Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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The Diode Wire

By: ET1 William Lord USN/USNR (ret)

In the early ‘80’s Subase Pearl Det 716 was in need of a method of sharing knowledge of different rates to enhance training subsequently resulting in the increased readiness level of the unit.

It was decided to make this training period fun in order to capture the attention of those participating in the training period.

Different ideas were submitted and finally it was decided to call this training period Sub Bowl. 

Sub Bowl was a spin-off of the TV show College Bowl where two teams of four college students would play each other.  Each team had a control console before them with the ability to throw a switch locking the other students out. 

Questions were asked by the host and the students would throw the switch if he/she thought they knew the correct answer.  The student who was first to throw the switch had the opportunity to answer the question.  If the answer was correct, that team scored.

The electronics shipmates were assigned the task of designing two consoles which when completed would be known as the Gold team and the Blue team.

Two consoles with four switches each were built with the assistance of the HT’s.  They were painted white with gold and silver submariner dolphins painted on them.

With the completion of the consoles all hands were asked to submit rate sensitive questions with the correct answer.  The questions were screened and the ones selected to be in the question pool were put on 3x5 index cards.  Now Sub Bowl was ready to go. 

A slot of time called a training period was added to the POM for Sunday of each drill weekend.

The game was played with electronics vs. HT’s, Engineman vs. Torpedoemen etc.

There were some great questions submitted and I must admit, I learned a lot from them.  Questions in the pool were on seamanship, refrigeration, engines, torpedoes, sonar etc. 

The question I remember most was a question submitted by one of the electronics people as a joke.  It asked “What device allows current to flow only in one direction?”  The correct answer on the card read “A Diode Wire”.

Each time this question would come up, and I’ll never understand why it came up so often, the electronics team would be the first to throw their switches and answer the question and score.  Eventually the other rates having heard this question so many times would beat the electronics team, if they were playing at that time and answer the question.

When another rate would answer the question the electronics personnel would look at each other and snicker.

I would venture to say the other rates never had a clue they had been set up with the Diode Wire question.

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