Cavalla Crew Interview

Robert G. Garvin

     Shortly after I came on board we departed New London for our well remembered North Atlantic cruise with SSK-1. I had served on a surface ship in the Med and thought I had seen rough seas but those sea states around Iceland in February and March were phenomenal! We conducted "leap frog" exercises with K-1; alternating roles as attacker and quarry. The quarry would have to make a surface run 20-25 miles ahead of the attacker, then dive and try to remain undetected as the attacker made his submerged approach. Those surface runs were unbelievable with the screws out of the water on every 100 ft. crest and the bridge underwater in the troughs.

     Part of our mission was to assess performance of personnel and equipment under prolonged operations in Northern waters. One of the pieces of equipment we evaluated was an exposure suit for wear on the bridge. As junior officer I was selected as the exposure subject. The rubberized suit was similar to a modern day scuba divers outfit with quilted underwear. It had a double zippered front and tight elastic around the neck and wrists with gloves, boots and hood molded into the suit itself. It took me an acrobatic 30 minutes to wiggle into it before my watch and you can imagine the kidding I got as I plodded like a Martian through the control room and up through the conning tower to the bridge. Fortunately I only had to wear it it a few times; iced over conventional foul weather gear seemed to perform about as well and in the worst seas we would abandon the bridge and con from the conning tower. I gave the suit a mediocre evaluation; noting that they needed vent holes since when I farted my arms popped out like the Michelin tire man.

     Commander Tibbets of the British Royal Navy rode us on this cruise as well as medical officer, Dr. Ice. Officer space was in short supply. So again being junior officer, I got to bunk in the foldout bunk above the wardroom table. Since the wardroom was also the central sonar plotting room I had to trice up every time we went to GQ (which was often) and of course the wardroom steward, Ragland and his understudy Slaughter, forced me out early every morning so they could set up for breakfast. Needless to say I did not get much sleep those 2 months.

I have a program from the SSK 244 first anniversary dinner July 22, 1954 at Paula's Surf Room. It lists all the officers and crew as of that date: Lcdr. W.R. Banks; Lt.Fred T. Berry; Lt.S.J. O'Leary; Lt.R.G. Bills;Lt(jg) E.A. Nelson; Lt(jg) R. G.,Garvin; Lt.(jg) G.W. Keddy; Ens. R.D. Miller; C.O. Algren ENCSS; S.L.Ashpaugh CM3SS; P.L. Aughenbaugh SO3SS; J.R. Booth FN(SS); John C. Bisely ETSN; W.J. Bourk FNSS; E.Brown FNSS; M.C. Campbell RMSS; J.P. Carpentieri SNSS; S.J.Chelecki TMCSS (Chief of the Boat); H.J.Clark EMCASS; B.W.Cramberg SOGSN; A.J.Desjarlats EM2SS; R.A. Devenger QM1SS; C.R.Dickens EN1SS; J.A. Doyle EM1SS; C.T. Edwards TM2SS; K.B.Finney SNSS; J Giarrata EN3SS; L.J.Griffith FNSS; J.D. Hanniford EN3SS; D.T. Hegarty TMESS; J.D.Holman EN1SS; J.W. Hensel TM1SS; S.J. Hovanec ENCASS; C.C. Hesse SO3; K.G. Hughes EN2; T.H.Jenkins RM3SS; J.H. Juvenal Jr.ET1SS; C.W.Kendall HMCSS; P.P.J.Kollar GM1SS; R.J.LaChange TM3SS; J.W. Laird EMCASS; P.J.Lawless YN2SS; R.L.Mayberry EM1SS; R.J.McCoy EM3SS; W.F.McMahon TM2SS; G.R. Mueller FTSN; C,.P. Mountain YN3; M.W. Michaelson TM2SS; B.L.Mickey SNSS; G.L.Meisner EN1SS; J.N.Murello SA; G.E. Nault EM1SS; G.E.Nelson EN1SS; J.W.Polinsky TM3SS; P.F.Ragland SU1SS; R.W. Rivard TC3SS; H.E. Robbins QM3SS; J.S.Robinson TN; J.P.Rodriguez CS2SS; L.M.Rothamel ET2SS; M.C.Schott Jr.EMFM; E.W. Scribner RM3; L.M.Slaughter SD3SS; K.M.Smith SOCASS; R.W. Smith EN1SS; M.R.Snider RMCSS; J.H.Stephens EM1SS; H.W.Stokes QM1SS; T.E. Sturz EN3SS; R.E. Wickus EN1SS; C.E. Williams ENCSS; A.C.Webb iC2SS; J.W. Wolf EN3SS; J.R.Wolski CS2SS; S.T. Zauski EN2SS

Fortunately by this time we had officers Keddy and Miller that were junior to me! I have fond memories of these good people. Perhaps not so fond of the chief (Williams I think or perhaps Clark) who exposed the entire crew to mumps! I was among several who had them. This was still pretty much the roster when I got off the Cavalla in July 1955.


August 2000

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