CAPE RACE INSIGHT
CAPE RACE INSIGHT
I served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1959. In 1956 I "qualified in submarines" aboard the USS Diablo (SS479), after which I was a crew member (radioman) on the USS Sea Owl (SS405), a diesel-electric sonar boat, based out of New London, Connecticut. We operated primarily in the North Atlantic, tracking everything within our range, especially Soviet submarines. We were very good at what we did.
Although I didn't know it then, it was these years of sea duty that shaped and defined much of my life. Submarine crews function at an extremely high level of trust. Every crew member's life is, in fact, in every other crew member's hands. It is from this level of bonding that a sense of family takes nourishment and forms deep roots within a crew. Later, in civilian life, it is this "family," roots and all, that is the benchmark from which all else is measured. In truth, nothing ever really measures up to this source --the high level of trust and the high level of expectations-- that had become a-way-of-life with crew members at sea.
Over time . . . this only deepens.
Submarines are called boats, and submarine sailors are called "boat sailors." We all ache to somehow return to our old boats and go back to sea. This is for life, and our boats really are our first loves.
I have life membership in: United States Submarine Veterans Inc, (USSVI) national organization; USS Chicago Base, local organization; USS Sea Owl Association. In 2006 I was inducted into The Holland Club, a branch of USSVI open to subvets with fifty years logged in since the year they qualified in submarines and earned their "dolphins" insignia (gold for officers, silver for enlisted).
Ed McCullough, RM2(SS), USN, USS Sea Owl (SS405)
Dolphin Insignia: "Qualified in Submarines"
St. John's, Newfoundland
photo: Gale McCullough