THE ITALIAN NAVY

by J.C. Carney

As told to me by LCDR Jim Van Horn

 

Another 255 sea story, this time it is about a previously unrecorded event on the KLAMATH.

The below story took place aboard the Cutter KLAMATH, sailing out of Seattle, Washington in 1961. Jim Van Horn was a radarman and they had aboard the ship a Gunner's Mate 1st, who was forever fascinated with Sonar. This Gunner's Mate type individual was a natural sailor who came from a long line of Italian fishermen from the San Francisco Bay area.

One day, while on Ocean Station (OS) November, they had the Sonar fired-off and naturally the Gunner's Mate 1st-Class was in the Combat Information Center (CIC) looking over the SO1's shoulder, listening for the tell-tale "ping" associated with a contact whilst asking all sorts of questions related to Sonar operations. (In other words, making somewhat of a nuisance of himself.)

Suddenly, they started getting an echo off an object below that they later determined to be a whale. The overly attentive GM1 perked right up with, "Hey! What's that?" The Sonarman 1st, by now tired of all these annoying questions put forth from the "Gunner," replied quite enthusiastically: "Hey, I think it's a submarine!" And, after a dramatic pause cried, "Yes, it definitely is a submarine!" After which, he again paused for effect then shouted: "Why it's an Italian submarine! . . ." The GM1, now totally hyped, asked, "How can you tell it's an Italian Submarine?" "It's in my training," replied the Sonarman. "Listen," said he, adding, "Can't You hear the PING-WOP, PING-WOP. . . "

Incidentally, they did not see the Gunner's Mate back in CIC for darn near the next two weeks!

*****

Jack,

This story was also related to me by LCDR Jim Van Horn. Please make sure you leave the reference to Jim, as I have written it. Otherwise, I could be hit with plagiarism. These are his stories. I only rewrote the content.

Jimbo

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NOTE: To my Italian friends -- The story is all in fun and is not intended to be some sort of slur.

Jack

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