When I departed USS Sea Robin in AUG 1967 the CO (Denver McCune) was kind enough to write a letter of recommendation for me in the hope that it would assist me in my transition to CIVLANT. It was a bit embarrassing to read, describing me in glowing terms, etc. Is he really talking about me?
Despite what I still consider unworthy praise was a phrase that said I was "COMPETENT & EXTREMELY CAPABLE." I have to admit that I cringed a bit when I first read that, believing it was a way to moderate the former phrases of flattery. But, considering what I have read recently, I offer my THANKS & a hearty SALUTE.
If anyone describes you as CAPABLE or COMPETENT, consider the following.
To the submariner, competence means more than monkey-skills in a narrow specialty. It is in fact, an institutional obsession ranked above all other considerations. In submarines the word competence takes on an extra dimension or meaning: the man who can be totally and absolutely relied upon - one who goes the distance. Marginal sailors and officers in larger units, aided by the barriers of their very size, can hide behind a facade of rank and military pretense. Not so the submarine, with it's confined space and intensely focused tasks the individual becomes an open book to his shipmates.
Competence can be a saving grace for submariners, who for the most part have a natural affinity for non-conformity, harboring disdain for the "recruiting poster" superficialities of military life.