Sea Stories by Jerry Pait
USS Lafayette (SSBN 616) surface transits against the setting sun.
Author Jerry Pait, former COB (1978-1981) of the USS VON STEUBEN (SSBN 632) Blue crew, shares an excerpt from his upcoming book, title and release date to be announced.



We had been on patrol for about one month above the Arctic Circle when one of our Navigation Electronic Technicians (Nav ET) became ill. Years before, Ballistic Missile Submarines carried a full-fledged MD, plus a corpsman. Over the years of keeping records of crew member illness while on patrol, MDs were deemed unnecessary. Specially trained corpsmen were the only medical help onboard while on patrol for two and one-half months.

It didn’t matter. In all the years I made patrols, this Nav Electronics Technician (ET) was the only person ever to become sick. Well, we did have a man die, but we put him in the freezer. While submerged, we made our air and water. Moreover, as part of the ship’s ventilation system, machines called scrubbers and burners continuously cleaned the air. At the end of each patrol, we would surface and open the hatch. Fresh air stinks. Very few ever got sick on patrol, but we all got a sore throat or a slight head cold after being exposed to fresh air again.


U.S. Naval Institute News

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