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.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

English Major Turned Submarine Nuke

In a story that's opposite that of WillyShake (submarine nuke turned English Lit guy), DefenseLINK has a profile of a submarine officer who started his career as an English major at the Academy:

"Backhaus graduated from the academy in 2001 with a major in English. He earned a master's degree in literature, then went on to nuclear power school and the submarine fleet, an unconventional move for a non-engineering major. He returned in January for a shore tour to teach alongside his former professors in the English department.
"Backhaus said that while attending the academy he thought the midshipmen who wanted to be submariners were all "big geeks."
"That's a stereotype that's out there," he said. He told himself as a plebe -- freshman in academy jargon -- "I'm never going to be a submariner; that just sounds terrible."

As the story implies, most submarine officers have technical majors in college; I'm not sure if the rule's still in force, but I remember that there was generally a limit of 10% of all submarine officers chosen for any year group that could have non-technical majors.

On USS Topeka, we had one JO when I was there who had been a poli sci major -- inevitably, we called him our zampolit. Since all the line officers who get to the boat have made it through the nuke pipeline, there really isn't any difference between any of them, but I think there's still a little bit of a "huh?" reaction people have whenever they see a liberal arts guy on a boat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a JO with a degree in Mortuary Science. Comes in handy if you ever have an accident underway :-)

5/24/2006 5:26 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Ok, that beats the guy I went through Nuke school with who was a Music major.

And Bubs, although it is darn hard for most non-tech majors to get into nuke school, the 10% rule is no longer officially in force - lucky for me, as for some reason they classified my B.S. in Physics as non-tech.

5/24/2006 5:45 AM

Blogger WillyShake said...

Great story--and hilarious comments by PBS and "anon". LOL LOL. I guess if PBS was non-tech, then my Chem major was as well. It sure felt like it--I struggled with NNPS ...but it was a good thing--a crucible that made me a better off in the long run.

5/24/2006 7:14 AM

Blogger Fenian Fox said...

Everyone knows English majors make the best submariners! There are things that English majors know, like 20,000 leagues was how far they went and not how deep they were.

Honestly though, I think you have a better chance of getting a well rounded guy with a liberal arts guy who can handle the technical stuff. No where in the nuke screening process do they test for personality. None of the guys that I know who graduated top of their NNPS class survived past DH.

5/24/2006 9:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And this, ENS J, is the Low-Pressure Blower."

-Engineer-qualified undergrad business major giving a walkthrough of our 688 Fan Room...while pointing at the Forward Escape Trunk.

5/24/2006 7:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1972. Our Aweps on the Thomas Edison (Gold) was a mustang. He was a nuke EM that went to the NESEP program. That means he was allowed to go to college for four years and the come back as an Ens. They would not let him go to Officer Nuke school because they said he was too old. He was qualified on every watch from the torpedo room right through AMR1, but had to stop giving head call reliefs at the RC bulkhead.

What do they do now with the enisted submariners that go LDO or Warrant? Do they ever get a chance to get back on the boats?

5/24/2006 9:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Roland even though he was/is a bleeding heart liberal, tree hugger, PETA lovin', vegetarian.


5/25/2006 4:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"like 20,000 leagues was how far they went and not how deep they were."

I thought I was the only one who misunderstood that. But then I was ten at the time.

5/25/2006 7:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The courses that a humanities major from Boat School takes are a 'little' different than those required for a BA at most other schools. To graduate, in addition to the courses for a major, each mid must take at least 2 semesters of physics, 2 semesters of chemistry, 3 semesters of calc/diffeqs, 2 semesters of EE, 2 semesters of weapons systems engineering, and even a semester of thermodynamics. It's not a BSEE or BSME curriculum, but it's technical enough to give an indication if a humanities major has even a remote possibility of making it through the Nuc training pipeline.

5/25/2006 1:22 PM

Anonymous экскурсии в барселоне said...

The dude is completely just, and there is no suspicion.

2/07/2012 11:24 AM


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