Nuclear Submarine Officer

Jimmy Carter learned punctuality, discipline, and order from his time in the Navy. Six years of hard work earned him the position of Senior Officer of the U.S.S. Seawolf.


Narrator: Two years after joining the Navy, Ensign Carter was accepted into the submarine service. It was a way to advance rapidly in a highly competitive environment.

Douglas Brinkley, Historian: The military was everything for Jimmy Carter. It's his training. He's never a minute late for anything. Punctuality means everything. His sense of order -- there's no sense of a mess around Jimmy Carter. It's a certain kind of person that works in a submarine. It takes a kind of mental discipline.

Narrator: While the rest of the officers lingered after dinner or settled in for a long game of bridge or poker, his shipmates remembered, Carter would read a book, solve a sonar problem, always something constructive. "I mastered the assignments that I had," Carter would say of his Navy career, "got the best fitness reports, and I never put in for anything that I did not get."

Archive Voiceover: She's coming up out of the deep. The Seawolf...

Narrator: After six years in the service, Lieutenant Carter earned one of the most coveted posts in the Navy: Senior Officer of the U.S.S. Seawolf, on the vanguard of America's nuclear defense program.

Rosalynn Carter: He always had one of the best positions in the Navy. And I think it gave him a lot of confidence that he could do whatever he wanted to do.


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  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH