Hover Surface?
Charlie Perry, YNC(SS) USN Retired. 

I was the Captain's phone talker during battle stations when the following happened:

We had just finished a WSRT and the order was given by the Captain to the Diving Officer (who, during battle stations, was our COB, MMC(SS) Surrett): "Rig for deep submergence; Ahead full; hard right rudder; fifteen degree down angle. Level off at test depth."

The Diving Officer relayed the orders to the Helm and Planesman. Soon the boat started picking up speed and the fifteen degree down angle became apparent. After a few minutes the Captain asked the COB the status of the "Rig for Deep Submergence". The COB's reply was: "I don't know about Deep Submergence, Captain. What we need to do is set "Condition Baker" because we're surfacing. 

I never saw our Captain (CDR Charles Pollack) move so fast. He gave the orders to "set Condition Baker" and "Raise the periscope" as he flew off his stool to begin peering through the periscope as its eye piece rose into the Control Room.  

There we were, right in the middle of patrol surfacing, stern first, and no one knew why until IC1(SS) Mike Welan turned to the COB and ask if he wanted him to secure "Hovering."  

I don't know who really gave the order. It could have been any one of several in the Control Room but the result was that Welan secured "Hovering" and we started down quickly when he started flooding one of the empty depth control tanks. Later they realized that when the order to "Rig for deep submergence" was given a seawater valve was shut that allowed the Hovering System to know the sea pressure. When the valve was shut the Hovering System was blowing but the sea pressure never changed so it blew the tank dry and we surfaced. Needless to say, a procedure was changed to ensure that didn't happen again.

Charlie Perry, YNC(SS) USN Retired.
Served on USS LAFAYETTE (SSBN616)(Blue) from Mar 68 to Jul 70.

If you have any comments for the author, he can be reached at ChiefBVF@aol.com 

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