Monday, October 10, 2016

The really bad smell

Former submariner Walter Lyon served over 1,200 days at sea (from 2000-2010) as ship’s diver and fire control technician. Lyon was last assigned to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN-769). He now co-publishes Submarine Tough with his buddy Josh Toth.

In early February New London Conneticut's TheDay published Toth's opinion that, “Submariners don’t do a good job of selling how cool their lifestyle is.”  The former submariners see their podcast as a way to bring an understanding of the submarine force to the masses.

Former Groton sailors talk submarines, everything else in podcast 

What happened next ....

Well, rather than doing a good job of selling how cool their lifestyle is, readers (or listeners) got the opposite --- an underbelly of topics that make submarine service seem highly undesirable, at least for thoughtful women or timid "snowflakes".   

Task & Purpose, bills itself as, news and culture site geared toward the next great generation of American veterans . We offer an outlet for well-written analysis and commentary on veterans and greater military affairs."  Task & Purpose published this interview of Walter Lyon on October 7, 2016: Life On A Submarine: Raunchy, Cramped, And Occasionally Smells Like Sh*t

Several topics mentioned in the Lyon interview may be natural turnoffs to some of the women and men in the submarine force's declining recruitment pool.  We can hardly blame Mr. Lyon for simply telling the truth.


  • They operate in world where disaster is narrowly averted by the smallest of margins, due in large part to the hard work and diligence of every sailor onboard. It’s a dangerous job in an unforgiving environment.  
  • what it’s like to live in a submerged pressurized container, where to go for a little “private time,” 
  • Every square inch of space is taken up, so sometimes you’ll be sleeping next to a crate of eggs. Sometimes the rack that you’re in is right next to a torpedo. It’s really cramped. What you do is called hot-racking, which is three guys to every two beds and we say “it’s not gay, if you’re under way.”
  • what happens when the sanitation valves aren’t set up correctly --- It ruined pizza night for the sub..  we had pressurized poop go ... into the kitchen. The machinist mates, called A-gangers got the valve line-up wrong in such a way that the poop went through one of the deep sinks and sprayed the entire galley.
  •  submarine warfare qualification takes about a year ... In that year, your sole job is to learn every inch of that submarine from bow to stern and you’re not allowed to smoke cigarettes, you’re not allowed to eat sugary cereal, you’re not allowed to eat dessert, you’re not allowed to watch movies, you’re not allowed to read any content not related to submarines.  
 Submarines are always silent and strange. 

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