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Home arrow Sea Stories arrow Sea Stories - SSN arrow Reporting Aboard the SSN-682
Reporting Aboard the SSN-682 Print E-mail
Written by Jim Dawson   
Jul 09, 2011 at 06:20 PM

I was a little bummed out when I got my orders after finishing prototype at NPTU Windsor. I was married and was told that a boomer was the best duty for a married guy, so I put in for a boomer out of Hawaii. NAVPERS said the best thing for me was a fast attack in Charleston. I soon realized being assigned to the Tunny was a much better option than anything else that could have happened to me, especially considering that the Ike was being built and a large number of my classmates were headed there.

I got to Charleston just after Halloween, 1977. I still had some leave before needing to report, so got the family settled into an apartment and located Pier November where SUBRON 4 was berthed. No Tunny, but I did finally find the squadron office, which was hidden in a building several piers away, surrounded by destroyers and other skimmers. At least I knew where to go when I reported.

Sure enough, come time to report, I head down to the piers, drive around for what seems forever finding a parking space, walking the 40 miles or so to Pier N, and Tunny is no where to be seen. Another 40 miles to the SUBRON office, and nobody there knows where Tunny is.

Me: "I'm looking for the Tunny; any idea when she'll be back?"

YN: "Why do you need the Tunny?"

Me: "I need to report for duty."

Other YN: "Duty? Why do you want to be on that boat?"

YN: "Last I heard, they were welded to the pier in La Madalena"

Me: "Umm...what?"

YN: "Anybody know where the Tunny is? What's the hull number?"

Me, fumbling with orders: "Umm...682."

Other YN: "Look on the board."

YN: "Are you sure you're supposed to be here?"

Me: "According to my orders."

Yet another YN: "I don't see them on the board."

Me: "Umm..."

Other YN: "Oh, wait, didn't they go into the yard?"

YN: "Yeah, maybe."

Other YN: "Oh, wait, here's something. I think they're in Norfolk. Does anybody know for sure?"

Me: "Ummm....Aren't you guys supposed to know where your boats are...?"

YN: "We'll figure it out - call us tomorrow."

So, the next day, I call bright and early and find out that they located the Tunny in Norfolk undergoing an SRA, but apparently they're finished and nobody knows what they're doing or where they're at. However, I now have orders to report to SUBRON 7, pending further assignment to USS Tunny.

So, I fly into Norfolk, bus to the base, locate SUBRON 7. After convincing the YNs there that yes, indeed, I was supposed to be there and yes, indeed, Tunny was too, they discovered that Tunny's on sea trials.

Me: "When are they due back?"

YN: "Shouldn't be longer than a couple of days."

Me: "What should I do before they get back?"

YN: "We don't care."

Me: "Umm....ok."

Other YN: "Go check into the barracks and we'll get ahold of you."

As I recall, the boat showed up the next morning and was there long enough to drop off the yard birds, collect me and another guy (TMSN Marchese - can't remember his first name), and load some stores. Then off to New London for REFTRA.

Arriving at New London after standing three days of port and report ERLL training watches, help is needed hauling shore power cables, a job for which this machinist mate was eminently qualified. So, out into the freezing rain, sliding around on the eighth inch of ice covering everything ("Hey newbie, don't fall off the brow with those cables, I want to go on liberty!"), I learned all about the importance of getting shore power on as quickly as possible. Two cool things happened: we were tied up across the finger pier from Nautilus, and I met Ed Salisbury in the middle of the brow who was hooking up a hose for DI water, and we helped each other out.

And that was the beginning of more than three years of hell and happiness.

(Unrelated side note: I went to high school in northern Virginia. We played Norfolk High in some regional or other for something or other. All I remember is their cheer: "We don't smoke! We don't drink! Norfolk, Norfolk!") 

User Comments

Comment by joehall45 on 2012-05-26 00:24:34
Hi Jim, 
I'm Joseph Hall STS1 (SS). 
I'm sure I know you; I was on Tunny from November 1976 till September 1979. I joined the boat in LaMadalena Italy in 1976, went through Panama Canal, trying to forget the 4 ORSE board visits in 62 days! It was during the Norfolk SRA that PW Thomas screwed up and got us the first flunk for ORSE by not obtaining Rickover's permission on deviating from Nuc PMS! The rest was political! 
During the ORSE fiasco, I took "Doctor" Ed Parlow (cook) and his buds to the train station in Charleston, they saw the Stones in concert in Buffalo, NY and came back to captain's mast and 30 days of drunken restriction! 
Yes, Tunny was hell and happiness! 
I do remember TMSN Marchese, a funny looking little guy! 
I made the Tunny WESTPAC/ IO / Australia run in 1978 & 79 and got off the boat that fall.

Comment by scotttu on 2013-07-15 12:24:31
Hey Guys, Scott Turner ET1(SS), I joined the Tunny in the middle of the ORSE fiasco, reported to ET1(SS) Weeks who wasn't smiling when he welcomed me aboard handed me a set of qual cards and pronounced me dink, "get hot".  
Had a medical issue that sent me to the hospital where they almost bleed me out during a minor procedure. Got written up by the corpsman for UA until I showed him the scar, he tore up the papers.  
Got off the boat in '82 in the Philippines, flying out of Manila in January.

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Last Updated ( Jul 12, 2011 at 08:49 PM )
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