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Mystery Cache

Qualified in Submarines

A cache by OC1GuyWI Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 4/7/2010
In Wisconsin, United States
3.5 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size: large (large)

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Geocache Description:

Your mission is to “qualify in ”this submarine” series of geocaches.

Please take your time and rehide this cache very well!

To find the coordinates of the geocache, you will need to obtain information provided on the informational descriptions of the Class of Submarine series.

To gain access to the geocache, you will need to find information on the lids of geocaches in this series and use that information to unlock the container. Only geocachers who are able to gain access to the container and sign the log should log this cache as found.

Submarine Qualification

Upon reporting to his first submarine the unqualified submarine sailor, or "nub", short for "Non Useful Body" (a derogatory term), completes a few days of indoctrination and is then assigned a Qualification Card, a qualification due date, and a Sea Dad (officially known as a "command sponsor"). The Sea Dad monitors the non-qual's progress during the qualification process and his adaptation to life aboard the boat.

No one is exempted from the qualification process and no concessions are made to rank or rate.

Although submarine qualification methodology has changed throughout the decades the basic goal has remained: 1) to provide the submarine sailor with a basic knowledge of all systems on board, their uses, operations, and interrelationships with other systems and 2) to ensure all personnel can operate effectively under pressure in shipboard situations. Submarine damage control techniques are stressed throughout the qualification process.

Progress is tracked by the Chief of the Boat. Each item on the qual card is worth a specified number of points; unqualified sailors must obtain a predetermined number of points per week. Failure to achieve the required number results in placement on a "delinquent list" (also causing the sailor to be referred to as "dink") and the assignment of additional study, monitored by the Sea Dad. Each system signature is weighted and each phase has a maximum number of points.

The qualifications process aboard the boat uses publications, training videos, computer programs and hands-on training with qualified personnel, but the principal focus is on the actual operation of the damage control, atmosphere control, weapons, countermeasures, reactor, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, and electronic systems on that particular submarine. Once the qualifying sailor feels he has the requisite knowledge for the system he will ask a designated Qualification Petty Officer (QPO — an expert on the system in question) for a "checkout". The QPO will ask prepared questions concerning the system. He can also ask the sailor to draw a line diagram and explain the system in various states and configurations. If the QPO feels the sailor has met his expectations, he will sign the sailor's qual card and those points will be included in the sailor's weekly point count. If the QPO isn't satisfied with the sailor's knowledge level, he will require him to study further and return for another checkout. Often this process is used as a means of harassment and revenge.

The qualification structure can be broken down into phases. The example listed below is only a basic guide and is not the rule for all submarines. For most phases of qualification, knowledge of basic rather than elaborate equipment operations is required, with the exception of damage control equipment and procedures. Among the most important goals of submarine qualification is providing each member of the crew - regardless of designated specialty - with the training to combat casualties anywhere on the submarine. In case of fire, flooding, or other casualty, each submarine sailor must be confident that he can trust the man next to him to know the purpose, location, and proper use of each item of damage control equipment, as well as the location and operation of isolations for each electrical/air/hydraulic system.

Indoctrination/Damage Control Phase

This phase emphasizes the construction and support systems for the specific submarine to which the sailor is assigned.

Internal Communication Circuits
Sound Powered Phone Circuits
Emergency Alarms
Damage Control equipment location and proper utilization is stressed.

Propulsion Phase

Ship's Propulsion Plant
Electrical Plant Systems
Primary and Auxiliary Propulsion Equipment

Auxiliary Systems Phase

Ship's Main, Service and Plane Control Hydraulics Systems
Potable water systems
Ship's Air Systems, Including High Pressure, Ship's Service and Salvage Air Systems.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Atmospheric Monitoring Systems
Depth Sensing Systems
Sea Water and Ballasting Systems
Chemical Holding and Treatment (sanitation and waste water)

Electronic Equipment and Navigation

Electronic Sensor Monitoring Systems
External Communications Systems
Navigation Systems

Combat Systems

Torpedo and Tactical Missile Fire Control Systems
Ballistic Missile Fire Control Systems (SSBN's only)
Torpedo Tube Systems
Sonar Systems
External Countermeasure Systems and Launchers

Block Reviews and Walkthroughs

Each phase (or "block") of the qualification card has an overall "block review" where the qualifier ties in all the phase's systems and is verbally tested for his level of knowledge.

After completion of all blocks, the qualifier must complete compartment walkthroughs, where a senior, qualified sailor quizzes the qualifier as they walk through the submarine. If all walkthroughs are completed successfully, the qualifier's chain of command recommends that he be examined by a qualification board.

The "Qual Board"

This is the most dreaded part of the New Qualifier's qualification process. The board is made up of a Submarine-qualified Officer, a Chief Petty Officer and a Petty Officer. Submarine Damage Control is the biggest factor discussed during the Board.

During the Board, the examinee may be asked to draw and explain any of the systems he has learned about during the qualification process. After the Board the examinee is dismissed and evaluated by the members of the board. If the examinee passes the Board, he is then recommended for qualification to the Commanding Officer of the Submarine.

The Commanding Officer reviews the Board's recommendation and upon his concurrence, the newly-qualified individual is presented his "Dolphins" by the Skipper and designated as "Qualified in Submarines". The Dolphins presentation is considered an important event as it means the newly qualified submariner will be treated as a full member of the crew, instead of an object of scorn and ridicule.

Appropriate annotations are made in the new Submariner's service jacket to reflect his qualification. Submarine Qualified Personnel are designated "SS" after the rate, such as ET1(SS) or MM2(SS).

Post qualification life

After the sailor is designated "Qualified in Submarines", he is now looked upon by the rest of the crew as someone that can, and will, save their lives. He is treated with a greater amount of respect, given more responsibility, and the real learning begins. He is required to continually qualify in areas other than his primary duty. This is to ensure in-depth cross-training is accomplished. This process continues throughout a submarine sailor's tour. In addition to the basic submarine qualification process and his requirement to qualify in his most senior in-rate watch station, a submarine sailor usually will become qualified at numerous in port and at sea watch stations not directly related to his own specific rate.

When a submarine sailor ordered to serve a tour ashore returns to sea duty (or whenever ordered from boat to another submarine of a class on which he has not already sailed and earned his qualifications), he is again required to "re-qualify" on the new submarine, but will never again be a NUB [Non-Useful-Body or Non-qualified Useless Body]. This qualification is normally completed by a walkthrough check with a senior qualified member of his Chain of Command or a Submarine-qualified Officer.

Your Qualification Process

To find the coordinates of the cache, you need to study submarines. You will need to find the numerical answers to the following:

Boomer: At one time, this was the number of Sea Wolf submarines intended to be build over a ten-year period which was later reduced to 12.
Cruise Missile: The number of enlisted crewmembers on an Ohio Class Submarine?
Deployment: What type of steel was used to construct the Skipjack?
Dive Planes: What is the test depth in meters of a Virginia Class Submarine?
Home Port: What is the draft of an Ethan Allen class submarine (feet)?
Nuclear Reactor: The version of torpedo carried by a Lafayette Class Submarine (Mark XX). XX=?
Periscope: How many officers are on an Ohio Class Submarine?
Pressure hull: The Thresher/Permit class submarine had torpedo launchers moved to the middle of the hull which left room for what huge type of BQQ sonar system? This also corresponds to the number of steam turbines which were on the ship.
Radar: The number of Los Angeles Class submarines that were built.
Rudder: What is the test depth, in feet, of a George Washington Class Submarine?
Sonar: What is the hull number of the George Washington class submarine, the USS Abraham Lincoln?
Test Depth: After the cold war, construction of Seawolf boats was stopped at what number?
Torpedo: What is the length of a Sturgeon class submarine (feet)?

Submariners need to be very analytical. They need to be able to process information and use it to come to conclusions. To prove that you are ready to be qualified in this submarine series, you will need to perform the following calculations. The result of these calculations will provide you with six numbers. Your task is to arrange the numbers in such a way as to provide the coordinates to the cache.

Boomer + Periscope
Pressure Hull + Nuclear Reactor
Deployment – Home Port
Cruise Missile – Radar – Test Depth
Sonar - Torpedo
Rudder + Dive Planes

You can check your answers for this puzzle on

Once you have found the cache, you will need to gain access to the treasure by deciphering the clues that are found inside the cover of the cache series.

Some submarines have two crews which are designated Blue and Gold. While one crew is deployed, the other is in training. When the submarine returns to port, she undergoes a short maintenance period and the crews switch places. In this manner, the submarine can spend more time out to sea.. To gain access to the Blue Crew, you will need to use the four letter password as found in the cache covers.

During the cold war, the most significant enemy of US Submarines was the Russian fleet. They were referred to as “Ivan” and were associated with the color red. To access the cache you will need to decipher information relating to Ivan’s nemesis, the mighty boats of the US Fleet! OC1GuyWI was a sailor on board the namesake of one of the submarine classes. You will find the motto of this fine submarine in the caches of the series. How does this boat relate to the rest of the fleet? Use the first four letters of the descriptor along with information found at the cache to access Ivan.

Congratulations to those of you who are able to complete this task.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Juvyr snpvat gur Dhnyvsvpngvba Obneq, Fhoznevaref ner erdhverq gb nafjre jvgubhg nal nffvfgnapr! Yrg lbhe cercnengvba or lbhe thvqr.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 4/19/2017 3:35:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:35 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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