Navy To Revise Psychological Screening For Potential Submariners
By Julia Bergman
April 27, 2016
GROTON – The Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory is revising its psychological screening test used to determine if those coming into the submarine force are mentally fit to serve on submarines.
"The millennials, the ones who are coming into the submarine force today, are tremendously different than the young men who came into the submarine force .... in World War II, different motivations, different aspirations, different understanding," retired Navy Capt. Ray Woolrich, of the lab, said during a lecture on submarine medicine Wednesday.
Woolrich's talk was part of Connecticut's Submarine Century lecture series and coincided with a ribbon cutting for a new exhibit at the Submarine Force Museum on the history of the Naval Submarine Base.
The 260-question test developed by the lab, called subscreen, looks at a number of different factors such as claustrophobia, "if you're a loner, if you can't get along well," Woolrich said.
"It is a close environment, and if you don't like your buddy, it's going to get ugly quickly," he said. "We try to screen those out as readily as we can."
The lab is looking to change the metrics it uses for the test, and the way it asks the various questions, for example.
"The population has changed and clearly women are in the submarine force," Woolrich said. "The question that I might ask a man would be very easily differently answered by a woman. So what are those differences that we should watch for because right now the metrics against which we measure are all male. That's what we're trying to do."
Woolrich's talk also covered the history of lab and its role in submariner health and well-being.
A member of the Submarine Force Library and Museum Association, Woolrich also spoke at the ribbon cutting for the museum's new exhibit.
"One of the problems I've got with 9-11 is that it pushed the military behind a wall so that the civilians can't get to see what we do. That's an issue. What this staff does is bring the submarine force out to the public," he said.
Starting with the creation of the New London Navy Yard, the exhibit covers the base and school's history up to present day.
Artifacts now on display include the engine order telegraph from the submarine G-2, one of the first to be stationed at the base, and a submarine school training aid from World War II.