Submarine Force


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Feb 16, 2007
If I ever am accepted to the USNA, my main career choice after graduating would definately be the submarine force. Is this a competative area? It said that 94 men are chosen each year for this, which seems sort of low. Is this because it is competative or just not a very popular choice?
Due to the fact that the Soviet threat has decreased, it is a less popular choice than before. However, it is still a viable and challenging career. Actually, I think now they are offering a bonus for those who select subs so most who qualify, should, I would assume, be selected.
flyfish ... you might want to read a good book about a USN submariner ...

The Bravest Man by Wm Tuohy ... true story of Richard O'Kane, WW II's most "successful" sub commander. Very good read.
Submarines are not a very popular choice because once you get here everyone is very "motivated", god I hate that word. Everyone wants to go marines or pilot or SEALs so that they can go beat up the enemy. However subs are a wonderful career and definitely where the money is. Having been an enlisted submariner before getting to the Academy I have seen what life onboard is really like. Good luck with your application, I applied 5 times before I finally got accepted!
I have ONE word of advice to offer you, flyfish....


I'm going to slither away and sulk now, because I didn't follow that advice 21 years ago and I am STILL regretting it! :frown:
The number of midshipmen being selected for subs each year has very little to do with either popularity or competitiveness. It is called "The needs of the Navy". True, the Soviet threat has eased, but submarines, even though there will be fewer of them as the older ones are retired, are still a very viable and satisfying career. Again, the higher the class ranking, the better the odds of getting what you want.
The submarine force actually has had a problem over the last few years of falling short filling their available slots. One reason for this is in past years, if one had bad eyes and couldn't go aviation, they normally went subs or SWO. However, with the advent of PRK laser eye surgery, anyone that qualifies for this operation gets it, regardless of service selection asperations. This has opened the door to aviation to a lot more people who without it, would had had to go subs or SWO.
My understanding was that the purpose of the bonus was to increase the quality of the volunteer moreso than the quantity. We are probably saying the same thing.
I didn't mean to contradict you. You are exactly right about the bonus trying to improve quality. I was just stating a possibility for the low turnout for subs over the last few years due to PRK.
I think you both were saying the same thing - it makes sense that with the advent of eye surgery - the subs would lose a pool of very bright and capable officers that now can go aviation but otherwise would perhaps have gone subs.

However, I think the purpose of the bonus is to pay for creating a windowless room in your basement when you retire. Then you can spend your days down there wishing you were back on the sub. :wink:
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that I thought you were disagreeing with me. In my day, a history major would never have gotten subs. My cousin, this year, is just that, abeit a very high GPA one.

I am sure the bonus, whatever it is used for, is cost effective. The more 4.0 engineering majors they draw, the less the drop out rate. Sure, a majority of the middle of the class liberal arts majors will make it through, but not the same percentages as the top of the class. Hence the bonus.
You all know from my rantings how passionate I am about SubService. In the Nav, there are few things that are financially rewarding. SubService still pays higher that any other service in the Navy:

Submarine pay goes to service members who meet the minimum standard for time aboard a submarine, while they are actually serving on the vessel.
The monthly rates now in effect:
Years of service
Paygrade < 2 2 3 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 26
Commissioned officers
O-8* 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355
O-7 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355 355
O-6 595 595 595 595 595 595 595 595 595 595 835 835 835 835
O-5 595 595 595 595 595 595 595 595 790 835 835 835 835 835
O-4 365 365 365 525 595 705 705 705 790 790 790 790 790 790
O-3 355 355 355 510 595 705 705 705 705 705 705 705 705 705
O-2 305 305 305 305 305 305 425 425 425 425 425 425 425 425
O-1 230 230 230 230 230 230 425 425 425 425 425 425 425 425

Even the starving (jg) puts another $3600 in his pocket each year. HOWEVER! The work involved is substantial. USNA Grads from my era complained about the intensity and volumn of the material at NucSchool was much more demanding than most of the work at the Academy. I know from enlisted NucSchool that we had to duct tape our heads daily to keep them from expolding. When we finally hit the fleet, between engineering and sub qualifications, you were working 20 hour days underway. Add to that weps drills, engineering, drills, causuality drills and maintenance, it can be very grueling. That aside, a submarine is the closest group of seaman ever assembled. Average crew size is about 130-140 men. These people will be your shipmates for a lifetime. I still talk to a lot of the guys I served with every week. We still have the sea stories and memories after more that 30 years. Pride Runs Deep. Not one of us would have changed service.

My sales pitch for the pig boat is done!

Deep, Silent, Fast, and, Deadly
Pride Does Run Deep! Glad to see a fellow submariner, albeit from a time well before mine. I was a nuke and am now 2010 so its all possible. Going back to the pig boats if I can. 3 years and 2 deployments will keep ya interested.
:worship: FERGSONFIRE!

Glad you're hanging out here Ferg! C'mon old man.... You're not gonna be a Plebe too much longer. Say hey to your Mom from me.
I had every intention of going submarines. Spring leave first class year, we were asked if we wanted to do a sub "cruise" over break. Three of us volunteered. We went up to New London, were each given a 5 gal bucket of ice cream and met the boat as it pulled in. We immediately turned around for the most miserable three days of my life. Every one on the boat, from the Captain to the mess cooks, were the biggest bunch of assholes I have ever met in my life. Couldn't wait to get off and see if I could change my selection night preference.

Years later, I met the XO in Atlanta at a Navy-Ga Tech football game and we started talking. I mentioned my observations. It seems the boat had been on one of the "super secret" spy missions up into the rivers and bays of the USSR, had been detected, had gotten stuck on the bottom, thought they were going to have to surface in heavily trafficed Soviet waters to get unstuck, and in general, showed up at the pier in New London with the majority of the crew with their nerves totally frayed and thinking they were going to be met by their wives, not three scraggly assed mids with a bucket of ice cream each. Some days I regret my choice to change. Subs are amazing pieces of machinery with amazing missions.
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Hey Fergsonfire,

Just saw a propaganda flick on the U.S.S. Hawaii. I do envy you! Gotta ask though, do you guys still use neutrons for fision or do y'all have TV's for that too?

USNA69. Sorry to hear your iniation to Tubes was on the crusty end of a butt puckering deployment. Dealing with Ivan always got the sweat pumps up to high speed. I was room mates with an attack boat Nuc who made a couple Black Sea peek-a-boos. Guy was a mess after those patrols. He left the Navy and became a Baptist minister. I'm sure he was close to Jesus long before he began preaching the Gospel.

Please accept my apologies for my fellow Bubbleheads. Had you and the other Mids shown up after a "normal" patrol, you would have been treated graciously, at least until the ice cream ran out! Then you would have been detailed for the "bulkhead remover" and gruffly told to get a real job. I'm sure we lost an excellent prospect but the Helo squadrons got the prize!

You must have missed the sign on the sail: "Closed Club. Outsiders Beware" Once you broke into the club, life was good.


No need to apologize. I do tend to exaggerate a bit and have been telling this story for 40 years. I think the fact that I was 6'5" actually had as much to do with it as the reception we received. Those boats ARE small. But the guys on the boat were a mess. It had obviously, in retrospect, been a tough patrol.