Guest column: I have these friends

There’s a lot those of us who served can or cannot say about our days as ssubmariners, writes Jim Huston.

Many U.S. Navy personnel came through this area for training and qualification and/or as operators/instructors at the various prototypes at the Idaho National Laboratory’s Naval Reactor Facility.

Many are still here.

Some of us meet once a month. We wear our vests, say a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and remember our brothers who are now on “Eternal Patrol” - those lost at sea during wartime or Cold War time.

These friends have one basic thing in common: We are submariners; some for a few years and some for a career; some officers and some enlisted. All of our regular members are qualified in submarines and wear the silver and/or gold dolphin pin along with our service medals and ribbons. We are shipmates.

We are members of the U.S. Submarine Veterans and our purpose is to “Perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country. That their dedication, deeds and supreme sacrifice be a constant source of motivation toward greater accomplishments. To pledge loyalty and patriotism to the United States of America and its Constitution.”

One of the things most sub vets do when they get together is swap sea stories. We have even been known to talk to non-submariners about what we did. One of our members shared his effort to explain submariners to such a friend. I paraphrase what is the best explanation I’ve ever heard:

Yes, on the sub I was on, we did do some of the stuff we did, and we didn’t do some of the other stuff we did, because if we did do it, it was secret, so we didn’t really do it, even though we did, but not really. Those medals my shipmates and I got, that we didn’t get for doing what we didn’t do that we did, I really got those, except not. That’s because we never went where we were, so we weren’t there where we were. Even though we weren’t where we were, we did do the stuff we didn’t do while we weren’t there, not doing it?As for what submarine we were on when we didn’t go there on it, and didn’t do the stuff we did while not doing that either, apparently I’m not supposed to even mention the submarine’s name because I guess I’m not allowed to refer to it for security reasons, so I won’t do that. I hope this clarifies things for you.

Having re-read the above, the only thing I can think of that’s left to say is that I sound like a politician.

But I’m not. I really was a submariner, though.

Can you tell?