The Good Ship
I signed for a full term.
Submarine. In the hatch one day, out of the hatch three months later.
Fun times. Nothing to drink. No drugs. Both would mean Court Martial.
Nonetheless, we brewed juice, and the captain was probably aware of it. Fairly dull juice, but a bit of a buzz, when you have three months to think about patrolling the ocean, without coming up, or coming into port.
No Port wine by the way on this ship, either to the left or the right.
This was a nuclear powered, highly militarised machine. The correct procedure in the wrong hands would have launched nuclear missiles to virtually any town on the planet.
Which is why we sometimes wondered where the hell we were. Navigation was basic. Computers had less power than the very first commercially available tape-recording machines that ran BASIC. Think of a computer in 1980. Ours ran a fully powered, fully laden nuclear submarine, with global reach.
There was some fun.
Deep in the China Sea, way into Soviet territory, we accidentally launched a missile that was a test fire. It had no warhead, but it was aimed at one of the main carriers of the Soviet navy, who were not happy about it. It missed, but only after a frantic series of messages, that revealed our position, and annoyed the Soviets.
This was ultimately the Captain’s responsibility. However, two missiles remained in the bay, after abort and he personally inspected them. The language scribbled over these expensive toys was imaginative. The Captain was not amused.
Three weeks of high alert. That is low light. No speaking.
That and a very fast get away back to Japan, pinged by very real aggressors flying anti-sub aircraft, that just might have taken a hit at us.
Coming up was dangerous. Three months undersea, and you arrive in Hawaii or another exotic port translates to fun. Terrible fun, and a lot of discipline. And clap.
And in one case a sailor waking up to find that he had been robbed. In more ways than one.
He was a sore ass.