Happy Birthday Bubblehead 1

One of the things you learn quickly about the military is the endless stream of nicknames attached to the people, equipment and all manner of things unique to the recipient of the toast. The Navy is not unique but it certainly has no shortages of slang and identifiers.  These all help to separate the various groups within its ranks. If you ride a surface ship, there is a good chance that you have been called a skimmer at some point in your life. The boys and girls associated with the air wings are mostly called “airdales”

But a unique name exists for our submariners: Bubblehead. I have been around submariners for over forty years and have heard a million different explanations for the term. Like most sea stories, the origin is somewhat questionable. I have never really found a place that says that it was born on a specific day or linked to a specific event. Some of the many descriptions can be found at a blog of a similar name:

http://bubbleheads.blogspot.com/2010/04/origin-of-species.html

If you look up the term in the dictionary, its not at all complimentary : A stupid person, esp one who is frivolous and flighty.

Now I have been around these strange creatures for most of my adult life and I can assure you that there are a few who might fit the description. But the few tiumes that I have observed that phenomena is when they were just back from a liberty port and I am quite certain alcohol was involved.

American submarine history started a long time ago but the official start date coincides with the purchase of the submarine Holland on April 11, 1900. The start of the journey was slow and filled with all kinds of obstacles and enemies. But it was a joy ride from one of the least Bubbleheaded men of his day that helped to strengthen the future for submarines. President Theodore Roosevelt himself took a ride on an early version and as a result recognized the unique possibilities of the fledgling service. He assured a tradition of support through his backing of their credible service for sea time and a bonus for taking rhe risk to serve on them.

I will admit that the extra money was a nice incentive. But dead men can’t spend it and there are many who rode their boats to an early grave that are proof of that fact. April 10, 1963 stands out as a perfect example of what the cost of riding a boat can be. The sea is unforgiving in its ways. Submariners are the best of the best but even they sometimes will be overcome by the power of the deep.

On this day, we celebrate all things submarine. The incredible adventures we remember and the incredible boredom we overcame. The ports and the people, the sights and the sounds, the brave and the bold. But mostly the bubbleheads we knew. I am honored to be among one of the few that ever earned the title.

Happy Birthday Bubbleheads.

defying the sea

Mister Mac

The Submariner’s Lament; When you understand 1

theleansubmariner

When you understand

This was a post that I put up on Facebook in 2014. It has been shared over 8500 times in the time it has been on Facebook

I am grateful for the feedback already sent

On February 16, 2017, it came to my attention that the story has been cut and pasted with unauthorized alterations and no attribution. I never copyrighted the post or the material but rest assured that it is still my intellectual property. I have shared this freely with the submarine community. All I ask in return is that it not be altered and credit be given where possible.

Mister Mac

When you understand 2

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The Birth of the First Civilian Submarine Reply

This was an early post on theleansubmariner (2011) that has been updated with new content and pictures. 100 years ago, the Germans experimented with the first commercial submarine Deutschland commanded by Captain Paul Koenig. König was a captain in the German merchant navy. In 1916 during World War I, he became a reserve Kapitänleutnant in the Imperial German Navy.

Later in 1916, König became commanding officer of the merchant submarine Deutschland. He took it on two patrols to the United States for commercial purposes. He arrived at Baltimore on July 10, 1916, with a cargo of dyestuffs. While in the United States he was interviewed by newspapermen, was even the recipient of vaudeville offers, was welcomed by mayor of Baltimore and officials. On August 2 he sailed on the return voyage, later making a second voyage and putting in at New London, Connecticut.

He received the Iron Cross 1st class the same year. Following his return after the second journey, König wrote a book called Voyage of the Deutschland, which was heavily publicized, as it was intended to be used as propaganda.

König then became commanding officer of a Sperrbrechergruppe (group of blockade runners; 1917), and later was an executive at Norddeutscher Lloyd (1919–1931). He died at Gnadau, on September 9, 1933, where he is buried.

theleansubmariner

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The Birth of the First Civilian Submarine

While we were on our last trip, I stopped by a used book  store and found a book that had been a part of my life growing up. In my Grandfather’s library was a collection of books called “Source Records of the  Great War”. These books were collected documents about the events that were  part of World War 1 from the viewpoint of the actual participants.
Unfortunately, out of all of the books, only the year 1916 was in the store. While I was reading it last night, I uncovered a piece of submarine history  that I was not aware of despite years of reading and presenting submarine  talks. An even happened in 1916 that had the potential to change the way submarines could be used in the future.

On July 9, 1916 the captain of the German submarine Deutschland,  Paul Koenig…

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Are you ready? Are you sure? 1

Saying prayers to our friends and families affected by the storms.

theleansubmariner

With the recent storms in Florida and the south, I was reminded about another large storm and it’s impacts. We are praying for the folks in the South today and hope that everyone remains safe. God Bless and Protect you all.

One of my post retirement hobbies has been public speaking. My subject matter is pretty expected; Navy stuff, World War 2 history and of course Submarines in the Cold War. I’ve probably given hundreds of talks over the past sixteen years to all sizes of social and civic groups. But one of my favorite topics has been developed over the past ten years. Readiness. As a good submarine sailor, I pride myself for thinking about all of the situations I might find myself in during our routines and travels. Living in Western Michigan was a joy in some ways but also a challenge since we were right in the path…

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USS Pittsburgh SSN 720 Crew Visit to Pittsburgh April 6th 2016 Reply

Pittsburgh Pittsburgh_Pirates3
Greetings to all of my Pittsburgh PA area shipmates and friends.
The Captain and part of the crew of the USS Pittsburgh are arriving this Sunday evening for a official and non official visit to the city.
Wednesday afternoon and evening, there is a great way to honor the crew by attending a Meet and Greet Cash Bar Pre-game Party at the Atria in the PNC Complex at 4:30 P.M. followed by a Pirates Game at PNC Park.
Cost is $25.00 for the pre-game and $25.00 for the game.
This is a great opportunity to show support for our submarine and crew. Tickets are on a first come basis so please respond to John Caspero (Captain of the Pittsburgh Relief Crew) as soon as possible.
RSVP to John Caspero
email: jfcaspero@verizon.net
or email me at bobmac711@live.com for more details
Note: You do not need to be a Navy veteran or former submariner. This is just a great way to pay a small tribute to real American heroes and spend a few hours with them watching a great American sport and team.
I hope to see you there
Bob MacPherson
aka theleansubmariner

Local teen selected to represent the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps in Australia Reply

Pittsburgh Area Sea Cadet News

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Sea Cadet Chief Petty Officer Ian Sleigh is not your typical high school freshman. At barely 16, Chief Sleigh has already racked up a fairly impressive resume.  Starting at an early age he completed his first ship board training at age 11 in Buffalo, New York at the Buffalo Naval Park. Sleigh has also trained in Tactical Medicine, attended a Navy Submarine School, been to Petty Officer Leadership Academy and nearly a dozen other training evolutions in the past five years.
 
Sleigh was recently selected to participate in the Sea Cadet’s International Exchange Program in April. As of one of only two cadets selected, he will be heading to Australia in April to work alongside cadets from Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, and, of course, Australia. 
 
The program begins with a two day adventure camp at an Australian Naval Air Station which will include sailing, canoeing and shipboard/simulator activities.  Cadets will also visit the Darling Harbor Zoo, the Australian War Memorial and Sydney Maritime Museum as well as participating in the annual ANZAC Day parade.
 
The Pittsburgh Battalion Sea Cadet is currently the highest ranking cadet in the unit. He has over 40 cadets under his command. He was awarded the Navy League’s Theodore Roosevelt Youth Medal for outstanding Sea Cadet of the year for the Pittsburgh Battalion at the annual Navy League award dinner at the Pittsburgh Athletic Club on February 6th.
 
A student at Mars Area High School, in Mars, Pennsylvania the freshman is an active member of Mars Boy Scout Troop 400 where he currently is a Life Scout working on his Eagle Scout requirements. He is also an active member of the Big Red One Living History Organization where he helps teach the public about the life of soldiers during World War II.
 
The U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps (USNSCC) is a non-profit youth development program for youth age 11 through the completion of high school. Cadets participate in weekend drills with their local unit and may attend national training events during the winter and summer vacations. Training evolutions are conducted in more than 60 different Navy and STEM career fields. The Pittsburgh Battalion serves the Western Pennsylvania general area and has cadets from Ohio and West Virginia as well.  For more information on the Sea Cadet program please visit www.seacadets.org and for information about the Pittsburgh Battalion go to www.pittsburghseacadets.com.
 
Lcdr. Paul M. Julian, USNSCC

2016 Pittsburgh Regional Sea Perch Competition 1

The Navy League was on hand to recognize the winners of the 2016 Regional Sea Perch Competition held in Pittsburgh in February. Hopewell High School was the top High School Team and Harrison Middle school was the top Middle school team. Both received trophy’s and medals from various sponsors including the Navy League and both received invitations to the 2016 National SeaPerch Competition and need help to raise funds which will allow them to compete at the National Competition in Baton Rouge, LA.

Sea Perch is part of the ongoing mission to encourage our youth to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This was a combined effort by the Navy City Outreach Northeast partnering with Penn State Center Pittsburgh and 4-H of Allegheny County and influential community leaders in Pittsburgh to make the SeaPerch program available to local schools.

SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme. The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, students learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications. For more information, visit http://www.seaperch.org<http://www.seaperch.org/>.

The Pittsburgh Council of the United States Navy League (a 501C 3 organization) is supporting the fund raising effort by asking for you to send your donations through us to help them on their way. While the students are also working on local fundraisers, the costs for registration, travel and lodging will have to be met.

These funds will help to pay their transportation, food and lodging. We need your support as soon as possible but before April 15 2016

Individuals or corporations can assist in one of two ways:

  1. Contributing on line through the Go Fund Me web site: https://www.gofundme.com/4eqq9a9s
  2. Send a check made out to Pittsburgh Council U.S. Navy League (write Sea Perch Fund Support in the memo line) to:

Robert W. MacPherson, 3 Circle Drive, West Newton, PA 15089

We will be very grateful for your support. More important, this will help the program to grow for the future and encourage our area winners to pursue this unique opportunity.

Deming’s 14 Points 2

Some great reading on Deming’s 14 Points. Certainly worth the read for a lean practitioner or someone just starting out in the lean world.

Systems Thinking and the Vanguard Method

W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points are the basis for transformation of industry. Adoption and action on the 14 points are a signal that the management intend to stay in business. aim to protect investors and jobs. Such a system formed the basis for lessons for top management in Japan in 1950 and in subsequent years.

The 14 points apply anywhere, to small organisations as well as to large ones, to the service industry as well as to manufacturing. They equally apply to any division within a company and to it’s suppliers.

As you read through each of the 14 points below, ask yourself if they still apply today, either within your current organisation, or within organisations you have recently worked for. The answers may be surprising.

1. Constancy of purpose:

Create constancy of purpose toward continual improvement of product and service, with a plan to become competitive and to stay…

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Its been a while – But things are about to ramp up again at theleansubmariner (TLS) 1

About four months ago, the company I have been working for announced a downsizing of the facility I am working at. During that time, I have shifted my focus from lean and six sigma for continuous improvement to one of my older skill sets: Project Manager.

With a change in focus has come less time to blog but that is about to change over the next month. I have been collecting some story ideas from my WW2 research and will start with some fresh stories that are in line with the submarine side of the blog.

If you are a submariner, I would encourage you to join the USSVI and meet with the National Convention in Pittsburgh PA in September.

http://www.ussviconventionsteelcity2015.org/

Thanks for the continued visits… 235,000 is a pretty good number

Mister Mac

Fenian Ram: The Green Submarine 1

theleansubmariner

Any submariner worth his salt has heard of a good Irishman named John Phillip Holland and his submarine design changed the way wars would be fought at sea forever.

On April 11, 1900 the United States Navy purchased his boat and named it the USS Holland. (For submarine purists, please take note that the first submarine was named after a living person and not a fish).

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There was a long path for Holland to get to the point where his boats would gain acceptance. His initial design in 1875 was turned down by the US Navy as unacceptable. The little Irishman was determined to succeed however and with the aid of some good friends, continued his designing refinement.

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This is where it gets interesting.

The “friends” that funded him were from a group called the Fenian Brotherhood which was the American equivalent to the Irish Republican brotherhood. Their real goal…

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