Welcome back, old friend

USS SAN FRANCISCO moving out of Dry Dock.

USS SAN FRANCISCO moving out of Dry Dock.

The USS SAN FRANCISCO is out of the dry dock with a brand new Bow section, courtesy of the former USS HONOLULU. (h/t Joel).

Now, you might ask, if SanFran is SSN-711, and the Hono was SSN-718, why did they cut the bow off a newer boat to put on an older boat? The answer is money, obviously.

HONOLULU was nearing the time that we lovingly refer to as End of Core life, meaning that the reactor was running out of fuel and it was time to either refuel it (which costs a pretty penny) or decommission it (which costs slightly less).

San Fran riding extremely low following the collision

San Fran riding extremely low following the collision

Enter the San Frantastic. Everyone knows about the accident in the Caroline Island Ridge. Now, why would you be driving as fast as humanly possible in an island chain? All things being equal, because they could. San Fran had undergone a refueling from 2000-2002 prior to getting forward deployed to Guambodia. This means that her hull would expire before the core would. If the doors will fall off before you run out of gas, might as well punch it.

So, here we are. One busted up submarine with a full gas tank. One good submarine with an empty gas tank. What do you do?

San Fran with the new bow section installed.

San Fran with the new bow section installed.

Well, like any good business, there’s overall cost to be considered. Turns out it is considerably cheaper to just cut the bow section off the good boat and put it on the busted one then to fill up the gas tank of the good one. I completely believe this since, having been one of the fortunate few to actually DO a refueling, I can tell you exactly how painful, long, and expensive it can be to do that.

MM2/SS Joseph Ashley

MM2/SS Joseph Ashley

I think the Navy made the right choice on this one. Bang for your buck aside, I’d personally hate to see 711 go by the wayside. We owe it to the memory of Joey Ashley and all the others injured to get her back to sea. If for no other reason then to say we did it.

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