21 months later...


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Mar 11, 2007

21 months later, I've got my brother back. :).

Welcome home Frankie!
Adding a welcome home for your bro as well. AND a HUGE thanks for my new awesome signature! Thanks CA!
Hey CAnderson:

Thank your brother for us for his service to our country! It's great that he's home and well.

Question. Was your bro a Submariner in a previous enlistment? Couldn't help but notice the Silver Dolphins under his fruit salad.
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Hey CAnderson:

Thank your brother for us for his service to our country! It's great that he's home and well.

Question. Was your bro a Submariner in a previous enlistment? Couldn't help but notice the Silver Dolphins under his fruit salad.

For some reason during his pursuit of his MOS 18E, he went to sub school. Very sharp eyes SubSquid.
For some reason during his pursuit of his MOS 18E, he went to sub school. Very sharp eyes SubSquid.


Here's a quick thumbnail sketch about how one earns (SS) qualification.

1. All volunteer. Must request Submarine service and have an NEC that is needed on Subs.
2. Must pass a battery of tests that measure appitude and intelegence necessary to be a Submariner
3. Spend a lot of time in front of a Psyciatrist to find out if your nuts enough to live under water, but stable enough not to be nuts.
4. Go to Club Groton and sleepwalk through basic SubSchool. Learn how to go Ho Ho Ho in a 40 foot grain silo, plug leaks in a wet tank and put out Torpex fires.


If you still think you want live the life:

1. You are assigned to a division on a real smoke boat. You are a NUB.
2. You spend a minimum of six months under way at which time you will:

a. Begin by qualifing on a watch station in you speciality
b. Begin an intensive ship's qualification program that will make you capable of doing a lot of jobs, not within your sepciality.
(I was a Nuc. I can still load and fire a torpedo including Mark 48's. I can stand helms and planes and was later qualed on dive as a watch stander. I qualified in Sonar and was at least capable of receiving a "Flash" in radio. I could line up and fire the nuclear nastys in the middle of the ship. I could maintain 02 generators and C02 scrubbers. All of this and qualify up to my maximum watch as EOOW running and maintaining a billion dollar S5W/S3G core 3 nuclear power plant)
3. After your ship's qual card is complete, you stand an oral and written exam administered by the COB (Chief of the Boat) and the CO/XO. The oral is a pass/fail and if you don't know the gouge, you don't become a Submariner.

I'm sorry to say that attending SubSchool doesn't earn you a pair of dolphins.

Submariners are a very closed society and very protective of our badge of excellence. I have friends who earned the "Anheiser Bush" pin and would do great harm to anyone that displayed that badge and did not earn it. Submariners are slightly more laid back (see psyciatrist above) but are no less protective of our badge of honor. Please ask your brother to remove those dolphins if, indeed, he is not Submarine Qualified.


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Please ask your brother to remove those dolphins if, indeed, he is not Submarine Qualified.

Yeah I've got to admit making such an unsubstantiated assumption is very unbecoming of you. I would not be suprised if the Army does send a few of their Special Forces Communications NCO's to SS.
Frankie enlisted when he was 18 years old, and after completion of Basic was REQUESTED to be sent to sub school because my late-father (also an 18E) told him that it would look damn good for him when he was finally old enough to attend SFQC, he already had a basis in communication, especially tricky communications such as Sub Comms. So, with that being said I would greatly appreciate it, subsquid if the next time you feel you are going to attempt to remove someone's hard earned awards, you do it in person. He is home for a while, if you'd like you are MORE than welcome to attend a family BBQ and tell him for yourself that he didn't earn those dolphins, but bought them surplus. While you're at it, why don't you tell my grandfather he didn't earn his airborne tabs or better yet! why don't you tell my uncle that he didn't earn his silver star in 'nam! We would love for you to attend!

My point is Sub, being a vet yourself you should understand that every soldier has his/her own story. Everyone has their own struggles and trials. With that being said, how would you feel if someone questioned the awards you wear on your chest? No matter the size of the award, it was still earned...not given and should never be called into question by ANYONE.
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. So, with that being said I would greatly appreciate it, subsquid if the next time you feel you are going to attempt to remove someone's hard earned awards, .

Read my post again, this time for content and curb your attitude. Dolphins are not earned at SubSchool. I will never deny any man his due for awards that are earned as proscribed. Thank your Uncle, Grand Father for their service to our country and my thanks to you for your late father's service.

The point that SubSquid was making, and rightfully so, is that attending sub school is only a very miniscule part of the requirements for earning the right to wear the dolphins and call oneself a submariner. Nuclear Power School and Nuclear Prototype School, the most demanding academic coursework in the military, followed by on-board qualification of every system on the boat, accomplished during non-working hours, often requiring upwards of a year of hard work is the required route. To state that someone earned the right to wear dolphins by merely attending a one month sub school in Groton, Conn. demeans the efforts of every submariner who proudly wears his hard-earned dolphins.

The following is a synoposis, written by a submariner, on the requirements to qualify in submarines and subsequently be authorized to wear dolphins. There ARE NO shortcuts:

A “how to” guide for qualifying in a U.S. Navy Submarine
by Kevin T. Flatley CS2/SS USN.

(Insert your name here.) “Having successfully completed the rigorous professional requirements for qualification in submarines, having gained a through knowledge of submarine construction and operation, having demonstrated his reliability under stress, and having my full confidence and trust, I hereby certify that he is qualified in submarines”… These words mark the end of the long road towards submarine qualification. The process by which one gets to this moment is a difficult one. Qualifying submarines is a task that takes hard work, long hours, and above all, dedication. Completion will grant you entry into a unique brotherhood, and give you the kind of pride that only comes with having accomplished something bigger than yourself.

A submarine crew is much like a family. Everyone knows each other by first name, formality is largely thrown aside, and there are no secrets. When a new man first arrives he is looked at like an in-law, he is a “non-qual.” The Navy has assigned him to the crew but everyone wants to know if he is really going to fit in. He must prove his worth through qualification. During this process he must learn all of the major ships systems and their components, how to draw them, show how they work, and learn how to fight any possible casualty from fire, to flooding, to poison in the air, on every level of the boat. This is done in order to ensure that when the boat is submerged every crew member can be relied upon to know what to do in case of an emergency. If the “non-qual” accomplishes this task he will be then become qualified, will be awarded the Navy’s submarine warfare pin, also known as dolphins, and will become a full member of the crew.

A non-quals first day onboard any Navy sub is intimidating to say the least. Upon a new man’s arrival he becomes the most junior and most inexperienced member of a very highly trained crew. When he first arrives he is given his qualification card and is assigned his “sea dad.” This person is a qualified member of the crew that will help guide the “non-qual” through the qual process. The qual card has all the systems the he must learn listed in it with a signature block next to it. When he is done studying a particular system he must go to a crew member that works directly with or on that system and get a “check out.” This is a verbal quiz designed to test knowledge of a particular part of the boat and once that crew member feels you have all the knowledge required he will sign your card. This process will be repeated over 70 times on the road to qualification. Each non-qual is given only nine months to complete this task and he is expected to complete at least three to four check outs per week.

The qualification process is not only a mental challenge, but a physical one as well. Qualification can only be done on a non-quals “own time,” meaning after he has completed all of his regular work. The submarine, while at sea, works on an eighteen hour schedule that rotates through three six hour watches. Six hours are spent on watch, the other twelve are “off time.” This is a very general term though. There are ships drills scheduled during this time that are designed to test the crew on there abilities to fight casualties. There are also long lists of maintenance that each crew member is assigned in order to keep the boat running. This means that the six hour period normally used for sleep by most qualified crew members must be used for “doing quals” by non-qualified members. The small amounts of entertainment that are available to the crew, such as movies or card games, are off limits to non-quals. All of a non-quals free time is to be dedicated toward qualification. If a non-qual is unable to keep up with the minimum amount of signatures that are required each week, he will then be designated as delinquent, or “dink” in his quals. In this case, a non-qual will be required to muster for an extra two hours of supervised study time after he has completed all of his other tasks. He must continue to do this until he catches up on his minimums. For extra motivation through these slips, the non-quals sea dad is also made to muster with him during this period. Suffice to say, most men stay dink for very short periods of time.

As a non-qual nears the end of his qualifications he is then required to do a “walk through” of every level of the ship. This is a process where a senior member of the crew walks with you through each level of the boat and asks you to identify and explain the uses for all the equipment on that level. Once this is completed, the non-qual is then given one to two weeks to study for his final board. This is the final step before becoming qualified and it is by far the most difficult. In the oral board, three senior enlisted men, each experts in different parts of the boat, and one of the boats officers will give the non-qual essentially, one large check out. Every major system is reviewed in depth in order to see if the individual can put all of his knowledge together at the same time. This process can last anywhere from three to six hours, on average, and is the culmination of many long months of work. It can be a moment of joy and relief for those who pass, or a time of disappointment for those who do not. Each non-qual is given three chances to pass a final board.

Once the final board is completed it is now time to be recognized. The crew that has pushed this man, sleep deprived him, and treated him like an outsider is now all lined up at attention to honor and welcome him into there ranks. The Captain of the boat pins the submarine dolphins to his uniform and presents him with the submarine qualification certificate. This is truly a moment of enormous pride and satisfaction for those who get there. It is the culmination of a not only a process of learning, but also of acceptance into an organization that is larger than yourself. He will from this moment on always be able to call himself a submariner, even long after he hangs up his Navy uniforms.

Qualification in submarines is a daunting task. However, once finished you become part of a fellowship that can only be understood by those who have done it themselves. That can only be truly recognized by the very small and special group of men that have the pride and honor of calling themselves SUBMARINERS.

And please, there is no need to challenge anyone to a dolphin removing bbq. Hopefully you are incorrect as to the manner in which your brother earned the right to wear the dolphins.
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Merely stating he attended sub school was the wrong context I should have used, correct. He earned the right to be a comms tech on subs, by doing multiple things. The school included. Subsquid, It appears we're getting off on the wrong foot and that is something I do not want to see. My appologies for understating the amount of work required to be a submariner, and thank you for your words about my family. I hope there will be no hard feelings between us.