Have you ever been on a submarine? Recently, my wife and I toured a B-39 Russian submarine at the San Diego Maritime Museum.
I’ve toured a few submarines in the past, but they were all United States Navy. I must say, the Russian one didn't remind me at all of the Red October depicted in the film based on Tom Clancy's famous novel, The Hunt For Red October. For one thing, there were no doors or person-sized hatches. Instead, you had to crawl through a two-foot-diameter circle to get from one section of the sub to another. That took some doing!
An audiovisual presentation told how this submarine was historically significant. The USSR sent it down to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was set to launch nuclear missiles against the USA. The crew remained submerged as long as they could. They knew international tensions were running high. If they surfaced, and war had begun, they knew their submarine would be fired on, and probably destroyed.
The crew deliberated over whether to fire their missiles on the US, just in case. But their stores of food, drinks, and most important of all, air, were not limitless.
The captain decided to surface, and hope that war had not been declared, and they would not be attacked.
Although the USA and the USSR didn’t go to war, it seems the sailors on this sub were looked down on when they returned home. Their military careers were effectively over. I found it interesting to sit in the last part of the sub, and see the post-it notes that people had written and stuck to the walls. Aside from the inevitable “So-and-so was here” messages, there were also heartfelt notes like “Thanks for not blowing us up” and “Thanks for risking your lives for peace.”
For those who served aboard this vessel, as well as their families, consider this post my expression of gratitude for giving peace a chance.