Keeping their distance – eight submariner trainees at HM Naval Base Clyde recently passed-out under social distancing rules.
By Democrat reporter
Eight submariner trainees at HM Naval Base Clyde recently passed-out from the first phase of their Submarine Qualifying Course (SMQ) under strict social distancing conditions.
On May 21, the class of eight students – being trained for service on board Vanguard Class submarines – reached the culmination of their ten-week “dry phase”, the classroom part of the course conducted on dry land at Clyde’s Fleet Operational Sea Training (North) (FOST)(N).
The class graduated on the day with Captain FOST (N), Captain Ian Breckenridge presenting each student with their certificates in the Memorial Garden outside the HMS Neptune Wardroom next to the Statue of Leading Seaman Read.
The Submarine Qualifying Course provides future submariners with the knowledge essential for joining their first Royal Navy submarine. The course instils the absolute professionalism demanded by the Submarine Service with trainees required to demonstrate an intimate understanding of more than 30 complex engineering systems which operate the nuclear submarines and keep the crew safe.
“I wanted to be a submariner so that I could work with all three sciences and be faced with extra challenges to overcome in my day to day life.” said Medical Assistant (MA) Lucy Milner-Smith.
“I’m most excited about being able to do a job that I am a genuinely passionate about to the best of my ability. I cannot wait to go on my first sea draft.”
Prospective submariners join SMQ (North) at HM Naval Base Clyde for the dry phase of their training. After successfully completing a final exam, oral board and walk-rounds of a nuclear submarine, they pass-out, eventually joining a nuclear submarine.
It is there the second phase of training begins – known as the “wet phase”. Students complete their SMQ training at sea on board a Royal Navy submarine and it is only then that they are entitled to wear the coveted “dolphins” badge – the mark of a qualified submariner.
MA Allan Adam who also received his certificate said: “The reason I joined the Submarine Service was to test myself. Not everyone has the right frame of mind to become a submariner. Being stuck under water for a lengthy period without any sunlight could be daunting but it’s a challenge I think I will relish.
“The Submarine Service is a service like no other. Once you earn your dolphins, you become part of a special team and I cannot wait to become part of that.”