When ships were made of iron and men were made of wood., March 11, 2004 A jolly good book. I give it 5 fish. One correction to something mentioned in an earlier review. Operational Reactor Safeguards Exams are not administered by the Mad Scientists of the Bureau of Naval Reactors. That would be like G-O-D himself coming to your Bah Mitzvah (and by G-O-D I mean, of course, R-I-C-K-O-V-E-R.) Besides, the Mad Scentists just push too many buttons. They inevitably have to be taped up and that becomes a sticky situation. In the author's day, ORSE's were graded in the Atlantic by the ORSE Board, which is comprised of staff weenies..er..I mean hot runners on the staff of CINCLANT. In the Pacific, they were graded by Ed McMahon and the crew of Star Search. Further, ORSE's are actually run by the crews themselves. That is done to give the crew ample opportunity to cheat. The ORSE board just show up, poke around, observe, eat the newly arrived fresh vegetables, drink the good coffee, watch movies, take Hollydood Showers, fill the toilets, sleep and finally pronounce judgement. Not bad work if you can get it. The book yet on submarine daily life, February 27, 2004 Forget the recruiting posters, movies, and Tom Clancy thrillers. Go below decks with Andrew Karam and see the daily life of a nuclear submariner from the inside "the people tank." Karam's descriptions of sleep deprivation, lousy chow and coffee ("the best in the Navy, but still not very good", he states) and the constant battle to train the junior-most officers may set the Navy's recruiting efforts back 10 years. Through it all Karam maintains his matter-of-fact, mature and occasionally bemused outlook on the most unusual and demanding world in which he dwells. He is a wonderful writer, without the swagger and jingoism of some of his contemporaries. He also presents the point of view of his fellow enlisted men, who know their boat and their jobs far better than the newly-minted Annapolis graduates to whom they answer. Buy Michael DiMercruio's "Complete Idiots Guide" for technical details, but by all means finish with Andy Karam's book to fully understand life abord these magnificent and deadly war machines. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Submarine life during the Cold War, January 19, 2004 I saw this book on the submarine list on Amazon.com, and decided to pick it up. I am very glad I did! This is an outstanding personal account of the author's time as an enlisted man on the USS Plunger, a 594 (Permit) class attack submarine, in the late 1980's. The author has written a "semi-fictional" account, based on a mix of his experiences and actual events during his underway periods on Plunger. He carefully avoids classified material, yet manages to convey a real flavor for the complex technical equipment and "interesting" people on board a nuclear submarine. We follow him, as a senior enlisted man, on the various duty stations in engineering, and learn a fair amount about the nuclear and steam propulsion systems along the way. Various operations are also detailed, including a tense trail of a Delta IV class SSBN in the Sea of Okhotsk, an area considered by the USSR to be "territorial waters". This is made doubly suspenseful by the fact that Plunger was an earlier model SSN and nearing the end of her lifespan, having been built in 1961, and her equipment was becoming increasingly balky and noisy. An interlude in which the submarine moves close (and in one case, too close) and photographs Soviet ships and submarines through the periscope is aptly described (the author doubled as the ship's photographer). After he develops and prints the highly detailed photos, carefully examining them for contrast and detail, the photos are accepted by the CO, stamped "top secret", and he no longer is cleared to see them! Along the way, we also learn of the day-to-day life on a submarine. The constant battle to grab sleep, the constant qualifications and equipment checks, and some reality checks on the food (yes, it's the best in the Navy, but apparently that's not saying much). Near the end, the crew endures an ORSE-Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination, a harrowing three day proficiency exam with the much feared Naval Reactors Group. The last chapter concerns taking Plunger on her final voyage to Mare Island, where she will be deactivated and scrapped just scant yards from where she was built 28 years before. A wonderful book that is somewhat reminiscent of Roger Dunham's "Spy Sub", but with more detail and depth of experience. Definitely a must-read! 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful: Now I know what it's REALLY like to live on a submarine!, March 30, 2003 I've read just about every submarine book out there, and they all left me wanting more authenticity. Then I read Rig Ship for Ultra Quiet. Unlike almost every other submarine book on the market, this one was written by an honest-to-God submariner, someone who was spying on the Soviets during the Cold War. And an enlisted guy to boot - one of the guys who did all the real work to keep the boat running. This book made me feel I was actually on a submarine for a "special operation", and I loved it! So maybe it's not non-stop action, but that's real life - and this book is about the reality of life underwater. You can read other books about submarines, but you can't read one that's more authentic and more descriptive than this one. 6 of 6 people found the following review helpful: Probably about the best book on daily life on a submarine, November 17, 2002 Reviewer: A reader from Melbourne, vic Australia I have been on a few submarines military and non military but I found the book quite interesting in giving me a feel of what daily life would be like in a military submarine. Be prepared the missions itself that he describes is quite boring.
You've seen The Hunt for Red October and wondered if it was real. Now you'll know. Rig Ship for Ultra Quiet - a book about submarines, written by a submariner. Read more about “Rig Ship For Ultra Quiet”