Here’s a brief rundown of my naval career:
Silver Dolphins
Qualified submarines (April 22,1981)
My Basic Enlisted Submarine Qualification Card(1.8MB)
FBM Patrol Pin
10 FBM strategic deterrent patrols (2 silver stars)
Cold War Recognition

Naval classification: Fire Control Technician (Ballistic Missile Fire Control)
Job description: Responsible for Submerged Launch Ballistic Missile (SLBM) fire control system operation and maintenance.

  • December 18, 1978 – Signed up for delayed entry program in my senior year of high school
  • June 18, 1979 – Began active navy service
  • Attended Basic Training (boot camp) @ RTC San Diego, CA (June 1979 thru September 1979)
  • Attended Basic Enlisted Submarine School in New London, CT (September 1979 thru November 1979)
  • Attended Polaris Electronics “A” School in Damneck, VA (December 1979 thru March 1980)
  • Attended Poseidon Fire Control Technician (ballistic) “C” School in Damneck,VA (March 1980 thru September 1980)

Reported to USS James Monroe SSBN 622(Gold)
   Oct 20, 1980

Homeported in Charleston, South Carolina and made patrols out of U.S. Submarine Base Holy Loch, Scotland. During this time I crossed the Arctic Circle underwater, thus earning my designation as a BLUENOSE.

I crossed again (2 more times) several patrols later.

During this tour I made port calls in the following ports: British sub base – Faslane; Lisbon, Portugal (2 times); Naples, Italy; Plymouth, England.

Completed 8 strategic deterrent patrols under 3 CO’s
#49 – [Lisbon] Qualified my watchstation, qualified subs, worked as mess attendant (“crank”)
#51 – [Faslane] Qualified MCC supervisor
#53 – Bluenose patrol
#55 – [Plymouth] I survived refit 55 (you had to be there!)
#57 – 3 knots to nowhere…
#59 – Bluenose patrol
#61 – [Lisbon]
#63 – [Naples/Rome]

Feb 6, 1985 – Letter of Appreciation from CO, USS James Monroe

Reported for training at Trident Training Facility, Bangor ,WA
for Trident 1 Fire Control Technician Conversion course
(May 13, 1985 thru Sep 20, 1985)

Reported to USS Alaska SSBN 732(Gold) in Groton, CT
   (new construction) Oct 4, 1985

On 25 January 1986, the ship was commissioned at the Naval Underwater Systems Center, New London, Connecticut.
I am a USS Alaska plankowner.

In September 1986, USS ALASKA began her voyage to homeport Bangor, WA. We stopped in Cape Canaveral, FL and were at the same pier where recovery operations were taking place after the Challenger disaster a few days before. Transited the Panama Canal and made a port call at Alameda Naval Station, CA (where I gave my parents and grandparents a tour of the sub) then the sub proceeded on to SubBase Bangor. Earned certificate commemorating transit through the Panama Canal.

USS Alaska arrived at its new homeport in October 1986 and the Blue Crew conducted the first Strategic Deterrent Patrol in early 1987.

In July 1987, the crews visited their honorary homeports; Fairbanks, AK for the Gold crew. My Alaska state host flew me in a private plane from Fairbanks to Seward so I could give them a tour of the submarine which was manned by the Blue crew.

Completed strategic deterrent patrol #2
#2 – 3 knots to nowhere…

Reported to Trident Training Facility in Bangor, WA
   Sep 11, 1987

Strategic Weapons Team Trainer Instructor

This was a great duty assignment! Awesome team to work with! Fantastically fun working with all the crews as they cycled through the traininer. It certainly was nice to go home every night. A much needed break after 9 patrols.

Aug 28, 1989 – Letter of Appreciation from CO, Trident Training Facility, Bangor

Reported to USS Alabama SSBN 731(Gold) in Bangor, WA
   Mar 11, 1991

Completed strategic deterrent patrol #20
#20 – [Pearl Harbor]

An excellent Weapons officer and senior chief. Sure hated to bail on them – but it was time.

Sep 1991 – Letter of Commendation, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Advancement history
July 1981 – Advanced from FTB3(SS) to FTB2(SS) (E-4 to E-5)
July 1984 – Advanced from FTB2(SS) to FTB1(SS) (E-5 to E-6)
Jun 17, 1991 – Navy Good Conduct Award (3) – Gold stripes!
Jun 1992 – Was informed “post-active duty” that I finally made the cut on the E-7 selection board. Oh well.

Awards/Metals

  • Navy Achievement Medal
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (2)
  • Battle “E” (3)
  • Good Conduct (3)
  • National Defense
  • Sea Service (3)
  • Marksman

Terminal leave from Jan ’92 until separation on March 17, 1992. 12 years, 9 months active duty.

My claim to fame….
I estimate that in my 10 strategic deterrent (cold war) patrols I have spent about 2 years and 1 month underwater.

FTB1 (Fire Control Technician (Ballistic Missile)
Fire Control Technician (Ballistic Missile)
First Class (Submarine Service)

USS James Monroe SSBN 622(G)
USS Alaska SSBN 732(G) - Plankowner
USS Alabama SSBN 731(G)

“The Submariner”
(author unknown)

Only a sea-going submarine Sailor realizes the great extent an entire ship depends on him as an individual. To a landsman this is not understandable, to a surface Sailor it seems unjustifiable and sometimes it is even difficult for those of us on a submarine to comprehend, but it is very true!

A submarine at sea is a different world in herself, and in consideration of the protracted and distant operations of submarines, the Navy must place a tremendous amount of responsibility and trust in the hands of those men who take such ships to sea.

In each submarine there are men who, in the hour of emergency or peril at sea, can turn to each other. These men are ultimately responsible to themselves and to each other for all aspects of operation of their submarine. They are the crew. They are the ship.

Serving on a submarine is perhaps the most difficult and demanding assignment in the Navy. There is not an instant during his tour onboard a submarine that a man can escape the grasp of this responsibility. His privileges in view of his obligations are almost ludicrously small, nevertheless, it is the spur which has given the Navy its greatest mariners – the men of the Submarine Service.

It is a duty which most richly deserves the proud and time-honored title of …. Submariner.

U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc.
USSVI USS Holland SS-1 Gold Country

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Dave's Jeep

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    Began: Sep 11 '09
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    Goal: Jul 4 '11

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