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Submariners are a curious breed. One one hand they are collectively some of the smartest people on earth and make up the most deadly and indestructible part of our nation’s arsenal. On the other hand, they are a little defensive about being labeled as geeks.

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They aren’t, of course. They undergo one of the most intensive screening protocols around just to get into the service. That makes sense, since they will serve on complex and deadly vessels run by nuclear power and – especially in the case of the SSBN force – handle enough destructive power to render a big part of the world a wasteland. You don’t fool around when you are dealing with that kind of responsibility.

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Most of us have an image of the terminally serious submariner, focused 24/7 on remaining invisible, yet poised at any time to strike. I am not so sure that is the complete picture.

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What we forget is that the men and women in the submarine force are people, after all. They can make mistakes too.

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Which makes it all the more remarkable when you think of the history of the submarine force and the nearly perfect record of performance it boasts over the years.

U.S. subs are the best in the world and have been for a long, long time. So as far as stereotyping the people who serve in them, I wouldn’t worry about bruising their egos. They’ll be just fine. Besides, they tend to stereotype too.

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Or as the submariners will tell you, everyone else is just a target.


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