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.)

Monday, October 06, 2008

"Safety Harness? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Safety Harness!"

A reader sent in a link to this picture that was posted over on the Military.com discussion boards, titled "Officer Boat Quals":


It appears to have been taken from the old U.S. Navy submarine USS R-14 (later SS-91), which served from 1919-1945, it looks like she has not insubstantial way on when this picture was taken. Obviously, safety is more of a concern nowadays. I'll be honest, I've always been in favor of taking all the reasonable safety precautions you need to when doing potentially dangerous evolutions. I know a lot of Submariners get frustrated with the safety rules, but I always supported them -- even the fire watches.

What do you think? Is safety overdone in today's Submarine Force, or is it at the right level, or do we need to think about it even more?

46 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the experience of recovering a MK 14-3 steam torpedo while on the Cusk in 1961. same scenario, bow planes rigged out man on the port bow plane dropping the tail line (chain loop attached to line) over the nose, then the wire hoisting sling dropped over the nose, then the nose line attached to the exercise head nose ring. No hard hats, life jackets, gloves, or safety harness and lines. On the flip side fleet-snorkel boats retained the fleet boat bow and broad superstructure deck providing a large flat working area by todays standards. Sea was allso flat calm and we were at All Stop with the torpedo floating vertically alongside. There are pics on the internet of submarine torpedo recover at sea. Check'em out.

Pretty dangerous topside on todays submarines. Two guys got killed topside on a fast boat leaving England early this year(?) gotta keep a focus on topside safety.

Spent the past five years sailing with MSC as a CivMar on Lant T-AOE and two Pac T-AE's. Deck Dept. is dangerous work!!! VertRep, ConRep, really, really gotta watch your ass. We xferred the Backup ammo load for the Kitty Hawk from Kiska to Flint in January this year. 14 knots ships side-by-side 120 feet apart. The weak link on our Station 10 parted under 50K pounds of strain from the Flint's station 9 high line. Two Pallets of 1K bombs jerked directly into a fuel tank vent containment box, smashed it, pallets flipped over the gunwale and pulled through the water by Flints auto highline retrieve and left tangled in her helo nets on the flight deck along with the gullwing. We had five people on that station and they had just finished hooking up those pallets to the gull wing when the weak link parted. No one was hurt, but it sure scared the shit out of everybody! We were very lucky nobody hurt or killed!! I don't care what your sailing on, going to sea is dangerous.

Keep a zero bubble.......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

10/06/2008 3:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Safety rules are a pain in the ass...but dying is worse!

Jerry

10/06/2008 4:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Safety rules always come from someone who learned the hard way. Someone has to be first...maybe this guy was the first?

10/06/2008 5:46 PM

 
Blogger King said...

My only beef with safety rules is that they are often overly burdensome on ship's force for supporting them. Specifically fire watches and tank watches when in drydock. It's an absolute nightmare on a duty day to try to keep that manned throughout the night, even on a 2 crew SSBN during a combined crew refit.

10/06/2008 6:06 PM

 
Blogger Chief Torpedoman said...

Holy cow tubes! The MK 14-3? Wasn't that just before they added the "A" cable to the MK 14-3A? And if I am not wrong here (and I may be), wasn't it covered with the sticky black "tetry" paint?

Not that I actually worked on those, mind you, but I heard sea stories about them.

I spent a few years on Torpedo Retrievers jumping in the ocean and attaching nose cages to MK 14s, MK37s, MK44s, MK46s but that pic scares me!

Looks like a better way to do it here:
http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&q=+site:ggpht.com+%22torpedo+recovery%22

I like you posts there DBFTMC(SS)USNRET.

10/06/2008 6:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep tubes,

Mk 14-3 mechancially set gyro, speed and running depth. My battle station was on the "Jeep" Gyro setting Indicator-Regulator. Sat on a tractor seat between the tubes after I hand cranked in running depth and speed setting on the setting mechanisms actually on the tube. then you "matched dial pointers" with gyro hand crank and "shifted to automatic" with a flip switch. You pressed a button on the lever handle as long as the Gyro in the torpedo matched the gyro setting from the Mk 4 Torpedo Data computer. Yep, Mk 14's were covered with a tar based product called "Tectel". Real sticky and got on everything. Learned how to drink "gilley" with grapefruit juice back in the day before "pink lady".

After you recovered and reloaded the "steamers" you got to post run then do preliminary and final adjustments on them in the torpedo room. Now that was really Fun!!! Swinging a steam fish from a pad eye on the base of the escape trunk while you ran the torpedo engine and power train on air and checked depth and steering engine throws.

Yep, those were the days. Tubes, you would have loved it!!!

Keep a zero bubble......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

10/06/2008 7:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tubes,

By the way, Mk 14-3a was a mechanically set torpedo. When the a-cable and syncho-servo deals were installed it became a mod 5. Don't remember what the "a" stood for. We did have "Oil-Dag" war shots though. These were Mk 14-3's that used distilled water for lub and cooling rather than oil. Problem with oil lub in a MK 14, enhanced wake due to burning lub oil in the afterbody during the run. Oil-Dag was a graphite based heavy oil that coated the reduction grear train and all the spindle case bearings. Logic was-war shot is a one way trip. We'll cool the bearings in the spindle case with water, and we don't care about the damge to the bearings and races.

Damn, how do I remember all this stuff from almost 50 years ago? Must be all those months working in the Steam Torpedo shop waiting on a boat assignment.

Keep a zero bubble.....

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

10/06/2008 7:21 PM

 
Blogger jq5 said...

I'm going to have to (cautiously) disagree with the majority here. Safety is overdone in some areas which has the reverse and undesired effect of encouraging sailors to take short cuts to get work done. Adding a requirement for a WAF when no tagout or plant conditions are required has no impact on safety and only increases frustration and reduced buy-in to the safety program.

There is also a deeply entrenched culture of doing things "by the book" even if it results in reduced safety. Example: The SSORM says wear topsiders topside, fact is unless your non-skid is brand new, they provide less traction than work boots, but we're going to wear them anyway because we don't want to take the hit, never mind the fact that we're going to land the tug gangway, brow platform, load stores, etc., with no steel toes. It seems in many cases the appearance of safety is more important than the actual thing.

The Navy could learn a lot from examining how civilian companies with good safety records run their programs, like Dupont's STOP. Charlie Morecraft's story would change a lot of attitudes, very compelling.

Improving Squadron oversight would go a long way. When the only time you see your squadron counterpart on the boat they are walking around with a clipboard doing a monitor, there is definitely a problem. Why not eliminate the adversarial model and actually help out?

10/06/2008 8:43 PM

 
Blogger montigrande said...

I work in the commercial nuclear industry and the rule is “safety first.” It may sound phony but I have never been forced to “rush” or “hurry” on any job that may impact generation or support systems. No manager wants to be the one to “scram” the unit and have an operator say that he was “pushing” them to work faster. Additionally, no one wants to be the manager that gets someone hurt, just a little, like a cut finger or a C-shaped cut on the head from a chill water valve in shaft alley. All these are OSHA reportable and detract from the “human performance” bonus at the end of the year (for everyone). Unlike my Naval experience, there is no excuse to not go home at the end of the shift (8 hour) without all of the same parts in the same working order as you came in with. I feel for the “officer” in the picture, but really feel pain for Michael Gentile and his shipmates. It is a dangerous business we do (did in my case), but we do tend to take some stupid risk because we are “bullet proof” at that age. Perhaps there is a small lesson to be taken from the commercial to Naval world in this case. Remember fin-brothers that there is a fine line between “make it happen” and a career ending mishap, take that as you will. And yes, men, I do find it funny, still to see these pictures of these brave men, doing the every-day things that make it SUBMARINES!!

10/06/2008 9:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are currently in shift work mode and the other day I was talking to the SDO and he made a comment about having to wait outside the XO's door for 20 minutes... just to give him a report. He said that he couldn't even imagine being an enlisted guy and having to put-up with the hours of BS just to even get work started.

Anyway as a new enlisted guy(qualified), its just frustrating...just plain old frustrating. And its not like you can say anything about it. Being on 'PAC was fun but now, inport it just sucks. I mean when people have complete control over your life and their not even cool people
then that just makes the Navy blow big time I don't care how cool the commercials make it sound it blows chunks. Plus I only make like 10K a year. Which if we were in PI all the time that would be plenty for like 10 girls...all the time...you guy know what i mean!. But out here
gas is still like 4.00 a gallon.
I don't mean to complain, in fact I am actually one of the guys that keeps my tongue in-between my teeth. But hey, what can you do.

Another thing is why does the skipper always walk around asking guys how they are doing? Doesn't he know that no one is going to tell him how it really is. I mean whats the point? Being on a sub is like being in prison, without the penetration.

10/07/2008 12:49 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've worked in shipyards since 1973, both commercial and navy repair/conversion. I've seen more than my share of people get carried out of the yard on a stretcher, sometimes in a body bag. Here is the single most important thing you need to know about safety rules:

Every safety rule is written in the blood of some poor dumb bastard that said, "It's never happened before". You ignore or flout the rules at your peril, and at your shipmates peril.

Byron

10/07/2008 2:44 AM

 
Anonymous Short said...

I'm all for safety until it gets in the way of functionality. Case in point, I had a COB who had the brilliant idea of making the POOD wear a harness after sunset on watch.

So now try to image the scenario: It's freezing and you're the POOD topside wearing your topsider's (worst shoes ever), your uniform, probably trying to hide but still wearing a submarine sweeter (** not authorized topside but helped a lot when your cold), a floatable coat, lifejacket (before the day of auto-inflate jackets), all your firearm and guardbelt, and attached to the boat with by a boat harness and about 3 feet to move on your 'leash'.

You'd look and function like the little brother from 'The Christmas Story' and in order to do your rounds, you'd have to unhook yourself.

I could only imagine actually falling off the boat and be there dangling over the side looking like a bungy jump attempt of an armed michelin man gone terribly wrong!

Fortunately, the idea was kill by some Chief that convinced the COB the idea was not safe being that there was SO MUCH safety equipment going on, it was dangerous.

10/07/2008 6:28 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's good and bad. For comparison, here are two things I remember for my time during the 90's.

1. A no. 10 can dropped down the fwd escape trunk during stores load landed on an a-ganger's head. We had recently implemented the rule that people in the trunk would wear hard-hats. The can split his hat nearly in half with only about an inch of connection still holding the 2 halves together. He suffered a neck injury from the impact, but recovered quickly.

2. The boat received a message that a sailor in boot camp had been a restless sleeper and had fallen out of his bunk, landed on his head and died. The ship was directed to screen for restless sleepers and ensure that they have lower bunks. I believe this was appropriatly disregarded.

RM1/SS

10/07/2008 6:56 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thought; in the words of Ron White:

"You can't fix stupid."

RM1/SS

10/07/2008 6:58 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an Aganger and there are a few things we did on the boat that were dangerous. Working at heights, with heavy equipment and air/oil at high pressures will test anybody’s safety valves. I believe in safety when I see a danger in the evolution however, calculated risks are always gonna be. I have seen accidents on the boat and usually it is “stupid is as stupid does”.
I also think helmet laws suck but I wear one. Even if there was no helmet law, I would wear one just like I do the seat belt. I just hate having to be told to wear them.
Now in CivLant, my company has two EH&S employees who make our lives a living hell. To change a light bulb we have to make sure the person climbing the ladder has had ladder safety training. A coned off safety area must be set up around the ladder and a safety observer needs to be present and trained in CPR/First Aid. If they are changing the light bulb the person actually touching the bulb needs electrical safety training and if it is a florescent bulb, all personnel need to be in the proper PPE and trained for handling Mercury. Of course this is after the Safe Work Plan has been written and routed to everybody for approval. A five minuet evolution just became a three hour evolution.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

10/07/2008 7:43 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can trace a lot of regulations (needed and cumbersome) to liability and the need to blame someone other than the person hurt. In the civilian world it's the fear of a huge lawsuit because Timmy didn't attend "Ladders, gravity and you" training series. Unfortunately, the good ideas and practices get lumped in together with the "do not drink this bleach" type warnings. Just like anything else, take what applies to heart.

10/07/2008 11:06 AM

 
Blogger David said...

Someone mentioned trying to support fire watches and such during a combined crew refit.

What a hardship!!

Especially knowing you're going to the offcrew building or only going to sea for a few months.....

10/07/2008 11:27 AM

 
Blogger Subvet said...

When I first enlisted I remember hearing that every safety precaution is written in some poor bastard's blood. Over the next couple of decades I saw the truth in that.

10/07/2008 12:09 PM

 
Blogger reddog said...

They Were Expendable!

No need for rules. They had the right idea in the old days. Use officers for all the dangerous stuff.

10/07/2008 12:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A-ganger, that was a pretty top-heavy procedure to change out light bulbs. In the shipyard world, we have periodic safety training that covers the every day things (like changing out a light bulb), and the NAVSEA rules to abide by. Certain things, like a safety brief before the evolution (going up in a man-basket), or making sure everyone understands what their part is in a complex rigging evolution are just plain common sense. Believe me when I tell you, that the ONLY reason why it's common sense is generations of shipyard sea-stories about how so and so got killed doing this or that.

In the ladder case? Simple: make sure power is off, make sure hand protection is used, tell the guy to put a respirator on, have a guy stand by the ladder, change bulb, dispose of old bulb, time to have a beer.

Seriously: never, EVER laugh at safety rules. I've seen guys get burned to death, a piece of steel slammed through a head, smashed by air pressure and a hatch, and a couple of others, and EVERY damned one was preventable. Ignore this at your peril, and forget all that "I'm a sub guy, I'm used to being dangerous".

Byron

10/07/2008 6:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem begins once you begin to codify safety requirements. The procedures become the end-all-be-all documents on safety and complacency begins to fall in. I've seen it. It's human nature. You make eight the minimum requirement on flare, and guess what you get. Allow me to quote Bowman's Congressional testimony circa 2003:

"Safety is the responsibility of everyone at every level in the
organization. Safety is embedded across all organizations in the Program, from equipment suppliers, contractors, laboratories, shipyards, training facilities, and the Fleet to our Headquarters.
Put another way, safety is mainstreamed. It is not a responsibility unique to a segregated safety department that then attempts to impose its oversight on the rest of the organization. [...] Our record of safety is the result of our making safety part of everything we do, day to day, not a magic formula. To achieve this organizational culture of safety in the mainstream, Admiral Rickover established certain core values in Naval Reactors that remain very visible today."

I couldn't agree with that statement more, I just don't think we implement it in that manner. Safety should not be a page out of the SORM or the OSHA manual. Safety should be ingrained into your personal psyche. Too often, we are hit by the monitors/regulators for missing one of the required minimum amounts of flair and we lose sight of the big picture.

10/07/2008 6:43 PM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

Good posting, great photo!

10/07/2008 9:07 PM

 
Blogger King said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/08/2008 12:06 AM

 
Anonymous kwicslvr said...

I am also in the commercial nuclear industry now. I do find that safety is very important and the rules are there for a reason.

For the gentleman that mention tank watches and fire watches manned through the night is hard when it comes to ships manning. We had someone die in a tank because of the atmosphere change. There is a reason you are there the whole time the tank is open and some one is inside it. The problem you have is ships manning and not tank watches.

10/08/2008 6:28 AM

 
Blogger King said...

I agree that the problem is with ship's manning not the fire watches or tank watches. Some of the shipyard's have actual civilian guys that that's all they do is man fire and tank watches.

10/08/2008 6:39 AM

 
Blogger 630-738 said...

What King said is absolutely true. NO ONE here disputes that tank watches and fire watches are important. The issue is who is providing that watch. All too often, the powers that be look at ship's force as free labor. It's too easy to pull a watch from an already strapped duty section, usually a junior sailor. He could be using this time learning about his primary job or watchstation rather than standing a watch that could easily be provided by the civlian maintenance crew.

I also work at a commercial nuclear plant. When confined space watches or fire watches are required, we have a cadre of utility workers who provide that service. We don't require the operations or maintenance crews to provide this. Every TRF/SIMA/shipyard I encountered also has this type of group- the temporary systems and support groups. This isn't hard, it should be accomplished right away.

10/08/2008 8:01 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on a boat during a refuel in Mare Island in the mid 70's and a cut had been made in the pressure hull in the lower level ops compartment. The pre-heaters were in place in preparation to weld the section back in and the shipyard had the fire watch. Wellll, he decided he wanted a coffee break or something.

The fire was hot enough that a big chunk of the hull had to be replaced as well as all the cabling which happened to include the DC cables. A few million dollars and a couple of months was all it took to repair the damage.

As to the fire watch, I never did hear what happened to him. The only good news was that the fire was far enough forward of the RC that it was never a threat.

Most of the rules are there for a good reason!

Jerry

10/08/2008 8:02 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Submariner? Don't like safety rules? Sonny, you're in the wrong line of work. Go away. Go far far away.

10/08/2008 8:50 AM

 
Blogger Chief Torpedoman said...

Hey Jerry:

"I was on a boat during a refuel in Mare Island in the mid 70's and a cut had been made in the pressure hull in the lower level ops compartment.
The fire was hot enough that a big chunk of the hull had to be replaced "

Was that on the Snook? I was there 1973 - 74 on the Edison. I remember something about a bad fire on an SSN then.

10/08/2008 11:11 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was indeed the Snook.

Just an additional tidbit - the aluminum lockers in the ward room melted!

Jerry

10/08/2008 12:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry,
I’ll be nothing happened to the fire watch. He was probably Union and got a firm finger wag.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

10/08/2008 1:29 PM

 
Blogger Chief Torpedoman said...

Jerry,

"Just an additional tidbit - the aluminum lockers in the ward room melted!"

So the wardroom had to go to sea without their F**k book library?

10/08/2008 2:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the Snook-don't know about lockers but recall something about a lemon painted on her rudder just before sea trials from MINSY...

10/08/2008 2:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the best thing I learned from the shipyard that I should have taken to heart before joining the civilian world was, if you want to hold a Union guy accountable, you have to have them violating procedure on film. Otherwise, their little communist organization will trump any sense of discipline, order, or safety regulation you hold dear.

Apparently, we had to pay out a grievance for each worker because we actually made them show a photo ID (not the red/green/yellow name-only badges they had) for our counter-terrorism measure.

10/08/2008 5:44 PM

 
Blogger David said...

Saying a junior sailor could use the time spent standing fire or tank watch learning about his job, which is first and foremost being a submariner, is like saying he could use the time spent as time bearing recorder during battle stations learning about his job, which is being a submariner. And in both watches, he is doing exactly that.
It's all important.
And IMHO, those seemingly meaningless watches separate the wheat from the chaff. If a guy can't stand there with a fire extinguisher for an extended period of time, I don't want him on any boat.
The rubber meats the road when that guy uses his own time to learn about his job and watch station quals. Like they say, don't get excited about your first enlistment. It's f'n work.
And that work helps to ensure that lives are safe and saved.

10/08/2008 8:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The vast majority of the ground crew and construction group of Boing and Aero Space are retired USAF. When they were aboard Forbes Field inspecting our KC 135's and C-130s, they were complete jack asses when they came through our main gate. Most acted like they were king of all they survey...even during a 2 minute simple search. (This was just after 9/11/01)What killed me was that most of these people are veterans and they still acted like petulant children when we (under FOPCON) where required to pull them over for I.D. and a simple search.

These cock-knockers knew what we were doing as SPs yet, they still gave us sass. They knew we had no choice, but still the B.S. attitude.
I never have understood that one. I've heard tales that the ship yards went through the same crap as well. So i do have some idea and sympathy of what you guys had to deal with too regarding jack ass contractors.

Thanks, J.

10/08/2008 8:17 PM

 
Blogger King said...

david: The idea that you should force junior sailors to stay up all night and watch some IMF union guy bullshit around in a tank for 12 hours just because you 'can' is beyond asinine. The US submarine idea that sleep deprivation is somehow admirable is incredibly backward. I've done many a duty day as SDO where I got 4 hours of sleep interrupted by a tour and then worked a 16 hour day follow on. I've also had to set guys port and starboard to take other guys to support fire and tank watch who then had to work full day's of work the next day, and of course, the policy was always no sleep during normal working hours. The system is set up to make people get screwed out of sleep, which is 1) cruel and unusual 2) unecessary and 3) dangerous. There is nothing right about that policy and I suspect that apart from mindless "submarine tough" B.S. you can't find a single good reason to support it.

That type attitude towards our sailors and Junior Officers is exactly why I and many others are choosing to leave the submarine force. I don't want to be partially responsible when someone who works for me wrecks his car, is crushed by machinery, or makes a big mistake on a maintenance item because he pulled an all nighter watching an IMF guy play with a grinder for 5 hours.

10/09/2008 12:14 AM

 
Blogger Chief Torpedoman said...

King, I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying.
While there is value in standing a fire watch and in the shipyard, I did learn a lot about the boat by standing fire watch in some very strange places that I would not have seen if the boat had not been in dry dock, there were also some useless watches.
To have a sailor stand fire watch in the bottom of the dry dock and watch a welder for hours doing work on the bottom of the hull where the only thing that can burn is the welder and the fire watch, well the young lad does not learn much doing that for hours and hours. Now it is important to clear the area of combustible items prior to hot work, but I just agree that a sailor’s time can be better spent at other things.
In Mare Island Shipyard in 73-74, as a young TM2, I have been fire watch in ballast tank where there must have been a dozen or more welders going at once. Not wanting to get the notorious flash burn, I bet I didn't see a lot during the hours I was in there. I am not saying that welders are bad. The ones I saw appeared to be very good at what they were doing.
With personnel costs being so high, surely sailors can be better employed in training courses or some better hands on work than never ending fire watches during overhaul.

10/09/2008 6:51 AM

 
Blogger 630-738 said...

Attitudes like David's displayed here is why good people are bailing right and left. The attitude of "suck it up, junior" instead of actually being smart about how we use our people is just plain stupid. It has ALWAYS been stupid, and continues to be so. There is NO reason to subject our folks, junior or otherwise, to that. We CAN be smarter, we can utilize our folks better, and do a better job of preparing our sailors to perform their primary duty.

"Like they say, don't get excited about your first enlistment. It's f'n work.

Who says that? I sure didn't subscribe to that mentality when I was on my first enlistment and I damn sure didn't promote that as a Chief. I want EVERY sailor's enlistment to be as exciting as I can make it. It's attitudes such as this that I sure as hell didn't want on my ship, David.

10/09/2008 7:29 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said 630-738;
Now, King, on the other hand: you're a disgruntled JO, yet you still troll a submarine blog (and are interested and engaged in the discussions). Conflicted... Got it....

But the generalizations of "car wrecks", "crushed by machinery" "sleep deprivation" etc.... are just melodramatic.

Either a) Take the $30K/yr bonus, go be the world's greatest DH and prove how all the "senior leadership" aren't as enlightened and talented as you or
b) STFU and GTFO.

Best of luck in the economy (DOW 8600 and going down)...

- An anonymous company man who saw the dow pass 10000 back when HE was a JO....

10/09/2008 7:40 PM

 
Blogger King said...

Well, I don't particularly enjoy being around submarines but have more than a passing interest in them as I grew up in a submarine family. I mean, my parents have pictures of me as an infant on the Sunfish when my dad was a JO. So, yes, of course I have an interest in submarines.

And in some respects, I think there's a lot of great people in the sub community and I've certainly learned things that I would not have learned elsewhere, but overall, I highly disagree with a lot of the attitudes (mostly senior) people take towards the people that work for them. Perhaps my experience is atypical as I've only been on the crew of one sub, but I think it's highly telling that there are far more "disgruntled JO's" than "dig-it JO's".

As far as me being melodramatic, you're right... I mean, nobody EVER gets crushed in machinery on a sub. You happen to check message traffic anytime in the last two weeks?

10/09/2008 10:32 PM

 
Blogger King said...

As for staying in, I don't think I could psychologically make the leap from being one of "us" to one of "them". There's plenty of opportunities out there, but people tend to stay in because they're too scared to look elsewhere, or they just really have a strong affinity to it and enjoy driving subs enough that the schedule doesn't bother them. Staying in for the money is likely the worst idea ever. I've actually hated the Navy since I was pretty young but joined my senior year solely because of the NUPOC money, and in retrospect, it wasn't really that much money, and it was a very poor reason to do so.

As for the economy, I'll be getting out debt free with money in the bank and am planning to go to grad school on the GI Bill, so I think I should be able to ride out the worst of it. The idea that someone with our experience is going to get out and go homeless is really quite preposterous, anyway. Even if unemployment hits 10%, we're a pretty damn hirable bunch, you just might not immediately find your "dream job" (if you even know what that is).

10/09/2008 10:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said King. We company men appreciate the frankness. Just recognize that the leap from "us" to "them" isn't that hard because as you move up the ranks you start to realize that the system is pretty elegant and, in comparison to other military organizations and comparable civilian industries, it's pretty damn good. I'm impressed that you realize that your experience base is limited to one crew-- there's better out there, and there's worse out there. The question is, if you aspire to command a nuclear submarine, can you work within the system to make the boats you serve on closer to the "better" ones.

So, in summary: safety is a pain in the butt, but I think we all agree it's a necessary evil.

- The Company Man

10/10/2008 10:23 AM

 
Blogger Rick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/11/2008 4:39 PM

 
Blogger { Becca } said...

I didn't know that you "Iron men" needed so many safety precautions! :)

Well, I'm just a wife so I don't know much about procedures, what's practical and what's superfluous, but I think anything to keep my hubs and all the guys safe and intact is generally a good thing. As much of a headache as it may be to implement at times, I'm sure.

However, I do love that photo.

10/14/2008 8:13 PM

 
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