Gallery 1

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New photos are always welcome.
If you have any CUBERA photos not seen here in these galleries,
please offer them up for me to post.

GUPPY sub internal profile and plan drawing, showing compartmentation and major equipment locations.GUPPY sub internal profile and plan drawing, showing compartmentation and major equipment locations.

CUBERA ship’s patch of the 1960s.CUBERA ship’s patch of the 1960s. 1999 - Shipmates reunited in Reno after 33 years. Karl ("Dutch") Krompholtz (L), Rik Nilsson (R). Dutch had found my Cubby site on the web and sent me an email. We traded life histories and agreed to meet at the National USSVI convention in Reno, in September of 1999. We had a great time in spite of the 7,500 Harley bikers in town for a different kind of convention. I think we established that we were on different battle station teams, Dutch on stern planes, me on sonar/radar. There is a strangely similar parallelism to our civilian lives since leaving Cubby in the mid-60s.

Summer 2002 - First CUBERA Western States Reunion; Rik "Beachball" Nilsson, Al "Overboard" Sabatino, and Karl "Dutch" Krompholz at Rik’s place near Medford Oregon, sucking down a few Foster’s and reminiscing. Comparing recollections and correcting each others’ versions of them.

Rik Nilsson in late 1964, entering the Forward Engine Room from the After Battery Room. I had just recently received my E4 "crow" (Petty Officer 3rd Class rank) insignia for my left sleeve. No big deal, kinda like being an Ensign, if I was an officer. But it got me out of the bosun’s mate-like Seaman Gang into the Operations Division. Instead of lookout watches in the rain at sea, I could now operate the RADAR and SONAR relatively warm and dry. On my right is one of our two Kleinschmidt electric fresh water stills. Above and to my left is a lighting switch panel. Below the open door is a 225psi utility air supply manifold.

Radar watch in the conning tower. I’m standing facing the CW-55AGV-3 display/control console of our SS-1 radar set against the starboard side of the room. I had the air conditioning duct taped to keep the icy North Atlantic air off my forehead. Condensation dripped into the scope from there when it was cold, and I had to continually wipe the 5.5" PPI screen. My arms got a workout fighting the rolls in heavier seas. There were only five controls: antenna switch, antenna azimuth, range scale, range cursor and brightness. The open cylinder to the right of the PPI is the visibility shroud of the tiny 3" ST air-search radar whose antenna is atop the #1 Observation Periscope. This old equipment was utterly unlike any I was trained on in ET RADAR school.

When we were submerged, my watch station switched from the radar in the conning tower to the sonar console. It was located on the inboard bulkhead of the sonar shack in the forward torpedo room. The BQR-2B sonar array under the bow of the boat consisted of many upright tubular transducers arranged in a circle. The ring of transducers were selected singly or in groups by a cantankerous rapidly rotating switch, effectively generating a variable width listening beam that rotated around the sonar dome. It could be set to rotate automatically or manually using the large wheel on the console. The direction of the beam relative to the heading of the boat was shown on the circular display above the wheel. Contacts were found by listening in headphones and fine-tuning the direction beam with the wheel. The operator had to learn to tell closing or opening contacts, their type, by number of screws and blades and other characteristics by comparing sounds with library tapes -- and hours of experience.

Control room. I’m at what was known at that time as the WLR-1 ESM radar scanner. It would display and record radar signal characteristics, allowing us to identify radar types by their electromagnetic (EM) signatures (frequency, pulse rate, scan rate). I tracked and recorded several Russian radar trawlers and SAM radars down around Cuba with this gear. Above my head is the hull opening indicator panel, called the "Christmas Tree" - red lights meant an open hatch or valve, green - shut. Hence the term "green board" signified all openings were shut and it was safe to proceed with the dive.

Forward engine room looking aft. Engines one and two are hidden behind the lockers and benches on port and starboard sides. On Guppy-II submarines like CUBERA, the propeller shafts were driven from large batteries by electric motors, both on the surface and submerged. The motor armatures were actually wound on the propeller shafts. The four sixteen cylinder General Motors diesel/generator sets (two in each engineroom) charged the batteries or powered the motors directly while on the surface. The CUBERA also had a snorkel, modified from the original Dutch design, that permitted running one or two engines at a keel depth of about 54 feet. One engine could be charging batteries while the other drove the boat.

CUBERA ship’s patch recreated in 1998.CUBERA ship’s patch recreated in 1998. Here I’m pretending to be operating the bow planes. I had a shipmate follow me around one night on below-decks watch in port and take shots in various rooms (compartments to you skimmers). On the command "LOOKOUTS BELOW!," lookouts literally dropped down two eight-foot ladders to the Control Room and manned the planes for diving. Bow planes controlled the depth, stern planes the angle. The large dial behind each wheel are the shallow depth gauges, that read down to one hundred and sixty-five feet. The smaller one between the wheels reads down to 600 feet. We could only operate down to about 400 feet("test depth"), although the theoretical "crush" depth was 900 feet. We went to 460 once, by accident. As Ward Bond says in "Operation Pacific," thank you Builders.

This was my rack (bunk). It was located in "Hogan’s Alley," a prestigious location amongst the 10 stacks of 3 racks in the Crew Quarters section of the After Battery room. The alley is not on the main passage through the room, so one can sleep relatively undisturbed. Technically, it is a "hammock" as defined by the Navy. The 3-1/2 inch foam mattress inside the vinyl cover rests on a canvas sheet laced to a tubular frame. It was where I slept when I was not on watch, eating, studying, or otherwise working as an Electronics Technician. Lights were usually off while underway so all one could do is sleep. To turn over, one had to slip out the end, and reinsert feet first.

Crew’s Mess. Left to right, QM3(SS) Billy Joe Price from Georgia writing a letter, big guy is "Suitcase" Simpson RM1(SS), the lead radioman. Seated is Jerome Leach, a seaman just relieved of lookout watch during stormy weather. We used to rotate the bridge personnel down for a coffee and a smoke. The dark streak is an artifact in the polaroid film.

This is the port motor and engines control cubicle in the maneuvering room. I was standing a battery charge watch for qualification. The dials behind me indicated voltages and currents to and from the battery and generator. The box behind my head with the handle on top is a "battle lantern", a battery operated flashlight to be used when main and emergency lighting fails (a BAD situation).

Merrill (Gus) Negus and I having a smoke break in front of the starboard motor control cubicle, in the Maneuvering room. Below the deck under our feet was the motor room, containing the huge DC electric motors that powered the sub’s screws (propellers). Gus was in the process of overhauling an engine - that’s why he’s so hard to see.


Last modified: 03May2020