It’s a Privilege and an Honor

I found this blog entry by accident, and I’m glad I did. It offers some perspective on the “privilege” it is to be in the submarine world. Take a read…..

Link to Jerry’s Blog 

26/09: I’m old now.

Category: my normal life

Posted by: jerry

I will never have my dolphins. I’m now officially too damn old to ever join the navy submarine school.

The submarine warfare insignia, also known as “silver dolphins” or “fish,” is a uniform breast pin worn by enlisted and commissioned Sailors in the Navy to indicate that they are qualified in submarines. To earn the right to wear the pin, submariners complete a broad qualification process that lasts about one year, which covers nearly every system aboard the submarine.

One more life goal that slipped through my fingers. Yeah, it would have been pretty damn cool to split atoms to power a boat’s systems and use that power to drive around the world, and generate the air to breath. I wanted to be trusted to operate and maintain some of the most state of the art classified technology the US government has. It’s appealing. I had it as a realistic goal to serve my country on a boomer and bunk between tubes that held nuclear weapons, perched on top of rockets that would travel to outer space to deliver their payloads. More than likely the boat would never fire a weapon outside of training exercises. But it would always be ready. It could have been a quiet career of slipping away to purposely get (and stay) lost in the ocean’s background noise on board of one of the Navy’s crown jewels.

Just to make a point here, Aircraft Carriers, although impressive, are not the crown jewels of the Navy. Carriers are the swards. Carriers are impressive, because each of them is 4 acres of sovereign American real estate that can be parked next to any trouble spot in the world. From those 4 acres, 6,000 Americans risk their lives to support a small group of naval aviators that fly sorties and drop ordnance on someone else’s sovereign real estate until the leaders of the other sovereign real estate start to “see things our way.” Carriers are impressive, but the crown jewels are the boomers that carry nuclear weapons that made the old USSR, and currently, Russia, think twice about ‘pushing the button’. For those other countries that do, or might have nuclear weapons? The crown jewels are safe from them, and will be able to strike no matter what. No matter what “THEY” do, whoever THEY may be, there will be boomers, hidden and lost in the ocean. Each of them is able to deliver 24 Trident missiles, each with 5 nuclear warheads each, to any target up to 4,000 miles away. Just so you don’t have to do the math, that’s 120 nuclear weapons per submarine.

I would have probably served on one of the following:

SS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), Bangor, WA
USS Alabama (SSBN 731), Bangor, WA
USS Alaska (SSBN 732), Kings Bay, GA
USS Nevada (SSBN 733), Bangor, WA
USS Tennessee (SSBN 734), Kings Bay, GA
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), Bangor, WA
USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), Kings Bay, GA
USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), Bangor, WA
USS Maryland (SSBN 738), Kings Bay, GA
USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), Bangor, WA
USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), Kings Bay, GA
USS Maine (SSBN 741), Bangor, WA
USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), Kings Bay, GA
USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), Bangor, WA

That’s 1680 nuclear weapons, lost in the background noise of the ocean, and ready to pounce from the deep dark blue. I wanted to be one of the 2100 souls to serve on one of those boats, and get my dolphins.

The boomers are so important, for every one, there are about 5 attack submarines to ensure the boomer’s safety.

Virginia Class:
USS Virginia (SSN 774), Groton, CT
USS Texas (SSN 775), Groton, Conn.

The Seawolf Class:
USS Seawolf (SSN 21), Groton, CT
USS Connecticut (SSN 22), Groton, CT
USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), Bangor, WA

The Los Angeles Class:
USS Los Angeles (SSN 688), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Philadelphia (SSN 690), Groton, CT
USS Memphis (SSN 691), Groton, CT
USS Bremerton (SSN 698), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Jacksonville (SSN 699), Norfolk, VA
USS Dallas (SSN 700), Groton, CT
USS La Jolla (SSN 701), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705), Guam
USS Albuquerque (SSN 706), Portsmouth, NH
USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN 708), Norfolk, VA
USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), Norfolk, VA
USS Augusta (SSN 710), Groton, CT
USS San Francisco (SSN 711), Guam
USS Houston (SSN 713), Bremerton, WA
USS Norfolk (SSN 714), Norfolk, VA
USS Buffalo (SSN 715), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716), San Diego, CA
USS Olympia (SSN 717), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Honolulu (SSN 718), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Providence (SSN 719), Groton, CT
USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720), Portsmouth, NH
USS Chicago (SSN 721), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Key West (SSN 722), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), Norfolk, VA
USS Louisville (SSN 724), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Helena (SSN 725), San Diego, CA
USS Newport News (SSN 750), Norfolk, VA
USS San Juan (SSN 751), Groton, CT
USS Pasadena (SSN 752), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Albany (SSN 753), Norfolk, VA
USS Topeka (SSN 754), San Diego, CA
USS Miami (SSN 755), Groton, CT
USS Scranton (SSN 756), Norfolk, VA
USS Alexandria (SSN 757), Groton, CT
USS Asheville (SSN 758), San Diego, CA
USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), San Diego, CA
USS Annapolis (SSN 760), Groton, CT
USS Springfield (SSN 761), Groton, CT
USS Columbus (SSN 762), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Santa Fe (SSN 763), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Boise (SSN 764), Norfolk, VA
USS Montpelier (SSN 765), Norfolk, VA
USS Charlotte (SSN 766), Portsmouth, NH
USS Hampton (SSN 767), Norfolk, VA
USS Hartford (SSN 768), Portsmouth, NH
USS Toledo (SSN 769), Groton, CT
USS Tucson (SSN 770), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Columbia (SSN 771), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Greeneville (SSN 772), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), Pearl Harbor, HI

That’s about 7800 souls, working and living beneath the waves, to ensure the survival of the boomers.

Afterwards, I could snag a job at a nuclear power plant. I’m sure I would have enjoyed time in the reactor training control room. It’s like a big video game. After that training, I could have enjoyed a boring civilian career at a nuclear power station. Then I’d have at least a partial excuse to pursue NERC operator certifications.

And, I’d get taps played at my funeral.

I will never be part of the 10,000 sailors hiding beneath the waves. And it makes me sad.

If a sailor or one of their family members should happen to stumble across this, Thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice and service, from the bottom of my heart.

What a great post.  Thanks Jerry!  Bravo Zulu!

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