Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Fast Attacks vs. Boomers

The other day at work, I had mentioned to someone that I am a submariner, and they asked me if I served on boomers. Reflexively, I gave the standard answer: "No, I'm heterosexual". Other than making me realize that this answer probably isn't appropriate around people who don't understand submarines (and may even get me in trouble in corporate America) I figured I should come to terms with my feelings about the great fast attack vs. boomer debate.
I never served on an SSBN, although I did got to sea on one once, for the Alpha Sea Trials of USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), the last of the Ohio-class boats. The advantage of serving on boomers seemed to be that you had a long-range schedule that they stuck to pretty closely; if someone called to see if you could attend a family reunion six months from now, you knew if you'd be at sea or not. Boomers have two crews (Blue and Gold) that rotate about every 3 months, so half the time you don't even have a boat to take care of. On fast boats, you're lucky if you know your schedule for the next month. (I had one underway in early December 1991 where we went out for 4 days, and came back three weeks later, the day before Christmas, after picking up an assignment for one of our sister ships that'd turned their diesel into a seawater pump.)
On the fast boats, the time you spend in-port is often more intense than it is at sea, what with having to get all the maintenance done. Although I've heard that "refit" periods between patrols for SSBNs can be pretty intense, boomers have an organization called Trident Refit Facility that does most of your major maintenance for you. On the fast boats, it's a pain to get your guys to the schools they need, whereas the boomers have a 2 month period between patrols where they have nothing to do but training.All that sounds like being a boomer Sailor would be a pretty sweet deal, quality of life-wise. And I suppose it is.
What I don't think I would have liked about boomer life, though, is what you did when you were at sea. Boomers go to sea to hide; their job is to be ready to launch their D-5 missiles when ordered. Sometimes you get to do test launches, which I suppose could be fairly eventful. The rest of the time, you try to stay away from other ships, and run drills. I, being a sneaky bastard, really preferred to do something at sea that involved sneaking up on other people, whether they were warships, interesting wildlife, or even people on sailboats. All in all, I'm glad I did my sea time on fast boats, but I still respect those who served their country honorably on ballistic missile submarines, and I really don't think you're gay. Really. I don't.

Going deep...

14 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

I loved fast attacks so much that i waived my shore duty to stay at sea on them, 8 years straight on fast attacks (i had awesome sea pay and sub pay!!). I loved the fact that our job was to do spec ops, or track ('trailing' is a no-no) interesting "targets of interest", play war games with helos, or surface ships, or go up against entire battle groups, etc...

Attack boats made for a much more exciting life i think.

When co-workers ask about the differences between fast attack and boomers, i say boomers are like floating hotels, they've got the cushy life but nothing interesting happens. If war breaks out, they kill people from thousands of miles away while the fast attacks are usually taking the fight to your front door. *grin*

2/27/2005 12:22 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

I never went to sea on a fast boat, and really I am glad of that. I did miss out on some good ports of call, being on a t-hull (the Tennessee, SSBN 734, first of the D-5 boats). We went to P-Can a few times, but that was it.

I saw some awesome things while I was in. While in Cape Canaveral doing a pers-trans I was on the bridge while morning colours was playing. As we sat there on the bridge the Space Shuttle flew over on it's way to landing at Kennedy.

I also got to see a D-5 missile launched from a UK boat, I had my arms wrapped around a tube when a missile was launched from it, and I NEVER missed a Christmas in 6 years. Not too bad.

Now, as far as Boomer bashing goes, you should save the hostility for the skimmers.

2/27/2005 1:04 AM

 
Anonymous bullnav said...

While boomer bashing is a sport that all true fastboat sailors enjoy, I must agree with Bubblehead(2) that we should save the real bashing for the skimmers. I also nominate the aviators for this (to quote someone semi-famous, "I have seen a lot of airplanes in the sea, but no submarines in the sky." This was in response to a rescue at sea of an aviator by a submarine.)
Not to mention the fact that if you are an officer who wants to go to command, you MUST have a boomer tour. I remember them telling us that back in SOAC in '96, and with one exception it seems to be true (oh, by the way, Bubblehead(Idaho) I think we may have met then through my friend who was your XO on Connecticut).
OK, enough for now. It is a drill weekend and I have a bit of a drive in front of me. DC37

2/27/2005 3:16 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Bubblehead in Wyoming is right, of course, and most fast attack vs. boomers "arguments" are generally good natured. Skimmers, on the other hand, are excellent targets for abuse (also good natured; they can also defend themselves - verbally, at least - from submariners) as are aviators, and since I did a deployment on a carrier, I think I might be in the right position to identify the important differences, which I'll do later today.
Bullnav - I was also in SOAC in '96 (graduated in the May 96 class). Was that Brian or Brad that you know? Regarding the old detailer theory that you had to do both Fast Boat and boomer tours, I always figured that was just their way to get people to move from one to the other with less whining. I've actually known at least 5 peers who did all fast boat tours through XO, and even one who stayed on boomers for all three pre-command tours. I personally was only on fast boats, and had orders to be XO on another fast boat before I had to "see the Doc". As to whether or not I would have made command, I guess we'll never know...

2/27/2005 9:05 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

(WY)

I just realized that the title of your Blog was The Stupid Shall be Punished.

I attributed this quote over the years to my first COB, MCPO Latham. It was his favorite quote when one of the new Deck seamen would screw something up. I guess it must have just been a submarine motto in general.

Sorry, not a very well organized thought, it just kind of snuck up on me.

2/27/2005 9:55 AM

 
Blogger ninme said...

Bubblehead (WY) is to be commended for the addition of the (WY).

So I guess there's no chance of the fat people on that yacht ever having one of those trident things come screeching out of the water next to them? Cuz I think I'd buy a yacht just to see that.

You know how the navy has the blue angels that people pay to watch? They should have whale watcher boats run out to see to watch them test all that stuff. Think of the money they could raise.

2/27/2005 1:55 PM

 
Anonymous former navet said...

Bubblehead, the Boomer vs. Fast Attack sailor debate is just the type of good natured ribbing that people within all branches of the service do to each other. Even on Boomers people in my rate were occasionally called “Nav girls” One deployment to poke fun back at our tormentors, in mid patrol the Nav division made the entire crew quiche for dinner. Most got the joke “real men don’t eat quiche” but some didn’t. Too bad for them they missed a good meal that night.

Those who stay in the Navy on submarines long enough have a fair chance to serve on both type hulls. Most enlisted rates and all officers are easily transferred to duties on a SSN or SSBN. That being said, I’m thinking the homosexual reference comes from that old tiered skimmer puke joke “Submarines 140 men put to sea and 70 couples return to port”.

Only knew of one gay sailor while I was on SSBNs in the 80s and he was a Nuke! Go figure

Former NavET

2/27/2005 3:00 PM

 
Anonymous MMCM nuke(ret) said...

The diesel that thought it was a pump, I remember it well.

2/27/2005 4:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on three Fast Attacks and had two brushes with the Boomer side of the house. After leaving the USS DRUM (SSN 677), I went to new construction on the USS MICHIGAN (SSBN 727). We had 28 Agangers because the crew had not split and our working hours were from 0730 to 1000. That was fine for about a month and then I really started to get antsy because of boredom. It seemed that there was a lackadaisical attitude about maintenance and watch standing and it seemed like everybody was playing
”I got a secret”. I spent a year on there before cross-decking over to the USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701) which was in the last six months of new construction. What a difference. I felt needed again and jumped right into 18 hour workdays. One good thing about the experience here was that my Chief on the MICHIGAN taught me how “not” to be a Chief while my Chief (Blaine Tallman) on the LA JOLLA taught me what a Chief should be.
After leaving the LA JOLLA, I went to Bangor to teach the Aganger pipeline at TTF Bangor. I taught 5 courses and was backup on several others. What amazed me at TTF was who would show up in the classes. For instance, I taught Towed Array and Radio Antenna Handling equipment. Because the off-crew had to shove sailors someplace, I would get RM’s, ST’s, Nuc MM’s and even an MS or two. There was also the problem of seeing the same Aganger taking the same course every off-crew. Try to keep that interesting for them.
After TTF I ran as fast as I could back to Fast Attacks and never looked back. There is nothing wrong with the Boomer side of the house, but there is a different difference in mentality.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

2/28/2005 10:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on three Fast Attacks and had two brushes with the Boomer side of the house. After leaving the USS DRUM (SSN 677), I went to new construction on the USS MICHIGAN (SSBN 727). We had 28 Agangers because the crew had not split and our working hours were from 0730 to 1000. That was fine for about a month and then I really started to get antsy because of boredom. It seemed that there was a lackadaisical attitude about maintenance and watch standing and it seemed like everybody was playing
”I got a secret”. I spent a year on there before cross-decking over to the USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701) which was in the last six months of new construction. What a difference. I felt needed again and jumped right into 18 hour workdays. One good thing about the experience here was that my Chief on the MICHIGAN taught me how “not” to be a Chief while my Chief (Blaine Tallman) on the LA JOLLA taught me what a Chief should be.
After leaving the LA JOLLA, I went to Bangor to teach the Aganger pipeline at TTF Bangor. I taught 5 courses and was backup on several others. What amazed me at TTF was who would show up in the classes. For instance, I taught Towed Array and Radio Antenna Handling equipment. Because the off-crew had to shove sailors someplace, I would get RM’s, ST’s, Nuc MM’s and even an MS or two. There was also the problem of seeing the same Aganger taking the same course every off-crew. Try to keep that interesting for them.
After TTF I ran as fast as I could back to Fast Attacks and never looked back. There is nothing wrong with the Boomer side of the house, but there is a different difference in mentality.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

2/28/2005 10:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someday I’ll figure out how to post a comment only once.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

2/28/2005 3:38 PM

 
Blogger Water & Fire said...

I have been visiting sites all day and I really like what you have done with your blog. I found your site just after I visited Jacuzzi Parts Idaho
. Kind a lame if you ask me. Who cares.. I'm here now! Have a good one!

10/27/2005 11:19 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that's karma, I have been on 3 fast boats and after 18 years of teasing boomer fags, I logged into Bupers Online to see if the orders I had been eagerly awaiting were updated (my detailer told me I was all set to go back onto a fast boat in Groton)........... surprise surprise, orders to a T-hull in Bangor. WTF

4/21/2013 7:20 PM

 
Anonymous Ralph Jordan said...

MM1/SS So I was also a boomer sailor.......and also a proud gay vet. I really do not see what one has to do with the other. I served with honor.

4/09/2014 7:30 AM

 

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