|USS PICUDA News Years Eve 1943
by George Herold, SM2, USS Picuda SS-382
At the Sub Base in New London, USS PICUDA,
recently commissioned, all sea trials and exercises over and preparing to leave
for the war in the Pacific on 1 January 1944. Jim Kondrat, TM1, John Pennington,
TM2, and me, George Herold, SM2 have decided that, come hell or high water,
we're going to spend this New Years Eve in the Big Apple (NYC).
A 3-hr train ride and we're there. Hours later, after many watering holes and not feeling any pain, specially me, its 2AM and we're on the train returning to New London. My mother would not like it if she could have seen me, her only son, acting like this. I was quite loud, and I mean LOUD. The MPs on the train were trying to keep me quiet. But I would have none of their stuff. Please understand, this was not like me. I was 19 yrs old and full of whiskey. Jim was a pretty big guy and he was trying to calm me down. However, I insisted on telling these MP guys that in the last two years I had made 5 war patrols, sinking 12 enemy ships, being depth charged and bombed by ships and aircraft, all while these MPs were riding these trains. They put up with me until we reached Bridgeport and escorted me off of the train and bringing me in front of their Captain.
I was loud and kept telling them that my ship was leaving for Panama in the morning at 0800 and I had better be there. While they're taking me to their HQ, the train pulls out. Now, I'm in some kind of a cell and sobering up fast, realizing the spot I'm in. A couple of hours later, after some coffee, they let me go. I get on the first train and sit down. Minutes later a conductor comes by and tells me I'm on the west bound train heading back eo NYC. I get off at Stamford and wait. Now I'm cold sober and worried, as its 0800.
To end this silly tale, at 1115 I finally make it back. As I'm walking down pier 5, I see they have two engines on the line and have singled up all lines. Lucky me, they had tried for three hours to get another QM or SM and couldn't. So away I go for five more patrols and 13 more sinkings. To this day, I could not tell you what we did that New Years Eve. I only recall the train ride.
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