Sea Stories

Personal stories from my active-duty days. Some names may have been changed to protect the embarrassed.

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Sea story: the Admiral Rickover interview
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Sea story: the Admiral Rickover interview

Wow. Over six months since the last sea story? Unsat. Here we go: In late 1981, one of the new SECNAV's first acts was to persuade SECDEF and the President that it was time for Admiral Rickover to enjoy his military retirement. Over 80 years old, the Admiral had been on active duty for 63 years. He had also ...

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Sea story: Titanium toilet valves
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Sea story: Titanium toilet valves

    It's hard to believe that it's been weeks since the last sea story, but our daughter just finished a month on the USS LOUISIANA for her Navy ROTC summer training.  She was at sea for all 30 days, qualified to stand a sonar watch, ran a lot of drills, earned herself a deterrent patrol pin, and is pretty ...

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Sea story: “Swim call!”
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Sea story: “Swim call!”

Here's a frivolous topic for Thursday morning before the weekend. A few weeks ago a shipmate asked a seemingly innocuous question: Are there any rules or guidance on having a swim call on a sub? Can the CO take a swim? The Corpsman? Submarines on local operations or doing exercises on weapons ranges occasionally have ...

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Sea story: Simulate submarine life at home
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Sea story: Simulate submarine life at home

This is a long, long list of how to simulate submarine life at home. These lists have been floating around for decades, perhaps even since World War II. They're always anonymous, and they used to be passed around by hand after being printed on a poorly-maintained mimeograph machine. Today we share them by e-mail and ...

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Sea story:  The trouble with toilet paper
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Sea story: The trouble with toilet paper

When a ballistic missile submarine goes to sea to remain underwater & undetected for 90 days, they mean it. You can't just pop up offshore from the Ocean City 7-11, send in a Zodiac, and buy a few rolls of toilet paper to tide you over. Some truly paranoid submariners (with sea stories of their own) would even ...

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Sea story: Looking for an Engineer in all the wrong places
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Sea story: Looking for an Engineer in all the wrong places

Sea story? Sure, it's been a month. However, this one has morals about financial independence, early retirement, and knowing your true values. But it has a happy ending, too! Now that my daughter has finished a year of NROTC, we've started some interesting conversations about work/life balance. Submariners aren't ...

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Sea story: “If I was in the Air Force”…
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Sea story: “If I was in the Air Force”…

When I was at my military training commands, our instructors would naturally gravitate toward college classes. If they were on shore duty for long enough, they'd get their bachelor's and sometimes even their master's degrees. If they were enlisted when this happened, then their thoughts would even more naturally ...

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Sea story:  “Hang on!!”
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Sea story: “Hang on!!”

I'd like to dedicate this very long post to a certain NROTC midshipman who's considering joining the submarine force. You have... no idea. You can still make a different choice! The subtitle of this story is "Why we didn't let Jethro go up to the bridge any more." 20 years after the Cold War ended, it's hard to ...

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Sea Story:  Blowing the Job Interview of the Decade
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Sea Story: Blowing the Job Interview of the Decade

I've finished blogging about the main text of the book. Of course I've left out a few things that you'll want to read in the book itself-- the chapter checklists, the personal stories, and other goodies. Impact Publications says that the book should show up at Amazon.com in May and in the exchange bookstores by ...

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Sea story: “Secure blowing sanitaries!!!”
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Sea story: “Secure blowing sanitaries!!!”

Let's take a break. The last couple weeks of posts have covered some pretty heavy topics, with some pretty intricate HTML formatting, and maybe it's time for a little levity around here. To many submariners, "levity" means "potty jokes". In fact, about the only unclassified sea stories we're allowed to tell are the ...

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Sea story:  “Battle Stations Missile”
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Sea story: “Battle Stations Missile”

No finances or other military-retirement topics today, folks.  By popular request from my shipmate Jerome Jolly, it's sea story time. I don't think he's heard this one before. Don't worry-- it's safe for work and it's even family-friendly. My first assignment was the ballistic missile submarine USS JAMES MONROE ...

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