Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 10:46 AM
Subject: The Sub That Probably Never Was
Dear Mr. Sullivan:
I know that it has taken me a very looooooong time to
reply to your letter - - but, here I am. Better late than never.
As I had written Mr. Kortegaard, my
father, _________________ served on the U.S.S. Wantuck back in 48 & 49.
Your article about the "possible sinking of a sub" really interested me
because my father had always said something about this subject too.
Mr. Kortegaard replied back to my letter -- and later
that day me and my mother (I had to show her what I had found) called Mr.
Kortegaard -- and yes, he said that he knew my father.
On the sub subject --- my father wrote a letter to my
sons back in 1994 about a book ("The Circle") that he wanted my sons to read
because it described being on a ship like the Wantuck. In his letter he
then went into different subjects about being in the service.One part of the
letter is about being in the Bearing Sea and states:
"For 5 weeks we carried a special Engineering group
to survey certain Islands for airfields to be built later.
Their map draftsman had an attack of burst appendix
and was flown out. So I took his place and did his map work ashore on the
islands and did the final map work for them.
One of our other missions at the The Circle was to
volunteer to test new navy wet suits in the Arctic waters with our UDT team
and also experimented with new types of underwater explosives to blast holes
through 30 or 40 feet of ice .....
We also sank a Russian Mini
Sub. I still can't say where or why because we all had to sign a special
secret acts document."
My father never had a computer or was never in
contact with any other service guys -- so it was very strange to read your
account of this. There would be no way of him knowing what you had written.
Dad was a radioman and at one time did work with the map people because we
have pictures with him and someone (who looks Asian named "George") on shore
and on a "duck". Also -- dad had an old photo of the Wantuck that had
different information printed on the bottom -- at one spot it says "Subs -
Anyway -- I sent some of dad's pictures with my
brother-in-law for him to scan (I don't have a scanner) them and send them
on to Mr. Kortegaard. I picked pictures that to me seemed the most
interesting -- ones with other guys in them having fun. One picture has dad
and a group of guys playing cards on "The Perch". He has a small note
written on it that he was on this sub for a little while. Another is a
group of guys (with my father) who are "hanging" another shipmate - it
states that they are in "The Bearing Sea '48-49.
I wish that I had asked my father more -- but females
are not very good at war stuff.
It might be interesting to note that after dad was out
of the service he became an engineer for AMF, Hughes and later LTV in
Dallas. At the end of the Vietnam war all government contracts were going
belly-up and a bunch of men were looking for jobs. My dad said "to hell
with this!" and moved our family out to the country of East Texas where he
later got a job drawing maps for the local telephone company. Dad retired
from this job about 6 mo. before he passed away from cancer.
As I wrote before - my sons were very impressed with my
father -- dad always treated them like adults, which they respected. My
oldest son later tried to join the Marine Reserves during high school (for
when he was later going off to college) -- but could not because of his poor
eyesight. He went on to Texas A&M University and graduated last summer. My
youngest son (who also wears glasses - but whose eyes are not as bad) went
on the join the Navy where he works on the U.S.S. Nimitz in San Diego as an
IT. He loves it!
Dad had told the boys about going through rough seas and
storms around the Arctic -- my youngest son did get to see first hand what
that was like. About two weeks after Sept. 11 -- the Nimitz took off from
Norfolk without much fanfare to go around "The Horn" of South America and up
to its new port of San Diego. Sean said that going around the tip of South
America and Antarctica was really wild! All crew members not working had to
stay in their berths during one portion of the trip - and the ship lost all
kinds of things in the sea! He wondered how small ships can even make it
through this area. New adventures!
Well enough of my family! I just thought that I needed
to finally write you back and also to let you know that pictures are going
to Mr. Kortegaard. I am sure that my brother-in-law will have sent him the
pictures in the next couple days and I think that Mr. Kortegaard can just
zap them to your computer after he receives them. I hope that some of the
pictures bring back some better memories of having a good time with the
Copyright 2002. R. E. Sullivan, Ph.D. All rights
reserved. No part of this document may be copied, faxed, electronically
transmitted, or in any other manner duplicated without express written
permission of the author.