Mayor Goes Under (Water) 

There aren't a lot of perks left for public officials these days, not with those nasty little ethics regulations and all. But one that remains for the mayor of Boise is the occasional visit to the USS Boise, the nuclear submarine that bears the city's name.

During a trip paid for by the USS Boise Committee, Mayor Dave Bieter joined a group of 15 aboard the boat while it was docked near Cape Canaveral, Fla. It was Bieter's second trip to the submarine, and this time, he got to stay onboard while it was practicing maneuvers.

"It was everything I had hoped it would be," Bieter said with a big smile, back at home in his Boise office. "It's unbelievable. You can't believe the amount of sophistication on that ship."

Bieter had the chance to join the captain on the conning tower while the boat was under way—an experience that required Bieter be put in a harness and tethered to the deck.

He also had the chance to tour the boat (which boasts a Bronco-proud blue and orange engine room and mess hall) and stay on the bridge while submerged. "It was like a movie," he said, sharing how the call to "dive" rang out with the requisite alarms.

Bieter said he had no bouts with claustrophobia, even as the boat descended to 640 feet, although he admitted that watching the view offered by the periscope made him keenly aware of where they were. During the roughly two hours spent submerged, the crew ran the submarine through a series of maneuvers, including turns and dives.

Bieter will be able to return the hospitality in September, when the captain of the USS Boise, along with a few of his top sailors, come for a visit.

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