Reflections by Submarine Docents

USS Pampanito

[Posted by Tim Spoon (T.Spoon) on 8/20/2001]

[Photos related to this entry]

T.SpoonCan you return to your youth? YES! Last Saturday night Cowboy, Gary Walker, and T.Spoon made the journey back in time, back to that last night each of them slept aboard their last boat. And what a trip it was. We did our usual 3rd Saturday docent duties and had our usual fun. The tourists as always were very appreciative of our presence. One little girl, about 8 or 9, came up to me and asked what each of the pins on my vest were. She took great pleasure as i explained what each was. She was interested, that in itself is a fantastic thrill.

Then, after they closed the Pampanito for the evening, a group of about 30 Maritime Association supporters and family came aboard for a Submarine tour and sleep over. After the usual safety briefings and such we broke into 3 groups and Cowboy, Gary Walker, and myself each took a group on a tour. Even into the con. They all were very interested. After the tours they were doing another briefing and bunk assignment in the control room, it was a little crowded so Gary Walker and myself were sitting in the mess decks talking when i had my heart skip about a dozen beats. They sounded the Diving Klaxon. Not once but twice. After 34 years my body still jerked into motion, me mind swirled, and my heart said 'what the heck' and skipped a little. I did not mess my drawers but almost. LOL. What a thrill.

After Cowboy ran a few reels of the evening movie "The Silent Service", in the FTR we all hit the sack. Each bunk had one of those flash covers we have dreamed about for a long time. Cowboy, Gary, and myself had the ATR all to ourselves.

After a sound sleep we were still exhausted, we awoke to the smell of hot cakes, sausage, and coffee cooking in the AB. Can it be true? Yes!

Another short tour to the Con to look through the scope and after a little field day it was time to continue the Sunday duties.

Another thrill! The Sunday docent came aboard. He is Bob Warnock and he qualified in 1930 aboard the USS V-1 (Barracuda) in the Far East. He is 90 years old and could climb the ladders as well as i can. He also had made 6 or 7 war patrols. What a thrill to meet part of our living history.

It all had to come to an end but will continue next month on the 3rd Saturday. Put it on your calendar.

T.Spoon, DBF and very happy

Gary Walker's photos from November 2001 docent weekend on Pampanito