Welcome to Ric's Pantry
I joined the Navy in June of 1964 and in the course of events decided I wanted to be Stewardsmate. Thus, (ain't that a great word, "THUS", makes you feel so edumakated when you say it), I attended Stewards "A" School in San Diego, CA.
In July of 1964 the Navy integrated the Stewards rate to include whites. I have no real figures to go on, but I estimate I was in the first half dozen whites to become a Steward. In this graduation pic I'm the pale fellow in the middle back row, just to the left of the column. There were only five of us not from the Philippines.
Let me say that these men were the cream of the Philippines. The testing that they had to pass to gain entry into the US Navy was tremendous. For every Filipino that made it into the US Navy there were 5000 - 6000 that didn't pass the testing. Most were college graduates. An the Navy only let them serve Officers food. In later years they could opt to switch rates after a year of duty as a steward. Some chose to do that and became MM's and TM's and EN's and cooks and storekeepers, but the acceptance in the fleet wasn't there and most were still treated as stewards.
As friends, when they chose to give it to you, you could find few better to back you up if you needed it.
While in "A" school I volunteered for submarine duty and was assigned to submarine school in New London, CT.
While not a steller student I did graduate after a few weeks of night school on Feb 24th, 1965 and traveled down river to Electric Boat to the USS Flasher SSN 613 in new construction. About 19 months later we were commissioned and set sail for Pearl Harbor.
Enroute to the Panama Canal we had a detour to Fort Lauderdale, FL when the after bouy popped loose and we had to call for a tug from Fort Lauderdale to come pick up the bouy. 2 days of liberty ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND in Fort Lauderdale!!!!
After an extensive search for missing crew we got under way for Panama. Several crew had enjoyed themselves so much they came to 2 days out to sea. They begged to be keelhauled to bring thier hangovers to an end but the Captain refused to surface to do the honors.
Aug of 1967 was my proudest day. I had completed my quals and was presented my dolphins. I could proundly add the coveted (SS) to the name and rate.
Being a Steward had some advantages like being able to choose which movie I was going to watch that night. The one in the crews mess or the one in the wardroom. Another was liberty every night after the evening meal was served while in port along with the cooks and messcooks.
I also assisted the night baker and helped produce the 15 loaves of bread and various and sundry other pastries, pies and cakes that the crew had for meals and snacks.
My Battle Station was as the Time Bearing Plotter. I stood behind the plastic board and drew and wrote backwards. Dyslexia is not always a bad thing.
Anyway, I left the Navy in June of 1968 and went to work in Hawaii for about 6 months before I decided that I really wanted to move back to Seattle. I joined the Reserve unit in Seattle and spent one weekend a month on the USS Bowfin, which was the Reserve boat in Seattle attached to the Naval Reserve Station at the south end of Lake Union. I was sitting in the after battery watching TV on July 20th 1969 when we landed on the moon. It is one of those things you will always remember where you were when it happened.
I wasasigned to the USS Cusk SS 348 in San Diego as a T.A.D. rider in 1969 for a few weeks as part of my reserve training. I also hooked up with my cousin Loyal Day. Loyal was Submariner also. He was aboard the Sealion SS 195 in Cavitie Harbor when the Japanese bombed on December 10, 1941. I wish I had been smart enough to find out more about him and the things he'd done. He's long since passed away.. Any of you folks remember him?
So... Years passed and I kind of always felt at a loss talking with other non-submariners about subs but didn't realize how much until I found C.A.U.S.S. here on the net and then Ron's BBS. This got me more involved with submarine related things and other sub sailors. I attended the Mobile convention and had a great time. The following is a mini-montage of that convention.
First I ran into an old shipmate from the Flasher, Bob Richards, "Mule" to those who know him.
This 'Tompops' the C.O.B. in C.A.U.S.S. and "Doc" Griffin, Doc served in the Nautilus SS 168 during WW II. A proud moment for me to have this pic taken with such a modest man. That is the USS Drum in the background.
This is the memorial to Submariners and lost boats at Battleship Park in Mobile. The stone on the right is dedicated to those who stood lookout in the pariscope shears during WW II.
This is the C.A.U.S.S. group, or most of them. I'm in the back row. Some of you might know some of these men. Roy Atar is in the back row to the left of me and Gil Houston. The late John Sluski "Ski" is the one looking to his right in the picture. Tompops is in profile. Greg Peterman is just to Ski's right. Don Merigan is to my leftside. Paul York is standing with "Tootsie" in the front row, she has since passed away. Toosie is the lady who started the H.E.D. foundation to help kids that are born without sweatglands to cool there bodies.
And lastley, a final picture of the kind of guy who was out protecting the free worlds life and limbs.
"Ping, ping......con, sonar we have a contact." "Can you ID it sonar?" "....no sir, but it isn't any intelligent life form we know of..."
USS Flasher SSN 613
Flasher SS 249 |
Saga of The Submarine
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