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While I Was Away, Memoirs of Running Quiet and Deep during the Cold War

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505 pages8 hours

Summary

Early in my naval career there were times when I needed some guidance and discipline. Hindu Peterson, COB on Tirante, showed the way. He and Captain Dave Purinton set my course to follow.
I graduated from submarine school in 1957, and lost track of a couple of classmates. Chuck Callahan, Bill James, and I were in technical ratings, Chuck an ET, Bill and me RMs. So, after the basic submarine course we classed up in Advanced Sonar/Electronics, a two-week add-on. From there we went to the fleet. Bill went to Threadfin - SS410, and Chuck and I received orders to Tirante - SS420. Both were diesel-electric boats operating out of Key West.
The three of us separated from the navy after our first tour. Bill went to Philadelphia, Chuck went to Bridgeport, and I went to New York. Almost four years later I reenlisted and received orders to a brand new boomer, an SSBN. And, there’s Chuck! He had reenlisted, gone to nuclear power school, and was now a reactor operator.
After Tirante, there was a very short tour on Archerfish. There were a fair number of memorable characters on Archerfish, all relatively new to the boat and mostly single because of a submarine force wide message asking for single volunteers to take part in Operation Sea Scan. The boat was redesignated AGSS and had a new classified mission. Among that crew was Ken “Pig Pen” Henry. Ken’s book Gallant Lady: A Biography of the USS Archerfish helped inspire me to write this book.

Many submarine Cold Warriors may not be aware, but late in the twentieth century there was a shift in our tradition of the Silent Service. In August of 1998, COMSUBLANT, VADM Giambastiani issued a message to SUBLANT and others. The subject was “Telling the submarine force story.” Here are a couple of quotes from the text. “The remainder of this century and the beginning of the new millennium will be exciting times for our submarine force. Seawolf and her sister ships and the new attack submarine (NSSN) will give us the technological edge we need to maintain undersea superiority. Our people, who are consistently among the best in the navy, will maintain our position as the premier submarine force in the world.” And, “Our submarine sailors deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication; their story must be told to the rest of the navy and the American public.” Aye, Admiral, here you go!

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