HNSA Crest with photos of visitors at the ships.



  19.1.1. Personal history and psychological testing 286
  19.1.2. Physical examination 287
  19.1.3. Special sensory examination 289
  19.1.4. Escape tank training 289
  19.1.5. Interview with submarine medical officer 290
19.4. MATURITY 293
19.6. DRIVE 294




Personnel assessment has been defined as "the scientific art of arriving at sufficient conclusions from insufficient data." The term assessment is the process of evaluating the men available, while selection is the operation of choosing those best suited for the task involved. It is an administrative function. One must always bear in mind in this connection that the individual is being assessed on the basis of rather limited contacts and on only a general understanding of the future situation to which he will be subjected. For example, the general nature of submarine environment and operations are understood, but it is impossible to foresee the personality of the commanding officer, executive officer and other individuals with whom the candidate may come into contact or associate in the future, or to foresee the operational stresses to which the crew may be subjected. Likewise, an examiner may determine that a candidate has been and is in a relatively stable personal situation, but cannot predict a possible loss of a parent in a violent manner or the effect of this upon the candidate. Also, the man's physical condition is subject to unpredictable changes following severe illnesses or accidents.

With these limitations in mind, the following consideration is important concerning the need for assessment of personnel volunteering for submarine service:

1. The number and complexity of the mechanical and electronic installations on a submarine require an individual of above median intellectual level with considerable mechanical aptitude.

2. The psychological and physiological stresses to which submariners are subjected require men to be in excellent physical condition, mature and stable in the emotional sphere.

While candidates for both officer and enlisted classes, including applicants for diving school, are assessed at the United States Naval Medical Research

  Laboratory, United States Naval submarine Base, New London, Conn., the large majority of individuals examined are for the enlisted course and the methods described subsequently will be confined to that group. The examinations of the other groups are essentially the same, differing chiefly in the standards used for the particular group.

The men volunteering for submarine service come largely from two sources: (1) The operating forces afloat; and (2) recruit training. Roughly, about 68 percent are from the fleet, and 32 percent from recruit training. The acceptance of volunteers is based upon passing a preliminary physical examination and meeting the aptitude requirements of a minimum combined score of 100 in the ARI and MECH sections of the Navy Basic Test Battery.

The procedure used at the Naval Medical Research Laboratory for assessing candidates for submarine service can be divided into five parts:

1. Personal history and psychological testing.
2. Physical examination.
3. Special sensory examination.
4. Escape tank training.
5. Interview with submarine medical officer.

19.1.1. Personal history and psychological testing.

A small amount of personal data is included on the Medical Research Laboratory processing card which also has entries for the other examinations and the final interview.

More complete personal data is obtained on the Personal History Form; e. g., sociological material, family history, as well as a review of the educational military service and a statement by the candidate as to his future plans, combined with a self-appraisal. At the time that this material is gathered, psychological tests are also administered.


These vary from time to time in relationship to the research program.

One projective test, however, has been more or less standard. This is the Navy modification of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). This test has been modified in two ways: (1) It has been utilized in its original form but with some alteration of the pictures used in order that service personnel may more easily identify with the characters in the picture. This form of the test is administered in group style with the pictures in booklet form, one at the top of each blank page. The number of pages can be varied but the usual number is 10 or 12. (2) A semistructured form has been used in order to stimulate productivity in the enlisted groups, and to eliminate as far as possible any appreciable loss of time. This test is also administered to the group, but the pictures are projected on a screen and the answers to the three questions are written on separate sheets of paper.

All married candidates are given a Locke Marital Adjustment Test.

The Revised Beta Test is routinely given to those candidates whose combined scores of ARI and MECH are below the accepted standard and who have been granted a waiver for this. If this does not resolve the doubt as to the intellectual level, a full-scale Wechsler-Bellevue Test is administered.

Other projective tests such as a modification of Rosenzweig's Pictorial Frustration Test, a Masculinity Role Test and the Blacky Test have been used at times primarily as research projects to determine possible application of these tests to assessment of submarine personnel.

19.1.2. Physical examination.

The candidate is examined physically at the time he volunteers and subjected to further screening and tests for physical fitness on his arrival at the United States Submarine Base, New London, Conn. The applicable physical standards for acceptance of personnel for submarine duty listed in the Manual of the Medical Department are as follows :

In view of the special conditions characteristic of the submarine service, all officers and enlisted men who are candidates for submarine training shall conform to the following standards. Particular care must be exercised in the preliminary examination on ships and at shore stations in order

  that a large number of candidates may not be rejected as a result of reexamination at the submarine School, New London, Conn., thus avoiding needless cost of transportation, loss of service, and incomplete quota of classes.

Standards for the submarine service are the same as those for general duty with especial attention to the following conditions:

1. Psychiatric.-Because of the nature of the duties and responsibilities of each officer and man in a submarine, the psychological fitness of applicants for submarine training should be carefully appraised. The man should have arrived at his decision to volunteer for submarine training after mature deliberation and should be motivated by real desire for this duty. Emotional maturity and stability, dependability, and at least normal intelligence are necessary. Psychiatric conditions or personality traits which might militate against satisfactory adjustment under conditions aboard this type of ship shall disqualify.

2. Vision.-Officers, and enlisted men of the deck group, ordnance group, and seamen shall have vision of 20/20 in each eye. For all other candidates the minimal vision shall be 20/30. In cases of defective vision below these standards, an exception may be made if there is previous submarine experience, or in individual cases where conditions warrant deviation from these visual levels.

3. Color vision.-Normal color perception is a desirable physical characteristic in all submarine candidates. Preliminary screening in ships or stations should be conducted with the American Optical Company Pseudo-Isochromatic Plates, or the New London Navy Color Vision Lantern (Farnsworth Lantern), whichever is available. If the Pseudo-Isochromatic Plates are used, candidates shall be required to read any 17 of the 20 plates, demonstration plates excluded. Notation should be made of color-perception defects on the preliminary examination, and the method of testing used. Candidates exhibiting color-perception defects, however, should be advised that the New London Navy Color Vision Lantern (Farnsworth Lantern) will be used as the standard and final prevailing test in the final screening at the Submarine School, New London, Conn.

4. Nose and throat.-The nares, nasopharynx, and pharynx shall be carefully examined by reflected light. Obstruction to breathing such as


marked deviation of the nasal septum, or any chronic inflammatory condition such as sinusitis, or hypertrophied tonsils, shall be sufficient to reject until such defects are remedied.

5. Ears.-Acute or chronic disease of the middle or internal ear or ruptured eardrums shall disqualify. A thorough otoscopic examination of the auditory canal and membrana tympani shall be made. The acuity of hearing in each ear shall be normal, according to the audiometer, or if an audiometer is not available, the acuity shall be 15/15 by the whispered voice test, 20/20 by coin click.

6. Teeth.-A complete dental examination shall be conducted by a dental officer. Definite oral disease and generally unserviceable teeth shall be cause for rejection. Vincent's infection shall disqualify until the infection and such conditions which may contribute to recurrence are eradicated. A high standard of oral hygiene is mandatory. Teeth replaced by satisfactory bridges and dentures are not to be considered disqualifying. Applicants with moderate overbite, underbite, or extensive restorations and replacements by bridges or dentures may be accepted, if such do not interfere with effective gripping of the mouthpiece of the submarine escape appliances.

7. Respiratory system.-Particular effort shall be made to detect latent tuberculosis or other chronic diseases of the lungs which are disqualifying.

8. Cardiovascular system.-A systolic blood pressure over 145 or a diastolic blood pressure over 90 mm., if persistent, shall disqualify. Persistent tachycardia, marked arrhythmia except of the sinus type, or other significant disturbance of the heart or vascular system shall disqualify.

9. Gastrointestinal system.-Candidates with a history of disease such as colitis, peptic ulcer, obstinate constipation or diarrhea shall be excluded.

10. Venereal disease.-No candidate with any form of active venereal disease at the time of the examination shall be accepted.

11. Offensive body odor.-Offensive breath and offensive perspiration, if persistent, are sufficient to exclude.

12. Disease of the skin.-Any chronic skin disease other than mild acne shall be disqualifying.

13. Obesity.-In general candidates should present no greater than 20 percent variation in


Officer monitoring a dive recompression chamber.

Figure 138.-The submarine physical examination- applying air pressure to candidates within the recompression chamber.

weight from the standard set forth in the age-height-weight tables, unless the overweight is due mainly to muscular and bony tissue.

Men in a decompression chamber.

Figure 139.-The submarine physical examination- candidates assembled in the recompression chamber to test their ability to equalize air pressure.


Medical officer candidates for submarine training shall comply with the officer standards on first acceptance. Subsequent physical requirements are the same as for general duty.

All officers and men on arrival at the Submarine School, New London, Conn., shall again be given a complete physical examination. This is intended to supplement the examination carried out by the medical and dental officers of the ship or station and not to replace it. All candidates shall be tested as to their ability to clear the ears effectively and otherwise to withstand an air pressure of 50 pounds to the square inch in a recompression chamber (figs. 138 and 139). This requirement must be satisfied in order that personnel shall be qualified for training with the submarine-escape appliance. It should be remembered, however, that there may be temporary difficulty due to acute congestion of the eustachian tube incident to coryza or pharyngitis. All officers and enlisted men of such ratings as may be assigned to listening duties shall be tested by the audiometer. The only permissible variation from the normal will be in the wave lengths of 128 and 4096 double frequencies.

19.1.3. Special sensory examination.

The physical examination at the Medical Research Laboratory includes a complete evaluation of visual acuity (fig. 140), color discrimination (figs. 141 and 142), auditory acuity (fig. 143), and loudness and pitch discrimination. The latter three, with the GCT score, constitute the factors in the sonar aptitude score. The Farnsworth Lantern (fig. 140) is used in addition to

Visual testing.

Figure 140.-The submarine physical examination- testing visual acuity.

  Pseudo-Isochromatic Plates (fig. 139), to determine the acceptability of the candidate as to color discrimination.

Light shown above a testing plate.

Figure 141.-The submarine physical examination- pseudo-isochromatic plates with approved lighting for color vision testing.

19.1.4. Escape tank training.

Escape tank training is considered invaluable in the assessment of submarine personnel. By this means the applicant's ability to equalize pressure can readily be determined, and also a moderate stress situation is provided by the tightly packed group in a hot, noisy and somewhat uncomfortably different environment (figs. 142 and 143). This many times has revealed phobic reactions in individuals who otherwise may have been unaware of such tendencies or able to conceal them until a more stressful situation arose under operating conditions, when they were unable to accept the necessary responsibility. (For details as to technique, see chapter 21, Escape from submarines.)


Photo of Farnsworth Lantern.

Figure 142.-The submarine physical examination- the Farnsworth Lantern for color vision testing.

Those candidates who are unable to equalize pressure in the ears because of increased lymphoid tissue around the pharyngeal orifice of the eustachian tube are treated by application of radium to the posterior nasopharynx.

19.1.5. Interview with submarine medical officer.

The final step in the assessment procedure is the interview by the submarine medical officer (fig. 144). At this time the results of the foregoing tests and examinations in the booklets and on the MRL data card (fig. 145) are integrated and supplemented as necessary so that the interviewer can arrive at an impression of the personality structure of the candidate and decide as to his acceptability for submarine duty.

The usefulness of the Personal History Form is direct and obvious. The data supplied on it serve to shorten the interview by providing answers to many basic questions and indicating which areas

Group of sailors with headphones with an examiner and his equipment in front.

Figure 143.-The submarine physical examination- group audiometry.

  need further exploration. For example, history of a broken home situation, juvenile delinquency, frequent job changes, etc. may be revealed by the Personal History Form, but more detailed facts, and the candidate's feelings in relationship to the facts, can only be determined at the interview. The last page of this form has only these few lines of instruction:


Sailor and doctor talking accross a table.

Figure 144.-The submarine physical examination- the interview.

The relatively "off the cuff" self-appraisal that follows gives the examiner a good view into the candidate's personality and often is the source of material for further investigation. Several projective tests have been used but, as noted previously, only the modified TAT is routinely administered. The results of this test are used to provide additional aids to the interviewer rather than material for a clinical diagnosis. The tests are not scored but quickly read and deviations from the usual stories noted. The clues thus presented are used in an indirect manner during the face to face inquiry. Never is the candidate asked to explain why he wrote any specific statement.

At the completion of the interview which lasts from 8 to 20 minutes, depending upon the amount


Medical examination chart.

Figure 145.-MRL Data Card.


of clarification needed, the medical officer completes the physical and personality profiles on the MRL data card. The methods of scoring the physical and special sensory profiles are as follows:

A. Vision.

1. Distant acuity 20/20 or better 0. U. Near vision 20/20 or better 0. U.

2. Distant vision either eye 20/30 or better; other eye not less than 20/70 or 20/40 O. U. Near vision 20/30 or better 0. U.

3. Distant vision not less than 20/70 0. U. Near vision not less than 20/50 0. U.

4. Does not meet any of the above requirements.

NOTE.-All refractive errors shall be correctable to 20/20 and there must be an absence of organic eye disease.

B. Color Vision.

1. Pass pseudo-isochromatic plates.

2. Fails plates but passes New London Navy Lantern.

3. Fails lantern but passes dichotomous.

4. Fails dichotomous.

  C. Hearing.

1. Loss no greater than 15 db from 256 through 2048 c. p. s., and no greater than 30 db at 4096 and 8192 in either ear. (Normal according to the standards established by National Research Council.)

2. Loss no greater than 25 db from 256 through 2048 c. p. s., and no greater than 45 db at 4096 and 8192 in either or both ears.

3. A loss no greater than 45 db from 256 through 2048 c. p. s. in either or both ears.

4. Loss greater than 45 db from 256 through 8192 c. p. s. in either or both ears.

D. Sonar Aptitude Grade.

1. 4.00-3.75   3. 3.00-2.75
2. 3.50-3.25   4. 2.50-2.25

The personality profile is arrived at by making judgments as to the seven factors noted in the right side of the profile box (fig. 145). It is recognized that these categories are broad and have many possible definitions and interpretations. However, in the following pages each category has been defined and given rating scales so that all the interviewers work within the same framework.

Definition: That attribute which indicates how well an individual has related himself to his situation.

Factors to be considered:

1. Physical.

a. General development (body type, nutrition, muscle tone, etc.).

b. Condition of skin, hair, nails.

c. Facies (expression, movements, pupils, etc.).

d. Posture.

e. State of health, including past medical history.

2. Psychiatric.

a. Attitude and general behavior-including state of cleanliness, and motor activity.

b. Emotional state-mood (anxious, depressed, elated, indifferent, irritable, changeable, etc.).

c. Organization of personality (realistic, idealistic, feeling of security).

d. Sexual adjustment.

3. Psychosociological.

a. General family background (stable, unstable, broken home, etc.).

b. History of neuropsychiatric problem in family.

c. Sibling rivalry.

d. Marital situation.

Rating categories:

1. Exceptionally well adjusted, as indicated by lack of discernible conflict in the personality.

2. Well adjusted but has minor conflicts which have not interfered with interpersonal relationships.

3. Evidence of previous maladjustment but can contain present unresolved conflicts.

4. Poorly adjusted, evidence of major unresolved conflicts.


Definition: That element of the personal adjustment which indicates the extent to which the individual has accepted Naval service.

Factors to be considered:

1. Factors from record.

a. Advancements in rate.

b. Disciplinary problem-none, minor, major.

2. Psychological.

a. Attitude toward authority-acceptance or hostility.

b. Attitude toward Naval service-career, undecided, or resentment over recall.

  3. Social.

a. Relationship to shipmates-accepted, "lone wolf."

b. Interests-group sports, liberty, etc.

Rating categories:

1. Clean record and outward acceptance of authority.

2. Reason to suspect some hostility toward authority but has not interfered with performance.

3. Occasional infractions of discipline and/or hostility to authority.

4. Poor adjustment as evidenced by frequent infractions of discipline.

Definition: Degree of attainment of a state of emotional harmony consistent with that which is expected of a person in his environment.

Factors to be considered:

1. Physical.

a. State of general physical development for age.

b. Secondary sexual characteristics present.

2. Emotional.

a. Ease of establishing rapport:

(1) Calm and unblocked throughout interview.

(2) Spontaneity of responses.

b. Level of affective reactions.

Rating categories:

1. Greater level of emotional maturity than would be expected at present age.

2. Level of emotional maturity consistent with age.

3. Level of emotional maturity below that which could be expected at present age, but can adjust to the adverse conditions.

4. Level of emotional maturity well below that expected at present age and complicated by evidence of maladjustment.

Definition: "Intelligence is the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment."

Factors to be considered:

1. Classification tests.
2. Beta I. Q.
3. Educational level.
4. General knowledge as determined during interview.

1 WECHSLER, David, The Measurement of Adult Intelligence, p. 3 (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co., 1944).
  Rating categories:

1. High degree of intelligence as determined by combined score (above 120) and general knowledge.

2. Sufficient verbal intelligence to stand well in Submarine School class (combined score 110-120) and evidence of good general knowledge.

3. Adequate intelligence to complete submarine School and finish qualification requirements, as determined by interview, combined score and Beta I. Q.

4. Insufficient intelligence to complete submarine School or qualification requirements.


19.6. DRIVE
Definition: That quality which describes the capacity of an individual to attain a particular goal once a course of action has been accepted and undertaken.

Factors to be considered:

1. Energy output (sluggish, lively, overactive, talkative, quiet).

2. Range of interests (religion, science, sports, etc.).

3. Goals established.

4. Goals attained-failures-why?

  Rating Categories:

1. Can be expected to attain any reasonable goal despite major obstacles (within his capacity).

2. Can be expected to attain most goals despite major obstacles.

3. Can overcome minor but not major obstacles.

4. Easily disuaded from purpose by minor obstacles.

1. Motivated by personal advantages (increased pay, better food, better liberty).

2. Submarine service as well as personal interests considered (best situation for rate- TM, SO, END, EM).

3. Motivated by patriotism or by glamor of service.

4. Evidence of interest:

a. Cruise or visit aboard submarine.
b. Relatives or friend in submarine service.
c. Reading about submarines.
  Rating Categories:

1. Intensely interested in submarines-evidence of having acquired knowledge of submarines by independent study.

2. Considerable interest in submarines-evidenced by an attempt to gain some knowledge about submarines.

3. Adequate interest which stems from a desire to profit by personal advantages and a romantic idea of submarine duty.

4. No particular interest in submarines-is a candidate by administrative error or a desire to escape previous unpleasant duty.

Factors from Record:

1. Classification scores.

a. Combined GCT and ARI

b. Mechanical

2. General knowledge re mechanical and electrical principles.

3. Knowledge re submarines.

Since a submariner must learn a considerable amount about a submarine to complete school and become qualified, it follows that each man must have the ability to accumulate knowledge outside his own job or rating. The majority of this information involves electricity, mechanics, and spatial relationships. This quality is best evaluated by determining to what degree the candidate has, in the past, interested himself in the electrical and mechanical devices which are around him in everyday life.

In arriving at the mark for this trait the test

  scores on the Navy basic battery should be considered and questions similar to the following should be asked:

1. What does the differential on a car do?

2. How does a carburetor work?

3. How does a diesel engine differ from a gasoline engine?

4. How is electricity produced?

5. How does a battery work?

6. Has the candidate ever built anything from plans?

Rating Categories:

1. Demonstrates good knowledge of mechanical and electrical principles.

2. Has taken fair amount of interest in mechanics and electricity.

3. Little knowledge of mechanics and electricity.


From: Executive Officer, U.S.S. __
To: Head of Enlisted Personnel Department, U.S. Naval Submarine
School, U.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut
Subj: ___; report of performance on
1. The following evaluation of the performance of subject named man is
a. Graduated from Enlisted Basic Submarine Course __ .
b. Stood in a class of __ .
c. Has served on board __ months.
d. Total service in submarines exclusive of time spent away on
temporary additional duty and/or in a Navy yard undergoing overhaul
e. Qualified on __ (Date).
f. Disqualified on __ (Date).
g. Comparing this man with all the other Submarine School Graduates
you have known, is he:
Outstanding (one of the few best) __
Good (well above the usual standard) __
Adequate (the usually accepted standard) __
Unsatisfactory __
h. Man's weakest points __
i. Remarks __
(For additional space use reverse side)
Please complete the above form and return it to the Submarine School when
the man is qualified or disqualified. A report without remarks or comments is of little value.

Figure 146.-Performance Evaluation Report.


4. No evidence of mechanical aptitude plus low test scores (below 50).

The completed personality profile is the basis for the two predictions to be made:

(1) MRL assessment (fig. 145) which is the interviewer's evaluation on a 1 to 4 scale of the candidate's ability to adjust to duty on an operating submarine

Medical Research Laboratory Assessment:

1. Especially well adjusted and suited for submarine duty.

Can be expected to perform well under all circumstances.

2. Well adjusted and suited for submarine duty.

Can be expected to perform well under usual circumstances and adequately under unusual circumstances.

3. Adequately adjusted and suited for submarine duty. Can be expected to perform acceptably under usual conditions, but poorly under unusual circumstances.

4. Poorly adjusted and suited for submarine duty. Can be expected to perform adequately only under ideal conditions.

(2) Predicted Standing (figure 145) which is the predicted class standing of the candidate in Submarine School-

  Submarine School Assessment.

1. Predicted standing upper one-fourth of class.

2. Predicted standing middle one-half of class.

3. Predicted standing lower one-fourth of class.

4. Will probably fail submarine school.

The remaining two lines in the lower right hand box of figure 145 are: (1) The class standing upon completion of Submarine School; and (2) appraisal, which is obtained from a one page questionnaire (figure 145) placed in the man's service jacket upon graduation and filled out by the Executive Officer of his ship after 6 to 9 months' duty on board. These last two items furnish performance criteria against which the predictors can be validated.

The assessment program presented is the current operating procedure. This is subject to change as indicated by research results. Also, new projective tests are incorporated in the battery from time to time to evaluate their usefulness as aids to the interviewer.

Another research area involves the study of those individuals who have been selected for submarine service, only to fail to qualify or be disqualified at a later date. In this way we derive some useful knowledge from shortcomings in method or application thereof. The mission of the research effort is to refine the assessment technique so that large groups can be processed efficiently and effectively if the necessity arises.


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