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ScrappyPunkGreg373 karma

Sir, thank you for doing this AMA.

From 1998-2004, I was a Trident II (D5) Missile Technician in the U.S. Navy. Eventually, I qualified to be a Launcher Supervisor aboard USS Kentucky (SSBN 737)(GOLD) [8 deployments] and USS Alaska (SSBN 732)(BLUE) [1 deployment]. I was aboard Kentucky when the directive came in to change her home port from Kings Bay to Bangor. That was a culture shock for a lot of the guys.

Respectfully, sir, submarine captains absolutely did have a formal directive to question a launch order, even if it was valid and authenticated, if certain other intuition/political conditions were not met.

I wanted you to know this. To be fair, I can't remember precisely if this directive was added during the G.W. Bush administration or if it existed in the Clinton years. As I gained seniority, the existence and significance of this directive (it was in what was known to us as the "Officer's Guide") became second-nature to me.

As a targeting specialist, I saw a skipper not launch, during a graded COMCONEX at TTF Bangor.

Since I'm also supposed to ask a question, my question is this: What were the people like, and what was the culture like, at Offut? I met an O-4 in Bangor, during a SIOP Road Show, and she seemed pretty cool.

Thanks (or tell them thanks) for all the OLYMPIC JAVELINs and BEAUTY NEREIDs. They shook the boredom and loneliness out.

EDIT: If you or anyone else would like to hear more about my experiences with nuclear weapons or submarines, I was a guest of the Tac Ops podcast. Link to my episode is here: https://tacops.libsyn.com/trident-slbm-missile-tech-greg-k


Everyone reading this, remember: We swore an oath to the Constitution. Enlisted and officer both swear to defend the Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic. Enlisted swear to obey orders from the President and also from those appointed over them, but officers do not. (EDIT 3: Thank you u/KitFoxBerserker10 for the correction)

In my professional opinion, the solution to any nuclear launch order that would threaten the Constitution of the United States of America (let's call this a "domestic threat" in the case of an insane president, or a "foreign threat" in the case of a cyber attack) would be: 1. Stop the launch; 2. Submit an OPREP-3/PINNACLE FRONT BURNER.

Again, officers in the U.S. military do not swear an oath to be loyal to the President.

ScrappyPunkGreg52 karma

The bad leadership killed it for me. I almost re-enlisted. If I hadn't skipped (ha!) my E-6 test, and I had actually made it, I most likely would have stayed in until retirement. 🤙 I'll settle for an E-5 eval with a 5.0 in Professional Knowledge, and civilian life with my wife and daughter.

Feel free to stay in-touch.

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.

ScrappyPunkGreg42 karma

what are your top 3 submarine movies?

  1. Generation Kill (the series)
  2. Jarhead
  3. Super Troopers

Movies that actually have submarines in them:

  1. The Command
  2. Das Boot
  3. The Hunt for Red October