RECOLLECTIONS OF AN EARLY
MENHADEN CREW MEMBER
BY STANLEY M. EMERSON, FIREMAN-1/c(SS),
SEPTEMBER, 1945, TO MARCH, 1946
My name is Stanley M. Emerson. Prior to WW II, I was employed
as a Shipfitter at the Mare Island Navy Yard and worked in new construction.
Submarines I had occasion to work on were the Tuna, Trout, Silversides,
Wahoo, Gudgeon and others.
I entered the Navy in October, 1944, volunteered for Submarine
Service and attended the School in New London when the notorious Chief
Spritz was the Chief of the Boat. I attended Radar School at
Groton, Conn., and then Sound School in San Diego.
I shipped out from Mare Island in a relief crew to Pearl Harbor.
On arrival of USS Menhaden in the Fall of 1945, I was assigned to ship's
company as an F-1/c. At this time the war was over and our operations were
that of testing.
I recall an incident that may be of interest. We were assigned
the task of testing a torpedo on a landing craft. This was a surface shot
from our after tubes. I was stationed as a lookout at this time. The torpedo
malfunctioned, and upon leaving the tube, it went directly to the bottom
and blew up. The boat was in shallow water at the time and it lifted our
fantail. We did not sustain serious damage, but it did rupture the hydraulic
lines in our After Torpedo Room. It was a hairy moment.
I was aboard the Menhaden as a crew member when Fleet Admiral
Nimitz relinquished his command in November, 1945. There was standing room
only for Admirals. Because Admiral Nimitz was attached to our boat with
all of the spit and polish (as well as our illustrious crew), we were dubbed
by other submariners as "the Hollywood boat."
In January, 1946, we returned to the States via the Golden Gate.
Captain McClintock was flying a pennant with one foot of material for each
man aboard from the periscope mast that extended clear over the fantail.
Later, each man got his foot. The Skipper had to keep the boat in full
ahead to keep the pennant out of the water. We had a hairy moment when
we hit the ground swells approaching the Gate and almost capsized.
We went to anchor at Tiburon in the Bay north of San Francisco
and began to prepare the boat for mothballs and decommissioning.
In March of 1946, I left the boat and was separated from the
service. I returned to my civilian job and returned to Mare Island as a
Shipfitter and had occasion thereafter to see the Menhaden many times.
She was tied up with other subs in mothballs at the pier at North Gate.
She was still a beautiful boat.
"Mothballed" Submarines and Submarine Tenders at the Mare Island
Naval Shipyard in late 1946. In the left center of this photo, there appears
to be a floating shed at the end of the pier. The second submarine to the
right of the floating shed is the USS Menhaden (SS-377).
(Official U.S. Navy Photograph taken by Mare Island Naval Shipyard)