Care And Feeding Of VIPs
We've seen in the news recently stories about the various hotel service "requirements" of Vice President Cheney and Senator Kerry. The Sub Force has a similar "urban legend" -- the notorious list of requirements for when Admiral Rickover came aboard. The excellent biography "Rickover: Controversy and Genius" discussed the "list" of the Admiral's desires that was passed around; it included, if I remember right, two khaki uniforms that the Admiral would take home with him, stationary for writing letters to Congressmen, and several pounds of seedless white grapes. (One probably apocryphal story tells of Rickover approaching a submarine for sea trials and saying to his companion, "Well, it's time to get underway and eat those damn grapes again.")
One might think that when Rickover left, such a list would have gone by the wayside; if so, one would be mistaken. When I was Engineer on (then) PCU Connecticut, my CO and I were called into the office of the local head of the Naval Reactors office just before Alpha Trials, where we were given "the brief". By this time, there weren't any requirements for free uniforms, but we got some specific instructions on how to deal with the Admiral, along with some food and beverage choices that should be made available. In this particular case, this was only the 2nd Alpha Trials that this particular NR Admiral had been on, so they weren't quite sure what he really liked; they did know that he had asked for Diet Dr. Pepper when he was on the Alpha Trials for USS Louisiana, so we should probably have some on hand.
As it turned out, Admiral Bowman didn't give the MSs any trouble at all about the service, and made the men feel quite at ease. (The shipyard engineers, on the other hand, he kept on their toes, as was appropriate.) I don't know if they still do "the brief" for the new boats, but it was nice to be a part of a nuclear submarine tradition that few get to experience.