Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lessons learned riding fast attack submarines in the late 70s

While I never reached Malcolm Gladwell's magical 10,000 hours of experience to master my skills as a sub-rider, I did learn a few things during my time aboard submarines.  Here is a short list of a few things I learned (not listed in any particular order):

1.  You are eating someone's chow; they are not happy about it.
2.  You are breathing someone's air; they are not happy about it.
3.  You are drinking someone's coffee; they are not happy about it.
4.  You are sleeping in someone's rack; they are not happy about it.
5.  You are using someone's water; they are not happy about it.
6.  Screw the mission, clean the position is not my favorite slogan.
7.  The Auxiliaryman of the watch is not your buddy.
8.  Open/closed valve signage is really important.
9.  You can never have enough amine.
10.  Fires underwater terrify just about everyone.
11.  Underwater, SWO pins aren't impressing anyone.
12.  Same for Naval Aircrewman pins!
13.  If you're not a qualified submariner, why are you breathing?
14.  This life is not for everyone.
15.  Some believe this life is not for anyone.


Anonymous said...

All that wasted time in transit and you didn't qualify? O2 thief! :) I am firmly in cat 14 and 15.

Anonymous said...

Lambert, did you ride as DSE O or enlisted? I rode tons in the 80s in PacFlt...more specops than any other NSG officer in either Pac or Lant for eons...and I didn't find any of that dumb anecdotal passageway chow line crap to be very real. We did a lot to run the mission and let the boat's wardroom know it - Want a good op, captain and XO? Listen to me/us, give us the PD/scope time we need, trust that I know the SovNav platforms, weps, and tactics way better than you, and we'll have a great op without getting in trouble and/or otherwise hurting your career, skipper. Any questions?

I was prior enlisted CT and USNA mustang...and I was disgusted by how many sub specop DSE JOs were just passive patrol report editors. Did a lot to change that in Misawa but doubt much of it stuck.

Oh, yea, IMHO your blog might be a little more "diverse" in its opinions. It incessantly reads like a Navy propaganda vehicle. Things don't get much better from always saying everyone and everything is just swell. GM

Mike Lambert said...

Anon @ 11:08 PM

Anyone who cares to can express their opinion on the blog. I happen to love the Navy (on most days).

Congratulations on your excellent career and all the changes you were able to make in MISAWA.

Anonymous said...

Anon@1106 precisely defines "Staff" community. I show you no evidence whatsoever that I know anything but, "Trust me."

There is only one man charged with the safety of the boat/aircraft and getting it and it's crew home safely and it is NEVER the staff officer.

It makes for an interesting dynamic. The "staff" puke has just one mission but the CO has many missions; each with its own priority. One occasionally runs into a staff type that utterly fails to comprehend this.

I've been in both places and one thing that helps is a solid professional reputation that spreads among the units that you advise. If the whole community or whole staff cannot meet the standard it is still nice to have a personal professional reputation that lets one get on with the job. Regrettably, about the time you have that locked, you get promoted and no longer need that particular part of the repertoire since you no longer go out on field ops.

Anonymous said...

Misawa guy back. Hey, I love the Navy and NSG massively too. 11+ years in was surely still the most worthwhile and enjoyable thing I've ever done aside from being a father perhaps. That's one of the reasons I think some fair criticism is constructive, and just echoing Navy brass party lines is not. It isn't the current political or military leadership's Navy or SIGINT (or Info War or whatever) community alone. It is mine, yours, all of ours, etc. And everything isn't just peachy today as I see it. USNA itself is big example of this. Maybe it is old salt's disease, but I really think our Navy has fallen a long way from "Heritage - Navy" and "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of All Who Threaten Them" posters to..."A Global Force for Good" and a vehicle for advancing social justice and diversity sensitivity. I did well by working hard, leading effectively, AND by forcing difficult questions to be faced and occasionally shaking things up a bit. I don't think I'd survive in today's PC Uber Alles Navy. Yea, maybe I read Salamander too often, too. Anyway, that's my unasked for two cents. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hey Misawa Guy, as a senior cryptologic officer, I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard (or read) that someone had done "more specops than any other NSG officer in either Pac or Lant for eons..."

There must be a thousand of us who claim that...

Anonymous said...

What an arrogant post. Pride is one thing but the mentality, particularly amongst dirsupers, that the platform exists for their purposes is ill-informed and persists today. This line of thinking is a barrier to understanding and fitting in with the bigger picture.