My Irex memories!

By Dave Richards, 24 February 2005

I went aboard the Irex in the Spring of 1957 fresh out of Sub School—a Seaman Apprentice and a married puke. I left the Irex in the Fall of 1958 as an IC3 (SS).

It was a very good adventure and I enjoyed most of it, even if my wife made me take my clothes off on the back porch when I came home.

Ken Caye tells the story of the first and second dive after we left the Philly Navy yard with the new sail in 1957. I was the other lookout on that fateful day, but I think “I” was on the bottom of the pile. The Engineering Officer was the last one down. If I remember correctly, he was a slender guy. We were lucky it was not Mr. Lumsden or Mr. Graham.

And there was Stan Wishnafsky! Whenever they play the songs, “I'm Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” or Pat Boone's “Old Cape Cod”, I see Stan doing the soft foot shuffle across the Crew's mess.

Everyone remembers Stanley Jackson! Very cool guy. I remember that on one trip the radar had gone out and the ETs were working on it. The OD would call down from the bridge about every ten minutes and ask for a status report. After about forty-five minutes of this, Stan notified the bridge they had located the problem. It was an open, a short or a ground. That ended the status report requests.

There was a 1st class torpedoman in the after room and at sea he never came up to the crews quarters for chow or anything. He was Italian and had all kinds of prepared meats hanging in the after torpedo room. While we were in the yards in Philly, he went home on leave. When he came back from leave, he found the yardbirds had removed all his food supplies. He had the duty that next weekend, so he took every toolbox the yardbirds had in “his torpedo room” and threw them over the side.

Before we went to the yards for overhaul in 1957, we were operating off New York. The sea-lanes were very busy. On the old sail the masthead light would be grounded out after a days operations. So my assignment would be to rig the emergency masthead light. Climbing up the sail at night carrying the emergency light—it was beautiful with all the ships coming and going to Europe.

Chief Marshall! We were taking out Sub School Students and chief Marshall was sitting in the crew's mess having a cup of coffee. As we were surfacing, we came up at a steep angle. The drip pans for the main induction operating gear drained right down the back of Marshall's neck. The up angle was such that he couldn't move, so he got soaked. I wasn't there when this happened, but it makes a good story.

The gate Marines had a mascot Bulldog and it would go begging to the boats on the river. One day some of the IREX crew got the dog and painted “USS IREX” on his sides and sent him on his way. There was hell to pay at the gate if you went out in uniform for a while.

My e-mail address is I would enjoy hearing from any of you that might remember me. It was forty some years ago but its seems like it was just yesterday.


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