Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Perils of the Noon Meal - Part 1

The following is a reprint of an article originally published in the April-June 2001 Issue of American Submariner Magazine, the official publication of the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. and reprinted with the author's permission.

Perils of the Noon Meal
Part One
By Maurice Lee Barksdale CS2(SS)

USS Razorback (SS-394

I graduated from submarine school in December 1960, and was assigned to the USS Razorback (SS-394). The Razorback was operating out of San Diego, California, which made me very happy. I had spent the first two years of service as an “airdale”, at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Kingsville, Texas. I was ready for sea duty. One of these days I will tell you how I went from an anti-submarine patrol squadron to submarine duty-but that can wait. I received my “Crow”, as a Third Class Commissaryman while in sub-school, and I was prepared to create great meals for my new shipmates. The Razorback was an old diesel boat that had been converted to a guppy snorkel. To me, she was beautiful! The crew was funny, friendly, and extremely competent in submarine operations. The first thing that I was told, after reporting aboard, was that we were heading for “Westpac” in three weeks. I said, “What’s Westpac?” We stopped in Pearl Harbor, Guam, Chichi Jima, and finally arrived in Yokosuka, Japan. I was very familiar with the Razorback by then, and was well along my qualification schedule. All of my shipmates helped me to understand the nuances of the Razorback. By the time we made it home to San Diego, I was close to completing my qualification sheet, and I knew the After Battery like the back of my hand. I qualified in September, 1961.

The Razorback had three cooks. One stood the bake watch, and the other two rotated the daily cooking chores. I loved to bake, but I usually stood cook watch. I never liked cooking the noon meal. Something would always go wrong. Breakfast was fine, soup and sandwiches for the afternoon watch was fine, the evening meal was fine; however, I always had problems with the noon meal. Once we were operating out of San Diego with a Destroyer squadron, and I heard the diving alarm. Instead of the usual down angle, we must have stood on our head at ninety degrees (well, maybe not ninety degrees, but it seemed like it.) All of the noon meal ended up on the galley deck. I was very unhappy. Another time, we were submerged, and the diving officer decided that it would be a good time to practice the “Emergency surface” drill. Once again, the noon meal stopped on the galley deck. I yelled at everyone in the control room, but no one seemed to be impressed.

Parts 2 and 3 will follow in the coming days...


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