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CUBERA Nostalgia: U.S. Postal stamp covers volunteered courtesy of Ron Saxe, a Belgian collector. They commemorate some early events in CUBERA's history.

Stamp cover-1944 Stamp cover-1944 Stamp cover-1944

This collection courtesy Albert "Al" Conner ex-GM3(SS) [1946-47]. (Al went on eternal patrol in 2015):

Pre-GUPPY bow at sea

Shot of CUBERA's pre-GUPPY bow at sea in about 1946, showing the forward 40MM bridge antiaircraft gun barrel and sight. The forward 5-inch/25 gun is hidden below the front of the bridge coaming.

Pre-GUPPY CUBERA at sea

CUBERA at sea around 1946 with some crew on deck. Notice her two 5-inch/25 deck guns, and the fore- and aft bridge 40MM antiaircraft guns.

"I still think of her whenever I smell diesel oil. When I went onboard she had two 5 inchers and two 40 millimeters. I was a happy gunner. We made a number of trips to Havana. Our CO was Capt. Grider the COB was an old China hand named 'Bull' Watson. I never knew his given first name. He was followed by a chief named Smith." -- Al Conner

Al Conner in 1946

Al Conner, gunners mate 3rd(the jumper was borrowed for liberty), 1946.

Lookout watch in 1946

How lookouts were perched on watch in the shears in 1946.


Forward gun

Looking down the barrel of Cubby's forward 5-inch/25 caliber gun, 1946.

Business card of a Havana taxi driver, 1946, when we were still friends with Cuba.

CUBERA in 1947 with a brand-new GUPPY-II sail.

Pre-GUPPY bow at sea

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"I was onboard in 1947 when we transferred to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to be converted to a GUPPY. I lost my lovely top side guns. The Cubera was the first fleet sub converted into the GUPPY class. I have seen a number of GUPPY sails and I think the Cubera's was the best, it was aluminum with no overlapping seams. I think they did such a good job her to ensure they would continue with all the later GUPPY conversions. It took five months and I was in my home town!" -- Al Conner

Richard "Rik" Nilsson ETR3SS, 1964

That's yours truly entering the forward engine from the crews quarters door. THe 400lb door is latched open, so we must be in port. I'm sporting a freshly-acquired 3rd-class chevron and "crow" on my left sleeve. With that and my dolphins, I rated a bunk space of my own - no more "hot-racking".

This was my hammock (the Navy called it a "rack") in "Hogan's Alley", a prestige location in the after battery compartment crew's quarters space. Before I passed my submarine qualification exam, I "hot-bunked" in the after torpedo room. That meant I shared a bunk between torpedoes with two other "non-quals", so the bunk never got a chance to lose the body heat from the guy who just got up to go on watch. The shiny vinyl mattress cover zipped shut to keep your stink in while other crew members were trying to sleep. The tight confines were offset by the fact that there was a ventilation duct right above my head! On the right is a net bunk bag holding shaving gear, wallet, shoeshine kit, qualification workbook etc. Good uniforms were pressed under the mattress, others rolled up in plastic and stowed in a small locker (not visible here).


This collection courtesy of Carl Daniel, serving under Capt. J.J. Herzog.

Carl Daniel aboard Cubera

Carl Daniel aboard CUBERA, aft engine room looking aft (1960)

"I think we had a swim call, then Capt. Herzog got movies of the Cobbler diving and surfacing as we ran alongside. Then we had a failed attempt at a 'battle surface'. The way I remember events the DO was supposed to blow main ballasts while the planesmen held the ship at periscope depth until it started to rise and then pop the planes to full up. Apparently the planesmen went to full dive before the tanks had any effect - we went down to some ??? depth and by the time the DO got the planes to full up we were at a 47+ degree ??? up-angle. I remember the attempt to get the planes back to the dive position but it was too little, too late.

"I had been relieved at the helm and was in the crews mess - ended up with 20 or so gallons of chicken noodle soup all over me. The soup went all the way back to the foreward engine room bulkhead, and some mercury spilled out of the main gyro in the control room. The picture tells the rest of the story. (Note the planes are still at full dive!)" --Carl Daniel

Cubera surfaces

CUBERA does the USS DALLAS thing...

"Your memories of the affair are accurate, though I think we were with our TG ALPHA buddy, the SEA LEOPARD. The plan was as you recall it. I forget which young officer had the dive. When the order was given, all main ballast was blown evenly, we went to full ahead and the planes were to go to dive to hold her down using speed. The D.O. jumped the gun and ordered full dive before the blow had any effect, thus we began to plane down sharply. However, since we were at periscope depth when we started, we really didn't get much below 100 ft before the blow made her very light. By this time, trying to correct, the D.O. had ordered full rise, and she swung up and headed for the surface in a hurry. I've always remembered the angle as 47 - 47.5. Since we were so light and moving so fast we just splashed down like that whale in the TV ads, without dropping sternwards to any degree. I guess that the D.O. ordered full dive again during the ascent, trying to correct the angle. Battle surface was from the old days of deck guns, to make quick attacks on small surface ships. While our battle surface wouldn't have been any good for getting guncrews on deck quickly, it sure might have scared hell out of the target!

"Those were good old days with Captain Herzog. He was always thinking and figuring new ways to do things. Remember our 'Famous First' sub refueling from alongside the carrier Valley Forge, or the strange, mortar-like housing aft on the turtle back for his floating antenna buoy? I remember him getting me fired up to try navigating by instant midnight star sights taken on a quick 5 or 10 minute surface during some big exercise. I learned a lot from him." --Ted Curtin


"This post merely augments the excellent descriptions of the Battle Surface event written by Carl Daniel and Ted Curtin. And incidentally, it would be characteristic of our fine Exec to have 'forgotten' the name of this unhappy OOD that watch. I drive by Ted and Grace's lovely home of those days, at the corner of Azalea Garden Road and Heutte Drive going to and from the Norfolk Airport, never without loving memories of those two special people, and what for me were very happy times:

"The Battle Surface of which we converse was merely my miscalculation and poor judgement: At periscope depth, Full Speed, one was supposed to blow Bow Buoyancy then All Main Ballast, while adding some dive to the planes to keep a level bubble until the tanks were getting too dry to hold the boat down any longer. Then, rise on the planes would produce about a 30 up-angle as the boat quickly surfaced. I simply put too much dive on the planes, then corrected with too much rise, and 'up she went' to 48! No need to start the Low Pressure Blower...we were already there! There were some moderate and temporary damages as well as many very unhappy people; loss of lube oil suction on the main motors for a brief moment, broken dishes in the galley, and all the Yeoman's books from the shelves above his desk ended-up in his lap! When my bridge watch was over, I was told to report to the CO in the Wardroom, where 'Buck' Herzog gave me a royal chewing. That was the end of it...no one in trouble, and a good proof that the boat was well-secured. Sea Leopard, about 500 yards off to starboard, with whom we were trading diving and surfacing photos, took the pic* [above], and her Skipper radio'd over on the TBS: "Battletorch, this is [can??t recall]: You're clean all the way back to your navel!"
*Note the shower of water flowing out of the sonar dome fairing. This was caused by a missing circular access plate in the center, which was subsequently replaced." --William (Bill) Cole

This collection courtesy of Ted Curtin, XO CUBERA from December 1958 to June 1960, serving three skippers.

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LCDR "Buck" Herzog, 9th skipper of CUBERA,
July 1957 - April 1959. Capt. Herzog was innovative, thoroughly buying into the FRAM program of submarine technology development.

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Ted Curtin: "We did the first alongside refueling of a sub from a carrier on Jan 4, 1959, from VALLEY FORGE CVS 45, after Capt. Herzog had worked up the idea and convinced CTG "A" to try it."
(CTG "A" = Commander Task Group Alfa)


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CUBERA crew, circa 1959
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John Crites on topside watch, D & S Piers, 1968
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Joe Reddy (L, foreground) was COB for years, until he got commissioned in 1960.

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Henry R "Hank" Wilson was CO CUBERA 59-60, having had a year as CO SEA LION


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