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Tower Burns - Camera, Empty!
Posted by John Ackerman on December 31, 1999:
In Reply to: WHAT'S THE DUMBEST THING? posted by COWBOY:
Can't remember the date, but it was sometime between 66 and 68 on USS Grouper. We were tied up at the pier at NLON directly across from the escape tank the night it caught fire. I was the duty Chief that night and when the below decks watch woke me up with the news, I sprang into action. I went up to the conning tower, broke out the periscope camera and took at least 50 shots of the fire, some of which were bound to chronicle the spectacular flames that shot out and above it.
When the CO came in the next morning, he was briefed by the duty officer who informed him that "Chief Ackerman had gotten the whole thing on film." The CO called me to the wardroom and ordered me to get that film developed as soon as possible and at all costs. He had one on his cronies in the squadron with the only pictures taken of the fire.
With a cheery "aye aye sir," I went back to the Conn to retrieve the film and get it over to the base photo lab where I would wait until the prints were ready.
You guessed it; no film in camera.
My wife and I have kept a relationship with that CO and his wife. We get together about every six months for dinner and he never lets me forget the night the NLON escape tank burned down.
A very happy New Year to all you guys and gals.
P.S. It didn't burn down. I just kinda embellished the tale a bit. But everything else did, admin and machinery spaces were crispy critters. I could have shown you if I had the film in the camera.
John's USS Grouper and USSVI Cod Base pages