Tuesday, August 26, 2008

American Legion Post Hosts Wahoo Event

Ken Kraetzer of American Legion Post 50, and Sons of the American Legion Squadron 50, recently informed me of their plans for a 65th anniversary event remembering the loss of USS Wahoo on October 11, 1943.

The ceremony and reception will be held in Pelham, New York on October 11th, 2008 at 11:00 AM at the Veterans Memorial Park. During the past year they have gotten to know Doug Morton, who moved with his family to Pelham following the war. Doug and his sister graduated from Pelham Memorial High School. Ken anticipates Doug to be in attendance at the ceremony.

All members of the Navy and submarine service are welcome. The post will model the ceremony after their annual Memorial Day event which is very well done.

Pelham is located just 25 minutes north of New York City and can be easily reached by Metro North train with the ceremony being held a short walk from the train station. More information can be found on their website: www.legionpost50ny.com.
Continue Reading

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Henry Was A Talker" Part III

I caught up with Wahoo and Glinski at Pearl at the end of that third patrol and there he was: still talking. But this time he was being loaded into an ambulance with one foot in a giant size bandage. First chance I got I visited him at the Aiea Heights Naval Hospital and got the details of what happened.

Wahoo had sunk a five ship convoy. One of the ships was a loaded troop transport that went down slow enough so that many of the Jap soldiers got off. Captain Morton decided to surface and inspect the debris. All guns were manned, including Henry's 20mm, and when they closed the area the Japs started shooting at them. So the Captain ordered, "Commence firing."

Henry said it was pure bedlam because not only were there Tommy guns, hand guns, and BARs, there was also the 4" deck gun blazing away. And of course, wouldn't you know it, the 20mm jammed and they couldn't get the thing cleared.

The barrel changer, wearing huge asbestos gloves, removed the barrel with the jammed live shell in one end, so he could put in a fresh barrel. Instead of putting the hot barrel into a tube full of sea water located on the side of the bridge, in the confusion the barrel changer dropped the damn thing on the deck. He was installing a new barrel when it happened: the jammed shell exploded! It sent shrapnel flying in every direction and it was Henry's right foot that got hit, tearing it up.

They got Henry below where the Pharmacist Mate Lindhe had to cut off a couple of toes using electricians' wire cutters. Lindhe kept Henry doped up so he didn't feel like talking for a while.

But at the Naval Hospital he made up for lost time because he was lucky enough to be in a ward with a bunch of Marines that had been shot up on Guadalcanal. Henry told them all about the Wahoo and when he got to the part about sinking a Jap sub in the Solomons they all cheered saying it was probably the bastard that had been shelling them at night keeping them awake. The shelling had suddenly stopped. The Marines figured that Wahoo had sunk the Jap so that made Henry their hero.

I saw Henry one more time when he got back to Pearl after a thirty day stateside leave. By this time I was on USS Silversides and on my way out. We had a couple of brews and he told me that the medical people didn't know what to do with him because he would always walk with a slight limp but he still qualified for submarine duty. He said, "If they would only give me a chance to talk to them we could get this all straightened out."

I never heard of Henry after that.


Our thanks to Jim Allen for premission to reprint his article from "Polaris".
Continue Reading

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Henry Was A Talker" Part II

More of the story of Henry Glinski by Jim Allen as excerpted from his Polaris article....

We got underway starting Wahoo's second patrol, and headed for the Solomon Islands; our area was off the NE coast of Bougainville, near a little island called Buka. We sank a large loaded freighter that was probably headed for Guadalcanal. A Jap destroyer worked us over pretty good. A little later we sank a Jap submarine.

One day in the crew's mess, Henry told Paul Phillips the baker he had worked in a bakery in Chicago and he could show Phillips how to bake better bread. He kept talking until finally Phillips said, "I think you're full of it, Glinski. But tonight you can bake the bread. That way the whole crew can enjoy your expertise."

Henry assembled the ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, shortening. And he asked for some yeast. Phillip handed him a one pound block. This is where Henry's memory and expertise fell apart; he put the whole pound into the mix. And poured the dough into a wash tub so it could rise.

Well, it rose alright. In fact, Henry was up most of the night punching the dough down trying to keep it in the tub. To Phillips and the crew this was like watching a Buster Keaton movie. The finished product had so many air holes it looked like mice had tunneled through it. It wasn't bad tasting but it gave everybody intestinal gas. But Henry just kept talking.

We ran submerged the next day, and when it came time to surface I heard the OD say to the Quartermaster, "Be careful when you crack the hatch. The pressure in the boat is as high as I've ever seen it."

We pulled into Brisbane for our overhaul and after two weeks at a downtown hotel we were ready to go out again. Pappy Rau told me the new skipper, Lt Cmdr. Dudley Morton, said no more hot bunking. Since I was low man on the totem pole, F3/C, I was transferred to the relief crew on board the USS Sperry.

Next time JIm recounts Glinski's wounding during Wahoo's third war patrol
Continue Reading

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.
Continue Reading

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."

War Fish Blog Copyright © 2010 | Community is Designed by Bie Blogger Template