Someone claimed to be on a US Navy nuclear sub. How can You verify ?...

Ask him what he had to do to earn his submarine warfare insignia, also known as his dolphins. Should be a pretty lengthy list of things to learn. It takes about a year. Enlisted men wear silver dolphins, officers wear gold dolphins. Also ask him about EAB’s, and if he had to do anything special with those during the process.

The Emergency Air Breathing (EAB) apparatus is a mask with a hose that’s connected to a manifold in the overhead. 

There are manifolds all over the boat, and they are connected to an emergency air bank, kept in pressurized flasks in the main ballast tanks. When the air is unbreathable (smoke, high CO2, low oxygen, radioactive contamination, etc.), everyone dons EAB’s so they don’t die.

The EAB’s have no internal air storage capacity, and the manifolds are 10–20 feet apart. So to move around in the boat you have to take a deep breath, unplug from the manifold, move quickly toward the next one, find it, and plug in. Then breathing is possible again.

Sometimes the manifold is full. Then you have to quickly run your hand down someone’s hose, and clip into the buddy connection on their belt.

As far as I know, no one earns their dolphins without being able to travel the entire length of the boat internally, blindfolded, while wearing an EAB.
Yes, that activity was not fun. And it’s hard to forget.


If you do a little research it’s pretty easy to pin someone down who is lying about the military. Some things that everyone who has ever been on a submarine will know:
  • Hull number, name and class of their boat. (subs are boats not ships they should know this as well)
    • Older fast attack subs are named after cities primarily (Los Angeles class) and ballistic missile subs after states (Ohio class) though there are a few exceptions where someones name was used. The newer fast attack subs are named after states (Virginia class), there are additionally 3 sea wolf class subs.
    • after someone identifies which kind of sub they were on you can pin them down on the differences with trick questions:
      • Boomers don’t get very many liberty ports (they mostly stay submerged for 80 days at a time) and have two distinct crews (blue and gold)
      • Fast attacks don’t have ICBM’s and only have a single crew.
  • What’s a bubble-head, what’s a skimmer (sub sailor vs surface sailor)
  • How long it takes to get your dolphins (about a year)
  • Ask them to name the two types of ships in the Navy from a submariners perspective. They should either say subs and targets or subs and skimmers. The Navy like all branches of the service has endless derogatory references for anyone in the service who does something different.
  • Ask them the longest time they remained submerged it’s rarely going to be longer than 80 days.
  • Ask them how long or often they had to surface to recharge batteries or take on air. (they don’t have to do either)
  • Ask them how often they need to change fuel rods in the reactor. (never)
  • Ask them the two different types of MM’s (machinists) on a ship. There’s nuc MM’s who work on the reactor and A-gang MM’s who work on everything else.
  • Ask them what a twidget is. (someone who works on electronics)
  • Ask them what happens when 140 submariners go out to sea. (70 couples return) this is a derogatory joke from surface sailors targeting submariners, they have all heard it numerous times.
  • ask him what SS stands for on a rating (sub surface warfare) everyone on a submarine must qualify SS.
  • How long was the sub. Fast attacks are about 360–380 feet and Boomers are over 550.

    All these questions should be super easy for him to answer. If he struggles with any of them except possibly the jokes he’s probably not telling the full story.