Big Red: Inside the Secret World of a Trident Nuclear Submarine
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The Cold War may be over, but nuclear submarines still lurk beneath the sea.
Taller in length than the Washington Monument, wider at its center than a three-lane highway, the 18,750-ton Trident nuclear submarine, with 24 strategic missiles and more than 120 nuclear warheads, is the most complex war machine the U.S. Navy has ever produced. This $1.8 billion marvel can sail deep beneath the ocean, undetected by enemies, for months.
Douglas C. Waller -- bestselling author of The Commandos and veteran Time magazine correspondent -- penetrates the silent, secret world of nuclear subs, taking you on a tension-packed three-month patrol under the Atlantic Ocean inside the USS Nebraska, fondly nicknamed Big Red. In chilling detail, witnessed through the eyes of the men on board and told in their own words, Big Red reveals the top-secret procedures for starting World War III, including secret codes, elaborate fail-safe mechanisms, and highly classified battle tactics for nuclear combat.
crew member now had an opinion about how to get Volonino out of his fix. Volonino tuned out the others. He had learned over the past two years that only one man’s opinion counted on this ship. His. Volonino, in fact, had more experience than any of his crew in handling the sub. He had learned to trust his instincts and to go with what he thought was the right thing to do. He would drive the submarine from the bridge by himself. “I’m going to back it into the channel,” he said firmly. “And I’m
Scope one to his left, two on the right. Fat gray tubes, each with rubber eyepieces and foldout crossbars with grip handles to turn the scope around for a 360-degree view of the outside. Crammed behind the periscopes from left to right were a chart table, a depth sounder transmitter and receiver, a shore phone and amplifier, a bearing repeater indicator, an electronic surveillance system console to detect outside radar emissions, and a command and control switchboard. Behind this hardware,
forty-two. His wife, Marion, had grown used to their long-distance marriage by then. Every time he went to sea, she bought another pet. Marion now had twenty-one cats, three dogs, three fish, two tarantulas, and a turtle. Doctoring under the sea in a Trident has its own special challenges, as Philbin found. Studies of humans in underwater environments have been carried on for more than four hundred years, but only in the last fifty, particularly with the advent of the nuclear-powered vessels,
storekeeper, the other job he now held on the Nebraska besides driving. He had no dread of accounting for supplies or keeping up with mounds of paperwork. He loved it, in fact. Rose was obsessively meticulous and neat. He kept a “tickler” by his side always, a weekly planner on which he jotted down every task he wanted to perform. Every hour of every day was mapped out carefully so every goal he set out for himself would be remembered and met. He backed up the paper copy of his planner on a
both the commanding officer and his executive officer being killed by the terrorist. During the last patrol, Volonino had tested the crew on how it would react if the most experienced person aboard tried to prevent the missiles from being launched. Announcing on the sub’s speaker system that he had been gripped with a sudden attack of pacifism, Volonino stole one of the special keys needed to fire the nuclear weapons and scrunched between two tubes in the missile compartment where no one could