Besides sleep and bed, have you ever been in one particular spot for more hours than you care to admit?
This picture is really not what is described here, it is the actual control room from S1W. S1W is or was a prototype that the US Navy used to train sailors for nuclear power operations. It was built and operated in the middle of the Idaho National Laboratory.
The picture also has a striking resemblance to a Sturgeon 637 Class fast attack submarine maneuvering room.
I have to admit that the better part of 4.5 years were spent in front of one of these three panels, well at least 6 hours of every 18 hours.
Sure I have some really funny and/or thrilling stories but for the most part they really are a minute measure of Navy life and being on a submarine. I have some good memories of sitting in this room for many, many hours but most of that is because of the 3 or so people that sat in the room with me. I appreciate having worked with these men. There really isn’t a way to describe the bond that has been created between us. Our lives are intertwined because of those shared experiences. We can honestly and freely admit that we trusted our very lives in their hands. And in fact, we really did.
It will be 20 years in February since I completed my enlistment in the Navy. I walked away from one of the jobs that I enjoyed more than any I have ever had before or since. What I did was way up there on the cool list, but it required that I spend way more time away from my family than I wanted. I am glad that I did it but it has taken 20 years to get back to a job as cool as that one.
I am now building one of the coolest nuclear reactors that has ever been designed. I couldn’t be here without having had those 4.5 years of experience. I hope that this experience will be as much fun and I expect to learn just as much.