Super Nuke!: A Memoir About Life as a Nuclear Submariner and the Contributions of a “Super Nuke” – the USS RAY (SSN653) Toward Winning the Cold War – Charles Cranston Jett

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)

We thought about the young men on that submarine, officers and enlisted men, who were fellow submariners like us. They were doing their job for their own country and were using the same sort of training and skills that we were using. We had great respect for them; we weren’t “enemies”– we never fired a shot at one another — but we were adversaries of sorts. Each of us was tasked to do a mission whose objectives were similar, but focused on the specific interests of our own countries.”

It’s an honor to read a firsthand account from an esteemed Naval Officer, and for that fact itself I would like to extend my gratitude to the author and the publishers to allow me a glimpse of this book. It’s this personal journey that the readers can take and enjoy.

This memoir covers an important time period of history depicting the unclassified story of the journey taken up by an exceptional group of men who worked tirelessly to build the first operational “Super Nuke”. It includes its legacy that helped in building the entire U. S. nuclear submarine force.

Super Nuke is a smart and factual account of one of the largest military forces of the present world. The scenario might or might not be currently different, but the presence itself holds its grain of truth. The book talks about the life that is shared by naval officers on board, months away from their families without any source of information or communication. I am pretty sure it’s not just the navy but the other military branches that go through the same mixed emotions of patriotism and hardships. However, since the book is a documentation of the naval life it is easier to focus on that. Being an officer himself, the author was beautifully able to bring out the same feeling in the few lines that are often quoted as the Law of the Navy:

When a ship that is tired returneth –
With signs of the sea showing plain,
Men put her in dock for a season.
And her speed she reneweth again.

So shall ye if per chance ye grow weary,
In the uttermost part of the sea,
Pray for leave for the good of the service.
As much and as oft as it need be!

Since a nuclear submarine  is tasked to carry out tactical and logistical analysis, one would expected the book to have language and terminologies that are military and tough to understand. Being an ex-Naval Officer and a tactical trainer, the author has brilliantly explained the world of submarines in the simplest way which a layman (especially someone who is far removed from the military world) can understand. For this reason alone, I would recommend this book. The entertainment and information factors are completely gold.

From the writing style, it is clearly evident that Mr. Jett is not a professional writer. Some people might find it distracting, but I found it more personal, thereby living up to its genre.
Definitely recommending it loud and clear!! No other words required.

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