Skip to comments.Major submarine accidents remain isolated but costly
Posted on 03/31/2014 3:40:25 AM PDT by Timber Rattler
When the periscope of the USS Montpelier rose from the water during training off the coast of Florida on Oct. 13, 2012, the submarine crew saw a Navy cruiser approaching a mere 100 to 200 yards away.
The cruiser USS San Jacinto tried to reverse, but it was too late.
The Montpelier-San Jacinto collision was one of 906 submarine accidents from late 2004 through 2013, according to data obtained from the Naval Safety Center by The Day through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The submarine's commanding officer was relieved of duty, and the costly mistake also led to changes in the way the submarine force trains, plans for, and executes complex maneuvers.
Both the senator and the congressman, however, surmised that the submarine force's decision, around the same time as the increase in incidents, to extend some deployments beyond six months could be a factor in the 2011 spike. That decision was made to compensate for fewer submarines in the fleet.
If submariners are at sea longer, without time to refresh, Courtney said, "it would just seem, intuitively, that would increase the potential, if for no other reason than fatigue, the potential for problems." But, Courtney said, he did not have a way to quantify that.
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
Yea, this is a Connecticut focused article and the Senator and a congressman from there are at it.
The Silent Service is an especially unique bunch and they look for a certain type of individual to recruit for this specific reason. Just because their cruises are a bit longer gives me no indication that fatigue would be the primary cause. I would tend to think it has more to do with the environment they are asked to operate in as their missions are now replete with all sorts of social experiments and not focused on the prime mission directive.
“The submarine’s commanding officer was relieved of duty, and the costly mistake also led to changes in the way the submarine force trains, plans for, and executes complex maneuvers.”
It bothers me that they so frequently punish the Captain and often the Captain had nothing to do with it. I remember writing reports and a standard element that was always required was, “The technicians were retrained to ensure this would not happen again.” Firing the Captain is reminiscent of (oh, and we fired the Captain so this will never happen again.)
I can’t remember the name of the WWII admiral, maybe Nimitz. He badly damaged a ship in his pre-war career and it was his fault. Had he been sacked for it he’d not have been available for the war.
There is so much invested in an officer we should really think hard before relieving them from command even if they did make a mistake. It’s reminiscent of those ludicrous zero tolerance debacles carried out by schools where they expel a kid for nibbling a pop tart into a gun.
It’s a stupid mistake. A full 360 sonar sweep is always done before coming to periscope depth. Someone needs more training.
OTOH, the big-kahuna of grounding incidents was when, in 1950, the battleship Missouri ran into a sandbar, and was stuck for TWO WEEKS
“Nimitz ran a destroyer aground. He was then an ensign.”
People who never make mistakes never take chances. And, they never learn from their mistake. When McNamara was president Ford a subordinate made a $150k mistake. A reporter asked if he was going to fire the man and McNamara replied, “What, and give somebody else the benefit of a $150k education?”
—OTOH, the big-kahuna of grounding incidents was when, in 1950, the battleship Missouri ran into a sandbar, and was stuck for TWO WEEKS—
For the ultra big kahuna of grounding, check out Honda Point.
Take it to periscope depth!
But sir I’m picking up noise.
Don’t but sir me!
Aye Aye skipper.
I had the same thought about the training not only on the Boomers but our whole Military, nobody cares anymore since Obama.
Thanks for the link. I remember reading about that one. I’d never before read that it was attributed to the after-effects of the big Japanese quake. Learn something new every day. I, of course, was referring to the sized of the ship, not the number..(G)
When we were at Pearl Harbor sub base, one of the subs returned home and was immediately covered in tarp and had Marines (I think it was Marines) standing 24 hour guard over it. Turns out we got too close to a Russian ship and damaged our sub. I think it was the Queenfish. That was kept real quiet.
I knew people in my career that were so afraid of making the wrong decision that they were incapable of making any decision. I had an old Master Sergeant who once told me “if you ain’t making mistakes you ain’t leading.”
What he meant was you gotta do something, some of your decisions will turn out wrong but if you got any smarts you will learn and most of your decisions will be correct.
Wasn’t that the Operation Petticoat sub?
It was the Queenfish. I was on the Haddock SSN621 at the time. We relieved the Queenfish which was rammed by the Russians off the port of Vladivostok or Petropavlovsk.
Keep in mind that the only thing that saved Nimitz was that, with the black mark of the grounding very much a part of his permanent personnel record, he had the opportunity and initiative to jump full bore into the emerging field of marine diesel use.
IOW his career was “saved” by a one in a million fluke of timing where he was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a once in a generation opportunity. Without that, his career would have gone nowhere.
I remember doing something slightly dangerous back in my Navy days. My chief asked me what was going to happen if things went wrong. I told him that someone would come up with some policy or program to prevent it from happening again. He wasn't amused, but also had no response to what I said.
It could be fatigue, considering that most shifts are 6 on 6 off. During the 6 off, you do the housework and study study study. Getting your “dolphins” is a big deal and your expected to have them within a year. Weeding out otherwise is/was preferable as you were a safety concern and therefore unreliable.
Fact is, most of the incidents on subs and surface ships are preventable and the fact, too, is if your surface ship is in the Black Sea and you are docking or piloting, if you are the Commanding Officer and you aren’t on the bridge taking control, then you are derelict in your duties. Same for surfacing or periscope depth with a sub. Subs do not surface or come to periscope depth too often and when they do, you better be there directing operations.
That is cut and dry. Is it clear enough?
Don’t forget the grounding of the Enterprise in San Francisco Bay in the 1980s.
Missouri’s Thimball Shoals grounding was, at least, spectacular. 58,000 ton battleship hits a sandbar at around 30 knots. With predictable results.
Apparantly the big difficulty in pulling Mo off (took most of the East Coast’s salvage assets) was that the force of the impact compacted the sand the ship plowed into into ... concrete.
Navy was a dangerous time for my husband. When when we at Fallon NAS he was stung by a scorpion while spotting bombs. He got his foot broken when trying to sumo wrestle a guy in Hawaii. The guy was about 200 lbs larger than my husband and accidentally stood on his foot and picked him up. I could go on. There was nothing my husband wouldn't try.
Everything was hush hush. Don’t know what they called it.
I thought it happened off the Hawaii coast. My husband always said there were Russian schooners and subs all around the islands. I’ll have to ask my husband if he knew that.
Yeah it was. Portions of the movie Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis were filmed with the Queenfish.
This happened in the 70s so probably not operation petticoat.
I am pretty sure the Queenfish ended up in Long Beach at the Naval Shipyard. You could still see some pink paint showing under the chipped and worn mixed paints used to cover it up. It appeared that she was being used to offload waste fuel/oil into and was just docked out of the way by the warehouses by the early 80’s when I saw her.
Unfortunately, the AF turned into risk-adverse office weenies and anyone making a mistake is fired.
The wiki says she was sunk as a target in 1963. The second Queenfish (Sturgeon class) was scrapped in the 90’s in Bremerton.
The wiki says that the pink scenes were the USS Balao. The USS Archerfish for the scenes in standard gray and black, and the Queenfish was only in the opening and closing scenes.
“For the ultra big kahuna of grounding, check out Honda Point.”
Seven destroyers on the rocks during peacetime. The all time clusterfark of US naval navigation.
“Dont forget the grounding of the Enterprise in San Francisco Bay in the 1980s.”
I remember that. I was fresh out of boot camp/A school, standing on the pier waiting for the Enterprise (my first ship) when she got stuck in plain sight of the pier. I spent 3.5 years on her and learned everything I needed to know about painting and floor care.
But more importantly, do people appreciate your abilities as a human night-light?
Archerfish has the credit for the largest warship kill by a submarine in history: the Japanese carrier Shinano, converted from the third Yamato hull.
Well, shortly after transferring off all of my warts went away.
Isn’t that the dang truth!