Cavalla Crew Interview

Dave Harvey

It seems like we mostly did daily ops out of New London, but my memory is foggy on that part. I worked as an oiler in the forward engine room. The Engineman LPO was EN1(SS) Joseph, the forward ER LPO was MM1(SS) Hendricks, and I usually stood watches with MM3/2 John 'Animal' Austin.

One day while out at sea, 'Animal' and I were making fresh water. We had two stills and both were in the forward engine room. To help with the purity of the water and to alleviate the heat in the room, we had our shirts off and pant legs rolled up. We were wearing head bands and had shredded newspaper stuck in the headbands like feathers in a headdress. To finalize the evolution, we were dancing around the stills. About this time the Engineer came through the room. He stopped and asked what we were doing. 'Animal' said we were doing a rain dance to ensure the purity and quantity of our fresh water. The Engineer just shook his head and started to leave. At the last moment he turned around and asked Animal if there was anything he could do for us. Without a pause Animal looked at the Engineer and said, "we could use a virgin seaman for a sacrifice." That particular Engineer never set foot in the engine room again.

While in Bermuda, we were tied up to one side of the pier with the Tullibee outboard of us and two destroyers on the other side of the pier. As the destroyers pulled away from the pier on Monday morning we could see where someone had, in large white letters, painted "SUNK BY SUB' on the side of the inboard destroyers hull. We could also see a trail of white paint along the crossbeams under the pier, up our tank tops and down our engine room hatch.

I got out of the Navy in August 1963. Fifteen months later I was back and going to RM'A' school in Bainbridge, MD. In the winter of 67/68 I was stationed at the Commcen at Comsublant, Norfolk, VA. This was neutral duty and if we made our sub rides every quarter, we got our sub pay. In 1968 (seems like it was February) I got the USS Cavalla for my sub ride. The boat was on 'Springboard' ops out of Puerto Rico when I caught up with it. As I came aboard, down the After Battery hatch, I heard a voice saying, "who let you on my G D--- submarine." When I turned around, there was Tom Mannix, one of our cooks who had been there with me in 63 and was still there.

I went on to make a career of the Navy and retired from the Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Training Center (FBMSTC) in Charleston, SC. My last submarine was the USS James Monroe SSBN-622.

October 1997

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