Naval Report at WVRC on 7 June
We started with the Pledge, followed by the Song, and then had the Invocation. I list these events since they always occur at the beginning of our meeting, but I was not physically present to observe them I think this may have been the first time in my 46 years as a WVRC member that I ever missed the start of a meeting by this much. The reason was traffic I left 19th street in Santa Monica at 11:45, and arrived at our meeting at 12:40, having spent the intervening 55 minutes traversing Wilshire Blvd. So I now formally second SEAN McMILLAN’S frequent complaint that going west from Santa Monica is a real challenge.
Anyway, I now take up with my Windmill coverage from 12:40 onward. Prexy MIKE was reporting that one of our members had recently made a substantial purchase. This of course produced the usual assortment of audience advice, which could be summarized by the phrase, “Uh, Oh that’s a fine”. The culprit was soon identified as none other than PP JIM DOWNIE, and the purchase as a new Mercedes! Upon this revelation, there was a veritable chorus of remarks along the line of “Not good ol’ JIM ?”, etc. This then brought the further revelation from PP JIM himself “Well, you might as well know there was also a new Cadillac”. Prexy MIKE continued by ruminating that the usual fine for a new car was a hundred and fifty big ones, and with not one but TWO cars, the figure obviously came to three hundred. But Prexy MIKE then offered to make a deal with PP JIM, allowing as how, since JIM was on the Demotion Committee, he, MIKE, would consider a reduction in the total fine if the aforementioned JIM would use his good offices to hold the demotion remarks down to a less-noticeable roar. This, too, produced audience participation, which could be summarized by the observation that this was perhaps an unseemly offer to be made so publicly. JIM replied, “Tell you what - if you take off fifty bucks, and can get the Demotion Committee to ease off a bit, I’ll pay”. There followed some indecisive palaver about a lack of verification of such an offer.
Someone suggested inserting the Four Way Test, but there was a noticeable lack of accurate memory as to just how it went! The apparent result was that JIM is on the hook for 250 clams, and we will know what success he had with the Committee on June 21st.
Proving that there is indeed life after such momentous incidents, Prexy MIKE noted that the kitchen had called to his attention the fact that several members were requesting special menu substitutions soup instead of salad, fish only, specific desserts which led to the following ruling. If you have special requirements that you need on a permanent basis, please let MIKE know in advance, so he can alert the kitchen. And the standard replacement for the entrée of the day is a fruit plate which doesn’t need advance notice to MIKE. Got it?
ED JACKSON came forward with two students and the Vice Principal from Emerson Middle School. The occasion was the presentation of the Alan Campbell Award to the student with the highest GPA at Emerson. Alan Campbell was a former member of WVRC, and was the Principal at Emerson. Ed added that he, Ed, had graduated from Emerson forty years ago and someone in the audience asked if ED had received the award. Alas, he said he wasn’t even close. Anyway, the reason there were co-recipients for the GPA Award was that they tied, with a 4.0 for each! Their names are Janawi Muthaiya and Injinash Unshin, and both will enter University High in the fall. Vice Principal Steven Toda then spoke briefly about Emerson and its programs.
Lt. Christian Escovil from the Naval ROTC Unit presented our Rotary Award to Midshipman 3rd class John Allen for outstanding service during his summer cruise in 2006. Midshipman Allen spoke briefly about the cruise and his time at UCLA. Last summer he served aboard a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor, and they participated in several training exercises along with ships from several Pacific Rim countries. He has completed his third year at UCLA.
Prexy MIKE than gave us the Joke. A petty officer 2nd class, another lst class, and a Chief Petty officer were walking on the beach and they found a bottle that had floated ashore. Sure enough, there was a Genie inside, and when prompted, she allowed that each of them would be given one wish, to be chosen in order of rank. The 2nd class elected to be on a speeding boat, with a beautiful girl on his arm, and not a care in the world. The lst class wanted to be on the beach in Hawaii, with a beautiful girl on his arm and a pina collada in his hand. The final choice was by the Chief, who smiled and said, “I want those two idiots back on the ship and reporting to me, right after lunch!”
Our Speaker was Lt. Escovil, who graduated from Annapolis in 2002 with a degree in Oceanography. He had a brief assignment as an intern in Madrid, Spain, and was selected to attend Navy Divers School in Florida. Following graduation, he was assigned to submarine service, attending Nuclear Power School, learning how to operate a Nuclear Reactor, and then ordered aboard one of our Los Angeles Class Nuclear Submarines. His first cruise was to the North Atlantic, then to the Indian Ocean, and finally to the Mediterranean.
Life aboard is divided into 18-hour periods 6 hours on watch, 6 hours on division assignments, and, with luck, 6 hours for sleep. A deployment is for about six months, and the standard time underwater is about three weeks. Food storage is at a premium on a Nuclear Submarine, and that controls when they surface to replenish their supplies. It is well known that their food is the best in the Navy. Currently there are 49 Los Angeles Class attack submarines, three Fuel Class boats, and three Virginia Class boats these are the newest in the fleet.
The Los Angeles class boats are 230 feet long, thirty feet wide and deep, and the new Virginia class are over 300 feet long. The nuclear power plant is in the after end, while the officers and crew are forward. The crewmembers have what is called a ‘hot rack’ system, in which three crewmen have the use of two beds, often swung between torpedoes. There are three deck levels, and eight transverse bulkheads with watertight doors. A junior officers first duty is in the Engine Room, monitoring the dials and gauges, which measure safety. The Control Room houses the Officer of the Deck, who is in charge underway, the Chief of the Boat, the periscope and sonar gear, and the steering and buoyancy controls. (And I cannot resist a personal opinion here the Officer of the Deck is the best job in the Navy!) The Virginia Class boats have two periscopes, one of which can be used for navigation.
The crew aboard the Los Angeles class boats total about 140, of which fifteen are officers The Captain can be a Captain or a senior Commander, and the second in command is the Executive Officer, plus several Department Heads. The junior officers spend much of their Department time and some of their sleep time studying to become qualified for the next step up. The senior enlisted man is the Chief of the Boat. There is a Chief Warrant Officer Corpsman, who handles all medical and dental problems underway. Some familiar specialties are Electricians Mates, and Electronic Technicians, some of whom are qualified to operate and repair nuclear reactors. The crew, to a man, is of the highest quality they are all volunteers, and experts in their fields of specialty.
When in port, Lt. Escovil and other divers are sometimes assigned to inspect the hull of the boat underwater, to be sure nothing has been attached to it, to check the propellers, etc. Repairs to the reactors can be extensive, and putting it all back together perfectly is of course necessary. Admiral Rickover is known as the Father of the Nuclear Navy, and every officer who applies for submarine duty has a personal interview with the Admiral in change of the Nuclear Program. We are the only country in the world with Nuclear Submarines all the rest have diesel engines, providing speeds underwater of less than ten knots, while the Nukes can move at thirty knots. This differential is a huge advantage in combat with surface ships, most of whom move no faster than that. One problem he noted was the effect that prolonged underwater confinement produces temporary errors in depth of field judgment.
Q&A When we pick up the presence of another submarine submerged nearby, do we know what country it is from? We can determine what type of submarine it is, and since we know which countries have which types, we can usually determine its origin. Do you get extra pay for being a diver, or for perilous duty? Yes, we do we are paid extra when we are in a combat zone. Do you have a Psychologist aboard? No, Maam. How do you get and retain - enlisted people to volunteer for submarine duty? The answer is submarine crews are the highest paid in the military. What percentage of your crew is female? Currently, none. We do not have space aboard for separate accommodations.
Australia and Sweden do have female submariners. How long does it take to become qualified as an Officer of the Deck? About fifteen months, and you then rate the gold Submarine Officers crest which I wear. (and I have to identify this next questioner PP STEVE SCHERER, who was in the Army…) Which do you consider more formidable, the Army Rangers or Navy Seals? Laughter…The Navy Seals, for sure.
Lt Christian Escovil, we thank you for being with us, to honor Midshipman John Allen and to inform us about one of our most valuable security providers, the United States Navy Submarine Service.