Meet your shipmates

Harry Flom (Irex 1946)

I was a short timer so not much happened to write about. I never got beyond a F1c. I went through a basic engineering school right after Boot Camp. At one time, graduates made P03, but that was not the case when I went through. Then I went to diesel school in San Diego. Same story. Then I was given a choice, PT boats or submarines. I was told that PT boat crews operated for 6 weeks, and then had six weeks R & R, and back to the PTs for six weeks. That didn't interest me, so I chose submarines. I was in New London for 7 months and then assigned to Irex. I was aboard less than 8 months. I worked on qualifying but didn’t get the help I needed. I felt I should have had help rather than struggling on my own. The first thing the chief told me was to learn all the piping from bow to stern and make a sketch of it. That's the main thing I remember about trying to qualify. Needless to say, I never earned Dolphins. Now, I can't even spell dolphins.

The last month aboard Irex, an electrician and I bought a car in Miami, drove it down to Key West and overhauled it in the parking lot. We had new lead poured for the connecting rods, and I rebored them on the engine room lathe. I believe his name was Bill Baulic, PO1. I never regretted the time I spent on Irex. It was a great experience. I only had a few months to go to get my points for discharge. The USSVWWII rules for membership must have been written for guys like me, being just a member of a submarine crew prior to Dec 31, 1946. I was out and married by then.

I went on to become an employee of the Atomic Energy Commission at the Argonne National Lab. Argonne made the prototype reactor for the nautilus. Admiral Rickover made several trips to Argonne. I made more progress at Argonne than I did on Irex. I ended up as a shop supervisor over 28 men in six machine shops in as many different buildings, in different fields, such as chemistry, chem. engineering, solid state science, physics, metallurgy, and atom smashers. I had worked in each of the areas prior to becoming the supervisor. Argonne sent me to Idaho Falls, ID, several times to work on a nuclear reactor.

I had a Q clearance for the AEC job, which meant I could go anywhere on the site on a need to know basis. Our neighbor at the time wanted to know why the FBI was checking up on me.

I feel honored to be a member of USSVWWII, and all the submariners I've come into contact with. My submarine time also got me membership in the VFW. My story is more about my after life, than on Irex.

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