Officer / Enlisted Divide In The Sub Force, Or Lack Of Same
Neptunus Lex has a really good post about his sorrow for once "pulling rank" on an enlisted Sailor over what was meant as a good-natured insult. This got me thinking about officer - enlisted relations in the Navy as a whole, and specifically in the Submarine Force.
When I was on the Carrier Group SEVEN staff aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) from '99-'01, I compared the divide between officers and enlisted personnel on the carrier with what I knew from submarines. There are areas of the carrier (marked by blue tile) where it's expected that enlisted Sailors simply not go unless they're on official business. Obviously, a submarine is too small to set aside big "no-go" areas, although I guess it was frowned on to have a lot of blueshirts standing around shooting the sh*t in the CO/XO or WRSR passageways. My stateroom-mate on the carrier, an O-4 aviator, used to have the annoying habit of grabbing his collar and showing his oak leaf to a Sailor he was trying to get to follow his orders. That's something I thought you'd never get away with on a sub -- even if you wanted to. (I also noticed that the carrier frequently had O-4s performing tasks that you'd see E-6s doing on a sub, especially in Radio.) My impression was that the carrier -- and, from what I heard, the surface community as well -- had a big formalized divide between O-gangers and enlisted Sailors that just didn't exist in the Sub Force. Sure, I worked for officers who treated enlisted Sailors like crap, but these people also treated officers like crap; they were just dicks in general.
So what do you think -- are there generally respectful (and healthy) relations between officers and enlisted in the Sub Force, or am I just wearing rose-colored glasses? Do the close working quarters and technical expertise of submariners inherently preclude ridiculous separations between various ranks? Or does it just depend on the boat you're on?