From the Roosevelt
I spent my first year onboard the Roosevelt not knowing anything about going to sea on a submarine. But finally, we were ready to leave the Charleston Yards and go to sea. Submarines do not replenish at sea. Therefore, everything has to be loaded onboard, prior to leaving port. Everyone gets involved in loading stores, and it makes for a long, hard day. In addition to all of the food and other supplies, we had to load TDU weights. These are weights designed to sink our garbage so no one could track us by our trash. They aren’t very big, just a few inches across, but they weighed 10 lbs. each. And they come in boxes of eight. So each box was about half the size of a shoe box that weighed eighty lbs. Lucky me, I ended up in the middle of the Attack Center hatch. I reached up to take the box from the Topside guy, then bent over to hand it down to the guy in the Attack Center. Over, and over, and over again. Right in the middle of this evolution, Spike decided he had to get Topside on some mission. Spike was my LPO, but I can’t remember his real name because nobody called him anything but Spike. We quit passing TDU weights, and I made myself as small as I could in the hatch. I’d heard that Spike was ticklish, so I decided to check as he passed by me, and I grabbed his waist. YEP! He sure was ticklish. He turned loose of the ladder and rolled into a ball. He’s sure lucky that he didn’t weigh much more than a box of weights, because there I was, holding a rolled-up Spike over the open hatch.
The Barber Chair
Cape Canaveral is a great liberty port, even if you’ve got the Duty. I spent my last night onboard the Roosevelt standing Topside watch at the Cape. (I didn’t know it was my last night, but that’s a different story.) It was beautiful, clear, quiet night. Every now and then, the Rec. Van would drop off some sailors back from liberty, in various states of inebriation. Then, near the end of my watch, a pick up truck stopped on the pier, and two sailors jumped out of the back with a barber chair. I recognized them as a Torpedoman called McPig and another Fire Control Technician everyone called Snidely Whiplash. Being an ever-alert sentry, I realized that this was not a usual occurrence, even in Florida, so I challenged them with “what in the world are you guys doing with a barber chair?” Petty Officer McPig told me “ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies” and since I hate being lied to, I quit asking questions.
The next day, I was transferred to the Washington, but we all ended up in Pearl Harbor a few months later. One night, in the Enlisted Club, I was able to get some follow-up to the great Barber Chair Caper. I don’t know how they got the chair down the hatch, but they somehow got it all set up in the Torpedo Room. Well, apparently, the Captain had absolutely no appreciation for having a full-sized, regulation, fully-functional barber chair in a compartment designed to wreak death and destruction on enemy ships. He, like everyone else onboard, naturally assumed the chair had been improperly purloined, so he ordered it removed. And so, it was removed, never to be seen again, at least not until they arrived in Pearl Harbor, where it miraculously reappeared.