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Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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Skimmer's Revenge

By: EN3 John Schwarz USN

While stationed at Subase (1968-1972), aboard the U.S.S. Coucal (ASR-8), we would get underway and operate with subs after their yard period. We would shadow them as they completed their shake-down shallow and deep-dives. At night, we would track them on sonar, and drop percussion grenades above them. Being constantly sleep-deprived, I hated this facet of our operation. Try to sleep below the waterline with grenades going off!

When this portion of the operation was over, we would 'race' the sub to liberty in Lahaina, Maui. The race wasn't necessarily won by the fastest craft, but by the vessel guessing the closest ETA, without aid of a clock. We once operated with a sub which must have been a bit 'trigger-happy'. They dropped their hook/anchor in one hundred and twenty feet of water, which is fine, however, they forgot to fasten it to the anchor chain first!

The next day our divers went down and retrieved their anchor. We used our main boom to place it on our stern. After pulling liberty, in Lahaina, we headed back to Pearl with the MUCH LIGHTER submarine. While underway, our very crafty, multi-talented deck apes painted the sub anchor a beautiful shade of pink, with multi-colored polkadots. The fantail of our ship looked like the start of a good party. We were all beaming with misplaced, patriotic pride. That will teach them sewer-pipers to sing the praises of "Skimmers can't tap dance...." at the E/M club! Drat on them all, Maties! That'll teach them inport, over-fed sewer-pipers to eat sandwiches and gorge themselves on apple pie, as this hungry, mid-watch security guy watched in envy, after spending half his watch trying to snag a can of sardines from a supply cabinet. Then spend four hours listening to their contented belching as my hungry stomach growled in protest. Watching them wash it all down with their 'babbas' of coke as I tried to silence my stomach with eight hour-old coffee. It's a wonder we didn't have a multi-vessel mutiny that night!

Oh, but we got even! Yes we did! Before entering port, we radioed Subase to have their photographer on the pier, as we arrived at Sierra One! We were half-way to heaven as our boom lowered the beautiful anchor to the pier! "MAKE CERTAIN YOU USE UP ALL YOUR FILM!" Why them sewer-pipers faces were even pinker than their anchor....pinker then their over-fed, baby butts!

My memories are a bit foggy now, forty years later....But if I recall, things got even worse at Sierra One. Whenever I would have the midnight security watch, the boys on the sub at Sierra Three would be having a feast up topside. They would have pig roasts with plenty of grog for all. They would have hammocks suspended from the conning tower, and dozens of hula girls. They never had the local hula girls. No, they were too ugly. I heard they had theirs shipped in from Hamtramck, Michigan. These gals were much thicker in the hocks. The boys were always turned on and placed in an amorous mood by their enchanting perfume. I stole a bottle, which is still hidden in my mattress. Label says, 'Essence of Garlic'. You can probably still find it on EBay. (I would imagine it costs a fortune now....)

Well, boys, it's time to take my meds....My mind usually gets a little loose this late in the day, along with my bowels. I believe all of the afore mentioned facts are kinda' accurate. Sometimes my mind runs into a bit of a fog bank. Actually, my mind is pretty sharp. I've yet to walk naked out to the mail box. Always get 'My Junk' hung up on the barbed-wire fence before I reach the street. Yeah, I'm old, but I ain't dead....I still walk around with a fifteen degree 'list', and drool when I see pretty waitresses. Then slip and fall in it when I leave. Yep, I guess you could say I'm just about perfect...."Ah, what was I talking about, Martha?...." 

 

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