Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jim Allen Remembers Henry Glinski

One of the highlights of my trip to Hawaii was getting to meeting Jim Allen, who served in Wahoo during her second war patrol. On the bus to Pearl Harbor he told me about his friend and fellow shipmate Henry Glinski. Jim mentioned he had written an article about him for Polaris, the official SubVets of WWII magazine. He graciously forwarded me a copy so I could share it with you:

"Henry Was A Talker"

By Jim Allen
Polaris/August 2005

I met Henry Glinski at the Pearl Harbor Sub Base in 1942, when we were assigned to the USS Wahoo. Henry was a transfer from the USS Hornet, where he was a Gunner in a 20mm gun crew that had been badly shot up, and he volunteered for Sub duty "to get away from the guns." Henry was 19 years old and I was 18, and we were both 6 foot 3 inches tall and skinny as rails. I was a recent graduate from the Sub School at New London having arrived at Pearl on board the Lurline, a luxury liner converted to haul troops. Henry was a talker; he could talk about anything and everything. We got along because I was a good listener.

The COB, Pappy Rau, assigned our bunks and put us to work. He sent me to John Rowls, the cook, who was delighted as he showed me a mountain of dirty pots, pans, and dishes. I was up to my armpits when Yeoman Forest Sterling came down the ladder to the crews mess, reporting on board, to the pleasure of the Exec., Lt. Richard O'Kane because there was no Yeoman aboard for the previous patrol. Years later, Sterling wrote the book "Wake of the Wahoo" and he mentioned seeing "Jim Allen washing dishes."

Late one afternoon, Henry and I went ashore to the sub base beer garden and of course Henry never stopped talking. I didn't think it was possible, but a few beers made him talk even more. When we got back to Wahoo, it was dark and the Gunner's Mate Bill Carr was working on top of the storage locker in the Conning Tower trying to assemble a large gun; he had rigged a lamp overhead and was clearly agitated. He was grease up to his elbows, trying to turn pages on a manual, but the pages were sticking.

Henry recognized the 20mm gun pieces and had to ask if he could help. I could tell the Gunner was thinking about throwing Henry overboard but he said, "Okay, wise guy, can you put this thing together?"

Henry waded right in -- click-click-push-pull -- and there it was all assembled. Carr said, "Wait a minute. Do that again but slower." Henry took it down and re-assembled it at a slower pace and Carr was amazed, delighted and grateful all at the same time saying, "Glinski, you're my gunner in this crew."

Henry replied, "No way, I volunteered for sub duty to get away from all guns."

The next morning, Pappy Rau told Henry he was the gunner in the 20mm gun crew and that was that. I wondered if Henry had learned to keep his mouth shut but it didn't take long before I found out he couldn't keep his mouth shut...

To be continued.



About Me

The first 'grown up' book Paul Crozier ever read was "War Fish" by George Grider. Since then he has spent most of his life researching the U.S. Submarine Force in WWII and USS Wahoo (SS-238) in particular.


This blog is dedicated to all who have served in the U.S. Submarine Force. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Admiral Chester Nimitz

"We shall never forget it was our submarines that held the line against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds."

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