December 31, 2007

CDR (sel) Riley, USN

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:09 am

A good man, gone too soon. Via Joel, from whom I’m cribbing a lot of the post:

CDR (sel) Riley, USN

The Navy Submarine family suffered a great loss recently with the sudden passing of CDR (Sel) Chris Riley, assigned to PEO Submarines in D.C. CDR Riley was on vacation with his wife and three children at Disney World when he died in his sleep last Sunday.

From a TEAM SUBMARINE update:

Chris’ funeral will be in St Louis, Missouri on Thursday, January 3rd at 1200. NAVSEA will send a small official party to represent Chris’ co-workers at the funeral.
There will be a memorial service in DC hosted by Chris’ church on Saturday, January 5th at 1100. The entire NAVSEA family is invited to honor Chris and pay their respects to his family at this event. It will be held at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1225 R St, in Northwest Washington DC. Further details will be provided next week.

I expect a fund will be set up shortly to help the family, particularly for the education of Chris’ three young children. In the meantime, condolences may be sent to:

CDR Chris Riley Memoriam
614 Sicard St SE
Washington Navy yard, DC 20376-7004

Update 1010 30 Dec: An ALSUBFOR message released yesterday has some biographical information on CDR Riley:

Chris graduated from the Naval Academy in 1992, a member of 13th Company. Following his commissioning, he attended Syracuse University where he earned a Masters Degree, and then entered the nuclear power training pipeline. After sea tours on USS L. Mendel Rivers (SSN 686) and USS Atlanta (SSN 712), and a tour as a watch officer at COMSUBLANT, Chris transitioned to the Engineering Duty Officer community. He served for three years with the Supervisor of Shipbuilding in Groton, Connecticut and then worked in Program Management under PEO Subs. Chris served on three programs, the Advanced Undersea Systems Program, the SSGN Conversion Program, and the Virginia Class Submarine Program. As the Virginia Test and Evaluation manager, he was responsible for the recent successful completion of lockout trunk testing on USS Hawaii in October of 2007.

CDR (sel) Riley was in my year group but on the opposite coast. Our careers were parallel but we didn’t get much of a chance to work together. He shifted to EDO a few years before I shifted to FAO. I did some impromptu consult work early on in the SSGN conversion (capturing Kam lessons learned) and Virginia class (lockout chambers), and he had to deal with the results of the wild eyed ideas we came up with. He was doing some hard jobs and doing them well. We’ll miss him.

Wife and three kids, too. Hell of a way to ring in the new year.

Did Jay R. Grodner Commit A Felony?

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:43 am

Blackfive reports that he may well have. In any case, as Blackfive tells it, the lawyer Grodner appears to have both chutzpah and an annoying attitude towards us military types. And what’s with this?

After sending the car to the body shop, it was determined there is $2400 in damage, making this a felony. Mike [the Marine whose car was damaged] went to court Friday morning to collect the damages against Mr. Grodner and file felony charges. Though the damages are over $300 (the amount which determines felony or misdemeanor) Grodner offered Mike to pay his deductible, $100, and have Mike’s insurance pay for it.

The lawyer wants the insurance company to pay for what happened?

Moral to the story: Don’t key a Marine’s car.

Update: The hearing’s complete. Blackfive has an update which matches a FReeper’s account of the hearing; as these guys put it, Grodner didn’t show up until after a bench warrant was put out for him (but before the warrant was executed) and the case will continue without the Marine having to miss his deployment. The case will have its day in court.

Yeah, Like That

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:35 am

Sez the Exurban League’s poster Jon:

As our long-time readers know, I served in the Silent Service back in the ’80s. (Remember when the Soviet Union collapsed? That was me. You’re welcome.)

And also–I’ll buy an Aussie submariner a beer any time. I owe ’em one for the Castlemaine they brought to the pier when we pulled into Brisbane…

December 30, 2007

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:59 pm

Shorpy’s got a good photo today.

December 29, 2007

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:14 am

I seem to remember there used to be a writer by the name of P.J. O’Rourke. Wonder what happened to him.

Anyhow, some guy with the same name is in the Weekly Standard reviewing a book…and he really doesn’t like the author or the book very much at all.

December 28, 2007

Yeah, That’s What “Jaysh Al-Tahrir Thodh Al-Haraya” Means, All Right

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:26 pm

These militant groups keep splintering. This one’s based out of the Netherlands. Here’s English translation of some of their video and a direct link via the Guardian newspaper.


Filed under: — Chap @ 1:34 pm

My reactions to this:

–Wow, what an interesting library of books!
–Why in the world was it not there already?
–Where else is it needed?
–What processes are failing here and who’s supposed to fix them?

Frank Always Knows The Best Places To Dig For Records

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:07 am

Here’s a bar I’d like to visit some time…

On Bhutto’s Murder

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:46 am

Too much commentary for me to add anything useful, except for one thing. If someone knows what they’re doing will result in their certain death, why not plan so that the death is spent usefully?

If so, what was Bhutto’s plan?

December 27, 2007

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:58 am

Austin Bay says Tet is coming. I worried about this before and got lulled into not worrying about it.

I forgot there was an election coming up. Blood to ink to blood.

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:57 am

Michael Totten discusses Hezbollah. His point: HB is built to militarily oppose Israel and that is its core.

Tap And Whack

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:20 am

Doc’s got a post up that mentions guitarist Michael Hedges. I saw Hedges a bunch of times, thankfully; opening for Shadowfax in the early eighties, opening for Richard Thompson in Chicago the third week of ‘A’ school and that was one heck of a night, playing a tiny bar in Orlando in the day. Hedges has influenced a much larger group of people than I would have guessed. (I wish I could find Michael Tanenbaum’s or JP Stokely’s playing on line, but no joy.)

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:18 am

You could do worse than to have a keynote speaker that says stuff like this.

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:15 am

The Chicken Payback is supposedly the hot new thing. At least according to Tim Blair.

I saw guys looking just like that, except in black leather, in Harajuku on Sundays. They were three sheets to the wind and twisting to rockabilly and Elvis on cheap boom boxes.

December 26, 2007

Two Links Designed To Tweak CDR Salamander

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:22 pm

This one

Employers pay a lot of money for diversity training and sexual harassment training

and this one.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been caught lying about whether the British are negotiating with Taliban.

Is Our Children Learning?

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:11 am

Rambling and pointless post. Mainly I just want to point to a particular YouTube video as evidence of a phenomenon and not just for the information being presented.

Those without kids don’t tend to get as deeply emotionally involved with children’s education as those with kids. (R.I.P. September 07) was identifying school silliness like Reason does for government silliness; the stories aren’t just occasional outliers as I’ve learned from people with kids in school. The homeschooling movement has gone mainstream, a phenomenon I first saw in Hawaii, where military parents can’t afford the cost of the few private schools, aren’t eligible for the racially exclusionary Kamehameha schools system and the public ones are to despair over (one place at which I volunteered had its playground condemned, for instance). EducationNation has been ranting for a while, and Kitchen Table Math is a conversation on exactly that, getting into the details of Singapore versus Kumon and all that stuff.

And the bad schools are bad. I don’t just mean the political indoctrination, or the violence, or the cost, or the all-powerful establishment–I mean the instruction. This video has been making the rounds. I think I get the general Good Idea that was behind the change back in the day–there are ways to manipulate numbers, and we have calculators. However, basics still need done, and not just for tradition’s sake.

Up in San Jose, cosmopolitan home of rich and ambitious folks, the magazine Bay Area Parent has many many listings for Christian schools, Chinese immersion schools, music instruction schools, you name it; right next to the full page ads for pony ride rentals or jumpy room rentals with face painting clowns. Apparently this is also a boutique thing. I should have known this, but didn’t.

Lots of interesting choices and tasks to deal with when you have a young’un. The local schools, though, are going to have to be occasionally avoided as Uncle moves us from place to place. I guess I’d better start looking into Kumon and all that…

Who Wrote That, Eh?

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:00 am

I don’t like this practice in the Navy, when the staffers write the article with the boss’ name on it, either.

Even in the Navy case one could argue that the article is the senior officer’s official position and thus worthy of only the one guy’s name on it, but it still stinks that the guys who spend all their time researching and writing get no recognition of the work they did. And it’s not as though those top bananas are doing anyone a favor by taking the brunt of the criticism–because when was the last time anything written by an active duty multistar flag in Proceedings got serious flak?

On My Playlist This Moment

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:57 am

I’m catching up on my listening. Studying isn’t conducive to music–I have to focus hard to make the neurons fire correctly, far more than I did for remembering how many barns a particular isotope might present to a certain neutron. So I have this backlog of things to listen to, including the new Quantic Soul Orchestra, a Syliphone comp (the kind of things Frank might like), a Gabor Szabo disc, and so forth. (The new Salah Ragab 45 is played often in the house, though–kid likes Egyptian Latino tracks, apparently.)

You may well want to fire up your RealPlayer to catch this week’s Gilles Peterson BBC Radio One broadcast.

Its that time again…. Gilles Peterson’s Winners 2007. This week its [sic] the countdown of the top 25 albums of this year, alongside the top 5 jazz albums. Yessir.

Here’s his BBC page, and here’s the direct radio link. It’ll be up for only a few days. What to expect: Some hip hop, a vocalese version of “Afro-Blue”, some nu-soul, some jazz, some Brazilian, some black turtleneck wearing fancy metro bar music. No bleeping, though, so expect a bad word occasionally if you’re not into that.

December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:42 am

December 24, 2007

Army JO Retention Starting To Look Like Sub JO Retention?

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:41 pm

I’ve been of two minds about commenting about this.

Via Instapundit, Washington Monthly has an article examining why the “best and brightest” young officers are getting out of the Army. It included a statistic that, frankly, doesn’t pass the smell test:

In the last four years, the exodus of junior officers from the Army has accelerated. In 2003, around 8 percent of junior officers with between four and nine years of experience left for other careers. Last year, the attrition rate leapt to 13 percent.

Those of us in the Submarine Force are certainly used to the higher number — as I discussed before, the Sub Force is designed to need only about 38% of JOs to go on to a Department Head tour.

Back in the bad old days I remember a fellow convinced that the best ones get out, the worst ones get thrown out, so what’s left (he concluded) is mediocre–and therefore with a low retention rate what you get left is mediocre.

What I don’t think he took into account, these decades later, is that the “best” weren’t necessarily the best for later. Other skills, like endurance and adaptability, became more important. Some of those ‘best’ wouldn’t have made it as the world and the job changed; therefore, what you get isn’t mediocre, just different.

I showed up as the submarine service was changing and the Cold War wound down. When I got commissioned, the older folks were doing back-to-back sea tours and we were ramping up to the professed hundred fast attacks. OPTEMPO for us was a bit rough. Nobody from my JO tour boat stayed in when I was there–one guy who was the senior JO when I arrived did, but he didn’t count. It was a bit of a shock for me to be the only one who stayed for a DH tour. And I’m not going on to command and have changed communities.

Afterward the JOs got a little more love and attention and money so they’d stay in for that all important DH tour requirement and periodically someone with stars on their shoulder asks what we’ve done to make the JOs more happy. (I notice they never say “How can we make the life of the Eng suck less so the JOs don’t look at that job and say ‘no way’?”)

I’m not so sure how our experience helps to describe the Army’s current JO perceptions. I don’t know if the people they retain are the people they need later; I don’t know if the perception is reality, especially when Bubblehead shows us the numbers; I don’t know if the (mentioned a lot in newspapers) worship of McMaster is altogether a good thing for the next war when the SWJ guys are the reactionaries.

But a fat old bonus check, and a shore tour, does indeed help those on the fence. Army doesn’t think expeditionary in its manning practices very well. Maybe it’s time to think about “shore tours”.

Now, how the IA manning fiasco has changed retention, that’s another kettle of fish…

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