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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 by [Charles Cranston Jett]

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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 Kindle Edition

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Length: 310 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Super Nuke!A Memoir about the Life of a Nuclear Submariner and the
Contributionsof a "Super Nuke"--The USS Ray (SSN-653)--Toward Winning the Cold War
CharlesCranston Jett. Denver: Outskirts Press, 2016. 308 pp. Illus. Appendices.
Reviewed byVice Admiral Al Konetzni Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)
Often calledour nation's longest war, the Cold War is now being researched and presented tothe world in myriad books, movies, and television programs. Largely because ofthe security classifications, the role of the U.S. Submarine Force in that waris little known. The fact is that the force put great stress on the SovietUnion's naval forces, specifically its fast attack and ballistic missilesubmarines. It did so with a numerically smaller force that was technologicallysuperior to Soviet submarines and manned by volunteers who knew that eachcrewmember was equally critical to operating the vessel safely at great depthsfar from home.
As a result,the Soviets found little success in hiding their ballistic missile submarinesor in finding ours. Furthermore, as the Cold War progressed, the Soviet Unionacted as if each of their submarines and major combatants was being tracked byU.S. submarines. This clearly was impossible given the numerical superiority ofthe Soviet submarine force. Our ability to stress the Soviet Navy and creategreat uncertainty helped bring the Cold War to an end in 1989 with the fall ofthe Berlin Wall.
Super Nukeis a most entertaining look at one individual's journey as he contemplated,applied, trained, and qualified in submarines. For a Cold War enthusiast, thebook's value is in its critical insights about the role of our submarine forceduring this period, and its descriptions of the stresses placed on our peopleas we built and commissioned six to nine submarines per year during the 1960sand early 1970s. U.S. submarines were in such demand that they often deployedshortly after commissioning and a short shakedown cruise.
CharlesJett's work also provides a look into the thought patterns of a junior officeras he navigates the tasks and challenges of qualification, watch standing, andmaintenance requirements, while attempting to maintain a social life. This veryreadable and enjoyable account of life in a U.S. fast attack submarine givesreaders a "story within a story." It is a good primer for men and women who arethinking about careers in the Submarine Force.
For youngofficers in any area of service, Super Nuke shows how junior officers can havegreat influence over events in the Navy. I call this "self-imagination," or thewill to make something occur that did not previously exist. Jett's contributionwas to make pre-deployment training and submerged contact management moreefficient than it had been. He was able to accomplish this because of hisinitiative, the leadership of his seniors, and the support of well-trainedsubordinates.
Finally, thebook sends a clear message to active-duty commanders: Only you can ensure thatyour wardroom and crew have appropriately balanced work-life routines.Otherwise an atmosphere of all work and no play is created, as Jettexperienced. Young service members who cannot maintain a healthy balance willresign their commissions and walk out the door. This is as true today as it wasin 1970.

VADMKonetzni , known as "Big Al, the Sailor's Pal," served as the deputy and chiefof staff to the Commander, Fleet Forces Command before retiring from the Navyin 2004. His previous assignments included Commander Submarine Force, U.S.Pacific Fleet. In 2016 he retired from his position as vice president andgeneral manager of Oceaneering International Inc.'s Advanced TechnologiesMarine Services Division.
"Charles Jett has written an entertaining and factual memoir of an important time and series of events in the history of the coldwar. He has succeeded in telling the unclassified story of the journey taken by an extraordinary group of men who built the first operational "SuperNuke" and effectively shared what they developed with others in the entire US nuclear submarine force. He consolidated developments made on the Ray to create the highly useful Geographic Plot (Geo Plot) as well as the tactical doctrinefor the SSN based electronic intelligence collection system, AN/WLR-6. Well done, Charlie. I am proud to have had you as a shipmate."

Albert L. Kelln
Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.)
Former Commanding Officer and Plank Owner
USS RAY (SSN 653) - The original "Super Nuke"
"Charlie Jett succeeds in providing an unclassified account of what it was like to be a nuclear qualified submariner who had the unique experience of building and serving aboard the first operational "SuperNuke" - the most modern fast attack nuclear submarine designed specifically to face the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. He describes the contributions of the commissioning crew in developing sonar techniques and operational tactics and how these lessons were ultimately and effectively communicated to later "Super Nukes." Charlie provided the initial idea and was instrumental in establishing and implementing a new concept of training which significantly improved the operational readiness of the nuclear attack submarine force. He created the "Geographic Plot" to improve operational safety and wrote the tactical doctrine for a new and sophisticated nuclear attack submarine electronic intelligence gathering system. "SuperNuke" is a good read for those who have an interest in life as a submarine officer and how these marvelous machines and their crews contributed to winning the Cold War."

The Honorable John H. Dalton, USNA '64
Former Nuclear Submariner and
70th Secretary of the Navy

"This is a most interesting work on the U.S. Navy's program to combat the Soviet submarine threat during the long Cold War. Charlie was in at the beginning and accurately describes the significant efforts, both in individual sacrifice and technical development that led to U.S. undersea superiority. As ajunior officer his individual accomplishments were most significant. The submarine efforts were probably the most important U.S.competitive strategy that drove the Soviets to the poor house and led to the demise of the Soviet Union."

Bruce DeMars
Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.)
Former Commanding Officer, USS CAVALLA (SSN 684) - a subsequent "SuperNuke"
Former Director of Naval Reactors
"Charlie's description of our first encounter on the Pargo is accurate and his proposal for SSN pre-deployment training was a challenge which we readily accepted prior to our initial deployment. The concept was solid, the training excellent and timely, and the result over the years was to vastly improve the mission readiness for "Super Nukes"that followed. This book provides an entertaining, unclassified and accurate description of how those early lessons learned were effectively communicated and contributed to subsequent SSN missions. Well Done!"

Steven A. White
Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.)
Former Commander USS PARGO (SSN 650) - A subsequent "Super Nuke"
Former Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic
Former Chief of Naval Material
Book Review
Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

"On a bright Tuesday morning on June 21, 1966, many events affecting the United States were taking place around the world." This understated Cold War context makes for a fascinating and revealing account by Charles Cranston Jett in his book Super Nuke! As a man, Jett's personal combination of interests, curiosity, intelligence and drive led him - almost serendipitously - to become a Navy submariner; not on just any submarine, but aboard the first operationally active member of "the most modern and powerful nuclear attack submarines ever built." The Ray was the ultimate weapon.

In Super Nuke! Mr. Jett tells his story with clarity, precision, and an intensely interesting sense of spy-like intrigue natural to such Top Secret revelations about a supremely secretive and dangerous time in U.S. history. Strangely and concurrently, his narrative also sounds like any young man finding his way to learning and employment, and ultimate service to mankind. The difference is revealed in specifics that even now cannot be revealed fully, and in the vital contribution made by this submarine in bringing about an acceptable, non-nuclear ending to the doomsday-driven scenarios so prevalent during the Cold War.

Amazingly, Mr. Jett not only turns this finely written work into an historically important document, but also into a kind of primer for how to succeed in life, both in one's job and in the area of one's expertise. His own summary says it best: "The primary lessons I learned serving in the nuclear navy were as follows: If you are going to do something, then do it the best of your ability. If you say you're going to do something, then do it. Whatever you do in life, do things that contribute to the betterment of your fellow man, and for your country." One more time in his own life, Mr. Jett in Super Nuke! leads us by example.
Official Review: Super Nuke! by Charles Cranston Jett By Shelle

[Following is the official review of "Super Nuke!" by Charles Cranston Jett.]

Nuclear submarines are not things I've ever spent much time thinking about. I wasn't totally sure what made them nuclear or why they were even necessary for the military to use. I didn't understand the role they played in fighting (and winning) the Cold War. Fortunately, Super Nuke! a memoir by retired nuclear submariner Charles Cranston Jett, gave me a solid education in all things nuclear submarine related. I rated this book 4 out of 4 stars.
Author Charles Cranston Jett grew up far from the ocean in North and South Dakota and later graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964. He chose to continue his career under the ocean in a submarine. He went through years of submarine and nuclear power training before stepping aboard his first vessel and due to all that intense training, knew his role inside and out. He was an officer on the nuclear submarine, USS Ray, and served on three missions. During his service, the USS Ray monitored the North Atlantic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, crossed the Arctic Circle, and played a chess-like game with Russian submarines. At times the tension and danger the submarine crew felt very nearly jumped off the page.
While most of the memoir is quite technical and scientific, there were some charming stories included. My favorites were the chance encounters the author had with U.S. Presidents, as well as the clever and unexpected way Charles and his bachelor Navy buddies convinced a group of college girls to be bridge partners. I also enjoyed all the jokes and light-hearted moments the submarine crew enjoyed together. These humorous stories made the author feel like a real person and not just a Navy robot.
Although Super Nuke! spends quite a bit of time describing the technology involved in nuclear submarines, the author also included several appendices for readers who want even more detailed information. There are also many photographs and diagrams that help the reader better understand what the author is describing.
Overall, I thought this book was very well-written and I enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that the author loved his time serving on a nuclear submarine. The respect and admiration he has for his fellow crew members and officers was evident as well as his dedication to the submarine and equipment he worked with. I appreciated the thoroughness in which Charles Cranston Jett described the science and technology behind the submarine and its nuclear power plant. I definitely better understand how a nuclear submarine works and why the nuclear submarine program was an important part of American history.
At times, the technical aspects can feel a bit dry and reminded me of a textbook, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I would recommend Super Nuke! to anyone interested in military history, the history of the Cold War, nuclear power and engineering, or those who enjoy interesting memoirs. The author seems very genuine and the kind of guy you'd like to spend hours talking to over a few beers. Since we can't all do that, I'm glad he wrote this memoir.

From the Author

This book tells how I played an key role in consolidating what we learned on the first "Super Nuke" and shared it with the rest of the US Naval Nuclear Submarine Force.  Everything we did was focused entirely on the Soviet Union. 
My editor, upon completion, told me that it is really a "love story," and, in a sense, she is correct.  While these events occurred almost fifty years ago, they are all live and in color in the back of my mind - as though they occurred yesterday.
What we accomplished was monumental.  Our fast attack nuclear submarine force basically shut down the Soviet threat.
I sat on this knowledge for nearly fifty years - and, with the help of the US Navy, was able to piece together a rather clear picture of what we did without divulging any classified information.  It was an experience of a lifetime and an honor to have been a part of an incredible crew and an outstanding organization.  The book is dedicated to all of those men who proudly wear the gold and silver dolphins and served their country with dignity and respect.  ~ CCJ  Chicago 2016                          

Product details

  • Publication date : April 16, 2016
  • File size : 3029 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Publisher : Outskirts Press, Inc. (April 16, 2016)
  • Print length : 310 pages
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B01EE1HTC2
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 102 ratings

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