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How I survived on the Bergall

Memories of Dean Hamburg, MS2, 73-77

My nickname was WHOPPER as a result of being a cook.  With the Hamburg name and Burger King and all - you get the drift.

Galley Cranks Dusty Eaton and Chuck Vaughn stuck this nickname on me.  I MISS THOSE KNUCKLHEADS. 

Early on I got that advice about staying ahead of the crew for survival as a cook.  I took it to heart and the fun began.

Crew vs Cook banter

Chuck Vaughn to me; " HEY WHOP - THIS CHOW SUCKS."
My response; "Maybe it's my pubic hairs ground up in the pepper shakers you don't like."
Chuck; " you're shitting me right?"
Me; "No, that was in yesterdays pudding."

"WAR IS HELL - BUT SHORE DUTY IS WORSE so quit crying you galley lizards." 

You're asking for another hamburger but I don’t see any golden arches in Middle Level OPS. Did you miss that fact in getting qualified or are you still a non-qual between the ears? 

Eat it or wear it sailor.

OH NO! The recipe called for Salt/Pepper not Salt Peter! 

Out of Bug Juice? I got your lemon-aide right here.

Don't worry sailor, you're getting an extra big omelet cause I get seasick at periscope depth.

So you really think that is mayonnaise?

Blowing Sanitaries?   Time for Chile-Helper.

Peanut Butter?   We got creamy and chunky - just like my skivvies.

You are welcome to try the restaurant next door.

Did you all know that dish detergent stretches and preserves salad dressings?

This is a MAN-O-WAR, NOT A RESTAURANT!  Go kill some commies and make room for the next setting!

Your asking for more pie?   Do I Look like your mother?   Check out these breasts!

(It is scary how it all comes back so fast.)


Our 667 was in the EB shipyard in 74. It came time to clear all personal belongings off the boat.  I filled a sea bag full of gear from my bunk and made it up and out the weapons hatch.  I figure the bag weighed about the same as 2 cases of canned ravioli, about 70 pounds. 

The big task was to make it up HEART ATTACK HILL on this warm Sunday afternoon. This was the name for the steep road up from the dry docks to the South gate of Electric Boat Shipyard. My VW Bug was parked along the fence near the South gate.

I made it up the hill and to the gate with sweat pouring and breath wheezing. 

THE GATE WAS CLOSED!   I asked some nearby yard birds what the deal was and they explained that only the North gate was open on Sunday.   I had forgotten that there was a world that had weekends and such but I had a GREAT IDEA!  To avoid hauling the bag down and back to the other gate, I slung it over the fence where it landed by my VW.   I did kind of a discus thing with it to get it over.   Worked great.

Free from the sea bag, I walked down to the south gate, passed through the gate unchecked and walked up the street to my car.

As I picked up my bag, as a siren sounded from an approaching Security Car and in moments I was cuffed and on my way to interrogation. They had me on camera the whole time.

With a detective present, they dumped my bag and went through my clothing, books and recipe cards.   They also called the Duty Chief on Bergall—non other than QMSC McMasters, sometimes referred to as Chief McNasty.

As I am wondering if they will let me cook in Portsmouth Naval Prison, Chief McMasters storms in and commences a verbal assault on me that soon had even the Security Staff developing pity for me.   I was too scared too cry. 

My future on the boat was to be more difficult than anything NIS could come up with in a brig.

No classified documents were found in my sea bag with the possible exception of a recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits. So they let me leave the office under the secure discipline care of Chief McNasty.

My legs trembled as the Chief walked me down the hill, back to the boat. I finally got the courage to look up from the pavement in front of us to make eye contact with him. He was smiling.

“Whopper”, he laughed. “ I figure you owe me big time. Some cookies and ice cream for the on board gang would be a good start.   How about you wait till they change shifts at security before you hit the beach.” 

Needless to say, I gave Chief McMasters anything he wanted whenever he wanted for the rest of his time on Bergall.

Did you ever get raffled?

As the youngest aboard on December 31st –1973, my body was raffled off for a fundraiser.   I had just turned 19.   While in the rainlocker, Big Murphy reminded me that he bought a lot of tickets and sure enough he won.   I had to sit with him through a movie and get popcorn whenever he asked.

Bergall Cook trick

”Hey Whopper - my my prime rib is too well done, gim-me something with a little blood.”

“No problem, sailor.”

(Take the same slice behind the serving window, cut a small piece off so it looks like a different cut then poke holes throughout with a fork and poor hot beet juice over till it almost floats. )Return to guest and, “Thanks Whop, they were telling me there was no more rare!”

“You showed-em sailor.”

Ever notice how beets were often served with prime rib?


So we all know how we sent the more gullible back aft for 20 feet of waterline.

I want to add that sending new cranks (dishwashers) back aft for the sponge repair kit was also a fun game.   “We have limited sponges on board and we need to repair those that have torn. I think the Sponge Repair Kit (the SRK) is back aft at maneuvering.   If not there, check with Fred in the torpedo room.   Oh—and remember Fred likes to be called Freddy.”


I really enjoyed serving all as a Bergall Cook for 3.5 years. I miss the insult exchange. My galley partners included MS1 ART, MS1 JESSE, MS2 RANDY MILES, MS2 TOM LAWRENCE, STRESZOWAKOWSKI, AND DELACRUZ.   All cared about delivering the goods to the crew but had to be careful not to show it.  I enjoyed meeting the meal challenge every 6 hours and genuinely miss every one of the crew.

I feel privileged to have been on such a terrific boat.


More Later---Miss you all.

Dean Hamburg

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