Sea Stories
Larry's Home Port

How did you end up in Submarines?

Don Gentry asked that question on his SubmarineSailor.com  site. 

It seemed like a  good idea at the time 
I grew up in Nashville, and I played at college for a couple of years after finishing High School. In 1972, I got tired of working the graveyard shift, loading produce on trucks, so I went to see the Navy recruiter. I had a high enough draft number that I was draft-proof, but a lot of guys weren't so lucky.
In order to get a better deal, I told the recruiter that the Air Force had promised me my own plane. He told me that the Navy would give me my own boat, AND the oars that went with it. He tried to talk me into going Nuc Power, but my cousin was a Nuc ET, and had already warned me against it. I did sign up for advanced electronics, a decision I've never regretted.
I got my choice of Boot Camps (San Diego, Great Lakes, & Orlando) and picked Orlando. It was there I decided I wanted submarines. I went to FT"A" school in Great Lakes. It was there that I actually committed to submarine duty before I could go to FT"A" School, Part 2, Underwater. From there, I was sent to Sub School and "C" school in New London. Once I had an 1192 NEC, I was limited to 10 boomers and the Tulibee. By the time I reported to my first boat, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600) I'd been in the Navy for a year and a half, and was 3rd class. Another year later, and I finally went to sea.
Larry

From the Roosevelt

Loading Stores  
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.
Larry

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.
Larry

From the Washington

The 598th Dive 
Unlike the old boats (or even some of the new Sneak Attacks) Boomers don't get a lot of dives and surfaces.
The 598 was already older than much of her crew as we came out of the Mare Island Shipyard.  We had already split into two crews, and were on Sea Trials.  The CO decided that we were close enough to 598 dives, and that he would complete the 598th dive before we turned the boat over to the other crew.  So, every day it was Dive, Surface, Dive, Surface, Dive, Surface, and on and on and on.
Finally, we had completed our 597th surface.  The big moment was at hand.  The Captain hand-picked every watchstander.  The youngest crewmembers were on the planes.  The COB had the BCP, and of course, the Old Man had the CONN.  He ordered the Diving Officer to dive the ship.  The COW announced Dive! Dive! But when he hit the Diving Alarm, nothing happened.  It seems that the duty IC Electrician had picked that very moment to do PMs, and had pulled the fuses for the Diving Alarm.
Well, the Old Man wasn't going to let anything interfere with his destiny.  He grabbed the 1MC and shouted "DIVE! DIVE! AAHOOOOGA!  AAHOOOOGA!  DIVE! DIVE!" Followed shortly by, "Petty Officer ******, lay to Control!"
Larry

From the Vallejo

I WAS NOT A MEMBER OF THE 658 CREW BUT HAD ONE ENCOUNTER WITH HER   IN 1966-OR 1967 IN THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA (WASHINGTON STATE) NEAR THE NAVAL GUNNERY RANGE AT DUNGANESS.

I WAS A SN IN THE US COAST GUARD STATIONED ON A 95 FT GUN BOAT OUT OF ANACORTES.  WE WHERE FIRING LIVE AMMO FROM A 20 MM MOUNT FIXED TO HER FORWARD MAIN DECK WHEN THE CAPTAIN (YOUNG LT JG) SPOTTED A SUBMARINE CRUISING WITH HER DECKS AWASH AT A GREAT DEAL MORE SPEED THAN WE WHERE ABLE TO MAINTAIN (12 KNOTS W/ A FOLLOWING  SEA WAS IT). THE CAPE FLORIDA WAS BUILT FOR TOWING

THIS YOUNG JG DECIDED TO PERSUE AS HE COULD NOT ID AN OBVIOUS  US SUB. THE CAPT HAD THE ENGINES RUNNING WIDE OPEN BUT IT WAS A FUTAL EFFORT. WE PERSUED THE SUB FOR SOME DISTANCE BUT THE 658 KEPT WAY OUT IN FRONT. THE 658 DECIDED THAT IT WAS TIME TO PUT A STOP TO THE PURSUIT AND SLOWED ALMOST TO A STOP SO WE COULD CATCH UP.

WE( THE GUN CREW ) WANTED TO CRAWL IN A HOLE. AN OFFICER WITH SRAMBELED EGGS ON HIS HAT COMMENCED TO QUESTION OUR PERSUIT. "WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?" CAME A VOICE FROM THE CONNING TOWER.

OUR CAPT CAME BACK WITH "WE HAVE ORDERS TO ID ALL SUBS IN INLAND WATERS" AND THE SUB ANSWERED "THIS IS THE UNITED STATES SUBMARINE  MARIJANOS VALLEJO, DON'T YOU PEOPLE KNOW A U S NUCLEAR SUBMAINE WHEN YOU SEE ONE.

I THOUGHT THE CREW ON THE BRIDGE WERE GOING TO BUST OUT LAUGHING  BUT DID NOT.

I THOUGHT YOU SUBMARINERS WOULD LIKE THIS STORY

DALE
SN USCG CUTTER CAPE FLORIDA

 

Got a Sea Story you would like to share?  Drop me a line at FTGCSS@LarrysHomePort.com , and I’ll be glad to post it.        

 Thanks, Larry

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