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Ingrown toenail saved submariner from a doomed sub.

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Ingrown toenail saved submariner from a doomed sub.

Postby U-5075 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:23 pm

Sorry, it's been a slow few days for submarine news. ... oomed-sub/

I Remember When: Toenail saved me from doomed sub

SEBASTIAN — I remember when America was full of patriotism and love of country. I remember Pearl Harbor!

I was 16 and wanted to fight for my country. When I turned 17, I received permission and joined the Navy.

On June 7, 1942, six months after that infamous bombing, I was one of 275 men called “The Pearl Harbor Avengers” inducted into the Navy on the steps of the State House in Boston, Mass.

After boot camp, I attended four months of grueling submarine school. From San Francisco we boarded a Liberty Ship to Australia. During the crossing we were attacked by Japanese planes that strafed the ship and I received multiple shrapnel wounds.

We reported to the submarine base in Brisbane and I was assigned to the USS Triton. Boarding the boat, the OD noticed I was limping and sent me to sick bay. The diagnosis: I had an infected ingrown toenail and couldn’t go to sea. The Triton put to sea — and never returned. I’m alive because of an ingrown toenail.

Eventually I was assigned to the USS Guardfish, SS217. I made nine patrols on the Guardfish, serving under three captains. We sank 26 ships on those runs.

It was not all gloomy in those years. At a stopover on Midway Island, we “liberated” a small puppy from the Marines. We took her on board the Guardfish and named her “Blooper” (depth charge). She was well behaved, learned to use the facilities and was always quiet during depth charges. At the end of the war, Blooper went home with one of the crew to a farm.

We were on the surface 30 miles off Nagasaki carrying photographers when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb. As soon as they had their pictures, we dove deep and got out of there!

War over, we took the Guardfish to New London, Conn., to be decommissioned.
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