Wednesday, January 04, 2006

DD(X)





Images of the proposed DD(X)






DD(X). In the world of Naval warships, I'm sure those three letters mean a lot to those that read my blog. Without a doubt, this destroyer with Stealth technology will be the most expensive the US Navy has ever seen. Probably the most expensive in the whole world! I can't say that I agree that the $3 BILLION dollar price tag is worth it considering we (the U.S.) has already set precendent in commanding and ruling the high seas. Our vessels are already reknown in the world as the "elite". Subs such as "Her Majesty" and other nuclear powered subs (old and new) are already history in the making, cold war or not. We have made the bold statement to the world that we are #1 on the oceans.

I guess my feeling is that while we're fighting a senseless war in a far away land (Those that know Star Trek MUST agree that the Prime Directive is necessary at times....), do we really as a country (impoverished in some areas) want to invest that kind of money to make an "uber ship" when what we have is adequate and formidable? Personally, I'd rather see it invested in healthcare, or education versus the armed forces, but I can't see that happening with "W" at our helm. I think nurses are GROSSLY underpaid, as well as teachers, police officers and fire fighters. No one really thinks of nurses, until they themselves or a loved one is in need of care, then they become precious and priceless. So, $3 BILLION seems like a goodly sum to get started investing in those occupations that invest in US. However, again, with baby Bush in the lead, I doubt that money will see the light of day unless we are putting it toward the military.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

8400 Feet

The Atlantic ocean is approximately 12,254ft deep, on average (the deepest point being 28,374, the Puerto Rico Trench). Thresher sank about 8400ft. I don't think any of us can imagine what that is like. One thing I venture to say as she sank, it was a merciful death for the crew. It did not linger like those sailors on the Russian Kursk. It was instantaneous. I wonder in the moments when the Captain's last garbled message (..."attempting to blow...") was uttered...what was he thinking? Did he know his Fate and that of his crew? Surely he must have known as she started on her descent to the ocean's floor. There is an everpresent risk each time one heads out to sea. Whether your a submarine Captain, or a Gloucester fisherman. A sailor does not command the sea, She commands him. Look at the movie "PERFECT STORM". No one can imagine being out in the ocean fighting waves over 100ft! We simply can not imagine what that is like. Nor can we imagine being a Captain (whose crew trusts him to keep them safe and well, and return them to their family and their loved ones) who was simply conducting test dives on April 10, 1963 when the Fate of 129 people collided in one of most tragic of sea disasters.

Each time I read a passage outlining those final moments, I find myself trying to make sense of it. Trying to figure out my place in all of it? I was born April 9, 1968. How was I tied to her? I believe in reincarnation and past lives. Was I once a sailor aboard Thresher? Somewhere deep in my heart I know there is a connection to me and that vessel. Someday, I hope with the right spiritual guidance to find that connection.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Jane




<---- OSCAR Class Sub (pictures courtesy of www.janes.com)

To all you submarine afficionado's out there, I highly recommend a book called
Jane's Submarines - War Beneath the Waves from 1776 to the Present Day". (Robert Hutchinson). What an amazing book! It gives information on not just "Her Magesty" ---> THRESHER --- but on many different classes of subs! Talk about leviathan! The Oscar class..........holy big sub, Batman! Truly it is one of the better books written. I was doing more reading and I must say you learn something new every day because I truly had no idea that the first submersible dates back to the 1600's! That just amazes me. What amazes me more is that we still use some of the same design (ballast tanks for example) TODAY!


If anyone has any other great books on Subs they'd like to share, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'm starting my library!

Below is an excerpt from Jane's - http://www.janes.com/defence/naval_forces/news/jfs/jfs000814_2_n.shtml

14 August 2000OSCAR II (ANTYEY) (TYPE 949A) (SSGN)ACTIVE: 8 BUILDING: 1
Name
No
Builders
Launched
Commissioned
VERONESH
K 173
Severodvinsk Shipyard
Dec1988
Dec1989
SMOLENSK
K 410
Severodvinsk Shipyard
Jan1990
Dec1990
CELJABINSK
K 442
Severodvinsk Shipyard
June1990
Jan1991
WILIUCZINSK (ex-Kasatka)
K 456
Severodvinsk Shipyard
July1991
Nov1992
OREL (ex-Severodvinsk)
K 266
Severodvinsk Shipyard
May1992
Jan1993
OMSK
K 186
Severodvinsk Shipyard
May1993
Oct1993
KURSK
K 141
Severodvinsk Shipyard
May1994
Jan1995
ST GEORGE THE VICTORIOUS (ex-Tomsk)
K 512
Severodvinsk Shipyard
18 July1996
May1997
BELGOROD
K 530
Severodvinsk Shipyard
Aug1999
-
Displacement, tons: 13,900 surfaced; 18,300 divedDimensions, feet (metres): 505.2 × 59.7 × 29.5 (154 × 18.2 × 9)Main machinery: Nuclear; 2 VM-5 PWR; 380 MW; 2 GT3A turbines; 98,000 hp(m) (72 MW); 2 shafts; 2 spinnersSpeed, knots: 28 dived; 15 surfacedComplement: 107 (48 officers)
Missiles: SSM: 24 Chelomey SS-N-19 Shipwreck (Granit) (improved SS-N-12 with lower flight profile); inertial with command update guidance; active radar homing to 20-550 km (10.8-300 n miles) at 1.6 Mach; warhead 750 kg HE or 500 kT nuclear. Novator Alfa SS-N-27 may be carried in due course.A/S: Novator SS-N-15 Starfish (Tsakra) fired from 53 cm tubes; inertial flight to 45 km (24.3 n miles); warhead nuclear 200 kT or Type 40 torpedo. Novator SS-N-16 Stallion fired from 65 cm tubes; inertial flight to 100 km (54 n miles); payload nuclear 200 kT (Vodopad) or Type 40 torpedo (Veder).Torpedoes: 4-21 in (533 mm) and 2-26 in (650 mm) tubes. Combination of 65 and 53 cm torpedoes (see table at front of section). Total of 28 weapons including tube-launched A/S missiles.Mines: 32 can be carried.Countermeasures: ESM: Rim Hat; intercept.Weapons control: Punch Bowl for third party targeting.Radars: Surface search: Snoop Pair or Snoop Half; I-band.Sonars: Shark Gill; hull-mounted; passive/active search and attack; low/medium frequency. Shark Rib flank array; passive; low frequency. Mouse Roar; hull-mounted; active attack; high frequency. Pelamida towed array; passive search; very low frequency.
Programmes: There is some doubt whether K 530 will be completed. Name/Number attribution is still uncertain, and Omsk may have been renamed Petropavlosk Kamchatsky.Structure: SSM missile tubes are in banks of 12 either side and external to the 8.5 m diameter pressure hull; they are inclined at 40º with one hatch covering each pair, the whole resulting in the very large beam. The position of the missile tubes provides a large gap of some 4 m between the outer and inner hulls. Diving depth, 1,000 ft (300 m) although 2,000 ft (600 m) is claimed.Operational: ELF/VLF communications buoy. All have a tube on the rudder fin as in Delta IV which is used for dispensing a thin line towed sonar array. Pert Spring SATCOM. K 173, K 410, K 266 and K 141 are based at Litsa South in the Northern Fleet and the remainder at Tarya Bay in the Pacific. In 1999 one Northern Fleet unit deployed for the first Russian SSGN patrol in the Mediterranean for ten years. At the same time a Pacific Fleet unit sailed to the western seaboard of the United States. The first three of the class K 148, K 132 and K 119 are laid up awaiting disposal . The only two Oscar Is are laid up in the Northern Fleet.
OSCAR II (6/1998*)
OSCAR II (3/1998)
OSCAR II (9/1996)
OSCAR II 3/1998

Displacement Dived (tonnes):
18592.8
Displacement Surfaced (tonnes):
14122.4
Length (m):
154
Beam (m):
18.2
Draught (m):
9
Speed (knots):
28


Enjoy! :-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Truth is Stranger than Fiction


Well, interestingly enough, I was at work today and my background desk top is a picture of the USS Thresher (funny, huh?) and my mom came to visit me. She instantly knew the ship, and began telling me about my "connection" to her.

Let me first say I was born April 9, 1968. Five years after (and one day before) Thresher sank. Evidently my (adoptive) father was working at the Portsmouth Naval Yard in the early 60's (as well as being in the Navy) and he and his friend, Jim, were both supposed to be on Thresher! Now, had my father told me this, I would have questioned it (pathological liar), however hearing my mother tell the tale, I know it to be true. Supposedly, at the time, there were talk of communists infiltrating the Naval Yard. The supposition was that they were out to steal the design plans of the Thresher (nuclear sub). Bear in mind the year we are talking about -- 1963!

Anyway, I was always under the belief that my dad was sick with pneumonia and that is why he did not make it on board Thresher, however, my mother does not coroborate that story. She said that neither Jim nor my father went because the higher ups needed some rigging /engineering done back at the yard for a different vessel. No matter the case, although he desperately wanted to go, he never set foot on Thresher on April 10,1963.

Getting back to the communist theory (yeah, I know, sounds like X-Files!). Maybe there were spies, maybe not. I can tell you that not once but TWICE my father cheated death at the Naval Yard, and neither time were the incidents deemed accidents. See, the first time my father was to be standing near the big, metal chains that hold the ships in dock. Once they deploy, the chains wrap up and take anything in their way into the water and conceivably, since they are heavy, to the bottom. However, when set up correctly, they do not have any ill effects. Well, for some reason my father moved away from the chain to do something else and *WHAM* the chain went right to where he was supposed to be standing!!

He did, however, suffer a serious ?accident? at the Naval Yard. He, and others, were standing below, and a cable broke loose (later found cut) and dropped a steel "plank" 72ft from above. This plank struck my father on the head. Yes, from 72ft!! (My father was 5'8" tall, and after this accident, he was 5'6") It hit him square on the head. The ONLY reason he lived was because he was wearing his hard hat. After that, he was paralyzed on the right side and never quite normal. He had surgery after surgery to repair the extensive brain damage, and probably by all accounts should have died. He escaped death not once or twice but THREE times, all at the Naval Yard. Now, was it a communist conspiracy theory? Did a spy cut that cable? Who knows. I do know that years later, a man contacted my father by mail begging for information on the Thresher. My father turned the letter over to his commander and that was it. Never heard of or spoken of again.

Well, who knows if all of it is true or just a bunch of malarky. I have been estranged from my dad since I was 12-13 years old. I remember some stories, but often I would find out that is all they were -- stories. Webs and webs of lies spun together to make him look like a hero. I can only believe what my mother tells me, and to me that is enough to help me at least partially understand my infatuation with Thresher. One thing that is the truth, anyone can father kids but certainly not every man can be a father. But, hearing my mom talk about this today, I came to realize that I may be disappointed in my father for 99.9% of all that he did (or didn't do as the case may be) but his involvement, however small, with Thresher is something that I AM extremely proud to talk about.

In my heart, I believe my connections is something that transcends the boundaries of this world (as we know it). I believe that something that is buried on the bottom of the ocean draws me in and keeps me awestruck. Surely I must have been there, in some way...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Aventures at Sea

Well, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed in this whole BLOG thing. I mean, I sort of thought I'd get some responses by now. Maybe my topic (USS Thresher) is so obscure that I will never see many hits. If so, I guess I will use this BLOG as a road to self discovery.

I finallly watched "Disasters at Sea" (National Geographic DVD). What a fantastic documentary! For those of you who haven't seen it, BUY it! I sat awestruck on my chaissse lounge, unable to move much less breath when her majesty (USS Thresher) was filmed. If only to be a part of her. Even to see the Squalus. It was just amazing. Right from the start, they are talking about submarines and one is just breaking the surface! Just seeing it puts these sounds and images in your head! You can almost feel it all around you. At that moment, when you see the mighty Leviathan leaping from the ocean, you know she has a pulse and oozes life.

Another great happening was my FIRST EDITION of "Death of the USS Thresher" arriving! Yes, it is the FIRST one! 1964, Norman Polmar. It is somewhat different from the 2001 reprint. I also received a book titled Submarine Disasters. I will be busy reading all of this great literature!

I'm still in search of the elusive newspaper from 1964 (Portsmouth area). I will keep on my hunt. In some ways, I feel that I pay some sort of silent tribute to the men that keep a watch over the Thresher. I know there is more to my infatuation with the Thresher than even I understand. I do plan on visiting a Medium (Dr. Vicki Monroe -- www.vickimonroe.com)
to find out what exactly IS my connection/role to/in this Underwater Mystery that surrounds my life.

I have been told that my (adoptive) father was supposed to be ON the Thresher, but he came down with pneumonia and was "left behind". I'm sure at the time, he was devastated. After all, the launching and practice dives of the Thresher was to be history in the making. I imagine when he heard of the terrible disaster, he probably bowed his head to thank God and curse him all at once. If your life is spared at the expense of your friends' lives, are you really spared? Are you the lucky one? Or, are they? Sometimes, I wish my dad were alive so that I could ask him more about this. Even just to hear that he was NEAR the Thresher at the Portsmouth Naval Yard would be an amazing story to a "subbie" like me! I actually purchased an original print of the thresher (in its original frame!!) and as I stare at it, I often wonder whose it was, and what story or stories they could tell me about their experiences with Thresher.

I like to think that Davy Jones' locker is surely well cared for by the men of SSN #593.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

USS Thresher SSN 593

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

USS Thresher

Hello,

This is my first attempt at making a "blog". Not bad for an "old" woman of age 37 who is not technologically savvy. :-) As you see by my blog address, I am not only interested in the USS Thresher, but FASCINATED by it. I am just starting a collection of Thresher "things". I have ordered a beautiful picture on canvas, another original print from the 60's and have the book, "The Death of the USS Thresher" by Norman Polmar (I do NOT have the original printing, but rather a 2001 copyright). As any avid "subber" would have, I have the DVD by National Geographic "Disasters at Sea". This not only shows the Thresher, but also the Kursk, the Squalus, etc. VERY GOOD!!

I am hoping along my journey here in Blogger-Land that someone will have MORE information on the Thresher that they would like to share with me, or even web addresses where I can find Thresher items. I am particularly interested in obtaining an ORIGINAL newspaper (probably from the New England Portsmouth NH area) showing that terrible tragedy. Of course, the date was April 10, 1963. That particular year had a lot of noteworthy news printed (Kennedy, etc) so it is not easy to find one. I've "GOOGLED" it, but maybe someone else can help me in my search!

On a personal note, I can not say why I am so touched and bothered by this tragedy at sea. Every man or woman who makes their living on the sea be it in the service or as their way of life knows that the Sea is no match for any man nor vessel. Not even the mighty Thresher with all her nuclear and (at the time) state of the art technology. Not even the "indestructable" Titanic. I am not all that convinced in "past lives", but I think that there is something indescribable that draws me to the USS Thresher. Although I am touched to see other submarine disasters (i.e. Squalus, Kursk, etc) NOTHING hits me like the Thresher. I can almost feel the panic and chaos and tragedy around me. It is something I wish I could find answers for.

Well, I hope to hear from some others out there who know something about the Thresher.