Target Rich Environment Reply

Google the phrase “Target Rich Environment”

and you will get about 5 million hits.

Top Gun

One of my favorite quotes comes from a feel good movie released in 1986
Warning: PG 13 applies, if you are easily offended,
skip past the quoted area

“Top Gun”

Maverick: This is what I call a target-rich environment.
Goose: You live your life between your legs, Mav.
Maverick: Goose, even you could get laid in a place like this.
Goose: Hell, I’d be happy to just find a girl that would talk dirty to me.

The Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as: A combat situation in which an attacker, normally equipped with a superior weapons system, is presented with a large number of highly desirable, poorly defended and high-value targets all at once.


October of 1944 must have felt like that for the

US Navy submarine forces in the Pacific.


USS Jack Feb 14 1944 sank four tankers in one day

1944 had been an awful year for the Japanese on the whole.

New subs were joining the fleet and saturated the Pacific. This was no small task considering the size of the Pacific and the challenges of long range submarine patrols. But superior technology added to the manufacturing base of the United States coupled to produce killing machines that would ultimately add to the sinking of 1,152 ship (about 55 percent of all tonnage in the Pacific war) for a loss of 52 submarines.


52 Boats from WW2

US Submarines spent 11,700 days on war patrols and fired almost 6100 torpedoes. The earlier problems with the Mark 14’s had been solved and successful attacks mounted day by day. In October, 185 successful attacks were carried out. The single most productive day for the fleet was October 24, 1944 when 20 successful attacks were delivered.

The Japanese felt the strangulation and late in the war, the sea north and east of Luzon became known as the “Sea of the Devil”

In Singapore in 1944 it was said that “one could walk from Singapore to Tokyo on American periscopes.

From William P. Gruner’s book “U.S.Pacific Submarines in World War II:

“Cutting the Japanese Jugular”

“Japanese shipping routes spanned the Pacific from the Gilbert Islands in the east to the Malay Peninsula in the west, and from the Kuriles in the north to the Dutch East Indies in the south. This ocean traffic was the life blood of Japan’s war effort for she had few natural resources and was dependent upon imports of oil, coal, iron, food and other materials for her war effort. Consequently, it was essential that the same Japanese ships that distributed food, fuel, war materials and troops to the many scattered Japanese outposts carry raw materials back to the Empire.

Japanese Prisoners

Cold statistics on ship sinking’s do not describe the plight of the Japanese outposts when guns, ammunition, tanks, fuel and food failed to arrive. Devastating, too, was the loss of thousands of troop reinforcements when they went down with the transports sunk by our submarines.

SHINSHU MARU transport debarquement-ww2shots-navy

These losses were serious, but a far more serious loss brought about by our submarines was the failure of the Japanese merchant marine to provide the Japanese home islands with critical war materials. They blanketed the areas around the Japanese home islands and outposts throughout the Pacific.

HIKAWA MARU-ww2shots-navy

They were active off Indonesia, the Philippines, the Gilbert, Marshall, Caroline and Mariana Islands, New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies, and the western Aleutians. They quickly began sinking Japan’s merchant fleet, and prevented it from supplying their far-flung empire with arms, fuel, food and troops. “

Mille Atoll      Japanese Prisoners 2


Submarines also became the lifeboats of the Navy for a number of rescue missions. Most Americans can remember the famous event where a young pilot named Bush was rescued from a certain death near Chichi Jima. But during October 1944 the Narwhal returned from a special mission to Negros Island, rescuing 6 men and women and 14 children. She will forever be remembered entering Brisbane Harbor flying 12 clean white diapers from her signal halyard. Talk about a clean sweep!

Walter Kreimann, a 78th Fighter Squdron P-51 pilot, being rescued by the submarine Tigrone.

The maximum number of subs during the war was 288. This force was an important reason the Japanese war machine was being ground to a halt by October of 1944. Although the war would continue for another  10 months, the increasing use of submarines crippled the ability of the Japanese to stop the forward movement of the United States and Allied forces.


How would we fare in today’s environment?

What would a target rich environment look like if we were the target?

One factor of course is the technological advances over the course of the last 55 years. Nuclear power means submarines can patrol farther, longer, faster, deeper and with more deadly accuracy than her earlier counterparts. The array of weapons available to a Virginia class boat (or almost any active boat in this day and age)  makes the boat a deadly killing machine like almost no other. Torpedoes with extended rages, thinking power, and vastly improved speed and maneuverability increase the chances that an enemy will be successfully engaged. Sonar technology is so far advanced from the early days that it makes hiding almost impossible.

Even the men who serve on board the newest submarines have added new dimensions to the weapon. Better educated and trained in the arts of submarine warfare, these modern warriors represent some of the best the Navy and nation have to offer.

Recently however, an attack has been mounted that even the best technology has been unable to overcome

Despite a world that is actually growing more dangerous by the hour, the very existence of a strong submarine force could be under scrutiny by groups who have no idea of the importance of maintaining a strong force and the capability to quickly respond to dynamic changes in the global environment.

That opposing force are the people who created the economic mess we are in today: Congress and other elected officials from the executive branch. Instead of looking at our ships and submarines as an investment for the future safety of the Republic, they see a target rich environment. Foolish and short sighted decisions have created an economic tsunami which threatens to disrupt our country and send shock waves through the rest of the global economy. In a just world, the perpetrators of these crimes would be in jail already but instead they meander along with their pensions intact and their privately issued benefits beyond the reach of justice.

Page after page leading to reams of documentation exist to show that all of the elected officials of the past twenty years have played a role in the destruction of what was once the strongest economy on the planet. The saddest thing is that the worst offenders seem to be the least touchable. The Barney Franks and Nancy Pelosi’s of the world seem to go on and on despite their malfeasance.

At the risk of being put on some watch list, I can assure you that it would greatly please me if every American citizen considered the unique  privileges of all members of Congress past and present as part of a new “Target Rich Environment”


I have a question: What job on the planet will let you continue to serve with no recriminations for wrong doing? What job on the planet makes you immune to the people who pay you? What job on the planet lets you collect a pension that no one else can get, medical benefits that no one else can get, and post job perks that no one else can get?

Why do we allow this?

Probably because most of the rest of us have settled into complacency. The danger of complacency is that someone out there has a bullet with our name on it. Whether it is a trade war bullet or an actual bullet, other countries who despise our past are waiting for the day when they can exact some sort of vengeance on us. It is only a matter of time if you look at the life span of civilization.


(This is a long read but highlights the threat in a much better way than I can)

The capability to build ships, planes and submarines is gradually being lost. Newer technology requires more sophisticated means to produce them. More sophistication requires more educated and trained workforces and designers. We have already lost much of our shipbuilding industry and become more and more dependent on foreign entities to carry our burdens. We have limited our ability to ramp up quickly in either energy or defense due to the siren songs of “Peace in our time”. Right this very moment in time, we stand once again at a crossroads where America’s future can go one way or another.

While we once again whittle away at one of our greatest national assets, our potential opponents are gearing up for the next conflict. “Let he who has ears hear.” If the Arab spring completes its vicious cycle and takes out Saudi Arabia, the end game is not good for those who are currently dependent on their oil and good will. All of Europe and Japan are intricately linked to the current energy cycle. How long will those countries last without oil? Their economies would be a wreck in short order and they may find themselves unable to stop sales of weapons and technology to the new Arab powers (not to mention the Chinese and a resurgent Russia.) Think it couldn’t happen?

Who would have thought a year ago that a rabble rousing group of poorly armed protestors would topple Mubarak and Gadhafi?

The real question is, do we continue on this path of stripping our defenses or do we regroup and hold the government’s feet to the fire? Personally, I could live without a number of useless government agencies that exist for no other reason than to fill patronage jobs. I would really like to see the playing field leveled where organized labor no longer has any part of government and teachers. God only knows we don’t need another library dedicated to the memory of people like John Murtha. If dead politicians want to be remembered, they should be remembered for actually fixing the problems not causing more.

I believe if we don’t stop the decay, in some future October within our lifetime someone will be writing in Chinese or some other language describing the target rich environment they found themselves in…

surrounded by sinking ships

with the red white and blue flags

slowly submerging for the last time.

I’m getting too old to do much good in this new age but I can still aim pretty well. I’m just afraid that my meager supply of ammunition won’t hold out long against tanks and I am darn certain it won’t do a dang thing to bring down Chinese Predators (built courtesy of our technology).

Mister Mac


And who exactly do you think will come to liberate us?

Taffy 3 – Courage Beyond Measure 18


In the annals of US Naval history, there are a number of instances that demonstrate the courage and determination of a committed group of dedicated officers and men.

The one that stands out most in many people’s opinions is the battle which occurred on October 25th 1944. On this day, a small group of scrappy warriors took on a force many times its size and contributed to one of the greatest naval victories of all time.


By October of 1944, the Japanese were becoming more and more desperate to slow down or stop the advancing juggernaut that the US Navy had become in the Pacific. From the ashes of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, a resurgent United States used its massive industrial capability to produce a fleet second to none in the world. The men of Pennsylvania, Kansas, California, and the other forty eight states were indoctrinated into a life as a bluejacket and sent to support the rising tide of ships, submarines and planes. Admiral Nimitz had a large pool of resources to draw from in order to support the steady drive to liberate the Philippines and the pathway to Tokyo.


The Japanese had captured the Philippines in the early part of the war and had made many preparations to repel any invaders. The raw materials and supplies from the entire Pacific rim were vital to Japan’s future and every inch of territory had to be defended at any cost. This determination was the direct cause for the creation of an almost suicidal attack called the  Sho-go plan (Operation Victory). The attack would have three prongs, North, Center, and South. The North group was actually a decoy to lure the third fleet away from the center and allow a heavy force of Japanese surface ships to disrupt the landings at Leyte Gulf. Unfortunately, Admiral Halsey did not know that at the time.

150px-Kurita          220px-Halsey


The actual attack started with American submarines discovering the center fleet approaching the gulf on the 23rd. The USS Darter and Dace intercepted the center force in the Palawan Passage.

Dace returning to Pearl

Admiral Kurita had failed to place destroyers in an anti-submarine posture ahead of his group of heavy ships. The Darter sent torpedoes into Admiral Kurita’s flagship the heavy cruiser Atago sinking it. Dace was successful in torpedoing two heavy cruisers sinking the Takoa and severely damaging the Maya which was forced to withdraw.

Despite the damage to some of his ships, Kurita moved forward. Meanwhile, the Darter and Dace faced a new problem. In the aftermath of the battle, the Darter went aground. Heroic efforts on the parts of both crews failed to release her from her prison and a decision was made to scuttle her.

Darter on the reef  0822766

After picking up the crew, the Dace waited nearby for the expected explosions from the charges meant to destroy Darter. The charges failed and a decision was made to return and use the deck guns to finish the job. While on the surface, radar spotted an incoming plane. All hands were ordered below and Dace barely escaped the explosions that followed. The plane, seeing an escaping submarine, chose to attack the remaining boat. The attack finished what Dace had started.

300px-Japanese_battleship_Musashi_cropped 300px-Japanese_Battleship_Nagato_1944

The central force was attacked by American airpower and sustained a number of hits. Their response was to turn back on their original approach. Halsey’s scouts had found the Northern force and he made a decision that will stand as a textbook case of strategic thinking for generations to come. Feeling that the center force was beaten and knowing that the southern force was being chewed up by his own old battleships and auxiliary attack units, he decided to keep his fast battleships and carriers together as a group and destroy the northern fleet. The decision earned his maneuver the nickname of “The Battle of Bull’s Run”


The decision left only a small force of escort carriers and destroyers to cover the beachhead from any further naval attacks. Admiral Kurita still had four battleships, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and eleven destroyers. Facing that attack, Rear Admiral Sprague had 16 escort carriers and their destroyers. Taffy 3 which only included six small carriers, three destroyers and four destroyer escorts immediately turned east to confront the overwhelming force. The Battle of Samar had begun.

300px-Asashio_II     220px-Yamato_off_Samar

Knowing that the men on shore would be slaughtered if nothing was done, Sprague charged at the superior force with his small group and proceeded to sail his way into history. The tiny force was battered by the battleships and cruisers and many American lives were lost this day.

220px-USS_Gambier_Bay_(CVE-73)_and_escorts_making_smoke_off_Samar_1944        200px-USS_Samuel_B__Roberts_(DE-413)

In the end, their fearless determination convinced the Japanese that there must be a larger force on its way and they retreated homewards. On this day, the Japanese Fleet ceased to exist as an offensive unit. Halsey had destroyed most of the northern fleet, the southern fleet was in ruins and the center force was harassed all the way home.


The lessons learned from the action were many. A determined force with a highly skilled and motivated crew can overcome incredible odds with the right leadership. The sacrifices of those men in the face of overwhelming odds will remain a hallmark of the American Spirit.

Leadership means making tough decisions. Sometimes those decisions will be less than optimal. The way to decrease the chances of being wrong means using the training, skills and experience combined with as accurate information as is available.

Never forget the main objectives. While Halsey felt his role was not a defensive one, the sacrifices of Sprague’s men could have cost the invasion of the Philippines and extended the war for an indeterminate period of time. Not to mention the senseless loss of men and equipment.

I can only imagine what it would have been like to be one of the men on any of Taffy 3’s ships. Knowing that they were being thrown into a meat grinder that could ultimately destroy them all must have been unnerving to say the least. But in every after action report, only one common theme emerged. The men of Taffy 3 stayed at their stations to the last. As a result, the tide was turned. God Bless their memory.

Mister Mac

Bullies Redux 3

There were three kinds of boys in Junior High School.

First were the bullies. This group had probably grown up quicker than their peers and normally came from homes where toughness was considered not only a virtue but a valued commodity. Second were the “hangers on”. These boys weren’t quite as big or strong as the bullies but for some reason they fit into a category that the bullies very often used for their purposes. This group had  one goal in life. They did not want to belong to the third group: “The Victims”.

The victims were guys whom nature had not been kind to. They were often shorter, maybe less inclined to athletics, and in most cases more adapted to a broader base of interests. While being more thoughtful and better aligned towards self improvement, they were also frequent targets of the bully attacks. In order to avoid the chest thumping or other forms of showing dominance, tribute could often be offered. These tributes were often in the form of money or food but in any case, they were sometimes successful and sometimes led to further increase in tributes.

For anyone who has never been bullied by a group of peers, you have missed one of life’s defining moments.

The fear of being intimidated soon leads to shame at not having the resources or “inner strength” to make it stop. Over time, that shame leads to one of two things: you either find the way to make it stop or you turn inward in a way that helps you maintain some kind of dignity. For some people this can become a lifelong pattern. For others, a completely different effect results. Learning to overcome superior odds becomes a trademark behavior and serves that person well.

(I have found it rather ironic in life to discover that most of the kids who were victimized end up in upper level management or are the guys who invent and create the largest innovations of their day. The best part is when the bully ends up working for one of them.)

When the United States was very young, the new country struggled to define itself as a power.

The Revolutionary War at sea was spectacular in the outcomes it produced but the size of the Navy was enhanced and supported by the enemies of the British. We had many brave men but we had few ships or support organizations. After independence was gained, the country became inwardly focused and the idea of a standing Navy was certainly in doubt. Navies cost money and money was always something the new country struggled to provide.

From the time of the beginning of the American Republic in 1776 to the final Barbary War of 1815, the fledgling country dealt with bulling on a large scale perpetrated by the four Barbary Powers of North Africa – Tunis, Algiers, Morocco, and Tripoli. Because of America’s weakness, these petty tyrants demanded and received millions of dollars in tributes. The great indignity was that during the same time payment were being made and increased, the capture of vessels continued. Hundreds of sailors were held hostage, enslaved to foreign lands and killed. The cost to shipping for the new found Republic was also a detriment to growth. The country knew from the start that the exchange of commerce was vital to its life blood.

Many in Congress however felt that the traditional payment to the “Deys” was the best option.

Algiers in 1800

In 1790, Thomas Jefferson (who was George Washington’s Secretary of State) recommended declaring war on the pirates. The Senate rejected the call and instead earmarked an additional $140,000 for ransom payments (in addition to the amount already designated for tributes). For ten more years, the attacks continued while the tributes were increasingly demanded at higher amounts.

In September 1800, William Bainbridge sailed the frigate George Washington into the Mediterranean. It was the first visit of a US Navy man of war to the area but it was a tribute paying visit for the Dey of Algiers.


After delivering the tribute, an event painful to the memory of US Naval history occurred. The Dey commandeered the George Washington to send a special ambassador and many gifts to the Sultan of Turkey. The American Consul, General Richard O’Brien made an official entry to record the event for history:

“We went on board; the Turkish flag was hoisted at the main of the United States ship, and was saluted with seven guns as customary. Painful is the detail, but it contains a narrative of facts. To the truth thereof, witness my hand and seal of office, at Algiers, this ninth day of October, 1800”


Captain Bainbridge wrote at the time to a friend:

“The Dey of Algiers, soon after my arrival, made a demand that the United States’ Ship, George Washington, should carry an Ambassador to Constantinople with presents … Every effort was made by me to evade this demand but it availed nothing. The light in which the chief of this regency looks upon the people of the United States may be inferred by his style of expression. He remarked to me. “You pay me tribute, by which you become my slaves;I have therefore a right to order you as I may think proper.” The unpleasant situation in which I am placed must convince you that I have no alternative left but compliance, or a renewal of hostilities against our commerce. The loss of the frigate and the fear of slavery for myself and crew were the least circumstances to be apprehended, but I know our valuable commerce in these seas would fall a sacrifice to the corsairs of this power of this power, as we have no cruisers to protect it…

I hope I may never again be sent to Algiers with tribute unless I am authorized to deliver it from the mouth of our cannon…”

Ships at war

As an American Bluejacket, I can think of no greater disgrace than to have the flag of a foreign potentate flying from the mast where my colors should be. As an American citizen, I can think of no greater threat to peace and security than loss of freedom of the seas.

In the world we live in today, we are once again confronted with forces that would interdict freedom of the seas


. The eastern coast of Africa needs constant monitoring since pirates are free to sail from countries which have no love for us. The specter of  an Iranian naval presence grows larger each year and their ability to create nuclear weapons will only make the situation more complicated. Even the so called “Arab Spring” will bring new challenges as radical Muslim influences will change the dynamics in several of the key strategic choke points around the world.

The lessons learned throughout history are that there will always be people who are bullies and they will always try and take advantage of those who display weakness. I can think of nothing that displays weakness more than having a “sophisticated” leadership[ that feels that terrorists’ can be negotiated with and sworn enemies will be swayed by apologies and promises of new relations. These foolish policies are the result of inexperienced and naïve men and women who have no understanding of the eternal threats we face. Nothing has really changed in the years since the spread of radical Islam in the centuries before.

A perfect example of the type of conflict was recorded in the following:

January 1785: The Dauphin and the Maria are captured by Algerians, their 21 crewmen chained and paraded before jeering crowds on their way to the Algerian leader, or Dey, who reportedly spits on them and says, “Now I have got you, you Christian dogs, you shall eat stones.”

Weakness invites attack.

The only true safety is through strength of our purpose and a strong defense. Weak messages, paying tribute, and attempting to placate the bullies have always led to more bullying. I would rather we stop paying our “tributes” and reinforce our Navy a hundred fold than live one day subject to another petty tyrant. Diplomacy only works when you have an equal or greater amount of strength.

If the United States is to survive, true leaders must emerge and strengthen their will against the siren call of false security.

Mister Mac

The Circle of Life 1

I will be away from the keyboard for a few more days while the family gathers to say goodbye to Debbie’s Mom. Melva lived a great life but had been limited in mobility and quality of life for the past few years. As sad as it is to say goodbye, it is a great joy to know that she is free from the chains which bound her in this world.

Mister Mac

Oh come let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

My Trusty Old .45 First Posted in 2011 (with Updates on the 2018 CMP Sales) 3

As a kid growing up, one of my favorite shows was a realistic World War 2 action series called “Combat!”.

Sergeant Saunders (Vic Morrow) was my hero and his adventures with Kirby, Little John, Cage and Lieutenant Hanley and Doc. The series ran form 1962 to 1967 which is pretty remarkable since the actual American Army involvement in the ETO from Normandy to surrender lasted less than a year. Interestingly enough, the platoon never actually made it out of France in the whole five years.


The part that I really loved about the show was the weapons. You could get a real sense of the war from the scenes where the platoon fought harsh battles with overwhelming forces of Germans. Week after week, you could see the ability and limitations of those guns. From the Thompson to the M1 Garand, each weapon played its role. But none seemed more important than the trusty old .45 that Saunders and Hanley both carried.


That weapon was a sign of authority and normally only carried by higher ranking folks. It was a significant weapon since it was at the ready if you ever blew through your whole supply of ammunition (easy enough to do when you are surrounded by dangerous enemies). It was the last ditch weapon besides the combat knife they all carried but it was the one I wanted the most. Apparently based on the proliferation of anniversary replicas of the 1911 A1 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol this year, I really believe I was not the only one who felt that way.

We would play combat in the neighborhood and I always managed to have a replica tucked into my waistband (made of plastic and mostly green colored). I think I can only remember having a holster once or twice but it didn’t matter. Along with my other weapons, that 45 gave me a feeling of confidence that I would be able to kill or capture anything that came down the Cemetery Hill behind our house. Those were great years since just like Combat, when someone was shot the camera always managed to be looking the other way. You may see dead guys lying around but you rarely saw any blood shooting out of them.

Just as all childhood games come to a close, so did our time in combat. The players gradually drifted away to do other things and eventually there were not enough guys to mount a decent campaign. It was a shame since that was about the time that war toys hit their peak. Johnny Seven OMA (one man army) Thompson subs made of real wood and metal, and all manner of die cast pot metal rifles and accessories.

Johnny seven secret_sam_ad_dr10

Then in a few short years, they were all gone, victims of an increasingly gun wary populace. Some blame could be attributed to a series of high profile assassinations and some blame could be given to the escalating war in Viet Nam. In any case, it didn’t matter to me because in the following years I discovered that girls had better things to offer


My attraction to actual guns was frustrated by the fact that despite a long military heritage, we had no weapons in the house. Okay, an old Spencer Repeater from the civil war was present but you certainly wouldn’t fire it. My Mom and Dad refused to even entertain the purchase of a .22 so I had to live a life of complete firearms celibacy.

July 4th weekend 2009 017

All that pent up frustration finally led to the only action I knew would get me closer to my goal. That is why at the age of 17 I convinced my folks to let me sign up for the Navy as a Gunners Mate designee. I was destined to ride into combat on a PBR somewhere in Southeast Asia and no one was going to stop me.

MM Rate Book

Except maybe a classification clerk in Boot Camp who changed my field to Machinist Mate designee. I don’t know what that person’s name was but I do remember feeling cheated at the time. What little I knew of Machinist Mates I read in my trusty Bluejackets manual and there was hardly even a mention of a weapon. Not only that but all of our weapons training in Boot Camp was cancelled meaning I was to graduate to the fleet with NO WEAPONS TRAINING at all. But a contract is a contract and I followed the path that I was sent on.

After another year of school and temporary assignments, I finally found myself on the crew of the USS George Washington. The most amazing thing then happened. I was assigned to assist the Petty Officer of the Deck in guarding the topside of the ship.

To do this, they issued me my very first .45

Now mind you, I had still not shot a weapon (even in training) but the need was there and in the darkness of the evening, my Petty Officer showed me the actual workings of the weapon. Well, relative darkness since we were tied up to the Proteus and those powerful security lights were starkly bright in some places.

Proteus early 70s

I am not sure who we were guarding the boat against. If any swimmers had appeared they would have been easily spotted by the watches on the Tender or by us. I was prepared to draw my weapon and insert the clip as I had been shown, draw back the slide and proceed to empty the first magazine. Yes, that’s right, I was standing topside watch with a gun I had never fired that was not loaded. I never once feared that I would flinch in my duty or fail to remember the exact sequence of actions to put bullets on targets.

45 2

Two things happened during the next upkeep period that forever changed my views about my role as a combat character. The first was my first trip to the firing range. We were issued stock .45’s which had probably actually been built in 1911 and were so loose, they rattled as you handled them. As anyone who routinely shoots can attest to, the guns we had would challenge the most magnificent and experienced marksman. The fact that I have small hands did not aid in my aim either. I did a pitiful qualification round (actually more of a familiarization round).

The day was not a complete waste however since we were allowed to have one magazine each on the ship’s Thompson. Yes, that’s right, another one of my dreams come true. I doubt I hit anything at the Marine range that day in Guam but our visit was cut short when one of my shipmates underestimated the climb rate of a Thompson being fired full auto. The Marine Sergeant was not impressed at all with the holes that suddenly appeared in the tin roof of the dugout where we were firing. Especially since he was standing on top of the roof a few yards away. We were asked to leave.



The second thing that happened was on my last night as a Topside Petty Officer.

As you may recall, the Proteus had those magnificently bright security lights on top shining down on our boat. It was a mid watch and we had just settled down into a routine of drinking coffee and imagining what it would be like to sleep an entire night without being woken up for any reason. Liberty had just expired on the tender and we could see shadows of people moving about the decks above us. Our own crew was also returning from Andy’s Hut and you could tell there was a dust up by the torn shirts and sailors helping the less fortunate down the brow.

Apparently earlier that evening, there was indeed an altercation between our boys and some tender folks. I don’t know who the winner was, I just remember the OOD from the tender coming down the brow and informing me that he expected all of our guys to stay on board for the night and sleep it off. We both saluted him and said the obligatory Aye Aye sirs and we all went about our business.

Sometime after 0100, it happened. From somewhere behind those powerful bright security lights, objects started flying towards the submarine. I cannot recall all of what was thrown but do remember having the presence of mind to remember my training (or what there was of it).

1. Is your life in danger?

2. Is the life of anyone under your charge in danger?

3. Is the ship or its weapons in danger?

4. if yes to any of the three, don’t be a damn fool, call away a security violation and lock and load.

Finally, a chance to prove I would take a bullet if I had to. I was shaking so bad that I dropped the first clip. I quickly recovered and with a flourish that would make Vic Morrow proud, I locked and loaded my first round. What I did not take into account however was that the tender guys, upon hearing security violation and seeing the two of us aimlessly pointing our 45s at the upper lights, would react with their own team which consisted of a lot of Marines with M-16s, shotguns and M-14s. At that point I realized we were probably outgunned.

We were all frozen in time for a few minutes trying to sort out what to do next when the Duty officer came up from down below with his .45. There were some heated words between the two ships but it became apparent that this was nothing more than some drunks trying to exact the last word. We all stood down and I was anxiously waiting for my heart to restart. The next day, a debrief was held and to the Captain’s credit, he gave us some slack. The ship would leave for patrol the next day and we all had a few months to get past the event. I qualified below decks watch and was never again to stand topside watch on the GW.

I carried a .45 a number of other times in my later career.

This time, I made sure that I had more than enough practice and always viewed the duty with a lot more respect. The last time I carried it was during the first Gulf War. I had recently been promoted to CWO2 and was at my first duty station as an officer.

The night the attack in the Gulf started all of the officers were recalled to the command and issued .45s with two clips. We were instructed to keep them with us at all times and be ready. To this very day, I am not sure who thought Holy Loch Scotland was in imminent danger from either Scuds or the Republican Guard, but by jiminy, we were ready to repel boarders on the Los Alamos.  Fortunately our role only lasted for a few days and the weapons were returned to wherever they came from.

Holy Loch 1989

Some lessons about the .45 I will take to my grave:

  • Its better to have one and not need one than the opposite.

  • Even the best gun in the world is almost useless if it isn’t loaded and handled by someone who is trained

  • If you are going to carry it, be prepared to use it. If you pull it, make sure you mean to fire it.

  • A .45, like any other weapon, is useless if you think the guy aiming his gun at you won’t pull the trigger. You might as well just hand him your weapon and bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

I am glad that I got to be part of history by carrying this venerable old weapon. I am also glad I never had to actually use it .

Mister Mac

 From an interview with Rick Jason, his co star on the series:

Vic Morrow had an absolute dislike of firearms. He used a Thompson submachine gun in our series, but that was work. In any other respect he’d have nothing to do with them. On one of the few days we got off early while there were still several hours of daylight left, I said to him, “I’ve got a couple of shotguns in the back of my station wagon. You want to shoot some skeet?”
Without so much as a pause he responded, “No, thanks. I can’t stand to kill clay.”
He knew he could always break me up and during our five years together he did it quite a bit. His sense of humor happened to tickle my funny bone and he knew he had my number.”

I would have never guessed that.

2018 CMP Update

M1911 sales will be random

Pricing will vary

Seriously: Mail order only!

Sales will take some time

The CMP follows the law

The organization notes that all laws concerning the sale of the handguns will be “strictly obeyed.” And according to longtime CMP members, this will mean a rigorous background check process.

“[It] sounds like, in addition to the normal CMP requirements, you’re going to have to pass an NICS background check in advance and mail that off with all the other normal paperwork,” Gates told Task & Purpose. “They then ship the pistol to your dealer, and then you’ll have to do a second NICS background check and all the relevant state and federal paperwork.”

All of the current information is located at this page:

Freedom of the Seas Reply

On this 236th birthday of the United States Navy, we should never forget the reason why the Navy was formed and why it will remain a part of our Freedom as long as there is a United States of America.

The free flow of commerce is one way of guaranteeing a free nation. The oceans still remain the largest trading routes between nations and our ability to safely send our ships to other countries as well as receive goods we need to import is part of our economic freedom.

The Navy gives us a strong arm to project power in uncertain times and to respond to international crisis in a way that no other nation is able to.

The Navy has the ability to respond to any threat at sea, under the sea, and over the sea. It offers the most flexible response in almost every case.

The key thing about the Navy is her people. Volunteers who serve under harsh conditions, long deployments, and close to the potential threats are the real backbone of the Navy.



In this day and age of continued uncertainty, the strength of the Navy is more important than ever before. Emerging threats coupled with existing ones will be a challenge for years to come. We can never sleep, never become complacent, never accept second best.

In a world filled with people who envy and despise our country and what we stand for, the United States Navy stands as one of the Key Defenders of Liberty and Freedom.

God Bless the Men and Women of the United States Navy

Numbers 6 Verses 24-26

24 “‘“The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Mister Mac

There is a Tree at the Crossroads 2

Belgium is a beautiful country. The people there are wonderful and kind and very gracious hosts. I visited the city of Ghent recently and frankly of the 600 or so cities and towns I have visited, Ghent is one of the most amazing and beautiful places.

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June is a good time to visit since all of the shops are open and you can sit at any of the hundreds of street side cafes and enjoy one of the many Belgium beers.

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 Gent Plant and City Thursday through Saturday 452

Unfortunately for Belgium, she is geographically inclined to have been a focal point for some of the worst conflagrations of the 20th century. In fact, you could say she was the crossroad where traditional enemies meet.

Neutrality – How sweet the sound

In 1914 Belgium was considered the least prepared for conflict of any of the nations in Europe. She was protected from any potential invaders by a series of forts.

Belgian forts

Unfortunately, she had not kept up with changes in technology or weapons. Her army was displaced in such a way to try and maintain her neutrality. So when the Germans carried out a surprise invasion, Belgium was not prepared to defend herself in any meaningful way. Instead it relied on political activity and pieces of paper signed by all of the potential warring parties.

Great_World_War Antwerp

One of the things the Belgium government tried to do as they faced the imminent invasion was to protect its people by disarming them. Perhaps realizing that hunting rifles were no match for an organized army their own government issued proclamations ordering people to surrender their firearms and warning the populace that the invaders would kill anyone found armed.

On the morning of the invasion, the Germans met with little resistance. The price for the unarmed Belgians? The invaders killed thousands of them for no understandable reason. Men, women and children were put to the sword or shot in short order and their villages burned to the ground.

Those who fail to remember the past

World War 2 found little Belgium no better prepared. The blitzkrieg of the third Reich rolled over the crossroads of Europe with little resistance and the savagery was almost as bad. That probably explains why post war Belgium has been so reasonable about becoming the center of the NATO Alliance.


Crossroads in America’s History

There have been a number of times that America has found itself at the crossroads. The War of 1812, The Civil War, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, The World Wars, Terrorist Attacks on our homeland and so on. These are examples of testing that our country has endured in its quest to become a more free society that guarantees the rights of all of its citizens. Mistakes have been made along the way, but with God’s grace, we have always found our way back from the abyss and grown as a stronger nation.

We are at another one of those crossroads now in America.  Decisions that a majority of the voters in America make will effect our existence as a nation. The division of our people into two distinct visions of the future has been accelerated by recent events. One side would allow Americans to continue to live in freedom and limit the government’s power. The other would have America completely reliant on a centralized government controlled by people who think they know what is best for everyone else. The second group would only allow freedom as it related to allowing the ruling government to succeed.

Many people are not aware of the fight that went on during the construction of our Constitution. There was turmoil between the slave holding states and those that thought of it as an immoral practice. The agricultural south needed the amount of labor it gained form the slaves and the north was more concerned with its industrialized focus which required no slaves.

Many men, like Alexander Hamilton wanted nothing to do with a “Bill of Rights” as a part of the ruling doctrine. In his mind and those like him, States Rights and individual rights should not be limited by this short list of “Rights”. All of those rights were inherently God given and the mere existence of a “Bill of Rights” could be seen as a limiting feature not a method to individual and state’s freedoms. His greatest fear was that future generations would interpret the document as one of exclusivity for anything not specifically covered. His fear is our reality.

The Supreme Court’s Role

For decades, the Supreme Court has been at a balancing point. This point is between people that believe the government has exceeded its charter and idealists who believe that the federal government has not gone far enough. At a state of the union address not long ago, the elected leader of the free world showed his contempt for the existing Court in a way that has never been done in the history of the Republic. He was openly joined by members of the majority party who sought to intimidate the future decisions of the court through bullying.

Supreme Court

No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, this should have sent a cold chill up and down your spine.

The President’s wife spoke to a small group of wealthy contributors in Providence, Rhode Island during a recent fundraiser. Here is one comment that I can absolutely agree with her about (except for the “brilliant” part of course):

“We stand at a fundamental crossroads for our country. You’re here because you know that in just 13 months, we’re going to make a choice that will impact our lives for decades to come … let’s not forget what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices … let’s not forget the impact that their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come.”


That is an opportunity for some in America to fundamentally change how we live and how our country will be ruled in the future.

The threat to many others is that this “utopia” has already proven itself to be a false promise of hope that will weaken us as a country. They earnestly believe that the country will be at risk in a way we have not seen since the Civil War.

During several recent rulings for instance, the vote for individual gun rights was only held by a margin of 5-4. The telling statements from the liberal judges were that they do not believe in individual gun ownership rights. Their statements indicated that given the opportunity, they would break that bond that has existed since the beginning of the country.

The Supremes could essentially wipe out our freedom and liberty with the stroke of a pen. The President now has control over the countries communications networks, the internet, the Justice Department (including the FBI and related investigatory groups), the Military, NSA, and every other agency either directly or indirectly. In a National Emergency, he has the ability to deny Habeas Corpus to citizens for an unlimited amount of time. Under a rogue ruling, the Commerce department could shut off the flow of arms and ammunition to all Americans.

The question you should ask yourself is this: If the Supreme Court rules that individual rights (such as gun rights) are no longer valid, what rights will go next? If the populace is unarmed, who will stop those rights from being removed?

We have already seen glimpses of an uncontrolled government that is not responsive to its people. A centralized government made health decisions for its people. Food and supplies were regulated for the people’s good. Choice was no longer a threat to security since the government decided everything from where you could travel to where you lived. Spending was out of control with no inhibitions. And a ruling class emerged to manage it all.


I am proud to have spent the majority of my life directly helping to end the evil reign of the Soviet Union. I will be damned if I will let them be reconstructed in this country.

God Bless America

Mister Mac

The Tree of Liberty stands on a hill
it’s strength reflects a nation’s will.
Through storms and seasons it survived
To show that freedom was alive.

Now some would take that freedom back,
that tree will bear the first attack.
Come Patriots, Men and Women all,
hear the cry of freedom’s call!

Will you protect her with your all
or will you let her burn and fall.
Your votes still count beneath her shade
but once she’s gone, your freedom fades.

Replaced by chains and shackles strong
silencing your freedom song!
your children will be slaves not free
forced to serve an enemy.

Now stand with me around that tree
lock arms until our victory.
Raise high the banners one and all,
and never let that great tree fall!

tree of liberty flag

Oh say can you see? Reply

Baltimore City is just a short drive from Central Pennsylvania. The Inner Harbor is both beautiful and inspiring as a testament to what man is capable of doing when there is a positive reason to do so. High rise hotels and gleaming offices with mirrored exteriors compete for space in the skyline. Large corporations have found a home here or at least have a large representation. Commerce seems to be very much alive even in the shadows of the recent “Great Recession”. Baltimore 2011 059Baltimore 2011 160

You can find all kinds of people in the Inner Harbor area. People from every corner of the world came here and still come to enjoy a unique lifestyle. The neighborhood food choices are only as limited as your time to find them. Water taxis scoot all around the Harbor to the various historic points for a low fee and if you can’t find something there you like, you might just be a little too picky.

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In the center of the Harbor is a maritime museum which has so much to offer. The USS Constellation lies in state and serves as both an education tool for and a means to celebrate her history with catered dinners on deck. The Boy Scouts camp on her as well as the nearby vessels of interest. One of those vessels is of course the World War 2 submarine, the USS Torsk

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I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the history of this fine boat since it has been done by so many writers that are better than me. For those of you interested, here is the volunteer organization’s web site :

I do have to complement the people who have done so much work on her and have to say that she stands very well through the test of time thanks to their hard work. You owe yourself and your family a trip if for no other reason to pay homage to one of the greats. She is credited with the last sinking of World War 2 which capped off a very successful war record. She played a few important roles in the Cold War and finally ended up being given to Baltimore city in September 1972.

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The men of Torsk are a good example of the finest generation. Ordinary guys with high school educations led by individualistic officers who may have come from any of the thousands of colleges in the country at the time. Together they went on long patrols into unknown dangers from the sea itself and the many weapons the enemy had waiting for them. 52 boats never came back.

There was limited fresh water, food was better than most of the services but still limited by the time away and the minimum amount of storage for the good stuff. The Tridents of today with their modular food systems would blow the old guys away. But these guys knew that sacrifice was part of the game. If a boat was going to have a successful patrol, it had to have a smart crew with guts and a willingness to sacrifice whatever it took to get the job done. I have done a number of things in my life but being a part of a fraternity that exemplifies service to country is one of my most cherished.

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We were lucky to have a room facing the harbor on the eighth floor. The weather was unseasonable for fall and there were little to no clouds the entire time we were there. That’s why it was so amazing on the second morning when I woke up before sunrise, I could look in the direction of Fort McHenry and imagine the sight that morning after the British tried to destroy the fledgling country.

The night before must have been terrifying as the British threw everything they had at the fort. Capitulation was widely expected by the Royal Navy so it must have come as quite a shock to see that large banner still flying. The fort had held How tough do you think the people in that fort had to be? How many sacrifices to keep the new country in one piece while it struggled to grow?

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I have to tell you I got chills looking out over that cloudless morning as the sun came up. It gave me some hope. The people who gave these sacrifices must have passed on some of their DNA to today. I see it in my nephews who volunteered to serve their country after 9 11. I see it in people who go to work every day and make things that can be sold to help their families grow and strengthen. Many of the people I have worked beside since retiring from the Navy have paid for their children’s educations so they could have a better life. Offices and workspaces are filled with proud parent’s evidence of their children’s achievements. College colors and banners, clippings from newspapers, and proud pictures of those same kids Graduating.

One thing happened in Baltimore that alarmed me a bit. It came in the form of a gathering of people across from the place where we stayed. These people wanted to do something called Occupy Baltimore. They had signs all over the place indicating their displeasure with their current situation. Apparently it has been caused by greed or something like that. We didn’t go too close. Despite many years spent on crowded submarines for long periods of time, there are some smells that even I can’t tolerate. Their demands are no more identifiable than the people who are squatting new Wall Street. Their garbage was quickly beginning to resemble the original site.

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One sign that particularly got my attention was a large banner stretched across a Light Street crossover that read “End Capital”. I am sure that it was supposed to mean end capitalism but you know you can never be really sure these days. The rest seemed to be mostly interested in arresting everyone from George Bush to Andrew Carnegie (which apparently no one taught them about his demise some years ago). All capitalism is bad, everyone should have an equal share and in a long list of how much people should be paid, soldiers and sailors would get nothing since we would no longer need a defense department (also evil).

Listen, I empathize with people who are having a rough time right now. I can assure you, our own family has had its share of issues in the past four years. But guess what? We pick ourselves up and don’t blame anybody for our circumstances. We get back to work and supporting our communities, our churches and our country with our work and contributions (taxes). We fly the flag in the manner it was meant to be flown, we still do our best to vote in the manner which we are accustomed to and in the end pay the bills for a lot of people who don’t.

I guess one of the things I have to remember is that all of the people who have actually made sacrifices to ensure this countries freedom never asked for much in return. Just a chance to raise a family in the best way they are able. I just don’t see how a group of people have been so easily led into a pathway that will do nothing more than hasten the end of the “Noble Experiment”. As for us, we are already looking for the next place to live that has a few more trees around it. If things go as they might, I don’t want to see the outcome. On the other hand, I think I might have one more good fight left in me.

Mister Mac

Goin’ to the Chapel and We’re Gonna Get Married – Part Three 8

Oh happy day, break out the bubbly, the Nation’s first gay marriage at West Point. I can barely contain my joy.

Oh well. They can explain it to the big Guy themselves when the time comes. I am now officially done with worrying about traditions.

Go Navy. Beat Army.

Mister Mac

I had no idea that we would eventually become a trend setter. First, the novelty VP Joe “Gotcha” Biden comes out and supports gay marriage. Or was it just Joe “Coming Out?” Next, the Obaminator is forced to stop prevarication and admit that his “evolving days” are finally over. Andrew Sullivan is practically slobbering over himself despite the actual lack of commitment by team Oblama. Wow… even  liberal Maureen Dowd bitch slaps the old boy for his floppy moves this week.

Now, one of the Mean Spirited Republicans and his Bully friends try to stick up for God and the Bible by introducing legislation to keep Military Base Chapels free from violating the very words and beliefs they have held up for hundreds of years:

Why is this even an issue?

“U.S. Navy chaplains are getting new duties on land: performing same-sex marriages.

The chaplains will receive training to conduct the civil unions once the Department of Defense ends its ban on gays in the military, Navy officials said Monday.

Military chapels and catering facilities would become available for sex-same unions, the memo said.

“If the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage,” read a memo from the chief of Navy chaplains.

Under the new training, any chaplains whose religious beliefs did not include gay marriage will not be required to conduct the ceremonies.

The Pentagon is slowly implementing its repeal of the 17-year ban on gays in the military. The new policy should go into effect some time this summer.

But a Missouri Congressman says the new guidelines for the Navy violate a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

“While a state may legalize same sex marriage, federal property and federal employees, like Navy chaplains, should not be used to perform marriages that are not recognized by federal law,” wrote Todd Akin (R-Mo.)

Chaplains are among the first group of service members to receive training on the new policy. ”

I see. We can’t afford to improve military facilities including health care and housing. We are struggling to figure out how to deal with Veterans with PTSD and homelessness. Yet this stupidly useless program to support a vocal minority of NON CHRISTIANS is stealing the money we so desperately need???????

Sodom and Gomorrah never had it so good.

So this past week, an attempt to make things a little right was started:

“The measure, which prevents “marriage or marriage-like ceremonies” between same-sex couples from taking place at American military bases, was approved by a 37 to 24 vote along party lines.

Republican panel members also approved language to protect military personnel from reprisals for expressing “their moral principles and religious beliefs… concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality.”

That amendment, sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was approved by a straight party-line vote of 36 to 25.

Wait just a minute… Are you telling me that it might take an Act Of Congress to protect people who express something in public that is based on their core beliefs?????????

Mister Mac

I have only two regrets about my wedding more than 31 years ago. The first is that I didn’t get married in my dress blues. The second is that we didn’t get married in a Navy Chapel. I have to be up front and admit that during my tours of duty, I was not always faithful about going to the chapel. I did pretty well in Boot Camp and A school but as I went through a round of schools at New London, Charleston, and Pearl before arriving on the George-fish, I either went to civilian churches or just plain didn’t go.

Navy Church Pennant

I did go to services on board (mostly around the holidays) but they weren’t very well attended and sometimes it was just too easy to catch some sleep on the one day you probably wouldn’t have drills or field days. Plus, there is something about battle stations missile on Christmas Eve that sort of knocks the spiritual right out of you. Rumor had it that the XO planned it to take people’s minds off the fact that we were on Patrol for Christmas AGAIN and all the fake holly in the world couldn’t replace some of the sadness of being separated from family and friends.


But the one Chapel that I did hold near to my heart was the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base Chapel nestled in among the buildings that made up the center of the upper base. The galley was across the street so it was kind of a Sunday ritual when I was in port and living on base. Later, when I came back to Hawaii with my new wife, we would use that Chapel as a place to go to try and continue to grow spiritually. We were not 100% attenders but I probably spent more time there than in any other Chapel in all of my military service (except maybe Norfolk Naval Base).


Anyone who has ever been to the Chapel knows the story behind how it was built. It had its beginnings with the arrival of the first Navy Chaplain assigned to the submarine base LCDR Thomas H Reilly. He arrived in the middle of World War 2 (November 1943). The base had no chapel so LCDR Reilly had to conduct a daily mass in the base library (Bldg. 654). Sunday Mass was held at Sharkey Theater which was an open air theater at the time.

Hull design

The Chaplain saw how crowded the services had become and at first requested a Quonset Hut which was turned down. Disappointed but not defeated, Chaplain Reilly then did something that made him a true submariner: he had the Chapel constructed without authorization. He enlisted the help of a number of people and built the little Chapel on the site that it still stands. Rumor had it at the time that many of the materials for the Chapel were “redirected” from other projects and on September 10, 1944 the Chapel was dedicated to all the submariners who died in Word War 2.


The original colored glass windows were replaced in 1959 by panels fashioned after the original templates. From inside the Chapel a small submarine can be seen in the lower portion of each window. The bell in the tower came from the USS Argonaut (SS-166. The crew of the Argonaut donated her bell before leaving on her third war patrol. She never returned.


All hands were lost in a battle action off the coast of Rabaul on January 10th 1943. The bell still tolls for them and all of the boats that did so much to win the war.

For me, the little Chapel was and always will be

Hallowed Ground for submariners.

Fifty-Two Submarines never returned home

On Friday September 30th 2011, Defense Department officials announced that in conjunction with the ending of Don’t ask, Don’t Tell, Military Chaplains would now be allowed to conduct weddings in Military installations (including Chapels).

Spring is here, The sky is blue
Birds all sing As if they knew
Today’s the day We’ll say I do
And we’ll never be lonely anymore
Because we’re Going to the Chapel of Love

Because of actions taken by the ACLU, LAMBDA, and Governor Neil Abercrombie, Civil unions for same sex couples will be allowed in Hawaii starting January 1, 2012. How exciting for them.

Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel of love

How long will it be before we have our first ceremony between two sailors in that little chapel?

Bells will ring, The sun will shine

(whoa-whoa-whoa) I’ll be his and He’ll be mine

We’ll love until  – The end of time
And we’ll never be lonely anymore
Because we’re Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel of love

Those who follow me regularly know that I am mostly an advocate of changes that are happening in the world. I don’t think its possible to turn back the hands of time on many things so I try and look for the positive.

But I do have one request: If it’s at all humanly possible, can we ask that the Sub Base Chapel Pearl Harbor which has so much history and was dedicated to the memory of so many heroes be forever off limits to weddings that were not legal at the time it was dedicated.

I think its only fair.

By the way, congratulations to the Catholic Chapel at West Point. Its nice to see that somebody is courageous enough to stick to their beliefs in this whirlwind of political correctness.


Mister Mac

The Quality of the Weld 2

Being a former submariner, I have long had an interest in welding and the quality of welds. When you are riding a ship designed to sink that was built by the lowest bidder, proper and secure welds seem to be pretty important. The hulls of nuclear submarines are made out of a special steel which requiresvery demanding quality requirements. Plus, the internal welds throughout the boat are critical for not only structural integrity but for sound control as well. Nothing like a pipe run failing at just the wrong time to transmit sound into the enemy’s ears.

Ohio from the air

Submarines were not always welded of course. Early boats were riveted which allowed for them to achieve a mostly water tight condition but that came at a price of depth limitations. I can only imagine being in one of the dozens of boats built before 1934 that were riveted. In 1934 the Cuttlefish, the first submarine ordered by the U.S. Navy since 1918, is delivered. Cuttlefish is also the first welded submarine and the first submarine built in Groton for the Navy. (According to Electric Boat’s history log.)

USS Cuttlefish

I found a pretty good website about submarines that goes into some pretty lengthy details about assembling the hull.  I am going to assume the Chinese actually already found this web site and I am sure enough details have been left out to make it merely entertaining for the average submarine enthusiast. For me, it looks pretty cool.

Needless to say, the quality of the welds are pretty important. The boat must be strong enough to withstand any challenge that the engineers can calculate. The safety of the crew plus the unintended consequences from a nuke boat  coming apart at the wrong time is nothing short of catastrophic. From the article:

“When the steel plates are cut and rolled to form the hull, they are inspected to ensure that all dimensions are accurate to within one sixteenth of an inch (0.16 cm); smaller parts may need to be accurate to within one ten-thousandth of an inch (0.00025 cm) or less. Proper welding of all steel components is inspected with x rays. Pipes are inspected by filling them with helium and checking for leaks. Every instrument is tested to ensure it works properly. In particular, the nuclear reactor undergoes stringent tests to ensure that it is safe. As a result of these precautions, the Naval Reactors program is considered to have the best safety record of any nuclear power program.”

Ohio on the surface

Probably most notable in the annals of sub building were the early problems exhibited on the Ohio. From an article in Time magazine in 1981:

“The Ohio’s construction is a seven-year ordeal of mismanagement. Certain components were made from understrength steel, and the replacement cost was nearly $1 million. The sub contains 117,000 especially important welds; 2,772 were botched. Rewelding cost $2.6 million.”
Read more:,9171,949215,00.html#ixzz1Zft9pT7V

Ohio LPO 2

I wish I had known that before begging for orders on board the first Trident.

Many things can influence the strength of welds and the material around them: the welding method, the amount and concentration of energy input, the weldability of the base material, filler material, and flux material, the design of the joint, and the interactions between all these factors. Even the environment around the welders can play a role. If the metal is too cold, unexpected failures can and probably will occur.

Our country is in need of a good welder these days. It’s a pretty tough job to bind together such diverse materials in such a way that they can stand the stresses and strains of being a part of a very complex world.

I pledge allegiance to the flag… of the United States of America…

You have to create the right conditions, search for the correct way to bond them as well as use the right methods. The different materials require special attention and that can be complex when you are joining them together.

and to the Republic for which it stands,

Failing to recognize their unique needs will only lead to failure. But in all cases, you need something really strong to bind them together

one nation under God,

The welder must have the right skills and a keen eye. If he only looks at one side of things all the time, his weld job will fail. He must see all sides and find a way to create the right bead in order for his work to withstand the test of time. The ultimate goal is to create a strong enough bond that will surpass the individual strength of the materials being bonded without destroying the materials in the process.

indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

I was sent to weld class once when I was very new to submarines. It was probably just a place to keep me busy during off crew but I gave it my best shot. Maybe it was my lack of experience or just my inability to see all of the complexities required to be successful. Who knows, maybe I just wasn’t mature enough to see the importance of the work I was being trained to do (Waikiki was not that far away and as soon as you finished, off you went to the boat that would take you to freedom). I will freely admit here and now that they gave me a passing grade just to get rid of me. I really sucked at it. For the rest of my career, I let the people who knew what they were doing weld.

 Too many lives depend on having someone

who knows what they were doing.

Sunrise Blvd July 4 003

Our country is cracked wide open right now. We need someone who has the right “welding” skills to try and bring it back together. Too many lives both here and around the world depend on it

Anybody know a really good welder?


Mister Mac