Author Sam Fellman

Say goodbye to the Keystone Squadron. The Navy is shuttering Destroyer Squadron 24 on Sept. 30 after 55 years of service, as part of a larger reorganization to cut the overhead costs of operational staffs. DESRON 24 has had a memorable history, dating back to the days of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The squadron, which was stood up in 1956 and homeported in Newport, R.I., dispatched four ships to support the naval quarantine around Cuba. They secured boarding clearances for five Soviet merchant ships and helped to surface a Soviet submarine. The squadron has also served in many…

Naval Academy midshipmen captured top honors at the 11th International Submarine Race, held in late June, with their entry, S.S.H. 11 Mighty Mid. Mighty Mid, a two-man fiberglass sub built by the academy team, sported waving fins that can be powered by pedaling, which they adapted from use on some kayaks. Mighty Mid hit 6.1 knots underwater on the 100-meter course at the David Taylor Model Basin in West Bethesda, Md., besting a Canadian team who had previously held the title and record for non-propeller subs. “It felt great, just to represent the Navy,” Midshipman 2nd Class Cheng Han…

In case the 14-hour days of checks, inventories, walk-throughs and re-checks leading up to a Board of Inspection and Survey visit lead you to think dark thoughts, there’s help: a link to a suicide prevention hotline is front and center on the INSURV website. “Life is worth living,” it says. Clicking on the life ring redirects you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. These suicide prevention links are common on Navy sites, appearing on most – if not all – official websites. But normally, this button is tucked in alongside other links to Navy.mil, Navy Freedom of Information Act,…

Think your underway life is tough? How about having to build you own sub and race it under your own power? From June 27 to July 1, teams of students, clubs and companies from around the world will be converging on a Navy testing pool in West Bethesda, Md. to race their home-made subs through an underwater course. The 11th International Human-Powered Submarine Race, to be held at the model basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, aims to challenge and inspire the next generation of engineers. One of the contestants is the Scubster, a pedal-propelled sub…

  If your career seems rocky, consider this one: He was nearly booted from college, graduated in the bottom third of his class, and only a few years into his naval career, he struck a buoy with his ship. That lackluster start belongs to Adm. Mike Mullen, now the military’s top officer. Mullen recounted his early stumbles as a midshipman and junior officer to laughs and applause on the Late Show with David Letterman on June 13. In his first month as a senior at the Naval Academy, Mullen said he racked up 115 demerits; only 35 more and he would be…

What’s wrong with this picture? Freedom, the first littoral combat ship, has been in service for only two and a half years. But it’s lost that new ship shine.  Exhaust blackens the superstructure and the hull in this photo, taken June 7 while Freedom landed a helicopter as part of a joint maritime exercise. More exhaust is visible spewing from the stack. “The exhaust marks can be scrubbed off, but the closer you get to the orifice, the less it is soot and more it is actual burnt on charring,” a user named spek commented on the blog, Cdr Salamander.…

When submarine vets gathered last Thursday in Manitowoc, Wis., they found an accurate – and edible – tribute to their years of undersea service: a 22-inch-long sculpture of attack submarine Jallao made of pure cheese. It was the creation of Sarah Kaufmann, a.k.a. the Cheese Lady. You won’t be surprised to know that this “nationally-recognized cheese sculptor,” according to a press release, hails from Wisconsin, the nation’s cheese capital. (Jallao was built with sturdy two-year-old aged Wisconsin cheddar.) Behind the conning tower of the surfacing sub is its hull number, 368. Jallao was one of 28 subs built by…

At a San Diego, Calif. trainer, over rounds of virtual underway replenishments, man overboards, and pierside moorings, the Navy’s top junior officer shipdriver emerged from a field of 28 finalists, the Navy announced Friday. And the 2010 winner is… Lt. j.g. Nicole Lobecker, assistant combat systems officer on cruiser Port Royal. “It was surreal,” Lobecker, in a Navy newsstand story, said of unexpectedly winning the award. “I was stressed and nervous when I showed up for the final competition. I stayed up late studying the rules of the road the night before and I even brought briefs with me to…

The Washington Nationals celebrate home runs with a new submarine klaxon. // AP Photo When the Nationals hit a home run, submariners in the stands will hear a familiar sound — a dive klaxon. It blares three times to celebrate each homer, a signal – as any bubblehead will tell you – for emergency surface. The Nationals’ newest home run celebration honors their military fans and is a homage to the area’s naval heritage. The Washington Navy Yard, one block east of the stadium, was founded in 1799 and is the Navy’s oldest shore base. The horn also serves…

Happy (belated) birthday, bubbleheads! It was on April 11, 111 years ago, that the Navy purchased its first fully submersible vessel, Holland VI, from inventor John Holland. The 64-ton sub cost $150,000 and was christened the SS-1 Holland. Powered by a gasoline engine, it could make could make roughly 2 knots submerged, had a crew of six and carried torpedoes, according to the book “Submarine: The Ultimate Naval Weapon – Its Past, Present and Future.” One hundred and eleven years later, subs are still integral to national defense. Ballistic subs bear more than half of the nation’s nuclear weapons,…

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