Excerpts from a letter from Jim Stelfox

U.S.S. Irex (SS482) Newsletter, November 2004

When I saw Paul Brothers' name in your March issue, it certainly triggered some fond memories—we were close friends on the USS LING along with Bill Dunlap. We were three plank-owners, and also decommissioned her. We had taken her thru the Canal headed for SouWesPac, BUT Harry dropped the Bomb—we were too late, so LING never made a successful patrol.

We three later, by some sort of serendipity, were again shipmates on IREX, circa 1948. Had a lot of Navy Yard time (Portsmouth, NH) developing the snorkel, and developed a terrific softball team.

Paul played any position with equal élan and enthusiasm. Bill played 2nd base. He got so good he got to join Slade Cutter's domain.

IREX usually won their games. With Bo Whalen pitching and me as bat boy how could we lose? Only once I volunteered to warm-up Bo, but resigned with a sore red hand after catching some of his easy pitches.

We had some good times be it on the boat learning how to snorkel on the beach—playing.

/s/ Jim Stelfox (Did I hear someone say “Yeah Salisbury Beach?”

Editor Wally Krupenevich's Note: I'll say “Yeah for Mushy's” which was at Salisbury Beach. A short history follows: My first overhaul In PNSY was 1949 on TRUMPETFISH. The second was during 1952 on IREX. In the interim, the “Pump Room”, a small beer hall on the first deck of the barracks, adjacent to the mess hall, was opened. We could drink beer there (in absolutely filthy dungarees) until 1800, and then would have to shift into the Uniform of the Day. The mess line secured at 1800. At 1755, the Pump Room revelers would migrate to the mess hall, and of course piss-off the cooks and mess cooks because they'd have to wait to-start their clean up.

Often, after dinner and a shower, we'd go ashore and end up in Portsmouth, many of us at the Club Café to continue what we had started in the Pump Room. The Club Café (beer only) closed at 2200. At that point, we'd climb into our cars and drive down old Route 1 to the Shanty in Salisbury, MA, or to Mushy's (Mooshay's by the Beach), in Salisbury Beech, MA. Both of these watering holes shut down at 2400. Then, we'd heed beck to Portsmouth, up old Route 1, and often get stopped by the town police in Hampton, NH, who'd send us to a nearby diner to have a cup of coffee before we continued back to PNSY. Mess deck intelligence had it that a brother-in-law of the Hampton Chief of Police owned the all-night diner. (The times above might not be accurate, but the relationships are correct.)

During later overhauls, instead of old Route 1, we used the (then) new New Hampshire Turnpike, 18 miles in 15 minutes. During all the traveling on both Route 1 and the Turnpike, there were surprisingly few accidents, but I seem to remember that one of our Electricians plowed into a concrete separator between tolls lanes. The car was totaled, he ended up OK, but his passenger was badly banged-up.

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