Former Crew Member Writes About Serving on the Kam in the 1970's

A little while back, I received an email from former crew member Richard Sprowl:


Real nice job on the website.  Perhaps in the near future I can dig up some old pictures, scan them, and then send them to you for inclusion in your website. 

I am laughing at myself now because while I was on the Kamehameha, I was so anti-Navy, anti-Kamehameha, anti-authority, anti-you name it, and now I am really interested in this stuff and have pride in that I survived the ordeal.  I can still remember how strongly I held these feelings, and how I could not wait to get out and forget about that period in my life.  When I got out, I hung my discharge paper on the inside lid of my toilet ( had to toss it eventually due to the smell ), just as an example.  I got out while the Kamehameha was in Portsmouth (I signed a page 13 to get into the shipyard instead of punching holes in the ocean, and of course I had no intention of honoring that piece of paper), unemployment was in the double digits, and I can still remember the WEPS telling me I would be unemployed, a failure and a bum on the outside.  I told him that I would rather sleep under a freeway overpass and eat out of garbage cans than stay one extra day in the Navy.

What I miss most about those days is not the boat itself, but the people who went through it.  Back then I could not ever imagine missing those guys after being locked up with them for 105 days at a time for 6 patrols.  But now I think back, and the stuff that stands out are the guys and crazy s!%# we did or went through, not the bad feelings.  I wouldn't re-live that time for any amount of money, but I wouldn't sell the memory of it either.  All crews probably have stories similar to:

It seems to be a shame (or a waste of money) to be converting the Kamehameha into razor blades.  But the real shame is in ending the line of guys that share a common bond and history of trying to make sure that boat surfaces at least one more time than it dives, and fulfilling its mission. I guess that realization comes with time, and some like me just need 20 years to get it.

Keep up the great work on the site.  And if I may offer a suggestion, continue to keep your focus on the guys who served on her.