A Tender Tale

We all live in a Yellow Submarine...
a Yellow Submarine...
a Yellow Submarine... 

The Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine. At the time - there were 41 of these boats - each armed with enough destruction to wipe all life off the planetseveral times.
GMS Dam Neck Patch
Guided Missle School
Dam Neck (Virginia Beach) Jacket Patch
In the 60's and 70's, this is where the
Polaris and Posiden techs were trained
These boats have the ability to stay underwaterfor very long periods of time - and their movements are -- forall practical purposes -- undetectable. The Soviets couldn't findthem; so - they couldn't defend against them - and the delicatebalance of power during the "cold war" prevailed - resultingin peace. An FBM Submarine is a collection of subsystems -- groupsof components connected together to perform some specified taskor produce a specific bit of data. One very important subsystemon the FBM's was the navigation subsystem - called the "ShipsInertial Navigation System" - or SINS for short. This a collectionof precision gyroscopes, accelerometers and a computer set upto detect the motion(s) of the submarine. By "integrating"the accelerations of the submarine over time - speed, directionand distance can be determined. If you know where you startedfrom - and know very accurately what direction and distance you'vegone - you then know where you are.

The guidance gyros of an early missile.

Feed that information to a missile - tell it whereit's target is - and it will fly from where it's at - to it'starget - very accurately (using it's own version of a SINS). Forthe first 15 months of my enlistment - the Navy trained me inthe operation, maintenance and repair of the boat's SINS. Thenext three months was Submarine school, New London, CT.

The submarine piers at the Sub
base / SubSchool New London
When we graduated from "C" (SINS) school - we were toldto take any leave we wanted - because after SubSchool - we wouldbe sent straight to our next command. So I went from VirginiaBeach to New London via Los Angeles - and most of my class matesmade similar trips. When we arrived at New London - about thethird thing the Petty Officer at the "Welcome Aboard"speech said was "Any leave you have on the books will beautomatically granted on graduation from this school". Itwas then that I learned that there were many times the militarywas less than "squared away." A friend of mine had drivenhis car from home to New London - and he - like myself - had ordersout of the West Coast. Sailors - known for their ability to improviseand make do - would figure out how to beat the Navy out of sometime ---
SubSchool New London Patch
New London Jacket Patch
So we did some checking. If we flew to the West Coast- we would be allowed a couple days travel time -- but -- if wedrove - we would get 10 days "travel and proceed" time.So we told the Navy we had to drive - after all we had to gethis car back home. By the end of SubSchool - I had 4 days leaveon the books - and he had three. Well 3 + 10 = two weeks - that'smore like it!. We got our POV time - and the Friday we graduated- we headed south down I95. Twenty Five hours and 10 states later- we were in Mississippi. I'd never been in the Deep South - itwas - uhhh - different. A half hour later - we were in his hometown - another 10 minutes into the "country" - and wepulled into his front yard. I was in shock. Oh - not from hishome - or anything like that - nope. Something else. I knew hehad a brother and sister - but hadn't given it any thought beyondthat. After all - the picture of his sister in his wallet wasof a young girl of perhaps Junior High age.

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