There are a lot of books about submarines – not many have been written by submariners. Join veteran submariner Andrew Karam and the crew of the USS Plunger (SSN 595) as it goes up against the best of the Soviet Navy on an extended “special operation” in the waning days of the Cold War and find out what life at sea is really like.
What makes Karam’s book unique is the authenticity that comes from an author who is a decorated veteran of the submarine service, coupled with the viewpoint of a fairly senior enlisted man who, with no particular ax to grind, simply calls it like he saw it. This is a book about living and working on a submarine – if you want to hear about submarine operations, tactics, and the sort of routine intelligence-gathering that every attack boat conducted every year then this is the book for you. And if you want to know what happens before and after the intelligence is gathered – what the meals are like, how submariners personalize their own minute corner of the boat, how a reactor is started up, and how to flush a submarine toilet – this is still the book for you!
Rig Ship for Ultra Quiet is set on the USS Plunger, an aging attack submarine that, even on its final mission, was among the best boats in the fleet. But even the best boat starts having problems when it gets old enough and Plunger was no exception. Balky atmospheric control equipment, a shipmate with appendicitis, electrical problems, the occasional fire, and a never-ending supply of sleeplessness, bad food, and horrible coffee are only some of the problems the crew of the Plunger faces – there’s also the pesky Soviet Navy and the brass who scheduled them to be at sea over Christmas, New Year’s Day, and (worst of all), Super Bowl Sunday. And their reward after two months of hard work? A grueling inspection by the dreaded “ORSE Board.”
About the author:
Karam himself is a not only a decorated veteran of the US submarine service but also went on to earn recognition as a scientist and as a leader in his profession of radiation safety – he credits his Naval experience as helping make both of these accomplishments possible. Since leaving the Navy he has visited over 40 countries, including professional trips to Paraguay and Kosovo (as a professor); to Kuwait, Dubai, and Panama (as a consultant); to Lithuania, Cyprus, Uruguay, and Cambodia (for professional assistance to these nations’ governments); and most recently to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and reactor accidents in Fukushima. He currently works in matters related to radiological and nuclear emergency preparedness and response.