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In keeping with UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine’s charter as the Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force, we welcome letters to the editor, questions relating to articles that have appeared in previous issues, and insights and “lessons learned” from the fleet.
UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine reserves the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, and accuracy. All submissions become the property of UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine and may be published in all media. Please include pertinent contact information with submissions.
First of all, we very much applaud the U.S. Navy’s efforts at
maintaining maximum performance as it regards the current and future
status of our Navy and most particularly, our vaunted Submarine Forces.
Bravo and triple Bravo to the Navy’s enlisted men and women and
to Submarine Force officers for their efforts on our behalf. May God
protect them in all their endeavors.
We very much enjoyed reading John Whipple’s article about the ASDS program [“ASDS - The Future of Submarine-Based Special Operations,” Winter/Spring 2002] and fully support the program in all aspects. Best of luck and may our God watch over you and your families.
Mr. & Mrs. Roland Amnott
When USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) was recently commissioned, President Carter handed over a “long glass”. What is exactly is a “long glass”?
Thank you for your interest in UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine.
The “long glass” – essentially a large, single-tube, telescope is an important part of naval tradition. It has been – for centuries – the symbol of office for the Officer-of-the-Deck (OOD), particularly when a ship is in port. Normally, when a ship is tied up to a pier – or moored out in a harbor – the “official” entrance to the ship is called the “quarterdeck” – generally where the brow reaches the main deck. When a ship is not underway, the quarterdeck watch is headed up by the OOD, generally in full uniform, and he holds under his arm the “long glass” as a badge of office. He’s the Sailor you salute when you reach the top of the brow and say “Request permission to come aboard, Sir.”
In relation to submarines, the long glass is used only ceremonially. As submarines do not have a traditional quarterdeck, the watch is kept “topside” by an enlisted Sailor, who does not carry a long glass and is there mainly for security reasons. However, long glasses are used during commissionings – as was the case with Jimmy Carter – as a way to carry on Naval tradition. Generally, the long glass will be presented to the Officer-of-the-Deck during his ceremonial first watch.
I hope my explanation answered your question. Again, thank you for taking an interest in the Submarine Force and UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine.
In a Letter to the Editor in the Winter 2005 edition of UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine, Norman Cook wondered about the whereabouts of USS Canopus during the first Japanese air raid of Dec. 10, 1941.
The USS Canopus Association maintains a web page which has historical information on the first ship named Canopus. After his evacuation in USS Spearfish (SS-190), the last submarine to take passengers from Corregidor, Cmdr. Earl Sackett, commanding officer of AS-9, prepared a detailed account of the ship which was sent to family members and may be read on www.shill-family.org/canopusstart.html. Both accounts are in agreement.
Canopus had completed an overhaul at the naval base at Cavite the first week in December and was anchored off Cavite on the night of December 9 when Japanese planes struck Nichols Field across the bay. The ship got underway and moored, the following day, alongside a dock in the post area of Manila. For the next two weeks, Canopus assisted in repair of damaged ships and servicing submarines proceeding on or returning from war patrol.
With the decision that Manila was to be declared an open city, Canopus got underway the night of December 24 and steamed to Mariveles Bay on the southern tip of Bataan peninsula. There she stayed until April 8, when she was backed in the bay and scuttled. Her crew moved to Corregidor where they were captured when the island surrendered.
Robert D. Rawlins
Capt., USN (Ret)
Thank you very much for your letter. We appreciate you setting the record straight.
Dr. Edward Whitman’s article about SOSUS in the winter issue [“SOSUS: “The Secret Weapon” of Undersea Surveillance,” UNDERSEA WARFARE, Winter 2005] mentions the development of the bathythermograph, but as far as submarine installations were concerned it was still pretty primitive as late as 1945. My boat, USS Lamprey (SS-372), was commissioned in November 1944 but as I recall, our bathythermograph was not installed until we stopped at Pearl Harbor in early 1945.
The device consisted of a rather flimsy appearing metal frame to hold the cards, on which a stylus, connected to the sea through a small tube with a stop valve, traced a graph of water temperature versus depth. The cards were very delicate, and a coating of soot had to be applied before a trace could be made. The kit that came with the instrument included candles for smoking the cards. Only a few smoked cards could be safely stored, so one of my jobs was to smoke new cards ahead of time. The used cards had to be lacquered to preserve the trace and turned in at the end of the patrol. I know that this was done because it is noted in the report of our first patrol.
I don’t know when a more refined version of the instrument was developed and installed on the boats, but I do know that BT cards no longer had to be smoked on the boat I served on in 1949. Of course we knew nothing in those years about such phenomena as the deep sound channel and convergence zones.
Cmdr., USN (Ret.)
Thank you for your insightful letter. Early bathythermographs
did indeed use a sooted recording plate (actually
carbon black from a candle) early on, but it was a detail cut from the
article due to space constraints. WWII submarines had begun to use knowledge
of the ocean’s thermal structure for tactical purposes somewhat before
BTs were actually deployed. The most important thing they had to know about
was the depth of the warm-water layer near the surface, which they could
determine with a few water-temperature measurements as they went up and
down. The BT was intended to give a detailed temperature profile, necessary
for more sophisticated ray-tracing methods. Most of the research described
in the article used surface-ship deployed BT's with cables.