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What makes a good submarine officer?

I asked this question on the thread for new chaps, but I wanted to ask it to submariners directly.

Besides professional competency what do ratings look for in an officer on submarines? I am considering applying to the logistics branch, but I want to get an idea whether I am suited to it.
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
OK - boats are different to skimmers - a lot different. There is (was) a lot less formality between upper and lower decks. I could tell an officer to 'do one' (while smiling!) and he would. The technical Senior Rates know A LOT and a good officer will integrate quietly and use this to further his own learning curve. You also need the guys onside when doing your Part 3..........

Regarding professional competency, rest assured if you are found lacking you WILL know about it!

Good luck!
 
Thanks Sonar.

Things such as respect for the expertise of your subordinates and professional competency go without saying.

My concern is that I am a rather considered and academic person. My style of leadership, as far as it has been tested and developed, is certainly more calm and personal than outgoing and spirited. I prefer to sit down and informally chat with some friends than go out partying until dawn. I'm concerned whether my character is desirable in an officer on boats. For example, I have been told I can come across as aloof until you get to know me and realise I am just very considered and caring. Part of what attracts me to becoming a naval officer are the pastoral and personnel development aspects, but I'd hate to launch myself into a career where the people I work with dislike working with someone like me!
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
The breed standard for my dog states 'Aloof with strangers' however, once you have tickled her tummy and get to know her she'll love you forever.

Just let the lads rub your tummy a bit..........!
 

off_les_aura

War Hero
Don't ask me! I think I cared too much about the lads welfare to make a good submarine officer. Just one of the many reasons why I left...
 

FunkyJunky

War Hero
the 'less formality' between the wardroom and ratings is not much different to what it is on Ships now.

certainly for more throbbing on boats than it used to be.
infact, many skimmers run far better daily routines than boats.
 

Sumo

War Hero
Pea in rum
One of my ex skippers was a mathematician, very quiet and quietly spoken, when all went to rats in the control room, you had to listen for the quiet voice, one or two orders from the quiet voice and stability and sanity were restored.
The qualifying process for boats will sort out if you are fit for boats, if you can pass all of them and get on with people you will do fine, and obviously you are not claustrophobic?
If you intent is the supply branch, then you will not do to many sea jobs,you may end up in shore roles looking after both submariners and skimmers.
 

Tui Bird

Badgeman
Starting as an EM1 , at 19, I was in the small electrical branch on the old 'A' &'T' boats , before Lt(L) s appeared jn boats , so the POLTO answered to the Jimmy and as long as you did your job as POLTO , you were pretty much left alone. In return you expected any officer to be a competent Officer of the Watch . Effectively representing the Captain having read his standing orders. Of course you expected much the same thing from the look-outs .Had little if anything to with the EO , but had the occasional run-in with a fierce CERA, over some ER/MR event as a young EM1 on watch alone in the MR . One CERA, I think, saved my life with a sharp ear and quick on his feet to shut down the starboard engine , just before the cylinder nearest the MR blew up while we were snorting . In my experience , they were the most important bloke aboard, both technically and inspiration . Unusual -- I was quite friendly with my last Jimmy , and we made the tortuous journey from DOLPHIN pier across the water to VERNON , through the gate and then the bus stop, he being saluted , me saluting --- otherwise just chatting about life in general --not the boat , A fine officer , but not the only one . On the whole I was treated with respect , especially as POLTO, and in return recognised the ward room was a different world and treated its members with respect as Naval Officers .
This of course was a long time ago , now I'm 85.

Advice to a young officer , think out what the navy expects of all its officers (and doesn't always get ) and do the job properly without presenting a false personality and treat the troops with respect, but firmly expect to be treated the same in return. Of course all this depends on everybody else playing the same game --- if not and its bad enough (often with arrogance ) put them on a charge at the first suitable occasion . Worked fine for me when I was first made POLTO and the LEM thought he could do as liked , despite my orders ( we were finishing a major refit in Pompey and tightening up discipline ready for commissioning.) .
Always remember you are an officer of the Royal Navy and make sure with easy firmness , everybody else does .
What not to do -- we came in after a long trip up North (spent a lot of time on the surface in those days ) and we had taken beating such that all the grey paint came off , just leaving the yellow undercoat. We had used the spare armature for the fuel separator , and as was usual went straight ashore to get a new one , so we were ready for sea , unlikely, but that was the rule. I was the POLTO as I figured the P---k in the store would move it along if I went . Half-way up the connecting pier at DOLPHIN a Subby pulled me up, in front of any crew around and ticked me off for having a button undone on my shirt . I tolerated the lecture from this lad and went on my way ---but at that point I knew it was probably time for me to make the decision whether stay (sign on) and do the Mechanician's course or leave the Andrew . There were other things , family etc , changing scene in boats and so on ,but this little incident involving young Naval Officer ( not a submariner ) that made up my mind as I realised I would probably punch the lights out of the next officer who humiliated me like that in front of our crew.
 

Trainer

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Quiet? Considered? Academic? Mathematician? The Training Management branch is waiting for you now. Be part of the intellectual glue that holds the rest of the Navy together. Help produce the extremely skilled Technical SRs that Sonar-Bender talks about. And the good news is that you can stream TM(SM). The best of both worlds.
 

slim

War Hero
Quiet? Considered? Academic? Mathematician? The Training Management branch is waiting for you now. Be part of the intellectual glue that holds the rest of the Navy together. Help produce the extremely skilled Technical SRs that Sonar-Bender talks about. And the good news is that you can stream TM(SM). The best of both worlds.
Plus less seatime than a Wafu, got to be good:p
 

Sumo

War Hero
Ask a Schoolie
saw one at sea once, he was the weather officer? and was trying to get his bridge ticket?

Forgot to add, used to think they were civvies in uniform, as they had no idea about the Navy?
 

Trainer

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Ahh yes, my dear Sumo, back in the day when Schoolies could become a METOC. They stopped that just before I joined, mores the pity. There have been several BBC weather presenters who made their first forays into the world via being a schoolie METOC. Dorcas Henry, who used to be on BBC South to name one. Now all done by the Droggies.

When you were serving Sumo, did the Schoolies have Blue inbetween the Gold on their rank Rings?
 

slim

War Hero
Ahh yes, my dear Sumo, back in the day when Schoolies could become a METOC. They stopped that just before I joined, mores the pity. There have been several BBC weather presenters who made their first forays into the world via being a schoolie METOC. Dorcas Henry, who used to be on BBC South to name one. Now all done by the Droggies.

When you were serving Sumo, did the Schoolies have Blue inbetween the Gold on their rank Rings?
Not in my day 66 to 85.
When I was on PO qualifying course my class were taught R.D.S. (radar Doppler S0nar) by a schoolie Lt name of Keith Richardson, he was magic and if the sun was shining we would go outside for a kick around. He frequently turned up with wife at P.O.s mess for a few wets especially if there was a social on. Keith was a fitness fanatic used to box and also trained with the FAA Field Gun Crew. He was most pissed off to discover that there was no way he could become a FAA crew member except as Gun Crew officer, he wanted to get to grips with the run not just salute the Royal Box at the start and end. Met him again on Ark Royal in 76, he hadn't changed except for an extra half ring.
 
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