|Maybe it was the crew that made the
most difference in my favorite boat. We had one of the great COBs and for
some of the time a lousy skipper, but part of it I am sure was the old
She took us to places that I'm sure are on the charts someplace but I have no idea where.
She carried just about enough food for those extended runs up North, when your relief didn't show up, and almost enough fuel to get us back to a safe haven.
She carried us through storms in the North Atlantic and Arctic that movies could be made about.
She recovered when a trainee, trying to qualify on the stern planes, threatened to send us to a cold dark grave.
She provided me with a bunk that after a three day run of no sleep felt better than the distant arms of a favorite sweetheart.
Even when we corralled her into a harbor, her shiny brass valves and gleaming chrome levers contrasting with the red naugahyde that covered gauges and panels (hiding a few of her many secrets) drew oohs! and aahhs! and big round eyes from the hundreds of fortunate people that were invited to take a tour.
Night after night she would welcome her boys back to her womb, somehow making the metal deck plate under the after battery hatch a little softer for those of us that celebrated a wee bit too much. Our legs always seemed to go limp as we dropped (with a resounding thump) into her belly and landed on our pride. The echoing snores coming from Hogan's alley, the goat locker, as well as the forward and after rooms meant all was well and we were home.
I saw a picture of the USS CORPORAL (SS-346) as she now looks. Still looking beautiful -- her crew, all dressed in whites standing topside as she serves -- as always, with pride. Only now she is in the Turkish Navy.
Someday I'd like to tour her, just like hundreds of other people have done.
Maybe she would remember me.