Deck log 0000 – 0400, I January 2021

Deck log 0000 – 0400, I January 2021

By Garland Davis

How to Use Navy Deck Logs as Evidence in VA Claims | CCK Law

Anchored in Middle Loch,

In COVID-19 quarantine,

Slowly ticks the clock,

The senior Bubblehead is SOPA.

Everyone else has the ‘RONA.

The snipes are steaming the plant,

And the baker is busy in the Galley,

Can smell the cinnamon rolls baking,

The POOW and the Messenger,

Working on plans to hit him up,

Plans the OOD cannot stop,

As we stand this boring watch,

Sailors sleep throughout the ship,

Snores emanate from CPO berthing,

The XO dreams of projects he can foist,

The boot cries for Mommy his face moist,

While Neal whispers sweet nothings,

To his favorite Happy Sock,

Hoping ’21 is a better year,

The last one was all fucked up,

Because of the COVID 19 fear.

Happy New Year


New Year’s Bells

New Year’s Bells

By Peter T. Teschenko


DID YOU KNOW…..that we have a tradition in the Navy that sixteen bells are struck on midnight on New Years…

The oldest person on the ship strikes the first 8 no matter what his rank, enlisted or officer…the second 8 are struck by the youngest person on the ship.

The first 8 bells represent the old year and the second set of 8 bells represent the new year.

I saw this done twice in my career. Not sure if this is done anymore.


A Look At Exercise

A Look At Exercise

By Garland Davis

Let’s face it: A 50- or 60-year-old body or even a 70 or 80 year old one, isn’t the same as a 20-year-old one. You won’t be able to do the same things — nor should you. – Wanna bet? Hold my beer and watch this shit!

Some fallacies about exercise:

1. You lose muscle mass as you get older, and exercise can help you rebuild it. – Wrong! I bought a treadmill, an exercycle, and a BowFlex. They have taken up space in my garage while my car sits in the drive and rusts. I am in no better shape, probably worse… well, okay really worse, than the day I moved them into the garage.

2. Muscles also burn more calories than fat. – Hah, do they realize how many calories it takes to carry this shit around?

3. Exercise can help your brain stay sharp and keep you from falling into a funk. -That would defeat the purpose of drinking!

Types of exercise:

1. Cardio or aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder. – This can best be accomplished by watching Michelle Wie or Lexi Thompson squatting to read a green or bending with the leg raised to retrieve her ball from the cup after putting for birdie.

2. Strength or weight training keeps your muscles ready for action. – This one is simple, carry a 36-pack from your truck to the cooler at least three times per week. (May be accomplished in one day by buying three at a time. Of course, with the approval of your financial advisor…er…wife.)

3. Flexibility exercises help you stay limber so you can have a full range of movement. – This one is easy. Simply place the cooler a sufficient distance from the recliner so you have to stretch a bit to replenish your beverage.

4. Balance training becomes important after age 50, so you can prevent falls and stay active. – Another ‘No Brainer.’ Simply practice maintaining your balance during your many trips to the head.

5. Your physical therapist can suggest ways to adapt sports and exercises into your daily routine. – Don’t listen to the sadistic Son-of-a-Bitch. He was trained at the Marquis de Sade School of Physical Therapy and revels in your pain and discomfort.

6. Walking – This can be accomplished simultaneously with balance training.

7. Jogging – We’ll never know!

8. Dancing – Only if I am assured of some pussy afterward.

9. Golf – Watching the LPGA while hydrating can get the system percolating

10. Cycling – Only if it is done on a Harley!

11. Tennis – HaHaHaHaHa!

12. Swimming – Stay out of the water! Fish fuck in it!

13.Yoga – Are you shitting me?

14. Tai Chi – I’ve found that by walking into a spider web one can complete a one-hour session of Tai Chi in about five seconds!

Generally speaking, the more you exercise, the more benefit you get. And anything is better than nothing.


11 Tips for Better Sex

11 Tips for Better Sex

By Garland Davis

Sex isn’t just fun. It’s good for you too. Every orgasm releases a flood of the hormone oxytocin, which improves your mood. Regular rolls in the hay could improve your heart health, reduce stress and depression, improve your self-esteem, and help you sleep better. Snuggling together underneath the sheets also makes you feel closer to your partner and enhances your sense of intimacy. Forget all that crap, it feels good and Yeah, it is just fun!

The following are suggestions to improve sex.

1. Communicate with your partner. Indicate to her when it is time for a BJ. I have found this is best accomplished by fumbling in your wallet for more P’s.

2. Try something different. Be careful when suggesting a threesome with her sister or cousin. It could result in fatal injury. PROTECT PRIVATE PARTS!

3. Schedule time for intimacy and let her know if she isn’t on time, you gonna Butterfly. PROTECT THE PRIVATES!

4. Exercise in preparation for sex. Speed undressing is recommended. Tongue exercises can also enhance sexual experience.

5. The experts fallaciously urge one to take their time with sex. Pay no attention to this. Rush through the first time so you can do it again. When it comes to pussy, quantity is more important than quality. (Does not apply when you only paid for a short time. In that case, make it last as long as possible.)

6. Use lubricant. Lubricate each other with saliva before you get down to it.

7. Be Affectionate. Not every romantic encounter has to end in sex. HaHaHaHa! Surely I jest!

8. Relax. Sex is a potent stress reliever. You can alleviate her stress by showing her you have the necessary Pesos.

9. Plan an overnight getaway. Take her away from Olongapo. Might I suggest Barrio Boretto? Go bar hopping!

10. See your doctor especially if the burning and sore throat worsen.

11. If something is bothering you in the bedroom. Butterfly!


Eat Healthily, Stay Fit, and Live Well Over 50

Eat Healthily, Stay Fit, and Live Well Over 50

By Garland Davis

This is written from a Seventy plus Fat Man’s perspective. My qualifications speak for themselves. I successfully served mediocre meals to U.S. Navy sailors for thirty years and can proudly say that I never lost one to starvation. Not On My Watch!

The following lifestyle remarks are designed to assist you as you age.

Beer Gut Turns Out to Be Huge Tumor.

Eat Healthy Fats

They say that saturated fats are bad for you. They recommend you cut down on red meat and butter and eat fat fish and nuts. Don’t believe ‘em. This is all propaganda spouted by the Left Wing/Whole Foods Complex. It is better to have a delicious Carolina Chopped Pork-Pig Barbecue sandwich on a freshly BUTTERED. Bun with taters fried in pig fat than all that wimpy crap.

I knew an old boy who ate beans cooked with Pork Pig Fatback everyday along with cornbread made with Pig Lard and slathered in butter his mama churned from unpasteurized milk and washed down with the buttermilk resulting from the churning process.

Old Jim lived a long and productive life. The Lord took him well over fifty, the day before his fifty-second birthday. He was well thought of by the community. Why. the funeral home borrowed a new forklift from the dealership to move his coffin. It was the smaller model, less than a ton. They tricked it out nicely with the black ribbon in acknowledgment of the event.  ****See Jess at the Forklift Dealership! He’ll cut a deal!****


I’m not going to waste a lot of time on this subject. I have always felt that the acts of going to bed at night and getting up the next morning pretty much cover one’s exercise needs. But if you think you need more slip these movements into your daily routine.

Caution: I recommend a Doctor’s check-up before drastically changing your routine. Slowly incorporate the added movements. Do not shock your system by adding them all at once.

1. Pour your own coffee instead of waiting for your wife to bring it to you. Instead of jumping into this one all at once, the first few day stand until she brings the coffee instead of sitting. Slowly work toward going to the pot and getting it yourself.

2. Pick up your dirty clothes and towels from the bathroom floor and place them in the hamper. This should not be attempted without preparatory back and hamstring stretches.

3. Perform twelve-ounce curls while watching reruns of all the pretty girls playing golf on the LPGA. Prepare for this exercise by curling a lighter weight, Might I suggest the remote.

4. This one is the hardest but can make one feel more alert and awake. Cut at least five minutes off your morning and afternoon naps.

5. The addition to shortened naps, nighttime tossing, and turning can greatly enhance your exercise program. This can be accomplished by drinking a large cup of black coffee that has heated on the burner since breakfast. (This does not work with sailors. Them suckers can sleep anywhere, except when on Liberty!))

Sex. All I can say about sex is “The worst I ever had was wonderful.”

Sex can be strenuous.  Working up to a fully active sex life takes time and money. You can easily pull a muscle, especially a wallet muscle during sex. It is best for the male to lie on his back while his partner caters to his every whim.  This way both participants enhance their fitness.

And always remember: Hobbies, shopping trips, Dr’s appointments, and yard work are designed to keep us from Day Drinking


“Now Muster a Stores Working Party…”

“Now Muster a Stores Working Party…”

By Brion Boyles

USS MONTICELLO (LSD-35), ’79 or ’80, shipyards at Swan Island Marine Works, Portland, OR:

I was a young, mischievous seaman Quartermaster, little more than a year or so into my Navy career.

We were in the process of moving the crew aboard a Vietnam-era barracks barge tied up alongside the “MoBoat.” MONTICELLO’s senior cook was an ornery, hated, skimpy-rationing, prematurely bald-headed MS1 (Mess Specialist First Class) of questionable intellect. He had arranged for an all-hands work party to transfer the ships’ food stores to the storerooms and reefers on the barge, while work was being done to those on our ship.

It was going to be a long day of hard work…and NO ONE was happy about it.

Beginning at 0900, a line of about 100 sailors ran from 3 decks below the main deck of the “MoBoat”, up to and across the Quarterdeck, into the barge and down 3 decks. As the MS1 couldn’t be everywhere at once, all manner of foodstuffs where subject to all the sailor abuse and skylarking 100 unsupervised 18-19 year-olds could think of.

Guys were playing hockey with the contents of a split box of frozen “veal patties” in one passageway; some were tossing loose frozen Cornish hens over the side to see who could make the biggest splash. The much-hated frozen tamales were broken open and lobbed thru the air like hand-grenades. Hell, one corridor looked like a Timothy Leary LSD-induced nightmare… green, orange and red from a fight involving 1-pound Kool-Aid packets.

I myself was stationed at the foot of a ladder, taking stuff handed down from above and handing it around to go another deck down.

All this activity got me thinking, though…

I had the good luck to have rented a little hootch in Vancouver, across the river with another shipmate, a fellow Quartermaster. While he and I could afford the rent, filling our pantry and fridge was another matter. With all this food passing by, the temptation was just too great.

I began accumulating a stash of bounty behind the open hatch… first a box of frozen pork chops… then a huge bag of lobster tails and fish filets…several bags of frozen shrimp…rasher upon rasher of bacon… great big blocks of ham and Swiss cheese… No. 10 cans of clam chowder, corn, beans… another box of steaks…

When the work party broke for chow, I went to my berthing compartment and retrieved a couple of empty seabags, returned to my pile and stuffed it all in… and brought it back down to my berthing. I hadn’t quite planned this out very well, so I placed the full seabags in an empty top bunk and threw a blanket over them. Now, my treasure looked just like a sailor taking a nooner in our darkened berthing. Satisfied I had successfully covered my crime, I thought, “Good. Off to get some hot chow.”

About 20-25 minutes later, I went below to catch a catnap myself.

When I got below, I could barely make out my LPO (Leading Petty Officer); a fat, usually-drunk but jolly Navajo named QM2 Z*****a (“The Zoomer”) napping in the middle bunk, directly under my secret trove. All seemed secure.

After about 5 minutes, Zoomer mumbled out, “Anybody smell FISH?”

To my utter horror, I realized my stuff was beginning to thaw…and drip down onto Zoomer’s rack! I was just about to freak when the ship’s announcement system (1MC) burst out “Turn to…Continue ship’s work!”

Lunch-time was over.

Zoomer thankfully popped up and was gone in a few seconds (probably headed for sick-bay to ask for another bottle of “cough syrup”…).

Nonetheless, I had to think fast.

Bold action was required.

On this day I had the “duty”…which meant that I couldn’;t leave the ship unless I was on official business. What to do?

I went up to the ship’s post office and confided to a buddy… Our postal clerk (PC3) was a good friend and compatriot in many petty shipboard crimes. He said he was going to take the ship’s van on a run to the Post Office out in town soon… and I asked for a ride.

“Sure…no problem. Meet me in 5 minutes.”

With that, I loaded up the two seabags on my shoulder, walked straight up to the Quarterdeck, and asked for the keys to the van… “Postal run. Giving PC3 a hand with the mail.”

I was afraid the Officer-Of-The-Deck would become curious about a load of off-going mail that would rival the entire Christmas season, but no…

Still, trying not to show panic…a trickle of ice-cold water from one of the seabags was now was running down the back of my neck … I took the van keys from the Officer-Of-The-Deck and fled down the gangway, trailing the faint odor of lobster tails…

PC3 arrived at the van, and drove me to my little place…leaving me there while he went to the Post Office on his legitimate business. I was gonna stow this stuff and catch a ride back to the ship with him… and dream about the feast to be had when I got off the ship and home the next day.

Problem: The capacity of our tiny refrigerator’s freezer was hardly more than a few pints of ice cream.

Now in full panic, I stuffed as much of my loot into the itty-bitty freezer compartment as I could… but what to do? I still had a TON of it to go…

Find more freezer…and fast.

I called the house of a shipmate and spoke to his wife (one of a large group of wives who regularly partied at our house).

“Sure. We have some freezer space. Bring it on over….IF we can have some of it…”

Well, OK. No time for argument.

PC3 returned in the van…and was cool with yet another side trip. I still had at 1 and 1/2 seabags of frozen stuff… and my shipmate’s wife’s eyes bulged when she saw it…but again, time was running out.

“Do what you have to do,” I instructed, as we peeled out of her driveway and back to the ship.

“Whew! What a guy has to do to get something to eat!”

The next day, my roommate and I pulled up to retrieve my ill-gotten gains. We had decided to throw one helluva dinner party to reduce the pile… and pack our fridge with ice to preserve the rest for as long as possible.

However, our shipmate’s wife had run into storage difficulties of her own…and some stupidity.

“I unpacked EVERYTHING and wrapped it all… individually… in aluminum foil…and so only a tiny bit fit in OUR freezer. I had to ask my friend (yet ANOTHER Navy wife) to hold the rest. We can go get it, but…

You guys owe me $60 for 20 rolls of aluminum foil.”

Well, I paid her…and then she took us to her friends’ house.

Our knock on the door was answered by her friend, and we went inside…

…and there, sitting on the living room Laz-E-Boy…

…was MS1…with a huge shit-eating grin.

“Nice try, boys. Thanks for the gift.”

By the way, a few months later… PC3 walked off the ship with the keys to the van…the money order machine, and a seabag-full of blank money orders. They caught up with him in Florida about a year later.


Here Comes the Navy

Here Comes the Navy

By Peter T Yeschenko

Question: How many of you remember watching the 1934 movie “Here Comes the Navy”?!

“Here Comes the Navy” was a 1934 American romantic comedy film starring James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Gloria Stuart and Frank McHugh.

The basic plot of the movie was a cocky guy (James Cagney) who joins the Navy for the wrong reason but finds romance and twice is cited for heroism.

Pat O’Brien plays a Navy Chief in the movie as shown in the picture.

There’s not a whole lot to read into “Here Comes the Navy” except that it’s very entertaining and fast moving.


BUT DID YOU KNOW….that the most interesting thing about the film was not the movie itself but the historical aspect of the film.

Warner Bros. received permission from the US Navy to film aboard the USS Arizona, both at sea and in port.

YES! The USS Arizona you see in the movie is the same USS Arizona that was sunk at Pearl Harbor and is now a memorial.

In the movie you can see how beautiful the ship was and the footage of the ship sailing through the ocean, and Sailors loading its enormous guns, was something to see.

Many of the crew members served as extras in the movie.

Watching the movie….I wondered how many of those Sailors we saw in the background were aboard the USS Arizona on 7 December 1941. Back in those days it wasn’t uncommon to do your whole Navy career on one or two ships.

But not only the USS Arizona, but the airship shown in the film’s climax was the USS Macon, the Navy’s last dirigible airship.

The USS Macon also met a tragic end, crashing into the Pacific Ocean a year after filming the movie, fortunately with only minimal loss of life – two crew members out of 100.

The footage showing the operation and flight of the USS Macon was very impressive.

Again, actual crew members served as extras and because the USS Macon crashed a year later, I’m sure the Sailors we see on screen are the same ones who were involved in the USS Mason’s crash.

“Here Comes the Navy” was such a rousing success, even earning a Best Picture nomination that year, that Warner Bros., seeing gold in the Cagney/O’Brien match up, put into production the next year “Devil Dogs of the Air”.

Again securing cooperation from the Navy and the Marines.

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Boy Howdy, Grandfather

Boy Howdy, Grandfather

By Garland Davis

Boy Howdy and Sam walked into the house for the box of kitchen utensils he had purchased for the new RV. And yes, his name is Boy Jenkins. He is from one of those southern states that only use the vowel A. His mother died shortly after his twin sister and he were born. Without a name, the county clerk entered the names ‘Girl’ Jenkins and ‘Boy’ Jenkins on their birth certificates. He had picked up the nickname Boy Howdy from the Chief on his first ship.

A little over a month before, Boy and Sam, a mixed Akita dog, that he had found as a puppy at a Louisiana truck stop on a stormy evening, had been in the local Ginmill to drink away his sadness on the fortieth anniversary of the last day he had seen Maria, the day he left the Philippines for Vietnam. There he was involved in a boat collision while acting as an advisor to the Vietnamese Sailors they were turning the Riverine Forces boats over to. He was severely injured and eventually ended up at the Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii. The last thing he remembered was leaving Charleston. He had no memory of the USS Chicago, the PI, Maria or Vietnam.

While talking with a psychiatrist, all his memories suddenly returned. As soon as possible, he took leave and flew to the Philippines to find Maria. Maria was not there. Over the years, he spent other thirty day leave periods walking the streets of Olongapo hoping to see Maria. He hired detectives in Olongapo, to no avail. After he retired from the Navy, he actually lived in Olongapo for two years hoping to find her.

Boy eventually surrendered to the realization that he would probably never find Maria and returned to San Diego where he worked at a Marina for a few years. Tiring of pampering rich peoples boats, Boy moved to the Southern Ozarks and became a nomad trucker working for a small company in Oklahoma. He lived in his truck and would be on the road for months crisscrossing the country. He had retired a year ago and he and Sam moved into a cabin on five acres backed up to what passes for a mountain in the Ozarks.

Boy had ordered drinks for himself, water for Sam, and placed Maria’s photo against the saltshaker on the table. He was sitting looking at the photo and remembering the days he and Maria were together in Olongapo when a tall attractive lady approached the table and asked if she could sit down.

As she pulled the chair out and sat, she noticed the picture leaning against the saltshaker, and with an intake of her breath she said, “Maria.”

Shocked, Boy asked, “How do you know Maria? Where is she? Tell me.”

“Maria died of cancer many years ago in North Carolina where she lived with her sister Lila. She thought you were killed in the war at first but when she couldn’t find your name on the wall she became convinced that you were alive. Here is a letter that she wrote to you. It was returned as undeliverable. She thought you had been killed in the war.” She said as she passed an unopened envelope to him. It was addressed to him in Vietnam. Someone had written across the front, “KIA!”

“With trembling hands, he opened the letter. It was short, a profession of her love and to tell him that she was pregnant, and they would have a child in the spring.”

He said, “A baby. Maria’s baby! Do you know where the child is today? he said as the tears dripped off his chin.

She placed her hands over his clenched fists and said the word for the first time in her life.


Boy gasped, “Papa?” You are the baby? My Baby?”

“Yes,” Marie said as they stood and embraced, both crying.

“There is so much I want to know,” Boy said.

Boy learned that her name was Marilyn, but she was called Mari. She told him that she had been born in San Diego, shortly after Maria had immigrated. When her sister’s husband retired and moved to North Carolina, Maria and Mari moved with them. Almost astounding as learning that he had a daughter was learning that he was grandfather to teenage twins, a boy and a girl. Mark and Marie.

Shortly afterward, Boy and Sam drove to the cabin with her rental car following. There, they spent the whole night telling their stories to each other.

She was an attorney and taught Contract and Constitutional law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also reviewed proposed legislation by the legislature for constitutional issues. Her husband, John, Boy’s son-in-law, was a cost accountant for a large chicken growing and processing company. They lived on an operating farm inherited from John’s parents located south of Chapel Hill.

Boy asked how she had found him and why was it so difficult for her and Maria. She explained the Maria thought his last name was Howdy. They searched for years for a sailor named “Boy Howdy.” Mari while doing research for [proposed legislation that would make it easier for adopted persons to locate their birth parents had found an article by a retired Navy Commander who had discovered that her mother had died at birth and that her twin brother and she had been labeled as “Boy” an “Girl” Jenkins and those names had been entered as their birth names by a county clerk.

Mari had contacted Sara, Boy’s sister Girl, whose adoptive parents had let her select her new name. Mari flew to Charleston and learned that, yes, her brother had been named Boy and was a retired Navy Chief petty Officer living near Branson Missouri. She also told Mari that he had spent his life searching for a girl named Maria.

Sara had contacted Boy two years before. It was good to learn that he was a brother and uncle. He had spent Thanksgiving with Sara and her family for the past two years. It was good to have a family. But now he was learning that he had a real family, Maria’s and his daughter and her children, his grandchildren.

They decided during the night that he would visit Mari and her family in a month. Mari gave him a picture of the twins. He looked at it for a long moment then carried it to a larger framed picture of Maria and stuck it in the corner of the frame. Boy whispered, “Our grandchildren Maria!”

Mari had a late flight from Springfield to Atlanta and Raleigh. She had an early class on Monday and would spend Sunday completing a report for the legislature. She slept for a few hours and while she was showering, Boy cooked breakfast. After they ate, she said, “Goodbye Papa. I know Mama is happy that we have found each other and goodbye to you, Sam, Take care of my Papa.”

It had been almost a month since Mari left. It had been a busy month for Boy. He intended going to visit Mari and meet her husband and the twins. He had talked with each of them on the phone. The twins seemed like a levelheaded and respectful pair of kids. They invited him to attend their High School graduation in early June. Boy had done the work to close the cabin and arranged with the Sheriff and a neighbor to keep an eye on the place.

Boy bought a twenty-eight-foot long motor home. He reasoned that he and Sam would be making a number of trips to North Carolina. He finished moving his clothes into the RV, stocked the refrigerator and the pantry with items from an earlier shopping trip. He made sure the water and propane tanks were full and checked all the engine fluids.

He was ready for an early start tomorrow. South to I-40 and ride it all the way to Chapel Hill.




The Brotherhood is real. Stronger than an Anchor Chain.The following is the Introduction to our forthcoming book, “More Sub Tales.” We will be sharing more details as the next few weeks transpire.


By Frank Hood

“Are those guys nuts?”

Anyone watching the proceedings that day—29 June 2020—may have reasonably posed the question. On a Monday afternoon, in a driving rainstorm, men without umbrellas stood at a graveside internment ceremony, during a COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 200 people of Marblehead, MA, including more than 100 firefighters from all over New England, had assembled under terrible weather conditions at Waterside Cemetery to say goodbye to an old friend. At the age of 81, John Woodfin Martin Bartlett Chapman Cutler had gone to his eternal creator days earlier. The beloved figure, known affectionately as “Hooper” to all who knew him, wore many hats during his long and meaningful life: son, husband, father, fireman, docent, poet, cribbage fanatic, and submariner.

That last descriptor explained why more than 20 of his brothers from the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. (USSVI) Marblehead Base was there. Hooper was a diesel boat veteran and a plankowner of the local base in Marblehead when it was formed years earlier. Through their common bond in the Navy, Hooper and his friends at the base enjoyed many wonderful times together through their participation in civic events like parades and memorials as well as social occasions at the base including the monthly meetings and yearly banquets. Hooper seldom if ever missed an event, and when he attended, you could count on his quick wit and side-splitting sea stories—which usually began with the phrase, “Now, this is no shi***r… “

As the relentless rain poured down, no one was deterred. A Naval Reserve flag detail stood motionless as each of Hooper’s USSVI brothers delivered a short eulogy during the wake service. The Navy Hymn was played. As a final farewell, each man passed by his internment site, stopped, did a slow hand salute and departed smartly to the side.

Hooper’s family, including his wife Joan, was moved by the tremendous outpouring of respect and affection. Like the many firefighters who were there, Hooper’s USSVI brothers had forged a connection through the trials of dangerous and often underappreciated service. The submariners’ bond is stronger than an anchor chain, and it’s a relationship for life. For them, it all boils down to three words…duty, honor, country. And that’s why neither a pounding rain nor a viral pandemic could keep the men from their ceremonial watch at Waterside Cemetery.

Hooper’s story is an American classic, and portions of it resonate through the lives of most other men who volunteered to serve on the boats. A lifelong resident of Marblehead—except when the Navy deemed otherwise—Hooper was born in 1939 to Harry and Louise Cutler. His mother reportedly chose so many middle names common to other Marblehead families because she wanted to make sure that he’d have the best chance at a town job when he grew up. She would never have to worry about that.

John Cutler told how he was branded as “Hooper” by his kindergarten teacher because there were too many “Johns” in the same class. The name stuck. After finishing Marblehead High School in 1957, Hooper joined the Navy and attended Sub School. He struck for a torpedoman’s rate and served from 1961 to 1963 aboard the USS Tunny (SSG-282)—a pioneering “G-boat” performing Regulus deterrent patrols before the fleet ballistic missile submarines assumed that important job. The G-boat story is told in great detail in one of the chapters of this book.

As a young man serving aboard a US submarine, Hooper learned much more than he realized. He learned the value of self-discipline. He understood the concept of giving every assignment his best effort. He came to realize that he was part of a team, and that each team member had to be able to count on one another to perform his job as flawlessly as possible. He learned how to get along with a lot of people in a tight space doing dangerous things that he could never reveal or hope to be adequately thanked for. He understood the pride that came with self-sacrifice and the courage that such daring work required.

After his Navy stint as a torpedoman third class petty officer, Hooper returned to the town he loved to apply many of the life lessons taught to him by the Submarine Force. A true “’Header” (the local term for a longtime Marblehead resident), he felt the calling to continue serving his fellow man by becoming a firefighter. Hooper gained the love and respect of his fellow firemen much as he had done with his shipmates aboard the Tunny, through a sterling work ethic and a winning personality. He was never too busy to share one of his many stories from his Navy days or the lengthy career with the Marblehead Fire Department that followed! Hooper rose through the ranks and became the captain of the department before retiring after 33 years.

During his many years as a fireman, Hooper found many other ways to give back to Marblehead. He was a long-time member of the Masons, VFW, and Shriners, and he also played active roles in several firefighter organizations. In his chosen profession, Hooper strongly advocated for continued training opportunities for his men. From his days aboard the Tunny, he understood the meaning of becoming Qualified in Submarines—an achievement following many grueling hours of study and apprenticeship—and how valuable such validation of expertise was for both morale and proficiency. Hooper demanded the same level of commitment from his fellow firemen, and his infectious spirit elevated not only the fire department but also every other endeavor he put his mind to.

For example, he volunteered once a week during the tourist season at Abbot Hall, the local museum housing a number of historically significant treasures. Perhaps most well-known among these is “The Spirit of ‘76”, the famous oil painting by Archibald Willard depicting two drummers and a fife player marching during the Revolutionary War. Hooper had a very outgoing manner that put his museum visitor groups at ease very quickly as he knowledgeably led them through the exhibits. His genuine love for Marblehead came through loud and clear to those fortunate enough to gain his services as a docent.

As mentioned already, another pursuit that Hooper practiced passionately was storytelling, both as a gifted raconteur and a poet. Upon recently asking his wife Joan for a sample of his writings, she politely demurred…they were for the private consumption of his firefighter colleagues. But she added that his ribald sense of humor—a telltale nod to his submarine roots, you might say—was always greatly appreciated by his friends at the station.

Hooper’s pastime of choice was the game of cribbage…if ever there was such a dead giveaway about his submarine pedigree! He played the game nearly fanatically, organizing weekly tournaments on Tuesdays. He also volunteered at the local schools to teach kids how to play the favorite game of the Submarine Force. Although Hooper played cribbage to win, he also relished the regular gatherings as opportunities to both share more of his seemingly endless inventory of yarns and to hear new stories. He was so affable that once he had hung up his fireman’s hat, the local bank hired him as their front-door greeter.

Hooper Cutler succeeded in a way he couldn’t see, and it was that invisible gift that left the most lasting impression on everyone he met. Simply put, whenever you were in Hooper’s company, your troubles seemed just a little less burdensome and your disposition was just a little brighter. Hooper left you happier than when he found you. It’s no wonder that he reveled in playing Santa Claus for 26 years at the annual firefighters’ family Christmas party. He delighted the children by sliding down the firepole in full regalia and then take each one on his knee with a jolly laugh to hear them recite their Christmas lists.

His ability to connect so fundamentally with people, combined with his iron-clad integrity and his unwavering commitment to his community, won Hooper Cutler many friends. To the submariners gathered at the cemetery that rainy day, Hooper’s legacy sounded a familiar theme, one that bound the men together:

The pride of service.

A deep love for country, even long after service years have passed.

Great respect for one another, gained through the rigors of submarine duty.

I know these statements to be true because I was one of those men. Hoop’s passing was a devastating blow for our Marblehead base family, and a desire to explain such fundamental attributes of submariners has been a powerful motive for my brother Charles and me to write this sequel to Sub Tales: Stories That Seldom Surface. By describing important moments and themes in submarine history, both well-known and obscure, we hope that such examples impart a greater understanding of those “secret sauce” ingredients that define the Silent Service volunteer. Our intent is to both entertain and inform the reader while simultaneously offering a more enlightened appreciation for the many sacrifices that have been made by submariners in the defense of our country.

Hooper’s story is our story. Enjoy these many tales. May God bless the US Submarine Force, and may God bless America.

John “Hooper” Cutler during his submarine days. (Photo courtesy of Joan Cutler.)


“It’s a Small World” Story

“It’s a Small World” Story

Tony Palm, BMC, USN(Ret)

This morning I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting (for the second time) Nghia (Le) Firth, a native of Cần Thơ, Vietnam. Nghia is the newest member of the pain-management clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Bethesda, Maryland, and assisted my doctor with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection into my shoulder.

When I asked about her immigration into the United States, she explained her family was part of the mass exodus of almost 800,000 Vietnamese between 1975 and 1995. In 1983, when she was only eight years old, her family traveled to a small port city, where they boarded a rickety boat and set sail into the unknown.

As those of you onboard the Elliot during her 1983 Westpac knows, their boat never made it out of the South China Sea.

As was often the case during the crisis, the boat was ill-fitted for such a mission. The skeleton crew had taken on more passengers than they had provisions for, and the ship itself was in poor condition. Nghia said after the first week, they only received a medicine bottle of water, and their only food was the fish they caught.

Nearly two weeks after leaving the country, the bilge pumps failed, and the boat began to take on water. In less than 48 hours, the incoming seawater had shorted out all electrical systems, flooded the diesel engines rendering the boat dead in the water and at the mercy of the wind and tides. On July 31, 1983, just when the boat’s main deck became even with the surface of the ocean, and sinking seemed immanent, a miracle appeared on the horizon in the shape of a United States warship.

On routine patrol during her third Western Pacific (WestPac) deployment, the forward lookout on the USS Elliot (DD-967) spotted the floundering craft with 68 men, women, and children crowding her deck. The ship pulled alongside the boat and transferred all of the passengers and crew on board. After giving all of the refugees a physical exam, the ship’s cooks provided their first cooked meal in weeks. The ship then traveled to Subic Bay, the Republic of the Philippines where the refugees were turned over to the US Department of State. Elliot and every member of the crew were awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for the rescue operation.

Nghia and her family remained in the Philippines for nearly two years until they were moved to a refugee camp in Hong Kong. They stayed there until being sponsored by a Roman Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she grew up. After graduation from high school, she attended St. Catherine University and was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Following her childhood dream to give something back to her adopted country, she applied for and was granted a commission in the US Navy’s Nursing Corps. As an active duty Lieutenant from 2000 – 2004, she deployed to the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Today, Nghia Firth continues her care of warfighters and their dependents as a federal employee at WRNMMC.

When did I meet Nghia the first time you ask? When she and her family were rescued, I was a member of the USS Elliot’s crew and still wear the Humanitarian Medal with pride.