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

Reunion Skuttlebutt ....


Are we talking April 14, 15, 16 ?

Just looking at the schedule to make sure.




KP Note: Mark, etal. That was the date Lance threw out when he and I had dinner last month.  Jot it down in pencil and I will try to finalize it as soon as possible.  It will be in the Bay Area and it will be in that time frame.  Lance, you out there? I'll get Lance to commit to that date ASAP. 

Carl Sundbeck Comes Aboard ...


Server in the Big "E" during the years of 1963 to 1965, just after first refueling.

I was in the RL division. Was involved in patching steam generator tubes.

Carl Sundbeck


KP Note: Carl, what was your rate? Were all ELTs MMs back then or were there a mix of ratings? There was a refueling in 1963? I thought the Big E got more time out of her first cores than two years. Does anyone know about this?


Here is a fond memory of the Enterprise from 1973-1974 - running RCP's from the SSTG with steam supplied by the Pier.

I had the pleasure of being the RPE when one plant used pier steam to run coolant pumps through the SS switchgear. The CTGs were under repair and the cables had to be run over the switchgear from 1SSTG to the 1A and 1B RCP switchgear, and offshore steam boiler supplied the steam for the SSTG. The previous use of the cables to run coolant pumps in 69-70 resulted in the inadvertent opening of hot disconnects that killed the RPE - found out the Wigger wasn't working and it wasn't tested in a known live circuit prior to testing the disconnects for voltage prior to manually opening them.

Needless to say, Cmdr. Reed was not going to allow that to happen on his watch, so with a 30 page POA (plant of action) we 'went over the hump'. The worst of it was when the RO came down to supervise in EOS and called over the PA system to lock the RPE in switchgear and all personnel were to remain in the RAR. The best feeling was when I closed the 1 SSTG bus tie and loaded the damn thing with 4 coolant pumps at 60 Hz using off shore steam. It was, at the time, one of the freaky events that wasn't in the normal steaming line up. All went well and used that whole set up for about 20 minutes - what a waste of manpower......but it was pretty cool

I also enjoyed reading about the continued problems with the O analyzers. I worked in the RE office when they were first ordered and connected and I was the RPE that put in the paperwork to have the O2 analyzers moved from lower level engine room to up into switchgear - Our first cruise with the damn things we were running them down in LL at temps around 100 degrees F - needless to say those cells were drying out left and right. I remember overstepping myself by contacting the manufacturer to get more detailed descriptions of operations to understand how the damn thing worked. Our original manuals were very sparse with information. I knew that the "bacon cell" could measure O1, but the new platinum and gold grid system couldn't act like a bacon cell, so I asked them how it worked. Within a short time, the RO heard from NAVSEA 08 that a violation of confidentiality has occurred because I didn't go through them to get the information. Hell, we needed information fast and 08 was not a conduit for expedient responding during the 70's. The RO was pretty cool about it though, he understood where I was coming from and he laughed it all off and told NAVSEA that he told me to do it - first time that an officer covered my ass !!!! We thought moving the analyzers to switchgear would help, but they never did work well after a year down in the Engine room.



KP Note: To my knowledge running the RCPs from SSTGs was a rare item and I doubt that it was done again after your episode.  It was always a question on any RE final board (describing how one would do such a thing) and the cables were still there up by 1-plant in front of disbursing.  You know, I'm not sure why, but in my 4 years in RE as LPO and FGS I never had one issue concerning the O2 analyzers.  In fact, it probably wasn't even our gear by then.  Do any other REs from the late 80s remember dealing with the O2 analyzers?


weekend of April 14 is Easter weekend. kids are off. price of flight tickets go up $80 - $100 over previous or post weekend.



KP Note: Okay, then it can't be that weekend.  I desperately need someone in the Bay Area to contact Lance Winters and start organizing this thing.  We need to get it planned as soon as possible.  

More RE Memories ...

Although I remember Mr. Vernier, I was thinking that it was Mark Ohrstrom who I turned over to. The memory is the first thing to go . . . Now that I think about it Mr. Ohrstrom may have taken over for Dave Hoffman, the Aft Group Sup. Dave left a month or two before I did. I had forgotten about the O2 analyzers having been initially located in the engine room and why they were relocated to the switchgear. The "old timers" told that to me, probably while I was fussing about having to fix the analyzers. As far as the O2 void is concerned, aside from just relaxing while listening to classic rock and roll, the remainder of the time spent there was entirely devoted to chapel service. I don't recall anything seedy at all about the O2 void . . .

We did have to turn one of the SSTGs, #4 plant I believe, into a CTG on the 84 West Pac (or was it the 82 –83 West Pac?). I remember dragging the cables around that were normally strung across bulkhead in front of Disbursing. We had to modify or swap out the governor to support the 30 - 60 Hz operations.

I remember once while exiting number one plant there by disbursing, being accosted by a Master-at-Arms because he could barely make out my name stencil on my dungarees. As I recall, I had just spent numerous hours in succession in the plant on watch, doing field day, and pm's. I can also recall having to stifle my response such that I would not end up talking to someone in higher authority. Just another straw in a collection of straws that eventually become to many to bear, thus causing my exit from the 'adventure." The "nucs" whom I was fortunate enough to work with on the ship and befriend, were the primary saving grace during my time on the ship!

I visited the Bay area this past summer to show the family what a real metropolitan area looks like (as opposed to the Phoenix area). While there, I drove to Alameda to show them were I was home ported for four years and two months of my life and to have lunch. I was not expecting to be able to drive right onto the base. I drove right up to pier three and parked, It just seemed a little strange! There was no one posted at the base gate as it is now “closed.” Some of the buildings now house private businesses. The USS Hornet is now at pier three as a museum. I did not know that either. As we arrived in the afternoon, we did not have time to take a guided tour of the Hornet, but were allowed to do a self-guided tour for about two hours before the "museum" closed in the evening. The areas you can visit are more restricted than if you have a guided tour. Had I known all that, I would have arrived a lot earlier. There are a lot of large reserve supply ships at the different piers.

The sad part about the Bay area now, aside from all the weirdoes that seem to thrive there, is that there is seemingly no sign of any active Navy or other military personnel. A sailor or sailors in uniform, perhaps slightly inebriated, was always part of the scenery in San Francisco. Even though a large portion of the bay area populous, I suspect, despises the military, a real nice memorial was placed adjacent to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is dedicated to members of the different branches of the service who ventured forth from the bay area in route to defend freedom. If you have not yet seen it, I highly recommend stopping there if you happen to be crossing that bridge. It also affords a great view of the bridge and the city.

In closing, I have to ask how you happened to end up in the valley of the sun?


Rusty Maxwell


KP Note: Ohrstrom was, indeed, the aft group sup.  He had long been gone from the ship by the time I arrived (relieved by Wheeler) but he was still a legend.  I recall hearing the old timers always saying things like, "Ohrstrom would have been able to figure this out," as they tried to fix some FUBARed thing or other.  I ended up in Phoenix about four years ago, when I began a manufacturing plant here. In the near future, us Arizonans need to get together again.  We haven't met up in quite a while.

Shout Out to Rusty ...

Hey Rusty - glad to hear from you! That great story on KP site reminded me of the name of the orficer who tried to "get me" for almost his whole career on the Big "E" - none other than Todd M_airs! I'm almost positive he's the officer that caught Mike H_assell and I calibrating equipment in 4 plant during a precrit. We had some jerk tweeking all of our equipment out of cal to prevent us getting 4A on line to do rod testing, so I got Mike to do a precrit with me on mid shift. I told him that it was going to pass if we had to calibrate the entire control equipment room.

There was a problem in the rod cabinets, and we were setting up to calibrate it when MISTER M_airs came through the door. Of course, everyone was suspicious of how all the TP&CCs could pass, but no sat precrit could be had. He thought he had his man, and he sorely wanted it to be me. He never did care for me, and wanted to see me swinging from the highest yardarm (did the Big "E" even have a yardarm?)

Anyway, we convinced him that we weren't the troublemakers, but the saviors. After all, who needs to hook up test equipment to tweek something out of calibration? Besides, everyone liked Mike, and he knew to get me would mean ruining Mike's career as well. His face had this sick look, kinda like when he finally get that girl of his dreams to undress, only to discover it was a female impersonator! (laugh it up, Tark!)

Arrgh! RC-14 80-83


Another Vote For Carriers ...

Hi, Ram.

(This is based upon my experience, only, and memory is foggy. I am still proud of my tour on the submarine, but I was a surface guy, through and through. Nowhere is there any implied indictment of former diesel boat A gangers forced to the nuclear Navy – those guys were the closest thing to surface engine room nukes – rude, lude, and crude, and therefore my type of sailor. MM1(SS) Dave Pearson, you're still my hero. I will still today get down and kiss the propeller, just for you, to show my respect as I pass through the A Gang area in Missile Compartment, Second Level Aft. Chop)

Another vote for the carrier. As a 12 year Senior Chief surface nuke with two full tours on Enterprise, plus one on Long Beach, plus A1W experience, and then as a commissioned Supply Officer for 12 more, I can tell you that any place is good or bad dependent upon leadership. My last sea tour (my fifth, total) was on a Trident in the late 90's. I made seven patrols, which is a lot for a one sub tour Supply guy. The biggest problem with the submarine is the chain of command. The CO and all the officers (except the Supply Officer, of course) know everything about everything because the ship is small, and there is only one little reactor for them all to be concerned with. The chain of command becomes dysfunctional with the Chief of the Boat having direct authority into all departments and divisions, rendering the immediate supervision often impotent. Division Officers and often Department Heads were totally bypassed as the CO/XO who would dictate policy to the Chief of the Boat, and the Chief of the Boat would take it right to the Chief's quarters without the officer even knowing (good officers need and want to know what is going on with their troops). I remember regular submarine officers, including department heads who knew no other culture, saying "but but but but, he's the Chief of the Boat", to which I would reply "fuck the Chief of the Boat, he isn't in my department" and "if I wanted to work for a Master Chief I'd still be enlisted".

On the carrier, there are too many people and too much going on and the chain of command has to function. The CO, XO, and RO do not know everybody's name and your world ends at your Chief or Division Officer, as it should. Micromanaging doesn't work.

The answer for everything on the submarine is to come to X feet and putz around sucking on air masks for three hours until somebody figures out how to fix something, whereas on the carrier it's fix it or be damned because speed is of the essence, and ventilation is aplenty. Don't even ask about DC training upon which your life may depend someday. All of us ex-surface guys got thrown out of the DC class at sub school because we knew more, and better, than the submarine instructors about DC procedures. They told us to get lost, we passed. I remember in Indoc on the Enterprise having to put on our OBA's blindfolded in 45 seconds, while on the submarine you could only put it on as somebody read the directions out loud (the "proper procedure").

As for the quality of food, there are some really bad cooks on subs, too, as well as some really good ones. My boat started with really shaky cooks and gummy spaghetti and ended with an awesome galley that the Admiral brought guests to when my crew had the boat and we were in refit before patrol (had nothing to do with me, just good guys and the luck of the draw, and a good MS1). It all depends on the cooks, and no, sub cooks aren't special. The food is all the same, and the carrier gets fresh fruits and vegetables (FF&V), as well as milk. Also, on the carrier the cooks aren't all pulled out of the galley to hold "smoke" and "fire" signs during drills when they should be cooking, with one guy in there trying to do the whole meal. The submarines do get extra money for food, but it might result in an extra lobster or two at the end of the run. Whoop dee doo. It's the same crap Navy frozen lobster or half empty king crab legs the surface fleet gets. Any good supply department feeds cheap, anyway, and always has money left over which is spent down at the end to be right on the money. It's no accident that money is spent on lobster, etc. Doesn't matter what kind of ship you are on. And no, submariners don't just waltz into the galley and cook themselves steaks like they claim. And there's no such thing as mommy cooking just your plate, because whether it's for 150 or 5000 it is still production line cooking and you are still standing in line to get into the undersized mess decks.

Speaking of drills, on the submarine all drills are all hands drills and were often all day, every day. It didn't matter if they were weapons drills, general quarters (missile and torpedo, two types of general quarters), the whole crew was involved. On top of that was training and three section six hour watches. Sleep was definitely an issue. I remember on the Enterprise sleep was a big issue for me as RE Chief, because I had my own three section watches plus drills in all four plants plus training plus administrative items, but on the submarine it was that way for the whole crew, even the Yeoman striker on the planes every third watch and doing everything but typing or sleeping on his "time off". At least on the carrier, GQ only might involve you, and fire drills and such non-nuke stuff had no bearing on those of us in the plants.

Since the surface Navy had much higher attrition, the nuke pay and bonus were better (dated information).

All that "learn the ship, save it with blindfolds on" submarine lore is a myth. The only difference between a submariner and a surface guy was the recruiter or whoever sold the kid on submarines, or didn't. The recruits today are too smart all across the board for the "old day" quality criteria to be relevant, and we had a couple real losers on my boat. The per capita of losers is the same. There were plenty of guys getting their dolphins blasted off on the last day of patrol. Also, until a senior first class, or chief, the nukes never saw the ballast control panel which was the only other non-nuke watch to stand, and that was just for glory. They never stood the watch because they were standing watch in the engineroom.

I don't remember humping food on a carrier, yet on the submarine everybody did.

In the submarine world first classes and chiefs fielddayed. I was a senior LT selected for the next one and was in trouble because I refused to supervise my Chief while he and the guys fielddayed. Hah! Actually, I had the greatest SK chief and we just covered for each other while we snuck cigarettes – it helped that our office was directly above the air regeneration station so the office smoke got sucked right up. I wouldn't let my Chief field day because in my Navy Chiefs don't field day. So there I'd be, fighting with the Chief of the Boat. I always won. You know. Surface.

You don't need a small crew to have cameradie. On a carrier you have your division and department which is plenty enough, and even on the submarine there were enough personalities to hate somebody with all your guts.

Oh, yes, family grams. I don't know what all the pussy email and phone call apparatus are on the ships nowadays, but on the Trident all we got was eight 50 word familygrams in a whole patrol and often those didn't come in because of rivalry with the "other" crew that wouldn't send them, or because the special ops boat sucked up all the satellite space and familygrams didn't get uploaded or downloaded. It was always funny to hear guys just ripping their wives, the slut!, because there was no family gram, then his would show up.

I also believe it is much more exciting to watch the airplanes, hear the noise, smell the jet fuel, etc. than to go to periscope depth (which means nothing for the nukes other than a slow bell). I can only speak for the boomer, but two knots to nowhere is, well, two knots to nowhere. Also, when the submarine is longer than it goes deep, generally, there aren't too many "angles and dangles" that submariners brag about, except on the first day out we did do some doozy up and down angles to check for rig-for-sea. I have personally caught an airborne computer monitor (and printer) while trying just to stand up at a 30+ degree angle.

Submariners don't even know what "hang time" and "texture" are when it comes to good farts. They can sure gag and go eeeuuuuooooohhhh and yyyuuuuuukkkkk, though. They also have no sense of humor. Too seeennnnnnssssitivvvve.

As for vulnerability, I don't think I'd feel any safer on a submarine in time of war. They find them, and there is no surviving a hit. I'd rather be on a diesel submarine, of which we have none, during wartime. There's a good article on line about our Navy's overall vulnerability, which I found sobering, found at, called "Is the US Navy Overrated?" There were parts I disagreed with, but there was enough to be make you wonder.

Surface it is.

Finally, I distinctly remember us doing something in Three Plant SWGR that involved running cables from the back of the 8S switchboard to the backs of the Charlie switchgears. I don't remember all the particulars, but I definitely remember the cables and it was a large evolution. That would have been in '86 or '87.

Jim W.


Robin Reiselman Comes Aboard ...

King Paul, What an ambitious site. I would love to be included among the alumni: Robin Reiselman, 1977-1981, RM23. Instead of this email address please use I also have included a file for submission to your sea story section. Keep up the great work.

Greetings to all Nuc's past and present, My name is Robin Reiselman. I'd heard about this website some time ago but until an evil bastard named Ralph Erickson piqued my curiosity I'd avoided surfing through the pages. I have spent 25 years trying to forget my 4 years, 2 months, and 5 days indenture as a 3 plant RM on the Enterprise. Now, in one 4-hour sea-story reading marathon I've been time-warped back to WestPac 78 and I'm 21 years old. Thanks to all for bringing back the memories of berthing with its horrendous visions of M. Link, Esq. and the Illustrated Man, the unmistakable bark of a Marky LeBoeuf belch, the stench of Meatsball's cigarette drifting into my rack on Skid Row (what's a smoking lounge? The entire berthing area was a smoking area); and who could ever forget Edgar Hutt (E-10-Hutt) and his Tasmanian tiger meat. I don't know when Route 66 got its name but in 1977 my first rack already carried that address. My neighbors included my life-long friend Al Brumbelow and none other than MM2 Duane Bush. Dwano had already acquired his famous demeanor by that time but none of us felt threatened. It sounds like he made a career out being a bully. Gee, I couldn't be prouder of you Dwayne. 

My good friend Bob (Fremont/Petey) Peterson and I mumbled our first "Request permission to come aboard" in Alameda on June 22, 1977. I'm still amazed that there was always a resentful CPO on the quarterdeck to recognize us as spoiled Nuc's who needed a little extra scrutiny. Without their assistance and fashion sense how was I to ever know that you HAD to wear socks with sandals? I joyfully shouted my final "Request permission to go ashore" on August 27, 1981. It certainly wasn't all good times between those two dates but I would like to throw out some names and memories so that perhaps others from my era will jump in and contribute to your historical document. 

On the first day aboard, as all Nuc's were, I was led to the RT classroom. Shortly after checking in I recall being escorted to the head by Gary Steinke and Kyle Barber (or was it Shupe?). They did a quick assessment of my ability to fit-in by ensuring that I could pee while they looked on from each side. I must have made the cut because before long I was exploring the Bay area with these fine gentlemen and other legendary figures. RT also introduced me to a couple of characters that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. Who could forget Acid Roy and Karate Gabe? RT was a hopping place that summer/fall and Gabe was always delinquent on his quals. To punish him they made him study all hours of the day and believe it or not, he had trouble staying awake while reading the RPM's. I can still see him with the blade of his Buck knife under his chin to keep his head from bobbing. I think he even made a harness out of duct tape to hold the knife in place. I have no idea if Gabe ever got to be a CRAO but I'm positive that Acid Roy never did. Roy later became famous for getting arrested in Perth for auto theft. Regardless of the truth it was a bit of a black eye for the Big E to have that story published in the Perth newspaper. Roy wasn't known for his intellect or his ability to hold his own when it came to any sort of intoxicant. When his new Perth friend suggested going for a ride he apparently had no idea that he was an accomplice to theft. He should have known something was wrong when the police began chasing them. At the least he should have suspected something when his "friend" bolted and left him alone to explain the situation to the police. Roy did get out of jail in time for deployment but from that point on he seemed to have some anger issues. His most unique anger management technique was hurling mess deck coffee cups at the bulkhead in #3 LLRAR. It was never boring to see Acid Roy at watch relief time. 

The first watch station RM's qualified then was Feed Control. Nothing provided better motivation for further quals than the heat and humidity of the engineroom and trying to control 8 steam generators during flight ops. I felt really lucky if 2 or 3 were in Auto. I have to tip my hat to the psychos that happily lived in and prowled those spaces. Their names are mostly just a heat-stroked memory but I can recall McHenry Cornell, Jack Lussenhop, Mark Gilbert and a semi-human figure they called Dancing Bear. Where would I be without Steve Shupe and other 3-plant RM's of the day? K.P. Tyle (Was stupid here), Dicky Varga, Joe Viera, Larry Carter, Rx Phil Korphage (talk about scary men), Mike French, Ross (Trooper) Harlan, John Bonfiglio, the Missing Link and so many others that left in the Great Exodus of '78. These fellows taught me that despite popular belief, large buckets of water being thrown around the plant during field-day water fights had no effect on electrical grounds. I have to credit Link with giving me an introduction to NIS. I got to visit them a couple of times to discuss the subject of cut NI cables. I was the lucky fellow that got relieved by Link after he "discovered" the cables were cut during his pre-watch tour of the RAR. Didn't everybody's pre-watch tour include a walk up on the RAR catwalk where you would inspect the tangled wireways for defects? 

This era's reactor operator names mostly escape me except for Whalebone, the immense human that ran the RT shack and two bitter, sarcastic lads who sat in #3 EOS at the RPCP's and performed what was called the Bobby & Ted show. Whalebone had control of the White Lightning that was used for "cleaning electronics." He seemed to have a lot of friends. I fondly recall gathering in #8 switchgear to cool off with my RE division buds, the tight-curled Chuck Elwood, the ever-glazed BC Harmon, and an old-timer named Brad. Brad and Chuck introduced me to the time-honored game of Pummeling. It was certainly more fun than the game that 2-plant loved so much, Bunghole. 

The second phase of my stay began when we moved from Alameda to Bremerton for the "18-month" overhaul. This is getting a bit long so I'd just like to list some special and memorable lads from this era. Ralph Erickson (bastard!), Bud File, DenverD, Sam Hutchison, Joe Seman, Gary (Rod-Riggs!!!) Rodrigues, John Wheat, Tim Kolb, Lance "Matlock" Hendrix, Brian "Stone" Robinson and too many Roscoes to count. Building 65 was blessed during this period with many new chiefs that each swore to "fix this place." The Ayatollah Deaville and Chief Edwards were two of my favorites. Does anyone remember the name of Cdr. Coho's Nazi/Gestapo right-hand man? He was a blonde, chain-smoking Lt. Cdr who wouldn't look out of place in Schindler's List. 

When I got out of the Navy I swore that I would never come near the nuclear power program again. What's that old saying? "Give a Nuc a 50/50 chance…" That should clearly explain why this will be my 22nd year of working at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the Nuclear Test Engineering Department. As punishment for my crime feel free to publish my email


Joe Deploys To Iraq

A funny thing happened on the way to my retirement. Was suppose to retire December 1st from the reserves, but ended up getting mobilized in a few weeks. Yup, former 4mmr M-DIVer turned reservist Seabee is headed for the sandbox. I think I can claim to be the first four plant nuke from the 80s to go to Iraq. And you thought getting stuck on duty the first day back from Pac sucked ! Well I don't expect to carry a machine gun in Fallujah, probably just end up making sure all the porta-jons have toilet paper in them. Hope they don't expect too much from this 49 year old body....Anyway take care and have fun !...

Joe Drees ......................................................Former MM, now UT


KP Note: I know the others share my wishes for your safe return.  Send us pictures!!!

Mark Sent Some Big E Patches ...


Brad Miller Gets New Addy ....

wanted to give you an update on my email address you have listed on your contact list. my name is brad miller and i was a 2 planter, RM-22, from 1998-2003. it is listed as, but it should be 2 plant loser's forever!!!

Duke Returns ...

Happy New Year,

Just finished perusing through the site for the first time in a while, and it was great reading the stories from Rusty. Those patches Mark sent in sent some memory bulbs popping. I was cleaning my garage and ran across my coverall with those patches on just this Saturday! I had an RM 22 patch but the bottom one we all had.

I remember the first day we set to sea for sea trials in the yards in '82. I remember running into Rusty in berthing after eating on the forward mess decks. I had a kindred spirit in him as I wasn't the only one that day who didn't have his "sea legs" yet. Remember that?

I remember just before we went to sea flushing the 2 RAR bilges all night. I remember thinking, " all that studying for this?" It got better though. Stood a lot of Reactor Auxiliaries Watches from then on. I felt really proud when I got my CRAO card during the '82-83 WestPac.

Alameda certainly has changed. I taught CPR to a company that did all the digital stuff for "the Matrix Reloaded, and Matrix: Revolutions." The address was this street I had never heard of in Alameda. Turns out it was the old Marine Corps barracks across the street from the gym at NAS Alameda! I had never known the street names, just the building numbers! Like Gil (Rusty)-I still get a kick out of his full name, I think it's just cool-I drove around the base, by the old bowling alley, the pier, the gym, where the old parking lot was. Brought back a lot of memories. That's still a great view of San Francisco from the pier.

As for that nuke pondering subs, or surface, I gotta go surface. Although both are unique and interesting, I always thought there was something about that name, ENTERPRISE. No disrespect to the other flat tops or subs, but there's just something about that name, one that has nearly 200 years of history in the Navy. Other ship names can't compare to that. I still think the first carrier in the CVN(X) fleet ought to be named ENTERPRISE.

I look forward to as many of you as possible coming out in April. I will pass the word on to a bunch of guys from my time.

Hope you guys have a terrific 2006.

Tony (Duke) Boone RM-22/RT LPO 1981-1985


More Pics ...

Here are some more gems from Mark Best's garage full of Big E treasures.  Top is Big E in dry-dock after the Bishop's Rock mishap. Look closely and you'll see a pretty big gash near front.  Middle is Mark's CRAO driver's license and bottom is No. 1 screw after running aground in 1983.


Matthew Zentz Comes Aboard ....

October 1988 - October 1993, RM-11

LT Matthew Zentz


Robin's Query ....


Great memories! I got there just about when you were leaving, and don't recall meeting you, but we did have some common friends.

The orficer you were thinking of must have been LCR O_tt, whom I had more than one encounter with. Once, after getting busted by the XO for having completely UNSAT hair in the plant during a CO tour, I was commanded by the XO to report to the RO for a hair inspection after getting it cut. Mr O_tt, of course, ran a pre-screening inspection of his own. When I showed up, he rolled his eyes after inspecting my just barely-within-the-regs haircut. He asked me to recite the reg to him, since I obviously had memorized it in order to be so close to the limits. When I recited the part about "must present a neat, clean appearance." He had me (Yeah, right)!

After telling me that I would have to practically shave my head for him to allow me to see the RO, I left his office, turned immediately into the RO's office, and was excused with his blessings. I never returned to see Mr O_tt, but he did see me at other times. He really didn't like me...




Brian Hribek Comes Aboard ....

Brian Hribek "mini" - EM22/EM07 - June 2001 to November 2005.



David Gauvin Comes Aboard ...

Please add my email address to the website:

David V. Gauvin, RE Division, 1970-1975 




A Night To Remember ....


I recently wrote Ron Ogan and PP about one of our wildest ever nights of steaming. They filled in a few holes that had slipped my mind over the years. The 78/79 WestPac was the last cruise for a lot of us nukes . was different from the two previous cruises in that we pulled into Pearl Harbor as usual, but instead of replenishing and heading for PI, we were scheduled for war games with the Aussies and New Zealanders (hence ANZUS). The Aussies had a small aircraft carrier (HMAS Melbourne) and several smaller ships, and the Kiwis had some really, really, small ships. So we all sailed around the South Pacific beating it to a froth and played war, then pulled back into Pearl for refreshments. As usual, M-Div. nukes challenged RM Div. and any other willing nukes to a drink-a-thon to see who could out drink and outdo who, and always ended up with everyone getting sh*tfaced. NPS class 7401-3 sent 6 guys to the E and this was our last chance to steam together stateside. I think at least 4 of us made it to this event. The chosen bar was one we had used on previous cruises for the same purpose, a place called Davey Jone's Locker, which was below a hotel on Waikiki. You could actually walk out of the bar onto the beach. M-Div. nukes and non-nukes arrived at the bar first and got things rolling. Reactor types started straggling in and even some Aussies, and the crowd swelled to 40 or 50 sailors reveling in the night. On one of my numerous trips to the head, l came upon an ugly situation: some Aussie had gotten into a tiff with 2-3 local Samoans and they were literally beating the crap out of him. One local who was buffed to the teeth was hitting the poor guy with a barstool while another was kicking him. l tip-toed by, not wanting any part of this action, and handled my business. PP figures he's got to do something to prevent the Aussie from being murdered and quietly moseys over. The local who was hitting the Aussie with the barstool glares at PP and says, "I got plenty here for you too little guy." PP wisely decided not to participate and soon 7 large Samoan cops came in and turned the tide, and they were not gentle. With the fight over, the partying continued with renewed vigor. We were all getting a good buzz-on, and the noise level was increasing. l happened to gaze over at the bar to see what PP was up to, and sure enough, it was no good. He had instigated a "Nude Acadama Wine Drinking Festival" (aka NAWDF: PP mentioned this several pages back on the site when a bunch of us drunk sailors were drinking Acadama wine in a field near the base in Alameda and decided to "drop trou" to our ankles while drinking-so, any other occurrence of this kind, no matter what the beverage of choice, was/is called a NAWDF). Another contingent of Aussie sailors wandered in, saw what was happening at the bar and started busting up laughing. One of them approached PP and politely asked him WTF was going on. l watched PP explain the details of the NAWDF and the Aussie beckoned his mates over and they joined in on the NAWDF. By now, the place is roaring at these guys! A couple of waitresses happened by and acted like nothing was going on as these clowns "Hung One". A great time was being had by all. Unbeknownst to everyone, some of the guys from the AMRs weren't to be out-done, and what happened next would be the highlight of the night in this bar. About 4-5 of the AMR gang went upstairs where there was a pool with a luau in progress. Behind the bar downstairs was a window through which one could see people swimming. So these guys strip down to skivvies ,or nothing at all, and dive into the pool. One guy (buck naked), a 6'6" monster, swims down to the window, and starts jerking his gherkin for all to see. Still others were diving by performing humorous antics and the crowd was loving it! PP always had to get involved in stuff like this and he and Martin O'Donahugh went upstairs poolside to join the fun. There was a large luau going on right beside the pool and those AMR clowns had been stripping down right in front of them! PP and Martin returned to the bar fully clothed and dry. Soon our wild antics had to stop as we had drank the bar out of beer and thus the bar closed (more than likely, they just wanted us to get the f**k out of there). So, the main crowd dispersed and a group of us staggered into some other bar nearby. This bar had some tourists in it and some guy playing a guitar singing mellow songs. We come in, get served, start making noise, laughing, spilling beers, totally interrupting the show. The tourists started complaining, telling us to shut up . Finally one of the Aussies leans back and barfs forcefully all over our table. We decided to take our leave and head back to the ship. Somehow, a bunch of us ended up in a big limo driven by yet another large Samoan. This guy was HUGE but had a small almost girlish voice. (Kind of like Mike Tyson.) We're about half-way back to Pearl when one of 1MMRs new nubs (Pete Lankeneau) starts acting like he's ready to hurl. The limo driver was evidently experienced driving drunken squids and pulls out a trash bag which he hands back to those in the rear. Pete keeps sitting bolt upright, puts the bag over his head holds the bag tightly around his neck and begins heaving. Fortunately this was not a clear bag but you could still see the level rapidly rising. GROSS! Pete instantly earned the nickname "Pete da Puke." Ron Ogan got separated from the main group and accidentally wandered into a gay bar. The bartender spots Ron as looking out of place and tells him he should try someplace else. As Ron was leaving he looks at the sign in front of the bar. It featured a spouting blue whale and the bar was named "The Blow Hole."



Interesting Nuke Presentation by Naval Reactors Office/DOE

US Naval Propulsion Program - Mission Focus


Jules J. LaMontagne, ET1, 3 Plant, WestPac 74


Skimmer vs. Bubblehead


I've been out for over 25 years so some of this may no longer apply. I realize today's Navy is a little different than the one my buds and I were in.

I didn't join the Navy to be a nuke, but once I found myself trapped in the program I decided to make the best of it and become one of the "elite". In the 70s this meant becoming a fast attack sailor. Going to a submarine prototype further advanced this desire. Typical Navy misplanning lead to most of my S3G class going to either the Big E or the Nimitz. I was pretty bummed at first, but I soon realized that I had actually lucked out.

In early '75 we took off from Subic and spent about a month playing around in the I.O. before pulling into Mombassa. A fast attack had pulled out of Subic with us and shadowed us the whole way. Only of coarse they were under water the whole time. When we anchored in Mombassa they pulled alongside us and we were supposed to give them power so they could shut down. Somehow this didn't work as planned and the subs nukes had to stay on steaming watch the whole time. "Join the Navy and see the world". (Yeah, right.) This of coarse didn't affect the Sonarmen, Torpedomen or any of the other skate rates. MFP!

In '76 I ran into my good A school bud Barry Colebank while in port. Barry was on a fast attack. We exchanged stories of places we'd been and things that we'd seen or done. My stories were MUCH more interesting simply due to being on a surface vessel. These days when someone asks about my background there's a little bit of pride in my voice when I state that I used to be a nuke Machinists Mate on the USS Enterprise. Had I been a sub sailor I guess there'd be a little bit of pride when I said that. I'd probably have my dolphins on the wall in my den. In some ways the more something sucks the prouder you are to have survived it.

When I first went down to 1MMR one of my fellow knubs was Bob A. Bob had gone to a sub prototype and couldn't handle the shame of being exiled to a carrier. For a year or so Bob kept submitting chits for a transfer to sub duty. Finally, out of desperation he re-ups and gets a boomer. I wasn't all that close to Bob, but he did write letters to some of his closer friends and occasionally they would relay some info to me. It seemed that Bob was realizing he had f**ked up. I guess it's different for a guy who gets a sub straight out of prototype because there's nothing to compare it to. After hearing what Bob was going through, I made it a point to go topside at least once a day to see the sun, moon or stars.

One of the good things I got out of the Navy was making some really great buds. The sheer number of nukes on a carrier makes it all the more likely that you will meet some interesting and fun people. The relatively small number of nukes on a sub limits the possibilities. And if you get stuck with a bunch of dickheads there's nowhere to go to get away from them.

Once you've been out for a while, the bad shit (haircut chits, 3 section duty, powdered milk, ORSE) fades from memory, but most of the good stuff is still there : Sunrises and sunsets at sea on Westpac. Passing through the San Bernardino Straights in the P.I. Flying fish and dolphins playing in the bow wake. Sitting with your buds in the catwalk by the RT void and watching #1 screw slowly turning in the blue water of the South China Sea. Being in the I.O. on a moonless night and going up on the flight deck and experiencing the Persieds meteor shower. The countless hours spent on the O-11 level watching flight ops. Underway air shows for the crew complete with supersonic fly-bys. All stuff the bubbleheads miss out on.

Attached is a picture I sometime use as a desktop background. Surface nukes see and remember sights like this. Sub nukes don't.

Proud (and fortunate) to have been a skimmer, PP


KP Note: I know I speak for most of you surface guys when I say that when we all saw the Milky Way for the first time on that dark, moonless, IO night, we were glad to be skimmers. I also wouldn't trade those countless sunsets I witnessed while standing on the fantail; or the joy of seeing a speck of land far off in the distance when you've been to sea for months. That was what being a sailor was really all about.

Skimmer v. Subs, Con't ....


I went to S3G prototype, also. After talking to all of my instructors and listening to them putting down the surface fleet, I wanted to be "fast attack tough". I got sent to the USS Eisenhower instead, and I am glad that I did.

My roommate in prototype was fast attack tough -- he went to the USS Phoenix. When we would compare liberty ports we had been to, I would rattle off 7 or 8 places and he had Holy Loch, Scotland -- that was it.

I did my first Med Cruise in 1988 -- I think we spent half of our time in port. We would pull into Cannes, France for 8 days and then out for 10 days and then pull into another country for a week or so.

I always wanted to experience the camraderie of life on a submarine, but I have no regrets about how things turned out. I saw a lot of the world and met a lot of great all worked out in the end.



Bobby Farris Comes aboard ....

Hello. My name is Bobby Farris and I served on board the Big E from 1989-1993 as part of RE01 you can use this email address, for anyone that would like to contact me.


KP Note: You gotta be shittin' me .... if it ain't Bobby Joe Farris!!! The moment I saw your email message peeking out of my mailbox I just about died.  I remember you better than most of my nubs, as you were  .... (hmmm, ... how can I describe you ... a strange person is probably the best description I can think of on such short notice).  You had a unique sense of humor so I think you fit in very well with RE Div of that era. I could have sworn we sent you to 2-plant.  I recall Dicko and I fighting over who got you so I guess I lost.  I'm sure you remember little of me as I was pretty much a short-timer by the time you and the other 20-or-so RE nubs arrived during that '89 cruise. Let us know what you're doing these days!      

Manila Polo ...

Ram: I was one of four YNSNs working in the Reactor Dept. office during the '66-'67 Vietnam cruise. In March 1967, while in port at Subic, we made a short hop to Manila Bay for some "variety" and the skipper set us upon the city for a couple days. We were treated to what was announced as a "professional polo tournament" at the main soccer stadium in Manila. We were told there'd be lots of really "nice" philappinas there. Well, guess what? They played polo using donkeys instead of horses. What a riot, though, to see the little philappino men playing polo. They were really quite good and there was big time gambling on the matches. They had a professional donkey polo league with teams that traveled all over the Philippines and far East. A group of Big E Stewards (at that time, Philippinos were allowed to enlist in the Navy as Stewards, only) was allowed to form a team to play a Manila all-star team and the Big E team was "allowed" to win their match, I guess to make us feel good! (We weren't allowed to bet on that match!) Just curious whether anyone else knows if they're still playing donkey polo in PI? Thanks, 



Jeff Kempka Comes Aboard ...

Jeff Kempka

RC14, 83-87

Thanks, Nice site. Saw a few people I'll contact - and others I won't.



Greetings from An ex-Ike nuke:


Thank you for putting up the top-notch Tunaprise site! I found it via Pete Wentworth's I was a nuc electrician from Class 8005, Section 10, and sailed aboard the Ikeatraz from June '81 to August '85, and the Vinson from February '86 to November '89. Finally had enough of the Navy and got out, in spite of being selected for EMC in '88. Still go to sea for a living; been sailing on merchant ships for over 15 years; currently 1st asst. engineer (kinda like the MPA on a Navy ship but I still get my hands dirty) on a cable layer in Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.

Never got a tour aboard the 'Prise, but always used to see it across the pier in Alameda. How many stinkin' shore power cables did you guys have to pull?? Your website is pretty busy; guess there have been, and still are, a lot more guys and gals in your ship's Rx and Eng Depts. than on the Numbnuts-class carriers.

Alex Kirk, who posted a message in your earlier pages, was in my section in Orlando and was one of my roommates in Idaho. When we heard what ship he was going to...well, I imagined that, 'round about '84, it would have gone something like this:

Random RE Guy (saying for 804,759th time since Alex got there): Kirk to Enterprise! Kirk to Enterprise!! Alex (grabbing the nearest fire axe and bashing the guy's skull in): KIRK TO ENTERPRISE! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! KIRK TO ENTERPRISE!

He would have totally lost his Mormonesque composure.

I knew EMC Tim Antrim when he was EM1 Tim Antrim. I had the distinct pleasure of serving with EMCS Gerry Bell, who someone mentioned was one of his advisors in Orlando, on the Carl Vinson. He was one of the best khakis I ever sailed with. Also knew CAPT Dull when he was LCDR Dull; never thought he could let fly with a long string of profanity! Rusty Maxwell - if his real name was Gilbert F. Maxwell - was also in my section at NPS. ICC/ICCS Jim Darrough, who lives in Springfield, OR and is in a couple of the same ham radio clubs as me, sailed on the Tunaprise from '84 to '89. Some of you Eng Dept guys might remember him - a real character. I'll try to get him on this site.

Here's an idea for you guys when you have your reunion in the Bay Area in April or so. (Warning: shameless plug coming up...) Why not have it on a gray-hulled ship that still floats in SF Bay - the SS Jeremiah O'Brien? She's a WWII Liberty cargo ship that's a museum down near Fisherman's Wharf, right in back of the WWII sub USS Pampanito. I volunteered on there when I was on the Carl Vinson and for a few years after - helped take her to Normandy in '94 for the 50th anniversary of D-Day. I think you guys would get a kick out of her engineroom - all the machinery is driven by reciprocating engines; nothing is automatic except the flushers on the toilets...She is rentable for parties, etc. Check it out at

Do you have any Mooj T-shirts or posters from your band? I'd love to have one of each - I promise to be a good minion! Have to stop by next time I'm visiting friends in Flagstaff and hear you guys play.

Almost time to go down to the engineroom and get everything ready for us to move across Willemstad harbor - thanks again for all of your effort!

Tim Palange a/k/a "Flounder" ex-EM1(SW), CVN-69 and -70

KP Note: Great to hear from you Tim. Great idea for the reunion.  I'm hoping someone in the Bay Area is organizing this thing ... (hint hint).

We're getting band merchandise ready to sell to coincide with our album release.  (I do have Psychedelic Mooj bumper stickers available for anyone in the area that wants to stop by my shop and pick one up.) Just keep checking my band's website for latest info.  

The album was recorded over the last two weekends but has yet to be mixed (extra $$$).  I was very happy with how it turned out. Ike Mike, you'll be happy to know that I used a telecaster on 95% of the work.  I didn't mean to. I wanted to use other guitars on different parts but the strat and 'Paul wouldn't give me the tone I desired.  Those who give a shit will be happy to know I used a Uni-vibe on at least three songs (not to mention generous whaa-whaa and fuzz throughout). The engineer said I sounded like T-Bone Walker on acid. 

Surface All The Way ...


Regarding the surface vs submerged argument, I wouldn't change my experience for the best submarine in the fleet. I originally intended to go subs, brother was a diesel sub commander, and a lot friends influenced me. I remember one guy from boot camp (an EM named "Lefty" Armstrong) suggested it was the closest thing to being in outer space, or at least the experience of it, you could get without actually being up there. Made sense to me. Went to SIW in Idaho, and fortunately for me, it was discovered I had asthma. Instant ticket out of sub duty. I was bummed out for about a day and then I realized all the guys I was friends with at that time were all going to the E. If for no other reason, you will want to go surface because you get to see the world. On a submarine the only people who see the world are the guys looking out of the periscope. I got on board the E in April 86 and left in October 89, in that time I saw; Hawaii, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, the shore of Alaska, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, PI, Australia, Toulon France, Naples Italy, Mombassa Kenya, and the Suez canal. As mentioned by others, I also got to watch flight ops. There's no way to describe the power of an F-14 taking off the forward cat when you feel the blast of their afterburners from the O-God level. The indescribable moments sitting out on the sponson outside the RT void watching the IO roll by. The coolness of watching an UNREP and the venturi created by the two ships. And most impressive the stars when you're in the southern hemisphere and there are no lights for miles. I always think when I see Top Gun in one of the last scenes and he throws in the dog tags from the hanger bay, how many times I stood in that same location and enjoyed just watching the water, or the flying fish chasing the ship. You won't ever get that on a sub. Submarines are like proving you can endure pain just to say you can. Why would you do that? I would submit that anyone impressed by that is actually just as lost in that mindset or too ashamed to admit he missed out on the good times. If you're a workaholic, or sadomasochistic, by all means go subs. If you don't like the sun or anything above the surface of the water, by all means go subs. If you like being stuck in a tube with the same guys doing the same thing for months at a time, by all means go subs. If you want to see the world, and find a way to enjoy your stay in the navy, you need to go surface. As for me, I'm glad I ended up on the E. That's where all my friends were anyway.

Oh did I forget mail call??? Not sure how often the guys on the sub got mail, but I'd bet a paycheck we got it more often.

Louie Wingo


Donky Polo ...


Regarding the question about polo being played on donkeys today in the PI: I asked HoneyKo and got a disgusted harumph and condescending sneer at the idea that they'd play on anything other than regular horses. I guess times have changed.



Join the Navy?


Sorry I'm not a navy nuke or anything as spectacular yet.  I just stumbled on your site when searching for information about joining the navy.  I'm 19 and thinking about enlisting. I enjoyed this website very much.  I also loved your Mooj website.  I read every newsletter and was sad when they ended.  Are you ever going to bring the Mooj back to life? If I do join the navy it will be because of reading your stories.  I'm bored and looking for something interesting to do with my life.  I don't think I'm smart enough to be a nuke. Maybe I'll learn jets or something.  

Jeff Wuerthner


KP Note: Good luck with whatever you do, Jeff.  Let us know if you do join.  As far as The Mooj goes ... The book version is almost ready.  I'll undoubtedly hit fans like you up for big buck$ when it's ready to sell.     

Surface All The Way, Cont.

While the young pipeliner ponders his future, I would like to add a couple points. My name is Michael and I just got off of the Enterprise this July.

About a year ago I took leave to go visit my friends in San Diego on the John C Stennis. The week I spent there I remarked that neither one of them seemed to go into work much. Chris took leave for 2 days and went back for an hour or two the other days, while Russ had simply told his LPO that he wouldn't be coming in that week. No leave charged.

When I came back to Norfolk I ambiguously brought this up to a chief I was chatting with. He explained the situation to me as such: "Unexpected visits from the very important" typically come from Washington DC. Washington DC is on the east coast. Therefore, the reason we couldn't leave work before 1600 without a chit ever is that if a 'visitor' came by during the day, which wasn't at all unusual, and remarked that there weren't many people there, we could be in for some pain and suffering. West coast boats can be more lax as the chances of any such visit making any such impact were fairly remote.

Proximity is a bitch. Also, West coast ships hit way more ports, and way better ones at that. While 5 or 6 stops in the UAE were fun, we saw only 4 other ports in my 13 months out to sea on the Enterprise. 5 if you count Ft Lauderdale, FL. I think my roommate (from the Stennis) doubled our port call total, if not better.

None of my west coast buddies knew what I was talking about when I told them that only E-6's and above can stay overnight. They said they have that rule, too, but only in middle east ports. There's a new rule that states only a certain amount of sailors can be in any location at once, lest we be targeted by terrorists. This is almost impossible to enforce, but it is easy to give the facade of abiding if you simply keep all the low ranks onboard at night, so's we don't crowd up the hotels. They scan our ID's at the quarterdeck now, so we can't just stay overnight without anybody noticing, either.

As far as I know, no carrier has stopped in France since we invaded Iraq. I was pissed as hell when we cancelled our Marseilles stop. I had swapped duty to get Marseilles duty free!

Bear in mind that my friend Zach NEVER volunteered subs but got sent to one anyway. Barring medical problems, all nukes are sub vols if uncle sam deems necessary.

While you ponder your choice between subs and carriers, keep in mind that praying for a west coast one these days wouldn't be a half bad idea.



RM23, Circa '86

Jeremiah Miller Comes Aboard ...

My name is Jeremiah Miller. I was an RL Div sailor from 2001 to 2004. This is the e-mail address I'd like to have posted. Always a pleasure to read the stories and think a little on my experience. Hopefully I can keep some contact with the guys.

Thanks a lot.


Steve Cory Gets New Email ...

Update for “E” email list, please.

Steve Cory, RM-11, ’84-’88,



Lance Henderson Comes Aboard ...


My name is Lance Henderson and I served on the USS Enterprise from 5/22/98 to 5/21/02. I worked in RC-22, RC-23 and Nuclear QA. My email address I want listed is Thanks.



Jeff Larson Comes Aboard ....

Hey Ram, great site! It brings back a lot of old memories even after all these years of being away from it. Add me to your email list.

Jeff Larson, REO1 1986-1992


KP Note: Jeffo!!! Where you been all these years? You were one of the remaining "hold outs" from my era in RE Div.  Let us know what you're up to these days.  Did you see that your protégé Bobby Joe Farris has shown up (above)? Who in RE Div do you still keep in contact with?  Let us hear from you soon!!!

Another Day at the Beach ...

KP, Recently I posted a story about Gaines Beach on this site. One of your contributors was kind enough to send me the following link :

Sometimes it's interesting to see current pictures of your old haunts. Sometimes it's a little sad. I shared a few beers and a few sea stories with old Chief Ernie Gaines. (Don't think I knew his first name back then). He was a real hoot and in some ways put me in mind of some character from a Hemingway or Conrad story. I know he did us squids a real service by providing us a place to wind down and chill out while in the middle of a westpac.

Fair winds and following seas, Ernie 



Louie Wingo Changes Email Addy ...

Hey I just realized I didn't let you know, Sprint is changing our domain again. Actually I'll give you my home address too:

I rarely check the home email


Reeeeeeeunion ....

Hola Rambo-

I was just killing some time on the big e site (nice to see the photo of so many of my past rm23 shipmates) and happened to see some feedback on the reunion. Whatever weekend in that general time frame works just fine for me. Just talk amongst yourselves and I’ll make the space available.



KP Note: Yes Lance, Let's do this in late April (after Easter).  Or in May (besides weekend of 14th). Hey, how about emailing me that pic of you and I at Rockbottom.  

Thomas Kreischer Changes Email Addy...


I have new email addresses at home, and at work, Please update my information on the contact list. Thanks.

Thomas Kreischer RC14 '83-'85


Mike Ireland Comes Aboard ...


Great site. I was in RL Div. from 1990-94, and would appreciate being included in your database. Thanks.

Mike Ireland - MM2


Kevin Eastburn Comes Aboard ...

Please add me to your list 

Kevin Eastburn, EM-14 1998-2002


Eric Tew Changes Email Addy ...

My email has changed from what is listed on mooj's website.

Eric Tew, RM-23 1996-2000


E. Tew


Mosey Along, Gentleman ....

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