It was just another day at sea. Routine in many ways but in others it became an eternal reminder of the dangers associated with operating a submarine. The sea i…s unforgiving and the impact of any small failure becomes magnified beyond control within moments. I have sat in a chair, strapped in holding the yoke that controls the planes. I have stared at the numbers on the darkened panel a few feet in front of me as the numbers clicked off the change of depth. You can feel the pull of gravity as the boat descends deeper and faster with each passing moment. On another day on another boat, we were too heavy and the surface had just released it’s grip on us. Bow heavy, we were going deeper and deeper when we lost propulsion. The fairwater planes were jammed in a rise position and I pulled back as hard as I could on the stern planes to try and slow the dive. Test depth came and went. The boat creaked and men quietly prayed. “Conn, maneuvering, propulsion has been restored”. We slowly climbed back to a safer place between the ocean’s floor and the typhoon that still raged above us. I still have waking nightmares about that night. I clutch my pillow to my chest like it was the outboard yoke, straining with all of my might to will the boat back from the deep.
4 thoughts on “There are no routine days at sea on a submarine”
A good friend and shipmate, CS2 Ronald Muise (Moose) had just finished Sub School and reported to Thresher. Still think about him at times.
I recall the USS Thresher incident. I felt as though I held my breath between news reports and so completely helpless when I realized the patrol was eternal.
I can never relate to your nightmares as I’ve never even been in a sub. I regret that that did experience such an event.
I thought you might like this photo, very impressive.