Reactor Plant Stories

  • I took the XO down to 2 Plant one time to restore from a previous drill set. RTA thought it would be funny let me deal with the XO. I briefed him on everything, don’t touch anything don’t look away and pay attention to what we’re doing. I’m going to lift the switch cover and you’re going to turn the Scram switch until it clicks. He replied, which way do I turn it? I replied to him, it doesn’t matter just pick one. He asked, do I need to pull it out and then turn and then push it back in? No sir, just twist and release. They announced my name, which was the agreed impromptu initiation for the drill, I lifted the cover and said Let’s do this, it’s go time sir. He twists the switch, and I release. I walk him around the RCP, I’m showing him the pages and Plant response, that the Scram breakers opened … the whole nine yards. He looks at me and tilts his head, saying Did that shut it down? Fuck yes it did sir, that’s what that switch does.
  • I had a standoff with the CO on my boat. He was notorious for waking up on the mid watch and coming back to the engineering spaces to run his own one-man drills. I was midwatch ERS and normally on the drill team during the day. I came from the aft workbench one night to find the CO coming through the hatch to the engineroom. I stepped between the main engines and he stepped between the forward end of the SSTGs. I looked at him and said, “Not on my watch Captain.” He said, “Caudle, these turbine generators are going down…. you’re either with me or against me.” I said, “Damn Man, you get port I’ll get stbd.” He said, “OK on 3.” We punched them out and of course the ERUL watch was aft and was oblivious. He came flying up. Maneuvering was doing their thing. Capt told me to let Maneuvering know that the loss of TGs was due to the Captian and that the drill is secured, restore the plant. We got the order to place the TG on the governor so the Captain asked me if he could start one up. I said, “you’re the Captain so I’m going to say yes… get port and I’ll do stbd.” He started to do it and when he reached for the first valve I said, “Hey, you forgetting something?” He stood there for a few seconds then smiled and grabbed the procedure book.
  • On my second patrol, an ORSE run, I was the ERLL watch and likely to be the ORSE ERLL. We were coming off of a chlorides drill and they rang up an ahead flank. We get an alarm on port main condenser. I immediately go back to conduct a turbidity. It instantaneous go milky white. I dump the condensate pump coming up on a flank bell. Then I’m getting ready to report it our drill team leader (MMCS/SS) pokes his head in and asks what’s up. I said, “This is a no shitter.” He doesn’t say anything, turns and goes straight to Maneuvering and enters and reports, “This is a no shitter.” That became the thing after than. If something crazy happened everyone wanted to know if it was a no shitter. The Captain even started using the phrase.
  • I am reminded of my first drill as a qualified watchstander. I was SO nervous and going through all the possible scenarios, mind racing … they send me in with the hose team and of course I knew there wouldn’t be real fire, but I was not prepared to see the drill team Chief near the bulkhead in middle level with a big grin on his face, kinda dancing around, and wrapped up in a few strings of Christmas lights. I was no longer nervous.
  • We had a situation with a less intelligent EOOW. We were steaming at the pier in Puerto Rico and the very bored EOOW noticed ERFW was running high, in spec, but high.The EWS explained using very small words that the laws of thermodynamics wouldn’t let him get ERFW to a lower temp the sea water injection. The EOOW wasn’t satisfied with that answer and tasked him to figure it out. He went back and talked to the ERS and 10 minutes later the EO answered the 2JV, listened, took it away from his ear and looked at the handset and told whoever it was to just come to maneuvering.In walks the EWS with a TABS and announces that they can cross connect ERFW with CW and start another R114 unit. He commences to bounce from the TABs to the secondary status board explaining how the will do it, including the phrase “and the we will use the emergency cooling spoil piece here”. The EOOW looked at everything and said “let’s do it!”.

    When the EWS shook his head and left maneuvering we had to explain to the EOOW why that wouldn’t work.

  • All hands call on the pier in PCAN, from the CO following a spot NAM to the PPO: “Thanks to the prompt action of PO [name redacted], we will be able to resume the ship’s mission, instead of wasting our time here in Port Canaveral, waiting on assessments and repairs for some weeks. Expect to get underway tomorrow morning.” Death glares all around.

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