Many have see various television shows about submarine life. While they describe some of it, I believe submarine life defies description in a way not dissimilar to that of Astronauts or early explorers. There is a lot of tremendously demanding work, social isolation, deprivation, friendships, teamwork, accomplishment, ongoing risk, and the occasional port call.
I took away a work ethic beyond what I thought was humanly possible. Every day underway was like the worst day of medical internship. This was especially true for the Engineering Laboratory technicians as they had to stand a 6 hour watch once or twice daily, while also maintaining primary and secondary chemistry and doing requisite radiation and contamination surveys and reading dosimeters.
I have many lifelong friendships that are carved deep as a result of my time on a submarine. It seems like two lifetimes ago and possibly even a different life altogether at this point. I am certainly fortunate that I had the opportunity to serve in this manner.