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

Links> USSVI/ Constitution/ Bylaws/ PPM/2010 IRS Return/ American Submariner/ Subvet News/2012 Convention/2013 Convention/Base Bylaws/ Base Web Site <Links


Base Meetings are on the 3rd Tue of the month (except Aug & 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: 20120319


Tuesday, March 20, 2012 07:45 AM






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updated 3-20-2012 March Monthly Meeting Bremerton Base's March monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 20 at 1900 at the FRA 29 facility at 521 S National Avenue, Bremerton. Speaker will be active duty Life member, John Perkins.


3-16-2012  Subvet News

NEWS-01: USSVI Online Submarine Museum
Submitted by: Office on 3/10/2012
Base POC Manager, Please share this message with your base membership.

Did you know that USSVI has an extensive museum of submarine related photos online?

This page is created as a internet museum for United States Submarine Veterans. Est 1964, USSVI is the largest association of U.S. submarine veterans in the world.

There are two ways to see this collection.

If you are a FACEBOOK member, search out USSVI Virtual Museum and "LIKE" the page, then read the historical info and look at the extensive photo collection.

To keep track of museum updates as they happen, click the LIKE button at the top of the page.

If you are not a FACEBOOK subscriber (and don't want to be) just follow the link below which will take you to the photo portion of the online museum.

Each picture represents a separate album, so click on the picture to see the rest in the album


NEWS-02: Yakima Base (WA) Commissions new Parade Float
Submitted by: Office on 3/12/2012
USS Yakima (SSN509), the Yakima Base's float was on display at their meeting March 10th, 2012. Base members built her from scratch.

Congratulation Commander Bobby Rains and Yakima Base. Base Member Bill Millard has been commissioned Captain and COB, recognizing his diligent efforts, time and talents during her construction.

What an excellent addition to the USSVI fleet!

NEWS-03: Cheyenne Sub Vets Base Chartered
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 3/12/2012
Congratulations to Danny McHugh, Base Commander of the new Cheyenne Sub Vets Base and to his crew, located in Cheyenne, WY, with a shout out to Ron Martini, Base Cdr of Wyoming Base in Sheridan WY for his assistance in getting it up and running.

This was Dist Cdr Ron Star's first new base, and Western Region Director Jim Dunn must be mighty pleased.

BZ to all!

NEWS-04: Doug Smay Base Chartered in San Diego CA
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 3/12/2012
Congratulations to Rocky Rockers, Base Commander and his crew of the newly chartered Doug Smay Base, meeting at the Sub Base at Ballast Point, San Diego, CA.

This new base has a number of WWII Sub Vets in it, and the active force members at Ballast Point treat them very nice.

Also appreciation for helping with the startup goes to T Michael Bircumshaw, Natl Cdr, Len Heiselt, District Commander, and Bob Bissonette, BC of San Diego Base.

Western Region Director Jim Dunn sends a BZ out to District Cdr Len Heiselt for a job well done.

3-12-2012 Submarine Officers’ Birthday Ball in the Pacific Northwest


1 March 2012

Dear Mr. Borgmann,

I would like to extend an invitation for you and the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. to join the 2012 Submarine Officers’ Birthday Ball in the Pacific Northwest.

The ball will be held on 21 April at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Bangor Plaza. Social hour begins at 1700 with the event officially starting at 1800.

My point of contact is LT Chen Chang. He can be reached at (360) 396-6761 or at I graciously await your response

Sincerely yours,


Commanding Officer
Naval Submarine Support Center Bangor

United States Submarine Veterans Inc.
Frederick W. Borgmann

PO Box 3870
Silverdale, WA 98383-3870


updated 3-9-2012 Deterrent Park Up Date Since the October 2011 brick installation, eight sponsors have donated 19 engraved bricks to Deterrent Park.  They will be installed, with other donated bricks, in May 2012.  These sponsors are Barton, Davison, Aiello(2), Kolbeck(2), Briggs, Langeliers, Roth(10) and Sullivan.


Bremerton Base E-board and the Pacific Northwest Submarine Heritage Association have approved special engravings the on missile deck of the full scale replica of USS WOODROW WILSON (SSBN 624)'s sail and upper rudder honoring the World war II Submarine Force Medal of Honor recipients.  It will be enclosed and centered in 5 rows, the middle row will be M1.  Those engravings, brick applications/donations on order, plus any others received by April 15, 2012 are planned for installation in May, 2012.






An engraved brick for a loved one that served his/her country could be an everlasting memory.  You may want to consider one or more for gifts for other occasions.  All the Park information you may want to know about the Park and an order form are online. (And the donation is IRS deductable.)


3-9-2012 SUBVETS Anniversary Celebration

From John “Gumba” Carcioppolo

Each year during the first weekend in May, SUBVETS Groton Base Celebrates the Anniversary of the incorporation and birth of USSVI. The three day event is about camaraderie, good times with Shipmates, and returning to your roots in the Submarine Capitol of the World, Groton CT.

The 48th Anniversary Celebration is scheduled for 3- 5 May 2012. The weekend’s events are open to all SUBVETS and their guests. SUBVETS come from all over the country, and you never know who you are going to see there.

Here is the schedule of the weekend’s events:

Scholarship Golf Tournament is scheduled rain or shine for Thursday 3 May. (See Attached Flyer)
SUBVETS Anniversary Luncheon is scheduled for Thursday 3 May
Return to Submarine School Is scheduled for Friday 04 May 08:30 am, and includes a Basic Submarine School Graduation Ceremony, Submarine School tours, and lunch at SUBSCHOOL.
Welcome Aboard Reception The Welcome Aboard Reception will be Friday 04 May starting at 6:00 pm.
Submarine Tour is scheduled for Saturday morning 05 May 09:00 am and is strictly dependent on SUBASE security conditions and Submarine availability; it can be cancelled without notice.
Tolling of the Boats Ceremony Saturday afternoon 05 May 1:00 pm. SUBVETS WWII National Submarine Memorial East, Groton CT. There is no cost and this is open to the general public..
Anniversary Banquet Dinner Dance will be held at the Port and Starboard Banquet Room in New London and will begin with a social period and cash bar at 5:30 pm on 05 May.

All information about the SUBVETS 48th Anniversary Celebration is located at or by contacting Groton Base Commander John “Gumba” Carcioppolo at or (860) 514 – 7064.


3-8-2012 AS On-line.  Shipmates, Your new edition (2012-1) electronic American Submariner is posted on line at Select "USSVI Magazine" and read or download after you log in. I wish you all a great read.

Updated 3/7/2012 SUBVET NEWS

NEWS-01: Call for 2012 Nominations for National and Region Elections - Apr 30 2012 deadline for submissions.

Submitted by: Pat Householder on 3/3/2012
In accordance with the requirement of our Constitution & Bylaws, The Nominations Committee Chairman, Patrick Householder, announces this call for 2012 National Election nominations for the following offices.

1.National Commander
2.National Senior Vice Commander
3.National Junior Vice Commander
4.National Secretary
5.National Treasurer
6.NE Region Director
7.SE Region Director
8.Central Region Director
9.Western Region Director
The nominations for the Region Director positions are included for convenience in this procedure.

Any member in good standing may nominate any other member in good standing for any elected National Office, provided that the Nominee qualification for National Office shall be in accordance with Constitution Article XI Section 1 paragraph (b) and the nomination is accompanied by a letter from the Nominee indicating his willingness to accept the nomination and willingness to serve if elected.

The prerequisite for National Office is that

•A Nominee must be a Regular Member in good standing a minimum of thirty consecutive months.
•Nominees for Senior and Junior Vice-Commander must have completed at least two years as a Member of the Board of Directors. (This includes all District Commanders, past and present, who have met the two years in office requirement.)
•Nominees for National Commander must have completed at least two years as a voting member of the Board of Directors by the time they take office as National Commander (NC). (This includes all National Officers and the District Commander of the Year, past and present, who have met the two years as a voting member of the board requirement.)
The term of office for all National officers will be two years or until a successor is elected.

The nomination must be received by Patrick Householder, Nomination Committee Chair on or by April 30th 2012 by email at or by mail at 25003 SE 146th St, Issaquah WA 98027.

NEWS-02: Your Nominations for 2012 National Awards Recognition are requested.
Submitted by: John Stanford - Awards Chairman on 3/3/2012
The Purpose of the Awards Recognition program is to recognize those members who have performed above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of USSVI and in living up to the intent and purposes of our national creed.

THE USSVI AWARDS MANUAL (linked below) is for members and bases to use to submit nominees for the 2012 USSVI Award Program. Award Nominations may be submitted starting now through APRIL 30, 2012.

The Golden Anchor and Newsletter award criteria sections have changed from last year.

All Award nominations (with exception of Newsletter Award) must be received by the National Awards Chairman by APRIL 30, 2012.

May 15 2012 is the deadline for submission of Newsletters for Newsletter of the Year Award.

NEWS-03: Sub plan expected to boost Hawaii's economy

Submitted by: Office on 3/4/2012
HONOLULU (WTW) — A plan by the U.S. Navy to base more submarines at Pearl Harbor is expected to bring a boost to Hawaii's economy.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's office says that over the next two years, up to five submarines will be added to Hawaii's 19-boat fleet, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported Saturday.

About 90 percent of the work done at the Navy's shipyard is on submarines, the newspaper reported. With a total of about 4,900 employees and an economic impact of $907 million a year, officials say each additional submarine will pump millions of dollars into the local economy in salaries, spending and repair work.

"Submarine work is good work. It's the kind of jobs you want — well-paid, highly technical jobs," said Robert Lillis, president of the International Association of Machinists Local 1998, which represents mechanics in Hawaii's private ship repair industry.

Among the additions planned are two more Virginia-class attack submarines, one in fiscal year 2013 and another in 2014, Inouye's office said.

The additional submarines will expand what is already the greatest concentration of Navy submarines in the Pacific. The Navy said no submarine retirements are planned out of Pearl Harbor over the next two fiscal years.

The planned increase in the number of submarines comes as the Navy also plans to reduce Pearl Harbor's surface fleet from nine from 11 ships. But Inouye's office says the additional submarines will increase the total number of ships and subs based at the harbor.

NEWS-01: Royal Navy Submariners Visit Charleston Base
Submitted by: Pat Householder on 2/27/2012
Four Royal Navy Submarine Veterans Visit Charleston Base for Feb 2012 Social. They were in Charleston to attend the Huntley memorial service.

For pictures, visit the link below...

NEWS-02: Scholarship Application Request
Submitted by: James A Fox on 3/1/2012
This the last Call for scholarship application request which will be honored up to 15 March 2012. Any request afterwards will be turned down. Remember also that ALL Scholarship Applications must be in the Scholarship Chairman hands on 16 April 2012, a Monday. The 15 is a Sunday this year and would be hard for the post office or package courier to deliver on Sunday. Do not wait till the last minute to mail or ship your Scholarship package. You have any questions email me at or call me at
1-860-334-6457 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-860-334-6457 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Paul Wm. Orstad, NSC

2-22-2012 Gearing Up for 2012 Fireworks Sale Base Fireworks Sale Manager Mike Sullivan suggests that we join the TNT club to help the base make the most out of our  hard work, selling fireworks.  No matter whether you work the sale or buy fireworks, or not participate, you can still help.  Join the TNT Club on-line.  Besides their literature you will be sent a $10 discount certificate by snail mail and also one by e-mail for purchases totaling over $50.  If you do not use them, turn both of them over to Mike and he will ensure that those credits are made to people that are buying at the fireworks stand, and it will not effect our bottom line, but will be used to encourage buyers to purchase over the $50 mark.  Go to and sign up.  The fireworks sale is our primary money maker that supports base functions and our charitable donations, like scholarships. Help Please!

2-2-2012  The 2012 Lt William “Willie” Spoon Memorial Scholarship Program is in progress. Eight $1000.00 scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors & college students who are children or grandchildren of local submarine parents, grandparents or members of the Bremerton Base. The awards will be made at the June 19th General Membership Meeting. Applications are available at the National Office in Silverdale (open 6-to noon weekdays) or by contacting Scholarship Chair John Gardner via e-mail at Applications must be submitted by 5 May 2012.

Also the annual Lt William “Willie” Spoon Memorial Scholarship raffle is underway and members should receive their tickets soon. SELL EM! The Grand prize is $300 and will by drawn on June 19th. Other prizes will also be drawn during the following week.

1-30-2012 Dolphin Scholarship Foundation
Dolphin Scholarship Foundation currently sponsors 127 students, who each receive an annual scholarship of $3,400. Each recipient may potentially receive a total of $13,600 for up to eight semesters of undergraduate study. The number of new awards granted each year is determined by graduation/attrition of current Dolphin Scholars and donations. Dolphin Scholarship Foundation is proud to have awarded over eight million dollars to more than 1,000 students attending universities and colleges through the United States.

Completed applications and all required documents must be on premises by March 15.

For more information see:

Dolphin Scholarship Foundation Calendars are available for order at:


1-28-2012 Annual Award Nominations Base Commanders and POC's, please give this the widest distribution within your Bases. Also, if you've had changes in POC's, please let me know so I can change my email lists.


I hope you all had a great entry into the New Year and are ready to move forward in 2012.

I speak to you here tonight.....oops, wrong speech.....

Within our organization there are members who give tirelessly of their time, talents and often, own funds, to create interesting, fruitful and memorable activities that will benefit everyone at the National, District and Base levels.

One of the ways we can recognize those efforts is through the award program.

We had nice awards for a Base and a few Newsletters last year in District 4 but I know the potential is out there for more.

One of the most significant ways to honor those who help with these successes is by making recommendations and submitting nominations for awards in a timely manner.

There is an "Awards Handbook" on the website, giving details on each award, suggested criteria for them and lists of those who've won them in the past.

Every member has the right to submit a nomination for any award. I'd like to encourage everyone, specially Base Commanders, to take the time necessary to 'bone up' on the award process and submit recommendations for those who are doing exemplary work within your district or base.

Award nominations are due by April 30th, 2012.
Newsletter of the Year submissions are due by May 15th, 2012.
Contact information for whom and where to submit nominations is also on the website

I will be submitting nominations for a few awards concerned with Bases and Base Commanders, but you know who does what within your Base better than I.

So, make the effort and give recognition where it is deserved. Let's get a few more awards for our District and the Western region.

I have had the honor to judge award competitions in the past and know for a fact that there are members in District 4 that could easily have beaten out those who received them last year. Make your voice heard and at the same time honor those who sacrifice time with their families and other activities to make meetings productive, enjoyable and worthy of their time.


John Mansfield
Western District 4 Commander
253 202 6433 (Cell)
360 569 0507 ( cell coverage)





The following Members are recognized for their generous donations to the Base General Fund.
Rig for Dive Periscope Depth

Battle Stations

Deep Submergence Unit Citation
$1 - $19.99 $20.00 - $29.99

$30.00 - $49.99

$50.00 - $99.00 $100.00 +





George Schaefer

Tudor Davis

Lynn Ryan

Anonymous-WWII Vet

Updated: Mar 20,, 2012. Thanks Shipmates


SOUP DOWN Lunch Every Friday a Different Establishment.


Go to Calendar for schedule

Join the Fun, click for Images

Ltr of 2012 appreciation/request for 2012 gift certificate


Gertrude Check
Founder & Editor


Other News of Interest to Submariners


HMCS Victoria Conducts Successful Torpedo Trials Off Vancouver Island, Mar 19, 2012

Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine (HMCS) Victoria conducted a series of successful weapon system trials, including multiple firings of the exercise version of the MK48 Heavyweight Torpedo at Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges in Nanoose Bay, B.C. last week.

“As the submarine fleet achieves steady-state it will be ready to act decisively at sea in defence of Canada, when and where needed,” said Captain (Navy) Luc Cassivi, Director Canadian Submarine Force. "These trials represent a major milestone for the Victoria-class submarine program as Victoria is the first submarine in the fleet to fire a MK48 Heavyweight exercise Torpedo."

These torpedo firings are part of the technical and operational tests of Victoria’s weapons systems and additional weapons system trials are scheduled for the spring of 2012. In the exercise version of the torpedo, the warhead module is replaced with electronics for gathering test data.

Victoria also participated in training with a naval task group while off the west coast of Vancouver Island, focussing on coordinated anti-submarine warfare tactics. Equipment and crew trials will continue throughout March as part of Victoria's program to being declared fully operational later this summer.

The submarine fleet will achieve steady state in 2013; at which point Canada will have three of four submarines continuously available for operations. As part of the ongoing submarine operational cycle, the fourth submarine will be with industry, undergoing necessary deep maintenance. Submarines are an essential component of a modern, first-class Navy with a balanced set of capabilities that can act in defence of Canada and Canadian interests above and below the sea.

RIMPAC's Naval War Games Will Feature High-Tech Arms
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 18

Rim of the Pacific war games scheduled to start in late June off Hawaii will bring thousands of sailors, tests of a submarine-launched unmanned aerial vehicle and blue-laser underwater communications, and a "green" emphasis with the largest government purchase of biofuel in history.

Hoteliers are expecting an influx of business, with past RIMPAC exercises adding more than $40 million in contracts and spending on shore, the Navy said.

"RIMPAC will bring a much-needed boost to our economy and Hawaii is fortunate to host these exercises," said Jerry Gibson, area vice president of Hilton Hawaii. "We definitely will see a huge influx of patrons to our restaurants, lounges and retail shops during the exercises and we look forward to welcoming them in June."

David Carey, president and CEO of Outrigger Enterprises Group, said companies like his do several million dollars worth of business as a result of RIMPAC, but that business is unpredictable due to security concerns and limited information disclosed as to when ships will be at sea and in port. reported that this summer's RIMPAC, from June 29 to Aug. 7, will have representation from Australia, India, Indonesia, Canada, Colombia, South Korea, Malaysia, Tonga, Japan and Russia. Russia says it will send a destroyer (the Bystry), a rescue tug and a tanker.

A New Zealand press report said that nation also had been invited to RIMPAC.

RIMPAC is held every two years in Hawaii waters.

In 2010 about 25 Navy ships and submarines were involved in the world's largest multinational maritime exercise, including the carrier Ronald Reagan. Fourteen nations participated, with 20,000 personnel, 32 ships, five submarines and more than 170 aircraft.

An official with the Navy's 3rd Fleet in San Diego, which runs RIMPAC, said details of this summer's exercise won't be released until April 23.

However, officials have talked about some aspects of the upcoming war games, while contract awards have given an indication of some of the testing.

The Pentagon announced in December the largest government purchase of biofuel in history - 450,000 gallons for $12 million - to fuel RIMPAC ships and aircraft in a large-scale test of the cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said during a news conference that the biodiesel would be used during RIMPAC for what's been dubbed the "Great Green Fleet" aircraft carrier strike group.

"We're going to have the entire strike group, aircraft and ships, sailing on a 50/50 blend of biofuel and diesel for the ships, biofuel and (aviation) gas for the aircraft," Mabus said.

The Navy said in December that it was awarding a contract to test submarine "over the horizon" surveillance capabilities during RIMPAC, using an unmanned aerial vehicle launched underwater via the sub's trash disposal unit.

A "submerged launch vehicle" is ejected underwater, rises to the surface and releases a Switchblade remotely piloted or autonomous UAV.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, meanwhile, wants to test at RIMPAC an underwater bluelaser system allowing submerged submarines to communicate with aircraft.

A 2010 announcement by DARPA said the Tactical Relay Information Network, or TRITON, would be tested to validate improvements in blue laser communications at speed and depth.


Second-Hand Subs A Bad Deal For Canada, Says British MP
The Chronicle Herald, Mar 15, 2012

A British MP says the U.K. knew there were problems with the submarines it sold Canada in 1998.

Mike Hancock, the Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, has told the CBC that Canada got a bad deal on the four Victoria-class submarines.

The member of Britain's coalition government has tabled questions in the Westminster Parliament about the deal.

Canada spent $750 million on the second-hand, glitch-prone submarines, which have faced a series of costly setbacks since their purchase.

Technical hurdles converting British systems, a fatal fire aboard one vessel and accidents have meant the country currently has no combat-ready submarines.

Hancock told the CBC he's appalled the U.K. went through such a deal with an ally.

He added that Canada might want to consider asking for its money back.

The Royal Canadian Navy is currently conducting a submarine life-extension analysis to see what it would take to keep the current boats operating.

The Civil War

Some really interesting view points by others at the end of this bunch of pictures...  Hank Hollis Sends


What It's Like To Live On Nuclear Submarine HMS Victorious
As Royal Navy subs prepare to let women join crew, our reporter takes her maiden voyage, Mar 11, 2012

The sailor stands in front of me... looking his new shipmate up and down.

Then, pointing at my handbag, he says: “Ma’am, I’m afraid I need you to give me your perfume please. And your deodorant. And your mobile phone. Thank you.”

Bag emptied, he glances at my shoulder-length locks and adds: “And your hair really needs to be tied back.”

It sounds like a robbery at sea. In fact I’ve just -become the first ¬woman to receive orders aboard a -nuclear ¬submarine.

Three months ago Defence Secretary Philip Hammond ¬announced the lifting of the ban on females serving on subs.

And the first woman captain will take ¬command of a Royal Navy frigate in just eight weeks.

The Sunday Mirror was given exclusive access to a submarine to see what lies in store for the new wave of ¬female recruits.

I join the 160-strong male crew on HMS Victorious, one of four Royal Navy subs that carry Britain’s nuclear deterrent, Trident ballistic missiles.

She spends three months at a time sneaking around the ocean at walking pace, her exact position known to only a ¬handful of ¬people. If another ¬vessel comes near, she is undetectable and slinks off into the abyss.

Within minutes of boarding, I am left in no doubt of the life-or-death nature of the crew’s job.

After being led to the control room, senior members of the sub’s crew point me towards a safe.

Inside it is another safe. And ¬inside that it is a handwritten letter from David Cameron to the boat’s captain, Commander John Livesey.

It can only be opened if the PM dies in a nuclear attack and contains his orders for what to do next. No one knows what they are...

Hardly surprising, then, that safety is an obsession. And I soon learn why I was “stripped” of all my girlie ¬essentials.

Sailors cannot use aerosols ¬because they release chemicals that cannot be removed by its air--conditioning unit. Lashings of perfume and aerosol deodorants would contaminate the atmosphere, which is constantly monitored.

My phone is locked away because if there was a gas leak, a spark from a mobile could light it.

My hairstyle comes under ¬scrutiny when I learn how to put on a huge rubber oxygen mask and plug it into the sub’s ¬emergency air supply.

The sailors were concerned the hair might slow down putting on a mask in an emergency, so I must tie it back.

There’s no make-up or nail varnish either. You’re there to fight for your country, not fiddle with eyeliner.

HMS Victorious is a ¬claustrophobic warren of corridors, messes and cabins, with steep ladders -linking the decks. It’s a war machine, not a cruise liner, so nothing is signposted.

Messes are far too small for ¬everyone to sit down at the same time, so sailors grab their meals then move on. It’s no surprise not everyone on board knows each other.

“You see someone towards the end of a patrol and think, ‘who on Earth are you?’” says Able Seaman John “Neep” Edward, 33.

“You can start a ¬conversation with a friend at the -beginning of a patrol, not see them for five or six weeks, then pick it up again where you left off.”

The only ¬contact the crew have with  the ¬outside world is in the form of two 60-word “family gram” -messages a week from home. They cannot reply as a transmission could reveal the sub’s position.

“You have to treat a family gram like a postcard. It’s more to help morale. It’s to know life’s still going on,” says Petty ¬Officer Michael “Knocka” White, 41.

No one is told if a loved one dies until HMS Victorious returns to port. She ¬cannot surface to let them leave for fear of being detected. “It’s a 24/7 commitment,” says Lieutenant David Boulton, 28. “You just have to get on with it.”

In the sleeping messes, dozens of bunks are stacked three high, with an aisle just wide enough to walk down. Drawing the narrow bed’s curtain is the only privacy the junior ranks get.

A 15-bed ¬female mess with two toilets and a shower will be built in HMS ¬Victorious by 2015, when ¬women will make up about 10 per cent of the crew.

As the only woman on board I get a spare -officer’s ¬cabin with two bunks, a sink and a desk the size of a ¬laptop.

The ¬conditions are so cramped I have to do a three-point turn to get from the sink to the ¬doorway.

During my three days on board with no sunlight I soon slip into this top- secret world. There is no TV and both alcohol and cigar¬ettes are banned, as is -touching a member of the opposite sex.

Lying in my bunk at night I ¬constantly hear people quietly ¬moving and working around me.

There is the distant laughter of the night watch, early morning ¬intercom broadcasts as the boat surfaces and a clatter from the ¬galley as chefs bake the day’s bread.

To keep up with demand for clean uniforms, two washing machines churn non-stop, getting through 160kg of Navy-issue washing ¬powder per patrol.

Crew often pack their own floral conditioning tabs “to make ¬everything smell a bit ¬sweeter” – a bit optimistic given the vessel’s stench of machinery.

To purify sea water for drinking it is heated into steam by the ¬nuclear reactor which powers the sub, then cooled, with the salt ¬removed.

A submarine the size of HMS Victorious can make up to 10,000 gallons of water a day. Dirty water is stored in bilge tanks which are regularly emptied.

But on one of my days on board, the water purifying process has to be halted. All I get to sort out my armpits is a small basin of water... a shame given that my smellies are still under lock and key.

But in the end it isn’t missing home comforts that gets to me. It’s all those steps. To reach the hatches to get outside you have to climb ¬terrifying-looking cold metal ladders.

And using them requires the use of shoulder and leg muscles no exercise class has ever reached.

Luckily I’d been warned to bring big sturdy boots with rubber soles.

They come in handy to meet the men with one of the most important jobs on the submarine... the watch keepers, who stand on the bridge when the submarine is on the surface.

To reach them I climb a long slog of three ladders. My ¬reward at the top is an icy blast of wind and a 360-degree view of the sea with white-topped waves and small ¬Scottish islands in the distance.

“If it’s really bad and waves are crashing over the top of the conning tower, we have to be harnessed in or we could be swept away,” says watch navigator Lieutenant ¬Anthony “Ginge” ¬Drummond, 28.

Nearly everyone works defence watches of six hours on, six hours off, seven days a week without breaks.

Sitting with the crew, I ¬immediately feel part of the team. Before ¬boarding I’d read comments suggesting ¬women might not be ¬welcome.

“Hope they don’t ask them to reverse   a ¬sub,” said one blogger.

“Not sure how they will   cope ¬without a Tesco at the ¬bottom of sea,”   ¬another wrote.

But the men on HMS Victorious are all relaxed about the arrival of women.

What matters to people like Chief Petty Officer Robert “Rab” Burns, 46, is that the job gets done... safely. “I don’t have a problem with women starting, they’re entitled to do the job,” he says.


 “They’ll be just as good – and just as bad – as us.”

Commander Livesey, 40, points out that women already serve in US, Norwegian, Danish and ¬Spanish boats: “I think it will only be an issue if we make it one.”

Any concerns that these guys might not quite be telling the truth is dispelled as I leave the boat.

As I scramble up the ladder my leg gets caught and I fall flat on my face at the feet of the commander.

But my Bridget Jones moment isn’t met with laughs or mickey-taking. Instead he simply puts his head to one side, smiles politely and ¬salutes me on my way...

“Safe onward journey, Ali.”

Navy Thinning Forcing Out Thousands Of Sailors
By Corinne Reilly, The Virginian-Pilot

The day that Amanda Humburg's husband found out he would be involuntarily discharged from the Navy, his command sent him home early to give him time to absorb the shock. He walked through the door of their house in Chesapeake with a blank expression on his face and a pile of papers in his arms that explained what came next - severance pay, six months of health coverage, free advice on how to write the first resume of his life. Read the whole story.

Submarine officer on Official Secrets charge
Royal Navy submariner accused of passing information that could be deemed useful to an enemy of state
The Guardian, March 8

A Royal Navy submariner appeared before Westminster magistrates' court, London, on Thursday charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act. Petty Officer Edward Devenney, 29, is accused of communicating information on 28 January that could be deemed to be useful to an enemy of the state. He was arrested in Plymouth, Devon on Tuesday morning before being charged on Wednesday night.

Devenney, of Northern Ireland, appeared in custody at Westminster magistrates' court.

Wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, he confirmed his name and date of birth.

He was represented in court by Lord Carlile QC. Five plain clothes police officers were also present.

Devenney did not enter a plea to the charge of disclosing information gained in contravention of section one of the Official Secrets Act 1911 by communicating information to another person which is calculated to be or might be or is intended to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy.

He was remanded in custody by district judge Daphne Wickham to return to the Old Bailey on 14 June, who told him: "You are being sent to the central criminal court for your trial."

His application for bail was refused.


Subs Ahoy
Honolulu Star Advertiser, March 3

Up to five new submarines are scheduled to be based at Pearl Harbor, offsetting an expected decline in surface ships Navy plans over the next two years call for an increase in the number of submarines based at Pearl Harbor or coming for shipyard work, with up to five more subs being added to Hawaii’s 19-boat fleet, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s office said.

Among the additions planned are two more Virginia-class attack submarines — one in fiscal year 2013 and another in 2014, Inouye’s office said.

Over the next two years, Pearl Harbor’s surface fleet total will dip to nine from 11 ships, but the additional submarine presence would make up for it, with 30 ships and subs combined, growing to 31 next year and 33 the year after, the Hawaii Democrat’s office said.

The Navy gave assurances that there will be no negative effects on the shipyard workload over the next 10 years, Inouye’s staff said.

Each ship and submarine home-port change means millions of dollars to the local economy in salaries, spending and repair work. Robert Lillis, president of the International Association of Machinists Local 1998, which represents mechanics in Hawaii’s private ship repair industry, said, “Submarine work is good work. It’s the kind of jobs you want — well-paid, highly technical jobs.”
But he’s also concerned about a projected reduction in the number of surface ships at Pearl Harbor.

About 90 percent of the work done at the shipyard here is on submarines. The Navy yard is the largest industrial employer in the state, with a combined civilian and military workforce of more than 4,900 and an economic impact of $907 million a year.

Private contractor BAE Systems Hawaii Shipyards performs surface ship jobs for the Navy at Drydock 4 using a workforce here of about 650.

The ship-basing plan discussed by Inouye’s office “is good for the Navy yard, but it’s not good for the private sector because they don’t do submarine work,” Lillis said.

Two more 377-foot Virginia-class submarines, at a cost of more than $2 billion apiece, would be added to the three already here: the USS Hawaii, USS Texas and USS North Carolina.

The additions would further build up in Hawaii what is already the greatest concentration of Navy submarines in the Pacific. The Navy said no submarine retirements are planned out of Pearl Harbor over the next two fiscal years.

“What the submarines (provide) is a forward-deployed presence that’s not visible, and it’s part of our air-sea battle strategy, which is about having an invisible force that’s capable of moving forward close to targets in the theater and not being necessarily susceptible to (military threats from) China,” said Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies in Honolulu.

The submarines make port calls, which makes their presence known. However, Glosserman said allies in Asia and the Pacific would prefer an even more visible U.S. military presence as a sign of commitment to the region.

The Virginia-class submarines, the Navy’s first major combat ship designed for a post-cold War environment, have six side-mounted sonar arrays, plus arrays in the bow and sail, improving the ability to operate in the littorals, or coastal waters.

Sub commanders say the big question used to be how fast and deep a submarine could go, but what’s most important now is how slow and shallow they can go in the littorals, where foreign diesel electric subs operate.

Inouye’s office said it was not sure which two new Virginia-class subs would be added at Pearl Harbor.

The Navy plan for Hawaii calls for the retirement of the cruiser Port Royal and an unidentified frigate in 2013, and the addition of one Virginia-class submarine and two other subs — one from Groton, Conn., and the other from Guam, the senator’s office said.

Groton has 16 submarines that are a combination of older Los Angeles-class and newer Virginia-class attack submarines, while Guam will soon have three attack subs.

Fiscal year 2014 would bring a new destroyer, the Michael Murphy, named after a Pearl Harbor-based SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005; the retirement of the cruiser Chosin; and arrival of two subs: one Virginia-class and one unidentified from Groton, according to Inouye’s office.


The Costs Of Modernization
CQ, March 5

The years are starting to catch up with the military’s nuclear-capable submarines, bombers and long-range missiles, each of which has retirement in sight. Replacing them requires a costly investment starting now that could ultimately disrupt the budgets of the Navy and Air Force, forcing the Pentagon to make difficult decisions about its spending priorities. But few within the Obama administration or on Capitol Hill are willing to openly discuss the prospects of forgoing that investment — at least not yet.

Efforts to modernize the triad, which are still only in their infancy, come in a politicized environment exacerbated by planned reductions of $487 billion in the Defense Department’s budget over the next decade. Tensions heightened in recent weeks after word leaked that the administration is considering deep cuts to the nuclear arsenal — perhaps slashing the number of strategic warheads from an estimated 2,152 to between 300 and 1,100.

That would bring the U.S. arsenal to as much as 80 percent below the levels mandated under the arms-reduction treaty with Russia known as New START, prompting backlash from Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona and other Republicans who negotiated a deal with the White House over ratification of the treaty in late 2010 for an additional $4.1 billion to be spent on modernization over five years.

“I don’t think it comes as a surprise to you that there are a good number of people on my side of the aisle that feel that the promises are not being kept,” Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a hearing last week.

Despite the plans to reduce the arsenal, the air, land and sea delivery systems — the so-called triad — so far remain protected from big cuts. Of the three legs, the most daunting modernization tab the military faces is for developing and buying a replacement for the Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine. The first of the fleet’s 14 Ohio-class ships will retire in 2027, 42 years after it entered the water and 12 years later than originally planned.

Navy officials launched the submarine replacement program in 2010, investing nearly $500 million that year to begin research and development. The service originally expected to spend $29.4 billion from 2011 to 2020 to complete development and begin production, with the aim of fielding the first of 12 new subs by 2029. But Pentagon leaders, faced with a constrained budget, have opted to delay development of the submarine by two years, saving $600 million in fiscal 2013 and $4.3 billion over the next five years.

The schedule slip means that there will be a lag between the retirement of the first Ohio-class sub and the fielding of the new one — a risk the Defense Department calls “manageable.” The extra time will help the Navy keep costs under control, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told the House Armed Services Committee last month. “I can assure you, we’re still committed to getting that online,” he added.

Navy officials, although supportive of the program, have been candid about their concerns that the costs of the new nuclear submarine could one day consume the service’s entire shipbuilding budget, particularly if they soar as they often do on high-tech programs.

Navy Secretary Raymond E. Mabus told House lawmakers on Feb. 16 that service officials have cut costs from about $7 billion per sub to $5 billion. The procurement price tag, however, doesn’t include the total life-cycle costs of the program (which include money to sustain and maintain the boats through 2075), estimated at $347 billion. “When that class is being built, it will clearly have a major impact on the rest of our shipbuilding program,” Mabus told the panel.

Next up is the nascent program to replace the Air Force’s venerable nuclear-capable bomber fleet. The service currently has about 85 B-52s (with the goal of cutting that to 76 bombers in the coming years) and 20 B-2s in its inventory. The B-52s entered the force in 1961 but have been modernized repeatedly over the years. The B-2, meanwhile, first flew in 1997.

Both bombers could remain in the fleet in significant numbers until about 2035 or later, but Air Force officials are already investing in a new bomber capable of both conventional and nuclear missions. They plan to buy between 80 and 100 of the bombers, at an estimated cost of $550 million per plane. Lawmakers added $100 million to the Air Force’s $197 million request for the program for fiscal 2012. The service has requested $300 million for fiscal 2013 and plans to spend $6.3 billion on the new bomber in the next five years.

The military’s plans for its 1970s-era Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) arsenal are less clear. The Air Force invested more than $7 billion from 2001 to 2010 to extend the service lives of the Minuteman IIIs to about 2030. The Pentagon has not yet decided on a replacement for the Minuteman IIIs but plans to spend $26 million through fiscal 2014 to study alternatives for a replacement program. Assuming that the military wants a new missile in place by 2030, procurement dollars for a follow-on ICBM would come just as the Navy and Air Force begin big investments in the submarine and bomber. Back to Top

Female officers kicked off subs in fraud probe
Navy Times, March 2

Three female supply officers were pulled from submarine crews within months of joining the force for allegedly committing fraud prior to checking in at their boats, a Submarine Forces spokeswoman confirmed Friday. These three were among the eight Supply Corps lieutenants that reported to the submarine force, a cadre chosen to be role models for the younger female submariners reporting straight from training to the previously all-male force.

“The alleged actions under investigation involve financial misconduct and in no way involved their performance while assigned to their current operational units,” said Submarine Forces spokeswoman Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, who explained the allegations concerned fraudulent travel claims while on temporary assigned duty.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation began in February, Rousselow said, but she declined to comment further on the nature of the allegations or who had first reported them because the investigation is still open.

The three reliefs are a setback for the ongoing integration of the undersea force. But officials characterized the disruption as “minimal” — pointing out this is not the first time supply lieutenants had been removed from subs — and that the larger effort is still on track.
“Overall, the integration of women onboard submarines continues to progress smoothly and the reassignment of the three Supply Corps officers will have a minimal impact on the integration process,” Rousselow said.

Each of the female Supply Corps lieutenants volunteered for sub duty and had been vetted. Once chosen for sub duty, they attended the 10-week-long Submarine Officer Basic Course, Rousselow said. Each lieutenant was to report to the sub along with two female submariners. In total, there were eight of these groups, one each for the Blue and Gold crews of the four subs selected: the ballistic-missile submarines Wyoming and Maine, and the guided-missile subs Georgia and Ohio.

None of the female officers had been taken to mast as of Friday, Rousselow said. She declined to release their names or the subs they had been assigned to, citing privacy concerns. They are being reassigned to Submarine Group 10 in Kings Bay, Ga., she said.


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