So yesterday I completed my submarine officer qualification board. Today I had my dolphins pinned on me by my wife. It’s different having them on, I’m still not really sure what to make of it. For better or for worse you’re looked at differently by submariners if you are qualified in submarines. Unlike many other badges and awards you may encounter this one is still generally awarded only to those who deserve it and have completed all the applicable requirements.
In my case due to circumstances I had a patrol pin with 2 gold stars (indicating 3 alert deterrent patrols) without dolphins. Normally this is the sign of a junior officer who does not have the trust of his captain as you typically get dolphins after your second patrol. In my case the pin and first star were for half patrols, but it’s nice going from dirtbag to experienced junior officer in 15 short minutes this afternoon.
While researching this entry I came across a letter from an SSBN commanding officer briefly describing what it’s like to serve on an SSBN, which I thought was pretty good. You can read it at http://www.news.navy.mil/navydata/cno/n87/usw/issue_5/confessions.html if you’re interested.