Commanding Officer
Auxiliary Ship Submarine

There is an elite among sailors - not so much of class nor privilege - but of skill, knowledge and wisdom. Born of destiny; yet their mettle tempered in the fires of experience, the Captain of a ship is truly the master.

While no "job" of Captain is trivial - certain commands - by the complexity of their mission - stand out as particularly challenging - offering each "skipper" the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the National Defense. So it is with the Captain of a Submarine Tender.

Submarine tender (AS) Commanding Officer:

1. Acts as coach to the superb officers assigned as tender executive officers and department heads. Functions as referee on very rare occasions.

2. Supervises the officer of the deck and other members of the ship control party while they drive a large, underpowered, marginally maneuverable, medium draft, high profile, gray ship into unfamiliar harbors. (His experience of driving large, marginally maneuverable, deep draft, low profile, black submarines into port is of no value).

3. When requested, consents to perform marriage services for female members of the wardroom when they run afoul of male sublieutenants while on liberty in Australia. Limits the duration of such marriages to the length of the port visit. Refers the woman officer to the chaplain if she desires marriage of longer duration.

4. Functions as senior fan at ship's sports activities such as flag footballand softball, berating officials proportional to their performance andperceived fairness. Additional duties include restraining and counselingthe command master chief for berating officials.

5. As directed by higher authority, sorties for typhoon evasion on short notice, even in instances where the typhoon does not approach closer than 350 miles.

6. After years of operating submarines having precise navigation information, accepts that navigational accuracy is adequate if land is sighted at the approximate predicted time and the ship arrives at her anticipated port, rather than some other.

7. When necessary, reminds members of the shore support establishment that if it weren't for the tender and her flock of submarines, they wouldn't have all these problems.

8. As requested by the principal, officiates at re enlistment and retirement ceremonies. Attends the ceremony if not officiating. (The exception to the foregoing is ceremonies performed underwater by/for the ship's divers and other SCUBA qualified individuals, whom he congratulates following the ceremony after they have returned to the surface).

9. Keeps the staff off the cases of the superb officers assigned as tender executive officers and department heads.

10. Every day in command, and long after, marvels at what a wardroom of about 50, a goat locker of over 100, and almost 1000 other men and women can accomplish. Reflects that there really is someone within his command who can do anything. Takes immense pride in having had the opportunity to serve as their Commanding Officer..

The "musings" of Captain Herndon A. "Ollie" Oliver III,
who served as Commanding Officer USS Proteus (AS-19)
from 17 July 1984 through 10 November 1986.

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