Oh, man…I was on the USS Simon Lake (AS 33) for a while (38 shop (and we hated working on the subs’ TDU’s)) and did a three-day sea trial on the 658 boat back in 1982 (while waiting to go to NPTU where I became nuke waste in short order). The angles-and-dangles was pretty cool, but the deep dive, seeing everything crush in around me…well, it’s impossible for any movie to do that justice, isn’t it? I decided to go surface. Not everybody can handle life on a sub.

My son was thinking of enlisting, and the recruiter took him with a group of other kids onto the USS Jimmy Carter (I’m sure you can guess why I was green with jealousy), and while they were being led through the boat, he asked one of the other kids, “Hey, you know what they do if someone dies while the boat’s on deployment, don’t you?” The other kid didn’t know, and my son told him “They put the body in the food freezer till they get back inport.” Yeah, the other kid didn’t take it so well…but my son got a big laugh out of me when he told me about it later.

No matter what NASA may think now, when it comes to long-term missions, life (and the command structure) on board is going to be more akin to that of a submarine. Nothing else even comes close. For interstellar journeys, the size and crew might even be much larger than that of a carrier, but life on board would still be in many ways that of life on a submarine.

I know you’ve got to be busting with pride with your son’s project. I know I would be! I wish him the very best of success, especially given the importance of his project!

(and yeah, I like my spinach too, yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk)

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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