The Submarine Tradition

From PigBoats.COM

The Submarine Tradition

"While checking out at Walmart the other day, the young naive behind the counter, noticing my Submarine Veterans hat, thanked me for my service. He opined that he didn't think he could be on a submarine.

And I replied, "Submarines are not for everyone." To which the lady behind me said, "That's the best response I've ever heard. I guess it takes a special kind to serve on submarines."

And I replied, "Yes. It takes a healthy balance of intelligence coupled with insanity. Integrity, with a dose of 'I don't give a shit.'" Then borrowing from Dr. Joyce Brothers I said, "It's not bravery, but an intense insight into our own capabilities, and the knowledge that every man on the boat can and will do his job."

No, submarines are not for everyone. In the old Navy of just 20 or 30 years ago, we made sure that the man standing watch next to us knew his job and did it well. After testing and trying him, forcing feelings like self-pity and sorrow out of him, he was left with confidence and pride. Pride in his job, his boat, his service, his nation. Confidence in his abilities, and the abilities of every crewman who wore the Dolphins. When the hatch was shut and the boat slipped beneath the surface, Death would smile. But the Submariner, full of pride and confidence, would smile back.

No young naive, submarines are not for everyone. Submariners are not a cut above the rest, they are cut from an entirely different cloth. There are average sailors, but no average Submariners. You are either qualified, or you're not. -- Bruce Tarleton

"There is something about the submarine service. It tends to create a bond between those who have served that is born of trust. Every submariner who ever put to sea and submerged has placed in the hands of another, their very lives. The bond is not one of close friendship, even though those do grow out of the time spent aboard a boat. It is one of mutual respect - blind to color, ethnicity, religion, nationality and gender. The bond is one of personal responsibility. Not everyone has it. Some don't even know what personal responsibility is. Submariners know what it is. It is their way of life. The trust and respect and sense of personal responsibility is.... "The Submarine Tradition..." -- Author and Historian Jim Christley, USN SS (Ret)

"I saw the submariners, the way they stood aloof and silent, watching their pigboat with loving eyes. They are alone in the Navy. I admired the PT boys. And I often wondered how the aviators had the courage to go out day after day and I forgave their boasting. But the submariners! In the entire fleet they stand apart!” -- James Michener, Author; "Tales of the South Pacific"

"There is a touch of the pirate about every man who wears the dolphins badge." -- Commander Jeff Tall, RN

"Submariners are a bunch of intelligent misfits that somehow seem to get along, understand each other, and work well together.” -- Red Hanley

"Submariners are a special brotherhood, either all come to the surface or no one does. On a submarine, the phrase all for one and one for all is not just a slogan, but reality.” -- VADM Rudolf Golosov of the Russian Navy

"These dolphins, once you pin them on your chest, leave deep marks, right over your heart, long after the uniforms have been put away.” -- Bud F. Turner ex-MT2(SS)

"They weren't just hull numbers, they were our home addresses. Now the old neighborhood is torn down and gone and all that is left are memories." -- Dick Murphy, USS Tiru (SS-416)

Link to The Men Who Walk Apart from the Submarine Veterans of WW II newsletter.

PigBoats.COM would like to thank our good friend and colleague Jim Christley, and our brothers at for the quotes.

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The photo for this truthful meme was taken by the webmaster of It shows the Auxiliary Division (aka the "A-Gang") of the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) Blue. The photo was taken in 1974 at the end of a very hard strategic deterrent patrol. Despite that, these men are in great spirits. The tight bond of the Brotherhood of the 'Phin is quite apparent here. Thank you to Mister Mac at for sharing this information.

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