and restricted communications posed potentially severe morale problems
for married submarinersabout half the enlisted men and two-thirds of
the officersand their families during the Cold War. SSBN patrols typically
lasted 60 to 80 days, while SSNs normally deployed for six months. During
the height of the Cold War, communications between ship and shore were
extremely limited for security reasons. Periodically, submarines received
a single message called a "familygram" with family news for all crew members.
Each family had space for only a few words, and it was strictly one-way;
no one on board could be allowed to respond. Nowadays, when operations
permit, e-mail may provide some relief for divided families, but long
separations remains one of the hardships of submarine life.
"Familygrams" were little more than postcard-length messages from family
to crew, infrequently delivered.