So what’s a Bubblehead?

Hello!  A question I have been asked some times is “What’s a Bubblehead?  You don’t sound Stupid.”  Yes, if you look it up, it’s a Noun meaning “Empty Headed or Foolish.”  It was used for a while in Hollywood Movies of the 40s and 50s to describe the roles played by actresses such as Marilyn Monroe or Judy Holliday.  And it was used by Don Henly of the Eagles in a rock song.  The “Bubble-headed Bleach Blonde comes on at Five…”.  But there’s a Nautical meaning to the word, also.

So, back in the 19th, Century, the first Hard-Hat Divers came into being. You might have seen them in old movies such as “20,000 Leagues under the Sea.”  The shots where someone was walking on the ocean bottom wearing a Big Brass Helmet that looked like a Bubble with a Hose attached pumping air down to them?  Those were the Original Bubbleheads.  But by the beginning of the 20th. Century, Submarines started to enter the world’s Navies, along with Diving Bells not long after. In both cases, men were using “Canned Air” to breath.  So, if one had to spend any significant time underwater, one had to be some sort of “Bubblehead.”

So when I entered the Navy in the mid-70s, I had Volunteered for the Submarine Service.  As I progressed in my career, Surface Sailors and Flyboys like OldNFO used to call us “Bubbleheads”.  So the name stuck.

But not to worry.  You see, in the Submarine Community, I discovered there no matter what kind of Surface Vessel there is on the Water, in our point of view, there are only two types of Ships in the World:  Submarines and Targets.

So now you know.  Bubblehead Les Out.

 

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16 thoughts on “So what’s a Bubblehead?

  1. dannytheman

    Bubblehead meets Puddle Pirate. Something poetic about this.
    Hi Les, nice to read you. Good luck and God speed.

    OH, and don’t call me Sir, I worked for a living. 😉

    Danny!

    Reply
  2. Coffeypot

    Welcome to the world of blogging. I find it a blast to read all my ‘friends’ post and look forward to reading yours.
    Oh… by the way. I am an old Tin Can Sailor and we called you bubbleheads ‘dead’. No Offense! Thanks and Welcome Home.

    Reply
    1. bubbleheadles Post author

      Ah, Tin Cans. Need only one Torpedo to….sorry, little Flash Back there. ; ). But at least you know what “Green Water over the Bow” feels like, unlike most of the Carrier people. Take Care.

      Reply
    1. Oldvet

      Oh crap! After all these years I find a blog I have to comment on. Funny thing I read the blogs of most of your commenters. Lets see when the grey man was way up north(did I hit two bloggers there) I was probably on westpac. Now I’ll probably be shunned by most as I am a puddle jumper bubblehead. Qualified two boats and non-qual one tin can. ( no swe pin then). Anyhow looking forward to the fun.

      Reply
  3. Boat Guy

    Welcome! A few questions about Nurse Crandall if you please?
    Boat Guy – as in Special Boats, not pig boats…got nine days U/W in a submarine and that was two weeks too long.

    Reply
      1. Boat Guy

        Nah me…we barely had enough water for our own boats (PBR’s first), much less some sinker, there were times I’d swear we were running on wet grass. Only time I was doing deep-water ops was when we were tossing RIB’s out of airplanes – y’all MIGHTA been there; buncha lurkers…

  4. Don

    Looking forward to reading your ravings, hope they’re better than our talk at the NRA bash. If you think carriers never see green water over the bow, go to the North Sea in February.

    Reply
  5. Oldvet

    Boat guy, did some spec ops with guys from team 2 was my reference. I guess your talking brown water. If so I served with some nam era brown water sailors and that sir was an experience. I thought us bubbleheads had wild stories. My hats off to u guys

    Reply

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