Why won't the Navy release the USS FITZGERALD's track?


[quote=“Capt_Phoenix, post:106, topic:45260, full:true”]
I don’t know what the acronyms you’re using mean, I’m going directly off the video you linked and what was said.[/quote]

OOD means Officer of the Deck, spoken “Officer of the Deck”.

DOOW means diving officer of the watch (though it is usually an enlisted person, senior in rank), spoken “Dive”.

COOW is spoken “Chief of the Watch”.

Also, the last guy in the chain, who sounded the alarm, also appeared to perform the dive.[/quote]

Sir, that is because you are not Qualified in Submarines. The DOOW is the one who is diving the boat.

Several things have to happen to dive the boat:

  • clear the bridge and close the hatch etc.

  • all ahead full (iirc). the helm sets this speed with the Engine Order Telegraph, which sends a signal the Engine Room; the Throttleman turns his wheel appropriately in order to let more steam out of the nuclear reactor.

  • rudder amidships, by default, unless the OOD said otherwise. This is performed by the Helm (sometimes yours truly).

  • IIRC, 20 degrees down bubble. This refers to the angle of the submarine and is controlled by the Planes watch (sometimes yours truly) on the orders of the DOOW.

  • open the valves to take water in the main ballast tanks. This action is performed by the chief of the watch when the DOOW tells him to do so. The COOW is not doing this of his own accord; he does what the DOOW tells him to do.

The person responsible for “reaching and maintaining ordered depth” is the DOOW. The COOW opens valves and takes on the amount of water that the DOOW tells him to admit. merely taking on this amount of water will cause the boat to go underwater, but that is not the proper procedure for a controlled dive. DOOW is required to coordinate the evolution known as submerging the submarine.

No, sir. I am correcting your interpretation, as someone who is Qualified in Submarines and qualified Helm/Planes watch, two certifications which you do not have, sir. I can’t tell you anything about STCW – you are the one who could teach me about STCW – but I can teach you about diving a submarine. :smile:


Perhaps you should go back and re-read your post to see just how incredibly arrogant you come across. There was no implication or statement on my part that the bridge team knew it was an SSBN. They new it was a sub. The information regarding what type of sub came out later. I wrote what had happened.

As far as no danger? In order for the sub to respond to the problem they have to first know that there’s a problem. They didn’t figure it out until somebody else got onto the radio. We were already turning at that point while they were pulling their thumbs out of their asses and answering the radio. Let’s just say that they did do their little emergency deep move. How quickly could they recover and level off from said dive? Fast enough to not become a lawn dart in the bottom of Puget Sound?

And this little statement of yours:

Really? Apparently the OOD didn’t know exactly what he was doing because his ass is now on the beach. I was in no danger due to the actions of my captain, not the actions of the sub. The sub had no effing clue. As far as my captain complaining, there are channels for that. It’s not like he needed to get a hull number off the sub to report that he had to take evasive actions to avoid it. We didn’t hear anything about the aftermath until the news of why the skipper was relieved became public.

As for your insinuation that I feel that Elite unites are infallible, you really truly have no clue. Your previous post was calling me out about how wrong I was about what happened, reading into my statement things that I did not say and attacking my statements as absurd from your ivory tower, even after I posted proof that what I said was true.

And finally, this statement:

You have said very little to me to indicate that you have the depth of understanding of the situation that you claim to have.


Yes, and the person actually diving the sub (not the person responsible for “reaching and maintaining ordered depth”) is the Chief of the Watch. He’s the one flipping the switches to take on water. It’s like if I said the person steering the ship is the helmsman and you correct me and say “no, the mate had the Conn, he’s steering the ship, the helmsman just follows the mate’s rudder commands.”

Thus my analogy of this to the commercial world, the mate on watch (or the captain himself) would just go flip the switches and take on ballast instead of telling someone else to tell someone else to take on ballast.


I’m talking about the situation on your ship, not the other situation in Washington State. In your situation, the OOD is looking at your ship through the periscope. He knows how far out he is and how much time he has to dive or change direction or whatever he is going to do. Just based on your description. Perhaps there is more to it that you did not explain. I wasn’t there. All you said was that you saw a periscope on what appeared to be a collision course. Based on that information, as a submariner I would say you were not in danger. Now maybe the boat was closer than you previously implied; I don’t know. I can only speak to what you said.

lol…again, they can easily dive underneath your ship.

Sure, but I am responding to your point that the Navy supposedly didn’t know the boat was going to be there. I am certain you are incorrect. The person you spoke to may not have known, but the people whose job it is to know would have known there was a submarine in that approximate area and what their mission was. It would have been a small number of people beyond the crew of the submarine, as submarine operations are classified.

Well, you are implying that we can’t be elite because we occasionally make mistakes. We go underwater, behind enemy lines, on clandestine missions. We stay underwater for months at a time. Most people couldn’t do what we do.

You guys don’t really know what you’re talking about with regard to submarines. Which leads me to believe you may not know what you’re talking about with regard to surface warships either, but since I don’t know much of anything with regard to surface warships either, I don’t comment on it, out of respect.

Also, I do not tell others what the proper procedures are on a Merchant Marine ship, as I have never worked on such a ship. It would be disrespectful for me to presume to instruct Merchant Mariners on the proper way to do their job. Other than as a joke or in a jovial tone, of course. :smile:

My silver dolphins indicate my depth of understanding, shipmate. Just as your AB rating (or whatever) indicates your depth of understanding. You know more about STCW than I do; I know more about submarines than you do.


Incorrect. the DOOW dives the boat. The COOW follows the orders of DOOW; COOW is subordinate to both OOD and COOW. (diving the boat, as I said, requires more than what the COOW does. To do it in a controlled manner you also have to set the angle of the boat, speed, etc.)

Again, the Navy does things a little differently. The OOD is responsible for navigation and overall safety; the DOOW is responsible for reaching and maintaining ordered depth; the COOW controls valves and motors.

From what I understand, a Merchant Marine ship has the equivalent of an OOD, right? And it also has the equivalent of an EOOW (Engineering Officer of the Watch), does it not? In other words your OOD doesn’t go all the way back to the engine room to check pressures and such, and change how much power is being output by the engine, right?

So really the civilians are doing the same thing. :smile:


I think this is miscommunication between us. You are talking Navy and I’m talking normal. The Dive Officer of the Watch may be the one in charge of the operation but the person with their hands on the controls is the one actually diving the sub, just like the person with their hands on the wheel is the one actually steering the ship regardless of who is giving the orders.


You’re right that the container ship wasn’t in danger, the submarine might have been though. It doesn’t take someone qualified in submarines to do the math in that collision.

I mean if they were a Japanese school ship, then it would have been a different story.

Before you tell me how little I know about pig boats, I’ve got several family members in the business and we often swap maritime horror stories from our respective vessels.


I know what you mean sir. I’m saying that’s not entirely true, because “actually diving the boat” involves more than what the COOW does.

The COOW is only opening valves and announcing “dive dive” over the 1MC. The DOOW told him to do that and and the DOOW tells him when to close said valves. The DOOW is also controlling the speed of the submarine and the angle of attack, all of which is part of “actually diving the boat”.

Now if you say “the COOW is the one who opened the valves to cause water to come into the main ballast tanks” then I would agree with you. :smile:


Yeah but based on what the other guy said, the submarine could have easily dived underneath his ship. Like I said, maybe the boat was closer than he implied, and I can only speak to what he actually wrote. I can’t invent information he didn’t supply.

Yeah you mean when the USS Greenville performed an emergency blow and hit a Japanese sailing ship. I remember. Like I said, “elite” doesn’t mean “never make mistakes”. It means “we are the best at doing the job we do”.


So a crane operator isn’t actually the one driving the crane because he has a signal man giving him directions. Gotcha.


The crane operator isn’t loading the ship, no. Somebody else is “loading the ship”. The crane operator is doing one part of that evolution. Just as the OOD on a merchant ship is “driving the ship” but he isn’t controlling everything on the ship by himself.

This might help explain what I’m talking about. The newest class of submarine, USS Virginia, has a totally different layout in Control. Instead of Helm, Planes, DOOW and COOW, they have two senior enlisted people: Pilot and Co-Pilot. They have touch screens in front of them. So (I assume), the OOD will say “Pilot, submerge the ship”, and the Pilot will say “submerge the ship, aye sir”, and then press the appropriate touch screen buttons, and the computer does everything that COOW, Helm and Planes would have done. Here’s a pic:

USS Virginia (new submarine class) Pilot and Co-Pilot

The reason it wasn’t done that way before is that, (1) computer technology hadn’t advanced to that point yet (the Trident came out in the 80s and was based on late 70s computer tech, same for 688i) and (2) they were basing it on how submarines were designed in World War II.

The USS Virginia still operates in basically the same way, but the automation eliminates some of the humans. The Pilot is still in control of the evolution of diving, but instead of having other people push levers and flip switches, he has a computer to do that.

I don’t know where the bigger version of the above pic is…I’ll post if I can find it. The bigger version shows more detail in the screens.


So tell me again how you dive under something that you didn’t even know was there? How long would it have taken the sub to figure out that they were about to get run over?

To clarify: The Kentucky had no clue as to my ship being there. None. Until my captain got on the radio they didn’t have a single clue that there was an 830’ ship coming at them at 22kts.

The word elite didn’t even enter into the conversation until you brought it up. You keep insisting on assigning implications to my words that just aren’t there. Have fun with MSC, I’m sure you’ll go far.


I never said the Chief of the Watch was in charge of the dive operation, but that he was the one actually diving the ship.

Controlling? Yes, he normally is controlling everything himself. Maybe in pilotage waters there’s a helmsman steering instead of the autopilot not normally the OICNW is alone on the bridge (controlling everything himself) except maybe for a lookout during hours of darkness.

If a course or speed change needs to be made, I make it. If the general alarm needs to be sounded, I sound it. If an announcement needs to be made on the PA, I make it. If the danger signal needs to be sounded, I sound it.

As in, I physically do it, not I direct someone else to do it while I supervise the operation.


He linked an article explaining that the Navy fired the subs CO for the incident because the sub was clueless.

Also, can a sub do an emergency dive in inland waters where this took place?


Again, the phrase “actually diving the ship” does NOT apply to the COOW. “Actually diving the ship” involves many steps beyond what the COOW does. The COOW is merely opening valves because the DOOW can’t reach all the way over there to do that. If you just opened those valves and did nothing else, the submarine would go down at an odd angle, because of hydrodynamic forces. This would cause a safety and navigation issue. What you want is for the submarine to go down at a certain angle and a certain speed, so when the evolution is complete, you’re running level at the desired depth. That’s “actually diving the ship”, ok. I don’t know how much more clear I can be on that.

So the DOOW is “actually diving the ship”. He instructs the COOW to open valves and then close them at a later time. That’s just one part of the evolution of diving the ship.

Here, I found some more pics that will help.

Here’s my old boat, USS Florida SSBN-728, hopefully these pics will work:

USS Florida SSBN-728 Control

ok, so, Senior Chief Harris is the one who would reach and maintain ordered depth, right. To do that, he has to get the angle of attack right, he has to get the speed right, and he has to open valves. Petty Officer Cole, seated to our right of Senior Chief Harris, is Chief of the Watch. Clearly, Senior Chief Harris can’t just reach over and hit that switch and still pay attention to the angle of the boat, speed and course. So he tells Petty Officer Cole to open the valves and make the announcements. Petty Officer Cole has many other things he controls from that panel (just a few off the top of my head: air pressure, O2 level, CO2 level, water pressure in various systems), but when diving the submarine, his role is to open the appropriate valves and monitor water flow. Senior Chief Harris tells Petty Officer Dominguez to set the correct bubble (angle of attack), and he tells Petty Officer Valles to set the correct speed and rudder.

Ok, so that’s on the Florida. Here’s the Virginia class. This is probably more like your ship:

USS Virginia submarine Pilot and Co-Pilot

Now, this is very different. Chief Bolte and Chief McIntire are Co-Pilot and Pilot. Each of these touch screens integrates the roles of DOOW, COOW, Helm and Planes. So now, all the Pilot has to do is press the appropriate button on the touch screen to set speed, bubble, rudder and air valves in order to dive the boat.

In both cases, only one guy was “actually diving the ship”. In the case of the older boat, that one guy had to instruct a few other people to do things, because they were out of reach. In the new one, that one guy just has to press a button to do the same thing.

Really the procedure is basically the same, but in the newer boat, you have more automation. Hopefully this clears things up. :slight_smile:

Well, here’s why the Navy doesn’t do it that way, sir. The OOD is a navigator. He concentrates on navigation. He can’t be everywhere on the ship and, quite frankly, some of the technical details are best done by specialists. For example, the man who is navigating the ship (according to Navy submarine culture) shouldn’t be concerned with acquiring sonar contacts. He has sonar technicians to do that. They do that for him so he can determine where the boat should go and where we should target our weapons. In other words, don’t shoot at ship X because those are civilians; instead shoot at ship Y…don’t go to course XXX because the current course is where we need to be to follow the bad guy.

Civilian ships, from what I understand, do this in a different way. You have a guy controlling navigation and a different guy controlling the engine. Weapons are not applicable on your ship, so you don’t need separate people to operate those systems. If you did have weapons, the guy who is navigating probably wouldn’t aim the weapons. The Navy has more people because we are performing a different mission.


OK Neut, it’s time to back off and just read for a while, maybe a couple of months.

As one of your so called “elite” who earned his fish on a diesel boat I will state categorically that once nukes came online the girls who worked on them were not particularly special. It doesn’t take a great deal of courage or brains, and there is no shortage of folks who can do the job, but there is a very large dose of Kool-Aid dispensed on those boats and apparently it has not worked its way out of your system yet.

Take a break, give it time before you alienate the real sailors here and make all submariners look like pompous arrogant fools.


Not everybody in the world is as sure about the infallibility of the US judicial system as you appears to be, especially when the vessel is foreign.
A fairly recent case involved a ship managed by Thome Shipmanagement, Singapore, recognized as one of the best Ship Management companies in the world. They felt compelled to plead guilty in a US Court to avoid a lengthy delay of their vessel, but do not feel they are at fault: http://www.tankershipping.com/news/view,shipmanager-thome-speaks-out-on-pollution-and-corruption-conviction_48242.htm

This comment by Tony Fordyce in LinkedIn may be enlightening:

[quote]Unfortunately, the article doesn’t say anything at all about the whistleblower in the incident in question, but, for those who aren’t familiar with what often happens (and why), this is the relevant legal provision:
“A person who knowingly violates the MARPOL Protocol, this chapter, or the regulations issued thereunder commits a class D felony. In the discretion of the court, an amount equal to not more than ½ of such fine may be paid to the person giving information leading to conviction. – "
Since fines can be in excess of US$1 mill, there is therefore a very substantial incentive for crew members to report breaches of the law. In theory this is a good idea, but this can also, of course, encourage unscrupulous crew members to falsely report breaches of the law (which often can’t be proven either way because the crew members concerned will say that the oil record books have been falsified, and, if necessary, they can also set up bypass hoses, photograph and then dismantle them). [/quote]


@neutrino78x, You mentioned something along the lines of let’s see you say awake for 4 days, well, until you are a CE and have to take a vessel out of shipyard you have no idea! I personally have been up over 3 days straight working not sitting in front of a certain set of controls. I’m sure that most of the CE’s and Master’s will agree with what I stated. Yes, with STCW we are not suppose to go over certain hours but in real life it happens all the time.

I personally lived in Norfolk, VA for more than a few years. During this time, I became friends with quite a few Sailors and Civilian Port Engineers. Included in my friends ranks were anything from 2nd Class up to CO. One of my best friends was a CO of a Seal Team. So, I have personally heard a bunch of stories.

Now here’s a question for you which might help some of us understand where you are coming from, how many years did you spend on Subs?


Again, this is just a difference in terminology and you’re so used to Navy speak you can’t seem to grasp the distinction I’m making. I’ll just let it go…


Minor correction for a non-nuc: We don’t let steam out of the reactor. In fact, we prefer that there never be any steam in there (other than DNB). When the throttle is opened more steam comes from the steam generator(s) (the secondary loop), reflecting a lower temperature in the primary coolant loop which causes reactor power to increase.

The first 25% of my Navy career was enlisted. Qualified as an RO on December 7th, 1967, and finished first in Class 400 at Submarine School in March 1968. Never forget anything from nuclear power training.