SS          SSK          AGSS

Presently on board:


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Bill Robinson ~ 69-73 ~ recruiter/park official

"I was stationed in Galveston as a recruiter at the Naval Reserve Center on 61st St. from Oct 69 to Aug 73. I spent a lot of time out at the park getting her ready for visitors. Steamboat Fulton and I became the best of friends. He visited our family in Albuquerque several times before his cancer got him down. I was there when the Cabrilla was traded back to the Navy for the Cavalla. When she was brought up to Galveston, being the only active duty boat sailor around, I was asked by Paul Stolpman if I could get the draft up enough to put the boat in the trench that was out at the proposed park site. Another submariner (I was a TM1, he was a TM2) and I got air from a compressor on the pier and blew every thing we could. I believe we got her up to about 13 feet. When the tug brought her around, she went aground at the opening of the trench. On the second try a couple of days later she made it about half way in the trench. They hooked on to it with a bulldozer and assisted the tug to get her in to the spot where she sets today. Too bad we didn't think of some sort of "roster of the troops" who sweated their asses off out there. I remember cross connecting the bowplanes to the scope so we could raise it. I also jacked the bow planes out with a two ton jack in the rigging gear. Ah, what memories."

Yogi Kaufman ~ Dec. 1959 - Mar. 1961 ~ Commanding Officer

"I was in command for about a year, then went to Rickover's shop and on to command Scorpion (where I was during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis). I don't know what role she played during that time, though I'd assume she was involved in barrier ops in the GI-UK gap. During my time with her, we participated in barrier exercises where we had transitors playing the role of Russian subs. Cavalla with her sound experience in SubDevGru 2 was a star in exercises, and also on liberty in Belfast. We developed tactics for detecting, analyzing movements of targets, and procedures for using the most advanced torpedoes of the time. The last portion of my command was in the shipyard, where I was relieved by LCDR Walt Krause. In all, one or two exercises, a couple trips to Bermuda playing "leapfrog" with other subs of the group, taking turns as snorkelling target, wringing out our SSNs and helping them learn the ropes of sub vs. sub. Cavalla usually got the shooter even when she played target." Also see Yogi Kaufman Photography

James F. Rankin ~ Dec. 15, 1943 - Jan.10, 1946 ~ Quartermaster First Class

"We tracked and reported the Japanese Task Force intending to interrupt our Saipan invasion and we picked off a Japanese carrier, the Shokaku, after the Battle of the Philipine Sea."

Irving A. Garman ~ 1944 - 1946 ~ MoMM2c

"I put the boat in commission, made six patrol runs, and decommissioned her at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. I was assigned to the after engine room as a throttleman. While on watch, I was in charge of two V-16 GM Winton Diesel engines; starting and running them while on the surface and securing them when diving. We serviced them and made repairs as needed while at sea. After each patrol run the crew received two weeks R&R, while the ship yards made any repairs that were needed.
One of my best recollections was our first patrol run. . ." (continued in Interview)

George H. Johnson ~ 1963 - 64 ~ radioman (RMSN)

"During the time I was aboard, Cavalla spent quite a bit of time at sea, often in a hunter killer mode. We participated in fleet exercises where the objective was to "sink" the carrier. It is my understanding that, just prior to my arrival, Cavalla had been part of the blockade of Cuba. There were a bunch of sea stories floating around about that. One strategy utilized was to load up a torpedo tube with empty beer cans then blow them out at intervals so that on the surface they would look like numerous periscope blips to radar or the naked eye. We were successful in penetrating the destroyer screen and camouflaging ourselves in the wake of the carrier, which of course then led to a couple of theoretical "fish" up the rear end of the beast. . . I just might run down there this summer with the family to show them what I used to do."

Harry "Bus" Engler ~ 1944-46 ~ Electrician

"I was the youngest man aboard Cavalla. I stood watches in the control room on the low pressure manifold and in the maneuvering room. I made all six of her war patrols."


Gary Batch ~ 1960-62 ~ FNSS
"Most memorable experience was accompanying the ill-fated Thresher on her maiden voyage to San Juan Puerto Rico. While we were moored in San Juan, Thresher lost all electrical power and temperatures soared well over 100 degrees inside her. Cavalla moored along side her and supplied power until she was able to get her reactor up to where she could supply her own power.
Three crew members of Cavalla that I served with would later perish with Thresher; Lt. Robert Biederman, Stephan Cahey, and Ronald Wolf. "

John C. Bisely ~ 1954 - March, 1957 ~ electronics technician, 1st class
"I took care of her sonar, radar, ECM gear etc. Her sonar was state of the art gear with up to 100 mile ship detection possible. Our only cold war 'patrol' was during the Hungarian revolution and a station in the Baltic. "

Patrick G. Lyon ~ July 67 - May 68 ~ Decommissioning crew ~ Ship's Cook

Werner "Bill" Friedman ~ 1958-59 ~ First qualifying boat ~ Third class fire control technician
"I reported on board at Kittery, Maine (Portsmouth Shipyard) in July 1958. The Boat was going through a major yard period. Due to previous experience as a Radarman aboard an LST (1950-54), I was capable of navigation duties. Therefore I was assigned to Quartermaster watches, while underway. I was the maneuvering watch helmsman. My battle station was also in the conning tower on the Mk 32 firing panel."

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Zeb Alford ~ 1957-58 ~ Third Officer/Executive Officer
"I had just finished post-graduate school in Research Analysis, and reported to Cavalla. She had a lot of specialized ASW equipment and SUBDEVGRP 2 was using her to formulate tactics for hunting submarines. I was Third Officer until my Exec, John Veeley, broke his leg trying to teach me to ski. So I became Cavalla's Exec. I stayed on Cavalla for a year-and-a-half, then I was selected for the nuclear program. I helped commission the Tullibee as Prospective Exec, and later became Captain of the Shark, our fastest submarine."

George Guensch ~ 4/51-10/51 ~ First recommissioning ~ Quartermaster Third class
"Korean war was on but we didn't see any combat. Captain Comdr. was M.C. Duncan"

Stan Thompson ~ Machinist Mate Chief Master ~ Chief of the dive and high pressure manifold
"We called boats designated AGSS "Almost Gone" submarines."

Robert Mahon ~ 1961-62 ~ Electrician's Mate
"Some resident genius had dropped something into the commode and it somehow got stuck, making it impossible to flush. An Auxiliaryman named Boshoven removed the commode and placed a pail over the opening. It was my job to sit on the pail while Boshoven introduced compressed air into the tank. Well, as you might expect, the obstruction did blow out of the opening--straight into the pail I was sitting on. Unfortunately, the offending apple core was not the only bit of waste emitted from the opening (much of which I wore for a very long five minutes). The bright spot of this story was that as I was the one sitting on the pail when it blew up, I got to take a shower while the other Mess Cook cleaned the head."

Dave Hinckle ~ 1956-58 ~ Sonar Officer
"Cavalla was a pretty good ship. We were lucky, it was a time when the US Navy was learning how to listen to the sounds in the sea. We did lots of tests. Being the sonar officer, I was involved in a lot of new technology. It was instrumental in helping me start my business (Sonalysts)."

Attention, all members of USS Cavalla's past crews. Now hear this:


Were you on Cavalla? Click here to send your profile and stories.

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All information on this page is accurate to my knowledge. I welcome corrections and I am solely responsible for any errors. -- Neal Stevens