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, November 18, 2007

Training The Next Generation Of Submarine Officers

It hit me like a TDU weight dropped onto your gut by a "funny" shipmate -- considering what we've been hearing about USS Hampton and some of the other not-so-Clancyesque stories that have come out recently about the Sub Force, what must the NUBs currently in the pipeline be thinking about submarining? I got an E-mail recently from a Nuke officer in the training pipeline (not Chase, who you may be familiar with already) who asked:
I've been following your blog off and on for a while now, and with comp in power school looming up in about a month and a half I've come to the realization that I don't know much about the fleet...
...Do you happen to have any lessons learned, etc..., that you would be willing to share with an almost (but not quite there yet) nub ensign?
Hopefully I've been able to put across in my blog that, although I'm not always happy with the decisions made by Big Navy and various shore-based submariners, I still think submarining is one of the best careers to which any young man can aspire; I'd happily recommend to my sons that they join the Sub Force. That being said, it's clear that submarining isn't as glamorous as it used to be. So how should I answer the young Ensign? I'm looking for your input, whether it's from the perspective of a JO, former JO, or submariner who used to have to fix mistakes made by their division officer -- or from submarine wives. What can a young officer coming up for orders to his first submarine do or what should he know to make him the most effective submarine JO possible? The comments are open...

54 Comments:

Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

Lessons-to-learn for self-described "nub ensigns" in order to do well in the fleet from a former JO and took-over-in-overhaul-from-a-fired-Eng Dept Head:

(1) Have and project a reasonable degree of enthusiasm and "can do" attitude, despite whatever burnout attitudes you may run into. NO one likes a whiner...especially whiners.

(2) If married, seek out an SSBN and thereby get thee an insurance policy that you'll have as much time with your wife as possible. Your top priority is not a naval career, nor should it be. If married and you think the Navy is your top priority (e.g., you wear your boat school (or similar) ring over the top of your wedding ring to indicate your 'true' affiliation), good luck with that...you'll need it.

(3) Don't be afraid to get to know your men and acknowledge them as real people. They will resent being thought of as plug-and-play pieces of equipment, as they should. As a division officer, I once had one of my guys tell me about how he was looking forward to taking his birthday off the next week. I said "bullshit...your birthday is in two months." His jaw about hit the floor. A simple thing, but he never forgot it (in a good way).

(4) Don't coddle your guys either. People will always rise to the expectations set of them, and in the end appreciate it. No one in their right mind joins to the military to become a slacker; many in fact seek it out in order to develop their own sense of discipline and achievement. Work with that fact of human nature...it's very real.

(5) You are a hotel load until qualified. Every day you're late (or early) in qualifying will not be forgotten. You'll learn the most on watch -- get there as fast as you can. First qualified is best qualified.

(6) Know your assigned job and do it to the best of your ability. If the phrase "I blew it off" is in your vocabulary, just go ahead and have special photos taken of you with a member of your own sex, turn them (and yourself) into your local chain-of-command, and get the f--k out of the way. The Navy does not need any more sleaze bags than it already has. Reject immediately any related "blow it off" thinking on your part or your fellow JOs. NOTHING will lose the confidence of your superiors faster than a give-a-shit attitude.

(7) Know more than anyone else ever has about your particular role, and never...ever...stop learning. Knowledge is certainly power, but in the military it can also mean life or death.

(8) If you land in a submarine in overhaul, suck it up like everyone else and just do the best you can (see #1 and #6 above). This includes having the initiative to seek out going to sea on other boats as often as schedules permit. You're a naval officer, not a victim...act like it.

(9) Have personal goals, and don't be afraid to express them. To my experience, the best jobs to eventually aspire to as a "nub ensign" -- even if you're a one-tour-and-out guy -- are MPA and Weapons Officer. You'll learn the most in those jobs.

(10) Remember always that it's all about the attitude and thoughts that you embrace. If you think you're on the modern day equivalent of the starship Enterprise, then, guess what, you are. If you think you're on a defueling garbage scow because someone doesn't like you, then, guess what, you are. It's all up to you. Choose well.

11/19/2007 3:10 AM

 
Anonymous Submarine Iconoclast said...

Remember that a rising tide lifts all boats. That means just do your best to make your ship successful and don't worry about where you rank within the organization. All that the rest of the community will know or care about you is what commands you served at and when - this tells them whether or not you have what it takes to make a team successful. Glory hounds are not welcome here (although a handful somehow make it to CO and even Flag, but that's a different discussion...).

Remember that your men volunteered to work just as hard at challenging jobs as you did, with the exception that they get about one-third the pay. Respect that and realize it means you must find a way to work even harder *every single day* to deserve the first iota of respect from them. They will see that, and return your hard work by performing miracles on your behalf.

Also remember that submarines aren't designed to be dependent on junior officers - you're there to learn how to be a CO. Delegating work to you is not offloading work; rather it is a commitment to mentoring you through ensuring you learn how to know when a job is done correctly. Receive every criticism with an open mind and you will surprise yourself by being prepared for inevitably greater challenges as they arrive.

And never forget that you are a Naval Officer. You have been personally commissioned by the President of the United States and approved by the Senate to serve with honor. No one in you chain of command has the authority to tell you to compromise your integrity. Losing sight of that betrays the trust of every American citizen (I hope you are reading this, CDR Portland).

11/19/2007 4:56 AM

 
Blogger Future Chaps said...

I agree with ex ssn eng. I recently resigned my commission to pursue a higher calling. I did two sea tours on SSN's so my breadth of experience may not be as wide as others on this blog.

1) Learn you job as best you can and get qualified early. The reputation you earn when in quals will last your entire career. The guys know who the good ones are and they talk. Your reputation will proceed you good or bad. Your goal should be to keep learning and when you are the PNEO qualified JO, no one should know as much about the boat as you. If you know everything, your guys will study and approach training with vigor if not just to try and one up you.

2) Take care of your men! It is cheesy, but have them fill out/update the Division Officer info form when you take over. Study that and learn the names of their kids, wives, girlfriends etc. Say hello to their families on the pier. Their personal life will affect their job and this will prepare you for future job issues.

3) Stand up for what is right. It could be a major integrity issue or something as small as giving your men a day off for a job well done. If you stand up for what is right, no matter what the circumstances the men will notice. As an aside, it does help the respect if you occasionally pick a fight with the COB over some piss ant issue that doesn't matter if you win or lose. Stand up for what is right and your men will join that crusade, making your job easy.

4) Be ready to fail. Now I don't mean be ready to be a failure. There is a difference. It is normal to fail, just don't become a failure. You will screw up, we all have but you don't have to become hostile to those who point out your mistake or decide to give up for doing something wrong. Failures give up and blame everyone else. You know the difference and so does every other person wearing dolphins.

5)Have fun and be creative. One thing I implemented as a Weps was to hold a departmental awards ceremony right after quarters when a guy left the ship. I gave him a yellow sticky of appreciation with some smart ass comment on something he did during his tour. We hammed it up, stuck it to his uniform and it became a great tradition during my tour. Guys looked forward to getting a yellow sticky.

You are starting an extremely demanding, difficult job. However, it is the most rewarding and exciting at the same time. Embrace the job, keep learning and having fun and it will fly by and before you know it you will join all the others of us on this blog that when push come to shove would go back despite what you may read here. They won't all admit it, I personally miss my guys and working with them. I don't miss the hours and pain, though but I really enjoyed getting out there on my deployments doing stuff you can only dream about.

There is a great article of advice on being an Ensign in Proceedings from February 1995 called Ensign 101 written by a former Submarine CO. I still have a copy.

11/19/2007 5:25 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From an enlisted perspective, I certainly agree with everything that has been posted thus far. I would add a couple of things: 1) Trust your Chief. He has been doing this longer than you have and knows how it needs to be done. 2)With that said, give your Chief enough rope to hang himself with, but know when to pull it. You are the link between him and the Dept Head. Trust but verify. If you have his back, he will have yours (see number 1 above. 3) Never accept *that's the way we've always done it* as an answer. Every single procedure and directive on the boat (and in the Navy) is subject to revision if you truly think there is a better way to do it. The downside is, you probably won't know a better way to do it for a few years, so see number 1 above. 4) BE DECISIVE! No one wants a boss who can't make a decision. You won't always make the right choices, but your reputation will be defined by the decisions you make and how you handle the situations in which you make the wrong decision. When in doubt, see rule number 1 above.

In case you haven't guessed, I am a Submarine Nuke Chief (retired). I have had the worst Engineers and MPAs, some that are now CO's, and I have had the best. The best ones trusted me but always held me to high standards. The worst ones never listened to a word I said without asking a million questions and making me spend hours pulling the references together to proved I was right. There is no substitute for experience, and you won't have any for quite some time.

I could go on...I would suggest that each JO should develop multiple mentor-protoge relationships. One with his Dept. Head, and one with his Chief.

Good luck.

11/19/2007 6:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would simply say to the new JO's, "Respect is yours to lose."

RM1/SS

11/19/2007 8:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Submarining used to be glamorous? Who knew?! Did the term 'Pigboat' used to have different meaning? I rather preferred being known as a sneaky, deadly and treacherous assassin of the deep.

11/19/2007 9:17 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to ex ssn eng...well said, BZ! Too bad I only served with a few officers of your caliber; a few more like you and the Navy would be an amazing place to work.

11/19/2007 10:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This advice is coming from Chief angle. As an ANAV, I usually did not have a JO in my COC so this is from an "outsider" point of view:

1. Listen to your Chief. He will help you during your entire tour, even after you have moved on to bigger and better things. That is, right up until the point when you screw him over! After that, who knows.

You will know when this is getting ready to happen, because he will tell you "Sir, don't screw me on this". And you will know when you have done it, because he will tell you "Sir, you screwed me".

2. You get what you inspect, not what you expect. That said, every division has a closet with skeletons. Believe it or not, there is not time to do everything. The Chief know what is in this closet and controls the key. He puts things in and take things out. If you want to look inside the closet, talk to the Chief first and always refer to #1.

As for inspectors knowing about the closet, you bet they do. That Chief may have owned the closet before, or he had one just like it on his boat. Your Chief knows he knows about it. Let the Chief's talk about the closet and don't ever, ever get in the way of that covesation.

3. Admiral konetzni used to tell us "If everything is important, then nothing is important".

4. If your getting ready to run up and tell the Department Head, XO or CO the way things should be, run it by your Chief first. He may save you from yourself. Then again if you violated #1, he may say "great idea, go for it".

5. You are the same age as the E-4's and E-5's on board, you play the same video games, talk the same language, may even know some of the same girls and drink at the same bars.

You are an officer, act like it. You are not their best buddy on the ship. Sure you can be nice and civil, even talk together, but don't cross that fine line.

6. Once you qualify OOD, you're in charge of the whole thing, know where you're going, why you're going, how you're going to get there, and what you are going to do once you make it there.

Review the chart and have a plan. Discuss your paln with the NAV, ANAV, and Quartermaster. If the QMOW or ANAV tell you to turn now, do it, it's too late to look at the chart, so be ready. As for the ANAV, refer to #1.

7. Last but not least, Submarining is fun, boring, and exciting; you will love it and it will suck all at the same time.

Good luck and make the most of it.

Jim C.
QMC(SS), Retired.

11/19/2007 10:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is from an Auxiliaryman Senior Chief perspective. JO’s come to the boat and one of the first divisions they step into was A & IC Division. I know those have morphed into other things but the premise is the same. I have seen great DCA’s and some that were not so great. One of the best complements you can give a bubblehead is “you can trust what he says”
In no particular order:

The hours can be long but the work is not hard. JO’s get run through the ringer with quals and watch standing but so do the blue shirts. Qualifications are not easy and your not the Lone Ranger. In my opinion, anyone who says they have not fallen asleep on watch has not stood them or they lie. I’ve see all levels of the Chain of Command snoozing in Maneuvering, on the Conn, in the Torpedo Room. That is one of the reasons I always whistled a tune when I was making my rounds, I didn’t want to have to catch someone.

You and the Chief filters, both up and down stream. Your Chief can be your best or worse advocate. Remember, he has earned the rank of Chief, not E-7. He has been promoted at least six more times than you and has a ton of experience to help you succeed. That is not to say that there are no bad Chiefs. I have known a few that had no place being a Chief. Your Wardroom will know who the bad apples are.

Don’t argue with the chief in front of the troops. You need to manage the Chief, not the tasks. Lee Iacocca said if you want to praise someone, do it in front of everybody, if you want to chew them out, do it over the phone. The Chief is a professional and should be treated like one. If there is a problem, use your stateroom to hash it out. Arguing in the passage way does not accomplish anything.

Shipyard learning experience not a sentence. In shipyard, you will see things broken down to their bare bones and will be able to trace out systems a lot easier than when they are hidden behind something. Production Control, installation, testing and inspections will give you a technical insight that can’t be bought.

One Chief I had said “There is no liberty at sea” and he worked the hell out of us but he backed it up with a consistent work and liberty schedule in port. Busy work sucks. Field Day until the boat is clean does not work.

Ring knocker Vs OCS/ROTC: Your in the same Wardroom at the same rank, who cares how you got there. Academy grads are notorious for looking down their noses at all who didn’t go to the Academy. It is the Blue Shirts perception that all Academy grads hate Blue Shirts and the Academy grads are taught not to trust the Blue Shirts. Our Weps (Academy grad) and our DCA (Texas A&M) had a lively discussion on the Conn one underway about which was better and the Weps took it real personal when the DCA referred to the Academy as a Trade School. All joking aside, just like the Goat Locker, say what you want in the Wardroom, behind closed doors, but when you come out, speak with one voice.

And for God’s sake, don’t call meetings at 1600.

Last but not least, Integrity is paramount. In so many situations, if just one person had stood up and said “this is not right” many tragedies would have been avoided. If just one person in the control room of the USS Greenville had said to the Captain “come and look at this, something is not right”, lives could have been saved and careers could have been saved.


That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

11/19/2007 10:39 AM

 
Anonymous old elt said...

1)Be a leader first, then a manager. Leaders are learners, respectfully ask questions don't flaunt your knowledge, or push your rank.
2)Be a leader of consistent character.
3)Confront without condemning.
4)Be friendly but not a "buddy". Do not frequent the same social places as those you lead, wait to be invited.
5)Learn to prioritize events and activities.
6)Establish a meaningful vision for the department with the Chief's input and lead from there.
7)Integrity in all areas.

11/19/2007 12:17 PM

 
Anonymous Shore Tour JO said...

Someone asked my best friend on board, and a great submarine JO, why he did his job so well, worked so many late hours, and took so much time to get to know the men. Did he love the submarine force and plan to stay in? Nope, the opposite.
He did not like the force, and was looking to get out after a shore tour.

He said did his job so well because he owed it to the sailors, regardless of his feeling about being a JO.

So, bottom line: Love it, or hate it. Do it the best you can, and only trash the command/sub force with your JO buddies at Club USA over a beer.

11/19/2007 12:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would add to all the good points above.

1. Find a reason to praise one of the troops publicly everyday.

2. Get a rate training manual for the division your are responsible for, such as the TM 3 & 2 book. You won't have to complete the course, but it helps to be able to talk intelligently about something when it comes up.

11/19/2007 1:50 PM

 
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

It has been almost 45 years since I was the 'nub Ensign' at Nuclear Power School so I am going to give you some very dated advice. The previous postings on this thread have been right on. They have given great advice. Just like good Chiefs give to the new JOs. Submarining is boring and exciting, easy and difficult all at the same time. We had some catch phrases in my day that are still worth repeating. First was "Always have an open Kimono". That means don't hide anything. What you hide will come back to bite you. Another was "'Tis better to fall on your own sword rather than have someone impale you with it. You will miss the vital parts." The recent Hampton incident, at least from my perspective, is a perfect example. It appears that the corrective action for the problem by the Ship was not sufficient so the Squadron and Group took more drastic corrective action. When I was afloat and even in the shipyard, I found that if a mistake was made, acknowledged, some sort of 'punishment', retraining, requalification, and measures taken to prevent the problem from recurring, everyone was happy and was able to get back to work. When those actions were not taken, then a 'punishment' or 'corrective action' entirely out of proportion to the offense was generally imposed by higher authority. The last phrase was used by an experienced Warrent Officer shipmate - "Nothing hard is ever easy." I still find that true some thirty five years later. The poster who talked about 'You get what you inspect, not what you expect.' did not credit the originator of that phrase. It was the Kindly Old Gentleman, Himself, Admiral Rickover. That was part of his standard advice to PCOs during his final talk during 'Charm School.' I had the fortune of touring the Hawaii shortly after its commissioning and I am envious of the platforms the new Ensigns will be riding. Submarines are still important, still doing great things, and still can't talk about it. Bottom line, you work your tail off but if you aren't having fun, something is wrong.

11/19/2007 2:18 PM

 
Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

Salutes, in kind, to wtfdnucsailor for his solid insights and remembrances.

His comments also reminded me that reading material for all new nuke ensigns should include something of merit regarding Admiral Rickover.

The above link for the Wikipedia article is a fine start, but Francis Duncan's books are the most competent and substantial. Yeah, Rickover had his issues, but he made the right things happen, and at the end of the day that's what your new job is all about -- making the right things happen.

Echoing wtfdnucsailor's comments with words of wisdom from Admiral Holland, an old sub school dean, that can obviously be applied to any number of things:

"Keep it clean, keep it ready, and remember...if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right."

Good luck, and God bless.

11/19/2007 2:54 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Best advice:

Take this link, print it out, and save it until you get to the boat. This discussion will end in about a week, and most of the advice is at least 9-12 months away before it becomes practical.

Lastly, remember that for the 1st 6 months you are on the boat, you are the nub. Ask your other JO's/ENG for advice before doing anything. Let the experience come to you. The phrase "time on the pond" comes to mind.

Oh and don't ever screw the ELT's or RO's. Never. They can screw you worse. And much more subtly, with longer lasting implications.

11/19/2007 4:04 PM

 
Anonymous sonarman said...

Great advice - all the above.

I'll give you the same advice my father gave me before I got to my first boat. "Keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth shut."

I'll add that your words to live by are accountability, responsibility, and integrity.

Lastly, listen to the advice given to you by the knowledgable petty officers and chiefs. Respect them as men and fellow professionals, and you will be greatly rewarded.

11/19/2007 6:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wtfdnucsailor said:

"The poster who talked about 'You get what you inspect, not what you expect.' did not credit the originator of that phrase. It was the Kindly Old Gentleman, Himself, Admiral Rickover."

Oh great, as a Quartermaster I quoted Rickover?! Now I have done and seen it all!

Thanks wtfdnucsailor for setting the record straight.

Jim C.

11/19/2007 6:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention another reason for listening to the Chief. He can run the division and give you more time for quals and ducking the XO. Don't fart at the dinner table in the ward room unless the COs wife is aboard and her blouse falls open. Then do it loudly to draw attention away from her.

11/19/2007 7:29 PM

 
Blogger Jay said...

All great advice. My Dad, an Air Force officer, gave me the best advice I ever had, and it's been said here, but I will re-iterate it again - LISTEN TO YOUR CHIEF and learn from him. He's been there, he knows how things work, and, if your CO and Dept Head are smart, they are pairing you with a chief who can both teach you and manage your division. Remember that, and if you take care of him and the troops, they will always take care of you.

Remember, especially in the nuclear ratings, those guys you are standing watch with in maneuvering could just as easily be you. For many of them, the reason they're not officers were either by choice, economics, or maybe they made some bad decisions while they were in High School or College. They're just as smart as you and could easily be sitting in your seat, and vice versa. Listen to those senior 2nd classes and first class petty officers particularly. They know the drills, they know the immediate actions, and they know their job is to make the watch team, and, by extension, you, look good. Trust them.

Finally, my most rewarding time on the boat was the year or so I was DCA and QA Officer. It was the toughest assignment I had and I loved my A-gangers like family. My LPO (later chief) had come from the Bonefish and was there when it burned and several crewmen (including the OOD that day) died. He was a stark reminder to all of us how dependent on each other we were. A lot of us complain about incessant engineering drills and constant ORSE work-ups, but remember that the submarine is the rare naval vessel where everyone is part of the Damage Control party and the lowliest man can be the man-in-charge at a casualty scene.

Most of all, despite all the crappy times and the time away from home, treasure those rare nights on the surface with no one around and resolve to be the best tactician you can be. You may enjoy the nuke stuff, but learn to be a submariner, and prove to yourself, your crew, and the CO that you can be trusted with his $2B submarine.

11/19/2007 8:44 PM

 
Anonymous Former CRA said...

1)Don't play with the 4MC switch in maneuvering,
2)always have your eyes open when doing you're safety sweeps,
3) when standing SDO don't call the moron whose walking across the missile deck during colors a jackass (you can't tell from this distance but he may be your CO)
4) don't believe the LELT when he tells you quickburning is OK and "we always do it that way"

That should cover it.

11/19/2007 11:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure I could add much more than has already been said.

Just to emphasize that the guys you lead, especially back aft can have a dramatic effect on your career both positively and negatively.

1. Be a leader above all else. A leader is not a manager that is why you have an LPO and an LCPO. If you have a good LPO and LCPO they will be both leaders and managers.
2. As an old LDO LT told me as a young PO3! You need to respect and mentor the JO’s on a submarine because they will eventually come back as a Department Head, XO, and CO. They will remember how they were treated and will return it ten fold, good or bad. However, the inverse is also true. As a JO, you need to respect and mentor junior sailors as you will see them again as a Department Head, XO, and CO. They will remember how they were treated and will return it ten fold, good or bad.
3. In the Navy, you will never be able to give a pay raise until you are a CO or an admiral, and that only through Command Advance or Spot Promotion. With that being said, go out of your way to tell your guys “Thank You”. It will only take 2-3 seconds, does not cost the Navy anything, and it will actually make you feel better. As for money, in the civilian world, a large pay increase has a half life of 3-5 months, and a genuine Thanks will last a lot longer and you can give out as many as you want.
4. Last but not least, take care of your guys and they will take care of you.

11/20/2007 12:05 AM

 
Blogger E.P. said...

I had three pieces of advice given to me just before I was commissioned from a retired US Army 4 star:
1) Be a man.
2) Know your job.
3) Look out for your men.

Remember that even as a very junior JO, you still have a major influence on the people in your division and watchsection. The small things you do can have a big influence. Example: I once gave my throttleman a "EOOW's yellow sticky of commendation" for a particularly good piece of watchteam backup. At the end of his tour (or mine I can't remember now, but it was over 2 years later). He produced that yellow sticky from his wallet where he had been carrying it the whole time. He said it was the only award he'd received in his years on the boat that meant anything to him. Little things make a difference.

11/20/2007 5:54 AM

 
Anonymous CPO_Smith's_1stMate said...

As a subwife (for years) I can give you some advice I have heard from the men over the years:

1- Don't be a Bartholomew...if you think you are above it all and you won't get caught...you will. Much to the highly publicised dismay of your family and friends.

2- Don't alter the log books. That one always bites in the ass (as my favorite Lt from the SSN23 found out).

3- Don't be a shitbag but don't be everyone's buddy, either. The guys you want to most impress will be most impressed by an officer that has integrity, honesty and a sense of humor.

4- Be nice to the guy that goes along with the JO who programs all the phones to ring into the CO's cabin.

-Smith's wife

11/20/2007 7:44 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone else said this, but believe it: the enlisted nukes could be you. For some percentage of them, in a couple years they will be you (STA21/NECP/ECP or otherwise). That means you should assume they are intelligent and capable.

That being said, don't be intimidated by the enlisted guys. Don't assume (as one ensign of my acquaintance did) that a nuke E5 had spent 5 or 6 years in the Navy (I had been in 18 month, all in the pipeline). Learn the differences between nuke enlisted and coners and don't look down on the coners because they haven't shared all of your NNPP experiences.

Rely heavily on your Chief. That being said, don't use the Chief as an insulator from the PO1s and PO2s - they are the guys you will stand watch with, you need to know them and talk to them. Some percentage of Chiefs will be sub-standard, and you may need to lean heavily on your LPO. That should be obvious quickly.

And, to reiterate, don't go to the bars or clubs that your guys do, unless you have been invited. Its not about frat or being a snob, its about giving people some room to unwind. Your guys are professional enough (unlike some other parts of the Navy) to be on a first name basis away from work (do not try this on the COB). However, you should show your guys the same level of respect on the boat that you expect from them.

11/20/2007 9:20 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous anonymous:

Come on, let us in on what happens when the JO tries to be on a first name basis with the COB.

Please!

11/20/2007 10:50 AM

 
Anonymous rusty700 said...

It's O.K. to tell your LPO and your chief that you don't know something, they will be happy to teach you. That said, you had better know it the next time around if you expect to keep their respect.

11/20/2007 10:52 AM

 
Anonymous Ex-Hampton JO said...

My advice is to try to not kill yourself for three years. It's going to suck, but if you do kill yourself while you're on the boat, you won't be able to enjoy your beautiful life when you leave. Think of it as delayed gratification. Plus, it's nice knowing that your life will never, ever suck as hard as it did while you were on the sub.

I hate submarines.

11/20/2007 11:24 AM

 
Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

Before any dogpiling on ex-Hampton JO begins (and hopefully there won't be any), let me just say a bit about what he's brought up.

First, suicidal expressions are not to be taken lightly. I lost a near & dear brother to suicide, and in hindsight the warning signs were there...including 'jokes' about offing himself. So bear that in mind from someone who's lived it first-hand.

My advice and encouragement for the next generation of JOs is that they make it a point to acknowledge the responsibility for taking care of themselves -- and looking out for your shipmates -- at least as well as they take care of the boat.

You won't find too many jobs that are as psychologically demanding as submarines; in fact, I honestly can't think of one. The isolation from loved ones -- and/or being denied the opportunity to even find that right girl -- can be traumatic.

Foreign port calls with LBFMs and similar 'fare' are no replacement whatsoever for the real deal four-letter word that you will not hear spoken of in honor on the boats much (l-o-v-e).

Take it or leave it, but my advice is to stay in touch letters and photos...real ones, not just e-mail...with those whom you love & cherish, and keep your soul fed as well. You may otherwise be in for some serious hell.

Submarine life will test your mettle unlike any other experience in life. Expect that, and take responsibility for all of your choices, and you will be fine.

11/20/2007 1:53 PM

 
Blogger bothenook said...

as an ex-ELT, and a 15 year Shift Test Engineer/Senior Nuclear Department Rep for Mare Island Naval Shipyard, i've worked for and with my share of the best and worst in JO's.
the best were open to suggestions that perhaps they DIDN'T know everything, and the worst KNEW they knew everything because they were officers (i.e. college grads).
the very best officer i ever worked with was a JO on the SSN-575 named Steve Eric. He was an ELT that NESEP'd his way into the ward room. not only did he understand the life of an enlisted, he also knew when we were pulling one over on him.
ask around the wardroom, and find out who the "good guys" are in your division, and pick their brains mercilessly. find out who the "dirt bags" are in your division... the wardroom always knows these things... and find the problem they have, and FIX it.
i was a problem child, because i knew more about my job than anyone else on the boat. and it was true. but i didn't have a clue about how to work with my bosses, and it cost me bigtime until i had life explained to me by a very astute JO that charted my life for me based on current activities/attitudes. i'd never had anyone do that before with any success. coming from someone near my age made a world of difference.
the worst officers i've ever worked with were screamers. once, it can be written down as high emotions of the moment. do it twice, and the troops will recognize it as a management style. most of us recognize screamers were usually completely incompetent in their jobs, and used their rank and anger to cover their inability to perform a decent job of leadership.
oh, and be prepared to be humbled and ridiculed constantly by everyone around you... nukes are just that way.

11/20/2007 3:38 PM

 
Anonymous ex-LA JO said...

All these comments are nice and pretty. Hooyah submarines! You can really look forward to a few things in your upcoming submarine career...
1) Having every aspect of your life affected by know-nothing assholes, particularly the ones wearing silver/gold oak leaves. They may know alot about submarines, but nothing about human interaction and decency. You are entering a community of sociopaths.
2) You will work with some tremendously talented individuals, particularly the enlisted. For the most part, 1/4 of the wardroom will be normal, hard-working individuals who are there for no personal agendas, 3/4 will be the kind of people that if they were on fire, I wouldn't cross the street to piss on their face.
3) You will get stuck in the shittiest situations humanly imaginable in a job. Yes, you are not getting shot at, but you might wish you were at some points. Find the good guys, stick with them, cling to them for survival.
4) Prepare to have no personal life, or an existing one destroyed. You should definitely go to a shore tour so you can learn how to interact with humans again.

All this being said, I agree with ex-hampton JO, you will love any other job you have, because you will know what it is like being at the bottom. All these other pieces of advice, particularly from ex ssn eng, are well and good, however they are jaded. They signed the contract, they drank the koolaid (or flavorade), and if they got out to pursue something meaningful, good for them. If you hate it, don't stay in, get out, do what you want in life and don't buy the propaganda. Everyone is going to give you a million pieces of advice from now until forever, that is the way the Navy is. Submarines aren't glamorous and I'm sure will become futile in years to come. If you show up to the boat, and think that because you are an officer you have the ability to order enlisted around and treat them like shit, I'll find you and kick you straight in the nuts. I have met people like this and they have screwed over so many people's lives and careers. You are not important, what you do is not important, you are just a tiny cog in the giant soul eating machine that is submarines. I'm sorry for your decision, but I do have to say one positive thing: It looks very good on a resume. You know what else looks good on a resume too? Volunteering at a zoo cleaning up monkey shit. Except I think the latter has more job satisfaction.

11/20/2007 7:21 PM

 
Blogger Chase said...

"You are not important, what you do is not important, you are just a tiny cog in the giant soul eating machine that is submarines."

Wow, what a great comment. I've really enjoyed reading peoples responses (good and bad) and have taken a lot to heart. I know that life is going to be hard and that I'll probably meet quite a few people in the fleet that I'd rather not see again. But if anyone is curious how a future JO like myself is taking some of the ultra-negative remarks made in this thread, it's with a grain of salt.

11/20/2007 7:50 PM

 
Anonymous EM3 4 life said...

Accept the fact that your enlisted guys are going to know more than you about their job. You're there mainly for admin, and to make us look good at mast. I don't tell you how to review the training binder, don't tell me how to shift MY electric plant.

11/20/2007 9:22 PM

 
Anonymous nukeyourselfinthecornhole said...

em34 life doesn't get it, everyone is on a submarine to back each other up. You are the EOOW and are to provide oversight. If you see unsafe practices, it is your job to stop them, no matter how much somebody complains. If you do not feel comfortable with your EO's plant shift, because he is "cobra striking" the switches, say so and do something about it, chances are, if you are erring on the side of safety, you are correct. You may not know more about maintenance and the individual pieces of equipment initially, but you should in time know a good idea of how things are supposed to be maintained. A good div-o should be able to throw the bullshit flag at your guys when it is necessary. Your nuke div-o job will be a huge learning experience, but most of the maintenance is not hard to understand in time. If you don't understand a maintenance item, have your guys explain it to you. If they won't do it, then don't approve it. It is that simple. Most of what goes on is a shit sandwhich and everyone has to take a bite. If you don't know what is going on in your division, chances are your ENG will make you eat the whole thing. The second any of your guys thinks they don't need backup on maintenance, or can do things perfectly, is the second that they get hurt or damage equipment. If you want to help your guys, then help them by being a good div-o and making sure they stay safe. BTW, your optimism is refreshing, but I would be careful on how you respond to people that have already been through a JO tour. You aren't even qualified from prototype. I've seen 3 JOs on my old boat fail to qualify on the boat and get sent to Iraq. They passed the nuke school comp, they pass their FEW at prototype, and they got through sub school. The job is often thankless and a very long 3 years on board, so you might make it through, you might not. Oh yeah, 2 of the 3 guys aced the nuke stuff, but take away the books and they couldn't find their own dick if you tied it to a string around their neck. Who knows, maybe you will do fine, or maybe I should send you a few lengths of string.

11/20/2007 10:18 PM

 
Anonymous former sub jo said...

There's no way to prepare yourself for a JO tour on a submarine. You might as well just plug right along in your studies, enjoy your time with your girlfriend, wife, friends, or whoever, and not think about the future too much. Because the future will come, you'll find yourself on a boat, and it will suck. I don't care if you write down every little nugget of wisdom that you've learned in your little green book...it's not going to help you when you're at your wit's end and wishing that you had never heard of nuclear power or submarines. You've made a decision that will take you down a specific path for the next few years (unless you go crazy, run away, or get kicked out). No way to change that now. Just accept it, know that it's going to hurt, and enjoy life while you can.

11/20/2007 11:26 PM

 
Anonymous mymilkshakebringsthesquidstotheyard said...

Your impending doom is so much of a reality, it is better to accept it than trick yourself with advice from people years removed from submarines. Go to Wild Wings, eat until you shit, drink until you puke, enjoy your comp party and say hello to shift work. If you even think you possibly comprehend what is about to take place in your life for the next 3 years, you should stab yourself in the dick. Don't be naive to think that reactivity is the end all be all. Bravo for asking what the fleet is like, nuke school is a poor representation of anything, including academia. I revert back to my original recommendation, eat Wild Wings until you shit, then drink until you puke and then shit some more. Try to get good at shitting, it'll buy you some peace and quiet on the boat a few times a day.

11/21/2007 12:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty good mix of comments here. It's going to suck, no doubt, but in the end it's what you signed up for, it's a worthy cause, and you can't really beat the cool factor. When it comes down to it, your friends will be driving VLOOKUP routines while you're driving a 7000-ton warship at the age of 24-26. Not too bad. I had maybe 8 months of sea time and 26 months of soul-sucking nuclear refueling shipyard/refit hell, and in the end I still think it was worth it. (I may have said something different had you asked me in my ninetieth consecutive day of shiftwork.)

I'll offer some advice about the wardroom.

1) Emulate the golden child of the bunch
Boss likes/trusts you => you get to do your job without playing twenty questions every time you need to pump shit overboard. To get to this point, you need to tailor your style to the expectations of the CO/XO/ENG. The golden children of the wardrooms are the ones who have figured out how to do this. Basically kiss ass just the right amount and don't screw up too badly, and you'll do fine. You can also become the golden child by being uniformly awesome, but it's hard to guarantee that strategy will work for you.

2) Learn from the disgruntled JOs.
They're usually disgruntled because they got screwed by chance or their own incompetence. In either case you can learn from their mistakes. Also, if they're still closet "idealists" (rare, but not unheard of), they'll pass on their knowledge so you have the best chance to succeed.

Above all, you have to learn the ship and stand a good watch.
At the end of the day, the output of all this leadership/management/political mumbo jumbo is a submarine crew that can take a warship to sea. Doing paperwork, "supervising" maintenance, and so forth are important, but none of them matter if the guy in the driver's seat (i.e. you) can't steer the ship. Realize that from the day you qualify EOOW, you will be one of 3-4 people who regularly stand watch at your position. It only takes one blown watch to screw things up for the whole crew.

You're in for an interesting five years. Good luck in the pipeline and lose the high/tight.

PS: At end of NNPTC, select NPTU Ballston Spa - Saratoga in summertime is amazing. At the end of NPTU, select fast attacks. No point in batting for the other team if you already have a wife.

11/21/2007 12:27 AM

 
Anonymous 688bohica said...

I dare you to show up with a high and tight. Do it, and then emulate the golden boy. I bet everyone will hate you in less than two weeks. You know what would be really awesome, if you asked all the guys to play magic cards during the evenings of your U/I watches. Then, kiss the CO/XO/ENG's ass, like their not stupid enough to see right through it, and get another high and tight. By this point, most people on the sub should think you are totally sweet. Maybe you'll get invited to a few world of warcraft guilds. Either way, you should make sure to keep up with weekly high and tights and also to put military creases in your poopy suit. So, lets run this back real quick. Work really hard so the entire crew hates you and the Co/xo/eng love you so that you can be able to pump shit whenever you want. Sounds like a good plan, good luck with that and let me know how things turn out when your beloved crew takes you out in Thailand and hooks you up with a he-she while you are completely bombed out of your gourd from the thai whiskey and cokes. Pay back is a bitch, but at least your watches were easier.

11/21/2007 1:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that emulating the golden boy would be good advice. The golden boy tends to be a kiss-up, and a total chode. Keep any shred of self-respect that you still have, and do things the way you think they should be done. Do your job competently, and keep the CO's dick out of your mouth. No one likes a cocksucker, except the one who is getting his cock sucked.

I was the golden boy on my boat for a while, and that was simply because we came out of the shipyard, and I was the only JO left in the wardroom who knew how to drive. The golden boy who came before me wore knee pads. Not someone you'd want to emulate, unless you like the taste of old man balls.

11/21/2007 1:56 AM

 
Anonymous blacktubeofdespair688 said...

The golden boy that sucks the dick should get a golden shower from everyone on board.

11/21/2007 2:09 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:31am here -

If 688bohica was a JO, he clearly didn't learn to play the game right and was likely an ineffective heat shield for his divisions.

As a JO you need to work well with oak leafs *and* the enlisted. Ignore either and you'll be in for an even more excruciating time on the boat. And it can be very excruciating in the best of circumstances.

11/21/2007 2:11 AM

 
Anonymous 688bohica said...

so, "anonymous", as wise as you may sound, you didn't really enlighten anybody to anything. Good job, I guess that in your ideal submarine world where COs and XOs don't aspire to scream at EVERYONE, all the time, that you can work for the oak leaves and enlisted. What really matters is taking care of your guys, plain and simple. Just do it, at any expense, you'll sleep easier at night. If you can do that and appease the captain and xo, they are sensible men, a rareity. If you have to choose, choose your enlisted. Officers who do this for any other reason than to lead their sailors should get the fuck out. Everything else will follow. ex ssn eng has alot of good things to say, not all of it i agree with, but alot of it is VERY applicable. Who gives a shit if your CO hates you, he'll make your life hell, but if you stand a good watch, drive the ship well, and then piss him off because you smirk at one of his stateroom after-watch lectures, who the fuck cares. We are not in the service to service ourselves, if you get eaten alive so be it, too bad it happens. If you don't have your guys working for you because they want to, you won't get anything done and the CO will be even more pissed. Enlisted FIRST and foremost, that is a DIVO's job. Fuck the brass, they write fitreps and fitreps don't mean shit. I doubt people are on their deathbed saying, "I wish I got a better fitrep." If you are on your deathbed, wishing for that outstanding fitrep, I'll pull the plug and then shit on your chest.

11/21/2007 3:21 AM

 
Blogger Chase said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/21/2007 6:50 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

The range of comments and advice is great -- thanks for everyone who helped! Amplifying a couple of earlier comments, I'd only add:

1) If you're unmarried, do whatever it takes to get an operational SSN. Being a single guy on a boomer would be a complete waste of time.

2) The best way to get qualified quick is to crawl around the ship. An hour spent tracing out a system is worth more than 4 hours spent reading about it in a book.

11/21/2007 7:58 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few points to consider.
1. Choose to be happy. All the guys that pissed and moaned on this blog chose to be miserable. It is a great job because of the officers, chiefs and enlisted you get to work with. It won't be easy. If you wanted easy, you should have joined the Air Force.
2. Say Smart Things that are True. Don't BS your subordinates or your superiors. No one expects you to know everything. That's why there are 120 other guys on the boat with you.
3. Always bring your Chief with you whenever you go to talk to your DH or CO. You can start the conversation, but your Chief will need to be there to bail you out when you say something that does not satisfy item 2.
4. Lead from the Front.
5. Remember, if you have a binder, you have a program. Become the expert in your job. The Chief, DH, and XO will be less effective if they have to do it for you.
6. A 20% solution that you can implement in a few days is always preferable to the 100% solution that will take 2 years to achieve. Incremental change is okay.
7. Take care of your men. All of them, whether they work directly for you in your division or stand watch with you. They are all national treasures.

11/21/2007 1:16 PM

 
Anonymous AnotherInThePipeline said...

It was great to read all these comments. I appreciate any little tidbits that all the nukes throw my way, thank you.

And Bubblehead, I love reading your blog - thanks for putting it out there.

11/21/2007 2:23 PM

 
Anonymous ex-hampton jo said...

"All the guys that pissed and moaned on this blog chose to be miserable."

This statement really pisses me off.

It's not that simple. People don't just choose to be miserable. It all comes from external factors, and anyone who doesn't think that there are lots of negative factors on a submarine is a liar. You will work long hours. You will be sleep-deprived. You will be overworked. You will get shit from superiors and those under you. You'll have to spend a lot of time doing things that don't make any sense, and this will frustrate you. You will encounter some sick individuals who will take pleasure from the misfortune of others. You will feel lonely. Sometimes, you will get into your rack and dread opening your eyes again. You will see people go to the mental ward, either for attempting suicide or for having ideations.

No one just chooses to be miserable. They get worn down. They giet tired. They get broken. Anyone who did a JO tour on a SSN, tell me that the job never got to you, and that you weren't absolutely, completely miserable at some point. I bet that you can't. If you've achieved enlightenment and can remain happy in the worst of circumstances (which you will often encounter on subs), please share with the rest of us.

It's easy to spout words of encouragement and say that it's easy to keep a positive attitude when you're removed from the situation, looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, remembering the good times and discounting the bad ones.

I had some good times during my tour, and I really liked the other JOs on my wardroom. I don't regret my decision to be a submariner because I know that it's made me a stronger person, and I like where I am now. And even though I did not enjoy the experience (I won't lie...it was terrible), I'm glad that I lived it. Like I said before, it's delayed gratification. Life after submarines is simply beautiful. The air is lighter, colors are brighter, music is more melodious. Think of it like the Shawshank Redemption...crawling through 500 yards of shit-smelling foulness, and coming out clean on the other side.

I'm out. Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. I still hate submarines.

11/21/2007 4:45 PM

 
Blogger LT Nixon said...

My best advice is listen to those who know (the chiefs, the senior JOs, and the smart 1st and 2nd classes). Take the belittling in good humor and drink heavily.

11/22/2007 12:47 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outstanding comments on leadership and Nukism....you back afties really know how to stick together.

All joking aside, JO's read and heed, there is probably hundreds of years of experience blogged here.

Now for one more perspective. As a Nuke officer, the first few years of your career are going to be dedicated to boiling water with a magic rock, and doing it safely. Never forget that the submarine service does not exist for its propulsion source, but that its propulsion source exists to allow us to accomplish the myriad of missions assigned to us. So, learn the engineering side well, but don't forget the tactics. If you are lucky enough to get command, its the tactics that will save your men in time of war, or "extended training". I have served onboard well over a dozen boats and the best officers that I have known knew that the boat was built with the torpedo tubes in the front for a reason...they are the reason we build the boats.

But as you have read in the papers, it is imperative to manage the reactor with skill and integrity. Just remember that driving is important as well.

Finally, there is the disgruntled Hampton JO. Life is tough in this job, and I suspect that this person would be unhappy with any challenging job. There will be plenty of guys on the boat who are unhappy. Try not to be one of them. Sailors like to complain about their job, just like big brothers like to complain about their little sisters. But, when the chips are down, they will defend them to the death, just like most submariners will. Some, like the Hampton JO, will never see that. They never see how important hard work and sacrifice is to success and to a mans integrity and self worth. So avoid the nay-sayers, when the shit hits the fan they won't be there to save your life.

Good luck and Go Navy

STSCS

11/22/2007 7:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outstanding comments on leadership and Nukism....you back afties really know how to stick together.

All joking aside, JO's read and heed, there is probably hundreds of years of experience blogged here.

Now for one more perspective. As a Nuke officer, the first few years of your career are going to be dedicated to boiling water with a magic rock, and doing it safely. Never forget that the submarine service does not exist for its propulsion source, but that its propulsion source exists to allow us to accomplish the myriad of missions assigned to us. So, learn the engineering side well, but don't forget the tactics. If you are lucky enough to get command, its the tactics that will save your men in time of war, or "extended training". I have served onboard well over a dozen boats and the best officers that I have known knew that the boat was built with the torpedo tubes in the front for a reason...they are the reason we build the boats.

But as you have read in the papers, it is imperative to manage the reactor with skill and integrity. Just remember that driving is important as well.

Finally, there is the disgruntled Hampton JO. Life is tough in this job, and I suspect that this person would be unhappy with any challenging job. There will be plenty of guys on the boat who are unhappy. Try not to be one of them. Sailors like to complain about their job, just like big brothers like to complain about their little sisters. But, when the chips are down, they will defend them to the death, just like most submariners will. Some, like the Hampton JO, will never see that. They never see how important hard work and sacrifice is to success and to a mans integrity and self worth. So avoid the nay-sayers, when the shit hits the fan they won't be there to save your life.

Good luck and Go Navy

STSCS

11/22/2007 7:52 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't beat what's above but I'll add my part. Once you're qualified, don't suddenly think you know it all. Listen to your watchstanders, especially the senior watch positions. They're likely the ones that helped sign off your card.

11/22/2007 12:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just realized that I’ve been out for a year, and am still haunted by my six and a half years in the boat club. While some may consider my suggestions a bit snarky and mean-spirited, I honestly cannot think of anything else.

- The detailer is never your friend, unless you knew him before he became the detailer, then there is only a slight chance he is your friend. The JOs that apply to be detailers are dig-its by definition, and they joyously kiss the ass of an O-6 every day. You are not safe from this man’s desires to get ahead. While an instructor at SUBSCOL it was common practice for three or four sets of ORDMODs to come out during graduation: the detailer would string the SOACs along and then fuck them at the last possible minute. Your only choice is to have a CO/XO that stands up for you, which leads us to the next point:
- To a CO/XO, JOs are nothing but a Relieved-For-Cause waiting to happen. You are a liability to your superiors’ careers, and will be treated as such until the day you leave the boat. This is not the fault of your bosses, this is the fault of NR firing anyone and everyone at the mere hint of a mistake. It’s not micromanagement, it’s survival to 20 years. Don’t worry though, your department head is even easier to can: we were averaging about two a month in 2006.
- Do not accept SOAC in lieu of an IA. Over half of our last two SOAC classes were there only because the detailer gave them the choice “Iraq or SOAC”. You want to see disgruntled, talk to one of those guys. And everyone I know who has done an IA has actually enjoyed it. The other 40% were boomer guys who had no idea what they were getting into. The remainder were the already noted dig-its, or those who could not make it in the civilian world. These are your new bosses.
- That guy from the Hampton who just got canned? Yeah, he was my former XO. The entire wardroom (minus the CO… we’ll get to him in a second) while he was on board erupted into thunderous cheers upon his expedited departure. The funny thing is I remember a similar incident on ustafish where he ordered that missing logs be forged, then fried the poor ELT who wrote up the fake logs for dishonesty. How that one didn’t go up the chain remains one of the great mysteries of my career. The bigger mystery was that he was considered a “hot-runner” until the cat came out of the bag during his final ORSE. And unfortunately I have found that this is more the rule than the exception; if you want to be successful in the submarine force, you gotta be an @$$hole.
- There are many types of captains out there, unfortunately most of them are of the “survive my CO tour” type. I taught three PCO courses at SUBSCOL, and these were the most beaten down group of men I have even encountered. At the really cool Top Secret intelligence brief they never asked a single question. When prodded their response was “I will do everything in my power to avoid doing anything that could possibly risk my career, especially the topics we just discussed.” These are your new bosses.
- The only thing that is important to you from the day you step across the brow is your men. You can fix machines. You can delay underways. You can retake PNEO. You can bomb an ORSE drill. You can piss off the entire chain of command several times a day and be forgiven by quarters the next morning. But you can never once do something that negatively impacts your men and ever make it up. These guys joined the Navy for a reason, many of them to get away from a bad situation. You are going to be the only guy who cares about them and can get things done about it. My guys still call me over two years after leaving the boat; you should aspire to the same.

11/26/2007 12:37 PM

 
Anonymous ex-LA JO said...

Wow, ex-Hampton JO and that last post were pretty great. I'd like to start by saying, for any officer going down the pipeline, take advice from a non-nuke senior chief with a grain of salt. They, first of all, have NO idea what it means to be an officer, even though they are khaki. They train Junior Officers until the JO's know enough to raise the bullshit flag, which happens right around the time you make LT. Second, a shower tech, excuse me, Sonar Tech has the cheesiest job on the boat and I can say from experience calling out our STSC and such multiple times during our underways for classifying surface contacts as biologics. Phew! Got that one out of my system.

Okay, there is alot to be said about CO/XOs and the such that are self-serving and don't care about anyone else except themselves, numerous posts have covered that issue. Submariners, for the most part, are very smart. All the guys can see through the thickest amount of bullshit, so don't even try. Don't try and be a buddy and call the guys by their first name while you are on watch, wait until after watch if you have to do it. It makes things easier, treat work like work and free time as something else. We had this one JO on board, who had a giant head, literally and metaphorically. He acted cool with all the enlisted, called them by their first names, knew their wives names, all the important stuff right? Well, he was also responsible for sending those same guys to mast for minor infractions. He stabbed JOs, DHs, and enlisted in the back just to get ahead. Well, he didn't get JO of the year for the squadron, he got his first shore tour choice, and the entire crew, every last one of them, hated his very presence and cheered his departure call. We hated him as a JO and also saw his true colors. I respected my XO, who I hated, way more because he was an asshole, acted like an asshole, and will never be anything else, but at least you knew where he was coming from. Dishonesty is the first of many turds to float to the surface when those kind of JOs spew mountains of shit on a day to day basis. The fact of the matter is, if you want better for yourself and you think there are better things out there than submarines (and there are), then go for it. If you don't, good for you, that is your perogative which I don't agree with or understand, but I respect it. I feel redeemed, I feel that I've crawled through my tunnel of shit and come out clean. The fact about going to the civilian world, which is happening soon for me, is there will be another tunnel of shit but hopefully less corn and peanuts. The whole tour is what you make of it, but the less you care about yourself, the better. Give all to your guys, they work harder, longer hours, doing shittier work and getting paid much less. Don't ever talk money with them, don't ever try to compare your job with theirs, just be a good listener and do something about their problems, don't create more.

There are a lot worse places to be than a submarine, like a mexican chicken coop on a very humid day with only buttermilk to drink. I'm glad if someone has had positive experiences, but if those people don't respect the people who are bitter, than they are complete, utter idiots. Especially coner chiefs who have no idea what happens in an engineroom during a shipyard period. That one is for you STSCS, preach on brother ex-Hampton JO.

11/28/2007 10:10 PM

 
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