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!