Duane Stories

Reprinted Courtesy of the Duane Association - Paul (Harry) Turner, President


The Portugal Rumor

In the late 60s the Duane was on Ocean Station. Chief Radioman Leo Luckey decided to start a rumor that we were going to Portugal for liberty. Within a few hours it spread like wildfire throughout the crew. The next day so many crewmembers were talking about it that RMC Luckey came up to radio central and asked, "Are we really going to Portugal?"

RM2 Moison jumped out of his seat and said to the chief, "It's one thing to start a rumor, it's another thing to end up believing your own rumor!"

The Paint Cans

A certain SN who loved to pull pranks (I won't mention his name for fear he will be at the reunion) was always going against the system. Whenever he had a bucket of paint and a paint brush and someone yelled, "Chow time" the bucket of paint and brush rarely went back to the paint locker. They usually went overboard to save time.

This SN's favorite antic was to hang a huge strip of raw bacon out of his mouth and search out new crewmembers who were seasick on their first patrol and stare at them. The sight of this usually sent them to the chute at top speed.

Ptomaine the Cook

One of the most famous and beloved Duane cooks was CS2 Thompson affectionately called "Ptomaine" by every member of the crew. One Sunday morning in Boston, we noticed that the galley was empty. We went down onto the mess deck and found a very small batch of SOS for the crew's breakfast. Ptomaine knew that nobody would eat it; so he only made a small portion, left it out and went back to his rack for some added sleep.

Each evening while in homeport in Boston, it was a tradition for one of the crew to make a "grinder run" to a local sandwich shop for snacks. One evening we suspected that the chow wouldn't be very good when Ptomaine himself came down to the mess deck and bellowed: "Who is making the grinder run tonight?"

The Peacoat Locker Caper

The Duane's peacoat locker was located underneath the crew's berthing area. It was a tiny compartment accessible only by a hatch from the berthing area. One night, one of the Snipes, who suffered from claustrophobia, had to retrieve his coat. As soon as he got to the bottom of the ladder, his buddies slammed the hatch shut. He ran up to the top of the ladder and started to open the hatch—until an Electrician's Mate raced over and wired the wheel with a hand-cranked portable generator and zapped him. The hatch was opened quickly after that.

More Duane Stories By Stan Barnes

I can think of the one about SN Bob wrestling with a shark on the quarterdeck while on OS Delta.

After Ptomaine Thomson gave him a large chunk of red beef, Bob put it on a homemade hook and threw it overboard late one evening. At first light the next morning, Al Vieu found that the line was moving around as if we were underway. Bob was summoned to the quarterdeck and landed a shark some 7 to 8 feet long. As it was still very much alive, Bob took his knife and started to wrestle the shark until a clean kill could be made. Its teeth made a great trophy and the steaks were ok also even after Ptomaine cooked the living you know what out of them. If anyone has pictures of this event, please provide them so we all can have another laugh 37 years later.

Then there was the time that myself, Bob Landry and OB, (Richard O'Brien) were waiting for the small boat to return us to the Duane from the officers club in Bermuda. We arrived at the dock in a solid state of inebriation to find LTJG Smith sitting on a piling. Seeing that both Bob and OB did not report to him, they decided that a late night swim was just so inviting. MAN OVERBOARD was the call of the night as the JG. ended up in the drink. The small boat came along and brought him in, and then took us all back to the Duane. The next morning we all expected to be in front of the Captain (Frost I believe) but nothing was ever said. Evidently, the JG had no idea who those drunken sailors were.

How about the time Bob Turnbull on a hot day in Bermuda gave some of us chewing tobacco saying this will keep you from getting all dried up. Well, we tried it but were never told that you went suppose to spit out the juice. Well a goodly amount of time that day was spent at the slop chute.

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