My First Submarine Underway

Topics: Submarine, Non-commissioned officer, Fire extinguisher Pages: 3 (1098 words) Published: September 29, 2005
My First Submarine Underway

I was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and had recently graduated from Advanced Sonar School in Groton, Connecticut. In May of 2000 I embarked on my first submarine underway of my navy career. To have been there was one of the worst moments in my life. I arrived on the USS Key West full of energy and ready to finally start my job after six months of grueling sonar school. Little did I know my new division had other things in store for me. Immediately I was handed a stack of divisional watch station qualification cards and a sheet of paper with all of the due dates. The next item I was handed was a ship's qualification card which was due in ten months. I was to learn everything about the submarine, from my job as a Sonar Technician down to the nuclear power plant in the aft section of the ship. I was tracked by a points system in which I had to read and learn as much as I could. Then I was to undergo an interview and if the interviewer felt I knew enough he signed my qualification card. Each signature was worth a certain amount of points and I was to obtain a certain amount of points each week. After division orientation was completed my chief told me to go back to my barracks room and pack my sea bag. I looked at my Leading Petty Officer with a puzzled look on my face. He said, "we are going underway this afternoon for two weeks." Then he handed me a list of items I needed for the underway. I ran back to my room and packed everything on the list into my sea bag. I returned to the ship just in time for lunch. My Leading Petty Officer instructed me on how to find my racks on the rack bill. Then he further explained that on submarines junior personnel are assigned three guys to two racks. He said, "We work on an eighteen hour schedule, six hours of on watch time and twelve hours off watch. So with three guys to two racks, you will most likely be the rotation guy." He meant I wasn't going to get any sleep for the next two weeks. After...
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