Scoop Deck blogger Lance M. Bacon took a day trip with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead this week. This is the play-by-play report.
We are treated to a quick review of A/C repair – a very important facet of sub life. Not only for reasons of comfort, but for the fact that the four units on a sub keep all the equipment cool.
MM1 (SS) Aaron Riedel then gives us the skinny on the “Weapons Team Trainer.” This is where you learn how to fire a torpedo the right way.
There’s more to it than plug and slug. The torpedo is loaded at a 7-degree angle so it doesn’t affect the sonar dome, which is in the front of the boat. The torpedo is launched with water and air, meaning the torpedoman must be proficient with a myriad of hydraulic and electrical components.
With about three of his 11+ years in the Navy at sea, it’s not hard to understand why Riedel is on staff. Maybe the Navy will let him sink a dummy ship one day in thanks. If so, Scoop Deck would love to get in on some of that action.
Quote of the day: MTCS (SS) Nicholas Davies has been describing how a sub generates its own power, water and oxygen. The only limiting factor, he said, is food. The longest of his 19 patrols lasted 121 days.
We started off with plenty of food. Near the end, all we had was peanut butter and bread. Then we ran out of bread. Not long after that, things were getting ugly.
Sailors fight to stop a leak during the annual Kings Bay Damage Control Olympics, May 21, 2009. (photo by MC1 Kimberly Clifford)
We’re doing more damage control. This time flooding is the problem – the second most dangerous thing on a sub. The chief says fire is the most dangerous, though some bubbleheads said an empty coffee pot could rank pretty high if it is late in the patrol.
The “Control Trainer” has 14 failures in a flooded space. That’s right – sailors have to fix full-velocity leaks amid rising water levels in a confined space. Sure, there are safety monitors, but if you think this is easy try kissing a broken fire hydrant some time.
Every sub in the command sends 20 people through this training each quarter. Today, the Blue Crew from the boomer Rhode Island is taking the plunge. As the water rises above the deck plate, more failures will occur to add to the chaos.
And the crazy thing is these guys actually get paid for this.
MM2 (SS) Dwain Martin wins the “wow” factor of the day. He teaches submariners how to seal pipe holes in about five minutes. The strong back application is good for leaks up to 1,500 psi and will last until the sub gets back to port.
But for leaks under 250 degrees and 150 psi, he uses a soft patch – a piece of rubber held in place by a correctly wrapped length of rope.
It’s a $2 solution to keep a $7 billion sub from flooding.
After chow we’ll be back on the plane and en route to Columbia, S.C. to visit the Naval Chaplaincy School at Fort Jackson …