The ride out is hard. You know you will not see your family for a few months and the things you will see will leave you with dreams for decades to come. But that ride home is phenomenal. When you get a day like the one pictured, the mountains on the starboard side as you glide through the water are one of the most beautiful things you will ever see. The fresh air that replaces the mechanically scrubbed air that you have been breathing for so long feels a bit foreign on your lungs at first. But the anticipation of holding a loved one once again wipes away the months of isolation.
Someone once asked me how you could be isolated surrounded by so many others in such a confined space. My only answer is that until you have done it, you would not be able to understand it no matter how well I tried to explain. It is a singular form of loneliness that many of us created to protect ourselves from facts and a reality. The fact is that even the best submarine ever built is designed ot operate in a very dangerous ocean that has claimed some of our best submariners in the past. The fact is that the submarine is made with human hands, and the ocean was created with God’s hands. Which do you think has a better chance at winning a fight?
I do not know how many moving parts are on a Trident of any class of submarine. I do know that the failure of just a few could create a situation where the boat will not come home. All sailors who face the challenges of the sea are special. Submariners are just a bit more special than most. (Or is that a little crazier?… I always get the two confused)
4 thoughts on “The Ride Home”
This post is a nice “welcome home” for these sailors!
Submarines have quietly slipped in and out of so many ports for generations with only the occasional Russian trawler present to mark the occasion. The welcome home typically is represented by a few family members standing on the pier or at an airport waiting to see the loved one they have missed for months at a time. Babies are born, children grow, wives change their look but the submariner comes home looking tired and often with a far off stare. The long months of drilling and working in a confined space take their toll. A glass of fresh milk and the smell of a charcoal barbeque do a lot to erase the memories of where you have been for a few hours…
A submarine heading home, alone sets the scene – a beautiful but yet a lonely vision. It’s a familiar course for some us. To those who can only imagine what’s hidden in the picture your comments are the key that opens up what is hidden in the picture.
Thanks Doc. You are spot on.