Praise for Joe Buff from NY Times Bestselling Authors:

"Superbly researched and well-written, Joe Buff's novels are the creme de la creme of submarine thrillers."
--Stephen Coonts

"Joe Buff takes the reader through a labyrinth of action and high adventure. A rare thriller, highly entertaining."
--Clive Cussler

"If you want a hair-raising trip to the bottom of the ocean, Joe Buff's the guy to take you there."
--Patrick Robinson

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SUPER SUBS, SUPER PEOPLE
by Joseph J. Buff, Albany-Saratoga SubVets Base "Scuttlebutt" newsletter, [IMAGE]Winter/Spring 2006

Photo Courtesy: Walter P. Noonan
[IMAGE] Since their creation over a century ago, submarines have always ranked among any nation’s most high-tech and important warfighting tools. Today, with the Global War on Terror and emerging naval threats like China, that couldn’t be more true. Breathtakingly advanced combat sensors, state of the art data processing systems with displays so sophisticated they’re classified, and genuine, operational weapons that seem to come from science fiction all define key features of America’s nuclear submarine fleet.

But all the fancy technology can blind us to the importance of the people who design, build, maintain, and use this equipment to achieve our country’s indispensable defense goals. Watch any old war movie and you’ll see World War II diesel boats depicted as hives of human activity by vivid characters that aren’t just patriotic and courageous, but also colorful, irreverant, even flamboyant. Read the memoirs of the Smokeboat Sailors and you’ll notice the same sort of people on every page, except they’re real. But somewhere along the journey to nuclear power, the microchip, Trident II ballistic missiles, ultra-smart ADCAP torpedoes, and Tactical Tomahawks that network-centric platforms talk to by satellite and redirect to new targets while in flight, U.S. pop culture seems to have missed that it’s people who make it all go. Flesh and blood people with aspirations, loved ones -- and daily practical concerns not so very different from yours and mine. These people range from designers and craftsmen at contractors now facing imminent pink slips, to qualified submariners at the sharp tip of the spear on secret, high-risk, vital deployments. And the men are still definitely masters of the machines.

So what are today’s generation of American submariners like? In the past half-year I’ve been priviledged to visit USS DALLAS in dry-dock, USS VIRGINIA and USS SPRINGFIELD at their Groton piers, and also joined an underway on the newest SSBN-to-SSGN conversion, USS OHIO. The skippers exude quiet competence and confidence, and pride in their work and their ships, traits that they make contageous through subdued but unmistakable command presence and charisma. Chiefs -– who always ran the Navy and always will –- are gregarious yet demanding, larger than life, and as likely to have a masters degree in something or other as they are to have arms covered with tattoos. Enlisted men, like their superiors, these days come in all sizes, colors, shapes, and personalities. They’re probably the best educated young submariners the U.S. has ever sent off to sea. The quality of their training, through computerized team simulators on land, and continuing education programs they run on their laptops while under the ocean, would astonish Dolphin-wearers who did their own service in yesteryear.

Without these terrific guys -- some still pimply-faced teenagers, some fighting middle-age spread -- all the gadgetry and the hulls that contain them would be just hyper-expensive heaps of ineffective, useless junk. Never forget that it’s the super people who put the “super” in super sub!

JoeBuff.Com / Joe Buff Inc.
Joe Buff, President
Dutchess County, New York

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