Conning Tower Hatch 

Sketch by: Paul Harden, ET1(SS), Gold Crew NavET 1970-76

Artist's Notes: Here's an unusual drawing, but none-the-less, one we probably all remember. A view looking up the ladder to the bridge from the control room. I drew it one night during refit ... one of those "all nighters" doing SINS calibration.  We were out on sea trials. As usual, we went to sea with a bunch of people with us, including an admiral, who obviously spent little time on a sub. He was doing all sorts of dumb things, like throwing his cigarette butts down the periscope well! But yet he tried to act like he was an old salt. While on the surface, the Captain headed up to the bridge, announcing in usual style, "UP LADDER." The Admiral was right behind him, and copying the Captain said "UP LADDER."  MM1(SS) Billy Bunn, the BCP watch at the time replied "Ladder indicates UP, sir.!" Everyone in the control about died laughing, and I don't think the Admiral ever figured out why.
Description of the Conning Tower Hatch(submitted by Tim VeArd, ETN2(SS), Blue 1965-70): The Conning Tower Hatch lead to the Bridge in the sail.  It consisted of several ladders, that passed through two water tight hatches.  A running joke was that you weren't really qualified on Submarines unless you could carry 3 cups of coffee to the Bridge during a state 5 sea without spilling them.  During patrols, this hatch was often an arduous task for those who assigned to retrieve or stream the Trailing Wire.  On the Blue Crew from 1966 to 1970, this duty often fell to the junior NAVAIDS ET (Loran C) and Radiomen.  If the Conning Officer cut the trailing wire, these poor shipmates had to climb into the space between the two water tight hatches and retrieve the cut wire, splice it and stream a new wire - while the lower hatch was closed, because of being sprayed with cold water.
Memories of Streaming the Trailing Wire (submitted by Larry Sandberg, IC1(SS)-LT, Gold 1961-64): It was late 1961 and Gold's 2nd patrol; I had just made IC2 and was a non-qualified Reactor Operator, but was the junior man in the Engineering Department and had to stand topside watches In Port and Planes and Messenger watches at sea because we were so overloaded with Chiefs and First Classes. Every time we went to periscope depth the AUX FWD and the off-watch Planesman (Messenger) had to go up in the trunk and bring in the trailing wire (the wire was about the size of your thumb and 1200' to1500' long). The hydraulic motor that was supposed to pull it in never worked, so the two of us had to turn the hand wheel by hand while standing in a shower of freezing cold water; it was a though job. Then when the trailing wire got cut, we'd have to pull in what was left, string a new wire from the Missile Compartment, and pay the new wire out. What a mess. It usually took anywhere from 30 minutes to 75 minutes every time we went up in the trunk, depending on ship's speed. When hovering it was easier, when in rough seas and when speed was requires it was slow and hard pulling the wire in. It was colder than witches tit but we had a lot of laughs too. I remember spending a lots of cuss'n and laughing times up in the trunk with AUX FWD Fred Kegley and Froggy (can't remember last name). Thank God and LCDR Walt Brooks (Eng), I started standing watches and qualifying as RO the next patrol.