POD Notes

1) For those still on active duty, NAVPERSCOM is worried that some Sailors don't know that up to 75 days of leave can be carried over past the end of the year, rather than the standard 60, for many Sailors. (It has been up to 120 days in the recent past.) This authority, most recently granted in October 2008, has been extended out to 2013 for "service members assigned to hostile fire or imminent danger areas, certain deployable ships, mobile units, or other duty..." If you don't know if these limits apply to your command, ask your YN and he'll give you a stupid look. (Just kidding! Much respect to the admin weenies! Please don't mess up my retirement checks!)

2) A disturbing report came out today about a submarine contractor who falsified QA records. Excerpts:
The metal was intended for use in Virginia-class subs, which are built by Northrop Grumman's Newport News shipyard in partnership with Electric Boat of Groton, Conn...
...Bristol Alloys, a metal broker, was a third-tier subcontractor in a chain of companies contracted to build 14 subs for $22.7 billion. Bristol Alloys sold metals to Garvey Precision Machine of Willingboro, N.J., a subcontractor that manufactured parts for Northrop Grumman.
The fraud allegations involve such parts as snorkel hoist pipes, piston tailrods and tailrod bushings shipped between 2004 and 2008. Bristol Alloys is accused of submitting fraudulent heating test certifications indicating that the metals had been heat-treated when they had not been.
(The story also says the company is no longer in business.) A major assumption of the QA program is that the material being used meets required specifications. If the base material is not up to spec, there's a chance it might be caught during initial retests, but issues that would only show up under cyclic stress wouldn't. As one QA instructor said, "We have an extensive material control topic. One of the things we cover is verifying that the material is good. With manufacturing fraud like this, even the best boat QA can't prevent installing bad parts and putting our boats at risk." Just another example of why Submariners deserve extra pay.

3) USS Hawaii (SSN 776) arrived in Japan last week for the first deployment of a Virginia-class boat to the Western Pacific. Here's a picture of her sailing in Tokyo Wan:

4) Finally, and completely off topic, I've always wondered why there are TV shows celebrating "bounty hunters". They generally seem like a bunch of not-very-smart no-neck bullies to me, as illustrated by this story from Tennessee.