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starcanuck64
2013-Jul-15, 10:44 PM
BigDon's thread on his experiences on carriers got me thinking about how demanding life at sea can be, just going out on the ocean is adventurous for some of us, men and women who do so under extreme conditions on a regular basis are exception I think. My step dad's dad was on an Assault Transport during WW II - which from what I recall was a converted four stack destroyer which had two boilers removed so it could carry several hundred troops for amphibious assaults. He talked about being attacked by Kamakazies on several operations and how personnel like him who were below decks could tell how the attack was progressing by the sounds of the guns firing in defense. First the 5 inch guns would begin firing at several miles, then the 40mm AA guns would begin when the attacking planes were about a mile off I think he said and when you heard the 20mm guns open up you braced for impact because the planes were right on top of you.

During peace time being on a ship can be dangerous even at dock.

The USS Constellation CV-64 had a bad fire even before it was commissioned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eBsZKiSbGY

And other US carriers like the USS Forrestal have battled serious fires.

This video shows the extreme conditions on the flightdeck of the Forrestal as the fire spread and ordinance began going off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chuiyXQKw3I

Trakar
2013-Jul-15, 11:28 PM
BigDon's thread on his experiences on carriers got me thinking about how demanding life at sea can be, just going out on the ocean is adventurous for some of us, men and women who do so under extreme conditions on a regular basis are exception I think. My step dad's dad was on an Assault Transport during WW II - which from what I recall was a converted four stack destroyer which had two boilers removed so it could carry several hundred troops for amphibious assaults. He talked about being attacked by Kamakazies on several operations and how personnel like him who were below decks could tell how the attack was progressing by the sounds of the guns firing in defense. First the 5 inch guns would begin firing at several miles, then the 40mm AA guns would begin when the attacking planes were about a mile off I think he said and when you heard the 20mm guns open up you braced for impact because the planes were right on top of you.

During peace time being on a ship can be dangerous even at dock.

The USS Constellation CV-64 had a bad fire even before it was commissioned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eBsZKiSbGY

And other US carriers like the USS Forrestal have battled serious fires.

This video shows the extreme conditions on the flightdeck of the Forrestal as the fire spread and ordinance began going off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chuiyXQKw3I

Military service always presents its own unique issues and consequences, and it takes a special character to adjust to and thrive within. This is why we owe our military personnel so much more than just the salaries we pay them for their service.

Interestingly, the recent report (http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130711/DEFREG02/307100021/X-47B-Successfully-Lands-Carrier?odyssey=mod_sectionstories)about how the head of the new Navy Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle (robot fighter/bomber) project was not on deck when the plane made its first autonomous landing on the carrier because he was part of the sequester force cut-back ("Sequester on my mind") (http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/0713/morningdefense11123.html)and so had to stay out of operations areas (technically on furlough while still onboard the carrier at sea).


Deputy program manager Don Blottenberger said over lunch in the wardroom that some of his team members had gotten permission to postpone their furloughs until after this week’s test. As for Blottenberger, however, he said he had no choice but to bank some hours even at sea aboard the carrier — “I am furloughing in place,” he said.

I had never really thought about it before but being stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean while one was forced to take leave could raise some very peculiar situations for these personnel in non-combat situations. I suppose it is different on a carrier, where one has the resources of a small city at hand, but it must be much worse on smaller vessels where one has a day off but is basically confined to their bunk for the day.

starcanuck64
2013-Jul-15, 11:51 PM
Military service always presents its own unique issues and consequences, and it takes a special character to adjust to and thrive within. This is why we owe our military personnel so much more than just the salaries we pay them for their service.

Interestingly, the recent report (http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130711/DEFREG02/307100021/X-47B-Successfully-Lands-Carrier?odyssey=mod_sectionstories)about how the head of the new Navy Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle (robot fighter/bomber) project was not on deck when the plane made its first autonomous landing on the carrier because he was part of the sequester force cut-back ("Sequester on my mind") (http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/0713/morningdefense11123.html)and so had to stay out of operations areas (technically on furlough while still onboard the carrier at sea).



I had never really thought about it before but being stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean while one was forced to take leave could raise some very peculiar situations for these personnel in non-combat situations. I suppose it is different on a carrier, where one has the resources of a small city at hand, but it must be much worse on smaller vessels where one has a day off but is basically confined to their bunk for the day.

Boredom can be a hazard too I guess, in WW II they were shipping back plane loads of people from the Aleutians who couldn't stand the isolation and bad weather and for over 50 years submariners have been going on months long patrols in conditions that most of us would find claustrophobic.

Sequestering sounds likes it's already causing morale problems.

Trebuchet
2013-Jul-15, 11:58 PM
My own father was on an assault transport (not a converted destroyer, but a ship built for the purpose) during World War II. After taking in the troops, they took the wounded out -- and he was a corpsman. He never talked about that part of it.

My own military service put me at risk of several itchy bites if my arm fell out of the mosquito netting, while others were dying just a couple thousand miles to the south.

starcanuck64
2013-Jul-16, 12:08 AM
My own father was on an assault transport (not a converted destroyer, but a ship built for the purpose) during World War II. After taking in the troops, they took the wounded out -- and he was a corpsman. He never talked about that part of it.

My own military service put me at risk of several itchy bites if my arm fell out of the mosquito netting, while others were dying just a couple thousand miles to the south.

The modesty of that generation is also exceptional, when I asked my step dad's dad about his service my step dad said that was the first time he could recall hearing him talking about it.

A cousin of mine went to Korea instead of Vietnam in the mid 1960s and they had a very bad flu outbreak which killed more service people than the combat in Vietnam that year.

Trebuchet
2013-Jul-16, 12:12 AM
Korea instead of Vietnam was me as well, but in the very early '70's. There'd been some serious race riots at my base about six months before I got there but all was quiet during my time.

I have the flag from my Dad's casket in a display case in front of me right now, along with his service ribbons and dogtags.

Swift
2013-Jul-16, 01:14 AM
Please let's leave anything about the US's sequestration, or anything other type of military budget discussions out of this thread. Thank you.

HenrikOlsen
2013-Jul-16, 01:55 AM
During peace time being on a ship can be dangerous even at dock.

The USS Constellation CV-64 had a bad fire even before it was commissioned.
And a second one in '88, which I suspect might have been one of the times Big Don was on fire. (Not joking here, respecting the people who saved her)

Trebuchet
2013-Jul-16, 04:41 AM
Don has at least mentioned the ship being a couple of feet longer than her sisters as a result of the fire. Probably the first one, I think.

Trakar
2013-Jul-16, 05:06 AM
Please let's leave anything about the US's sequestration, or anything other type of military budget discussions out of this thread. Thank you.

Apologies, I was attempting to point out the complexity and stress issues that naval personnel have to go through even without the presence of combat activities, just due to living on ships at sea. This was a recent example of one such issue that was in the news, I did not intend to derail the thread or discuss public policy snafus.

captain swoop
2013-Jul-16, 09:39 AM
Plenty to do aboard ship, I can't think why anyone would be bored. I imagine it might be different on a sub though.

LookingSkyward
2013-Jul-16, 09:46 AM
On watch in the navigation center on a Trident, if nothing was broken, it was usually 6 hours of intense boredom. The computer spit out numbers every half-hour, which we evaluated for potential broken things - this took about 2 minutes... we spent a lot of time training our junior watch-standers, sure, but also developed self-entertainment strategies like stacking M&Ms...

Swift
2013-Jul-16, 01:10 PM
Apologies, I was attempting to point out the complexity and stress issues that naval personnel have to go through even without the presence of combat activities, just due to living on ships at sea. This was a recent example of one such issue that was in the news, I did not intend to derail the thread or discuss public policy snafus.
No problem. There actually was no problem with what has been posted so far, but I was being preemptive. We need not to discuss whether the Sequestration is a good or bad thing, as that gets into political opinion.

starcanuck64
2013-Jul-16, 07:06 PM
Korea instead of Vietnam was me as well, but in the very early '70's. There'd been some serious race riots at my base about six months before I got there but all was quiet during my time.

I have the flag from my Dad's casket in a display case in front of me right now, along with his service ribbons and dogtags.

Potentially service in Korea was more risky than Vietnam if the North had decided to invade again. My cousin was in intelligence and one of his tasks was patrolling inside North Korea. He didn't give any details of the operations, just that they occurred. He did mention that the thing that scared him the most was drunk South Korean border troops who might have shot them when his team returned. He also had some PTSD issues so I'm not sure that Korea was as quiet as it seemed during that period.


And a second one in '88, which I suspect might have been one of the times Big Don was on fire. (Not joking here, respecting the people who saved her)

I hadn't heard about that one, I saw the Connie in the late 1990s when it visited Vancouver, it seemed to cover half the horizon anchored off Spanish banks and was easily the largest ship I've ever seen.

KaiYeves
2013-Jul-16, 07:22 PM
Plenty to do aboard ship, I can't think why anyone would be bored. I imagine it might be different on a sub though.

I would go crazy not having a window to look out of. Of course, if it was like the (late) NR-1, I probably wouldn't be able to pry myself away from the window!

BigDon
2013-Jul-16, 09:15 PM
With the exception of my older brother, who went "funny" and became a machinist mate on a destroyer*, all of my people were either marines or flightdeck sailors since the 1930's.

And there were a couple of bad days in there. The classic, "How can I ever explain this to anybody who wasn't here?" kind of days. Not even counting the times the engineers lost control of some mysterious function of theirs and live, 900F steam under 1200 of pressure vented *inside* the ship.

Captain Swoop, have you ever been in an underway vessel that's had a major steam line fail into the interior? I have. I've lived through that horror show two or three times as a matter of fact. Wow, there is a story here, but I still can't tell properly.

Steam that hot starts fires in the ajoining spaces due to the steel bulkheads transferring heat. And at 1200 psi it instantly displaces the existing atmosphere of even very large spaces, like four main machinery. (Navy talk for main engine room number four. Our carrier had four engines, one for each propeller.) A cursed, steam driven fuel pump failed dramatically. Then, a week or so later, as they were hauling it out to send it back for failure analysis, the chain they used to haul it up failed and the turbine fell eight decks and ruptured a two foot wide high pressure fuel line, fractured it, and caused a fountain of fuel oil eight decks high.

While we were unrepping ordinance. (Underway replenishment of ammunition stores, in preparation for a major attack.) We had a continuous line of thousand pound bombs, in racks of four, front to back, from the flightdeck bomb elavators to the magazines.

Plus, wait for it...not one, but two hanger bays full of bottom mines! (No, not tiny little mines you sneak up the enemy's keister) Unlike 2000 pound bombs, which is the entire weight of the device, including casing, a 2000 pound bottom mine has 2000 pounds of explosive in it, then they put all the goodies around it. We had them on pallets of four, wall to wall with only a limited amount of passage around them.

Man that was scary! But something about being actually part of a cataclysm allows one to be busier than usual for longer that you thought possible.

It was another dropped turbine that caused a fuel fountain that caught fire. I had opportunity to go over this with others who were there recently.

Nope. And still can't quite do it. At least not sober.

*Dad was so disappointed...

Trebuchet
2013-Jul-16, 11:06 PM
This is reminding me that one of these days I need to drive the long way around instead of taking the ferry, just to drive by Connie and her three sisters tied up in Bremerton. They're probably going to be scrapped before long; as I understand it maintenance is limited to prevention of sinking, theft, and vandalism.

Trebuchet
2013-Jul-16, 11:07 PM
Potentially service in Korea was more risky than Vietnam if the North had decided to invade again.

That, and what I saw of the readiness of the US Army at that time, was the reason I was glad to have the Korean Army around!

HenrikOlsen
2013-Jul-17, 12:36 AM
Nope. And still can't quite do it. At least not sober.
I have three things I'd want to visit the US for.
One is to visit Washington, which to me seems to be the sanest of the states, with some of the sanest people I've gotten to know from the US. Yes, I'm looking at you Gillian.
Two is, I really want to visit San Fransisco for a beer or three with Big Don, knowing that I'm not worthy of the chance for a hunting trip. (I don't think I'm a good enough shot so I don't want to, given the risk of hurting instead of killing)
Third would be visiting various family members I have over there, including a Californian cousin who just became able to marry her girlfriend again.

Fourth would be to attend the Utah pride festival (as a straight supporter) because it seems to be a better brainfsck to the haters than most I can think of, plus I'd have a chance of partying wirh a prominent bautian on his home turf == knowledge of the local microbreweries."

Solfe
2013-Jul-17, 06:31 AM
Captain Swoop, have you ever been in an underway vessel that's had a major steam line fail into the interior? I have. I've lived through that horror show two or three times as a matter of fact. Wow, there is a story here, but I still can't tell properly.


My dad used to work at the Huntley Steam Station, a 760 megawatt power plant. One time he causally mentioned that a pipe broke and that was why he was late from work. A few months later, there was a company picnic there and I happened to notice a patch job done on the concrete floor in the cafeteria. That was the outer edge of the damage, lord knows how many walls, windows and steel doors were "removed" from the building by a broken pipe.

That creeped me out for years, if anyone had been anywhere near that pipe they would have been gone. Being on a ship is the only thing that could make that picture worse.

On paper, steam from a kettle and steam in a power plant are the same thing. In real life, power plant steam is more like an angry demon trying to get out.

captain swoop
2013-Jul-17, 07:24 AM
Superheated steam is nasty stuff. it's completely invisible and has a temp of above 1000 degrees C.


We never had a leak outside a machinery space as that was the only place we had steam.
We did lose steam pressure completely apart from the auxiliary boiler while we were in a 'lively' seaway. THat wasn't a happy experience.
My dad won the Queens Award for Gallantry back in the 60s aboard ship in an escaped steam incident.
He was a young 2nd Engineer aboard a tanker. They had a steam leak in one of the machinery spaces and three engine room staff were overcome and suffocating.
What happened was the steam fire fighting valves blew. They flood a compartment with steam to drive out the oxygen and put out a fire.
He went in and dragged two of them out but when he went in for the third he was overcome himself.
By then the First Mate and third Eng had arrived with breathing gear and pulled him and the guy he went to rescue out but he was dead already.

Jens
2013-Jul-17, 08:30 AM
That creeped me out for years, if anyone had been anywhere near that pipe they would have been gone. Being on a ship is the only thing that could make that picture worse.


I can think of something that might be even worse. Being in a colony on Mars!

Oops, wrong thread. :)

BigDon
2013-Jul-17, 08:26 PM
Superheated steam is nasty stuff. it's completely invisible and has a temp of above 1000 degrees C.


We never had a leak outside a machinery space as that was the only place we had steam.

We had steam driven catapults that could throw a full sized dodge van (circa 1980!) 300 feet shy a half mile. Four of them. Plus an absolute Purgatory of a laundry. (There was 6500 crew members by the end of my second cruise. That's a lot of dirty socks) It was said that working the laundry on the Connie for three months could remove the stain of murdering your own grandmother from your karma. I wrote about that in depth already though.

One of my close calls was when a transfer line that ran through a dry goods storage area failed. The ship was in port at the time. The engineers rerouted the steam through redundant lines and when they saw the mess the space was in, they decided to wait until we were well out to sea so the working party could just dump the mess overboard. Nearly 40 full pallets of carbonated soft drinks was what the space held. You're all a bunch of brainwaves here, can any of you guess what happens to a pallets of soda that are exposed to 900F live steam?

Yep the whole space was two feet deep in soda. Mats of fungus three across were growing on it. And here is the kicker. The main way into this space was through its ceiling. I poked my head in through one of those circular hatches, the kind that reside in the center of a larger oval shaped hatch, and saw all this.

Now by this time I had enough time in that I had PNA'ed the Petty Officer exam twice already. (Passed, But Not Advanced. Due to my rate being top heavy, we had a lot of Petty Officers already.)

So I was still an E-3, and still stuck doing these kinds of working parties.

And then I made the mistake of assuming that the E-5 who called away the working party was as professional as I was.

'Cause you see, as we assembled I saw the clean-up equipment, including waders and not one, not two, but three of those big red devil portable ventilation blowers, all off to one side.

Regulations clearly state that spaces with compromised atmospheres are required to have forced ventilation for at least eight hours before personnel without breathing gear can enter.

Since the working party was called away, I assumed this had been done already. Silly me.

Two other sailors and myself donned waders and went down that ladder.

I had just enough time to turn around and suffered immediate tunnel vision. The two guys preceding me were already face down in the soda and I was extremely lucky and fell across a partially empty pallet.

Fortunately, again, one of our main Damage Control centers was the next space over in the passage above us. So all three of us were rescued in less than two minutes.

Sadly the other two developed horrible aspiration pneumonia so bad they had to be flown off the ship. I never saw them again so I don't know if they made it.

BigDon
2013-Jul-17, 08:51 PM
A friend of mine, a retired Navy deep diver, said the worst time in service for him was nearly nine weeks at sea on a dive boat in the Gulf of Alaska, with a constant heavy swell the entire time.

They had a belt system like they use in nut houses so they could stay in bed without subconsciously holding on all the time.

He said their poor executive officer was seasick the entire time but couldn't go to medical for it. (It might have reflected poorly on his ability to command.)

Nathan is his name. He's my friend Mr. Happy's older brother.

Modern hard suit divers go to what are to me just complete "Holy Moly!" depths. He has a completely different perspective on what constitutes "shallow" water from what I do.

He was part of that group that rigged up the Soviets with that induction reader on their military underwater communication lines and had an utter fit when the history channel blabbed it as it was still an on-going confidential operation as far as he knew.

As in he made phone calls from his living room before the show even finished.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2013-Jul-17, 10:05 PM
Hey, don't blame the History Channel, that info was already in print at the time (Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew).

starcanuck64
2013-Jul-17, 10:49 PM
That, and what I saw of the readiness of the US Army at that time, was the reason I was glad to have the Korean Army around!

They do have good troops, they had a contingent in Vietnam throughout most of the war from what I recall.

Trebuchet
2013-Jul-18, 12:33 AM
Hey, don't blame the History Channel, that info was already in print at the time (Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew).

I vividly recall one of my former co-workers being shocked when The Hunt for Red October mentioned SOSUS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOSUS). He was further shocked some time later when the true purpose of the Glomar Explorer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glomar_Explorer) was revealed. The company (not Boeing) had been deeply involved in building equipment for both projects, before my time there.

captain swoop
2013-Jul-18, 07:32 AM
We had steam driven catapults that could throw a full sized dodge van (circa 1980!) 300 feet shy a half mile. Four of them. Plus an absolute Purgatory of a laundry. (There was 6500 crew members by the end of my second cruise. That's a lot of dirty socks) It was said that working the laundry on the Connie for three months could remove the stain of murdering your own grandmother from your karma. I wrote about that in depth already though..

In the RN you do you own laundry (dobey as we call it) or you pay the Hong Kong Laundrymen (to do it for you.
On every ship there are Chinese Laundrymen. They are civilians employed to do the laundry.

Hong Kong laundrymen have been recruited since the 1930s and, although classified as civilians, have gone to war with vessels. Some have died in action, the first grave dug in the Falklands was for Kye Ben Kwo a laundryman in HMS Coventry who was one of two laundry workers who died when the ship was hit.

In the past, individual agreements were made between Hong Kong firms or families and individual ships and some were handed down through families but since Hong Kong was handed back there is a contract between the Ministry of Defence and Worldwide Laundry Services, a partnership between Serco and Shao Brothers of Hong Kong.
They receive accommodation and food, and individual servicemen pay them for their weekly laundry.

To save money you did your own 'small stuff' in the washrooms and dried them in the messdeck. If you were lucky they would do 'Taptap' and Sowsow' as well as. (sewing and shoe repairs)
They did their own cooking and used the main galley,then took their food up to there own mess,3N ,which was directly under ours,so we would always get a waft of their scran,(their escape hatch came into our mess.)

Engineers got a discount, they could turn off the steam :)

starcanuck64
2013-Jul-18, 09:34 PM
The Royal Navy is pretty much a culture all on its own, I enjoy RN slang.

http://www.royalmarinesbands.co.uk/reference/Slang.htm

captain swoop
2013-Jul-19, 07:02 AM
I was going to post a link to a more comprehensive list of Navy Slang.

It does however contain some vey 'none family friendly' expressions.

If anyone wants it I can PM it to them.

Trakar
2013-Jul-20, 01:57 AM
Plenty to do aboard ship, I can't think why anyone would be bored. I imagine it might be different on a sub though.

Yeah internet connectivity sucks! (or one would think -- on the sub).