When I first met Fred in Holy Loch, Scotland, in 1976, he had gone to check out a job on the USS Casimir Pulaski, SSBN633 — the fleet ballistic missile submarine where I was one of the crew. When I went back to the engine room that morning, he was sitting there unable to get back to the tender after scoping out the job he was supposed to work on.
While he was checking out the job, the submarine had been moved away from the tender and was on the way to the dry dock.
Fred hadn’t been to breakfast and he hadn’t reported in to the shop, yet. For all we knew, his chief considered him AWOL.
I don’t remember if we told any chiefs or officers about Fred’s dilemma so that his shop could be informed. I do know, though, that I took him to his first breakfast on board a submarine.
Supposedly, the food on submarines is supposed to be the best food in the services. I really don’t know that to be a fact, since the few meals that I ate on any vessel other than the sub were on the submarine tender and I don’t really remember those. However, I seldom had any complaints about what we were served on the boat.
Fred’s job had been assigned to the tender as a temporary duty station. He later served on a submarine.
About 5 years later, I was sitting in the control room of a commercial nuclear power plant when a potential new employee was being given a tour of the plant and the control room. I looked at him and asked, “Where do I know you from?”
He asked what boat I had been on and I told him, “the Casimir Pulaski.”
“You were the guy that took me to breakfast!”
It was Fred.
Fred accepted the job offer and went to work in the same department that I was in, Operations. After I went to the Training Department, we both ended up in the same senior reactor operator license class. He stayed in the Operations Department far longer than I did, but eventually he accepted a job in Training. He is actually older than me, but he stayed at the plant after I retired, retiring almost exactly a year after I had.
Fred is now working as a contractor at a plant in South Carolina.
I’m now working at what used to be Fred’s desk.