“Join the Navy, see the world!” That’s what the recruiting officer said (in Norwegian). But that’s not what the 50 or so very companionable men who served aboard the Norwegian submarine Ulstein got to do. The mission of their ship (one of a fleet of 15), from the mid-1960s until the end of the Cold War, was to patrol the coastal waters of Scandinavia while on the lookout for their Russian counterparts.
Think of it: no windows, no deck, just the sound of pinging sonar, the whirr of the ship’s electric motor and always speaking very quietly. Even laughter had to be subdued because the enemy was listening. Those must have been fun times in a 155-foot-steel tube of claustrophobia-inducing hell.