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Distinguished Visitors Cruise - Labor Day Weekend 2001

During labor day weekend of 2001, I had the great fortune to be invited to ride the Kam from San Diego to Alameda as part of a group of 24 former Kam sailors.  Most of the the riders were Kam plankowners.  What a great experience to ride the Kam one last time! 

After jumping though a few hoops and some last minute schedule changes, we were given official permission to ride on the Monday prior to the ride. A special thanks to Howard Grover, CDR Seal, LCDR Russ, and LT Godbey for making the ride happen.  And a very special thanks to the current crew of the Kamehameha who made us feel like part of the crew.

Read Ken Loncar's narrative of the cruise.

(Click on any picture to see the larger version)

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San Diego, Saturday morning September 1st 2001, at the Point Loma Sub Base,  Ballast Point, Middle Pier.  I was seeing the Kam for the first time in over 15 years.  For most of the guys in our group, it was closer to 35 years. 

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 The Kam still looks good, showing 36 years of awards.

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Morning muster on the pier. On the right, Fred Nellums is the last of our group to arrive. 

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This is me, Greg Pancerev, going down the AMR1 hatch for the first time since 1986.

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Getting briefed by the CO in the MCC.  Now that the old missile computers are gone, it is a training/meeting room. 

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Hanging out in the crews mess while we are getting ready to get underway. The sea stories are already starting. Every one of them starts with "this is no sh*t"

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Charlie Brown inspecting the donuts.

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Pulling way from the pier at San Diego.

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Still pulling way from the pier at San Diego.

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Backing into the channel.

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Some of our group topside.

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Saying goodbye to San Diego. That is a new sonar on the turtleback.

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Underway on Nuclear power! This feels pretty damn good!

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Underway in control looking aft into Navcenter. Note that Richard Tenderella is wearing an original gold beret from 1965.  It seems that there was this song, "the ballad of the gold berets" but the lyrics aren't quite suitable for display here. 

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  Jess Harmon looking for book in the crew's lounge.

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Ahhh... time to hit the bunkie... I had a rack in between missile tubes 14 and 16. These bunks were added in the conversion in 1992.

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Missile Compartment head. Okay maybe SOMEONE wanted to know what a submarine toilet looks like.

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Nice stained glass of Kamehameha in the fwd end of the crews mess.

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This is Jack Townsend. Still sitting in the same place after all these years. Looks like he's got a fresh cup of coffee though.

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Some old shipmates having a technical discussion in what used to be the MCC. Photo donated by Jack Townsend.

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Al Smith helping with the cream puffs.

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Three "Old" Goats in the Goat Locker, Punchey Conwell, Don Tschopp, and Dave Morrow. Photo donated by Don Tschopp.

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The torpedo room looks the same. Except no torpedoes of course.

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We even got a look inside the battery well. Does anyone remember what type of battery this is? Guppy something or other... I'm told this is the last one of its type in the fleet. 

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This was something different. We got to look inside missile tube 15 in MCUL while underway. In the 1980's we might have got shot. 

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Tube 15 was converted to a hot tub... Yes, a submarine with a hot tub!  It was used to warm up the SEALS after they returned from a mission. That is me inside the tube with Don Tschopp.

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Inside tube 15 looking up at the hatch. How many people have ever had this view?

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Dave Aunkst, a former Reactor Operator, in AMR1UL by the hatch to the tunnel. This is as far aft as we were allowed to go.  Being former nukes, we would have liked to go back aft to AMR2, the ER and Maneuvering, but NAVSEA is still kind of weird about this. Does anyone know why? No big deal really, we still had a great time.

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The webmaster, also a former RO, this time in the torpedo room. Back in 1983, I was locked inside tube #2 during a sub qual checkout. You don't suppose they still do that do you?  

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Nice picture of tube 9 in MCML. 

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The crew's mess looks pretty nice these days.  I am told they paid a Hawaiian artist to paint the Hawaiian scenes on the bulkheads. They even have a big screen TV. 

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Some of our group volunteered to messcrank and serve the crew for our Sunday dinner. T-bone steak and king crab legs. I sure didn't lose any weight on this cruise. I think I only missed one meal. 

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The laundry looks the same.

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In the Control room, 642 feet below the surface of the pacific.

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Also in the Control room, this one has me in it.

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The old library is now the ship's office.

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Hanging out in the crew's lounge, OPS LL.  Three days of continuous sea stories. "And THIS one is NO SH*T"  I heard some stories about an alligator or two in AMR2LL. Then there were the turtles. What what do you do with a dead turtle? Put it in the nose cone of a Polaris missile? Hmmm... not sure about that one. I also heard a story that involved John Bosanek, a signal ejector, and a helicopter.  Not sure what happened there, but now John tells me that he eventually became an expert on the differences between a smoke and a flare.  

SSN 642 009.jpg (37355 bytes) Howard Grover, the Bear, and Brunberg, who is now EMC(SS). 
SSN 642 008.jpg (29109 bytes) The webmaster enjoying a cup of coffee with the bear. Photo taken by Howard Grover.

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Up on the bridge Monday morning. Somewhere off shore of Monterey. We got to see some whales out there, but they never pose for pictures. 

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The bridge cockpit. They have GPS now. This would make a cool ad for Garmin GPS.

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Ken Loncar and Greg Pancerev on the bridge.

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The Navigator and Public Affairs Officer extraordinaire, LT Godbey, on the bridge.

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The XO looking through periscope #1.

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Coming into San Francisco bay on Monday afternoon, September 3rd. Alcatraz is to our stern. We passed under the Golden Gate bridge but I was in the rack and didn't get any pictures of that. 

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A fireboat was there to greet us.

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San Francisco to the right and the Bay Bridge in front of us.

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Passing under the bay bridge.

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A nice view of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. As we were passing this point, Barry Bonds hit his 58th home run of the season at PacBell Park.. I am told that the cameras also panned out into the bay showed us on TV too. 

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San Francisco again.

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 Jack Townsend in San Francisco Bay.

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This one is me.

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Part of our group topside. Not a great looking bunch, but what the hell.

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Arriving in Alameda. That is the USS Hornet, now a museum.

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Alongside the pier in Alameda.

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As always, the coners go on liberty while the nukes tend to the details of shore power and the reactor shutdown. 

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One of the cool things we did while on the cruise was to fire all of the external countermeasures from the "Buick holes"

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I thought this was a nice picture with the flag and all.

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Saying goodbye to the Kam for now.  See you guys at the reunion in March 2002!

Again I want to thank the crew of the USS Kamehameha for making this ride happen and for making us feel  welcome.  It took me about five minutes to feel right at home... Almost like I had never left... Kind of like traveling in time. Thanks for the trip of a lifetime!  Also, it is comforting to know that such a professional crew is standing the watch, protecting our country while the rest of us goof off in our civilian lives.

Aloha, Mahalo, and thanks!

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