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Gertrude Check:  Before political correctness, a universal navy term for requesting an underwater telephone check with another boat or skimmer.

A USSVI Bremerton Base Update When New Items Are Reported

Links> USSVI/ Constitution/ Bylaws/ PPM/ 2009 IRS Return/ American Submariner/ Subvet News/ 2011 Convention/2012 Convention/Base Bylaws/ Base Web Site <Links

Base Meetings are on the 3rd Tue of the month (except Jul & Dec), starting sharply at 1900, at the FRA Branch #29 Facility, 521 National Ave, Bremerton WA (MAP)

USSVI Bremerton Base, P.O. Box 465, Silverdale, WA 98383-0465

Issue date: 4-11-2011


Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:53 AM

Formerly USS Burrfish (SS-312), Click to view a celebration you are invited to attend!

29 April -1 May 2011


2011 Fire Works Watch Bill


History            Application           Clip


Use Em or Lose Em






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Puget Soundings


Previous Gertrude Checks


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Bonefish History





Deterrent Park


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newKitsap Navy News


The Sub Scuttlebutt




National Museum of the US Navy


Puget Sound Navy Museum


Navy Undersea Museum


Navy League


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Sub Force News


Custom Checks

Orion Printing


Submarine History


History & Parts of the Submarine


Undersea Warfare


Navy Times


WWII Patrol Rpts


 B Wixom's Bit's of Wisdom


TTF Graduation Sked


Submariner Burial Site

Ivy Green Cemetery


 Silent Service Motorcycle Club


4-15-2011 Guest Columnists Wanted  A new military newspaper has started up in this area called the Kitsap Navy News (KNN). Their offices are located in Silverdale. The editor, Gregory Skinner, is looking for guest columnists and news inputs to contribute to the publication. He is looking for input from all vets. The Navigator is the official Base newspaper but input from veterans and their opinions are practically non-existent. He is also interested in veteran sponsored events and the reasons associated with them. He will be at the next Bremerton Base meeting on the 19th to give a short presentation and answer questions. (Chaplain Fred Borgmann sends.)

The KNN web site is, Greg’s e-mail address is and is phone # is 360-308-9161 ext 5060

4-12-2011 Welcome Aboard New Life Member Don Ehinger (Threadfin, Sea Cat, Simon Bolivar, James K Polk)

4-10-2011 Base Challenge Coin Poll to Date:  23 members responded for 75 coins.  If you have an interest please e-mail Cdr Dave with number you may purchase, if offered.

4-6-2011 HC & Life Member Goes on Eternal Patrol  Base Member Henry F. Baker ETCM(SS), of Shelton passed away on March 23rd at 82 years old.  Henry served in Finback, Toro, Tang, Charr, Pomodon, Ray, Requin and John C Calhoun.  Sailor, rest your oar!

4-6-2011 Base Supporters in Recovery  Thirty year base supporter and associate member Mary Berg, suffered a fall. She is recovering at Northwoods Recovery Center in Silverdale and should be home this week.  Another supporter, Eileen Drumm, wife of HC & Life member Jerry Drumm, was hospitalized with a heart problem, now recovering at home.

4-4-2011 Distinguished Speaker Series with Author Don Ulmer  Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport; Saturday, April 30th at 2PM.  Mr. Ulmer will talk about USS Springer (SS 414), that rescued 8 downed B-29 airmen from the sea during World War II.  You will see footage of the actual rescue with close-ups of grateful young survivors.  Mr. Ulmer will be presenting some artifacts as well.  The museum store will have Don's books for sale.  A book signing and refreshments will follow the presentation. 

David Niemy
USSVI Bremerton Base

4-1-2011 Deterrent Park Update...Brick Etchings and Install Progress 

Fourteen additional etched bricks are in hand (as shown in the image). Those are from: Caiman Association, Martinson, Johnsen (2), Willette, Rifkin, Lynch, Romero, Eggert, Drannan, Robinson, Carpenter and Swenson(2). All (27) etched bricks will be in installed in May, 2011.


Become a permanent part of submarine history. Order a brick or two.  The following installation period will be in the Sept/Oct time frame.  Application is at


Future Brick Application Processing/Brick Installation:  We have decided to install bricks twice a  year, and set deadlines for applications for

those installation time frames.  The install time frames would be in  April-May, deadline March 1 and September-October,  deadline August 1

3-24-2011  Grilse Submarine Commemorative to be held in Victoria, British Columbia Friday April 29th to Sunday, May 1st, 2011

  • Drop dead date,April 15th...suggest Forms be submitted asap to ensure attendance availability 
  • $125 per person - Canadian funds preferred
  • Friday late-afternoon finger food ... Saturday afternoon rum & finger food ... Saturday evening banquet / no-host bar ... Sunday morning breakfast ... Sunday afternoon rum, soup & sangies
Also suggest you take advantage of your duty-free allowances into Canada - 1.14L of spirits, 1.5L of wine, or 24 bottles or cans of beer (8.5L) - for off-time socializing in rooms.
Important reminder of our host Hotel cut-off date of March 29th to receive our Group Room Rate of $110 CA ... cancellation policy of 3PM date preceding your check-in.  More details here.

Bob Emery


3-24-2011  2011 Officer Submarine Birthday Ball  Saturday April 16th, 2011, Seattle Marriott Waterfront Grand Ballroom
1730 Cocktails, 1900 Program and Dinner, 2100 Dance Floor Opens.  Details Here

3-19-2011  Long Time Base Supporter Passes   It is with a a heavy heart that I pass on the news that base founding member/current Secretary Dick Listcher’s mother, Gertrude (Mommsie) Banaszak ( a long time supporter of Subvets) passed on to a better place on Thursday, March 17, 2011,  It appears that she was getting ready for bed and laid back and went to sleep for the last time. Dick relays that Gert had the mindset of no services, no frills and no ceremonies.  So, with that, he will respect her wishes. God Bless.

3-19-2011  2011 Enlisted Submarine Birthday Ball  The ball will be held on Saturday, 23 April at the Sheraton Seattle (1400 Sixth Ave, Seattle, WA), Cocktail hour starts at 1700 and the program begins at 1800. Tickets for sale at $65 per ticket.

CMDCM(SS) Rob Enquist, CMC of TRIDENT Training Facility Bangor is ticket distribution POC. He is assisted by his right hand man, MTCS(SS) Jon Bellinfante.


3-16-2011  HOT NEW STOREKEEPER ITEM - Carhartt Jacket  Base Storekeeper, Ralph Harris  (in cooperation with Designs Unlimited) has arranged to have this black jacket (w/o hood) for sale at about $100 plus any patches and sewing charges.  Please contact Ralph at 360-876-0830 or .  Perfect for the Northwest.

Duck Traditional Jacket / Arctic Quilt Lined Style #: J02
12-ounce, firm-hand, 100% ring-spun cotton duck
Water-repellent (re-treat after washing)
Arctic weight quilted nylon lining
Corduroy top collar with snaps under collar for optional hood
Rib knit storm cuff in sleeve
Zipper front has wind flap with hook and loop closure
Two extra large front patch pockets
Inside welt pocket with zipper closure on right side for secure storage
Inside patch pocket with hook and loop closure on left side for added convenience
Two-button adjustable waist tabs
Work fit for better range of motion and comfort
Other features: triple-stitched main seams, split back with bi-swing, pleated elbow, hanger loop


2-20-2011 2011 USSVI National Convention in Springfield MO  The 2011 national convention will be conducted in Springfield, Missouri, within an hour's drive of Branson.  It starts on the 5th of September and concludes on Sunday, the 11th.  All the relevant information is located  HERE.  When (convention headquarters) University Plaza is filled up, other hotels are still available.  If you have a thought of going, and want to be near the action, please consider making a reservation at the Plaza, now!

 4-4-2011 USSVI OFFICIAL BUSINESS: SubVet News - #2011-030
Date: 4/13/2011
To: Distribution List

NEWS-01: 2011 USSVI Convention Sept 5-11, 2011
Submitted by: Office on 4/11/2011
Bases:  Please give this wide distribution via email, base meetings and in your base newsletter.

The OZARK/RUNNER SS476 BASE (USSVI) and the City of Springfield, MO. invite you to join us in Springfield, MO. for the 2011 Joint National Convention of the USSVI and of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII. The Convention will run from Mon. Sept 5 to Sun. Sept 11, 2011.

The host Base is the OZARK/RUNNER BASE. The Convention Chairman is Ron Athey TMC (SS) USN Ret ( or 1-417-763-0935).

The convention website is

The host city is Springfield, Mo. The Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) can be reached at 1-800-678-8767 or They are looking forward to helping you with information or answering any of your questions regarding this area.

Please feel free to contact them. Our “Home Port” will be the UNIVERSITY PLAZA HOTEL and Convention Center (1-417-864-7333 or ). Alternate “Berthing” is available at the CLARION HOTEL (1-800-756-7318; 1-714-883-6550; ) or at the DOUBLETREE HOTEL (A Hilton Hotel) (1-800-222-tree; 1-417-831-3131). Rooms are $99 per night and parking is complimentary.

The USS LAPON (SSN661) Sail and Submarine Memorial and Nathanael Greene SSBN 636 Memorials are located in Springfield. The local Veterans of the American Legion, VFW and FRA are also looking forward to welcoming you. Green/Straight Board and Dry Bilges Ronald L. Athey TMC(SS) USN Ret Base Commander, Convention Chairman Ozark-Runner Base USSVI Host Base , 2011 USSVI National Convention

NEWS-02: 2011 Awards Nominations - 3rd Call
Submitted by: John Stanford on 4/12/2011
THE USSVI 2011 AWARDS GUIDELINES for members and bases to use to submit nominees for the 2011 USSVI Award Program is posted online under the (AWARDS) button, then (MANUALS) at and at the link below.

Award Nominations may be submitted through APRIL 30, 2011. 

All Award nominations (with exception of Newsletter Award) must be received by John Stanford, National Awards Chairman, by that time.  Email to

May 15 2011 is the deadline for submission of Newsletters for Newsletter of the Year Award.

Here is a shortcut link to the Awards Manual


NEWS-03: 3rd Call for 2011 Joe Negri Award
Submitted by: John Stanford on 4/12/2011
The late Joe Negri is considered the Primary Founder of USSVI.  The "Joe Negri" Award is awarded to the Member who, by his personal individual efforts and participation during the preceding years contributed the most to the advancement and embodiment of the USSVI Creed and Agenda, and by his dedicated service and support to our USSVI organization and his fellow Submarine Veteran Brothers exemplifies the meaning and spirit of the word, "Shipmate.”

The Deadline for receiving your nomination for this award is April 30, 2011 and should be submitted to John Stanford, National Awards Chairman at

NEWS-04: 3rd Call for  Silver Anchor Award nominations
Submitted by: John Stanford on 4/12/2011
The Silver Anchor Award is presented to a member in recognition of his efforts to support one of the primary objectives of our Creed…to provide a way for all submariners to gather for their mutual benefit and enjoyment.

This award recognizes the member’s volunteer support for meetings, projects and events, including work to recruit new members and to retain the current membership of the base.

This Award will be presented to individual Members only.

Your nomination for this award should be submitted no later than April 30, 2011 to John Stanford, National Awards Chairman at

4-4-2011 USSVI OFFICIAL BUSINESS: SubVet News - #2011-028

Date: 4/3/2011
To: Distribution List

NEWS-01: Nautilus Base Commander on Eternal Patrol
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 4/1/2011
Ernest "Frank" Holland, MMCM(SS) Retired of Bellview Fl shoved off on his eternal patrol today, April 1, 2011.  Frank had a storied career, qualifying aboard USS Sea Cat in 1951, then serving aboard Sea Dog, Trutta, Nautilus, James Madison (Chief of the Boat - Blue) and Howard Gilmore.

Frank was aboard Nautilus during the polar crossing in 1958, transiting from the Pacific to the Atlantic under the North Pole.

Frank was very active in the Nautilus association, serving as President in 2008 to 2010.  He was a USSVI member of Nautilus, Sea Dragon and Snug Harbor bases, was a past District Commander and the serving Base Commander for the Nautilus Base.

Hand Salute, Shipmate!  You served your submariner shipmates to the very end.  You are relieved, Master Chief, we who remain have the watch.


3-31-2011 USSVI OFFICIAL BUSINESS: SubVet News - #2011-027

Date: 3/30/2011
To: Distribution List

NEWS-01: USS Memphis sail to surface in Memphis TN???
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 3/29/2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A group of U.S. Navy veterans are lobbying for the bridge of the submarine the USS Memphis to retire in its namesake city.

The Memphis Council of the U.S. Navy wants the sail, the top part where the bridge is located, to go on public display in Tennessee.

Cage Carruthers, a former Naval officer on the cruiser USS Arkansas who slept overnight at sea on the Memphis in April 2007, has been in discussions with the Navy for what may take years of planning.

Carruthers told The Memphis Commercial Appeal he feels confident about the city getting the bridge section of the submarine, which is set for de-commissioning on Friday.

The USS Memphis sailed in every ocean during its 33-year history.

NEWS-02: Navy's Odyssey Dawn Libyan Operation features a SSGN first
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 3/30/2011
When the guided-missile submarine Florida fired cruise missiles March 19, it was the first war shot by the new four-boat class, said Lt. Brian Wierzbicki, spokesman for Submarine Group 10.

The Navy converted the four oldest Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines beginning in 2002.
The modifications removed the Trident D4 launch tubes and support systems, added an enhanced communications suite, and installed enough nuclear material to extend the subs' life by two decades.

In place of the 24 nuclear missile tubes, the converted subs are capable of loading up to 66 SEALs with their vehicles and supplies or 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 32 more than the most-armed surface combatant, making the SSGN a submersible missile bed.

"The ship did what it was designed to do, was able to lurk nearby [an] adversary's shores and take out targets basically at will," said Scott Truver, head of the strategic analysis team at defense contractor Gryphon Technologies, who has studied the conversion.

"The operational tempo is really high for these simply because they're versatile, they have an enhanced intelligence/surveillance capability and they can put SEALs ashore, and as this latest example [shows], they can launch long-range cruise missile strikes," he said. "They are much in demand."

Nathan Hughes, director of military analysis at the global intelligence company STRATFOR, said the elevated pace of missile sub deployments showed that "these things have been put to sea and kept to sea."

In Libya, Hughes said, "it's allowed the U.S. to hit targets without as big of a foot-print as what otherwise would have been necessary, if you only had three convention-al [attack] subs, two Tomahawk-armed surface combatants and the Air Force ashore to work with." Florida's missile strikes on Libyan defenses are a public affirmation of the value of the converted Ohios, Hughes added.

Florida is the second converted sub. It emerged from Virginia's Norfolk Naval Shipyard in April 2006 and is homeported in Kings Bay, Ga. Florida has two alternating crews, like ballistic boats, allowing the boats to spend more time deployed.
The destroyers Barry and Stout,, attack subs Providence and Scranton, and Royal Navy ships and subs also fired Tomahawk missiles, but 6th Fleet and Navy spokesmen declined to provide a breakdown of how many were fired by ships and submarines.

(By Joshua Stewart and Sam Fellman, Navy Times, 4 April 2011)

For more, visit the link

NEWS-03: American Submariner 2011-1 in the mail
Submitted by: T. Michael Bircumshaw on 3/30/2011
The 2011-1 edition of the American Submariner was mailed from Dallas, Texas today, 3/30/2011.
I hope you enjoy the read.  We now appear to be caught up on the transition to the new editor, Gordon Palmer and we look forward to staying on track for the next few years..
Trust all is well with all of my USSVI Shipmates.




The following Members are recognized for their generous donations to the Base Operating Fund.
Rig for Dive Periscope depth Battle Stations Deep Submergence Unit Citation
$1.00 -$19.99 $20.00 - $29.99 $30.00 - $49.99 $50.00 - $99.00 $100.00 +
- -

Joel Waller

Robert "Bob" Paulsen

Gary "Dutch" Kaiser

Douglas "Doug" Smith


John "JJ" Lynch

John Perkins

Barron Brooks

Perlita "Pearly" Lattin

for Don Pennington

Bill Ridley

Updated: Mar28, 2011.


Soup Down: Fri,  Apr 15  *Family Pancake House, 4115 Wheaton Way, Bremerton

Complete Schedule linked here

* Ltr of 2010 appreciation/request for 2011 gift certificate

*  Ltr request for new restaurant gift certificate


Check out this link for latest images of  events.  Then Click on Meeting Photos



Gertrude Check

Founder & Editor 

Other News of Interest to Submariners

US: China's 1st Aircraft Carrier Watched By Region  (Finally, a descent target!/ed)

The Associated Press, April 12, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — China's first aircraft carrier could begin sea trials as early as this summer and its deployment would significantly change the perception of the balance of power in the region, the chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific said Tuesday.

China bought the vessel from Ukraine more than a decade ago, and it is viewed as emblematic of the communist state's ambition to be a military power that can challenge America's decades-long supremacy in the west Pacific. China's state news agency this month carried photos of the carrier in what it said was the final stages of reconstruction.

"Based on the feedback from our partners and allies in the Pacific, I think the change in perception by the region will be significant," Adm. Robert Willard told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Willard also noted the "remarkable growth" of China's military.

But he viewed that impact as largely symbolic, as there would be a long period of training, development and exercises before the carrier becomes operational.

The U.S. Pacific Command led by Willard has five aircraft carrier strike groups, which it has used to project American power across a region key to global trade. However, China's military build-up, which includes the rapid development of ballistic missiles and cyber warfare capabilities, has spooked its neighbors and could potentially crimp the U.S. forces' freedom to operate.

Willard said that China has increased and improved its fleet of both conventional and nuclear-powered submarines, which had prompted a proliferation of submarines in the Asia-Pacific. He mentioned Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia as countries that have either acquired or signaled their intention to acquire or expand their submarine fleets.

However, Willard said that China's navy has been less aggressive in its operations this year than last. He described that as a "retrenchment" by China following U.S. statements that it has a national interest in the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea — where China's claims of sovereignty are challenged by several countries in southeast Asia.

"While we continue to experience their shadowing of some of our ships and so forth that are operating in these waters, we have not seen the same level of assertiveness in 2011 that we witnessed in 2010," he said. Willard also attributed this to the U.S. and China resuming military-to-military relations. The ties had been suspended over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, said American troops should remain on the volatile Korean peninsula for the "foreseeable future" because of the threat posed by North Korea. He said he did not see North Korean leader Kim Jong Il giving up his nuclear capability as he believes it vital for his regime's survival.



Navy Subs To Get Tactical Updates Through Deep Siren

By Henry Kenyon, Defense Systems, April 13, 2011

The Navy has successfully tested an underwater communications system that allows submarines to communicate at speed and depth.

The Deep Siren acoustic communications system permits submarines to relay and share information while under water in a variety of operational environments. This was recently demonstrated during the Navy’s ICEX 2011 exercise, which took place north of the Arctic Circle, officials of Raytheon, which developed the system, said April 13. 

Deep Siren is intended to fill a gap in the Navy’s underwater communications capabilities — the ability to receive tactical information while submerged. The system, which has been in development for some time, operates like a texting service to provide submarines with data in a short message format that is sent and received by software-defined acoustic modems located in disposable buoys launched by the submarine.

Raytheon officials noted that the system is a mature technology that has been successfully tested in a wide variety of oceanographic conditions. Deep Siren is part of a broader Navy effort to provide an underwater network for its submarine fleet.

For ICEX, Deep Siren demonstrated that it can communicate with submarines operating under sea ice. The system was used to help participating submarines meet at a base camp located on the ice sheet 150 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Both submarines were directed to the location via Deep Siren transmissions from the camp.

The system was also used to help evacuate a seaman aboard the submarine USS New Hampshire when he became ill with appendicitis. Deep Siren was used to communicate the emergency and to help report the location of an area of sea ice thin enough to allow the vessel to surface.

Deep Siren has been successfully tested by the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, and the system is scheduled to undergo sea trials with the German and French navies later this year. The Canadian navy also is planning its own sea tests. Company officials said that another version of Deep Siren designed for use by U.S. Navy special operations forces has already undergone successful initial tests.

History and Parts of the Submarine  Click here  (Don Mac sends)


EB: Submarines Can Be ''Stretched'' To Boost Firepower (not a new concept, how about 598 & 599)

By Jennifer McDermott, The Day, April 13, 2011

Electric Boat says it can add more missile tubes to Virginia-class submarines without compromising speed or stealth.

EB has been working on a concept for a "stretch Virginia" to boost firepower. The task was to figure out whether the subs could be lengthened by about 90 feet to accommodate triple the number of Tomahawk missiles they now carry, and to launch the weapons of the future, including unmanned undersea vehicles.

Preliminary estimates say the modification could cost up to $500 million per ship, adding roughly 20 percent to the cost of an attack submarine.

Two years ago the Navy asked EB to work on the project, which is not an official Navy program at this point.

After completing the initial engineering work the company found that it can be done, according to John Holmander, the vice president who manages the Virginia-class program. Company officials are discussing the concept at the Navy League's three-day Sea-Air-Space Exposition that began Monday in Maryland.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, plans to advocate for research and design money for the Navy in the fiscal 2012 budget, some of which could be used to further develop the concept. But fully funding a new program would be an uphill battle, given the federal government's fiscal woes.

The Navy's Submarine Force will lose about 60 percent of its undersea firepower in the late 2020s with the retirement of its four guided-missile subs, capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk missiles. This is happening at the same time that the number of attack submarines in the fleet is dropping because of the retiring of the aging members of the Los Angeles-class subs.

The first "stretch" Virginia could be the sub that EB starts building in 2019, which would be commissioned close to the time that the first guided-missile sub retires.

On the most recent Virginia-class subs, two large-diameter missile tubes located forward of the sail can launch six Tomahawk cruise missiles each. The subs also carry torpedoes.

Extending the submarine to 471 feet would make room for a module near the middle with four additional tubes capable of launching seven missiles each. That would be a 230 percent jump in the number of Tomahawks that can be launched quickly, from 12 to 40.

These stretched subs would still fit in the docks at EB, which at one time held Ohio-class submarines 560 feet long.

The four new missile tubes would be more than 7 feet in diameter.

"This opens the door to many, many other game-changing applications," Rear Adm. Richard P. Breckenridge, deputy director of the Submarine Warfare Division, said in an interview.

The stretch Virginia ranks third in the Submarine Force's priorities, Breckenridge said. Topping the list is the program to replace the current fleet of Ohio-class, or Trident, submarines, followed by finding ways to mitigate the dip in the number of attack submarines as the aging subs of the Los Angeles class retire.

If the Navy had a more robust budget, it would pay for the capability "without hesitation," he said. The Navy is looking to the Defense Department to see if funds could be available to proceed with the stretch Virginia concept, Breckenridge said.

Peter W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, said the stretch Virginia seeks to answer a key problem that the Navy faces, the crunch in the number of submarines overall and the limits in the number of missiles they can deploy. Both problems look to be worsening in the future, he added.

"The Navy is going to face a series of tough decisions budget wise. But all things being equal, it's a program we have to give serious consideration towards," Singer said Tuesday.

The USS Florida was one of the three U.S. submarines that launched Tomahawk missiles into Libya last month to support a no-fly zone. One of the fleet's four guided-missile submarines, the Florida launched a majority of its Tomahawk missiles, Breckenridge said. Typically guided-missile submarines deploy with 105 missiles, he added.

"The Navy would've needed eight other attack subs in theater to do what that one ship, Florida, did," he said.

While the economy and the budget "will not tolerate" building a new class of guided-missile submarines, Breckenridge said the stretch Virginia solution offers a more affordable way for the Navy to get a "strategically important capability." It gives the Navy flexibility to distribute more missiles on submarines in more locations, rather than concentrating them on the guided-missile submarines, he added.

Courtney said the fact that Congress still plans to pay for two Virginia-class submarines this year instead of one, despite immense pressure for spending cuts, bodes well for the future of the stretch Virginia concept.

"If you're going to make that investment, you obviously want to concentrate the return to the greatest extent possible," he said Tuesday. "And stretching the missile capacity, I think, makes sense."



Canadian Peacekeeper Boats

Strategy Page, April 12, 2011

Thirteen years after purchasing four slightly-used British diesel-electric submarines, Canada still has not gotten any of them in shape to go to war. Currently, only one of the four Victoria class subs can even go to sea, and none will be able to fight until their torpedo tubes are converted to fire the U.S. made Mk 48 torpedoes (rather than the British Tigerfish and Spearfish models the subs were originally designed for.) But the conversion kits have been ordered, and are to be installed within two years. What Canada has learned from all this is that submarines are expensive boats to build and maintain, even if they are second hand.

It all began in the 1990s, when Canada wanted to replace its 1960s era diesel-electric subs. This did not seem possible, because the cost of new boats would have been about half a billion dollars each. Britain, however, had four slightly used Upholder class diesel-electric subs that it was willing to part with for $188 million each. Britain had built these boats in the late 1980s, put them in service between 1990 and 1993, but then mothballed them shortly thereafter when it decided to go with an all-nuclear submarine fleet.

So the deal was made in 1998, with delivery of the Upholders to begin in 2000. Canada decommissioned its Oberons in 2000, then discovered that the British boats needed more work (fixing flaws, installing Canadian equipment) than anticipated. It wasn't until 2004 that the subs were ready, and that one year one of them was damaged by fire, while at sea. This boat is to be back in service next year. By the end of this year, three boats should be back in service.  Maybe.

The Upholders are now called the Victoria class, and are much more modern and capable than the older Oberons. The Victorias are 2,160 tons (displacement on the surface), have a crew of 46, and six torpedo tubes (and 18 Mk 48 torpedoes.) The electronics on the Victorias are state of the art and a primary reason for buying these boats second-hand. The subs will be used to patrol Canada's extensive coastline. The passive sonars on these subs make it possible to detect surface ships over a great distance. But not having any subs on active duty, ready for combat, for over a decade has become a major issue in Canada.

The problem is that the subs were bought without a through enough examination. It was later found that most major systems had problems and defects that had to be fixed (at considerable expense). Thus these boats have spent most of their time, during the last decade, undergoing repairs or upgrades. The final fix will be to get the torpedo tubes working. In any event, a Canadian warship has never fired a torpedo in combat, mainly because the Canadian Navy did not get subs until the 1960s. Lots of Canadian surface ships have fired torpedoes in combat, but the last time that happened was in 1945. The sole operational Victoria class boat is on patrol in the Pacific, listening for trouble which, if found, will be reported to the proper authorities.




SECNAV: All Communities Should Be Open To Women

Calls for integrating attack subs; hesitant on SEAL teams

But although he's against any gender ban in the service, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus stopped short of a full-throated endorsement of integrating women into every part of the naval special warfare community.

"It's my notion that women should have the same opportunities as men in the Navy," Mabus told Navy Times during a March 31 interview. "They should be able to go as far as their talent stake them. They should be able to serve in whatever communities. "The only reason I'm being a little hesitant for the SEALs is some of the physical things you've got to go through to be a SEAL. I think women ought to have whatever opportunities men do," he said. An advisory panel led by senior enlisted and officers from each service recently called for opening all military specialties to women. When asked if attack submarines will be integrated, Mabus told Navy Times: "That's going to happen. What you don't want to have is, sort of, two different submarine forces: the [ballistic-missile and guided-missile subs] if there are women embarked, the [attack subs] if there are not women embarked.

"So, that planning is underway in terms of how that would work," he added. "Part of it is what lessons were learned with women on the SSBNs and the SSGNs. Let's get a little experience first before we move out on that."

Mabus said the integration of attack submarines, which will require significant berthing configuration changes, was being studied but that no time frame had been set, adding that it would be a "relatively close follow-on" to the integration taking place on boomers.

He emphasized, "We're going to integrate the entire force." Besides SEALs, the other Navy communities closed to women are special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, Fleet Marine Force corpsmen serving in direct combat units, and riverines, due to combat exclusion rules. And enlisted women are prohibited from serving aboard coast patrol craft and frigates. Frigates are slated for decommissioning and the cost of reconfiguring berthing on these vessels would be "prohibitive," according to Lt. Matthew Allen, a spokesman for the chief of naval personnel.

Mabus' stance that women should serve on all the Navy's subs marks a shift from the integration announcement in late September 2009. Then, Big Navy was initially bullish about putting women aboard ballistic-missile and guided-missile subs but more conservative when it came to attack boats. Adm. John Harvey, head of Fleet Forces Command, told Navy Times in October 2009 — less than one week after the policy shift was announced — that the Navy was taking a wait-and-see approach toward putting women aboard Seawolf-, Los Angeles- and Virginia-class subs.

"When you look at the one we're building now, the Virginia class, that's what I'd call a mature design," Harvey said. "Now that we're in serial production, to go back and undo things to make it viable for females in the crew, that's a pretty tall order.

"Can it be done? I just don't know where we are on that and at what cost, etc.," he said. "But I know we can get at it much more rapidly with the SSGNs and SSBNs, so that's where the focus will be."

The integration on the SSGN and SSBN side has already begun. Eighteen female junior officers are in the training pipeline; the first 10 have progressed from Naval Nuclear Power School to nuclear prototype training, the second phase of nuclear training for officers, and are expected to arrive at their subs in November, according to Lt. Brian Wierzbicki, spokesman for Submarine Group 10. The second group of submariners-in-training is at power school and slated to arrive at their subs in February.

Two female nuclear-trained officers will join the blue and gold crews of four submarines: ballistic-missile submarines Wyoming and Maine and guided-missile sub-marines Georgia and Ohio. They will be joined by female Supply Corps lieutenants who will serve as professional role models. The three women will share a stateroom.

In November. — when the names of the submarines to be integrated were made public — 21 women were in the training pipeline. Since then, two women have been selected for graduate school and will subsequently resume nuke training, and a third has been medically disqualified. Meanwhile, the eight female lieutenants are scheduled to head to supply department head school in April and May, followed by the Submarine Officer Basic Course.

"We will be informed by the lessons we learn from the integration of female officers on SSBNs and SSGNs. Once we complete these efforts, we can determine the best path forward," Wierzbicki wrote in an email reply to questions. "Lessons learned from this process will help inform future decisions regarding the expansion of female integration aboard submarines to the enlisted ranks."


Click to see big picture


USS Lagarto  (SS-371) Sunk 05/03/1945, in Southern Gulf of Siam - South China Sea

Excellent Documentary on its short active history. (Bill Hipp sends) Click Here









1 dead after shootings aboard UK nuclear sub


A Royal Navy sailor has appeared in court in Southampton charged with murdering a senior officer and trying to kill three other crew on board a nuclear submarine.

Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, 22, is accused of the murder of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux on HMS Astute. He is also charged with the attempted murders of Petty Officer Christopher Brown, Chief Petty Officer David McCoy and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hodge.

He made no plea and was remanded in custody until his next appearance at Winchester Crown Court on April 13. During the brief hearing Donovan, of Hillside Road, Dartford, Kent, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.

Military officials have agreed that his case should be heard in a civilian court. Crown prosecutor Nick Hawkins told magistrates it would be alleged there was a "deliberate discharge of a SA80 rifle six times, aimed at four people, one of whom was fatally wounded".

Lt Cdr Molyneux, the officer who died, was 36 years old and married with four children.

He was fatally shot aboard HMS Astute on Friday while it was docked in Southampton on a five-day goodwill visit. His widow, Gillian has paid an emotional tribute to him, describing him as "utterly devoted to his family".

She added: "Everything he did was for us. He was very proud to be an officer in the Royal Navy Submarine Service."

The shootings took place as local dignitaries, including the city council's mayor, leader and chief executive, were being given a tour of the submarine.

The vessel has been cleared to leave Southampton to return to its base at Faslane in Scotland




HMAS Kuttabul Sunk (1942)  Japanese midget subs attack Sidney Harbor (COB Hank Hollis Sends)

HMAS Kuttabul was a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) depot ship, and former Sydney harbour ferry. During the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour on 31 May 1942, Kuttabul was torpedoed and sunk, with 21 Commonwealth naval personnel aboard.


State Legion Suspends Charter of Bremerton Post  The American Legion’s state executive committee voted 14-0 Wednesday to suspend the charter of Bremerton’s American Legion Post 68.

The move comes after local post leadership announced the post would file for bankruptcy and hung an American flag up­side down outside its Sheridan Road headquarters and at the baseball field across the street. A post leader said the flag was meant to signal the post’s distress.  More here



Submarine Accident Indictments Handed Down

RIA Novosti, March 31, 2011


The Military Prosecutor of the Pacific Fleet, on Wednesday confirmed criminal indictments involving allegations surrounding an accident on Nov. 8, 2008 on the nuclear submarine "Seal" according to an assistant t the military prosecutor, Roman Kolbanov.

During tests in the Sea of Japan the nuclear submarine caught fire. The fire-extinguishing system worked properly and the compartments began to flood with poisonous gas.

20 people were killed and another 21 were hospitalized.
A case was brought against submarine commander Dimitry Lavrentiev and bilge engineer Dimitry Grobov.
The investigation concluded that their inaction led to the accident.

The case will be sent to the Pacific Navy headquarters where the defendants will be court-martialed


Knock’ From Ice-Top To Help Submarines

By Andrea Shalal-Esa, The Peninsula, March 27, 2011

APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY ICE CAMP, Arctic Ocean: The signal sounded like crickets chirping, but the encoded message transmitted from the camp atop the frozen Arctic Ocean was music to the ears of the USS New Hampshire submarine crew.

Using a digital “Deep Siren” tactical messaging system and a simpler underwater telephone, officials from the Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory at the camp last Saturday were able to help the submarine find a relatively ice-free spot to surface and evacuate a sailor stricken with appendicitis.

The alternative would have been a ruptured appendix, or an emergency surgery on the table in the captain’s dining room, said a relieved Dan Roberts, the senior chief and corpsman who handles the crew’s medical needs. “It would have been rough.”

The low-frequency system is built by Raytheon Co, which has been working on it for several years with $5.2m in initial seed money from the Navy.

Raytheon is the latest company trying to tackle the persistent challenge of communicating with submarines while they are travelling deep under the sea to avoid detection. Past systems have proven too complicated, and too expensive.

The new system could revolutionize how military commanders stay in touch with submarines all over the world, allowing them to alert a submarine about an enemy ship on the surface or a new mission, without it needing to surface to periscope level, or 60 feet, where it could be detected by potential enemies.

At present, submarines use an underwater phone to communicate with associates on top of the ice or with other submarines, but those devices are little more than tin cans on a string and work only at shorter distances. Submarines can also trail an antenna once they surface to periscope depth, or around 60 feet, but that makes them easier to detect.

Captain Rhett Jaehn, the No 2 official in charge of submarine operations and the officer in charge of the ice camp 150 miles north of Prudhoe Bay, said the Deep Siren was heavily used during the exercises and played a key role in facilitating the evacuation of the sick sailor.

Improving the ability to communicate with submarines at any depth and any distance is a huge step forward, said Matthew Pesce, a former submariner who now works for the Arctic Submarine Laboratory, which organises biannual ice exercises in the region, where submarines practice tactics and procedures.

Pesce is based in Hawaii, but came aboard the USS New Hampshire for the exercises as adviser for Arctic equipment and issues, including the Deep Siren system. He said the system worked well, but some transmissions were not received properly, possibly due to issues related to the ice, or the alignment of the submarine.

The new product could generate significant revenue for the company, said Stephen Moynahan, a senior Raytheon engineer, who came to the ice camp in early March to test how the system works under the ice cap, where varying salinity levels and long ice keels distort how sound travels.

He gave no details on the scope of possible sales, but said Britain successfully tested Deep Siren in the Mediterranean last year, proving a range of more than 100 miles. Several other countries were interested and two planned sea trials this year, he said.

A variant allows a submarine to deploy a buoy that can relay messages via satellite link.

Moynahan said the new system, initially conceived by a Scottish submariner named Robert Kerr, provided only limited messaging ability, not bandwidth for transmitting huge chunks of data, but said its simplicity made it effective, especially in the current difficult budget environment.

“This is a really big deal. This is a game-changing technology,” said Moynahan, who served as the rifleman guarding against polar bear attacks during a visit to the camp by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and other top lawmakers and defense officials on Saturday. No bears turned up. Pesce said the system helped the submarine find a place to surface since locating ice-free waters in the Arctic was a little like “looking upward through a straw,” he said. REUTERS



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