Pearl Harbor Submarine Base
I'm in Chandler Arizona, and it is hot! I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine Merlin Berg. In this episode of 'MUGSHOTS & COFFEE' we're going to learn a few things from my old buddy as a submariner at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base in Hawaii. We've worked on a bunch of stuff together. Merlin is going to share a little bit about his time in a Navy submarine as a Torpedoman service aboard the USS Cusk, USS Medregal and the USS Bluegill at the Pearl Harbor Hawaii submarine base.
Submarine Service: Pearl Harbor Hawaii Submarine Base
Naval Station Pearl Harbor (where the Pearl Harbor Hawaii Submarine Base is located) provides berthing and shore side support to surface ships and submarines, as well as maintenance and training. Because Pearl Harbor is the only intermediate maintenance facility for submarines in the Middle Pacific, it serves as host to a large number of visiting submariners.
"Merlin joined the Navy in 1962 about five days after graduation from high school in Mankato Minnesota. He enlisted for three and a half years. When he got the Navy boot camp, "a chief petty officer started talking about the life on a submarine and what a great place that was to be and what you had to do to into the submarine service. The Chief's pitch was 'oh the food is excellent and you got submarine pay'". Merlin served on the USS Bluegill, USS Cusk and USS Medregal (SS-480), all stationed at the Pearl Harbor Hawaii Submarine Base." (1)
Submarine Torpedoman's Mate
"I don't think twice because growing up I watched Run Silent Run Deep (2) - it's all about submarine service. Yeah, I probably saw every episode of that on television. When the chief got done given his pitch, I got up and talked with him. I knew I was on the right track. I wanted to join the submarine service. To make sure that I got on a submarine I chose a career as a torpedo-man's mate. After all, my goal was to serve on a submarine.
"The food was pretty good you know we were fortunate we did we would get a lot of fresh vegetables. Oh yea, I got submarine service pay, an extra $60 every month." (1)
Pearl Harbor Submarine Base
"I was stationed at Hawaii Pearl Harbor Submarine Base. My first assignment was on the USS Bluegill submarine (SS-242). Got my qualifications to demonstrate my knowledge of how a submarine works. In other words, the submariners' dolphins badge that you wear on your uniform is a submarine insignia that you a qualified submariner. I wanted to go to WestPac (Pacific) and see the rest of the world. My wish came true." (3)
Vietnam Gulf of Tonkin Incident
"We were in WestPac, and I was there at the beginning of the Vietnam War when the North Vietnamese attacked the USS Maddox and Truner Joy (6). This incident drew the United States into the Vietnam War.
"Later I served aboard the USS Medregal (SS-248). Medregal departed Pearl Harbor for WestPac in mid-April 1965. Steaming first to Australia, she visited Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and participated in the commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
"Next, we sailed to the Philippines for operations out of Subic Bay Naval Station. On 13 July 1965, she was in a collision with a freighter while submerged in the South China Sea. Yeah, we were doing a little sneaking around.
"Extensive damage was done to the sail - all periscopes and snorkel system were utterly inoperative. We were quite the attraction when we got into the US Navy base in Subic Bay Philippines (4). After being patched up in Subic Bay, we returned to Pearl Harbor then to Mare Island, Vallejo, Calif. for significant repairs.""
Ask Merlin questions and get engaged in the conversation.