Life On Board
This page has been created for those crew members who wish to put down in writing, a few memories, or a special time, that they had on board the Triton.
We had a lot of room on Triton, compared to the other Fast Attack Submarines.....Plus an adequate supply of water, which was a major plus. The food for the most part was great....The people who complained were never on a surface craft...the food there..Ugh! We would load out heavy with food on the Triton. Even the decks in the berthing areas were for storage. Crates of eggs would be stored in the forward passage way to the overhead and the decks were for cases of canned goods. As the food was consumed the Engine Rooms became the storage area for the trash..... A bit smelly I must say! Men of height were in grave danger when walking on the crates of food.
Submitted by Harold Weston COB 1961-1967.
There were two Westons aboard, a Chief of the Boat, aft, and one
forward. Both were in the engineering Department. The forward one had World War 11 patrols
and was "A" gang CPO near the end.
We also had two Yeagers, a father and son. The elder man, an E9, was also a World War 11 vet on the boats.
We also had two permanent CTMs and two corps mans aboard, which was unusual for an attack boat.
Submitted by James Grilli MM1 (SS) DV, November 1963-December 1966
Just Another Day
Chief Weston's comments about the garbage being stored in the engine rooms
sure reminds me of a story, one of the more scary of my memories aboard the
Triton. While we were submerged somewhere, a big heap of garbage bags
stored outboard the main condensers in ER# 1 caught on fire. A few tense
moments and the crew was able to put it out. Two other testy memories were
a double plant scram and flooding in the After Torpedo Room. I believe that
the way we handled the matters have always been some of the more valuable
experiences of my life.
Submitted by Mike McCoy MM1 (SS) June 1964-February 1969
Radio Antenna Buoy?
A small story of one of the trips: The Radio antenna buoy in the rear
section of the ship was being towed while the submarine was
submerged, the antenna/tow line broke and the submarine lost the buoy.
The buoy was lost off the East coast of South America and floated
When the locals found it they thought they had found an atomic bomb,
called in the Dept of Navy, Etc, to diffuse and retrieve it. The
antenna buoy was shaped similarly to the 'Fat Boy' atomic Bomb, but the
US Navy got the antenna buoy back - with a lot of panic and
Submitted by Tim Holly and William Holly RD1, February 1959-
I noticed in the Life on Board section that McCoy mentions the double plant
scram and aft torpedo flooding . If my memory serves me correctly we also had
three single plant scrams and had a 37 light off in the skid back there and a
fire in the AMR 4 during that last mission. My rack was there across from the
heads and my sleep was disturbed on a number of those events.
I can remember Pete Plenninger and I manually pumping dive off the stern
planes when we scrammed and we got pretty good at it. Of course whenever we
had these casualties we were never in a good location to surface. The way I
understand it our missions were so critical back then that they tried to get
every bit of performance out of the nuke subs and our surface transit back
from the circle was a result of the events described above.
Submitted by John Long. (STS2) January 1966- July 1967
Seems as though in addition to the food stored in the passageways we also had a six month supply of Oxygen Candles also. The crews quarters was loaded with them as well as the Engine Rooms. One such trip was when we went to Germany in 61'. But we sure had fun.
Submitted by Daniel Graham EN1 (SS)
June 1960-March 1963
I had a bizarre phone call a few weeks age. This guy called me up and asked
if I was on the Triton. I answered in the affirmative and he stated he was a
Radioman stationed at the NAVCOMMSTA GUAM during the circumnavigation.
Anyway he was on watch and he received a morse code message from a call sign
which was special but had the highest priority and it was an encrypted
message. He suspected at the time it was from a submarine but no one would
confirm that. Then just recently he read Captain Beach's book of the journey
and read that we had sent a message requesting the USS MACON rendezvous with
us to medevac Poole and he put two and two together and suspected this was
the message. So he contacted the Triton Website and obtained my phone number
and called me. I was bowled over because I was the one who transmitted that
very long encrypted message. It was on a special frequency that all the
NAVCOMMSTAS all over the world had to guard and Guam picked it up and
answered. As you can see from looking at a map that was a very long haul
message, about eight thousand miles, pretty good before satellite
Submitted by Bob Perkins RMCM(SS) 1959 to 1963
It must have been around February of '64 or '65. We were in the Caribbean
for Operation Springboard, when a message came in that a civilian plane had
gone down. A massive sea/air search was launched, and the Triton was the one
that found them. I think that they had been in the water almost 2 days when
we found them, and were badly sunburned. We sent the Ship's diver out to
help them get on board, and when they did, they were so happy to be rescued
that they knelt down and kissed the deck! There was a guest bunk room
directly across from the Radio Room, and they stayed in there while we
headed back to port.
It was night when we got in, and there were news crews waiting at the pier
for us. Just as the CO was maneuvering to bring the ship alongside, they
turned their high powered spotlights on us, and he couldn't see a thing! It
only took a few very loud bellows, mixed with prolific expletives, to get
the lights off as fast as they had come on!
Anyway, we had our moment in the spotlight, then it was over as quickly as
it had begun. But, those men would very likely have died if it wasn't for
the Triton and her crew -- I wonder if they used their reprieve well? Or,
did they just waste that gift, as so many do?
Submitted by Mike Christian RM3/RM2 (SS) 1963-1965
Will It Sink?
The current POTW (9-6-00) is pretty
interesting. You probably know that every time a submarine leaves port, it's
necessary to "compensate the boat." In order to dive in neutral
buoyancy (or close to it), subs have to keep track of the weight that is moved
on and off the boat while in port (torpedos, potatoes, riders, etc.). The Diving
Officer calculates the amount of water that needs to be flooded in or pumped out
of variable tanks to dive in trim. What you see in the POTW is Bob Carter
"entering the compensation." I could trust Bob to get it right. He and
I had long discussions on Archimedes Law and moment arm, etc. He understood the
process. The biggest compensation I ever did on Triton was for the first (and
only) dive on
the circumnavigation. We had taken aboard an immense amount of weight -
including 80 tons of food. We came close: I only had to move 5,000 pounds of water
before reporting "Trim satisfactory" to Ned Beach.
Submitted by Tom Thamm Diving Officer 1958-1962
Where is the Triton?
May of you are probably wondering what became of the Triton.. The following story I received from Jason Olvera, a Nuclear Engineer from PSNS. Jason was able to go on board the Triton in February 2000 and have a look around.
Currently the Triton is in one piece sitting beside a pier with
approximately 20 other submarines. She awaits cutup with the others and
when the time is right, she will be towed into a dry dock and dismantled.
Just this past week, the SSN 590, USS Snook, was towed into dry dock for the
Having served in the US submarine service, and being a second
generation submariner, I have always held a fascination for the silent
service. During an opportunity to tour a decommissioned Los Angeles class
fast attack submarine, our group noticed the Triton, sitting amongst the sum
20 other submarines awaiting disposal. We asked for a tour and before we
new it, we entered the boat that was decommissioned in (1969), the year of
my birth. The date was February, 2000.
I found the hull roomy even compared to the 560 foot long Trident
submarines. It was like being in a surface ship almost or even a military
building. Floor coverings of Formica were without flaw, wall panels of wood
in the wardroom were slightly peeled but for the most part, it could be
habitable with a good cleaning. The boat had a 50's feel to it, squared
corners, stairwells instead of ladders, all edged with metal striping. Up
forward, much of the electronics gear had been removed, but there were many
lockers filled with past inventoried items that awaited issue. Boxes
stamped from the 60's containing bolts, nuts, small electronic parts, etc.
But the small locker that peaked everyone's curiosity was in berthing. A
very large area, berthing, and at the top of one stair well in a locker was
a record player that could hold around 50, 45 speed records. Everyone
wondered if it worked underway, the unit was complete except it appeared the
needle was missing.
As a prior Nuclear Plant Operator, heading aft was where I wanted to
be, and spent most of my time. Twin reactors on a submersible was very
intriguing. The only area of the boat lacking room was the Reactor
Compartments. The rest of the engine room seemed like a maze. The
maneuvering areas, or operations areas, were intact, circuit breaker panels
were still in place, and to my surprise, on the panels were numerous red
danger-do-not-operate tags. The tags were all dated and signed April and
May, 1969. The reactor operator panels and electric plant control panels had
all been scavenged for parts or souvenirs. In two of the spaces in the
engine room near the reactors, there was a clear plastic sheet hanging on
the wall with X's and O's on it. It seemed that there was a system drawing
underneath it at one time and it was used to keep status. Now it bears the
last status ever recorded. The torpedo rooms were very strange, large
cavernous rooms with ample space. Roomy stacked racks or beds in the
corners. A bathroom at the entrance.
I wish I could convey more to you, it seems unfortunate that people
don't understand what these boats mean to us. When I look over the dead
fleet of submarines, I think of all the time, energy, blood, sweat and tears
that we all put into them. I am reminded of the numerous W.W.II submarines
that never came home, as well as the Scorpion and the Thresher. We operated
them, tended them, cared for them, and now others are to dismantle them.
For now, Triton sits quiet waiting for the inevitable, the same fate we all
Submitted by Jason Olvera , Nuclear Engineer at PSNS
Every ship, even the old diesel-electric submarines, had a library of
sorts, even if only a few books. TRITON had a large one, kept in the
wardroom. I know because I was the ship's librarian for awhile. The job
was usually given to the junior officer aboard as part of the duties of
Information & Education (I&E) Officer, a job most people tried to duck.
However I loved it - I had the opportunity to order the books I wanted
Having had always a romance with books, I remember ordering over 100 for
one long northern cruise in 1961. Johnny Johnston, our Exec,
had a fit at first but I assured him people would read
them all. We ordered for every literary taste, westerns, mysteries,
classics, histories, biographies (lots of Modern Library books). I
remember ordering Freud's "A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis"
which keep me busy for some time. I shied away from pure religious or
political themes, anathema in the Navy, at least at that time.
Submariners read. Those are intelligent men on board nuclear boats.
Granted movies in the mess hall, bridge in the wardroom, poker sometimes
in private places, were the key entertainments on a long run, but many,
many read, and read well. Our library was well used, and I am sure
continued to be so with crews after my tour.
Submitted by James Kelly, Lt. on board Triton, 1961
What's In A Name?.
I was assigned to the Triton from 1966 through decommissioning. I was a machinist mate - nuc and was assigned to Engine Room 1. The long run we made in the spring of 1967 (Navy Unit Commendation run), I spent qualifying both on submarines and back aft. It seems like such a blur now. I sure know I didn't get much sleep, but by the time we were back I had my dolphins and a few watch stations completed. Little did I know that we would not be going back to sea much after that due to the decisions made to decommission rather than refit. I remember the dual unit scram that Mike McCoy mentioned and the urgency we all felt during the time. I think the boat may have broached during this event and that had everyone pretty excited. Everyone sure came through.
It seems like everyone on the crew had nicknames, some were pretty funny. Some of the guys referred to me as "cute little smitty from Iowa City" or as "Groundhog" Larry Krause named me "catfish belly". Some of the other close friends were Bob Clark "booby", "the turk" Andy Yesolitis, "JD" Jim Aitken, "Sluggo" Hall, "Big Bad Bob" CPO Burkey. among many others. It was a terrific group and, I think a pretty tight crew, forward and aft.
The whole decommissioning was a real circus, we (M-Division) were taking all of the valves apart and coating with cosmoline for preservation. What a mess. The defueling of the reactors actually went pretty well. The decommissioning part was a bittersweet affair, but it was very nice and I think almost every member of the crew was there and we had a good time. I bought an oil painting of the Triton for a torpedoman named Graden ( I think he was a first class). I still have it hanging, and I still remember.
Submitted by Curtis Smith, MM1 (SS) Triton Crew Member from Dec 1966 to Decommissioning.
My tour on the Triton was a couple of years back, I believe in late 1966. I don't specifically remember who the Chief Of the Boat was during that time. I was a young sailor, had only joined in 1964 and was a new E-3 (Seaman) on the Triton. I served on four different subs, USS Scorpion, Triton, Skipjack, and Ray (SSN 653). I was a member of a team that was referred to as a "Riders" on subs, not permanent crew. Chief Weston would most certainly remember us. I attempted to qualify submarines but between my work and the short time aboard, I just didnt make it.
I was privileged to be on the last voyage of the USS TRITON (SSN 586) when she scrammed both of her reactors in the North Atlantic. We were just coming off station when the accident happened, but we managed to regain control and return to Norfolk, where she was retired from active service. I don't mind telling you that we had quite a few moments of extreme anxiety during her loss of power, as we were in a dive attitude at the time and it took all we had to get back to the surface.
I can remember the submarine being dark and extremely quiet during the recovery process. It stayed dark until the batteries kicked in on emergency power but the hydraulic system, which controlled our dive plane and helm rudder had failed. Later, I learned that a young Seaman, his first time on the dive plane, had actually saved the sub. You are told when the red light on the BCP comes on to pull on the dive yoke and keep it there until told to release. This places the dive planes in a surface position, which is exactly what that young man had done. After blowing the negative tank, they were able to regain an up angle but not until we had passed the 500 foot depth mark. It took quite a fit of strength to hold the plane against all that pressure. I would say the entire event occurred in less than 20 minutes but it sure seemed like a lifetime to me.
I truly enjoyed my duty with submarines and would have stayed for the rest of my career but I got married. The wife says no way would she marry a submarine sailor and spend all those days and months worrying, so I gave em up. I had a couple of other close calls before I resigned submarines. Once while deployed in Skipjack, we had a fire in after machinery. Once we sealed the hatch and isolated the compartment, the three of us were able to find the fire and get it under control. Now talk about a nightmare, a Fire onboard a submarine. My heart was really in my throat on that one. Then, in 1968, I was rescheduled to deploy on USS Scorpion. Scorpion was the first submarine I had ever served on in 1966 and I was anxious to return to familiar ground. I reported onboard two days prior to deployment, only to receive orders from Cinclantflt to terminate my orders and return to home base. I caught another submarine (USS RAY) out two days later. During my patrol on Ray, we received a message that Scorpion was missing and presumed lost at sea. I could have been history on that one, cause they ultimately found Scorpion off the Azores on the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic ocean.
Submitted by Chuck Elston E3 Seaman.
Photographs and Stores
December 1959, Captain Beach had a meeting that included, Ldcr Bulmer the Ops
officer, Lt Brodie Comm Officer, XO, and myself. I was to order photographic
supplies for 4x5 press camera, 8B Periscope, CRCZ, 35MM cameras, vaious 620
cameras and 16mm movie cameras. This list included flash bulbs, special
high-speed B&W and Color film for the entire list above, chemicals to
process black and white film and lots of photographic paper. I figured I spend
over $25,000 for all this stuff and it filled my SUPRAD space to the overhead.
During January and early
February, a number of new and unusual equipment was brought on board and
installed in our Combat information Center. This compartment was huge by
submarine standards and was just a little larger than that found on a Cruiser.
One of these devices was a gravitational measuring device we called
Monkey-in-Cage. Just forward of my maneuvering watch station on the aft capstan
a special buoy antenna was housed in a special hump. The radio room had a couple
special communication devices of the type planned for the FBM boats.
It seemed as if twice a
day for weeks on end prior to our departure the phrase “ALL HANDS LAY TOPSIDE
TO HANDLE STORES” was conveyed over the 1MC. The cooks were instructed to load
food for 120 days and at times I swear we had loaded enough for a year. Every
compartment or passageway had at least one layer of canned goods in cases. Every
little corner, opening and whatever capable of holding a can of food or spare
part was found and filled. By the time we actually departed most of us developed
a pain in our neck from bending over so much traveling through the passageways
between compartments. The reactors was used to store I believe about 800 special
oxygen candles to be used to create oxygen for the crew. We didn’t have any of
the oxygen generating equipment scheduled for the FBM boats.
Once we got under way and
the Captain announced our mission over the 1MC, then I understood why we loaded
so much stuff on board. As we neared St Peter & Paul rocks just north of the
equator, the shellbacks began holding secret meetings in the CIC to plan their
little party for all us pollywogs. FTC Garlock as the senior shellback was to be
King Neptune and also presided over these secret meetings. When Capt Beach tried
to claim his right as a shellback, the committee demanded he present his
shellback card. I understand that Capt Beach searched his cabin for some
evidence or proof that he was in fact a shellback. Chief Garlock knew he was a
shellback since it was he whom signed his shellback certificate and with the
rest of the committee, enjoyed Capt’s discomfort of possibly being run through
the ceremony again. I am told that one of the few times Capt Beach ever used a
curse word was during his last meeting before the committee. The committee was
giving him a real hard time until he remembered that he signed Garlock’s
by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT USN Ret
Captain Beach did not care for any pictures such as Playboy centerfolds to be posted around the boat. He would get upset when he found any sailor with what we would call croch novels. So you would notice officers sitting in the wardroom studying technical manuals (Playboy Mag inside). Most of the cheesecake photos the crew had were kept on the inside of their personal locker or inside tool and equipment storage lockers. The officers eventually discovered where all these pinups were located in the engineering spaces, thus as part of the inspection prior to assuming the watch would inspect all the hidden pinups. Finally Chief Kennedy (ENC) asked me for a bunch of 8x10 pictures of the skipper. I asked why and he explained that he wanted to replace the pinups in all the engineering storage lockers. Later I was informed how the joke went. It seems that as each officer made his rounds and opened one of these storage lockers, he would display total shock at what he found. Then he would quickly look around to see if anyone noticed him. Of course the crewmembers were hidden from view. What was really funny is that not one of them would alert his relief what had happened. So the crew had a few days fun watching as each of them was caught. Later, after the trip, Capt Beach had a bunch of visitors touring the boat and some of the engineering spaces. One of the visitors opened one storage locker with a picture of the captain still posted and supposedly looked very strangely at the Capt. I always wondered what went through that person’s mind at that moment. In the Chief’s quarters we had a mural on one bulkhead separating two curtains. Unbeknown to the Captain, we had a few porno pictures hidden behind these curtains. When the Captain showed them the Chief’s quarters, they remarked about the mural and asked what was behind the curtains. Before any chief could respond, the skipper pulled one curtain back and WOW! I think the visitors had a completely different opinion of our chiefs after that incident.
The World Cruise crew included not only a medical doctor, but also a psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Weybrew. The doctor wanted to spend most of his time eating and being with members of the crew as part of his medical research. That idea was just what the old timers wanted in their effort to pass the time of day. As the days passed, more and more members of the crew would display unusual behavior in his presence. The chiefs would discuss such topics as exchanging wives for sex and etc in his presence. The more the doctor heard such wild stories, the more unsettled he himself apparently became. Of course this in turn encourage everyone to dream up ever more scenarios for his ears. Apparently, at one point in time the good doctor over heard a couple of crewmembers going over what they intended to say and do in his presence. At the evening meal the doctor came in and planted a big kiss on the cheek of one chief who would give forth really wild and gross stories for the doctor’s benefit. Then in a high falsetto voice told the chief he was so glad he could sit next to him. The chief’s response was absolute shock and white complexion and quickly stood up looked in total disbelief at the doctor and ran back to the chief’s quarters. We now knew the jig was up.
Later as we neared the
coast of Spain and learned that there would be a group of psychiatrist to
accompany us back to the states. By this time the good doctor knew the crew
loved to pull practical jokes. There was a group of chiefs and 1st class who
were going to be off watch at the time when these doctors came on board. So we
began to rehearse a few scenes of homosexuality for their benefit. Well, I
believe that the Captain heard what we intended to do and suddenly almost
everyone of us were assigned watches during this time period leaving poor Doctor
Weybrew alone to greet his colleges. He like everyone else, lacked the courage
to give this demonstration alone.
Submitted by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT USN Ret.
I remember Bud Marley RM1 and I took on the project of
installing an AN/SRD-7A HF/DF system on the Triton before our departure.
The Tender’s cranes could not be located directly over the UHF/VHF
antenna mast designated. So we
used block and tackle to haul the Antenna unit with attached cabling through
the inside of the sail. The
UHF/VHF antenna had to be pried out using 6’ steel pry bars to break it
loose. In the process we bent
both steel pry bars and almost had us in the hospital.
We just barely finished installing the antenna and running the cabling
through the hull before we got underway.
Bud and I were excused from our maneuvering watch stations to permit us
completing the internal wiring before pulling the plug.
Later on station, I would demonstrate on how direction-finding equipment could be used to plot our position. Some could not understand why I would designate a our actual position more adjacent towards one bearing rather then in the middle of a three bearing pattern. It was based on the art of classification labeling of each bearing used in the plotting (A, B, C, or D).
I had believed that the liberty scene in the movie Mr.
Roberts could never ever occur. However,
I recall when we tied up to a pier in St. Thomas and informed of our liberty
restrictions set the mood for the rest of our stay.
Only one third of the enlisted crew could go on liberty and must be
back by 10PM and chiefs at Midnight. Most
of the crew preferred to remain at sea rather then sit tied up to a pier and
On Sunday, our last day in port, the local UDT unit challenged us to a beer ballgame. Since I was the ship’s photographer, I decided to take a few pictures at this game. By the beginning of the second inning, I realized this ballgame should not be recorded on film and went into town for some local color. I quickly discovered that there was nothing of interest in the town worthy of being recorded on film. So I spent the day and evening at a local Yacht club and was eventually driven back to the boat near mid-night.
Captain Beach arrived near mid-night with a group of nuns to visit the boat. I was informed by those more sober than I what the Captain and his guest were confronted with. A few sailors that came too after the ballgame were unable to walk back but instead were crawling on their hands and knees. One Corpsman was chasing the OOD Lt. Van Metre aft of the sail with a palm leaf. Another Corpsman was attempting to remove sailors hanging on lifelines and push them into the water while the topside watch tried to prevent him. The below decks watch had a number of unconscious crewmembers stacked like cordwood in between the scope wells and as they made their rounds forward or aft assist one of these sailors to their respective bunk. Then there were those crewmembers in the crews mess loudly expressing their displeasure in true sailor terms as the Captain and Nuns came down the attack center hatch.
I remember the following day we remained on the surface until the evening meal and every empty #10 that existed was in great demand by those on watch. I was given the task of taking pictures of our firing a Mark 14 torpedo at a rock some thousand odd yards away. Captain wanted pictures as the fish left the tube along with a number of others as it traveled to the target. That meant I had to brace myself almost at the bow in order to get this first picture. Between dry heaves and the boat rolling roughly 20 degrees port and starboard was a real challenge for me.
After the evening meal the Captain called officers and chiefs meeting in the crews mess. He started to give everyone hell until Chief Garlock spoke up. Chief Garlock stated that he should apologize to the crew rather then us to him. He forcefully and quietly reminded the skipper that after 10 PM, bringing guests on board was unwise and especially unwise at Mid-night when all liberty was to end. The skipper’s face locked up and he stormed back to his stateroom without saying a word.
Leo Boland 1961-62
When Leo Boland reported on board as our chief cook, we went from
having good chow to having the best possible.
He was like a mother hen, constantly checking to ascertain how we liked
the current meal.
On one of our trips, several chiefs detected Leo’s Achilles heel, namely comments on his cooking skill. As more and more crewmembers refused to make any comments on the food, the more he would ask everybody. It became apparent to almost everyone that this lack of comments was really affecting Leo. Finally, at one meal Leo asked the COB, Chief Fitzgerald about the food. Chief Fitzgerald quietly remarked “It taste like shit”. Leo immediately began repeating this phrase and quickly knocked on the skipper’s statement and informed him that the crew said the food taste like shit.
On another occasion, we were getting ready to go to sea and Leo ordered a quantity of hamburger. When it arrived and he inspected it, had me use the ship’s 4x5 Press Camera and color film to record what we received. Instead of being red to indicate meat, it was pink indicating it was mostly ground up fat. The stink that Leo raised resulted in the complete shipment of hamburger to be replaced with steak. Several weeks into the trip, I walked by the galley and found Leo crying his heart out, as he would place a steak in the grinder to convert it to hamburger. It seems after a couple of weeks eating steak for breakfast, lunch and supper some of the crew expressed an interest in plain old hamburger for a change.
Submitted by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT USN Ret
Special Ops Event 1960
While operating above the artic circle, we experienced flooding of the 8-B Periscope Antenna. I was able to convince Captain George F Morin that I could repair this antenna if we could surface. So we headed further north toward the North Pole and punched through the ice to the surface. I forget who was the other crewman that volunteered to assist me. We climbed on top of the sail, which was quickly covered with a coating of ice and removed the 8-B stub antenna. I discovered the mounting screws were extremely loose as the cause for flooding. After drying out the internal area and re-installing the stub antenna, I asked if I could check some of the other antennas we relied on. The skipper gave us permission to inspect several others that had been worked on in port before our departure. I told him which antenna masts to be raised and when ready we moved further back on top of the sail. Upon inspecting the first suspected antenna, I reported that the bolts were not completely tight and we immediately began to tighten every flange bolt. During this period the bridge received a report from CIC that aircraft radar was detected. The skipper urged us to hurry, as we just may have to dive very quickly. After a couple of minutes more the bridge received another report that the aircraft had now shifted to sector scan and heading in our direction.
The skipper gave the order to clear the bridge and for us to get back. I had the sailor assisting me to haul our flashlight and other tools back to the bridge while I finished the last couple of bolts. I heard another report received on the bridge that the aircraft was only minutes away. The skipper yelled for me to get back NOW and gave the order to dive. I tried to get up and discovered I was frozen to the sail. When I heard the air rushing out of the ballast tanks, that gave me extra motivation to get up and I believe I ran across the top of the sail to the bridge opening. I landed on the bridge deck and ordered below immediately, of course that was not necessary in my view. I moved over to the ladder to the lower bridge and simply dropped down. I then hobbled over to the conning tower hatch and again dropped down to the deck. Right behind me was the skipper along with a few gallons of seawater before he shut the upper hatch. I just lay on the deck there with my feet hurting from both drops as he stepped over me toward the periscopes.
After a couple of minutes I got up and very painfully climbed down the ladder into the control room. As I came down, I began hearing some of the crew on watch laughing and wondered why. Once I was completely down, I discovered that I had left the seat of my pants still frozen to the sail.
By the following year I had sufficient evidence to explain why so many submarines would experience antenna flooding subsequent to being opened for service in port. Most of the cases were traced to the antenna being serviced during warm weather and experience flooding after a few days submerged in 40-45 degree water. It was simple; metal expands slightly when warm and contracts when cold. Thus I would advise all special operation missions to re-inspect their antenna fittings after a few days in very cold water.
Submitted by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT USN Ret
Return in the Fog 1962
By 1962, it was very routine
practice for the Triton to take on board a group of engineers and Phd’s from
various Universities along with their equipment to be tested.
One such system was a prototype version of Perivison, a video camera
that can be attached to the 8-B periscope.
Unbeknown to everyone the tube employed in the video camera could
detect and record objects in the fog much further beyond what the human eye
On returning to port in the fog, they operated the system with the scope fully raised assuming it could look over the fog. My maneuvering watch station was topside on the aft capstan. Suddenly, I heard over the 7MC ‘ALL BACK EMERGENCY.’ I ran to shut the hatch to the after torpedo room because our huge screws could push sea water up over the main deck and down into the torpedo room. Then I heard the order ‘BRACE YOURSELF’ while I tried to see what we were going to hit.
Suddenly out of the fog came another submarine so close I could spit on it’s crewmembers stationed topside. Subsequent investigation revealed that the Perivison had detected the other boat twice the distance of normal human capability. This unit became an integral part of the AN/WLR-6(V) which I became involved with upon transfer to DEPCOMSUBLANT. The first submarine to include the complete system was to be the 637 class and later with the Type 15 and later Type 16 Periscope.
Submitted by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT USN Ret
Married Man’s Turns 1962
I remember one time under
Captain Morin as we began to return to port he gave the order to make MARRIED
MAN’S TURNS. One of the planes
men asked the Captain what were married man’s turns.
The skipper turned to me and growled “He’s kidding.”
I replied ‘No Sir.” The
skipper instructed me to explain the order to the young planes man.
Later on another short trip heading back under MARRIED MAN’S TURNS the skipper came into the control room and noticed that we were traveling at about 25 knots. It seems as each throttle man was relieved there would be a couple of extra turns added. The skipper got on the 7 MC and informed Engineering “ I meant Married Man’s turns not Newly Wed.”
Submitted by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT USN Ret.
Prepping for Special Ops 1960
In the planning for our first operational mission involved a trip to Washington DC to ascertain what additional equipment would be employed. I stressed at this meeting that everything must be able to fit through a 25” diameter opening. Later, when the equipment arrived happen to include a Model 28 TTY unit, which was more than 25” across the widest point. One of my subsequent phone calls back to DC, I advised them that I could not get the Model 28 on board unless I received a specific order to do so. They replied with my request and gave me a direct order to have that equipment placed on board the submarine. Later before we left on our mission, I informed Headquarters that everything would be on board and operational by the time we get underway. Since the submarine was alongside the tender rather than Electric Boat, we didn’t have a suitable crane available to assist in the installation of our AN/SRD-7A HF/DF system. I advised them that Bud Marley RM1(SS) and I was able to install it without suitable crane service and would finish the internal wiring enroute to sea. One of the phone conference individuals asked how did I get the Model 28 on board. I replied “By cutting it in half and bolting it back together once I got it on board.” There was a long period of silence on the other end before conversation resumed.
Submitted by William R Hadley CTC(SS) LT UNS Ret
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We would love to post a lot more stories and memories of times spent on the Triton. If you have anything that you feel would add to this page, please contact us and we will add them asap. Garry Gray