Posts Tagged ‘USS New Mexico’

Flier Underway

And now for something completely different..., Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Apr 30 2010

Sixty-six years ago today, Flier pulled away from Mare Island, passed under the Golden Gate bridge and left America behind. The people who waved her good-bye didn’t realize that for the vast majority of the people aboard, and the sub itself, that good-bye was permanent.

It would take nine days to get to Pearl Harbor, with Crowley testing his boat and crew the entire way, because like any submarine coming straight from the continental US, Flier was scheduled for two weeks of further training and provisioning before being sent off for their first real patrol once again.

*       *        *

As this story starts again, I’m finding that it’s sometimes difficult to write about.  As I’m getting to know the families of those who still patrol aboard the Flier, these men are becoming more real, and I can’t help but feel a touch depressed, since I know that this story, for one family already, and soon for 76 more, will have a tragic ending.

In talking with Al, I know that sometimes he felt he had to live a certain life to honor those who didn’t make it.  He gave to his family, his community, his employees.  I sometimes wonder if the other survivors felt the same way.  I only know what happened to four of the men:  Captain Crowley had a long and successful career in the Navy, Lt. Liddell founded a company that today employs hundreds, Baumgart became a police and fireman.  Where Miller, Howell, Tremaine and Russo ended up, I don’t know.

I hope, but re-living this journey 66 years later, I can honor these men’s memories and sacrifices.

*      *        *

In other news, in a few days, I’ll be heading out for a business trip to meet the family of one of the survivors to see photos, letters, and other items from Flier’s history.  I’m really excited to go, but due to safety and privacy reasons, I won’t say when where and who until it’s all over (and I won’t say who unless given permission!)  But as the story of the Flier unfolds, I hope to have some new images and things to share.

Finally, in regards to my post a week ago about USS Virginia returning to port and how the submarine squadrons are arranged, I received a note from Lt. Evans of Submarine Group Two who told me that  USS New Mexico will be assigned to Squadron 8 along with the Boise, the Newport News, and the Oklahoma City.

Welcome Back Virginia!

And now for something completely different... | Posted by Rebekah
Apr 14 2010

As we all get ready for the inevitable tax day tomorrow, (I’m so proud of myself, mine are already done!…but then again, I had someone else do them…;)  ) on the submarine front, there is, at least, bright news.

The USS Virginia, in commission since 2004 has returned to her home port of Groton Connecticut, having completed her first six-month tour.  She left the US on October 15 last year, and made port calls in Spain, Greece, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.

USS Virginia at sea

Now she is no longer a new boat, but rather, a workhorse of Submarine Squadron 4, a part of Submarine Group 2, stationed on America’s  Northeast Coast.

So what is Submarine Group 2?   It is the group of submarines based out of Groton Connecticut, and consists of five squadrons:  Squadrons 2, 4, 6, 8, and development squadron 12.  Here’s who’s in that group:

SUBMARINE GROUP 2

PCU Missouri (SSN 780)  (PCU means Pre-Commissioned Unit.  Once commissioned, it will change to “USS”)
PCU California (SSN 781)

Submarine Squadron 2

USS Dallas (SSN 700)
USS Philadelphia (SSN 690)
USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720)
USS Providence (SSN 719)
USS Springfield (SSN 761)

Submarine Squadron 4


USS Miami (SSN 755)
USS Hartford (SSN 768)
USS Virginia (SSN 774) (There’s the new girl)
USS North Carolina (SSN 777)
USS New Hampshire (SSN 778)

Submarine Squadron 6


USS Albany (SSN 753)
USS Norfolk (SSN 714)
USS Scranton (SSN 756)
USS Montpelier (SSN 765)

Submarine Squadron 8


USS Boise (SSN 764)
USS Newport News (SSN 750)
USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723)

Submarine Development Squadron 12


USS Annapolis (SSN 760)
USS Alexandria (SSN 757)
USS Memphis (SSN 691)
USS San Juan (SSN 751)
USS Toledo (SSN 769)

The USS New Mexico is also a part of Submarine Group 2, but I was unable to find out what Squadron she’s been assigned to.

For more fun, believe it or not, Submarine Group 2 has a Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

Welcome USS New Mexico (SSN-779)

And now for something completely different... | Posted by Rebekah
Mar 27 2010

Today is the commissioning of the newest Virginia Class submarine in the United States Navy, USS New Mexico.

A  submarine generally goes through four significant ceremonies in its life:  keel laying, launching, commissioning and decommissioning.   (There are sometimes other ceremonies like a christening or a re-launch after an overhaul, but I digress) Commissioning happens between a year and two years after launching.  Between these ceremonies, the submarine is undergoing its sea trials, a series of tests to make sure that the submarine is up to Navy standards.

Until it is a commissioned submarine, it is NOT an official Naval Vessel (this holds true not only for the US Navy, the many navies of the world.)  This is why, though the submarine Turtle fought in the Revolutionary War, and the submarine Alligator was going to fight in the Civil War, neither are rightfully considered naval vessels because neither one was ever commissioned.   Whether the CSS Hunley could count is an interesting question.  I can’t find any evidence that she was formally commissioned, putting her in the same boat as the other two, but let’s face it, at the time, the Hunley was not part of the United States Navy, (she was part of the other side) and she was sunk by the time the two became one again.

A publicity photo for the USS New Mexico underway at her sea trials.

The USS New Mexico joins her sisters Virginia, Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina and New Hampshire.  These boats are designed not only for war, but a multitude of assignments virtually anywhere in the world.  They carry around 135 men, and a lot of their specifications (speed, test depth, capabilities) are top secret.    Surprisingly enough, they are not much bigger than their WWII sisters, the Gato/Balao/Tench boats,  being only 65 feet longer and 8 feet wider, but they carry three decks instead of two and almost twice the men aboard. Each one is covered in a rubberized paint that helps deflect sound waves from sonar making them harder to find, and has a whole host of variations and possibilities built in.

Two more Virginia Class boats are under construction (the Missouri and California) and the Mississippi,Minnesota, North Dakota, and John Warner have been awarded to their builders and named.  A total of 30 Virginia Class submarines are planned and budgeted for, phasing out the Los Angeles Class boats (which have been in commission starting in 1972) completely.  This will leave the Ohios, Seawolfs and Virginias the American submarines on the high seas, a total of 51 when all is said and done.  (Of course with the addition of the New Mexico, there are approximately 72 submarines in the active Navy right now…)

Fascinating look inside a Virginia Class Submarine (at least what’s declassified)

Photos from today’s commissioning Ceremony