SS SSK AGSS
Presently on board; Updated 05/30/2003
Were you on Cavalla? Click here to send your profile and stories.
World War II Crew Roster
R.F. Dow ~ 1954-56 ~ EN2SS
You cannot believe my delight in finding your website purely by accident. I am proud to say I served in Cavalla for 2 years, from '54 to '56. The greatest experience of my life. I found it fascinating when scanning through the lists of former crewmen to find men I had served with. In one case talking about a cruise to Scotland. What tales I could tell about that cruise. I was only a lad then, just on my own for the first time and having a blast. I recall being so in awe of the crewmen who been on war patrols in WWII. It was like living with ones heroes. Here I was serving alongside these great men and being treated as an equal. Does anyone reading this remember "Red" Putnam the torpedoman, or know how to contact him? I am R.F.Dow EN2SS. Felt good typing that, haven't done it in years. Oh well, haven't been an EN2SS in over 40 years. Hope we can keep in touch. I will be forwarding a small donation to save that glorious old "sewer pipe". Wish I could do more.
Doug Traylor ~ 1968-69 ~ EN2
I was a reserve EN2 assigned to the Cavalla in Houston, 68-69, helped turn her over to the Sub Vets, IE Steamboat Fulton, somewhere I still have a crew list from that era. A Lt. Mike Miers was the active duty officer in charge at Brady island in Houston. I think Mike is still in the Houston area. BMC Ray Mc EVER was the senior enlisted at that time, he is driving for central freight in Houston now. QMC Duke Gutteriez was active duty CPO then. A TMC Thompson was also aboard as a reserve. MM1 Jesse Fussell also aboard. many of us flew to Key West where we rode boats such as Marlin, Mackerial, Odax, Grenadier and helped to repair and maintain the old boats, I also worked on a 32 ft. boat that belonged to the CIA at the time. We also helped a Mel Fisher get started in the treasure/salvage business when the Navy sold him a utility launch from the Bushnell.
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Jerry Hall ~ 1957-59 ~ RM 3 SS
I arrived on board on a Saturday and change of command took place on Monday. LT Cmdr Lowell F Fitch was the new skipper. I never met the man he replaced. I do know he was very well liked by the crew. Lt. Zeb Alford was the exec. Lt Bob Weeks was the engineering officer. Other officers were Lt jg Lilly, Ltjg Malcolm Munson (or Muncey) III, and Ltjg Hannon. Two other officers came aboard in 58 both of whom I respected very much were Mr. Reandeau (spelling) and Otto Zipf. One of my best friends was EM3 George Burton from Whitesboro, New York. Some of my shipmates were Howard (Sparky) Sparks from West Virginia,Maceo (Cautious) Campbell, RMC Jeff Masters, Dick Mayberry from Richland Wash., Texan Chester Speed, (who told me the best thing to come out of Texas was highway 10). Howard (Sidebacon) Yarbough (who went down on the Scorpion SSN 589. Inky Cockerton was the cartoonist for The Sometimes daily. EM`s Big George Maxwell, Skrocki,and Ronnie Hall were others along with Jeffcoat, (Rotten A--) Charlie Rash, Gay, Sully Sullivan, chief Murtha from sonar, and Three Fingers Jones TMC. Gus Laird was COB followed by Chief Dickens. Don Hammersmark from Big Timber, Montana , was another good friend along with "Ski" an aux striker. I am very proud to have served on the Cavalla. Two years ago I joined the Lockwood Chapter of the WW II Sub Vets as an auxiliary member. Some great old gents!
William P Heuer ~ 1957-60 ~
I had served on the USS Cavalla when it was a SSK-244 from 1957 to 1960 . I went aboard out of Sub School at New London as a fireman and was a 2nd class Engineman, I got out of the Navy after 4 years but reenlisted before my 90 days were up, and went to Nuclear power school. From there to SSN-604 USS HADDO. After 4 years I got out of the Navy again but stayed out, but in the New London area and have been working at Electric Boat in Groton Ct. Started out in the test Department and still there I have 35 years at EB. I am a Chief Test Engineer, on Nuclear Subs now. I have been on Submarines working and on sea trials for the last 43 years
Robert Winder ~ 1964-6 ~ RM2(SS)
I was on the Cavalla from 1964 to 66. I started as a RM3 so I got out of the mess cooking. Being a Reserve going on my 2 years active, I really didn't know much about boats. I completed sub school and had the 6 months in Radio school and a couple weeks at sea. This really started off with a bang when I started to go topside my first day not knowing we were under water. I climbed up the after battery hatch and started to undog it, well you can see the fun that brought. Later I was placed on the helm to learn how to use it and down from the bridge comes a older man and I asked if he would like me to relieve him on the bridge as a lookout. Little did I know he was the captain. Captain Williams. So much for my first few days on the Cavalla. It took me a year to qualify and With several restrictions to the boat I made it through. I do remember Jack Finney the new Old Ensign, he helped me with quals at times while he was learning himself. I finally got the chance to work in the radio room and soon got it under control. I can remember coming to the surface during drills and having to get down real quick as a DD was on top of us There were several interesting events in port. When I left in 66 the Cavalla was getting ready to make a Med trip. I was asked to extend for the trip but I didn't. That I will always regret. I can remember David Davis, an RM2 at the time, who I really thank for taking me under his wing and showing me the things I needed to know. Other names were Robert Malone SN who was a friend. When I left in 66 Cmdr. Smith was the captain. A real Gentleman.
Now a days for the last 28 years I fix elevators and play with ebay. My brother stayed in the reserve for 35 years and now is retired from it. I collect submarine books and Old Children Series Books. Being a submariner will be something I will always remember. And am thankful for the opportunity to be on this Great Boat.
Raymond Stacy ~ 1960-9 ~ MMC(SS)
Reported Portsmouth June 1960 for duty. Completed shipyard ovhaul, remained onbd till June 1969. Transferred to USS. Hardhead SS365 SUBDEVGRP2 for No. Run, auxilary gang Cavalla all the time. Currently teaching hvac/r at No. Kentucky Technical College, Covington KY. Retiring aftter 21 yr teaching in 2000. Retired usn mmc(ss)dv nuc aux
Richard C. King ~ 1966-68 ~ TM3(SS)
Richard C. King TM3(SS) Qualified on Cavalla. Made TM3 and stood watch in Tubes Aft with TM3 Cristie. Good friends with TM3 Whitey. Best time of my life. I wonder if QMSN Parke is the same young man who set the clocks in every compartment to the same time only to learn what the stop watch was for. I remember when in port that someone walked across the Thames to go home because the river was frozen 12-inches thick.
Jerry A. GOIN ~ 1962 ~ ENC(SS)
As a young MMFN in Submarine School in Jan.,1962, part of our training was to go to sea on an actve duty sub. The Cavalla was my clasroom. I still have a "Welcome Aboard" pamphlet from then. I was obliged to make a "coffee run" from the FER. The cylindered, handled , cup holder with a slot cut in the side made a lasting impression on me of the "Can Do" ability of real submariners, in spite of the FBT vent that added a "Diesel Aroma" to the java. We made a "training exercise" around Block Island, which involved numerous dives and watch shifting. The ship's company is to be congratulated for their patience and friendship. Really seemed strange to tour Cavalla last month and reflect on how long ago "I" was here....
Leonard Tunnell ~ 1969 ~ Radioman
"In August, 1969, Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast. This was one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the Gulf Coast. I think it made landfall in Mississippi. It was my duty to report to the "regular" reserve station to relieve the Radioman there on a "Hurricane Watch". We had radio communications with the Eighth Naval District in New Orleans. This was a 12 on, 12 off watch as there were only two of us. This was a long drive for me from home, so I convinced our CO that I could utilize the radio gear aboard Cavalla. There was a URC-32 transceiver aboard that actually worked, however there was not a working antenna tuner. I managed to load the transmitter straight into the antenna and was able to get 50 watts output from it. This was plenty of power to maintain communications with New Orleans, so from then on, I stood my watches in the radio shack of Cavalla. Felt like old home week, I tell you. It seems to me now that this watch went on for 5 or 6 days."
Charlie Hesse ~ 10/15/53 - 06/20/56 ~ SO1 ( SS )
"Just made sonar third on the Fulton and feeling my oats as I walked aboard the Cavalla for the first time. On deck was a sharp looking officer I later found out to be Cmd. Bill Perry. Bill was the Exec. "Hi, I need a submarine and you need a sonarman," I bluffed. To my surprise, he replied, "Damn right I do, how did you know ?" It seems his request for a sonarman was denied and he was going out to sea next morning. There were no sonarmen available. Long story short, took six hours of tests, the chamber, one tooth pulled, cheated on eye test, and out to sea the next day. The only challenge was to qualify in six weeks or bilge out. The crew adopted this crazy guy from New York and taught me the ship between topside watch assignments. Qualified !
Two years went by with great guys like Jon Juvenal ET 1, John Bisely ET 2, Leon Rothmal ET 2, Hugh Magee ET SN. Then came the day of infamy. " All hands report to the tank today for re-qualification!"
They rang the bells, blew their whistles, the instructor turned beet red when I asked him in a Mickey Mouse voice "how do you work this thing?" We were 100 ft down in the tank and we were ready to go up. After about 10 minutes of delay and lots of heated speaker conversations, the instructor said " you're going up, just blow like heck, dont get ahead of me." The tank was full of excited officers when we surfaced. It seems they lost one last week. "Get out of here" were the only words I heard. Re-qualified !
Leon Rothmal and I spent many hours together on topside watch. His accurate description of the monstrous waves of the North Atlantic brought back many memories. Sometimes we went over them, sometimes we went through them! I was a four year peacetime sailor. It was fun. If there was a war, the Cavalla was ready in 1954. Cmd. Banks, Exec Will Perry, had complete loyalty and a well trained crew. The electronic systems were in top shape with Jon, John, Leon, and Hugh.
It is 46 years later. You can take the New Yorker out of the Cavalla, but you cant take the Cavalla out of this New Yorker."
Mark Ciganovic ~ 1959-62 ~ SOS2-P2
"I served aboard the Cavalla (SSK-244) from 1959 - 62 as leading sonarman (SOS2-P2 )(SS). Yogi Kaufman was skipper at that time, along with Lcdr Stein and Lcdr. Krause during my enlistment. During my tenure the SSK 244 was basically a drilled, filled, cabled sonar experimental submersible platform capable of incredible sonar detection-attack and destroy. I was also on board when Thresher started going critical in San Juan. Cdr Kaufman attatched our shore power cables to Thresher until the pile and crew/port returned to normal. The Cavalla was awarded the battle efficiency - (E//)for two consecutive years while attached to SUB DEV GRP 2. I would like to get in touch with other crew members that served on her during the 1959-63 time period. My time on Cavalla/crew gave me direction and the moral compass to accomplish the many challanges that life throws at you. I will always remember the Cavalla as the best and incredibly efficient (SSK) in the entire fleet. The Efficiency E // award tells it all. "
Doc Riggle ~ 1957-60 ~ HMC(SS)Ret
"I spent 3 plus years on Cavalla and have many memories. I came to her right out of SUBSCHOOL as an HM2, managed to qualify thanks to Jack Finley. A very generous man at the time. I needed all the help I could get! I served with Chet Varnell, Capt. Bauman, Capt. Smith, Crazy Ed (Capt.), Gruber, Smitty and many others. I miss those guys as we had many good times. How many guys remember our transit from from San Juan to Halifax with the whole world trying to find us, no one ever did?"
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Bob Ferrell ~ 1966 ~ ST
"I spent 4 months on Cavalla in 1966. I was sent there instead of submarine school as ST's were needed in the fleet quickly. I then served on SSBN 600 (Theodore Roosevelt), SS 368 (Picuda) and SS421 (Trutta). I got out after 8 yrs and became a Key West Police Officer, then a Fla. Alcohol agent in Miami, Boynton Beach Police for 10 yrs (retired as Lieutenant), Vice Mayor of Boynton Beach Fla. for 2 terms, finally Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office since 1987 (currently a Lieutenant in gang and juvenile enforcement). When I started with the Sheriff I met a deputy who had been the Hospital corpsman on the Cavalla in 1966-- Doc Riggle--small world! and did we ever have some stories to tell."
Al Lansdowne ~ 1966-67 ~ EMC(SS) ret.
"I made chief on the Cavalla-- initiated in a sleezy bar during a stopover in Miami. At midnight, when I was officially a CPO, the crew threw my whitehat out into the street and tried to tear the first class crow off my shirt. Succeeded in tearing off the whole sleeve. As I was stumbling back to the boat, hatless and sleeveless, who do I run into but the skipper. I saluted (probably a bit drunkenly) anyway. He sort of grinned and said "celebrating a little, huh, Chief?" It was the first time anyone had called me Chief-- made me feel real good. The next morning after quarters the other chiefs tossed me into the god-awfullest looking, foulest-smelling water you ever saw. I survived. All I could think of was getting out of there before an alligator got me. I remember Cavalla fondly."
Ron Wasdin ~ 1960 - 1963 ~ ETN3
"I wonder if Doug Helm remembers the time he received "RF" burns during a PM on the SS - 1A radar transmitter. This unit was in a difficult area to access. Doug was squatting in the confined space. He reached into the unit to make an adjustment and touched a "hot" AC circuit. The minor electrical shock caused him to fall back against the bulkhead. In this process, his lit cigarette fell inside the front of his tee shirt. It took a minute or two to convince him the heat and smoke on his chest was from his cigarette and not "RF" burns from the transmitter. Since he was the senior ET, I probably shouldn't have disagreed with him.
I reported as an ETSN and was promoted to ETN3 while Captain Kaufman was in command. Many of my shipmates from this time have interviews and photos on the Cavalla Station page. "
CDR F. Hugh Magee USN (Ret.). ~ January 1955 - July 1956 ~ ETSN
"I came aboard CAVALLA in January 1955 out of Sub School as an ETSN, I was aboard until July 1956 when I left as an ET3 (SS). During my time on board I was in the ET gang with John Juvenal ET1 (SS) and John Bisely ET2 (SS). During my tour we did lots of local ops, and warm-water sonar test ops inclucing two trips to Bermuda, one to Nassau, degaussed in Norfolk & underwent a 5 or so month overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. In June of '56 I received orders to Naval Flight Training at Pensacola, FL to report in October '56 as a Naval Aviation Cadet. Shortly afterward, I broke my ankle sliding into base playing for the CAVALLA softball team at New London. The following week CAVALLA departed for a cruise to Rothsay, Scotland but I couldn't make the trip because of the cast on my leg, so they transferred me to USS BARRACUDA (SSK-1) which was in the yard at Philly.
I did make it to Pensacola in October '56 and got my wings & commission in July '58. I qualified in the A-4 Skyhawk aircraft and flew same for the next 16 years in 5 different carrier squadrons, retiring in 1974 as CDR.
Incidently, while in Attack Squadron 146 in 1966 & 67 in combat ops in Vietnam, my wingman was LT(jg) Pete Grubaugh, also an enlisted qualified submariner who had served on the sub USS GEORGE WASHINGTON. We were the first aircraft section of submarine qualified Naval Aviators to ever fly in combat."
Greg Rohkohl ~ 1962 - 1963 ~
" I qualified and served on the Cavalla from late 62 to 63, before transfer to Bainbridge for Nuke School. Great people, fond memories, good times."
Leon M. Rothamel ~ 1953 ~ ET 2nd class
"I was a crew member on the USS Cavalla when she was recomissioned in 1953. The USS Nautilus being built there at the time of Cavalla recommissioning. Commander Banks was Captain at that time. Her tour of duty during 53 & 54 consisted mainly of sea trials, daily operations and 2 major cruises. In January or February of 54 we sailed to the North Atlantic which was a for runner of the Nautilus Historic cruise under the Polar Ice. During this cruise two Icebergs were spotted. We named one Rabbit Ears and the other Big Boy. We also observed a whale through the periscope. I also remember the North Atlantic waves. The Cavalla would ride down a huge wave and up the next. The front end of the boat (over 100 feet) would come out of the water as we reached the Crest and smash down on the down slope of the wave, then we would ride up the next one and the situation was repeated continuously (I was look out on the bridge; it really happened). The noise was loud. The crew in the forward torpedo room were weightless when this would occur. My battle station was in the Ward room plotting the target course and speed and my normal duty station was on the BQR4 sonar which was located just below the control room. I am proud that I served on the Cavalla and fondly remember the time I served on board. I have for several years been considering driving to Texas to see her one more time. If there are any significant reunions forth coming I would like to be informed so that I could attend."
James Bauman ~June 24, 1967 to June 3, 1968 ~ Commanding Officer
CAVALLA worked with the nuclear submarines of the Submarine Development Group to develop anti-submarine tactics. We usually did very well as we could hear them long before they heard us. CAVALLA was an extremely quiet sub and had that enormous sonar on the bow. Of course we lost this advantage when we had to snorkel ( run our diesel engines while submerged) to charge batteries or transit to another position.
Doug Helm ~ 1960-63 ~ Electronics Technician, Second Class
"On my first trip to sea all of the electronics equipment assigned to the ETs had failed by the time we reached Montauk Point. This was my first time at sea as a crew member. At that time, I was a Third Class ET and there was one other 3rd Class, one Second Class, and two seamen. "
Dave Parke ~ 1966/67 ~ 6-3-68 ~ QM striker
"I was on the de-commissioning crew and was sure the old girl was a reef by now. My parents went down to see her about 15 years ago and were treated like royalty when they told the o.d. they were the parents of a decom crew member. I have A FIVE GRANDER card. That means I was on board on CAVALLA'S five thousandth dive. And I was on the award winning torpedo recovery team... we used to use the rag bags to make up pirate looking garb to surprise Capt. Smith when we would pop out of the fwd. hatch to recover fish and swarm all over the deck like ants with a mission... pirate ants. I've got some pictures of the inside and outside of the boat... some of the big bow smashing thru the warm waves of the Virgin Islands... idiots sunbathing on the front deck in about 1966-67."
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Attention, all members of USS Cavalla's past crews. Now hear this:
THIS PAGE CAN ONLY BE FILLED BY YOU, THE MEN WHO RODE BENEATH THE WAVES IN THE USS CAVALLA. I WILL GLADLY ACCEPT STORIES, PATROL DIARIES, REMEMBRANCES, AND PHOTOS. THE TALES OF THE CAVALLA'S CREW WILL LIVE ON HERE.
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All information on this page is accurate to my knowledge. I welcome corrections and I am solely responsible for any errors. -- Neal Stevens