Maybe you’ve seen some movies, oldies or more modern ones, like Das Boot or The Hunt for Red October, that deal with the weapon system called the submarine, but have you ever been onboard one of these menacing machines before? Most would have to say no, and what most of us know or think we know about submarines is from those always-intense movies about them.
The U-boats and submarines of WWII are primitive in comparison to the Ohio-class submarine that you are going to get a virtual tour of here. These boats are the biggest, baddest, most technologically complex, and advanced machines in the Navy’s command. You will get a sense of their size and their technological complexity here as well and then realize that it is all being operated, driven, and controlled by young sailors in their 20s and 30s, each one trained to the highest levels, chosen for their maturity and their ability to handle the stresses and strains that go with the management of one of the world’s most powerful individual weapon systems.
Your tour will take you through the various units on the boat, from the drivers of the boat to the mess deck and crew, the sleeping quarters to the torpedo and missile control rooms. It is truly a very complex, integrated engineering marvel with a destructive power that we can only hope will never have to be used.
I have been aboard a smaller, older, Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine before. It was incredibly tight, with confined spaces, but, again, engineered for efficiency, speed, and silence and armed with very powerful offensive weapons.
As a former Hospital Corpsman, I was interested to see what the sickbay looked like and how many Corpsmen were on board. The sickbay was a closet shared with another purpose. If something like an emergency surgery of some kind was necessary, the Captain’s mess table becomes the operating theater. There was only one Corpsman, obviously a senior Corpsman with considerable independent duty experience. Seeing that space and knowing that missions could go for weeks underwater at a time, it became eminently clear to me that submariners are a breed of their own and I was not made of that kind of stuff.
The Ohio-class submarines are much larger than the Los Angeles-class boats, and their missions are somewhat different. You will get a sense of that at the end of the video, when the weapons systems are explained, how the torpedoes are loaded aboard the boat and how they are loaded into the tub. Then you will hear about the missile systems and the complex process that must be gone through before a missile could be launched if that necessity ever came about. When you understand the destructive power that is on that one boat, you understand very clearly why such a complex fail-safe system is necessary.
The modern U.S. Navy submariner’s skill set and knowledge are consistent with the necessities of the modern highly technological engineering marvel of the Ohio-class submarine. These are not the “tin cans” of WWII. They are some of the most sophisticated machines ever constructed.
The motto of the USS Maryland (SSBN 738) is “Timete Deum Solum et Ignominium” (Fear only God and Dishonor). Its nickname is “Fighting Mary.”Whizzco