Sea Stories

Identification Follies

QM1(SS) McCoy

Once on the USS Bremerton (SSN-698) we were doing local ops in the Hawaiian OPAREA. It was the mid-watch and we had a newly minted OOD who was very eager, but also very impressed with himself. He couldn't let the watch go by quietly and was constantly ordering course changes, demanding Sonar identify a particular transient.

I started to screw with him. In the CO's Night Orders, I had blanket authority to use the BQN-17 fathometer in non-secure mode as long as I notified the Sonar Sup. So I conspired with him: when I announced "Taking a sounding," the Sonar Sup should assume I would be using non-secure mode without my saying so. I let a ping go every 30 minutes and the Sonar Sup would immediately announce a transient from own ship. The OOD went nuts trying to identify the source.

At one point the Sonar Sup announced, "Conn, Sonar, picking up underwater morse code" The OOD asked, "What are they saying?" A pregnant pause and the answer; "DIT, DIT, DIT, DAH, DAH, DIT, DIT." The control room erupted in laughter.

To salve his wounded ego, since the Night Orders also stated he could go to periscope depth, he announced "All stations, Conn, make preparations to come to persicope depth." The appropriate responses were returned and I grumbled that he was making more work for all of us. So up we come after clearing baffles and the obligatory "No close contacts"

And then it happened again. "Conn, ESM, picking up commercial airborne radar." "ESM, Conn, what kind of radar?" "Conn, ESM, it's commercial airborne radar, I don't know what flight number it is." Once again, the control room erupted in laughter.

It was a fun watch.

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