Sunday, March 19, 2006

ex-Submariner Locates Unofficial Ballcap; Mystery Deepens

Missing histories, an unofficial ballcap, alien creatures, a name game with an element of the strategic triad. All this amazing stuff probably means that the next news we here about the USS Rhode Island could prove mindblowing (for non-submariners)...

First, a "ballcap tip" to our friend for his truly amazing sea story, found here: Lubbers Line .

Then a "littoral" (shore-related) Hat tip to Earthfiles (see this link for photo of YNC Thomas C. Sheppard, and his amazing story: "You could tell it was sort of reptilian-ish, but at the same time you could not point out discernible scales. Throughout its head in different places, it sort of had little bumps. It was very smooth. It was very dead." - Tom C. Sheppard, Chief Yeoman, Navy).

In 1966, SECDEF commissioned the Strat-X study which found that strategic missile submarines provided the least detectable and most survivable leg of the United States Strategic Triad. Since then, missile subs have formed the core of strategic deterrence around which defense planners have crafted US defense policy. USS Rhode Island (SSBN-740), an Ohio-class Trident missile submarine, commissioned in July 1994, is one of those submarines.

Some mysteries may come to mind:

Is there any connection between the wearer of the unofficial ballcap bearing the name USS Rhode Island SSBN-730 (shown above) and the author of Earthfile's unofficial report? (Hint: see photo here of YN2 Sheppard in 1980 and imagine him with a beard and ballcap).

Chief Yeoman Sheppard was discharged from reserve duty on November 30, 1995, after twenty years of service. Earthfile presents History of Assignment records for Sheppard which leave a service gap from April 1980 to 1995. Lubbers Line indicated he 'found' the ballcap in 1982. Coincidence?

There is no DANFS History currently available for USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) at the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site, the main archive for the DANFS Online Project, even though the ship has been commissioned for about a dozen years. How is it, then, there can be history for the Rhode Island's fantasy namesake, here?

Submarines always silent and strange (and, on more than one occasion, somewhat humorous).


At 20 March, 2006 09:15, Blogger Lubber's Line said...

Vigilis, space aliens, the USS Rhode Island (SSBN-730/740?) and me as an Admin Warfare Specialist (Yeoman) – LOL. I tip my ball cap to your satirical investigation talents. Yes a strange sense of humor seems to be an attribute among submariners, key to operating in an "alien" environment of extreme pressures. - LL


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