Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Submarine Challenge: How Many?

Update (Friday Oct 26, 2007, 11:39) - The CO of USS Hampton (SSN-767) was relieved of command for 'loss of confidence in his ability to command' Thursday. Commander Portland's biography indicates clearly that he is not a USNA graduate (Nebraska '87). This is documentary proof (assignment #3) that not all post- Cold War submarine COs are USNA graduates. On the other hand, we still do not yey have a single instance of a WW2 U.S. submarine service CO who was not a USNA graduate (assignment #1). Thanks to reddog, however, we learned that during the Cold War, exceptions were made. Reddog provided an example in the Comments section.

Before WW1 and during WW2, U.S. submarine skippers were exclusively Naval Academy graduates. Did all of them, including Nimitz ('05), actually volunteer for submarine duty (assignment #1).

During the Cold War, tradition was broken, if rarely, by commmanders of merit in their own right. Name a Cold War sub skipper who was not a USNA grad (assignment #2).

Post Cold War, Molten Eagle has yet to hear of a single sub skipper who did not graduate from the USNA. We all know that there may be exceptions to a general rule. Name at least one (assignment #3).

Why is any of this relevant at all? Perhaps you have not been reading enough of Molten Eagle's postings? That is strictly your decision, but you may have been missing something. Whatever the criterion to separate submarine commanders from the "I was just in it for the free education" clique obviously works. Taxpayers should demand longer service after academy graduation and higher standards for academy entrance.

As early as 2005, and again just this week, Molten Eagle addressed the issue of "gaming" taxpayers out of military academy tuition. In 2005, 4-year tuition at the USNA was a relative bargain at only about $275,000 per graduate. Compare that to Harvard and other military academies.

Here is a grand opportunity: submarine skippers are intelligent and dedicated gentlemen (even the many canned for happenstance). How the heck can they be so carefully selected when admission to military academies includes sons and daughters of politicians more intent on careers in law (politics) or NASA than lifelong military service? Why do admissions officers accept any immature cadets, when history has proven there is no need?

Something stinks, politics and Senatorial influence (predominantly lawyers) are ruining our military academies. Here is a recent example for you doubters: Gaming the Taxpayers Out of $349,000 .

How many thought, albeit foolishly, that successful candidates for military academy adsmission (who replaced dedicated career aspirants) were intent on military careers in excess of the requisite 5 years? Taxpayers are being ripped off and the academies are becoming infested by political parasites. [Vigilis made this point today on "talk radio". Some fool tried to contradict these points with VP Cheney's irrelevant draft deferments (irrelevant because educational draft defements were common during Viet Nam (Vigilis, for instance, was the only male in his H.S. graduating class to volunteer or to serve in the military). The foolish caller was unceremoniously set back adrift.

Anyone who can correctly answer even one of the questions # 1 -# 3 is welcome to comment.



At 18 October, 2007 06:42, Blogger reddog said...

I was not aware that all WWII Sub Skippers were Annapolis grads. It seems very unlikely to me. There were simply too many subs commissioned and crewed during the course of the War for that to be true.

I'm leary that all post war skippers were as well. Nimitz aside, I don't think pre-nuke sub duty was considered a desirable career path.

In the mid-late 70's, when I served, virtually all nuke sub commanders I knew of, indeed, most line officers on Subs, were ring knockers.

I can name one exception I have personal knowledge of, Charles R. MacVean. He commanded the USS Seawolf, SSN 575, '75-'78. He graduated from Princeton. He received a PhD in Nuclear Physics from the same institution.

The Seawolf was never a beauty and lame old whore might be a charitable description of her at that point in her career but she gamely limped into action when called upon, in service to the fleet.

That she was able to perform such arduous duty and return intact with crew whose moral was high and whose resourcefulness was second to none was largely due to the abilities of this outstanding sailor.

I'm willing to bet there were many other secular scholars commanding Subs around and about the fleet. I bet none of them made it above O-6 though and not through lack of talent, skill or initiative.

You may be right about the post-Cold War fleet. Only a few of our line officers were non Academy grads and none of the JOs. It is a shame. A navy with such an inbred hierarchy cannot help but suffer from such.

At 18 October, 2007 11:53, Blogger Vigilis said...

Reddog, thank you for answering #2.
I believe like you, that there must have been several more. I actually had a different CO in mind, maybe someone else will confirm.

As far as WW2, you raised another question by doubting all were USNA grads. If there is a single exception (other than some temporary acting CO) I am not yet aware of it. I wonder if they all vounteered for submarine duty?

That still leaves questions #1 and #3 unanswered. Not easy is it?

At 18 October, 2007 15:25, Blogger cheezstake said...

Assignment #3:
My XO on SSBN 727(G) was an OCS grad and later went on to command the USS Alabama (B)

At 18 October, 2007 18:54, Blogger Vigilis said...

Cheezstake, considering Alabama was commissioned during the Cold War (prior to 1990-91), was the CO you have in mind assigned as CO (B)before or after 1991?

At 19 October, 2007 11:02, Blogger cheezstake said...

vigilis, being assignment #3, he was a CO after 1991.

At 19 October, 2007 20:19, Blogger Vigilis said...

ATTENTION All Molten Eagle readers...
Disregard all Cheezstake comments and representations. Cheezstake is, according to Wikipedia, a "sock puppet" of "Cplot", and has been blocked indefinitely from Wikipedia or editing Wikipedia. Wikipedia has established that this blocked user is the puppet master of one or more abusive or block / ban-evading sock puppets.

Cheezskate, what put M.E. on to your suspect allegations is your failure to name the CO you site.

In my informed opinon, Cheezstake (Cplot) you are a dastardly operative of the equally suspect "Brad's Blog", or an equally detestable cretin. Your comments are not welcomed here!

At 19 October, 2007 22:52, Blogger cheezstake said...

vigilis, what warranted the above comment?

At 11 May, 2008 16:35, Blogger Fast Nav said...

CDR Mark Merrick, CO USS ALBANY 2005-2007 was a graduate of The Ohio State University, and a damn fine skipper.

At 30 July, 2012 21:59, Blogger ElkoTraveler said...

Cold War Skipper Not a USNA Grad: Archie R. Clemins - CO USS Pogy; retired in 1999 as a 4-star; final tour was CinCPacFlt. Graduate of University of Illinois.

At 30 July, 2012 22:08, Blogger ElkoTraveler said...

Cold War CO not a USNA Grad: Archie R. Clemins, CO USS Pogy SSN-647 early to mid 80s; graduated Univ of Illinois; retired in 1999 as a 4-star; last command was CinCPacFlt.


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