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.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Great Debate: Combined Vs. Separate Submarine Birthday Balls

The Dolphin has an article on the recent Submarine Birthday Balls in Groton, and it got me to thinking about Birthday Balls I've been to. I've been to two different kinds of balls -- "Officer only" balls, and ones where all submariners attended. I'll be honest and say that I liked the "segregated" balls better, and here's why: at the combined ball, people didn't have nearly as much "fun" (where "fun" = "do and say disgusting things"). It was almost as if the enlisted submariners thought they had to behave in front of the officers, and the officers thought they had to maintain decorum in front of the enlisted. Not even any roll fights, let alone having an inflatable sex doll as part of a centerpiece (like we had during my last year on the Connecticut at the Officer Ball).

So what's your opinion? Should Birthday Balls be segregated? Or should we focus more on maintaining a solemn decorum when honoring our forebears at these annual events? Are "enlisted only" balls the same sort of bacchanalian boozefests that officer balls are? And what's your best shore story from a Submarine Birthday Ball?

Update 0918 18 April: I tried to add a poll; let's see if it works:

Which Is Better: Combined Or Segregated Submarine Birthday Balls?
Combined -- Officers And Enlisted, Living Together
Both Kinds Are Great
Both Kinds Blow
I Like Voting In Polls
Free polls from


Blogger ssbn737rm said...

Enlisted Submarine Balls are classified information, never to be shared with Officers. This is the likely reason that Officers (most likely) decided to combine the two balls (there are way to many set-ups in this article, by the way) was to learn the secrets of the Enlisted Ball. We know better.

In all seriousness though, I agree they should be separate... it is much more fun when the Enlisted can be Enlisted and the Officers be Officers. Combining them just makes things too awkward.

4/18/2008 9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave them seperate. I also have attended both and agree that everyone feels more constrained at the combined balls.

Best one I ever went to was in Subic.

4/18/2008 10:13 AM

Blogger old goat said...

Leave them seperate. I also have attended both and agree that everyone feels more constrained at the combined balls.

The secrets of the enlisted ball will remain hidden in the shrouds of mystery. But yes, a lively time is had by all.

4/18/2008 10:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been to not a one, because I've always heard they were stuffy affairs - until I got out and my co-worker told me how they were in the PAC fleet. And they were combined. And it was dog-pile on the Captain, the XO, the COB, and Submarines Once, Submarines Twice (which I have to admit I had never heard before - I guess the T-hulls have neutered the sub force).

Then he told me he went to one when he got to the LANT side. A very stuffy affair, especially in Groton. He never went to another one.

It just depends on where you go, I guess. Submarine comradery and esprit de corps should never be divided... Does anyone think it was on the WW2 fleet boats? So why do we (the submarine sailors of today) have to be "different", as if that's better? Where's the tradition?

4/18/2008 11:03 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

It isn't the zeroes that ruin the fun. The way it really should be divided is lifers vs. everyone else. Each half would greatly appreciate the absence of the other.

Officers can party with whichever group they relate to more.

4/18/2008 11:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The separation should be between the coners and the nucs. At least the coner's balls smell better.

free the coners

4/18/2008 11:29 AM

Blogger J120 Bowman said...

My experience was with separate events in Norfolk. Needless to say they were tame due to having too many "stars" present. Added to that, my time in service was too close to the Tailhook fiasco, so we were constantly being reminded of proper actions. Damn aviators!

I'm all for separate events.

4/18/2008 12:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being stationed in Pearl, I was always told the closer to D.C. one gets the stuffier the affair.

STS2/SS Shaw

4/18/2008 2:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For more fun would be a split by age/experience - DHs/Chiefs and above at one event, and JOs/E6 and below at the other. I know thats not how we do things, but I suspect it would maximize debauchery.

4/18/2008 3:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The farther West you can get, the better the sub ball. Pearl's are incredible blowouts.

I've never been to a combined one, but I don't think it would be as fun. Maybe the split should be at O-2/O-3, though. O-2 and below go to the enlisted sub ball. That would be even better than enlisted-only.

4/18/2008 4:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been to both, some good, some bad on each side. Went to one in Charleston, OUTSTANDING, it was separate. The ones in Groton, SUCKED, to stuffy and they were combined. The ones in KBAY were also OUTSTANDING and combined. However my worst was in La Madd. Was on ARCHERFISH and we were pulled in early so that a boat would be in port. It was a combined Ball and most of us from the A-FISH were CPOs, and we were having FUN, but were looked down upon by the rest. The icing to top the cake was when we did the Sub Chant (Submarines Once, Submarines Twice) and you would have thought someone had sex with a goat. Unfortunately, our COB was called on the carpet the following morning with the CSS-22 CMC, he returned with less rear end. During that inport period we knew what it was like to be the red head step-child.

4/18/2008 9:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the sub-ball in San Diego around 1994. I was on Drum and someone on the the Lajolla had his fish pinned on him at the ball and received a broken collar bone. It was all swept under the table because there were a couple of two and maybe one three stars there..I transfered to LaJolla a year later after Drum decommissined in Pearl and got the real story...I know Joel was on the waterfront with Topeka

4/19/2008 12:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real scrap with this comment? It's just the khaki trying to cover their iceholes if a blueshirt screws up and gets arrested.
That's what's wrong with the submarine force today, no more, no less. They don't wanna sit a critique about seaman timmy getting a dui or arrested for an ARI because they didn't hand cuff him to his bed after the party.
Sorry Joel, this don't pass the smell test for this old Chief.

4/19/2008 1:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a QM2 stationed in Subic Bay as an MP we had a special birthday ball in the late 80's.

There were 10 or 12 of us submariners stationed there. Around ball time a boat pulled in (no names to protect the very guilty) and we setup a party at Island Girls (submarine bar for those unfortunates who never got to partake in a WestPac) for them.

BEST Submarine Birthday Ball ever!! There was no difference between officer and enlisted, everyone (0-5 and below) had great sex and beer, just Sailors being Sailors.

As the saying goes: "to wives and sweethearts, shall the two never meet".

4/19/2008 4:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


1973 Enlisted Sub Ball at Royal Hawaiian. Goat Locker on USS Barbel SS-580 invited Linda Lovelace, thats right, Ms Deepthroat, to be our guest at the ball. It was all cool until CSP COS heard about it and went ballistic. Shit does roll down hill right to our skipper, Howard Eldridge. Commodore SS1 told him to get it "turned off" As it turned out she was in France making a movie. Anyway, we had just as much fun without her. CSP CMAA TMCM(SS) John Stein was stationed at entrance to ensure she did not come in if she showed up. A place setting with the Chiefs was set for her. We kept passing off her full plates as If she was actually eating. Lot of sailors looking for her. Classic for me was when the USS Sargo TMC(SS)came looking for her. He was really "tuned up" I told him, "you just missed her, she went up to room 210 with three of the guys off the boat." Man it was some funny shit that night!! Even the wives went along with it. Our skipper who was there loved it!!

Keep a zero bubble......

4/20/2008 12:46 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Did one in Yoko once, combined, with the USN and JMSDF.

Whoa, what a party.

4/21/2008 3:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guam. 2005. Combined. No question, best, time, ever. Guam boats know how to do it right.

4/24/2008 12:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While stationed at USEUCOM HQ, Stuttgart, GE A Chief from NSAEUR and I would get together at the Rod and Gun Club for a Submarine Birthday Beer. We were two of the three submariners between Naples and London. The other submariner was statieoed at SHAPE HQ.

5/07/2008 11:33 AM

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