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First year and 290 days underway

Memories of Tim Jackson

The Beginning

As a snot-nosed, pimply faced, smart mouthed, kid I stepped on board the Bergall in September of 1975, ready to become the submariner of the year, or whatever equated to that. I have to admit, my first day on board I was “wowed” by everything. That soon wore off (I think the next day) when I managed to piss off (at the time) TM1 Reed, as I smarted off to him. Lesson one, don’t piss off those who are going to be signing your qualification card. I thought, oh well, it’s only one person, but submarine crews are close, it didn’t take long for the word to spread that RM3 Jackson needed calibrating. I did manage to qualify about 9 months later, and believe me it was like giving birth, I had so many “ollie” look ups, it took me a week to get them all. In retrospect, it did force me to learn and know the systems and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I finally finished.


Some of the ship mates I remember the most (besides TM1 Reed) included MS2 Dean Hamburg, MS2 Delecruz, RM2 Charles Dixon, and Lt. Oltraver.  Dean, in his own style, put out green pea soup for midrats while riding on the surface in sea state 5 or better. Delecruz told me for months “Jackson, when you get your dolphins, I be the first to “tack” them on”. Sure enough, after the Captain pins them on, I turn around and there is Delecruz, who, true to his word, just about drove them through my chest. Dixon, taught me all I knew about being a Radioman (at least according to him). I will never forget, Lt. Oltraver’s famous saying when he took the OOD watch…”Don’t send me thanks, just throw money” (or something like that). That, along with the lesson that you never wake him by opening his bunk curtain; which resulted with a very large hand around my neck.

Sea Sick

I will never forget pulling out of Holy Loch during a wicked storm, sea state 5 plus. I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get sea sick (or so I thought).  There was a lot of puking going on all around me. In my typical fashion I was bragging about it in the control room while standing my planes watch, this resulted in me being put on the number one periscope in which I lasted about 5 seconds before puking down the well.

Emergency Deep

Lt. Beardon was standing OOD, I was the helmsman, as we were going to periscope depth during some operation with some “targets”. As we neared the surface Lt. Beardon had raised the scope and looking through it to ensure there were no close contacts, all of a sudden he yells “EMERGENCY DEEP” ...  I immediately slammed the planes to full dive, forgot to ring up “All Ahead Full” where I was almost knocked out of my seat by the dive who jumped over me to ring it up.  Just as the scope broke the surface, and we had started back down, I heard the OOD mutter…”Oh never mind, it was a full moon...”  I think we all requested a head break immediately after that.

The Future

The Bergall was my first boat, where I first qualified and, as it turned out, I served on five others, finally retiring as a ETCS on 2002. At the time, being young and naive,  I thought it was kind of rough, after all the first year on board, I think I counted over 290 days underway. On the other hand, it was very rewarding, we had a lot of good times, and I took with me many lessons that served me well in my career. When the boat went to the ship yard in Portsmouth Va., I spent a year with the “SOAP” team at St. Juliens Creek and then got out of the Navy for three years before re-enlisting in 82. During those three years, I stayed in the Reserves in a Diving Unit, where I qualified as a Second Class diver, but came back to submarines when I re-enlisted.

Tim Jackson

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