Fat Man's Club

From the U.S.S. Irex (482) Newsletter, March 2002

No one remembers how it started. I would guess that a bunch of us, all of generous proportions, were sitting around, drinking beer, and someone said:

“Let's start a club of our own, only for those of our size,’ and everyone answered, “That is good.”

And someone said, “Yea, and we'll have occasional parties,` and everyone answered, “That is better.”

And someone said, “Hey, how about collecting $1 from each member each payday to move the party process along,” and everyone answered with a smile “That is much better.”

And someone said, “We can loan the money to our temporarily needy shipmates for a slight profit, which will enhance the overall process,” and each man answered, “That is wonderful (as long as I don't have to keep the books.)”

And someone suggested, “Why not invite the smallest man on-board to be our mascot?” and all agreed saying “Here! Here! That will show how liberal and non-discriminatory we are”.

So it came to pass that the “Redhead” and then the “Russian” collected the bi-weekly dues, and managed the Club's treasury (slush fund.) Physical security of the funds was not a problem, because the fund was usually depleted a day or two after payday, and often a borrower would renegotiate his loan (of course for an additional interest payment.)

During this prosperous period, an outsider, “Doc” Anderson, designed the Club's emblem, which was a happy-go-lucky fish, with top hat and cane, symbolizing the spirit of the members. The members were only too happy to acquiesce and let the non-club members of the crew enjoy the use of the emblem.

And the Club prospered, and had parties, which was wonderful. And from time to time was referred to as the “Balloon Club”.

Then, after a few years, as a thunderbolt out of the blue, the word was sent down via the “Dutch”man that the Club had served its purpose, because of the recent generosity of our elected leaders, there were no longer any needy shipmates on-board, and we should liquidate our holdings. And it (The Club) came to pass.

[Fat Man's Club
] This picture of some of the members of “The Fat Man's Club” was taken at Lindbergh Beach, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, during Operation Springboard, probably in February 1953.

Back row, l-r: Vic Witzke; Charlie “Elmo” Tanner; Rod Snedeker; George Dabol; Jim “Red” Lynch.

Front row, l-r: John “No-Neck” Grout; Lloyd Safford; Len “Gunner” Guest; Wally “Russian” Krupenevich; Lloyd Luce.

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