“The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.” — Edsger Dijkstra
By Alex P. Vidal
GROTON, Connecticut — It’s normal for the United States (U.S.) Navy not to talk about some of the nuclear-powered attack submarines especially if the story involves the national security, but some basic information that are not classified can be accessed even in the internet, a retired US navyman recently disclosed.
Reynaldo A. Amuan, who retired in 1976, said the U.S. Navy submarines are called as “silent service” because they can save the world from rogue states that occasionally threaten to trigger a nuclear world war.
Amuan, 82, a Filipino-American, said “the U.S. Navy submarines are the most powerful and sophisticated in the world today. Everything is powered by nuclear.”
“Our submarines are now cleaner, more sophisticated and don’t need diesel fuel unlike what we have some 50 years ago,” said Amuan, who was “CPO/E7 Reynaldo A. Amuan” during his active years in service from 1956 to 1976.
Amuan added: “The U.S. Navy submarines were the lifeblood of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) during the World War II.”
Amuan, active member of Connecticut-based New England Filipino-American, Inc. (NEFAI), said anyone who wants to be enlisted in the U.S. Navy must be willing to act as volunteer first and should have a good moral character.
“The most important is he must be mentally stable as he will undergo a one-year observation or study duty to be able to familiarize the vessel and learn its basic operations,” Amuan quipped.
When he was enlisted in the U.S. Naval Base in Sangley Point, Cavite, Philippines in 1956, the requirements and qualifications were not as rigid compared today.
“It’s because times have changed. There is no more recruitment in the Philippines as the U.S. Navy doesn’t have a military base there anymore,” explained Amuan, who finished radio operator from a technical school in Iloilo City, Philippines prior to applying in the U.S. Navy.
America, considered as military superpower in the world, reportedly has 43 Los Angeles-class submarines on active duty and 19 retired, making it the most numerous nuclear-powered submarine class in the world.
It was learned that the class was preceded by the Sturgeon class and followed by the Seawolf and Virginia classes. Except for USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-709), submarines of this class are named after U.S. cities, breaking a Navy tradition of naming attack submarines after sea creatures.
The final 23 boats in the series, referred to as “688i” boats, are reportedly quieter than their predecessors and incorporate a more advanced combat system. These 688i boats are also designed for under-ice operations: their diving planes are on the bow rather than on the sail, and they have reinforced sails.
The National Interest reported that the Navy doesn’t like to talk about its submarines.
“After all, a sub’s biggest advantage is its stealth. And of the sailing branch’s roughly 70 undersea boats, Seawolf and her two sister vessels Connecticut and Jimmy Carter are among the most secretive,” it stressed.
If readers will Google the names of any of the Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines, “the most numerous in the fleet, and you’ll get hits: Navy statements and photo releases, the occasional news article. But try to look up Seawolf-class vessels and you’ll get next to nothing,” it explained.