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    Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    I Thought You Guys Were All Proud Killers???

    Well, you might hear some submariners boast of being "steely-eyed killers of the deep." Our Commanding Officer, being an attack boat sailor, liked to use this phrase to describe those submariners who stealthily sought their prey, usually after hours spent tracking and trailing it, then pumped a MK48 torpedo into the victim, who was oblivious to his fate until the torpedo exploded beneath them, breaking their keel and taking the ship down.

    Unfortunately, that didn't really describe us.

    Not that we didn't love every moment we served on my boat (we didn't), but, life on a fleet ballistic missile submarine (aka a "boomer") wasn't exactly the most exciting. We didn't spend a lot of time seeking prey, instead, we avoided being preyed upon. Since the act of hiding requires little speed, no interaction with other ships, and lots of boredom, and since sailors are, generally, complainers by nature, we adopted the "sleepy-eyed whiners of the deep" moniker.

    Actually, we used to take "sleepy" a little further than just this mocking phrase. I don't know if other ships held sleeping contests. Certainly none of my friends on attack boats could ever fully appreciate being in a 1 in 5 watch rotation, the slow pace of SSBN life, the lack of a fire control tracking party for 6 hours after their scheduled watch, being away from the boat with no duty days for 3 months in port, or going home at for lunch during off-crew and staying there, so this probably really would anger them (hey, look, they made the decision to go to sea in a boat that operated at high tempo's and required their devotion 365 days of the year, I knew better!)but, in the slow days of patrol life, those junior officers senior enough to have completed shipboard qualifications (and knew we weren't making a career out of the Navy, and didn't feel a need to show our devotion by doing meaningless work 24/7) would hold sleeping contests and see who could stay in the rack the longest. We had some enlisted guys, too, who would participate in our impromptu, and unofficial contests. I knew a couple of ELT's who could sleep 24 hours - pretty impressive, I think 18 hours was the longest I ever went in my rack, but, I did get up once to go to the head, so it invalidated the record.

    Of course, when we weren't asleep, we were usually complaining about submarine life, making us, thus, the whiner part.


    GomerB said...

    As enlisted scum I never got better than 1 in 3 with a midnight cowboy. As one friend of mine crawled out of the arms Morphius and onto the cold floor of berthing he whined "Oh, man! It's 7 o'clock! I missed breakfast."

    "Yeah, twelve hours ago you frickin' rack monster. The meal you just missed was supper. You just spent most of your thirty off collecting dust bunnies!"

    Twenty-five hours in the rack, and he complains about missing a meal. He was over-qualified as enlisted Sleepy Eyed Whiner of the Deep (SEWOTD), so we sent him to OCS and he retired LCDR!

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