USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633)

The Story Of A Cold War Warrior

"This is a no shitter..."

A sea story is usually preceeded by these words in an effort to convince the listener that it is a true story.  Whenever young men gather together there is mischief.  The Casimir Pulaski was no different as far as ship's go.  Here's a collection of some of the more funnier stories to come out of her hull...

THE FLAPPER KING - a submarine toilet is little more than a metal seat over a ball valve.  Flushing is a two-handed process.  One does one's business, then using your right hand, you pull open the ball valve while opening the sea water valve with your left hand.  Then, once everything has gone, you turn the valve shut and push the ball valve back.  So where does it all go?  The sanitary tanks eventually get full and the contents has to be blown out to sea which is the equivalent of a mega flush.  Because this makes bubbles, which in turn, make noise, which in turn, gives the submarine's position away, the process is done slowly.  While the tanks are being "blown" (the term is "blowing sanitaries"), you cannot use the toilets.  Well...you can, but just remember not to flush.  In case you didn't get the hint, there's signs hanging on the toilets that say "DANGER - Blowing Sanitary Tanks - DO NOT FLUSH."  And if you were really in the dark as to what's going on, there is a massive "fart" smell that permeates throughout the boat.  So when ya really gotta go, you have no choice.  No problem - again - just don't flush.  Because if you open that valve the contents of the tank is coming out...AT YOU.  There's always one...  Every patrol there would be one individual who, forgetting the tanks were being blown, used the toilet and just had to flush.  You would be minding your own business when all of the sudden you'd hear a deafening roar like Niagra Falls, followed by screaming, followed by...the smell of a thousand farts!  There, plastered against the wall, is the victim.  Hair slicked back from the force with bits of corn, toilet paper and other items covering his face and body.  After cleaning himself up, the victim then cleaned up the bathroom.  Later that evening, the Captain would present the victim with a "Golden Flapper" certificate.  Every now and then however, you'd have a person go above and beyond and earn TWO certificates during one patrol.  This person, wearing a Burger King crown, would be the "Flapper King."

EMERGENCY DEEP - one night, a junior officer who had gained notoriety (name witheld to protect the guilty) for his "prowess" had the conn and decided to come to periscope depth ("PD").  While rotating the scope to see if there was anything close aboard, he suddenly slams the scope down and shouts "EMERGENCY DEEP!"  Not wasting any time, the helmsman rings up all ahead full and both planesmen slam their sticks forward, sending the submarine into a not so "sleep friendly" condition.  One of those thrown from his bunk was none other than the captain.  After yelling and screaming had subsided the captain inquired what happened.  The OOD explained that as we were approaching PD, there was a ship close aboard.  "I can see it's mast light!" he replied hysterically.  The Sonar supervisor ran a check and confirmed that not only was there no ships above or near us for miles but also that the equipment was working properly.  The captain told the OOD to come to PD again.  As he started swinging the scope around again, he again screams "EMERGENCY DEEP" and slams the scope down.  The submarine goes into a violent dive again.  The Sonar team is again furious, insisting that there is absolutely nothing out there.  After things settle down, the captain orders PD again, but this time, he's on scope number one.  The scope swings and the captain orders no emergency deep unless he says it.  The OOD gasps in horror as the scope reached the same position.  "Look - there's the ship's light!" he screams.  The captain is puzzled, then steps over to scope two and peers through the eyepiece.  The OOD had the scope on high power setting and was aimed at the bright moon.  He was summarily relieved for the night...

THE CHICKEN - Missile technicians are big guys.  Biceps are a given.  And when muscular guys gather in confined spaces, mischief abounds.  One night, several of the Pulaski's finest are in Missile Compartment Lower Level wrestling.  One of the guys gets the upper hand and makes the losing guy cluck like a chicken in order to stop the fight.  Our illustrious junior officer overhears the commotion and ascends the ladder to the lower level.  Stopping the fight, he chases them all out of the compartment.  Hours later, the junior officer has not shown up for his watch.  The executive officer gets involved and the missing officer is found in Missile Lower Level.  "I was looking for a chicken that I heard down here" was his reply.

THE MAIL BUOY - Probably the most important document you possess - if you're married - is the Family Gram.  You're given eight of them with which to distribute to people you would like to write to you.  Great emphasis is made to you on not only how to fill them out but on stressing to your loved ones that this is the ONLY way that they can contact you.  So imagine our surprise, when, one day into patrol, some individual asks when and how we get mail delivered?  Hmm...what to say?  The answer is the "Mail Buoy."  The asker is then regailed with a story about how there are buoys all over the ocean with mail boxes on them just waiting for submarines to surface and gather their mail.  Usually, by the time the story gets to the part containing the "mermaids screening the letters" section, the asker will understand that he is being duped and made fun of.  But every now and then, you get someone for whom it does not sink in.  We had such a guy.  Eighteen years old and bound and determined that the buoy was real.  So we told him that we had discussed him with the captain and the captain had selected him to be the one to go up topside and retrieve the mail.  But in order to do that, he had to be dressed appropriately.  His eyes lit up!  We then proceeded to dress him in foul weather gear, parka and heavy exposure suit complete with EAB and had him stand in Control and wait for word that the buoy had been "sighted."  After about an hour and 20 pounds worth of sweat lighter, he figured out that he was, as they say, the butt of our humor.  He never asked again.

THUMB SAFETY - No sooner had we returned from patrol, when the squadron mandated small arms shoots were here.  This was a fun day where you got to shoot rifle, shotgun and pistol, primarily to make sure you could defend the sub and also to give you a chance to get a medal or ribbon if you were really good.  The highlight was always the crusty range chief who served as a seaman under Noah on the Ark.  The range chief's job was basically to make sure everyone knew how to hold a gun, put the safety on, etc.  Naturally, this got boring and monotonous.  Enter our intrepid junior officer.  Just as the chief is explaining how to hold a pistol in the Navy invented method which is counter culture to what any sane shooter would do, our JO explains (rather loudly) "chief!  I was academy marksman for my class and I know how to hold a pistol damnit!"  With raised hands, the crusty chief backs off and then orders the flag up to begin the shooting.  JO has picked up the pistol with his right hand and cupped his left around his right with his left thumb resting on his right thumb.  We all shook our heads in disbelief.  Not only was the guy an officer, but a Naval Academy officer!  He pulls the trigger and lets out a loud shriek.  The pistol is an automatic and when the trigger is pulled, the slide moves back to eject the empty case.  As it slid back, it chopped a good chunk of his thumb off.  You'd have thought the man would have learned.  He then moves on to the M-14 with it's finger killing slide path.  Again, JO waves off instruction and rests the rifle stock in his left hand instead of holding it by the magazine.  As the trigger is pulled, the slide, which lives in the stock by the way, slides back taking chunks off his finger tips.  The captain mercifully stepped in and removed the JO from further damage/embarrassment to the officer caste. 

FLOODING IN THE MISSILE COMPARTMENT OR FLAPPER KING II - One day while standing my watch as the LOS (Launcher Operations Supervisor) along with the roving watch who was build like a small bull and a young ALOS (Assistant Launcher Operations Supervisor otherwise known as the gofer).  The roving watch informed me that SAN4 was nearly full and would like permission to blow the tank.  I got permission and he began the process.  About five minutes later, this same rover who was still in the act of blowing the san tank felt the urge to purge himself.  After relieving himself and with placards in place, he proceeded to flush.   All I heard was a loud swoosh.  Knowing what that sound was I poked my head around tube 5 and saw him standing there with water and body fluids dripping from his face.  A few moments later I heard some additional commotion near the head, I sent the ALOS to see what was going on.  Not getting a report quick enough, I left my watch station for a moment and I walked over to see what the hell was going on.  I looked into the head and saw about 2 inches of water on the deck and rising.  I looked at the toilet and saw water streaming over the edge and onto the deck.  I grabbed the flushing water valve and made sure it was closed and it appeared to be.  I stuck my hand the bowl to see if I could feel water running around the ball valve.  There was definitely flow but I could not determine if it was from around the valve or not.  I checked the hull and backup valves and they indicated they were closed.  By this time other MT's were crawling out of bed and I had to get back to my duty station.  I told one of them to investigate further and let me know ASAP.  I waited another 45 seconds, which felt like 45 minutes, and after hearing nothing but confusion coming from the head area, I call it.  FLOODING IN THE MISSILE COMPARTMENT!  The collision alarm sounded and before I even got my sound powered phones in place the XO dropped from the upper lever wearing only pants, ready to head to the lower level he asked me where the flooding was coming from.  I told him the head and off he ran.  Moments later I started to hear the sound of relief and laughter coming from the area around the head.  I was told that the flooding was secured and I informed control and the boat secured from flooding.  Turns out that the rover, after getting hit in the face with his own urine, panicked and cranked the flushing water valve all the way open and jammed it (remember, this was a big kid).  After shutting the water valve, finishing the venting of the tank and opening the drain valves, the water in the head drained into the tank, the head was cleaned and every one had a good laugh.  Everyone but the rover.  This particular guy had many such mis-adventures but this was the one that sticks in my mind the most (story submitted by Mike Brand).

THE KEY TO WAKING UP - During a patrol in 1972, one of the fellows in my division called the lounge while we waited for chow call.  My buddy on watch didn’t want to miss his favorite meal, so he asked me to make sure his watch relief was up.  I went to berthing and found him sound asleep about 15 minutes before he was scheduled to relieve the watch.  I shook him and he told me he was awake.  He promised that he would be back aft on time to relieve the watch.  About 15 minutes later, I got another call from the off-going reactor operator, wanting me to check on the relief.  So back I trudged to the berthing area, where (you guessed it) the relief was still sawing logs.  I shook him again, spoke to him, got him to stand up next to his bunk and he promised me he would be there to relieve the watch on time.  About 15 minutes later, a frantic RO called me and begged me to either relieve him myself or make the relief show up quickly.  I went again to the fellow’s bunk, and there he stood, sleeping on his feet.  I talked to him, walked him back and forth and finally, he shook his head and asked “Are you trying to wake me up?”  To my affirmative answer, he said this: “Don’t tell anybody else, but my mom trained me to wake up to the sound of jingling keys.  So next time, just jingle your keys next to my ear and I’ll get up right away.”  A few watches later, I went to wake this man up and remembered his words.  I held out my keys and jingled them next to his ear.  He exploded out of the bunk, jumped into his poopy suit and headed aft to relieve the watch!  It was the most amazing thing I ever saw.  I’m still not allowed to tell you his name…(story submitted by Jim Braden).

THE BANGOR BLUES - 8 February 1978; Well, it isn't over yet. The Blizzard of '78 hit the east coast. Flying in from Scotland, we were snowed out of every major airport but Bangor, Maine. I'm surprised we were allowed to leave Scotland at all. World Airlines paid for the whole crew to stay at the Holiday Inn for the past two days. It looks like we may get out of here today.  I went out the first night and got wasted on vodka and orange juice at the bar, which was full of sailors. My goodness, did I get loaded. Took a bath on returning to my room to try and straighten up a little. I was laying back in the tub trying to keep the room from spinning completely out of control and puked all over myself. Then I sat in it for ten more minutes while I tried to understand what the hell happened. I was up at 5:30 the next morning cleaning every bit of it up.  Wrote a little ditty called "Bangor Blues":

            Our plane's in the hanger at Bangor
            We're up in snow to our neck
            There must be a ton
            But it sure beats Site One
            And World Airlines will pick up the check

            The limit for dinner's $6.50
            And we don't have much choice, it's our fate
            But it'd surely be wrong
            If we stayed here too long
            And made the poor corpsman lose weight

            So here we are waiting in Bangor
            The liveliest nightspot in Maine
            Been eating in style
            Though it might take a while
            For the seaman to dig out the plane

(Article in the local paper about the snow storm)  "Bangor City Hall employees left for home at noon, and Brewer City Hall employees followed suit. Old Town employees held on to 1 p.m. before calling it quits. The Holiday Inn on Main Street reported a brisk business, and a call to the bar in the afternoon revealed a healthy supply of sailors who were stranded in Bangor awaiting a World Airways flight to Bradley Field in Connecticut. They were staying at the Penobscott Inn. The plane landed at Bangor on Monday after diverting here on a flight from Mildenhall, England. The sailors were coming to the U.S. for rest and relaxation after a tour aboard the U.S.S. Casimir Pulaski, SSBN-633G. The sub carries missiles."  During the offcrew before this patrol, some of us went to see the Electric Light Orchestra and Starcastle perform at the Hartford Civic Center. Following the Blizzard of '78, as we circled Hartford in preparation to land at Bradlee Airport, we saw the roof of the Civic Center had caved in from the snow. Ouch (story submitted by Don Ward).

LIFE MAGAZINE - I served on the USS Casimir Pulaski in 1968 to 1969 as a NAVET.  I do remember at the end of a patrol in the fall of 1968 Life magazine was in Holy Loch to take pictures of the transfer of "ownership" from the Gold Crew to the Blue.  The Gold Crew was obviously very happy and most of us were present for the exchange.  A Life photographer stood on top of the guard shack and took his pictures.  My parent's were aware of this and got a few copies of the magazine.  A few pictures showed the Pulaski with the tugs going to the Port side of the USS Simon Lake along with other boats - we were 4 deep.  The tender was preparing for a supply ship arriving the next day.  I value those days I spent on that boat and was sorry to hear of the end she had, it should have been better.  I took her in for the first retrofit at Electric Boat in 1969, it was the first time the boat had been stateside since heading out for the North Atlantic patrols.  We had quite a welcoming at the pier on the New London side of the Thames, almost straight across from EB.  I transferred to the USS George Bancroft and after patrols on it I transferred to Dam Neck, VA to teach the SINS systems to the future underwater warriors.  (story submitted by Steven Erickson)

COLLISION WITH USS DANIEL BOONE - It was the mid 1980's in King's Bay, Georgia.  The Blue Crew had finished patrol and turnover was almost over.  The Casimir Pulaski was tied up to the wharf.  The USS Daniel Boone was moored to the tender.  For some reason the Boone had to leave her tender berth and come up next to us.  A tug boat started to manuever the Boone over to us. The manuevering watch was called away.  I was a line handler and went topside after donning my lifejacket.  Everyone topside watched as the tug slowly manuevered the Boone over closer to us.  Closer and closer she came until I realized something was wrong.  Sure enough, we all felt the ship shudder as the two hulls collided below the waterline.  No one had sounded the collision alarm.  The Blue Crew took the bus back to Charleston the next day with me onboard.  I heard later that both boats had to enter dry dock for repairs and the tug skipper was fired.  Does anyone out there remember this incident?  (story submitted by Woodley Frampton)

 

THE BATTLE OF FASLANE (A.K.A. "REVOLUTIONARY WAR PT. 3") - This is a little known Cold War battle between the US and British Navies.  Now, I can only tell this story second hand as I had the duty that day and the LOS watch that evening.  Now if any of my shipmates that took part in this epic battle can add some first hand knowledge to the story it would be greatly appreciated.  We had been on patrol for a while when we received word that we were going to have a port call.  Wow, a port call on a boomer!  Who’da thunk that!  London perhaps!  …no not London.  Hey the CO has been pushing for a visit to Iceland, that’s it!  Nope… not Iceland.  The States!!! No, not the States.  What’s that?  A place called Faslane?!?  What and where in the hell is Faslane?  As it turns out, Faslane is a British Naval Submarine base in… Scotland of course…. About 12 miles from Holy Loch… Oh well.  Fresh air, green grass, milk… it’s better than nothing.  First night in port and I have the duty (of course).  I was standing a quiet, uneventful evening watch as the LOS (Launcher Operations Supervisor) until around 10PM as I recall when things started picking up a bit.  I began to hear the crew returning from the beach.  They were loud of course, louder than normal but hey, after a month or so at sea, its okay!  Their voices were excited but I had no idea what they were talking about.  That is until a few of the gang from the weapons department started to show up.  They looked excited like they just saw a combination of Farrah Fawcet nude and a train wreck at the same time.  Turns out, there was a little skirmish at the British enlisted men’s club.  Now the story as I heard it was as follows:

 

A few of the guys, after going into town and having a few adult beverages decided to have a night cap at the EM club.  One distinguished member of our crew was a Torpedoman named John.  Now John was a true TM.  He stood about 5’5, 230 pounds or so (mostly muscle) and a very basic outlook on life.  A kind of John Wayne view. You know, I won’t do this to someone and I expect the same of them.  Anyway, John and some of the crew are standing at the bar minding their own business when they began to hear things.  Things like “f**king Yanks this” and f**king Yanks that”.  Eventually one of England’s finest sailors walked over to this small band of brothers (if I may borrow the phrase) and had a few choice words for John.  Now I’m not privy to the exact words exchanged between these two stalwart representatives of their two great countries, but keeping in mind John is a John Wayne kind of guy, in the blink of an eye the fellow from the Navy across the pond was flat on his back and out for the night.  This is when the proverbial “shit hit the fan”!  I hesitate to reference John Wayne too much in this tale however, as the ensuing fight was described to me, you can only have a proper understanding of what took place by remembering a bar fight in a John Wayne movie.  No one really gets hurt too bad and no one dies.  Now our boys were out numbered but a large percentage.  However our English brothers in arms did not gang up on my shipmates.  They all waited their turn to enter the fray.  The fight was going along nicely for a while.  It went from inside the bar to the stairway.  It was here that the most serious injury may have been dispensed.  A couple of our lads were fighting side by side when a hapless sailor from the opposing team stumbled up to them.  They, not wanting to impede this young fellow helped him on his way, down the flight of stairs.  Upon his arrival at the foot of the stairs, he did not seem to have the power to continue his journey.  My two colleagues stood in wonder looking at this poor fellow when they were bumped from behind and went down that same flight of stairs landing on this unlucky gent.  He did not make a sound.  Gulp!!!  Now this is when things turned interesting.

 

The marines arrived!  Yes, the dreaded Royal Marines. Her Majesties best.  Our boys now knew their goose was truly cooked.  They had to fight the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy.  But wait!  The Royal Navy sailors just like the U.S. Navy sailors have a deep seeded dislike (but great respect) for the Marines of any Navy.  Just when all looked like the end was near, it became a Navy versus Marines battle.  Yep!  That’s right.  The Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy standing side my side fighting the Royal Marines.  If only I could have been there.  The battle continued for a short while until the distinctive siren used by the police force in most of Europe could be heard approaching the EM club.  This was the sound that stopped the battle.  Every one scattered, and this is where my story began.  Eventually the excitement died down and every one hit the skids.  The next morning however, we heard from the CO.  To say he was not pleased was an understatement.  Those of us who were not on watch mustered topside for quarters.  As he began to tear us a new rectal orifice, we noticed that there were already British sailors lining up along the pier.  Good Lord, IF we have liberty, we may have to fight our way off the boat.  A few minutes into his ranting, the base commanding officer arrived and came on board.  After a few moments, handshakes and the like, the CO returned to us and basically said, “Liberty commences for the starboard crew.” 

 

Just like that!  Every thing was peachy keen!  As it turns out, the Royal Navy does this sort of thing to all the US crews that pull in to their base.  We were the first US Navy submarine crew, as it turns out, to oblige our English brothers.  I can’t say for certain but I believe the British base commander came to apologize to our CO and ask that he not hold us accountable.  It also turns out that the British Navy sailors lining up on the pier were waiting to trade trinkets with us and to invite some of the combatants from the previous nights festivities to enjoy their hospitality.  John Wayne would have been proud!  Oh, and that poor fellow at the bottom of the steps?  I again cannot say for certain but we did see a young sailor walking around the base that day with his arm and shoulder in one of those casts with a brace to hold it at a 90-degree angle and then straight forward at the elbow.  I think that is normal for a broken shoulder (story submitted by Mike Brand).

 

HOW I CHANGED NAVY POLICY WITHOUT REALLY TRYING - The trip to this point was almost two years long. From Boot Camp in San Diego, to Polaris Electronics "A" School and Navigation Equipment School (NEC 3337) in Va Beach, to Sub School in Groton, CT, I was finally heading to Holy Loch, Scotland, to check onboard the USS Casimir Pulaski, SSBN 633. The last day on the way there was a long one. It started with a two hour bus ride from the Sub Base in Groton to the airport; a seven hour flight on a chartered jet to Prestwick, Scotland; a three hour bus ride to Gurich; then, finally, the Navy barge to the submarine tender anchored directly in the center of Holy Loch; a huge finger of water about twenty miles up the Firth of Clyde (much like the Puget Sound in Washington) on the West coast of Scotland. As we approached the tender, I could see a floating dry dock with a huge tarp over something bulging up from inside. We sailed around the side of the dry dock and the first view I got of a submarine was of the screw; a monsterous, multi-bladed, brass series of scythes mounted on a central hub. Extending out from this primary method of thrust was over 300 feet of nuclear submarine weighing in at over 7,000 tons, and I was one of 120 crewmembers prepared to transfer onto the Pulaski which was due in the next day. Total trip time to check-in on the tender: 36 hours; most of it waiting between the various means of transportation.

The following morning we woke to find the Pulaski had tied up along side the tender, so we quickly ate breakfast and headed down to go aboard. I showed my ID card to the topside watch and followed an experienced Navigation Tech down to the NavCenter. Then I was hit with an unexpected piece of news: "You, sailor, are going to be assigned to X-division for this patrol cycle. The man you are supposed to replace has extended for a patrol. You're an extra man, but we'll get you in here when possible to get qualified on your watchstation, so you'll be ready to assume your technicians position next patrol." Well, that was a bit of a stunner. What the hell was X-division anyway? I found out quickly enough: topside watch, loading parties, paint the hull, topside watch, grease the davit, loading parties, topside watch... At least I didn't have to mess cook. Since I was a petty officer, I was afforded that one privlege.

Then the day of change came. Actually the change happened about a year later, but the event that caused the change happened that day. The nuclear reactor was shut down for maintenance. A welder from the tender had a job assignement in the reactor compartment to attach a bracket to an internal bulkhead, and he required two fire watches to be present while he performed the task. The Chief in charge of his division looked down the list of names of those of us assigned to X-dvision and picked out two personnel. Guess whose was one of the names?  I reported to the petty officer at the hatch leading down to the reactor compartment at the designated time and helped lower two fire extinguishers down into the compartment then followed them down the ladder. Stainless steel and bright florescent lights were everywhere. A huge vessel containing the nuclear core and six main cooling pumps with all the anciliary plumbing and electronics filled most of the space, so the welder and we two fire watches filled up most of the available empty space. The job took less than an hour. After the welder gave the final thumbs up, we beat a hasty retreat. Even with the reactor shut down there was still plenty of radiation around, so limiting time exposed was always a priority. The less exposure the better. After the welder exited with his gear, we hauled the fire extinguishers up and closed the hatch. Then the ship's doctor showed up and asked us for our TLDs. "TLD?" I asked. "I have this dosimeter badge." The doc took it with a slight look of concern on his face. I wasn't sure why, but I knew someone would tell me if I had messed up. Aw Shits are awarded freely. At-a-Boys come much more rarely, and it only takes one Aw Shit to wipe out 100 At-A-Boys. This was a silent Aw Shit, but it wasn't on me. I was just the victim.

Up to about 1973, the nuclear engineering sailors on subs, all chief petty officers, and officers wore TLDs. These nuclear monitoring devices measured a much higher range of nuclear radiation which might be encountered by those that wore them. The rest of forward area sailors like me wore dosimeter badges like the ones that are worn by X-ray technicians. They measure a much finer degree of exposure to radiation, but their upper limit is much, much lower than a TLD. This was ok of course, since no forward area sailor ever was put in a position that would send his dosimeter out of range, right? Leave it to me to be the one that changed the Navy's point of view on that assumption. But why? What was the reason for a forward area sailor to be sent into a nuclear engineering space that might have radiation present. The old line about assume reared its ugly head. When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME. The chief that chose me from the list of X-division personnel ASSUMED the N in ET(N)-3 meant nuclear. My ranking was "E"lectronic "T"echnician - "3" rd Class - (N)avigation, not (N)uclear as he had assumed. Since he made that assumption, he assumed I was equipped with a TLD and didn't even check me when I reported to the hatch. Why should dummy old me know any better? So, when the doc developed my dosimeter it was totally black and off the scale. He didn't know what to enter in the log as my dose, so he had to put the maiximum the badge was rated. It took another year for the reports to make it through all the channels, and I was never directly informed. After all, the military was fighting liability for Agent "Orange" in Viet Nam, so they weren't about to give me ammunition against the use of nuclear power.

Since I hadn't been given any kind of heads up about what had happened I thought everything was a-ok. It wasn't until a year later when I was on my third upkeep preparing for patrol #3 that the word came down for all sailors that were assigned dosimeters to turn them in for TLDs. It didn't take too long to piece things together after that. Now I have an unknown dosage of whole body radiation that may be nothing more than a dozen chest X-rays, or worse. But when the doctor had to turn in his report, it started a chain reaction that reverberated throughout the Navy (story submitted by Larry Porter).
 
UN-CLOGGING SAN 4 - I could probably tell you a few stories that happened on the last four patrols before the boat went into the yards for the Poseidon conversion.  One was about the time Sanitary No 4 john became clogged and we decided to use something like "draino" to unclog it.  However, the stuff we used reacted with salt water and produced an explosive gas.  I thought we were going to get busted for using an unauthorized chemical.  The pipe from the flapper valve to the tank had a bend which did cause the problem.  It was fixed during the yard period from what I was told.  Actually what we usually did was run an air line from the 20 PSIG Emergency Breathing manifold to blow the line down.  There was a 3/8" pipe plug on the down stream side of the flapper valve.  Only problem was if you got caught you would have been in big trouble, because as you know, that air was only for one purpose.  We did it a few times until the Chief threatened us.
(story submitted by Paul Mellon)

Submarine Dictionary

A

Aft - the back end of the boat (also called the "Stern").

Angles And Dangles - the severe manuevering a submarine does during training and/or diving/surfacing.

 

B

BDNW - broke dick, no workee workee.  An item that is not working.

Blow And Go - to initiate an emergency surface using high pressure air.

Blowing Sans - or blowing sanitaries.  The act of blowing the contents of the sanitary tanks to sea.

Bow - the front end of the boat (also called "Forward").

Broach - to pop up out of the water while at periscope depth.

Bubblehead - a submarine sailor.

Bug Juice - a generic, US Navy issued, instant drink mix.  Origin of name unknown.

Burn A Flick - to watch a movie.

 

C

Check Valve - a selfish person as in a one-way check valve which only allows fluid to travel one way.

Chop - the Supply Officer, so named because the US Navy Supply Corps Officer symbol looks like a pork chop.

COB - the Chief Of The Boat; the senior enlisted man embarked.

Collision Mat - pancakes.

Crank - to work in the kitchen.

Creamed Foreskins On Toast - creamed chipped beef served on toast.

 

D

Dancing With The One-Eyed Lady - using any of the two periscopes.

Deck - the floor.

Dink - a sailor who is delinquent in his submarine warfare or watchstation certifications.

Dolphins - the name given to the enlisted or officer Submarine Warfare pin.

Dynamited Chicken - chicken a la king.

 

E

EB Green - duct tape used by Nukes as provided by Electric Boat and reputedly good to "test depth."

Emergency Blow - see "Blow And Go."

 

F

Flapper King - someone who blows sanitaries on himself (see accompanying story above).

Forward - the front end of the boat (also called the "Bow").

 

G

Goat - a chief petty officer.

Goat Locker - chief petty officer's berthing.

 

H

Hacker - an extremely bad movie.

Halfway Night - the only recognized holiday during patrol.  This is the day when the patrol is halfway over.

Head - bathroom.

Hollywood - a long shower with plenty of hot water.

 

I

Italian Sound Mounts - veal parmesian.

Ivan - the Russians.

 

J

J.O. - a junior officer.

Johnny Cash - dark blue, working uniform so named due to the black pants/shirt.  The female variant is known as the "Eva Braun."

 

K

Kettle - the nuclear reactor as in tea kettle.

 

L

Laundry Queen - a junior sailor, usually non-qualified (especially if Dink) assigned to handle his department's laundry chores.

Lounge Lizard - someone who is constantly in the ship's lounge watching movies.

 

M

Mail Buoy - imaginary place in the middle of the ocean where mail is delivered to all submarines.

Monkey Dicks - Vienna sausages, sweet pickles or any form of sausage.  Also known as "Poodle/Puppy Peckers."

Mung - any undesirable growth like mold or dirt or any build up.

Mystery Meat - a processed meat that is served consisting of predominantly pork.  It is "advertised" as different things like pork roast, etc, and the only way to tell is by the side dish.  So if it's served with cranberry sauce it's one thing, apple sauce, another.  Hence the "mystery."

 

N

No Load - an individual who contributes nothing as in a circuit that holds no juice.

Nub - non usable body; someone not qualified in submarines.

 

O

Overhead - the ceiling.

 

P

Pegged - reached a maximum as in "my temper is pegged."

Pocket Rocket - deterrent patrol pin with a gold star for each patrol made.

Poop-Suit - blue coveralls worn by submariners.

Port - the left side.

Puss Rocket - a hotdog or other sausage.

 

Q

 

R

Rack - your bunk or bed.

Rack Back - someone who is constantly sleeping; often combined with "no load" as in; "he's a no-load rack back."

Rack Burn - the marks on your face left from your blanket or pillow; a dead giveaway that you've been sleeping.

Rain Locker - the shower.

Red-Tagged - not working; so named by the red tags put on broken equipment.

Rim - to rub "something" along the inside rim of a coffee cup belonging to someone you don't like.

Rollers - hot dogs.

 

S

Sans - the sanitary tanks.  Where the toilet water goes...

SCRAM - "Safety Control Rod Axe Man."  This dates back to the early, early days of nuclear reactors when a man (with an axe) would stand by to cut the ropes that keep the rods out of the middle.  If an emergency came up requiring the reactor to be shut down, the 'Axe Man' would cut the ropes.  This term has survived as a term for shutting down the reactor (thanks to Mike Rodgers for the definition).

Sheriff - the commanding officer, so named due to the Command At Sea badge which is a gold star.

Skimmer - a surface sailor.

Slider - a hamburger, so named as they slide in grease.

Split Tail - a female sailor.

Starboard - the right side.

Suck Rubber - to wear an emergency air breathing device.

 

T

Target - any surface ship.

TDU - trash disposal unit.

The Man Who Sleeps Alone - either the commanding officer or executive officer due to having separate staterooms.

Three M (3M) Coordinator - someone who's main activities include Movies, Meals and the Matress.  See also: "No Load."

Trim Party - a group of several crewmembers who march from the front of the sub to the back of the sub to make the angle severe.

 

U

Underway - moving; out to sea.

Usta-Fish - term for a previous submarine as in "this is how we did it on usta-fish..."

 

V

Victor - a visual sighting.

 

W

Water Slug - firing the torpedo tubes with nothing in them.

 

X

X Division - generic name for the group of non-rated Seaman tasked with everything from painting the boat to handling lines.

 

Y

 

Z

Zero - any officer; as in the "O" or "zero" that preceeds the word Officer.

Zulu Time - just another thing to mess with your brain...

Crew Memories

Here we have some notable quotes from past crewmembers covering a variety of subjects.  My goal is to get something from everyone who served - a grand gesture I'm sure.  I have edited some of the entries to make them readable and also to remove any classified information.  Here's what I've collected so far - enjoy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I served on the USS Casimir Pulaski Gold Crew for two patrols in 1965-1966.  I arrived as an RM3(SU) and left as an RM2(SS).  I qualified in submarines on December 22nd, 1965.  That day, the Blue Crew relieved us in Rota, Spain.  We boarded the plane for Charleston, South Carolina and flew away.  I received my dolphins from the captain, T. B. Britain at 37,000 feet over the Atlantic ocean on the way back to Charleston.  It was the best flight I ever took."

Courtesy of Bill Hutton

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I served one patrol with the USS Casimir Pulaski Blue Crew from August 3rd to October 24th, 1977.  I was sent from the USS Whale (SSN-638) to the USS Casimir Pulaski when they lost a third of their engineering department.  They had to quickly borrow people from other boats so that they could go on patrol.  After the one patrol, I returned to the USS Whale."

Courtesy of Bob Czachor

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was a FT1(SS) on the Gold Commissioning crew.  I did complete the shakedown cruise but never made a patrol because I got picked up for the NESEP program and left just as the Gold crew was leaving.  I completed college and became an officer. Six years later I was on the DASO team from SP-205 for the Pulaski Gold Poseidon missile launch. It is interesting that the Pulaski was the first submarine I assisted in a DASO on, and four years later the Edison (which I also commissioned) was the last before I left that assignment.  Probably the most interesting memory I have of the Pulakski is making a tape for Radio Free Europe. I was one on only three men of Polish ancestry on board during the commissioning crew at that time. Also our only child was born during sea trials.  I retired as a Lieutenant Commander is 1978, with my last tour as Submarine Group Two Operations Officer.

Courtesy of Peter Shoudy

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a plank owner.  I was the Blue Crew Supply Officer (LTJG, SC) and made three patrols out of Rota. I was fortunate to ride the boat down the ways at launch...in the pouring rain. We had a celebration at a hotel in New London afterwards. I remember during the ceremony, a Catholic priest poured two vials of soil into one jar. The soil was from Poland and Georgia where Casimir died. Captain R. L. J. Long, later 4 star Admiral Long, gave the jar to me to have mounted. As I recall it was put on the wall outside the XO's stateroom. I often wondered what happened to it and what happened to the boat itself. I have a "first issue cover" letter commemorating the launch.

Courtesy of Joe Jaap

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The last Yeoman I remember from the Blue Crew was Peter Hunt.  Pete had a problem with flying.  I remember quarters at 3:00a.m. in Charleston as we were getting ready to fly over to Rota.  Somebody on the crew had told Pete that he had to go out and buy milk for his children and they got sidetracked at some bar up in North Charleston.  He never got to say good-bye to the children but at least we got him on the plane to Spain. 

Courtesy of Michael Tucker

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I made only one run on the Casimir Pulaski; that was the run prior to going into the ship yard at Newport News, Virginia.  Kind of a last minute thing.  The Casimir Pulaski got extended and needed another body.  One thing this patrol did do was enabled me to be qualified in all boomer classes from the 598 Class to the 640 Class. So this was an achievement I thought I'd never get done and not many can say they've achieved.

Courtesy of Rick Waters

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I reported on board the Casimir Pulaski in December of 1975 as an MT3 to the Gold Crew.  My first patrol was patrol 38 and my last patrol was patrol 52.  Patrol 52 was the last patrol before entering the shipyards for conversion to the Trident 1 missile.
 
Courtesy of Michael Brand

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a sonarman from Blue Crew 1966 to 1968 with four patrols and a great number of memories.  I still email four shipmates weekly.  I took my GI Bill and went to dental school and have done very well in the Chicago area.  I even have a former officer from the Lafayette as a patient to this day.

Courtesy of Chuck Lockhart

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I reported onboard at Newport News in 1981 as an MT3(SU).  I remember Newport News and having to split from the yard crew into Blue and Gold Crews.  When the crew split, I was put on the Blue Crew.  Even though I was an MT, I spent one patrol standing sonar watch to support the Sonar Techs.  I spent another watch standing FTOW to help with the watchbill.  We always had more than enough MT's underway.  I remember lifting weights with Keith Wassung after standing watch so he could compete on the Navy weightlifting team.  He needed two people to spot for him.  Keith is now a chiropractor in Charleston.  I remember going to captain's mast in Charleston during off crew for being UA.  I had gone to England on a MAC flight during R&R.  I was supposed to start a school at FBMSTC on a Monday morning.  I was bumped off my return flight and I was about six hours late to the off crew office.  I was met with the mast papers to sign.  The new captain, CDR Schmidt, let me off with a warning.  The two shipmates behind me at mast were not so lucky.  They both got restriction.  I reenlisted and left the Pulaski in 1986 for shore duty at Guided Missile School.  I returned to sea on the USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640) in 1990.  Making patrols was different then.  The Cold War was coming to an end and the Navy was downsizing.  I was offered a nice sum of money to end my career.  I decided to stay Navy.  I decommissioned the Franklin, went to shore duty in Bangor, Washington and then took an early retirement as an MT1(SS) in 1996. 

Courtesy of Woodley Frampton

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was a plank-owner on the Pulaski and made the first six Blue Crew patrols on her.  I reported aboard the boat in October 1963 as an MM1(SS) with sixteen other nukes that had just come from S5W training in Bettis, PA.  We were some of the first crew members.  YNC(SS) J. D. Garner at that time was the senior crew member as no officers had reported onboard yet.  Had a lot of fond memories while onboard Pulaski including riding her down the ways when she was launched and making CPO while still serving onboard in 1966.  On one of Pulaski’s early patrols to add a little humor while on watch in the engineering spaces, myself and another Chief started making the sounds of a steam locomotive pulling away from a station over the “white rat” located in Maneuvering.  The “white rat” was a speaker that monitored the engineering spaces sound power phone circuit.  We made the sound effect using a rubber squeeze bulb and a test tube.  It produced a very realistic sounding steam engine.  The first time we did it, we had the upper-level engine room watch wearing a engineer’s denim cap with a red bandana tied around his neck and holding a oil can step into Maneuvering and ask the Chief Engineer who was on watch if he had seen a steam locomotive.  We did this mostly when the Chief Engineer was on watch for that patrol and he never did find out who was doing it and how the sound effect was being made.  I retired from the Navy in 1978 as an LDO Lieutenant.

Courtesy of Chuck Jensen

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was released from my nuclear power school two year obligation due to overcrowding.  I transferred to the Casimir Pulaski under construction at Electric Boat.  I was also at Electric Boat during a presidential visit.  Launched the Pulaski and went on sea trials.  I was the helmsman and planesman during sea trials.  During sea trials I dined with Admiral Rickover.  I had a special invitation from the admiral due to my knocking his hat off his head with a heavie (had the best monkey's fist I had ever made).  The admiral returned my heavie after dinner during his sea trials ride.  After loading her in Charleston for the first patrol (I didn't make any patrols), I was transferred back to New London to the USS Irex and from there to duty with the SubLant Sea Raiders basketball team in Norfolk, VA.

Courtesy of Clifford Blossom

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was down below the superstructure working on the bouy when I noticed the water level rising above where it normally is. I immediately went topside and up the ladder to the tender. From the tender, I continued to watch the CP sink into the Cooper River while tied up to the tender. At one point, water was entering the most aft hatch. It couldn't be closed because cables were blocking it. The problem was quickly resolved and the CP didn't sink!! I bet someone got in a lot of trouble for that!!

Courtesy of Milt Smith

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Pulled into charleston Naval Weapons station after the last deployment cruise the 633 Blue Crew did.  Summer of 1993. While tied up at the pier, a shore power cable kept getting high grounds, so we had to snorkle in order to provide enough power to do reactor plant shutdown, etc.  Had the rear engine room (top and bottom) hatchs and cofferdam open, to facilitate correcting shore power cable problem.  Someone noticed we were sitting low in the water (later found out about 60,000 lb/mass of water), so a low pressure blow was ordered while snorkling.  Due to a design problem, instead of putting air into the ballast tanks, we sucked it out.  Water poured into the engine room, about 1000 gallons before I got the lower hatch closed. Oh, and did I mention that the shore power cables were hot the whole time. Why I didn't get cooked, I have no idea.

Courtesy of Jay Hart

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was on the Skifish Blue for 2 patrols in 66 -67.  I have looked at the various photo galleries, sea stories, memories, etc. and it brought back some great memories.  I came aboard as an FTG2 fresh out of 113-5 school as lead tech.  It was a real challange, but due to a lot of help from some great people, I muddled through without getting busted and left for B school as an E6.  I especially remember the assistance I got from Rudy Poteet, FTCM(SS) Squadron Chief, and Roy Ator, the Weapons Dept Chief who made Warrant during my first Ski patrol.  Additionally, the Gun Boss was LCDR Scott Cooper who, along with the XO, LCDR Jack Conley, tolerated my inexperience with a lot of encouragement and guidance.  I later worked with/for Cooper and Conley as a contractor for SP 205.  Some other names that I have seen that wound up in 205 are Keith Post and Pete Shoudy.  

Courtesy of Dave Merrill