During local operations off of the southern California Coast, USS CHARR (AGSS 328) recently completed dive number 7000. At 1903 on 20 July 1968, CHARR's Commanding Officer, CDR C. H. Wright Jr., gave the Officer of the Deck LT C. H. Jameson, Jr. , permission to dive CHARR for the 7000th time.
The Diving Officer for this dive was TM1(SS) Vince SOLARI, who is a 24 year veteran of the submarine force. The most recent qualified man aboard, TMSN(SS) Don L. McLAIN was the IC electrician. Those who served aboard CHARR the longest manned other key diving stations.
LCDR J. R. CALLAN and EM2(SS) Lin MARVIL manned the Bow and Stern planes. EM2(SS) Harley E. Rackley, was at the Trim Manifold. CS1(SS) Jake WADE was the Chief of the Watch.
* Reprinted from the Submarine Flotilla 1's THE PERISCOPE 23 August 1968
The 20th of July when all through the day
Everyone looked on as CHARR made her way
The OOD was the “Father of the Sea”
“Ole man time himself”, Vince Sloari
EM2(SS) Marvil himself is the lookout on the right
He can’t see too good in the day and goes blind by night
And on the left officer of the line LCDR Callan, as lookout he’s fine
CS1 Jake Wade sits twenty feet below
He’s the Chief of the Watch in control
And who’s the IC Electrician Don McClain TMSN SS USN
There’s one more person in this hand picked crew
And probably the only one that knows what to do
EN1(SS) Rackley for you to behold
He has the watch on the trim manifold
And so you may easily understand
Today Charr has a celebration at hand
Today she pulls the cork for the 7000th time
And plunges down into the ocean’s brine
Mr. Callan is calm as he can be
And Marvil is as sick from watching the sea
Vince is complain about a sore arm
And says he can’t pull the diving alarm
Jake sits back and looks kinda calm
But the main induction lever is in his palm
McClain doesn’t say much, just smiles happily
But if you look close, he’s aging rapidly
Rackley sits patiently at the trim manifold
With the suction valves open and the sea valves closed
The rest of the crew is silent in prayer
And hoping that they may again to breathe air
Everyone sits and patiently waits
To see the outcome of their fates
EN3(SS) Charles R. TOLBERT
When it was all over we were all glad to see
Charr pokeing her bow from out of the sea
And what is important in our lives
Is that number of surfaces equals the number of dives
OCTOBER 1961 TO OCTOBER 1962
USS CHARR (SS328)
THE CLASS ROOM
WHO HAS MORE FUN THAN THE CREW OF A
ANSWER 1: MONKEYS
ANSWER 2: NOBODY
FIRST CHARR REUNION
Along with the honor of serving aboard a submarine, being promoted and earning your dolphins, was the coveted honor of receiving a nick name. Most nick names usually come from a variation of your first or last name, job onboard or other attributes. For example:
Corpsman------Doc, If you were from Texas-------Tex
These names were standard from boat to boat. But, the Crème de la crème names had great stories behind them. In others words these names were unique to that individual or submarine.
There were two electricians on board that had the same last name, Johnson. One weighed about 30 pounds less than the other. Thus, there was “Skinny” Johnson and “Oink” Johnson.
Another electrician had different shaped head. The back of his head was higher than his forehead. Thus, he was called “Slope” Morley.
A Quartermaster aboard was given the name “Doggie”. I never heard the story why but it probably could not print it any way.
When he went aboard a submarine in 1957, he was a 19 year old 3rd Class Petty Officer. He didn’t say shit even if he had a mouth full. He didn’t have much money to go ashore so he stayed on the boat in such ports as San Francisco, Long Beach and San Diego. He had just reported aboard after spending 6 months nuclear power training in Idaho. One of the crew members thought with all this good behavior that he must be a Mormon. Even with that tag, he stayed on boat and worked on his qualification card. In a short period time he was promoted to the level of a Mormon Bishop. The nick name was soon shortened to Bishop and nearly sixty years later former shipmates still calls him that.
This young torpedoman came aboard after completing Bootcamp, Class “A” Torpedoman School and Basic Submarine School.
The lead and no nonsense torpedoman on the boat was conduction his new crew member arrival interview. He asked the new arrival what his first name was. The young sailor responded that it was “ROSSIE”.
Surprised, but not amused by the name “Rossie”. He then asked the young man where he was from. With a big grin on his face, the new sailor replied he was from Mississippi.
Within a heart beat the older sailor replied, “From now on your name is “CATFISH”.
THE LAW AND JAKE WADE
Movies where shown on the CHARR in the crew’s mess/galley compartment. Most of the movies shown aboard were known as “Sea Prints” or movies over 10 years old.
One night a Robert Taylor, Western or shit kicker, movie was on the schedule. It was called the “The Law and Jake Wade”. The movie was shown as scheduled but the identity of one of the crew members that night was change for ever.
On board that night was George Wade. By the end of evening he had become “Jake Wade”. Former crew members still call him Jake Wade.
Richard Koenig was one of 4 cooks aboard the CHARR. He had the additional responsibility for ordering the stores of food for the boat from the Supply Department aboard “MOM” our tender the USS Sperry.
Coffee, frozen and canned items, apples, oranges, salt, pepper you eat it you name it. It was normal to keep a 30 to 60 day supply of food on board.
He would fill out a shopping list. Give it to the tender’s Supply Department. The supplies would then be delivered dock side and a working party from the boat would bring the supplies on board. Just like shopping at WALMART.
On the shopping list would be the “unit of Issue” column.
For example milk would come in five gallon cans. If you wanted 20 gallons you ordered 4 cans. Canned green beans came in gallon cans with 12 cans in a case. If you wanted 24 cans you would put a 2 in the issue column. Can you see where I am going with this?
Spices were also important item needed in the galley. Submariners like their food cooked from scratch and the available bay leaf supply was going growing smaller.
CS2(SS) Richard Koenig was in charge of ordering stores for an upcoming deployment. And he filled out a shopping list to cover the upcoming deployment. The spice, bay leafs, was on the shopping list.
The exact amount of the number boxes of bay leafs or cases of bay leafs received is lost in history. But the fact remains that number of bay leafs received far exceeded all expectations.
And thus Commissaryman Richard Koenig became, Richard “Bay Leafs” Koenig.
These stories are dedicated to our shipmates, “Bay Leafs” Koenig and “Catfish” Branton, now on eternal patrol.