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  • The day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon we were underway somewhere off the coast of Cuba on our way to the Panama Canal. We were taking our Nuclear Submarine around to the West Coast from Charleston, South Carolina. She was going into the Yards for a complete refit that was to take at least 6 months.

    We were listening to the radio and the “Eagle has landed” message was just broadcast when an incredible intrusion occurred. On our horizon a gunboat of unknown origin started firing a machine gun at us. Our Skipper was a man of higher standards than most of us. He gave orders to submerge and avoid the contact. Most of us wanted to blast the gunboat out of the water. So, as the “Ahhoooga” sounded throughout the boat, we lost our radio contact with the history being made on the moon.

    When we resurfaced (a funny word that usually means to lay more tar down on an old road.) a half hour later, the whole thing was over and Armstrong was back in the Eagle.

    It’s funny that most people can tell you where they were and what they were doing when great or horrific events happen.

    We finished that trip without any further mishaps. Well, maybe one small one: Because we had just returned from an extended patrol, we were all bearded and looked like boatload of pirates. We had welded a 50 gallon drum to the deck and used it as a barbeque pit. I’m sure we raised more than a few eyebrows of the passengers on the Ocean Liners we passed going through the Canal.

    As we entered the San Francisco bay, someone in authority, possibly the local mayor, thought it would be fitting to give us a salute from shore. Imagine a bunch of sailors dressed in whites hitting the deck trying to find some cover as canon fire was unleashed on us. So much for Dress Whites!
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