John R Votrobek Jr, from letter dated 18 September 1997
My first most memorable incident on BLENNY occurred on the morning of 19
1945. We were patrolling off the coast of Cape Padaran, French Indo-China.
particular morning, I was in the conning tower on JK-QB sound watch. Walker
helmsman, Kirby the radar operator and Gallie the quartermaster. Lt.
Edwards was the
OOD and Mr. Felton and the Captain were on the bridge. Shortly after 0600
came through the conning tower on his way to the control room. At 0606 the
diving alarm sounded for our usual morning trim dive and to patrol
submerged. The lookouts came through the conning tower on their way to the
control room. The skipper came down and stood between Kirby and me in the
after part of the conning tower. Mr. Edwards stood by the plot table.
Gallie pulled the hatch down but the dog didn't catch. Gallie opened the
hatch to turn the wheel back to open so that the hatch could be closed, but
by this time water was gushing into the conning tower and cascading down
into the control room. Kirby moved to help Gallie with the hatch. I moved
to help the skipper with the control room hatch. We could only get it
partially closed. We finally realized that Mr Edward's leg was preventing
us from closing it. We finally got the control room hatch closed and the
water built up to mid-thigh high before the boat was surfaced and the
bridge hatch closed. We then submerged and set about the business of drying
out the boat. Water had drained through a line in the after periscope into
the radio shack and flooded the transmitter. The pump room was flooded and
the pumps, air conditioning and anything electrical was knocked out. It was
a long slow process getting everything back on line.
My second most memorable occasion occurred on the night of 6
August 1945. On this night I was on radio watch working on the schedule
was on the wolf pack station. At about 2100, I was copying press. They put
out the story about a new weapon called the "Atomic Bomb". It had been
dropped on Japan that day. They described this bomb as the equivalent to
2,000 tons of TNT. Since I was a good ole boy from behind the stockyards in
South Omaha, NE, I never heard of an Atomic Bomb. Furthermore, the fact
that it was as powerful as 2,000 tons of TNT boggled my mind in that day
and age. To me it was incomprehensible. I was sure it was an error. I
discussed it with Green and we decided to wait for a correction before
releasing the press into the boat. As the end of our watch neared, we had
no correction. I decided to take the release to the skipper in the conning
tower. After my explanation, he looked at me and said "It is in error. It
should be 20,000 tons of TNT." He then smiled and said "We'll be home for
Christmas." He was. We were in Guam.
15 August 1945
I was on radio watch and missed out on all of the excitement on topside.
There was radio traffic and I had to stay close. However, I do remember
doing some reflecting in my solitude that day. After the close call on 7
August 1945, when the Zero missed us with the bombs, I was glad we didn't
have to make another run. I was also anxious to get home and get on with my
life, although at the time, I had no idea what it would be.
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Howard D. Eckhart from Guestbook dated 10 October 1997
My most memorable time was when we left Subic Bay with two tenders and twenty
one boats and on countdown , everyone turned on running lights. This was a
very emotional experience, as I had never seen lighted ships at sea.
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Charles "Slip" Haislip
After nine patrols, I have quite a time trying to figure out which boat it happened on.
I remember on the 3rd run on board the Blenny, when we backed into Java or Batavia.
Battle stations surface. We were flooded down and the decks were nearly awash. I was the
first loader on the after 5". The captain fired a fish and sank one of three small ships. The
other two were getting underway so the captain secured from battle stations and blew the
tanks. All main engines were cut in and we left the area. The gun crews never fired a shot.
I remember another time when we were being depth charged. We zigged and zagged and
couldn't lose him. After awhile the captain gave orders for full speed "astern". We lost
him but we lost about 50 feet in depth during the transition. As well as I can remember,
we were at about 400 feet.
As for Capt. Bill Hazzard, I think he was a top notch submarine skipper. I should know as
I've sailed with a few in my 20 years from 1936 - 1956.
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