Four Knots to Nowhere contains the recollections and current experiences of the life of an active duty Missile Technician, currently stationed on Shore Duty at the Naval Ordnance Test Unit, Cape Canaveral, FL.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Together We Served

Since the changeover of the Ultraquiet No More blog to the new google blogger, I haven't had the opportunity to be relisted as a contributor there, so this is getting posted here as a temporary measure.

What is Together We Served? It is a relatively new website designed to help Active, Retired, and Veteran Navy personnel both find and stay in touch with shipmates from years past.

After registering myself last week, I've already been able to track down over a dozen people that I've served with and subsequently lost contact with. It's pretty neat to see where some of them have ended up!

Feel free to head over to http://navy.togetherweserved.com and create a profile. It's free, and doesn't have alot of the ads and other garbage that similar public sites have.

You can find my own profile here if you're so inclined to take a look or credit me as the inviter!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Task Force Uniform

I know, I know... I don't blog too often. I blame being active duty still *grins*

Word has it that ADM Mullen approved the uniform changes today. The March 6, 2006 Navy Times has information to the effect that the decision is on his desk, but sources are saying he approved them this afternoon. Quick summary:

The Navy Working Uniform (NWU) is replacing the Utility uniform (which replaced the venerable dunagarees a few years back... I miss those). The NWU is a BDU-style uniform, which at last check will be utilizing the 8-point cover (like the USMC), and is the blue-dominant digital pattern.

The CPO/Unwashed Masses distinction will be maintained like it is on the Navy Coveralls, gold name tapes for chiefs and officers, and silver for junior enlisted. The boots are rumored to be the already-provided high-top black jungle boots from the NEX. The undershirt is to be 100% cotton black T-shirt or turtleneck for cold weather.

Replacing the Summer White and Winter Blue uniforms is a khaki shirt and black pant ensemble with collar devices instead of shoulder patches. The cover for this uniform is to be the black garrison cap. The female version of the uniform uses an overblouse (does not get tucked in the pants) like the other services do.

More information as it comes available....

UPDATE:....

Here's the text of NAVADMIN 070/06 (not yet posted on NAVPERSCOM):

1. Phase One work of Task Force Uniform (TFU) is complete. Phase One began in May 2004 and involved studying the fwasibility of developing a single Navy working uniform and a service uniform for E-6 and below. That study included fleet-wide surveys, wear tests by Sailor participants and th development of a thorough business case analysis.

2. TFU presented its Phase One recommendations to the CNO. He has approved the following:

A. Production of a single Navy Working Uniform for wear by all Sailors E-1 to O-10 --at sea and ashore and across all communities. This BDU-style uniform will feature three color variants: A predominantly blue digital pattern for the majority of our Navy and shipboard use; and a woodland digital pattern and a desert digital pattern for Sailors serving in units requiring those types of uniforms. It will include an eight-point soft cover and black smooth leather boots. Black suede no-shine boots will be authorized for optional wear for those assigned to non-shipboard duty commands. Boots appropriate for the woodland and desert uniform will be introduced.

B. Production of a single year-round service uniform for Sailors E-6 and below. The service uniform will be comprised of a short-sleeved khaki shirt and/or blouse, and black trousers and/or optional skirt. Miniature silver anodized metal rank insignia for Petty Officers will be worn on shirt and blouse collars. This uniform will include a black Eisenhower-style jacket with a knit stand-up collar and epaulets, on which Petty Officers will wear large silver anodized metal rank insignia. Those entitled to wear gold chevrons will continue to wear gold chevrons as the jacket's large metal rank insignia.

3. Tropical uniforms will be eliminated.

4. TFU is developing the manner of wear for these new uniforms, and is developing the plan for phase-out of uniforms that the New Working Uniform and Service Uniform for E-6 and below will replace. These policies will be effective when guidelines are incorporated into the Navy Uniform Regulations and will be announced by NAVADMIN at a later date.

5. The Navy Working Uniform and Service Uniform are not expected to be available for purchase and wear until the Fall of 2007, after which they will be introduced to Recruit Training Command and eventually distributed to the rest of the fleet. Details on when the Uniforms will be available for purchase and wear at specific geographic locations will be released at a future date.

6. All existing uniforms and uniform regulations will apply until the new uniforms are available and the associated guidelines for wear are published in the Navy Uniform Regulations. During the transition period, all members must maintain a complete inventory of sea bag items and each item must reflect a professional appearance. Once the Navy Working Uniform and Service Uniform items are adopted, members will receive a uniform maintenance allowance to support purchase and wear.

7. Phase Two of TFU will consider the cost and feasibility of additional uniform options, to include a Service Dress Khaki uniform for Chiefs and Officers; the use of a ceremonial cutlass for Chiefs; and a service-wide Physical Training Uniform. TFU will continue efforts already underway to evaluate and study current officer and enlisted dress uniforms, and investigate the practicality of adopting a Service-Wide All-Weather Coat.

8. The decisions announced in this NAVADMIN represent the culmination of three years of dedicated effort and research by every member of TFU, as well as fleet sailors who participated in surveys and wear tests. They are all to be commended for establishing and maintaining a careful, measured, and deeply analytical approach to determining the right uniforms for modern Sailors. The work is not yet over, but from these first critical steps the Navy now has the Knowledge and Experience to continue to refine the Sea Bag of the 21st Century.

9. Released by VADM J. C. Harvey, JR.

Friday, November 25, 2005

USS Dolphin Ready For New Missions

As most of you know, back in May, 2002, the USS Dolphin, the only diesel submarine in the US inventory, experienced flooding and electrical fires at sea after ingesting 75 tons of water down her only hatch.

Now, the US Navy has spent $9 million on repairs and an additional $41 million for upgrades to the research ship, which will be going on it's first mission next month.

The upgrades included:
  • An inflatable boot in the ship's entryway to stop water from flowing in should a door fail.
  • A shield to keep the door from accidentally opening at sea.
  • More emergency breathing units.
  • Four additional pumps to "dewater" the ship in the event of flooding.
  • An improved, maintenance-free battery.
  • Wiring and electronics raised higher in the submarine, where they're less likely to be exposed to flooding.
  • A faster, clearer radar system.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mini-Sub Mystery may be Solved

One of the great mysteries of World War II - the fate of the missing Japanese midget submarine that attacked Sydney Harbour - could be revealed next week.

The State Government's Heritage Office will investigate the almost four years of research handed to them by the makers of M24: The Last Sunrise.

And in a live telecast on Fox 8 on November 28, cameras will explore what is believed to be the location of the missing two-man submarine.

M24 was part of a force of three midget subs that torpedoed one ship and killed 21 Allied sailors on the night of May 31, 1942.

"Over the past four years we've looked at all of the existing evidence and theories of where M24 might be," producer Damien Lay of Animax Films said.

Mr Lay said he was not "100 per cent" sure their new theory was right but viewers could make up their own minds.

$8.1 Billion for Testing Facility at PNS

A total of $8.1 million is on its way to the Seacoast to support construction at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The funding will be used to construct a new acoustic test and calibration facility.

According to Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, on Friday the final report for the Fiscal Year 2006 Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill was completed and it included funding for the shipyard.


Acoustic test and calibration? I sure hope we aren't giving in to too much political pressure.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

2005 MilBloggies

Well, a quick thanks to the three people that have voted for Four Knots to Nowhere on the 2005 MilBloggies competition at the above link!

Check out the link above to vote for your favorite MilBlog(s) (pssst.. Ultraquiet No More). Looks like you can vote for more than one, too (pssst.. The Sub Report).

Thanks to Bubblehead for pointing this out to everyone.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

USMC Birthday Luncheon

Just got back from the USMC Birthday luncheon. Got a copy of the latest press release.

Semper Fi,


****Press Release****

President Bush may send up to 5 Marines for French Military assistance. President Bush has authorized the Joint Chiefs to begin drawing up a battle plan to pull France's ass out of the fire again. Facing an apparent overwhelming force of up to 400 pissed off teenagers, President Bush doubts France's ability to hold off the little pissants. "Hell, if the two world wars are any indication, I would expect France to surrender any day now." said President Bush.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, warned the President that it might be necessary to send up to 5 Marines to get things under control. The General admitted that 5 Marines may be overkill, but he wanted to get this thing under control within 24 hours of arriving on scene. He stated he was having a hard time finding even one Marine to help those ungrateful bastards out for a third time but thought that he could persuade a few women Marines to do the job before they went on pregnancy leave.

President Bush asked Gen. Pace to get our Marines out of there as soon as possible after the order was restored. He also reminded Gen. Pace to make sure the Marines did not takes soap, razors, or deodorant with them. The less they stand out the better.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Protection of Information

This needs to be reiterated today. I know that most of you guys are already conscious of OPSEC, INFOSEC, and the control of classified material. For those of you that aren't, please take a look at the following links.

OPSEC = The premise of OPSEC is that the accumulation of one or more elements of sensitive/unclassified information or data could damage national security by revealing classified information.

INFOSEC = The protection of information and information systems against unauthorized access or modification of information. INFOSEC includes those measures necessary to detect, document, and counter such threats.

CLASSIFIED = Information that has been determined pursuant to this order or any predecessor order to require protection against unauthorized disclosure and is marked to indicate its classified status when in documentary form.

When you're posting information on the internet, if there's any question as to the classification level of the information, don't post it until a subject-matter-expert approves it.

Read the information over at the Hundreds of Fathoms weblog if you want more information on protecting open-source information.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Four arrests linked to Chinese spy ring

Well, THIS doesn't look good.

Four persons arrested in Los Angeles are part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ring, federal investigators said, and the suspects caused serious compromises for 15 years to major U.S. weapons systems, including submarines and warships.

China covertly obtained the Aegis technology and earlier this year deployed its first Aegis warship, code-named Magic Shield, intelligence officials have said.

The Chinese also obtained sensitive data on U.S. submarines, including classified details related to the new Virginia-class attack submarines.

Officials said based on a preliminary assessment, China now will be able to track U.S. submarines, a compromise that potentially could be devastating if the United States enters a conflict with China in defending Taiwan.



More information at The Washington Times.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Out-of-this-world sex could jeopardise missions

It would appear that this article could have alot of bearing on the question of women in submarines. I'll let you all read the article, but here's some highlights:

"With the prospect of a very long-term mission, it's hard to ignore the question of sexuality," says Lawrence Palinkas, a medical anthropologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles... long-term space missions may be similar to extended periods in the isolated and confined environments of Antarctic research stations. He says crews in those stations often pair up in "bachelor marriages" that last the length of their stay – or less. "If there are instances of sexual conflict or infidelity, that may lead to a breakdown in crew functioning."

Palinkas says such problems may be minimised by training astronauts ahead of time in how to deal with stressful situations or by having them speak with psychologists on the ground in group therapy sessions. "You'd deal with it basically the same way you would with any potential crew tension and conflict," he says.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Phantom Midshipmen

A dozen midshipmen earned the grudging respect of the Air Force Academy by repainting a jet fighter on the Colorado academy's grounds blue and gold, and labeling it with "Navy" and "Blue Angels."

The mids, who are studying there this semester as part of an exchange program, pulled off the prank sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, in advance of Saturday's Navy-Air Force football game in Annapolis.

"This jet is in the center of cadet life," Air Force Academy spokesman John Van Winkle said yesterday. "You cannot be a cadet at the academy and not notice that plane."

The F-4D Phantom fighter, which downed six enemy MiGs in the Vietnam War, is in the middle of the Air Force Academy's assembly area, surrounded by dormitories, a classroom building and the campus chapel. Mr. Van Winkle said. It is normally painted tan and green.

"They have created a little bit of a legacy," Mr. Van Winkle said of the visiting midshipmen.

A Naval Academy spokesman was laughing when he discussed the incident.

"Good on 'em," Cmdr. Rod Gibbons said yesterday of the pranksters.

Mr. Van Winkle offered the Naval Academy some friendly advice:

"Be sure to ask the Navy people about the brass goat statute - just to see if anything happened there," he said of the statute that stands inside Gate 1.

Naval Academy spokesman Judy Campbell said this morning that 20 Air Force cadets are studying in Annapolis this semester, but they have not retaliated. Yet.

"Not at this point, we haven't had any pranks played," Ms. Campbell said. "But it's still not Saturday."

The hoaxes, sometimes called "spirit missions," are all in good fun. The only rules are that the pranks do no permanent damage, and must be cleaned up the following day. In this case, the mids wisely used coloring that washed off the Air Force plane.

Mids in past years have painted things such as "Go Navy!" on a wall at the Air Force Academy, and West Point cadets painted a Ranger insignia on a roof another year but nobody has ever performed a stunt of this magnitude, Mr. Van Winkle said.

Source: The Capital Online

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Hotline

I can't believe I neglected to blog this information when it came out!

Please disseminate as widely as possible:

Hurricane Katrina Help Line: 1-877-414-5358

Release Date: 08/30/2005

The Navy is sincerely concerned for our Sailors and their family members in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. In light of the communications difficulties created by the hurricane, Navy Personnel Command has set up a 24 hour help line for both Sailors and their family members to call for information regarding their loved ones: 1-877-414-5358.

This line is staffed 24x7 by active duty Navy personnel and will have connectivity with Navy, FEMA and other government agencies. They will try their very best to answer questions regarding the status of Navy family members, but please be aware that communication in the region is still very challenging and in some cases impossible at this point.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sterling Silver Dolphins

This is a copy/paste of an email forwarded around the AD sub community (slightly edited for format and other stuff). Yeah, I know all you DBFers are gonna turn your collective noses up at the "Patrol Pin" part of the set...deal with it! This is actually a pretty good deal for Sterling Silver fish, especially if they don't add much more for engraving.

Cross-posted at Ultraquiet No More


-----Original Message-----
From: Weller, David CMDCM
Subject: FW: Solid Silver Dolphins and Patrol pin

FYI
CMDCM (SS) Dave Weller
SSP CMC


-----Original Message-----
From: Banks, Ronald CWO2 (S)
Subject: Solid Silver Dolphins and Patrol pin

Guys,

Below is an email my wife sent out. I have been looking for a matching set of solid silver dolphins and patrol pin, if we can get 50 people to commit it would be $100.00 for a set. Let me know if you would be interested. They will also engrave names and dates if you desire.

Thanks,

Ron

---------------------

OK everyone.... I've been looking for Sterling Silver Dolphins and a Patrol Pin for Ron. I was able to find a local jeweler that will do it for me for $200.00. If I find 25 people that would like them I can drop the price by $50.00 and if I find 50 people that want them I can drop it by another $50.00!

These would make a great Chiefs Gift, Christmas Gift, Birthday Gift or just a gift for yourself! If you'd like a set forward this info on to your Wife, Parents, Grandparents, Girlfriends and get on Zina's list! If they ship outside of California, NO sales tax. Pass the word to the NEX, Dolphin Stores, any sub group, Chiefs Quarters.. Friends and Enemy's you have or know, lets get 50 sets sold so we can all get a deal!

Zina Sterling Silver & Gifts
470 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 286-2206
(800) 336-3822

25 Sets: Sterling Silver Dolphins and Patrol Pin
$150.00 Plus $9.00 shipping

50 Sets: Sterling Silver Dolphins and Patrol Pin
$100.00 Plus $9.00 shipping

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Commenting Policy on BRAC

So the Navy BRAC results are out, as noted in multiple other blogs, to include bubbleheads.blogspot.com and Ultraquiet No More.

Being that I am still Active Duty, I have received the following guidance:

"We have received clear guidance from the acting Deputy Secretary of Defense that Department of Defense personnel refrain from answering questions or providing comments regarding the Commission's recommendations. That means it is inappropriate for any DOD employee to comment on BRAC decisions. Remember: They are still recommendations until recommended by President and enacted by Congress."

That means that I cannot comment in any official (or unofficial) capacity on the BRAC recommendations. I don't really have much to say that hasn't been said already, though, so the point is rather moot.

They should get to my current command (Naval Ordnance Test Unit) later today. We fall under the Joint Commands Briefing Seperately portion of the deliberations. Specifically Chapter 10, Section 182 (Consolodate Navy Strategic Test & Evaluation). The recommendation (direct from the black and white Horse's Mouth) is:

"Realign Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral, FL, by relocating Nuclear Test and Evaluation at the Naval Ordnance Test Unit to Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Kings Bay, GA."

When this issue is debated by the commission, I will provide on this blog the information presented by the commsission. I'll try my best to avoid personal comment (as hard as that might be!)

UPDATE: Well, the commission moved to strike the proposal to relocate NOTU, and the motion was approved with an 8-1 vote, with only Mr. Principi (Chairman) voting against. So, now the recommendation is to keep NOTU open, and since the POTUS has already said he will approve the commission's findings, the only real step left is Congress.

Monday, August 22, 2005

What the hell is an SSGN?

"During the Cold War we created the first SSBN by enlarging the partially-constructed hull of the then-named Scorpion. In only two years the conversion was complete, the ship was renamed USS George Washington (SSBN-598), and the concept of strategic deterrence was changed forever. Clearly, there is a well-established precedent of converting existing platforms into new ones built on proven concepts and the latest technology.

Today’s “transformation” efforts include advanced sensors and surveillance systems, rapid precision strike, assured access to hostile or denied areas, and a high “tooth-to-tail ratio” (the ratio of combat power to required support). Responsive, forward-deployed units, survivable against anti-access threats, and capable of sustained high-volume strike with minimal logistic support, score high in these categories – SSGN is a prime example.

Now that the program has been established, it’s a good time to regroup and summarize the status of SSGN. Here is a quick summary of the capabilities the baseline SSGN brings to joint warfare:

- TRIDENT stealth and reliability, with more than 20 years of service life remaining for each SSGN;

- Large-volume precision strike, with up to 154 Tomahawk and Tactical Tomahawk
cruise missiles;

- Sustained Special Forces operations, to include insertion, extraction, and support of 66 Special Forces personnel, conditioned and ready, with onboard periods much longer than on SSNs;

- Command center for mission planning and execution;

- Capacity for conducting other SSN missions, such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISRT); anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare;
and mine warfare;

- High-data-rate connectivity and joint command/control capability with a “Virginia-class” advanced SSN radio room and ISR suite;

- 70 percent operational availability by using two crews – to achieve a continuous, 2.65-ship deployed presence in support of CINC mission requirements;

- 20 times the payload of an SSN, with large ocean interfaces (22 seven-foot diameter launching tubes, two for SOF lock-out); opportunity for payload experimentation and development.



Would You Like to Know More?

Even More?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Four Knots to Nowhere Launched!

Yeah, I know. There's already a bunch of submariner blogs hanging around out here in cyberspace. What can another one do for me besides add to my already full favorites list?

Better question, "Why the hell am I writing a blog when I hardly write anything over at my blog on MySpace.com?"

No clue, as of yet, so you'll have to wait on the answer. Maybe because I've been getting such positive remarks on the U.S. Navy group on MySpace for the information I dispense at random. Or perhaps because my own group on MySpace leaves alot to be desired in the way of experiences I've had. Whatever the reason, I'm here now, and I'll try my best to keep this space updated at least somewhat regularly.

So what do I intend to do with this blog? Well, even with the abundance of submariner blogs out there, I have noticed that there isn't much in the way of Trident sailors, much less Missile Technicians. Maybe, by way of some miracle, I can provide some interesting items/experiences/sea stories from my perspective as a 'hole in the water'.

Hovering at Launch Depth,

 

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