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March 31, 2015 Children, History, How to, Navy, Sailing, Uncategorized, York River

Happy Sailing Birthday

 

 

Every year, Chris and Marty McCurry of Spruce Pine NC try to do something special on their son’s birthday. This week John Caleb McCurry got an up-close look at US Navy submarine barreling up the York River to the Naval Weapons Station. We were sailing near the channel and had to hightail it north to the other side. Two Navy patrol boats escorted us with a brief siren wail and blue lights flashing. By marine radio, we could hear traffic from “Warship 52,” but no such submarine shows up in the Navy logs. The boat had steam flowing from the conning tower, not exactly a stealthy profile. I later learned that the steam was “bleeding” from the con to ventilate it from the boat. Even though the sub is nuclear-powered, the same powerhouse generates steam for cooking, heating, etc. My Navy source said they usually bleed the steam underwater or at night. The sub commander has the option of ordering the Coleman Bridge to open, but he just sailed under it instead. “Warship 52” was a nom-de-plume for the short trip from Norfolk, where it was likely docked at the Destroyer & Submarine Pier. It turned out to be a Los Angeles class attack sub. “They live to protect aircraft carriers, especially when there was a Soviet threat,” my source said. “Nowadays they’re used for different missions, and they even have a platform on the stern for SEALs to deploy. They can fire Mark 48 missiles and Tomahawk missiles, which are stored at the Naval Weapons Station. It’s very unusual for subs to come all the way up here, though.”

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