Cavalla Crew Interview

Jack Finley

Some memories of Cavalla in 1964-1965:

Reported aboard as an Ensign right out of Sub School. Had been in the aviation Navy as a TD1 prior to going to school under the NESEP Program. Didn't take long to discover that this was a different world.

Cavalla did a lot of Sub School ops during this period. With enlisted students this meant eight dives in the morning, meet a tug to exchange students, and eight dives with the new group in the afternoon.

My primary duty (other than qualifying) was Sonar Officer. As a Development Group Two boat, Cavalla carried a lot of new sonar equipment for test. We worked closely with what was then the Naval Underwater Sound Lab to install and test equipment. Cavalla had the first AN/BQQ-3.

Some events that might be remembered by others:

  • Liberty in New York, New Bedford, and Halifax.

  • Traveling in formation (sort of!) with the Sunbird and seven other submarines from New London to St. Thomas. (QM1 Jillson helped us avoid collisions.)

  • Transiting Hell's Gate from New York to the sound at midnight in a blizzard with a pilot that was under the influence.

  • Shark scare during at-sea swim call.

  • "Cold cut run" when Capt. Williams decided we would simulate wartime conditions for a few weeks. Didn't light off the grills/ovens to conserve the battery. Fancy cold cuts taste good for about four days; after that everything tastes like grease.

  • The warshot that activated in the After Torpedo Room (faulty test cable) and was jettisoned in the Sound.

  • Leaving the XO and COB on the pier when getting underway for Halifax-CO was mad because they requested permission for the crew to wear civvies after he had already said no.

  • For some of the finest officers in the Navy-HACK upon return from Halifax.

It was a great tour, with wonderful people.

March 1999

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