inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #26 of 85: Alan Turner (arturner) Wed 30 Sep 15 12:02
    
Which do you think changed to cause this divergence in cultures and
practices between nuclear and diesel submarines?  I realize it predates
your time, but you must have some idea if things were always done that
way on submarines, or if the way things were done on diesels changed when
nukes started getting all the money and attention.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #27 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Wed 30 Sep 15 14:12
    
Let's not get deeply into that. Look up Admiral Hyman G. Rickover
and you'll find the answers to the nuclear version of the question
you're trying to ask. All I'll say is that nuclear powered
submarines got first pick of the money and, yes, the talent
available. 

Things did not change much at all in diesel boats until USS Chopper
demonstrated that change was needed. More on that later. 

And please pardon my inattentiveness today. I'm using my iPad while
I'm installing a new boot disk in my desktop computer. 
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #28 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Wed 30 Sep 15 23:28
    
Now that I'm back on line with a computer that works a little better
I'll try to follow up on Alan's excellent question. There was an
incident involving a diesel submarine in 1969 that caused a rift in
the cohesion of the submarine forces, and accelerated the retirement
of diesel submarines. I had not planned on including that story,
because it only peripherally involved Odax or me, and only after the
fact. But check it out and feel free to ask questions. I've written
it up and added it to the list with the title "DDMF" in green.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #29 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Thu 1 Oct 15 07:54
    
The Chopper incident in 1969 showed everyone that changes needed to
be made. In that specific case something clearly needed to be
tightened up. Some of the casual habits of submariners called for
review and improvement of procedures.  In fact, a number of months
later we received a thick shiny new manual specifying the exact
wording we were supposed to use for every event aboard a submarine.

It wasn’t just the ship’s crews that needed tightening up. One of
our shipyards managed to sink one of our own submarines in 1969. I
will quote only the last few lines of the official report of the
Congressional special investigating committee, but I’ll have to say
that the entire report was a page-turner.

"CO 665 [the prospective commanding officer] pointed out the need
for a central controlling agency in the nonnuclear construction
areas of the ship. Shipyard representatives (Lampson and Sheldon)
pointed out the fact that the shipyard had been building ships for a
long time without the need for such a procedure and no one had been
killed or equipments damaged yet. CO 665 replied that they had been
lucky."

            On May 15, the shipyard's luck ran out.

                             [END]

The full report is at 
<http://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-al
phabetically/s/sinking-of-the-uss-guitarro.html>

So as I first reported for sea duty, the entire submarine force was
under pressure to tighten things up.

And yet, this was also the time that a new Chief of Naval Operations
was brought in to loosen things up Navy-wide. More on that tomorrow.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #30 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Thu 1 Oct 15 08:14
    
I don't know why I'm being so serious and philosophical. I thought
we were going to be talking about things like the time we pulled
into a foreign port, and on the first night one of our chief petty
officers came back so drunk that he passed out in the only
passageway aboard. So we all just stepped over him all night. He was
lying on his back with his paunch exposed. A couple of hours later I
noticed that he had half a banana sticking out of his navel. It was
still there in the early morning.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #31 of 85: Scott Underwood (esau) Thu 1 Oct 15 09:06
    
Did you ever have to pull MP duty on shore? Or were you the subject
of MP intervention?
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #32 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Thu 1 Oct 15 09:18
    
The Navy did not use MPs. Shore Patrol (SP) duty was assigned on a
rotating basis to E-5s (2nd class petty officers). They tried very
hard to solve problems without invoking discipline. They did have
the authority to arrest sailors and turn them over to the
Masters-at-Arms. 

I never got involved in any of that. 
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #33 of 85: Scott Underwood (esau) Thu 1 Oct 15 10:56
    
Ah, yes. I heard a story about an SP needing four sailors to restrain
a shipmate who had discovered the wonders of ouzo while visiting Greece.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #34 of 85: Brady Lea (brady) Thu 1 Oct 15 14:23
    

the once (and future?) <argh> sends the following via email:

I have a couple of questions for Chuck about his life in the Navy that you
might want to post if they're not too technical and boring:

1.   I have a good friend who came out of the Academy a few years later than
you did and spent his ~7 years of active commission in nukes. He has some
interesting stories as well although all the good stuff about creeping
around Soviet sub bases is still classified. Perhaps you could discuss a bit
about how you opted for/ended up in the diesel boats instead of the nuclear
ones and what the issues were between the two branches from a Naval
officer's career standpoint, post-Navy career opportunities and from the
standpoint of the kinds of undersea warfare you were training for.

2.   My recollection is that when you were on the full-boat Navy ROTC
scholarship you graduated with a 'regular Navy' commission making you the
theoretical equivalent of the ring-knockers who came out of Annapolis.  Can
you tell us a bit about the professional distinction between 'regular' and
'reserve' officers and how an Annapolis degree (as opposed to one from even
the most prestigious non-Academy schools) effects an officer's career
options? Also did you at any point consider doing a full 20 with the Navy?

As always, I enjoy reading your interesting and highly informative posts
about life beyond the 100-fathom curve.


Dick Haggart (fka 'argh')
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #35 of 85: Alan Turner (arturner) Thu 1 Oct 15 15:48
    
(I want to thank Chuck for stepping into the breach and preventing any dead
air in my absence - simultaneous troubles at home and at work.  I should be
back on this interview tomorrow.)
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #36 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Thu 1 Oct 15 20:05
    
Hi Dick,

Thanks for looking in.

I could babble about genuine, true crap such as that nuclear
training would have extended my initial basic four-year commitment
an extra year or two. But actually I didn't really have a choice in
the matter. Admiral Rickover made that decision for me.

When diesel boats were abruptly phased out, the career officers
aboard Odax had different fates. One stayed in submarines, even
though he was not approved for nuclear power training. He became the
Weapons Officer on a boomer. Another was successful in continuing up
the ladder in the submarine hierarchy ashore. The most successful
one "surfaced" and became a member of the Mod Squad, becoming C.O.
of a deep-draft amphib as a Lieutenant Commander, even though the
billet was specified for a full Commander. Another just took
retirement earlier than he planned. In other words, it was all as
random as life in general.

As you can see, I'm not really answering your first question.

For your second question, I believe that the trade school guys from
Annapolis got lower lineal numbers than those of us from co-ed
schools, but other than that there was no difference. 

I never expected to stay in for retirement. I did think I might stay
longer as part of the deep submergence team in San Diego, but that
turned out to be a dead end for an officer, but a fine opportunity
to meet defense contractors.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #37 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Fri 2 Oct 15 09:59
    
The Navy changed rapidly in 1970. Nixon skipped over dozens of more
senior admirals to appoint Zumwalt as Chief of Naval Operations.
This affected all of us. Zumwalt spent four years attacking racism
in the Navy. And in his first sixty days as CNO he worked out a
sensible plan to eliminate a lot of old ships. 

Then he started trying to drag the organization of the Navy out of
the 1940s and into the 1970s. Retention rate was a huge problem.
Only ten per cent of sailors re-upped after their first enlistments.
Zumwalt convened focus groups to figure out why. Then he made big
changes. Officially, the purpose of the effort was to reduce the
number of times sailors complained about Mickey Mouse rules and
regs. In reality that last phrase was pronounced "chicken-shit."

He sent messages directly to all sailors, who called his notes
Z-Grams. These changes did a lot to ease the widespread sense of
being in the Forces Adrift. His efforts were still in progress when
I got out of the Navy at my first opportunity.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #38 of 85: Alan Turner (arturner) Fri 2 Oct 15 13:46
    
How did you receive Z-grams ashore and at sea?  I thought of that
question while checking my work email...
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #39 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Fri 2 Oct 15 14:02
    
They were not messages to individuals. They were sent to ALLNAV.
Each one came with instructions to C.O.s that they had to be widely
posted. 

But if you're asking how we received them when we were at sea under
radio silence, we tuned in to the Atlantic Fleet Submarine
Broadcast. All messages on the broadcast were repeated X times, so
we could only miss X-1 broadcasts. We sometimes got nervous about
our ability to get an antenna out of the water, and to actually
receive a signal and tune it in for a last chance. 
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #40 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Fri 2 Oct 15 14:24
    
There is a list of Z-gram titles at 

<http://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-al
phabetically/z/z-grams-list-policy-directives-issued-admiral-zumwalt/list-z-gr
ams.html>

Also included on that page are links to the full texts of a few key
Z-grams, such as

57. Elimination of demeaning or abrasive regulations
66. Equal opportunity
68. Civilian clothes aboard ship
116. Equal rights and opportunities for women in the Navy
117. Good order and discipline

Some of those items were not as well received as one would have
hoped.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #41 of 85: Alan Turner (arturner) Sat 3 Oct 15 09:12
    
Enough prologue; let's get into the essays, which is the whole
point.

You tell two versions of pretty much the same procedure in the
essays "Venting" and "Submerge the Ship".  The former feels almost
clinical, and the latter is much more visceral.  But it's not just
the narrative style, a few other things about them are different as
well.  I'll add that I'm not sure which came first either in your
career or in the writing.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #42 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Sat 3 Oct 15 10:44
    
"Venting" came first, and I'll move the titles around on the home
screen to avoid future confusion on that point. We did not get
underway for the first few months that I was aboard the Odax except
to move around the Charleston harbor as needed. We went into the
shipyard for a battery replacement, which was a huge project for a
diesel submarine. We then went out for three weeks of sea trials for
the boat and refresher training (RefTra) for the crew.

I had been through the process of submerging before, in training.
since the first time I submerged in Odax was in sea trials after
major hull work, it was of course prudent to ensure that the hull
was airtight before submerging that first time. But then the
personality of the skipper kicked in. Frank Farino had only two
months left in his two-year command tour, he was all set for future
career advancement, and he was risk-averse at this point. So all of
the dives during the remainder of his tour became
pressure-in-the-boat dives.

When we got to Lisbon, Jimmy Moore came aboard to take command. He
let himself into the wardroom and sat down eat the head of the
table. I was using the wardroom table at the time to do some
paperwork, and I almost told this stranger to get out of thee C.O.'s
chair. I'm glad that I didn't.

The first time we dived during Cap'n Moore's tour he was not happy
to see how slow and meticulous we were. So on our next dive he
popped the vents on me, maybe just to see the look on my face when I
came down the last ladder.

"Submerge the Ship" came from a much later experience. It took place
during an operation which was not predictable. I had a lot more
confidence by then, so I was able to both perform the dive and to
observe the effects on me of making the dive. It describes a dive in
which I had been on the bridge as Officer-of-the-Deck (Surfaced),
but I was out of the loop in Ops plans. Upon submerging, my
responsibility was to be the Diving Officer. Officer-of-the-Deck
duties shifted from me to the more senior officer up in 4the conning
tower. After my watch was over, I had some time for introspection.
But I didn't write it down until twenty years later.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #43 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Sat 3 Oct 15 10:55
    
Style notes:

1. Use or not of the definite article before a ship's name is
idiomatic, largely based on personal preference.

2. Use of "in" vs "on" before a ship's name is idiomatic. I noticed
that one tended to serve "on" diesel boats and "in" nuke boats.

3. On diesel powered submarines, use of "ship" vs "boat" is
idiomatic, unless regulations require "Ship" in a specific context.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #44 of 85: Alan Turner (arturner) Sun 4 Oct 15 09:18
    
Did you feel that Captain Moore had it in for you or the crew
because you were so cautious, either at the time in hindsight?  And
what was the rest of the crew's reaction to the pop dive?
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #45 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Sun 4 Oct 15 10:42
    
It was a set-up. He had already decided that I was ready. He let
everyone in the crew know about it except for the three of us on the
bridge. Every likes initiation rituals, even ad hoc tricks like
that. 
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #46 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Sun 4 Oct 15 10:44
    
I'm on USS Hornet as a docent today, so I won't have time to thumb
in much. 
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #47 of 85: Gail Williams (gail) Sun 4 Oct 15 13:39
    
When you're back, please say something about the docent experience.
Seems like such a cool ting for you to be doing.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #48 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Sun 4 Oct 15 17:45
    
I'm home now. Regarding my last answer, the set-up was brilliant
planning on the part of the new skipper. He got to make an officer
the victim of the prank. He only had the Chief of the Watch open the
vent on Main Ballast Tank #2, the one directly beneath me. And he
worked in a bit of hazing in conjunction with giving me a  little
reward. And he was a genuine nice guy.
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #49 of 85: Waiting for Baudot (chuck) Sun 4 Oct 15 21:54
    
Last week I let the other 80 or so docents on the Hornet know about
forcesadrift.com. Today one of them walked up to me and said, "Don't
ever do that kind of thing again! I spent three hours of work time
reading them."
  
inkwell.vue.484 : Forces Adrift, Life on a Submarine, with Chuck Charlton
permalink #50 of 85: Alan Turner (arturner) Mon 5 Oct 15 05:41
    
Ha!  I would never have guessed that almost the entire crew was in on
the setup.  Or that an officer would engage in, let alone initiate,
an initiation hazing prank.

Are there backstories like that to any of your other memoirs?
  

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