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Rated: E · Book · Travel · #1779685
I travel the country on business, sometimes the world. Come see where I've been.
         Talk about perks, my job has one of the best ones I can think of!  I travel in the course of business, delivering classes for my employer.  I am a Senior Training Specialist for Motorola Solutions, and teach classes on a wide variety of subjects centered around 2 way radio communications.  I'm qualified to deliver approximately 30 different classes, but about half of those are 'Legacy' classes, and are not in demand anymore.  My students are technicians, those who maintain, program, calibrate, and repair large 2-way radio systems.  Some of these systems are statewide, and use TCP-IP networking to allow sites to communicate with others.  Some are small, traditional type radio sites.  The size doesn't matter, in each case the systems must be kept operational at all times, since many of them are Public Safety Systems. So I get to travel, sometimes frequently, 3-4 weeks in a row.... where am I this week?

         This probably won't have daily entries, but I will make entries when I get to go somewhere, and keep an updated list of coming trips.  My schedule changes faster than the weather, so don't be too surprised to see me list an upcoming class, only to remark later on that it is cancelled, or delayed.  Delays are fine of course, but a later date might mean that someone else gets to go instead of me,,,  Well, here we go with this, let's see where it takes us.

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July 17, 2021 at 8:23pm
July 17, 2021 at 8:23pm
Locale: Waukegan, Illinois

Week of: July 12, 2021

         This has not been a typical week for me, not by a long shot. Let me give you the lowdown on what happened.

         First, I need to stop posting things in the newsfeed that really belong in one of my blogs. So that stops, and entries like this begin. Second, on Sunday, July 11th, one of my best friends at work (now retired) passed on due to Bladder/Spleen/Pancreatic Cancer. Today was his Memorial Service/Funeral.

         As for the rest of the week? I delivered a 3-day (Tue-Thu) Virtual class for a customer, one I've delivered many times in person, and a few times virtually. In looking at how their system was configured and programmed, I noted a few things they should look at. We'll see if those truly are a problem in their system. The biggest event that happened this past week work-wise, was losing my voice on Wednesday. I felt it getting weak on Tuesday afternoon; and on Wednesday, there was no voice, just a hoarse croak. As I started talking, and lubricating (for lack of a better word) my vocal chords, my voice got stronger, and I made it through the day. By Thursday morning it was fine, a little weak at times, but still strong overall. Someone tell me why this happened over a one-day period. Maybe I strained my voice singing along while driving home from my doctor's appointment Monday afternoon, and it took a couple of days to catch up to me? No clue here.

         Today was not a typical Saturday either. I've mentioned Bob in previous newsfeed posts, he retired from Motorola a year ago today. Last Sunday (the 11th), he passed on due to Cancer. Today was his memorial service and funeral in Waukegan, so I woke at 4:30 am and drove up this morning. I won't describe things too much, but let's just say this man spent an awful lot of money on his, and his wife's funeral arrangements. The service was a very moving and sad experience, as was expected. At the Mausoleum, Taps were played by a long bugler, an American Flag that had been draped over him was folded and presented to his wife, and a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. While it was a very subdued experience, I will say it was nice to see about 10 of my co-workers there. Additionally, I met two of my support team for breakfast at the Egg Harbor Cafe in Schaumburg this morning. This is the place Bob and I would meet at once a week on those weeks we were both in town. Weeks that were all too often few and far between. I had the same dish (Georgia Stone Ground Grits with Bacon, Green Onion and Jalapeno) that Bob and I would both order on those occasions we met for breakfast. Before breakfast arrived, the three of us toasted our water glasses to Bob.

         Once everything was completed, I headed home (200 miles away), but not before stopping at a store that we don't have here in Bloomington to get a couple of bags of Chocolate Cherry Kiss Coffee for my daughter, who I will see next month, and a couple of other things that looked good.

In Closing

         As of now, I will spend the rest of the year delivering classes from home. I do have field classes scheduled, but those will either move to someone else, or become a virtual delivery. The Instructor Manager has told me that I will not travel on business until treatments are done, and I've been reevaluated. So, home it is. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
June 17, 2021 at 11:25pm
June 17, 2021 at 11:25pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois, Schaumburg, Illinois

Week of: June 14, 2021

         Believe it or not, I 'managed' to sneak away for part of this week! Okay, so I didn't sneak away, I did get permission to travel to Schaumburg for the last two days of this week's class. Let's backtrack a moment so y'all know how we got to this point.

         Any of you who follow me know of my health issues this year. Yes, I do have a form of Cancer. Fortunately, it's not a real aggressive Cancer, and my doctor feels he can have me 'good as new' by years end. We'll see. To make it even easier on me though, I have one of the best managers in the world. I've kept him informed of everything going on, and with the pandemic and such still a major problem for the world, he's 'grounded' me from travel. He's kept me safe from myself, because I'd have kept traveling if asked. It has been nice though, to not worry about doctor's appointments. Early on he told me to schedule my appointments and to not worry about my schedule. He said he would handle any conflicts with doctor's appointments, and he's been good to his word on that.

         My customer this week is the US Senate Sergeant At Arms. Their radio system is pretty unique, they are using one of our products in a manner that I've not seen before. That happens sometimes with our products, and it only took a few minutes of looking at their system diagram to understand things enough to deliver the class in a manner they can understand; even better, in a manner that allows them to know how their system is configured, and how to maintain their devices. But to do the class 'justice', I needed to come to Schaumburg to demonstrate some of the connections they would need to make in checking their equipment. That was today and tomorrow for them. Once we started class today, I was told they won't be doing most of the detailed maintenance, they have a contract with a local radio shop. Yet, they still want to know as much detail about the maintenance as they can. So it's necessary for me to be here.

         I've been a good boy too. I've not been near anyone, if I do have to get anywhere close to someone, I am wearing a mask of course. It's not that I'm afraid of COVID or something like that. I have my opinions on that virus, we don't need to discuss them here. But, I wear my mask when needed, especially in public places. To protect ME! I don't know who might have what kind of illness/disease, and with this type of Cancer, my immune system is a bit compromised. That's why I don't travel right now. So, I keep my distance, I am as careful as I can be, and still get things done.

         Back to the class. One of the devices in their system is a bit different in configuration, or in how it's accessed and configured, than any of the others. And I happen to be one of the few people who really understand that device and its configuration. I'm the only instructor who teaches that short class, in fact, I wrote the class. Tomorrow we will concentrate on that device, we've covered it well so far, but their manager wants to know as much as he can about it. We'll get it done, complete the class, and hopefully I'll be heading home at noon or so. The customer is very happy with the class and what's gone on thus far, and for me, that's all I can ask for.

In Closing

         As of now, this is my only trip away from home this year. I do have field classes scheduled, but those will either move to someone else, or become a virtual delivery. Unless my health changes dramatically, and I don't see that happening soon. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
May 23, 2021 at 3:11pm
May 23, 2021 at 3:11pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

 May 17th, 2021

         Well, my three weeks of vacation/recuperation from surgery are here. Vacation is this coming week (week of May 24), with surgery Wednesday of that week. The surgeon said I need a minimum of a week afterward to recover, and that some people need two weeks. My manager didn't want to take any chances, so has scheduled me for those two weeks off. Whatever will I do with three weeks of no responsibilities? Well, I will work on things (for my career), when I want, as much as I want, etc. I won't be sitting around idle. I have a course I want to qualify to deliver, and another I want to upgrade the materials for. So I intend to be busy. Plus, it's spring, time to plant, pull weeds, etc... *Smile*

         The week of Memorial Day is one full of meetings for us, albeit on-line meetings. I don't have to be there, but will most likely attend some since there are subjects being covered I want and need to know about. New courses, new products, etc. Plus, it's a chance to chat with instructors I haven't seen in over a year, time to renew acquaintances.

         I have to say I'm getting used to being at home all the time, though I do miss traveling. When I was told I have this Myeloma, I considered retiring, From what I've been told, this is not a very aggressive Cancer, and responds to treatment better than many. Still, it is what it is, I have this disease, so why not retire? Then I considered what's really going on right now. Thanks to a manager who appreciates my work, knows I can still add value (Gee, I HOPE I add value) to the department, why should I retire? I mean, I'm being paid the same salary to remain at home and teach from here.

         It's not like I'm going anywhere soon, unless I want to go. I plan on visiting one of my daughters in Alabama in August, and will most likely go to New Mexico in October for the Balloon fiesta. It started the year I joined the Navy, but of course was not a big item that first year. I've never seen it, and with everything that's going on, I want... no, I NEED to see it. Face it, for me, it's a bucket list item. When we are young, we feel almost immortal, that we have all the time in the world. As we age, we realize that's not the case. I've embraced my mortality, and accept it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking forward to my end of time, but I do realize it will be here, probably before I'm ready. Enough about all that, I look forward to what every day may bring.

In Closing

         I have been home since the second week of January, and will be home the rest of this year more than likely. As I've said though, it's all good. I'm alive, and really feel well, a lot better than I felt in January/February. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
May 9, 2021 at 5:06pm
May 9, 2021 at 5:06pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

 May 9th, 2021

         This past week I delivered 3 separate one-day classes to a customer. The classes themselves were easy enough, I've taught them many times before. The students weren't hard to work with, they asked some good, valid questions. The feedback I received from other instructors who have delivered a class for them though was completely different. I guess when you're a customer and want things 'your way', you're labeled as a difficult customer. In some cases, when that is said about a customer, it's 'okay'. What I mean is, the students we teach can be, or were, complete 'you know whats' to us. Rude, know-it-all's (yet when you cover the course, you find there's a lot they don't know). not very complimentary to us or Motorola, etc. My thoughts on it are the following. Treat them well, deliver the course, answer questions, and always, always, be polite. They are biased against us for one reason or another. Some of it may be earned, some may come from past experiences. It's up to us to correct that bias, and the only way we can do that, is treat them as they want to be treated. I just shake my head over those who say the same thing over and over. "They are a tough customer, and want things a certain way." Every customer does. I think what happens is the Project Manager, and their management team don't communicate well enough about the course content. All I know is that it's beyond my control. All I can do is try and do my best, and let the pieces fall where they may. I don't think I've ever had a case where someone else had to teach a repeat class for me because they were unhappy with what they learned from me. Not that I know of at least, I also say that based on feedback from our support staff. But I have been scheduled to deliver a repeat class when a customer was unhappy with the first delivery. Okay, rant over.

         I teach from home the next two weeks, then have a week of vacation. I will probably sit at home most of the time, since I have minor Sinus Surgery in the middle of my vacation week. I will have my 10th (yes, you read that right, my 10th) COVID test prior to the surgery. I think I'm getting to be on a first name basis with the testing center. *Laugh* I'm actually looking forward to that, because I will start the treatment for the Myeloma once that is behind me. It sure would be nice to feel healthy this winter. At least as healthy as I feel right now. Oh, by the way. My manager has said I will not travel at all the rest of the year. Unless it's an emergency. We'll see. I think I'm stuck at home for the most part, though there are about 5-6 weeks I have scheduled where I'm the only qualified person available to deliver the class. Well, we have another one who could deliver them, but he's worse off health-wise than I am, so he won't be delivering them. I miss traveling though. It's always nice to get out and see other locations, meet new people. If I never traveled again, it wouldn't bother me, I'd still miss it though.... And yes, I have been thinking about retirement. But why should I? I'm being paid for more than I ever thought I would make to sit and home and teach from here. As long as my health allows me to do it, I will. Unless a major change happens....

In Closing

         I have been home since the second week of January, and will be home the rest of this year more than likely. I teach the RCMP next week. I may travel (my manager said "In an emergency" I could travel), but I doubt it. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!

Jim Dorrell
May 3, 2021 at 10:15pm
May 3, 2021 at 10:15pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

 May 3rd, 2021

         I saw Dr. Sriratana today, he's the Hematologist I've been seeing. He said that the Bone Marrow test confirmed what he thought. I have a Multiple Myeloma. He told me that my marrow came back at 50% Plasma. To put it in perspective, a healthy person has about 2-3% Plasma in their marrow, if someone was being monitored, they would start treating them if it rose to 15%. Mine is 50...

         The good news in all this? It can be treated without using Radiation or Chemo. I am scheduled for Sinus Surgery on 26 May, he wants me to get that done. He also wants me to take a pretty heavy dose of an antibiotic before the surgery. Since I see my general practitioner on Monday, I'll see if he will prescribe it for me. If not, Dr. Sriratana said to contact him, and he will do it. Once the Sinus Surgery is behind me, his treatments will start. I see him on June 7. The treatments will consist of weekly shots, and an oral medication I will take for 3 weeks, then a week off, and repeat. After 6 months of this, he will check my bone marrow again.

         What he saw in my blood tests is this. My Immunoglobulin A: IgA (found in the mucous membranes of the lungs, sinuses, stomach, and intestines) is high, very high, around 2300 or so, which the Allergist interpreted as a sinus infection (since an MRI showed my sinus cavities completely blocked) Along with this, my Immunoglobulin G, the most common type of antibody in your blood and other body fluids) are low, very low. It's been getting lower and lower each time this test has been run. These antibodies protect you against infection by "remembering" which germs you've been exposed to before. Dr. Sriratana says these shots and oral medications he's going to put me on will lower my IG-A level, while raising my IG-G. Only time will tell there, huh.

         If this treatment fails to correct the IG-A and IG-G level well enough, there's another road to take. But we haven't started this road yet, so I'll worry about that road if and when we get to it. *Smile* What I do know is that I will be seeing doctors for the rest of my life it seems.

In Closing

         I have been home since the second week of January, and will be home the rest of this year more than likely. I teach the RCMP next week. I may travel (my manager said "In an emergency" I could travel), but I doubt it. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!
April 26, 2021 at 7:28pm
April 26, 2021 at 7:28pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

Last Half Of March, & The Month of: April, 2021

         Well, I've been busy teaching most weeks, but have had health issues off and on. This entry is more about my journey of discovery to what I believe is the root of my health issues. No doctor has said it's the root, but to someone who has spent almost 50 years troubleshooting Electrical & Electronic equipment, it is the root cause of it all.

         As some of you know, this all started in December with that cough I had last year . It started up in November, and continued until just recently. This year, my general practitioner sent me to an ENT doctor. I saw one last year, but to say he was about useless would be an understatement. This new doctor looked me over, saw recent blood work, and felt I should see an Allergist, as well as mentioning possible Sinus surgery.

         When I saw the Allergist, she thought that additional blood work was needed, and ordered it. When she saw the results, she ordered more, and told me I might have an Auto-Immune disease. After the second blood sample came back though, she decided to send me to a Hematologist. This was when I knew something serious was probably going on inside me. Of course he ordered his own blood samples, and told me I might (probably) have Multiple Myelosis. I looked that up on Google when I got home, and wasn't too surprised really. It's a form of Blood Cancer, ,but is not very aggressive. He told me he could have me 'all fixed up and normal' by the end of the year. Yeah, the check's in the mail. All this time, I was teaching from home thanks to a manager with foresight. This gave me the chance to schedule any doctor's appointment needed while not interfering with class delivery.

         I did spend two days being observed in the hospital in both February and April. I was admitted because I couldn't maintain blood oxygen level about 90%. When this happens to you, they consider you to be suffering from Hypoxia. This only happened to me when that cough hit me violently, causing my lungs to start working like a bellows to get enough oxygen in me. The doctors referred to it as allergy induced Asthma too.

         The cough.... So bad that one night I sat up in bed while coughing. I ended up passing out, and went to the floor. I cut the bridge of my nose (which bled quite profusely) on a small table. At one point I stopped driving. I'd started coughing while turning a corner, and passed out, putting my van over a curb. No damage really, other than a flat tire, and about 3 pieces of metal being replaced because my alignment was way off. Yeah, an expensive little thing there, but what could I do, other than stop driving? While in the hospital the first time, I passed out on at least 3 occasions, but no one noticed because my heartrate and other vital signs never changed.

         ROOT CAUSE Identified! This Myeloma (or Immune System Deficiency) is causing my immune system to function less than it should. My sinuses are blocked for some reason, and slightly infected. Since my immune system was not functioning properly, it couldn't kill off this infection. This resulted in post-nasal drip, causing the cough. Since my immune system wasn't functioning properly, the cough got out-of-control.

         Today I'm back to my ornery old self. We are waiting on the results of a bone marrow test that was done last week. I will know Monday what the next step is. My cough is essentially gone right now, and I'm pretty sure my sinuses are no longer blocked. So will I have the sinus surgery? It all depends on these test results.

         Everything is alright, I will not allow my spirits to be beaten down by this, I will not allow myself to wonder "Why me?" I already have an answer to that. It's life. It's what happens to some people. We are all living our lives, the last thing anyone needs is to have me moan and complain about things. I could have it much worse, and know that I am better off than many others.

In Closing

         I have been home since the second week of January, and will be home the rest of April, all of May, and half of June. I might get to travel again in mid-June, to Washington DC for a class. It all depends on test results, and what the doctors need me to do. I teach the Bell Canada Friday, and Monday/Tuesday next week, then the RCMP the following week. After that, I have a resident class to teach from home before taking a week of vacation. Oh, I also will fit in time to cross-train workers on the courses that I'm the lone instructor on. Someone's gonna have to do them most likely, we should have been cross-training them these past few years. But that's out of my control. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!
March 18, 2021 at 9:51pm
March 18, 2021 at 9:51pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

Week of: March 15, 2021

         This week my customer was SVRIA (Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority), the class was Fleetmapping. This is the class that I modified so much last year at this time. I taught it for the first time the week of April 20, 2020. By the time the one year anniversary rolls around, I will have delivered it twelve times. I find that amazing really, because there wasn't much draw for this class prior to that. We never delivered it, there were contractors who did that. I sat in the class in July 2019 and felt there was a lot of 'dead time' or time wasted in the delivery. Additionally, there were numerous errors in the presentation. Factual errors, our systems have changed and grown over the years, but that was never updated in this course. No, the number of deliveries we're doing in this class are not because 'Jim is teaching it'. It's because it's an online class now, students can attend and learn without the expense of them going to Schaumburg, or someone going there. Believe it or not, there's still some minor changes I want to do with it.

         My next challenge though, other than trying to learn two new courses on the fly, is to modify an existing course for an upcoming delivery. It's our networking class, but this customer is what is known as 'Conventional', not 'Trunking', which is what most of our courses are centered around. So I will modify the materials for this delivery, and we will keep them for future use because this won't be the last time this happens. I do not teach next week, so I have 5 days to get it done. Well, at least the majority of it. I am teaching the following two weeks, but only 3 hours/day, and then I will teach this Conventional customer. So I should have time to touch up minor things that I might not get to next week.

In Closing

         I am home this month as I said, all of April and May, at least as of now. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!
March 13, 2021 at 7:04pm
March 13, 2021 at 7:04pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

Week of: March 8, 2021

         No, I didn't get to go to Baghdad for this class. I would love to visit that city, smack in the middle of what most consider the 'Cradle Of Civilization'. I doubt I'd get to see much though, but I sure would try. Doesn't matter, I wasn't there this week, nor am I going there anytime soon.

         The students this week were American citizens who work at the Baghdad, Iraq, and Kabul, Afghanistan Embassies. And yep, they were on location too. So class started at 4 am each day, and ended at 10 am. It was 1 pm in Baghdad, and 3 pm in Kabul when class started. It was a bit strange being up so early, especially when I came upstairs on a break and the house was still dark. This week's subject was Networking again, and a new experience for me. Why new? When I've taught this class for 12 years? Well, since they are 'over there', this was a complete class, all show-n-tell. My support staff (we'd be lost without them) shipped a Pelican Case to me of the equipment students would normally use in class. Except I used it, and did all the hands-on activities while they watched. Yep, they watched me, because they didn't have the necessary equipment to use, and could only watch. First experience for me, but I get to do it twice next month for 2 Canadian customers.

         The class went fine, I did have a problem getting one activity completed, and spent some time after class to get it done. The next day I showed them what I'd done to complete the task. Of course this wasn't the ideal way for them to learn, but it's what we're stuck with, so to speak. We still conduct a lot of field classes, but I'm still on a travel ban by my manager. The good thing is, I've been able to see many doctors. So far, nothing major has been found. My left lung has a slightly enlarged nodule, but it's been there at least seven years, and has not grown in size one bit. A PET Scan showed no traces of Cancer in me. My blood work is a bit off so more will be drawn, and I'm feeling more and more like a pin cushion. It could be a lot worse, I could have a life threatening illness. Thankfully, that doesn't appear to be the case.

         The biggest problem with class this week, was an audio problem. It was pretty bad, my voice would drop on their end for some reason, and I couldn't find the reason why. Still not sure what happened there, I just hope it's not there this week. I'm aching to travel again, at the same time, I'm enjoying being home. I can't have both, huh. One day in the not too distant future, I'll decide to retire. If my health continues to be an issue (only during the winter months, believe it or not), I will retire. Right now, it's wait and see.

In Closing

         I am home this month as I said, all of April and May, at least as of now. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!
February 20, 2021 at 2:41pm
February 20, 2021 at 2:41pm
Locale: Bloomington, Illinois

Month of: February, 2021

         Well, due to my minor (some would say major) health issues, I've been 'grounded'. What that means is, no traveling for me until late May. That's fine really, because I really need to pin down this cough I've had, and so far we've made some good progress. The classes I was scheduled to deliver in February have either been cancelled, or moved to another instructor if the class required travel. So I've spent my time developing a Powerpoint slide show (I know, death by Powerpoint, most students hate it), for a subject few of my fellow instructors understand very well. I've also sat in a class to learn about Domain Controller, and may end up delivering that later this year.

         I spent 2 days in the hospital the week of February 8th, and was put through a myriad of tests. In less than a week's time, I had 4 CAT Scans done on various parts of my body, 3 Ultrasounds of my heart, carotid arteries, and legs. One X-Ray of my right wrist because I hit on something when I fainted due to coughing at home one night. It swelled to the size of a golf ball almost immediately, yet the swelling was gone in about 2 hours. Then the bruising started, covering the back of my hand, my palm, and general wrist area. All that aside, it is looking like I will have Sinus surgery to clear the ducts from the Maxillary Sinus's behind my cheeks. The small ducts to/from that sinus cavity is completely blocked. I will also have an endoscopy done to check my esophagus a CAT Scan showed it has thickened some. I'm told it's most likely due to the violent cough, but we'll see what they find. There's more to this, but so far, the doctors haven't found a something that really worries them. I am fine really, I feel fine, and right now, my cough is gone. The jury is out on that, because this has happened about once a month for the last 3-4 months, just like it did last year at this time. Progress is being made though, however slow.

         My next class is the week of March 1st, and I will most likely teach every week of March. I remain grateful that I have this wonderful job and have a management team who really looks out for you.

In Closing

         I am home this month as I said, and all of March and April, at least as of now. Til next time, be good to yourselves and those you love, and WRITE!
January 29, 2021 at 9:48pm
January 29, 2021 at 9:48pm
A Semi-Virtual Tour of A Nuclear Submarine

         This entry is inspired by Bikerider 's comment about a Newsfeed post I commented on recently.

         "Note: Three Word Thursday In just three words , gi..."

         I initially provided a three word entry for this post, but decided I would write more, and ask questions about a submarine. As many of you might know, I served in our Navy for 20 years in the Submarine Force. So the questions weren't meant to be me looking for answers. It was meant to make you think about what it's really like on a submarine. Bikerider 's comment was that a written tour of a submarine would be interesting. While this is not a written tour, I really hope he finds this interesting!

         I really think that most of you would find a written tour to be pretty boring. So instead of a written tour, how about a pictorial one? Explanations provided with each photo of course.

An Unclassified cutaway view of the interior of a submarine
This is not a true representation of a submarine's interior, but it will suffice. Just aft (to the left) of the missile tubes, you see a hatch. That is how you enter or exit the submarine while in port, and also serves as an escape hatch should it sink. A quick blurb here about that. If a submarine sinks, every man on board is most likely dead. Your chances of actually being able to use that escape hatch are less than the chances of you winning the lottery. Why? Most likely the submarine will sink in water far too deep for it to survive, and it implodes. If it does sink in water that is shallow enough, it must be very close to upright for that hatch to be useful. I lived (slept really) on the third deck, right under the sail and masts/antennas. I worked in the Engineroom, which is aft of the hatch used to enter the boat.

The area where the submarine is controlled from
This is the heart and soul of a submarine. It is here that the Officer of the Deck (OOD) can raise the periscope and see the world above the waves. Here is where the men steer the submarine, as well as maintain its depth. This photo is of a much newer submarine than my first two, and a bit more roomy too. The man in the foreground (helmsman) is the one who steers the boat according to commands from the OOD. He also operates the forward planes. Depending on the class of submarine, these planes are either on the sail, or near the bow. The other position with that steering wheel looking thing is actually manned (planesman), but you can't see him right now. That man operates the stern planes, those which control the angle of the boat underwater. The man with his hands together in the back of the photo is the Chief Of The Watch. He is the one who would blow the ballast tanks to surface the boat, when ordered by the OOD. He also maintains the trim of the boat (along with that second helmsman), by pumping water from tank to tank. He monitors all external hatches, as well as air banks pressures, etc. He's a pretty busy guy really. All three of these men work for the Diving Office Of The Watch. The 'Dive' (as he's called), maintains the boat's depth as ordered by the OOD. It does take quite the team to operate something like this.

Just to give you an idea of how cramped it is on board
Five photo's of a submarine interior. Left top: This is a view of the Maneuvering area in the Engineroom of a submarine. The panel in the photo is where a man sits and controls the reactor. The 'shim switch' in the middle of the panel is used to move the control rods in and out. Contrary to what Hollywood tells you, the Control Rods are very (and I do mean very) slowly. The rods must be pulled high enough to take the reactor critical. The reactor then heats the water in the primary plant, which is pumped through the primary piping to the steam generator. Just like the water heater in your house, the primary piping in the steam generator heats the water on the secondary side. Steam is formed, which is then sent to turbines to both push the boat through the water, as well as rotate turbines that couple to generators to provide electricity. That was my job, monitoring and maintaining all the equipment that created the electricity for the boat. I operated the panel on either side of the central panel there (not at the same time of course), as well as standing watches that allowed me to roam the entire engineroom. Lower left: The 'head', or restroom. You would have 20-25 men in here at once getting ready to go on watch. You can see the 'privacy' we had on board. *Smile* The middle photo is of a submarine going through a major refit. It's hard to say exactly where in the boat this is. Right top: A shower. Yep, all 3 foot x 3 foot x 6 foot of it. And that's being generous in describing its size. Lower right: A berthing area on a boat. On my first two boats, if you were more than 6 feet tall, you could not sleep stretched out in your bunk. Your legs were always curled. The passageway between those bunks might have been 2 foot wide.

Here's a better photo of maneuvering

         So while all looks so 'cool' on the outside, there's a lot going on inside. I'm sorry I don't have more photo's to share with you. If you want an entertaining read, and good photo's of submarine life, I recommend looking for 'Poopie Suits and Cowboy Boots' on Amazon. Very well done with stories written by people like myself who have served, and may still serve on submarines. I haven't contributed any to that yet, mainly because I just found out about these books. If you are curious about this life, please ask. I'll be happy to tell you what I can of it.

Jim Dorrell

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