Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Your Wednesday Gallimaufry*

Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, July 22, 2017.
Ford is the lead ship of the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the first new US aircraft carrier designed in 40 years.
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Julio Martinez Martinez
While casting about for a topic, I was looking at photographs of ships, haze gray ships of course. I ran across a poster (here) of all the ships in the Navy, those in commission and those planned, and I saw an article about the recently (July 2017) commissioned USS Gerald R. Ford.

Before some of you lose your minds, the latest Navy Style guide (Version 17-4, dated March 22, 2017) has this to say regarding ship names...
ship names - For first reference always include USS, the ship's name and the hull number: USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
  • There is no hyphen in the hull number. On second reference, use only the ship's name or reference as “the ship”. Do not use "the" in front of a ship's name: "USS San Jose," not "the USS San Jose." Use ‘the” before the ship type: “the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
  • Exceptions: Do not use "USS" for ships before 1909, or if it is not yet in commission, or has been decommissioned and you are referring to the ship in its present state.
Ships' nicknames – Do not use.  Correct example: “The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) is underway. Dwight D. Eisenhower will deploy to the U.S. 5th Fleet.” Use only official names of ships, aircraft or people.

Ship names are not in all caps. USS Seattle, not USS SEATTLE.
So "USS Gerald R. Ford" is correct. Just wanted to put that out there.

Ahem, the headline which caught my eye was this -

The Navy's newest, most sophisticated aircraft carrier doesn't have urinals
(Source)


Alrighty then...

Which will no doubt lead to the age old "put the seat down when you're done" controversies experienced in many (most?) households where there is a mix of males and females. At Chez Sarge the standing order is that all toilet seats and lids will be secured in the closed position while not actually in use.

As I recall in my trips to sea aboard fighting ships of the Navy, there were no lids on the commodes in the men's head aboard either USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) or USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), just seats.

But enough of that.

Yesterday faithful reader and sometime commenter Finicky Fat Guy (DLM) mentioned the necessity of doffing one's chapeau (cover for you Navy/Marine types, hat for you gravel agitators and zoomies, said with affection, of course) for the National Anthem, to which I responded -
Actually I don't take my hat off for the National Anthem. Before y'all start yelling for a rope, bear with me. As retired military, I prefer to render a salute for the Anthem, which Congress apparently made "legal" some years ago (so a retired Army Major of my acquaintance assured me some years ago). I just prefer to be at attention and render military honors, it's what I am.
Which spurred me to actually go look that up. Lo and behold, my high school buddy (and retired Army Major) was correct. Congress did pass a law to that effect, and here it is -
So that tid-bit is confirmed but I do have a question for the lawyers out there, what happens (in theory) if folks don't do what is laid out above? Misdemeanor? Felony? Nothing? I guess what I'm really asking is - is this a law or a guideline?

Anyhoo.

When The Nuke and I attended the sporting contest between the Broncos of Denver and the Redskins of Washington on the 24th of December in the Year of Our Lord Twenty and Seventeen, we arrived late for the opening festivities. The National Anthem was playing as we were proceeding through the bowels of FedEx Field heading for our seats. So we stopped and faced the music, as was right and proper. However, as the music was almost over neither or us reacted in time to salute or remove our "headdress." Just as I thought to render a salute (bear in mind, at this point we looked like two rocks in the middle of a raging stream), the music ended.

So we proceeded to our seats, perhaps somewhat chagrined at not having reacted in time but proud that we had at least acknowledged the playing of the National Anthem while the mob surged around us. Said mob being oblivious to, and perhaps uncaring of, the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner."

No, I don't know if anyone at the game "took a knee" during the playing of said music, we weren't there, as noted above. I also discovered that The Nuke and I actually made it on TV during the game, a co-worker of hers who was watching at home said so. He's a rather decent chap, a retired Navy captain who, once upon a time, commanded the nuclear attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713). (As she was decommissioned back in 2016 she is now just "Houston," but as I was referring to the boat as she was, not as she is now, then USS Houston is correct.)

As he is (was) an officer and a gentleman in the Naval Services, I took him at his word. Later I found actual evidence confirming this. Here we are, at the stadium, enjoying the contest -

YouTube Screen Capture
(Clicky-clicky to embiggen, but we're still tiny. How do I know it's us? Well, I recognized one of the kids to our right front, one was wearing a Broncos jersey, #25, the other a dark green jacket. I also knew where out seats were. While you really can't tell, that's Your Humble Scribe and Number 1 Daughter, that is, The Nuke.)

Now, hearken back before the picture, why did I call USS Houston a boat, you might be asking. Well, there is this school of thought -
According (to) the U.S. Naval Institute, a boat, generally speaking, is small enough to be carried aboard a larger vessel, and a vessel large enough to carry a smaller one is a ship. Or, as Steve says his Navy Lieutenant father put it to him, “You can put a boat on a ship, but you can’t put a ship on a boat.”
...

The U.S. Navy seems to want to have it both ways with their submarines. One component of each vessel’s official name is USS—that is, United States Ship—but seamen, the Naval Institute says, usually refer to submarines in general as boats, regardless of size. (Source)
So yeah, there is that. If it's haze gray (which most U.S. Navy surface vessels are) then it's a ship. If it's black, then it's a submarine and is called a boat. (Though technically a submarine really is a ship, ours are pretty big, but traditionally they have always been called "boats" in the U.S. Navy.)

One last thing. An aircraft carrier is a massive vessel, the Nimitz-class carriers displace well over 100,000 tons, are over 1,000 feet long and are a tad over 250 feet wide. They have a crew of 3,200 to operate the ship (ship's company) and 2,800 people who operate and maintain the 85 to 90 aircraft (fixed wing and helicopter) which the ship can carry. Those latter folks are the air wing. Not part of ship's company. Keep that in mind.

These massive vessels are really cities at sea. They produce their own water and can stay at sea for months, replenishing supplies while underway.

The fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) conducts an underway replenishment
with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Miguel Angel Contreras 
The ship on the left is big, the ship on the right is HUGE.

So why do I bring this up? Well, simply put, the folks in the embarked air wing (especially the flight crews) call their carrier "The Boat." Not "a boat," but "The Boat." And no, the folks in ship's company do not like that. Just ask them.

Now of course, The Nuke served on carriers, she gets mighty riled if you call a carrier a boat, even if it's meant affectionately. Of course, her sister, The WSO, and her brother-in-law, Big Time, call their carrier, The Boat. Especially if The Nuke is around.

Ah, family.


Hey! Who left the toilet seat up?




a confused jumble or medley of things

42 comments:

  1. Some of us will continue to use all caps. 'Cause Badgers are stubburn like that,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As is your prerogative. (After all, this blog is NOT official Navy correspondence.)

      :)

      Delete
  2. Another example of the adage, "Just 'cause it was true when you learned it, doesn't mean it is true now."

    The management of human waste aboard ships is another thing that has changed greatly over the years. Details will not be following.

    A very well researched post. Thank you.

    Public Service Announcement. If you (me) don't seem to be getting over the flu, get to the doctors. Treating pneumonia early is far better than the alternative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John.

      Good to know about the pneumonia thing, I've heard that the current strain of flu is rather bad. Forewarned is forearmed.

      Delete
  3. Good way to start the day....with a little knowledge and a chuckle.....Thanks Sarge.

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    Replies
    1. Any time Nylon12. We aim to misbehave. Er, I mean please, we aim to please.

      Delete
    2. Sarge, I am reminded of the rest room at a gas station I once stopped at. After filling one tank I proceeded to drain another. There above the urinal was a sign on the wall that proclaimed: We aim to please, Won't you aim too, please?

      Delete
  4. As to the controversy over boat v. ship aboard the bird farms, experience has proved that aviators tend to be quite contrarian in many things. In the eternal struggle over the proper stowage of commode seats and lids, I think it only fair to ask: If you demand that I remember to always put the seat up before using said installation, why should you not be expected to check that the seat is down?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to mention which, lifting the lid requires acting against the force of gravity, putting it back down you have a gravity assist. It's easier to close it than to open it.

      And yes, what you said.

      Hence the great OAFS compromise of 1999. When we bought the house I decided that henceforth and forevermore, seats and lids would be in the closed position when not in use.

      Now if I could only convince the non-resident female members of the tribe to adhere to that simple rule...

      Delete
  5. If I were to have a house built, it would include a urinal no doubt. No lid, just a target.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a deep and abiding dislike of urinals due to other members of my gender who seemingly cannot grasp the concept of peeing into the urinal and not onto the floor in front of the urinal.

      Plus they seem so public use. Personal preference I guess. (Which kinda goes with yesterday's post!)

      Delete
    2. The reason for the 'target.' Guys can't resist shooting for the target.

      Delete
    3. Unless they're engineers. DAMHIK

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    4. No urinals? Heard this from a former AUX-O on Vinson. It's a maintenance issue vice some sort of gender equity thing. Calcium build up in the narrow throat of the urinals due to lower pressure and less water which causes lots of clogs. Commodes don't have the same problems apparently.

      Delete
    5. Ah, an engineering reason! I like it!

      Delete
  6. Regarding the poster. Not a single logistics ship among them.

    Also, a buddy of mine of longer service pointed out recently regarding a similar poster, that "When he was starting out", there were that many ships homeported just in Norfolk.

    /
    L.J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As to your first point: you're right! I took a second look thinking perhaps that it just listed "USS" and not "USNS," which it does. Two oddities which I noticed:
      1) USS Pueblo (which is in North Korea as an effing trophy. thanks LBJ, you a*hole) is still carried as an active ship of the fleet (as is USS Constitution).
      2) Ships which have been commissioned are listed as "USS Such-and-Such" whereas ships yet to be commissioned or simply planned have just the name listed without the "USS." Except for the two sub tenders, no "USS," just the names. Odd that...

      As to point of yours which is second: your buddy is probably right. Heh, the cost of all the ships then homeported at Norfolk may have been less than the cost of USS Zumwalt and USS Gerald R. Ford combined. The new warships are VERY expensive.

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the post. My head is just stuffed with new information.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    Replies
    1. I get that way at times. But at my age, it's all gone shortly thereafter.

      Delete
  8. It’s only something I think I was told a long time ago, but subs are boats because many were built by the electric boat division of General Dynamics.
    I heard something, too, about the logistics (supply) ships having mixed crews (civilian & military), thus getting the USNS (United States Navy Ship) designation.
    I forget most of the story because it was boring, not the information, but how and by whom it was related.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Electric Boat was started up in 1899 specifically to build John Holland submersible designs. They've been building US subs for over a hundred years. So that's pretty cool, but submarines were first called "submarine boats" (and in German still are - Unterseeboot or as we say, U-Boats. So I believe Electric Boat was named for what they built and not the other way around.

      I've been told interesting stories by boring people. Often called "college professors."

      Delete
  9. 36 USC 301 has no penalty associated with violating it, and also says "should" for each section rather than "must" or "will", so its strictly hortatory in nature. No governmental penalty, but you may cast disapproving aspersions upon any such troglodyte that fails to properly render honors.

    Interestingly enough, thanks to your post, I found out that under 36 USC 303 The rose is our national floral emblem. I did not know that. I guess Rule 303 in the US means give 'em the thorns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Disapproving aspersions" has been officially added to my human interactions toolbox.

      Thanks Aaron!

      Delete
    2. "hortatory" made mine. Having just watched Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead men tell no tales (Again), it reminds me of a passage from the movie.

      Carina Smyth: My calculations are precise and true. I'm not just an astronomer. I'm also a horologist.

      Captain Jack Sparrow: No shame in that, dear. We all have to make a living.

      Carina Smyth: No, I'm a horologist.

      Scrum: So was my mum. Although she didn't crow about it quite as loud as you."

      Delete
    3. Oh, that right there is priceless!

      (Need to watch that one again!)

      Delete
    4. You're welcome. I enjoyed juvat's passing along the POC scene about taking horticulture.

      Delete
  10. The Boat.
    It was the Ship when I was ship's company on Independence a long time ago.
    As an Air Wing guy in my subsequent sea tours it was The Boat.
    When attending Bakersfield Condors hockey games I render a correct salute even if I am in line at the beer vendor...

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    Replies
    1. So you've been on both sides of the "great" boat/ship divide!

      Delete
  11. Your Broncos weren't on the Naughty List: http://deadline.com/2017/12/nfl-anthem-protests-week-16-ho-ho-ho-its-coal-in-the-stockings-for-the-nfl-1202232339/

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    Replies
    1. Good to know! Didn't appear to be any Redskins on that list either.

      Delete
  12. Nicknames will still be used by me- Indy, Ike, Abe or Lincoln, Kidd, etc. - all short titles vice the whole USS Dwight David Eisenhower (CVN-69) is just easier in non-professional writing circles. "The Boat" is also a big fave, since it pisses off the Shoes. As for the flag salute- "what happens (in theory) if folks don't do what is laid out above?" They are either foreigners or assholes. No criminal processing, but they'll get the stink eye from me and possibly a polite comment about what is appropriate behavior.

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    1. Round here I will use the occasional carrier nickname, Ike and TR for example. It's just that there are folks who would take us to task for the whole ALL CAPS thing. (Sorry, didn't mean to yell.)

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    2. What about the appellation CVE USS "Babraham Lincoln" when an inordinate number of female pregnant sailors just "happened" during one cruise? :)

      Delete
  13. No urinals...how disconcerting. And how very politically correct.

    Now for trivia: The only bathtub on a US Navy ship was on USS Iowa (built specially for FDR who couldn't shower because of his medical situation with polio).

    Then again, there are the nicknames: USS Eisenhower (Ike); USS Kittyhawk (Shitty Kitty); USS Constellation (Connie), USS Paul Ignatius (Iggy), etc.

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    1. Yeah, the article that headline links to talked about that.

      I recall reading that about the bathtub on Iowa.

      One of my favorite nicknames was Disco Briscoe for USS Briscoe (DD 977) which I heard from a former yardbird. Which was my son's first ship.

      Delete
  14. Attended a rodeo last year as a guest. My hosts both served. We saluted, and I noticed several people in the crowd saluting. It would take a great deal of foolishness to kneel at a rodeo IMO.

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    1. Unless one has a death wish. Or a please beat me up wish.

      Delete
  15. Was enlisted nuke on USS Carl Vinson (CVN70) 87-94, and boat/ ship were pretty much interchangeable. Boat was easier to say while drunk, as sshhhip was too easy to slur, thus giving yourself away.

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    1. Ah! A nuke! Nukes are awesome.

      Of course, I'm a bit prejudiced in that regard.

      Good point on ease of use while blasted.

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)