My son is currently in DEP. He is considering volunteering for subs (as a YN) and he has a question. He has been researching the types of subs and thinks he has read that attack subs occasionally pull into foreign ports but boomers do not. He wants to know if this is correct? And what about guided missile subs? He would prefer a boomer or guided missile sub because he is married and he thinks this would maybe be a little easier for his wife but he knows he probably won't get to choose so he is curious about ports of call. Any info would really be appreciated.
Your son has done his studying well so far - that bodes well for him as a sub YN. He's correct with respect to boomers and fast attacks; SSGNs (the guided missile boats, two on each coast) do make foreign port visits, though probably a little less frequently than fast attacks. When they get to request though, at least historically, they can only request by home port, not the type of submarine. If they want a boomers and SSGN crews are homeported at Kings Bay, GA and Bangor, WA - tho the SSGN boats deploy out of Guam (for Bangor) and Diego Garcia (for KB - Diego is a British base in the middle of Indian Ocean). The crews fly from Bangor and Kings Bay to the boat for crew relief every several months, and the boats return to the mainland periodically when more involved maintenance or repairs are needed. Bangor (or Kitsap) is also homeport to two true fast attacks and a third boat that technically is a fast attack, but is very specialized with a crew that is pretty much hand-picked (the Jimmy Carter). Because there are only three fast attacks in WA and a slew of boomers, picking Bangor is most likely to land a sailor on a boomer. The homeports that are fast attacks exclusively are Groton and Norfolk on the east coast, San Diego on the west coast, and Pearly Harbor and Guam in the Pacific. Groton and Pearl together account for more than half of all the US Navy's fast attack fleet.
Thank you so much Mark, that is exactly what we needed to know. So on his dream sheet he would list Kings Bay first and Bangor second. Kings Bay would be awesome as we live about 6 hours away. Also I went to high school near there in Brunswick when there was still a Navy base there (my daddy was a TDCS and helped decomission the base in the mid 70's). My son researches EVERYTHING...but this has been a hard one to track down. I'll reinforce that he needs to work hard at A school so he might get his choice of station.
That was interesting info about the SSGN deployments too. I am familiar with both of those bases.
Glad I could help. Your son sounds like a great candidate for a job that is a lot more demanding than many realize. The yeomen I knew on the boats definitely had their share of smarts. You probably already know he'll attend his A school before BESS (sub school). I suspect he'll do well in both; BESS will be a lot of technical stuff about the systems on the boat - mostly fluid, mechanical, air, ventilation, hydraulic, and electrical. That will be a lot of memorization, but it shouldn't be too bad. Tell him he can practice by tracing out and drawing the plumbing, wastewater and electrical in your house - and if you have a crawlspace, by all means - get his butt down there to trace out the stuff there :)
I think he will do great. He was an astrophysics major - he was gonna be a nuke until MEPS decided he is "color deficient". So now he is going to be, as he puts it - the best damn yeoman in the Navy. After he got YN he went researching for a way to involve other skills and he found the sub option. It appeals to him because you learn other areas as well as your job. We didn't know that started at BESS. We also made him help us build our house a couple of years ago, the parts we did ourselves - electrical, plumbing, insulation, painting and tile. So he has practical experience as well. Since he didn't know to as for YNS when he signed his contract he is now trying to figure out how/when to volunteer for subs.
Thank you for this I information. My son is still in Dep but has volunteered for sud duty. His rate is SECF and he is hoping to get ETV within that rate. He wants to travel the world. I am excited for him but also very scared about him being gone for so long with no contact.
His ranking in his class also helps determine whether he gets his choice or not. The higher the better. My son just graduated ITS and they went down the rank (he was 4th) and each person picked which sub he wanted based on what was available. My son wanted fast attack but got the names mixed up and pick the H.M. Jackson which turns out to be the only boomer not named after a state. So he's on his way to Seattle. Probably should have paid more attention to that part of the "Intro to Subs". LOL.
That's a great story about your son. In my son's case he knows that his class ranking will be very important on his choices. It is a little different for YNS. All yeomen go to A school first, then the YNS ones go to sub school. Most other ratings are the other way around from what we understand. So he thinks it will be his ranking at A school that will matter but he is not entirely sure.
My son has been on Fast Attack for 3 years. The advantage is they get to stop in ports and he has some wonderful experiences in Spain, Norway, and Scotland. The disadvantage is they are often out for more than 6 months BUT they get to communicate with you when they surface.
Boomers are out for usually 3 months and little to NO contact with anyone. My son has a family now so he is considering boomer for his next assignment. Not sure if he will get it or not, he's been waiting awhile due to open heart surgery last September.
Submarine service is nice because the crew is smaller than a surface ship so they get to know each other and everyone works together on a lot of duties. My son is a nuke.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for that information. That is exactly what my son needs to hear. He wants to see as much action (as in being out to sea) as possible. He knows he has to do really well in A school to get a say in where he goes.
1. So submariners can switch between sub types? Is that easy to do (e.g. going from a fast attack to a boomer or vice versa) and can they only ask to switch after a certain period of time? Is it very common for the Navy to switch them with our the sailor asking?
2. So after School and based on class ranking, do sailors pick where they go by choosing which of the 3 sub types they prefer or which port they prefer? Sub type is mentioned above but thought I read elsewhere that they specify which port they want.