Submarine Officers Earn Their Dolphins!
I was excited to see the Navy website front-page an article about submarine officers earning their fish; no matter why they decided to do a story about it now, it's good to see young Sailors becoming Submariners get some positive press. Excerpt:
Three Sailors assigned to USS Maine (SSBN 741) and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) became the first female unrestricted line officers to qualify in submarines Dec. 5.They even included a picture of the pinning:
Lt. j.g. Marquette Leveque, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., assigned to the Gold Crew of Wyoming, and Lt. j.g. Amber Cowan and Lt. j.g. Jennifer Noonan of Maine's Blue Crew received their submarine "dolphins" during separate ceremonies at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash.
In order to receive their dolphins, Leveque, Cowan and Noonan were required to qualify as Officer of the Deck and Engineering Officer of the Watch, perform damage control functions, and demonstrate satisfactory qualities of leadership.
Cowan, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Noonan, who hails from Boston, joined two other Blue Crew officers - Lt. j.g. James Barclay and Lt. j.g. John Schaeffer - in receiving their dolphins. Cowan was pinned by her husband, Naval Flight Officer Lt. Adam Cowan. Noonan chose a former Maine shipmate and mentor, Lt. Jason Brethauer, to pin her dolphins. Schaeffer decided to have Lt. Joe Westfall, a current shipmate from the Blue Crew, conduct his pinning. The Commanding officer of Maine's Blue Crew, Cmdr. William Johnson, pinned Barclay.
Because us old crusty retired types like nothing better than to tell new Submariners how it was back in the day, here's some unsolicited advice from one of your new brothers:
1) The sea is a cruel mistress (or swain, as the case may be), who doesn't care if you went to the White House as a non-qual; all she cares about is that you respect her.
2) The rules of Submarining are written in blood. By earning your fish, you've proven that you have achieved the absolute minimum level of competence required to be trusted with the boat. There are still lots of rules for you to learn; don't ever think you know everything there is to know about how to safely and effectively operate a submarine. Violations of the rules can kill you -- or, even worse, those who work with you and trust you. Don't ever abuse the trust your Captain has shown by signing his name on your qual card.
3) IMHO, the most effective Submariners are those who know, deep down, that they really are the best at what they do. Sure, you should show humility and good humor around your shipmates (lest no one want to work with you), but, in your most base essence, you should believe that you really are the best at what you do. And you have to be able to back it up.
4) Always respect the boat and the crew. While the reactor may be the submarine's heart and the CO the boat's brain, the soul of a ship is made up of the blood, sweat, and tears of every man and woman who serves or has served on her. Never forget that your boat is alive, and if you love her, she may love you back.
5) Congratulations and welcome to the Brother- and Sisterhood of the 'Phin. You've worked hard, and are now a member of one of the most elite groups of warriors in the world. In time, you may find you have more in common with Submariners from other countries than you do with some American civilians. Enjoy your accomplishment. Watch a movie every now and again. And get hot -- you're dink on Command Quals.