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  U.S. Navy Museum Cold War Gallery Covert Submarine Operations
Life On Board

Nuclear-powered submarines can operate submerged for months at a time. Submariners are all volunteers, rigorously tested before being accepted for service. Even more than in conventional submarines, the physical and psychological stamina of the crew on nuclear-powered submarines becomes a crucial factor. On long-lasting patrols, they must deal with being largely cut off from the outside world - including their families. Crew members live inside a pressurized hull filled with the machinery needed to keep them alive and allow the ship to function. They must make do with the cramped spaces between the machines, enjoying little open area or privacy. The submariner's day lasts 18 hours: three six-hour watch cycles, one on and two off. A crew member stands a duty watch, then has the next 12 hours for everything else: repair and maintenance tasks, study, relaxation, eating, and sleeping. Then it's back to the duty watch.
 
 

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Educational Videos

play videoSubmarine Mess: "Pride Runs Deep" (1978):  This short segment from the 1978 CNO SITREP "Pride Runs Deep" shows the food enjoyed by sailors on board a ballistic missile submarine. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section UMO-40.

play videoSubmarine Life: "Our Crucial Deterrent" (1973):  Good food and cramped quarters on board submarines are the topic of this clip from the 1973 U.S. Navy film "Our Crucial Deterrent. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-23.

play videoSubmarine Interior: "Our Crucial Deterrent" (1973):  The interior layout of a ballistic missile submarine is explained in this clip from the 1973 U.S. Navy film "Our Crucial Deterrent. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-23.

play videoTraining: "Our Crucial Deterrent" (1973):  Training of submarines is the topic of this clip from the 1973 U.S. Navy film "Our Crucial Deterrent. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-23.

play videoTraining: "Pride Runs Deep" (1978):  This short segment from the 1978 CNO SITREP "Pride Runs Deep" describes the training required for submarine service. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section UMO-40.
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