Monday, March 21, 2005

Are Silver Dolphins becoming cheap?

About a week ago the Navy News had an article about a sailor who qualified in submarines in 30 days. In my book this is an astonishing feat given the amount of effort it took just to get a single signature on one system when I earned my Silver Dolphins. It took me two patrols to qualify in submarines on the 641 boat and about a year in the shipyard to requalify on the 731. Now I don't have my original qual card from the USS Simon Bolivar but I did find my qual card from the USS Alabama. I've provided a couple of pages as examples.

Compartments Quals page

One of the systems pages Posted by Hello

My 731 qual card looks pretty worn with dog eared pages, tattered edges and stains. I would say it didn't have an easy time in the shipyard. I counted 105 signatures in my 731 qual card with 15 section reviews requiring a walkthrough as well as a final walkthrough. Because I was previously qualified in submarines I wasn't given a qual board but did qualify on a 726 class boat. So my question is, how do you do all that in 30 days?

That's 3 to 4 signatures a day and a section review or walkthrough every 2 days ending in a qual board. Of course we're talking a different class boat, but that's a pretty frantic pace none the less.


Anonymous said...

Its called "grape'ing" signatures.. Back when I was in Submarines there were only a couple of times that qualification took less than 8 months, those mostly consisted of Mid-shipman that were aboard for a short time. Was this the "Right" thing to do, probably not.. But not everyone got that same treatment. It took me about 11 months to get my dolphins and had to go through a second review board and the Chief of the Boat for all my signatures before I got them. Every time I went to him I had 3 pages of look-ups!! But I LEARNED that ship inside and out!!!

Lubber's Line said...

I remember people getting "grapes" and it was usually done for someone with dolphins doing a requal to a different class boat. For a non-qual to get a grape signature was rare and usually caught on the walkthrough. Funny thing was everyone knew who gave the grapes and if a non-qual got enough grapes he paid the price at some point stalled and became dink. I don't remember who was on my qual board except for the chief A-ganger and he was tough. I walked away with a page or two of lookups as well.

If someone doesn’t work to earn those Dolphins what’s to say that they aren’t going to be the one giving out “grapes” some day.

Anonymous said...

I was assigned to a new construction Trident in 95. I begged the command to send me TAD to an operational boat so that I could get my fish. I was on a mission. It took me 43 days. I stood watch and worked on my quals. Some may think they were "grapes" but I averaged 2-3 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. I worked my butt off while I was TAD. My board was 4 hours long and I had one look-up. I knew the boat inside and out. That XO sat on my board and gave me a stupid look up because he said he wouldnt let me qualify without a lookup.

Through out the rest of my naval time I did notice that it seemed that Dolphins were becoming cheap and the attitude of a Non-Qual sailor was lacking initive. They thought the eventually they was get their fish cause the command felt sorry for them.