Training Submariners

All U.S. Navy submariners are volunteers. At the Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut, they first learn the basic skills required to operate the complex equipment that fills a modern submarine. They also learn to deal with such emergencies as flooding and fire. They then proceed to more advanced training in their specialties. The Nuclear Power School, for instance, lasts a full year and includes both classroom and hands-on instruction.

But there is still a long way to go for the would-be submariner. Upon graduation, sailors are assigned to a submarine, where they enter a rigorous qualification program that may last as long as nine months for enlisted men, up to two years for officers. Only after passing a tough final exam that requires them to operate most of the ship's systems do they receive the coveted dolphin insignia of the qualified submariner.

Training for Accidents
As 1,200 gallons (4,500 liters) of water per minute spray from a ruptured pipe, two students in the "wet trainer" struggle to contain the leak. U.S. Navy Photo by JO1 Robert Benson

Fire Fighting
Nervous and excited, students wait to fight a live fire in the "fire trainer." U.S. Navy Photo by JO1 Robert Benson

A student inspects a submarine torpedo tube at the Torpedoman "A" School in Groton, Connecticut. U.S. Navy Photo by JO1 Robert Benson

In a simulated sonar room at the Naval Submarine School, students learn the basics of "seeing" the undersea world with their ears. U.S. Navy Photo by JO1 Robert Benson


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