Wednesday, February 25, 2009

General Uniform Rant

Regular readers know that I spend a little time on the blogospere commenting on the current status of US military uniforms. Today I have 2 items:

USS Scranton Goes 100% Auquaflage!

In between cruises, the COB decided to get an eval bullet and coaxed/cajoled/leaned on the entire crew to go buy the new working uniform. I guess he got his bullet.

Air Farce Reinstates Good Conduct Medal

Let me get this straight. The one service that has the most gimme medals, by far, discontinued the Good Conduct Medal back in 2005? WTF,O? Apparently the AF honchos decided they didn't want to recognize what was already expected of the vaulted warriors of the warm bed and name brand steak sauce. Way to stick to the enlisted folks!

Fortunately, saner heads have prevailed and the GC medal is coming back!

When I served with the FMF, we had a young lady that had xfered over from the AF and had more fruit salad than several of the Gunnery Sergeants. She had a row of ribbons for every year of service. Different place.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boomer Sailor Says It All

I caught this video over at Navy Times. Despite being a Fast Attack sailor (hence the blog title), I gotta hand it to these boomer boys on the USS Maryland (SSBN-738) Gold Crew. These are great interviews with the crew that really sum up boomer life specifically and sub life in general.

The interview with MM3(SS) Lamar Johnson hit the bull's eye. Check out and see what you think. Even better, send it to someone you know that has no clue what you do/did.

The Hunter/Killer community likes to make fun of our boomer brothers but, its all done in good faith. Without you guys out on the patrol doing 4 knots to nowhere, liberty ports would be crowded;-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sub Archive Gold Mine

I just found the motherload of Submarine patrol reports from World War II all online in a relatively easy to view format. Maintained by the Historical Naval Ships Association, the archive contains a detailed day-to day record of all fleet boat actions.

Here's what the HNSA has to say about the archive: At the end of each war patrol of WW II, submarine commanders created a report on the patrol. These reports were used as the raw material to inform intelligence, improve tactics, evaluate commanders, etc. During WW II, over 1,550 patrol reports containing approximately 63,000 pages were generated. During the 1970s these were photographed and reproduced on microfilm to make them more easly accessible and easily reproduced (approx. 250 rolls). During 2008 a copy of this microfilm was scanned into digital format (110 GB), and in 2009 it was made available online here (14 GB).

While I am thrilled that these folks have made this huge amount of valuable information available, I am troubled by this hypersensitve statement at the begining of the archive:

"These war patrol reports were written during a deadly, bitterly fought war. Please note that there may be some references to enemy forces that may be offensive in today's context."

What are they afraid of? Did Mush Morton use the word "Jap?" Did Edward Beach call the enemy "slanteyes?" Did you want to win the damn war or did you want to make everybody feel good? I can tell you from reading Beach and Dick O'Kane that they didn't give a tinker's damn about offending the sensibilties of the Imperial Japanese Naval Forces.

Neverless, this site is priceless.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Goat Locker Uniform Backlash

While most of the complaints about the new uniforms have centered around the new aquaflage working uniforms and when and where the CNO thinks you should wear them, the new service uniform has created a backlash in the Goatlocker.

Navy Times has the article. It seems our Chiefs don't like the idea of blueshirts joining the khakis. Honestly, the Anchor Club has a point. Many of these old salts served for a decade or more in order to one day earn the right to wear khaki. Now, with one fell stroke, Seaman SlickSleeve shows up at the command office with his brand new khaki shirt.

The original need that switching the uniform was supposed to meet was the chorus of complaints from junior enlisted personnel about how they hated their uniforms. So while the Uniform Board has appeased the lower ranks, the upper ranks are now upset with the change.

Personally, I would have preferred them keeping the rank and ratings on the sleeve of the shirt.

The worst line of the Navy Times article is how some officers are upset about the khaki change. What are they upset about? Other than the Mustangs, the O-gang can get over it. I know that Congress has deemed you an officer and a gentleman, a higher being than the lowly enlisted proletarian scum but spare me the whining about the khaki shirt.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Submariners Need Knives

After reading this piece about the fine heroics of FT3(SS) Caleb Auten on the USS Rhode Island (SSBN-740), I got to thinking. It seems that young Petty Officer Auten was on watch as lookout when the weapons officer got his radio lanyard caught in the radar mast. As the radar tried to garrote LCDR Christopher Lord, Auten called down to the control room for a knife. Fortunately, LCDR Lord recovered.

Now, while I whole heartedly applaud FT3(SS) Auten's quick thinking, I can't help but ask why didn't he have a knife on him. Maybe I have a Deck Div. bias, but a sailor without a knife is pretty useless. We can have ships made of titanium and steel that dive under the sea but when you need a plain old knife, it may save a life.

I seem to recall an "incident" on board one of Subron 6's tenders in Norfolk sometime after the beginning of the Gulf War. OPSEC had required the installation of shipboard metal detectors on skimmers. This made crossing the quarterdeck a real pleasure. The tender's Petty Officer of the Deck got a huge ego charge out of strip searching sub sailors.

Now, first off, you had to be a real idiot to make every blue jacket take his boots off every time he came aboard but that's what these fools did.

Anyhow, the Ustafish was outboard of one of these LoveMeTenders and little ole me was coming back aboard after doing some pretty nasty Deck Div. detail. I set off the metal detector and PO1 Pierweld decides I might be an Iraqi commando. So off come the boots and out come the pockets. He looks through my pocket litter and comes across my bosun's knife and my 6 inch marlin spike.

So then PO1 Supersalty asks, "What are you doing with a knife? Then he asks, "What is that?" I end up getting detained by the Master at Arms until the 1st Lt. can come spring me. (The tender screws never could figure out how a Chief could be a Lieutenant!)

Flash forward 2 weeks and we shift berths away from the LandSpearFultonetc. back to the pier. Yours truly draws PoD during the daywatch when guess who shows up to work on the fish? PO1 Stripsearch from the tender. He tries to flash his ID and run down the brow until my retribution gene kicks in. The exchange went a little something like this:
"Aw, comeon. You're not really going to make me empty my bag are you?."
"Is the Pope Catholic?"

Result: No more shakedowns on the tender. When you mess with the bull, you might get the horns. And, oh yeah, let the boys keep their knives close and ready. You might need to keep an Oganger from getting his head twisted off.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another "Better ManThan Most"

I might have to make the "Better Man Than Most" a regular feature here. After relaying to you the story of LCDR Krissoff, MC, I have run across another amazing tale of a doctor that has answered his country's call yet again.

LTCOL John Burson (USAR Ret.), a 74-year-old retired ear, nose and throat specialist, recently finished a weeklong training course at Fort Benning in preparation for deployment as a field surgeon in Afghanistan. He has already served 2 tours in Iraq where he had a very unusual patient: Saddam Hussein.

a big old BZ goes out to the good doctor for his willingness to keep serving our troops well past the time most others hang it up.

I particularly love that SE grin he has in the picture. The paratroopers will love this guy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kittiwake Reunion Supported

In response to my original post I received a message from Nancy Easterbrook, Project Manager for the Cayman Kittiwake project. She is planning on inviting all of the members of Kittiwake's crew to come to Grand Cayman to the dedication service in a few months. If all goes according to plan, they hope to tow her to the Caymans in June/July 2009.

Anyone interested in traveling to the Caymans for this event should contact Nancy if you'd like to be kept on their 'update' email as they progress this project forward. Her email is

Of all of the Caribbean islands I was able to get ashore on, I loved Grand Cayman. I hope some of you KittiKatters make it down there for the show.

A Better Man Than Most

Sometimes, those of us that served in the submarine force (or any combat arm for that matter) tend to have a low opinion of our military support folks. I mean, some of these folks in the staff corps rarely go to sea (our beloved Chops excepted) and a number of folks with advanced degrees come in to the service with ranks of O-3 or above without so much as signature on a contract. I usually view these folks as civilians who happen to work for the military.

Every once in a while a staff corps officer stands head and shoulders above his peers. 61 year old orthopedic surgeon Bill Krissoff decided to seek a commission in the Navy Medical Corps after his son, a Marine 1st Lieutenant, was killed in Iraq.

Dr. Krissoff needed a little help to get around the age limits of the Navy. After running into a wall of DoD red tape, he went all the way to the top; CinCUS aka the Prez himself.

My admiration of Dr. Krissoff, now LCDR Krissoff, MC, is on many levels. To have raised a son with the sense of duty to serve his country is only the beginning. You see, LCDR and Mrs. Krissoff raised two sons that joined the Marines and now the father wants to go down range.

I rest easy knowing that this country has dedicated men willing to serve like Lieutenant Commander William Krissoff, Medical Corps. If you ever run into him in the fleet, give him a big BZ for exemplifying the spirit of No Slack, Fast Attack. He's already earned it.