WHIMPY and the ANCHOR
by Jim Ogren
In late August of 1960, I reported aboard the Skipjack. At the time, I was an ETR3 and was immediately assigned as a Mess Cook, along with Ding-Dong Bell and, if I remember correctly, Al Dannemiller. The three of us relieved three Second Class Nucs, including Joe Lopez, who were on their second tour as Mess Cooks. In fact, these three Mess Cooks were drawing more pay than the three Cooks they worked for (Chief Barry, Paul Bargas and Denver Maxfield).
The boat was scheduled to go on a Northern Run but, not long after I reported aboard, part of the main turbine shrouding was damaged and we went to Electric Boat for repairs. The Northern Run was reassigned to the Scorpion. One of the repairs performed while at Electric Boat was to replace the mushroom anchor, which had spontaneously dropped sometime before I reported aboard while the boat was in port and moored.
After the repairs were completed, we were assigned another Northern Run. One evening, while we were heading North at flank speed and test depth (just about the only way Wild Willy Behrens went anywhere), I was the mid-rats Mess Cook and was sitting in the Crew’s Mess next to the Torpedo Room water tight door talking to Whimpy Derleth, who had the Torpedo Room watch.
Suddenly I heard a tremendous racket coming from the forward part of the Torpedo Room and the boat started to shudder and pitch her bow down. I had no idea what was happening, but Whimpy did. The snubber that held the anchor in place had loosened again and the anchor and anchor chain were heading towards the ocean floor. Immediately, Whimpy rushed forward and started pumping the hydraulic hand pump that disengaged the pin which connected the last link of the anchor chain to the capstan. He was able to disengage the pin before the anchor chain played out and all that happened was that we lost an anchor and chain.
One can only speculate as to the damage that would have resulted if the pin had not been pulled, but it certainly would have been extensive, if not catastrophic.
When I left the boat in October of 1961 to attend Nuc School, we still had not replaced the anchor.
by Jim Ogren
While most submarine sailors are unique characters to some degree, Julius (Kelly) Metz was more unique than most. He could keep you entertained for hours with tales of his misspent youth, and his adventures while on liberty, such as trying to spirit a rented moped out of Bermuda by lashing it under the superstructure, are the kind that legends are built on.
One day while we were at sea, Kelly decided he would use the Torpedo Room crapper as a place of rest and relaxation. After an extended period of contemplating the problems of the world while smoking a cigarette, he disposed of the smoldering butt by dropping it between his legs into the crapper bowl. Evidently, the crapper ball valve was leaking, because a short but intense combustion of a pocket of sewer gas occurred which resulted in the removal of a large amount of hair from portions of Kelly’s body best left unmentioned.
As I remember, it was a long time before Kelly used that crapper again.
ROACHE’S LOVE AFFAIR
by Jim Ogren
On another day at sea, I was standing watch in the Control Room and the Chief of the Boat was manning the scope. Lt. Cmdr. McKee, the Engineer-who later took Rickover’s place-came forward and asked the Chief if he could take a spin at the scope. A little later George Roache, who had a habit of playing games with the COB, walked by, reached up, and, thinking it was the Chief, patted Lt. Cmdr. McKee on the ass. Mr. McKee slowly turned and said “Really, Roache, I didn’t think you cared.” proving that even some officers have a sense of humor. Roache could do nothing but blush and sputter.
by Jim Ogren
Since I knew I would go to Nuc. School once I qualified, I spent much of my spare time back aft, trying to pick up as much knowledge as I could. One day I was hanging out in the Maneuvering Room, where Moose Meiner was manning the RPCP and Joe Lopez was on the EPCP. One of these two, and I can’t remember who it was, but I think it was Moose, was letting out silent, but extremely odiferous, gas releases. After two or three of these, the EOOW stated that if he detected one more Moose would have to get someone to relieve him. After some minutes had passed Joe snuck one out. The EOOW was good to his word and ordered Moose to get a relief. Moose protested violently, claiming it was not him, but the EOOW would hear nothing of it and Moose was relieved, still protesting while Joe could hardly contain himself.
THE OFFICER’S SHOES
by Jim Ogren
As was normal for a Northern Run, we had a group of “Raries” (Communication Technicians and an Officer) report aboard and take over the Radio Room. The Officer was very aloof and not well liked by the crew.
One day, Stretch Leonard was cleaning out the deposits that had clogged the Crew’s Head urinal drains (not a pleasant job). Since the Wardroom Head urinals drained into the Sanitary Tank through these drains, he had taped off the Wardroom Head urinals and posted a sign saying “Do Not Use”. The Officer, needing to relieve himself and reading the sign, was not smart enough to use the Wardroom Head crappers and decided he would go to the Crew’s Head and use the urinals there. When he got there, Stretch had left to get a tool from the Auxiliary Room. The Officer, evidently not noticing the drain pipes and tools lying on the deck, whipped it out and proceeded to piss into the urinal and onto his shoes. He was wearing a pair of Keds canvas shoes with thick crepe rubber soles and he thoroughly soaked the canvas tops. As this was taking place, Stretch returned and, once he realized what was happening, said “ You dumb son-of-s-bitch”. The Officer finally realized what he had done and left very embarrassed.
Drifty Wright, who was the boat’s cartoonist, drew a cartoon of this and posted it on the Crew’s Mess bulkhead, where it remained for the rest of the Northern Run.