Ramming Pier 3 in Groton ('81 or '82, can't remember)....Submitted by Brent Wehmeier MM2(SS)Leaving for a pre-med run workup, CO gave the conn to an ensign, can't remember who. As we backed out of Pier 2, the river current caught us and started driving us into Pier 3 (where the tugboats tied up). All the tugboat captains, watch standers, etc. were scrambling to untie their boats and probably would have sunk us right in the Thames river by their looks alone. I was on the after line handling party, in the aft line locker stowing the aft bull nose (?) when the ensign (or the CO, I suppose) called a back emergency. Water flowed up the deck and swamped the line locker I was in. I was going to climb out, but saw all the other line handlers hanging on to anything or running forward and I stayed put and got drenched. We smacked pier 3 (a wooden pier, thank god). I think the only thing damaged was one of our outer torpedo tube doors. Finally, one of the tugs got underway and gave us a not too gentle push in the bow to get us pointed downriver.
Like one time the Upper-Level Engine Room watch forgot to tell his relief that he had already switched the sea strainer on the lube oil cooler and the relief switched it back to what he thought was the serviced strainer. We were at 300 feet and the lid blew off sending a torrent of sea water into the Upper Level Engine Room and Maneuvering Room. I was on the Reactor Panel at the time, had power surges like I had never seen before, lights went out and lots of shouting and screaming to get things under control. Needless to say it was quite hectic for several minutes until we got the open strainer secured.
Then there was the time, by a rookie Auxilaryman mistake, that charcoal instead of Hopcolite was put into the CO2/H2 Burners in the Lower Level Auxiliary Room. As you may know charcoal was used in the inboard filters for the sanitary tanks, however, both charcoal and Hopcolite look exactly the same. The new Auxliaryman was given the job to change out the Hopcolite, but didn't notice that he had charcoal and not Hopcolite. Because that unit operated at about 700 degrees, the charcoal started to burn producing carbon monoxide (CO). Since there was no open flame, it was not noticed until on the mid-watch when someone went aft and found most of after Frame 44 Watch passed out for no apparent reason. It was a real mystery as to what was happening. The alarm went out as CO filled the boat and everyone had to put on the air breathing masks. We surfaced to ventilate using the diesel, but instead of turning the boat into the wind they turned down wind so when the diesel started, the diesel smoke coming out of the Snorkel Mast came back down the Conning Tower hatch totally filling the boat with smoke. It was very difficult to put the fire out since the Burner Unit, located in the lower level Auxiliary Room was really jammed in between the diesel and the Steam Generator Feed Water Control Panel requiring more time to get to the burning charcoal. I guess that if someone had not gone aft, the CO would have overcome everyone and the boat would have just disappeared in the mid Pacific.
Needless to say, I could go on and on about things that happen on the boat. I guess at that time we were really the pioneers of the nuclear submarine force to come. The boats today might be too big to have the comradeship that we had on the Snook.
Old Memories Submitted by Allen Kenning IC3(SS) email@example.com
I boarded Snook in the Yard or MINSY about one month after drydock in 1973. I drew cartoons of the Snook after we got underway. I can't remember all of them but one that stands out was a shark coming up under the Snook labeled ORSE. After the boat was taken out of drydock, another boat (Drum or Guitarro - I'm not sure which?) was moored aft of us. A couple of their crew took hats from the paint shop and came aboard and painted their hull number on our sail. Two days later under the cover of night and a couple of bottles of courage, Larry Selby QM3 and myself wearing only 1/2 of a wet suit each, mask and fins, armed with a can of white spray paint slipped off the back of the boat and painted the WWII hull number of Snook on their rudder. Unbeknownst to us their captain was on board. When we got back to the Snook and were taking off our garb, a JG acosted us and wanted to know what we were doing. Naturally, having the utmost repsect for his rank, we lied so he hightailed it to the Duty Officer. The DO was LT Robinson and after a little bantering, ours being Deny; Deny; Deny he said, "If I'm going to get chewed out in the morning then I would like to at least know why."
I remember the time we were departing Bremerton and there was grafitti on the DE target vessel anchored in the bay that read "J.A.R.S./SHORT" that stood for Jim-Al-Robby-Selby. Another time I remember being rudely awakened at 1:00 am to the collision alarm and captivating sternward at an acute down angle. I kept 5 feet of the net until a tornado took my home in 1979.
When I left or transferred from Snook, it was with Robby MM3 while underway off of Point Loma, San Diego. We were moving north riding the swells instead of heading into them which caused the Torpedo Retriever and Snook to rock toward and away from each other. Robby and myself were getting out and had our seabags packed. The Commodore was talking with the Captain and he told us to proceed to the Retriever. Robby tossed his bag and when the TR and our sail plane closed distance he jumped to the cabin roof, followed by my bag and finally me. While we were rocking back and forth the starboard sail plane came within inches of hitting the TR cabin. Robby and I backed out of the cabin just as the two boats closed distance again only this time the sail plane came through the port window, ripping the cabin roof loose followed by a whole bunch of blue water language.
It's All In The Timing Submitted by Bob Smith EM1(SS) 5/63 - 12/63 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresh out of Submarine School, I was assigned to the USS Snook while awaiting to attend Nuclear Power School at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA. Thank God, had I not failed the first test in the pressure chamber because of a cold, I was told that my original orders were to the USS Thresher. The Thresher was lost on April 10th, I graduated on May 4th, my birthday. The delay may have saved my life. We all still mourn the loss of the crew of the Thresher who were not so fortunate.
Memories Of Snook Submitted by Donald Brown MM2(SS) 4/77 - 6/78 email@example.com
The Snook was my first boat out of school and I enjoyed a WestPac tour with them. I enjoyed snorkeling in Subic Bay on Christmas Day. The most memorable moment for me is when I knocked out my front teeth while doing maintenance in the engineroom and a large wrench slipped and busted me in the chops. Fortunately we were in port and the tender doctors did a good job with the replacements. I still have the same caps, 25 years later.
Nothing against the Snook but I re-enlisted to get off Snook prior to going to New England after overhaul in 78. I did not want to go to East coast so I was assigned to the USS Parche, home ported at Mare Island. If anyone has read the book "Blind Mans Bluff" you could understand what we did on the Parche.
SSN 592 Experiences Submitted by Joe Aldrich EM1(SS) 71 - 74 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fought equipment fires in confined spaces without respirators;
Snow ball fights made from frost scraped off the condenser intake pipes because we were in water that was less than 32 degrees;
My clothes were eaten away from battery acid fumes from having spent multiple days in the battery well trying to keep the condensation from shorting out the battery;
The Boat bounced off an underwater mountain and cracked the pressure hull during sea trials following an overhaul and then later came within 50 feet or less of hitting another one while I was on it;
Being an integral part of an operation in 1972 that is outlined in the book, “Blind Man’s Bluff” which could have led to another major military conflict surrounding the US’s mining of Haiphong Harbor;
Being so tired from preparing for Operational Readiness Safety Evaluations (ORSE’s) that you slept on nuclear warheads instead of going to bed because you knew that within a few minutes another drill would be initiated and you would have to respond to it;
Having so much equipment out of service while out on patrol that the ORSE team would not even ride on the boat while it was in transit;
Spending six hours at a time in full face supplied air;
Having better off duty time in every port but your own homeport with your family;
Understanding the meaning of SSN – meaning you are on patrol Saturdays, Sundays, and nights; during the days you were working or standing watch;
Finding out years later that while you were assigned to this particular submarine, it was known and referred to throughout the rest of the nuclear fleet as the “Bad Luck Boat” and that other submariners gave “Snook” awards to their crew members who made severe errors on their boat;
Conditions experienced by the officers and crew of the Snook during the years from roughly 1970 through 1975 were not necessarily those experienced by most other nuclear submariners at the time.
SONAR OVERBOARD STASS Handling Submitted by Tom Strasser STS1(SS) 82-86 email@example.com
I do not know when the Snook got STASS (a towed sonar array) but it was a back fit. Unlike the newer boats the Snook’s tow array was deployed and retrieved while on the surface. We (the Sonar div.) would stream it by hand and would retrieve it with a set of portable air motors mounted to a track system. The track system was mounted in a set of covers (the STASS coffin) on the starboard side of the hull just out board of the turtle back. A tube led from the aft end of the coffin to the outboard edge of the starboard sternplane.
The array itself was 1400 ft long (300 ft of array and 1100 ft of cable) and was coiled up on the turtleback when not in use (when we came into port). There were posts and brackets that held the array off the turtleback to keep the array from melting if the diesel was running, all of which had to be removed and stored below prior to diving.
Stuffing the array down the tube to the stern plane was a lot of hard work and usually went to the most junior of sonar men. Once the array exited the tube though it was just a matter of keeping up with it as the speed of the boat would suck the array out.
On one deployment I think we were in Rosie Roads Puerto Rico and were going to go to St. Thomas, on what was supposed to be a surface transit. So, we would not have to deploy the array but we needed to lash it to the deck. That plan lasted as long as it took us to get the array all secured. There was a destroyer in the area that needed some ping time on a submarine so, the Snook would have to submerge. Which was just fine because there was a storm coming.
As we stood on the deck for maneuvering watch (most sonar men served as line handlers) the word was passed that the STASS handling party would be able to switch to shorts and t-shirts to handle STASS, since with the approaching storm there was a good chance we would get wet (HA HA). No sooner was that word passed than there was a cloudburst and everyone topside was soaked to the skin. The STASS handling party returned topside in our shorts and T-shirts and assumed our positions for deploying STASS. Two guys were on the port side of the turtle back one at the after end and one near the sail. These guys needed to unhook their deck travels to cross over the turtleback and the reattach themselves to the deck. I believe that the people that were topside at the time were Jimmy Muhs port side aft and Chuck Parrish port side fwd. Tom (Jackie) Gleason was the stuffer, Mark Waddel STASS handling Boss (Stbd side) Mr. Stangland (1st LT) stbd, there was one more person stbd side aft end of the turtleback but I’m not sure who it was, and then me fwd end of the turtleback at the aft end of the sail.
Everything was going pretty smoothly with the normal b.s. that would be expected. The sea was starting to get up and we must have been quarter it. The array must have just cleared the tube and was starting to stream out pretty quickly (its almost all we can do to keep up with it). Suddenly a wave breaks port to stbd and knocks me down. I get back to my feet and start feeding the array again, but it is not coming off the turtleback as smoothly as it was. So I yell at Chuck to stop _ _ cking around and start feeding me the array. Still the array is dragging. I look over to the port side and Chuck is dragging in the water. No big deal cause the next big wave washed him back aboard, but it did wash Jackie over the side. Then he was washed back aboard. Since I was the only person in the best position (Stbd side looking aft) I was able to tell when a big one was coming. I gauged wave height by how much above Chuck’s head they were. The OOD got the boat turned so that we were running with the sea. This eased everything for us, unfortunately this course was running us directly towards shore. It was also getting dark by now. We finally got the array deployed and secured to the tow point. Now we had to break down all the supports and get them below. We stored all the poles and brackets in two large canvas bags. Since I was in front it was my job to take these bags below. Of coarse about this time it was totally dark and we were too close to shore, so the boat had to turn back to sea. We could no longer see the waves, but could hear them running down the deck. I started forward dragging these damn bags and could hear the waves rushing at me. I seriously thought about just letting go of the bags and getting below (I don’t know why I didn’t). That walk from the aft end of the sail to the sail hatch was one of the longest walks I’ve ever made.
Getting to the sail door I was unable to locate it. One of the waves had slammed it shut. One of the dogs near the hinges had fallen between the door and the outside of the sail and was jamming the door open/closed. I had to reach in and free it all the while fearing another large wave would come and cut my arm off at the elbow. I freed the door and threw the bags in and followed them. My deck traveler was still attached to the deck. I could hear a really big wave coming. I started to climb the ladder but my lifeline would only allow me to step on the first rung. The sail started to flood and I had nowhere to go. It rose all the way to my nose and I was sure I was going to drown right there. The water finally rushed away. I swung the door open again and set a dog to prevent it from closing again (so some one else won’t have to go through what I had). I got my traveler off the deck and pulled those now flooded bags up the ladder. I got up to the fair water planes and looked aft and watched the lights on the life vests of my fellow sonar men bobbing around in the dark and was glad to be where I was now.
After that incident Mark refused to handle STASS any more and I got the job as the STASS handling boss. I think his exact words were “No, not me. No not ever again”
STASS handling “are you missing some?” Submitted by Tom Strasser STS1(SS) 82-86
Streaming STASS was
always a pain in the
ass, but at least made it so we were some of the last below and the
topside coming in and out of port since it had to be deployed and
Always wanting to be more efficient we were always looking for ways to get things done faster (sounds good don’t it).
Well one day we were
leaving Sub base New
London on some really important mission, I’m sure.
For those of you that have gone down the Thames River I’m sure you know that it flows under I-95 and a rail road bridge. The rail road bridge was a drawbridge. I was always told that most the boats on the river could pass underneath that bridge if need be, except for the SkipJack class boats since our sail was much taller than most.
Wanting to save time with the deployment of STASS (it must have been winter) we started stuffing the array down the tube as soon as the lines were stowed. Usually we would not start deploying the array until we were in the Long Island Sound to make sure there was enough water below the keel so the array would not drag on the bottom. All we wanted was to get the array to the end of the tube. With that done the STASS handling party waited on deck for us to reach the sound to finish the deployment.
We were all facing forward watching the drawbridge, which had not open yet. Basically we were all milling about smartly enjoying the weather as it was bright, sun shiny day. For some reason though the bridge didn’t open. We kept getting closer and closer but the bridge remain closed. Suddenly the OOD must have ordered an emergency stop. The screw was reversing sending a tremendous amount of water up the deck. It was pretty impressive to see. I think everyone, except for Jimmy Muhs and I, was watching to see if the Bridge was going to open. At about the time the prop wash was reaching the turtleback the array started to run out. Both Jim and I grabbed for it and were pulling very hard to keep it from being sucked out any farther. Within a couple of seconds the array went limp. The backing bell stopped and the bridge began to open. We continued on our merry way as if nothing happened.
About 3 days later the old man came into SONAR and asked if every thing was alright with the array, was it working ok? Seems ten foot of it washed up on the beach in New London.
Another Shipmate Submitted by Jeff LaCroix TM3(SS) (80-83) firstname.lastname@example.org
TM2/SS Roland Cleoshevitz (Cleo) was a good-natured fellow with an easygoing attitude. Having a disarming talent for small talk and a bumpkin style personality, he was well liked from bow to stern on Snook. His style of grooming, often pushing Navy regs did not exceed beyond what he often claimed was required for a typical day on his daddy’s farm in “Noth Ca-olina.”
to Cleo, a farmers style of dress (like sagging-crotch blue jeans for
“supports a mans responsibility to be fruitful and fit for multiplying.
A mans testicles ain’t got no place stuck up near his ass. You tuck em’
you gone shucked em.” Cleo was fond of saying.
He maintained that the space made from the sag in a mans trousers was needed in order to allow “gravity to hang em proper.” This way a man could be assured a future of strong healthy children. (Providing of course, he not get them snagged in one of the slamming watertight doors during a battle stations drill).
At sea Cleo was better known for his entrepreneurial activities than for his spermatogenesis advice. He liked keeping busy at sea by providing innovative services for the crew while turning a small profit in the process. One such project involved collecting cigarette butts from ashtrays throughout the ship, which he later sold for small favors (No dummy, this Cleo).
No butt escaped the selective search of Cleo’s fingers, which were seen in each compartment probing through the butt-can gravel for spent cigarettes. It was an unusual spectacle, one difficult to get use too and this eccentric behavior earned him the name: “The shit can man.”
Indeed there were chuckles, but none as satisfying as Cleo’s toward the later half of a five-week deployment when nicotine depleted shipmates knew where to go for a quick fix. Cleo delighted in the “courting” as he called it. When the time was right, he’d carefully produce his merchandise that he kept secured in neatly rolled face cloths that were held closed by elastic bands. He’d line them up evenly and then spread them out on the torpedo room workbench like a craftsman setting up for a fair. He had some of them separated by name brands and some by type like menthol. Others contained generic brands he called “The shit can mans – shit-list selection.” During a sale, some shipmates upon viewing Cleo’s inventory could even identify certain butts, but they didn’t dare protest the point because they were all the salvaged property of the can mans now. And for a small profit–a few puffs on an old stale friend could be had.
“Ah, you laughed at me,” he’d say to those who chuckled at him the hardest, “Yes, I remember, and now you’ve come courting, to lay your lips on Cleo’s sweet butt.”
Ascending up the chain of command, even the likes of Chief Buchanan, bartered a few butts from Cleo. To the smokers, Cleo was treated like a sought-out celebrity and on occasion, with an audience, even managed to provide free entertainment to his customers like the morning he took the liberty of giving the Chief a hot-seat while his back was turned.
As far as Cleo was concerned, a customer has no rank. They were more like dependants, and a dependant was subject to an occasional prank. And since he fancied himself a comedian anyway, anything could happen at any time. As the Chief struck a match to light the small remains of a Camel cigarette he had just bought, Cleo withdrew a lighter from his pocket and held it to Buchanan’s buttocks. The Chief, sensing the heat suddenly stiffened his neck and twitched. Whirling around while holding his ass he shouted, “Son of a Bitch!”
When the Chiefs discomfort subsided, he stood there glaring at Cleo who clearly realized that this was not the expression of a dependant. Cleo however continued to smile, hoping his victim would lighten-up to the moment. The Chief walked to the opposite corner of the torpedoroom, and when he emerged, he was holding a yellow broomstick. The Chief did in fact smile as he approached Cleo, and with non-benign conviction, he swung the stick, hitting him gently upon the shoulder. He laughed at Cleo’s unsure reaction. Everyone else laughed too. The Chief swung the stick again, only harder this time. The laughter continued. He swung a third time, and Cleo’s smile had vacated. No one was laughing now. By the forth swing the stick sounded like a two-iron slicing through the air. Cleo ran for cover, as did everyone else, slipping between the torpeodos on the storage racks to escape the Chiefs fury.
attempted to emerge from his uncomfortable hiding spot by hoisting
out, but each time the awaiting Chief would attempt to smash his
against the steel rails with the stick.
This went on until the Chief tiered of the chase and decided to leave the compartment. But not before taking Cleo’s entire inventory of cigarettes to the goat’s locker where he shared them with the other chiefs. And for months afterwards, when Chief Buchanan entered the torpedo room he’d reach for the broomstick and get a free cigarette from Cleo.
The following five stories: The ORSE Failure, The ORSE Recovery, Catch of the Day, Amok Time, and Swing Low were submitted by Harold Lines(nuke IC Electrician 73-77) email@example.com
Every nuclear Navy vessel at that time had to undergo a periodic Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination, or ORSE. It was a wise precaution to ensure that the crew could operate the nuclear plant safely. A team of inspectors (the ORSE Board) from Naval Reactors showed up, and you took the boat out to sea and went through several drills. There was also an extensive question and answer session with most of the crew, consisting of questions like "What makes a squirrel cage induction motor operate?" (I gave my questioner the stock answer that I learned in training, and he said it was wrong - he explained to me how it works, and I have never forgotten it) I went through my first ORSE after the overhaul and reactor refueling in 1975. To set up the scenario, some background information is necessary. The Snook was designed with a "gingham bus," which was the port DC bus. If the reactor was unavailable for whatever reason, we would be able to "go home" that way. Connected to the port DC bus was the diesel generator (a DC diesel), the battery (of course), the trim and drain pumps, one of the two shaft lube oil pumps, one of the two main lube oil pumps, the port (and starboard, probably, from the battery) motor generators for whatever AC loads you needed, and the Emergency Propulsion Motor (EPM). The idea was that you could run the diesel, disengage the shaft from the Main Engines (the main steam turbines that turned the shaft) by operating the "Clutch," and turn the shaft with the EPM, thus you could go home. Another bit of background information is that if you ever lost the shaft lube oil system, you were required to "stop the shaft" with astern steam, so that you didn't damage the shaft by operating it without lubrication. So, here we are in the ORSE, just about done with it, and conducting one of our final drills. The drill was the loss of a turbine generator. I don't remember which one it was, but it was the one that supplied the AC main lube oil pump. The alarm came in on the Steam Plant Control Panel for "Loss of main lube oil" as the oil pressure went down past the lower alarm point. The throttle man took the wrong action for that, deciding to stop the shaft with astern steam. For some reason, the DC main lube oil pump didn't start up when the AC main lube oil pump shut down, so the throttle man had to keep turning and turning the astern throttle wheel to go into what we called "override," where you went into manual control of the throttle control valve, which had closed down because it had lost all its main lube oil pressure. Just about the time that the throttle man had opened the astern throttles enough to start admitting steam to the astern main engines, the DC main lure oil pump finally decided to start up. Main lure oil pressure increased to its healthy maximum, and the astern throttles popped open to their highest opening, admitting gigantic amounts of steam to the main engines, which started churning the propeller backward at an alarming rate. The whole boat shook and shuddered as it tried to go from coasting easily to a violent stop. The ORSE board, after conferring with our officers, decided that we may have over stressed the reduction gears, so to be safe, we should continue in to port using the EM. I can well remember standing in the back of the engine room on EM watch, manning the phones and making sure that EM didn't exceed its rated amps, while we made our slow way back to port. Of course, we had failed the ORSE. The main problem that caused us to fail, of course, was that the DC main lure oil pump hadn't started immediately, as it was designed to do. But the throttle man had taken the wrong action in stopping the shaft, and the Engineering Officer of the Watch hadn't realized what was happening and stopped him from doing it. So that drill alone (as far as I understood) caused us to fail the ORSE, and we returned to San Diego in shame.
After we failed the ORSE and we had docked in San Diego, we were allowed to go home for a short period to visit our families. Then we were all called back to the boat for an intensive series of drills. I wish I had recorded all that we were put through as we prepared to regain the permission to operate our ship. There were many bleary-eyed sailors in the area as we got ready to go back to sea. The Executive Officer of Submarine Group Five was on board as a sort of superior to our Commanding Officer. Once we were out at sea, the drills continued. One of the drills we did was a "fast scram recovery," where the reactor shut down (for whatever reason), but there was still enough decay heat and steam available to operate the systems for a short time. If everything checked out, we could start up the reactor again immediately and get back to normal operating in a very short time. For some reason, one of our nuclear instruments didn't check out right, so we were prohibited by our procedures from restarting the reactor. This meant we had to crank up the diesel and call for help to San Diego to have them bring out a replacement for the part that had failed. Sub Group Five sent out a surface craft with the replacement part. After we got that part, something else failed, and we had to call back for another part. What a nightmare that was. Here we were, rolling on the surface in a round bottomed boat, running on the diesel, with not enough power to operate the galley stoves, so we ate cold food and breathed diesel smoke as the snorkel intake sucked in the fumes from the snorkel exhaust. On one of the trips from San Diego, the Sub Group Five boat was sitting beside the Snook, waiting to transfer a needed part, and the Snook took a bad roll. One of the sail planes hit the bridge of the Sub Group Five boat's bridge and dislodged it from its anchor points on the hull of the boat. Their boat limped back into port and probably needed major repairs. Our resident cartoonist drew up a cartoon showing the Snook sitting in the water beside a floating mound of wreckage that was labeled "Sub Group Five." Those guys should have received medals for bravery. Eventually we managed to pass the remedial ORSE and we went back to work.
of the Day
After we finished our refueling overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in 1975 (?), we went out to sea for the mandatory “deep dive,” to check everything out and make sure none of the check valves had been put in backwards, etc. We came back to Mare Island and corrected the problems (I don’t remember that we had any major problems). Then it was time to leave MINSY behind and return to our home port of San Diego. It was decided that about half the crew would be allowed to drive down to San Diego with their families, and the rest of the crew would actually drive the boat. We put out to sea one afternoon, but there was a delay, as we had to wait for another boat fresh out of overhaul to do their deep dive (it was a rule at that time that one boat always stood by while another boat was doing a deep dive). Right after dawn the next morning, I was adding chemicals to one of the steam generators when I heard the familiar announcement that “the ship is proceeding to periscope depth.” Then came the collision alarm. I zipped up the ladder and rigged the aft part of the machinery space for collision. We took a down angle of about 25° or so, and stayed that way for what seemed like a long time. I knew we were at an Ahead Standard bell, and all I could think of was “300 feet, 400 feet, 500 feet…” Finally we leveled out and secured from collision. Later, we found out what happened. This was before the U.S. territorial limit had been extended out to 200 miles or whatever it was today, and the fishing trawlers used to come in very close to the coast. Yes, we had become entangled in a fishing net. The cable that ran around the top of the net had become caught around the front of the sail, running under both sail planes and up over the top of the sail back to the trawler. The captain put up the periscope and looked out, and saw two cables running up to the stern of the trawler. At that time, the cable hit the periscope, and the periscope started spinning at several rpm. I was told by someone who was there in the Control Room at the time that the captain looked at his immediate superior from Sub Group Five, who was along for the ride, and said, “What do I do now?” The “commodore” said “Flood negative and let’s get the hell out of here.” So we did (kind of inspires lots of trust in the Old Man, now doesn’t it?). The normally boisterous crowd of dependents (and crew members) on the pier at San Diego was strangely quiet when we pulled in. We had left Mare Island with a nice fresh coat of black paint, and when we pulled in there were many places where the paint had been scraped off by the cable, leaving rusty areas that made us look like we had been through a hell of a fight. I was topside helping to rig shore power when one of the Reactor Operators called across, “Hey, Harold, what happened to you guys?” All eyes on the pier turned toward me. Now we had been sworn to secrecy about this event, so I couldn’t just blurt out what had happened. I said, “You know those giant sea monsters that attacked the Seaview on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea? We ran into one of those.” This happened over 20 years ago, and the cause of the fishing net’s destruction has long been turned into razor blades (as, I hope, has the fishing trawler), so the Statute of Limitations has probably run out and this story can be told.
One of our Auxiliarymen (forward Machinist Mates) had an intense hatred for one of our Chiefs. It seems this Chief had been his Company Commander in boot camp, and they got along about like two cats in a sack. One day, the Chief went a step too far, and the other guy just snapped. He went up and told the Topside watch that he was wanted down below, so the Topside watch turned over his weapon and left. The Auxiliaryman removed the .45 from the holster and followed him down. As the Topside watch started to enter the Wardroom, he saw the Auxiliaryman pass him on his way down to the Chief’s quarters, gun in hand. He ran up and told the Belowdecks watch, who put out the word on the 1MC (shipped announcing system). I was in the Nuc Lab having a chat with a couple of shipmates, when the one who was smoking outside suddenly pushed both of us into the lab and closed the door (he was the only one who had heard the announcement). He explained that this armed guy was in the same area we were – the lower level of the Ops Compartment. After we had stayed in there for a couple of minutes and heard nothing, I decided it was time to go take a look and see what was going on (“don’t go, Harold, you’ll get your ass shot!”). As I walked through the berthing area, I could see the Auxiliaryman and the Chief talking together near the battery breakers, but I didn’t see any gun. I went into the Chief’s quarters, called the Control Room, and let the Belowdecks watch know where the action was, then I stayed on the line with him while peeking around the corner of the door from time to time. After a while, a couple of officers in medical clothing passed by, and one of them told me to get back inside. A short time later, the same guy came back (I saw he was carrying an empty hypodermic needle) and told me to pass the word that the Auxiliaryman had been subdued, but not to let that be announced on the 1MC. I passed that exact message to Belowdecks, who of course immediately made a shipwide announcement. There was a cry of anguish from the Auxiliaryman, who was being half-carried off the boat for the last time. I learned later that he had had the pistol right up in the Chief’s face, telling him what he thought of the Chief’s ancestry, etc., and the whole time the Chief had been telling him that he didn’t have the stones to pull that trigger. Little did the Chief know that the Auxiliaryman had jacked a shell into the chamber of that pistol, and just a little finger pressure during that heated argument would have spelled the end of one Chief Petty Officer. I guess common sense is just hard to come by for some people.
Submariners are always leaning on something or hanging on to something. Come to think of it, I suppose skimmers do too, but I wouldn’t know. Most of the things we lean on or hang on aren’t dangerous, unless they’re too hot to touch. But sometimes they can get you into trouble. I was on my way forward from the engineering spaces after running some errand. As I stepped through the forward Tunnel door, one of the Radiomen was going into the radio room. There was a combination lock on the door, and there wasn’t enough room to get past while he was trying to get the lock open, so I waited, and while I waited, I leaned on something. I was two steps above him, and there was a pipe running across the passageway above me, so I just grabbed on to that with both hands and waited. He finally got the door open and went inside. Instead of removing my hands from the pipe and walking down the two steps like a mature adult, I thought it would be fun to swing out and avoid the immense tedium of taking the steps. Now this pipe had lagging on it, and there was a bolted-together junction under my left hand. When they put lagging on these pipe junctions, they don’t seal them up. They put the lagging on in such a way that it can be removed fairly easily, probably so it can be repaired quickly at sea. The particular way they attached this piece of lagging was with small hooks at either end of the piece (like hooks on a brassiere), and the hooks had a piece of piano wire to hold the lagging together. When I swung down from the pipe, my wedding ring caught on one of those hooks. I hit the deck all right, but with an immense pain in my left ring finger. The weight of my body hanging on that ring had flattened it against the bone on either side, and the rapid pressure had split open the pad of my finger. The only thing that saved my finger was the fact that the hook had bent down under my weight and had come loose from the ring. I woke up the Doc, and he got out his ring cutter. I asked him if there was some other way to get the ring off, and he offered to cut off my finger instead. I sacrificed the ring. Although I love my wife dearly, I have never worn that ring or any jewelry again.
to Snook Submitted by Gaspare Ciaravino **Vino
I wrote this poem in the latter part of 1971 and placed it in the "Short Timers Night Order Book" that we carried in the engine room. I hope it will bring back some fond memories to those who served with us aboard Snook.
In the depths of the sea,
She fears not a living thing
Nor cares for you and me.
She takes away all
the meaningful things
For she has a job
that she must do
So you go to sea for
many a month
And she wants your
love, a total love
You clean her, shine
her, and fix her
Gaspare Ciaravino **Vino MM2(SS)
1970 - 1973
was there for...
Submitted by Bob Harmer ET3/ETC(SS)
I could fill a book of SNOOK stories... I was there for...
--1,000th dive and the famous Hustler cake and article.
--The day I ordered a "Link Aircraft Simulator" as RPPO and Chief Stober about KILLED me
(but only when they actually tried to deliver it to the pier in San Diego.)
--USS Bagley collision... my how the stories change over the years.
(I was Messenger of the Watch and in Control next to BCP and Persicope stand.)
--Bouncing off piers, drydocks, and BARBELL in the PI. (CO "CRASH" Smith)
--3 AWESOME UNITAS South America runs and the BEST liberty in the world. (6 days in RIO)
--3 ShellBack, 2 BlueNose, 4 Ditches... and 6 days in RIO.
Its amazing how many people were on board for these events and how the list seems to grow over the years. And, did I mention 6 days in RIO?
Australian Adventure Submitted by Norm
The cartoon must have been something I cut out of a paper while we were in Perth. It is from "The West Australian", Monday, Aug. 16, 1976. I do remember going through the town with Jeff Frisbie and "Pete" but I can't remember Pete's last name. We visited the zoo and the botanical gardens. I remember they had a whole section of plants from Southern California which made me real home sick.
I vaguely remember going to a shopping mall and ending up in a local bar. We met some Australians off a "sheep farm/commune" quite a distance from the city. They only got into town once every two or three months so we could relate to each other. I do remember that they introduced us to Foster's beer and we got pretty plastered. I wasn't much of a drinker anyway and I was sipping my beer. I vaguely recall one of the Aussie's telling me that "When you're in Australia, you drink like the Australians do." I asked him how that was and he replied "with your elbow pointed towards the ceiling!" I guess this was similar to the "bottoms up" approach. I do remember getting drunk enough that we were singing "God Save the Queen" to the same tune that the Aussies were singing "God Bless America".
that night better than I.
A SNOOK STORY Submitted by Jack Hester RM1(SS) (60 -62) firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1961 I was a member of the USS Snook (SSN-592) commissioning crew. As such, I had been selected (?) by the Chief of the Boat (COB) as duty driver for Admiral Rickover whenever he came to Pascagoula, MS to inspect progress on Snook construction.
As many know, the admiral was a stickler for using every moment of your life to increase your knowledge. He had absolutely no use for anyone wasting a moment of opportunity, regardless of what that opportunity might be.
The most memorial occasion I had while driving the admiral was the day I picked him up at the Mobile, Alabama airport to transport him to our boat at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
at Ingalls, immediately to your right,was a large empty
we went through the gate, the admiral said, "Driver, what type of
is in that field to our right?"
I looked to the right and it looked like a bunch of weeds to me, but I replied, "I have no idea, Sir."
The admiral then asked, "How long have you been in Pascagoula?" I replied, "Two months, Sir." "Do you come through this gate everyday? he asked. "Yes sir," I said.
"You mean to tell me that you have come through this gate everyday for two months and you have never taken it upon yourself to find out what is growing in that field?" he asked. "Yes sir, that is correct." I answered. (knowing that was NOT the answer he wanted) "Well young man, I will be leaving here Sunday and YOU WILL be my driver and I want an answer to my question when you pick me up, understand?"
You can not imagine how many people living in Pascagoula in 1961 had no idea what was growing in that field. I asked everyone I saw, no one could provide me with a satisfactory answer. I did receive a lot of comments on what to tell the admiral, but they were not related to vegetation.
Sunday came and I knew I was going down the tubes. I didn't have to mention it to the admiral, he immediately asked me. I told him I had been unsuccessful in finding what I could believe to be a correct answer. He then said, "You could have lied to me and I would probably never known the difference, but you gave it an effort and then told the truth and that's all anyone can ask of anyone."
29 years later, I still wonder what the hell those "weeds" were.
AFT HUMOR Submitted by Art Martin IC2(SS) (74 - 76) Azstrummer@aol.com
guess I should
add some flavor to the old bucket of bolts. I've kept this
to myself all these years cause the Navy at the time made a big deal
of it all. I served on Snook from 1974 til 1976 as a Nuke
part of our work was to make sure the alarm lights for the reactor had
bulbs in them and worked properly. The reactor operator daily
all the indicator lamps to make sure they lit. Well during
visit when very few people were around some guitar-playing crewman
to take out the lens to one of the unused alarm lights and scratched in
the word "Tilt". It didn't take long for the Nuke crew to all
aware of the Reactor Tilt Alarm. As a matter of fact that was
of the questions we'd ask new qualifiers was about that
We told them that on particularly
rolls that the
Tilt alarm would sound and the condition would have to be removed or
have to SCRAM the reactor. If they didn't believe us, we'd
up the light and show them the alarm. Great for a
some officer without a sense of humor found out about it and turned it
incident. We were all interviewed and asked who would have done such a thing. Of course that guitar-playing crewman that looked an awful lot like me had the sense then to keep the action to himself and they never found out who did it. We did have to replace the lens as well. By the way, that same crewman was also the cartoonist for the infamous Phrog Log that seemed to make the rounds of Engineering. The cartoons were a soap opera of very well-drawn characatures or the CO, XO and Engineer doing very mean and disgusting things to each other and the crew. Wish we knew where that thing ended up. Hope it was retired properly when the ship was decommissioned.
MEMORIES OF SNOOK Submitted by Gordon Medford email@example.com
I was a junior officer on board between 1980 and 1983. I picked her up out of an overhaul at Mare Island and was just on board for a couple of months when we did sea trials out of San Diego after the overhaul. In 1980, all five boats of our class were attached to submarine squadron two in New London, Ct. I was sonar officer and first Lt. on board when we did something very unusual for a submarine which was to transit the Panama Canal. Becoming an older platform, we were grouped together to scavenge parts from each other as needed for deployments. Because we were slightly louder than the newer 637s and the very new 688s coming out, it was felt we were better suited for operations in the Mediterranean where the ambient noise level was higher. We had a new sonar suite and fire control system installed during the overhaul so we were very successful on the Mediterranean and South American deployments we were assigned. The first major deployment we made after arriving at New London was a UNITAS run where we worked with the navies of several South American countries on anti-submarine warfare tactics. After that we made two Med runs attached to the sixth fleet. We were in the Mediterranean when Kaddaffi (sp?) drew his line of death across the gulf of Sidra (sp?) and when Sadat was killed. The Snook played a vital role during both of those events.
ORSE Submitted by Bob Dacko (LTJG) (72-74) firstname.lastname@example.org
We flunked ORSE in '73 due to the ships "material condition". The specific condition was radioactive contamination of the AMSLL bilges due to overfill of the Valve Op Flasks. The first three of the four in series Valve Op flasks were completely filled with water and the last one was supposed to be only partially filled. It also had a sight glass to monitior how high the water level was in the last flask. Due to back leakage thru several primary coolant check valves, the level in the last flask would occaisonally increase. When that happened the AMSLL watch would request permission of the EOOW to pump the flask back into the primary plant so that the tank would not go solid and spill out of the vent (or maybe it was a relief valve). The EOOW in turn would call the Engineer and report that the flask was being pumped down and record the evolution in the Maneuvering Room daily log. This happened probably a couple of dozen times over a period of many months and was acknowledged by all the EOOWs including myself. Although to my knowledge the AMSLL watch never reported that the flask had overflowed to the bilge, it apparently did on a number of occasions. When the ORSE members asked the engineer why he did not repair the leaking check valves he stated that he had no knowledge that there was any back leakage into the Valve Op flasks. This inspite of the fact that every EOOW stated (to the ORSE) that they had reported it to the Engineer and the fact that it was recorded in the Maneuvering Room Log which was reviewed and initialed daily by the Engineer. The net result was that they believed the engineer and the EOOWs got oral reprimands. The Engineer left the boat shortly thereafter and was promoted.
MEMORIES OF SNOOK Submitted by Dave Thommarson TM3(SS) (68 - 71)
I was on the Snook from March 1968 to June of 1971. When I came on board, the Snook had just come out of dry dock in Bremerton. I went to mess cook duty right away working for Woody.
I wondered about what I had gotten myself in to on sea trials after we heard our brothers on the Scorpion had been lost. I don’t know whether we thought we were bullet proof or what but none of us seemed to be inordinately fearful of continuing to stay on the boat did we? Maybe we didn’t think we had any other choice
While in the yards I decided to strike for TM. I thought Buchite, and Chief Rickenbach were the greatest guys to work for. Of course the only time we got to blow anything up was when we sank the Archerfish in October of ‘68. At the time I felt bad about sinking a boat with such a great history. But now in light of what happened to the Snook and the other boats recently I’m thinking one last dive might have been best. Or… maybe the best thing to do with the old boats would have been for us vets to rotate taking them out for a few days every now and then and maybe even make a few port calls. Sound like fun? (Check the Archerfish/Snook link on my web site.)
When Buchite and Chief Rick left the boat my Navy career took about a 10-degree list and a serious down bubble. However, looking back at the whole experience from this distant perspective… man it was a great time! My only regret is that I wish I could have known then what I know now…
My favorite job at sea was helm/stern planes especially during "angles & dangles" and bridge lookout. My favorite off duty activity was playing the guitar with Scotty, Ryker, and others up in the torpedo room or down in the pump room. Thanks to Jack Hansel, I learned to play cribbage but I guess the most fun I had playing cards was when I had the best spade in the hole and the best poker hand playing High/Low Chicago with the big boys at the forward table in the crew’s dinette. I won $90 in one hand! I guess that is where I learned about "easy come easy go".
My least favorite job at sea was cleaning the corrosion off of the copper pipes in the forward escape hatch while breathing Brasso fumes.
I guess the only time I thought it was all over for us was the time while on WESTPAC when we had been doing battle station drills for what seemed like forever in transit to station and the CO was not very happy with our performance. Finally we had arrived on station and had been in patrol quite mode for several hours. I had the torpedo room watch and all of a sudden the general alarm goes off. The thought went through my mind that this was just another drill but there had been no announcement and we were already on patrol quite so maybe this wasn’t a drill after all.
I had the headset on and was closing valves on the starboard side just aft of the tubes and about a foot or so from the deck plates when I hear this message over the head set… "Conn, Sonar we have a torpedo contact off the starboard bow!" You couldn’t get anymore ‘starboard bow’ than I was at that instant!
What a relief when the CO announced that it was just a drill but that he was pleased we beat our previous drill times!
CHRISTMAS ON SNOOK Submitted by Marshall (Smitty) Smith via Jack Hester
Remember Christmas at sea on Snook? The skipper, Captain Bucknell, had this little electric fireplace in the wardroom. He was one of Rickover's Fair-Haired boys so during construction he had the moxie to ask for a fireplace complete with electric logs. And he got it! We, the crew, helped select the color Formica in the different compartments and TM1 Jim Dunnivan got his red vinyl deck in the forward torpedo room. But the fireplace was the showplace of the boat. Sooo, we were at sea on Christmas one year and a conniving, sneaky bunch of men from different parts of the ship crept into the wardroom while the officers were asleep or on watch and hung 'stockings' above the fireplace. Well, they weren't exactly stockings, they were actually the dirtiest, stinkiest, unwashed collection of socks that could be found on the boat. Each had a little card attached with the name of an officer and that was the crew's gift to the wardroom. Merry Christmas, Sirs.
One year I was at sea on a carrier, the USS Boxer CV21 during Christmas. We were returning from an 8 month tour with Task Force 58 in the Far East. If you've never been on a 'Bird Farm' let me tell you it is weird. There are so many pukas and hideaways that anyone on the ship could bring home almost anything. To mention a few, we had several hundred sets of golf clubs, crates of dishes and furniture, a number of Japanese motor scooters and three Austin Healy convertibles plus four sailboats and two motor boats, all purchased in Japan. There was a Christmas service on the huge hangar deck then a party. Even with planes spotted at one end of the hangar deck there were chairs set up for several hundred sailors. The highlight of the evening was when Santa Claus came in driving one of the Austin Healys. Unbelievable!
BREMERTON FOLLIES Submitted by Bob Dacko (LTJG) (72-74) email@example.com
During our stay in Bremerton (October/November 1972), some of the JOs got together and purchased a really beat-up 1950 Chevy for transportation for about $200. At the end of the Bremerton stay, they put it up for sale and were surprised when they were able to sell it almost immediately for the same amount they originally purchased it for. A few days later the police showed up at the boat and enquired about the vehicle which was still registered in the name of (I think it was Gordie Clefton). It appears that the car had been used as a get-away vehicle for a bank robbery the day before. I don't recall if they caught the real culprit but I do know that Gordie is still at large.
A SEA STORY Submitted by Bob Dacko (LTJG) (72-74) firstname.lastname@example.org
(Circa 1972) We were exiting the Pt. Loma channel on the way to weekly ops. I, as a green junior officer, was assigned as the deck officer for the first time. As part of my qualifications I had previously assisted in the functions of the deck officer but had never soloed. There really wasn’t much to it; check to make sure that the deck gang had properly secured all the deck cleats and lockers; verify that everyone had cleared the deck; and report the same to the OOD. Once the OOD received the report he was free to increase speed beyond the 1/3 bell which was the maximum allowed while personnel were on the deck. I had completed my inspection, secured the sail door and was heading to the conn to make my report when the deck chief stopped me and asked me where I had put the ensign. “The ensign?” “Sure,” he said, “the last thing the deck officer is supposed to do is take down the ensign.” The ensign hangs from the aft end of the sail about seven feet above the deck. “Curses,” I said, “I better go out and retrieve it.” It was getting pretty late in our channel exit and the waters get a little choppy once we clear the point so I took the “safety chain” with me. The safety chain is a piece of chain about 7 or 8 feet long with a (cleat?) on one end that slides on a rail on the starboard side adjacent to the sail. I believe the other end is supposed to be attached to a safety harness but I never saw one of those. Instead we would just hang on to the chain with one hand, just for stability. Since I am pretty short and the ensign was 7 feet above the deck, it took me a few minutes of jumping to get it. With the ensign in my right hand and the safety chain in my left hand I started toward the sail door. Suddenly the boat started moving faster (probably a 2/3 bell). I grabbed the chain as close to the rail as I could and moved faster. I was about half way to the sail door when a large wave broke over the deck and hit me. I slid down the chain to within a foot from the end. There I was with the ensign in one hand, chain in the other and stretched around the curvature of the hull. At this point I started to consider some alternatives. We had not cleared the point yet so I could probably make it to the other side of the channel if I had to. The only problem was the propeller. At the speed that we were moving I probably would not be able to clear the propeller. I decided there was only one way out and I had better do it before we clear the point because that’s when it really gets rough. Inch by inch I climbed the chain. Waves kept pounding me, some of them helping me climb up and others making me slide down the chain again. Eventually I made it back to the sail door - still holding on to the ensign - it hadn’t occurred to me to let go of it! I was totally soaked and I was totally mad! I stormed to the conn and yelled, “Who in the hell authorized the 2/3 bell without the deck officers report!” I was surprised to see an officer that I didn’t recognize at the conn. He didn’t answer so I left to change my clothes. It turned out that he was on board for OOD training since his own boat was in dry dock. I never did find out what happened to him. They probably put him in charge of man overboard drills.
Nauga Trainer Submitted by Rick Barr EM3(SS) (71-74) email@example.com
Lazier, Edward AKA Lash-larue stood watches as I remember in the LLER most of the time. He was also the Nauga trainer (he kept them in the LLER bilge). As I recall we had an Ensign Green I believe or something like that who was sitting in Maneuvering on one of the padded book cases. He slid forward and his leather wallet fell out and was grabbed by one of the Naugas who headed for LLER. Somebody, I think it was the EWS, stuck his head in Maneuvering and asked if anyone had lost their wallet as he thought he saw one of the Naugas with it. Everybody said NO except for the Ensign who promptly told everybody that it appeared it must have been his as it was missing. The chase was on. Somehow the wallet ended up in the vent duct over the ECP. It was returned to the Ensign with strange impressions in it looking like some kind of teeth marks courtesy of Lash. And so the story was related to Ensign Green about the Naugas and what their hide was used for and we all had a good laugh. However, when watch was over and Ensign Green went back to the wardroom for dinner, we were told that the Captain was informed about the Naugas in the bilge just as he was about to sip a spoon of soup. Needless to say the soup went everywhere. This is also the same Ensign who sat in the tunnel with a large wrench beating the wall between the window and the fuse panel saying "they're killing me". Who knows what set him off -- Maybe a Nauga bite! (Bob Dacko comments:"The way I remember it was he (Ens Green) was heading to Maneuvering to beat the Engineer over the head with it and had to be subdued by several crew members. He was taken to a hospital in Subic, never to be heard from again. (Rumor has it that he eventually returned to nuclear subs)".)
Great Crew Submitted by Dean Brewer ETR3(SS) (62-64) firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a great crew...Berry, Beast, Salazar, Hartung, Fromson, Wingnut Parker, Setzler, Clark, just to name a few. I remember a fire on a balcony of the Bayside Hotel (Olongopo, PI) with a certain RMC doing an Indian rain dance around it. I believe that was the liberty that 1/2 of the crew was on report at quarters the next day... we had been at sea for a very long time...on station.
Wake-up Call Submitted by Gervase Rybak MM3(SS) (70-73) SUB592@aol.com
One of the duties on board the boat was "messenger of the watch.: This duty is bestowed upon the men who stood planes watch. The duty is easy, running for coffee and sodas for the planesmen, OD, and anyone on watch in control. I think everyone hated to do the wake-up of the next watch. Over time, you learned everyone's little quirks of how they come out of a sleep. Some guys would wake right up and others would take a long time to get out of their rack. Like one MM for "A" gang, was a deep sleeper. I would take a cup of coffee up to him and set it on his chest. He liked to be awakened in this fashion. there was one Engineer who was the hardest person in my years on board to get up. Time after time, you have to constantly go back and shake him. He was a deep, deep sleeper. It became a pain to do this, he would be late for watch and cause all kinds of problems. well, it was time to do the wake-up for the next watch. If I remember, I was on the "mid" watch and I got the job of wake-up. Everything was going good. Then, I came across the Engineer's name. Well, I was going to make sure that he was up and on time for watch change at least one time on this run. I found a steinke hood and grabbed my chain wrench. Down to Officer's Quarters, into the Engineer's stateroom. When I hit the door, (he had the bottom rack) I leaned over with the hood on, beat the chain wrench on a locker, and in a loud voice yelled (muffled by the hood), Engineer! It is time to get up! Then I beat the chain wrench a couple of times and did an about face and left. The Engineer made world record time on getting into the control room, around one minute after I left his stateroom. I guess he misunderstood me and thought that we were sinking and that got his heart pumping. I will say this, he took it in good humor and we all had a good laugh from it. Needless to say, the Engineer was on time for his watch for the rest of the run.
Contact Starboard Side! Submitted by Gervase Rybak MM3 (SS) (70-73) SUB592@aol.com
A night on the surface, coming out of Alameda after taking on weapons. I got lucky that day and pulled lookout watch when the first watch was set. It was getting to be dusk and there were many contacts around the boat. The biggest problem was seeing the other boats due to the shoreline lights. We were passed the "Gate" still in the Bay. Not much longer and we would be turning to a course one-eight-zero heading back to San Diego. A beautiful night to be on the surface. We had a calm sea and the shoreline of California as a view. The moonrise was a site I had never seen since that night. The moon must have covered half the horizon. Things had calmed down and everyone was getting into their "routine". The OD and I were enjoying being on the surface on the bridge. There were no close contacts and life was good. The serializness of the boat cutting through the sea and the eerie green glow off the bow was very relaxing after a long day. I started my sweep, looking for contacts, working from port to starboard. As I came around to 090 relative, I saw something coming at us in the water at a fast closing rate! The contact was below the surface and about 1,000 yards off. What I was looking at seemed to be a torpedo in the water heading straight for the boat! The contact had a green luminous glow coming toward us. Wait! What do I say to the OD? This can't be a torpedo heading for the ship, could it be true! CONTACT! STARBOARD SIDE! POSSIBLE TORPEDO! The OD looked over to starboard, I yelled to him that I now had two contacts, heading for the ship, and they are possible TORPEDOES! This is one of those momuments in life where time goes into "slow motion". The OD and I both looked at each other with a confused expression. The contacts were still on a bearing straight for us, now about 500 yards out. I could see in the OD eyes, and I know he saw the same look in my eyes, that this was not possible, this could not be, but! There they were heading closer and closer as the seconds ticked away. The OD said he was going to press the "collision" alarm and pass the word over the 1MC. Contacts still at 090, hot and straight for us. The same thought going through my head, Damn this couldn't be happening! Then, as the OD's finger was on the collision button, just an "RCH" from pushing and sounding the alarm, the strangest thing happened to those two torpedoes! They started to JUMP out of the water! It seems that my two torpedoes were dolphins coming to play at the bow. They were jumping around the bow chasing the wave from the boat. Then in an instant, another five more dolphins join up with the first two and it was a site to see. All of them "glowing" green as they played with the boat. Needless to say, the OD and I were glad that they were not torpedoes and he never did push the collision alarm. I don't think we would have lived it down.
Remember the 60'S? Submitted by Ken Hartung (8/63 - 3/65) email@example.com
After seeing the Sub Secrets story on NOVA I guess it is pretty safe after all these years (35) to talk about why Snook got her NUC and why the entire wardroom of this era all went on to be Admirals - yes, ALL of them! JD Watkins was to coin a phrase a COWBOY. If there was something in the ocean, JD was going to find out what it was and who it belonged to. I was just a lowly E-3 non-nuc in M division (which I hated) but at least I got to be boss of the diesel. I loved it. I can't tell you how many strange rates we had onboard at that time. I remember a Gunner's Mate Chief as the COB, a Boatswain's Mate as a torpedoman and diver, a radar man as an RO and others. Would you say this was the early days of NUC power or what! I also remember a huge Chief cook as the COB of the one WestPac I made that the seaman gang went on strike against! Boy, did we pay for that (all 8 of us). Stories and sea stories and many miles under the water! I am proud that our families will someday know how we contributed to the efforts of the US to stop a nuclear war. Man, it really got testy! I was also on board when we landed the signal smoke on the carrier's deck to show them we were really there and that they had really been sunk during a war game. It was an accident that it landed on the flight deck but what the hell, they were targets! I am looking forward to the reunion and hope to see shipmates from my era and others to see who has the last lie!
Creative Painting 101 Submitted by Tom Gillen firstname.lastname@example.org
had gotten in to
do some creative painting towards the end of the refuel in Bremerton in
the late 60's. Our first victim had been the carrier Ranger. The
of the #31 (see Picture Page) was the final. I think the local paper or
yard newsletter picked up on it. The Ranger had just come in off line
Vietnam and was really tired. The deck crew had spent a few weeks
priming, and painting her back up. They were completing under the angle
deck. We thought it would be great to put a very large set of dolphins
on her, sort of a branding. We did some creative comshaw with a few
workers and, for a case of steaks, had them leave a docking boat one
for our use. We figured that around 3am the watch would be tired and
would be back from liberty. At the appointed time a few of us gathered
only to find out we didn't have any oars. We pressed a few brooms into
service and paddled over to the Ranger. There was still a flat barge
the angle deck for the painting crew so we climbed on and proceeded to
paint a set of 15-20' long dolphins in orange primer and returned home
undiscovered. Just as we were getting ready to take in the lines the
day on our way to sea trials, over came a large and very unhappy
from the Ranger. It appeared to be all of the duty officers from the
night, the Master Chief from the deck crew, as well as the Captain.
really wanted to have a "talk" to our Captain. He listened for a few
and then said he had a schedule to keep and had to go to sea. They were
not really happy but had no choice. Out we went on trials. I had
watch that day and as the top of the sail was crowded I was sitting on
the cowling up between the periscopes. We were going out and the
without even seeing the obvious orange paint on my shoes and jacket (or
so I thought) said, "By the way....Nice paint job, Gillen."
Flooding in the Engine Room Submitted by Harold Lines (nuke IC Electrician 73-77) email@example.com
We were always subjected to emergency drills to keep us ready. On one of our watches, we were treated to a "fire in the shaft lure oil bay" drill. We passed fire extinguishers aft, and one of the guys suited up in an Oxygen Breathing Apparatus to fight the fire, but the verdict from the officers was that we had failed the drill. Apparently, as we learned in the post-drill briefing, there had been a fire in a shaft lure oil bay on some ship, and they didn't get enough fire extinguishers back there in time, so the fire got out of control. We were informed that the drill would be run again on our next watch, and we should get it right. When our next watch came, we talked about how we would handle it. As the ELT on watch (and kind of a free-floating watch-stander), I would grab the extinguisher from Auxiliary machinery Space Upper Level aft and run it back to Engine Room Upper Level aft, while the AMSUL watch would run forward and get the extinguisher from the forward end of his area and have it ready for me when I returned, so I could run that one back aft, too. We talked about it with the Engine Room Upper Level and Lower Level watchstanders, and we were ready for whatever they could throw at us. We would have so many extinguishers back there that they could throw them all on the fire and put it out that way. I was in AMSUL, waiting for the drill officers to come back aft, when suddenly I heard a loud hissing noise from the Engine Room. I was wondering how the officer who was going to initiate the drill had gotten past me, when I heard an announcement, "Flooding in the Engine Room!" The AMSUL watch went forward to rig that part of the space for flooding, while I rigged the space aft (close and dog the water-tight door to the Engine Room, close the ventilation damper, shut off the ventilation fans, etc.). It wasn't too long before we heard that there had been an actual flooding event in the Engine Room. There was a blank flange on the end of a pipe (part of our Distilling Unit) that had blown off and started letting the ocean into our comfy environment. The Engineering Officer of the Watch in Maneuvering operated his modified SubSafe system and closed off all the hull valves and saved our butts. For some reason, we never did complete the shaft lure oil fire drill. I think we were ready for it, though.
War Games Submitted by Harold Lines (nuke IC Electrician 73-77) firstname.lastname@example.org
Boy, was I ready for
this! I had heard
previous war games from my shipmates who had been on board prior to our
overhaul. Supposedly, the Snook had fired a flare from our signal
that landed on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, thus proving
we could have also fired a torpedo, and also sending a pugnacious
that "we gotcha!" For this exercise, we were designated as being in the
Orange Army. There were several armies that would be fighting against
allied with other armies. There was even one army called the Purple
who had no ships or units, but was designated only as a spy group. They
would make phone calls to us, saying, "I'm Joe Blow from the Green
and we need to know which ships you guys are allied with, because we
our list" or some such. If you have to get prepared to go to battle,
is the way to do it. In one of our briefings, we were shown a map of
"battle area" with the locations where we could come up to periscope
With so many ships and submarines in the area, it wasn't safe to stick
a periscope up just anywhere, so we were allotted some oval-shaped
in which no surface ship was allowed to go. On the morning of the
which was to start at 0600, I was at my watch station in Maneuvering at
the Electric Plant Control Panel, dressed in my poopy suit with my
socks on, just wanting to do my part to uphold the honor of the Snook.
At about 0555, we heard the familiar call of "the ship is proceeding to
periscope depth." I watched the depth gauge in Maneuvering, just above
the clock, as the feet and the minutes ticked down. Then, without any
came the announcement "...llision imminent," followed by the collision
alarm played for about 45 seconds. As I was the Maneuvering phone
I manned the phones, but there was no clue given as to what the problem
was. We proceeded back to port in San Diego, at which time I found out
what had happened. As we were coming up to periscope depth, the XO had
raised the periscope and was looking through it, when he suddenly said
"Jesus Christ, emergency deep!" He slammed the periscope handles up and
was reaching for the ring that would activate the hydraulics and lower
the periscope, when the periscope suddenly jammed upward into the
(ceiling). It turned out that the frigate Bagley had decided to obey
rules and not go into the prohibited area, but had also decided not to
observe the rules as it applied to their trailing sonar device (see
newspaper clipping). Their trailing sonar device hit our periscope and
banged off the snorkel mast. The periscope was bent backward at about a
60 degree angle, with the end torn off and trailing wires hanging out.
The snorkel mast couldn't be raised, and it took quite a long time to
it. And I never did get to play in the war games. I went down to my
and retired my orange socks, never to be used again. What a shame.