Where Is This Submarine Exhibit?

Check out this YouTube video from "stanthei95man" that asks, "Where is this submarine on I-95?":

If you think you know where it's at, or have given up, go here for the answer.

HMS Superb Back In The UK

HMS Superb (S 109) returned to Plymouth under her own power this week after suffering a submerged grounding in the Red Sea last month. She stopped at Souda Bay for temporary repairs on the way home, after originally pulling in Aqaba, Jordan to evaluate the damage; word on the street was that the bottom half of the sonar dome was ripped off, she was down about 2 feet in the bow, and had a 3 degree list to port as she pulled into Jordan. Looks like the temporary repairs did the job of getting her home.

Meridian Library And Censorship

Chris at The Unequivocal Notion had a post last week about a rumor that my local library here in Meridian had been pulling material off the shelf in response to the decision by the Nampa Library Board to put some "Joy of Sex" books behind the counter. A commenter had left this on his website:
Now, a few certain staff members at the Meridian library (just a few miles down the road) have begun to remove "unrated" DVDs and possibly other "controversial" items from their shelves. This act of self-censorship is troubling because no one from the public has challenged these items. The Meridian library board may not even be aware of the decision. Meridian has tried (and failed) many times to pass a bond for a new building, so maybe this self-censorship is an attempt to avoid public scrutiny before it begins.
Like most people who love the 1st Amendment, I'm always concerned about censorship by government entities, so I when I went to the Meridian Library to check out some books, I asked to speak to someone about the allegations. Patricia, the Library Director, came right out and said that, yes, she was aware of the controversy. (Portions of the post linked above had been printed in the local paper's "Other Voices" section.)

Patricia explained that part of her job is to do "deselection", in which she goes through the entire library's holdings a section at a time to see if there are items that could be replaced by something more popular, and last month she was scheduled to review movies. In doing so, she noted that there were several unrated movies (many of them in VCR format, which rarely get checked out). She says she did remove them from the shelf to evaluate those movies. Most of them are now back on the shelves, and for the ones that she found inappropriate for a public library, she's ordered the "R"-rated versions of those movies from Amazon; they'll be on the shelf as soon as they arrive. Personally, I don't have a problem with not having what are basically NC-17 movies on the library shelves if there's an R-rated version available, and I think most people would agree. Patricia went on to say that she never removes books because of perceived controversy, and if she thought she should she'd definitely go to the Library Board. I'd like to think I have a pretty good internal B.S. detector, and it seemed to me that she was being completely honest. I can report that the Meridian Library doesn't seem to have the problem that we see in our neighboring town.

And The Submarine Capital Of The Navy Is...

A little over two weeks ago, the outgoing Base CO at Naval Station Kitsap had a throw-away line in his Change of Command speech where he said:
"The new submarine capital of the Navy is Kitsap," Tanaka told about 200 invited guests during a change-of-command ceremony that was chased into the Bangor theater by threatening skies. "There are more submarine crews in Kitsap than in any other place."
Since the boomers and SSGNs stationed there have two crews, he's actually correct -- even though Subase New London has 2 more full-sized submarines assigned (plus NR-1). He also noted that Bangor has all three types of submarines there (SSBNs, SSGN, and SSNs), whereas only SSNs are stationed in Groton. He could have also pointed out that the three newest SSNs in the Bremerton area could wipe out any group of ships (up to and including a complete Strike Group, or a complete submarine squadron) in the world without breaking a sweat. Things move slowly up Groton way, but they've finally responded to this "heresy":
After the staff in Groton heard about Tanaka's remarks, Ginda said “there were no emergency meetings to figure out how we were going to counter this blasphemy, if you will” because Tanaka has a “tough road ahead of him” if he wants to continue to call Kitsap the new capital.
”We have the natural synergy of the base and Electric Boat, right down the river, where the latest class of subs are built,” Ginda said. “We have sub school, where officers and enlisted cut their teeth on a submarine profession that started here, as the first submarine base, and continues on as the submarine capital of the world.”
Captain Ginda is actually right in this "controversy". Whiile Kitsap might have more capable and varied submarines, the fact remains that the vast majority of Submariners pass through Groton at some point in their careers -- everyone goes through training there before getting to their first boat except the enlisted nukes. Plus, the Nautilus is there, as well as the company that built USS Holland (SS 1). In my mind, as long as the Submarine School and Submarine Force Museum remain in Groton, it will be the "Submarine Capital".

The Puget Sound is a lot prettier than the Long Island Sound, though...

Sites For Movie Lovers

They Shoot Pictures is a website devoted to listing the 1000 greatest films of all time.

An impressive task!

Even more interesting is the site it inspired, Shooting Down Pictures, in which a film devotee has decided to watch every film on that list and write an essay for you, the reader. These typically include clips of the films from youtube to illustrate various points.

It's the sheer volume attempted that is interesting.

And, that some of my favorite films are discussed!

Such as, Evil Dead II, Inferno, and Night of the Demon, as video essays.

'Bout Time

Finally... the 2nd episode of the 2nd season of "Hey, Shipwreck" has been posted. This one deals with wakeups and passwords:

Fusion Moving Forward


The Emc2 team has been ramping up its tests over the past few months, with the aim of using WB-7 to verify Bussard's WB-6 results. Today, Nebel said he's confident that the answers will be forthcoming, one way or the other.

"We're fully operational and we're getting data," Nebel said. "The machine runs like a top. You can just sit there and take data all afternoon."

So was Bussard correct? Will it be worth putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a larger-scale demonstration project, to show that Bussard's Polywell concept could be a viable route to fusion power?

Nebel said it's way too early to talk about the answers to those questions. For one thing, it's up to the project's funders to assess the data. Toward that end, an independent panel of experts will be coming to Santa Fe this summer to review the WB-7 experiment, Nebel said.
The [other] really interesting thing about this news item is the interactive nature of the online world.

A skeptic who knows enough about fusion to speak intelligently left the following comment below the story:
It's fun to daydream, isn't it? And it's easy, too, as long as you don't know too much.

There's more reasons than you can shake a stick at that this won't work. For starters, you can forget about aneutronic fusion. It's not just the temperature, Bremstrahlung is almost to certain radiate more energy than you produce by fusion no matter how good your confinement is. Even if you somehow manage to get a decent power balance, for a given plasma pressure and fusion power, a p-B11 reactor would have to be about 1000 times bigger (and more expensive) than a corresponding D-T reactor.

The next thing to worry about is the electrons. The magnetic configuration has not only lines of radial field from the center to the edge, which is bad enough judging from the experience with mirror machines, it also has lines of *zero* field along which the electrons will gush out. The idea of recycling electrons lost through the cusps won't work because they will come out almost parallel to the field but hit the return cusp with a large perpendicular velocity component they picked up going around the bend.

And the ions? The device is conceived to utilize a bi-modal velocity distribution, which will be destroyed very quickly by the two-stream instability. The anisotropy of the velocity distribution is also know to be a big problem, again from experience in the mirror program.

We haven't even started to talk about energy loss to the grids, the consequences of tiny field misalignments, charge-exchange ion losses, energy coupling between electrons and ions, and whether the potential distribution envisioned is even possible at a non-trivial ion density.

Since they managed to sweet talk somebody into giving them money, let them finish and publish their results, but let's not stop looking for ways to save energy and trying to develop other, less sexy but more reliable energy sources.

Art Carlson, Munich, Germany
But the even cooler thing is Dr. Nebel who is running the experiment was able to post a reply! Talk about getting the inside story in near real-time!
Just a few comments for Mr. Carlson

1. The theory says that you can beat Bremstrahlung, but it's a challenge. The key is to keep the Boron concentration low compared the proton concentration so Z isn’t too bad. You pay for it in power density, but there is an optimum which works. You also gain because the electron energies are low in the high density regions.

2. The size arguments apply for machines where confinement is limited by cross-field diffusion like Tokamaks. They don't apply for electrostatic machines.

3. The Polywell doesn't have any lines of zero field. Take a look at the original papers on the configuration. See :
Bussard R.W., FusionTechnology, Vol. 19, 273, (1991) .
Krall N.A., Fusion Technology. Vol. 22, 42 (1992).

Furthermore, one expects adiabatic behavior along the field lines external to the device. Thus, what goes out comes back in. Phase space scattering is small because the density is small external to the device.

4. The machine does not use a bi-modal velocity distribution. We have looked at two-stream in detail, and it is not an issue for this machine. The most definitive treatise on the ions is : L. Chacon, G. H. Miley, D. C. Barnes, D. A. Knoll, Phys. Plasmas 7, 4547 (2000) which concluded partially relaxed ion distributions work just fine. Furthermore, the Polywell doesn’t even require ion convergence to work (unlike most other electrostatic devices). It helps, but it isn’t a requirement.

5. The system doesn’t have grids. It has magnetically insulated coil cases to provide the electrostatic acceleration. That’s what keeps the losses tolerable.

6. The electrostatic potential well is an issue. Maintaining it depends on the detailed particle balance. The “knobs” that affect it are the electron confinement time, the ion confinement time, and the electron injection current. There are methods of controlling all of these knobs.

We'll know more soon.

PCU New Hampshire (SSN 778) Christened

PCU New Hampshire (SSN 778) was christened at Electric Boat on Saturday. New Hampshire resident and 9/11 widow Cheryl McGuinness was the ship's sponsor. Looks like she did a good job of making sure the champagne bottle was well and truly broken:

Video of the christening can be found on this page of the EB website. (Clicking on one of the links on that page will open up your default video program.)

Be Stupid, Get Punished

This story is in the paper today talking about what happened in the town just south of mine:
A 16-year-old boy was charged with a DUI early Wednesday after a train hit and demolished a pickup truck he got stuck on railroad tracks in Kuna...
...The pickup, which was thrown about 100 feet by the force of impact from the train, was destroyed.
The boy told investigators he was driving the pickup southbound on Swan Falls Road when he attempted to go around some railroad cars that were blocking the road on one set of tracks.
But the pickup got high-centered on that set of railroad tracks and another set of tracks next to it.
A short time later, the boy heard a train coming from the east on the other set of tracks, so he and his passenger, an 18-year-old man, jumped out of the pickup and ran away before the train hit the truck. No one was injured in the crash, according to reports.
There must be something about 16 year old boys and pickup trucks. Three weeks after I got my license, I was driving my parent's truck around the gravel roads in our rural part of the county when the three of us in the cab decided to drive over "Highwalker's Hill" -- a very steep hill on a dirt road that has a very sharp crest. I went over the top of the hill at a much higher speed than was safe, the front two wheels went airborne, and -- the truck being empty -- the loss of friction from the front wheels caused the truck to veer to the left; when the wheels landed, we were at about a 20 degree angle relative to the road, heading towards the ditch. I swerved back and forth all the way down the hill and halfway up the next before I lost it. The truck almost cleared the ditch, but didn't, and did a full roll back onto the road. The frame was twisted, and the wheels were frozen onto the hubs -- we ended up only being able to salvage the rear-view mirror. My parents weren't happy. Luckily for me, alcohol wasn't involved, and no one got seriously injured.

The bottom line: I have sympathy for this poor kid in Kuna, and hope he learns his lesson about drinking and driving, and I'm glad no one was hurt. I also really, really wish someone would have filmed this accident, 'cause the visuals I'm getting from just reading the story are hilarious.

Drill Here. Drill Now!

Sign the petition to Drill Here, Drill Now, and Pay Less!

What are we hoarding our resources for? A rainy day?

If not here, where?

If not now, when?

USS Providence Gets Their Burke On

USS Providence (SSN 719) was formally presented with her Arleigh Burke trophy for 2007 in a ceremony yesterday by LantFleet Commander ADM Jonathan Greenert. What makes the Burke award special this year is that submarines won the award for both fleets -- USS Key West (SSN 722) won for PacFleet. Having submarines be named as "most improved" ship or squadron for both fleets is a good thing, I suppose... although I also suppose that they had to be not so good at one point to have a point to improve from. In any event, BZ to the officers and crew of both ships!

Manufactured Messiah

Today's example of a steady stream of reports designed to demoralize:

Iraq, perceived hypocrisy fuel record anti-Americanism: report
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Anti-Americanism is at record levels thanks to US policies such as the war in Iraq, and Washington's perceived hypocrisy in abiding by its own democratic values, US lawmakers said Wednesday.

A House of Representatives committee report based on expert testimony and polling data reveals US approval ratings have fallen to record lows across the world since 2002, particularly in Muslim countries and Latin America.

It says the problem arises not from a rejection of US culture, values and power but primarily from its policies, such as backing authoritarian regimes while promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Never mind the contradiction that the Iraq war was to remove an authoritarian regime...

This is part of a pattern: make everyone miserable from a diet of negative reporting, then dangle salvation, the Obamamessiah who will make everyone love us again.

All laid out in this comprehensive essay:
There was a pre-Lewinsky time, before moral relativism blurred America's vision, when associating with people like Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers would have automatically excluded someone from attaining the highest office in the land. Back then, anyone with well known connections to such America-averse personalities would have been rejected by a super-majority of the electorate during primary season and almost certainly blocked by the Democratic Party before they could have gotten to within a mile of the White House.
Until recently in our history, a President Barack Obama would have been an impossibility. But given the political and ideological climate that exists today in America, the ascension of a leftist like Barack Obama into presidential politics makes perfect sense. Beliefs like domestic terrorist William Ayers's and racist, anti-US preacher Jeremiah Wright's are no longer met with utter scorn or a trip to behind the woodshed, but are embraced, promoted and defended by many Americans.
The Democratic Party has devolved into a club for the illegitimately aggrieved, the self-absorbed, the self-hating and the perpetually pissed-off.
So what does all of that have to do with the propulsion of Barack Obama to within a whisker of the Presidency? Everything. It could not have happened without the existence of a substantial, organized, internal anti-US Left and the approval and guidance of the Democratic leadership I describe.
The opening event setting the stage for Obama's ascension was the contentious 2000 election. When Bush was declared its winner, Democrats fumed that the election had been stolen by the Republicans. The promotion of that canard within leftwing and media circles and the personal quality of the resentment of Bush it provoked within the Democratic Party is important to mention, since a similar canard that morphed from it and became popularized -- "Bush Stole the Election," -- became the base justification for the future blizzard of untruths used to disparage the President.
Whatever patriotism was stoked within the hearts of Democratic Party leaders by that September Day of Infamy was likely tempered by an unsettling reality: If America stayed united behind George W. Bush and the Republicans during the coming military response to 911, the Democratic Party would be out of power for a long time.
As the Democrats weighed their narrow, post-911 political options and saw a grim future, at least a few of them might have considered Jimmy Carter's triumph on the heels of Vietnam and Watergate, and felt a flicker of hope.

A Vietnam strategy develops

Soon after 911, as America shifted into a wartime footing, leftists in academia and in the Legal Left began testing the waters of dissent by deconstructing Bush and the Republicans and blaming American foreign policy for the 911 attacks. Several professors at major Universities openly proclaimed their wishes to see America defeated and disgraced.
Deliberately or not, the Democratic Party and the leftwing media, with their endless criticisms of the Iraq conflict, and their endless public comparisons of that war to Vietnam, sent a direct message to the rag-tag army of ultra-violent terrorists in Iraq who were detonating car bombs in crowded marketplaces, beheading and mutilating civilians and killing American and Coalition soldiers: "Keep the violence up just a bit longer. We'll take care of wearing down America's will to win from within, just like during Vietnam."

Even violent, under-equipped sociopaths facing the most powerful military on earth know a gift horse when they see one, and react accordingly.

On the other hand, nearly every bit of positive war news was whispered in quiet sentences or totally ignored. Today, with the Iraq venture steadily closing in on success, the amount of news about Iraq has slowed to barely a drip. That is quite telling.
"Bush lied us into war" became the catch-phrase of almost the entire Democratic Party leadership, even though before the war had commenced many of those same Democrats had access to the same information that the Bush Administration used to justify it.

Power at any cost indeed, even at the defeat and humiliation of one's own country.


Now the 2008 election is upon us. Whether it is Iraq or Afghanistan, the economy or the overblown dangers of anthropogenic global warming, the Democratic Party and its media shills continue crafting and pounding home messages telling us that our national problems, real and imagined, are caused by Bush and the Republicans, They tell us that due to Bush and his policies, our nation is an evil one, our nation is hated by the world, our nation is fractured into pieces, our nation is murdering innocents, our nation is the world's biggest polluter, our nation is a den of racism, our nation is stingy, our citizens are impoverished, our economy has been destroyed. Collectively, this endless stream of buckshot propaganda adds up to a single, powerful and demoralizing statement: America has come apart at the seams - and George W. Bush and the Republicans are to blame for it.

Though the Democrats and their media shills are responsible for creating that illusion, Bush and the Republicans are to blame for generally ignoring or responding weakly to the Left's relentless assault on America's war-time morale.
It is no wonder the American electorate has slipped into a foul mood -- little wonder why it seems that its heart is not in the fight against the totalitarian theocrats who threaten it. For seven years Americans have been pounded with messages that their country and its leaders are unjust, warmongering, and evil and hated by all -- it deserves whatever evil it gets.

America now has serious doubts about itself. Its citizens have been pummeled with those terrible messages for so long now, that many of them believe them to be true. They are vulnerable to the Democratic Party's sudden mantra of Hope and Change and Progress.
It is truly audacious of the Democrats to entice us with their slick-tongued messiah, one who appears out of nowhere and graciously offers to scrape clean and sanitize the same plate of defeat he, his party and their assistants in the media served to America for nearly eight years in the middle of a war. Soon we will see if a majority of the American electorate accepts that offer, or if it rejects it, sending the Democratic Party back to confront the same irrelevance it risked the safety and security of our nation to avoid.
Don't be fooled!

Huge!!!1!!1!! New Navy (U)Niform News

The official Navy website has a couple recent stories about new Navy uniform goings-on that are sure to have a huge rippling effect throughout the service. First, they announced with appropriate fanfare that the Service Dress Khaki wear test had commenced. Here's the CNO wearing his SDKs; somehow, he ended up being one of the Beta testers:

I've always been a fan of the return of the Service Dress Khakis (and I'm not alone), but I admit that there's one thing that bugs me just a little about it. The concept of being able to quickly switch from informal Service Khaki to Dress Khaki just by adding a tie and jacket is good, but you still have something that, IMHO, violates one of the basic rules of Good Uniform Design -- too many visible rank insignia. No other uniform, other than the Women's Service Dress White worn by Officer Candidates for their first uniform inspection, has two complete sets of rank insignia visible -- both shoulder boards (or the traditional one crow for CPOs) and metal collar devices. It's nit-picky, I know, but it strikes me as overkill. Still, it'd probably be more tacky to make people remove the collar insignia and have two (or more, depending on how old the khaki shirt is) holes plainly visible on each collar tab. Overall, I give this uniform a big thumbs up.

The far bigger news, of course, is the unveiling of the prototype Official Navy Running Suit. If you think I was excited about the initial issuance of the Physical Training Uniform, that's nothing compared to how much I support this new Running Suit. Check it out!

They haven't said anything about it, but I suspect that this will be an optional accouterment to the required shorts and shirt (like the headgear, "official" running shoes, and compression shorts mentioned during the early announcements). More than just a Physical Training Uniform, this complete Suit says about the wearer that he or she is willing to go the extra mile to show that they're a complete Dig-it. It's important that such people stand out, so their peers know who they are.

(Re)-Learn To Fly

Back until sometime in 1999, I always enjoyed flying. I was never very good as a passenger in a car after I was in my first car accident (I always wanted to be in control of the vehicle after that), but I did great as a passenger in a plane. Then, something happened to change that -- I learned what makes flying actually work.

In between shipyard Eng tours, I got "shore duty" on the Carrier Group SEVEN staff, deployed on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). As part of qualifying Flag Watch Officer, we had to learn a lot about flight operations, and working in the Operations Staff "barrio", I heard a lot of sea stories from the pilots with whom I served. As a result of learning more about what could go wrong in the air, I found that I was, frankly, kind of scared to fly -- every unexpected dip made me unreasonably afraid something bad was going to happen. Of course, I ended up flying more in the next 4 years than I ever had before (including six trans-Atlantic flights and two carrier take-offs). I'm doing better now the few times a year that I fly, but I'd still rather drive if I could.

I bring this up because I'm flying off to visit family today in Nebraska -- the Land of the Dial-Up Internet Connection. As a result, expect light posting for the next week. Please use the comments on this post as kind of an "open thread"; I suggest telling about when you were most scared aboard a submarine. (A reader suggested this a while back, so now's as good a time as any.) For me, I was probably most scared during my first deployment on USS Topeka (SSN 754), when we were doing an Opposed Unrep exercise with USS Ranger (CV 61) and her skimmer escorts in August 1992. (For long-time readers, I first talked about this episode here.) We'd done our first "attack" on the ships, gone deep to reposition, and were coming back up to PD to take a look around and re-engage. I was on Fire Control, and was stacking dots when the OOD noticed a sharply breaking DIMUS trace on the AVSDU. We did an emergency deep when we got to about 80 feet, but, looking at the dot stack I had and the really small range I was coming up with, I thought for sure we were gonna get hit. As it was, we were saved by the "Big Ocean, Small Ship" principle. Never again did I fear for my life when on a submarine; even the flooding that got called away during our initial dive on USS Connecticut (SSN 22) didn't worry me too much -- probably because I was aft, the "flooding" was forward, and we were in shallow water.

What's your story?

May Movie Reviews

I ended up seeing all four "big" May movies last month (no, I don't consider "Sex And The City" a big movie), and was gonna review all of them, but never found the time. (I did review "Speed Racer" earlier, and ended up deciding I liked it a little more than the initial review implies.) Since I don't have time for decent reviews, here are some synopsii, in order of how much I liked them:

1) "Iron Man": I wasn't really expecting to like this one; I've never read the comic book, and I'm not a big Robert Downey, Jr. fan, but this one was really good. It combined good manly action with a surprising amount of humor that just made for an really enjoyable movie experience.

2) "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull": My third favorite of the four Indiana Jones films ("Last Crusade" is my favorite, then "Raiders"), the movie suffers only in comparison to the previous good films in the franchise. The action is good, Harrison Ford does a great job, but let's face it -- "Crystal Skulls" just don't match up to the Holy Grail or the Lost Ark as the subject of a good quest. Had this been a stand-alone movie, it might have made the top of my list for May, but loses out only because I had a nagging feeling that it could have been much better.

3) "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian": I actually liked this film better than the first one in the series. I thought the story flowed more smoothly, and the kids weren't nearly as annoying; I really liked how they quickly brought the story up to speed and effectively showed how returning to their own world after their first Narnia adventure changed the Pevensie children. I was disappointed with how they portrayed Aslan in the first movie; in this one, they didn't back away from the Jesus parallels, they accepted them with open arms. That, and a more "believable" story to work with, made this one a really good film.

4) "Speed Racer": The more I think about it, the more I enjoy it; my earlier review is here, and nothing much has changed, although I've convinced myself in hindsight that the good overweighs the "blah" enough that I'm raising my rating to a 4 out of 5 -- the same as the other three movies.

Now This Is A Decent Ass-Chewing!

HMS Superb (S 109) was in the news recently for grounding in the Red Sea; today she's back in the news for something that happened back in January. It seems that one of the sub's crewmembers was found asleep on watch; this resulted in the XO ripping the crew a new one. That's not that big a deal; what is unusual is that one of the submariners being bawled out caught the whole thing on his cell phone. From the BBC article:
During the six-minute address, which is peppered with expletives, the officer strongly criticised the sleeping watchman, the removal of safety ropes around storage tanks and the turning off of fans.
He told the men: "The incident last night is entirely f***ing unacceptable.
"You know far better than to allow stuff like that to happen. As submariners, you accept responsibility for yourselves and your shipmates.
"Getting your f***ing napper down while watching a f***ing DVD and swigging lager isn't accepting responsibility for your shipmates.
"It's throwing that responsibility away and saying, to me - I don't give a f*** what happens to my mates on board the boat and I don't give a f*** what happens to the boat.
"That's the worst example I can f***ing think of, but it stirs up some of the other things that have been going on."
The video, appropriately bleeped, can be seen either at the link above, or here. If you haven't been yelled at by an XO in a while, watch the video and relive the old days! (Of course, I'm sure many of us have been ripped into much, much worse -- especially my old shipmates on USS Topeka during the '91-'93 reign of "He Who Must Not Be Named".)

Submarine CO/XO Screening

Blunoz has up the list of submarine officers who screened for CO and XO this year, at the end of this post that also has a fairly good explanation of sub officer career progression. Going over the list, I noticed at least three guys who were my students at NPTU Charleston back in '93-'95 are on the CO list -- that was enough to make me feel pretty old. On the other hand, I know that it'll still be at least a couple of years until they actually get command, so I can make myself feel somewhat younger by realizing that it's my peers who are in command now -- like my old SOAC classmate who just took USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) out on deployment. (Interesting tidbit: CDR Kropcho is on his 3rd tour on the Jacksonville; he also did part of his JO tour and his XO tour on her.) I sure hope they get a better mid-deployment voyage repair port than USS Dallas (SSN 700) scored; she has to spend her upkeep in Diego Garcia. At least there's little risk of liberty incidents there.