USS Alexander Hamilton

REUNITING SHIPMATES OF THE USS ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SSBN 617

Sea Story - Blowing Sans - see if you can figure this one out!

I am sure that those whom with I punched holes in the ocean remember this story. Once upon a time (probably between 1980 and 1983ish) the A-Frog was in drydock. If memory serves me correctly we were doing an ERP in Charleston. We were blowing Sans 4 and 4A in the Missile Compartment and in the process we smelled a sewer-like odor coming from up forward. It turns out that San 1 in the Ops Compartment was overflowing through its charcoal vent filters. The Below Decks watch came back to the Missile Compartment in a hurry. We were scrambling to understand what had happened. We eventually figured out that we blew Sans 4 and 4A into San 1. So the question for you to ponder is how did this happen when the Sanitary tanks are isolated from each other and not interconnected at all?
Before I answer that question let me say that I hope I remember my Sanitary tanks correctly. I wanted to say we blew Sans 4 and 4A into San 2, but I think San 2 was pumped and not blown.

Ok - the key word in the above story is "drydock". In drydock we used the ecology connections for the sanitary system. These connections were topside and hoses were attached to each one. From there the hoses went to a central tank on the drydock via a common manifold (also on the drydock). As it turns out the drydock was configured wrong in that they had the central tank isolated. It also turns out that the lineup for San 1 on the boat was lined up incorrectly. The hull and backup valves for the topside ecology connection were left open when they were supposed to be closed. So when we blew Sans 4 and 4A the sewage went to the drydock manifold and back down the ecology hose for San 1 causing it to overflow. I remember a debate breaking out as to who should clean it up, but we MT's were not about to clean it up since we had done everything right! :-)

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What a great story! During my time aboard (before the concerns about where it went), we just blew it over the side - just like we were at sea. this story would segue nicely into one of those qual board questions; i.e. how do you blow sanitary up the snorkel mast?
We also just blew it over the side when we were tied up next to the tender, but in the drydock you can't do that.
This brings to mind a couple more situations. The Ecology connection was inadvertantly moved from the tank lined up to blow to another tank. Unbeknownst, we opened the blow valve and spewed poopies topside. HA HA HA - the yardbirds were running for cover as we showered them. The basin got plastered as the contents of the tank shot up and ran down the sides of the ship. Another night, Mitch Kassel and I were blowing the tanks. We got the hose connected right but when I opened the blow valve, nothing came out. We checked the line-up and tried again but nothing. So I let her have it again and Mitch starts screaming over the SP phones "TOMMY STOP STOP". Whatever was blocking the hose blew out and the hose stood straight out spewing contents back and forth. Wasn't that fun??.
This seems to be an appropriate place to put a cartoon a drew a short time ago. Over the years there were many poor souls who disregarded the secured sign, and vented sanitary inboard. Several times I saw the poor guy "after the storm" all white eyed, and toilet paper hanging off his ear. Tragic...but funny.
Jack Geng gold crew 1965-1969
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There was another issue with SAN-1 and the topside connections. I don't remember the particulars,but the valves in the OPSUL overhead had either been pulled or gutted for maintenance during an ERP. Somehow, the contents of SAN-1 ended up being distributed into the overhead adjoining the radio shack and the skipper's stateroom.

The topper, however, involves the late RMC(SS) Tony Haney, who arrived on the A-Frog in late 1980 straight from shore duty on the West Coast. Tony had spent his entire career as a diesel boat sailor, so a "modern" nuke boat was brand new to him. About the third day of refit during a "high airborne particulate" drill, Tony was down in the Goat Locker playing cards and sucking rubber with the rest of the Chiefs when nature called. After taking a deep pull on the EAB, he unplugged and went into the head where he easily found the EAB manifold (which the designers at EB cleverly placed right under the hopper). Unfortunately for Tony, we were also blowing SANs. I was up in Radio when the Dial-x rang....all I could hear was hysterical laughter in the background, and what sounded like retching. After a few seconds, QMCS (SS) Walt (Fig) Newton choked out the story between fits of laughter. The moment was immortalized in caricature by FTCM (SS) Greg Willeford....i'll go dig it out of my archives and post in a couple of days.

Tommy,

I forgot all about it. We sprayed the walls of the dry dock and the yard birds. They were NOT very happy with us.

 

Mitch



Tom Markstrom said:

This brings to mind a couple more situations. The Ecology connection was inadvertantly moved from the tank lined up to blow to another tank. Unbeknownst, we opened the blow valve and spewed poopies topside. HA HA HA - the yardbirds were running for cover as we showered them. The basin got plastered as the contents of the tank shot up and ran down the sides of the ship. Another night, Mitch Kassel and I were blowing the tanks. We got the hose connected right but when I opened the blow valve, nothing came out. We checked the line-up and tried again but nothing. So I let her have it again and Mitch starts screaming over the SP phones "TOMMY STOP STOP". Whatever was blocking the hose blew out and the hose stood straight out spewing contents back and forth. Wasn't that fun??.

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