SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- On a clear, sunny day in February, the sound of a bell announces the arrival of Naval Commander John C. Witte as he boards the USS Annapolis.
He's in charge of the roughly 160 sailors who serve aboard the submarine, one of several boats stationed at Naval Base Point Loma.
"Submarining takes a lot of mental toughness and these guys will work long hours but they'll do what it takes to get the mission done," Witte told 10News.
As you can imagine space is limited on board, nearly every inch is utilized, especially in the command area.
Once underwater it's the instruments that are crucial to navigation, especially sonar. But that's not to say the crew doesn't ever use their eyes.
The periscope is still something the submarine crew utilizes regularly.
"We may want to look at what other ships are doing we may want to try to observe other navy's activity stuff like that," Witte said.
Everyone on board has a specialized skill, but because of the isolation that comes with being underwater for long periods of time, everyone has to take on multiple roles.
Onboard the Annapolis or any submarine privacy is limited, with each rack of beds holding three grown men each.
When it's time to eat, the culinary specialists use the limited supply of ingredients to make every meal and also bake things like fresh bread and cookies pretty often.
"We don't carry a lot of pre-made bread because it takes up too much room so a lot of our bread is made fresh a lot of our cookies are made fresh so its a pretty good," Witte explained.
Click on the video link above to hear what the sailors who serve on the Annapolis told 10News about the challenges they face when underwater for months at a time.