I was in the US Navy from 1990-96. I spent four years aboard the USS Minneapolis Saint Paul (SSN 708). I did a Northern Run (3 month deployment) and did ops in the Caribbean a number of times. Our son is currently at Great Lakes for Boot Camp. If anyone in the group has questions about submarines, deployments, life on a sub, etc....please ask and I will share what I can. Thanks for your son's service!!!
Thanks so much for offering to help us dads of submariners understand more about sub life. My son will be graduating Sonar school in Groton in Sept, and is looking forward to getting assigned to a boat. Right now, he is faced with completing his dream sheet - east coast or west coast. Also, he thinks he wants SSN over SSBN. Any thoughts?
Thank you for your service and pass along my thanks to your son as well!
Ok here is my two cents...lol. East or West coast? Some factors to consider: Which is closer to home? What parts of the world (ie port calls) does he want to visit/see? East coast boats have more operating areas....Northern Runs can include port calls in Norway, Germany, Great Britain. Med runs include port calls in Italy, Greece, France. Caribbean Runs include port calls in St Thomas, St Croix, Puerto Rico and some South American countries as well. We ported in Nova Scotia, Annapolis, Coco Beach, and New Orleans. West Coast boats do their Northern Runs up around Alaska. West Pacs include ports of Japan, Guam, Hawaii, Philippines.
SSN or SSBN? Does he want a set schedule? SSBNs do 3 months at sea and 3 months in port. That is the rotation for Gold and Blue crews. It never changes. SSBNs (boomers) go out to sea and hide. "3-5 knots to nowhere". SSNs (Fast Attack Boats) have an ever changing schedule. 1 week out and 2 weeks in...1 month out 3 days in....3 months out 1 month in. A fast attack is much more exciting for a Sonar Tech. The boat does not run from targets....we track...we record...we are part of the Fire Control Party. I enjoyed my time on a Fast Attack.
Hope this helps a little....if you have more questions...fire away...
Thanks much for the excellent info!
My son was set on West coast up until about a week ago. He has always said his top 3 were Hawaii, Guam or San Diego. Recently, he has been considering East coast as he says he would like to see Europe. His mom and I are in Florida, but we need an excuse to get to visit Hawaii. ;-) Guam - I am not so sure. :-)
I can see his reason for wanting to go SSN - he is all about the excitement. He is not one to sit still for long. BTW, does your son have a rating in mind?
He is slated to go to Pensacola right after boot for ABE 'A' school. He will be a green shirt on a carrier flight deck.
Dear Hans, thanks for your encouragement, and Congrats to your son. I just returned from a Tiger Cruise on the Alaska !!! Three days and nights. I might share a few things on this web site. Tell your son thanks, will you ?
I will tell him...hoping to get the end of week three phone call today or tomorrow. The Tiger Cruise had to be awesome. I was on a fast attack boat so we only did dependent day cruises...never could get a Tiger Cruise scheduled....our schedule was so uncertain from week to week.
My son has been on a fast attack SSN for over a year as an ELT. Loves the pace.
Hans, I also thank you for your service and you son's! Great to have an Expert bringing info to us on this site. My son is a sonar tech on the Kentucky and his commander had him do a stint on the Ohio from Guam to Pearl to Bremerton to get some qualification time in while the Kentucky is in dry dock. He really enjoyed his first sub outing but his wife was glad to have him back. LOL.
John, Tiger Cruise on a SSBN! I did a TC on the USS John C Stennis with our other son in April from Pearl to San Diego. 6 days of an incredible experience. Now I want/need to do one with our other son on the Kentucky. Carriers can take a 1000 Tigers but subs, nope. How did you get to Tiger on the Alaska?
I have a son who is also a current sonar tech. What type of jobs in the non-military world are available post- service that may be attractive to a sonar tech. What type of employers may like a sonar tech skills.
I was a sonar tech in the early 70's. Due to the fact that we had to repair our own gear on-board, I learned a lot about electronics. I used that skill to get a job designing electronic components, which blossomed into computer programming. That was 40 years ago. I'm still writing code today. Your son will learn a lot about electronics, which will give him a skill that is worth a lot of money today.