USS Florida (Gold) COB Relieved

From SUBGRU 10 Public Affairs:
The chief of the boat of USS Florida (SSGN 728) (Gold) was relieved of duty March 30 by the commander of Submarine Squadron 16, at Kings Bay, Ga.
Capt. Stephen Gillespie relieved Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Charles Berry, due to dereliction of duty while assigned as the chief of the boat.
During an investigation surrounding allegations of hazing onboard Florida (Gold), Berry was found to have neglected his duties as a leader. While not involved in the alleged hazing, it was determined Berry had knowledge of the alleged events and failed to take action and inform his chain of command.
The Navy's standards for personal behavior are very high and it demands that Sailors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. When individuals fall short of this standard of professionalism and personal behavior, the Navy will take swift and decisive action to stop undesirable behavior, protect victims, and hold accountable those who do not meet its standards.
Berry has been temporarily assigned to Submarine Squadron 16 in Kings Bay, Ga.
Command Master Chief (SS) Brett Prince will assume the duties as chief of the boat for USS Florida (Gold). Prince was scheduled to relieve Berry in April.
Word on the street is that Master Chief Berry was one of the good guys. Is this an example of PC culture run amok, or a case where the crew didn't understand the new reality? Or both?

Billy Wilder's Advice for Screenwriters

Billy Wilder would be on every short list for greatest screenwriters ever. I always gotta root for the writers who get to direct, and he was a hell of a director, too. Wilder managed to make classics in several genres, and would get bored doing the same thing for too long. He said when he was in a good mood, he'd write a tragedy, and if he was sad, he'd write a comedy. Even some of his

Blue Girl's 7th Blogiversary

It's the seventh blogiversary of Blue Girl at They Gave Us a Republic. Swing by and say hi.

Kurosawa's Birthday 2012

It would have been Akira Kurosawa's 102nd birthday on March 23rd. My most extensive post on him is this one from 2008. The tumblr blog This Must Be the Place linked that piece and posted five days of Kurosawa posts, featuring plenty of photos and posters, as well as many comparisons between stills from Kurosawa's films and his paintings. The easiest way to check them out is to look at all the

"There Are No Atheists In Foxholes"

There's no new submarine news, and I've run out of unclassified sea stories, so here's a story about a Catholic priest celebrating Mass underway on USS Missouri (SSN 780).
Services on board submarines are regularly provided by lay leaders. Hoar added that lay leaders play a pivotal religious role to submariners.
"As members of the military we do our jobs daily, but on Sundays we have the opportunity to gather and pray together," said Roa. "It meant a lot to me to have a Catholic priest on board."
How did you take care of your religious needs when underway?

St. Patrick's Day 2012

This year for St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to pass on Frank McNally's "History of Ireland in 100 Excuses." Here's a sample:1. Original sin.2. The weather.3. The 800 years of oppression.4. A shortage of natural resources.5. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak6. Red hair.7. The Celtic temperament.Do read the whole list. This comes via Maria over at Crooked Timber, where there was a lively

21st Century Sailor!

[While we're still waiting for the O-7 Line selection board results to come out, here's the 2-star list.]

SECNAV announced a major new initiative last week wherein, among other things, Sailors will have to take a breathalyzer test at random times, like showing up back at the boat after liberty in Phuket. Excerpts:
The secretary explained that the initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness. The programs are divided into five categories, or "areas"; readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion, and continuum of service. 
"The new defense strategy will put increased responsibilities on the Navy and Marine Corps in the years to come," the secretary said. "You are the department's most essential asset, and it is the duty of the department's leadership to do all we can to provide each individual Sailor and Marine with the resources to maintain that resiliency." Various programs fall under the readiness area, all of which help ensure we have the most mentally prepared service members and family in department history.
Continued emphasis on the responsible use of alcohol, zero tolerance for drug use, suicide reduction, family and personal preparedness, and financial and family stability all work together to prepare Sailors, Marines and their families for the challenges that they may face and reinforce healthy alternatives on liberty or off-duty. A new initiative will include breathalyzer tests when Sailors stationed onboard ships, submarines and at squadrons report for duty and randomly elsewhere to reduce the occurrence of alcohol related incidents that can end careers and sometimes end lives. This month, the Navy will begin random testing of urine samples for synthetic chemical compounds like Spice.
Not mentioned in the description of the duties of the 21st Century Sailor is sinking enemy ships and blowing up bad guys; that stuff is a pretty 20th century concept. Here's the reaction from one active duty officer, he doesn't like it. And here's the NAVADMIN announcing the new synthetic compound urinalysis initiative.

So what do you think? Will this new initiative make us more effective war-fighters?

My Old Boats On Deployment

My old boat USS Topeka (SSN 754) left on a WestPac on Tuesday, and USS Connecticut (SSN 22) provided this Facebook video of "Sailor Shout Outs" from Yokosuka yesterday. Return home safely, guys! (No word on if Jimmy Carter is out, as expected.)

Have you ever taken part in an official Navy propaganda video?

Update 1422 3/15: Turning off comments. We went badly off track here. I'm to blame for not posting more often.


RIP Robert Sherman, a prolific provider of catchy silliness.

2011 Film Roundup, Part 1: The Oscars and the Year in Review

(The many moods of Billy Crystal. Welcome to the Annual Post-Oscar Film Roundup, a tradition that dates back to the misty age of pre-blog times. It's broken into four parts. To read it all, start here, scroll down and use the "Older Posts" link.)2011 was an odd year for cinema. Reportedly, it set a record for sequels (28). The good news is that the basement was better than many years. Most

2011 Film Roundup, Part 2: The Top Four

The Artist: Versatile silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is riding high, but the talkies are coming in. He befriends an up-and-comer, confidant chorus girl Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), and the sparks fly, but he's married. George is dedicated to the art of the silents, but the public is losing interest, and his star diminishes as Peppy's rises. As many have noted, this is a

2011 Film Roundup, Part 3: Noteworthy Films

Margin Call: Most of the action takes place in the course of a single 24 hours at a high-powered investment bank at the beginning of the global economic crisis. Veteran Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) is one of the casualties in the latest round of periodic firings, but before he goes, he hands off a flash drive to one of the younger employees, bright Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto). It was something

2011 Film Roundup, Part 4: The Rest (The Good, the Bad and the Godawful)

Moneyball: Even if you're not a baseball fan, you should be able to get into this real-life underdog story, and you may remember the events – the 2001 playoffs, when the Oakland Athletics (the A's) with roughly 40 million in salary, faced off against the mighty New York Yankees, boasting a staggering 125 million. The A's played hard, but lost, and their three star players were raided by other

News, Notes, And A Musing

Sorry for the light posting; here are some new discussion points:

1) Here's a story from Navy Times discussing how three of the eight total female Chops assigned to submarines were removed for "allegedly committing fraud prior to checking in at their boats". That's quite a coincidence, unless we're to assume that 37.5% of O-3 Supply Officers normally commit fraud.

2) The Chinese announced that they're researching using UAVs with "genetic algorithms" to hunt for submarines. Because that's a much better way of doing things that getting actual people actual experience in ASW. For my PRC readers: us American Submariners are very afraid of your new initiative. We really hope that you don't put all of your R&D money into this program.

3) The Navy has a new anti-excessive drinking initiative. Have you ever seen a Navy drinking initiative that didn't make you laugh your ass off that didn't involve displaying the wrecked car of a Sailor who had died in a DUI-related accident?

4) At work the other night, we found a broken chair, and because it was a "Friday" night and I was in an expansive mood, I opined that the cause of the chair breaking was "brittle fracture", and I kind of surprised myself by rattling off the approved NNPS definition of same. The fact that I remembered it after so long made me realize how strongly the Submarine Force really pounded into our heads those rules that we absolutely, positively can't violate. I started thinking of those inviolable rules, and came up with a few, in no particular order of importance:

** Don't violate BFPL
** Don't mess up seawater tagouts
** Don't run into anything (ocean floor, other ships, the pier)
** Don't get counter-detected when on station
** Don't go out of area
** Don't steal from your shipmates

How would you rank these rules in order of importance? And can you think of some other inviolable rules?

Corinne Bailey Rae – "Paris Nights/ New York Mornings"

Skippy on the Potential SAG-AFTRA Merger

The potential merger between SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) might not be big national news, but it's certainly big out here in Los Angeles. Blogger skippy, a member of both performers' unions, has some thoughts on all this, and explains why he's voting no on the merger in posts one, two and three.