Published: September 22nd, 2008
Updated: August 20, 2014
One topic I don’t write much about is the Navy’s Silent Service, the Submarine Force. I have never stepped foot on a commissioned submarine and cannot speak intelligently about what its like to serve in that part of the Navy. I can tell you without any reservations that I haven’t met a submariner that didn’t love what they do.
When I was in NJROTC in high school, our enlisted instructor was a retired Master Chief Electronics Technician, who was Submarine Warfare qualified, and very proud of his “Dolphins.” It was not until the early 1980’s (as I recall) that enlisted personnel could earn a surface warfare device, enlisted submariners have earned and worn their warfare device since about 1924. He was the main reason I choose ET school when I joined. Don’t really remember what made me stay on the surface…
In today’s Navy, Submarine Programs (not including jobs in the Nuclear Field) include Advanced Electronics Field/Missile Technician (AEF/MT), Submarine Electronics Communications Field (SECF), Machinist Mate Submarines (MMS), Culinary Specialist Submarines (CSS), Store Keeper Submarines (SKS), and Yeoman Submarines (YNS). You must exhibit the highest standards of personal conduct and reliability involving the operation and maintenance of a nuclear powered submarine. Only those who volunteer for Submarine Duty can and will serve on those boats that sink on purpose!
Contrary to what many people might think, you can in fact serve on submarines if you are color blind. Understand though that you will be restricted to CSS, SKS, and YNS. Submarine service is currently only open to males (no exceptions), and you cannot have yet reached your 31st birthday (age waivers can be sought).
It should be no surprise that you must demonstrate a high level of maturity and emotional/mental stability to be accepted. Your MEPS physical is good enough for initial entry but you will undergo additional physical screening while at boot camp and Submarine School. Oh, and there is that sub pay to consider :)
As I mentioned, I am NO expert on Submarine Service but have found some solid resources which may help you get a sense of who chooses the Silent Service (I think I got a fair mix of officer and enlisted). Here is a good list to get you started;