‘His eyes glazed over and went stiff and completely unresponsive, even when I snapped my fingers merely inches in front of his face,’ Glenn Johnson, former ET1(SS) aboard USS San Francisco (SSN-711) Los Angeles-class attack submarine.
As already explained, being on a submarine is not for everybody. As US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Khamani Conklin, Torpedoman’s Mate, aboard USS Maine (SSBN-741) Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine explains in the article Living in the Deep appeared on US Department of Defense website, you have to be able to be comfortable with no sun and no outside communication.
“Submariners are different from everyone else in the Navy. There is also a different kind of camaraderie down here,” he said.
Given the unique environment aboard submarines, as already reported [CLICK HERE to read the article about the sailor who had a mental break aboard a US Navy submarine during covert ops and ripped off parts of one of the cabinets that provided backup control of the nuclear reactor] submariners can lose their mind while they are stuck underwater for months at a time.
Glenn Johnson, former electronics technician and electronics systems manager ET1(SS) aboard USS San Francisco (SSN-711) Los Angeles-class attack submarine, told to The Aviation Geek Club;
‘We had a group of replacements report aboard and just put to sea for their first time. I was sitting with one of the “newbies” eating dinner.
‘The young lad was very inquisitive and asking questions when he pointed at a dial asking what that was. I told him it was a depth gauge, he leaned over to read it, looked at me and ask we’re at whatever depth. His eyes glazed over and went stiff and completely unresponsive, even when I snapped my fingers merely inches in front of his face.
‘I reached up behind me for a sound powered phone. Called up “Control – Crews mess have corpsman lay to crews mess.” The Doc poked his head into crew’s mess, with a few hand gestures I conveyed to the Doc the guy just tripped off line. The Doc disappeared for a few moments reappeared with a straitjacket laying on his shoulder and was drawing a sedative in a hypodermic. We put him in his rack and was heavy sedated until we returned to port.’
‘It is very startling to have someone go comatose in front your eyes.’
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Mark A. Leonesio