THIS IS NO B.S.
scopelookout ............True tales of Sabalo life, 
                 sea stories, and other wild-ass claims.
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Back to Sabalo Home Page
 
Many of these stories can be seen by scrolling down the page.  
However, longer ones are indicated by the icon
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                  docand can only be seen by clicking on them in the list below.
The list is not in any particular order in relation to content.  As new additions are received they are placed on the top of the list.

Items with the camera icon camera icon have photos.

All text, photos and material linked from this page are copyrights reserved by the original author unless otherwise indicated.
Send in your story and become a web-published author.  While I will certainly appreciate raunchy tales in private - try to 'polish it' a little for the site so that grannies and little kids won't have brain damage.  Jeff Owens, ETN2(SS) owensjAt Signepix.net
long doc Veteran to Veteran            (submitted by Fred Holcomb)
long doc Risk is an Inspiration in the Submarine Service  by Dr. Joyce Brothers, 1963  (submitted by Will Kaefer)
long doc The 2007 Reunion in San Diego brought back some memories for "Vinny" Venezia
long doc "Sneaking up on the "Enemy"  Jeff Owens and Ron Gorence discuss periscope photography [added material]
Bill Weisensee recalls reporting aboard as ET2 - May '57
long doc WWII - USS Nautilus SS-168 at the Battle of Midway and other experiences of Harold G. Lee, Chief Torpedoman on board Sabalo Sep45-Aug46
long doc  Appendectomies on Submarines During World War II by HMC (SS) Phillip J. Chesser, USN (Ret.)
long doc THE ROMANCE OF SUBMARINES IS GONE
A Little Flooding Episode ca '55-57 - Bill Petterson
long docThe Navy -- Then and Now
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                    doc USS Sabalo to the Rescue, Western Pacific 1958   camera icon [new material added]
Personal accounts by Sabalo crewmen of the sinking of USS Stickleback SS-415 by collision with USS Silverstein (DE-534)including photos and also links to a number of other accounts and additional photos.
long doc Comments on the Grounding of the USS San Francisco - Ron Gorence QMC(SS)
long doc camera
                    icon SINKING OF THE USS FOSS DE-59 - A LIVE TORPEDO TEST BY USS SABALO SS-302 - 6 September 1966
Personal accounts and recollections of the event; links to photos
long doc"YARD BOAT MY ASS" - The 'Northern Run' of 1960 discussed by some who were there.
long doc "YANKEE CLIPPER"  - Ron Gorence tells the tale, in soap opera style, of the 'ordeal' of a Sabalo sailor getting a vasectomy in Yoko.
Sailing on the QE2, QM2 and Sabalo - Charlie Darrell
"Ah- Memories" - Larry Douglas has some recollections from 1955-57
long doc camera icon Gene "Spooks" Merrill (TMCM(SS), Ret.) meets the first Japanese POW of WWII -
includes article and photo from Patrol Newspaper [SubBase Pearl Harbor] 14 Oct 1983 
Escape Tank Training Episode, Pearl Harbor 1967 - recollection of Bob Phelps
Acid Dipped Dungarees Invented in 1937   - Charley T. Odom
The Snorkeling Experience  -  Jeff Owens
Personal Recollections of Michael "Elsie" Elzinga , on board Sep 58 - Jul 61
long doc Korean War Patrol  Dec 1952 - Jun 1953
     Sabalo Memoirs of Lt. Robert C. Bell, Jr.
       [numerous photos from his collection to be posted soon.]

WesPac Cruise of 1965 - recollections by Larry "Doc" Davis
     Crossing the equator and the 180th meridian on the same cruise.
More on the Golden Shellback Initiation during the cruise of 1965 by Harry Day
Personal Recollections of Bob Frick - qualified on Sabalo Feb 1962
Clear the Bridge - Steve Shelby
Shiny Toilets or How to Sell Your Dodge - Howell Rice
 Sabalo on scene of "The September  Incident"[1964] - submitted by Ned Heistermann
   When two U.S. destroyers were attacked in the Tonkin Gulf, Sabalo was nearby - this and other tales.
long doc 'What's That Tickling My Neck?' - episode from the WesPac of 1964-65, submitted by Ned Heistermann
long doccamera
                    icon"Queen of the Sabalo" - Earl Meggison 
long doc "Once I was a Sub Sailor"
"Kentucky Candy" - Ted Storie
long doc A Tonkin Gulf Episode - One way to dirty your underwear - Jeff Owens
long doc Souvenir Card from the Dolphin Club, Honolulu, Hawaii, ca 1953 - image submitted by Richard Lamy
WesPac '56-'57 - Larry Douglas
Mess Cooking - Richard Lamy
long doc camera icon Beach Recon Marines - Practice Amphib Operations  - Ron Gorence
               also photos from CO Jess Cariker
Pickerel Emergency Surface Demo, March 1952  camera icon
Okinawa: The Way I Remember It - Don Nelson
YoYo Strings and Poker Decks - Jim Gellett / Jeff Owens
The SS-2 Radar - Jeff Owens
Some of my experiences - Jeff Owens
Great Sub Stories - links from Ron Gorence & Jeff Owens
Send in your story and become a web-published author.  While I will certainly appreciate raunchy tales in private - try to 'polish it' a little for the site so that grannies and little kids won't have brain damage.  Jeff Owens, ETN2(SS)  owensjAt Signepix.net



Bill Weisensee recalls reporting aboard as ET2  -  When I reported aboard the USS SABALO in May ’57 I was a brand new ET2 (SS) having just graduated from a one year ET Conversion School at Great Lakes (went into the program as an EN2 (SS).  I was really apprehensive about how well I would do in my new rating out in the fleet, and hoping I’d be working for a savvy Chief who really knew his electronics.  The morning I reported aboard, the SABALO was in the Pearl Harbor marine-railway, having just returned from WESTPAC, and all enlisted below Chief were in the railway basin scraping the “mung” off the sides and bottom.  When I crossed the brow I was met by a Chief who was the topside watch.   He looked at the ET rating badge on my arm as we exchanged salutes and said with a big grin:  “Man, am I glad to see you!  I graduated from ET Conversion School, Mare Island, six months ago and I was an ENC prior to graduation. We sure need someone aboard who knows how to fix this stuff!”
Needless to say, Chief Bill Kelly and I spent a lot of in port time carrying electronic equipment from the ship to Shop 67 in Pearl to get it fixed.

A Little Flooding Episode ca '55-57 - Bill Petterson
    " I just ran into Dan  Rohrer today.  He was one off our good cooks aboard Sabalo during our time aboard from 1955 to 1957.  He was a good cook.  I think the crew will remember him., Thank you Jeff for keeping us up to date on the Sabalo we all loved that boat. "
     "I can tell of some exciting times times when we flooded the forward torpedo room.  There were about 25 sailors watching a movie in the forword torpedo room, and we were rigged for deep submergence.  Somebody twisted the pet  log valve wrong, and it flooded.  Can you believe about 25 sailors came running back through the control room soaking ass wet.  I was on the trim manifold,  pumping tanks.  Bow buoyancy was getting hit with 3,000 p.s.i.  We were told that when we came out of water our boat came down and hit the water about 3 times.  Nothing like 3000 pounds air pressure when it hits those tanks."[recd Jun 2006]
[Anyone know about what date this would have been??]

Sailing on the QE2 and Sabalo - Charlie Darrell

Q.- What does the S.S. Queen Elizabeth II have in common with U.S.S Sabalo? 

            A.- Both have a tendency to roll in heavy seas.

You would have a tough time comparing steaming on Cunard to riding a diesel boat - and it's not merely that no one ever put a chocolate on my pillow when they turned down the (fresh) sheets on my rack when I was in Sabalo!  Nor do I remember the boats with any gourmet dining rooms, bars and lounge bars, the Broadway-style shows, classical music concerts, swimming pools, the spa and fitness center.... You get the picture.

Recently I had occasion to compare experiences.  The first morning out of New York, some of the people on QE-2 were complaining about the ship's motion. 
The landlubbers sailing on QE2  thought the ship might be rolling.  I had already noted, by looking across the dining room, and out the opposite window that the  window ledge was rising about a foot.  The ship has a beam of over 100 feet, so that's much less than a roll of one degree! 

That's not my memory of diesel boats.  I remember going up to relieve the watch one morning in Sabalo as we came around the north end of Luzon with a typhoon blowing by a couple of hundred miles to the east.  As the boat went down the face of a big swell that was probably about 600 feet crest-to-crest, the boat just dug her nose in and kept on going down.  The Chief of the Watch felt us shudder, noted the depth gauge going down to 42 feet, and joked that the next thing they'd hear from the bridge would be "Man overboard!"  But actually, I'd been hanging on (firmly!) to the TBT while the water carried my feet straight up - for a few seconds - then dropped me head-first onto the damned thing.  I got a fairly decent gash on my forehead, so what the OOD did in fact pass down was "Corpsman to the bridge!"  It was not as big a deal as this long description would make it out, and though it took five or ten minutes before we felt it was safe to open the hatch, we just shifted the watch to the conn, and stayed there for the next day or so.

"Ah- Memories" - Larry Douglas

After rereading the history section of SABALO site a couple more items re my time aboard (1955-1957) "surfaced" as I did so.

The large sonar dome to the left in the pictures was for the BQS-2 which was installed during the 1956? yard period. The only other equipment that I recall as an ET/S was an old JT. The Electronics officer was a LT Jackson. He came up with what he called a binaural array that was installed during the same yard period. It consisted of two long (10'?) hydrophones mounted vertically on the sail just aft of the lookout positions. [Both clearly seen in this photo.] This was passive only, and supposedly allowed the operator to discern position of a target as port or starboard of the bow. It didn't seem to be very effective (always grounding out). But it did work one time. See War Story below.

Northern run - off Petropovlosk - just doing "our thing".  I picked up high speed screws running in circles around us. In and out, but not right on us. As I recall we were below periscope depth. After some minutes of this, the CO came to periscope depth for a look see. Nothing. No radar contact either. At that point, he decided to take her deep and move to another spot of the ocean to do our stuff. ...Sub? Sea life? A new development in the "game"? Who knows!

The rescue buoys were painted bright yellow during my time aboard. They were removed when we went on a simulated war patrol. This was somewhat unsettling to a young sub sailor - me. It kind of sent the message that this was serious stuff we were doing.

More memories.

Following the yard period (1956?) we went out to do our annual war shot (live warhead). We went over to the island used for this kind of thing (Kawhulave?), ran in to the bay on the surface and swung to go out as we were firing at the cliffs from the stern tubes. With everything all set and a helo spotting for us the CO fired. I was in the CT taking radar ranges to the land. Both sonar and the Helo reported the fish running HSN [hot, straight and normal] - at first.

The Helo spotter yelled. "It broached"! "It's turning"! "It's making a circular run"! As the torpedo came around toward us the spotter gave us marks on the rapidly dwindling range. SABALO had gone to collision status and I'm sure that she had never been pushed harder as all four Fairbanks Ms were on propulsion and the throttles probably bent against the stops. The countdown continued as SABALO got up to TTAS - top tear ass speed. I was holding on to the handles of that SS-2 radar set so tight!

"It's getting closer"! And then, "It just missed the stern"!     Yep. Just another day in subs.

There was an inquiry/investigation and a TM lost a stripe.


Escape Tank Training Episode, Pearl Harbor 1967 - recollection of Bob Phelps

We were on our way to westpac from San Diego in ’67.  When we stopped in Pearl most of the crew had to re-qualify in the tank.  The first bad decision was to wait until the day before we left to send us over there.  We were back in Pearl.  Time to party.

When they took us to the top of the tank to explain everything, everybody was so hung over, the ride up in the elevator almost killed us. 

They explained how everything worked.  They told us that, while in the pressure chamber, if the pressure got too much on our ears, hold up our hand and they would slow it down.  This gave a couple of guys the bright idea to hold up their hands and yell “MY EARS!  MY EARS!” while going back down in the elevator to the pressure chamber.  Those guys that run the tank have zero sense of humor.

You would think that it couldn’t get worse.  While in the pressure chamber, getting ready to go up, in water up to our necks, somebody decided it was okay to puke.  To top it off, a couple of guys were so wasted, that they had to be flown back to Pearl to go through again.  I’m sure they were not pleased in the forward battery.



ACID DIPPED DUNGAREES INVENTED IN 1937   By Charley T. Odom

One day while shopping with my wife in 1987 I noticed the latest thing in jeans which looked just like our acid dipped dungarees looked in 1937. We were fifty years ahead of the fad, except that ours were free instead of $100.

In ‘37 I was on the USS S-1 in Pearl Harbor, which was at that time the Territory of Hawaii, and we had a ‘soft patch drill‘. We pulled cells from the forward battery and removed them from the boat. As you stepped through the water tight door going forward from the control room, and once just inside the forward battery, if you looked up you could see the outline of the soft patch. “S” class boats were riveted together, not welded. However, the soft patch was not riveted. It was bolted to the pressure hull with one inch bolts and nuts. When removed, it left a 30 x 30 inch hole to allow removal of a battery cell from the boat.

The nuts were inboard. There was a washer under the bolt head, and a washer under the nut. The washers compressed red lead dipped lamp wicking when the nuts were home. A one inch open end wrench fit these pre-Hoover nuts. Pre-Hoover nuts were one and seven eights across the flats. Even though the wrench had a 1 7/8 opening it was labeled with a ‘1’ because it fit one inch bolts. Confusing?

The detail to remove the soft patch consisted of: Harold Hess (later a LT.); Lloyd Russell (later a LT. On Balao); Robert Small (later C MoMM on Grayling) and myself. We were all Fireman at the time. We laid on our backs on a platform rigged up with the help of our COB, Charlie Muir, TMC. It was about a foot below the overhead. Box wrenches and sockets were unheard of on the “One Boat”. The only ratchet wrenches we had aboard were a part of the jacking gear. The old open ends slipped. Some of the nuts had been so tight for so long that they had a permanent set. On these we had to use a chisel bar and a twelve pound hammer. Hammers were manned by petty officer MM’s. Chisel bars were guided by firemen. Rank had it’s privileges.

With the patch removed we then had a battery hoist exercise. The electricians and fireman did this. The teak walking deck on the superstructure had to be removed above the forward battery compartment. With block and tackle we removed the cells and took them to the base battery shop where we pulled the plates. Acid flew! B.R. Jones EM3/c was there, along with other electricians. (Years later during the Korean War about 1952, I was Chief Engineer of the USS Whipstock. Jones was then on shore duty in the same battery shop. I needed a battery case to acid dip some coolers. Jones made all the arrangements and had a case sent to me all the way in Yokosuka, Japan. Talk about an old shipmate doing a big favor!)

Well with all the acid flying around it ate through our dungarees, and where it was only a small splash it bleached them. So we went to the base “lucky bag“, and got some “D.C.’d” wool blues* which resisted the acid somewhat. We also dunked these and our dungarees in a baking soda solution before starting work in an attempt to neutralize any splashes. This protected for the most part and curbed the appetite of the acid.

Buckling up the soft patch after overhauling and replacing the cells again fell to us four FN’s. The chief made us wear new dungarees while putting the soft patch back. CMM Glenn filled out a requisition for new dungarees, and gave it to Ltjg Victor McWray our Engineer to sign. One of the stewards, Abalon, told the chief to put some socks on the requisition for the LT. Abalon said that Mr. McWray must be taking a correspondence course in ‘Thrift’ because he would not buy any new socks. (His were full of holes, or he didn’t wear any.)

With the patch back in place we learned it was much better to pull an open ended wrench than to push it to tighten. But even though we pulled those old wrenches would slip, and we opened our red lead stained knuckles as we took the nuts home. The red lead would squeeze out of the lamp wicking as we tightened, and it got all over our hands. It is a wonder we all didn’t get lead poisoning.

Another gang of men was assigned by COB Charlie Muir (later on the Amberjack) to help clean up the mess. We got the rest of the day off. “Sugar One” was now safe enough to return to Philly and her decommissioning. And we got all of the red lead out of our new dungarees.

* * *

* The “lucky bag” is the term for the ‘lost and found’. Also included were uniforms turned in by men leaving the service, or in time of war, clothes left behind by men killed or transferred off due to injury without taking all their uniforms. The master-at-arms was responsible for handling these duties. Clothing received was marked with a “DC” which stood for ‘discarded clothing’. Regulations were strict in past times about possessing clothing, which was marked by stenciling with name and service number, of any other man. So the system of “DC’ing” unused clothing by marking over the previous stencil was used. In addition, a chit was issued as a written receipt showing the specific articles that you were authorized to possess with any such markings.

Charley Odom qualified on the S-1 in 1935. During WWII he made a number of war patrols on the Billfish SS-286. Later he was assigned to the Sabalo SS-302 as chief in charge of the engine rooms, and is an original plank owner. He was on Sabalo during her entire first commissioned period. He retired as C MoMM, Chief Petty Officer, Motor Mechanic, in 1956. He has reached the wise age of 90, and now (2003) resides in Knoxville, TN.


The Snorkeling Experience  -  Jeff Owens

In his piece about the Korean Patrol, Bob Bell relates he felt snorkeling was near impossible in rough seas.  However, during the two cruises I made we did enough of it, and I don't know if the system was any different during the 60's.  We once had orders to transit "undetected" from Pearl to Yokosuka.  It was at least ten days straight of snorkeling - weather be damned.  My ear drums felt like wax paper after four days and 'crinkled' with each open and shut cycle.

-----------
below from:  http://guppysubmarinetribute.homestead.com/History.html

"Control during snorkeling was difficult at  best and sometimes impossible.  The snorkel induction, topped by the head valve, had to be kept out of the water.  If it ducked to the surface or below, or a wave hit it, it would automatically slam shut.  The diesel engines would keep running for a short time removing some sixteen thousand cubic feet of air from the boat's internal atmosphere per minute per engine.  It would take from ten to thirty seconds for the engines to draw enough vacuum in the boat to shut down automatically after the snorkel induction head valve shut depending on whether the boat was running on one or two engines.  This occurred at a vacuum of six inches of mercury below atmosphere.  This equivalent to a 6000-foot altitude.  Sometimes the head valve would shut for five or six seconds then reopen as the snorkel induction again cleared the surface.  The atmospheric pressure would return to normal in the next few seconds, then the head valve would shut as another wave passed.  This cycle would occur over and over for days and days."

Personal Recollections of Michael "Elsie" Elzinga, on board Sep 58 - Jul 61
 
[Update recd 22 Feb 2004]
Larry Douglas' story ["Ah Memories"] about the near miss of the stray, live torpedo shot at the cliffs on Kahoolawe was one of the famous stories still being talked about on the Sabalo when I was aboard (Jan 1959 to July 1961).  The other, of course, was the Stickleback incident.  There were still some guys on the boat at that time who had been serving at the time of that torpedo incident.
 
There were a couple of other incidents involving PDC's (practice depth charges).  I seem to recall that we had some minor damage to the after battery hatch due to a PDC.  We had the doubler hatch in place, so we were OK.  On our WesPac cruise of 1960 we had been doing some ASW exercises and had the ground plane of our IFF antenna blown off by a PDC.  I can remember squatting on top of the sail with some Japanese engineering yard birds in Yokosuka discussing a temporary replacement.  This was essentially a flat annular ring surrounding the dome of the antenna.  The trick was to get the dimensions of the ground plane correct so that the antenna lobe pattern would not be screwed up.  We got one turned out of aluminum in a few hours from them, and it was held in place with four big allen-head set screws.  It lasted throughout the rest of our WesPac deployment and we got a new one made of brass when we got back to Pearl.
 
Larry's mention of the sonar also brings back memories of the humpback whales and porpoises around Hawaii.  We enjoyed listening to them, and on one occasion I had my hearing temporarily impaired when a porpoise let out a piercing whistle right into the hydrophone I was listening to.  On another occasion we had a humpback bump up against us and slide along the hull for some distance.  Probably thought we were some big virile male.  ;-)
 
I don't remember whether it was during some ASW exercises or during our "Northern Run", but we were held below until we had to break out the CO2 absorbing canisters and spread CO2 absorbing material on sheets in various places throughout the boat.  Our batteries were low and we were rigged for silent running for two or three days.  Many submariners will remember that kind of experience when the CO2 build-up begins to make your heart pound harder as it tries to get more oxygen circulating around.   In fact, it isn't the lack of oxygen that is the most dangerous, but the build-up of CO2 that can be the most deadly because it catches people unaware.  Of course, the smoking lamp was out for quite a while before that, and those guys who depended on that cigarette were starting to get pretty edgy.  A match or a lighter wouldn't stay lit anyway.
--------------------------------------------------
 [Recd Aug '03] My nickname was "Elsie".  The CO was Artie Burki, the XO was Herb Robisch.  Other officer names I remember were Masek, Kelso, and Collier.  I remember names like "Scotty", Shelby, "Mau Mau", "Millie" Miller, "Andy" Anderson, "Woody" Woodhead, Stan Hinrichsen, "Red" Pagett, "Dusty" Duster, Jim Braun, Les Baxter, Dave "Dutch" Riley, "Minnie" Mintzer (he liked to fiddle with the radar antenna servo switch under the chart table in the conning tower), Les Joslin, Mario Reyes, Chief ET Kirk, Ron Shea, Earl Meggison, Walter Mahn (interesting guy; rode a unicycle and always carried a ditty bag full of odds and ends).  I think Fedon (Ferdon?) was COB.  I seem to remember a sonarman named Roy.  Dergen liked to learn everything.
 
I came aboard when the Sabalo was in dry dock in Pearl Harbor (being outfitted with new batteries and some other upgrades as I recall) in late 1958 or early 1959. The crew was living on a barge at the time. She had just come in from operations in which the Stickleback was sunk after surfacing in front of a destroyer.  I think the crew of the Sabalo was on hand to try to get additional air over to the Stickleback but were thwarted by rough seas.  However, all hands on the Stickleback were saved, and an attempt was made to bring her into port by tying her off to the bow of the destroyer.  However she filled up with water and had to be cut loose.
 
I remember, during my first month living on the barge, Dergan lying on the roof playing a saxophone in the evening and then falling asleep in a top rack learning Japanese from tapes being played through headphones.  I heard that he apparently got good enough at Japanese to get a transfer to Japan.  I started out in mess duty for the first couple of weeks with Ron (Cookie) the cook, then soon moved into the ET gang with Baxter and Kirk.  I think Dutch Riley came on a week or two later.
 
I can't remember the name of the young LTJG who rammed the Sabalo into the dock at Pearl and put us back in drydock.  All I can remember about that incident were the collision alarms going off on the boats already tied up, the agonizing CRUNCH, and the nickname "Crunch" given to the LTJG after that.
 
Another incident took place when we were just headed out on a WESTPAC cruise.  I was off watch in the forward torpedo room watching a movie when we dove.  A valve stuck on the negative tank and we took a very steep down angle before we recovered.  I had new electronic supplies stacked all over the sonar room, still in the process of being sorted and stowed in bins.  I was more worried about the mess that the down angle caused than I was about my life.
 
I qualified sometime after the shakedown cruise after the Sabalo came out of dry dock, and did a WESTPAC cruise and a "Northern Run" . We got to Subic Bay, Manila, Satahip (in Thailand), Bangkok, Hong Kong, a quick stop in Formosa, then on to Yokosuka, Muroran, and Hakodati in Japan.  I still have a little wooden bear given to me by the mayor of Hakodati.  All crew members got one.  We were on what was termed by the Eisenhower Administration as a "People-to-People" cruise in which we allowed locals to tour the boat.  I have a lot of slides of that tour.
 
I started looking around on the web after I visited the Cobia (SS245) which is now a national monument at the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  I was totally blown away by your Sabalo website.  It brought back a flood of memories, and I hauled out some of my pictures from that time. Thanks for the web site and the memories.  Keep me on your list.  Maybe next year we can get to a reunion.


WesPac Cruise of 1965 by Larry "Doc" Davis
I came aboard Sabalo that year while the boat was already on the WestPac deployment.  The initial corpsman, a guy named Chochette was transferred off in Okinawa.  He was temporarily replaced by Dale Glans, from the Hospital in Yokosuka to allow the boat to continue on the deployment.  I was just finishing up Sub School in New London and received orders to report immediately.  I flew out of Travis to Yokota Air Base in Japan, took the train down to Yokosuka and reported into SubFlot 7 there.  The next day I was driven up to Atsugi NAS for a hop to Okinawa, and then on to Taipei.  I caught a commercial flight to Hong Kong to await Sabalo which came in the morning of the next day.  I had spent the night on the Carbonero which was tied up in Hong Kong. 

Sabalo arrived bright and early the next day and I loaded onboard and we departed 2 days later.  Because this was near the end of the deployment we just hung around Taiwan, playing some war games with the Taiwanese Navy, and then went back up to Yokosuka.  We off loaded Glans, had a week in port where the decision was voted on, and made that we go to Brisbane on the way back to Pearl.  It was put to the crew because we were advised that it would take some of our stand down time if we went to Australia and we would have to do some local operations as soon as we got back and also our Xmas break would be affected by the trip.  Still everybody wanted to go and so we took off in late November, right after Thanksgiving in Yokosuka. 

On the trip down, I believe we had one serious equipment failure occur, but the problem was resolved before the incident got out of hand.  What happened was the Stern Plane angle indicator transmitter in the After Torpedo Room broke, and therefore the planesman got a false indication of the angle.  He was getting indication of an up angle of the planes when all the time he had a down angle, and it was increasing.  Finally, when it was figured out, we had gone down at about a 20 degree down angle to about 300 or so feet.  All this happening from what was initially just the daily trim dive. 

The other thing that was very memorable was the crossing of the equator.  We crossed at the 180th meridian and the equator so all onboard were designated golden shellbacks.  Of course the crossing did not go without ceremony.  It all started the evening before we were to make the crossing and continued for the entire next day until everything was concluded and everybody was initiated.  There was about a 30/70 split of Shellbacks to Pollywogs.  We tried valiantly to overpower the Shellbacks, but they were too organized and we met with defeat and severe consequences. 

I distinctly remember two things that occurred during the initiation.  Phelps the Sonarman had tried to barricade himself in the Sonar Room, and they had disconnected the air intake and poured black pepper down into it.  Phelps couldn't hold out and came screaming and coughing out.  Another thing that happened was that they had a seaman named Lamoree who they chained to the stills in the Forward Engine Room in foul weather gear, and he subsequently had heat exhaustion and stopped breathing.  When this happened it caused them to let up on me and I had to get back to the after battery and rescue him him.  This I did, and I will tell you, it was pretty scary going because obviously it was a big moment to have to successfully resuscitate somebody. 

So after that was over, things calmed down considerably, and on the next day we had the kissing of the Royal Baby's belly and the walking of the plank.  We were sent up through the Forward Room hatch, being beaten all the way with cut off fire hoses and anything else that they could find.  We then had to crawl through a chute filled with old stale garbage up to the King Neptune court where he had his Queen and Royal Baby. We were made to pledge that we would  solemnly uphold the order of King Neptune and then we had to kiss the Royal Baby's belly.  Well kissing the royal baby's belly would not have been bad enough, except that it was coated with ordnance grease, and he would just grind your face into it.  The Royal Baby was done by the COB, Snake Greenwalt and he had a big old, hairy pot belly, and he had a big old cigar in his mouth with a sheet as a diaper.  After kissing the belly, we then had to walk the plank which was a board lashed to the forward room hatch.  We walked out on it blindfolded and suddenly just tumbled off.  After that it was over, you could swim to the side and climb out.  Of course we had numerous shark watches posted because with all that garbage being coated to us when we walked the plank, it was sure that some would come by.  Fortunately none did, but we did sight some one time later when we were having a topside .barbecue 

After all those events we were on to Brisbane relishing the thought that we would pick up a new crew member in Brisbane and have to cross back going to Pearl.  We didn't know if he was a Shellback or not, but we all prayed that he was not.  Fortunately for him, he was a Shellback.  Upon arrival in Brisbane it was a great awaited occasion  We had to travel about 21 miles up the Brisbane River to get to Brisbane, which was a shallow river with shifting sand bars in it.  We had to travel at flank speed so that our momentum would carry us across one should we be unfortunate enough to hit one.  It was really great in Brisbane, the welcoming committee was certainly out.  We stayed there six days and were treated to many welcomes and parties.  There were tours organized and we had open house visitors each day.  The people were lined up each day for a chance to view the boat and we really made her shine.  We learned that Sabalo was the first U.S. submarine to visit Brisbane since the base from WWII was decommissioned. In that regard, the people had a great love for Submariners and they were very appreciative of their deeds during the war.  On the last 2 nights there, there was a party held at one of the hotels and it was 24 hour frolicking.  We had beer and everything iced down in the  bathtub of one of the rooms where the partying was going on and the other was a passout-crash room.  That went on non-stop as I said for 2 days and the locals were there with us and the co-mingling was just great.  To summarize a description of the events, it was just wonderful, and a great time was held by all. 

We had a Japanese American shipmate onboard, "Sidney Arakaki", and there was some concern about his safety because we were told that the Australians did not appreciate the Japanese very much, and there were still lots of ill feelings that some harbored.  However, nothing happened, and  it was a great time by all.  When we left it was a somber occasion, and needless to say we got a bill for damages to the hotel rooms that we had used for the partying.  We got it by radio from the U.S. consulate, and we paid it out of the ship's recreation fund and they accepted, and all was forgiven.  We were scared at first because we thought that ComSubPac would really read the riot act to the skipper, and subsequently we would catch hell.  But that didn't happen, so our visit was classified as a totally enjoyable, rewarding visit. 

On the way back, boy, did we catch some terrible weather!  I believe we caught storms for about 3 days.  We had to ride then out on the surface, and we were constantly rolling.  I bet about 2/3rd of the crew were seasick and all ship's activity was curtailed.  We had to strap the OOD and lookouts in the sail, and at one time it got so bad that we had to remove them from the bridge and they stood their watch below in the con.  We also had to snorkel on the surface because water was coming in the main induction so bad that we had to shut it.  At one time we took a roll so great that it caused the flood ports to be exposed and air filled the ballast tanks on the Port side.  Then we had to open the vents and allow the air to escape.

We arrived in Pearl on a Sunday before Christmas, were greeted by all, and had to get underway the next morning for a week of local ops.  Another thing that happened was that we came in that Sunday on one engine, because it was the only one that could carry any load.  We had cooling water coming out of all 4 overboards, but 3 of the engines weren't doing anything but just idiling.  We wanted to make it look good.  As a matter of fact, before we came in, we were running on the battery with just the one eingine charging.  After that week of local ops, we finally had a chance to recover and make some repairs and get a much needed rest. 

We stayed in Pearl, operating locally, until around May of 1966, or a little later, when we reported for a 6 month yard period at Hunters Point, and afterward Sabalo was transferred to San Diego as her new homeport.  
More on the Golden Shellback initiation on the Cruise of 1965 by Harry Day

That was quite a trip!!

We crossed the equator at the International Dateline which made us "Golden Shellbacks". My wife framed my Golden Shellback Certificate and I have it hanging with a picture of the USS Sabalo in my Den.

We had a lot of fun with the Shellback Initiation topside with King Neptunes Court consisting of King Neptune, his Queen, and his Baby. King Neptune was the Senior Shellback who was the Chief Engineman. The Queen was our Ship's Stores man by the last name of Debick. The Baby was our Chief of The Boat (COB)known as "Snake".

We saved the garbage for about two weeks for part of the initiation.

Each pollywog had to be inspected for lice before they could go to King Neptunes Court. To inspect them, they used a set of hair clippers and shaved a strip down the middle of the guys head to see which way the lice would run. Then they chased the lice on the guys head with the clippers. Some lucky ones came out with only half of their head shaved. (Of course, all the pollywogs eventually shaved the rest of their heads, as we had two weeks before entering port in Brisbane, Australia.)

After they were cleaned of lice, they were taken topside, one by one,(So they wouldn't know what was happening) to the Kings Court for sentencing. King Neptune had his crown, cape and Trident fork to show he ruled.

Each pollywog was brought before King Neptune and told to pay homage by getting down on their knees, which they did willingly to keep from getting spanked by members of King Neptunes Court (RE: All Shellbacks on board the Sabalo had shelalys made from a three foot piece of fire hose)

A lot of trumped up charges were read for each pollywog for which King Neptune said they were guilty and they had to do penance, show affection, crawl the chute, and walk the plank.

Penance was to "Kiss the Queens Tit". As each one approached The Queen on their knees, he (Debick) had a lemon inside his T shirt and would squirt the pollywog in the face with a squeeze of lemon.

Then,To show affection, each one had to "Kiss the Baby's Belly". The COB had on a sheet like a diaper and had a good size beer belly. To that he smeared a large portion of bearing grease and hair that was shaved off the heads of the pollywogs. As each pollywog, on his knees, moved in front of the Baby to kiss his belly, the COB would grab them by the head and bury it in this goo spread on his belly. YUK!!!!!

Each pollywog would then have to "Crawl The Chute" which was an 8' plastic bag, open on both ends, filled with two weeks of garbage. As the pollywogs entered the shoot, they were expedited through the shoot with the "gentle" prodding of the shellback's shelalys.

Upon emerging from the "Chute" they were forced to "Walk the Plank" and jump overboard. (Divers were in the water and a shark watch was posted on the ship's sail with a loaded M-1)

The fresh salt water washed most of the slop off but most of the initiated men had to use spirits to cut through the grease left on their faces from the Baby's Belly. At the end of the initiation, we all celebrated and had some good stories to swap with a topside steak Bar-B-Q.

Hope all that read this remember this good time aboard our boat, the USS Sabalo, SS 302. Her hull may be in the depths of King Neptune's domain, but her Spirit still lives in the hearts of our brave Submariners of today!

Best Regards To All, Harry Day ETR2 SS USS Sabalo SS302 1964 - 1967

Personal recollections of Robert Frick Dec'62 -Jun'63  - I was assigned to Sabalo as a 9901 ( nuke). As you may or may not remember the 9901 program was not well received by the diesel boat crews because of the short time (about 6 months) onboard and the draw on resources. Many of
the 9901's had short timer attitudes and never became part of the crews. I took a different approach and became totally imbedded in the life of Sabalo. I generally lived onboard and learned by doing everything I could get the qualified folks to let me do ( I was an oiler, almost qualified to run the forward engine room; a lookout and helms/planes. In April 63 I became leading seaman). I have a lot of great memories. I got my silver dolphins in February 1963 (it took me about 2.5 months to qualify).

The XO (Jim Organ) and COB ( Can't remember his name - except he looked 10 feet tall) took a liking to me and recommended me for NESEP. A year later I was accepted in the NESEP program and went to Purdue from Sep 64 to Jan 69. I received both a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering and then went back into the Nuke program.

My rather undistinguished tour on Sabalo included painting the control room the day I reported on board; cleaning the after battery compartment and forward engine room after we blew sanitaries into the ship( the IMA failed to bolt up the hull connection after replacing the overboard pipe and the below decks watch lined up and blew everything into the ship; stealing the Buddha off the Remora twice and getting into a large brawl with the Remora crew at 0200; and getting a great lesson on life during a West Coast trip from Pearl to San Francisco, Seattle and Port Angeles - Sabalo sailors really knew how to party.

CLEAR THE BRIDGE - Steve Shelby
While attending Sub School, in 1959, we had our maiden voyage as soon to be unqualified pukes. We were shown how to clear the bridge and allowed to practice. Well, as I dropped down the hatch into the control room, I hit my knee on one of the ladder rungs. I was ok, but the knee was sore for a few days.

After graduation I went to Pearl Harbor and was assigned to the Sabalo SS302. The boat had just returned from depth charge training. Myself and a young radioman were greeted as “New Fresh Meat”.  My early days on the Sabalo were interesting because I was the only black to be assigned to the boat for a long time, or in fact maybe the first one. (I never checked that point out). I did not have anything to prove, I just did my job and worked on my quals as I was supposed to do.

On my first trip to sea, I was assigned as a lookout and helmsman. Once we were at sea the COB wanted to ensure that the New Meat knew how to clear the bridge. He had one of the seasoned lookouts explain the maneuver, and the COB also warned us about the closeness of the plotting table to the ladder. A chief engineman said “Don’t worry I have never seen anyone hit their back on the table” 

We proceeded to the bridge and were given the order to clear the bridge. I was the last one off of the bridge and went smartly down the hatch into the conning tower. I spun to my right, bent down and grabbed the rail and then proceeded to slide down the ladder into the control room. Shortly after making this fine maneuver, my downward motion stopped and I was still looking into the conning tower.

I then looked down and saw my size 12 shoes on top of the plotting table.

Steve Shelby IC3, 8/59 – 6/60 Sabalo SS302, Retired LCDR



Shiny Toilets or How to Sell Your Dodge - Howell B. Rice RMC(SS), Ret. relates a story from his days on board.

At Pearl in 1952 when we went to the Navy yard for the big snorkel conversion, the chief of the boat asked me,
"Hey Rice, do you know how to electric plate?"  I said, "No, but I can read why?"  Well the COB said, 'we have been allotted only $4000 for electroplating during the overhaul, and it will be used up by chrome plating the toilet bowels in the head and plating the deck plates in the two engine rooms  We will have to figure out what to do because it will be hell to pay when we get out of the yard and have to compete with the other subs that have had many overhauls and have a lot of electroplating done to enable them to pass an inspection.  The crew on here will be hard pressed to keep things shinning, and we have a lot of steel fitting, valves etc. to keep up.  We've got to do something.'

Well I went down town to the University of Hawaii Library looked over a bunch of books on electroplating, and found one that described "cold electroplating" that I figured we could do.

The COB and I went to the yard electroplating shop to ask and see what could be done.  The supervisor said 'you sailors can't do that, you're nuts.' It wasn't long talking with him that we knew he didn't really know how to electroplate.  He was just a production man doing a job.   I also talked with the engineer at planning in the yard, and he said that it was too complicated a job for plain sailors to do.  This got the COB mad and we figured we had a challenge.

Well I studied the book on electroplating and figured how we could do it.  The COB called the crew together on the barge that we were living on which was tied alongside the ship, and told them what we planned to do.  We would need their cooperation because we would be taking over the shower room.  It was made of good CRS steel, easy to keep clean, but I also saw it as a safe place to handle the chemicals and equipment need to do the job.  We used the shower stalls for electroplating, and left one for showers if someone needed it.  Most of the crew were living ashore and did not need the shower area on the barge anyway.  With the crew's approval, the COB and I went to see CO Savadkin and XO Harris-Warren with our plan.  They gave a go ahead.

I  scrounged a motor-generator that could provide the necessary D.C. voltage needed.  We found old submarine battery cases that we could use.  I got everything together in the shower room, told the CO that we needed a GSK [supply chit] to draw out the chemicals, and the cost would be $117.00. He said OK and signed the GSK.  I was able to borrow from the sub base plating shop the nickel anode necessary for the final plating procedure.

The procedure started by smoothing up the wheel, handle, or part that need plating.  Then cleaning it by dipping it into muriatic acid; then electro cleaning it to get all the crud off of it.  Then to copper flash if for a few minutes to get a coat of copper on it; then clean it again by dipping it into a trisodium cleaner, and finally placing it into the copper plating tank.

After this the copper had to be polished by a buffer until bright.  When ready, it then was placed in the nickel plating tank for several hours to build up a nickel plate.  What you ultimately see is the shined copper with the nickel plating over it.

I went through the procedure and got it to work okay.  When I showed the COB what I had done, he said come with me.  We went to the navy yard shop and went to the supervisor.  The COB held the piece up in front of him and said,  "We did this electroplating on the barge.  See, See!  Submarine Sailors can do anything, okay."

Well I had a plating class for the crew, showing them the procedure.  They would take a valve or wheel that needing plating from the sub and go through the plating and polishing procedure, and then replace it on the sub.

When the conversion was over the next boat taking over the barge knew what we were doing, and wanted us to leave the setup in the shower area.  Savadkin said okay but have their skipper make out a GSK to us for $117.00.  So all it cost us was the hard work that the crew did.  We figured we did about $10,000 of electroplating during the overhaul.

One weekend when I was duty chief, I took off the valve covers on my car and electroplated them.  Later in the Philippines, I turned my car in to the Dodge dealer to clean it up, put a washover paint job on it, and sell it for me.  He said he had it in the show room and a man came in to look at it, and when he popped the hood, and saw the shining valve covers, he thought he was getting a super engine.

I wonder if any of the crew doing this plating remembers it?



Some Tales I Remember - Ned Heistermann MM1(SS)
 1. I came on board in about April of '64 in Mare Island as an MMFN (SS).  I had flunked out of Nuc school and was promised, and I quote, "The biggest, ugliest, flattop in the Pacific" by the CO of the school.  So I went down to the docks and went begging door to door on the diesels in port asking if they needed a Machinists Mate.  I told the Sabalo XO what the CO told me and he called BuPers while I was waiting topside and got orders cut for Sabalo.  Big weight off my shoulders, didn't think I could make it on a carrier, all the saluting, changing clothes several times a day, BM's etc.
 2. We went on WestPac that fall, about Oct.  I know we were in the Gulf of Tonkin when the Madox and Turner Joy were attacked by North Viet. PT boats.  [[It was actually a similar incident, but it was on the 18th of Sept. and it was different ships.  The details are more correctly related on the 'history' page of the site.]] (Don't believe the neo-natzie, pink-o-commie revisionist historians that say it never happened!) Uncharacteristicly, I was in the shower and all lathered up when they sounded "Man Battle Stations Torpedo, This is Not a Drill".  My station was the trim manifold, and I ran there tugging my skivvies on.  The trim manifold was next to the radio room so I could hear some of the radio chatter between the pilots and cans shooting up the PT boats.  We snorkled full on three engines trying to cut off one or two of the boats retreating to their base.  The engines had us tugging at almost 6,000 feet equivalent elevation as it was more than the snorkle induction could handle.  We, of course, could not catch them and I have no idea what we would have done if we could have caught them.  Mk. 37s are too slow and hitting a 50 knot PT boat with a 14 would have been quite a shot. Anyway it was an exciting time.  Reminds me of the movie Das Boat, that did such a good job showing the seemingly unending boredom puncuated by short bursts of hair raising adventure.
3. Can't remember if it was the '64 trip or the '65 trip when a US plane jettisoned a pair of 500# bombs that straddled us close in.  Blew cork off the hull; broke light bulbs, and scared the hell out of everyone.
4. We came back about March of 65.  I got married on a Saturday in July, had duty on Sunday, and started diver's school on Monday.  We got out of school the day before we left to replace the boat that got runover in the Gulf. Howe and I got all 8 shots the day we left for WestPac, man was I sick.
5.  I remember on the '64 trip we were leaving Yokosuka early one morning after a really late night, I was the only one sober enough to start the engines for the maneuvering watch, both engine rooms.  For the first 4 hours I ran both rooms by myself, puking into the lower flats of which-ever room I was in when the need arose.  I think Pete Ouellette came in and relieved me.  It was a long time before I got drunk again the night before going to sea.
6. Actually, come to think of it, it wasn't a real long time.  We pulled into Singapore and tied up to the dock and a Limey boat pulled out of the yard and tied up outside us.  They had 4 men and one officer on board, tied up, padlocked the hatch and all left the boat.  Our OD about had a cow; told the Limey officer he would cut his boat adrift if we had to get underway.  The officer told the OD not to worry they were just going up to the club to "quaff a few", they would be back later as 'they' were the duty section.
     After giving our laundry to the locals we headed up to the club and were drinking some pretty good beer when we were challenged to a "scooner race".  About 10 of us, and about the same number of Brits, lined up, and the bartenders
started bringing imperial pints of beer and we were to step up, drink a pint, or alternatively pour it on our head (Oh I wish I'd have taken that alternative), then go to the back of the line.  First team to go through six ? rounds was the winner.  Last thing I remember was we won.  Then I remember waking up hanging over number 4 engine exhaust which was finishing a battery
charge.  No one would take me below because they figured I needed to be topside to puke.
     Later that day the laundry came back.  They dumped it in a pile, unsorted, not folded, not starched, not ironed, and having apparently been washed in a local river as all the whites were tinted red from the water.  They had one bill for all the stuff.
  More from email of 29 Sep 2002
1. ~ mid65... Paula and I were married Sat. July 17th, I had duty on Sunday and Howe and I started divers school on Monday the 19th. Since it was a 4 week school that would put graduation about the 19th of August. Immediately after we were out of school (we were originally told we would be pulled from school but were allowed to finish) we left for wespac. I can't actually remember but I think it was a Saturday. We went to Yoko (I remember a radio phone call to my wife) and then headed south; so did one of our chiefs. He went wacko, would slash at your wrist with a finger and say "30 plus one = 90" a reference that if you didn't stop the bleeding by 30 seconds (plus one more)you would be dead in 90 seconds. He then tried to knife a chief before being overpowered and administered a sedative. We pulled into Okinawa harbor and were met by a tug with a replacement (don't remember him but remember our guy going to the tug in a straight jacket). I believe he later recovered when he returned to Pearl. We then turned around and headed back out to sea. I'd think some others could add a lot more detail to this story.
The skipper told the crew he had asked squadron for permission to go to Brisbane after deployment (he was later turned down). The engineering group were not happy about going to Brisbane as the engines were long overdue for overhaul and we didn't think we could hold them together that long. In fact on the Pearl/ Yoko leg the outboard exhaust manifold water jacket on #2ME rusted through and we patched it with Devcon plastic steel. In Yoko the yard cut a new manifold in 1/2 (to get it outside the engine) installed it then welded it in place. Those guys were really good. I don't remember the liberty ports as I, being newly married, swapped duty with single guys. I remember having Shore Patrol in HK, and can't imagine not stopping in Subic, and we were in Yoko twice.
After finishing our deployments in the gulf, mostly at Yankee Station, we returned to Yoko prior to heading for Pearl. Surprise, surprise the captain managed to get someone to override Squadrons decision and we were to go to Brisbane! In retaliation Squadron gave us an unusually fast SOA. As we approached the equator the XO (a pollywog) announced over the 1 MC there would be no "nonsense" concerning this event. A minute later the Captain came on and said "belay the last". At midnight on the day we would reach the equator the OD got on the 1MC and said he had a visual contact that looked like a sea shell being pulled by sea horses, and soon Neptunis Rex boarded the ship. Sometime during the day we stopped and the King held court. All pollywogs were brought before the court on charges such as "looking at a shellback too long". If they denied the charges they were administered a "truth serum", hot sauce,vinigar,etc by Delapaz?(steward). They then were always found guilty, given a wild haircut and told to kiss the Queens boob & kiss the Royal Baby's belly (one of the bigger chiefs). The queen had a mop on for a wig and lemons for boobs so they got a mouth full of lemon juice. The belly was smeared with grease etc and as they tried to just barely kiss the stomach the chief would grab them behind the head and rub there faces in the grease. Prior to leaving Yoko Pete O. had procured a long plastic "tunnel"(a 15 ft long 3 ft diam. sack with no bottom. Inside this was placed sack after sack of garbage that had been stored in the forward engine room for the past week (engine room? equater? garbage? Yuk! As the "Baby" was through with them Pete grabbed them before they could recover and head them on hands and knees through the tunnel. As they emerged gagging from the tunnel they were blindfolded and forced to walk the plank. I have this entire procedure on film.
This being prior to most of the military R&R's to Australia we were well received in Brisbane. We held open house and had several thousand visitors go through the boat.
Jim Klug was Fuel King and spent the whole 3 days in port refueling. They only had one truck and had to go between the refinery or fuel depot and the ship one load at a time. Prior to leaving Yoko we tried to get a shipment of fuel filters as we were low. We couldn't get them and left with a short supply. The Aussy fuel was very dirty and caused a lot of problems on the trip to Pearl. The filter supply quickly was used up and we tried washing them out and reusing them, tried toilet paper rolls, and finally alternating engines we pulled injectors, cleaned them and reinstalled. We ran into a major typhoon that I thought would sink us. We ran snorkeling on the surface and the engines still shut down several times. We turned and ran with the waves until we could pull and clean injectors. Every third wave or so the ship would vibrate like crazy as the screws tried to drive us over a wave then we would dive under the next several waves. I remember being told we went to 90-150 feet when this happened. The storm lasted several days and when we got to calmer water we had 2 engines still in service, one and three I think. Later we lost another engine. As I understand, regs require 2 engines minimum to come into port so we were told to pull the upper crank on #2 and replace the split liners so we would not have to call for a tug. We worked around the clock for 3 days and buttoned it up just before the maneuvering watch was set, but we told the bridge we weren't finished. We came in on the battery. When the maneuvering watch was secured we fired # 2 up then shut it down. We were some pissed off sailors. I went home and slept for about 20 hours straight. Paula was on the pier when we came in but us engine room guys still hadn't shown up as everyone was leaving. She was getting concerned when I figured it was safe enough to go topside (brass gone) but she didn't recognize me with my beady little red eyes and covered with grease.

2. At some time... When we left Pearl (I have film) we went to Acapulco for a couple of days (I have film) then to San Diego. We picked up the two MK16's and headed out for the exercise, sinking hull 59, which I seem to think was a destroyer escort. We probably spent a few days in San Diego then headed to Hunters Point SF(I have maneuvering watch film going under the Golden Gate). Shortly after arriving at the yard the skipper(I guess) posted on the yard barge bulletin board 2 periscope pictures of the ship we sank. They were only up a short time. The first showed just after the first torpedo hit. The fish hit dead center. The bow and stern were in the water but the center of the ship was perhaps 25 or 30 feet in the air. Water from the explosion was way above the ship. The ship was clearly broken in two. The second picture showed the stern section floating with the insides of the ship nearly straight on. After surfacing we went topside and only the bow section was remaining. I have 8mm movies of that. My memory is not for sure but I think we fired the second fish into the stern section. At any rate it was gone when we surfaced.

3. During the overhaul [66-67] we removed the four main engines, first time the engines had been removed. A weld under one of the ring beams surrounding the hull had not been completed when the ship was built! It had been welded on the inside of the forward engine room but not outside, just up to the beam. The two forward engines were found to be riddled with cracks so replacement engines were requested. They found a mothballed sub in New London? with 9 cyld. Fairbanks (most were 10) and planned to put her into dry dock, pull two engines and ship them cross country when it was found the testing must have been done wrong as all the cracks mysteriously disappeared. There is a good story there.
A story I can tell is on Derbany and O'nan(I think). We had bought a new type epoxy paint (about $50 a 2 gallon set) to paint the bilges. They were ready to paint and following directions (part at least) they mixed the two parts in a 55gal drum. It being quitting time they sealed the drum up so it wouldn't dry out and left. The next day we had a 55 gal rubber ball as the epoxy had set.
During sea trials we prepared to snorkel in the after room. Proper procedure calls for putting the main snorkel exhaust valve (stirrup) in "automatic" on prepare to snorkel; and Morgan did and other procedures were also carried out to prepare for snorkeling. I don't know why but they also opened the inboard exhaust valve on number 3ME. Usually it is opened as the engine is rolled during starting. 2 or 3 new firemen were sitting on the bench under the #3 silencer (engine air filter) when all of a sudden the engine began to start turning over by itself. Morgan was trying to figure out what was happening when water began pouring out of the silencer nearly drowning the new firemen! Morgan reached over and moved the stirrup handle back to shut and soon the water stopped flowing but not until we had about 4 feet of water in the lower level and a huge up-angle. The valve had been wired wrong, auto was wired open so the valve opened and we had a 22" hole to sea. Water rushed into the engine and turned it over (backwards)and dumped the water out the silencer. When we returned the new firemen had their sea bags packed and were gone when we docked.
We left the yard and went to Banger-Keyport in Washington. Loaded torpedoes and other stuff. Two memorable moments:1) Me and Auggie scoured the beach for oysters and also dug up a bushel of clams (actually 2 12 pack boxes), cleaned them and put them in jars to take back to San Diego. (I have a picture of me on the pier next to a MK37 with a very ugly fish I caught.) Fearing they would spoil we put them in the freezer and sure enough they didn't spoil. They did however expand and break every jar we had, with glass slivers destroying all the work we had done. 2)We learned the results of the last Navy wide tests. Auggie made 3rd class and was immediately ran down, hauled topside and, with several others, chucked overboard. Since I had made 1st, I took advantage of the distraction and wired myself into the lower flats of the forward engine room (wired the hatches shut). After about an hour it had calmed down and I figured everyone had hit the beach so I ventured forth only to have Pete and several others jump me as I stepped into the after engine room put a heavey around my feet and haul me up through the after engine room hatch and into the sound I went. I swear the water was so cold it cracked when I hit and I was back up on the tanktops so fast my wallet didn't even get wet! As we were leaving Puget Sound we stopped in Port Angeles but I don't remember much.

"Kentucky Candy" - Ted Storie 
We left Pearl during, I believe, March of 63 for a west coast cruise, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Port Angeles, & Vancouver. On the way over some of us lookouts were chewing Red Man Tobacco, or as we called it "Kentucky Candy".  We were really enjoying the beautiful weather, sunshine, and spitting over the side.  It couldn't get any better than this. This went on for 7 days and nights.

On the last hour before mooring, all the tobacco chewers were called topside and told to bring safety belts, buckets of hot soapy water and brushes.  The "302" [number on the side of the sail] was now BROWN.   We had a very hard time getting the stains off, and then when we docked we had to repaint the numbers.  I don't recall the names of the other lookouts, but if they read this, I'm sure they will remember it.  At least I have never forgotten.  From that day on we carried buckets topside with us to spit in.  And, no, they didn't stop us from chewing.


SABALO WesPac 56-57 -  Larry Douglas

The dates mentioned in the official history for this particular WESPAC cruise are correct. We did a "northern run" on the way over. That is, we went up to the Bering Strait, almost to the Arctic Circle St. Lawrence Island, Little and Big Diomede Islands, passed through the Aleutian chain on the way up and then came down along the Kamchatka Peninsula (Petropavlosk) and on to Japan (Yokosuka). We conducted ops with JDF and American fleet units and then headed to Hong Kong. We were supposed to go on to Singapore, but were sent on a month long simulated war patrol to the Tonkin Gulf. Mission was to track USSR shipping to N Vietnam and to plot radar sites along the coast as I recall. We did two circuits of the gulf, mostly using snorkel. Most vivid memories - all of the d@*%- sampans/fishing boats. On the high speed run across the mouth of the Gulf to begin the second circuit, the ETs drew straws to see who would go up to the top of the sail to clean the radar and periscope windows = I "won". Before going up, the CO told me, "You know, if we have to dive we can't wait for you" or words to that effect. Gulp! I went up and cleaned the windows as we hustled across the Gulf dodging fleets of fishing boats as we went. Exciting to say the least.

My research interest has been subops during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, esp diesel boats. I have used Freedom Of Information Act, and my navy contacts, but have never been able to obtain the reports for any of the simulated war patrols SABALO or any other sub conducted.
Larry
--------
[Larry has a PhD in History.  Because he had mentioned trying submarine research in the past I asked for any advice he might have.  Larry's last statement relates to a question I asked regarding the availability of submarine records from either the Navy or the National Archives. - Jeff Owens]


USS Sabalo to the Rescue, Western Pacific 1958
Personal accounts of the collision and sinking of USS Stickleback SS-415 (7 Photos)
James P. Braun & Robert Schultz



Richard Lamy remembers his time as Mess Cook.

In late 1953, upon my return to Pearl from Torpedo School I was TAD to Sabalo because my assigned boat, Pickerel, had left for West Pac a month before. Didn' t take the COB long to assign me to mess duty, because I was still SN.   It was usual underway procedure to get permission to go top side via the after battery hatch to dump the garbage. Once after a day time meal, I was waiting at the crew's mess ladder with this very large vat of slop to go up, and the diving alarm sounded .  As the boat started down it did not stop its down angle, and I was soon lying on the deck, tilting this very large vat of slop at an angle to keep it from spilling over. As I started to slide toward the control room I lost the upright angle on the vat, and it started to spill over and run down my arms, then my shirt, and down the front of my pants.  After we regained control of the dive and resurfaced, and everyone regained their composure, they got a good laugh when they saw me..  I was a site to behold, and everybody thought it was quite funny except me.

One day the cook sent me down into the lower storeroom to get whatever.  While down there I found several cans with no labels on them that looked like oversized tunafish cans, so I laid claim to them and stowed them away. I thought to myself that they must have been there for a very long time...
First night we were tied up and ready for a movie I opened one of the cans, and to my wondrous eyes appeared  crabmeat.. WELL! - me and my friends dined on crabmeat salad sandwiches while everyone else had hoss++++ (baloney) and appeared to be quite envious.  ....My turn to laugh.
AH MEMORIES !


Amphibious Force Operations -
Delivering the Beach Recon Marines to their practice objective at Camp Pendelton, April 1967
QMC Ron Gorence reports the activities with a very sticky personal quirk to the days excitement.

CO Jess Cariker submits a photo of Sabalo in a broached mode while working with the Marines in rubber boats taken during exercises off Camp Pendleton during April 1963.



 

Sabalo on scene of famous Pickerel (SS524) emergency surface demonstration in 1952
   An exchange between Bob Bartsch and Jeff Owens [anyone else have any input on this?]
   Date:        Wed, 31 Jan 2001

Bob Bartsch: Many people have seen that picture of a submarine coming out of the water at about a 45 degree angle [actually 48 according to the record], but I had a great seat. The picture is the Pickerel (SS524) and was taken off point X-Ray just outside Pearl Harbor. The Sabalo had all the photographers and Gold Braid aboard, and as I recall only one photographer got a good shot. I believe he was from Life Magazine, but could be wrong on that. I had just reported aboard after coming out of sub school, and had the job of being the port side lookout, so I had a ringside seat. Later I was rehashing the story with others, and made the comment that I wish I had been aboard the Pickerel.  A Chief quickly responded that he was happy to be on the boat taking the pictures as it sure was a lot safer.

Jeff Owens: Thanks for the story.  I seem to remember one of the old timers talking about that picture and the problem that Pickerel had.  It supposedly didn't just pop up and lay on the surface, but according to the story slid back down with quite an up angle to a depth of about 400 feet before regaining control, trim and attitude.  Can your recollections confirm or debunk that tale??

Bob:  According to what we heard, the Pickerel did slip back to about 400 feet before she got back on trim. When she came out of the water at that angle of about 45 degrees, she came out far enough that you could see about half of the sail. Later at the Dolphin Club on Beretania Street in Honolulu, several of us off the Sabalo met with a crew member off the Pickerel and the following is his side of the story as best I can recall many years later and remember we were at the Dolphin Club and had been partaking of the spirits at the time, so I will not swear to it's entire truth.

When the Pickerel was getting ready to record the biggest up-angle surface in submarine history,all loose gear was tied down or stowed away. Only those who had to be at their duty stations were up, all the rest of the crew were in their bunks. The Captain, Diving Officer, Chief of the Watch, Planesmen, and the Helmsman were tied to a part of the boat that would keep them from falling.

The Pickerel was trimmed heavy aft, had the main ballast tanks blown dry, had full dive on both the bow & stern planes, and was making flank speed.

When the order to surface was given, bow buoyancy was blown and the planes were put on full rise. When she came out of the water it truly was a sight to behold and it all happened so fast that some people didn't see it.

Jeff: Well that explains why the wise chief made his comment about it being safer just being a spectator.

One more thing I remember about this.  There was a TV show in the 50's called "Silent Service".  At the beginning of the show of each episode there was short sequence (movie film) of the surfacing exactly as we are discussing.  I believe I was told this was the Pickerel.  I wonder what ever happened to those shows.  Maybe they are available on video tape from one of the specialty video distributors.  I think I'll do some net searching and check a few catalogs I have on military videos.
-------
Two slightly different photos of the Pickerel surfacing can be found at:.
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-p/ss524.htm
[Jim Palmer has sent a photocopy of the same picture which also appeared in "Life Magazine", 7Apr1952, p. 51.  (Marilyn Monroe was on the cover.)

UPDATE 1 Feb 2004
From the photo collection of Lewis C. Smith:
Copy of the official Navy photo of the Pickerel surfacing (244K)
and
Newspaper article with photo from the Honolulu Times (376K)


Okinawa:  The way I remember it. - Don Nelson
Subject:        Wild Claims/sea story #1 of thousands
   Date:        Thu, 25 Jan 2001
  From:        Don Nelson

Dec 1968. Moored out in Buckner Bay.  Liberty boats made scheduled runs to pick up the "liberty hounds" and drop off the drunks.  One night on the beach will stand out in my mind forever.  ET1(SS) Holcomb and STS2(SS) Nelson both had duty and both wanted very badly to mingle with the natives in town. Village #1, 2, and 3 were favorite hangouts.  In fact the only hang outs in Buckner Bay, Okinawa during the late 60's.  Fred came up with the idea that the officers needed a driver; claimed he knew the roads like he knew the bayous in Mississippi, and offered his services.  Of course he would be dressed to the nines in Shore Patrol gear.  Fred managed to persuade me to volunteer for Shore Patrol and naturally having eaten at some of the finest village diners along the roads, I figured a night on the beach was better than a night aboard of cold midrats and oily coffee.  About sundown or thereabouts Fred and I headed out  to protect and serve the Navy's finest.  It wasn't long until the officers were plumb tuckered out and had to go back to the boat. This officially ended our ride and we were left on foot with a mission now of trying to keep the peace and protect the guys who put a lot of party energy into a short amount of time.  Along about 0200 hours, most of the guys broke, hungry, or drunk had either gone back on the last liberty launch or shacked up in one of the finest village hotels.

Oh yeah did I mention that Fred and I kinda sorta partied too?  Being Shore Patrol most of the mama sans will wine and dine you (mostly wine) if you can manage to keep the troops from tearing their bar apart.  Well it was just this virtue that Fred and I seemed to possess that night.  Only trouble was we were the only poor saps left on the streets with no place to go and no way to get there.  We started out walking what seemed a thousand miles meandering from one side of the road to the other discussing what excuses we would offer for getting back late and a little drunk.  About the time we reached the Coast Guard station where the liberty boat was supposed to be waiting to take us back to the boat we discovered TM3(SS) Holley laying near the boat shed doing his darndest to sleep. He must have been really tired because its danged hard to sleep on wet sand and gravel.  Anyway there we were. A little drunk and a lot tired.  We started to look around banged on a few doors at the Coast Guard Station and generally yelled to see if anyone was home and if there was a bunk or two available.  Fred got the attention of a PO3 and tried to get him to ferry us back to the boat.  No such luck!  In fact the Coastie was a bit rude and obnoxious and didn't seem to appreciate being roused out of bed by a bunch (3) of diesel boat sailors in search of a free ride.  It was about this time that TM3 Holley had a brilliant idea.  He was a qualified coxwain before he became a bubble head and proudly proclaimed that he could pilot the liberty launch all by himself if he had someone to throw off the lines as he backed out of the slip.  Of course Fred and I could do that!  After all we had years of experience casting off lines backing out of the slip headed to Tonkin Gulf and other places of interest.  TM3 Holley got the launch cranked up,  Fred and I cast off the lines
and viola!  we were on our way home!  Or so we thought.  Somehow the Coastie sprang to full alert in just a flash and apparently he wanted a ride too.  We didn't see it that way.  He was dang rude to us so we threw his butt over the side.  It wasn't long before we had attracted quite a crowd. Mostly Coasties and mostly mad.  They swarmed the launch, got control, and moored it back along side the pier.  Unbeknownst to us, the fun was just starting.  They took our side arms and placed us inside a quonset hut type building.  Awhile later the took us back to the boat where we were met excitedly by the OOD and the Duty Chief.  I figured I'd never see PO1.  I considered going to church and made all kinds of promises to my maker if only I didn't get court marshalled.  We were scheduled to transit Taiwan in about three days but I never thought either myself or Fred would be on board.  For the first time in my entire life I was scared spitless.

Somehow the "Old Man" saved our bacon.  It cost the boat a heck of a lot of steaks and a beer ball game for the Coasties.  Our "Old Man" knew the power of a few cases of prime steak and cold beer. Of course Fred, myself, and PO3 Holley busied ourselves aboard ship as not to be seen in the cheering section at the game.  Actually we were restricted to the ship.  Dozens of butt  chewings later, a lot of groveling, and a warning if I made one little bit of trouble again I would never again see the light of day,  I was left to ponder a lot of things about the decisions I made on the beach that night.  It was the longest four or five days of my life waiting and thinking about how to hit the beach in Kaoshung to test what I learned in Okinawa.   By the grace of Almighty God and the support of the best damn submarine crew in the world, I got my gold chevrons in twelve, right on time.

Donald R. Nelson, STSC(SS) Ret.
------
Date:        Sat, 24 Feb 2001
  From:        Fred Holley [Fred died of cancer 18 Sep 2001]

Finally, after all of these years, I have discovered two of my co-conspirators in what has become "The Buckner Bay " saga!!!   I honestly can't remember who else was involved in the episode.........I DO remember a whole bottle of Johnny Walker Red accompanied us as we cast off and sailed into what I remember as pitch black darkness!!! That was New Years eve, 1969, as I recall. Seems we got into a wee bit of trouble for that adventure! Fortunately for me, and I suspect you two as well, I was awakened that early a.m. by the duty officer informing me that my mother was seriously ill, and the Red Cross had arranged my way home. I was on a C141 winging my way to Anchorage (my second New Years eve) by the time you guys woke up and realized you were in big trouble!

If the truth be known, our guys probably thought the whole thing was pretty damn funny. So, I missed the rest of that cruise. (Probably would have been restricted anyway! ) And to think that wasn't even close to some of the stuff I pulled and got away
with!! Anyway, I have the feeling that without one of the main culprits, they really had no choice but to let you off easily.

Thanks to Jeff, I have rediscovered some of the past that escaped me for years. In fact, I was so busy chasing life that I never gave much thought to it all. This must be another manifestation of aging........Since December, I have been in touch with Alan Volbrecht, John LeConte, John Wetzler, and Doc Davis. Sure wish more of the guys would learn of Jeffs' site and add thier input. Names I had not thought of ( and many forgotten ) for years were welcome, indeed! It sounds like most of us turned out pretty good in spite of all the diesel fumes we inhaled. (Among other stuff!!!!!!!!!!!) :-)

I wound up driving airplanes for a living. Not too surprisingly, there were several of us who got the flying bug.  It must be the mentality of sub sailors to pursue the unusual.........I'm sure Dr. Nelson must have given that some thought!! Who would have ever guessed Don becoming a Dr.??????? Fred, I'm not sure what you did after the navy.......maybe you can enlighten me.
<snip>
Best regards, Fred Holley

-------
   Date:        Mon, 26 Feb 2001
  From:        Fred Holcomb
    To:        Fred Holley 
 Fred,
Great to hear from you!    Believe it or not, not a word was said to any of us after the Buckner Bay incident.  When you left on emergency leave, it put the whole thing to bed it seems.    LTjg Brian Baumbruk (Beautiful Brian) took the base commander out for dinner.  After steak, drinks, and many trinkets from the boat (lighters, patches, plaques, etc), the base commander dropped charges and commented, "Sailors will be sailors!"  I didn't find this out until just before I got out.  The event took place, as you remember, New Years Eve 1969, Don and I were shore patrol that night assigned to the EM club.  Being the duty section leader, it was my privilege to assign shore patrol.  Chief Losby won a gallon of Early Times at the door and they were giving away green beer.  We had an all girls Japanese band and their husbands/boyfriends were the only ones dancing, and they were dancing with each other.   Everyone else said their defense was, "I was drunk!"  All Don and I said was, "We were Shore Patrol, we plead mercy."  Most of the 1st Class on board were on that boat. That was another reason to hush, hush it. They couldn't bust all their leading petty officers.  Besides, that was a small incident compared to other things that went on that WestPac.


YoYo Strings and Poker Decks
Subject:           Re: Sabalo 59 Change of Command - Photo
     Date:           Thu, 11 Jan 2001
     From:           Jeffrey Owens
       To:           Jim Gellett
> Jim Gellett wrote:
>
>     THAT PICTURE SURE BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES, I WAS ON THE SABALO FOR A
> VERY SHORT TIME WAITING FOR A MISSLE BOAT AND A RIDE NORTH, IN THAT
> PICTURE I WAS HIDING BEHIND THE FOURTH PALM TREE FROM THE LEFT, I HAD
> POLISHED MY SHOES AND LEFT THEM IN THE RADIO SHACK, GONE ON THE BEACH,
> AND DRANK TOO MANY PEPSI'S. I SLEPT UP AT THE SUB BARRICKS AND WHEN I
> WOKE UP IT WAS TOO LATE TO MAKE THE INSP. I HAD SOME NICE CLEAN WHITES
> AND BOONDOCKERS AND DIDN'T THINK THE OLD MAN WOULD LOOK TOO KINDLY ON
> MY DRESS.
>      I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE HEARD THE STORY OF THE SABALO'S YO-YO
> TEAM OR NOT, BUT THE TWO RM'S ABOARD WHEN I GOT THERE WHERE NAMED MAC
> AND MORRIS. THEY WROTE THE DUNCAN YO-YO COMPANY AND TOLD THEM THAT NO
> YO-YO STRINGS WHERE AVAILABLE IN THE ENTIRE PACIFIC, AND THAT THE
> PACIFIC FLEET YO-YO CHAMPIONSHIPS WERE COMING UP AND WE WERE DISPERATE
> FOR YO-YO STRINGS. THE DUNCAN YO-YO COMPANY SENT A WHOLE CASE OF
> STRING TO THE BOAT. WELL SEE YA J.A.GELLETT
<snip>
****
We had a similar experience to the yo-yo thing.  Somebody wrote to one of the casinos in Las Vegas telling them how we were dutiful sailors on station in the Tonkin Gulf and our playing cards were worn out. Very soon thereafter we received maybe a dozen cases of them, maybe 12 decks per case in their individual boxes. The decks had holes drilled through them.  We thought it was special at the time, but later we found out that casinos regularly give out their used decks in this manner. They only use the cards for a few hours at most and then dispose of them.  Anyway, we never played with a dog-eared deck after that.

Jeff Owens


THE SS-2 RADAR  - Jeff Owens
Obsolete radars became my specialty on the Sabalo. I always thought it was the original radar from WWII as installed [However, from various recent reports, it is unclear whether there was an earlier radar installed by Cramp originally and then updated shortly thereafter by Electric Boat, or if the SS-2 was maybe installed during a later yard period in Pearl Harbor.  Most comparsions with other boats of that time seem to indicate an earlier equipment.]  It had very few field bulletins, actually a great design by Westinghouse.

The SS-2 main antenna, used for surface search, had a small parabolic antenna, solid aluminum, about 3 feet across.  The antena was mounted on a retractable mast which was operated from a hydraulic control in the radio room. It operated "perfectly" during our first Viet Nam deployment.

We only had a problem during our second deployment, which was created by a shipyard in Taiwan when the internal wave guide in the retractable mast was bent by an inadvertent mast lowering while the waveguide was not secured. ...No new wave guide to be had - supposedly coming from Pearl; must have ended up in a warehouse in Nam someplace - we never did get it.  The Taiwanese yard people were apologetic, and said they'd find a place to "fix" it. It was returned in very quick time and looked great. They had 'straightened' it, filled the exterior dents with gobs of brass brazing, and buffed it to look like a bar rail, BUT  inside you could barely see light from one end to the other.  Astonishingly, it worked just fine and actually seemed to increase 'ring time'(if you remember that spec).  We didn't get a new piece until returning to Pearl some months later.

Don't be mislead by the description 'working perfectly' about the SS-2.  What's meant is, that while working, it operated pretty well for the purpose intended.  I was radar operator for maneuvering watch and special ops.  We went into many a port through the fog with just radar shots, and the quartermasters recording and plotting bearings and distance to maintain our track.

It did have plenty of breakdowns.  It was all tubes, no transistors or solid states devices.  The lead ET, Fred Holcomb, ET1, my boss, fished a rectangular tomato basket with a handle out of the trash one day.  We used to keep a complete set of tubes (pre drawn from supply) in that basket which was kept in a small locker in the control room with other "off the books" spares.  When we would go to work on the newly reported 'down' radar the guys would razz us with, "here comes the fag ET's with their Easter basket".


Some of my experiences- Jeff Owens, ETN2(SS):

I reported aboard the Sabalo at the shipyards in San Francisco on 15 Mar 1967.  She was just finishing an extensive overhaul.  It was the night before our first sea trial when I came onboard.  All hands were busy most of the night reloading the ship.  Cooks with food; storekeepers with spares, electronics gangs with all kinds of stuff from the barge where everything was stored.  After trials we returned to the new home port of San Diego. (The home port just shortly before the yard period was Pearl Harbor.)  I remember the trip down the coast.  The sonar room was piled high with boxes, portable test equipment, and 'stuff' -  what a mess!...  It took a few days after arrival to find a 'pooka' for everything.  Additionally, because of late installation of certain gear, the sonar room never got painted.  So that was one of the immediate duties also.

Following the initial settling in, the boat was assigned to many exercises off San Diego for mostly anti-submarine warfare practice with various surface craft, mostly destroyer types.  Many of these operations included dummy torpedo firing exercises.  From my viewpoint, most of these seemed to go well, and along with the general evolutions of ship operation that go into these maneuvers the crew was becoming pretty efficient.  I  remember that the dummy torpedoes could be erratic.  Either the pingers wouldn't work, or the blow of the torpedo nose didn't, and they sank.  On quite a number of occasions we spent a number of hours chasing around with the retriever boats looking for them.

I am not sure of the full nature of what was accomplished during the overhaul completed in March '67, but remember that the hull was opened and all four engines were completely removed and rebuilt.  They operated near perfectly during the succeeding months including the first WesPac/VietNam deployment.  In fact, there seemed to be very little operating difficulty of any kind during the same time frame.  During the WesPac of 68-69, we did experience some engine failures, but none of these affected our operating status.  The enginemen did a good job of repairs and rebuilding, and other than losing the service of an engine for a time, no other difficulties are remembered.

As an ET, I did notice one flaw which was never corrected.  The Loran receiver, which was originally designed for Loran A type signals, had a modification which was designed to allow reception of Loran C, a different signal entirely.[This conversion was to make the AN/URN-12 into AN/URN15C.]  Even though we went through the mod documentation with a fine tooth comb, and many tech reps came to try, it never did work.  It was never really a detriment because we had a really fine QMC in Ron Gorence, a man who could see over the horizon, and through fog just by looking into #1 scope.

Between the deployments of 67-68 and 68-69 Sabalo had a scheduled dry dock period in San Diego.  This was supposed to be for hull sand blasting and repainting.  However, most of the paint which was applied at Hunter's Point was in such good condition that engineers and inspectors were called in when the sand blasting to bare metal proved extremely difficult.  Subsequently, most of the hull was only cleaned, and then a new coat of paint applied.

During my time on board there were two other occassions to be put in dry dock.  While cruising near Japan we developed a vibration in one of the prop struts.  We spent about ten days in Yokosuka having repairs accomplished.  And I was recently reminded that we also were in for repairs in Subic Bay drydock.  [This could have been during the period in early Nov 1967 when we are recorded as having been in port for 8 days there.  Anyone have more details??]

UPDATE 24 Feb 2004 - I never went to sub school.  After following my younger brother into the Navy I had been trying to get brother duty since enlistment .  After a number of tries at various junctures through the standard transfer request procedure it finally happened by a few "pulled strings".  My brother got me aboard by making a deal with the XO, Wells to have me come straight from completing 'A' school to the boat.  Roy, USNR,  was due to finish his 2 yr active, and XO knew that a Wespac was coming, and Roy would have been xfrd off because he only had 2 mos. left.  So he had Roy sign an extension until after the Wespac of 67-68 and got me straight out by going to BUPERS and having my orders changed.  I hadn't a clue about how boats worked.  I had a wild notion of submerging and experiencing all kinds of sensations.  It was somewhat of a let down as I stood in control as an observer during my first dive which was the shakedown after the yard period in S.F.  I though, is that all there is?  Of course, later I had to get qualified without any background to go on.


Great Sub Stories
I know that the links page says this site will concentrate on Sabalo related material, but Ron Gorence, QMC has put me onto this site with the recommendation -
"Open it with a beer, and I promise you a tear and a smile. Some real great writing."
    If this site doesn't remind you of boat life, and Sabalo characters, nothing will.
"The After Battery"  http://www.olgoat.com/substuff/abr.htm
There is a collection of more than 50 stories on this site written by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong which truly capture the life and personalities of the 'smoke boats'.

And for some more stories by subsailors of both diesel and nuc variety go to:
"The Golden Rivet"  http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/3392/humor.html



 
 
Send in your story and become a web-published author.  While I will certainly appreciate raunchy tales in private - try to 'polish it' a little for the site so that grannies and little kids won't have brain damage.  Jeff Owens, ETN2(SS) owensjAt Signepix.net


This web page authored by Jeff Owens  using Netscape Composer and MS Front Page Express.
Please report any errors, comments or suggestions to him. owensjAt Signepix.net
© Copyrights reserved by Jeffrey S. Owens, Nicholson, PA

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