Shaft Alley 

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

Artist's Notes: Unfortunately, I do not recall the name of the Engineering Watch shown. And I remember him posing for me there for well over a half an hour too! It was shortly after this sketch that it occurred to me to jot down their names. At the time ... who would have thought you might forget their names? :-) 

The two emergencies I remember on patrol both occurred back aft in shaft alley. The main hydraulic pump line to the accumulator sprung a leak and filled up the engine room almost immediately with a hazy smoke (which turned out to be merely the misted oil). I was the Nav Sup on watch when this happened. I always wondered how one would tell the difference between a drill and "the real thing." Well, that day on watch, I hear this mumbling come over the 1MC, sounding like maybe someone trying to talk through an EAB mask. (That someone, I learned later, was Chief Colt). After 2-3 attempts at this mumbling, the Chief of the Watch translated over the 1MC "Fire in the Engine Room."

I strolled over to shut the water tight hatch between the Nav Center and the Missile Compartment, when all of a sudden, here came Lt. Cdr. Braden, the XO, who literally picked me up and threw me into the fan room hatch and bulkhead. I thought I busted a couple of ribs and a lung there for a minute. He was HAULING back to the Engine Room, with no regard for life or limb (particularly mine!). Ahah ... now I know how you can tell a drill from the real thing. Well the emergency was handled very quickly, and a bunch of off-watch people helped for 2-3 watch cycles wipe down the thin, misty oil covering that settled EVERYWHERE in the Engine Room. After the emergency, the XO seeked me out in the Nav Center with a profuse apology for tossing me out of the way - graciously accepted, as Braden was a great XO for many patrols.
Memories of Shaft Alley:  Mike Rehmus,ET1(SS), Gold 65-67 I remember crawling around under the deck plates, picking each one up one-by-one as necessary. I picked up one particular plate up only to discover, scrawled in chalk on the bottomside, THRESHER! A heart-stopping moment. The only emergency I remember is after coming out of Mare Island after an overhaul in 1966, the Gold crew had just relieved the Blue crew off the East Coast and we were working up some ops not too far off shore. The rudder ram bolts stretched because they were not made of the correct material. That was a bit exciting but not too dangerous. We spent a few days tied up near a paper mill in Charleston while new bolts were made and rushed to us. The real emergency was having to breath the fumes from the paper mill.

Looking forward


Looking aft