The real worry when submerged hundreds of feet below sea? Rationing. When the food runs out, the ship must return from the sea, even if the mission is not complete.
“You can only take so much fresh food when you leave, and that’s all gone within, I don’t know, 2-3 weeks, so no more fruit, no more vegetables, no more real milk, everything is processed like canned food,” says Jay Nattress, who served aboard on the USS Alaska.
For Nattress, options came down to a lot of peanut butter and jelly, and tuna packets with A1 sauce. “Now it makes me sick to my stomach,” he says.
While typical submarine patrols last around 90 days, for Lieutenant Adam Kuehne, one mission stayed submerged for 50 days straight, a record in length.
“The first thing you notice when you crack the hatch for the first time is that it smells weird. It’s actually not refreshing, you’d think it’d be refreshing but it’s just different,” says Kuehne.
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