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Old 04-26-2017, 08:18 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
7,261 posts, read 5,080,014 times
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Hey Submariners!

Talk to us about life aboard the boat.
Do submarines ever make ports of call like surface ships do?....... Does the crew know where they are going/do they care?

Have you ever fired a missile off a submerged boat (To all who do not know: surface ships are "ships", but submarines are "boats" - no one knows why) and what was that like?

Y'all talk. We'll listen.
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
27,027 posts, read 42,016,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
Hey Submariners!

Talk to us about life aboard the boat.
Do submarines ever make ports of call like surface ships do?....... Does the crew know where they are going/do they care?

Have you ever fired a missile off a submerged boat (To all who do not know: surface ships are "ships", but submarines are "boats" - no one knows why) and what was that like?

Y'all talk. We'll listen.
Fast Attack subs are different from FBM boomers. I served on FBMs and FBM tenders. I can not comment much on the routine of Fast Attack subs.

To my knowledge an aircraft carrier battle group is generally not allowed to go anywhere without a combatant underneath the battle group. When the group goes into a liberty port, it's purpose is to make a big show of force for politics. Sometimes the escort combatant may surface at a pier in a nearby port, sometimes not. Generally they will not be at the same port at the same time. For example, if the group pulls into Naples the sub might surface at Sigonella.

Fast Attacks are routinely re-deployed. Among my friends who have served on Fast Attacks, it is rare to deploy to one place and to do nothing else. They go one place, then their orders charge, so they go somewhere else, rinse and repeat. They may leave port with orders to one specific 'hot spot', thinking that is all they will be doing. But six months later when they are finally allowed to return to their home port, they will have been re-deployed to six different hot spots all around. When they deploy they will load-out with 6 months of food, even if their initial orders are for them to only be gone a month. Extended on station or redeployed somewhere else is pretty common. They never know how long before they can surface again.

For a sub to surface in a port, it is not seen or used as the publicity stunt 'show of force'. They show-up, resupply, and submerge again. Tours with local dignitaries etc are not done.

I served on a sub tender for 3 years ported in Scotland. During that period of time we made one liberty port which was Brest France. It was okay.

I served on three subs, for a total of 17 deterrent patrols. During those patrols we saw four liberty ports in total. Lisbon Portugal, St. Thomas Charlotte Amalie, Saint Marys Georgia, and San Diego Ca.

My first patrol was on a boat ported in Rota Spain. We submerged while still within eye-sight of Rota, we shot through the straits and did three months in the Mediterranean. We did loops around hundreds of the tiny islands and tracked alongside all of the coasts. We stuck a periscope up out of the water maybe a half-dozen times, so the Captian could look at the moon. But otherwise we stayed submerged the whole time. 100 days after we submerged, we surfaced again within sight of Rota.



I have participated in two OT/FOT [Operatoinal Test / Follow-on Operational Test] launches. Both were 4 missile rapid-fire launches. One was in 1980 while serving on a Benjamin Franklin-class FBM boat. The second OT/FOT was in 1995 on a Trident boat.

The lead-in to an OT/FOT is a very hectic and stressful 2 weeks, of round-the-clock drills and casualty simulations. When the launches finally happen it is a big relief. It is pretty loud inside the boat and causes the boat to flex a great deal.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:04 PM
 
5,760 posts, read 1,213,512 times
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My Father in Law was on the USS Nautilus for a time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nautilus_(SSN-571)
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:37 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
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How is communication to and from family handled by submariners at sea?
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
27,027 posts, read 42,016,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
How is communication to and from family handled by submariners at sea?
Each crewman was given 6 'family grams' he may hand out to anyone he thinks might wish to communicate.

They were limited to 20 words then it was bumped to 40 then 50 words, the name of the sailor being one word.

Radiomen on shore screen them for political messages and their chain-of-command reviews them, before sending them [Since the crew handles nuclear weapons and nuclear targeting, any communication that might trigger depression or mental instability is screened].

They are encrypted and compressed then uploaded onto a satellite. Subs each have specific time windows during which they may stick up a small antenna and broadcast a low-power query to the satellite. If the sub's code matches the satellite responds with a flash burst of data, which will include any approved family-grams, the daily news, intell, OrdMods, etc. The entire process is very fast, the exposure of the sub is slight and brief.

On the boat, the CO/XO/COB review all family grams before releasing them to the crew.

Foul or sexual language is not permitted. 'coded' phrases are not encouraged. Bible verses are a common method of communicating a larger message with fewer words. My wife found that along with Bible verses, she could site passages of IRS pubs that she knew would communicate ideas to me that I would recognize. It depends on how cerebral your wife is, if you both know enough Shakespear, she could quote a Shakespear passage in each sentence and attempt to communicate a larger message.

Some wives try to use phrases from popular songs. The problem is that with pop music, a song can become popular then fade to obscurity all while a sub crew remains submerged and isolated. Many songs and movies came out that crewmen never heard of unless we were in port that week. My wife tried using a popular song once, without realizing that I had no access to current music.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:17 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
7,261 posts, read 5,080,014 times
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Back in the olden days we generally had to wait until we made it into port to pick up mail. That happened every few weeks.
Things were a little easier with carrier groups because the mail would be flown out to the carrier and then distributed either by helicopter or high-line to the various support ships.
I suppose in those years there simply was little or no communication with the sub sailors.

I once took a wooden minesweeper (MSO-449) across the Pacific. The trip took a total of 45 days, but we stopped for repairs at Guam, so that helped. Weather knocked some planks off the ship.

Going WAY BACK to the days of whaling, those ships would be at sea for 2 years. Sometimes there would be letters carried by another whaling ship, but generally there was no communication back and forth for all that time.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:35 AM
 
9,694 posts, read 9,466,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
Hey Submariners!

Talk to us about life aboard the boat.
Do submarines ever make ports of call like surface ships do?....... Does the crew know where they are going/do they care?

Have you ever fired a missile off a submerged boat (To all who do not know: surface ships are "ships", but submarines are "boats" - no one knows why) and what was that like?

Y'all talk. We'll listen.
I was on an SSBN. We did about 80 days out at sea, and 120 days in port. There are two crews to keep the sub out at sea as much as possible, turn around time is 30 days. While in port and the other crew is at sea, we train and it is generally like a 9-5 job.

While the boat is in port, it is a maintenance period, and it is long hours and constant work. When out at sea, we worked on a 6 on, 12 off schedule. Drills are ran in the morning, and division training once a week in the afternoon. Maintenance is done after the shift if there is a need. People also use their time for other things like qualifying for watches, entertainment, exercise, etc. It becomes very routine.

We only stopped in Hawaii and San Diego. We know the dates of when we will pull in.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
How is communication to and from family handled by submariners at sea?
In my time in the 90's, there were things called "family grams" where the in port comms team would type in things sent by post from family members on a form. We also get mail for when we encounter a port call or a tug loading/off loading an inspection team. They only way to communicate back was to send mail.

Now days and as I got off the boat, the family grams went away and now they download emails sent. We could also send out emails also.
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:38 AM
 
3,471 posts, read 1,017,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxus View Post
I was on an SSBN. We did about 80 days out at sea, and 120 days in port. There are two crews to keep the sub out at sea as much as possible, turn around time is 30 days. While in port and the other crew is at sea, we train and it is generally like a 9-5 job.

While the boat is in port, it is a maintenance period, and it is long hours and constant work. When out at sea, we worked on a 6 on, 12 off schedule. Drills are ran in the morning, and division training once a week in the afternoon. Maintenance is done after the shift if there is a need. People also use their time for other things like qualifying for watches, entertainment, exercise, etc. It becomes very routine.

We only stopped in Hawaii and San Diego. We know the dates of when we will pull in.





In my time in the 90's, there were things called "family grams" where the in port comms team would type in things sent by post from family members on a form. We also get mail for when we encounter a port call or a tug loading/off loading an inspection team. They only way to communicate back was to send mail.

Now days and as I got off the boat, the family grams went away and now they download emails sent. We could also send out emails also.


Your first paragraph contradicts your 2nd paragraph .


In the 1st paragraph you state that when in port..........." it is generally like a 9-5 job"
In the 2nd paragraph you state......"when the boat is in port it is long hours and constant work "

Which one is it ?
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:01 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
7,261 posts, read 5,080,014 times
Reputation: 12177
Quote:
Originally Posted by David A Stone View Post
Your first paragraph contradicts your 2nd paragraph .


In the 1st paragraph you state that when in port..........." it is generally like a 9-5 job"
In the 2nd paragraph you state......"when the boat is in port it is long hours and constant work "

Which one is it ?
It's both. When the other crew takes the boat, it's 9-5.
When the boat is in port getting ready to go, it's non stop work.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:27 AM
 
3,471 posts, read 1,017,533 times
Reputation: 6078
Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
It's both. When the other crew takes the boat, it's 9-5.
When the boat is in port getting ready to go, it's non stop work.
OK, got it now !
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