Letter from the crew

From Matt “Morsecode” Morse, 29 April 1998

Dear Ron,

I know I have promised to write you about some of my Sea Stories concerning the “Irex”. Sorry about being so tardy, but have been in the middle of moving to Florida and building a home in a place called Homosassa Springs. The house is about 1/2 built and I expect to move into it sometime in July.

Let's see, a Sea Story. Might as well start at the beginning. I was a mighty First Class when I volunteered for Subs (to get out of going to the South Pole), and after graduating from Sub School I reported aboard the Irex one cold winter day when she was on holiday routine, just prior to Christmas of “58”. She had been refitted with a new fiberglass sail and looked good.

I handed my records to the topside watch checked my neckerchief and hat to be squared away and, as taught in Sub School, yelled “down hatch”, checked to see if anyone was under the after-battery hatch, dropped my sea bag down and followed it down.

As I tried to acclimate my eyes to the bright lights of the mess hall, I was greeted with a sight that I still remember very distinctly, and that was three disreputable looking characters. They had greasy faces, greasy hands, ripped and dirty dungarees. They had rating badges that indicated third class (Gruber), second class (Sullivan), and second class (Robinson). All were MMs and were in the middle of overhauling an engine.

Robinson asked me in a deprecating tone if I was another unqualified puke and Sullivan (the one with some missing teeth) said, yeah! A hazard to the boat. Wellll, who did they think they were talking to, and I let them know in no uncertain terms they were talking to a senior petty officer with time in the fleet and not some boot.

Sullivan quickly replied “That's nice”, but should I desire to qualify in the fwd engine room he would be the one to sign me off and it might be difficult “Mr senior petty officer”. All three were on my back all through my qual. period but we became good shipmates after I qualified and Robinson became one of my neighbors in North Stonington. Both Robinson and Gruber I believe married Charlie Ames' sisters. You know I made Chief on the Irex and almost was busted, but that's another story which I will write about at another time ….

Would like to hear from my old shipmates.

My address is Matt. Morse
14 Buckeye Ct.
Homosassa, Fl. 34446

Ron feel free to make spelling or grammar changes, and keep up the good work. M/p>

Rspy, “MorseCode”

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