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How Many Were There?

Greets All!

My mind drifts more often these days; today's gyre keeps spinning the question "what was the total number of SOSUS analysts in the USN?" I'm just about certain there's no ACCURATE record on this; just about any estimate would be a SWAG at best.

By "analysts," I mean enlisted folks who went through OT "A" school (or its predecessors). Most of us know that early analysts were an assorted lot: BM, CS, and other sea intensive ratings. At least that's what I recall. Did those guys get any sort of analyst training? I was a bit more familiar with ratings like the antediluvian SO, SOO, and SOG. More "recent (beginning" 1965 or so?) were the ST, STO, STG, OT, and OTA. Did I leave anyone out?

Of course, we know the AWs and STS folks did similar work. but I'm not worried about them, or about Bell Labs, WECO engineers, and USN officers who only went to OWO training.

your SWAGs are welcome, but does anyone have an "official" estimate?

Thanks, y'all.

Re: How Many Were There?

one would think that as a detailer in the 80s, I would have some way of looking at this poser but the facts are, I don't have a clue.

But, its a great question.


Re: How Many Were There?

I raised a similar question (copied below) back on 8/13/08. No estimates or actual numbers were forthcoming. Perhaps records are more accessible now?

8/13/08 Several messages have been posted recently about locating other OTs. Does anyone know (or want to make a guess - or still have access to the numbers) how many OTs there were during the period of NavFac operations? What percentage of the total does the Association now have as members or in memoriam?

Re: How Many Were There?


Don't forget the officers as some did more then just OWO training.

I attended the first Advanced Analysis course and learned the analysis skills from the likes of Robin Hood, Bob Wisdom, Randy Scott, Jim Donavan, John Piwko, and too many others to count at Kef and Adak. The OTS were great group but some of us also felt we were a part of the system and did our best to learn the skills. Thanks.

Re: How Many Were There?

All I know is that there have been "a lot". I doubt if we will ever have a close count.

However, I can address the replacement of Sonarman comment.
(From "Our Book"):

1957-60: Sonarman rating (SO) personnel are replaced by Ship Servicemen, Cooks, Storekeepers and Boatswain Mates at completion of their current NavFac tours (we "Sonarman" had started at the very beginning – 1954).

It was in late 1957 that the Navy decided to return the Sonarman to their normal sea going billets and that the NavFacs would be manned by Ship Servicemen, Cooks, Storekeepers and Boatswain Mates for their shore duty tours. This is how Steve Davis and I found ourselves transferred to the USS Weatherford (upon completion of our present tour at Shelburne).

This proved to be a poor decision and the Navy soon realized that they needed to return Sonarman to NavFacs and try to establish continuity and longevity required for system proficiency (i.e., job code).

Steve Davis and I were approached (closed door session) by a Navy Commander who had been sent to the ship (by CDR Joe Kelly USN and LT Fred Jones RCN) to see if we would be interested in returning to a NavFac upon completion of this current sea tour.

We both agreed, and soon found ourselves at NavFac “San Salvador” for a one year unaccompanied tour (thank you very much Joe and Fred - Ha-Ha). Ed Smock

Re: How Many Were There?

Right on, Scott. In fact, I had junior officers in my own A-school class at Key West back in 1974. I believe they went through the same acoustic analysis training as the OTs. - Jim

Re: How Many Were There?

Scott -

Roger for all you said, and a BIG tip o' the hat to the names you mentioned and many more superb analysts in the warrant and commissioned ranks.

A number of those folks started out as "white hat" analysts, so would be included in the (theoretical) number of "green door" analysts I asked about. Those Ws and Os who learned the craft by alt rout...and the officers who merely went to OWO training, did a tour in system, then went away (GURL? Can that term even be spoken these days), are all outside the scope of my question.

NO disrespect intended, to any who walked the mats, of course. We also served who only stood and watched.

I hope this makes sense.


Re: How Many Were There?

That is a tough one and probably cannot be answered. I do recall at one point reading that there were about 1500 analysts at any given time, but that sounds like it would have been before much drawdown took place.

Re: How Many Were There?

I'm going to guess late 70's or early 80's I had heard a number of 1300 on active duty, so your number of 1500 sounds like we might be in the range for active duty at any one time. Should be possible to come up with an estimate of all time if someone remembers their exotic math skills.

Re: How Many Were There?

When the navy times magazine announced the ot rate in 1970 was to be introduced, it stated that 603 ot's had made the switch. I has stationed at Navfac Adak. I think that chief Jackson an I may have been stationed there at the same time. If I'm correct Lorren had just made E-5.

Re: How Many Were There?

When I was in (from 74 through 82) I know for absolutely sure that there was at least 1 OT because I were one. That means that there probably was at least 2 because I think someone gave me some training somewhere along the way.

I know also that the OT rate was not a big rate so there probably was not a million OTs in there.

So I put my very super scientifical SWAG at somewhere between 2 and 1 million.

Re: How Many Were There?

You must have trained Nick McConnell. Your mathematical approach as stated resembles Nick's approach to acoustic analysis.


Re: How Many Were There?

No idea but some of us OTM's were analyst's before rate split in '84. When I made Chief it was still OTC. Granted I wasn't near the caliber of most of you out there but pounded mats for a few years.

Re: How Many Were There?

My tour at my first NavFac(CoosHead), was cut short due to the fact that there was a shortage of OTs on Guam at the time. Upon arriving at NavFac Guam, there were so many OTs there that we were standing three on three off, three on three off, three on three off watches for several months. There was no room in the barracks and anyone E4 and up could live off base if they so desired. I guess what I'm trying to say is no one even back in 1970 knew how many OTs there were!

Re: How Many Were There?

The attached link to the Website Discovery of Sound in the Sea provides details of Manning numbers.

George W. Willis

Re: How Many Were There?

George, This was an amazing comment. There were 3,500 to 4,000 folks manning the IUSS sites at our peak in the 1980s. Counting OT analysts is impossible because it took many types of individuals, military and civilian of all ranks and many ratings/designators to conduct the Undersea Surveillance mission. Thank you for bringing us back to reality. Bravo Zulu to you! - Jim