Sunday, March 22, 2009

Clear the Bridge!

During the Second World War, submarines comprised less than 2 percent of the U.S. Navy, but sank over 30 percent of Japan's navy, including eight aircraft carriers. I recently completed reading Clear the Bridge by Dick O'Kane. Two of the most aggressive boats were USS Wahoo (SS-238) and USS Tang (SS-306). One man had the chance to serve on both, Dick O'Kane.

O'Kane was the XO on Wahoo under Capt. Mush Morton and was then given command of the Tang. Despite the lack of torpedoes that worked most of the time, O'Kane hunted down imperial vessels with a vengence. Tang went on to set the record for the highest rate of sinking of enemy ships. On average, they sank a Jap ship every 11 days.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't have a happy ending. The Tang was sunk by one of her own torpedoes that circle back on her. O'Kane survived the sinking and Japanese POW camps and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

If you get the chance, Clear the Bridge is a great way to get a feel for what the submarine war in the Pacific was really like.

I really appreciated O'Kane's honest assessment of the bureaucracy in fleet operations and his description of how Admiral Lockwood responded by putting his sailors first.

No doubt about it. Dick O'Kane and the Tang exemplified the No Slack, Fast Attack mindset even before we knew what fast attack was. And somehow they managed to do it all without splitting a single atom at all, go figure.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The EM Log Is BACK!

Something HUGE happened a few days ago in the submarine blogging community. The EM Log is just about everything you could ask for in a blog about submarines. You just have to get over the Nuke superiority complex to fully enjoy it. I have to tell you that I had given up on seeing anymore EM log entries, I took down this blog's EM Log MIA picture a couple of weeks ago.

It seems his premature retirement was a typical case of a nuke BS prank. He talks about it here.

Anyway, he's back and reposting his old posts and adding more. Check it out, the EM Log rocks!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Details on Scranton Uniforms

Navy Times sheds a little more light on the Great Scranton Uniform Swap:

"Onboard the Scranton, the NWU transition is complete.

“The crew has fully implemented the NWU, and it will be the primary uniform for the entire crew while in port and for topside personnel while underway who are a part of mooring evolutions or brief stops for personnel,” said Master Chief Machinist’s Mate (SS) Stephen Nordman, Scranton’s chief of the boat. He added that the crew will continue to wear coveralls while underway.

“The NWU is a great uniform; however, it cannot be put on as quickly as a pair of coveralls, and when you have to get dressed quickly for battle stations or a ships casualty, [coveralls are] the only option,” he said.

The Norfolk area was the first to receive the new uniform, which replaces utilities for sailors and wash khakis for chiefs and officers. The entire fleet rollout will take two years, at which point everyone in the Navy will be required to own the uniform."

I'm glad to hear that the venerable old poopie suit get to stay on board subs but I can't help but let my anti-Nuke bias show when I wonder just what kind of a MM the Scranton's COB is.