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.)

Sunday, August 21, 2005


A while back, I came up with the concept of what I call HAHBOW ("Hours Away from Home Because Of Work") as a way to compare the effects of various jobs on quality of life. In my current job, I work half the days for 12 1/2 hour shifts, plus one extra 2 hour meeting every two weeks. I have about a 30 minutes commute each way, so that means I'm away from home because of work about 98 hours every two weeks, or 49 hours a week. Not too bad...

I came up with this metric (of course, I didn't call it that) when I was a junior officer to try to explain to those outside the Navy how many hours we really had to work. At the time, on USS Topeka from '90-'93, I came up with the following weekly average "HAHBOW" numbers:
Topeka was a front line, operational SSN homeported in San Diego. As a result, we probably spent about 40% of our time at sea outside of deployments, and then deployed for six months every two years. As a junior officer, you normally stood duty about every four days; this meant you spent the night on the boat, and were therefore "away from home because of work". Normal workdays in port were about 0700-1600, with a 45 minute commute each way. Therefore, during the two year period:
HAHBOW deployment: 168 hr/week (25% of the time)
HAHBOW local ops: 168 hr/wk (0.4 x 75%=30% of the time)
HAHBOW inport: 80 hr/wk (20 workdays per month, of which 5 were duty days, plus two weekend duty days per month; 15 days x 10.5 hrs, 7 days x 24 hrs equals about 325 hours per month, or about 80 hours per week.)

Doing the math, this works out to 128 hours per week, on average, away from home for an average sea-going JO. (Enlisted nukes had about the same numbers; enlisted coners and more senior officers a little less -- coners were normally one more section duty than nukes). If you took a reasonable amount of leave, figure it worked out to 120 hours/week. That's quite a lot of time; it's a good thing we loved it so much... (ducks to avoid thrown objects)


Blogger Skippy-san said...

Ask me again why I went aviation. I was forced in 1978, to go on a nuclear power midshipan cruise. Me, I just wanted to go to the PI on any ship going there.....but I digress.

I spent 9 weeks on USS Nimitz after telling my advisor there was no way in hell I was going on a submarine because they did not get enoough liberty. My running mate was the RC officer, going through a divorce, and studying for his engineer's exam. USS California, a cruiser in our BG failed her ORSE.
Those guys sat at anchor doing drills while the rest of the BG was drinking beer in Portsmouth. I was told it was an act of God her Cpatain did not get fired.... I remember having dinner on USS South Carolina, and talking to the JO's who were miserable.

Somehow in the light of day, I think I made the right decision. Being on det in Panama for 60 days sure beat an surge SSN deployment, I feel sure of.....

8/22/2005 8:43 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

you normally stood duty about every four days

Every FOUR days?!? Sheesh, y'all had it easy. I never went less than three section except when I took baby leave for mini-PBS V2.0 Mod2. My old Weps and I remember not-so-fondly being port and stbd together for 3 weeks. Ah, the bad old days...

8/22/2005 9:04 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I didn't want to sound too whiny. On Topeka, I got the worst of both worlds, duty-wise. Before I got my fish, the CO had a policy that you stood three section EDO until you got qualified, as "incentive". Then, we had a change of command just as I got my dolphins, and the new COs philosophy was let the NUBs only stand five section EDO to give them more time to work on forward quals, so the SDO-qualified guys stood four section.

8/22/2005 9:24 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


Timing is everything, eh? Both our CO's had the mindset of your first - except they tacked on SDO(u/i) for your day after duty until 2000, along the "incentive" line you brought up. Of course, being the over-instruction for those day-after-duty guys was SO much fun - nothing like a tired, bitter JO stuck onboard on his day after - why I usually sent 'em home as soon as the XO wasn't looking.

8/22/2005 9:53 AM

Blogger geezernuke said...

Nuclear Submarineing Ho!

The psycho-babble term "Disfunctional" is an appropriate label for such behavior even when you add "Honor", "Pride", and/or "Adventure" to the equation.

Ah, but what a fabulous machine; and I even got to drive & tinker with it. Doesn't make a bit of sense why I would want to do such a foolish thing.

8/22/2005 10:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The submarine life hasn't changed. I was on a 637 from 1980 to 1984 including eighteen months in the yards.

Submarine duty was tough, and it destroyed families and men.

I'm glad I got out before it was too late.

11/20/2007 2:43 PM


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