Category Archives: Nuclear Weapons

The Hornet’s Sting



On the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle raid, Dave got to visit the USS Hornet Museum. It honors the brave men who flew that daring raid as well as the generations of sailors who served in her after WWII and even today aboard ships with other names, but doing the same job of keeping the peace.

That idea of deterrence and peace through strength is the real reason, despite the apparent confusion of Trump’s Armada, that North Korea and Kim Jong-tun (get it?) decided to not test their atomic weapons last week.

Deterrence works because there is a credible and real threat of retaliation. Ships like USS Hornet and USS Carl Vinson along with their myriad of escorts and support ships provide that deterrent today.

Part 5 – The Bullsh** Log



Once you’re qualified, going to sea on a Ballistic Missile Submarine during the Cold War is a combination of boredom, stress, and trying to figure out what to do next. You’ll stand your watches, qualify your next watch stations, and do a lot of maintenance and cleaning. In fact, so much cleaning that there will be a four page memo that describes the difference between “Clean Up Ship” and “Field Day.”

Because even XO’s get bored and once they start writing…. well…

Shoved in between all of that, is eating, sleeping, showering, working out, watching movies, reading books, listening to music and trying to figure out the best prank to pull. Most of which you will never ever hear about because, frankly, they’re only funny to submariners.

There are drills galore. Division and Departmental Training. Throw in some General Military Training just for good measure.

Once in a while there’s a stop in Pearl Harbor, or a Follow On Test that gets you back home in time for opening week of the MLB Season. Even – hopefully not as often – a problem that takes you home and lets you surprise the heck out of your friends who aren’t expecting you.

Mostly though, it’s just tedious, mind-numbing, drawn out, seemingly never going to end, droning on, time flowing like cement, boredom. Much of it recorded on the pages of a green Record Notebook in the Crews Lounge and known as “The Bullshit Log.”

It just goes on and on and on. Broken by the occasional special night, or maybe a FamilyGram that lets you know that there are people back home who at least for fifty words are thinking about you. It just goes on and on. Occasionally somebody gets hurt. Maybe they cut a thumb off or some such. But it goes on and on and on. Somewhere in Russia a nuclear reactor melts down and the Chief of the Watch wants you to take an atmosphere sample “just in case” we sucked in some zoomies while snorkeling a few minutes ago. And then it goes on and on and on.

Until you hear “Alert One” over the 1MC, and the Roving Patrol (MCRP) wakes you up and says they need you in Missile Control Center. Earlier in the day, there had been a major political assassination on the Indian sub-continent. Now you’re handed a Re-target and Strike Message that is missing the traditional header:

SIERRA INDIA MIKE UNIFORM LIMA ALPHA TANGO ECHO

It’s a mistake. Just a simple printer misalignment. But for a few moments, maybe even seconds, you won’t know that.

And after 81 days underwater multiple times, for a few short moments, a blink of the eye for all the time you’ve spent down here, you’ll grasp the full meaning of what it is that you do…

 

USS A Long Time Ago



16998962_10211935795618636_4306627519461194984_nIt would be untrue to say that I do not talk – a lot – about submarines. What I haven’t spoken of nearly as much is my experiences on my boat, USS Michigan SSBN-727(G) from 1983-1987.

For nearly four years Michigan was my home. In fact, up to that point in my life, it was longest I had ever “lived” in one place, and it moved around the Pacific Ocean. What made her home for me wasn’t just 18,500 tons of HY-80 Steel and billions of dollars in the latest (ahem) equipment designed to accomplish the mission. It was 165 people who all had pretty much the same goal.

Last night I sat up quite late doing something that was never imagined in 1987 when I walked off the boat for the final time. And in those hours last night I found that feeling of home again. And I thought that maybe I could take a few minutes today and talk about it…

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