Memories from Cusk crewmembers and
other interesting submarine stories
What's the difference
between a fairy tale and a Sea Story?
Well, a fairy tale begins
with, "Once upon a time...", and a Sea Story begins with, "This is no sh*%..."
Reminiscing about those memorable, good for anything
green nylon bags that hung from just about every "rack" on the boat.
Author unknown. Submitted by Rick "Ptomaine" Greer,
USS Cusk, 1965 - 1967
Operational Readiness Inspection
A humorous story from a young Cusk sailor about how the
#1 "heavie" thrower didn't exactly have a good day.
Story by Norm Carkeek, USS Cusk, 1949 - 1951
The Sub that Sank a Train
A true story about how crewmembers from the USS
Barb sabotaged a Japanese train during World War II in the only ground
on the Japanese 'homeland' of World War II.
The Saboteurs, under the command of Commander
Eugene Fluckey included Paul G. "Swish" Saunders, who later served as
COB of the Cusk in 1950.
Author unknown. Story submitted by Jerry Weaver,
USS Cusk, 1967 - 1969
Sam Lyons tells how to handle a puppy when nature calls
Story by Sam Lyons,
USS Cusk, 1953 - 1959
Norm Carkeek's funny story about how the Cusk went down,
or thought she did and ended up fanning the air.
Story by Norm Carkeek,
USS Cusk, 1949 - 1951
Reminiscing about those memorable, good for anything
green nylon bags that hung from just about every "rack" on the boat.
Story by Mike Van Hoy,
USS Cusk, 1959 - 1960
Hot, not exactly
straight, not exactly normal
On patrol in North Vietnamese waters, a torpedo, minus
its warhead is launched at an Australian destroyer turns and comes back at us.
Story by Tom Roseland, USS Cusk, 1966 - 1969
Four great stories about the Cusk's early years.
Stories by Don Boberick, USS Cusk, 1946
A Last Look
The decommissioning of a warship is a sad thing to see,
especially if it has been your home for years.
Author Tom Roseland,
USS Cusk, 1966 - 1969
What Grandpa did
during the Cold War
Some great stories, reminiscing, and Cusk history by a
former Cusk crewmember
Story by Billy Hrbacek, USS Cusk, 1959 - 1963
In the beginning...
In the beginning was the word, and the
word was God and all else was darkness and void and without form. So God
created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun and the moon and the
stars, so that their light might pierce the darkness. And the earth, God
divided between the land and the sea, and these He filled with many assorted
And from the
slime, in a land called Lympstone, God made dark, salty creatures
that inhabited the seashore. He called them Marines, He
dressed them accordingly, in bright colors so that their betters may
more easily find them in the holes and burrows that they'd scoured
out of the ground.
And God said,
"Whilst at their appointed labors they will devour worms, maggots, C
and K rations and all creatures that creep or crawl". The
flighty creatures of the air, He called Airdales, and these He
clothed in uniforms which were ruffled, perfumed, and pretty.
He gave them great floating cities with flat roofs in which to live,
where they gathered and formed huge multitudes. They carried
out heathen rites and ceremonies by day and by night upon the roof
amidst thunderous noise. They were given God's blue sky and
their existence was on the backs of others.
surface creatures of the sea, God called Skimmers, who supported the
Airdales and with a twinkle in His eye and a sense of humor only He
could have, He gave them all gedunks, polluted with much stickywater,
to drink. God gave them big grey "targets" to go to sea in.
He gave them many splendid uniforms to wear. And He gave them
all the world's exotic and wonderful places to visit. He gave
them pen and paper so that they could write home every week, and He
gave them ropeyarn Sunday at sea and a laundry so they could clean
and polish their splendid uniforms. (When you are God it is
very easy to get carried away with your own great and wondrous
And on the
seventh day, as you know, God rested from his labors. And on
the eighth day at 0755, just before Colors, God looked down upon the
earth and He was not a happy man. God knew He had not quite
achieved perfection, so He thought about his labors, and in His
infinite wisdom, He created a divine creature, His masterpiece, and
this He called a Submariner. A child of heaven.
Submariners, whom God created in His own image, and to whom He gave
his most cherished gift, great intelligence, were to be of the deep,
and to them He gave more of his greatest gifts. He gave them
black steel messengers of death called the "Smoke Boat" class in
which to roam the depths of his oceans, and He gave them His arrows
and slingshots, the Mark 14 torpedo of burnished brass and black,
and the Mark 37 of green, to wage war against the forces of Satan
and all evil.
great knowledge and understanding upon them, in order that they may
more easily win their greatest challenge, to pass their
Qualification Test and be skilled in the great works God had charged
The finest of
these men, God called "Diesel Boat Submariners" for they made all
happen beyond the understanding of other men. He gave His
Submariners hotels in which to live when they were exhausted and
weary from doing God’s will. He gave them fortitude to consume
vast quantities of beer and booze, to sustain them in their arduous
tasks, performed in His name.
He gave them
great food, submarine pay and occasionally, subsistence so that they
might entertain the Ladies of the "Starlight", "White Hat", and the
"Horse and Cow" on Saturday nights and impress the heck out of the
creatures He called "Skimmers” and "Jar Heads".
And at the
end of the eighth day, God again looked down upon the earth and saw
all was good in His realm. But God was not happy because, in
the course of His mighty labors He had forgotten one thing. He
had not kept a pair of "Dolphins" for Himself.
thought about it and considered it and finally He consoled himself,
in the certain knowledge that - - -
"Not Just Anybody Can Be a
- author unknown
If you never rode the boats, this is going to sound silly and
make absolutely no damn sense to you. If you did, you will remember the
damn things and probably smile.
The contraptions were simply called bunk bags. Not 'U.S. Navy
Bags, Bunk, Type II Mod 6, Unit of Issue, One Each'. Not 'Shipboard Personal
Gear Storage Pouch (Submarine) with Zipper'... Just goddamn 'bunk bags'.
They were elongated bags, designed specifically for horizontal passageway
storage, hung from the tubular bunk frames on diesel boats. They were
ugly, a sickening shade of lime-green (which incidentally, closely resembled the
color of barf after a three-day drunk) and had four snap straps that connected
them to the bunk rail.
It is my understanding that they were intended to eliminate the
noise level created by Gillette safety razors, Zippo lighters, busted Timex
watches, dice, flashlights, coins, and shrunken heads, purchased as gifts for
wives, from rattling around in an aluminum side locker and giving away your
position. They were either that lime-green or some kind of gray tweed and
they were uglier than a blind man's bride. But they had many desirable
qualities if you were a nomadic resident of a submersible septic tank.
First, they increased the allowable storage space and damn near
doubled it. In layman's terms, an E-3 could accumulate worldly goods amounting
to those on par with migrating Mongolians and folks doing life on Devil's
Next, and this can only be appreciated by an idiot bastard who
ever had the wonderful experience of a surface battery charge in a state five
sea, the damn things hanging down on the passageway side of a berthing
compartment, kept you from being beat to death, bouncing off inanimate objects
bolted to the pressure hull. They serve to pad the piping surrounding the
bunks known as bunk rails. Your ribs were very grateful.
But the best thing about bunk bags was their ability to be
converted into instant short-range luggage... Sort of a 'submariners Samsonite
overnight' bag. By snapping the two center straps together, you could
create what passed for a luggage handle... A poor excuse for a carrying device,
but usable. A bunk bag full of the supplies needed for a 72-hour excursion
into the heartland of the civilian population, was the worst of all possible
Mentally picture the left leg of a fat woman's panty hose filled
with Jell-O and stitched up at the open end and at midway from thigh to toe,
attach a sea bag handle and you have the most unwieldy AWOL bag ever created and
the ugliest damn contraption ever invented by man... A floppy sausage full of
the meager possessions of a long-range boat bum.
The damn things had one distinct advantage that no other personal
gear conveyance had. If you saw some fleet untouchable standing beside the
highway with one of the fool things at his feet, you knew immediately that the
hitchhiking man was a boat sailor. A fellow submarine sailor would burn
flat spots in a new set of tires, stopping to pick you up.
To every old white-haired diesel boat vet, the words 'bunk bag'
bring a smile to his weather-beaten face. You would find it damn hard to come
across an old petroleum-powered submersible resident who didn't have fond
memories of the worthless s$%%^&*(.
O. R. I.
Preparing for an Operational Readiness
Inspection is a tedious endeavor. The boat is cleaned from stem to stern, then
cleaned again. Each operational procedure is rigidly practiced, time after
time. Every function on a submarine is looked at under a microscope, and
overseen by the captain and executive officer. Then each junior officer relays
commands to the various chiefs. Each chief in his area of responsibilities
grinds the crewmen under his supervision until every job, every procedure and
every function of running a submarine is carried out flawlessly by the crew
The Cusk was ready for this ORI in early
1949. Taking on fuel was our last major chore. Saturday morning we moved from
the nest, and docked at Ballast Point, the Navy Fuel Depot in San Diego harbor.
Most of the crew was on liberty, with
only a small contingent of men left to complete the fueling. Once we had
secured from maneuvering watch, I essentially had no duties. This left me free
to go topside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Soon I was joined by Robert
Hugh MacDowall and we engaged in serious philosophical debate as to the truth
about “B” girls being virtuous.
Robert Hugh (a handsome, tall fellow
with a thick blond curly head of hair) expressed his opinion that the girls he
met on the beach were all upstanding, church going, clean, intellectual ladies.
And, that suited Robert to a tee. I being a shy, retiring young man, and
totally ignorant in the ways of women had to agree with much of what Robert
said, however, since Robert always had a smile on his face. . . . ? I did have
to acquiesce to Robert, because he had emanated from a highly charged cultural
center, known for its gifts of intellectualism to its natives. Akron, Ohio has
an amazing ring of sophistication to it, don’t you think?
Soon we tired of this conversation and
turned to more interesting things. We decided to practice throwing the heaving
line. After all, it was a way to entertain ourselves, and obviously would
benefit us for future line handling duties. Besides, it was fun.
Soon we challenged each other into who
was the best “heavie tosser.” We obtained permission from “Swish” Saunders to
tie a line to a life ring, toss it out and use it as a target. Yes, there was a
small tide, and occasionally we would retrieve the ring, and relocate it.
The lighthearted tossing slowly became
more serious. When two or more men are engaged in this type of game, it sooner
or later develops into “I can beat you” mentality. We began testing our skills
at landing in the middle of the life ring. We added speed to the requirements.
Speed and accuracy became the watchword. Toss the line to the target, reel it
in and toss it again as rapidly as possible, maintaining accuracy as an
important element to the game.
We were observed by everyone who came
topside, and several times we were interrupted by another crewman who would want
to show us how it was done properly. They usually slunk away when they failed
miserably to best us, two highly motivated expert tossers.
After a couple of hours we grew tired,
but we truly did become highly skilled in speed and accuracy. Mack, always the
gentlemen, agreed that he was second best in all categories (even in distance),
but he didn’t know I had been a Sea Scout and had trained for many hours in this
art before joining the Navy. Had we been betting, it would have truly been
taking candy from a baby.
The following week at sea was spent in
working with the inspecting officer from the flotilla, and appeared to have
passed all the ORI events with ease. We headed back to San Diego to tie up and
begin Liberty. But the trials were not completely over. Our ships handling
of the docking procedure were the last of the tests to be performed.
Maneuvering Watch was set. I joined E.
C. Draper in the After Engine Room, after acquiring a cup of hot black spicy
coffee for his lordship, (is Tabasco Sauce a spice or an herb?). Both engines
were running, and being manipulated by the electricians in the Maneuvering Room.
All was normal, when I received word I was to report topside to see Swish.
With a small amount of trepidation I
found Swish forward with the number one line handling unit. Swish informed me
he wanted me to get number one over, as the tide was fierce and they were having
problems coming in close to the outboard boat in the nest. I didn’t have time
to consider the honor bestowed upon me, I dutifully selected a choice heaving
line from the deck locker where they were stowed.
I had time to wet the line and make a
couple of practice tosses before the order to “put number one over” was given.
I refrained from saluting the bridge to acknowledge the order, however I did
spot the Skipper and the ORI officers on the bridge. I sensed our skipper was
telling the commodore I could toss the heaving line a nautical mile. Obviously
the Skipper was counting on me to make a flawless pitch and cap the ORI with
skilled line handling.
Quickly I surveyed our situation. The
bow was swinging away, the distance was great, and fear was showing in the eyes
of all the men in the party. However I was ready. It would take a
championship effort, but I knew I was up to speed to handle the chore. I felt
my muscles tense, my computing brain had figured the wind, the speed, the
distance and the ebbing tide, yes it could be done.
The line was wet, half of the coils were
in my left hand, the remainder in my throwing hand. The line handling party on
the other boat was awaiting the “Monkey Fist.” All eyes were on me, I knew my
chance at a commendation medal was upon me. I wound up, resembling a tightly
coiled spring, took a deep breath and let her go.
The heaving line left my hand with a
flight speed that could have broken the sound barrier. It had the velocity, it
had everything it would take to make the toss successful, that is, everything
but a desire to obey my command. I watched as the leaded Monkey Fist left my
hand and traveled about five degrees from perpendicular. It went straight up
with a slight arc and wrapped itself around the antennae wire running from the
shears to the Bull Nose. It didn’t make a single wrap, it wound around the wire
until all its forces were exhausted. It was perfectly wrapped and locked onto
I can still hear the sound of wind
leaving my lungs, followed by a litany of words from my fellow crewmen, words
that would make the devil blush. Words that only serve a purpose when you
strike your thumb with a four pound mall. Words that cannot be printed here.
I didn’t wait to be ordered below. My
instincts told me to retreat to a safer place. My safe haven, the After Engine
Room was awaiting me. Once again the benevolence of Submarine Sailors came into
play. I never heard about the incident again from any of my fellow shipmates.
But to this day, I remember, and through the years this incident has come back
to either haunt or aid me in the realities of life.
In real life, remaining humble takes an
incredible amount of work.
Norm Carkeek 1949-1951
USS CUSK SSG 348
U.S.S. Barb: The Sub that Sank a Train in WW II
In 1973 an
Italian submarine named Enrique Tazzoli was sold for a paltry $100,000 as scrap
metal. The submarine, given to the Italian Navy in 1953 was actually an
incredible veteran of World War II service with a heritage that never should
have passed so unnoticed into the graveyards of the metal recyclers. The U.S.S.
Barb was a pioneer, paving the way for the first submarine launched missiles and
flying a battle flag unlike that of any other ship. In addition to the Medal of
Honor ribbon at the top of the flag identifying the heroism of its captain,
Commander Eugene 'Lucky' Fluckey, the bottom border of the flag bore the image
of a Japanese locomotive. The U.S.S. Barb was indeed, the submarine that 'SANK
July, 1945 (Guam) - Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz looked across the desk at
Admiral Lockwood as he finished the personal briefing on U.S. war ships in the
vicinity of the northern coastal areas of Hokkaido, Japan. "Well, Chester,
there's only the Barb there, and probably no word until the patrol is finished.
You remember Gene Fluckey?"
"Of course. I recommended him for the Medal of Honor," Admiral Nimitz replied.
"You surely pulled him from command after he received it?"
July 18, 1945 - (Patience Bay, off the coast of Karafuto, Japan) it was after 4
A.M. and Commander Fluckey rubbed his eyes as he peered over the map spread
before him. It was the twelfth war patrol of the Barb, the fifth under Commander
Fluckey. He should have turned command over to another skipper after four
patrols, but had managed to strike a deal with Admiral Lockwood to make one more
trip with the men he cared for like a father, should his fourth patrol be
successful. Of course, no one suspected when he had struck that deal prior to
his fourth and what should have been his final war patrol on the Barb, that
Commander Fluckey's success would be so great he would be awarded the Medal of
Commander Fluckey smiled as he remembered that patrol. 'Lucky' Fluckey they
called him. On January 8th the Barb had emerged victorious from a running
two-hour night battle after sinking a large enemy ammunition ship. Two weeks
later in Mamkwan Harbor he found the 'mother-lode'...more than 30 enemy ships.
In only 5 fathoms (30 feet) of water his crew had unleashed the sub's forward
torpedoes, then turned and fired four from the stern. As he pushed the Barb to
the full limit of its speed through the dangerous waters in a daring withdrawal
to the open sea, he recorded eight direct hits on six enemy ships. Then, on the
return home he added yet another Japanese freighter to the tally for the Barb's
eleventh patrol, a score that exceeded even the number of that patrol.
What could possibly be left for the Commander to accomplish who, just three
months earlier had been in Washington, D.C. to receive the Medal of Honor? He
smiled to himself as he looked again at the map showing the rail line that ran
along the enemy coast line. This final patrol had been promised as the Barb's
'graduation patrol' and he and his crew had cooked up an unusual finale. Since
the 8th of June they had harassed the enemy, destroying the enemy supplies and
coastal fortifications with the first submarine launched rocket attacks. Now
his crew was buzzing excitedly about bagging a train.
The rail line itself wouldn't be a problem. A shore patrol could go ashore
under cover of darkness to plant the explosives...one of the sub's 55-pound
scuttling charges. But this early morning Lucky Fluckey and his officers were
puzzling over how they could blow not only the rails, but one of the frequent
trains that shuttled supplies to equip the Japanese war machine. Such a daring
feat could handicap the enemy's war effort for several days, a week, perhaps
It was a crazy idea, just the kind of operation 'Lucky' Fluckey had become
famous...or infamous...for. But no matter how crazy the idea might have
sounded, the Barb's skipper would not risk the lives of his men. Thus the
problem... how to detonate the charge at the moment the train passed, without
endangering the life of a shore party.
PROBLEM? Not on Commander Fluckey's ship. His philosophy had always been
don't have problems, only solutions".
11:27 AM - 'Battle Stations!' No more time to seek solutions or to ponder
blowing up a train. The approach of a Japanese freighter with a frigate escort
demands traditional submarine warfare. By noon the frigate is laying on the
ocean floor in pieces and the Barb is in danger of becoming the hunted.
6:07 PM - Solutions! If you don't look for them, you'll never find them. And
even then, sometimes they arrive in the most unusual fashion. Cruising slowly
beneath the surface to evade the enemy plane now circling overhead, the monotony
is broken with an exciting new idea.
Instead of having a crewman on shore to trigger explosives to blow both rail and
a passing train, why not let the train BLOW ITSELF up.
Billy Hatfield was excitedly explaining how he had cracked nuts on the railroad
tracks as a kid, placing the nuts between two ties so the sagging of the rail
under the weight of a train would break them open. 'Just like cracking walnuts,'
he explained. 'To complete the circuit (detonating the 55-pound charge) we hook
in a micro switch ..between two ties. We don't set it off, the TRAIN does.' Not
only did Hatfield have the plan, he wanted to be part of the volunteer shore
The solution found, there was no shortage of volunteers, all that was needed was
the proper weather...a little cloud cover to darken the moon for the mission
ashore. Lucky Fluckey established his own criteria for the volunteer party: No
married men would be included, except for Hatfield...The party would include
members from each department...The opportunity would be split between regular
Navy and Navy Reserve sailors... At least half of the men had to have been Boy
Scouts, experienced in how to handle themselves in medical emergencies and in
the woods....FINALLY, 'Lucky' Fluckey would lead the saboteurs himself.
When the names of the 8 selected sailors was announced it was greeted with a
mixture of excitement and disappointment. Among the disappointed was Commander
Fluckey who surrendered his opportunity at the insistence of his officers that
'as commander he belonged with the Barb,' coupled with the threat from one that
"I swear I'll send a message to ComSubPac if you attempt this (joining the shore
party himself)." Even a Japanese POW being held on the Barb wanted to go,
promising not to try to escape.
In the meantime, there would be no more harassment of Japanese shipping or shore
operations by the Barb until the train mission had been accomplished. The crew
would 'lay low', prepare their equipment, train, and wait for the weather.
July 22, 1945 - (Patience Bay , Off the coast of Karafuto, Japan) Patience Bay
was wearing thin the patience of Commander Fluckey and his innovative crew.
Everything was ready. In the four days the saboteurs had anxiously watched the
skies for cloud cover, the inventive crew of the Barb had built their micro
switch. When the need was posed for a pick and shovel to bury the explosive
charge and batteries, the Barb's engineers had cut up steel plates in the lower
flats of an engine room, then bent and welded them to create the needed tools.
The only things beyond their control was the weather....and time. Only five
days remained in the Barb's patrol.
Anxiously watching the skies, Commander Fluckey noticed plumes of cirrus clouds,
then white stratus capping the mountain peaks ashore.
A cloud cover was building to hide the three-quarters moon. This would be the
MIDNIGHT, July 23, 1945 - The Barb had crept within 950 yards of the shoreline.
If it was somehow seen from the shore it would probably be mistaken for a
schooner or Japanese patrol boat. No one would suspect an American submarine so
close to shore or in such shallow water. Slowly the small boats were lowered to
the water and the 8 saboteurs began paddling toward the enemy beach.
Twenty-five minutes later they pulled the boats ashore and walked on the surface
of the Japanese homeland. Having lost their points of navigation, the saboteurs
landed near the backyard of a house. Fortunately the residents had no dogs,
though the sight of human AND dog's tracks in the sand along the beach alerted
the brave sailors to the potential for unexpected danger.
Stumbling through noisy waist-high grasses, crossing a highway and then
stumbling into a 4-foot drainage ditch, the saboteurs made their way to the
railroad tracks. Three men were posted as guards, Markuson assigned to examine a
nearby water tower. The Barb's auxiliary man climbed the ladder, then stopped
in shock as he realized it was an enemy lookout tower....an OCCUPIED tower.
Fortunately the Japanese sentry was peacefully sleeping and Markuson was able
to quietly withdraw and warn his raiding party.
The news from Markuson caused the men digging the placement for the explosive
charge to continue their work more slowly and quietly.
Suddenly, from less than 80 yards away, an express train was bearing down on
them. The appearance was a surprise, it hadn't occurred to the crew during the
planning for the mission that there might be a night train. When at last it
passed, the brave but nervous sailors extricated themselves from the brush into
which they had leapt, to continue their task. Twenty minutes later the holes
had been dug and the explosives and batteries hidden beneath fresh soil.
During planning for the mission the saboteurs had been told that, with the
explosives in place, all would retreat a safe distance while Hatfield made the
final connection. If the sailor who had once cracked walnuts on the railroad
tracks slipped during this final, dangerous procedure, his would be the only
life lost. On this night it was the only order the saboteurs refused to obey,
all of them peering anxiously over Hatfield's shoulder to make sure he did it
right. The men had come too far to be disappointed by a switch failure.
1:32 A.M. - Watching from the deck of the Barb, Commander Fluckey allowed
himself a sigh of relief as he noticed the flashlight signal from the beach
announcing the departure of the shore party. He had skillfully, and daringly,
guided the Barb within 600 yards of the enemy beach. There was less than 6 feet
of water beneath the sub's keel, but Fluckey wanted to be close in case trouble
arose and a daring rescue of his saboteurs became necessary.
1:45 A.M. - The two boats carrying his saboteurs were only halfway back to the
Barb when the sub's machine gunner yelled, 'CAPTAIN! Another train coming up
the tracks!' The Commander grabbed a megaphone and yelled through the night,
'Paddle like the devil!', knowing full well that they wouldn't reach the Barb
before the train hit the microswitch.
1:47 A.M. - The darkness was shattered by brilliant light and the roar of the
explosion. The boilers of the locomotive blew, shattered pieces of the engine
blowing 200 feet into the air. Behind it the cars began to accordion into each
other, bursting into flame and adding to the magnificent fireworks display.
Five minutes later the saboteurs were lifted to the deck by their exuberant
comrades as the Barb turned to slip back to safer waters. Moving at only two
knots, it would be a while before the Barb was into waters deep enough to allow
it to submerge. It was a moment to savor, the culmination of teamwork,
ingenuity and daring by the Commander and all his crew. 'Lucky'
Fluckey's voice came over the intercom. 'All hands below deck not absolutely
maneuver the ship have permission to come topside.' He didn't have to repeat
the invitation. Hatches sprang open as the proud sailors of the Barb gathered
on her decks to proudly watch the distant fireworks display. The Barb had
'sunk' a Japanese TRAIN!
On August 2, 1945 the Barb arrived at Midway, her twelfth war patrol concluded.
Meanwhile United States military commanders had pondered the prospect of an
armed assault on the Japanese homeland. Military tacticians estimated such an
invasion would cost more than a million American casualties. Instead of such a
costly armed offensive to end the war, on August 6th the B-29 bomber Enola Gay
dropped a single atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. A second such
bomb, unleashed 4 days later on Nagasaki, Japan, caused Japan to agree to
surrender terms on August 15th. On September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Harbor the
documents ending the war in the Pacific were signed.
The story of the saboteurs of the U.S.S. Barb is one of those unique, little
known stories of World War II. It becomes increasingly important when one
realizes that the 8 sailors who blew up the train at near Kashiho, Japan
conducted the ONLY GROUND COMBAT OPERATION on the Japanese 'homeland' of World
War II. The eight saboteurs were:
(Cusk COB, 1950),
Hatfield, Francis Sever, Lawrence Newland, Edward Klinglesmith, James Richard,
John Markuson, and William Walker.
NOTE: Eugene Bennett Fluckey retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral, and wears
in addition to his Medal of Honor, FOUR Navy Crosses... a record of awards
any living American. In 1992 his own history of the U.S.S. Barb was published in
the award winning book, THUNDER BELOW. Over the past several years proceeds
from the sale of this exciting book have been used by Admiral Fluckey to provide
free reunions for the men who served him aboard the Barb, and their wives.
Admiral Fluckey was born in Washington, D.C. in 1913 and graduated from the
U.S. Naval Academy in 1935. He died 28 June 2007 in Annapolis, Maryland.
- - - -
And you know what? We still make 'em like we use to!
The Puppy by Sam Lyons
The Cusk went on a
(about) 1954. We visited several places but on the last night of liberty in one
of the Japanese ports, we were leaving and going to another location. One of the
"Iron heads" from the After Engine Room came back aboard with a cute little
pup. Of course the Skipper had warned all of us about bringing back any thing
that was unauthorized and this fit the bill. Both the enginemen and electricians
kept mum about the pet for just long enough so that it couldn't be put ashore.
So one of the officers found out about it and the Captain was fit to be tied.
Anyway, to make a long story short, we were to keep it in the engineering spaces
until we could off load it on the beach. Since the after engine room was so hot
and noisy we wound up with it in the Maneuvering Room. Well, what do you do
with a dog at sea when it gets the call of nature? What we did was train the
pup to stay in it's box in Maneuvering Room until it wanted to take a dump or
water the lilies. Then we would let the Engineman have it to pet and play with
until after the call of nature, then the pup would come to the hatch opening
between Maneuvering and the After Engine Room and want to come back to us. When
we pulled into port we gave it to one of the "bum boats" that use to come along
side. It was a good thing that we did because it was coming down with the
Air Power - by Norm Carkeek
Some time ago, I had reason to send
this story to NAVSEA, to make a point on a problem in which we were mutually
involved. Follows a simple sea story, after 47 years facts become dimmed, (but
it is a true story).
The USS Cusk (SSG-348), somewhere
in the Pacific, very early 1950. Our mission was to carry a group of 35 US Army
map makers to a beach prior to a landing. We carried three large inflatable
rubber rafts, and all of their equipment, stored in the “Loon” hanger, on deck
aft of the top side superstructure. This was the first trip aboard a submarine
for this Army unit. The additional men were assigned to the forward torpedo
room, the after battery and the after torpedo room. They immediately learned
the term of “hot bunking”.
We cruised submerged during the
daylight hours, an surfaced at twilight. At that time we aired the boat,
charged batteries, and made speed. One side note, the Army contingent was
pleased they were not allowed to shower during this cruise. After steaming for
several days, it was time to make our submerged run as dawn was approaching. At
approximately 0500 hours, the order was given to dive the boat.
At this point flooding of all
tanks was performed. However, due to the on duty diving officers error in
miscalculating the weight forward (estimated at 10,000 pounds heavy), the boat
assumed an incredible down angle. Since we lost both bubbles in the control
room we never knew for sure the exact degree, but the crew was sure we exceeded
The diving officer gave the
command to blow all tanks which had been flooded to effect the dive. The down
angle prevailed, and seemed to get worse. At this point, anything that was not
tied down moved toward the angle of the dive, this included our prized stainless
steel garbage cans in the crews mess. The condensate collected from the
ventilation system spilled onto the deck.
I was sleeping in the top bunk
starboard side aft in the after battery. My head was placed approximately
three inches from a vent valve minus the handle. I looked over at Pappy Donovan
(EN1) who always had a wad of snuff packed in his lower lip (even when
sleeping), who sat upright and swallowed his cud. I knew then we were in
Without hesitation, all crewmen
not on dive watch began an orderly, but with serious energy, movement aft. The
G. I. contingent had no idea as to the events taking place, and were dragged
along with the crewmen. The water on the deck required extra effort to move
over. The watertight door between the after engine room and the after battery
was closed and battened down. I would estimate the weight of the door at over
two hundred fifty pounds. We succeeded in opening the door, with the help of
the forward engine room oiler who was standing on the bulkhead and pulling as we
The diving officer ordered
emergency reverse. The engines had been shut down during the diving procedure,
which left us using the batteries for power. The boat was vibrating with
incredible intensity as the screws were rotating. As I passed through the
maneuvering room, one of the electricians shouted out “four hundred and eighty”,
or some other impressive number. Naturally, I presumed he was monitoring our
depth. However, he was reading the turns on the screws.
Every man not on dive watch was
crammed into the after torpedo room, this of course included the Army
contingent. They still did not have any information as to what was happening,
as the boats crew acted entirely stoic, but with precision acquired from
countless hours of training.
Finally, the boat righted with a
resounding crashing noise.
It seems we were hung up on the
surface. The bow was down about one hundred and fifty feet. The stern was
above water, and the screws were fanning air This entire event took place in a
very few short minutes. The visitors were dumbfounded, but finally were given
some education about what a submarine does, and how it does it. All men aboard
that boat acted in a totally controlled, and intuitive manner. Added was an
element of common sense.
Without any further ado, we
completed our mission. The GIs were very happy to leave the boat. And the
subject only was rarely brought up again, except to make a point with a new
Hot, Not Exactly Straight, and Abnormal
by Tom Roseland
During what turned out to be the
Cusk's final WestPac in January of 1969, we fired an exercise shot fired at a
Canadian destroyer while patrolling off the coast of Vietnam. Mostly due to
the fact that it was a "recycled" fish off the tender, it went awry and came
back at us almost as soon as it left the tube. Instead of drawing left toward
the Canadian, the fish began to circle toward the right almost as soon as she
left the tube. As it began to close on us, the call for "Emergency Deep, Use
Negative!" sent the Cusk to 200 feet so quickly it caused an air conditioning
cooling line to explode. No sooner had we reached 200 feet when the collision
alarm sounded followed by the words, "Flooding in the Engine Room, Flooding in
the Engine Room!" blaring on the 1MC. Three quick blasts from the claxon
mandated an emergency surface and we rose quickly just as the malfunctioning
torpedo passed by. No damage was sustained and the errant torpedo was later
recovered and returned (happily) to its previous owners aboard the tender in
The Paint Job by Ken Van Hoy
"...His nickname was 'Stratts".
I can still remember him assigning me to scrape out the air boxes in #3 main
engine during an overhaul. I worked with another Engineman named Bradford to
clean it out. I think I still have some of the carbon grit in my pores. I also
remember a time I was assigned some special duty to paint the deck one night of
a work barge we were staying on during dry-dock. He gave me five gallons of
green decking paint and a paint brush. I quickly determined it would take all
night with the brush he gave me, so I found a broom and used it and was finished
in no time. The next morning he asked me how I was able to finish so quickly.
I never told him about the broom. He probably still thinks I'm the world's
Operation Iceberg by Don Boberick, RM3(SS), with the invaluable collaboration of Ernest “Zeke” Zellmer, Lieutenant, U.S.N.
This is a story from two old
sailors about the participation of United States submarines Cusk (348) and
Diodon (349) in “Operation Iceberg” - An expedition by four submarines to Alaska
and beyond - during July and August 1946. I [Don Boberick] told some of this
story before in the USS Cusk Newsletter of a couple of years ago. It happens
that during this arctic cruise I was aboard Diodon, having transferred from Cusk
to Diodon earlier in the year. The fact that I was actually on Diodon is of
little importance to this piece of Cusk history, as both submarines traveled
together throughout the cruise and what one boat did the other did also or at
least was a percipient witness. Since the time I first related this story, its
depth has been enlarged and its accuracy enhanced through the benefit of some
recollections from the wardroom of the Cusk, courtesy of Ernest “Zeke” Zellmer,
who was the Cusk’s Engineering Officer at the time. Any full recounting of the
story of the Cusk’s arctic cruise must contain a diversion or two about
incidents that were not part of the original ComSubPac script and are each a
story in their own right. The titles of these extra curricular adventures might
be “The Dutch Harbor Cumshaw Caper” and “Columbia Glacier - The Errant Torpedo.”
Cusk and Diodon left San Diego in
late July, destination Kiska Island in the western Aleutian Island chain. The
original sailing orders called for a rendezvous at Kiska Island with the
submarines Blackfin and Trumpetfish, which were sailing from Pearl Harbor.
Instead of proceeding all the way to Kiska, the rendezvous destination was
changed to the U.S. Army facility at Dutch Harbor, on Unalaska Island - which is
located not nearly as far to the west as Kiska would have placed us. En route
from Pearl Harbor the Admiral aboard Blackfin, who commanded the expedition,
received orders to keep the expedition east of the International Dateline and of
the Russian land mass. This was apparently due to some elevated political
unrest between the U.S. and the USSR at the time. Eventually all four boats
arrived alongside Dutch Harbor’s single wharf, with Cusk the inboard boat.
After a brief but eventful (as I will later explain) repose at Unalaska, the
boats departed en masse and formed up in the Bering Sea preparatory to sailing
north toward the Bering Strait and polar ice cap beyond.
One of Zeke Zellmer’s lasting
recollections of this early part of the cruise is having to carry-off, as
Officer-of-the-Deck on Cusk, a series of surface-Navy maneuvers that he had not
before been obliged to perform in a submarine. It seems that our Admiral had
not lost his “surface Navy” roots. When the four boats first formed up in the
south Bering Sea and started north, they took up a line-astern formation. Later
that afternoon the Admiral, who was still on the Blackfin at the time,
dispatched an order to all boats to change formation to one of line-abreast.
(Perhaps it was to present a more formidable appearance or just a case of having
fun with these submarine sailors?) For the first time since his days at the
Academy, Zeke had to quickly work out a maneuvering board exercise to get the
course and speed for the Cusk’s new station. Cusk had been directed to take
station out on the extreme wing. He was certain the Admiral would take a dim
view of the Cusk were it to be observed zigging and zagging into its new
position. The Admiral would expect no more (or no less) than a one course and
one speed change in order to get into position and then a quick return to base
course and speed. Zeke executed the maneuvers without incident but remained
apprehensive of what maneuvering the Admiral might next call for and was glad
when his relief arrived.
The expedition group stopped
briefly offshore at the Pribilof Islands near the village of St. George.
Sometime during the trip north through the Bering Strait, the Admiral
transferred his flag to the Cusk. About the only memory I have of Diodon’s
northward traverse of the Bering Sea is that we constructed and flew several
metal framed box kites as radio antennas and also gathered a number of sea
bottom samples with specially fabricated containers. I had no idea as to the
purpose of these activities. Upon arriving at the southern edge of the polar
ice cap, somewhere above latitude 72° North, the Cusk made a dive and, I
thought, conducted a short sojourn under the ice pack. Zeke concurs that Cusk
dove at this location all right but says she did not go beneath the ice cap.
Zeke tells that part of the mission of the trip was to reconnoiter the Wrangel
Islands, which are considerably north of the Arctic Circle and far from any U.S.
territory. This plan was, however, scrubbed after receipt of the message to
remain clear of Russian waters. I am glad this planned action was scrapped as
those Islands are in an isolated section of the Chukchi Sea and they belonged to
the USSR. The Russians coincidentally kept us under radar surveillance much of
the time we were north of the 68th Parallel. As I recall we all remained near
the ice cap overnight. Next morning all boats departed to the south. It was
very foggy at the beginning of the trip southward. On Diodon, we were using
radar to plot the locations of some of the Russian defense radar facilities,
which we could readily detect by the lines of electronic interference shown on
our own radarscope. Somewhere between 70° & 71° North, Diodon’s surface search
radar detected a target proceeding directly toward us on a northeasterly
course. We confirmed the target with the Cusk who also had picked up the target
on their radar. At first, we suspected that it was some kind of an ocean patrol
craft as its speed was in the neighborhood of 20-25 knots. The target continued
to head towards the Diodon until it reached a point less than a mile distant.
We could not observe anything visually because of the fog. The target then
reversed its course and proceeded to exit the area at an estimated speed of
sixty knots. We know that in 1946, no sea going vessel could attain a speed of
60 knots and no fixed wing aircraft could fly as slow as 25 knots. So, what was
it? It was too far from land to be one of the rudimentary helicopters of that
era. It was not a sea going surface craft of any known type. Was it a blimp or
dirigible operating above the fog layer? We never learned its true nature or
origin, nor did we even confirm that it was indeed anything more than an
unidentified image on our radarscopes. It sure looked and behaved, however,
like something that was real.
The group continued southward
through the Bering Strait, passing slightly east of the Diomede Islands. It is
at these islands where a distance of less than two miles separates United States
and Russian soil (and the inhabitants of both islands fraternize back and forth
without the niceties of passport or entry visa). Somewhere around Cape Prince
of Wales, the western most extension of the Territory of Alaska, Cusk and Diodon
left the company of the Hawaii boats and took up a course southeast to the town
of Nome, Alaska. (There is a wonderful old poem, “Nome Town, My Home Town,”
that paints a much prettier picture of this small city than it truly deserves)
Cusk and Diodon arrived off Nome,
Alaska, early the next morning. Both boats anchored about a mile from shore, as
Nome’s small harbor was only sufficient for shallow draft fishing boats. Some
ship’s personnel were given a few hours liberty in the town and were ferried by
small open boat from ship to shore. I remember that I slipped ashore on one of
the ferry runs without permission and got caught coming back aboard that
afternoon. Nome in those days had very little to offer except a few bars along
Front Street (a dirt street with wooden sidewalks) and native handicraft for
sale at the Post Office. One of those bars was named “Arctic Bar” (What else?)
The Arctic Bar is still there, in the same location, and remains one of those
attractions that tourists consider a must place to visit while in Nome. The
principle differences between 1946 and today is that there are several more such
establishments in town, including one with a small hotel. In addition, the
sidewalk in front of the Arctic Bar is now concrete with (at various times
depending upon the existent mood of the city counsel) a couple of parking meters
adjacent to the curb - and there are a lot more people now. The Cusk and Diodon
crews did not do themselves proud in Nome. Many became more than just
inebriated. I remember two or three of the Diodon crew trying to “borrow” an
old flatbed truck that was standing in someone’s yard, in order to provide
themselves with a ride down to the docks. These characters got the truck
running and proceeded to drive it a couple of blocks before crashing it ever so
slightly it into the side of a building close to the wharf. At some point
before all the liberty goers were returned to their respective boats, a fight
broke out on the wharf between members of the two crews. I do not remember how
it got started but it was a “Cusk vs. Diodon” issue of some kind. Both subs
left Nome in the late afternoon for their next stop at Kodiak, Alaska. After
Kodiak, it was northeast into Prince William Sound for a visit to Seward,
Alaska. In Seward, we berthed both boats at the Army dock and again crews were
afforded shore liberty. The main street of Seward (unpaved then) was just a
couple of blocks walk from the dock. The location where the boats docked in
1946 was later destroyed in the 1964 earthquake and is now little more now than
the remnants of a crumbled seawall. (To my knowledge the most recent visit to
Seward by a submarine was the USS Alaska which stopped there with its Blue Crew
over the July 4th holidays in 1987.) After a day in Seward, Cusk and Diodon
departed for Columbia Bay on the eastern side of Prince William Sound close to
the town of Valdez, which is now the southern terminus of the Alaska oil
pipeline. Columbia Bay was carved out by the Columbia Glacier, which is over
forty miles long and has its terminus, then and now, at the northern end of this
wide fjord. Because it terminates in an ocean inlet Columbia is the most
spectacular alpine glacier to be seen in the world. This excursion of Cusk and
Diodon to the Columbia Glacier was to prove to an adventure of its own.
Part 3 and “Columbia Glacier - The
Cusk and Diodon entered Columbia
Bay in mid afternoon of a typical August day in South-central Alaska high
overcast and temperatures in the sixties. The mission was for Diodon and Cusk
to fire live Mark V electric torpedoes across the bay toward the one hundred
foot high and four mile wide face of Columbia Glacier. Columbia Glacier
deposits thousands of tons of ice each summer day into the bay. This occurs as
the warmer sea water melts the submerged portion of the glacier’s face and the
ice calves off into the bay to float away as small icebergs. Zeke explains that
the reason for firing the torpedo was to test, in that ice cube filled water,
how well the WWII electric torpedoes would function in the cold environment.
Certainly, today, firing a torpedo at this alpine glacier would not be permitted
or even considered in light of pristine environment of the glacier and its
surrounds. I was on the Diodon when this took place and was topside at the time
of the torpedo launch. At this point, I return to the recollections of Zeke
Zellmer, who witnessed the incident from the bridge of the Cusk. Diodon
launched the Mark V torpedo from their stern tubes. The launch of the torpedo
was in the direction of the glacier - directly toward the sixty foot tall face.
As this was an electric torpedo, there was no visible wake. To those of us
watching from the topside positions nothing was happening - we were just
watching and waiting with an expectation of seeing a large explosion and a
scattering of ice when the torpedo struck the glacier. We watched and we
waited. We waited and we watched. Nothing! Then we noticed that the Cusk was
backing emergency and rapidly moving away. We soon learned that Cusk’s sonar
had reported the torpedo making a circular run counter clockwise toward the
west. On Diodon, we must have lost track of the torpedo because we continued to
watch for impact against the face of the glacier - but nothing happened. No
explosion was heard or felt and it was far past the time that impact was
supposed to have taken place. While some were speculating that it might have
been a dud, the bridge nevertheless put on emergency power to “get the hell out
a here.” Then when those persons topside least expected it, there was an
explosion several thousand yards to the east of our position at the site of
gravel spit (an old lateral moraine) that extended southward from the glacier.
Zeke, on Cusk, says the Admiral ordered “End of Exercise.” We departed the area
with most of us on Diodon convinced that the torpedo had completed a circular
run around the boat before it impacted against the gravel spit. The force of
the explosion must have been directed harmlessly upward into the atmosphere,
which was perhaps for the better. An explosion of that magnitude against the
face of the glacier would have generated tremendous forces downward and seaward
of the face where the waters abound with marine mammals - seals, sea lions and
sea otters primarily, with an occasional pod of killer whales in the area.
Later the experts speculated that cold water (in the tube before the firing as
well as in the bay where the torpedo was running) caused the lubricants to
become so viscous that the rudder froze in a hard over position. The torpedo
apparently required some running time to allow the motor heat and vibration to
free up the rudder and let it try to get back on course.
From Columbia Bay, both boats
sailed south through Prince William Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska to began
the journey homeward. Both vessels diverted over to Juneau, the Capital of
Alaska, for a visit and a day in port. The next day both headed southward
through portions of the Inland Passage of Alaska’s southeastern archipelago and
home. The traverse of the Inland Passage was foreshortened to just one day and
a night due to constant fog, which made navigating all of those Islands too
torturous a task. The boats headed for deep water and a faster trip home.
Part 4 - “The Dutch Harbor Cumshaw Caper”
At the beginning of my recounting
of this cruise, I spoke of an episode worthy of telling by itself - the cumshaw
caper. What this is about is the activity of several crews while at the group’s
rendezvous at Dutch Harbor. Dutch Harbor, on Unalaska Island, was the site of
United States Army, Air Corps and Navy activity during World War II. It was one
of the major U.S. outposts in the Aleutian Island chain, which stretches
westward beyond the International Dateline. There were some military facilities
farther west but those bases were much smaller than those of Dutch Harbor. The
arrival of the Cusk, Diodon, Blackfin and Trumpetfish was in late July of 1946
and the military facilities at Dutch Harbor were being mothballed. Navy
activity was completely shut down and all of the Navy’s old equipment and stores
were housed in three warehouses along a Spit where the Navy dock was. This was
in turn less than a mile from the Army base, which still had some limited
operations and a full Colonel in command. Some of the sub sailors could not
suffer the idea of all this gear and equipment going to waste and destined only
for return to the States as surplus hardware. A bit of scouting around on the
day before the arrival of the Pearl Harbor boats had pretty much reconnoitered
where the choicest of the goodies were stored. They could be had for the asking
as long as the Army MPs on base patrol did not get nosy. Some enterprising
crewmember had managed to obtain the loan of a Jeep. Besides the Jeep, there
were several hand held walky-talkies available from the boats. With a well
organized system, the Jeep and two lookouts patrolled along the Spit and back
toward the Army base, keeping eyes open for any sign of the MPs on patrol. In
the meantime, other crewmembers operated inside the warehouses gathering up what
hardware and equipment was of interest and placing it near the entry door. The
use of the Jeep and the radios to warn those inside of any approach of an MP
patrol worked to perfection - they passed by on patrol with no sense that anyone
was inside the warehouses. In one of the warehouses, it was all Navy gear and
included some deep-sea diving equipment such as helmets and rubber suits. In
another of the warehouses nearer the Navy dock (and the submarines) there was
some fancy mess gear that could be utilized. In a third warehouse there were a
lot of radio spares and a lot of “radiosondes” which were used for on weather
balloons for sending back radio signals. What useful purpose they could serve
on a submarine I do not know but we had to steal some anyhow. Every boat
managed to get hold of some of this free for the taking booty. What most of us
did not know was that several Torpedomen from the Blackfin and Diodon had come
across several leather upholstered office chairs at the Army's Headquarters
building and had purloined two of them for use in the torpedo rooms. They found
that the chairs would not go down the hatchways in one piece. Thus, they partly
disassembled them in order to get them below decks where they were reassembled.
The next morning all boats were due to sail north and continue the expedition.
About 0900 all the boats had the main engines running and were ready to cast off
one by one. Suddenly down the road from the direction of the Army base there
appeared one of those Olive drab painted 1942 Ford 4-door sedans headed in our
direction. The car pulled up to the dock and an apparently exited Bird Colonel
demanded to talk to the skippers of all of the submarines - who were on their
respective bridges ready for getting underway. It seems that the Colonel’s
office was missing two leather chairs and he wondered if somehow they had walked
off and found their way over to one or more of the submarines. I understand
that the boat's several skippers assured the Colonel that their crews had not
taken the chairs but that an inquiry and inspection of the below decks would be
undertaken anyway. They did not have to investigate very far as the culprits
came forth voluntarily. So, everyone stayed right in place for more than an
hour while the Torpedo divisions on two boats disassembled each chair enough to
get them up the hatches and then undertook to reassemble each one on deck for
return to the Army. I am not sure whether the commanding officers involved were
upset about the incident or were really amused by the whole thing. I understand
there were some restrictions meted out to the guilty in the torpedo sections.
What was fortunate for some other crewmembers was that the cumshaw of other
material was not discovered and no one ever got into trouble over that aspect.
I have always been able to bring up smile when I think back to those several
sailors inside the warehouses gathering up their loot to be picked up at the
door while a Jeep cruises around outside performing lookout duty. That image is
topped only by recollecting the vision of four United States submarines holding
forth from their scheduled sailing while several sailors are on deck screwing on
the legs and re-securing the leather covers to a couple of stolen chairs.
That is the end of our story but not of
A Last Look by Tom Roseland
Home on leave and basking in the hot Texas sun at my home in the hills north of
San Antonio, and unexpected phone call came from, of all places, my boat.
It was Leo Morrissette, the Cusk's yeoman, calling me from the Control Room of
the Cusk in San Diego.
is a surprise, Leo. What's wrong, we going back to WestPac early?", I
Tom, I'm just checking to see if you still want that 'early out' that we talked
about.", he responded.
I do, but my enlistment doesn't expire until March 28th, and I thought I
couldn't get out any earlier than January. Why would you need to know now
sounded a little surprised. "You haven't heard, have you", he confirmed in
a somewhat amused voice. "We've been decommissioned and the entire crew is
being reassigned, or they're being discharged. Since your enlistment
expires within six months of our decommissioning date, it means you can get out
now if you want to."
"NOW!?! You mean like, right away?!?", I asked incredulously.
as soon as you can get back to San Diego", he responded. "You have a
choice of getting out right away, or getting reassigned to another boat until
your enlistment expires. You want to think about it and call me back?"
sure, I'll call you back tomorrow, I guess.", I said in what must have been a
stunned voice. I hung up the phone and stared out at the barn and the
water trough where 'Ol Sam was ambling up for an afternoon drink. It just
didn't seem real. I was getting out, now? I had been in for not
quite three and a half years and just wasn't ready for such a shock. And
then it hit me even harder. "The Cusk is being decommissioned?!?", I
thought to myself. "How, why?"
was a perfectly good submarine, renown for having never missed a mission, having
just proven her skill and daring on a recent cold/Vietnam war patrol. Such
a rich history, so many great accomplishments, including being the first
submarine to launch a missile. It just didn't make sense that they could
suddenly, perhaps callously, discard her like that.
the crew was being dispersed! So many good friends, for so many years.
Now they were being scattered to the winds. It was all such a surprise.
Most guys get months to plan what they're going to do when they get out. I
didn't get that luxury and it was difficult to grasp. Slowly, I rose went
outside where I sat on the swing under the trees and tried to take it all in.
three weeks later, I'm still, trying to take it all in. The Cusk had left
San Diego for Hunter's Point a week earlier and I had stayed behind to go
through my out-processing at the 32nd Street Naval Station. Now I was
heading up Highway 101 to San Francisco in Sandy Whitaker's '63 Chevy. He
had asked me to drive it up so he would have a car in San Francisco. I had
agreed and planned to fly home to Texas from there. No hurry. I had
60 days of leave in my pocket and no particular place to go.
memories of the past three years aboard the Cusk continued to flood my mind as I
drove, hour after hour. I thought about laughter and fun times with so
many good friends, that time we hung from those giant buoys for 34 hours and no
fresh air in Bangor, that time when we were at test depth and a valve exploded
in the forward torpedo room, drinking my dolphins at the "Starlight Bar" in
Yokosuka, getting caught and attacked by the Chi-Coms, running into the pier at
White Beach, riding out back-to-back typhoons on two engines in the Eastern
China Sea, diving sideways because someone forgot to open the emergency vent on
the #4 starboard ballast tank, losing and then finding those Marines off San
Clemente, and those days after monotonous, endless days, rolling gently along as
we criss-crossed the great Pacific. Jo-sans and short-times, diesel
flame-outs, CO2 headaches, swim call, funny-money, the laundry truck, weekly
showers...I felt as if I had crammed twenty years of adventures into my three
years aboard the Cusk, and probably had. I knew those memories would never
leave me. I didn't know they would grow more precious over time.
arriving at Hunter's Point a few days later, I called the boat from the guard
shack and Sandy came out to escort me to the Cusk.
We started immediately talking about the future for both of us and what it might
bring, but soon found ourselves reminiscing about our years aboard the Cusk.
Suddenly, we were at the pier and Sandy was parking the car, but I wasn't
prepared for what I was about to see.
first I just sat there staring at the boat, then I slowly got out and continued
staring. I felt like someone who had come home from work only to find
their home in ashes. With her ballast tanks dry
and bereft of all
her fuel, and with much of her equipment removed, the Cusk sat grotesquely high
in the water looking more like a rusty abandoned barn than a submarine. Across
her deck ran scores of hoses, wires, cables, empty pallets, boxes, and other
On the pier under a make-shift shed sat several cases of
beer along with various tools. Every once in a while, "Lani Moo" would get up
and open a huge bottle of Freon and pour it over a six pack to cool it off for a
"Want a really cold beer?" Lani
asked with a smile as I walked up.
"Sure", I responded. I sat for a
while drinking my beer and watched as the fathometer was hauled out through the
After Battery hatch and sat on the pier. Then I talked a bit one last time to
some old friends and went below to say good-bye to the COB and the XO. I
emerged about an hour later, looked about, and then told Sandy it was time for
me to go home.
We walked together down the pier
toward his car and at the end of the pier, I stopped and stared back at the Cusk
one last time. "What a sad end to a grand old lady", I thought. Suddenly I
felt like I knew what it must feel like for people to watch their homes burn
down. But then I thought, she took good care of us, did everything we asked her
to do, and she left some enduring and rather impressive history in her wake. It
was good to have been a part of her.
As we drove away, I found myself
wishing I had taken a last picture. But then again, I'm glad I didn't.
What Grandpa did during the Cold War
- from the memoirs of Billy Hrbacek
following is an excerpt from a narrative titled ‘What Grandpa did during the
Cold War’ written by Billy P. Hrbacek CWO3 (SS), USN Retired for his
children and grand children. Hrbacek served in submarines or submarine related
duty for 18 of his 25 years of active duty US Navy.
USS CUSK (SS 348) Oct 1959-Jun
The Cusk was formerly a
Guided Missile submarine outfitted with a bulbous topside tank to allow carrying
and launching two Loon type missiles. Cusk was commissioned just before
the end of WWII and saw no war time service. In the late forties and early
fifties she performed duties to prove the possibility of a submarine launched
missile. Most of these exercises were conducted around Pt Mugu, Ca.
Cusk was in fact the first submarine to successfully launch a missile from her
deck. The Loon missile she launched was essentially an updated version of
the German V-1 “Buzz Bomb”. Later in the fifties the hanger was removed
and the boat was re-equipped to be a relay or terminal guidance boat for the
Regulus I and subsequently the Regulus II radar guided missiles both forerunners
of the current cruise missile family of weapons. The Regulus I and II
missiles were both capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Cusk was my first submarine duty station. I reported aboard in
late Oct 59 as an ETSN, the boat was preparing for overhaul at the Pearl Harbor
Hi. Naval Shipyard. The CO was LCDR Mawhiney who was placed in command shortly
after my having reported onboard. The XO was LCDR Murphy.
At my check in with the COB TMC Atha, I was given an overview of
upcoming events, my qualification check off card and some advice. Of note he
asked if I drank. Being curious I asked him why he was asking. He replied “ If
you drink now you will be an alcoholic before you leave, if you don’t drink, you
will. These words were very prophetic not only for me, but, for most of the
guys. I won’t say that we became hardcore alcoholics, just that we worked real
hard to get crocked as often as possible. My first assignment on board was to be
a Mess Cook for four months. I have to say that during the first four weeks of
this my submarine career almost came to an end.
For those that do not know about Fleet Snorkel submarines there
is only one passage and in the Crews Mess the galley sink is located on the
starboard side. Needless to say when a guy is hard at work washing dishes his
back is facing the passage way. Being a “young and tender” new ETSN on board I
was subjected to some rather rude remarks of a sexual nature. This in and of
itself was pretty disconcerting to me because I was just 19 at the time and was
fairly straight laced and religious. As it happened things only got worse as the
first two weeks or so went by. It seemed that about half the crew was hell bent
on driving be crazy. As the guys would go past me while I was working at the
sink about half would either pat me on the butt, a few would grab me and dry
hump my backside, some would either tongue kiss my ears or put a hickey on my
neck. Bear in mind I could do little to fight these actions off because of what
I was doing a that I was pretty sure it was just a test to see how much I could
take, I wasn’t too sure about the second reason. At any rate after about two and
a half weeks I had had it. I had hickeys on both sides of my neck, (none
inflicted by a girl), and I probably had the cleanest ears on Oahu. I went to
see the COB and expressed my desire to disqualify myself from submarine duty
because it seemed that at least half the crew was queer. The COB must have had
some pretty good laughs at my expense over my complaint. The good new was that
the harassment stopped virtually immediately. By the time I came on duty next
day no one touched me. A few that bumped into me as they went by actually said
“excuse me” in a nice way. What a relief! The long and short of it was that my
second guess as to why was the correct one, I was being tested, unofficially, to
see if I could hack it.
Somewhere in late Nov 59, we moved to the shipyard and completed
the off load of the boat. The crew moved on board a Living Barge for the
duration of the shipyard availability. I remained on Mess Cooking duty until
near the end of the yard period when I was promoted to ET3 as a result of fleet
wide testing in Jan 60 and.
The overhaul included refurbishment of all major systems and
equipment onboard for each department including the electronics suite consisting
of a DAS-4 Loran navigation receiver, an AN/BPQ-1 (XN-1) Regulus guidance radar
system, a SS-2A Surface Search radar, an AN/BLR-1 and AN/WLR-3 Electronic
Countermeasures Receiving (ECM) set, an AN/UPS-1 IFF (Identification, Friend or
Foe), Transponder set and various audio recording and amplifying devices. The
ECM set included a separate retractable mast with directional antennas for
frequencies from 1 gigahertz to 12 gigahertz.
The shipyard availability also included renovation of the crew
berthing areas. This upgrade primarily consisted of new paint, new vinyl
asbestos floor covering and bunk lockers to replace the canvas bottomed bunks
There were some interesting events at the shipyard, the boat was
put in dry-dock revealing the entire boat, very impressive, another was firing
dummy hollow torpedoes into Pearl Harbor using only compressed air. Those dummy
fish would go more than a quarter mile trailing a wake of air bubbles, neat!
Cusk completed overhaul in Mar 1960 and performed shakedown
exercises including torpedo and Regulus missile guidance training off the coasts
of the Hawaiian Islands.
In May of 60 Cusk prepared and departed for a six
month WestPac cruise including outfitting the ship for NSA Electronic
Intelligence (ELINT) missions while deployed. Equipage for the ELINT missions
included installing additional HF receivers in the radio shack and changing out
the observation periscope to a NSA/Kolmorgan periscope equipped with a small
probe type antenna at the top of the periscope which was connected to a then
state of the art wide band receiver AN/ALR-1 additional equipment included a
AN/SLA-2 Pulse Analyzer, a frequency spectrum analyzer and a AN/SRD-7 Direction
finding receiver. The combination of the installed and temporary equipments
provided intercept and directional capabilities from 2-32 megahertz and from 500
megahertz thru 12 gigahertz frequencies. The SLA-2 provided a means of measuring
intercepted pulse width and pulse repetition rate. The WLR and ALR provided
quick intercept and directional abilities for known threat signals. The HF
receivers provided additional means of monitoring and intercepting voice and
code messages of Soviet transmissions for the NSA personnel (i.e.., Spooks).
It was during this period that my life’s attitude was
changed forever. I was doing my assigned tasks for the day cleaning behind the
equipment in the Missile Guidance room. ET2 Bill ‘Hog’ Jones the Leading ET and
LTJG Kreitzberg our division officer came down the ladder and started a
discussion about the new ET’s, meaning me and Dick Specht. They were unaware
that I was in hearing range. ENS Kreitzberg asked Jones what he thought of “that
Hrbacek kid”. Jones responded with something to the effect that ‘Hrbacek would
probably never amount to much, probably would never make second class’.
Needless to say I was very quiet during this discussion as I listened in on what
was being said about me. I took the comments to heart and started changing the
way I did and thought about things. It took a while, but, by the time I retired
I was senior to every enlisted guy I ever worked for. I have a great sense of
pride on this subject and I feel I owe it to ET2 Jones. By the time I left Cusk
I was LPO and was respected as a technician and work organizer both on and off
Cusk arrived in mid June of 1960 in Yokosuka, Japan
and commenced load out for a mission. Briefings for the mission were conducted
for the Officers and electronics division personnel at Kamasea. This briefing
primarily spelled out what our mission objectives were to be and what ELINT,
(electronic intelligence), signals to look for. Signals of interest were to be
submarine type radars (Snoop Plate), any fire control type radars and a variety
of shore based surface and long range air search radars. Our mission was to
collect signal data for a master database of intercepted signals with
triangulated locations and or hull numbers for shipboard emitters. Additionally
we were to search for communications which might reveal Soviet surface and
submarine operations plans and procedures/tactics. We were to remain radio
silent on all bands and remain undetected if at all possible.
Off duty in Yokosuka was party time, cheap booze and
plenty of opportunities with the ladies. The Starlight and White Hat clubs were
favorite hang outs for Cusk crewmembers. Although I had drank myself to an
unconscious stupor before I had no Idea that it could be so pervasive amongst a
group of people. The common topic almost every day in the crews mess was ‘I’ll
never do that again’. Needless to say there were lots of hangovers on a daily
basis. Drinking and carousing around was the order of the day. Duty days were a
blessing in disguise, they allowed for a day of recovery.
Almost in spite of our off duty activities the boat
did get serviced by a combination of yard workers and crew and we completed our
needed repairs and loaded out for an extended patrol mission.
We deployed for our operations area in late Jun 60
for a 47 day patrol off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula concentrating our
efforts in and around the harbor of Petrolovosky a known surface ship and
The patrol was basically uneventful. A number of
Soviet shore based and ship based radars were detected by ECM and Sonar. Many of
the sea based signals were observed visually. Signal intercepts were logged,
recorded and analyzed. Basically this was a boring patrol except for the fact
that it was all new to me. There were no close encounters or emergencies on the
boat. Everything became pretty much a routine wake up, eat, stand watch, read or
movie, sleep. Then repeat the routine over and over.
As a note about submarines of the era ET and SO
crewmembers were cross trained in that both ratings stood watch at the two
specialties, when on the surface the ET’s and ST’s stood Radar and ECM watches,
when down we stood sonar watches. The NSA riders augmented the ET ECM watch as
the intercept experts.
During this patrol I completed qualifying in
Submarines and earning the (SS) designator after my rating. The boat returned to
Yokosuka where in celebration I drank my Dolphins, (a rite of passage no longer
allowed), The drinking of the Dolphins consisted of my fellow shipmates getting
me very inebriated then preparing a tall glass of booze consisting of a sampling
of just about everything behind the bar at the Starlight Bar. My Dolphins were
pulled from my uniform and dunked into the glass. My final qualification to be a
submariner was to chug a lug the contents and catch my Dolphins as they passed
my lips. Whew! Done. I was now Qualified in the eyes of my shipmates.
Personally I thought I was going to die because I had trouble chugging a glass
of water. Needless to say profuse vomiting followed.
The next month or so was taken up by a mini upkeep in
Yokosuka and local ops with US surface ships doing ASW and ship visits to Subic
Bay, Naha and Buckner Bay Okinawa and a five day visit to Hong Kong. Our
departure from Okinawa was punctuated by an exercise with an Army Ranger
detachment. We took them aboard at Buckner Bay and dropped them off in shallow
coastal water in rubber rafts. We never saw them again, presumably someone else
picked them up when their training mission was completed. We steamed on to Hong
Kong for a five day R & R.
After Hong Kong we returned to Yokosuka for refit
preparatory to our next patrol. Our second patrol was to the same op area off
the Kamchatka Peninsula. For the most part it was a repeat of the first with a
few exceptions. First it was much colder and it was almost raining inside the
boat from condensation of moisture mostly from exhalation and from fluids in the
galley. Second we had our first taste of fear. Apparently the Captain had become
emboldened after our first patrol and was more confident in the crew and I
suspect he had been advised to get more detail. We, after having ran up and down
the limits of our assigned area and detecting nothing new in the way of emitters
and activity from our first patrol made an incursion into the bay at
Petrolovosky for photos of a previously recorded and mapped harbor surveillance
radar (Beehive). The first day we localized the radar tower and photographed it
and a technician that was working on it, (the radome). We were close enough to
be able to see the whites of his eyes through the high magnification of the
observation periscope. The next day after having gone out about thirty miles
off shore and recharging batteries we returned to the harbor for further
investigation. Nothing of note was detected, our hope was to be able to get
pictures or emissions from one or more of the ships tied up inside the harbor
and tag them for future Identification. Late in the evening a T-43 Minesweeper
was detected as underway. Somewhere around 2100 or so the T-43 began an active
sonar search and evidently detected us. Our action was to immediately depart the
area and head out beyond the 12 mile limit for a battery recharge.
Next day was the same routine, into the harbor. Same
thing again the T-43 got underway and started an active sonar search. Ping!!
About 2300 it was apparent that he had contact on us and was in pursuit as we
were exiting the harbor. Quite a way out a couple of small explosions were heard
in the water most likely astern some distance away. This routine was repeated
for several days, contact and the small explosions each night as the T-43
pursued us on our exit back to open seas. Of concern was that each night the
explosives got closer and closer. As I recall on the fifth night there was a
couple of the small explosions very close. This prompted the skipper to surface
the boat after the T-43 had broken off and returned to port. Inspection of
topside revealed a near direct hit on top of the sail close enough to completely
knock the UHF/VHF radio receiving antenna off of its mounting, in fact it was
gone with only the end of the coaxial cable remaining. The next day we again
went into the harbor and experienced a similar event except the T-43 did not
come so close again. The skipper broke off the harbor surveillance after this
event and we returned to the more mundane task of observing ship movements in
open water and logging shore, air based and ship based ELINT and sonar targets.
Upon completion of our patrol time we returned to Yokosuka for some R & R and
load out for our return to Pearl Harbor.
Overall this had been a pretty exciting time. The
Ranger training mission and the events at Petrolovosky harbor were probably, in
hindsight, the most exciting experience I ever had on patrol. The events had
been all new to me and had the flavor of the secretive missions that were the
subject of a couple of the WW II submarine movies made during the fifties. The
Petrolovosky harbor adventure was spent mostly in a condition called “Rig for
Ultra Quiet”. This condition of the ship was noted for having just about
everything on the boat shut off except those equipments essential for Sonar and
ECM operations. Only necessary lighting was used to conserve the batteries. All
persons not on watch were restricted to their bunks. The air was very foul with
CO 2 levels approaching 2 %. Matches and cigarette lighters would not function
so smoking was virtually impossible. A few of us enterprising hardcore smokers
would use a Weller soldering gun to ignite and maintain a burning cigarette.
Probably not too smart an idea considering how foul the air was already. There
were many events among my shipmates that come under the heading of “Sea
Stories”. These stories were usually of a comic nature or some manly bragging
about some sexual event/fantasy, all in good fun of course.
During our second port visit to Yokosuka I met the
woman that would eventually be become my wife. Her name was Mitsuko Haga. Her
home town was in the north of Honshu called Chitose in Yamagata prefecture. She
was quite pretty and very bashful when I first met her. In fact she could speak
only a few words of English. I spent as much time with her as I could between
operations at sea. We talked some about marriage, but, nothing serious at the
Cusk returned to Pearl Harbor in Nov. 1960. After an
upkeep period operations began with local ASW exercises with loads of torpedo
firing exercises and missile guidance training. Over a period of one month in
early 61 we took the missile handoffs from the firing boat on quite a few
Regulus shots. These missile exercises were intended to prove or disprove the
abilities of submarine launched and guided missile technology. Simultaneously
the first Polaris boats were coming online and the Regulus program was being
questioned as to whether it was still a viable system. In most of the shots we
were able to maintain a miss distance of 200 yards or less on targets more that
150 miles away from our location. The final shot in the series was a beaut. The
bird was launched about 300 miles from us, we picked it up about 200 miles out
and took control. The missile was performing beautifully following all course
corrections when approaching the target and at the dump point the order was
given to “Dump”. Nothing happened, the bird kept on flying then about 20 miles
past the target it went down. Turns out the Missile Control Officer LTJG
Kreitsberg forgot to do his only real function during the guidance which was to
“Enable Dump”. This was supposed to be a safety feature for the missile. Final
results of all the tests when averaged was an average miss distance of in excess
of 399 yards which was considered to be to wide to be a good shot. Never mind
that all the others were well within the 250 yd circle we were aiming at.
History may never mention it but the Regulus program was a good and inexpensive
system for coastal targets at the time and would have been for at least another
10 years. We were pretty convinced that the Polaris system was in political
favor and as such received the money from Congress. The Regulus program was
scrapped in 1961 in favor of the Polaris/Poseidon program.
A lot of our in port time was spent at the Sonar
training facility and the Fire Control facility at Pearl Harbor. Between these
training events and underway torpedo exercises firing mostly Mk 16 and 14
torpedoes Cusk eventually won the Battle efficiency “E” in 1961 for our
squadron. I was promoted to ETR2 during this period.
I took 30 days leave to celebrate my 21st
birthday at home in Concord Calif. with my high school buddy. The celebration
turned into a non-event because I spent most of the time wooing my buddies
sister. It was a great 30 days!
While I was on leave the Missile guidance equipment was removed
from the boat. All of the ECM equipment was revamped and relocated to the
Missile Center which was re-designated the ECM room with five bunks installed
for the ETs.
Cusk became more or less a training boat for ‘9901’ sailors. The
9901 sailors were slated to attend Nuclear Power School after they received
their ”Qualified in Submarines” designation. Most of these sailors were either
ETs, MMs, EMs and a few ENs. There was also several Ensigns assigned to the boat
for qualification and eventual Nuclear Power School.
In June 1961 I, out of the blue, received orders to
transfer to the USS Halibut (SSGN 587). I didn’t want to go to a nuke…. All
attempts to get the orders cancelled failed so on the designated Friday I left
USS HALIBUT (SSGN 587) Jun 61-Jan 62
USS CUSK (SS 348) Jan 62-Feb 63
It was good to be back
onboard a familiar boat with a great crew. Shortly after getting settled in The
boat had a dependents cruise and photo session at sea that recorded the boat
diving, running submerged at periscope depth and surfacing. Weekly ops were the
norm until Cusk started getting ready for another Westpac cruise. Cusk departed
in Feb. 62 headed for Yokosuka, Japan. The trip to Yokosuka was uneventful
except for some of the calmest seas I have ever seen before or since. The only
ripple in the water was our own wake for about six days. Swim calls in 18,000
feet of water were great!
Arrival in Yokosuka was pretty normal. During the
stay in Yokosuka I met up with Mitsuko again. It became pretty apparent that she
was thinking in a more serious tone about marriage this time although she
professed that she did not want to leave Japan.
Briefing for our mission was at Kamasea again. After
load out we deployed again to the same op area as in 1960. Virtually nothing had
changed in the way of signal sources, same types, same locations, same
parameters. We essentially gained little new intelligence and had a fairly dull
patrol of forty six days duration.
In Yokosuka again for R & R for about a week. This
time Mitsuko and I decided to marry. We got all the paper work started.
Then it was off to local exercises with US forces off the coast of Japan then to
Okinawa for port visits to Naha and Buckner bay. Again we picked up a load of
ground pounders this time they were Marine Recon types.
We delivered them to their assignment off the coast. Same routine
presumably someone else picked them up.
A visit to Hong Kong and the Philippines we also had
about two weeks in Sasebo Japan and a week in Kobe. We also had a short stop at
Chen He, South Korea then back to Yokosuka for a mini upkeep prior to some local
Mitsuko and I did more paperwork and procedures to
effect the civil marriage required by the US and Japan. We married in a Shinto
ceremony in May of 62. This marriage was only binding if I was a civilian. We
did this so we wouldn’t feel so guilty about living together and not being
We got a new skipper LCDR. Campbell. He was good during local
ops, he trusted the crew a lot and did not push the boat or take unnecessary
chances. Back in Yokosuka we began to prep for another mission.
Load out was uneventful for the most part then it was
underway again. We had hoped for a new op area but it was off to Kamchatka
again. This patrol was almost a carbon copy of the previous patrol except for
the visual and Sonar contacts made. Dull to the nth degree. At the end of this
45 day patrol we returned to Yokosuka for R & R and load out to return to Pearl
Harbor. We were asked by the SubRon 7 Staff if we would be willing to make a
side trip to Auckland, New Zealand. A resounding YES ! was voiced by the crew
even though it would cost us a six week extension on our Westpac trip. As luck
would have it one of the other boats had a CasRept,(Casualty Report), on some
major piece of hardware so Cusk got assigned to fill in for them. At least it
was to a new op area off the Sakhalin Island coastal area and portions of the
Sea of Japan. Not a particularly exciting patrol mostly the same types of
emitters were encountered. There was more activity by the Soviet fleet due to
the proximity to Vladivostok which was a major naval installation on the Soviet
East Coast. We made a couple of incursions into the greater harbor area and took
some periscope photography. This patrol was short about three weeks as I recall.
We returned to Yokosuka. I reenlisted for six years and took 30 days leave to
complete the marriage process. The internationally acceptable civil marriage
took place at the US embassy in Tokyo on July 17, 1962.
The boat left Yokosuka in late June and returned to
Shortly after retuning to Hawaii with my bride I got
a set of orders to attend Nuclear Power school, these orders were contrary to my
reenlistment agreement to remain onboard Cusk for at least one year. My XO LCDR
Sermon was able to get the orders cancelled so long as I applied for an advanced
school within six months. When the time came I applied for Electronics
Technician ‘B’ School at Treasure Island and was accepted. My new orders were
to depart Cusk in Feb 63. I opted for ET B based on my previous experience with
the Halibut, at the time I was convinced that I wanted no part of Nuclear Power
and Nuclear Powered ships. “Diesel Boats Forever”!
Oct of 1962 got real exciting. We had just returned
from several weeks of local ops and were in the process of cleaning the boat and
loading stores when the Cuban Missile Crisis broke out. We immediately loaded
out warshot torpedoes and sixty days of food stores. Cusk was the first boat
underway for Westpac from Pearl Harbor. We ran on the surface all the way to
Yokosuka. The main event of this transit was that we had taken on a bad load of
fuel in Pearl Harbor and wound up arriving in Yokosuka on one main engine. We
had fouled almost all of the fuel injectors on three of the main engines. The
stop in Yokosuka was crucial to effect repairs and top off on clean fuel and
last minute food stores and supplies.
Cusk was assigned a War Patrol Operations Area in the
Yellow Sea/Bay of Korea. We spent 28 days cruising around in water barely deep
enough in most of the op area to submerge to periscope depth. Even at minimum
turns we made a mud wake easily visible from the periscope. Thankfully the North
Koreans didn’t have any kind of air based ASW. As it was there were plenty of
coastal patrol boats around fortunately sound conditions in shallow water makes
active sonar practically useless. No detections were made. We did have a little
excitement when we captured a Korean fishing boat accidentally by crossing his
fishing line which became entangled on our sail. We dragged that poor guy around
for a day and a half before we surfaced in the dead of night to cut his lines
loose. He probably thought he had a huge fish on his line. We had many a chuckle
about that. Other than the Patrol Boats and recording the local radar emitters
the ELINT part of the trip was uneventful. No new types just more triangulations
of known sources.
We returned to Pearl Harbor via Yokosuka in Dec 62. Upkeep of the
boat and some local ops were the norm. I transferred to ET B in early Feb 63.
A number of Cusk crewmembers are the subject of frequent
memories, some became lifelong friends, some have recently been reacquainted
through the bi-annual reunions.
Stand outs are: Mike Fallatt, Bill Penrod, Bill Jones, Jack
Trommer, Richard Specht, Tom Ewing, Heidegger, Weberski, Chunn, McCormick,
Kimball, McKenzie, Nichlen, COB Atha, Gene Gato, Berryhill, Hume, ‘Fish’
Cunningham, Cdr Mawhiney, LCDR Sunman, LTJG Kreitsberg, Ens. Pippen, Ens.
Pollard, Ens. Paskowitz, Barney and ‘Dad’ Foster.
If you have any information, pictures,
history, or crewmember names/information from the Cusk for any year,
please contact the