Shadowy, SSGN Three-card Monte
Sunday, January 28, 2007 Submarine crew change
Historic transition at Pearl Harbor allows the USS Ohio to take on new sailors for deployment
Routine crew transfers, previously occurred about every 90 days at the sub's homeport. For the USS Ohio, a newly converted ballistic missile submarine, this meant transferring nearly 200 people and some four dozen or so cargo containers in Washington state. Last week for the first time, USS Ohio's Gold crew Capt. Hale, his 160 sailors and 40 riders boarded in Pearl Harbor accompanied by over four dozen cargo containers. Hale's Gold crew was flown in to Hawaii from McChord Air Force Base near Seattle.
The purpose of the dual crews is to maximize the time the submarine is at sea, said Capt. Chris Ratliff. We're at sea 70 percent of the time and constantly available to the commander. No other force can make that claim. The purpose is to stay forward deployed for extended periods of time.
"We're at sea 70 percent of the time and constantly available to the commander. No other force can make that claim. "
What's wrong with this story? Is it news, advertising, disinformation, or some combination? It could be futile even to guess.
At sea 70 percent of the time? Even between scheduled maintenance periods 70 percent does sound like high performance. It could be even higher (95 percent) of course, if crew changes and replenishments were conducted underwater in forward-based patrol areas.
What kind of submersible mother ship could ferry a relief crew, provisions, mission cargo and riders (SEALS) to awaiting submarines. Let's see, how about a converted ballistic missile submarine.
What would be the advantage to that? Well, our submarines are all about stealth. Returning to port not only gives our potential enemies information we prefer them not to have, it allows them to more easily track the sub the next time it leaves. Just what might be going on here? Hmmm.
How many SSGNs does the U.S. have? The SSGN forerunner was USS Halibut (SSGN-587). Publicly, the Ohio (SSGN-726) and three other former SSBNs: Michigan (SSGN 727), Florida (SSGN 728) and Georgia (SSGN 729). Of this number, some will be undergoing scheduled maintenance and/or refitting and will not be available at any given time. Say only three are at sea. Which one will be the mother ship in the navy's shadowy steel version of three-card monte?
Our potential enemies have to be beside themselves. Hmmm.