Friday, October 31, 2008

Submariner Treats for Zombies

Number One - Campaign Fatigue
Trick - How many of us feel this way: Sorry, no answers from me, just doom and gloom today, says submandave in You Have Set the World on Fire.

Treat - Well, maybe Bob Hope's humor will help...

Number Two - Sea Quarks

Trick - Does anyone really understand this: Such sea quarks are much less stable, and they annihilate each other very quickly within the interior of the hadron. They are thought to be born from the splitting of a gluon, and thus when a sea quark is annihilated, new gluons are produced.[53] You are not alone: Hence physicists need a new explanation of how a charm quark attached to an antistrange quark should have this particular mass.

Treat - For the nucs on your favorite boat:

Number Three - Subs

Tricks - The Camberwell submarine and the electric shaver for submariners (on screen video shows it working underwater).

Treat - Feds interrogate submariner. Why did he switch from Blue to Gold?



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Submarine Halloween

Were you ever in a space like this? Were you ever in this space in this submarine?

Makes me think of a brig, certainly not a recreation area. Seldom used equipment or stores would certainly be placed down there before a run. Admittedly, it does not even look U.S. - are those prestressed concrete bulkheads or rubber padding?

A holodeck, of course, is a simulated reality facility located on starships and starbases in the fictional Star Trek universe. Is the space shown a simulated submarine flooding compartment? Another place to test for claustrophobia? Lower level reactor on a foreign nuke?

"Nothing quite says Halloween like SUBMARINES"

One of you may have been there personally, know someone who was, or recognize the photo and identify it. Otherwise, don't hold your breath, it's strictly a trick or treat proposition.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Anchor Weighs In; What You Don't See: Obama's "Symbol":

It was created by Sol Sender and his team at Sender LLC, a Chicago design firm. It represents a new day rising with the morning sun indicating hope and change. The sun also is in the shape of an 'O' to stand for Obama. The red and white stripes are symbolic of the American farmland beneath the blue sky. The stripes and red, white, and blue color represent the US flag. All together it signifies that a new day is dawning over America and that Obama is in the center of that hope and change. source

What we don't see consciously:

The TV anchor is right, you know, in my opinion. Very subtle symbolism plays on our minds here. For a larger picture of the illustration, double click on it.

The stars (states) are missing. That alone implies their union is disolved.

Red and white stripes are in the roadway, a subtle indication that we will now tread upon Old Glory and marginalize the blood and sacrifices of all those who have sacrificed for our Constitutional liberties.

While we are callously treading on our unique heritage, do we realize that the white lanes of passage are political correctness?

There was more that I do not agree with and it has been removed from the above illustration and discussion. The anchor's inference was that the Obama symbol resembles the one for the terrorist organization called The Muslim Brotherhood. If curious you can search it out for yourself.



Monday, October 27, 2008

We All Live in a Strange World - Sorry, Beattles

Here's the promised UPDATE: The bogus item was 'C -'.
The following are all true as reported in the links following:
A - link.
B - link.
D - link.
E - link.

Only one of the following is bogus. But which?

A - [The] Court rejected defense arguments that the three should be beheaded, instead of being executed by firing squad, which, they argued, did not guarantee instant death and would amount to torture. CATEGORY: CRUEL and UNUSUAL CAPITAL PINISHMENT - DEFENSE REQUEST BEHEADING

B - Europe's gravity mission has been bumped to next year because of ongoing technical problems with its launcher. CATEGORY: LAUNCHER OVERCOMES GRAVITY

C - Congress is expected to add the name Barnett Frank to the register of future Navy ship names 6 months after Obama's election. CATEGORY: SPOILS of POLITICS

D - Astronaut High School's Fight Song is suspiciously like the old Budweiser theme song ending, This Bud's for you! CATEGORY: FIGHT SONGS

E - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened on Saturday to imprison his main political rival, intensifying a campaign against a man he calls a crime boss just a month before he faces tough regional elections. CATEGORY: LIMITING the COMPETITION

Answer Update tomorrow.



Submarine Intelligence and Forecasting

One of my collateral, onboard submarine chores entailed the word intelligence. I recall being more impressed with the subject matter than the clerical nature of my contribution. In fact, I had thoroughly forgotten about the task and its offbeat location for many years.

There were a few more special assignments like that, mostly ashore, which I have not received nor would I seek liberty to discuss. Later, I would come to appreciate all of them properly compared to the novel breaks from monotony they had supplied at the time.

From an optimum perspective, it became evident that it is possible to predict almost anything. In case you have not noticed, some forecasting is performed at M.E.

Take the left image (above), for instance. M.E. published it in July 2007, in a posting called Solution: Submariner Catch as Catch Can Sleep.

Fifteen months later, a related Ahmadinejad sleep story has just appeared: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admits exhaustion. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is suffering from exhaustion, in a rare public disclosure apparently designed to combat rumors he is more seriously ill.

Mr Ahmadinejad, who is known for working long hours and getting little sleep, has low blood pressure and has gone to the hospital occasionally to seek treatment, said Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
As our loyal readers were reminded last year, "Molten Eagle has never believed a U.S. attack on Iran is necessary or in the cards, as long as alternatives exist to ridding Tehran of Ahmadinejad. Is he committing a slow political suicide or will he be a victim of a quick transportation or radiological accident?"
Scientists recently confirmed an unusual source of x-rays predicted in the 1930s:

What other sources of radiation have not been confirmed yet?... Hmmm!
Suppose Hugo Chavez is feeling sleepy these days?



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Socialized Health Care Proposal: Other Countries Now, U.S.A. Tomorrow?

To enlarge Flow Chart right click it to "open in new tab":

For a few insidious details try this.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Odd Submarine Bits

BAE just awarded a multimillion-pound submarine IT contract in connection with three Astute class submarines for the Royal Navy. Caruso is worried ...

More seriously:

October 21,2008 - Russian Overtures to Venezuela Not a Threat, U.S. Official Says
- Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon

Would the possibility that Iranians, who already have Project 636 (Kilo class) subs, could help train one the Venezuelan Navy (ABV) plans to purchase from Russia be of concern? There seems to be some collaboration between Caracas and Tehran.

For instance, President Hugo Chavez also converted Venezuela's time zone last year to better conform with Tehran versus Washington: When it is 3:00 PM in Caracas it is 11:00 PM in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Tehran), but quite oddly, it is 3:30 PM in Washington, D.C.

Personally, I hope Presidente Chavez does name his new sub ABV Simon Bolivar instead of ABV Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No wonder our Navy's 4th Fleet was reactivated last year.



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Venezuela May Name New Sub ABV Simon Bolivar

El Presidento Hugo Chavez of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela considers naming the lead ship of his proposed submarine fleet after Caracas native Simón Bolívar. Bolívar, born in 1783, has been credited with the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia.

The first sub will be a Project 636 diesel, while the next 4 are expected to be Project 950 Amur submarines. Currently, Venezuela operates 2 vintage, 109 class (Type A-1300) subs purchased from West Germany in 1972.

On October 19, 2008, Chavez announced plans to build the country's first naval base on the island of Margarita to protect Venezuela's Caribbean coast.

The U.S. once had a nuclear Polaris missile submarine named USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641). It was decommissioned in 1995.

Armada Bolivariana de Venezuela (ABV) is the official name of the Venezuelan Navy.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Private Submarine is Strange

Barely two weeks ago, M.E. mentioned this:

The myth of submarine safety has spread in the current craze, totally devoid of meaningfiul comparisons, for personal submarines. As every submariner well knows, however, it is just a matter of time before certain tragedy and wreckless folly end this shallow craze.

Now we know the insurance industry at least agrees:

Hazardous May be an Understatement

Oklahoman Karl Stanley constructed his 13-foot (based on a lucky number, we guess) homemade submarine he claims dives to 2100 feet. Safety systems are sub-par according to some marine experts: Roatan's Only Homemade Submarine in Limbo

Captain Stanley has been careful to advise passengers, who pay $1,500 each for five hours in the craft, that [their] only insurance is that I am going with you.

On one dive a window cracked 600 feet down, spraying seawater on a passenger. That scared the crap out of me, he admits. (He has broken three more windows since.) Stanley conducts about 100 dives a year and posts annual revenues of slightly more than $100,000.

Stanley, who is unlicensed to do business, attracts sharks to his tourist dives by shooting a live horse he leaves as bait in the dive area.

It will get even stranger when the first tourist dies or Stanley's little sub fails to surface. We certainly wish him well.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Dirty Secret of Submarine Speed



Monday, October 20, 2008

New DoD Poster and the "Eternal Patrol" Vote

My appreciation of movies grew from a recreational necessity familiar to many submariners to a family expectation (my little brother appeared in an ETV submarine movie like this, a first cousin later became a Hollywood action movie actor and producer, and another first cousin authored a book now becoming a movie starring one of the greatest actors of all time).

My attempts to spoof movies have met with mixed success, however, from terrible to, with Caruso's help, praiseworthy.

Hats off to the creator(s) of this DoD movie poster for obvious reasons:

Lone Ranger: When the going gets tough, the dead start voting.



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mystery Questions of the Week: ANSWERS

One reader answered all of last Friday's standard questions correctly. Congratulations to James K. Bowman, MT1(SS) SSBN 601 & SSBN 608, of Boeing Network & Space Systems.

Here are the Q & As:

1 - Who is the young lady (see photo) and what remarkable thing has she done recently?
Jennean Francis, 20, of Phoenix (Durban, South Afica) became the first KwaZulu-Natal woman to join the crew of a submarine.
2 - Whose submarine is she standing on and what is its name? The South African submarine is SAS Charlotte Maxeke (S102).
3 - Is the sub nuclear powered? No, the SAS Charlotte Maxeke is a German-built Type-209 diesel-electric.
4 - What connection does this young lady have with Phoenix, if any? Francis was a resident of Phoenix, a locale in Durban, S.A.
5 - What was the only U.S. submarine ever to run out of normal propulsion fuel during a voyage?

U.S. submarine R-14 (SS-91) ran out of fuel southeast of Hawaii in May 1921. more
6 - Which one of the following images is not currently used on an ex-submariner's blog homepage? FACT: 'B' was once stationed in New London, CT. (located on the river Thames).
'B' - Ernest Borgnine served on DD-119 and the USS Sylph (PY-12), a converted yacht devoted to antisubmarine-warfare activities throughout the war. Details here.

The other guys may or may not be balding (hair plugs on one), but they are definitely ex-submarine officers who have very interesting blogs, in my opinion.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Mystery Questions of the Week

Might be the U.S. Army's first nuclear submarine and related uniform, then again ...

This week's theme is unusual submariners and submarine events:
1 - Who is the young lady (see photo) and what remarkable thing has she done recently?
2 - Whose submarine is she standing on and what is its name?
3 - Is the sub nuclear powered?
4 - What connection does this young lady have with Phoenix, if any?
5 - What was the only U.S. submarine ever to run out of normal propulsion fuel during a voyage?
6 - Which one of the following images is not currently used on an ex-submariner's blog homepage? FACT: 'B' was once stationed in New London, CT. (located on the river Thames).

ANSWERS: Monday. No comments will be allowed for this posting; if you think you have all the correct answers and would like recognition, e-mail Vigilis (address in profile) before noon Monday. Anyone answering 1 -5 correctly will be credited. More fun for everyone else this way.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Timing Thing: What Has Taken So Long?

Nothing puts fear into pirates like a submarine torpedo. Blow enough pirates out of the water without any forewarning of presence, and pirates would have to put much more planning into their stinking (as in kickbacks to corrupt officials) raids.

While there has been at least one precedent for using a nuclear sub to help subdue pirates, the greater purpose may have been to generate positive PR.

There are distinct hindrances to using submarines for pirate control. First, subs are so heavily tasked with priority missions they just cannot be spared. Next, torpedoes carried by subs are great for blasting aircraft carriers, but would be expensive overkill for expunging shallow draft, lightweight assault craft.

The next best thing would be SEALs or Marines. Again, none to spare for pirate combat and potential legal issues may prohibit unrestricted use.

A highly informative, pirate-related blog, EagleSpeak, long ago reported use of private security contractors to protect merchant shipping. The contractor, Asia Risk Solutions, included former Australian Defence Force and police specialists are employed by Background Asia Risk Solutions, a Singapore-based company that provides armed escorts for tankers and oil platforms in the seas north of Australia.

Well, EagleSpeak also told us who was blocking use of private security to protect shipping in the Strait of Malacca: Malaysia in May 2005.

Three years later, Galrahn reports Blackwater Worldwide today announced that its 183 foot ship, the McArthur, stands ready to assist the shipping industry as it struggles with the increasing problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere. As Insurance and Pay Rates Soar for Gulf of Aden-bound Shipments, Blackwater offers Shipping Industry a Solution (Galrahn's source):

As a company founded and run by former Navy SEALs, with a 50,000-person data base of former military and law enforcement professionals, Blackwater is uniquely positioned to assist the shipping industry in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere. The International Maritime Bureau estimates that more than 70 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January. As of October 15, 2008, 11 ships and 200 crew members were still being held for ransom.

The question is, What has taken so long? Molten Eagle originally suspected (July 2005) that: use of private security escorts offered a legal avenue for special ops resources of unnamed countries to go after troublesome pirates in large vessels under the guise of rendering assistance or training. A few Mk-37 torpedoes (newer types would be much too costly) could take out the larger pirates ships. Several countries stock the Mk-37s.

Was Malaysia's Pirate Protection Program ('P3' Legal Initiative) copied by other Islamic states (i.e. Somalia, Gulf of Aden)? That could be a good assumption, but something else seems afoot. Sticking with my original assessment (HINT: Was that a SEAL, an ex-SEAL, or a native trainee? Hmmm.)



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Submarine Questions Answered, Sort of ...

Longtime readers know M.E. is not overly tolerant of Venezuela's tyrant Presidente, Hugo Chavez. Once in a while, we tweak Hugo.

SLLB's, for instance, were first conceived here. Now, half-a-dozen or so could be onboard 4th Fleet subs. They may also target the streets of Caracas.

Naturally, Hugo is not too happy about the prospect of SLLBs landing in his front and back yards. Anyone wondering what an SLLB is, may venture here to see a YouTube of one in action. Of course, it is identified by a nonsensical codename.

Those of you who recall the photo spoofed above, need no further explanation of SLLBs. If you have forgotten, or need an answer, better watch the linked video.

Last month, No Slack, Fast Attack, asked his readers to identify some odd looking mystery dolphins.

Here is a photo. The curious will find an answer on No Slack's site.

Finally, the last question is from our friend over at Decks Awash. He asks a very good question concerning qualifications for the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) and provides background. PRP is a United States Department of Defense psychological evaluation program, designed to permit only the most trustworthy individuals to have access to nuclear weapons:
Since the President is the senior person in the chain for the use of Nuclear Weapons, he or she would be subject to the PRP program and furthermore have to pass for a SSI clearance which is the same for the very people that protect the
President. Is Your Presidential Candidate Qualified for the PRP?

Why not? If you have a good answer, let us know when you have left it over at Decks Awash.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thrills of Submarining

At left we have a submarine postcard ('U_Boot_Tag') published June 1917, in Munich. Recognize that old flag (Kaiserliche Marine War Ensign)?

Seldom have we seen one of the thrills of submarining, a rough surface transit, portrayed in such captivating detail. I remember our CO having Doc issue a mini-bottle of brandy, complete with FSN (federal stock number) on the label, to the bridge party on my last, winter, surface transit. Had the foresight to save my bottle until the last move.

The next to last line of M.E.'s previous posting was:

Enemy battleships have obviously not been the only vessels hazardous to submariners.

While we have been often reminded (USS Philadelphia, in 2005) of this hazard both historically (USS Greeneville, in 2001) and more recently (USS Newport News, 2007), rarely has there been better photographic depiction of the collision hazard, even between two vessels of the USN than the following:

In late May 1958, USS Stickleback (SS-415) was participating in an antisubmarine warfare exercises with Silverstein (DE-534) and a torpedo retriever boat about 14 miles NW of the entrance to Pearl. The exercises continued into the afternoon of May 29th when the submarine completed a simulated torpedo run on Silverstein. As Stickleback proceeded to depth, she lost power and broached some 200 yards ahead of the DE. Silverstein ordered all back full with hard left rudder, but holed the submarine on her port side. Stickleback's crew was removed by the retriever boat and efforts made by the Silverstein, Sabalo (SS-302), Sturtevant (DE-239), and Greenlet (ASR-10), to save the stricken submarine. Although rescue vessels put lines around her, Stickleback's compartments flooded successively and she sank at 18:57 in 1,800 fathoms of water. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 June 1958.

Amazingly, the guy who took the photo from USS Douglas A. Munro was also aboard several months earlier when the Stickleback had accidently torpedoed her, according to this.

Although occasionally thrilling, submarines are always silent and strange.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Submariner Legacy in Humor and Death Cards

Recently, our friend Bubblehead posted Submariners Are Famous! at his TSSBP. Vigilis would have missed the discussed comic strip, too, had it not been posted at TSSBP.

That reminded me some of my readers may be unaware of certain other, sub-related publications which are no longer considered PC. M.E. has selected two examples for posting here.

The first is a used U.S. postcard dating from the WW2 era. Apparently, a male enlistee wrote it to his Mom. The postage that would only have been 1 cent was even waived at the time. How times have changed! Here it is for your inspection:

The last postcard is called a Death card by collectors. Can you guess why? (Hint: It features a group photo of the U-29's crew in full dress uniform). This unterseeboot 29 was built in 1913 for service in World War I, and sunk in 1915. To quote the current Wikipedia article:
Famously, it was the only submarine ever sunk by a battleship.

This U-29, then commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen (seated front row center), was rammed by HMS Dreadnought in Pentland Firth. All 32 crew were lost (only 25 men are shown in the photo, but there is much we will never know). Hence, the group photo became another of WW1's somber 'death cards' on 18 March 1915.

HMS Dreadnought was the first capital ship to be powered by steam turbines, making her the fastest battleship in the world when commissioned in 1906. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Dreadnought was flagship of the Fourth Battle Squadron in the North Sea, based at Scapa Flow. Her only significant action was the ramming and sinking of German submarine U-29 skippered by Weddigen on 18 March 1915. Decommissioned during 1919, her hulk was scrapped in 1923.

Enemy battleships have obviously not been the only vessels hazardous to submariners.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Submarine Illumination of Yesteryear and Today

Blimp searchlights were actually used in wartime as depicted by the postcard above.

Submarine aficionados have learned to use filters against the Yellow Submarine, which otherwise pops up incessantly in our searches. It was bad enough when the term referred only to the Beatles creations, (song, album, movie, songtrack, art, etc.) dating since 1966. For some time Yellow Submarine has also been the nickname for Spanish football teams Cádiz CF and Villarreal CF.

Lost in all this confusion is the fact there have been two yellow-painted subs. USS Menhaden (SS-377), a Balao-class submarine was decommissioned in 1971, and struck from the Naval Register 2 years later. In 1976, ex-Menhaden was towed from California to Washington, stripped of her engines and painted yellow for use by the Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station in Keyport, Wash.

Staying with the Yellow Submarine Beattles tradition, let's turn our attention to two new light tricks for world peace. The Icelandic Postal Company released a certain new stamp on Thursday depicting the Imagine Peace Tower off Reykjavík. The stamp (depicted above), designed by Örn Smári Gíslason, will be overprinted with phosphorus in silk screen causing the stamp to accumulate light and glow in the dark. When exposed to ultraviolet light, a picture of John Lennon appears on the stamp.
Keep in mind the northern lights visible in Iceland this time of year. Combined with the The Peace Tower lights the spectacle rivals Disney World. The YouTube explains the Imagine Peace Tower nicely:

Light Show



Thursday, October 09, 2008

There Goes Japanese Shore Duty

Cheap Alternative Labor Works for Peanuts

Will Washington, D.C. be next cost savings venue? We hope so. The workers should feel right at home amongst their kind.

Thanks go to the bookof joe.



Wednesday, October 08, 2008

UPDATE: Recent Abyssal Success Underscores Lingering Mystery

BBC News, 7 October 2008 - 'Deepest ever' living fish filmed

A UK-Japan team found the 17-strong shoal at depths of 7.7km (4.8 miles) in the Japan Trench in the Pacific - and captured the deep sea animals on film. The scientists have been using remote-operated landers designed to withstand immense pressures to comb the world's deepest depths for marine life. ... The fish, known as Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis, can be seen darting about in the darkness of the depths, scooping up shrimps.

The deepest record for any fish is Abyssobrotula galatheae, which was dredged from the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench at a depth of more than 8km (5 miles) in 1970. However, it was dead by the time it reached the surface.

July 31, 2006 - Submarine Mystery: No Photo Available (since 1970). Apparently the last 0.2 mile (1,056 ft.) is the difference between getting photos (even videos, now) and having none. The mystery Abyssobrotula galatheae was dredged from the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench at a depth of more than 8km (5 miles) in 1970. However, it was dead by the time it reached the surface.

Now we know it took Nielson 7 years to classify and name the dredged carcass. Obviously, M.E. will not believe the Abyssobrotula galatheae (Abby gals) really exists until a photo is made available. The world has waited about 38 years for a photo.



Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Some Immutable Truths of Submarining

M.E. has made a point of reminding readers often that submarines are always silent and strange.

Those truths have been constants since the archeo ore-transport sub (elippu tebiti), proto subs (e.g. Turtle and Hunley), and especially SSNs of the cold war and after.

How can submarine truths be so subtle? We have a few examples of submarine missions of which many in the crews were unaware (e.g. here).

Yet, there is another subtlety that is commonly overlooked if only because most people are not accustomed to thinking more critically. That is to say, ordinary people tend to accept the first thought that sounds as if it has any ring of truth. If the underlying topic happens to be silent and strange, further thought is impaired by unfamiliarity with the subject matter.

Submariners have heard opinions that submarining is a relatively safe military occupation except, perhaps, in times of war. This has a certain ring of truth for those who cannot or have not given the subject much critical thought.

If safety is the primary criterion for military service, nothing beats service in the J.A.G. Corps Can anyone even think of a J.A.G. (any military branch) who won the Medal of Honor? (Prediction: A new MOH imitation, expressly for the JAG service, will be authorized within the next 8 years). It will not even be close, of course.

If submarining were really so safe, however, why have not more wartime military draftees and volunteers who have uttered that ridiculous opinion volunteered for the silent service? Perhaps some had voluntered, but were rejected. Perhaps others knew they could never endure the claustrophobia, cope with the prolonged isolation from ciliization, or live up to the stern expectations of their fellow crew with the presence of mind to confront the most dire dangers calmly (no shouting, please) and effectively.

Submariners are cast from a different lot alright. Their rate for post traumatic stress, even among WWII depth charge survivors, was almost non-existent. Despite the hazards under which submarine crews lived and fought, the actual psychiatric casualty rate was amazingly low. Of 126,160 man patrols there were 62 psychiatric casualties--an incidence of only 0.00041 per man patrol. source: Joseph L. Schwartz, Captain (MC) USN (Retired).

The myth of submarine safety has spread in the current craze, totally devoid of meaningfiul comparisons, for personal submarines. As every submariner well knows, however, it is just a matter of time before certain tragedy and wreckless folly end this shallow craze.

Finally, the darkest secret of submarining escapes the consciousness of most submariners altogether. It is the most subtle of all. It took M.E. decades to discover, and it will never be revealed in this blog, in e-mails, or over the phone. Please do not even ask, in other words.



Monday, October 06, 2008

Submarines Missing - U.S.Silence Means They Are Not Yet Considered Overdue

In April 2001, the Bush administration offered Taiwan an arms deal including eight diesel-electric submarines and 12 P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft.

But on this side of the Pacific, Navy officials have played a central role in actively stalling the deal. Their resistance to diesel submarine exports has been tacitly accepted by Pentagon and other administration officials, whose growing indifference has helped to lock the deal in neutral. source

Something very interesting (different from our public perception) could be going on regarding State strategy towards China.
The Chinese government and people firmly oppose this action, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao in a statement late yesterday. The arms sale interferes in China's internal affairs and endangers its security, Liu said. source
Perhaps China's currency will soon begin to imitate other countries in its degree of float.

Or, will the sale of diesel subs to Taiwan (and others) involve modern, AIP diesel subs using AIP and other components outsourced to Sweden, Germany the U.K. , or all of the above?

Or, are submarines not considered defensive weapons? 'For almost 30 years, the judicious sale of defensive weapons systems has been an essential element of United States support for a secure, stable and democratic Taiwan, as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,'' said Representative Ros-Lehtinen, of the House Foreign Relations committee.

The proposed submarines were considered defensive, there is no doubt: [T]he package was only about half of the originally proposed US$12 billion deal and did not include important defensive weapon systems that Taiwan had previously proposed, including diesel-electric submarines, which Washington had already approved, and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. ... [Neither did Washington] include advanced F-16 C/D Falcon jet fighters in the package, a decision that will make it difficult for Taiwan to maintain a balance in air defense in the Taiwan Strait in the face of the rapid modernization of the PRC air force, which is being equipped with fourth-generation Sukhoi-30 and Sukhoi-27 jet fighters far superior to Taiwan's current mix of F-16s, Mirage 2000Es and IDF indigenous defense fighters. source

If the submarines and F-16s were always just bargaining chips useful in showing goodwill toward China, what has the U.S. gotten from China in this exchange? Will China's currency have to float like other world currencies?

Curious timing is evident. An arms deal that had been stalled for 89 months, is re-proposed the weekend that the $700 billion bailout became law. Notification of the sale was posted on a Pentagon Web site Friday. Congress has 30 days from the announcement to comment on the sale, which will proceed if there are no objections.

Submarines are always silent and strange. Occasionally, they are also overdue. The story has not played out quite yet.



Sunday, October 05, 2008

Submarine Mystery Questions Answered

Last Friday's Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week are answered below.

1- Was the hull number 655 ever assigned to a real nuclear sub, and if so, which one?

[Rhetorical question: Why did Dunham use the hull number of a boomer to represent Viperfish?]

2- Photos of a real submarine are shown in Dunham's book identified as a Regulus missile firing sub, USS Viperfish. Assuming the Viperfish photos resemble Regulus missile subs, how many were there and what were their names? There were 5 Regulus subs a) - e):

a) USS Tunny (SSG-282) was the first submarine to carry Regulus. Originally a World War II fleet submarine of the Gato class. Decommissioned in December 1945, she was briefly recommissioned in reserve for the Korean War, decommissioned again, but then brought out in early 1953 for conversion to a guided missile submarine (SSG).

b) In October 1955, USS Barbero, originally SS-317 and also a World War II fleet boat, was commissioned as the Navy’s second SSG, having been brought out of mothballs and provided by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard with a cylindrical hangar identical to Tunny’s.

c), d) The Navy laid down two large diesel-electric submarines specifically to carry Regulus, launching USS Grayback (SSG-574) in March 1958 and USS Growler (SSG-577) five months later.

e) A new SSG was included in the FY 1956 budget. Moreover, by late 1955, Navy long-range planners were anticipating that as many as 23 Regulus II submarines would eventually be required. The first planned Regulus II SSG was laid down at Mare Island in April 1957, and commissioned as USS Halibut in January 1960. Halibut could carry four Regulus II or five Regulus I missiles in her hangar, which also served as a forward torpedo room.

3- Dunham claimed he was a reactor operator on board the Regulus sub. How many of the subs identified in the answer to number 2, if any, required ROs? Only one: USS Halibut (SSGN-587).

4- In which ocean did Regulus subs patrol? Both the Atlantic and Pacific:

After the Soviet Union and United States successfully tested ICBMs in 1957, the nuclear arms race entered a more serious phase. In late 1958, with four SSGs and four Regulus cruisers in commission, the Navy organized Submarine Squadron ONE at Pearl Harbor with all 4 SSGs.

A readiness posture was adopted that placed at least four missiles on station in the Western Pacific at all times, to complement existing carrier-based aircraft armed with nuclear weapons. This required deploying either the two converted fleet boats together or one of the two Graybacks.

Previously, Tunny had operated out of Point Mugu, California, and Barbero had transited the Panama Canal in April 1956 to join the Atlantic Fleet. Grayback’s and Growler’s first patrols commenced in early 1960. And Halibut eventually entered active service with the Pacific Fleet in November 1960, making her first official patrol the next year.

5- BONUS QUESTION - Among various naval officers and other people the author acknowledges by name is one Sue Lemmon. What was her capacity or general connection to the book? The author identifies Sue Lemmon as Historian, Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

Lemmon, who started as a stenography clerk and became the shipyard's public information officer, made sure she got to serve Ronald Reagan coffee when he visited as govenor in 1974.
Lemmon is also an author. Chapomatic should have one of her books, Sidewheelers to Nuclear Power, in his personal library.



Friday, October 03, 2008

Submarine Mystery Question

Yesterday, we posted Nonexistent U.S. Submarine Makes the History Channel. The author of the highlighted book is now an M.D. When he wrote the book, and to this day, the Navy will not allow him to identify the submarine he wrote of by its real name.

Roger C. Dunham instead refers to the submarine as USS Viperfish (SSN-655).

Questions of the Week (answers are certainly available without reading the book or watching the video in the post linked above, but you are probably going to regret passing them if you have time):

1- Was the hull number 655 ever assigned to a real nuclear sub, and if so, which one?

2- Photos of a real submarine are shown in Dunham's book identified as a Regulus missile firing sub, USS Viperfish. Assuming the Viperfish photos resemble Regulus missile subs, how many were there and what were their names?

3- Dunham claimed he was a reactor operator on board the Regulus sub. How many of the subs identified in the answer to number 2, if any, required ROs?

4- In which ocean did Regulus subs patrol?

5- BONUS QUESTION - Among various naval officers and other people the author acknowledges by name is one Sue Lemmon. What was her capacity or general connection to the book?

Answers: Monday

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Nonexistent U.S. Submarine Makes the History Channel

1996 - Ex-submariner (and nuclear reactor operator) Roger C. Dunham, M.D. published the book Spy Sub at left. The book's jacket claims USS Viperfish (SSN-655) is the pseudonym Dunham gave the sub to pass security screening for classified material while remaining a "true story." The photographs in the book show an actual U.S. nuclear submarine.

A YouTube video (below) from The History Channel fills in many blanks in a risky story which Dunham lived through, but was not cleared to know at the time. Is the real sub eligible for the Submarine Hall of Fame? The actual submarine crew received P.U.C. awards from President Johnson. These are proudly worn, but for many, without knowing actual details of exactly why.

Acceptance into the sub Hall of Fame is considered for post WWII submarines which have made engineering or tactical advances.

October 17, 2008 - Submission deadline for nominating additional submarine to the U.S. Navy Submarine Hall of Fame
October 01, 2008 - Bubblehead's TSSP discussion forum of which boat not on the existing list do you think should be inducted?

October 1, 2008 - History Channel video 3 of 5 (Hat Tip Eric's Decks Awash):

NUCLEAR SHARKS I - Final Mission :: [Part 3 of 5]

Vigilis read Dunham's intriguing book years ago. The YouTube was such a crowning touch to a great submarine story I watched all 5 parts. There is no question that the nonexistent USS Viperfish will ever be admitted to the Submarine Hall of Fame. Might as well be fiction.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Good Conscience vs. A pattern of Consorting with the Corrupt, the Convicted and the Cover-Up Crowd

As an independent voter M.E. has not been happy with the choices for presidential candidates this year. My choice did not offer to run.

However, one candidate has tried to downplay and cover up his ties to a host of unsavory characters, public policies and partisan practices that have totally exposed his innate untrustworthiness and hypocrisy.

Despite efforts by the mainstream media to hide these shortcomings, a clear summary is now available on this bad news guy, who makes his opponent look like a stellar candidate.

Watch this video before it is too late:

Corruption covered up!

If you witness evidence of expected irregularities at your local voting precinct, report them immediately and be sure to write a letter to your local editor. Your vigilence will be more important this year than ever.

Even if you disagree with my choice of candidate, please vote. It makes our country stronger.