Documents and sea stories
for the USS Irex (SS-482)

To a significant extent these are reproduced from the U.S.S. Irex (482) newsletter. I'd be happy to include your own recollections, however modest you might think they are.

  1. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Washington, D.C.: Irex
  2. A Wikipedia article, “Tench class submarine” that characterizes Tench Class boats such as the Irex.
  3. Submarine snorkel system development in the US Navy., FAQ, n.d. A history of snorkel development up to the Irex.
  4. But, of course, there was a long backgound history of the snorkel. For this, see Mark Jones, “Give Credit Where Credit is Due: The Dutch Role in the Development and Deployment of the Submarine Schnorkel”, The Journal of Military History, Vol. 69, No. 4 (Oct., 2005), pp. 987-1012 (this is a PDF, and you must be able to display PDF files and will have to use your Back button to escape it).
  5. An article, “Guppy” that helps define the relation between WWII fleet boats, and the fleet-snorkel boats (which the Irex became) and the Guppy conversions based on the adoption of German U-Boot technology.
  6. An article not related to the Irex, but one that shows the capability of diesel boats even under present conditions: “The uninvited guest”.
  7. A wife of a submariner, frustrated by her husband's constant use of slang and jargon from the boat, decided to write a paper for her English class on Silent Service: Specialized Submariner Speech from WWII to Present.
  8. Al “Hook” recalls being assigned to the Irex when she was commissioned and her activity until January 1946 when he left the Navy.
  9. Don “Waterslug“ Krautter describes target practice with the 40MM, in which Chinese sailors on a destroyer almost shoot down the target tow plane. There followed a discussion of just when the guns were removed and some recollections of gun practice.
  10. Walter Henley EM2(SS) was a plank owner who was on the USS Irex 1945–1946. He writes, “The Letdown (The Near Sinking of the USS Irex)”. Even in peace time, sub duty could be hazardous; while stationed in Key West, a near disaster at test depth.
  11. Don Krautter tells of his writing love letters and how they amused the censor, Lieutenant Armour.
  12. A letter from Harry Flom. He was a short-timer in the Navy and came aboard the Irex in early 1946. He had ill luck with qualification, and left to go on to an interesting career.
  13. LTJG Bob Knowles, who was aboard in Key West in 1946-46, writes of heading out for an exercise with destroyers and an incident concerning Quartermaster Fox.
  14. Jim Reynolds, “The Irex Record, I: Snorkel the Racoon”. After enduring a Gulf hurricane, in the Fall of 1946 a new furry crew member from Key West came aboard.
  15. Jim Reynolds recounts the successful construction of a moonshine still at the Portsmouth Naval Yard in the Winter of 1946, and the good use to which it was put.
  16. Another letter concering this time, this one from Jim Stelfox. with an addendum by Wally Krupenevich. Jim reports on the softball team, and Wally on the drinking schedule while at the Portsmouth yards.
  17. Jim Reynolds, “The Irex Record, II: Snorkeling in the tracks of Columbus”. Description of an attempt in 1947 to give the new snorkel a real try-out by crossing the Atlantic submerged.
  18. Jim Reynolds, “The Irex Record, III: The Bermuda Fling”. The third part of Jim Reynolds' interesting account, this time of a one-day liberty in Bermuda.
  19. A commemorative cover that is associated with the completion of tests of the snorkel in January/February 1948, but its cachet seems a much later addition.
  20. Wally Krupenevich offers recollections of Bill Blevins TMC(SS), who became COB in 1948, and the changes in the style of uniforms at the time.
  21. Bill Blevins' son passes along his recollection of the “Submarine Runs over Car” story.
  22. Captain T. B. Brittain, Jr, “A Message from the Commodore”. Commodore Triebel of Squadron 8 reacts to seeing the Irex plow into the pier (1950).
  23. Perhaps in connection with the above, Johnstone Prescott, EN1 (SS) recalls a message from the Squadron office in reaction to a difficult landing and another event involving the snorkel giving a shower to visiting officers.
  24. A letter from John Rogers RM2 (SS) in which he discusses life on the boat in 1951–52 and in particular severe damage resulting from rough seas during a northern cruise in the beginning of 1952.
  25. Baby, it's Cold Outside! by Wally Krupenevich, U.S.S. Irex (482) Newsletter, March 2003. A couple photos showing icy conditions on the bridge during a northern run in 1951 or 1952, accompany a discussion of the watches assigned to torpedomen.
  26. During SPRINGBOARD 52 the USS Tringa simulated a rescue from the Irex with her diving bell. Arvid Thompson and Wally Krupenevich recall the event.
  27. The USS Irex SS-482: Participation in Nautilus keel laying, 14 June 1952
  28. Michael R. Richards, “Another Routine Day at the Office”. The dangerous consequences of a visit to the Portsmouth Yards, August–November, 1952.
  29. More detail is provided by Lt. Fred Schuler, who was the diving officer for the ill fated dive recounted above.
  30. A brief history of “The Fat Man's Club”, including a photo of some of its members taken in February, 1953, in St. Thomas.
  31. On the way back from Springboard in early 1953, there was damage to the batteries, and it was decided that the crew should replace battery cells.
  32. Not specifically about the Irex, but brief reflections by Don Merrigan on the extent to which the character of submariners has changed over the years.
  33. Milton Speer saved some newspaper clippings on the return of the Irex from a Mediterranean cruise on 3 February 1954.
  34. Wally Krupenevich writes about the Mk 16 torpedoes and the hazards of Navol.
  35. In 2004, all were sadened by the news of “Dutch” Larch's death. During some of the boat's greatest years, he shaped the crew to be the best there was. Here are some tributes to this outstanding COB.
  36. Apparently in connection with an Irex party held at The Seahorse on 26 February, 1954, a complete list of crew members was assembled.
  37. The Dolphin ran an article on the Irex on 5 August 1955, in which there is a brief history of the boat, a biography of Captain Snyder and complete list of crew members.
  38. A philatelic cover designed to commemorate some event related to submarines that occurred on 26 December 1956. Bears an Irex return address.
  39. Captain “Gil” Gallemore recalls the era of Captain Ted Snyder and the winning of the ‘E’ pennant.
  40. “Howard” Haines Brown, “Irex Recollections”. Sea stories from 1956–1958.
  41. Sonarman “Joe” Coley Joyce fondly recalls some crew members he knew on the Irex in about 1956.
  42. Extract from a letter from George Boyle regarding his brief stay with the Irex in 1957.
  43. Dave Richards, IC3 (SS) recalls life aboard the Irex in 1957–1958. The Philly Navy Yards, Stan Wishnafsky, Stanley Jackson, Chief Marshall, etc.
  44. Ken Caye STCM, came aboard the Irex from the Bergall in 1958. Extracts from an exchange of letters in which he conveys a sense of some of the interesting personalities aboard.
  45. An e-mail from Walt Trotter, who on the Med cruise in 1958 heard a scraping sound on the tanks that was apparently a World War II mine cable.
  46. A letter from Matt “Morsecode” Morse, concerning his arrival on the Irex just before Christmas 1958. A first class put in his place by qualified third class machinists.
  47. John Anderson, Sr., describes a disaster as he tried to blow the after sanitary tank during a snorkel. He learned some valuable lessons from the experience.
  48. A photo of a letter from Lt. Schiwitz, presumably to Captain Gallemore, dated 16 December 1959. In it a reference to his “Irex History Book”.
  49. A Sea Story”, by Bruce J. Schick, Whale's Tales: Recollections of a Diesel Submariner. DBF Press, 2006. Pp. 7–8. Passing under the railroad bridge.
  50. While under Captain Apthorp, Bruce Schick in the book cited above, recalls sea trials after leaving the Philadelphia yards in December 1960.
  51. A letter from Jim Schellenberg with which he passes along a souvenir: the negative tank gauge that he salvaged when the Irex was in the Philadelphia yards in 1960.
  52. Another brief extract from Bruce Schick's book, which he calls Learning Leadership, in which Captain Apthorp's character is assessed.
  53. Discussion of “The Lady”, a nude painting that hung in the wardroom in about 1960–61.
  54. Bruce Schick assesses Captain Portnoy, and describes the problem of having enough fresh water on board.
  55. In August to November 1961, the Irex was on a Mediterranean cruise. We are fortunate to have six “Family-Grams” Captain Apthorp sent home to the families of the crew, which provide a daily narrative. No doubt the account is sanitized and does not address the more technical interests of submariners, but nevertheless it is quite interesting: 15 July, 15 August, 1 September, 19 September, 12 October, and 17 November.
  56. Gil Frydell,“Peacetime War Patrol and other Irex events”. Recollections of an Atlantic exercise and a visit to England in 1962.
  57. Recollections of Engineman Oliver Durand, Shaftsbury, VT, aboard 1963–1964
  58. Glenn Faus recounts some of the “hazards associated with deck ratings”: hull painting and torpedo recovery in 1964–65.
  59. Glenn Faus also sends along a transcript of an article concerning Irex's 9000th dive in circa May 1964.
  60. Transcript of a Woonsocket newspaper account of a day trip with reservists on Armed Forces Day, 20 May 1964. The account is linked to photographs taken during the excursion.
  61. Chief Hannon describes how the Irex was cast adrift when the marine railway chain broke. In the process a sonarman almost when to Davy Jones' locker. Second half, 1964. The same incident is described by Ken Robarge below.
  62. Tom Hand (MM3-SS) was under the boat when the railway chain broke, and he offers a detailed exciting account.
  63. Ken Robarge's account of his experiences during the CENTO exercise, as he travelled from the Mediterranean to Pakistan, 1964–1965. He offers a second account with somewhat different details.
  64. Glenn Faus reports on a little adventure feeding the gulls. The reponse from Captain Portnoy and from the cook.
  65. Glen Faus sends an e-mail that describes topside painting as part of his duties on the deck crew, and as a torpedoman, torpedo recovery at sea.
  66. An “Irex ChristmasGram” sent by Captain Murray to the families of the crew on 21 Decemer 1964, during a Mediterranean cruise.
  67. Ken Moffit briefly describes Christmas at sea in 1967 or 1968.
  68. An e-mail from Gerry Young, who was aboard briefly in 1965 and then again in early 1969. He describes operations at that time.
  69. H.Charles Hall QMC (SS) decribes the Irex's final return to New London in August or September 1969, coming up the Thames with a “For Sail” sign on the side and a twenty-foot weather baloon tailing behind.
  70. Ron Reeves, who worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard when the Irex was decommissioned, passes along some recollections.
  71. A sailor from another boat describes what it is like to see the old “smoke boats” disappear.
  72. Al Hahn took it upon himself to build a twelve-foot replica of the Irex for the Granby Memorial Day parade, 2000. It has subsequently been displayed in a number of venues.
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