Sunday, November 23, 2008

What the Good Admiral Was Joking About

One summery morning about 4 decades ago, a spanking new tech marvel was docked across the pier from us. The curious sub had not been there the night before, and it was one of only 2 we would not be allowed to board:

Published on 11/22/2008 - The Day Publishing Co. - The ceremony drew high-ranking military officials, politicians and former crew members to the Naval Submarine Base to say goodbye and to celebrate the accomplishments of the ship and its crews. ... The Navy will use remotely operated vehicles, and in some cases manned vehicles, to perform the missions NR-1 once undertook, said Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, U.S. Fleet Forces commander.

Some of you may have attended the ceremony and can relate better to the insider's joke, but the Lean Cuisine's product on the card in Adm. Greenert's hand almost says it all.
Our submarine cooks have done a much better job keeping us healthy and appetized than was possible on tiny NR-1. For instance, only C+ nutrition grade is awarded to Lean Cuisine's Baked Chicken Florentine (shown in the Admiral's hand), and the sodium content of 1 serving of this frozen dinner is as high (660 mg) as a full can of many soups.
How tiny is NR-1? Her total displacement is barely the difference in surfaced and submerged displacements in some of our LA class fast attacks. Her galley? Here are some photos.
NR-1's galley is [was] really no more than a sink, a small oven, and a single cold-storage unit. The lone washroom aboard conspicuously lacks any shower facilities, and even on a ship manned by only 11 people, the crew must still eat and sleep in shifts. But in spite of the close quarters and lack of creature comforts, NR-1 is never far away from a warm meal and more modern conveniences. The submarine is usually towed to and from remote locations by a chartered commercial vessel, the Carolyn Chouest, which serves as both an auxiliary research platform and submarine tender for NR-1. [emphasis added] source
Not much food storage space even for a crew of only three officers, eight crewmen, and perhaps two riders. Nominal endurance was just 16 Days with 13 people, and perhaps 25 Days maximum. So the standard joke was NR-1's sailors were never far from a good meal.
Yep, while they were being towed by SSV Carolyn Chouest (notice the Chouest's larger grill):

NR-1 being towed under the bridges at New London
Submarines are always silent and strange.



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