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Memories of Hendrik (Pups) Wolfs
I was in the O-gang in Bergall ' 78 - ' 82.
I was in her in '80, and stood at least one third, and sometimes one half, of the Officer of the Deck watches at sea. At that time we were working up for a northern run as I recall, and then we deployed. The deployment was probably pretty routine in the big scheme of things, although a bunch of us got decorated for it. My experiences in her figure prominently in my life, and frankly, nothing has been as rewarding since. I was known as the "enlisted man's officer", which meant I wasn't a jerk around them and treated them with fair respect - I was also the ship's Green Table investigating officer when they got into trouble, and prosecuted several of ship's company.
The Orange Monster
Here's one I remember. We're in port, Norfolk, (Pier 23 I think), moored to the pier, not the tender. It is Saturday night, and (as usual), I have the duty. No Engineering Duty Officer, I've got both ends to worry about. But we've been out of the yards for a while, I'm the senior Lt., and it was a light day of work. Last tour of the night, and I hit the rack. I gotta tell you, I was warped by this time, 'cause I really liked climbing into that coffin - I was partially enclosed on the two ends and I had about one foot from my nose to the bottom of the rack above - cozy.
Out of a very deep sleep, I hear someone whispering, "Duty Officer, lay topside....", back into the fog .... again, "Duty Officer, lay topside!" Whoa!! This is big stuff - nobody ever says that - outta the rack in my skivvies, grab the pants, "Oh crap, the Libyans are coming down the channel to take our nukes", get out into the main passageway ... pants on ... I'm below the weapons shipping hatch...."Duty Officer, lay topside!" again, louder, panicked - I'm scared now. Climbing the ladder slowly, no weapon, at the top rung....peak over the combing, no doghouse over the hatch....look around....nothing. Damn, there's NO TOPSIDE WATCH. He's gone. Deep trouble. Think. Can't think. Voices coming from forward. Climb up topside - slowly, creep forward... I'm near the sail now... pitch dark, I'm on the sea side...
There he is, looking into the forward escape hatch. He's talking to the hatch... no, he's talking to someone in the hatch .... no, he's talking to an Orange Monster which is climbing out of the hatch. The monster is groaning with the effort of climbing out of the hatch. I'm forward now - finally awake - "What in Hell is Going ON!!!!" "Don't know, Sir. What do we do?" Ah, I got it now. A hiss of air, the monster deflates. Back down below, run down the main passageway past the goat locker into the passageway below the forward escape trunk hatch. There's Malaway (I think it was him), knife in hand, helping one of the SonarGirls out of the hatch - his knee is badly screwed up - he is my Below Decks Watch.
I call the tender DO, "Get some medical help down here", call the CO. "Uhhh, Captain? Wolfs here sir, uhh, sorry to wake you. Uhhh, looks like the Below Decks was up in the forward escape trunk on his rounds and accidently caught the liferaft inflation line and" ,"... uhh, yessir, it caught him and messed up his knee", ".... yessir, he's OK otherwise", ".... yessir, I'll call squadron in the AM", "...yessir, thank you sir." Malaway caught grief the next day for the number of holes he punched into the raft - It could've been repaired!... but he couldn't breathe!! ... So what!...Damn A-gangers, don't care a bit about money!!
(another side to the story from
here's a different take on the "event" that LT Woolfs (Pups) submitted... it wasn't me, but a STS named Fred E.
I remember it well, but it was BAM BAM with the knife and some idiot torpeckerman as topside. The upper hatch was closed and somehow I opened it (no mere feat I might add since I was pinned and suspended). I was bagging the hatch up and down and finally the topside watch came by and asked "what are you doing down there?". I could've killed him on the spot but I was pinned.
How this happened was someone in seaman gang un-stowed the raft and left half
of it in the escape trunk and the other half on lower hatch ring. So I grabbed
it and moved it out of the way so I could close the hatch (water tight integrity
and all that stuff). It inflated in 3 seconds..............
The next day I was on crutches................ Don Altizer.
Here's a little something about our Arctic Circle crossing - we red-asses rebelled!! There were more of us, and I led the rebellion!!
It was my first Northern Run, and frankly I was turning and burning all the time. The preparations before the run were a constant set of surprises. We'd go out on a training op and start doing some very weird stuff that I can't really talk about. The problem I had was that no one briefed you in ahead of time that this stuff was going to go down. You'd go on watch and suddenly be told to do something with the ship no sane individual would do. And the CO acted like everyone knew about this stuff - didn't they pass this on to you in ROTC? (frigging ring knockers ... ).
Anyway, we were judged ready, and somehow I wound up as one of the three OODs for the run. So in addition to all the stuff I got to do as DCA, I got to write patrol reports eight hours a day (the XO was a task master and knew when I slacked ...). After we left Holy Loch people started talking about crossing the Arctic Circle and the Redass/Bluenose thing. What the hell is this? I don't have TIME for this!!
Being an OOD I know where we are, so I know when its going to happen. My guys in A-Gang are like a pack of hungry wolves, waiting to "get me" in the ceremony - Inboden is sort of laying back, but I can tell - he is evil. Slowly, we Redasses come together - this is BS! They are NOT going to get us without a fight!! As the day draws nigh, some of the guys find the evil Bluenose's ceremony stuff and eliminate it. I'm taunting the Bluenoses now and I'm confident we're not going to have much of a ceremony. Wrongo!!
When we hit the Circle the Captain basically stopped the ship. All of a sudden we are being rounded up and told to go to the Torpedo Room. A few of us rebel and head for the diesel. I lock us up in there, and inform Control that we're not coming out! Unfortunately, my A-gang chief, MMCS (SS) Brian is the COW - I'm talking to him. He reminds me that he can flood the diesel from his board by overfilling the Fwd Trim Tank. So we give up and are roughly escorted to the Torpedo Room, and from there to AMR-1. There stands Inboden in warpaint, half dressed as I recall, and looking pretty fierce. "Down in the TDU (Trash Disposal Unit) well you stinking Redass!!". An exchange of expletives, and down the ladder I go into the TDU well. "OK, LT, let's have you say 'I'll kiss your ass if you let me be a Bluenose' ". Screw you, Inboden. Oh, by the way, at this point I'm stripped to my skivvies.
Do you have any idea what the
water temperature is at the Arctic Circle? I
do. It is about 29 degrees F.