With all this new stuff, why is everybody so unhappy? 5

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the state of the Navy and the other seagoing forces. To be sure, there have been a lot of technological advances in the past twenty years since I hung up my sword (literally). Submarines have reached new levels of sophistication that make them more efficient than ever before. Without going into any detail, I would have to admit that what I know from my reading indicates that these boats can literally outperform any previous class in nearly every category. Frankly, I would give them six months of retirement pay for one month underway on one of the newest fast attacks. I promise I wouldn’t eat much and I could try and remember my many skills as a mess cook if I were allowed a few hours on the helm. I wonder if they are still even using helmsmen and planesmen?

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The surface ships look pretty exotic too. I went to the commissioning of the USS Minnesota last year and tied up next to her was a San Antonio class LPD like the USS Somerset that had some of the oddest hull and superstructure dimensions imaginable. I’m told by friends that know these things that the design has unique purposes that will help her survive a number of threats during combat. I can imagine they would based on her looks.

DSCF2711

 

The other surface fleet advances as well although I still have my doubts that the Littoral combat design will ever prove that it was worth the money spent to design, develop and deploy it. But again, I am really old school at this point. My number one hobby besides writing is being a self-certified nautical history tourist. That means that no battleship, submarine or surface ship that survived the breakers yards is safe from my camera. This year’s quest took us to Massachusetts to “capture” the battleship Massachusetts, USS Joseph Kennedy and of course the Lionfish (a restored Balao class submarine that is still in pretty good shape).

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What worries me though is the endless drive to shrink the military at precisely the same time that threats continue to spiral upward. This translates into longer deployments with fewer ships under more extreme conditions. The reemergence of a soviet style dictator like Putin ensures that we may be in for another round of the Cold War. I know very few people that believe that he will be satisfied with scraps of paper when he can manipulate entire countries with his newly energized forces and treachery. Aircraft incursions along both coasts are becoming more and more routine and he is probing allies and non-allies as well across the entire region. How long will it be before some contrived crisis causes events to completely spin out of control?

The Chinese are also reading the tea leaves of the future at sea. As American continues to swim in debt, the Chinese are choosing to see how their long range naval plans can expand. Submarines, surface technology, long range missiles and electronic intelligence activities all continue to grow at an alarming rate. While we are closely tied economically, how long will that last if we have a collapse caused by our out of control generosity with our children’s monetary future?

And what about our Navy? Recent reports indicate that US Navy morale is at a very low place. From everything I have observed, I can’t say as I blame them. Political correctness has replaced military readiness. Commanders and leaders are routinely shit-canned for offences that would not have gotten previous generations a stern talking to. I have said it before but I am infinitely glad that cell phones and their internal cameras did not exist in my day. A vengeful shipmate could have altered the course of many a sailors career with one well taken candid shot. Don’t get me wrong, I do not support the worst of the worst offenders. I just think that our “leaders” are so terrified of their own careers being torpedoed that they have fallen into the PC honey trap of all time.

Longer deployments coupled with limits in funding for training resulted in tragic accidents in the Navy’s past. Misguided political policies add to those woes. I read recently in the Naval League’s Seapower magazine that one of the Admirals in charge of policy deployment said that climate change was the number one threat to the Navy and the country. Really? Climate change? I would have thought missiles and submarines and nuclear weapons were on top of that list. Maybe even the resurgence of the USSR and Red China as a threat.

Seeing the leadership failures and poor decisions being made makes me very worried for our country. I can understand why the average sailor who can’t speak his or her mind probably feels the same. I can only hope that it is not too late to reverse this course. Sailors have always done the impossible with varying support in the past. But I would at least like to give them a fighting chance. Wouldn’t you?

Mister Mac

September 2014 update Reply

Just a quick note to all of those who have followed TLS in the past. I just completed a very trying period at work with a ton of unplanned changes so its been rough putting together the stories that I want to share. After a very needed vacation period, I am back in the saddle and hope to be putting some new material up within a short time.

Even with the hiatus, TLS continues to see a steady stream of visitors and with over 450 posts so far, I expect that to continue. The blog is approaching 179,500 and my goal is still 200k by years end.

Things I continue to work on: A bigger story about the submarine fleet between WW1 and WW2. While often discounted for their limitations, the S (Sugar) boats played a key role in preparing the Navy for the biggest Naval war in history. A lot of really important learnings came from that time period and some great stories about the men of the China fleet.

I had a great surprise this morning when I got a friend request on FB from one of my oldest buddies in the Navy. Bob Bradshaw. He is living in San Diego now and has an art business. We started and ended our careers fairly well aligned. I remember the day s in our apartment in Salt Lake Hawaii arguing about Richard Nixon in 1974 and then sailing together on board Hunley as brother officers. I had not heard from Bob since 1994 so this is a real treat.

His web address for the business is  www.inpleinsight.com

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Its pretty good artwork if I may say so myself. I would encourage you to check him out.

In the meantime, the work clock just rolled over and bills must be paid.

Aloha

Mister Mac

 

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Reply

mstrmac711:

First posted in February of 2012, Links to the Documentary about U boats have been repaired .

Originally posted on theleansubmariner:

Uboat

 

In August of 1914, events on land in Europe came to a head and the first global conflict began

As hellish as the existence of the war on terra firma, a new type of warfare was changing the way tacticians and leaders would see the war at sea for generations to come. The small boats used by the Germans were more likely to engage the enemy on the surface than underwater. While the boats were submersibles, they were designed to be at their best on the surface.

Boat Pictures

In the same month that the land war started, a fleet of ten U-Boats set sail to engage the Royal Navy.

This would mark the first submarine war patrol as the small vessels entered the North Sea in search of the enemy. It was an ignoble beginning for submarine warfare. The Grand Fleet was far superior to the German fleet and the…

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Rules of Engagement on TLS 2

Riding high

 

Rules of Engagement

First and foremost, I want to thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. It has been a work of love for the three years I have been publishing and has resulted in over174,000 views around the globe. In all, there are over 450 posts from either myself or one of three other writers which have attracted 1,250 comments here and thousands on the various other media I am linked to.

In the history of the blog, I have only deleted (unpublished) two comments. Both had some things in common so I thought it might be a good idea to briefly discuss what I call “The Rules of Engagement” if you want to participate in a conversation or give feedback. They are relatively simple but will be enforced with an extreme prejudice. I have readers of all ages and I assume all of the various gender descriptions currently in vogue. I am also confident that many different types of religions and belief structures are in play since I have been seen in every corner of the world. This is based on my analysis of the global visitors I see in the background statistics of the web publishing site I use as well as the cute little map of the world on this page.

Rules of Engagement:

1. Decorum. I often enjoy a good debate. That debate however should be conducted in a civil manner. There are about 7.251 billion people on the planet and chances of us all agreeing on everything are pretty small. I would even bet that the odds are something like 7.251 billion to one against that ever happening. Using a lot of caps in your note is another way to single you out as “special” but maybe not the kind of special you want to be remembered for. SPRINKLING them in between your OTHER words makes you EVEN MORE SPECIAL but not the kind of debater that I feel will have any ability to actually read my responses.

2. Language. Obviously English (or the American equivalent) will give you the most chance of a thoughtful response or in some cases seeing your own comment in print. My spam gadget removes about a thousand non-recognizable spam attempts a week but occasionally it does let through some cleverly worded spam about Chuck Norris being a spokesman for a Chinese underwear manufacturer that wants me to promote their product. I normally decline their offer.

3. Really specifically offensive language. The decline of our civilization has made the use of F-bombs more and more acceptable in places like Hollywood and the House of Representatives. How nice for them. A sure fire way not to make it to the published comments on this blog is to think you are a movie star, politician or rap star. That includes inviting me to conduct asexual activities using words that describe an activity I am quite sure is physically impossible. On a purely editorial note, telling me to F… off is baffling and somewhat confusing. In sixty years, I have never quite figured out exactly what people mean when they say that and keep repeating it louder as if that will make me understand any better.

4. Family Ties. My Mom and Dad were married. I have the copy of the signed certificate and a lovely picture album of the day. It was a wonderful ceremony based on everything I can see and that sort of destroys the use of the word used about my legitimacy as a person. Also, my Mom is an angel and has been a loving Christian woman her entire adult life. She is a regular contributor to many spiritual and community organizations and has been a volunteer in many of those same organizations for years. She is also fond of small animals and helping helpless people. So calling me a son of a (insert derogatively incorrect label here) is just factually inaccurate.

5. Syntax and spelling. I try to make it a general rule to never send emails and letters when I am mad. Mrs. Mac typically catches both and then it forces me to do an update which is not very lean and filled with waste. You making those mistakes also makes your argument much weaker since it means you didn’t even take the time to do spell check (or don’t know what spell check is). Using big words where little ones will do is always fun but make sure you actually know what they mean. My favorite scene from a movie called The Princess Bride made a few years back is a great reminder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wujVMIYzYXg

6. Attacking the United States Military and those who served honorably. The enemy attacks the US Military. Their “tools” and useful idiots attack both them and veterans. There are probably a buzzilion web sites run by Commies, Fascists, Pinkos, Loonies, Haters, people on anti=depressants and people with questionable character where your hate speech is not only welcomed but encouraged. Military people have done some bad things as individuals in our short history. They have also saved whole populations from evil people. Please feel free to spew your anger and hatred anywhere else. It is not welcomed, encouraged or acceptable here. With so many place to go on the internet, this should not put your fragile ego in danger of collapsing.

7. My God. I am unabashedly Christian and make no apologies for that belief. That does not mean I am perfect, only forgiven. Its in our handbook and in my heart. I do not attack others for their well grounded beliefs even if that includes dancing around the big stones in England completely naked. But another sure way to get placed in permanent “Blog Jail” is to take the name of my God in vain or as any part of a curse which is commonly used among those of lower intelligence when they can’t come up with an actual adjective. Or verb. Or pseudo noun. You will join the legions of spam that are crushed like little tiny grapes on the path to eternity.

8. This IS my high horse. If you don’t like me riding up on Old Boaz, please feel free to turn around and head back into the pasture you came from. No harm will come to you (unless you tread where Old Boaz did his business which I have little control over.) Cursing at Boaz or me for our “self-righteousness” is silly and a bit pretentious on your part. Telling anyone that you have done everything they have done which seems to give you special powers is also a bit of a stretch. Every single person I have ever met has done some pretty interesting and unique things. Maybe even you. We are alike in some ways and different in others. I have never walked across the Mohave desert. But I bet most of you have never been shot off of number two catapult on the USS Nimitz in a C2A on a very clear day off the coast of San Diego after completing a very successful mission. (for the record there were six of us not counting the flight crew so that one was not really unique…)

9. Assumptions. We all have them. They tend to be too overgeneralized and frankly are not very accurate. Calling an entire generation of men who wore a uniform too stupid or lazy to think of anything else to do is definitely an assumption. I could list many others but one of us may be too stupid or lazy to actually take the time to understand.

10. Respect. I always try to start with respect. Doing any or all of the things listed in 1-9 will diminish that respect exponentially. I pay for the electricity that powers the computer and the wireless modem. I also bought this nice little computer and the house it sits in. I worry over the blog like a mother hen worries about her chicks. If you want to disagree with me, that is cool. If you really get mad, follow Howard’s lead: (you’ll like his language… he violates almost every one of the ten rules)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGIY5Vyj4YM

At the end of the day, its just a blog. I’m just a guy growing older by the moment. I want to spend all of those moments sharing memories with shipmates and friends. I have learned a lot doing this for the past three years and Lord willing and the crick don’t rise, I will keep on doing it.

God Bless

Mister Mac

Post script: Careful readers may notice that I violated Rule number one in the construction of Rule number eight. Good catch if you did… however, I would encourage you to re-read Rule number eight again slowly. Old Boaz appreciates your attention to detail. Giddy up

Just let it go 10

Sometimes you just have to let it go.

Even though I don’t have much grey on my head, I have more than a few other reminders that I am no longer as young as I once was. Its a bit tougher to walk the plant I work in during the winter months but I still give it my best. I take a few minutes longer to respond to the complicated questions that come my way but I find that it is better to let the question ferment for a second or two longer so that I develop the right response. But every once in a while, one of the youngsters catches me off guard with a condescending comment that is more a reflection of their age and inexperience than it is to my ability and life achievements.

The plant is getting ready to go into a twelve day “turnaround” common to the oil and chemical industry. I don’t mean to diminish the event. It will be twelve days of very intensive activity where the slightest mistake could mean the difference between success and failure. Frankly, in the industry, it could also mean life or death if the wrong things happen. Even in a small plant like the one I work in, disastrous consequences could result in mistakes.

Today, as I was leaving for the day, one of my young “colleagues” was finishing some task and I mentioned in passing that it had been a pretty challenging day. I was referring to a number of events related to labor relations having some interesting twists and turns. My young colleague turned and looked at me in an almost disdainful manner and with his three years of work experienced said “Well, its going to get a lot harder… it is turnaround.” His disrespect dripped with every word.

I used every bit of self control not to answer him in a more appropriate manner.

Bob fire fighting

 

 

0 587 outbound SSN 711 CCC

 

Before he was even born, I had already been on three submarines and did the equivalent of dozens of twelve day “turnarounds” in foreign ports with no rest during thirty day and longer refits and shipyard periods. What my shipmates and I accomplished kept the free world safe from the enemies that lurked off of our shores. We worked and sailed in dangerous times with an enemy that was sworn to destroy us under the right circumstances. Months underwater facing dangers that still remain clouded in secrecy. After he was born, I served on two more submarines and frankly worked more in a year than he probably has in his entire life. As the Docking and Damage Control officer on the largest floating drydock in the fleet, my crews successfully and safely docked five nuclear submarines. The planning alone probably equaled all of the actual work this boy has ever done. My final assignment as the M and A division officer on a large submarine support ship had my day starting mainly at 4:30 AM and frankly I am surprised when he shows up at 8:00 AM most days.

Hunley 1994

I’ll go back in tomorrow and still beat him to the work site by at least an hour. I’ll do my work over the grueling twelve days to come. I’ll even manage not to be too hard on him as he struggles to endure his toughest test in at least a year.

I do have one wish though. I wish he was even a tenth of the man or woman who ever put on a uniform and actually did something that mattered before he was disrespectful to an old man he neither knows nor understands.

Thanks for your service indeed

Mister Mac

Surface surface surface

How a World War 2 Submarine Works 2

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I saw this video on one of the Navy Facebook pages earlier today and thought it was worth sharing.

 

When you think about how complex a machine submarines really are, you can understand why training and qualifications are so important. Compared to any other occupation or job I have had, none come close to creating the sense of urgency and need for exact knowledge and skills.

Mister Mac

The Price of Wishful Thinking … Sinking the American Fleet Reply

mstrmac711:

As we continue to shrink the American fleet, this is a timely reminder of the costs

Originally posted on theleansubmariner:

 

When I see an internet news story like the recent one detailing the shrinking of the American fleet, I get a kick out of reading the comments in the remarks sections.

Socialists

If you ever want to determine the lack of knowledge of the average internet news story reader, spend a few minutes looking at the remarks from people who are trained to turn on their computer but not their intelligence.

My favorite for today was from a reader who pontificated on the reasonableness of destroying the Navy and all of the armed forces. From their post:

“Also, the international security climate as a whole is becoming more peaceable, there is less need for ridiculous spending on certain parts of the military.”

Before you enlist

Hmmm. Makes you wonder what planet they are living on.

The unfortunate thing is that there are a whole lot of people who feel the same. They are…

View original 1,192 more words

I wonder what they were dreaming of? 5

I should give you fair warning that this is not a story about submarines. It is a fairly graphic story about recent events that you may just want to pass by. I will be back next week with more tails of the submarine world, but this story is about the world around us today (July 19, 2014).

I have been traveling this week so have not had much time to take in the news of the day. Catching glimpses of the stories about the border of the US disintegrating, the ongoing destruction of Iraq and Syria, Israel once again having to defend itself against the rockets of Islam, and of course the 777 shot down by Russian trained and supported forces using a Russian Buk missile system  . After almost seven years of living in a leaderless country, it breaks my heart to see what is happening to the world as a result of our “grand experiment”. I call it an experiment since it is the single most disastrous catastrophe to hit modern mankind. The grand experiment is to have elected someone with absolutely no leadership experience to the highest office in the land that used to be America. Add to that disaster that he surrounded himself with neophytes that also had no clue as to the special place that this country once held.

Reuters reports that after the explosion of the aircraft in mid air (most likely by a Russian surface to air missile), the plane disintegrated and everything in it fell to the ground. Including the bodies (many intact) that had up until that moment been dreaming in their padded airline seats. Many still had the ear buds in that piped blissful music into their ears in an attempt to drown out the plane noises around them. I have flown thousands of times over untold hundreds of thousands of miles in my life. The escape of music during those torturously long flights is indeed a blessing for travelers. Sleep is a better solution though. I have never taken a sleep aid. One of my companies actually used to offer them to us for longer flights. My only excuse was that I wanted to be as fresh as possible when I hit the ground in Paris or London so that I could take a few moments to see what else the world had to offer.

Big Ben

Flen 010

Stockholm Sweden

Limoges and Paris 2010 026

Eiffel Tower

I wonder what they were dreaming of?

There was a large group of people on board headed to an Aids conference in Australia. They were led by a man whose passion was to provide cheaper and more readily available medical supplies to poorer nations that had been passed over by the drug companies as not profitable. Children were on board too, perhaps going on a vacation to see another part of the world as part of their life growth experience. Innocents all. Each with their own dreams and their own plans. I wonder if they ever in their wildest imaginations thought that their lives would be snuffed out by a rogue missile fired by Russian trained and equipped terrorists fighting for a recreation of a monstrous Soviet Union?

Mississippi River

As I flew home yesterday over the Midwest, I could see the sprawling Mississippi snaking its way across the middle of the country. Looking around the plane I saw the weary businessmen coming home to their families. I saw a girl captured in a body that was crippled by some dystrophy that required her to be carried on the plane in a wheel chair. She was smiling and chatting with the people near her seat. There were young children and grandparents on their way to somewhere. Both seemed to be filled with a sense of adventure. The exhilaration of the plane taking off is still a thrill after forty two years of travelling. But this time was a bit different. I couldn’t help but think about how sudden it all must have been for that Malaysian airliner as it collided with a Russian missile.

I comfort myself in thinking most of them were asleep and had no time to think as they were ripped from the comfort of that atmospherically controlled space into 30,000 feet of sheer nothingness. I pray that their terror was short lived and that angels lifted their souls to safety before their bodies came crashing down into the fields and houses of the village below. I pray for their families too. They will never get a chance to say goodbye or even hold them in their arms again.

This country is spinning out of control almost as rapidly as the events around the world are spinning out of control. We have a leaderless government that spies on its own people, persecutes political opponents using the very instruments of government made to support us all, and is driving us faster and faster into a wilderness. We the people are to blame in many parts for drifting so far into a selfishness and hypocrisy that brought us this group of American haters. Too many people thought that things would be different never understanding that different can mean so many things besides better. The America that the current administration sees is a weak and feckless place with no more power than Botswana. The clueless people in the White House failed to understand that the thing that made American great was its exceptionalism that it seeks to destroy.

When you total all the failures of this administration, you end up with a list of moral surrenders that led to the shooting down of an innocent plane full of world citizens. When bad people fear no consequences for bad actions, good people die. It is that simple. We have emboldened the enemy and he is growing every day. The only thing a despot fears is that he will be vanquished in such a way that even his deeds will be swept into the ashbin of history. The man who occupies the White House can’t understand why there are so many people who now despise him. He fails to understand that it is the blood on his hands that makes him such an objectionable creature. His legacy is now cast in that same blood and he will forever be remembered as the man who would rather go to a fundraiser than to do his job.

Mister Mac

Flen 003 (2) - Copy

Innocence

 

 

 

 

RIP Dex Armstrong, After Battery Rat and Well Loved Submariner Reply

mstrmac711:

I typically don’t reblog a post this quickly from the original but I received a note from Dex Armstrong’s Daughters, Kris and Cathy that I wanted to share with the community. Requin base is meeting today and I am sure he will be present and accounted for in many many ways.

Originally posted on theleansubmariner:

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Robert “DEX” Armstrong, Legendary ‘After Battery Rat’ on Eternal Patrol
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 7/8/2014
———————————————————
Dex cast off the lines of life at 6:20 AM EST July 8, 2014 and sailed off on his final patrol.

A larger than life character with a remarkable talent for writing thoughts and actions that all diesel boat sailors could relate to and say with a smile, “That was me when I was just young squid too!”

Dex will join his beloved Solveig in a shared plot at Arlington National Cemetery at a time and date yet to be announced.

To all who sent cards to DEX, THANK YOU!  His Nurse said the stack is bigger than any she has ever seen come in on one day and she enjoyed reading them to Dex on what turned out to be his last night.

Dex, irreverent rascal that he was, would want us…

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