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New US Subs Trade Nukes for SEALs

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Written by Basil on 03/6/2008 9:43 PM. Filed under:

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When I was in “A” school, I really wanted to be on one of these, the best of both worlds of submarine life: the large, spacious living of a Trident submarine with the missions and port calls (we all hoped) of an attack submarine.

The Ohio is the first of a new class of submarine created in a conversion of 1970s vessels by trading nuclear-tipped ICBMs for conventional cruise missiles and a contingent of commandos ready to be launched onto virtually any shore through rejiggered missile tubes – against conventional forces or terrorists.

The sub’s cruise across the Pacific comes as China builds its submarine fleet into the region’s largest as part of the bulking up of its military. The voyage is the Ohio’s first deployment since the makeover, and Hale is in the odd position of showing the ship off.

It’s odd because the sub is all about stealth.

Hale can’t talk about where the ship is going. The back of the ship, where the nuclear power plant is located, is off limits. The leader of the SEAL commando contingent aboard can’t be named and the commandos themselves can’t be photographed in any way that shows their faces.

Read it all: New US Subs Trade Nukes for SEALs

The article mentions that Tridents are larger than attack submarines, but “still cramped.” Harumpf. No one ever hot-racks on a Trident. Ever. And apparently, the main passageway on a Trident is wide enough to allow for the span of a man’s arms. Mind-boggling. I have intentionally avoided the opportunities to “see the other side” that have come my way.

After reading most of this article (asking myself, “Does it have decent information for family and friends, or is it degraded beyond usefulness?”), I went surfing and found this video of the famous Typhoon class submarine, featured most memorably as the Red October in the movie and novel by Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October. (The music in the video is Basil Poledouris’ “Hymn to Red October,” from the film score.) Although the fictional submarine is named after the relatively recent revolution, Russia’s actual ships bear names from far deeper in their history — names like Dmitri Donskoi and Yuri Dolgorukiy.

Submariners are the same the world over, it seems, wearing coveralls and “underway sweaters.”

As for the title of the AP article… If only we could “trade nukes for SEALs”! (Submariners and airedales will get the joke.)

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One Response to “New US Subs Trade Nukes for SEALs”

  1. Theodora Says:

    Basil, with great respect and I know you’ll understand…I wish we didn’t need, or think we need, things like this. As much as I deeply appreciate the military people I know, like you and my own Sister Sailor and Brother Pilot (although he never got within earshot of even potential combat), I wish you didn’t exist. Not personally, of course!

    Saw in the newspaper this morning where they caught the Merchant of Death, the Russian guy who sold arms to all sides in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, *including* the US. The US both wants to extradite him and doesn’t want to, because if it does, all our dealings with him will come out. All I could think is, “This is f***ing nuts. If people could stop shooting at each other for a few weeks, just long enough maybe to let the adrenalin die down, what might we achieve?”

    Anyway…incredibly interesting as nuclear submarines, Coast Guard cutters, and Air Force fighter jets are…I wish they didn’t exist.

    Again, great respect and appreciation for you people on deck.