Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Tribute to Submariners - 2016

A Bit of Background

"I was on submarine duty in the Pacific in the year 1943. We were in the area off the cost of the Philippines. I remember having a complete turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. While the turkeys were cooking, the submarine took a dive. We went down too steeply and the turkeys fell out of the oven onto the deck. The cook picked them up and put them back into the oven -- and we ate them, regardless of what may have gotten on them as a result of their fall. That meal was so good!"  - Stanley Collins, US Navy, World War II, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Voices from Front [pdf]

 Submarines are always silent and strange. 

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Monday, November 21, 2016

A Veritable Understatement - Submarine Quotation of the Year [2013]

 Submarine Quotation of the Year [2013]


"They deploy for months at a time often without any public notice.. The wife of a Seawolf sailor described the boat as 'unpredictable'.”  - David Axe, WAR IS BORING, Nov 5, 2013, "An American Submarine Just Slipped Under the Arctic Ice". [a brief, interesting article - M.E.]

Mr. Axe continues...
"How Seawolf got to Norway—and what she might have done en route—offer a rare and tantalizing glimpse into some of the most secretive quarters of the most poorly understood aspects of American naval power."

So far, such generalizations might apply to many U.S. Navy SSNs, past and present.  Of the many deployments the 575 boat made, there was a time when some of the stop-off destinations shared with wives and even the crew were certainly and repetitively fictitious. This merely supports Axe's general point about the silent service's "tradition of secrecy", "The Navy doesn’t like to talk about its submarines. After all, a sub’s biggest advantage is its stealth."

Axe must also be credited with emphasizing that Seawolf and her two sister vessels Connecticut and Jimmy Carter are among the most secretive. He highlights some of Seawolf's notable distinctions:
  •  Her official Website is blocked. 
  •  Seawolf’s exterior has not appeared in publicly released Navy photo since 2009.
  •  In 2007 Seawolf’s 140-man crew earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation—and
  •  in 2009 followed that up with a Navy Unit Commendation
Also, notice the pre-2010, exterior photo of Seawolf  that accompanied Axe's article.  Attentive observers will certainly have a few interesting questions about other curious distinctionsIs this eyeopener what Axe was actually steering his readers toward?


Submarines are always silent and strange.
 

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Answers to Submarine Q.O.T.W. from 14 NOV 2016

Related information, photo(s) and links for questions are found in the original posting.

Q & A: 

"In 1968, A US Nuclear Submarine Went On a Russia Super Secret Spy Mission (And It Never Came Back)" by Kyle Mizokami

1 - An unusually high number of submarines vanished in 1968, including three (3) non-U.S. subs. Identify 3 of the non-U.S. subs sunk in 1968 (by names and navies). ANS: The Israeli submarine Dakar (69 lost); The French submarine Minerve (52 dead); and, The Soviet submarine K-129 (98 lost).

2 - The U.S. sub which sank in 1968 "was in a very poor state of preservation", according to its commanding officer.
- a) Who was the commanding officer?
ANS: Cdr. Francis Atwood Slattery  
- b) Some of its crew had derisively referred to the sub as (fill in blank) USS Scrap Iron.
- c) Name the vessel's major (most restrictive) known defect before its 1968 departure on a secret Russian spy mission.
ANS:  Leaking valves caused the submarine to be restricted to  less than half its nominal test depth. It had “chronic problems” with its hydraulics, its emergency blow system didn’t work and emergency seawater shutoff valves had not yet been decentralized. source
 
3 -  The U.S. Navy’s report on the U.S. sub incident is inconclusive. Several malfunction theories—and at least one conspiracy have arisen to explain the loss of the ship and its ninety-nine crew, but all lack hard evidence. What is the leading conspiracy theory? 
ANS: The leading conspiracy theory is that the Scorpion was somehow caught up in some kind of Cold War skirmish, and that the nearby Soviet flotilla had sunk the sub.
 
4 -  What major fact issue tends to confound the leading conspiracy theory?
ANS: There is scant explanation for how a Soviet task force with only two combatants could manage to kill the relatively advanced USS Scorpion.  
 
5 -  Does it now appear at all likely that there would ever be a conclusive explanation for the loss of the U.S. sub in 1968?
ANS: No. 
 
6 - What has been the convention (minimum average time) for submarine secrets to be divulged by various navies (in Vigilis's opinion)?
ANS:  30 years.

7- How many years have already elapsed since May 1968?
ANS: 48 years
 
8- BONUS QUESTION:  Where is the longest submarine memorial in the U.S. now located?
ANS: The entire length of Route 9 in Saratoga County, NY (a fifty-four-mile stretch) has been named the U.S. Submarine Veterans Memorial Highway.  The county is home to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit where American sailors learn how to operate nuclear-powered submarines. The New York state submarine veterans memorial honors the fifty-four submarines lost during war and the Cold War. 

Submarines are always silent and strange.  

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Submarine QOTW - 14 NOV 2016

Background

Vigilis recalls attending a classified debriefing about the loss of the U.S. submarine indicated below:

The Questions of the Week


1 - An unusually high number of submarines vanished in 1968, including three (3) non-U.S. subs. Identify 3 of the non-U.S. subs sunk in 1968 (by names and navies) .

2 - The U.S. sub which sank in 1968 "was in a very poor state of preservation", according to its commanding officer. 
- a) Who was the commanding officer?
- b) Some of its crew had derisively referred to the sub as (fill in blank) USS ____________. 
- c) Name the vessel's major (most restrictive) known defect before its 1968 departure on a secret Russian spy mission.

3 -  The U.S. Navy’s report on the U.S. sub incident is inconclusive. Several malfunction theories—and at least one conspiracy have arisen to explain the loss of the ship and its ninety-nine crew, but all lack hard evidence. What is the leading conspiracy theory?

4 -  What major fact issue tends to confound the leading conspiracy theory?

5 -  Does it now appear at all likely that there wuld ever be a conclusive explanation for the loss of the U.S. sub in 1968?

6 - What has been the convention (minimum average time) for submarine secrets to be divulged by various navies (in Vigilis's opinion)?   ___  years.

7- How many years have already elapsed since May 1968? 

8- BONUS QUESTION:  Where is the longest submarine memorial in the U.S. now located?

ANSWERS:  Friday, 18 NOV 2016.

Submarines are always silent and strange.  

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