I am a submariner. AMA.

SSBN. ETV. Will not respond to questions about sensitive or classified subjects. My views are my own and I do not represent anyone.

Hi there!

Edit: since this has been asked several times:

SSBN stands for “submersible ship, ballistic missile, nuclear powered”. That is, the same overall type of ship as the Red October.

ETV stands for “Electronics Technican, Navigation”, because N was already taken by Nuclear Electronics Technicians. I work with everything from interior communications and announcing circuits to Electronics, shipwide atmospheric monitoring, navigational inertial gyroscopes, strategic nuclear missile navigation, and tank level indicators to basic underwater submarine navigation using the voyage management system and even helming the ship itself.

Slopz, (edited )

What color is the controller you use?

tal avatar


Newest Navy attack sub uses an Xbox controller to operate its periscope

It sounds like the PC-console wars run deeper than might have initially been expected.


Silver metallic with black handles. My specific class of ship still had the old analog electro-hydraulic steering wheels instead of the fancy XBox controllers.


I am not OP, but am a submarine veteran that retired 10 years ago. I was a MMC/SS (nuclear) (Machinists Mate Chief, submarine qualified) which means I led a division of approx 14 other mechanics as a middle manager on fas attack (SSN) Submarines.I am willing to answer questions and maybe give a different perspective (different ships, different career path) .

Madison_rogue avatar

Chief! I came from a ship that had 8 nuclear sub reactors. What was it like with just one?


Did you ever hook up with Sue Storm?

HubertManne avatar

I contemplated a similar comment. Not about sue but about all four.

Clithzby avatar

Scariest thing to ever happen to you while in a submarine?


Fire in the torpedo room. Scariest 1MC announcement I’ve ever heard. Nothing came of it obviously, but still - a fire in a room full of explosives.

Clithzby avatar

Damn! I can only imagine. Glad nothing came of it.


The funniest part about it - when push came to actual shove, nobody followed the emergency casualty watch bills. The Assistant Weapons Officer was holding the firefighting hose in his boxer shorts, followed closely by Chiefs, while the lower enlisted were shoved to the sides and back.


How is food handled/stored? Given you can be out for months I assume this is actually very crucial and critically handled? Does it taste worse than what is served in the regular meal halls?


How do you feel about titan crash?


Tragic but expected. That thing was rated a death trap by James Cameron himself.


Did you mean to post in "Ask meany thing" or "ask me anything"? Because I want to ask if you can still hear banging down there, but only if you wanted a meany thing.


Can you get in trouble for making too much noise? Do people yell orders?


People yell, yes, and most of the time we don’t mind loud noises UNLESS it involves hard objects hitting either the deck or the bulkheads (floor or walls). The reason is that most of the time everything is padded and sound insulated anyways, so something like the fans, pumps, motors and so on can spin up and do their thing without exposing our presence. Something like a hammer or wrench getting dropped into a bilge, on the other hand, transmits straight into the water, and that’s when there’s a manhunt to find out who did it, since Sonar hears that instantly and reports it to the Officer of the Deck.


how does it feel being a rolex?

but seriously how deep have you gone, that you are allowed to disclose. im not trying to get anyone in trouble.


I’ve been to test depth. There’s various guesses online as to how deep that is, and I won’t confirm or deny any of them.

  1. Do you guys ever see light of day during deployment/port to port?
  2. Do you guys resurface and just sunbathe for a few minutes then dive again?
  3. What are the alarms, not sure if you can answer this, inside a sub?
  4. Is there a man overboard event in a sub?
  5. So you ever need to learn how to scuba if you’re a submariner?
  1. Unless there’s a swim call for some reason (which never happens on an SSBN), no.
  2. Nope. Unless there’s some emergency, or we’re replenishing food or repair parts.
  3. Alarms:
  • General Alarm - some kind of general emergency like fire or security violation
  • Diving Alarm - diving and surfacing
  • Collision Alarm - collision or danger of collision, flooding
  • Power Plant Causality - engine room emergency like radioactive material spill or steam line rupture
  • Missile Jettison Alarm - something is terribly wrong with a missile and we need to jettison it.
  1. Yes but only when we’re surfaced, for obvious reasons.
  2. No, it’s not required, but I learned anyways in my own free time!

Have you ever dove with someone you couldn’t stand? How’d you deal with it? Are there precautions taken to ensure crew comparability before getting underway?

Also, how’s the food? During ww2 I heard that submarine crew got the best food in the fleet for moral, is that still the case?


Professionally. No, there’s no screening, so we have to deal with one another professionally. In a submarine there is no time for petty squabbles. The mission is your life. Dissent is literally death, because every moment of every day, the sea and the ship wants to kill you. So if you can’t stand a person, deal with the sailor in a professional manner. Procedures are procedures. Regs are regs.

Food really depends on the cook, but in the whole, from what I’ve heard from surface sailors, yes, our food is still the best!

demvoter avatar

Do you ever feel claustrophobic? If so, how do you get through that?


I’ve only ever felt claustrophobic during the initial dive after a long period in port, and occasionally during cleaning periods when I find myself crawling in between heavy machinery and pipes to clean some dripping oil, and feel myself getting squeezed from all sides. I just stop and let the feeling pass as I take deep breaths, then continue.


Is there a vetting process that allows the Navy to figure out who will do well for long periods undersea, or is it at all common for people to complete a first deployment and then decide sub life is not for them?

kaboomski avatar

What's your day-to-day life like? What's the longest you've been submerged?


You finished your sub quals yet? If not, your dinq! Don't miss school of the boat. Oh and before we can hit the rack COB says we get an extra hour of field day. Hooyah.

/former nuke ET SSN-721


Hooyah field day! Yes, I’m a fully qualified ETV1, just put on rank this year. With any luck, I’ll keep it lol.

Fitik avatar

What were your reaction to what happened with Titan submarine?

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