Letters, Random Memories and Assorted Sea Stories (Cont.)

John Or in The Jungle ....

Dear Ram, 

John said that it was ok with him to send this to you. It would take 3 full days to explain all that happened during the three weeks we were there.





During my last 18 months or so when we would be in port in Alameda I would often stand Roving CMO. If you were standing the 00 to 04 RCMO, one of your duties was to jack all 4 main engines. The first thing you had to do was go the quarterdeck and get permission from the OOD. One night, after I asked for permission, the OOD basically said, "WTF?" I guess the guy's break-in hadn't included that little gem. I explained the procedure, the OOD asked if this would put any way on the ship. My first reaction was, "Not just no, but….." The jacking gear motor was something like 50HP. Most of that power would be used up overcoming friction and momentum. The screw was 25" in diameter and the jacking gear turned it at a rate of one revolution every twelve minutes. No way could this put any way (however slight) on the ship. But then there WAS that issue of Newton's first law.

The OOD was a Lt. and an aviator. He was a RIO and flew back seat in F-14s. He turned out to a pretty cool guy and we spent about half an hour discussing nuclear physics, high speed aerodynamics and engaging in the age old Ginger/Mary Ann debate. (Guy had an excellent answer to this one, "One night - Ginger. Two or more nights - Mary Ann." Now how can you argue with that logic?)

We never did come to a final conclusion on the jacking gear question. Despite Newton's first law, it was my contention that the screw turning at 1/12 RPM would merely push the water aside and absolutely no way would be imparted on the ship. I know that some people with advanced degrees in physics read this site and I wondered if anyone out there has a definitive answer. (By the way : this is a completely esoteric question. I fully realize you ain't gonna propel the big thing across the bay with a 50HP motor.)




Lots of good reunion photos on Crit Thinking! Be sure to check them out.  I'll add a few to this site as soon as I download my own.  It sure was great to see everyone! Man, where did the years go?




The computer I usually edit this website with had a tragic demise (or something like that). Thus, mail downloaded upon it is no longer of this world.  I may or may not get it fixed (I might just smash the thing for satisfaction).  It is actually a miracle that I was able to get into this site using my new computer. If you sent me something that is not here (I recall a story about a jacking gear incident and an inquiry about Michael Bowden), Please resend them.  I'll get this site updated as soon as possible. Sorry about the delay.



Bettis Info ....


Got this note from a lady who worked at Bettis … maybe there is someone out there on your site who might contact the lady.

Will you post the note below?




The notice for the reunion did not reach me until the beginning of July. I have tried to follow the Enterprise over the years, as I worked with the reactor design section for the Enterprise under the AEC years ago at Bettis Field. Are any members of your group engineers that also worked on the design of the reactors? I would like very much to be in contact with any if so.

Nancy McLaren Curry

(410) 546 - 2107


Inquiry about Mike Bowden ...


I have been reading quite a few stories about how Mike Bowden passed away during the 86 Westpac, but no details as to what happened. Can you tell me what happened? Heart attack? Electrical shock by plant equipment?



KP Note: I do not know what the official report stated as cause of death, nor do I know if it is classified. I have second-hand information only.  Here's what I remember (nothing in this narrative is official and is based solely on my memory):

Mike (and I) were part of a S/G repair team when the accident occurred. Because of the high contamination involved in performing the s/g repairs, we were required to wear 2 sets of anti-Cs and an air-fed hood.  There was a short passageway that we had to walk through before entering the work area, which was encased in plastic with zipper doors.  When we entered the work area we had to disconnect from the outside air supply and reconnect to an inside air hose.  From what I understand Mike had some kind of seizure during that transit period and suffocated.  He was alone because he was only entering the room to remove discarded anti-Cs (normally two men would be together at all times). The chief monitoring the cameras knew there was a problem when Mike did not show up on the inside room TV monitor after passing by the outside room monitor several minutes earlier.  Help was sent down right away when  Mike did not respond to radio calls (a 'standby man' was always suited up ready to go in case of an emergency).  The safety man (I think it was Woody) found Mike unconscious so a medical emergency was quickly called away. The Medical Emergency Response team was actually held up at the Control Point because they did not have dosimetery--this resulted in a new ship standing order enacted afterwards that stated emergency responders did not need dosimeters to enter a High Rad area if a life was threatened. 

There are many out there who know more about this day than I do. Please feel free to add additional information if you can.  

Tale of the destruction of the jacking gear on the USS Truxtun CGN-35 ...


I saw another story about a jacking gear incident on the Big E and it reminded me of an interesting ordeal on the Truxtun (CGN-35). I cannot pin down the precise date this happened, but it was while I was on board the Truxtun (85 to 88). As a reminder to those who may not be aware, the purpose of the jacking gear is to slowly turn the main engine turbine during cool down to prevent the shaft from becoming bowed, which would hinder a subsequent startup.

The Truxtun was underway on one screw. Like all of the nuclear powered cruisers in existence at the time, each screw was powered by a different engine room / reactor. For maintenance reasons, the other screw / shaft was locked with the jacking gear. Then the ship started to answer a high bell. The forces on the locked screw which normally would make it trail (spin) would have exceeded the maximum allowed stress on the locking gear, so steam was applied to the astern turbine to assist the jacking gear to keep the shaft immobilized.

This continued for some time. Then the engine order telegraph ordered an all stop. The steam to the driving shaft was isolated to answer the all stop. As the ship slowed to a stop, the forces that would have caused the locked shaft to want to trail tapered off, but the watch standers in the other plant forgot about the steam being applied to the astern turbine. Several minutes later the cogs on the jacking stripped and the jacking gear / motor went flying across the engine room leaving the shaft free to turn on astern steam.

Fortunately nobody was hurt by the jacking gear missile, but it was definitely a bad day for the engine room watch standers. Probably a bad day for the chief engineer as well.

William Carter


Victor Ortega Comes Aboard ...


Victor Ortega 1986-1990


KP Note: Hey, Victor! I do remember you very well!I was always very jealous of your moustache:)

One FINE Afternoon (Part1) ...

KP, Sometime in early '75 we were in Subic. One evening Gary, Kyle and I went to dinner at "Charley's Mexican Food" on Rizal. When we were done we headed toward Magsaysay. Long story short, some guy ripped Kyle's watch off his wrist and we were instrumental in catching him.

One day, on our next Subic in port period, the 3 of us were summoned to the Legal Office. We were told to be at the Olongapo Hall of Justice at 09:00 the next morning to give statements and to sign some paperwork related to the case. Gary and I had duty the next day and told this to the JAG officer. He called down to the M-div office and told them that Gary and I would be off the ship the next day from 08:00 till 17:00. Evidently International law trumped duty days. (SWEET!)

At 09:00 the next morning we reported as ordered and the whole thing was over in about 30 minutes. We had the rest of the day to f**k off in Olongapo! (The ultimate hall pass!) Kyle instantly disappeared to God knows where. I decided to go to honey-ko's place and kick back. I invited my good bud Gary to tag along. When we got to Myra's place she was getting ready to take off to visit her best friend and we decided to join her. It was about 2 very hot and humid miles to her friend's house. She, like Myra, was a hostess at the Sierra and her name was Jenny. (Willy was f**king her.) Jenny's place was large and well appointed. Shortly after we arrived, Jenny's brother Rudy drops by. Rudy was a small guy even by Olongapo standards, but he was wiry and hella strong. He was also one badass martial artist. Gary and I pooled our money and sent the girls out to get lumpia fixings. We also sent Rudy out to get some cold San Miguel.

While the gals were out shopping us guys settled into the living room and began sucking down some cold ones. After the girls returned with the food, several of the neighbor ladies dropped by and soon there were about 5 gals in the kitchen with sharp knives and cutting boards preparing lumpia. (This was before food processors were common and Olongapo gals probably wouldn't have had them anyway. Making lumpia the old fashioned way is a tedious task, but it also seemed to be a social event. The gals were happily jabbering in sing-song Tagalog and breaking into group laughter every several minutes. Each of the gals seemed to have a different task in the lumpia preparation.)

Rudy had been on his way to work when he had dropped by, and when he found out that Gary and I were playing hooky he decided to ditch work and teach us some martial arts. I was a good 18 inches taller than Rudy and Gary was even taller, but Rudy could easily kick over our heads. Soon Rudy was showing us how high he could kick up on the wall near the front door and to Jenny's dismay Rudy had Gary and I trying it as well.

Around 13:00 the first of the lumpia started rolling off the human assembly line. Even bad lumpia is good, but this shit was EXCELLENT! Soon the afternoon became a blur of lumpia, San Miguel, martial arts and female laughter. Jenny's place was pretty much in the landing pattern for Cubi Point NAS. In 1975 we didn't have F-4 Phantoms on the E, but they sure had a shitload of them in Subic. The F-4s make a very unique sound when they turn on short final, and we heard them overhead all afternoon. You know, I can't count the moments in the Navy when I'd have rather blown a goat than be where I was. This afternoon was way different. I was honestly proud and happy to be who, what and where I was.

Along about 16:30 I went for one of my increasingly frequent piss breaks. I looked outside and noted that the shadows were getting much longer. When I returned to the living room the female visitors had left. Myra and Jenny were busy putting on their war paint in preparation for a night of work in the Sierra. Next thing we knew, the girls took off, making us promise to stop by the Sierra for a quick visit on our way back to the ship.

(To be continued.)



Judson Harris Comes Aboard ...

Judson Harris, RL Div 2003-2006


A Horrifying Initiation ...








Wow, KP - opening for THE man! Awesome! I've always loved Robin Trower... even with Procol Harem. Maybe you guys can work up some renditions of "Simple Sister" or something. But I guess it's probably "Musician's taboo" to cover the mainliner's tunes when you're an opening act, eh? That probably won't go over very well on second thought. Are you getting nervous yet?



KP Note: That's right Arrgh! The P'Mooj is opening for Robin Trower on Sept 24 (see website for details).  Let me know if you or anyone needs tickets. If I told you how we pulled this off, you wouldn't believe it. (It was as easy as making a phone call.) The P'Mooj also has a song playing on the local radio 103.9 FM. Call the station and request more Psychedelic Mooj!!!  [Link to station]

One Fine Day (Part II)

... Once the girls all left for work, the festive atmosphere at Jenny's place fizzled out. Slowly it dawned on Gary and I that we were drunk on a duty day. I was only about a month away from my 22nd birthday and Gary was about a year younger. Chalk it up to youth and inexperience that our decision making wasn't the best. We figured (wrongly as it turned out) that a slight change in the ratio of our beer to lumpia consumption would sober us right up. It only took about half an hour to figure out that this wasn't going to work.

No doubt I was intoxicated by Highway Patrol standards, but I was far from being falling down drunk. I probably had a good 30 lb. on Gary and he wasn't doing as well. And Gary probably had another 30 lb on Rudy, who had been going beer for beer with Gary and I all afternoon. San Miguel was kickin' Rudy's ass!

I decided WTF, time to head back to the ship. Gary was well beyond giving a shit, and it took some serious arm twisting to convince him that returning to the ship was in our best interest. When Rudy sensed that Gary and I were getting ready to leave, he decided to show off and take one last kick at the wall to beat his record for the day.

This was far from Rudy's best kick of the day. First of all, the height was the nowhere near his record. More importantly, all day long Rudy had been just lightly tapping the wall with his foot. Rudy's poor mental state caused him to make a serious misjudgment on this kick. His bare foot went right through the drywall! For several seconds Rudy was hanging from the wall by one foot and screaming his head off. His free foot was about 12" off the floor. Finally, a chunk of drywall broke loose and Rudy fell to the floor with a crash. Gary and I were laughing so hard we couldn't come to his aid for several minutes.

Once Gary and I were done laughing, we helped Rudy to the sofa and wrapped some wet towels around his wounded ankle. We placed some opened bottles of San Miguel within his reach and then said our good-byes.

True to our word, we stopped by the Sierra to visit Jenny and Myra. A number of our buds were already there and working up a good head of steam. The Frictions were already on stage for their first set of the evening and doing there usual awesome job. Normally I'd have been having a good time, but the knowledge that Gary and I were going to spend the night on the ship (and probably in trouble) while our buds were out in Po-Town f**kin' and fightin' just put a damper on my mood. We spent about half an hour in the Sierra and I think this was the only time I was ever in that club and didn't have a beer.

Reluctantly I grabbed Gary by the scruff of the neck and we headed back to the ship.

(To be continued,)



Sven Doebler Comes Aboard ...

Can you add my contact info

Sven Doebler EE03 1998-2001

2&3 swgr for life!!!


KP Note: Hey Sven, how about some ghost stories from 2&3 SWGR?

New Email Addy For Dan Coyne ...


Please Change the info about me on the Alumni Page to

Dan Coyne Formerly MM1 On the "E" from 1985 to 1991


Nice site.



Military Friends ...

KP Note: Mark B. Sent me this... How true it is...


OTHER FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents mom and dad.

OTHER FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Would be sitting next to you saying, damn...we fucked up...but that shit was fun!"

OTHER FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry. 

OTHER FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.

OTHER FRIENDS: know a few things about you. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

OTHER FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds ass that left you.

OTHER FRIENDS: Would knock on your door. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

OTHER FRIENDS: Are for a while. 

OTHER FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, "Bitch, you better drink the rest of that, you know we don't waste!!"

OTHER FRIENDS: Will talk shit to the person who talks shit about you. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will knock them the fuck out!!

OTHER FRIENDS: Will ignore this. 
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will resend this!

One FINE day (Final Chapter)

... Once we reached the bottom of the stairs to the Sierra and stood on the Magsaysay sidewalk, Gary loudly announced that he had to take a shit…. BAD!! Knowing that the bars on Magsaysay were a terrible place to take a dump, I asked Gary if he could hold it till we got back to base and he told me, "No!" Seasoned Olongapo Commandos (like me) knew that the only decent place on Magsaysay to take a dump was the American Legion so that's where I steered Gary.

We arrived on the second floor of the American Legion and entered the men's room. There were a couple of wall mounted urinals and a single shitter stall, the door of which was closed but not locked. Gary opened the door to find some squid, with his pants at his ankles, passed out on the shitter. Gary was known for having a hair trigger temper but I had never seen him get physical. Maybe it was all the martial arts lessons we just gotten from Rudy, but Gary walked into the stall and gave the guy a good swift kick on one of his naked shins. This woke the guy up and he was HOT! Gary yells at the guy to, "Shit or get off the pot!" (This was the only time I recall hearing the expression used literally, and I laughed myself silly.) With his pants still at his ankles, the guy comes after Gary, who is throwing clumsy haymakers, none of which are landing. I threw Gary over my shoulder and carried him down the stairs. The guy is still chasing after Gary and the two of them are yelling profanities and threatening to kill one another. It really made quite a scene for the patrons on the ground floor.

My final memory of the evening is stopping at a little barbecue stand near the Shit River bridge. The guy ahead of us (an officer by the look of him) asked for his change in one Peso coins. The vendor asked why and he said, "I want to throw them to my friends under the bridge." I always thought that was cool.

With the help of a perpetual calendar, I recently figured out that I spent 2157 days in the Navy. More than 90 percent of those days are totally forgotten or just blurred together. Other days, like most of this one, still stick out in my memory like they happened yesterday. I don't remember, however, crossing the river. I don't remember getting back to the ship. I have no idea where Gary finally took that shit. (Could have been in his pants for all I know, although I think I would have remembered THAT little detail.) Somehow, neither Gary or I got in trouble over the event.

All in all, one FINE f**king day!



Grover Vining Comes Aboard ...

My Name is Grover Vining and I served on the Big E Reactor Department in RM 4 and RM Division Office from July 1972 to July 1976 my E mail is


Kurt Pena Changes Email Addy ....

Tuli: New email for me. I blew up my old domain and got a new job. Was waiting to setup a non-work email, but this is probably the best for any Enterprise Nukes to reach me.

Please let everyone know that they can reach me at:

Sorry I missed your reunion. I'll be sure and check out the pics of you guys getting fatter in Alameda recently. It looked like it might be fun.

Also, if you know anyone in need a recruiter, I know a guy who places ex-military. Don't worry, nobody will ask you to sign a six-year contract. I was an unusual placement for him, since I've been out for about 15 years. He generally helps people who only are just finishing up their hitch. No sense in posting an ad here, but I would happily handle a referral!

I guess you can pull my resume down. Fat lot of help that was!



Curtis Coe Comes Aboard ...

Please add me to the list of Big E contacts: Coe, Curtis RE02 1981-1984


Lookin' For Mac Takaki's Email Addy:

I just saw Mac Takaki's name on the list from the 70's but did not see an E mail address. Could you please check and see if you have it and if so could you post it, or send it to me or send Mac my E mail address. I would really like to get in touch with him.




KP Note: If anyone has Mac's latest email address, please send it so I can update my pages. I have no idea where the original email address was put (no snide comments please).

The P'Mooj Does The Art Crowd Proud ...

For all you, who absolutely need to know what the P'mooj is up to, here's an article that appeared in the local paper.  I had no idea we were doing this until I read about it. Sounds like fun. Glad I'll be there:)




High-Heeled Hippo ...


Thanks for setting up this web site. I joined earlier in the week and contacted Steamer, he sent some E mails and I got his phone number and called him. We had a good discussion and he said I should post some stories from the 70's. I will send some as I get time to write them. Here is a short one about Hippo.

We were at sea of Yankee Station on the 72-73 Westpac. One night after we got off watch, some of us were having a BS session in the main berthing area waiting on Mid Rats. While we were talking I noticed a shoe box on top of the trash can. Being of the curious type I decided to take a chance and open it. Maybe it was full of pesos, maybe naked pictures, maybe drugs. To my surprise it contained a pair of shoes. Although they were shoes they were not at all what you might expect in the Reactor Department Berthing area. These shoes were RED HIGH HEELS. Upon closer examination I found them to be size 13. A special order no doubt. As we were mulling over the origin of these satin beauties, the Hippo came walking up. Seeing more than two 4 plant nucs in a huddle he knew something was up. When he joined the discussion we determined that they were just his size. This prompted a challenge from the group to the Hippo. He was dared to walk to Mid Rats while wearing the RED HIGH HEELS. The Hippo never turned down a challenge. He worked the RED HIGH HEELS onto his feet, walked down to the chow line and calmly went to chow. I don't know what happened to the RED HIGH HEELS. Hippo do you still have them?



Chuck Wiggins Comes Aboard ...


I just stumbled on the site, great memories. I was in RM-22 from 88-91. Feel free to list me....

Chuck Wiggins


The Bullshit Kid Rides Again....

Airline Ticket to the OC: $200

Food & Lodgings: $200

Going to your 25th High School Reunion with long, non-gray hair: Priceless.

Yep, ol' KP visited the boring lads that once called him classmate. I dressed in my stage clothes and handed out my CD, even gave out autographs... those poor folks had no idea I wasn't that famous....  (I told them I was big in Europe.)

There have only been two times in my life I was ashamed for pulling my world famous bullshit on some poor chump ( i.e., I felt real bad for doing it afterwards). The first time was many moons ago when I was a wee bit drunk and saw a prayer hot line on TV. I called the number with the notion of wasting some poor fool's time.  I gave the person answering the phone some sad story and the guy wanted to pray with me.  I kept up my yarn (whatever it doubt ridiculous) and the guy was writing everything down.  Finally the guy asked me as politely as he could to slow down because he was taking notes with his feet, as he had no hands.  I felt so bad I stayed on the phone and let the guy pray for me.  

The second time was Saturday night, at my reunion.  I saw this really hot gal (hot in 1981 and still hot 25 years later).  She told me, after looking at my name tag, that she didn't remember me. I told her that my feelings were hurt because I was her junior prom date. In fact, I told her, I was her boyfriend for about two years and went on to describe many romantic interludes (much to the laughter of those standing around that knew I was full of shit).  The poor girl had this really sad look on her face and finally said, "I'm sorry I don't remember this... I had a stroke in 2003 and I have very few memories of things that happened before then...."  Boy, did I feel like shit. 


To CC Smith's Son:


My name is Grover Vining. I was in the Navy from 1970 until 1976. I was on the Enterprise when your father assumed command. I believe it was in 73 or 74. I can't remember for certain and I lost all my Navy and Enterprise memorabilia when my house burned 18 months ago.

I do remember that the first cruise I went on was long and hard with low morale. The next cruise was under CC Smith and it was a big difference. We started by having boxing matches in the hanger bay on Friday nights. This gave birth to the Captains Cup Competition. CC was actively involved and encouraged everyone to participate and have fun. He was a really level headed person who appeared to have more appreciation for the young working sailor than any other. I had the occasion of running up on him in town from time to time and having a few drinks. He always had words of praise and encouragement for all of us. I remember we were off of Yankee Station in late 74, CC had the crew take 55 gal. drums and make barbeque grills. They were set up on the flight deck. This Chinese trawler had been shadowing us as usual when the charcoal was lit. They saw the smoke and I guess they thought we were on fire, so here they came closer and closer. They came right up on the stern of the ship in the middle of our wake still coming closer and closer. Well as part of the days activities a trap shoot was planed off the fantail. CC had ordered the armory to bring up shotguns and ammo. The trawler was probably about a quarter of a mile behind us now and I am sure they had all the spy gear on board running. Well the trap shoot started and I can only assume that the Chinese must have thought they were coming under fire. They immediately broke off and resumed there coverage on the horizon.

Randy, I am really sorry you did not have a chance to get to know your dad really well. He was certainly a great father figure to a lot of young men while they were far away from home in a strange place being asked to perform a lot of hard task. I believe I can speak for the entire crew but I will only speak for me. I did not know your dad very well personally but I certainly appreciate serving under him and He will always be held in high esteem in my heart.

Good luck in your future endeavors. I know your father would be very proud of you.

Grover Vining


The Man (Hippo) with Two Red Shoes ..... 

I wore them to my interview with GE in 1974 and passed muster. I worked graveyards for years after and had to have them resoled and heeled many times. Deck plates and gratings played havoc with them. Many of my fellow workers were ex-E Nukes and we all had peccadillo's. Earlier this year, on my flight to the Reunion in Oakland, TSA placed them in their X-Ray machine and they never came out. I had taken my AL Cone off for a grope, and at the moment, when my guard was down, I was displaced into a different reality where they didn't exist. Luckily, after 3 Martinis @ Hanger 1, I returned to familiar surroundings. Sadly, they never reappeared. FYI, I may write a diary of their exploits. Wonder what I should use as a title ????.....=:}


Shipmate, Admin Style ...

Was checking out your site and realized I was on the Enterprise with you. I was on from 85 to 88. I started off in Personnel then went to the ship's admin office. 

K. Taffi


KP Note: Then you would have known my good pal Scott Emisson. He was in my boot camp company and wound up on the E. He went to OCS in the late 80s. I hadn't seen him after Boot Camp until I was checking in on the Big E.  He saw me and knew who I was before I recognized him.   

4-Plant's Paint Locker ...

I read an earlier story that talked about storing paint in 4 plant. 4 plant did have several hiding places where mostly paint was stored there. We had a MM named Bill Stroh who was in 4 plant when I arrived there. Bill was one of the kings of painting. He would rather paint it than clean it. One time in port I was standing watch and Bill was on with us. He told me he was going to be in the RAR painting. Some time later he came up and said he was going to eat mid rats. When he came back he BS'd with us a while and headed back to the RAR to paint some more. It wasn't long and he was back at CTG flats looking for rags. I went back over to the RAR with him and when we got to lower level I noticed white paint on everything around the forward section of the RAR. I asked Bill what happened and he said someone must have knocked over his paint can. I noticed the paint was on the charging pump, the spring bearing, the bulkhead, the charging pump panel I mean everywhere. I asked Bill how much paint was spilled he replied he had opened a 5 gal can and was painting out of it. I asked him where he had left it and he said up there pointing to the #1 line shaft which ran the length of the RAR lower level. I said on top of the shaft and he said yes. I just started laughing and he said what's so funny and I said Bill they rotated the shaft at midnight.

I also read the story of the blue engine room. We had a similar experience with one of our CTG's. We were getting read for ORSE and our LPO was MM1 Joe Simplicio. Joe told the guys getting the paint to get a gallon of bright blue when they got the several gallons of white. One of the new guys assigned to paint asked what the blue was for and someone told him that Joe said to put blue in the white to give it a better shine. Well no one told him how much to put in there. The bravo CTG was a nice pale blue the next morning when we arrived. The division officer was livid. Joe said don't worry about it we will get some red paint and mix in with the next batch. The division officer was puzzled and asked Joe if that would make it white again. Joe said no but we will paint the alpha with that paint and it will be pink then we will rename them Alice and Bobby. This really set the Division Officer off.

Joe was the KING of comshaw. For those not familiar with the term comshaw, it is you scratch my back I'll scratch yours. In other words barter, I have something you want that I will trade you for what I want. Joe had us go to the mess deck and collect coffee, sugar and creamer ever time we were eligible (usually twice a week). We picked up a 20 lb tin of coffee 10 lbs. of sugar and 4 big jars of creamer twice a week for about 9 months. The only problem was where do you store that much coffee, sugar and creamer. We had it hide behind the radcon shack in the RAR until one zone inspection the RMA found it and demanded we get rid of it. We racked our brain on where to store it we had 1 week to have all of it gone. While we were setting on CTG flats one day discussing where to put this stuff, Joe's eyes lit up and I knew he was on to something. He said how much Lube oil is in the Lube Oil Storage tank? We said we haven't stored oil there in forever we just us it to clean up the oil from the lube oil system when we purify it. The man ways were opened the tanks wiped out and the goods transferred. The RMA came down in a few days and asked if the coffee, sugar and creamer had been removed and demanded Joe accompany him to the RAR to verify. He didn't trust us completely and did a through search of the RAR and CTG flats. As he was leaving he told Joe let this be a lesson to your people that they can't pull anything over on him. Joe said we have learned our lesson and want ever try anything like that again. Well during the stay in the dry dock at Bremerton in 73 all 4 plants were supposed to paint there bilges with a 2 part epoxy paint and replace all the funnels on the CTG vents and drains with new copper ones. Once we got in the dry dock we contacted the yard birds to find out the status of our paint and funnels from our 2 kilos and 2 limas (who remembers what these were maybe another contest KP) we were told that they had received no such request from the Enterprise. Well Joe got a Navy van we loaded it up with many tins of coffee, sugar and creamer and Joe was off. In about 3 hours Joe sends word to muster a working party to unload paint. The next problem was the Boatswains Locker had no deck grounders and needle guns for us to check as they were using all of them to paint the ship. No problem we went to the hanger bay found hoses going from the port side to the starboard with Boatswains mates hanging off the sides with deck crawlers and needle guns everywhere. We went to the air header shut off a few valves and waited for the Boatswains Mates to come down to see what was wrong. While they are trying to find the problem we disconnect some hoses pull hose and equipment all up and take off to the plant. Of course when the Boatswains find there air supply is turned off, they just open the valves back up and air hose start flopping everywhere. 4 plant was the only plant with freshly painted bilges and new vent and drain funnels. Ricochet Reed was somewhat emotional when he found out during pre ORSE that 1 of 4 plants was in compliance and ORSE wanted to know why they other 3 plants hadn't upgraded.



From HP Trap's Old Sea Locker ...

Hey K-Paul,

I thought I had lost everything in the fire but found some things in photo albums my ex-wife and sisters gave me. I had never really looked at them until this morning. Will send some additional pictures later.

Grover aka CDR HP Trap


(Click to enlarge)

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Tales From Nuclear Power School ...

Most Illustrious King Paul,

As much as I would like to recommend the book "Tales from Nuclear Power School", I cannot. For $15 one deserves a clearly written, spell checked book, printed in such a way so that the pages disappear into the "gutter" in the middle. I'm returning my copy to Amazon. While I realize it's unkind to struggling authors to diss their books, I have to say that one can enjoy far better stories on your site for free.

Respectfully submitted,

Mike Chapman


KP Note: Thanks for the good word.  One of these days the Crit Think gang and I are gonna start our Catch 65 book. Reading the above mentioned work might inspire someone ...

Todd Kildoo Comes Aboard ...

My name is Todd Kildoo. I was on the big E from 1994-1998 in RL and RT divs.


Marvin Smith Data ...

I am Marvin Smith and I am already on the muster list for early years but no service dates. I served in after ELT Shack form 64 to 67. Thanks.


Sorry, my bros ... I just now downloaded my summer photos and surprise of all surprises I had my Big Reunion photos on there. For some reason I only took a few shots and not everyone was photographed. Better and more complete photos can be found on Crit Thinking. 



Here are two additional pics (taken from Crit Think) that show others not seen above:

Big E Video

Heads up, Sailors! The modern day Enterprise crew put together a video and uploaded it to youtube in May 2006. Check it out!

David Kinney (RM11 from 1988 to 1992) 


Kudos From Ranger Sailor

I Love Your Site! Best damn US Navy site on web. I served on USS Ranger (3rdDiv) from 1979 - 1981. I think the Ranger was cut up years ago and made into razor blades.  My son is currently serving on USS Lincoln. 

Raymond Davis


Looking Out for a Shipmate...

Hey Ram,

Noticed in one of the latest postings on the Mooj site, CDR HP Trap posted his letters of commendation and such, you may want to pull those down, they clearly show his social security number and his name. Just trying to help an old salt out. Sad sign of the times….

By the way the gang at the reunion looked great, truly wish I’d been there.

I’m declaring Hanger 1 vodka the official vodka of Sprint’s Customer Equipment Development group. We’ve toasted many an endeavor now over a bottle or three of H1. Our compliments to Mr. Winters!!

KP Note: Thanks for the catch, Lou. I 'doctored the images to blur out the SSN.  Hey, rumor has it that you're hosting the 3rd annual reunion in KC!!!!

Also, gents, refresh your browser so as not to see 'the old' CDR HP Trap docs.



Thought you might be interested in these Army reactor operator badges.

Paul K.


KP Note: This is a good "quiz" initiator. Lou Wingo will buy the first correct answerer a beer in KC at the next reunion:)  

What did "army" nukes do? 


Describe the army's worst nuclear power mishap.

Bonus, Bonus:

T or F: The army actually had plans to build a nuclear powered aircraft.

I may or may not have mentioned on this site that I met some guy when I was working at SAIC who told me he went to army nuclear power school.  I thought he was full of shit at the time.  The army's nuc school was in Bainbridge, MD (might have even been part of NPS at the time). Does anyone know if that is correct? Are there any army nukes secretly reading this site (and too ashamed to come forward because they might be heckled by their navy counterparts)?

Looking for CR Operators!!!

Hey Ram,

My power plant is presently looking for control operators and plant operators. We intend to hire about 20 between now and the first of the year. You can forward my email address to anyone you know who is looking for a position.

The plant is located in Southern Indiana and generates 750 mw for Alcoa. I can provide more information as requested.


Brian Helms

Ex RC-14 (1986-1992)


KP Note: If you're interested email me and I'll forward your name to Brian.

Some Great Pics from Jim Sutton ...

Hey Ram. Please list my new E-mail addy

Ramblings......Though I haven't contributed anything for a long while, I have been keeping up with the site. It's still awesome as ever and I extend my thanks to you and all who help stimulate these aged and alcohol infused brain cells into remembering the good and the bad. It is coming upon my 35th anniversary of landing on the flight deck of the "E" , and starting my adventure as a Three Plant Nuke. I got to looking around in some old boxes and found some pics that you can post if you wish. These were mostly from 1972 before our F-14 refit at Bremerton dry dock in 1973. Pics from the flight deck. F-4's, A 7's, etc. The Tusker Beer label is from our Mombassa, Africa visit. The two CRS (can't remember shit) pics of crew members, I could use some help in placing names with faces. The one in the Reactor berthing area was taken sometime between '71 &'75. The two guys in the bad photo was taken at my wedding from hell reception in the fall of 1975 a month or so before I left the "E". I am sure these two were Three Planters that I ran with and were good friends, but my memory sucks like warm beer (unless all you have is warm beer, then it don't suck). The skinny pic of me was taken in 1972. The 60 pound heavier pic of me was taken in 2006. The pic taken in the Alameda NAS parking lot is me shaking hands with my best friend and old steam'n bud Rod F. "Okie" Lensman. Good to see posts from old Three Planters Mike Gunn, Dave Gauvin, and John O'rourke. Loved the P Mooj CD. I could close my eyes and be sitting in a bar in Olongapo, guzzling San Miguel, and groov'n on the tunes from a band that couldn't speak English, but sang like they could and sounded exactly like the original group. Pretty amazing. You guys are too, hope you come out with more, definitely like the tunes. Been watergating the Crit Think site (Great Stuff) since the start, keep thinking I will jump in, but I think I need to get a hold Hippo and modify my cone hat...Hate to argue when a cold beer is at hand. But one day.... . I need another beer!! Good stuff!! Hope to make a reunion one day. Damn, am I still rambl'n on??? Hoo Rah Nukes!! 'Nuff said!!

Jim Sutton AKA (J Taco Hutton) 3 Plant ,'71-75


Big E Today

USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is currently underway...

An interesting contemporary photo of our ship found on the Internet.

from Jules J. LaMontagne, ET1, 74 West Pac, 3 Plant and RT Div.



Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 6, 2006) - The guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) pulls up alongside the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for a refueling at sea. Enterprise is currently underway conducting routine carrier qualifications in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Josh Kinter (RELEASED)

PSNS Photos ...


Here's the Bainbridge Con as seen in the Bremerton Naval Museum. While on the foot ferry from Bremerton to Port Orchard, I snapped these pics of the Long Beach hull (still intact!) and the Ranger, first in the row of 3 mothballed carriers. I don't know off the top of my head which the other 2 are, and I couldn't make out the numbers from the foot ferry. I could barely make out the "61" on the Ranger. The old girl's not razor blades yet!



Quiz Answers!!!

Ok, I had an Operations Manager at Nuclear Science Center at TAMU who was a nuke Construction Electrician (CECS) He wintered over in Antarctica when they had a reactor powering that station. He did training at Fort Belvoir. Sooooo Army nukes ran stationary land reactors. Their worst mishap was SL-1 in 1961 and Yes, the Air force actually built a flying reactor (NB-36H) Had tons of shielding around the cockpit and they went critical many times in the air. Final resting place is somewhere in INEL near Mud Lake, I think. Bet you didn't know SeaBees could be nukes did ya?

Kenny Roady

Did a little rereading of the AEC Report and it seems SL-1, designed by Argonne, 3MWT between 1955 & 1959, Combustion Engineering took over 1959 after initial criticality in 1958. I could only see training was done in Idaho, on site. My friend was an operator on another shift when the accident happened. All his training was in Idaho. He was Army. He also monitored the bomb tests in Nevada and used to don his anti-C's and mosey out to ground zero after detonation to see what happened. He would have felt right at home in a steam generator....

... .Worst accident SL-1..up in Idaho, Killed 3..May have been a love triangle gone bad but that is speculation. Operator pulled a rod out, (manually) during a procedure and caused a steam/hydrogen explosion. I've got the AEC investigation board report on it dated 1961. Army Nukes were supposed to operate low power BWR's to be used in "geographically remote areas".. This started in 1955...think Antarctic, Arctic, Dew Line,etc....=:}..


Ram, I saw the "Army Nucs" badges. To answer the quiz: I'm not sure what an "Army Nuc" would have done after the SL-1 accident (the Armies worst nuclear incident). I drive past the SL-1 site everyday on my way to work, not much left but a barricade across the road. I believe it was actually the airforce that was trying to build the nuclear aircraft (maybe still the Army Aircorp). The whole project was cancelled by President Kennedy in 1961. The hanger is still in use in Idaho, and the engines that were built are on display at the EBR-1 area (National Historic site) in Idaho. They are really cool to see, you can read about it here:

It was good to see the pictures from the reunion. I was good friends with Denault (both Enterprise and Nuc school (we had some great times in Nuc school)), I knew Meyer and was im RM-03 with Bremmer. Thanks for the pics.

Eric McCauley

KP Note: Winners all!!! My 'army nuke' co-worker told me about the NB-36H program. He said the plan was scrapped for obvious reasons, namely the problem of dealing with a plane crash (I think jets were to accompany the plane so that if it did crash they'd know exactly where it crashed). I couldn't imagine how the thing could even get off the ground.  

I also had a co-worker, who went way back in the nuclear power program, and he told me that the SL-1 incident was (as mentioned) in reality a love triangle gone bad.  I think we all saw the 'photo' of the poor guy impaled and stuck to the ceiling by the rod in nuc power school (or at least my class did).

Brian Helms Looking for Old Patches ...

Hey Ram,

I am looking for the following patches:

Power in Motion

Hormuz Highway Patrol

Mobile Chernobyl

Brian Helms (RC14)


"Suns Up!"

Does anyone remember when RC div was mustered together and told not to use any “foreign objects” (namely screw driver handles) to reset the heaters on the pressurizer? Well, in 4-plant, our heater reset switch was a small pushbutton located near the top of the RPCP. The day after the meeting, I was standing SRO with Mr. Castile as the Watch Officer. While we were chatting, Mr. Castile pulls out some tools from the watch officer’s desk and asks me to take them out to Control Equipment at the end of my watch. During this brief conversation, a Ltjg asks permission to enter and came into the EOS. I don’t remember his name but he was a LDO (not Paavola). Anyways, as Mr. Castile hands me the tools, one of which is a large screwdriver, my heater alarm light lit up (“suns up”). Without even thinking, I reversed the screwdriver and used it to reset the heaters. As soon as I did it, I knew I screwed up. I told the WO that we weren’t supposed to do that anymore and I put the tools behind the RO’s chair with the RPM’s. Immediately the Ltjg. begins reading me the riot act and making all these promises of seeing me “before the captain.” I didn’t know this guy and figured he needed signatures and was a nub. So, I blew him off. He storms out of EOS and within 30 mins I am relieved and told to report to the RCA (LCDR Sevald). I get there and the smell of blood is in the air. The Reactor Officer wants me burnt at the stake and the captain wants my name. I know I am in “deep kimchi.” However, I was saved by some unknown person and Mr. Sevald. The unknown person had posted a poem in the reactor compartment which started with “what blueshirts thinks is stupid and ends with NRO thinks is great.” The spotlight was taken off me because NRO was highly upset. Mr. Sevald stood up for me and assured the RO he would personally handle my discipline, which was a few hrs of EMI.

Brian Helms


Another Quiz!

I love the obscure knowledge we have in this group! Since we are on the topic of using nuclear reactions to better mankind ... here's a question some of you may know the answer to.

What was the largest nuclear detonation ever done for testing purposes---and, where was it done?  



First Quiz Answer ...

On October 30, 1961 there was a test of something called the ‘king of bombs’ --- the COMMIES let this thing air drop at the Novaya Zemlya test site.

It was estimated to be over 50 megatons.

Mark B.


KP Note: 50 megatons sounds like one big ass bomb! Wow!  This wasn't the one I was thinking about (I was hinting at an American test in the ionosphere over Johnston Atoll). The old folks here in Phoenix tell me they could often see the mushroom clouds in Nevada during the frenchman flats days. Anyone know how many megatons those bombs were? When was the last American above ground test done?  I saw a pretty interesting TV show about Bikini Island and some of the wild tests done there (divers returned to the lagoon to take pics of the test ships).  

SL-1 Pics

Check out this SL-1 webpage -- lots of info.

I believe that the siteowner is a former nuke.

Mike Chapman



KP, l have an answer to one of the recent "Who are these guys?"; the photo above the Tusker Lager label is one Rick Hall on the left and Gerard Hendl on the right, both from 3 plant, l believe, and both from class 7401. Rick was an ET and was on my bowling team in Bainbridge where we ended up in last place (but we got a trophy for high team set!) Gerard Hendl was a MM who gained notoriety at NPS when he opened a can of beans and franks from a vending machine that blew up in his face as he opened it, thus earning him the nickname of "Fission Franks". l believe PP gave him that name or knew who did. 

Steve "Willy" Wilson 4MMR


Atom Bomb Info:

From Mark (found on net):

 The U.S. and U.S.S.R. have conducted a total of 23 nuclear tests of at least 4 megatons each. The U.S. from 1952 to 1962 detonated 11 such devices above ground plus one underground in 1971. The total yield of these was 105 mt for an average of 9 mt each. The largest of these was a 15 mt test in 1954. In turn, the U.S.S.R. detonated 12 such multi-megaton devices above ground in 1961 and 1962, plus one underground in 1973. Their total yield was 200 mt, for an average of 15 mt each. The largest Soviet test was a 58 mt test in 1961. The total fission yield of all 22 above ground tests was about 124 mt (54 mt from U.S. tests and 70 mt from Soviet tests). In addition, one 4 mt atmospheric test was conducted by the People's Republic of China in 1976. 

The U.S. conducted 11 nuclear tests with yields exceeding 4 megatons. These had a total yield of 105 megatons (54 mt fission). All were conducted from 1952 to 1962 in the Pacific Ocean. The last was an underground test, Shot Cannikin of Operation Grommet, described above with the W71 warhead.

The largest U.S. nuclear test was Shot Bravo in Operation Castle. This test was one in a series of tests in the Marshall Islands with the goal of testing prototypes of the first weaponized thermonuclear weapons ("emergency capability" weapons). Bravo was the first shot in the series and was a test of the "Shrimp" TX-21 device, with a predicted yield of 6 megatons. The device had been placed at the end of a causeway extending onto the reef 970 meters from the southwest tip of Namu island in Bikini Atoll. It was detonated at 6:45 AM on 1 March local time (18:45 28 February Universal Time). Designers had significantly underestimated the efficiency of reactions involving lithium-7 in the lithium deuteride solid fuel (one of the design innovations being tested); the actual yield was 15 megatons, 67% from fission.

More Info



Tim Crawford Comes Aboard ...

Tim Crawford 74-75 load dispatcher/power shop



David Martin Comes Aboard ...


Excellent web site, my have truly captured the essence of the E.

I would like to be added to your contacts. I was on the E from November 87 to July 91, RL Division. The name is David Martin...I remember you, playing guitar in the aft lounge...for some reason I remember you cutting hair too...could be the wrong guy!

Keep up the good work...I am going to keep reading...some of the sea stories already have me laughing my girlfriend awake!!


KP Note: Hey, David! I remember ya well.  I think we have almost all of RL Div from the late 80s located now! I wasn't a hair cutter (nor much of a haircut getter).  I think you might be thinking of Gil Miltenberger.

An Inquiry?

I like nuclear site very much. me lowly student at China technical institute. Can please you tell me how to make atom bomb? If have plans or blue prints please send. I also want Psychedelic Mooj CD, yes?

Xu Dong Ho


KP Note: Say what? Don't worry, bros. I won't send this guy any "info." I might send him a P'Mooj CD, though.  

Day After Day

The other day I was listening to an oldies station and heard a song I hadn't heard in a long, long time. It was "Day After Day" by Badfinger off the "Straight Up" album. This was like my favorite song at the time I joined the Navy. A very vivid memory goes along with that song.

During MM "A" school I was billeted at Snipes Castle. Sometime in December, Badfinger was slated to play at the Aragorn Theater in the Chicago loop. Me and some of my buds got tickets. I had duty on the day of the concert. I was scheduled to stand fire and security watch from 16:00 to 20:00. I paid a dude named Mark B. to relieve me at ~ 17:00 so I could make it to the concert. The f**ker was a No Show! My buds showed up and were pestering me that we had to take off soon. Finally I said, "F**k it." I put my helmet and duty belt on a bench and took off with my buds for the concert. Great Concert!

I got back to Snipes Castle ~ 01:00 and immediately went to my cubicle. There was a sheet of paper taped to my locker. It said. "O'Neill!! Billet Number 41043!! Report to the MAA Shack IMMEDIATELY!!!" There were exclamation points and underlines everywhere. I could tell from the tone of the note that whoever wrote it had a bone to pick with me. I figured, push come to shove, if they wanted to get pissy with me they could technically charge me with AWOL. I changed into my dungarees and reluctantly headed to the MAA Shack in the center of the complex. I knew that the truth wasn't going to play very well, so I tried to work up a good lie. I still hadn't come up with anything when I got to the office. I looked through the door and saw that there were 2 guys (a first class and a second class) drinking coffee and playing cards. They looked up from their game in annoyment as if to say, "What the f**k do YOU want?" I said, "I'm MMFN O'Neill." The First Class put his cards down and said "Oh, so YOU'RE O'Neill! You're in deep shit sailor. What do you have to say for yourself?" I replied, "Nothing. I'm guilty and I'm turning myself in." (Oh REAL smooth Pat! They're gonna hang you're sorry ass and you're making it easy for them.) The second class said, "That ain't going to cut it sailor. We want the truth." So I decided to lie.

I worked up some crocodile tears and started my story, making it up as I went on. I told them that I had just gotten a Dear John letter from my girlfriend. She had dumped me because I had joined the Navy and was away from home. I had been on watch and was listening to the radio when "our song" (Day After Day) had come on and I basically just lost it. I had just taken off and walked aimlessly around the base. Around 00:30 I came to my senses down by Lake Michigan and decided to head back and face the music for leaving my post. The first class reiterated the fact that I was in deep shit. I worked up some more crocodile tears, complete with some fake sobs and said that I just didn't care. Nothing could faze me after being dumped by my girlfriend. This did the trick. They felt sorry for me and even gave me a hamburger and a Coke. Evidently the first class had been dumped in similar fashion and he went on and on about what rotten bitches women were. After about an hour of shooting the shit, I acted like I was feeling better and they let me go… Scott f**king free!!

(Honesty isn't always the best policy.) I still love that song though.




Damn ….

I was reading Pat O’Neill’s entry about some guy named Mark B. who stiffed him for a Sounding and Security watch. Man, I was sweating bullets trying to think of who this guy was. I NEVER stood a S&S watch in Snipe’s Castle and was probably in the place maybe 2 or 3 times.

I checked the dates that Pat served and he was long gone from the Navy by the time I got to GLAKES.

I stood ALL my watches in the 600 pound plant. I lived with the conventional MMs in the corner barracks by the parking lot before going out the gate to North Chicago.

Man, my mind was spinnin’ there for a little bit.

The OTHER Mark B.


KP Note: I remember having to stand many of them S&S watches back at the old ITB 163, while in both BEE and EM-A School.  They were usually late at night and I often had a hell of a time not falling asleep when I found somewhere to sit and rest.  Weekend duty sucked for ITB'ers, as it usually meant being sent all day to either the 600-lb or 1200-lb plant to paint. Sometimes you got lucky and only had to stand a 4-hr chow hall watch. Ah, memories....  

A Tuber Comes Aboard ...

How goes it? Saw your website and thought I'd drop you a note. I did ten year in from '89 to '99. Was attached to the world's most powerful warship (U.S.S. Tennessee SSBN 734 - Gold Crew) and then did tour at the prototypes in Charleston and got the effff out!

Although I will say I have no regrets about my time in the Navy, I enjoy my job now so much more. I'm a security engineer for an international contractor, and I get to travel all over the world. I dumped the nuclear bull-hockey and kept the electronics which I enjoyed doing more. And I make a lot more money now than I did as an E-6.

Cheers, Eric Roberts


George Gustafson Comes Aboard ...

Thanks for setting up this site. Nicely done!

Please list me:

George Gustafson RM11 Div 1974-1978




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