All posts filed under “Navy

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USS Hartford collision

So my old boat, the USS Hartford, was in a significant collision this week. While transiting (submerged) through the Straits of Hormuz, they ran into the USS New Orleans, an amphibious ship (surface ship that carries Marines). According to reports, about 15 people on the Hartford were hurt, though luckily none were seriously injured. The New Orleans had some tanks punctured, spilling about 25+k gallons of fuel oil.

The Hartford looks like it’s in pretty bad shape. Here are photos from the

This one shows the sail bent over at an angle:


This shows the damage on the front of the sail, but you can also see where the bottom of the sail has pulled apart from the hull after being bent over:


I can only imagine two scenarios about what happened. #1- The Hartford lost depth control and/or got sucked up in the wake of a big surface ship. (Unlikely but has happened.) #2- The Hartford was on its way to periscope depth and didn’t hear the New Orleans or realize it was as close as it was. Since the NavyTimes article quoted the Navy as saying the Hartford was “submerged but near the surface” it sounds like #2 is the right answer. Unfortunately this is not hugely uncommon; going to periscope depth is the most dangerous thing a submarine does regularly.

I feel really bad for the guys on the boat. I was on the Hartford when we grounded off of Italy in 2003; it’s an awful experience for everyone, whether you were personally involved or not. It causes a lot of disruption for the Navy and all the people involved. I’m no expert, but that damage is probably going to take a long time to fix.

[UPDATE]: More photos here from the Navy. The sail is pretty trashed. Lots of Navy-specific comments on Joel’s blog here.


[UPDATE 2]: Commenters on Joel’s blog have written that the Hartford experienced an 82-degree roll! If that’s even half-true (and it may very well not be) it’s amazing that only 15 people were hurt.

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Panama Canal crossing video

I got a kick out of seeing this video. It’s a timelapse video taken of a cruise ship going through the Panama Canal. The fun bits with locks are at the beginning and end; in the middle there’s quite a large lake that needs to be sailed across.

My old boat (the USS Hartford, SSN 768) sailed across the Panama Canal a year or two after I left; I’m still a bit jealous that I missed it. Going through the Suez wasn’t nearly as interesting, and I did that twice.

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Iraqi art exhibition in New York City – Opens Thursday!


This Thursday, May 22nd a very unique art exhibit will open in New York City. It features art from Iraqi artists, most of whom cannot even be publicly identified for their safety. It was a Navy Lieutenant serving in Iraq that found this art and worked to bring it over to the United States to exhibit and sell for the artists. I served with that Lieutenant, Chris Brownfield, for about two years when we were both stationed on the same submarine. He’s a very unique guy, as this initiative suggests!

From 2006 to 2007, a military liaison officer in the U.S. Embassy of Baghdad worked on the sidelines to develop relations with the artists of Baghdad. Under extremely unlikely circumstances, several of Baghdad’s artists trusted this military officer to share their art with the world. It is the first collection of art in the United States comprised entirely of works from wartime contemporaries of Iraq. The scope of the exhibition is unprecedented, including works on Iraqi refugees, the children of war, genocide, and an Iraqi perspective on Shock and Awe.

The exhibition is taking place at the Pomegranate Gallery on 133 Greene Street in SoHo (see map here). The opening reception runs from 6-8pm on Thursday May 22nd, and the exhibition will be open through June 21st.

Jake Halpern wrote a great article about the exhibit in New York Magazine. He even managed to speak (via phone) to a couple of the artists involved. One of my favourite parts of the article describes how Chris had to pull rank with the military postal clerks in order to send the 100+ paintings back to the US!

If you can’t make it to the gallery, Chris has also produced a book that includes much of the same artwork. It’s tri-lingual in English, French and Arabic. You can buy it from here: Oil on Landscape; Art from Wartime Contemporaries of Baghdad.

If you live in or near New York City, I hope you get a chance to drop in on the exhibit; it should be interesting.

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A pair of brass …

So I was reading a little bit about General Petraeus today in the New York Times. I took a quick look at his Wikipedia article and found something very interesting, his wife.

While a cadet at the US Military Academy, aka West Point, he dated the commanding officer’s daughter!!


For a 19/20-year old cadet to date the daughter of the three-star general that ran West Point must have been one hell of a pressure cooker. But not only did he date her, he married her two months after graduation!

Colour me amazed…