Submarines in the United States Navy
There are two major types of submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

: ballistic missile submarines and attack submarines. In the U.S. Navy, all combatant submarines are nuclear-powered
Nuclear marine propulsion
Nuclear marine propulsion is propulsion of a ship by a nuclear reactor. Naval nuclear propulsion is propulsion that specifically refers to naval warships...

. Ballistic subs have a single, strategic mission: carrying nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missile
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

s. Attack submarines have several tactical missions, including sinking ships and subs, launching cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s, and gathering intelligence.

Composition of the current force

(18 in commission) — 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBN'S), 4 guided missile submarines (SSGN's)- missile submarines (7 in commission, 3 under construction, 4 on order) — attack submarines (3 in commission) — attack submarines (43 in commission, 2 in reserve) — attack submarines


The submarine has a long history in the United States. There were various projects in the 1800s, such as: The Alligator, a US Navy submarine (never commissioned) that was being towed to South Carolina to be used in the taking of Charleston; she was lost due to bad weather April 2, 1863 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; and the CSS H. L. Hunley
H. L. Hunley (submarine)
H. L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War, but a large role in the history of naval warfare. The Hunley demonstrated both the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare...

 which was a submarine of the Confederate States of America shipped by rail to South Carolina on August 12, 1863 to defend Charleston. The CSS Hunley played a small part in the American Civil War, but a large role in naval warfare worldwide by demonstrating both the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare. On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the USS Housatonic in Charleston harbor becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, but soon after, Hunley also sank drowning all eight crewmen. Real progress began in earnest in the late 19th century with the building of the USS Holland (SS-1)
USS Holland (SS-1)
USS Holland was the United States Navy's first commissioned submarine, named for her Irish-American inventor, John Philip Holland, although not the first submarine of the US Navy, which was the 1862...

. The Holland (named after John Philip Holland
John Philip Holland
John Philip Holland was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S...

) was developed at Lewis Nixon
Lewis Nixon (naval architect)
Lewis Nixon I was a naval architect, shipbuilding executive, public servant, and political activist. He designed the United States' first modern battleships, and supervised the construction of its first modern submarines, all before his 40th birthday. He was briefly the leader of Tammany Hall...

's Crescent Shipyard
Crescent Shipyard
Crescent Shipyard, located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, built a number of ships for the United States Navy and allied nations as well during their production run, which lasted about ten years while under the Crescent name and banner. Production of these ships began before the Spanish-American war and...

 located in Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 124,969, retaining its ranking as New Jersey's fourth largest city with an increase of 4,401 residents from its 2000 Census population of 120,568...

. This pioneering craft was in service for 10 years and was a developmental and trials vessel for many systems on other early submarines.

The submarine really came of age in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The United States Navy (USN) did not have a large part in this war, with its action mainly being confined to escorting convoys later in the war and sending a division of battleships to reinforce the British Grand Fleet. However, there were those in the USN submarine service who saw what the Germans had done with their U-boats and took careful note.

Doctrine in the inter-war years emphasized the submarine as a scout for the battle fleet, and also extreme caution in command. Both these axioms were proven wrong after the attack on Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 in December 1941. The submarine skippers of the fleet boats of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 waged a very effective campaign
Allied submarines in the Pacific War
Allied submarines were used extensively during the Pacific War and were a key contributor to the defeat of the Empire of Japan. During the war, submarines of the United States Navy were responsible for 55% of Japan's merchant marine losses; other Allied navies added to the toll. The war against...

 against Japanese merchant vessels, eventually doing to Japan what Germany did (initially) to the United Kingdom. They were aggressive and effective, and operated far from the fleet.

In addition to their commerce raiding role, submarines also proved valuable in air-sea rescue. There was many an American aircraft carrier pilot who owed his life to the valor of USN submarine crews, including former U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...


Navy revolutions

After WWII, things continued along much the same path until the early 1950s. Then, a revolution that was to forever change the nature of the submarine arm occurred. That revolution was USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
USS Nautilus is the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was the first vessel to complete a submerged transit beneath the North Pole on August 3, 1958...


The Nautilus was the first nuclear-powered submarine. Up until that point, submarines had really been, at their most basic level, torpedo boats that happened to be able to go underwater. They had been tied to the surface by the need to charge their batteries using diesel engines relatively often. The nuclear power plant of the Nautilus meant that the boat could stay underwater for literally months at a time, the only limit in the end being the amount of food that the boat could carry. With resupply by mini-subs, even this is not actually a final limit. The final limit would be for replacing equipment that wears out and the fatigue limit of the hull. Nautilus put to sea for the first time on 17 January 1955, transmitting the historic message, "Under way on nuclear power."

Another revolution in submarine warfare came with USS George Washington (SSBN-598)
USS George Washington (SSBN-598)
USS George Washington , the lead ship of her class of nuclear ballistic missile submarines, was the third United States Navy ship of the name, in honor of George Washington , first President of the United States, and the first of that name to be purpose-built as a warship.-Construction and...

. Nuclear powered, like Nautilus, George Washington added strategic ballistic missiles to the mix. Earlier submarines had carried strategic missiles, but the boats had been diesel powered, and the missiles required the boat to surface in order to fire. The missiles were also cruise missiles, which were vulnerable to the defenses of the day in a way that ballistic missiles were not.

George Washington's missiles could be fired while the boat was submerged, meaning that it was far less likely to be detected before firing. The nuclear power of the boat also meant that, like Nautilus, George Washington's patrol length was limited only by the amount of food the boat could carry. Ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s, carrying Polaris missiles, eventually superseded all other strategic nuclear systems in the USN. Deterrent patrols continue to this day, although now with s and Trident II missiles.
Given the lack of large scale conventional naval warfare since 1945, with the USN's role being primarily that of power projection
Power projection
Power projection is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state to conduct expeditionary warfare, i.e. to intimidate other nations and implement policy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area distant from its own territory.This ability is a...

, the submarine service did not fire weapons in anger
Fire in anger
"Fire in anger" is a phrase used in military contexts to describe the use of a projectile weapon to deliberately cause damage or harm to an opponent, as opposed to training exercises or warning shots. For example, Napier of Magdala Battery "never fired a shot in anger"; the battery never engaged in...

 for very many years. The development of a new generation of cruise missiles changed that. The BGM-109 Tomahawk
BGM-109 Tomahawk
The Tomahawk is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. Introduced by General Dynamics in the 1970s, it was designed as a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. It has been improved several times and, by way of corporate divestitures...

 missile was developed to give naval vessels a long range land attack capability. Other than direct shore bombardment and strikes by aircraft flying off carriers, the ability of naval vessels to influence warfare on land was limited.

Now, instead of being limited to firing shells less than 20 miles inland from guns, any naval vessel fitted with the Tomahawk could hit targets up to 1,000 miles inland. The mainstay of the Tomahawk equipped vessels in the early days of the missile's deployment were the s, and the submarine fleet. The Tomahawk was first used in combat on 17 January 1991, on the opening night of Operation Desert Storm. On that day, for the first time since the surrender of Japan in 1945, an American submarine fired in combat, when Tomahawks were launched by U.S. boats in the eastern Mediterranean.

Since then, the Tomahawk has become a staple of American campaigns. It has seen use in no less than three separate wars. It has also been exported to the United Kingdom, which has also fitted it to submarines. The Tomahawk has seen a change in the design of attack submarines. At first it was fired through torpedo tubes, but more recent U.S. boats have been fitted with vertical launch system
Vertical Launching System
A vertical launching system is a system for holding and firing missiles on surface ships and submarines used by many navies around the world. Each VLS system consists of a number of cells, which can hold one or more missiles ready for firing...

s to enable them to carry more of the weapons.

In the early 21st century, the USN submarine fleet is made up entirely of nuclear powered vessels. It is the most powerful of its type in the world.

SSBN's and SSGN's

The U.S. has 18 Ohio-class submarines, of which 14 are Trident II SSBNs each capable of carrying 24 SLBMs. The first four which were all equipped with the older Trident I missiles have been converted to SSGN's each capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk guided missiles and have been further equipped to support Special Operations (SEALS). If the maximum of 154 Tomahawk missiles were loaded, one Ohio class SSGN would carry an entire Battle Group's equivalent of cruise missiles. Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs or boomers in American slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

) carry submarine-launched ballistic missile
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

s (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 for attacking strategic targets such as cities or missile silos anywhere in the world. They are currently universally nuclear-powered
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 to provide the greatest stealth and endurance. They played an important part in Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 mutual deterrence
Deterrence theory
Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons, and features prominently in current United States foreign policy regarding the development of nuclear technology in North Korea and Iran. Deterrence theory however was...

, as both the United States and the Soviet Union had the credible ability to conduct a retaliatory strike against the other nation in the event of a first strike
First strike
In nuclear strategy, a first strike is a preemptive surprise attack employing overwhelming force. First strike capability is a country's ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation while the opposing...

. This comprised an important part of the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction
Mutual assured destruction
Mutual Assured Destruction, or mutually assured destruction , is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of...


The American "boomers" were named for famous Americans, and together with the , , , and classes, these SSBNs comprised the Cold War-era "41 for Freedom." Later Ohio class submarines were named for states (recognizing the increase in striking power and importance once bestowed upon battleships), with the exception of the given the name of a Senator upon his death while in office (1983).

As far back as 1955 Senator Jackson was a strong proponent of the nuclear submarine program, a watchdog over U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations, and a critic of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

 (SALT). He strongly supported the rapid development of nuclear submarines and especially the development of an SSBN program. He continued to be a very strong advocate of the TRIDENT SSBN program and the further development of the Trident II missile system. Senator Jackson also called for the establishment of a Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Undersea Warfare because he believed submarines were "lost in a welter of naval bureaucracy."


U.S. Navy submarines are manned solely by volunteers from within the Navy. Submarine personnel are accepted only after the most rigorous testing and observation.

Some 5,000 officers and 55,000 enlisted people make up the submarine force. In addition to submarines, they are assigned to submarine tender
Submarine tender
A submarine tender is a type of ship that supplies and supports submarines.Submarines are small compared to most oceangoing vessels, and generally do not have the ability to carry large amounts of food, fuel, torpedoes, and other supplies, nor to carry a full array of maintenance equipment and...

s, submarine rescue ships, deep-diving submersibles, floating dry dock
Dry dock
A drydock is a narrow basin or vessel that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform...

s, shore support facilities, submarine staffs, and senior command staffs.

The submarine force has always been a small fraction of the active Navy. In 1998 only about seven percent of the Navy's people were submariners, though they operated one-third of the Navy's warships.

Pressure and escape training

After acceptance into the submarine program, candidates undergo a demanding training schedule, which includes attendance by all Officers and non-nuclear trained enlisted personnel at the U.S. Naval Submarine School New London, located within the Naval Submarine Base New London
Naval Submarine Base New London
Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy's primary submarine base, the "Home of the Submarine Force", and "the Submarine Capital of the World".-History:...

, in Groton, Connecticut
Groton, Connecticut
Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,907 at the 2000 census....

, (NAVSUBSCOL at SUBASENLON) as well as rigorous technical training in different specialty areas.
Besides their academic and technical training, much of which is Classified Secret or Top Secret, all prospective US Naval Submariners, both officers and enlisted personnel, undergo 3 phases of physical training and testing related to the intense pressure differential between the surface and submarine operating depth.

Pressure training is conducted in a 2 day course including classroom and lab training:

Valsalva maneuver

The first test is for the ability to perform the Valsalva maneuver
Valsalva maneuver
The Valsalva maneuver or Valsalva manoeuvre is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one's mouth and pinching one's nose shut...

, named for Antonio Maria Valsalva
Antonio Maria Valsalva
Antonio Maria Valsalva , was an Italian anatomist born in Imola. His research focused on the anatomy of the ears. He coined the term Eustachian tube and he described the aortic sinuses of Valsalva in his writings, published posthumously in 1740...

. If a submarine training candidate cannot perform the Valsalva maneuver under doctor's supervision at normal atmospheric pressure, that candidate is not rejected as unfit for submarine service but may not continue the high risk pressure training as follows.


In the second phase of testing, called Pressure Testing, candidates who have successfully performed the Valsalva maneuver will be subjected to increased ambient pressure. This test is performed under the supervision of a diving-certified medical doctor. All testees enter a pressure chamber, accompanied by the doctor, and the 'tank' is sealed. Typically, there is in the chamber a somewhat surprising object: an inflated volleyball, water polo ball or similar inflated ball. Upon sealing the tank, pressure is increased, while the testees equalise their eardrum pressure. (if any testee is unable to 'Valsalva', the test stops, and pressure is slowly released.) Pressure builds within the chamber until the chamber is equal to water pressure at "escape depth". At this point, the chamber feels very warm and dry, and the volleyball has become compressed enough that it has become the shape of a bowl, and appears to have been emptied of air, due to the greatly increased air pressure inside of the tank. Sounds inside the tank at pressure sound as if they are "far away".

During the controlled release of pressure from the tank, the air in the chamber becomes quite chilled and a fog forms in the chamber, often precipitating as a sort of dew. (See adiabatic expansion) Once pressure is fully released, the candidates are examined with an otoscope
thumb|right|200px|Otoscope - Image of an otoscope thumb|200px|Anatomy of the human ear.thumb|200px|Right tympanic membrane as seen through a speculum.An Otoscope or auriscope is a medical device which is used to look into the ears...

 to check for ruptured eardrums. Candidates with ruptured eardrums are removed from the testing cycle until healed, depending on the severity of the injury.

Escape training

The third phase of testing for submarine fitness is escape training, utilizing the Steinke hood submarine escape appliance
Steinke hood
A Steinke hood, named for its inventor, Lieutenant Harris Steinke, is a device designed to aid escape from a sunken submarine,essentially an inflatable life jacket with a hood that completely encloses the wearer's head, trapping a bubble of breathing air...

, or colloquially known as the Steinke hood or, more familiarly, as "Stinky hood". This is a very complex device, but essentially it covers the head and shoulders during ascent from a stranded submarine, allowing air to escape during ascent, which is necessary as the expanding air in the lungs would otherwise cause disastrous injury. Actual training with the Steinke Hood is done in a Submarine Escape Training Tower
Submarine Escape Training Tower
A Submarine Escape Training Tower is part of a facility used for training submariners in methods of emergency escape from a disabled submarine. It is a tall cylinder filled with water with several entrances at varying depths each simulating an airlock in a submarine...

 to simulate a submarine stranded on the floor of the sea bed.

The escape testing proceeds as in the pressure test, except that this time, a hatch in the floor of the pressure chamber is opened. The chamber immediately adjoins a cylindrical tower full of water, tall enough to simulate the depth of a stranded submarine. Because the air pressure inside the chamber is equal to the pressure of the water in the tower, the water does not enter the chamber.

Donning the Steinke hood, the testee enters the water and immediately commences a rapid ascent, due to the buoyancy of the escape device. As they ascend, each testee must allow the air in his lungs to escape, this is facilitated by yelling as loudly as possible. Typically they are told to yell "HO HO HO"repeatedly. If one does not forcefully and continuously expel air from the lungs in this manner, they may be gravely injured or killed. The air exiting the lungs is allowed to exit the hood through a set of two one-way valves, keeping the device inflated but not over-inflated. Upon reaching the top, the testee swims to the side, climb up, remove his Steinke Hood, deflate it, stand at parade rest, and yell "I FEEL FINE", while a corpsman examine the testee.

Successfully completing the escape training requires two trials, one of them at double the depth of the first. On completion of escape training, testees are now considered bubbleheads.

, the Steinke Hood is slated for replacement with the Mark 10 Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment
Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment
Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment MK-10, also known as Submarine Escape and Immersion Equipment is whole-body suit and one-man life raft, designed by British company RFD Beaufort Limited, that allows submariners to escape from a sunken submarine. The suit provides protection against hypothermia...

 (SEIE) suit. The Mark 10 will allow submariners to escape from much deeper depths than currently possible with the Steinke Hood. Some US Navy submarines already have the system, with an ambitious installation and training schedule in place for the remainder of the fleet.

The Mark 8, its predecessor, was a double layer suit which gave the wearer the appearance of a Michelin Man. One layer was eliminated, and the fabric was used to build a life raft
A raft is any flat structure for support or transportation over water. It is the most basic of boat design, characterized by the absence of a hull...

 that would fit in the same package that the original suit came in.

Because it is a full body suit, the Mark 10 provides thermal protection once the wearer reaches the surface, and the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 has successfully tested it at six hundred foot depths.

The Mark 10 Submarine Escape and Immersion Equipment suit is slated to be in place aboard all US Navy submarines by 2007. The navies of twenty-two nations currently use SEIE units of some type.


Further training and qualification at sea are required before submariners are awarded the coveted Submarine Warfare Insignia
Submarine Warfare insignia
The Submarine Warfare Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by enlisted men and officers of the United States Navy to indicate that they are qualified in submarines. The Submarine Warfare Insignia is considered one of the Navy's three major warfare pins along with the Surface Warfare Badge and...

 ("dolphins") - the submarine insignia worn by officers (gold) and enlisted personnel (silver) to demonstrate their achievement.

The insignia of the U.S. Navy's Submarine Service is a Submarine flanked by two dolphins
The Coryphaenidae are a family of marine ray-finned fish belonging to the Order Perciformes. The family contains only one genus, Coryphaena, which contains two species, both of which have compressed heads and single dorsal fins that run the entire length of the fish's bodies...

 (the fish, not the mammal).

The origin of this insignia dates back to June 1923, when Captain Ernest King
Ernest King
Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations during World War II. As COMINCH, he directed the United States Navy's operations, planning, and administration and was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the U.S...

, USN, Commander, Submarine Division Three (later Fleet Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations), suggested to the Secretary of the Navy that a device for qualified submariners be adopted. He submitted a pen-and-ink sketch as an example. A Philadelphia firm, Bailey, Banks and Biddle, was requested to design a suitable badge. In 1928, a member of that firm told Ensign William C. Eddy that they were looking for a design. Eddy, using sketches of the 1926 Naval Academy class crest that he had designed, came up with the present submarine insignia.

In 1941 the Uniform Regulations were modified to permit officers and enlisted men to wear the submarine insignia after they had been assigned to other duties in the naval service, unless such right had been revoked. The officer insignia was a bronze gold plated metal pin, worn centered above the left breast pocket and above the ribbons or medals. Enlisted men wore an embroidered silk insignia on the outside of the right sleeve, midway between the wrist and elbow until 1947 when it was shifted to above the left breast pocket. In 1943 the Uniform Regulations were modified to allow enlisted men, who were qualified for submarine duty then subsequently promoted to commissioned or warrant ranks, to continue wearing the enlisted submarine insignia until they qualified as submarine officers when they were entitled to wear the officers submarine pin. A 1950 change to Uniform Regulations authorized the embroidered insignia for officers (in addition to pin-on insignia) and a bronze, silver plated, pin-on insignia for enlisted men (in addition to the embroidered device).

SSBN patrol pin

Following the tradition of the World War II patrol pin
Submarine Combat Patrol insignia
The Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by officers and men of the United States Navy's Submarine Service who have completed war patrols. Such patrols were conducted during World War II....

, the silver SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia
SSBN Deterrent Patrol insignia
The SSBN Deterrent Patrol Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by officers and men of the United States Navy's submarine service who have completed strategic deterrent patrols in nuclear ballistic missile submarines...

 is worn by SSBN crews both officer and enlisted. It recognizes their sacrifice and hard work in completing strategic patrols. One gold star marks each patrol completed. A silver star marks five patrols. Upon completion of 20 patrols, a gold patrol pin is authorized.

Neptune Award

The person on active duty, officer or enlisted, with the most deterrent patrols is presented with the Neptune Award. That person retains the award until someone else attains more patrols than the current holder or until he retires and it goes to the member with the next highest number of patrols.

MMCM(SS) "Bubba" Brooks was stationed aboard the USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658)
USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658)
-External links:...

 in 1984 when he received this prestigious award. At that time, he was the ONLY submariner authorized to wear the Gold Patrol Pin. Everyone else wore silver.

Submarine verse of the Navy Hymn

Two sets of lyrics for the Submarine verse of the Navy Hymn have been written. The Reverend Gale Williamson wrote, the following verse, which is generally associated with ballistic missile patrols:
Bless those who serve beneath the deep,
Through lonely hours their vigil keep.
May peace their mission ever be,
Protect each one we ask of thee.
Bless those at home who wait and pray,
For their return by night or day.

In 1965, David Miller composed the following lyrics, which are used for submariners and divers:
Lord God, our power evermore,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,
Dive with our men beneath the sea;
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray, and keep
Them safe from peril in the deep.

See also

  • List of submarines of the United States Navy
  • List of lost United States submarines
  • List of United States submarine classes
  • Familygram
    A familygram is a personal message sent to a sailor of the United States Navy on a submarine by their families.Because submarines normally maintain radio silence to avoid detection, personal messages from the 'outside world' are severely restricted. Familygrams were originally limited to 15 words,...

    , the method by which the families of submariners can communicate with their loved ones at sea
  • Submarine Combat Patrol insignia
    Submarine Combat Patrol insignia
    The Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by officers and men of the United States Navy's Submarine Service who have completed war patrols. Such patrols were conducted during World War II....

External links

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