Certified True
by the CHIVO Crew

You have all heard those ridiculously unbelieveable sea stories about submariners and submarine life.   Finally, the CHIVO crew will bring to you the real story - the no BS - the straight skinney - coming to you hot off the mess decks with almost no embellishment.

And if it's not 100 per cent true then I never caught that 47 lb large mouth bass in the lake behind my house.   But, as you can see, I have the picture to prove it!  So, Goat Boat Sailors, send in your sea stories to 341.stan@gmail.com, and I'll post them below.   But be careful, because I am going to hang your name on your tale, and the entire crew will be keeping you honest.

catching a big fish

Don Beane

At Submarine School they teach you everything about a submarine and how it works.   We also had to qualify at the diving tank doing a free ascent from 50 feet down in the water.   We were put in an air chamber 50 feet down on the side of the tank.   Then they let the water in the chamber and pressurized it so the water only comes up to your neck.   We had to duck down and step out on a platform in the tank.   Blow out all the air in our lungs and continue blowing as we floated to the surface.   If you quit blowing, there were divers in the tank that would punch you in the stomach to make you continue to blow.   If you didn't keep blowing the air out, you would blow up like a balloon by the time you got to the top.   The first time I stepped out I was going to cheat and not blow out all the air.   I wanted to save some to blow out on the way up.   I got yanked back into the chamber before I started up and really got chewed out.   I didn't think I could do it but I tried again and did it right.   What you don't realize is when we were pressurized we had that pressure in our lungs and as you ascend that air that is left in your lungs expand as you go up, allowing you to continue to blow out.

I passed the Submarine School course and all my physicals and was sent to the Engineering School where they taught some of the machinery that was on the Submarine.   The diesel engines, purifiers for the oil, pumps that were used onboard, air compressors, hydraulic pumps and evaporators for making fresh water.
After all my schooling was complete I got orders to the USS Chivo SS-341 in Charleston, South Carolina in September 1962.
My wife stayed with her sister, Rachael, in North Carolina while I went to Charleston to check aboard the submarine and find a place to park the mobile home and get it moved from Norfolk, Virginia to Charleston, SC.
The ship was at sea when I got to Charleston.   I was standing on the pier as it was coming in.   As it was coming alongside the pier, one of the guys on the ship saw that I was an engineman and motioned if I was coming onboard.   I told him yes, and all the guys started laughing.   I didn't know what they were laughing about until I went aboard.   They had flooded an engine while running submerged.
For about a week I was working 12 hours on and 12 hours off.   In the mean time the ship was on daily operations, and I was busy working.   I didn't feel out the sensation of the first time we went down.   Before I realized it, we had already submerged and surfaced about a dozen times.
It took about a week to overhaul that engine, a GM 16-278AS, and all my clothes were dirty.   I finally got liberty and went ashore to wash my cloths and look Charleston over.   I was so tired I got a motel room and was going to take a little nap, then do my washing and tour Charleston.   I didn't wake up until 5 A.M. the next morning, so I had to hurry and wash my cloths and get back to the ship by 7:30 A.M.
After things settled down on the ship I found an empty lot at a trailer park at 5654 Rivers Avenue lot # 16.   I had the trailer moved down and set up there.   I went to North Carolina and moved the wife down to Charleston.
One time we were at sea operating with some destroyers out of Norfolk and on 22 October 1962 there was some trouble came up in Cuba.   The ship got orders to return to Charleston and take on a war load and proceed to Cuba.   We got back late at night.   All the submarines from Key West, Florida were tied up to our piers, and we had to tie up outboard of them.   We took on a full load of torpedoes and food.   I was fuel king, so I had to stay onboard and fill our fuel and water tanks.   All this work was extra hard because there was a couple submarines between us and the pier.   A few of the men were lucky and got to go home for a couple hours.   Come daylight we got underway and headed for Cuba.
While we were off Cuba the command ship had us trailing a Russian submarine.   They figured if the submarine knew someone was following them they wouldn't try anything.
My annual salary in 1962 was $2966.39.   In 1963 it went up to $4094.14.   Money went a little further back then, but it was still tight and we had to budget any big items.
When you go aboard a submarine you have to qualify besides stand your watches and do your normal work duties.   You have six months to do this.   During this first six months you are very busy with very little extra time.   To qualify you have to know everything about the boat you are on.   Every compartment, tanks and equipment.   Mechanically and electrically how everything works plus everybody's duties on watch around you.   Your life depends on everybody doing the right thing at the right time.   One mistake by one man could sink the boat and kill the whole crew.   Since you know everyone's duties if someone does the wrong thing you can spot it and report it.   I went on the ship in September 1962 and qualified 24 January 1963.
May 16, 1963 we had a baby girl born at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, S.C.   We decided to name her Sheila Renee.   It was a coincidence that I was promoted to E-6, 1st class Engineman that same day.   When the Executive Officer presented me with my promotion certificate he told me double congratulations were in order.
Once a hurricane was coming near Charleston, and I had just got home from the ship when the word came out on radio and television for all sailors to report back to their ships.   The ship had also sent a couple guys out to personally contact all of our crew.   This was so there was no excuse that you didn't get the word.   I went back in and after all the crew was onboard, we submerged the ship right along side the pier until the hurricane blew over.
The fuel tanks on the submarine are always full of either fuel or water.   This eliminates any air in the tanks therefore preventing the possibility of a fire or explosion.   When fuel is used from the tank it is replaced with water from outside the ship.   Fuel oil being lighter than water stays on top and water at the bottom.   We ran the engines about every third day to recharge the batteries and the fuel used is replaced with the muddy Cooper River water.   After a period of time in port in Charleston we had put a lot of this water in the fuel tanks.   Then we made a trip to Bermuda.   While import in Bermuda we were taking on fuel, and as the fuel went into the tanks, it pushes the water out.   Well this muddy yucky water was coming out into the clean clear water in Bermuda.   This showed up right away in the clear blue water, and we had a lot of big wheels on us that we were polluting their harbor.   It was just muddy water, but we couldn't convince them so they brought in a couple tank cars for us to put this water in that was being discharged.
Once we went on a special mission near the White Sea.   We stopped in Portsmouth, England to top off our fuel tanks and load food.   We had food stored in every crack and hole inside the submarine.   Then we proceeded on station.
In the day time we would run on the batteries and go to the White Sea as far as we could go because of the ice buildup and take pictures through the periscope of the activities going on and at night we would go back out into the Arctic Ocean and recharge our batteries.   We did this by raising a pipe out of the water and sucking fresh air into the ship.   This fresh air would circulate through the ship and into the engine.   This was called snorkeling.   The exhaust from the engine was discharged under water, so we didn't make any noise or let out any steam or vapor from the exhaust.   Then before daylight after charging our batteries we would again go back into the White Sea and take pictures.   In the day we ran off batteries and at night go back out and recharge them.   We did this for near 2 months.   It was cold up there, and we couldn't run the electric heaters on the ship because they put out an electric frequency that could be detected.   I wore my long johns the whole trip.   We had to conserve freshwater, so it was only used for cooking and for the engines.   After I shut the engines down after snorkeling, the engine room would heat up for about 15 minutes.   Using a tin can I would wash from my waist down the first half of the week and the last of the week I would wash from the waist up.   I was one of the few that sneaked a bath during that 2 months we were at sea.   Only the cooks and engine room had access to the water.
While in England a couple of us in the engine room picked up a piece of 1 inch square steel stock, and in our spare time we filed the medal down to make the silhouette of the upper half of a submarine.   This was something to occupy us and keep our minds clear and not think of the dangers of what we were doing.
The nine guys in the engine room stuck together.   In the morning after breakfast we would congregate in the engine room and talk about anything.   If someone came through they saw us talking and would stop by us.   We wouldn't say a word.   Then when they gave it up and left, just before they walked out of the engine room they would look back and we would be talking away.
Then one day while we were in the White Sea we got detected by some destroyers.   We then high-tailed it out into open sea, but they were on our tail.   They threw P D C's at us.   That is about equal to a hand grenade.   This is a warning that we were detected and to surface.   We didn't, and kept trying to evade the destroyers.   Finally after hours we were able to get away, and they lost us.   We had been down for over 17 hours and our oxygen was running out.   You could strike a match, and it would flare up and immediately go out.   We started opening cans of Lithium Hydroxide putting it out on the flash covers of the bunks.   This would absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen for us to breathe.   When we were far enough away to run the pipe up to run the engine and get fresh air, some of the cells in the batteries had reversed polarity because we had ran them down so low.
The captain of the ship was an ordained minister, and back in Charleston if anyone got in trouble for drinking, he would really be rough on them.   Also at 10 P.M. every night everyone had to go to bed.   You couldn't stay up and play cards etc.   Everyone hated the captain, but after he pulled us out of this close call everyone really praised him.
The most miraculous thing about the whole trip was our cook CS1 Nixon.   He made the menus and ordered the food before the trip and for those 60 plus days, we had 3 different meals each day.   We ran out of peanut butter our last week out and the day before we got back to England we ran out of coffee.   The 4 to 8 morning watch made a big pot of coffee for the crew, so it would be ready when they got up.   Since there was no coffee the watch made a big batch of tea.   The 1st class engineman got his coffee and took a big swig of it.   He went wild when he tasted the tea.   He was expecting coffee.   He didn't know we had ran out of coffee.
We stopped at Plymouth, England to take on food and fuel before we proceeded back to Charleston, S.C.   After we got back to Charleston, half the crew was split up and transferred all over the United States.   I got orders to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to the Fleet Submarine Training Facility.   I didn't want to take a big car to Hawaii, so I bought a 1961 Triumph TR-3 and put the 1963 Mercury up for sale.
I had 30 days leave before I had to be in Hawaii, so we went to Berlin, Wisconsin in August 1964 where my parents were living.   I had so much free time so I got a job at the Berlin Tannery while I was on leave.   That was a real stinky place but it wasn't so bad after you had been there for a while.   They told me any time I could work would be appreciated so I worked my own hours.   If they gave me a job I didn't like I would go home early.   I made an extra $136.15 while working at the tannery.   My annual Navy salary now was over $6,000.
Don Beane  (1962-1964)

Certified True
by the CHIVO Crew