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Donald C Meadows

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Submarine Memories
By Donald C Meadows
Monday, August 14, 2006

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A submariner's recollection of his craft and trade.

A Memorable Sight



During my time on USS DALLAS SSN 700 we made more than our share of SPECOPs to the Northern areas. It is inevitable that LANTFLT boats will pull into the Royal Naval Submarine Base Faslane Scotland. During on such deployment we were in and out of that port more times than not. Kept having problems with this or that, and always required repair.

One morning while pulling in I was in charge of the line handlers on line one. (The line up at the front.) Our cleats were rolled, and the lines faked out in a neat Flemish. (The Brits have a tradition of seamanship and we were determined to at least equal them. As we stood, waiting for the tugs Dallas preceded slowly passed Gerlach, and further up the Firth of Forth, passed Helensburough. (Oh yea home of the best fish and chips God ever allowed on this planet!). We passed Holy Loch and made a slight left turn.

Then word came of the JA Phones that a submarine would be surfacing off our port bow. What? How could that be? We took up almost the whole waterway. Must be a joke. Oh were we shocked when the feather of a periscope trailed along the side of our round hull. Then indeed a submarine did indeed surface. A tiny thing when compared to our 688 but let me tell you it sent a shiver down my back. She was a beautiful boat. Simple in line yet powerful and purposeful.

She came to the surface as if lifted from the water and settled into a perfect trim. Still at speed, she cut across our bow at a range of about 600 yards. There she seemed to stop without the slightest disturbance of water. No sooner, had her headway died off then men could be seen running along her deck. As if by magic, an inflatable expanded and slid into the water. The men on the deck seemed, as they were part of the boat as they entered the boat, a motor roared to life, and off they went.

The now surfaced UPHOLDER's stern squatted as her screw dug into the calm dark waters. In seconds she was at speed. A few seconds later the bow dipped under as a jet of air hissed from her forward ballast tanks. She was handled by the best. Just as her bow slipped under, the after ballast tanks were vented, and she was gone. Only the trail of disturbed water from her attack scope betrayed her, and that to was gone in a wink. All this happened in under a minute. Suddenly we all felt like we were riding on barge instead of a 688. To see that little boat so well handled, well I tell you it almost brought a tear to the marinerís eye. It is a memory I will carry always.


       Web Site: Of Ice And Steel

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 8/16/2006
well done

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