Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Submarine Sunday

On Sunday we were able to go out to the Navy base and get a tour of the USS Montpelier.  The submarine is a fast attack sub in the Los Angeles class.  It is the third ship in the US Navy to be named after Montpelier, Vermont.  It has 12 officers and 98 sailors assigned.  It was launched in August 1991 and commissioned in March 1993.

When we arrived we watched some of the sailors painting the outside of the sub down to the water level.  We found out later that there is going to be a change of command on the boat later in the month and the sailors are getting it in tip top shape.
Sunday is a good day to tour the boat because it is a relatively slow day and they had a minimum crew on board.  We were met by our escort Lt j.g. Jake Montoya.  He has been in the Navy 3 years.
After I went down the hatch, Pam handed me the camera and I got a couple of shots of Nikkos and Kelly joining me.  Pam declined to have her photo taken of her entry into the submarine.
The submarine is tight quarters as you would expect.  Also it has a myriad of systems and switches and buttons all of which are a bit overwhelming.
While some sailors were painting the boat on the outsider, some cleaning and painting was going on inside.  I never heard of Blue Thunder but it was working well.
The berths give new meaning to the term close quarters.  This closet is actually bed space for nine sailors.
 We toured the officer mess and the larger galley for the enlisted personnel.  The Redskins game was on. They can get TV while plugged into shore power but lose it after they get underway.  We also saw the kitchen area.  On Friday they had steak and shrimp for dinner.  I don't think that is on the menu every week.
Lt Montoya is an engineer and he did a great job of giving us a sense of what they do.  It was a real privilege to be able to get onboard and see the inside.
Afterwards we got a photo.  I admire those sailors for what their service.  Aside from being deployed months at a time often during their career, they have challenging conditions to work under.  My hat is off to them!

Monday I got up in time to snap another sunrise on the beach near our campground.
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Hope your week is going well.


  1. I too share your respect for the crews of our submarine force, I vividly remember delivering mail to them when you only saw the top portion of the sail with two men awaiting the mail bags, and the rest of the sub was barely visible under a few feet of water, then when the transfer was completed they would disappear down the hatch and button up and in moments it was gone, not to rise again for weeks. Takes a special person to endure duty like that.Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. Great post Randy, thanks for the tour of the sub! Those young men are amazing people. I am sure you are aware, but some of the larger and newer boats are being refitted/fitted for women too.

  3. In that parting photo, it looks like they had you painted into a corner....maybe they need your painting experience to finish-up!

  4. Good tour, makes me glad I was a surface sailor.

  5. What a great way to spend a day! Thanks for sharing. Living in small spaces is relative, isn't it!

  6. Not many civilians get to tour a boat, especially without security clearance. I'm fortunate, as a civilian member of the Submarine Force family to have dived on two subs, toured another.

    Sitting on a fast attack's mess deck two years ago, eating my steak, shrimp and freshly baked breads, dessert, all prepared in a galley 'bout the size of a large walk-in closet -- and as much as I know about submariners' aboard lifestyles -- I looked around, said to myself, "Who are these insane young men?"

    (Late brother was a submarine commanding officer but, as with all bubbleheads, his replies to "Where did you go, what did you do?" were always "we went out, we came back."

    FYI: Subs aren't yet being retrofitted for women; that will come with redesigns to accommodate enlisted women. The 24 female officers who'll come aboard in December 2011 will be on four subs already large enough to accommodate them (length of two football fields) We have more than 20 of these biggies.

    Each sub has two alternating crews: three women each crew. They'll sleep together in one officer stateroom, share officers' shower/head by putting "occupied" sign on door.

    Ladies going down hatches, vertical ladders must ALWAYS be wearing slacks. Ya never know who might be looking up to check "knickers." SMILE.