To return to War antics and memories, click here.
To return to the main page of the SS 320, click here.

Memories of Carl A. Weber

In the summer of '45, we were heading home.   Were we ever this young?

I spent a month on the S-40 boat in San Diego, after I finished sonar school and it was not so bad as I had just come off a 4 stacker Destroyer in the Atlantic which was worse than a "sewer pipe".

When I got out of Sound School in san Diego, we were on a "draft" that was going to be a "Relief Crew" in the south Pacific.    We had a Chief tell us that we had to have our sea bags and hammock loaded and rolled "the Navy way" or we wouldn't go overseas.    Any of us that had Hammocks immediately "shitcanned" them.    We all went anyway and I ended up going to Hawaii, The Admiralty Islands, New Guinea, Brisbane and finally end up in Fremantle.    All this was on a British freighter from Hawaii on.   Then in Brisbane we took local trains thru the different states in Australia.    Each state had a different gauge of track so that when you went from one to another you had to get on a new train.    It took us five days to get across with a stopover in Adelaide for a shower and beer.

I was in a Relief Crew in Fremantle, Australia and one of the RMs onboard the Bergall broke his wrist and I replaced him for the last run.

On the fifth patrol, when we hit the mine... it was close aboard and knocked our after tubes out of alignment and screwed up the screws. We made a lot of noise.    We were on the surface in the Gulf of Siam in shallow water looking for anything and it was probably a mine controlled from the shore.

I was copying "FOX" (high priority transmissions from headquarters) at the time and when the mine went off, my chair jumped about six inches off the deck, the TBL went on and all I could think of was that I missed some of a msg.    We got back to Subic and Gunner Han, the COB (he was GM1) came back from a mail run with 5 gals. of "gilley" and when the sun went down we had a party onboard.

It had to be in June of 1945.    We were coming up the Thames River to Groton, passing the "liberty Submarine ways" (now Pfizers) when the word came over the 1MC "Fire in maneuvering".    What the hell, we are coming home.    Why this?    Then the word was "Pass all the fire extinguisher from forward to aft and maneuvering."    I was in the radio room and got in the passage to the After Battery to pass fire extinguishers.    We didn't want to get screwed up now that were so close. Well the fire was not so bad. It was extinguished.    All the guys topside probably wondered why we had stopped but when the after engine room hatch opened and smoke came out, they wondered again.    The gist of this is that you should not use the fire extinguishers in the after torpedo room and maneuvering to cool your "EMU Bitter Beer".    Nuff said.

After I got back stateside, I had a friend paint the 'mermaid on the torpedo' on the back of my "foul weather" jacket in '45 from a drawing I had from Bobby Faselt.    Boy, was I proud of that jacket.    But when I came home with it, my mother made me throw the jacket away... That's the way things were in '45.

I was teaching a guy about standing "below deck" watch.    I told him to "turn this valve to fill the coffee pot".     I returned to talking to someone else when, shortly later, I heard the water running onto the deck.   I turned and saw the coffee pot overfilling and spilling.    I told the guy to turn off the valve he just opened.    He said "you didn't tell me that!"   Sometimes we wondered about the new guys!!!

Remembering the Bosun's Whistle for breakfast reminded me of when the meals were served the usual call was "CHOW DOWN" for any meal.    After a while, probably in the 50's we were supposed to say "Breakfast is being served in the crews dinning area."    Sometimes you forgot and if you said 'CHOW DOWN", the Duty Officer would come running into the Control Room all aflutter and if the Old Man was onboard you might get a restriction.   What a life.

Here's a shot from another boat's radio room but it's sure pretty close to the ole Bergall...

There's the RBC on top with the Transmitter Frequency Tuner, the below are receivers, RAK/RAL, on the aft side, that was the TBL Modulator, for voice.    I remember once we were coming into some harbor in the far Pacific and my second class woke me up cause he couldn't get in touch on the harbor freq.    I walked into the shack and turned the Modulator on and told him to try again.    Below the modulator looks like another RBC or it could be a TCS which was a small Transceiver.    Over the right shoulder sitting at the typewriter, was the venerable TBL which would work thru hell and high water.

When we were in the Shipyard at Portsmouth in '45, John Huston and I used to go on liberty.   I had a '36 Chrysler convertible.   We went to Amesbury Ma. and kind of raised a little "hell".   The car was parked in an oval in the center of town.   We had to avoid the police and sneak to the car.   When we got back to the Shipyard about 1 or 2 AM the Marines stopped us cause there was a bottle of liquor rolling around the level behind the seat.   We were sent to the Hospital to get a blood test to see if we were "drunk".   At 3am, the corpsman was pissed and said "no one ever shows drunk in my blood  tests".   The Marine Officer showed up at the hospital and he was drunk and said we were to.   Well it ended up that they let us go and we got back to the "boat" about 5-6 am hit the rack and when we woke up found out that we had the duty. those were the days.    That 36 Chrysler was some car.

I served on a few boats in my time....
USS Bergall - SS-320 - Rate: RM3(SS)
From 5/4/45 to 27/12/45

USS Entemedor - SS-340 - Rate: RM2(SS)
From 1/11/46 to 1/11/47

USS Capitaine - SS-336 - Rate: RM2(SS)
From 2/11/47 to 1/12/49

USS Diodon - SS-349 - Rate: RM2(SS)
From 1/10/51 to 1/2/52

USS Batfish - SS-310 - Rate: RM1(SS)
From 1/2/52 to 6/4/55

USS Marlin - SST-2 - Rate: RMC(SS)
From 4/55 to 3/56

USS Marlin - SST-2 - Rate: RMC(SS)
From 7/4/55 to 2/3/56

USS Crevalle - SS-291 - Rate: RMCM(SS)
From 1/3/60 to 1/3/62
Chief of the Boat

USS Bang - SS-385 - Rate: RMCM(SS)
From 5/6/62 to 7/6/63
Chief of the Boat

I've sure enjoyed my time getting with old crew members and remembering our times.

Here's my lovely wife and I (taken at the Nags Head Reunion in 2000).

To return to War antics and memories, click here.
To return to the main page of the SS 320, click here.