Self vs. Public Perception and the USS Becuna

Image 1: Digital remastering of the original artwork by Y. Lovell located at the torpedo room of the US Navy Submarine Becuna (SS-319).

USS Becuna USS-319
Image 2: Commemorative postal covers marking the keel laying on 29 April 1943 and her launch on 30 January 1944 at the Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT. Starboard view of the USS Becuna entering Pearl Harbor, circa 1944.

SS Becuna entering Pearl Harbor 1944-45
Image 3: USS Becuna returning from a patrol to Pearl Harbor 1944-45

SS Becuna at Pearl Harbor 1944-45
Image 4:
USS Becuna docked at Pearl Harbor 1944-45

SS Becuna resupplying
Image 5: USS Becuna conducting a high line transfer

Becuna SS319 Interior
Image 6:
USS Becuna Interior (L-R) Control room, maneuvering room, engine room (with the two engines “Huff” and “Puff”), torpedo room, and the galley

A Submarine
(From an edition of The Dolphin, the SUBASE NEW LONDON newspaper, April 4, 1925)

Born in the shops of the Devil,
Designed in the brains of a fiend;
Filled with acid and crude oil,
And christened “A Submarine”.

The poets send in their ditties,
Of Battleships spick and clean;
But never a word in their columns,
Do you see of a submarine.

I’ll try and depict our story,
In a very laconic way;
Please have patience to listen,
Until I have finished my say.

We eat where’re we can find it,
And sleep hanging up on the hooks;
Conditions under which we’re existing,
Are never published in books.

Life on these boats is obnoxious,
And that is using mild terms;
We are never bothered by sickness,
There isn’t any room for germs.

We are never troubled with varmints,
There are things even a cockroach can’t stand.          
And any self-respecting rodent,
Quick as possible beats it for land.

And that little one dollar per dive,
We receive to submerge out of sight;
Is often earned more than double,
By charging batteries at night.

And that extra compensation,
We receive on boats like these;
We never really get at all,
It’s spent on soap and dungarees.

Machinists get soaked in fuel oil,
Electricians in H2SO4;
Gunnersmates with 600W,
And torpedo slush galore.

When we come into the Navy Yard,
We are looked upon with disgrace;
And they make out some new regulations,
To fit our particular case.

Now all you Battleship sailors,
When you are feelin’’ disgruntled and mean;
Just pack your bag and hammock,
And go to “A Submarine”

Images courtesy of: Darryl L. Baker, Jack Treutle (of blessed memory), and John Hummel, (USN) retired
Submarine Photo Archive – USS Becuna (SS-319) (AGSS-319)

Copyright 2019 Yaacov Apelbaum, All Rights Reserved.

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