Submarine School at New London, Conn. during the pleasant
months of August and September. What an experience for a
And then after sub school, back to San Diego, where the
neophyte spent about two months in boot camp four months
earlier, and was assigned for duty on the USS Redfish SS395.
The Redfish was commissioned in April 1944 at Portsmouth, N.H. She sailed
to Pearl Harbor and departed on her first war patrol in July. On three war
patrols she sank five enemy ships one being an aircraft carrier, one of six
sank by submarines during the war with Japan. The boat, In conjunction with
another sub, heavily damaged an aircraft carrier. The Redfish was awarded
the Presidential Unit Citation. She was decommissioned in June 1968 and
sunk as a target near San Diego.
The forward torpedo room on the Redfish.
About ten of us bunked in the room, sleeping
next to or nearby the torpedoes.
The Redfish is in Missouri. Dave
Fricke sees to that. An ex-shipmate
and sub school classmate, he was
inside the boat when the picture was
taken on the right.
In the summer of '52 the Redfish made about a three month trip to the Arctic
region to do exploratory and scientific work with a scientist and medical doctor
aboard. There was a rendezvous with the icebreaker Barton Island, which is
shown in photo. It was an interesting trip--polar bears, seals, northern lights and
stops at Juneau, Vancouver and Seattle on the way to home port San Diego.
The Redfish is moored next to the Barton Island. It's not snow or ice on the Redfish
but two coats of white paint. A coat of off-white paint was applied in San Diego and
when we reached the ice pack a coat of snow white was sprayed, during less
favorable conditions. And the neophyte was involved in both operations.
Captain Lewis Neeb. He was an
executive officer on the Redfish and
Tang and captain of the Sea Fox.
He was a fine officer and shipmate.
The USS Caiman SS323 was launched in Groton, Conn and commissioned in July 1944. She made four war patrols but had
minimum contact with the enemy. The photo on the left shows the sub during sea trials at Vallejo, Calif. in '51. The boat had a
recent overhaul at Mare Island and part of the overhaul was to change the bow and modify the sail to convert the boat to a
snorkel GUPPY (greater underwater propulsion power) which allowed the Caiman to remained submerged using engine
power instead of batteries. The modifications gave her a sleek appearance. The science of snorkeling was copied from
captured German submarines at the end of WWII and some of our WWII subs were modified until nuclear power became the
choice for underwater performance in the middle 1950s. On the right the Caiman rests at Pearl Harbor in early '53. The boat
was decommissioned in June of '72 and sold to Turkey. Thanks to Robert Fries for Picture on Right
Captain's on the bridge. It's Captain Lcdr. Norbert Aubrey with
profile of his left side. He was the Caiman skipper from July
1952 'til May 1954. He rose to the rank of captain and at one
time commanded the USS Providence, flagship of the 7th Fleet
during the Vietnam War. Captain Aubrey was highly respected
by his crew and is remembered at reunions. Grant Riddlle Photo
Change of command. In May 1954 Lcdr. Roy Gallemore
assumed command of the Caiman. He relieved Lcdr. Norbert
Aubrey. Both officers graduated from the Naval Academy in
1942 and entered the submarine service during the war.
Aubrey made five war patrols and Gallemore four.
Caiman men at meal time. There were four tables with six
men at a table and about 60 crewmen to feed. There were
three cooks preparing the food in a small kitchen about
the size of two tables. We had three good meals a day
and the food was terrific. Thanks to Grant Riddle for Photo
In late '54 the Caiman was returning to Pearl from a Westpac tour and
the boat visited the Philippines. The Caiman was moored in Manila Bay
near Manila when these pictures were taken. On the left, some of the
men are: McKisson, Librizzi, Wright, Wahlstrom, Captain Gallemore,
Kuhn, Ltjg. Roney, Jones, Adams, Peck and Ashworth. Above are
Norman Peck, Carl Farris, Jack Ashworth and yours truly. Ray Kuhn,
machinist mate 1st class, was being transferred to electronic school,
so some of the crew thought that he should swim in Manila Bay before
he left the boat. Ray changed his rating ET, advanced to chief and was
in the Navy for 41 years. He had duty on various subs, diesel and
nuclear, was COB four times and retired as the grand master chief at
the submarine school in New London. There's more info on Google.
Raymond Kuhn, ETMC
Our last game of golf was at Manila. John Slattery and I lost our golfing
buddy, Ray "Pappy" Kuhn.
Vic had more important tasks to attend
to rather than play golf.
Pearl's answer to Evel
Knievel was Evil Cuddles.
The intrepid sailor was the
base terror when he wasn't
playing with torpedoes on
board the Caiman. The story
is that he took one jump too
many and the bike ended up
in the bay at Pearl.
And when Cuddles was riding and fussing with torpedoes he supplied
the boat with fresh fish. Seen here on the right, and slightly out of
uniform, it appears that he hooked a large fish.
And . . . he played hard.
Cuddles is exhausted from the riding, fishing and playing and is
resting at the top of the gangplank ready to repel illegal boarders, if
Now, here's a pair to draw to, the engineman and his
oiler. It appears that the engineman is doing the oiling.
Ah, Shaky and Carl, buddies to the end. Bob Fries Photo
Gabby and Chappy, still reminsicing 60 years later at the Caiman reunions.
The Caiman is alive in California.
The Caiman lives in Georgia thanks to former
engineman chief (SS) Ivan Whitwell.