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!
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.
NOTE: To my Italian friends -- The story is all in fun and is not intended to be some sort of slur.
Return to the Coast Guard Stories Page