Thursday, March 22, 2012

EARLY NOTICE - This Submarine Book Eagerly Awaited

Hat tip for M.E.'s EARLY NOTICE goes to Fred Grandt of Ohio. At this writing,"Watertight: How I Survived the Submarine Service Without Losing My Mind" had only 36 views on YouTube (linked 5 paragraphs below). The short video is a concise and intriguing explanation by the author of his soon to be available book. Heckman not only has the background to write a great book, he wants to give submariners their due and tells why in plain words.

Formerly ET1 (SS) Heckman served over 9 years as an R.O. on USS Seawolf (SSN 575) and USS Parche (SSN 683). Excerpts from the YouTube (linked below) explain how Heckman came to write his book:

"Fascinating as it could be, there is also a horrendous amount of stupidity that comes with any monstrous, bureaucratic organization, and Uncle Sam's canoe club is definitely a large bureaucratic organization. An amazing amount of craziness and silliness happens when you put 125 men in a steel tube and lock the door for a couple of months. Practical jokes take on a life of their own. A fart could be immortal. At the same time, given the need, those same jokers are quite capable of selfless acts. Submariners are famous for making the right move at the right time and saving the day.

Taking a submarine to sea and traveling around the world underwater
is a hazardous enterprise. Dangerous situations happen all the time. Submariners are on their own. They simply have to deal with these situations with whatever they brought with them. Without their smarts, their training, including training of their judgement, and a bunch of spare parts, they may not come back.

I wrote Watertight for three reasons: Number one, so the people who have never been there could experience the thrill of going to sea on a nuclear submarine; Number two, so people could appreciate the arduous life of submariners and have a few laughs seeing what they do to survive and the lengths they go to to thrive in their unnatural environment; Number three, to give submariners their due. ... Watertight, the book, does not bash the officer corps. Well, maybe a little..." - author Karl Heckman

Today's enlisted submariners, many officers, especially JOs, are as likely to appreciate what Heckman has to say about giving submariners their due as folks who have never been there. Just listen toward the end of his Watertight YouTube for hints that will ring true to submariners.

M.E. knows Vigilis will want to add the promising book Watertight: How I Survived the Submarine Service Without Losing My Mind (details here) to his vast, but highly selective submarine library. Readers will understand why.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Submarine Quote of the Week and Unsettling Ramifications

Keep your friends close and your culinary spcialists closer.

Background to the Quote of the Week

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
. - Micheal Coreleone character in The Godfather Part II, Francis Ford Coppola (1974) and Mario Puzo (1969); The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli (1532); The Art of war, Sun-tzu (476–221 BC).

Potential Significance to Submariners
Submariners eat the same food as you would find at almost any table in an American home. source

Did you authorize the U.S. to perform experiments on you when you joined the service? M
ost submarine had to authorize such experimentation (mostly medical) when they joined their branch, whether or not drafted.

As long ago as the early 1940s, for instance, seven-hundred and thirty-two submariners were subjects of a controlled experiment designed to test whether radium could be used to shrink lymphoid tissue surrounding the eustachian tubes thereby equalizing external and middle ear pressure.

Keep your friends close and your culinary spcialists closer.

Potential Significance of this week's quote to Submariners

Can SPAM be found on "almost any table in an American home"? We did have tins of SPAM on our sub, but it was never served (as far as we knew). Could it have been those donuts we had once that nobody liked?

The pink slime (photo above) is found on almost any table in the American home because it has been added to ground beef routinely sold by supermarket chains for over a decade.
But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated.
Chef Caruso insists he has seen an award-winning recipe for donuts using pink slime. Shades of Soylent Green! Soylent Green was a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charlton Heston.

Submarines are always silent and strange.




Monday, March 12, 2012

Arcane Oolie for Submariners, and Quote of the Month

Try this on your submarine's HM: What does BHC stand for? The answer, not found here, is known only to physicians and select employees of the medical profession.

The answer gets gory:

Robert Truog, professor of medical ethics, anesthesia and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, compared the topic of pain in an organ donor to an argument over "whether it is OK to kick a rock."

But BHCs—who don't receive anesthetics during an organ harvest operation—react to the scalpel like inadequately anesthetized live patients, exhibiting high blood pressure and sometimes soaring heart rates. Doctors say these are simply reflexes.

What if there is sound evidence that you are alive after being declared brain dead? In a 1999 article in the peer-reviewed journal Anesthesiology, Gail A. Van Norman, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Washington, reported a case in which a 30-year-old patient with severe head trauma began breathing spontaneously after being declared brain dead. The physicians said that, because there was no chance of recovery, he could still be considered dead. The harvest proceeded over the objections of the anesthesiologist, who saw the donor move, and then react to the scalpel with hypertension.

Submariners want to know. Then read what the
has to say in just a few more paragraphs, including M.E.'s Quote of the Month. ...

Although he doesn't believe the brain dead feel pain, Dr. Truog has used two light anesthetics, high-dose fentanyl and sufentanil, which won't harm organs, to quell high blood pressure or heart rate during harvesting operations. "If it were my family," he said, "I'd request them."
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where are these submarines taking U.S.?

Background (Allison on HMS Victorius)

Then, pointing at my handbag, he says: “Ma’am, I’m afraid I need you to give me your perfume please. And your deodorant. And your mobile phone. Thank you.”

Bag emptied, he glances at my shoulder-length locks and adds: “And your hair really needs to be tied back.”

It sounds like a robbery at sea. In fact I’ve just ­become the first ­woman to receive orders aboard a ­nuclear ­submarine.

Sailors cannot use aerosols ­because they release chemicals that cannot be removed by its air-­conditioning unit. Lashings of perfume and aerosol deodorants would contaminate the atmosphere, which is constantly monitored.

My phone is locked away because if there was a gas leak, a spark from a mobile could light it.

My hairstyle comes under ­scrutiny when I learn how to put on a huge rubber oxygen mask and plug it into the sub’s ­emergency air supply.

More Background (Australia: More Women to Serve in Navy Submarines)

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon said women had been serving onboard Australian Navy submarines since 1998 but, until now, females had to sleep in female-only six-berth cabins.

“A lack of dedicated bunk space on board has occasionally led to female submariners missing out on postings because of bunk limitations, which has, in turn, denied the submarine force qualified specialists. These limitations have also meant that only two of our three operational submarines have been able to accommodate females," Mr Snowdon said.
The U.S. must eventually follow suit (no separate berthing facilities for women). The political party pushing this agenda in the U.S. is also pushing same sex restrooms for its civilian population. Had not heard that yet? Maybe its wake up time, for you, then.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Friday, March 09, 2012

In Tribute to Neptunus Lex

Neptunus Lex became a daily read for M.E. once I discovered, to my delight, that the Lex did not denote a law degree. By way of disclosure, some of my favorite daily reads are blogs (i.e. EagleSpeak) by respected individuals who did earn law degrees.

I shall miss reading the several daily postings of Captain Carroll LeFon, a retired Navy pilot who died when his Israeli-built Kfir fighter crashed at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada. I never knew his real name, but I knew enough about Neptunus Lex to respect its author immensely.

His expertise in naval aviation, prolific posts and superb command of the language were certainly enough for correct guesses that this humble O-6 was an USNA graduate, Top Gun grad and an exemplary U.S. military patriot. Lex's energy was so bountiful, however, that I hardly guessed until he put it into actual words that he had ever retired from the Navy.

I tend to miss those of such rare stature when they depart. For his readers, there can be no doubt that he walked the walk and died making an ongoing contribution to naval aviation. Except for the fact that Lex also seemed a dedicated family man, we could guess that his post-retirement flying career was the way he might have wished to end his days.

Tributes to Lex would be lacking without the enormity of this mention:

I mourn the passing of a great naval aviator, a professional analyst of all things naval, and a soulful and compelling writer of poetry and prose. - Ray Mabus, SecNav

Nor would Lex have wanted the above to have passed without his own balance respecting another O-6 Top Gun aviator:

Strength and Honors - August 25th, 2011

Star Chamber - August 10th, 2011
Final decisions will be made by the secretary of the Navy.

Nice Idea, But… - May 25th, 2011

Honors Violations - March 5th, 2011

Have we ever seen such consummate balance and sense of fairness?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Monday, March 05, 2012

ANSWERS to Overdue Submarine Mystery Questions - 29 FEB 2012

For background information, see the original post.


1. A serious theory connected with the loss of one of the selected subs (above) was also suggested in a popular submarine film. Which of the three subs was this, and what similarity was also depicted in The Hunt for Red October. ANS: It was HMS Affray (P421) which sank 16 April 1951, with the loss of 75 lives. The similarity was suspicion of involvement of a steward (cook). According to this report, A steward had been seconded to the submarine service after he was discovered to have committed an act of sabotage on his previous ship.

2. Why would inclusion of the theory referred to in Question 1 by board of inquiry imply a thorough and candid investigation? ANS: Because the steward theory is so implausible it would imply that no avenue of causation had been ignored.

3. Name the sailor whose singular presence on board the sub not only supports the theory, but certainly raises even more unanswered questions. ANS: The name of the stward was Ray Vincent.

4. Why could the H.L. Hunley, by the way, not be included appropriately with the three selected submarines above? ANS: The selected subs had all been reported missing after failing to send expected communications. The H.L. Hunley, on the contrary, reportedly sent the expected blue signal light before failing to return, but that signal appears controversial.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Larger Wallop for 1 SSGN

The first time this topic appeared at Molten eagle was Thursday, October 25, 2007. For the next week to 10 days, one element of M.E.'s readership surged sharply as it was read and passed among professionals with related expertise and matching security clearances. In the following four years and eight months, there has been nothing spectacular to update the original premise - just as one would expect with such a highly classified program.

According to Anthony Cordesman, a reknowned security analyst and Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in his 2007 TV interview, 'the public has only heard about penetrating weapons from the 1990s, not what the U.S. now has that may work great.'

A question of major interest now, in March 2012, is whether an SSGN has yet been configured as a one-off platform to launch the naval version of a bunker buster, a munition designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground. Those who know the answer are obviously not free to discuss an affirmative answer, but are free to refute the existence of such an increasingly necessary munition. Read on.

The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) developed by The Boeing Company, is a GPS-guided weapon containing more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside a 20.5-foot long enclosure of hardened steel. source The 44- foot length of a Trident II missiile (SSGN missile tube capacity) easily accomodates the MOP. Which is the more stealthy method of launching 10 MOPS at ten underground bunkers: from 10 (corrected from 5) flying B-2 bombers, or from 1 hidden SSGN?

The Defense Department's new Iraq war funding request proposes upgrading the B-2 stealth bomber to carry the military's largest satellite-guided bomb capable of penetrating deeply buried bunkers. The new 30,000-pound bomb is six times bigger than the Air Force's current 5,000-pound bunker-buster. ... The B-2 is the only U.S. bomber capable of penetrating an adversary's most dangerous air defenses such as those believed in use by North Korea and Iran.
- source

Trident II SLBM weight: 130,000 lb each (in up to 24 tubes). How many empty tubes (not the tubes filled with 7 cruise missiles) does one SSGN have available for Submarine Launched Bunker Busters (SLBBs)?

Reader are not being asked to take Molten eagle's word for anything. You may prefer what an admiral said:

Spring 2000 Vol. 2, No. 3 (Undersea Warfare) - by RADM Richard P. Terpstra, USN: OH, How Offensive - Hard and deeply buried targets will remain a difficult task.

The large volume of an SSGN missile tube also lends itself to the possibility of housing a powerful conventionally-armed penetrating missile should we need it. Such a weapon could change an enemy's calculus and make bunker duty a lot less desirable for our foes. Development and deployment of the SSGN will allow us to keep this fearsome conventional option open. - RADM Richard P. Terpstra, USN
The good admiral certainly does not seem convinced that the an SSGN bunker busting task would be difficult to manage, does he?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Saturday, March 03, 2012

Quote of the Week: Journalism and HMCS Corner Brook

For many years, M.E. has been on a crusade to improve the quality of journalism by professionals. Readers of this blog may recall, by way of example, errors in submarine-related news by inexperienced or otherwise unqualified reporters. If not, here are just two examples:

4 years ago - Journalistic Submarine Error(s) - Bad, Ugly and Good

Last month - Either M.E.'s Submarine Quote of the Week, or Very Poor Journalism

Today comes unexpected third-party support for improved journalism:

3 MAR 2012 - Journalists sub-par on sub debate - By Tim Dunne, a Halifax-based communications consultant and military affairs writer, a Research Fellow with Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies and a member of the Royal United Services Institute (NS) Security Affairs Committee.

Mr. Dunne injects relevant knowledge (read it all), as in these excerpts:

Missing from the debate was that the damage was to the front of the submarine’s fibreglass casing. Four metres inside the damaged casing is the pressure hull, made of 3.8-centimetre HY 80 steel, and this is the main compartment where the crew and controls are located. While the vessel is in the water, the space between the casing and the pressure hull is flooded. ...

The information about HMCS Corner Brook’s accident is available on the RCN’s website. The only question remaining is: Why didn’t the reporters and commentators take a few moments to read it before going on air?

Moreover, Dunne's opinion piece provides M.E.'s Quote of the Week:

"The people who talk the most understand the least." - New York Times writer Paul Krugman

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, March 01, 2012

NASA - The Final Outreach: The Mother of All Predictions

The former head of NASA described as "deeply flawed" the idea that the space exploration agency's priority should be outreach to Muslim countries, after current Administrator Charles Bolden had revealed that goal in a 2010 interview.

Bolden had also said the United States is not going to travel beyond low-Earth orbit on its own and that no country is going to make it to Mars without international help.

Does Gen. Bolden's calculus sound strained?
HINT: The U.S. exceeded low-Earth orbit in July 20, 1969, when the Apollo program landed the first humans on Earth's Moon.

Will the Muslim outreach be successful?
HINT: Stolen NASA laptop contained space station control codes

A laptop stolen from NASA last year was unencrypted and contained command and control codes for the International Space Station (ISS) on it, the agency's inspector general told a United States House subcommittee Wednesday. This particular laptop, Martin said, was one of 48 NASA notebooks or mobile devices stolen between April 2009 and April 2011.

Some of these thefts resulted in the leak of sensitive data "including export-controlled, Personally Identifiable Information, and third-party intellectual property," as well as Social Security numbers and data on NASA's Constellation and Orion programs, Martin said.

Constellation program: NASA's human spaceflight program to gain significant experience in operating away from Earth's environment, develop technologies needed for opening the space frontier, and conduct fundamental science. Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 to terminate the program.

Orion program: Consists of three main parts:
Crew Module for 4 to 6 crew members;
Service Module for primary propulsion systems and supplies; and
Launch Abort System for astronaut recovery in the event of necessity during launch ascent.

Considering the "sensitive, export-controlled and third-party intellectual property" stolen in NASA's unencrypted laptop, can we venture two guesses:

1) In which portion of the Orion program is input from a Muslim country likely to
be forthcoming in a few years?

2) Which Muslim country (Pakistan) is now destined to be credited with a significant contribution to the ISS space exploration effort?

The Russians and Chinese have usually been blamed as hackers of U.S. computer systems. Yet, no country is usually identified with thefts of laptops containing sensitive U.S. data. Hmm!

Stay tuned for the predicted updates.

Submarines are always silent and strange.