Five days on a British Submarine

Posted by Rebekah
Oct 10 2010

The Flier story is drawing to a close here, but we’ll carry on for a while yet–the war has a year left to go through, the Redfin is still on patrol, and there are a number of Lost Submarines that have incredible stories as well as others.  So keep reading, there’s more to the stories.  While I’ll always be the Flier Project, any submariner will tell you that they are one large family, a band of brothers (and now, sisters too) serving on sister boats, so all these stories are, in a real way, related to the Flier.

Today, I found a great article in a British newspaper.  The Trident Submarines are the British equivalent of the classic Ohio Submarines in the US Fleet, and a journalist was given permission to ride aboard the HMS Talent on patrol for five days, as they escorted a convoy through the Suez Canal.  He specifically mentions Ramadan, which means this article was researched during late August through early September.   Despite the fact that the Talent is over 20 years old, the journalist believed that they were still supremely equipped to be top warships of the British military.

I saw a lot of similarities between this article and what I hear from American Submarine Forces.  They are still the Silent Service in many, many ways, watching in places where they shouldn’t be, helping with surface strikes but unable to take the credit for it.  In many cases, their family members still cannot know where they are.  I met one veteran once that said during his six month deployment, he was allowed to tell his wife where their midway port of call would be, and she would fly there to be with him, but how he got there, and where he would go between this visit and home, he couldn’t tell her.  His wife confessed she’d been in Japan, Australia, Brazil, several ports in Europe, and more.  It was one way that they could have mini “vacations” together, especially since contact between those times is still, today, so sporadic.  E-mails can only be sent and received when the submarine is at or near the surface, phone calls are even more rare.

This article also drove home a point that I’m starting to hear more often: the fact that since the submarine service, due to its very nature is top secret and cannot be publicly talked about, is starting to suffer from a lack of public notice and potential restrictions in budget.  Right now, unless the rules change, the US Fleet will start to retire more boats than they can build, and this in a time when India, Iran, North Korea, are starting to build or purchase submarines for themselves.    It’s a little scary out there, and these men deserve to not be forgotten.

The article was extremely well written, and gives a great flavor for what the world of these boats really is like.

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