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BOZO - The Blenny "mascot"

by Sid Harrison ETCM(SS) USN(Ret)

Hey I have years of this stuff built-up. It's kinda like a sinus blockage. No one here in the toolies to tell it to and my wife takes a sleeping bag to the truck when I try to tell them again.

An e-mail bud of mine (Frank Toon) was in the BLENNY during her last WWII patrols. He said the dog was mentioned in "Ripley's-Believe It Or Not" . I never saw the original there. Frank later sent me a copy. 

UPDATE -31 Jan 1998

I recently received a scanned image of a newspaper article from Frank. It provides some excellent pictures of Bozo on the BLENNY. The cook leaning out of the galley was "Okie" (I think his name was O'Connell or O'Connor). He bought a Mercedes-Benz in Europe during our Med cruise and as far as I know he was the only cook on the river driving one. 

UPDATE April 2008

From Frank Toon   More Bozo:     PDF 1     PDF 2

FRANKS E-MAIL and my e-mail response starts here:
When you were aboard Blenny, did they have the dog mascot "Bozo" aboard? I have a news article abt him written in 1962. Also, he appeared in a '79 edition of Ripley's "BELIEVE IT OR NOT".

TO: Frank Toon
FROM: Sid Harrison

Yes - early 1960s. A little dog with a curly tail. The only dog I ever knew that contracted a Sexually Transmitted Disease. Or at least that's what we all wanted to believe. During a Med run they swelled up as big as a softball and with Bozo being such a small dog, the ratio of nuts to dog was rather impressive. I didn't know he was written up in Ripley's. During the time of his "condition" he got to where he could not clear the knife edge on the Aft Bat/ContRm WT door unless someone picked him up and set him over. We had a wild engineman by the name of "Mouse" who would "help" the little dog through the door usually with his toe placed in a most sensitive place.

Previously, Bozo would go all the way aft until he was caught in the FER once during a snorkel line-up. Air starting that engine scared Bozo so badly he never went aft of the AB after that. Of course, following his recuperation and after being so unsympathetically helped into control, he further restricted his range to staying forward of the LP Blower Manifold. He might occasionally go in the radio shack to cadge treats they kept for him.

He had a little service record and med record too. The doc was an HM2 by the name of Doc Whitt. And I recall him giving the dog a shot for his gonad problem. He was owned by a Lt, whom I believe got him in Yoko, and as I recall the attitude of the crew ranged from indifferent tolerance to outright dislike for the critter. The forward IC and off-planesmen especially didn't like him because he'd puke in the waterway of control and they had to clean it up. As a result of Bozo making a "mess" in "O" country, a mean little steward there would have loved to have shot that dog out through the GDU (or was it called TDU?). The steward would get so upset he'd barrel through control muttering about the dog. As it wasn't in English we didn't know precisely what he was saying but the meaning was clear.

In Naples we were "med-moored" (stern to the pier) and the dog would go ashore in the evening and return really dragged out in the morning. The topside watch would yell down to whoever was in the crew's dinette, "Bozo down" and they would lower him down the hatch. Oh yes, one more thing I recall, the dog almost missed movement once. We were getting underway and kept waiting and waiting for him to return. The skipper was getting anxious and visibly irritated when off in the distance we saw Bozo hauling tail, one might say. I don't think the skipper would have cared to explain to SOPA why we were late getting underway. Would have meant a Mast for that dog for sure.

I have always wondered how many international animal transport laws we violated. I know you can't bring a pet into most countries without a quarantine period - sometimes quite lengthy. You may have heard that the crew liked the dog but I don't remember it that way. I don't think there was a feeling among the crew that he was our mascot - we just put up with him. 

Our radio shack put out a little newspaper with some occasional good cartoons. I wonder if in some of my junk somewhere there's a copy of one of those papers with a big-balled dog cartoon on it.