"Silver Rider"

I like both Low's original......and this cover by Robert Plant and the Band of Joy.

Moored To The Tender

Here's a picture from the Navy website (no story attached; only mention I could find in the press is this error-laden report from Israeli conspiracy theory site DEBKAfile.) of USS Bremerton (SSN 698) pulling up next to submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) recently in Mina Sulman, Bahrain. Been there, done that, back in 1992. Bremerton deployed in April.

Meanwhile, the Russian press has a story about a CO who was fired (although they say he wasn't fired) for yelling at a senior officer.

Reflecting on Netroots Nation 2011

I went to Netroots Nation in Minneapolis last weekend (July 16th-19th). It was the first one I've attended. If you're interested, you can go to the Netroots site for the schedule of speakers and panels. The site's blog features videos, as does their YouTube channel. Going in, I thought the convention would probably be a good morale booster for many of the attendees, particularly those who

Peter Falk (1927–2011)

Peter Falk has died at the age of 83. It was hard not to like Peter Falk on screen. As the "rumpled detective" Lieutenant Columbo, he was understated, humble and sly. This was a conscious decision by Falk, who suggested that when he'd arrive at a crime scene, rather than all the other cops making way for the great detective, they'd basically ignore this nondescript guy. Similarly, Columbo

Stupid Drunk Tricks

The big news here in Idaho this week comes from an Idaho politician -- State Sen. John McGee (Party of Personal Responsibility - Caldwell) -- whose story went international after he was charged with grand theft and DUI:
Tracey Carleton said her two teenage sons woke her up about 2 a.m. Sunday, saying a drunk man had jack-knifed the neighbor’s Ford Excursion and a 20-foot trailer in their large south Boise yard. The man had wandered around the property, up and down the road and eventually went to sleep in the vehicle’s back seat.
Another vehicle and trailer on the Carleton’s property were damaged along with the neighbor’s Excursion and trailer, she said...
...Ada County sheriff’s deputies later identified the man as John McGee. Dep­uties said McGee had begun drinking at a golf course at about 10 p.m. Saturday. At some point, McGee left the clubhouse on foot, eventually coming upon a parked truck and trailer about three houses down from the Carleton’s.
Deputies arrived at the scene at 3 a.m. and found McGee in the truck. McGee told depu­ties he was headed to Jackpot, Nev. McGee was taken to the Ada County Jail where he registered a blood alcohol content of .15 on a breath test, nearly twice the legal limit of .08. He was booked into the jail at 4:27 a.m. Sunday.
None of us is perfect. I personally destroyed an outhouse as part of the drunken celebration after the Activities Banquet my senior year in high school (I was named "All Around Boy"). In the Navy, I managed to avoid doing really stupid things when I was drunk, but I did have some shipmates who weren't so lucky.

When I was on the Group staff on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) back in 2000, I was standing inport duty while moored at Jebel Ali when we got a call that one of the pilots from the Marine squadron was in jail in Dubai. It turns out that he had stolen a hotel courtesy van and driven it lots of places where he wasn't supposed to, and ended up mooning the Dubai cops who came to arrest him. The upshot was that the Admiral had to come off the golf course to apologize personally to the Chief of Police in order to get him released back to our custody. That resulted in the only Admiral's Mast we had on that deployment, and the guy lost his flight quals, along with the civilian airline job he had lined up for when he was getting out of the Navy in three months. (One of the few other Submarine officers on the carrier got put in hack for the next two port visits because he had signed out as the guy's official "liberty buddy".)

What's the dumbest thing you've ever seen done by a drunken Sailor?

Submariner Recommended As Next CNO

From the Navy website:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced June 16, he has recommended Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, vice chief of naval operations, to succeed the retiring Adm. Gary Roughead as the next chief of naval operations.
Gates said he made the recommendation to President Barack Obama based on Greenert's solid portfolio that includes both significant personnel programs and budget responsibilities.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Greenert is "an exceptional officer, and if confirmed, will be, I believe, an exceptional CNO."
"He has wonderful operational experience, fleet experience, he's terrific with people and he has extensive experience in the money world, which is now facing all of us," Mullen said. "So I strongly concur with the secretary's recommendation."
Gates praised Roughead, who will retire this fall, for four decades of service and leadership at the helm of the Navy for the past four years.
"I have very much enjoyed working with Gary and have greatly valued his counsel and wisdom on both Navy issues and broader strategic issues," Gates said.
Upon being notified of the news, Roughead offered his congratulations and endorsement.
"I could not be more pleased that Adm. Jon Greenert has been nominated to be the 30th Chief of Naval Operations. I have known Jon and his family well for years and I have the utmost respect for him as a leader and a naval officer."
In a statement released after the announcement Greenert said "I am honored and humbled by the Secretary's recommendation and look forward to working with Congress during the confirmation process."
Greenert's career as a submariner includes assignments aboard USS Flying Fish, USS Tautog, Submarine NR-1 and USS Michigan and as commander of USS Honolulu. He also served as commander of Submarine Squadron 11, U.S. Naval Forces Mariana, U.S. 7th Fleet in the Pacific and U.S. Fleet Forces Command before he became the vice CNO.
Assuming no embarrassing Halfway Night or WestPac liberty photos show up, ADM Greenert should be a cinch for confirmation. He'll be the first Submariner to be CNO since ADM Frank Kelso retired in 1994.

Update 2230 16 June: According to this story from Navy Times on the CNO recommendation, Submariner VADM Cecil Haney is in line to be the next Pacific Fleet Commander. If that comes to pass, we'll be back up to three 4-star Submariners on active duty.

Hanford Submarine Reactor Compartment Boneyard

Ever wonder where the sealed-up Reactor Compartments go when a boat gets decommissioned and razor-bladed? It appears that they go to Trench 94 in Hanford, WA. Here's a picture with the several dozen RCs labeled (no idea if the labeling is accurate or not):

Did you find your old boat? (You can click on the picture for a bigger version.) Another picture is here, and some official government information on Trench 94 is here.

What's the most outlandish thing you're ever done in an RC? (Note that I said "in an RC", not "to an RPCP", so this isn't the thread to say "I removed the Port RCLIV switch handle and cover and wrote 'If you had a Fast Leak right now, you'd be in big trouble' on the back".)

Emptywheel Fundraiser 2011

I'm late in posting this, but last month, Emptywheel (Marcy Wheeler) asked readers to "Please Help Support My Next 525 Posts on Torture":Just over two years ago, right around the time I reported that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in a month, many of you chipped into the “Marcy Wheeler fund” to support my work; that generosity paid my way until a short time ago. Here’s what

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - "Home"

Connecticut CO Fired After NJP

The CO of my old boat USS Connecticut (SSN 22) got a "non-band" relief after being masted for problems related to control of classified material and (more seriously) apparently not being completely forthcoming about the problems when asked about them. Stories can be found here and here. Here's the official Navy press release:
The commanding officer of USS Connecticut (SSN 22) was relieved of command June 6, by Commander, Submarine Development Squadron (SUBDEVRON) 5, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.
Capt. Brian Howes relieved Cmdr. Michael S. Varney as a result of an investigation into the mishandling of classified information.
Varney was awarded non-judicial punishment for violations of UCMJ Article 92 (violation of a lawful general order), Article 107 (making a false official statement), and Article 134 (wrongful interference in an adverse administrative proceeding) June 6.
Varney, who took command of Connecticut in February 2009, has been administratively reassigned to the staff of Commander, Navy Region Northwest.
Capt. Benjamin Pearson, deputy commander, SUBDEVRON 5, has assumed command of Connecticut until a permanent replacement is named. Pearson previously commanded the Gold Crew of Trident ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737).
CDR Varney is a Naval Academy graduate, for what it's worth. Also, I note that the Navy website is allowing people to comment on their stories now; based on the responses for this story, I expect this to be a short-lived initiative.

Portrait of the Fascist as a Young Captain

(Sergi L√≥pez as Captain Vidal.)Kia at Gall and Gumption has written an excellent piece on Guillermo del Toro's 2006 film, Pan’s Labyrinth (Labyrinth of the Faun/ El Laberinto del fauno). The bulk of it is an in-depth psychological profile of the brutal Captain Vidal, the wicked stepfather of the film's young heroine, Ofelia. Here's a taste:To the Captain and to the numberless others who rule

Ludovico Einaudi - "Lady Labyrinth"

Comings And Goings

As I'll be heading to the land of the dial-up Internet connections for the next several days (my parents' farm in Nebraska), I figured I'd leave a post for all who want to keep the conversation going. Here are a few possible topics:

1) USS Charlotte (SSN 766) returned home to Pearl from Westpac on Tuesday. Here's a picture of her pulling in:

Note that the accompanying article, while acknowledging the 28 crew members who earned their dolphins, doesn't mention which port visits they got. Especially for an official Navy article, that usually means the ones they did get were to the "less desirable" ports of call in the Pacific. However, the use of the code phrase "experienced the dynamic operational environment of the Western Pacific" let's everyone who knows know pretty much exactly what they were doing. It's deployments like this one that, while not providing crew members with a lot of pictures to share with family and friends, are more likely to allow them to wear a NUC. Welcome home, guys.

2) All Hands magazine for June 2011 has a cover shot of USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) surfaced through the Arctic ice, along with an article about the recently concluded ICEX 2011. The Atlantic also has several good pictures of the boats involved in this photo essay.

3) The XO of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) was just fired for undisclosed reasons. In other news about carriers named for presidents, the Navy recently announced that CVN 79 will be named USS John F. Kennedy. Personally, I think that any SECNAV who leaves office without ensuring that the name Enterprise is attached to a commissioned or soon-to-be commissioned vessels should feel like he threw away 235 years of Naval history in order to be a political sell-out. But that's just my opinion. I'd like to hear yours about any facet of ship naming.

4) How 'bout them Mavericks/Heat/Canucks/Bruins?

Extending Hull Life

Here's a quick discussion over at DoD Buzz about the Pentagon finally admitting what everyone has known for years -- the size of the U.S. submarine fleet is going to drop below the minimum required to support its missions by 2030. Of most interest to me is the consideration of keeping some boats in commission longer. Excerpt:
But that may be difficult, cautioned a top naval analyst. Shipbuilding expert Ron O’Rourke of the Congressional Research Service, appearing after Blake before a panel of the House Armed Services Committee, warned lawmakers that it may be hard to extend the service of the Navy’s fast-attack subs because of limitations on the lives of their pressure hulls. The Navy keeps its nuclear submarines in excellent condition, but the ships were built to meet exact tolerances and specifications, and it may be more expensive than it’s worth — or even impossible — to keep submarines sailing for much longer than their planned lives.
That's really the whole problem with extending submarine lives -- unless they come up with a method of annealing the entire pressure hull, they're going to have to reduce some of the engineering margins built into the design. We all know that American submarines are incredibly over-engineered, but at some point you're going to have that catastrophic failure as you try to push the limits, and a submarine crew will pay with their lives.

What do you think? Are there reasonable methods of extending submarine hull life without unduly risking the crew? (If you bring up some sort of depth limitation, please remember not to mention any numbers below 800 feet.)