Monday, June 23, 2008

more a gathering than a PARTEEEE

B's friends came by on saturday for an all day thing...was most fun for us too!

Weekend happenings

as I said earlier, we had some important doings this weekend here are some pics for you all. I'll bet you can guess which is which (the dance pictures are dark, so I lightened them). H's BEST DANCE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love that girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The monday jack

Well, it is actually Monday and I am actually posting the Monday jack. Sounds miraculous? No, I'm on vacation this week. As for those who noted a distinct lack of blogging in the last week, we had some "things" happen at the plant and times were not as pleasant as before. For all of you navy types, we got "some outside help" from some people who were "here to help." I did find it interesting that in the civilian world someone gets "fired" they actually don’t come back to work for the same organization. Anyway, I didn’t have nearly as much “spare” time as normal this week at work. As for the weekend, B’s birthday party was on Saturday and H was in her final dance recital on Sunday, making for a busy weekend. the additional picture is of "cuddles" he is trying to figure out where the water is going. (thank God, K had just cleaned the Bowl)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The monday Jack

So after all of the excitement I came home and changed, went out with Jack to the living room. he was great, and the rest is a wash for the family.

Jack's special Sunday

On the 15th we had Jack baptized into the Catholic Church. We had a strange situation of not having eligible god parental candidates locally. So we asked his older brother to be his godfather, I hope that they both understand what that really entails in a few years. As for the day, all the grandparents came by; we grilled some brats and had potato salad. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy….
and now that I have uploaded them I can do some captions
1. I hope that it was his nerves that made the entire church shake.
2. Father Tom must have been a Submarine Torpedoman before his ordination as we look like we are loading him in tube one.
3. We should have discussed where to put our hands when not holding Jack for pictures.
4. These Boyz are Cute!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the monday jack plus...

this weekend was very busy being B's birthday and my first off in a couple of months. In addition, we are all still trying to kick this cold before next weekend when Jack is being baptized. B wanted a day at the beach so we went up to Gillford lake near Salem, O. not a bad little beach but we didnt get a lot of pictures. so here is the monday jack, plus...

Monday, June 9, 2008

the most scared I've been (on the boat)

I posted this on http// and figured some of you may enjoy this. for those of you without dolphins, sorry but keep reading.

Please note that I typed this in and then went back and XXX’ed out the stuff that might be sensitive, you have to fill in the blanks.

This event happened when I was the XXLCPO onboard the SSN-XXX out of XXXXXX.

It was your typical “workup” evolution/drill day onboard and I was lucky enough to be the morning-watch EWS. The EDMC and the rest of “us goats” had just re-re-re-arranged the watch bill and gotten us in the “optimum” positions. The midnight watch had graciously finished the drill prep checklist, implying that the whole boat was ready for the fun to commence.

Owing to some unknown forward (coner) issue we failed to slow and get at sat X/X trim just prior to the drill set. We later found out that we were about XXK heavy aft when the set started. The standard “stop the shaft” and a pump shift (XX/XX to XX/XX) not difficult- getting us ready for the main event. The “gagger” of the morning was an unisolable steam line rupture. We took our normal actions and met in shaft alley, I got a head count and reported to the boys in the box. I got up the ladder to look for “steam” in around the EPM controller and the EDMC gave me the wave (with a piece of sheet). The AEA and I went up to shift propulsion on the order and when we got it, he did quite well…almost. The poor bastard couldn’t get the clutch to engage.

I guess this would be an appropriate time for some background on the old EPM. We had a hassle getting shifted to the EPM when undocking (SRA) and on each maneuvering watch since. I would know as I was the Maneuvering watch EWS. Each time one of the magic M-divers would come back and touch it (the clutch) and things would happen. In the end there was a pinhole in the bladder on the XXXX XXXX. On this particular morning the “magic” guy was a drill monitor in ERF.

Things didn’t seem to be going that poorly from where I stood, the steam suit guys were doing their thing, I could hear some machinery starting and stopping according to the established scenario, just my poor little EM3 (SU) looking like I had kicked him in the junk. It was then that I looked into the XXXXX window and noticed that the XXXX was spinning, ASTERN. Not fast mind you but spinning none the less. It was then that I heard an alarm that I was not expecting, that’s right three blasts on the old diving alarm and all hell broke loose. Well not all hell but all of those things that you would expect after 3 blasts on that alarm.

Obviously, we secured the drill and in the debrief we found out that we were at a XXX degree up angle (felt about right for that drill), we were heavy aft and sliding backwards at XX knots passing XXX feet when the CO ordered the blow. It was not as nearly as scary when it was happening as it was when we found out what was really going on.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

SECURITY: the biggest difference between civilian and naval nuclear power

While I can’t post both sides of the story, I can say that I was amazed at the differences. I can tell you things about the plant that you would never hear about NNPP. Things like this:

Our reactor puts out 2900 MW thermal and just under 1GW electric.
Each cooling tower pump (MSW) will pump 500,000 gallons per minute and they will do just over 1,750,000 gpm.
We lose about 10,000 gpm to vapor out of the cooling tower.
We measure fuel usage in the ratio of MW to tones of uranium.
Every fuel cell we ever had in the core are in our spent fuel pool (I saw them this morning).

I can’t tell you anything about our plant security. Firstly, people outside that department don’t get a lot of information and we were warned in training if we saw some trend (what time they shift or their tour routes, etc) to just forget it. So that’s it. SECURITY.

I will post more on the differences. If you have a specific question let me know

the monday jack

yes, I know that it is late (again) we are all sick (some flu krap, fever caugh conjestion) and I am on midnights so things get pushed right. this is a good shot of him doing what babies do, being cute. enjoy. he has found his tounge so he is always sticking it out for us....

the haunted ship (actually a submarine tender)


Preface: we were in the tour office the other night on first (midnight) shift and the subject of ghosts and haunted places came up. While this can’t be classified as a “no s#@*er” it did happen to me and my duty section while I was stationed on the USS SIMON LAKE (AS 33) in R-5 division in the summer of 96. Names omitted to protect the embarrassed.

In the fall of 95 or early in 96 we were moored in Agusta bay, being “underway” we did not lock the shop as was our norm and kept the security watch posted all night. I was lucky enough to draw the 0400-0800 watch and following my tour of the PET on the 02 level (and smoking area), I went to the shop to relieve the watch. I was relieving one of my fellow nukes, not a memorable joker mind you, and he was standing in the LPO’s office with a look of shear terror on his face. Upon questioning he revealed (after some prodding) that he had heard the “NSF Ghost” following him on the stairs between the fourth and fifth decks. I initially thought it was a joke, or that someone was playing with him. So, I relieved him and sent him on his way. During the 0400 tour, while in that very same trunk, I heard foot steps. Thinking that it was him coming back to tell me something that he had missed on the turnover, I stopped on the ladder. The footsteps got closer and closer and then passed me with no one in sight. I was a little freaked but, decided that perhaps I had imagined it. I kept my ears open for more data but didn’t say anything.

Later, in the summer of 96 I was standing radcon shift supervisor for the most part and had the watch that steamy night. We had a LA class boat outboard, they had come in unannounced and acted like everything that they needed was keeping them in port. If you have ever been on either side of this situation you know that the boats suckle like starving infants (especially 688’s). We had a watch to deliver the water and fill the water tanks from our own engineer’s feedwater tanks and because the water watch could leave the shop, we kept the security watch stationed. I was making my tour on intervals that coincided with shifting the filling/pumping of the pure water tanks and had stopped to talk to the water watch. He was complaining that he could not contact the cold iron watch or anyone else in the engineering spaces to get the pump started to send us water. And that he had shifted tanks and didn’t want to get into trouble (again) for water related issues. I promised what assistance I could give and continued my tour.

I found my security watch (a non-nuclear EM3 that had come to us as an undesignated striker) in the head making coffee (as that was where our pot was). He said that he was “late” taking his logs because he needed to make coffee. Initially, I was a little surprised by this, but on further investigation found that he too, had heard the “NSF Ghost.” While I was feeling a little sympathetic, there are some things that you just do when your are a nuke (like take your logs, earth sack). I sent him on his way and went (aft) to DC central to find out where my water was.

I found the EDO (another first class), we showed each other our badges (mine RCSS/his EDO) and asked him if we might have some water. He informed me that he had directed the offgoing cold iron watch to line it up and call us when ready to send. I asked him if we might go together and find out what the hold up was as I was near the low spec. on my tank level.

We found the offgoing watch at the top of the ladder to the engineering spaces. She (BT3) was firmly planted and not looking like she was planning on going anywhere. The Jist of the discussion that she had with the EDO was eerily similar to the one that my watchstander had had with me. After some more discussion it was decided that all 3 of us would go to check the lineup and start the pump.

We decended the main ladder and then crossed to the catwalk system on the forward bulkhead. I was interested to see a group (nuclear) of signs on each level of the catwalk on the bulkhead indicating that modifying the bulkhead was a bad idea and that radiation areas might be nearby. While crossing the catwalk she froze in her tracks and hissed "ssssss, listen" and sure enough there was the distint sound of footfalls on the ladders below us. Unlike our "escape trunk" this catwalk was visible clear to the bilge and it was empty.

For some unknown reason, I looked at my watch, 0405, and an idea formed in my head. I borrowed a cresent wrench from the BT3 and approximating the centerline of the catwalk, rapped hard on the bulkhead. The mysterious footsteps stopped momentarily and then rapidly, very rapidly went up, up, up and then stopped. The EDO asked me what was happening and I promised him that if we got moving water, I would be happy to explain it all.

Back in the shop, I found my water watch trying to calm the EM3 who's story was something like this "I was on the fourth deck, heard the footsteps and stopped. Then it was coming right through the bulkhead to get me, so I ran."

Now, I am not implying that there was no supernatural activity on that old ship, but in our case, it was just two watchstanders trying to get their logs on the hour in two very old, lonely quiet spaces.