Sadly, until I learn how to link to different sections in a page, you will need to scroll down the page to view a Sea Tale.

Sea Tales As Told By:

Dave Norris & Wes Hancock - 1953

1 - The Day The Spangler Disappeared

Bob Ellis SO2 (1949 - 1952)

1 - My Great Sonar Repair

2 - Bob Ellis - Fleet Sonar School

3 - Phil's Note On Bootcamp Reminds Me...

4 - A Slight QDA Transducer Error!...

Jim Howard, RD1, (1950 - 1954)

1 - My Captain Queeg!

2 - Rank Has It's Privileges!!

3 - Shipmate's Death

Merlin Carr, RM2, (1949 - 1952)

1 - Direct Hit!

2 - Ensign Shanhouse!!

3 - New Years Eve 1949/50!!

4 - Lt. E. P. Tamassia

5 - Master at Arms and Two Drunks

Ellis 1 - My Great Sonar Repair

One day the data converter jumped 180 degrees out of kilter and Captain Law told me to have it fixed by morning. I worked all night long and couldn't find the problem, I think I must have checked every circuit a dozen times to no avail. When Becker, who lived in San Diego, came back from liberty around 7:00 AM I met him on the quarterdeck and begged for him to help me. "I don't work on sonar equipment" he informed me. I begged some more so we went down to the IC room where the data converter was located, he listened to all that I had done and checked. He then turned off the power, reached in the unit and rotated the compass indicator 180 degrees, turn the power back on and the unit was repaired. In less the five minutes he had soled a problem that I had worked all night on. He might not remember that, but I sure as heck do.

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Ellis 2 - Fleet Sonar School

The Spangler was assigned to the Fleet Sonar School for several years starting in 1950. The Captains I had during that time I was on board were:

R. R. Carter, LCDR

J. G. Pollock, LCD

R. R. Law, LCDR

The info I sent you (Sonar Training School Handout , published in the Memorbilia Section of the website,) was taken from the actual sheet during Pollock's time as CO. It was the same sheet that Carter had except for the sonar gear. When the Spangler was first assigned to the sonar school she was equipped with a QGB(b) sonar stack, OKA range/range rate recorder, TRR range/rate recorder, QDA depth determining sonar and a Mk 1 Attack plotter. This equipment was located on the open bridge area in the asdic shack and it was quite cramped. (During the yard overhaul this area was enlarged and housed the AP, UQC, Mk 5 attack director plus electrical filing buttons for all ASW weapons.) We had a standard 13 depth charge pattern with hedgehogs that would only train 20 degrees and all ASW weapons were fired manually from their locations. The other change in the handout from Carter to Pollock was the cost for the officer students meals went from 50 cents to 75 cent per day.

The ship went in for yard duty at Hunters Point later that year and the Mk 5 ASW system was installed. Carter was still the CO after installation of the new ASW equipment and was the CO when the ship was awarded the Navy "E". Pollock who was Carter's XO became Captain after Carter left.

When the Mk 5 system was installed on the ship the Underwater Telephone UQC was also installed. The Spangler was the first surface ship on the west coast or maybe any coast to have this device. The UQC was installed on many submarines. One time during a "can we get you exercise" the Spangler was operating with two subs. They were chatting to each other and planning their moves as not to get sunk by the Spangler. We listened in. After the exercise was over Captain Law came in to the UBC from the open bridge, picked up the UQC mike and called the subs call name and stated, "this is June Moon Sugar, thanks for the drill" he then signed off without waiting for their, I'm sure surprised reply.

The Spangler went to Mare Island in 1951 to have another sonar control installed. During the Mk 5 conversion in 1950 the sonar control room had been relocated from the bridge to the IC room in what used to be their work shop/storage area Half of their work shop was assigned as the sonar control room. When the second sonar control was installed we took the rest of their workshop/storage room. With two sonar control we could now train twice as many students. Their was a switch in sonar control 1 which we could change which sonar control was engaged with the ASW system. These two systems had their own transmitter and scanning switch assembly with a common transducer.

At Mare Island a new deck gun fire control system was also installed with a new fire control station and mast for the antenna on the boat deck near the 40mm quad. What I thought were later photos that I have seen do not show the second mast. Was it removed?

To answer your question most all the students were enlisted men from the Sonar School. The officer students would spend their time on the bridge conning the ship during these training sessions.

Once some submarine officers seeing how the other half lived were having training and one junior officer who had the conn after the attack, and about to come about for the re-attack, asked the Captain, "which way do I turn skipper?" Captain Law informer this sub sailor that he was addressed as Captain. The submarine officer apologized by saying, "excuse me sir, I'm used to a submarine where we are all friends."

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Ellis 3 - Phil's Note On Bootcamp Reminds Me...!

My boot camp book (Great Lakes 1948) didn't have much, if anything about my company 434 either. Maybe all those sharp marchers etc., were from Hollywood. The book is pretty tho.

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Ellis 4 - A slight QDA Transducer Error!

About that QDA transducer. It would go from flat 0 degrees into the keel of the ship to 90 degrees perpendicular with the keel. You coud tell the angle of the transducer in sonar control by the dial on the QDA stack. When the ship went into dry dock I was always to have the QDA transducer at the zero degrees mark as not to damage it when the ship was supported in the dry dock. I don't recall exactly when but on one of our dry dock repairs I ensured the dial on the stack read zero. After after the water was pumped out of dry dock the word was passed for Ellis to report to the Captain who was on the dry dock. Thinking surely I had done something wonderful and Captain Law was going to reward me for a job well done I rushed to the area where the Captain was standing. He looked at me and then pointed to the QDA transducer which was at about 45 degrees and politely asked me what that was hanging down from his ship. The shear pin had stripped and the motors went and the indicators went but the transducer had not moved. I learned from that experience that electronics aren't always the answer and the next dry dock time I would go down to lower sound and make sure the mechanical angle indicator was indeed at zero. Captain Law later forgave me after we found the Submarine contact that had all the ships in the San Diego area on GQ was only kelp as first reported by the Spangler.

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Howard 1 - My Captain Queeg!

You recall the movie "Caine Mutiny" and Capt. Queeg?" My story about a certain well known Capt.______ involves my ego as an RD and being one of the senior POs on the ship, in addition to being the leading RD I was also the OPs Div senior PO. I busted my ass for Capt. Law ( a predecessor) and I guess I had a high opinion of my self. Capt. ______ did't know me. We had been out for two weeks and as usual I spent most of the time in CIC, 20 out of 24 hrs. We came into port and tied up next to a tender . I was in CIC alone reading a magazine when "bam!" the door flies open and in walks Capt_____. He proceeds to chew my ass out for loafing and arbitraily gave me 30 days restriction. He then found the Ops Office and chewed him out for my dereliction of duty. The Ops. Officer came up to CIC and told me that per the Capt. I was repremanded and restricted for 30 days. I told the Ops. Officer that he could tell the Capt. that he had helped me to make I decision not to reenlist. That started me on my attitude toward some officers . As I say maybe I resented all of this because I had the respect of Capt. Law and he treated me with respect.

My wife tells me that the older I get the worse my sea stories get and thats probably true. I tend to remember the good times more that I do the mid watches.

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Howard 2 - Rank Has It's Privileges!

As a 1st class PO, I was exempt from any duty while waiting at Des Base for my discharge. I didn't have to do any thing but I couldn't leave the base during duty hours. The barracks were off limits during those hours but one day I went in the barracks to change into my dress blues. Standing in front of my locker with just my tee shirt on I was accosted by a MAA, a 3rd class BM, you will recall the type!

He proceeded to chew me out for being in the barracks and wound up by telling me to come with him that he had a head that needed swabbing down. I guess he thought I was some young boot that he could bully, in only that way a BM3 MAA with 8 years of service could do! (No slam on BM's intended). I didn't say anything but put my jumper on and then while pointing to my crow with 3 chevrons, I said "Boats I've got 3, you only have 1, so if someone is going to swab the head it will be you not me." He said that we need to talk to the Chief MAA about this.

I told the Chief MAA that I was first class PO and that I was "entitled to a little more respect than I had received from a BM3, does that stand for bowel movement? In addition I have less than 5 days left in the USN and didn't care to put up with this BS!" I think I flabbergasted the CPO because all he said was "Get out of here!"

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Howard 3 - Shipmate's Death

In reviewing the sea tales and the story about the shipmate that reenlisted and then was killed in an auto accident brought to mind another shipmate that was killed in an auto accident. His name was Lew Ayres RD2. He came aboard in 53 after having served at a radar station in Japan. We never knew what happened only that he was hitching a ride fro downtown San Diego one night and was killed in an auto accident. It fell my lot to go with the Exec Lt Buart Huls to the naval hospital at Balboa to make a positive ID. He was trussed up like a piece of meat in a cold storage locker ontop of another body. It was a very difficult thing for me to have to do and I was disgusted at the way his remains were treated. Dick Hitt RDSN cleaned out his locker and wrote Lew's girlfriend a letter of condolance and returned all of the letters that Lew had received from her. All of the Radar gang signed the letter.

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Carr 1 - Direct Hit!

Mid 1949, we were operating out of Pearl with UTE (Underway Training Unit)and COMSUBPAC. We were training on the procedure of attacking submarines, Capt. Robert R. Carter in command of the ship. We had an arrogant Ensign at the CON training on How to Attack a submarine. We had made three or four runs with-out a hit or even a close miss. Beebe stuck his head out of the Sonar shack and asked the Captain, " We made 3 perfect runs and all misses. What is going on out there?" He knew that the Captain was not at the CON. Captain Carter was sitting in his chair with his baseball cap over his eyes half asleep (acting). He looked over at Beebe and said "Do you think you could do better?". A moment later Beebe came out of the shack and took over the CON from this bewildered Ensign. He made an hedgehog run and up came the bubble in the middle of the circle. A hit. Beebe gave up the CON and returned to the Sonar Shack. The befuddled Engin. looked at Captain Carter who said " Mr, that is how you do it?"

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Carr 2 - Ensign Shanhouse!

New Years Eve 1949/50, we were tied up at the Baker dock at the Naval Station Pearl. My buddies, Gerald Graham and Gerald King were my seniors by 3 and 5 days. As the junior radioman I was stuck with the duty and couldn’t go ashore. It really ticked me off. The ships crew was very small that night. The duty quartermaster, an radar man and myself were the only ones in our division aboard that night. Sullivan, the cook, had baked a ham and we had it in the radio shack eating trying to figure out how we were going to celebrate New Years. Some yelled at us to answer the blinkers from the other ships in the harbor. When we got to signal bridge we noticed that all our lights were out except the running lights on the yard arm. We went to the big 24 inch light on the port side. It was dead. The small light was also dead. Ensign Shanhouse came out on the port wing about that time and wanted to know what we were doing. We told him. He said this ship was not going to "light up" and do anything stupid like the other ships. We said this is New Years Eve. No Go. He went back to the wardroom. We answered the ships our dilemma with the yard arm lights, then went into the radio shack ate more ham and pondered our dilemma. The quartermaster said the only thing he found was the very pistol in the chart room next to CIC. . We checked it out and sure enough there the very pistol was. At least we could shoot the darn thing at midnight. Only trouble was, we couldn’t find the shells. Shanhouse apparently hid them too. About that time someone broke the pistol open and there was one in the chamber. Well at least we could shot one shot. So up onto the signal bridge we went in front of the pilot house where we could shoot the very pistol. We had awnings covering the stern portion of the ship and also the bow. Well it was coming up on midnight and we were counting down when who should show up but Ensign Shanhouse just as the quartermaster raised his arm to fire. Shanhouse grabbed his arm and pulled it down and the pistol was fired right on to the bow awning. Shanhouse to our amazement, jumped over on to that awning and began to try and put those little sparklers out with his had. As it was they were rolling back towards him and he was hopping around like a jack rabbit trying to get away from them. We started to laugh our heads off. If he had left well enough alone the sparklers would have rolled off into the water. The next day Captain Carter asked us what happened. We told him and all he did was shake his head.

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New Years Eve 1949/50 Merlin Carr -- New Years Eve 1949/50!

I was ticked off by Pinky and Gerry sticking me with the duty on New Years Eve and giving me a hard time so I decided to get back at them. With the help of the others that were stuck on board that night with me. We took all the mattress off the bunks and hauled them up to the CIC shack and I locked my self in and slept there. When my buddies came back to the ship, they had just the springs to sack out on. In their state, anyplace was ok. The next morning before they could find me, I was ashore on liberty.

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Carr 3 - Lt. E. P. Tamassia

Lt. Tamassia was the engineering officer aboard the Spangler. He was one of the best officers and respected by all hands. The snipes thought he was outstanding. I do not ever recall he getting up set with anyone. He was one of the most even tempered men (officers) I have ever had the privilege to serve with.

It was a hot July evening and we were tied up along side Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. I was on the mid-watch in between Fox skeds so I went out on the port side of the boat deck. To my surprise, there were two snipes, drunk as a skunk, in our little dingy paddling around along side. The line to the dingy had a lot of play in it so they thought they were relative free, which they were not. One of them had an officers cover. He also was standing up barking commands to the fellow shipmate who was paddling with a piece of wood we used as a paddle. Well they came to end of their “rope” and the snip standing went into the drink. Now the water alongside Ford Island was the dirtiest you would find anyplace. The oil on top is thick and gooey. The fellows swam over to the rope ladder we had over the side and came up on board. The hat that one had on was a mess. They apparently discussed what to do. A moment later they disappeared and I just guessed they returned the cover to the ward room. I waited a few minutes to be sure they were gone then I went down to the ward room and sure enough that officers hat was in its place dripping oil and water and a real mess. I checked the name in it and it was Lt. Tamassia’s.

I never heard a peep out of anyone, the two snipes or Mr Tamassia except that “How in the world did my hat get this way”. I do not think I told anyone of that incident for years.

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Carr 4 - Master at Arms and Two Drunks

A lot of events occur during the Mid-Watch. Most of them are funny then and now. This one occurred one such night. We were tied up at the Baker docks in Pearl. Two drunks came staggering up towards the ship from the direction of the stern. Both had been restricted to the base for fighting, they were cousins and always fighting each other especially when they had a few drinks in them. One stopped and sat on one of the Bull-locks that we secure the ships lines to at the stern of the ship. The other staggered aboard and went to the stern by our depth charge racks. The one on shore proceeded to throw bottles of beer to his cousin. The bottles fell into the water, fortunately, all but one. The cousin on board did catch that one and only bottle. His buddy/cousin then came aboard. They were both standing together when the Master of Arms came up out of the stern compartment and saw them with that beer bottle in their hands.

No this Master at Arms was not very swift, he was a 2 hash mark 3rd class Boatswain. He wore his white hat on the bridge of his nose and swaggered and pulled his authority when he could. He tried to bully everyone. Most of the folks ignored him much to his frustrations. He also was noted for the tattoos he had. On the cheeks of his rear was tattooed “ Stand Clear, Twin Screws”, but more about that later.

He yelled for those two drunks to “Come here”. They did. He must have forgot where he was cause he tried to step back and instead he fell back, down that compartments ladder. When he hit the bottom, he was out cold. The two drunks just stood there staring down the hatch. I came up at that time and told them to first throw that bottle of beer over the side and go get the roving patrol and tell the quarter deck watch to get the pharmacist mate. I went down the ladder and saw that the MA was not bleeding and breathing OK. About that time the pharmacist came up in his skivvies and checked him out. He was out cold. I told everyone that I saw him fall down the ladder, leaving out the details of the beer etc. I saw no reason to tell that to anyone. The pharmacist mate decided the best was to put him in his bunk and let him sleep. He told the quarter deck/roving patrol to check on him every once in awhile and any problems to call him.

The next morning the MA filed a report that these two drunks and hit him and knocked him down the hatch. They denied that they touched him. The Exec. called me in to the ward room and asked me what I saw. I told him I saw everything, that the two drunks were walking up to the MA and he took a step back and down he went. The MA was mad as a hornet at me and became angry until the Exec. shut him up. The MA never mentioned the beer bottle and neither did I. Later that day I was routing messages and saw Capt. Carter. He asked me to tell him the whole story and leave out nothing. I asked him if I did would he punish the two drunks? He said tell me the story and I’ll decide. So told him what had happened. He laughed and told me that since they threw the beer bottle over the side and they didn’t hit the MA that he would take it no further.

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