Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bear Attacks Sub

During the ICEX 2003 naval exercises near the North Pole, the American submarine Connecticut (SSN 22) poked its sail and rudder through the ice. The sub surfaced in an area of polar ice between Alaska and the North Pole. Subs in the arctic have long ago learned to look out for polar bears, especially if some of the crew are allowed out on the ice. In this case, a large (700-800) pound polar bear was seen approaching the sub. For about 40 minutes, the bear loitered around the subs rear rudder.
It took a bite out of the rudder and, finding it inedible, stayed around the area of broken ice around the rudder for a while, apparently thinking a seal (the bears favorite food) might use it as an air hole. The bear finally left when he heard the noise of an approaching helicopter. When an officer first looked around outside via the periscope, he noted that his sub was being stalked by a hostile polar bear. The periscope cam was turned on, and these photos of a polar bear chewing on the subs rear rudder resulted. The damage was said to be minor. The SSN 22 is a Seawolf class boat, one of the navy's newest submarines. It wasn't designed as a polar bear snack, but that's how life is sometimes.

The bear that represents me on my blogger profile is named Barney. He is also representative of my opinion of the Canadian military. If you're old enough to remember the Andy Griffith show from the 1960's, Barney Fife was Andy's inept deputy. So inept, in fact, that he was only allowed to have one bullet for the pistol he wore. On top of that, he was not allowed to actually load the bullet into the pistol, but carried it buttoned up in his shirt pocket. The Canadian military is a lot like Barney Fife. Except, without the bullet.

Oh, almost forgot the attribution:
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