April 2024

USS Sennet (SS-408) Newsletter

First, I give you a sea story:

Lisa Bell is an employee of the submarine museum at Kings Bay, GA., and she has written some children's books about submarine mascots.   Lisa and I exchanged a few emails, because the commissioning crew of Sennet had a mascot dog (name unknown) and later a penguin named “Cosmo.”   The submarine mascot trail led me to the story of USS Skate (SS-305).

USS Skate (SS-305) made seven war patrols, and her crew also had a mascot.   It was not a dog.   It was a chicken, and it made war patrols with them!   Here's what I know:

The formal surrender of Japan occurred in the first week of September 1945.   SKATE was home in California in time to celebrate “Navy Day” at the Los Angeles port of Wilmington on October 27th.

This all day event included a massive military parade, warships open to the public, movie stars and flyovers.   The war pageant – “A Tribute to Victory” - at the Los Angeles Coliseum drew 100,000 people that evening.   The pageant concluded with a simulated “atomic bomb” mushroom-shaped fireworks and the surrender of Japan on the deck of the Battleship Missouri at the fifty-yard line.

A number of photographs survive depicting dowdy Navy Day guests on the deck of SKATE that day, encountering the chicken mascot.   They were told that the bird was an authentic sailor who had endured the mines of Tsushima with the rest of the crew.   The visitors in the old images appear bemused, if not offended, and the chicken looks like a disturbed bird.

The chicken had endured a hard war and was in need of R&R.   He had very few feathers, smelled like lube oil, and crowed randomly, day and night.   This sleep disturbance was apparently the result of prolonged life below decks without a sunrise for his biological clock.   On Navy Day, he wore his award ribbon at his craw with a submarine combat patrol pin.   He was introduced to the visitors and a CBS news reporter as “Little George,” which was his polite name.

It wasn’t long after this that “Little George” lost his balance (as he usually did when the crew was celebrating which, by this time, was almost daily) and fell down a deck hatch.   The Pharmacist’s Mate attempted emergency surgery but was unsuccessful.   No one seemed to remember the funeral arrangements, but it would not have been proper for his remains to be committed to the deep while dockside in California.

* * * From the Quartermaster's Notebook * * *

Our Next Sennet Reunion . . .

John McMichael (64-68) will be hosting our next reunion.   Likely it will be in 2025 and somewhere in Texas.   That’s all we know for now, but stay tuned.   I’ll get the word out as soon as possible.

Donations . . .

Contributions from our generous supporters help make our newsletters, website and reunions possible.   Simply said, they reunite friends.   Make your check payable to: USS Sennet SS-408 Reunion Fund and mail to Ralph Luther.   His address is below.

Ship's Store . . .   Ralph Luther stocks a limited supply of Sennet unique submarine items like:

T-Shirts – Size XXL only - Navy blue shirts with the Sennet logo embroidered above the pocket and a submarine veteran screen print on the back - $22
Hoodies – Size XXL only - Submarine veteran screen printed on back - $30
Ball caps - $14
Ships patches (cloth) - $5
Submarine wife pins - $5

Prices do not include postage.   Contact Ralph Luther by email for availability and total cost.   All revenue goes 100% into the Reunion Fund.   Make checks payable to: USS Sennet SS-408 Reunion Fund and mail to:

USS Sennet SS-408
c/o Ralph Luther
107 Wood Side Dr.
Summerville, SC 29485-9301

Email:   rluther107@gmail.com

Eternal Patrol . . .  Recently we learned of the passing of these shipmates:

LTJG Samuel P. Ginder, Jr. (1953-1956) departed January 06, 2024.
LT Ronald F. “Frank” McDevitt (1958-1960) departed December 22, 2023.

We will remember our other departed shipmates at our reunion Memorial Service.
Special thanks to Ron & Connie Bycroft (1966-68) who send condolence cards to the families of deceased crew members.

Binnacle List . . .  These shipmates are facing some serious challenges and would like to hear from you.   A simple email, card or phone call means so much to them.   Find out more info about your friends on the Sennet web site page “Binnacle List.”

RM2(SS) Robert J. “Bob” Mullin (1958-1960) has Alzheimer's and lives in a memory care facility in Rutland, VT.   Cards or letters may be sent to his son, and he will share them with Bob.
Robert Mullin
c/om Kevin Mullin
118 Ox Yoke Dr.
Rutland,mVT 05701-9301

Mind Your Ps & Qs – In Other Words, Behave !

“Mind Your Ps & Qs” had a nautical beginning as a method of keeping books on the waterfront.   In the days of sail when sailors were paid a pittance, seamen drank their ale in taverns whose keepers were willing to extend credit until payday.   Since many salts were illiterate, keepers kept a tally of pints and quarts consumed by each sailor on a chalk board behind the bar.   Next to each person’s name, a mark was made under “P” for pint or “Q” for quart whenever a seaman ordered another draught.   On payday each seaman was liable for each mark next to his name, so he was forced to “mind his Ps and Qs or get into financial trouble.

To ensure an accurate count by unscrupulous keepers, sailors had to keep their wits and remain somewhat sober.   Sobriety usually ensured good behavior; hence, the meaning of

"mind your Ps and Qs.”

Green Board,

Stan Pollard

3016 Bayberry Cv.
Wooster, OH 44691-5912

Email: 408.stan@gmail.com
Cell: (330) 749-7151

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