RDML Paul Bushong has taken charge of Group 2 in Groton. This is a nice article, full of the standard “We’re going to get back to basics” talk. You know, the type of talk that every new leader throws around until they come face-to-face with the administrative juggernaut that it submarining in the 21st Century. Not saying his heart isn’t in the right place, just saying I’ve seen it many times and it’s the rare moment when common sense and the big flick take precedence over administrivia….
But one good quote from the interview is this,
He also hopes to increase the level of enthusiasm for serving on submarines. Events like the Hartford collision and alcohol incidents involving sailors, despite alcohol education efforts by the Navy, have impacted morale, he said.
”Sometimes I think it beats us down and we lose sight, not that all of that isn’t extremely important, but we lose sight of the true joy of the job,” Bushong said.
Everyone serving on a submarine, he said, contributes to the nation’s security.
”They all do tremendously difficult jobs under very challenging conditions and they should be proud of that and enthusiastic about it,” he said.
I’ve often wondered this about submarines, and submariners: Why do we (in general) hate our jobs? I mean, I realize there are a lot of things about it that are less than desirable. Family separation, mindless paperwork, what have you… but why is it that somewhere along the way we seem to forget that we volunteered for submarine service. We asked to be screened and hoped we would get through. We fight our way through rigorous schools with high attrition rates so that we can finally get to a ship and say…
This sucks and I can’t wait to get out.
Case in point, The Cyborg Life, a good blog by a Sub JO. Smart guy, pretty witty, but most of his items regarding submarine life are pretty full of hate and discontent. Sadly, it’s fairly typical. I’m not hating him for it. I just wish I knew why. I saw the same thing on my last boat. No matter what we did, there were some guys that just hated everything about it.
But ours isn’t the only job that has hardships (Army Infantry, SEALs, etc). So why do we act like we’ve got it the worst in the fleet? Why do we forget that we are the select few that are trusted beneath the waves? Why do we allow ourselves to forget that submarining is hard. Not everyone can do it.
Not everyone *should* do it.
But it’s that “hard” is that makes it a worthwhile endeavour. The hard makes it great.(apologies to Tom Hanks).
Yes, training sucks. Yes, drills are a pain sometimes. But these things are necessary in order to make sure we’re ready to go when the time comes. Because that’s our job. Go where others won’t, see what others can’t. And be able to do it whenever we’re needed.
To be ready to do that takes training and time. And lots of both.
Oh, and a dash of sacrifice.
That’s why it’s hard. That’s why we volunteer. That’s why we are screened and selected. That’s why you earn your fish or you’re gone. That’s why we’re the best at what we do.
That’s why we’re elite.
I just wish we would act like it more often.