Thursday, December 09, 2010

Glimpse of Horrible Submarine Anomaly -1995

Former submarine CO Rubber Ducky recently said...
"vigilis: dunno when pinning whales became practice but not done that I'm aware of when I originally qualified. OTOH, drinking your dolphins was standard. "
12/07/2010 12:15 PM

Was pinning the wrong term? (In my own experiences, like Rubber Ducky's, only drinking dolphins had been standard practice.) Yes, it was actually known as tacking dolphins to a recently qualified submariner's chest. Both dolphin drinking and tacking practices had been banned by the navy as illegal hazing. Hence, the relative obscurity of related references.
From tyjanium (age 29) 09-05-2008, 03:30 PM forum...

Sometimes it gets out of hand and bad things happen. Case in point, in 1995 a young sailor on the [USS] Los Angeles, a fast attack submarine, got his dolphins and inevitably got em tacked on. In keeping with the navy's policy, the commanding officer had made it clear that "tacking dolphins" would not be tolerated. One day underway a fellow sailor noticed the bruises on the kids chest and told his chain of command about. Ultimately the captain became aware of it and NCIS opened up an ivestigation. The kid wasn't about to rat on his shipmates, afterall getting your dolphins tacked on is a tradition and it was all done in good fun. The captain wouldn't relent and he threatened to secure liberty and not allow anyone to leave the boat when they returned to home port if this kid didn't fess up. Sure enough the boat gets back to port and no one goes home, the boat just sits moored to the pier with no one allowed to leave. This kid eventually goes on the topside watch, which is an armed sentry stationed anytime the boat is in port. Once he takes the watch and has his weapon he walks to the stern of the boat and takes his own life. [color emphasis mine]
An accompanying link to the September 19, 1996 story by Honolulu Star Bulletin appears to have expired without online archiving.
Given the boat's name and timeframe M.E. wondered if tyjanium's horrid story were even true.
The initial search returned a submariner's name (2nd item listed) and rating. Also, Gunshot wound to the head.
It is often necessary to separate truth from fiction. Sadly, a sinking feeling had set in already. My immediate condolences to his family, shipmates and friends. There is no doubt in my mind that Dennis had not only been a very good man, but a good submariner - not only qualified, but once his ship's Sailor of the Quarter.
Why wasn't this more familiar? Perhaps because: The family contests the cause of death on the basis of insufficient investigation. [ibid]
Readers interested in events leading up to the tragedy may find plenty here (pages 175-179 ):
The practices and procedures of the investigative services of the Department ... By United States. Congress. Senate. Committee.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Post a Comment

<< Home