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ScrappyPunkGreg46 karma

We used to refer to this one as "the day we almost died".

It was stormy. The reactor guys were conducting training, and for this training they had the reactor in a relatively shut down state, so the boat was getting its juice from the diesel. When the boat's on the diesel, it's at periscope depth (PD), so the induction mast can poke up into the air and the engine can breathe.

And when the waves are high (remember, it was a beast of a storm), the induction mast seems really short in comparison to the other masts. When a high wave hits the head valve of the induction mast, liquid sensors activate and slam the valve shut, for obvious reasons.

Well, we couldn't hover at PD in that storm, and lost depth control. The induction mast took a dip, and the head valve slammed shut. And the reactor guys still had the reactor shut down, and they even had the shaft locked for training.

So after a very short while, the diesel (which was still trying to run) shuts down because it's been pulling a beast of a vacuum on the induction mast. And we still hadn't regained depth control.

So, the guys in control kind of piss themselves. The Chief of the Watch (COW) tried to rapidly de-ballast the ship, but he threw the dial wrong and actually pumped water into the ship, instead of out. This water was being pumped into a tank known as Aux 5, which is a massive tank.

No one realizes the pumping error. It's so loud in control, from everyone half-freaking-out, that they miss the Aux 5 High Level alarm.

I'm on watch in the Missile Compartment, and I heard the diesel clobber to a halt. Then a short while later I start hearing: VWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH.

That was water roaring into the boat, from the ocean. As you know, water is heavy. And as you also know, we had already been losing depth control due to the storm. So we were now adding more weight, at a high rate of flow, to an already potentially-serious problem.

And so, the depth gauges at this time were passing 500-ish feet. Approaching the threshold for a mandatory emergency blow, if other serious conditions are also present. And right about now I'm about down to Missile Compartment Lower Level (MCLL), on my way to investigate the noise.

(A compounding factor here, and the reason why we didn't immediately notice the flooding, is because, during the previous refit, they had modified the Aux 5 vent to vent into the bilge vs. vent into an auxiliary machinery room. This modification wasn't shared with everyone onboard.)

So, I'm down in MCLL, walking aft, think "what the F is that noise?" And right then I saw it: A wave of water rushing over the bilge partitions, headed forward.

And then "flooding" was formally called away, and the collision alarm was sounded. Unfortunately, the reactor guys couldn't get the shaft unlocked, because it was stuck. So we had no diesel, and we had no reactor. And we had what was later estimated to be 50,000lbs of water.

The next thing we hear is this, on the 1MC: "The ship will be performing a ten-second emergency blow." ... as activation air rushes past me and hits the ballast tank valves. We begin to regain lost depth, but it wasn't enough. The ballast tank vales in the forward compartment had blown a check valve, and water was now coming into the boat from a second location.

And the COW had to hit the chicken switches a second time; we eventually broached ourselves (unprepared surfacing) in the middle of the ocean. We sat there for minutes while we figured out what happened. But we were safe.

We spent hours pumping and bucketing-out those bilges that had been flooded. And, you know, we were wet and it sucked.... but it was kind of adventurous at the same time. :)

ScrappyPunkGreg45 karma

Two non-answers to the "do you support it" question. Thanks guys!

EDIT: They answered below, saying they weren't going to answer.

ScrappyPunkGreg30 karma

How do you expect the three recent US Supreme Court landmark decisions of Heller, McDonald and Caetano to impact your policies on gun control?

ScrappyPunkGreg20 karma

What is the most accurate film depiction of life on a submarine?

Personal opinion: Generation Kill, available to watch on Amazon, here. Note that this is not a show about submarines-- it is a show about life in the military.

For an actual submarine movie with submarines in it, answering "Das Boot" is cliche but it's truly a fantastic movie. You can find it on Amazon, here.

What is the hardest part of living on a military submarine?

Putting up with incompetent or unaware leaders (one of the reasons Generation Kill is such an accurate portrayal of military life in general).

What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you while in a submarine?

See my answer to this here.

ScrappyPunkGreg20 karma

Better leaders, especially in middle management-- personal biases are a real thing, and some people just have no business being in a position of power. Additionally, senior leadership needs to be aware of how their middle managers are performing, and they sometimes are not as aware as they could be.