The Korean War had commenced in June of 1950. At the start of the conflict CHARR was deployed to Pearl Harbor. CHARR returned to San Diego in August of 1950 and conducted local operations. CHARR entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard in August of 1951 for conversion to a Fleet Snorkel configuration.
CHARR departed for the Far East in March 1952 for a six month deployment with the United States Commander Naval Forces, Far East. CHARR participated in the support of the United Nations in the common effort against the North Korean aggressor army. This stage of Korean War was known as the "Stalemate" period of the conflict.
USS CHARR(SS328) FLEET BOAT
CHARR entered San Francisco Naval Shipyard in May 1953 to begin a five month overhaul. It was during this overhaul the LCDR Robert B. Poage was relived as Commanding Officer by LCDR William A. Whitman.
LCDR WILLIAM A. WHITMAN
CHARR completed the overhaul in October and returned to San Diego to conducted local operations and commence the 1953 holiday routine period. After the first of the year the crew prepared for a 2 week Naval Reserve training cruise to Acapulco, Mexico. Aboard for this trip was a number of reserve officers and enlisted personnel. It was during this transit to Acapulco that CHARR experienced an "UNSCHEDULED SWIMCALL".
In June of 1954 CHARR departed San Diego for a six month Western Pacific (WESTPAC) tour, with Commander Naval Forces Far East, based in Yokosuka, Japan. It was during the first part of this tour, August and September, that the "TIAWAN STRAIT CRISIS" started to get more contentious.
The Communist forces of main land China were treating to invade the island of Taiwan. The Nationalist forces, led by Generalissimo Chiang Kei-shek, were treating an invasion of the mainland from the offshore island of Quemoy and Matsu. It was during this period of time that the CHARR made photographic and reconnaissance patrols of the waters of the Taiwan Strait.
Before leaving the Taiwan area, at the first of November, CHARR was ordered to the port of Keelung, Taiwan. Commander 7th Fleet, VADM Alfred N. Pride, had invited Chiang Kei-shek to take a ride on a submarine. The CHARR was assigned that duty.
CHARR returned to San Diego in early December and commenced a well-earned holiday routine period.
VADM ALFRED N. PRIDE
For the first half of 1955 CHARR conducted SOCAL operations providing services for other units of the US Pacific Fleet. In June the CHARR returned to the Puget Sound area in Washington State. Operations were conducted in the Carr Inlet area of the Puget Sound. Carr Inlet was the location of the Navy's Carr Inlet Acoustic Range (CIAR).
MOUNT RANIER AS VIEWED FROM CARR INLET
The preparation for submerging a submarine begins after the submarine or as known to the crew as the "Boat" leaves a port. Word is passed on the 1 MC announcing system to "Rig ship for dive, Rig ship for dive". Each compartment on the boat is rigged for dive by a qualified enlisted man. A written procedure is used to perform this evolution. After the initial rigging of the compartment, a second independent check, again using a written procedure, is conducted by an officer. The Fleet Boat submarine had 9 compartments that need to be rigged for dive.
The Chief of the Watch stationed in the Control Room keeps track of the status of rigging the boat for dive. When all compartments have been double check, the Chief of the Watch will inform the Officer of the Deck (OOD), on the bridge, that the ship was rigged for dive. The OOD would then inform the Captain that the ship is "Is rigged for dive". The Captain's reply will be"Very Well".
When the time comes to make the dive, the Captain will precede to the Conning Tower and inform the OOD to submerge the ship. The OOD will repeat the order, "Submerge the ship, Aye Aye sir". The OOD then says in a loud voice so the Port and Starboard lookouts can hear it, "Clear the Bridge, Clear the Bridge". The lookout will head to the Control Room and man their diving stations. The OOD then will move the square headed handle on diving alarm switch twice. This "OOGA OOGA" of the diving alarm is followed by the OOD announcing over the 1 MC, "Dive Dive". After making sure that the Upper Conning Tower is shut, the OOD precedes to the Control Room and become the Diving Officer.
This diving procedure was conducted over 7000 times during CHARR's 25 year commissioned service.
"MAKE YOUR DEPTH 58 FEET"
"PREPARE TO SNORKEL"
"SURFACE SURFACE SURFACE"
"SET COURSE FOR THE TACOMA NARROWS"
The DIVE DIVE portion of this narrative is dedicated to
Milton "Mad Mac" Magart EN2(SS)
CHARR crew 1955 - 1959
Sailor rest your oar.
MARE ISLAND NAVAL SHIPYARD
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CHARR and USS Tilefish make a port visit to Vancouver, BC.
Upon completion of operations in the Puget Sound area, CHARR preceded to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for a scheduled overhaul period. Shortly after arrival at the yard LCDR Richard A. Harris relived Commander William A. Whitman as Commanding Officer of the CHARR.
MARE ISLAND NAVAL SHIPYARD
LCDR RICHARD A. HARRIS CMDR WILLIAM A. WHITMAN
MARE ISLAND GRAPEVINE
The SHIPYARD-WESTPAC-USA cycle for the CHARR was about 30 months in length. During that period of time the CHARR would be deployed to the Western Pacific in support of the U S 7th Fleet. Upon returning to the West Coast, the CHARR would operate in and out the San Diego/SOCAL area . CHARR would also make port visits from Vancouver, BC to Acapulco, Mexico. From the first overhaul in1946 to Decommissioning in 1969 the CHARR would make 12 visits to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY).
A typical overhaul of 4 to 5 months would consist of a dry docking to make hull and exterior ballast tank repairs, extensive repairs to sea water valves, interior piping and electrical systems. It was also a time for the crew to get some shore time.
After the repairs were completed for the mechanical and electrical systems, it was time to start the most challenging time of the yard period. This time was known as system testing, a Fast Cruise along side the pier and sea trials.
The overhaul ended after the extensive and exhaustive sea trials. A yard period could be summed up by this expression. You were happy to get there but were more happy when you left.
THE SOCAL LIFE
SHIPYARD 1951 FLEET SNORKEL CONVERSION
WESTPAC 6 MONTHS DEPLOYMENTS
The WESTPAC deployment would start with first stopping at the submarine base in Pearl Harbor, HI. Submarine passing thru Hawaii received a traditional Hawaiian welcome. Complete with Hula dancers with authentic Hawaiian music and a large lei draped around the sail. The crew would receive briefings as to the current tactical situations occurring in the Western Pacific. CHARR would be refueled, receive fresh stores and exchange sea print movies at the MPX.
After departing Pearl Harbor would set course for Yokosuka, Japan. The CHARR route would take her up the leeward side of the Hawaiian Island chain up to Midway Island. From Midway CHARR would set a great circle course for Japan. The trip from Hawaii to Japan would take about 2 weeks with a speed of advance (SOA) of 12 knots.
About a day later CHARR will cross the International Date Line from East to West. That is where all clocks on CHARR are advanced 24 hours. There is a saying that helps the crew remember which direction to move the clocks. When it is Sunday in San Francisco it is Monday in Manilla.
This is also the spot in the ocean that a Swim Call is held for those crew members not on watch. Life guards are posted and another precaution is take. Crew member with rifles are posted on the bridge at the Captains Perch and on the main deck port and starboard sides. This precaution is taken in case JAWS should show up.
BEACH AND BEER
TRANSITE TO JAPAN
Fleet Facilities, Yokosuka is the San Diego of the Far East. It is located 40 miles south of Tokyo at the entrance to Tokyo Bay. Yokosuka is the first and last stop for a submarines deployed to the Far East. Facilities included repair shops, dry docks and all amenities that would be found at a state side Naval Station.
After a short upkeep period in Yokosuka, CHARR would depart Japan for other areas of the Western Pacific. Between each fleet support assignment CHARR would visit the many liberty ports of the Far East.
Nagasaki Sasebo Hong Kong
Subic Bay Chi Chi Jima Taiwan
HONG KONG THE PEARL OF THE ORIENT
The most anticipated liberty port on a WESTPAC deployment would the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Shopping in this city was the subject of many a sea story. You could buy a custom made three piece suit for under twenty five dollars. Jewelry made with oriental jade or black onyx was readily available. If it would fit down the hatch of a submarine, furniture made from rose wood could be purchased at a bargain price. Hong Kong was a mega Sears and Roebuck store.
One of the more interesting attractions for visiting US Navy ships was the presence of the Mary Soo Side Cleaners. Many a ship has had its hull cleaned and painted by the young women employed by Mary Soo. The payment for this labor would be that the ship would give all the garbage, including food scraps, to the Side Cleaners. No money was exchanged.
After the verbal deal was made, 20 to 30 Side Cleaners would arrive by San Pans and commence cleaning and painting the hull. Because most of the hull of a submarine is under water the job could be done in a day. One of the most legendary Submarine Sea Stories (* see foot note below), that comes from this exchange of labor for food scraps, is about spaghetti and meat balls.
On a submarine when in port three meals a day, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, are served. When a submarine is at sea four meals are served per day. The added meal is called Soup Down and is served at 1530 (3:30PM). The evening meal or supper is served at 1930 (7:30PM). This meal is followed by the evening movie. During a Hong Kong port visit Spaghetti and Meat Balls was on the menu. During this particular meal only the duty section of about 25 men were aboard the boat. The duty cook, a young non-qualified puke, prepared a the meal for 100 hungry soles. Needles to say a great deal of the main item of the meal was not consumed. These left overs were dumped in to the boat's 5 gallon garbage cans. The next morning the contents of these cans were picked up by the Mary Soo Side Cleaners.
Mary Soo was also known to own and operate a fine night club in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong. It was later reported by a reliable source that the club had a free meal for it's guest that night. The meal was a Spaghetti and Meat Ball dinner.
ALOHA ALOHA ALOHA
WELCOM HAWAII STYLE
BEAUTIFUL DAY AT SEA
THE GOOD LIFE
10 DEGREE UP ANGLE
HONG KONG HARBOR
TIME TO GO HOME
DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!
"To tell this sea story properly it should begin with "This ain't no sh-- --."
FIELD DAY CLEAN UP SHIP
WETTING DOWN NEW DOLPHINS
MONDAY MORNING SORTE
NESTED WITH MAMA
AFTER BATTERY BERTHING
QUALIFICATION CARD SIDE 1
WESTPAC SEA STORY
BIG BLACK SUBMARINE
DIVES WE HAVE KNOWN
SUBMARINE COLOR CODED ALARM SWITCHES
IN JUNE 1957
LCDR THOMAS E. AUGER RELEIVES CDR RICHARD A. HARRIS AS COMMANDING OFFICER