“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”
--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

"DiMercurio really knows his subs...his characters step right off the sub deck and onto his pages."
--Larry Bond

"A Master Rivaling Tom Clancy."
--Publishers Weekly

--San Francisco Examiner

--Associated Press

"Superb storytelling."
--Virginia-Pilot/Ledger Star


# / A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z


Sail -- -- The fin sticking out of the top of the hull that houses masts and antennae and periscopes, with the bridge at the top for conning the sub on the surface. So named because they are smooth fins with square profiles when viewed from the side.

Scram -- -- An emergency shutdown (trip) of a nuclear reactor, done by driving control rods to the bottom of the core using springs. A term left over from the 1940s when the primitive lab reactors had a control rod hanging by a rope. An emergency trip would be initiated by the Safety Control Rod Ax Man (SCRAM).

Scrubber -- -- CO2 scrubber. Atmospheric control equipment that rids the ship of carbon dioxide (from breathing and the diesel emergency generator) by blowing it over an amine bed.

Sea Hag -- -- That lovely and friendly woman in the bar who, by the light of the morning, is revealed to be…not quite your type. POW escape and evade tactics may be called for. Prepare for the crew to taunt you about this for the rest of the run, including cartoons of her posted in the crews mess.

SEAL -- -- Navy Sea/Air/Land commando.

Sea Trials -- -- Post-construction shakedown cruise of a ship.

Section Tracking Party -- -- A firecontrol party stationed to man the plots and firecontrol system when tracking a hostile contact for extended periods. Modified battlestations.

Senior -- -- What you call a senior chief petty officer. Make sure there is respect in your voice.

Shield -- -- A substance that lowers the levels of radiation, including lead (for gamma and alpha radiation), water, oil, polyethylene, polyurethane and other hydrocarbons such as paraffin (for neutron radiation).

Ship Control Panel (SCP) -- -- The console where the ship’s depth, course and speed are controlled. It resembles a 747 cockpit, with the helmsman on the left, sternplanesman on the right and diving officer behind and between them.

Ship Control Party -- -- The watchstanders manning the ship control panel, including the sternplanesman, the helmsman, the diving officer and the chief of the watch.

Shoot on Generated Bearing -- -- Captain’s order to shoot a torpedo based on the firecontrol solution’s estimate of where a target should be, not on the last actual bearing from sonar. When ordered, the firecontrol party locks in the firecontrol solution to the target and when the torpedo reports back, the captain is given one last chance to say either “shoot” or “check fire.”

Sierra -- -- Name of the third generation of Russian nuclear subs, known for their titanium hulls and high pricetags.

Signal Ejector -- -- A small torpedo tube used to eject flares, communication buoys and countermeasures. The flares are for exercises against skimmers to indicate “I got you, I got you, you’re dead, skimmer puke!” The communication buoys are called SLOT buoys for Submarine Launched One-way Transmitter, which can transmit long after the boat has cleared datum to allow a transmission without compromising stealth. The countermeasures are devices built to confuse incoming torpedoes.

SINS -- -- Ship’s Inertial Navigation System.

SITREP -- -- Situation report, a high priority radio message to a high-level commander reporting the status of a contact or enemy.

Skimmer or Skimmer Puke -- -- Surface warfare sailor.

Skipjack -- -- Name of the first American nuclear submarine class to have a teardrop-shaped hull. Extraordinarily fast but extraordinarily cramped.

SLAAM -- -- Submarine Launched Anti-Air Missile. Launched from the sail to home in on MPA, marine patrol aircraft.

Snapshot -- -- A quick reaction torpedo shot, usually done when fired upon first, or in a situation in which battlestations is not yet manned. Tactic learned from the Russians, who perfected it.

Snorkel -- -- A mast designed to bring air into the submarine so that the air-breathing diesel generator can use it for combustion when the reactor is scrammed.

Solution -- -- A contact’s range, course and speed. A mystery when using passive sonar. Determining the solution requires maneuvering own ship and doing calculations on the target’s bearing rate. Can be obtained manually or with the firecontrol computer.

Sonar -- -- A method or device for detecting and locating objects underwater by means of passively received sound waves from the object or by active pings sent out to be reflected by the objects.

Sonar girls -- -- Nickname for forward, non-nuclear crewmembers. See also nukes.

Sonobuoys -- -- Small objects dropped from maritime patrol aircraft that float on the surface and listen to the ocean below, then transmit the information gained back up to the aircraft. This gives an aircraft sonar capability.

Source Range -- -- The lowest range of reactor power, in which the neutrons formed from uranium-235 fission are at a similar level of the neutron source, a neutron emitter substance intentionally inserted into the system.

SPEC-OP -- -- Special operation, usually classified top secret codeword (higher than top secret) that risks the ship and crew to do something extremely hairy. Example, sailing to within a hundred feet of a Russian shipyard pier in the White Sea. If that doesn’t strike you, imagine a Russian submarine submerged in the deep channel off Port Baltimore far up the Chesapeake Bay.

SPEC-WAR -- -- Special warfare. Commando operations.

Spherical Array -- -- A sphere in the nosecone of a submarine fitted with transducers over most of its surface and able to hear in all directions except the baffles. Useful since it not only tells the bearing to an incoming noise, but also its D/E (deflection / elevation). The D/E can give clues that the sound is relayed via bottom bounce or surface bounce or even that a close contact is deeper or shallower than own ship.

Spin Up -- -- Start the gyro and computer system of a weapon in preparation for launch.

Spook -- -- A spy, either from Naval Intelligence, CIA, National Security Agency or a nameless U.S. Navy organization that sends riders onboard to gather electronic intelligence when the ship is on a spec-op.

SSN -- -- A fast attack submarine (submersible ship nuclear). Most submariners agree it actually means Saturdays, Sundays and Nights.

Starboard -- -- To the right as you face the bow or forward.

Steam Leak, Major -- -- When one of the large steam pipes ruptures in the engineroom. Result is rapid cooking of engineering crew unless the leak is isolated by shutting MS-1 or MS-2 valves. Steam leaks are also dangerous because they will overpower the reactor, potentially causing a prompt critical rapid disassembly. Steam Plant Control Panel (SPCP) – Console in the maneuvering room that monitors the steam plan and includes the actuators to control the valves admitting steam to the ahead or astern propulsion turbines. These steering wheel-shaped actuators are called “throttles.”

Sternplanes -- -- Horizontal control surfaces mounted at the tail that control the ship’s angle and which are moved by high pressure hydraulic oil (much like a car’s power steering).

Sternplanesman -- -- Enlisted watchstander who sits in the left seat of the ship control panel and controls the position of the sternplanes. While it sounds like a dull job, this guy can kill you in ten seconds if he panics in a casualty and puts the planes in the wrong position.

SSTGs (Ship Service Turbine Generators) -- -- The two turbines aft that turn the ship’s electrical generators and provide AC power.

Squiggle -- -- Steam generator water level control system (SGWLC).

Starboard -- -- To the right as you look forward (toward the bow).

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey

The HTML Writers Guild
Notepad only