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The Going Down Club - King Rat
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The Going Down Club
the submariner equivalent of the notorious 'mile-high club' for people having sexual intercourse on planes was the 'going down club.'

From: http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/node/15185

Alan? Commentary?
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laurelfan From: laurelfan Date: January 15th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

wikipedia tangent

I remembered that in the US navy women are not allowed to serve on submarines, so it was interesting that they do in Australia. So here's the results of my wikipedia tangent about women in submarines:


Women as part of crew

Norway opened up every function in the armed forces to women in 1985, making the Royal Norwegian Navy the first navy to allow female crew. The Royal Danish Navy conducted trials with mixed gender crews in 1985 and 1987, making no alterations to the sub, and allowed for female submariners in 1988.[8] Sweden followed after in 1989.[9] The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) began to allow female personnel in 1998 and thereafter Canadian Navy in 2002. Germany, Spain and Portugal also allow for females on all military functions, including submarines.[8]

In 1995, Solveig Krey of the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first female officer to assume command on a submarine, the HNoMS Kobben.[10]

The usual reasons for barring women is primness, given the lack of privacy and "hot bunking" or "hot racking", a common practice on submarines where three sailors share two bunks on a rotating basis to save space. The US Navy argues it would cost $300,000 per bunk to permit women to serve on submarines versus $4,000 per bunk to allow women to serve on aircraft carriers. However, this calculation is based on the assumption of semi segregation of the female crew, possibly to the extent of structural redesign of the vessel.[11]

The US Navy, which permits women to serve on almost every other ship in the fleet, only allows three exceptions for women being on board military submarines: (1) Female civilian technicians for a few days at most; (2) Women midshipmen on an overnight during summer training for both Navy ROTC and Naval Academy; (3) Family members for one-day dependant cruises.[12]
gkr From: gkr Date: January 15th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: wikipedia tangent

Another example of the U.S. being behind the rest of the world.
geekalpha From: geekalpha Date: January 15th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I've had this discussion several times with women who have wanted to serve on submarines. I agree with the current policy, and this is why.

1. If something does not increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the ship, it should not be done.

2. Submariner families are already extraordinarily fucked up and add incredible psychological stress on the crew, resulting in constant losses in trained personnel to distracting family drama.

Adding to the stress to psycho young wives left on the pier by adding young women to the crew, who share more in common with their husbands than they do, will just increase the already huge loss of psychological casualties.

I have zero doubt that women can do the job. I just don't believe that entitlement trumps effectiveness when there is a significant risk to the existing system. Submarines are a complex and expensive weapon system that is based entirely on the training and efficiency of the crew, it is not a social experiment or a right denied a protected class.

Unless the problem with submariner families resolves itself, I believe it would be irresponsible to make changes in the name of social progress.

In contrast, I do believe that women should be allowed in combat infantry and armor units, as long as they meet exactly the same standards as men. I think they should be entirely gender neutral. But I do believe that submarines are a special case as long as family stress is such a problem.
faerieburst From: faerieburst Date: January 16th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
"Unless the problem with submariner families resolves itself, I believe it would be irresponsible to make changes in the name of social progress."

It would seem that the navies of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Canada have figured out how to resolve the submariner families issue. Couple of those have been going on 2 decades now. Help me understand why if they can do it, we can't.

geekalpha From: geekalpha Date: January 16th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
"Help me understand why if they can do it, we can't."

No problem.

None of these countries operate nuclear submarines.

Nuclear submarines are fundamentally different in capabilities and mission than diesel submarines. They can operate at sea for months at a time without surfacing, and their role is as an aggressive offensive weapon. They are also extremely complex weapon systems that require extensive training to operate efficiently. Therefore even peacetime operations of nuclear submarines maintain an extraordinarily high operations tempo with long periods at sea (in the case of "boomers" (nuclear missile submarines) the operations are 3 months at sea submerged, followed by 3 months of the crew in port after crew change-out. For attack boats (like I was on) the op-tempo is random, but averages well over 200 days a year submerged.) with extensive stressful training and extensive time-consuming maintenance activities even when in port.

By contrast, a deisel submarine, like those operated by the nations you named, are defensive weapons. They can have a much more sane operations and training schedule while still maintaining an effective operational readiness, and they are deadly in home waters.

Which means also, that their operational missions are typically closer to home. On the other hand nuc subs frequently transit all over the world on their operational missions, and they stay on station much longer. Less time in transit and on station, also means less stress on the family.

We absolutely could do what they do. We could operate submarines the way they do. However, our submarine operations (really all of our military operations) are in support of our national interests, goals, and doctrine.

It would totally work if the United States adopted an anti-interventionist close-defense only naval posture, like the nations named. Understand that this would be a world-changing shift in global politics that make massive sweeping changes from top to bottom in the US government and the world. It would also make nuclear submarines stupid and too expensive to operate.

In short, we aren't Sweden.

There is a cost to being the superpower, like it or not.

Edited at 2009-01-16 05:03 am (UTC)
faerieburst From: faerieburst Date: January 16th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
"None of these countries operate nuclear submarines."

Ah HA! A fundamental difference. That I get, and hadn't even occurred to me when I was looking that stuff over.


geekalpha From: geekalpha Date: January 15th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

My answer is in two parts.

1. With the possible exception of some gay sex on the down-low, the opportunities to have sex on the boat at sea (particularly when submerged, which I will get to) are hideously few on a US Navy sub as things stand. For "dependent's cruises" where wives and families come aboard for a day-trip, this is possible and I know of at least one guy that's tried it, but there isn't much in the way of privacy on the boat under normal circumstances, much less when the crew is augmented by half again it's number in civilians. That pretty-much leaves the option of getting into a rack (bed) and hiding behind the curtain.

This raises another problem, one of physics. Specifically the principle that matter cannot occupy the exact same space as other matter. A submarine rack is 6' by 2' by less than 2' high (the 2' is consumed by the rack pan where you store your clothes, the 3" mattress, and an inconvenient foot locker and rack light). This barely leaves enough space for one person to sleep. In fact, the dead get better accommodation's, as a standard coffin is nearly twice the cubic space inside. One has to rack-out with some clever gymnastics depending on the rack location as it is, and a tall guy like me can barely fit in there to sleep on his side. Getting in there with another person, even if they are both small would be an adventure to begin with, but clothing adjustment of any sort is right out (since the light is on during dependent's cruises, you would have to deal with clothing in privacy you may as well fuck on the floor). Any penetration and thrusting goodness beyond that is even more unlikely.

I suppose the bathroom stall would be an option, but the privacy there isn't far from zero and even when scrupulously clean, the head has a vile odor because of the mechanical specifics of toilet design. In a word, ew.

If you aren't the Captain, or someone else with an office (supply or yeoman) and cooperation of shipmates, this is damn near impossible to do at sea without getting busted. So, I doubt there is any membership to a "goin' down club" in the US Navy, at least no heterosexual membership. Aussie subs are even smaller and have even less privacy.
geekalpha From: geekalpha Date: January 15th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

2. If you added women to the crew, obviously some things could change, but the idea of female crew trying to be sexy is brain-dead from the word "go."

a. Psychological stress. Yeah, so it sounds great that you could have some hot chick for those long nights at sea. But the stress of a sub isn't the confined space, rather it is all about the fact that you can't fucking escape the 120+ assholes you work with. If you've ever had to take a long drive with a surly griping girlfriend, I can use that as a starting place. Now imagine that neither of you have slept worth a shit for days, you both have been bombarded by abuse from rude assholes you can't escape. You both stink horribly. You are both dressed in in clothes reeking of days of body funk (when on special quieting, laundry and showers are secured). You have had to share a bed with some other sweaty surly stinky sailor, and every 12 hours or so, you have had to run around the ship carrying a firehose and an air-fed breathing mask while wearing a sweater, just to stay sharp, and you've spent your spare time cleaning oil out of a bilge while contorting your body to thread it through intervening equipment and pipes.

Now put that girlfriend into a tiny box with you for 6 hours out of every 18. This is not a recipe for hot sex. It is an invitation to murder.

b. Not sexy. The boat stinks. The people stink. Everyone is angry. You can't go a day without having to touch people (sliding by people in the passageway to get by). You don't sleep worth a shit, and you are always busy. This is not sexy.

Nothing like a romantic mid-watch looking out over the forward passage-way as the they begin to vent the sanitation tanks inboard! That's not romance in the air, let me tell you.

c. No-load motherfuckers. The first hot chick that bats her eyes at the Chief to get out of an unpleasant task is going to get that Chief fucking killed by the rest of his division. Let me tell you, after one week at sea, there is no sex on the planet good enough to get a crew-member to take another crew-member's watch. But there is always time for seething white-hot resentment and revenge for anyone that doesn't pull their load.

The worst thing anyone on board ever wants to be is to be considered a "check-valve." A check-valve only allows flow one way. You take the good deals, but don't pull your weight. Someone who gets that reputation becomes the focus of all of the entire crew's resentment. Stand by for spit in your food, being pegged in your rack, and being mummified in tape.

Basically, if a chick wanted to trade on her looks and gender, she had better bring enough for everyone, or life will be extremely unpleasant. And honestly, I say rightly so. With a crew of over a hundred, she would be a busy girl indeed.

There are ships in the navy less stressful than submarines that have acquired a reputation for young female sailors trading in sexual favors. Those crews have the worst morale in the navy. Fortunately, most ships like that spend most of their time at the pier, but for a submarine a crew torpid from the injustice and inequity of the system would just cause accidents that would get people killed.

So um, yeah, this is the stupidest fucking thing I have ever heard suggested. This guy is being funny, but he was either drunk or got his dolphins out of a cereal box.

Admittedly, Aussie submariners are a different breed. They are much more happy-go-lucky than nuc sailors, and they have smaller crews and less brutal deployment and training schedules. They also have a beer ration. Nonetheless, I just can't take this suggestion seriously.

This is an example of talking bullshit over a beer for a laugh, directed at people who don't know better.
gkr From: gkr Date: January 15th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Considering the suggestion was made in RALPH magazine, I wouldn't exactly take it as a serious proposal.
geekalpha From: geekalpha Date: January 15th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

The thought of this still makes my brain bleed.
(Deleted comment)
geekalpha From: geekalpha Date: January 15th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Correct assumption.

The racks have a storage space under the mattress frame (rack pan) that is hinged. To keep it from falling on your hands as you get your clean socks and whatever, there is a peg to hold it up. A couple of people together can lift the rack pan with someone sleeping on it and suddenly reduce the 24 or so cubic feet to about half that, pinning the hapless fucker in a way that he can't possibly get himself out without help.

It's funny if you do it. It sucks if it is done to you.
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