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Student Spotlight

Jonathan Pritchard

MATC Student and Navy Veteran

Jonathan Pritchard

I was a mechanic on a submarine in the navy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was when I’d say I got my first experience with technical communication. One of my collateral duties was to update the publications for my division. This included various manuals and procedures we used to do maintenance or load weapons. I didn’t have much liberty with what went in, but it was my job to add revisions to existing manuals.

There are changes to procedures that we’d get all the time, even at sea. We didn’t have a lot of resources underway to print out new manuals, so I would refit new text onto a page so I could just print the individual pages that needed changing. Sometimes that wouldn’t work without reprinting several pages of the manual, so I had to tape new paragraphs into our books in such a way that you could lift this flap of inserted text to see what was underneath. Other times I literally glued a revised paragraph on top of the old one. I remember having full pages of new instructions to insert at times and having to spend hours cutting out new page numbers and gluing them over the old one because it was a waste of resources to print out a whole new 50 pages of manual. Our boat was old and we didn’t use computers for everything, so we had to make do with what we had.

Looking back at it now it sounds kind of tedious, but it helped pass the time in some ways. What else is there to do a couple hundred feet under the sea with no windows?