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Memories of Richard Fiske
She was commissioned on Friday 13 June 1969, with 13 Officers, and 13 Chiefs. Thirteens were a Bergall trait!
I was a brand new Chief and only 26 yrs old.
Being the first Boat
with AN/BQS-13 (another 13?) Sonar we got to do the Validation. There was a lot
of joking between the Crew, NUSC, and different tech reps. One of the questions
frequently asked at watch changes was who is ahead, Monkeys or Footballs? We
drove in so many circles at so many depths we started to think we were wheels.
(Notice there is that number 13 showing up four more times, the sonar, the score
2x and the day of the certificate.
Sea trials had been successfully completed, Electric Boat workers had completed their trade and the last "Extra" lockers had been pop riveted in any nook and cranny we could find. Alas, it was time to bid adieu to our beloved Alfie's and the other fine "eateries" on the summit of "Heart Attack Hill".
It appears that some friendly
rivalry between BERGALL and SEAHORSE had challenged some members of our crew.
Rumor had it an EB punt was pirated, others swore it was just borrowed along
with the paint, and under the watchful (?) eye of SEAHORSE's topside watch our
shipmates left an indelible sign that they had visited. As we pulled away from
the wet docks in order to head North towards the Submarine Base and BERGALL's commissioning, those of us topside couldn't help but notice that the rudder of
PCS SEAHORSE (SSN-669) bore the proud numerals 667.
Another Memory: "Newest with the Oldest"
During our initial load of torpedoes, we had a contingent of Reserves on board for their summer drill. One of these was a W.W.II veteran TMC (SS) who had earned his War Patrol Pin. The Chief jumped right in with the loading. I recall him commenting how much longer it took to load these New Boats as it took up so much time setting up the handling gear. He also insured each Torpedo Log book was updated. Near the end of the load he exclaimed something like. "I'll be darned, we loaded this MK 14 on my old boat in 1945!". Our weapons crew thought it would make a wonderful story for "Navy Times" and "All Hands" and a way to get Bergall attention early in her career. Alas it was not to be published. Prudence dictated it was a poor idea to inform the world, especially cold war enemies that the US Navy's newest Fast Attack Submarine needed World War Two torpedoes.
Ole Goat -aka- Dick Fiske