Sid's N T I N S Locker
Old - memories and a little humor
by Richard B. Fason
March 23, 1999
|I was on her for the first three runs
and was glad to have served my country on her we had a great record. I
was the auxiliary electrician.
Paul Miller was COB. This is all he ever wrote to his wife: "Safe but not sound. Well but not happy."
During the war playing cards had on the back: "Buy More War Bonds". Peter Leon used to go through the boat during depth charge attacks holding one of these cards in his hand for everyone to see. This got a lot of laughs from some of the crew. Peter Leon MoMM1c must have made CMoMM while on the boat. I have a picture of him in a chief's uniform.
We carried torpedo juice for cleaning parts of the fish but used very little for that job. One smart crewman made a still out of a brass hand suction pump, copper tubing and a small funnel. It was set up in the motor room so we could use the cooling water for reduction gears to condense the alcohol. We used a cup to collect it in. The 2 controllermen and I had the duty to go down and dump and refill every hour. There was about 10 gallons purified when we arrived at Pearl Harbor. Some of the guys had a smashing good time drinking it in the Royal Hawaiian hotel.
The Officer's steward - Jesse Jr. I think was his name - was a minister before he joined the Navy and had lots of children. Every time we were being depth charged he would run and get in his bunk in the forward torpedo room and start praying. I used to tell him there's no sense in praying, that God can't hear you through all this noise.
I was responsible for the gyro compass and cleaned the carbon that formed on the rings every two weeks with pure grain alcohol. The Captain kept a gallon locked in his stateroom for this purpose. Paul Miller being the COB would get half a cup from him when it was time to clean the compass. I used a spoon full and we put coke syrup in what was left over and drank it. I don't think anyone knew that.
When we were distilling the torpedo juice you could smell it throughout the boat. The Engineering Officer would stop me and say, "Fason do you smell that odor"? I said, "no sir I don't smell anything".
At our first rest camp ( Majuro Island ) they used to say if you slept cross wise your feet would be in the water. Eddie Peabody and two other gentlemen entertained us with banjoes one day there. I think Eddie was a famous banjo player.
The Queenfish SS-393, her Officers and crew, did a great job to help win the war and brought me home safe and sound.
I thank you many times over.