The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

A Genuine Sea Story

Heres a tall tale to get you through the week. But first, some vocabulary words for the unitiated:

  • TLD: thermoluminescent dosimeter. A device about 2” square, worn on the belt, to measure received radiation. All submariners wore them on our belts, to monitor the amount of radiation received. Never, ever get caught without your TLD on. The ELT or Doc will larn you some new words if caught.
  • screw: ships propeller.
  • turn-count: rpm
  • Dunce-cap: a streamlined brass fairing covering the back of the hub of the screw
  • Squid: US Navy sailor

Alrighdythen, are we ready? On to the sea-story:

I was perusing teh Intarwebs last night, when before my eyes appeared a question in a group on the Book of Face, regarding the validity of a story he’d heard about special forces using our torpedo tubes for egress “back in the day”. He was concerned that he’d met up with what is infamously known as the “Sea Story”, a tale so wild no one can believe, told by a sailor who seemed convinced that the mere absence of proof that it DIDN’T happen should carry the day.

He’d undoubtedly met up with one of the “tough guys”.

Well, not to toot my own horn, but seeing he was a naive and believing lad, I laid upon him my own experience with torpedo tubes as just another of the many versatile weapons available to the Steely-Eyed killers of the deep. I hope it helped him confirm or deny his friend’s claims:

Arrrghh, Matey, there we were…

It was, as I recall, the winter of ‘85, (as many of the best sea stories were), while we skulked in frozen places forbidden to be mentioned aloud. At 6’4”, I was one of the tallest crew members. At 160#, I was by proportion the skinniest squid onboard. This point will show its importance momentarily.

The skipper came to me one day, and said, “Roesener, America needs you!”

To which I naturally replied, “Anything for my beloved country, sir”.

He smiled warmly, reassured. “Somehow, I knew I was asking the right man…”

20 minutes later, with nothing on but a pair of khaki shorts borrowed from the ship’s diver, a black web belt with my TLD, and a pair of ill-fitting wetsuit boots with a knife strapped to my ankle, they loaded me into #5 tube, flooded the tube and opened the outer door.

As I swam out into the ice-cold open sea, I immediately saw the problem for which my country’s future rested on my particular set of skills. Naturally, all this is classified, but as long as you promise not to tell anyone…

We had been trailing a Russian Typhoon-class boomer closely for days, but the time had come for us to initiate some shenanigans and take offensive action. Those twin screws, right there in front of me, churning the frigid waters of the Arctic Sea, were my primary enemy. The slow turn count of patrol speed allowed me to overcome the prop wash, and to creep right up on the “Dunce Cap”, which held the screw to the boat. After an epic and mighty struggle, I was able to pry it off with my diver’s knife, allowing the entire megaton port side screw to fall off and sink to the ocean floor hundreds of fathoms below. I watched it slither it’s way into the inky black Deep as the Typhoon, suddenly unable to stay on course due to unbalanced propulsion, had to react. I waited expectantly, until the helmsman, oblivious to the mere possibility of my deed, over-corrected with a fairly aggressive right rudder. I jammed my knife into the rudder mechanism, forcing them into an irreversible , eternal right-hand turn.

Yep, I had em doing circles.

I then came up for a breath of air, as there had been no room for tanks in the tube with me, and returned to my own vessel. I rapped out the secret code against the hull, (“Shave and a haircut, two bits”) and followed the inrush back to the safety and warmth of my own boat head-first. As the tubes inner door opened, I was greeted with a roomful of Huzzahs from teary-eyed grown-ass men. I swelled with pride at the acknowledgement of heroism from these steely-eyed Cold war-heroes that stood about me, clapping and hugging and cheering. I beamed, and when I say I beamed, I’m saying the room began to glow.

Some say the luminescence was the approval of Ye Gods of War.

I humbly thought it was my own irrepressible pride, which naturally I have since managed to stuff back into its proper place in my soul.

Doc spoke out in a loud shushing voice and said it was probably just radiation poisoning from getting so close to a critical Russian nuclear power plant, and demanded I hand over my TLD for a reading.

Regardless, it was in this way that I assured the safety of millions of Americans, and set about a series of events that went on to win the Cold War.

You’re welcome…


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