Yesterday USS HAWAII got a new boss. We now officially work for Commander Submarine Squadron ONE who is based in Pearl Harbor. Yet another milestone in the process of getting us home to Hawaii. The crew continues to be busy. Onboard the new VIRGINIA Class submarines, we have a very realistic team trainer that can simulate various submarines and surface ships of countries around the world. We use the system to provide realistic maritime scenarios for the crew to respond to and hone their war fighting skills. As we transit to Hawaii, we are currently working on our ability to track other submarines covertly, conduct tomahawk strikes, and respond to potential ship-wide casualties. The constant training and watchstanding keep the crew busy. At sea, we work in an 18 hour rotation. Each sailor stands watch for 6 hours, usually has another six hours of maintenance or training, and then has about 6 hours off to get ready for the next watch. The average sailor only gets about 6 hours of sleep a day. They use their limited free time to workout, play video games, watch movies, do laundry (we only have one washer and dryer for a crew of 130), and send emails home to their families. Life onboard a submarine at sea is always busy.
In a shocking development, I lost a match in the cribbage tournament and am now working my way through the loser bracket in hopes of getting another chance. We also have a poker night planned for this weekend. I have several expert card players onboard HAWAII, so I intend to stay well clear of those matches.
We picked our Sailor of the Quarter and Junior Sailor of the Quarter for the 2nd Quarter of 2009. Electronic Technician's Chris Johnson and Ross White, both Quartermasters, were selected. We recently transitioned to using all electronic charts onboard HAWAII and their hard work was crucial to our success in that area. It is unusual for one division to be recognized with both awards so that speaks volumes for their significant contributions. On USS HAWAII, I am blessed to have 130 sailors who work incredibly hard everyday to make us successful. Both of the two sailors selected are examples of what makes this ship great!
The excitement continues to build. I know I speak for every member of the crew when I say we can't wait to get to Hawaii. For most of us being a sailor attached to USS HAWAII in Hawaii has been something we have been looking forward to since the day we checked onboard.
CDR Ed Herrington