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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Alpha to Zulu, Submarine Style



I've seen this one a few times now, and so it's my turn.  I'm getting this one specifically from The Thrifty Military Wife - Check her out!.  Mine will definitely be specific to my life, so there will be Submariner lingo in here.  Feel free to read and learn, and probably laugh at those silly Bubblehead boys.

ALPHA
Adjustment - I think a lot of people don't realize that day to day life is simply different for a military spouse.  Yes, many things are the same.  Many of us still hold jobs and take care of the house at the same time.  We go to church, we have dinner with friends, we walk the dog.  What is different is that our lives are so much more likely to change over the course of a year than a "normal" person.  Every new phase is a huge adjustment.

BRAVO
Boat - A submarine is not a ship, my friends, it is a boat.  Jason explained it as "Ships have sails". I don't know how accurate of an explanation that is, but whatever.  Not that most Submariners would actually say anything when you ask "What ship are you on?", but mentally, they are correcting you.

Bubblehead - Slang term for Submariner.  I'm not positive on this, but I'm pretty sure only other military members are allowed to use the slang.  If you are a civilian, please don't refer to a Submariner as a Bubble Head; You might get punched.

CHARLIE
CO (Commanding Officer) and Captain - The Navy gets confusing.  In the Navy, Captain is the rank of O6, which is the same as Full Colonel in the Army or Air Force.  Captain is also what a Commanding Officer is referred to as when he is the CO of any sea-faring vessel, regardless of his rank.  So, our CO's rank is actually Commander (O5), but he IS the Captain.  Confusing?  Yes.

City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) - This is the Los Angeles Class Fast Attack submarine to which Jason is attached, and will be until 2012.  

DELTA
Daughters - It's common lore among the Sub force that Submariners produce daughters more often than they produce sons.  In fact, in our command the ratio falls pretty heavily on the side of girls verses boys among the children.  I've heard that it's because of the radiation a Submariner receives underway.  I've also heard it's because of the stress.  Either is probably a viable answer, in my opinion.

ECHO
Ensign - This is the lowest rank for an officer, at O1.  It's what his/her rank is when he/she first leaves Officer Candidate School.  An officer remains an Ensign for 24 months after graduating from OCS, at which time he/she is eligible for a promotion.

FOXTROT
Friends/Family - Those words could be interchangeable for any military spouse.  When you live thousands of miles away from your biological family, your friends become your family.  They watch your baby so you can run an errand.  They come over and help fix your drier because your husband is deployed and can't do it.  They lend you a car because you've had to ship yours to Hawaii since you are moving there next month.  One of the coolest things about military spouses is that they can become your new best friend so quickly.  I've seen women go from "Hi, my name is _____ and I'm new to the command." to "Hey, can you come pick me up from the airport?" in a matter of a week.  Where else have you ever met someone and become good friends so quickly?

GOLF
Go Navy! - I use this one a lot.  It's supposed to be in reference to the Naval Academy, and  usually in the context of a football game against West Point.  I use this it when I'm aggravated by the Navy, so it's usually dripping with sarcasm.

HOTEL
Horse and Cow- Famous among the Sub force, the Horse and Cow is the submariner bar.  There are at least three that I know of; Guam, Bremerton (Washington) and San Diego.  Want to hear the Submarine Song?  (because I'm sure not posting the lyrics...)  Visit a Horse and Cow!

INDIA
Irresistible - A Sailor in his whites.  'Nough said.

JULIET
JO - Junior Officer - Officers are divided into Junior and Senior, as are enlisted personnel.  Junior Officers are the Division Officers, and Senior Officers are never called that.  On board a submarine, the senior officers are Department Heads (Engineering Department, Navigation Department, Weapons Department), the XO (Executive Officer) and CO.  

KILO
Khakis - the term used to describe senior enlisted or officers, because they wear khaki colored uniforms.  The Navy is slowly moving away from khakis to the digital blue camouflage uniforms, and I'm glad.  Though while in the blue camo uniform, officers and senior enlisted (Chiefs) still wear khaki belts to distinguish.

LIMA
Lieutenant Junior Grade/Lieutenant - The ranks of O2 and O3.  As usual, then Navy is different from other branches in this way.

Leave - A military member's vacation time, known in the Sub force as a once yearly occurrence.  Not really, I guess, but it sure seems that way.  I once heard the Base CO in Guam say, "I want all of my Sailors to be able to take their leave.  They earn it, they should be able to use it."  When he said that, a bunch of Sub Ombudsmen started to giggle.  The CO realized who it was laughing and said, "Yeah, I can't even touch the Sub force.. Sorry."     

MIKE
MA - Master at Arms, otherwise known as the Navy police.  So for future reference, the police at the gate of a Naval base aren't MP's, they are MA's.

NOVEMBER
Nuke - A Sub or Surface crewmember that works with and can be in charge of the nuclear reactor.  Being a Nuke means you went to school for an additional year after Boot Camp or Officer Candidate School.  No doubt, Nukes are smart.  My husband is one of the smartest guys I've ever met in my life.  Nukes also tend to be extremely nerdy, video game playing, socially awkward freaks.  But we love them anyway :)

OSCAR

Ombudsman - The Navy and Coast Guard have this wonderful program for families called the Ombudsman Program.  Ombudsmen are volunteer liaisons between the families and the command.  Especially when the boat is out to sea, the Ombudsman's job is to help family members receive information.  The Ombudsman relays information such as port calls and homecomings, as well as helpful information such as who you need to talk to when your husband's pay is screwed up.  I am one of the Ombudsmen for our command, and I really enjoy the position.

OPSEC - Operational Security - This refers to the rule that basically covers everything from why Jason can't tell me where the boat was or what it did during mission, to why I can't tell you when the boat will pull into port.  So when you ask "When will he be home?", OPSEC is the reason I can't really say.

PAPA
PCS - Permanent Change of Station, or a military move.  When a military member has been given orders to a new command (usually between every two and three years), the PCS begins.  It encompasses everything from having movers come pack your belongings to another set of movers unpacking for you at the new location.  

Poopy Suit - The blue coveralls that Sailors usually wear while they're out to sea.  They basically look like a Navy blue flight suit with a belt.  They can't be worn away from the pier, and since the Navy has introduced the blue digital camo, they can't be worn off the boat at all.

QUEBEC
Quitting Time - The set, scheduled time of day when a Submariner gets to leave the boat and go home to his loving family.  Just kidding.  There is absolutely no such thing on a Submarine.  I see all this traffic on base every day between 1530 and 1630, and it baffles me.

ROMEO
Rumors - HOLY MOLY!!  I've never been in such a rumor-filled environment in my entire life.  You'd be amazed at how quickly a rumor can start and run rampant.  I've heard some that have scared me, and I've heard some that made me immediately roll my eyes.  They usually involve the boat schedule, but occasionally there are some pretty juicy stories of how wives spend their time away from their husbands.  I tend to ignore both varieties.  People have too much time on their hands, in my opinion.

SIERRA
Seabag - The huge green canvas bag(s) that a Sailor takes with him to sea.  In my house they are the forebearers of despair because they only come out of the closet right before deployment.  They are also a little bit like Mary Poppin's bag, in that they can hold anything.  Seriously, they are constructed to hold up to 150 pounds.

Shore Duty - The mythical place Sailors go when they aren't attached to a sea command.

TANGO
TLD - Thermo Luminescent Dosimeter - Worn by Nukes on their belt to determine how much radiation they receive in any given amount of time.  

UNIFORM
Underway - The general term used to describe when the boat is actually moving.  It could be a deployment (also called a mission), training, or moving from one port to another.  So if the boat has moved from any port, it is officially underway.

VICTOR
Veterans - Both Jason and I come from military families.  Both our fathers are veterans; his Navy, mine Air Force.  Both of my grandfathers are veterans; one Army and one Air Force.  

WHISKEY
Wardroom - Officer's mess, or dining room, also used to collectively refer to the officers in a command.  There are Wardroom functions and gatherings.  I also use the term to describe officer's wives.  For instance, "We only have three JO wives in the Wardroom right now, and only one Department Head wife.  In total, there are only four Wardroom wives in Hawaii."  For an officer's wife, the Wardroom can really be her family.  I am really excited about the ladies who are joining us since we have lost a few over the past few months!

X-RAY
XO - Executive Officer, second in command under the Commanding Officer.

YANKEE
Yellow Ribbons - I don't think this one needs explanation.

ZULU
Zero-dark-thirty - The time of day a Submariner typically has to be on board the boat for start up duty.  Start up is literally starting the nuclear reactor, and must happen before a boat can go underway.



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