USS QUEENFISH SS393
Old memories, and a little humor.
By Dick Fason and Jack Bennett
"I was on her for the first three runs and was glad to have served my country on her we had a great record. I was the auxiliary electrician. Paul Miller Was COB. This is all he ever wrote to his wife; ' Safe but not sound. Well but, not happy'."
"During the war playing cards had, 'Buy more war bonds', on the back . Peter Leon used to go through the boat during depth charge attacks holding one of these cards in his hand for everyone to see. This got a lot of laughs from some of the crew."
"Peter Leon (MoMM1c) must have made (CmoMM) while on the boat. I have a picture of him in a chief's uniform."
"We carried torpedo juice (grain alcohol with an additive) for cleaning parts of the fish (torpedoes) but used very little for that job. One smart crewman made a still out of a brass hand suction pump, copper tubing and a small funnel. It was set up in the motor room so we could use the cooling water for the reduction gears to condense the alcohol. We used a cup to collect it in. The 2 controllermen and I had the duty to go down and dump and refill every hour. There was about 10 gallons purified when we arrived at Pearl Harbor. Some of the guys had a smashing good time drinking it in Royal Hawaiian hotel."
"The Officer's steward ( Jesse Jr. ) I think was his name. He was a minister before he joined the navy and had lots of children. Every time we were being depth charged he would run and get in his bunk in the forward torpedo room and start praying. I used to tell him there's no sense in praying that God can't hear you through all this noise."
"I was responsible for the gyrocompass and cleaned the carbon that formed on the rings every two weeks with pure grain alcohol. The Captain kept a gallon locked in his stateroom for this purpose. Paul Miller being the COB would get half a cup from him when it was time to clean the compass I used a spoon full . We would put Coke syrup in what was left over and drink it. I don't think anyone knew that."
"When we were distilling the torpedo juice you could smell it through out the boat. The Engineering Officer would stop me and says ' Fason do you smell that odor?' I said, no sir I don't smell anything."
"At our first rest camp, Majuro Island, they used to say 'if you slept cross wise your feet would be in the water'. Eddie Peabody and two other gentlemen entertained us with banjoes one day there. I think Eddie was a famous banjo player."
"The Queenfish ( SS393 ), her Officers and crew, did a great job to help win the war and brought me home safe and sound. I thank you many times over."
Richard "Dick" Fason
"Jack" Bennett (XO and "Plankowner") continues the story, and adds some of his own.
"Dick Fason's memories deserve some added clarification. Eddie Peabody was Probably the greatest banjo player who ever lived and I went backstage to see him when he guest starred at Mickey Finn's Saloon in San Diego around 1965. He sat on a short stool and his fingers ran wild. He always got a standing ovation. But few people know that he was once a QM striker on an S or R boat and survived her sinking in the Caribbean about 1940. Just those on the bridge were rescued. Eddie told me that at Camp Dealey, on Guam after our 3rd run."
"No USO troupe made it to the forward areas - they concentrated on stateside Army camps where they competed with the readily available local shows.'
"Right after the war ended, 5 Red Cross gals arrived in Subic Bay and were taken over by a RADM who'd come up from Fremantle with the tender Eurayle, towing a pontoon of Emu Bitter Ale. "Popeye" Lynn, XO of (USS) PLAICE, and I finished off the last of it in the skippers' bar while they were in Manila one day. Unfortunately the skippers returned early and Charlie and I didn't have a chance to escape."
"Of course the CO's, being hot and tired, went straight to the bar and ordered Emu Bitter Ale, but, the barkeep, Chief Davega, told them it was all gone. Pointing to Popeye and myself, who had so far gone unnoticed at a table in the corner, exclaimed 'They drink it all up!' Of course we weren't even supposed to be in there, let alone drink all the skippers' prized beer."
"Back to the RADM and the donut ladies. He had a Quonset hut erected at the top on a small mountain near Subic and tried to lure one girl at a time up there but they always traveled in a pack and the one worthwhile target was protected by 4 Brunhildes.
"I recall one night as I drove a jeep back down the winding mountain road, on the two outer wheels naturally, suddenly a wheel from the jeep behind me came rolling into my headlights and off the cliff. We abandoned the broken jeep on the mountain and all piled into mine, including a 'sleeper' from the PLAICE."
"I offloaded all but my pal Ed 'Desperate' Desmond, who'd made 5 runs as our Asst. Engineer. We then planned to quietly drive the jeep, which we'd 'borrowed' from the Division Engineer, down to the end of the dock where Ed and I would get out and gently push it into the bay. After all, everything was soon surplus and bulldozed off cliffs in Guam, and into canyons, and however they could keep it out of the hands of the natives. Why? - dun't esk. Well, I misjudged the speed and distance and we drove at a pretty good clip off the end of the pier with a loud splash that woke up the echoes. We had to swim underwater around the inboard boat until we could climb out, and into the PLAICE for coffee. Popeye somehow knew without asking what that splash was all about and wished he'd been along. "
" So you see, troops, officers also had a good time when the shooting stopped and we could relax sorta privately."
Brandy & Beer
"We loaded the officers' shower with cases of beer for the beer/ball game at our next refit, always assuming we'd make it there."
"Nowhere but in the boats are shipmates, both officer and enlisted, so close to each other as in a blood family. We have something very special not shared by the rest of the Navy - or civilized world for that matter."
"Cheers and following winds, fellows, - Jack"
SSN 651 Nonsense
"The thing I remember most about our Queenfish experience was when the COB told you to shave your mustache after returning from our long run. You acted dumb and said, "shave what?" COB said, "shave that" and pointed toward your face. You pointed to one side of your mustache and said, "shave this?" COB says, "yes". Next day, of course, you've got half a mustache on your upper lip. When the COB saw that, I thought he was gonna s--t! I've told this story countless times when telling folks what it was like to be a submariner."
From "Uffie" IC1(SS) (67-72):
I remember one time we were in port, and holding
a bull session in the torpedo room. Somehow the topic came up
that TM3, "Fang" Lassiter could crawl into a torpedo
tube, go to the other end and turn around, then crawl out head
first. (Lassiter was very skinny.) To everyone's surprise FT2,
"Ish" Ishihara said he could do it. Now "Ish"
was of slight build, but we thought "Fang" had the
The junior officer went on to not only qualify for supply officer dolphins, but he was the first supply officer to qualify on watch stations (non-nuke) and to be a fully qualified submarine officer.
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