Saturday, September 29, 2012

Going negative on Last Resort details unwarranted - sub captains

UPDATE (30 SEP 2012):    Ouch!  Ratings for ABC's Much-Hyped Submarine Drama
ABC’s highly promoted drama featuring the crew of a nuclear submarine, “Last Resort,” debuting in the hotly contested 8 p.m. slot, settled for a 2.2. CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” also airing at 8 p.m., delivered a 4.8 for its season premiere -- the best number of the night.

What did the Navy provide to production of "Last Resort"?  Officially, neither credits nor thank you's for anything.  Vigilis has since learned of unofficial NAVY technical advisors, however:

"We also had a couple of advisers in the pilot preps stage, and then one during the production stage – two different people who had been captains on naval submarines – and he spent time talking to those guys about stories, in general, and about how they might approach certain things from the pilot. He is someone that really studies and does his homework, and then arrives with a real plan of attack, not only for that scene, but how the scene will play within the scope of the whole episode."   - Shawn Ryan; interview by C. Radish  September 27th, 2012

Real submarine captains!  What the grumblers may be missing is that literary license may be warranted when the advisors are readers of the same blog as they and others (my guess, Rubber Ducky) probably know who the actual advisors were. Just a thought for not letting perfection be the enemy of the good, nor too many details the ruin for fictions.

"Last Resort" is a long awaited TV-series depicting women serving in a U.S. submarine crew. The pilot episode debuted Thursday, but had been available online to streaming viewers, including real submariners, earlier.  Numerous 'bubblehead' criticisms were promptly registered as negative comments at the preeminent U.S. submariners' blog here

Although Last Resort included some flaws that almost any sailor might pick up and major technical shortcomings that only submariners could recognize, its adventurous storyline and attractive cast make it very entertaining to audiences, inlcuding us submariners.

In fairness, even the hit film version of The Hunt for Red October  received inauthenticity grumblings from some submariners.  Such intolerance was despite admiralty-grade technical advice, the appearances of actual Navy vessels and even some real submariners in the film:

The Navy gave the filmmakers access to submarines, allowing them to photograph unclassified sections of Chicago and Portsmouth to use in set and prop design. Key cast and crew members rode in subs, including Alec Baldwin and Scott Glenn doing an overnight trip in USS Salt Lake City. Glenn, who played the commander of Dallas, trained by assuming the identity of a submarine captain on board the Houston (which portrayed Dallas in most scenes). The sub's crew all took "orders" from Glenn, who was being prompted by the actual commanding officer.

Glenn had been a U.S. Marine. Baldwin also learned to steer a Los Angeles-class submarine. Some extras portraying the Dallas crew were submariners, including the pilot of the DSRV, Lt Cmdr George Billy, commander of the DSRV. Submariners from San Diego were cast as extras because it was easier to hire them than training actors. Crew from USS La Jolla, including Lt Mark Draxton, took leave to participate in filming. According to an article in Sea Classics, at least two sailors from the Atlantic Fleet-based Dallas took leave and participated in the Pacific Fleet-supported filming. The crew of Houston called their month-long filming schedule the "Hunt for Red Ops." Houston made over 40 emergency surfacing "blows" for rehearsal and for the cameras.  - Thomas, Bob (March 2, 1990). "High-Tech Novel Took Five Years to Reach Screen".  - Wikipedia.
Submarines are always silent and strange.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reading Between the Lines - Part 2

Sep 5, 2012 Groton — By Jennifer McDermott, Day Staff Writer
Navy expected to award EB two major contracts for USS Miami repairs

[T]he Navy told congressional staffers that EB will receive both contracts because of the extensiveness of the repairs and because of the company's expertise as the manufacturer of the submarine, according to a staff member who attended the meeting and asked not to be identified.

The work will be a joint effort between EB and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, since the submarine is staying at the naval shipyard, where the fire occurred, the staffer said.

The person also said the USS Providence, which was scheduled for maintenance at the shipyard, may now go to EB for the work since the Miami will remain at the Maine shipyard for longer than expected.

QUESTION 1 (reading between the lines): Will PNS receive major submarine work in the future without a submariner in command of the shipyard ? ANS: Possibly, but without an intervening war, the answer is UNKNOWN.

Sep 5, 2012 Groton — [ibid]

The first contract will be about $100 million, followed by an award of roughly $335 million in the spring, the person said, and EB will have, at its peak, 300 employees working on the project.

The Navy has said it will fix the submarine by April 30, 2015, because the Miami still has 10 years remaining in its roughly 30-year service life, making it eligible for at least five more deployments.

QUESTION 2 (reading between the lines): As of today the Navy will spend at least $435 Million to restore USS Miami to service for 5 more deployments. What will be the average cost (excluding payroll, consumables, etc. of each of the anticipated deployments? ANS: $87 Million.

1 - More about USS Miami's catastrophic shipyard fire may be found here.
2- Reading Betwwen the Lines - Part 1 can be found here.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

See the shoe fit

Caruso's graphic first appeared last year. It symbolizes a clash of cultures that America never wanted but used to demonstrate its persistent redress of wanton hostility. Note how the shoe fits, what wears it, and why the custom of foot washing is indicated for sympathizers.

Readers interested in a two-time WTC survivor and related comments from 2005 may go here and as of this writing all links still worked.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, September 06, 2012

Reading Between the Lines - Part 1

The Navy recently decided to repair the fire-devastated submarine USS Miami (SSN-775).

Back in May (5/24/2012 12:04 PM) we had posited: "A fact that could override the low probability [of repair] would be predication of sabotage by a foreign power."

"Let's see what the Admirals and Mabus decide and whether government (shipyard) or crew or both are held accountable, which would be the case even if Putin had an infiltrator planted to start the fire after his Yekaterinburg submarine fire debacle last year." -Vigilis

An arsonist shipyard worker later confessed to starting two fires. Clearly, sabotage was not involved. The decision to repair must involve factors other than proving a foreign state's sabotage ineffective.

On June 11, 2012, (more than 2 months ago) we posited a new rationale for reconfigured repair:

b) Enabling an SSN to berth women sailors earlier than previously believed feasible:
.....i - Adding popularity among clueless women voters to a difficult re-election campaign.
.....ii - Assuring said SSN will have little chance of serious deployments during a 2nd term, because of time it will take to incorporate the women's berthing arrangements.
....iii - Providing ready explanations for both the cost escalations and expanded time frame.
....iv - Reducing the possibility that intervening deployments could be marked by embarrassing female medical absences from sea duty.

What happened next? According to The Day newspaper:
(08/22/2012) Admiral says USS Miami will be repaired; hints at timing for women submariners at base

You are welcome, Admiral!

Time will tell, but the prediction looks very sound. In Part 2 we will elaborate another revelation as regards USS Miami.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Two National Security Asset News Stories: One Overstated; the Other Understated

Two Navy-related security issues have generated repetitive news stories since last month. The gullible public is being played. Otherwise, an obvious fall guy would be very embarrassed.

....................... [1] The Overstated Story

Sep. 4, 2012 - Navy SEAL wrote 'No Easy Day' after being pushed out of SEAL Team 6 You are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed,' the Pentagon wrote to 'Mark Owen,' which has raised speculation that the US government may seize the book’s royalties.


Sep 5, 2012 - No Easy Day,” the controversial book about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, debuted on Sept. 4 at No. 1 on the sales charts.

M.E.: Despite DOD protests to the contrary, it has contributed to the book's success and the possibility of a possible movie. Either would serve to promote SEAL esprit and recruiting for the Navy. Here is what the general public has yet to realize:

The Department of Defense confirmed the pseudonymous author.[1] Bissonnette stated that a majority of the proceeds from the book will be donated to families of SEALs killed in action. [3] Christine Ball of Dutton Penguin said that the contents of the book were vetted by a former special operations attorney and that sensitive content would not be an issue.[10]

....................... [2] The Understated Story

Sep. 5, 2012 - Navy tells FAA it wants St. Marys airport moved
KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, Ga. -- The Navy has informed the Federal Aviation Administration that it wants a small Georgia airport moved amid concerns that airplanes and skydivers pose a threat to security at a key U.S. submarine base on the coast. Rear Adm. John C. Scorby, commander of the Navy's Southeast Region, outlined the military's concerns in a Tuesday letter to the FAA's Southern Region.

M.E.: The Kings Bay update (linked above) confirms this Aug 28th prediction: The FAA and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus are going to be involved soon. Their involvement would probably justify no more than a sentence in a newspaper article, if that.

The skydiving issue began prior to February 28, 2007, and is the larger and potentially more embarrassing concern because it has languished unabated longer than five, post 9-11 years. Accordingly, it has been minimized in the national news media (Ray Mabus has yet to be linked) and Obama himself has stayed clear of a political opportunity to personally resolve the matter.

Somewhere there may be a former Kings Bay Sub Base commanding officer, perhaps an admiral or civilian in a high place who is very nervous about being identified as the obvious skydiving fall guy.

Submarines are always silent and strange.