Bugging You, Chief? 
By: Ken Caye
to the USS Dogfish (SS350) on 24 Sep 1964. A day or two later, I stood
my first Duty Chief day under instruction with Chief George Thomas,
EMC(SS). The day had been uneventful. After an excellent evening meal
and the cleaning up of the crew's mess, we started the evening's entertainment
- a movie.
The duty projectionist performed his task flawlessly. I had taken my
position leaning up against the cozy stainless steel partition between
the mess and the galley.
The end of the first reel brought the lights back on. That's when all
hell broke out. The damn bulkhead was alive, or so it seemed. Everywhere
I looked was man's oldest mascot, the cockroach. They were everywhere,
and I hate them from a really bad little boyhood experience when I woke
up with them crawling across my chest.
I was outraged that one of "my" submarines was so infested.
Upon inquiring what had been done about it, I was told--NOTHING! Seems
the XO thought it better kept on the boat and didn't want to go to Squadron
Medical for help. Besides, the problem didn't exist in the Forward Battery.
Guess the roaches didn't like old goats and gold.
Naturally, the critters had run for cover when the lights came on. The
start of the second reel, and under the cover of darkness, we began
to see them coming out to join us. After all, this was one of the cockroaches
At the end of the second reel, we saw them headed for the wire ways
and back into the lockers. I asked one of the mess cooks to get me an
empty jar with a cover. I was now ready for the end of the movie. When
the lights came on again, I pounced on the roaches like an anteater
on an ant hill. Scooped them into the jar. When I had a sufficient quantity,
I headed for the Officer's Pantry. Told the duty steward to move over
so I could get under the sink. He didn't have the faintest idea what
I was planning..
I shook the roaches out of the jar. Now there was a roach problem in
the Forward Battery! How long was it going to take to get action. Morning
As soon as the XO came aboard I rapped on the doorframe and pulled back
the curtain stating, "XO, we've got a cockroach problem on this
boat." I told him that we even had it in the Forward Battery now.
He said he hadn't seen any there. I told him that several of the After
Battery roaches had been given PCS orders after the movie and I had
even supplied the transportation.
We then had a little discussion about the fact that I was going to go
to Squadron office and demand a transfer to a boat that was not infested.
We were scheduled to go into the ARD in a couple of days. The first
evolution after the ARD was pumped down started with the base health
folks coming down to get the boat ready to fumigate. When we were allowed
on the boat again, we started the cleanup. We scooped them up by the
dustpan full. It was incredible how many there were on the boat. No
wonder cockroaches have been around throughout civilization - they do
So, I never did go to sea on a cockroach-infested Doggyboat. It proves
that Yankee ingenuity can overcome many a nasty situation. And......being
a sarcastic Chief doesn't hurt either.