Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 08:02:18
From: "John and Dorothy Baker" <>
Subject: My time aboard Henry Clay!!

I was aboard HC when a shakey skipper put her on a mud bar on the way to Norfolk
from NNS&DD co.  I was on the headset at the aft line position.  I heard the captain
tell a commercial tug captain to heave to and render assistance, to which the tug replied;
"You get a damn PILOT aboard that thing and then I'll assist you!!"  I was aboard for all
sea trials including first missle firing and emergency blow test that brought us up so fast
that I have a picture of daylight under the keel when she broached!  I reported aboard in
nov. 62, as EN2 (SS) and left after the first patrol as EN1 (SS) at Rota Spain for discharge
at Charleston  S.C.

John R. Baker, Ozark, Mo.

Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 10:43:54 -0500
From: "Harmatuk, Peter J" <>
Subject: Just a comment


The "UFO" incident happened when LCDR Dennie Strothers, LCDR Ken Proctor
and I were on the bridge in the Bermuda Triangle"...  It was not the "lights out
tanker"....  The object was at "000" about 60 deg above the horizon... stationary
for a long period and then moved off instantaneously.....

You guys missed:
When I hit the array on the MONAB during sound trials when Mr. Proctor let me
have the conn and was teaching me to steer by the PK.... got a plaque for towing
the array.....and what about

Coming into Norfolk and pulling the mid channel buoy off position by use of the
stern planes......or

Giving the small boat a ride by hooking it's anchor while circling off New London to
get the MK 66 repaired.

Or how we dove past test depth because the Captain (cook) had his butt chewed by
the MK 48 team for not evading torpedoes quickly enough......

or the Dependant's cruise when we got the wives to the bridge and wet them down
with waves and they all were running around the ship in poopy suits...

or the MTs and shipyard Susie in lower level missile compartment

or the 98 bell landing in New London...(can't remember the 2 NUC brothers, but one
was the throttle man)

or when I got in a fight with the Engineer (Grant Lewis) and was put on report....and
he dressing down the

or when you guys "deliberately" flunked the orse to get rid of the Eng.....and he winding
up at three mile island

going a patrol without the MK 78 or Mk 66 analyzers.....

Never passing a 48 certification....
Ernie Fisher (Fisher Plots)

or how the COB turned us in to Group 6 for showing "stag films" on half way night to raise
money for Navy Relief....

Or refits in Holy Loch and in Charleston at wharf "A".....

or Chief Mondo kicking TM2 Lawson's butt

PO3 Skinner taking on a mike boat of tender guys who were "insulting" the WEPs and myself
in Holy Loch!!!

The Henry Clay needle points that my wife designed.....

XO Owen "woogy" Poole

Weps Strothers and McLaughlin (Mike getting stuck in the eject chamber)
(still keep in touch with Mike...lives in Southern GA.

Well....I survived all that and had the following tours:

ConsubGru 8                     SSBN Ops and Plans Officer
USS Francis Scott Key     WEPS (combined crew and Blue Crew) for overhaul in Newport News
COMSUBLANT                Force Weapons Officer
COMOPTEVFOR            TRIDENT D-5 Operational; Test Director

Retired in 1991 and spent 10 years at Booz Allen Hamilton:
        Quebec CN                                               Weapons System Integration and Test
        NAVSEA                                                  Support for the TRIDENT, Sea Wolf and 688 Cass
        DARPA                                                     Advanced Submarine Payloads and Sensors Systems
        ONR (*Office of Naval Research)           Future Naval Capabilities
        AAAV (Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle)              Survivability and Signature

Left BAH and went to Boeing where I am head of Test Support in the Integration and Test IPT for
the National Ballistic Missile Defense Program.

Would not trade a day for the time on the Clay... just wish I had been smarter and done some things

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 00:03:32 -0400
From: "edwardo serrano" <>
Subject: member of da henry "lemon" clay

Ok folks here goes.  I'll make it short and sweet.  I was onboard this
boat from 77 - 79 and had a blast.  Reading some of the email really
brought back fond memories...  Riley you devil dog you!   I was a yeoman
with a lot of clout cause I never got greased.  Came close but I
threathened to mess up some service records if them "A" gangers did it.
Once saw a guy who passed away on leave in New Jersey if my mind serves
me correctly.  Had an auto accident get the "vice" test done on him and
it was extremely funny.  As he had his fingers in the vice and Riley and
a bunch of "A" gangers including Ernie Taio packed this dude with grease
and blue dye.  Oh my god was that shit funny.  I remember the times when
they got the CO on the conn with the same blue dye.  I can tell you guys
"mad stories" about this boat and its crew.  Some stories illegal but
I'll leave them alone...

The best thing in Holy Loch was the fish and chips.  I'll end this
for now.... I can be reached at the following
and I can give you guys more scuttlebutt than the lord allows.  Maurice
Pullins, Darrell Tolbert, Ron Pilot and Tony Church where u at.  Robert
Smallwood can be reached as I'm his daughters godfather. KOOOSHICK....
that was funny also...  Hey guys remember the CO's we had CDR Fisher... 
and remember that drill that put him under... what a way to shut down
the reactor.  Oh by da way... I retired a few years back and now I work
for the Post Office.  Anyway, I at present reside outside of the city of
brother we mug "Philly".  Steve Bracy brought me here a long time ago. 
lived somewhere near Germantown.  I can jibber gabber all night long but
I have to leave.  "So mote it be"

Edwardo "E" Serrano
NYC, da bronx to be exact
YN1 (SCW/SS) ret

Goodnight Master Chief Russell whereever you are.

Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 17:33:54 -0800 (PST)
From: Cliff da Bulldog <>
Subject: My Clay days @ PNSY

I was an FTB aboard the Clay for about a year.  I left the Clay before the Clay
left the PSNY, but I have many memories of my time aboard the Clay. I reported
to the Clay at the time of the Shipyard bomb scare. In fact, the day I arrived I was
assigned 12 hr watch that night atop the sail watching stuff floating down the river.
What a sight she was, this red submarine with all these huge gapping holes in the
top of the hull & scaffolding everywhere.

I was in the Watch section the night the topside rover fell overboard & lost the .45. 
I always thought the loss of the .45 suspect, as most of us who were there at the time.
If drowning, unclipping the lanyard from the .45 rather than pulling it over your head to
remove it seemed odd. 

I remember the first hurricane I was ever exposed to, For some reason a week or so
before the hurricane the shipyard shop for Hatches & Covers removed most of the
hatches on the sleeping barge that was moored to the pier behind the boat. I happen
to have the Barge watch the night the hurricane brushed by us. The day before the
hurricane the shipyard sent over some yardies to try to plug the holes where the
hatches were. They used plywood, that black foam insulation we all know, 2x4s &
threaded rod. Normally Barge watch was just like any typical fire watch duties for a
building, with only one additional duty  check the level of water in the bilge & insure
that the bilge pumps are running. I spent a long night mopping classroom floors, as the
decks had lips on them & going outside to access the bilge spaces to check them. It was
determined that it was too windy for people to walk between the Barge & the Ship so I
was assigned to Barge watch all night. Thankfully we only were brushed by the hurricane.
I vividly remember the trips to check the bilge. You had to go outside to get to about the
only hatch covers the yard had not removed the ones for the bilge.

I was aboard one evening, sitting in MCC when the Particulate alarms went off. We jumped
to the outboard lockers for EBA's only to find that none had been stowed in MCC yet. It is
amazing how you immediately can think of the next closest place to look, out the MCC door,
up the ladder to the locker on mid level, which had been outfitted with gear. We were quite
relieved later when told that it was a false alarm.  I also was in the watch section the night
6SD exploded.  The story I remember was something about a 2nd class nuc who started a
reactor coolant pump in fast speed. (was a long time ago and memory is fading). 

One thing that has always struck me is that of all the time I was in the Navy, 4 yrs, the only
actual time I spent on a ship afloat was the day the Clay was moved from one pier, along the
river, to another. I was topside that day as the tugs towed the Clay. My what big women they
have on those Navy tugs!

I have some questions / observations though. Can anyone verify or refute them?

1. I remember some of us referred to the Henry Clay as the Henry Lemon Clay  (I recall the
day I was fire watch for a welder in Ops mid level, seems a pipe from lower level & upper level
were to be welded together. The welder had to weld in a section at an angle as these pipes were
about a foot offset from each other)

2. The smallest hydraulic system aboard was the head drive units in the HardDiskPack drives in
MCC. (Qual oolie)

3. The Henry Clay was the first & last US SSBN to launch a missile from the surface, the Clay
immediately returned to the yards for repairs & a paint job as the exhaust plume scorched the ship.
(I found this listing on the net.  20 APRIL 1964  USS HENRY CLAY (SSBN 625) successfully
launched a POLARIS A-2 missile from the surface. This was the first demonstration that POLARIS
submarines could launch missiles from the surface as well as from beneath the ocean. Thirty minutes
earlier the CLAY successfully launched an A-2 missile while submerged.)

4. In reference to the automatic distress buoys I remember the old hands saying the message was
Forty for Freedom

Unfortunately I only remember a few names, but I do remember many of the people & some most
memorable moments of my life.

Cliff Smith

Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 04:53:51 -0500
From: "GSM2 Stephon K. Deiter" <>
Subject: What the heak?

My name is Stephon Deiter. The name ring a bell? My father Jesse served on
board between 69-72 I reckon. I have been trying to find his old friends or
anyone that knew him for years now. I have alot of photo too. One of them
Meeks in the picture. The other name tags I cant make out. Someone drop me a
line at: Thanks guys. Maybe I'll find out what
my dad liked about Australia so much.

Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 10:39:45 -0700
From: "Clay Lloyd" <>
Subject: Henry Clay Gold 81 - 85

Hello all,

My name is Clay Lloyd and I made eight pleasure cruises between 81 and
85 as an FTB. I was the guy who wandered around with a Rubik's Cube for
three or four patrols. I was also the one who buy a carton of cigarettes
and then destroy them on about day sixty-eight just to watch all the
smokers go into conniption fits. I also made a fool of myself as Master
of Ceremonies for one Halfway Night. I forget which one.

I kept in touch with Dan Brown until about 93. I recently found and
hooked back up with Vincent Marston, who turns out to live only a few
miles away here in Los Angeles.

Feel free to contact me at

Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 21:38:22 -0400
From: "" <>
Subject: Henry Clay 1963-1966

Hi, My name is Joe Mullen.  I reported aboard Henry Clay @ NNS in 
March 1963 as an SK1.  Made Chief while in the yards on May 16, 1963 with 
Ducky Dugan and Larry Whitaker.  I believe I was the first enlisted person 
Qualified in the Gold Crew and later became COB after Vic Church.  I left 
HC in Jan 1966 to go to OCS as a Warrant Supply Corps.  That ended my 
submarine career, but I continued on (mostly shore duty) until Jan 1978 when I 
retired as a W-4.  I am now about to retire (July 11th) as Vice President 
of Marketing with the C.Lloyd Johnson Co. in Norfolk.  Life has been good 
to me.  Carol and I will celebrate 48 years of marriage in Oct.  We 
had two more children after I left the HC.  I have been in touch with Pete 
Larson, the supply officer in the Blue Crew.  He was the CEO of Brunswick 
Corp.  I have seen Bob and Katy Lacy several times of the past years. 
Dick Pickering MTC who made LDO in 1965, lives in Honolulu.  I have talked 
with him, but we were unable to get together the last time I was in 
Hawaii.  I am sure there must be some HC crew members in Norfolk from the 
63-66 time frame.  If so, give me a call.  757-495-7994, or at work 
until 7-11-03 @ 800-446-8089, ext 275.  My e-mail

Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 20:36:43 EDT



Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2003 16:45:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: john mcveigh <>
Subject: Re: Jack McVeigh

Hello All'

        I hope this e-mail finds you all well and prosperous.  I was doing a web
search and was very surprised to find Pat St Romain had a site, when I checked
it out I was even more surprised to find a picture of all the old E-DIV guys and
their families.

        I am still in the Navy serving as a CDR and a Commanding Officer in the
Baltimore,MD area. (I know many of you are thinking how in the world did that
happen, he was such a schmuck!) Well some things just fell into place.  Pilar and
I moved back from Italy last fall, and we are enjoying the WASH DC metro area.

        I travel for business all over the eastern half of the U.S. with occasional trips
to CAL and Texas.  Don't know where all of you are but if you want to drop me a
line if I am in the area maybe we can have a few brews.  If you get to the DC area
look me up.


Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 23:05:00 -0400
Subject: Addition to sailing list

  Hey mates, I just became aware of this site yesterday and have spent
about four hours on it looking at dates, names and pictures.  It's great
and I would like to have my name and info added to the sailing list.  I
recognize almost all the names and can recall faces to go with most of
them that are listed in the commissioning crew (Gold) list as I was one
of them.  I first served on a diesel boat, the USS Odax, out of
Charleston, SC, and earned my dolphins on board, making runs to Cuba,
the Bahamas and in the Bermuda Triangle area playing war games with DD's
and DDE's.  I asked for and with a little help from my congressman, got
orders to a nuclear boat. I reported to Henry Clay in new construction
at Newport News SB&D in June, 1963 as an MM3(SS), was assigned to the
"A" gang and became qualified on the Clay during construction, am a
plank owner and have my very special certificate in good shape. Was on
board during sea trials, and chose to ride the DE during the first
surface to air missile shot and watched through binoculars from the
deck.  Some crewmembers were asked to volunteer to ride the surface ship
and observe this shot to  make room for the civilian defense contractors
and dignitaries to be aboard the Clay.  I made all the Gold Crew Patrols
until my discharge on April 11, 1968 as Charles M. Garriss, MM1(SS).

   I have many fond memories of my time aboard the Clay and times spent
in port whether it was Charleston, SC while the Blue crew was on patrol,
or in Rota or Dunoon during refits.   I, like some others,  worked hard
and partied hard, have some sea stories I may share later.

    I went to work for Hercules after discharge as a planner and
scheduler in maintenance at a large chemical facility, and retired from
that facility as a maintenance supervisor on Leap Day, 1996.  My wife,
Barbara and I have two grown sons and two grandchildren. You have my
e-mail and my mailing address is: 141 LaSalle St, Wilmington, NC 28411

   P.S.  As a crew member,  I was given a color 8-1/2 X 11 photo of that
fabulous surface shot, but misplaced it over the years,  My printer
doesn't do a very good job on color photos from the web and I would like
to know if other copies are available.

Charles M. Garriss, MM1(SS)


To add your wit to this page, send email to:

Please send all comments, corrections and harrassments to:

Return to the top of the page

Return to the USS Henry Clay home page

© 2009 Gerald A. Pollack