USS Arizona

Ears to the Sea, Gentleman

Posted on 25 Feb 2023 @ 2:36pm by Petty Officer First Class Caleb Doyle & Petty Officer Second Class Tyler Hoff

Episode: E2: Twelve Mile Line
Location: USS Arizona, Control Room
Timeline: Date 2025-06-20 at 0900

The Arizona had been underway for a little over twenty four hours now and they were headed on a southerly course somewhere off California. They had been heading to their patrol area first south and then eventually east. Intelligence had revealed, as it was announced to the crew after they were underway yesterday afternoon, that they believed at least two People’s Republic of China Submarines were headed toward the US Pacific coast. While this was all conjecture with all of the tensions between the PRC and the United States this was something that command of all levels were taking very seriously.

The submarine was currently coasting to clear the baffles after a quick run of speed. Doyle suspected that at any point now that the Officer of the Deck would order the submarine to periscope depth to copy the broadcast and maybe even transmit and receive the email for the personnel aboard. They had been warned that it likely woudln’t happen often but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t be hopeful anyway.

There was chatter from the men sitting alongside him at the sonar console, they were distracted, they were not paying attention to their headsets in what could be a pivotal moment for safety of the boat. And while they may not be able to anticipate as well as he could with his years of experience on his team it wasn’t an excuse.

“Ears to the sea, Gentleman, secure that chatter,” he said, firmly. Loud enough that his two team members heard clearly that the boss wasn’t happy but quiet enough to ensure that only the team heard the correction.

At the very front of the control room sitting in the pilot seat alongside the co-pilot, YNS2 Huff, thought about the mound of paperwork he knew he still had to clear up at the next opportune moment. He had a stack that arrived in his inbox just the night before they departed but at that point with preparations for being on Watch Section 1 he hadn’t the time to deal with it. After a meal at the end of his watch he’d be heading to his little cubby where he had a computer work station to himself. It wasn’t much and it was squished in a corner, but it was his.

“Periscope depth, aye sir,” Huff responded when he heard the order come from the Officer of the Deck. He inserted the command for periscope depth and the computer began making adjustments to bring the boat up to the ordered depth. A process that used to be completely manual and could still be if chosen was now completely controlled by the boat itself.

Sometimes it felt unnatural compared to when he first learned how to be a helmsman and planesman aboard a Los Angeles Class submarine. But it was growing on him and he knew that this was the wave of the future. Soon submarines would only operate this way once all of the Ohios and Los Angeles classed boats had been phased out and replaced by the Virginia and the new Columbia class that the first boat should be delivered anytime now. It was exciting times in the submarine service… especially for women. He’d seen a lot in his career and he was excited to see what happened before he moved out of the navy although he knew he was a lifer.