US NAVAL BASE, KEY WEST, FLORIDA 1960
December and remembering the cold North climate the adrenalin was flowing in my veins being in my new paradise called a submarine. Crossing the gangway on this Sunday morning the topside watch checked my orders and sent me below through the forward torpedo loading hatch. Again the smells, It never changes. I could close my eyes and still think the Bang was under by Frye Boots. Looking afl and up at the Bridal sweet exposed two pair of feet. Sleeping in on a Sunday morning. Things never change.
The duty officer in the wardroom smiled as I reported in. "Enginemen Second Donald John Kamuf class reporting as ordered", in a proper military manner. We walked to the forward engine room where he said why don't you change into your dungarees. Putting on these bell bottoms made me look like a idiot. After changing we went to the crews mess where the mess cook served two cups of coffee to us. A soup spoon could stand in my cup that is how thick it was. After offering me a cigarette we chatted about by background, family, friends, experience etc. This LT. seemed like a nice officer to be concerned about my family and me.
While discussing the boat and my knowledge of the engine rooms was discussed. "What problems if any do you have afl" I asked? He thought for a moment and stated "The distilling plants lack the capabilities of producing the required daily amount of fresh water from the rated 2000 gallons per day to about 200 gallons per day". His question to me was, "Do you know any thing abut the distilling plants"?, my comment was "Sir I was born in those Badgers and can make more water than a heavy rainfall in Pittsburgh". His eyes lit up at my comment. "Your qualified in the engine rooms, can you see if that the problem can be taken care of now"? "Sure no problem", was my reply a piece of cake.
Looking at the plants I could tell that little or no maintenance was accomplished on them. The covers were loose, the gages had expired calibration stickers, the blower belts were worn, fiberglass insulation was exposed around the covers, and on and on and on. The below decks watch helped me find the duty enginemen a third class. I woke him up and half asleep he yells "what the f- .... do you want"? ''who the f- .... are you"?. I told him and his comment was get out of my face and rolled over facing outboard. I grabbed him and yanked him out of his dirty bunk, dressed in dirty skives, he smelled awful. My orders to him were to take a shower and meet me in the forward engine room in 10 minutes. Entering the engine room I parked my ass on the locker bench next to number 2 main engine, so I could see him entering the compartment. When he entered through the watertight door our eyes made instant contact, he saw a grin on my face, which quickly put oil on the troubled waters between us, and we became life long friends.
Go To "page9"
Return to Ships Log