Two stories from 1964–65

By Glenn Faus

Being part of the deck crew on the Irex, I was assigned some mundane tasks topside. A TM1(SS) decided to paint the boat on a weekend duty stint. I was to be the sprayer and he was to be the paint pot manager. We started the process at the bow. Along about the forward capstain something went wrong with the paint pot on the pier, and the TM1 decided to check out the relief valve on the pot. He lifted the manual release on the relief valve and instantly got black paint sprayed all over his face. Cursing vehemently, he came aboard and went below to the forward torpedo room.

We had the forward torpedo loading hatch open and I hear loads of screaming and cursing coming from the forward torpedo room. I went below to see what the problem was. WOW! In his infinite wisdom, he took the paint off with MEK (Methyl-Ethyl-Ketone). Unfortunately, it took the skin off with the paint. Basically, he looked like he left his face in a hot oven too long. He survived and we painted the boat on another weekend.

Later, I ran into him in Pearl at the torpedo shop and we got a few laughs out of the fubar'd painting mission.

We has a well oiled torpedo recovery team and practiced quite often. My job was to breakout of lines and the port snubber line on the skid.

We were about to recover a MK-14 in a sea state having about 4-6 foot swells. Things were bouncing pretty good. I went under the superstructure to open the Deck Gun Ammo locker (no gun, but we stored the recovery hardware in it). The locker was starboard of the centerline and about 4–5 ft forward of the access under the superstructure. We pitched in to a swell and the water rose up above my head, and there I was under water and nowhere to go.

I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity and finally the swell subsided. I scrambled out on deck, and to my amazement, someone said, “Well where are the lines?” My reply, “You get em!” I had taken on a little salt water and was about ready to puke!

We recovered the torpedo and life went on. The swimmer in the water to put the lines on the torpedo got his brandy, and I got nada.

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