymous" guessed that these were the new Singapore dolphins.

For the record, here are the Singapore fish:So, just what are the Mystery fish? Brace yourself. Whose mighty Navy has these new dolphins? The Boy Scouts of America. That's right. These fish belong to the Sea Scout program as an award for youth that complete a training course known by the acronym SEAL. Man, the DoD has these kids right where they want them.

Any Sea Scout leaders out there know how this award came to look an awful lot like the Submarine Warfare Badge? Typically, the pointed heads at BSA HQ take a dim view of something they call the "militarization" of Scouting. (I'm sure the late Lieutenant General Baden Powell rolls in his very military grave at the mere mention of a demilitarized Scouting programme. {spelled his way})

I'll bet the Sea Scouts don't have to have their dolphins "pinned" like the rest of us. But, then again, that would be child abuse.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Wake for the Kittiwake

Any submariner that sailed with Subron 6 or 8 over the years will instantly recall the USS Kittiwake (ASR-13). Every time the Ustafish left the pier while I was a lookout, I would take a good look at the KittyKat and pray that I would not have a need for her services while I was gone. (Why not, it beat looking at the tender.)

She was commissioned back during THE BIG ONE, WWII and served faithfully until she was sent to the James River Fleet in 1994. She had a few run ins at the D&S piers. In 1974 she hit the USS Finback and in 1984 she hit the USS Bergall but this sub sailor still liked having her around.

Well, time marches on and word comes today that the Kittiwake has been acquired by our good friends on Her Majesty's Cayman Islands who plan to sink her for an artificial diving reef for tourists with an aqualung. There is some irony in knowing that this ship that was designed to send divers down to save submariners' lives will now be on the bottom of the Caribbean as diver's attraction.

I wonder why, during all my time on the Spanish Main, didn't the Ustafish pull into the Caymans? I went there on my honeymoon cruise and found it to be a great port. Maybe it's not seedy enough for the fleet.

So long, Kittiwake! I would love to get down to the Caymans and dive on the KittyKat!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mystery Dolphin Question

I recently ran across these dolphins and couldn't believe I had never seen them before. Any guesses from the learned of the fleet?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Submariners of 9/11

Pat Murphy
Brian Moss
While we take a collective moment to remember the cowardly terrorist attacks of 9/11, let's take a special moment and remember our brother Submariners that perished that day, doing their duty.

ET1 (SS) Brian Anthony Moss USN, USS Alabama
LCDR Patrick J. Murphy USNR, USS Sand Lance, USS Daniel Webster
LCDR Ronald J. Vauk USNR, USS Glenard P. Lipscomb, USS Oklahoma City

Moss was on active duty and assigned to the Pentagon while Murphy and Vauk were both Reservists completing their AT.

Ron Vauk
Let us remember these brothers today and keep their families in our prayers.

If I missed any submariners from 9/11, please let me know and I'll update the post.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Up From The Ranks

COL Rocky Farr, SF, CM, PF, FS, etc., etc.

I saw this and just had to pass it along. Col. Rocky Farr has gone from the jungles of Viet Nam to the halls of medicine and now serves as the SOCCOM Command Surgeon. Needless to say, this Doc knows his stuff. Can you imagine a Navy Doctor with more than 40 years of service with the formative portion being in a line unit as a trigger puller?

If this guy can hold on for a few months, I will nominate him to be Surgeon General. Whenever he decides to retire, I think I may know a worthy successor from the Naval Service.

To often, very talented enlisted personnel never make rank and ultimately leave the service. But here recently, it seems like prior enlisted officers are popping up all over the place. This is a good trend as I see it and I hope it continues. Anybody that can come up as a hard way warrior has my vote of confidence.

When I first arrived at Lejeune to serve alongside Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, I saw a pattern emerge over the course of two week of Marine Corps Indoctrination Training with a group of Chaplains and RP's. We were a mixed lot with both officers and enlisted folks who were there to learn about the mission of the USMC.

Several of the Chaplains had been prior enlisted but one of them was constanlty stopped by young enlisted Marines that need someone to talk to. He had been a Force Recon Marine and had served out his enlistment, gone to college and then to Seminary, was ordained in the Southern Baptist Church and had returned as a reserve Chaplain Captain.

Once those young Marines saw the Parachutist Wings and the Dive Badge combined with the Cross, they were drawn to him. We waited quite a few times for the good chaplain to hear a request or give advice. But it proved the necessity of the Chaplains role in the modern force.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hero Nominates Hero

Imagine my surprise when the GOP roll call of states at the convention reached Maryland and the votes for John McCain were cast by none other than Commander Everette Alvarez. Alvarez was the longest serving POW in Viet Nam having been shot down in 1964.

Alvarez flew A-4's off of the USS Constellation. When Alvarez was shot down, the North Vietnamese Communists staged a parade through the streets of Hanoi with locals shouting, "Alvarez, Alvarez, Sonovabitch!Sonovabitch!"

Alvarez has been vocal in his support of McCain, writing an article entitled, "War is Personal for McCain and Me."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sound Off On Uniforms

Navy Times wants to hear from the Navy community (that includes vets too!) what you think about the new enlisted khakis. I touched on this a couple of weeks ago. I know change is inevitable but the US military seems to be hell bent on haggling with tailors on new uniforms while we have bigger fish to fry.

I forgot to mention the Coast Guard's recent tune up of the ODU. They call their fatigues "operational" vs. "battle" dress uniforms. The Coasties can now leave their shirttails untucked. If you're in the USCG, USCGR or the Auxiliary you can pick up the old uniforms at fire sale prices.

Not to be outdone by all of this maritime change, the Army has announced the death of the office greens. The venerable old blues will now be used in their place. Though, come to think of it, I don't ever see the doggies in green. They apparently get to wear BDU's everywhere while Marines can't stop to get gas on the way home from the base in them.

While the cover story the DoA is pushing talks about the history of the blues going back to the days of the horse cavalry and Washington's Continentals, I tend to remember the blue uniform as the one that burned down the South during the War of Northern Aggression.

The Army could use a regional variant for use in the South to avoid unearthing bad memories. The Citadel uses a nice, welcoming uniform.

Anyway, if you are interested in keeping up on the latest uniform changes, check out Military Uniform Gouge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Calling Robert Heinlein

There are few people on this planet that have the ability to imagine and dream about possibilities better than Robert Heinlein. If you have ever read any of his stuff you are soon amazed to learn that he was predicting things back in the 1950's that were really impossible at the time.

Just like Jules Verne's predictions of submarine warfare, Heinlein, a former naval aviator, weighed in on the future of the military. In 1959 he wrote Starship Troopers, a wartime epic set in the somewhat distant future. The book details combat with alien races using powered armored suits. (Thirty years later, Japanese animation used the idea for the Robotech series.)

He also wrote about advanced prosthetics used by veterans that had lost limbs in action. Israeli inventor Amit Goffer has made science fiction science fact. His ReWalk device enables paraplegics to rise out of their wheel chairs and walk with the aid of crutches. Watch the video to see injured Israeli paratrooper Radi Kaiof walk around town and look people in the eye.

I don't know if Heinlein had a crystal ball, but for me, it was like reading DaVinci's notebook. If you have a spare moment, read the book, its fairly short. In addition to his ideas on technology, check out his vision of the government of the future. More to come on this.......

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicom Sub Base Weakness

I don't want to talk out of turn here, but all of this chatter and hand wringing about a secret submarine cave base a la James Bond or Dr. Evil got me to thinking. The Aussies have a pretty good understanding of just what a threat the growing Red Fleet can be. This story appeared over the weekend in The Australian.

While the value of a subterranean base can be huge with regards to shielding the People's (sic) Liberation (sic) Army (?) Navy from US spy satellites just think for a minute about what might happen in the event of hostilities.

During the "Big One", bomber command hit the sub pens at Brest on a regular basis and yet the damn thing is still standing. The major difference is that, today, the arsenal includes a couple of firecrackers that can more than handle bringing down the entrance to the boat garage the Chicoms have built. After the dust clears, you have a very expensive tomb for "...up to 20 submarines..."

So, go ahead, Comrades, keep using all of that Walmart money to build things that would make Albert Speer blush. Fat man & Little Boy's grandsons are waiting. Now, just where is that Man with the Golden Gun?

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Nub Story

Bubblehead over at The Stupid Shall Be Punished got me to thinking about my nub days. For those of you not blessed enough to serve beneath the waves, I offer you the following:

N.U.B. or NUB is an acronym for a long used expression in the U.S. Navy that means Non-Useful Body. Usually a term given to those recently out of school and have yet to learn the ways of being a true sailor.

Submariners in the U.S. Navy usually use this term towards those who have not qualified for submarines, an arduous task which ends in the sailor being presented his "Dolphins" and being accepted as no longer being a NUB.

I had to work hard to qualify. Being a Deck Div. orphan required me to quickly and accurately analyze the social status of each crewman and their divisions and their relationships with everybody else. Half the time, I couldn't get anybody to even talk to me about quals.

After many months of hard work and barter, I had the whole qual card signed off and recieved the object of my efforts: My Fish. (I paid for them dearly, more about that later.) The Boat was headed to Canada for some games with the Canadians and I come down the ladder for the first time as a real live Submariner only to be asked by the COB where was my apron. I was headed back to mess crank.

Now, keep in mind, I had already hit the limit on cranking. I had qualified Helms/Planes, Topside Watch and Lookout. I was well on my way to being battlesattions helmsman. Now I had my Fish and was no longer a NUB. I was now a UB.

I stood there, in upper level, with my mouth open in disbelief. Due to the manpower scarcity, mostly from nukes not cranking as much as the rest of us, Quailified in Submarines or not, I was headed back to crank in the galley.

What made it worse was I wasn't the only one. A QMSN friend of mine that had been on the boat a month or two longer than me was there too. A sacred tradition had been violated and the crew was not happy to see two qualified watch standers down in crews mess with paper hats on.

While most of the crew saw this as a grave injustice, there were a couple of idiots that needed to get their mind right. One smart ass nuke decided to pile on the humiliation by demanding that I refill his drink by saying in a loud voice, "Get me a drink, CRANK!"

At this point a massive Sasquatch from A-gang, known for taping up nukes, stepped in before I could respond and told him to get his own damn drink. The delicate peace between the forward spaces and the nukes lay in the balance. The nuke (obviously wanting to keep his pubic hair intact) backed down and showed some respect.

QMSN and I found a pair of iron-on Dolphins and added them to our teal colored crank's shirts (despite the Chop's insistence that those shirts really belonged to him) and served the rest of our sentence with a steely eyed demeanor of taking no crap from anyone.

I later found out why the COB had nobody left on the list to crank. The Chop had moved a new cook from cranking early and some douche bag Sonar Tech had altered his service record to show that he had cranked while he was TAD during training. If I could have TDU'd that bastard, I would have.

Just remember:

"One Boat, One Crew, One Shaft, One Screw."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

U-Boat Losses Visualized

I often get bogged down in discussions with sailors from the target fleet about just how crucial the sub force's efforts were during "The Big One." When I try to explain just how unarmed the US was on December 8, 1941 and that a redheaded stepchild that was only 2% of the fleet managed to inflict 30% of the enemy's shipping losses, I usually get a blank stare.

It can be worse when speaking, respectfully, of course, with some of the old WW2 surface vets who tend to complain about how Submariners had "better pay, ports o'call, liberty and those damn fish!"

You can read the numbers over and over but until you visualize it in you mind, you'll never get your arms around it.

A friend just sent me a link to a little gadget that will give you one of those "Eureka" moments. Some noble soul with far more time on his hands than I has taken available reference information such as lats & longs and dates, combined it with a mapping program and produced a visual record of all of the U-Boats sank during WW2.

At first, I thought this was a clever little toy until I tinkered around with enough to get it to display all losses at once. Once you grasp the idea of 641 submarines sunk with the majority of their crews dying, it hit me like a hammer. (Hint: enter "dead" in the search box)

My only question: Has anyone done this for the American Fleet Boats?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Combat Action Medal Urged

The VFW passed a resolution urging the SECNAV to create a medal to accompany the Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) noting that the Navy and Marines are now the only service without a combat decoration.

The CAR was authorized for naval personnel by SECNAV John Chafee (who went on to have a mediocre career as a liberal GOP Senator from Rhode Island) back in '69 and made it applicaple back to '61. Clinton retroactively applied it back to 1941. (Amazing how the only thing this guy ever did militarily was drop bombs on Christians in Serbia and yet he gave out decorations to some albeit very deserving people that fought in wars long before his term.)

The Air Farce came up with a gawdawful medal for their shot at airmen that looks like something Hermann Goering would have cooked up:

The Army has an entirely different view of recognizing combat service. The Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Medical Badge and the new Combat Action Badge are awarded to soldiers that meet the requirements of coming under fire in combat. Additionally, Soldiers wear the unit patch that they served with during wartime on their right shoulder while the left shoulder displays their current unit.

Never having served in "combat" per se, and only having served on "peacetime" "training" missions I can only speculate here but it seems to me:

While there can be a degree of medal "inflation" during conflicts (Supply O-3's getting a meritorious Bronze Star), the amount of personal awards being given out to Marines and Sailors who are under the gun on a daily basis is terrible. Given the numbers of combat incidents in both Iraq and Afghanistan, our naval (and military) forces deserve far more awards for heroism and valor. Sometimes, I think the Bush Administration conspires with the DoD to keep recognitions low in order not to let the folks back home that there is a war on.

Bravo Zulu to the VFW for standing up for our men and women afloat and afield!

Now, if we can just get this Navy Expeditionary Medal for federal veterans preference question settled......

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hezbollah Sub Force?

Reports have been popping up for the last 2 years about the existence of fiberglass submersibles used to smuggle narcotics to the US and Europe. Now comes word that there is a new play in the drug sub game: Lebanese based muslim terrorist group Hezbollah.

Smuggling is nothing new for the so-called Party of God (sic). Back in 2002, Hezbi convenience store workers in Charlotte got busted by the ATF for smuggling low tax cigarettes to Michigan. They appear to now have graduated from Marlboros on the highway to cocaine on the high seas.

Now why would a religious based group smuggle drugs? Its a lot like what Willie Sutton said: Cause that's where the money is. My guess is any cash Hezbi can raise on its own, it can spend on what it wants without any conditions from its Iranian sugar daddy. Additionally, the destination is western Europe, so who cares?

Back in the 90's, the Coast Guard made a point to remove its ASW sonar gear from its cutters since the Russians were no longer a threat. Hopefully Admiral Allen will take care of this problem.

Monday, August 18, 2008

In the Navy, With the Marines

After my time in the Submarines, I thought it might be interesting to see what life was like in the "other" Marines. OK, it really wasn't my idea, but the reserve recruiter thought it would be fun to see what happened to a bubblehead dropped in to the middle of the Fleet Marine Force.

My first trip to the green side involved being saluted by a lot of young marines and being called "doc" alot. It took a while for me to get used to being asked to look at somebody's rash. Now, keep in mind, when you embark on board a Marine base, you are surrounded by thousands of young killers who worship their corporal (E-4). No scrubbing of the middle level passageway with a greanny on hands and knees in this man's Corps.

The Marines also happen to be the only service worse than the Navy when it comes to handing out uniform fruit salad. When I realized that I had more service ribbons than half of the Gunnery Sergeants, I had to sit down and sort out the universe. (This has been somewhat fixed by the heroism decorations from the war on terror.)

I quickly realized that Marine Corps culture has no place for subdued dolphins and I proudly became one of the fewest of the few and the proud wearing my shiny silver dolphins around Camp Lejuene. Marines would see you coming and try to figure out just what kind of creature you were. When asked about life on the boat, they'd nearly universally make some comment about going crazy underwater.

After I left the Green side, somebody got the great idea to give fleet marine sailors their own warfare device, the FMF badge. This seems to make a lot more since than half of the other "warfare" devices out there on the blue side are nothing more than fufilling your job duties. (Ahem, IUSS) Corpsmen and RP's get shot at on a regular basis these days. So do some Chaplains and Doctors.

Now word has come out that the Marines themselves would like to make sure that the sailors they serve in combat with recieve the same pay that they do.

This only makes sense. When you count on a sailor to risk his life to save yours, you want that risk recognized and compensated. BZ to the the Sergeant Majors of the Marine Corps for doing their part to keep the Navy in the fight.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Making Georgia Howl

I have been thinking a lot about our friends in the western Asian Republic of Georgia. It looks like the old Red Menace is at it again. Russian troops have rolled into Georgia like a field exercise.

Georgia is a little larger than West Virginia and is one of the first Christian countries in the world. Given their loyalty to the US and their strategic position in a volatile region., the US can do better than we have.

We have a friend in Georgia that we will loose if the Russians take it over again.

The photo says it all. These Georgian troopers were praying before going on duty in Iraq.

They need more than our prayers now.

So Long NR-1, We Hardly Knew Ye!

Navy News has a list of this year's ships to be decommissioned. Among the targets is the venerable NR-1. When I was a student at Admiral Rickover's School for Wayward Boys, we used to hear all kinds of tales about this mysterious sub that was soooo secret, it didn't even have a name.

Well, the little lady is headed for retirement. Coincidentally, I just started reading "Dark Waters" a little tale by a former Nuke ICman. (I had forgot all about the Nuke IC rate.) So far, its good.

I wonder what will take the place of the indispensable little boat? And what will they do with the hull after they D-nuke it?

On NR-1, when they say, "Take her deep," they mean it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Navy Uniforms, Every Man A Chief

Have you seen the new "service" uniforms? Either there was a bad case of chief's envy or we need to look more like the Marines. Just look at it. Now don't get me wrong, I hated the ice cream man service whites. The service dress blues made you look like Heinrich Himmler's valet or LAPD.

These look like either military school rejects or Korean Coast Guard.

I do understand the attraction of the Marine Charlies. I had the opportunity to wear them when I was on the green side. But here's the rub: Marines tend to have a V-shaped torso (as does this nice young catalog model) This probably has something to do with all that extra PT they do.

Now envision what your rotund FTG (SS) that can barely make it through the main hatch will look like with triple chins. Got it?

Although, the new camo's (why camo? who you hiding from? Man overboard should be real fun!) do relegate the dixie cup to dress occasions.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CO Firings in the past

Maybe I spoke to soon. has a few examples from the near past.

What's up with all these CO firings?

Have you noticed a rash of CO & XO firings around the fleet? There seems to be a huge number of reliefs for loss of confidence. Now, admittedly, you still have those CO's who can't keep their hands off of the help and the occasional grounding, but come on.

Navy Times has a story today about an airdale getting cashiered.

What is causing this wave of firings or is it just me?

One thing that leaves me scratching my head a little is the current state of the officer corps. I went to the commissioning of the USS North Carolina SSN-777 and was very impressed by the number of mustang officers onboard. From the CO on down to the butter bars there must have been a half dozen of them. (When I was on the ustafish, we had one and he had come over from the Army artillery. He was a decent guy but you got the feeling he would CYA a blueshirt in a minute.)

Do more mustangs mean a better fleet? If so, why are so many commanders getting relieved?