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Tool Time Sea Story submitted by John Linville

... So the COB sent a couple of seaman gang members out to fetch it and drag it into the terminal.  The lock was cut and out dumped a huge pile of shiny Snap-On tools.  The customs guys no longer cared, American tools in an American seabag but I want to tell you the COB and the Old Man were less than pleased!  I don’t know if they ever found out who tried this scheme but my feeling is he just quietly went to separations as scheduled but minus a great start to his civilian workshop. 

Another great sea story about tools is the very first dive Captain Forsythe made on the Gold Crew.  His ballast calculations were off by about several tons if I remember and he was ripshit.  Remember now he was enlisted man on the Nautilus commissioning crew and had worked his way up to FBM captain so he was a knowledgeable guy regarding submarines.  The Captain then began to inspect the boat once we got on patrol, drawer by drawer, locker by locker.  Nothing was off limits to his prying eye.  He turned up all sorts of “unauthorized” spare parts and tools which we all considered absolutely essential to getting underway.  The nuc lab had a spare steel plumbing for the primary sample sink, M Division had 3 dozen deckplate screw drivers and so on.  Each find the Captain made went directly to the TDU room and was shot overboard!  Even the holy of holys, the M Division flexitallic gasket collection fell prey to this search and destroy.  “You are supposed to draw your gaskets from supply” he growled in response to the chief’s entreaty to keep the flexes.  It seemed like tons (probably was) of new tools and spare parts went to the briny deep.  On the way in from that patrol, the Captain again did a dive and this time his calculations were right on the money for a 640 class FBM, minus a lot of great EB comshaw. 

I was an ELT the nine patrols I made on the Key.  An ELT always had to be sensitive to his fellow M division mates as he could drift around the ship, shoot the bull with folks and so forth as long as he did all his samples on time.  So each refit the M division Chief would give the leading ELT a check to go to submart on the tender.  One item the ELTs stocked was tygon tubing which at that time was a couple of hundred dollars a roll.  Well it was expected that the ELT shopping list would always include an “extra” roll of tygon tubing.  This then gave you money to buy the necessary items for all the guys in M division.  These included the TL 29 jacknife, the four inch crescent wrench, the ever popular bosun jacknife complete with marlin spike and sometimes the K&E slide rule in the leather carrying case.  These would then be distributed in the engine room, buying good will between the ELT and the guys who had to stand fixed watches in M division.

 

John Linville