This is the 9th blog post in a series about ICEX 2011 by Jeff Gossett, Arctic Submarine Laboratory’s ICEX 2011 Exercise Director written on March 15, 2011.
About 3:30 this morning, USS NEW HAMPSHIRE (SSN 778) called on the underwater telephone to say that she’d arrived. We spent a couple pre-dawn hours ensuring that her tracking range was working. At dawn, Randy Ray, our Camp OIC and a team took off in the helicopter to find a place for the boat to surface. He found a nice open-water feature about 5 miles northeast of camp. We relayed its to position to NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Just after NEW HAMPSHIRE headed off to it’s surfacing location (“Water Works”), USS CONNECTICUT (SSN 22) called in on underwater telephone to announce her arrival – a day early. We checked out her tracking range system then had her run a predetermined pattern to determine the limits of the range.
Meanwhile, NEW HAMPSHIRE had surfaced at Marvin Gardens and moored to a nearby floe. They stayed moored a brief time to exchange riders. She was doing different testing on the trip up to the camp than she will here at the camp and needed a different group of people on board to support it. Their time on the surface was highlighted by the visit from their Squadron Commander, CAPT Mike Bernacchi. CAPT Bernacchi is familiar to many of us here at the camp – he commanded USS ALEXANDRIA when it operated at our 2007 camp.
Once NEW HAMPSHIRE dove, both boats settled in for a night of surveying the underwater ice conditions near the camp to help prepare for the start of their testing. So what testing will the boats be doing? I’ll talk about that in the next post.