(5-8-16) Sunday was subday and I made my last trip to Fleet Week 2016 to tour the USS California. Karen was called away to work in Texas leaving me to climb the vertical ladders that access the sub’s innards alone.
The USS California (SSN 781) was nuzzled up to the USS Cole right where Al-Qaeda terrorists in the Yemeni port of Aden blew a giant hole in the side of the ship that would not sink on October 12, 2000.
I learned the tall structure on top of the boat is called a sail. There’s no periscope anymore, just a super high tech camera on a pole. The operating officer works from atop the sail when the boat is on the surface. Submariners hate to be on the surface as they loose the element of surprise.
Our submariner escort sternly warned, “Turn off all cellphones. No cameras. I will destroy them and then you, if you use them.” Yikes! He also said, “There are only two types of Navy ships. Surface targets and submarines.” The insides of a sub are super tight quarters and it makes their sailors testy. In the lower right corner of the picture you can see the subs rudder. It’s the only boat with a rudder that protrudes above the hull.
Surface sailors and submariners mix like oil and water. Men who go under the sea with no windows and lots of bombs for months at at time are definitely peculiar. Claustophobics need not apply.