The broom thing
was a personal choice. I don't honestly know who did it first, and I
think the criteria varied, depending on the Skippers ego. It was
certainly nothing official.
Whoever did it
first PLANNED to do it. World War ll Submarines did NOT carry brooms, normally.
Yes, it was Morton
that raised "Billie Hell" about the torpedoes not exploding.
In the late summer of '43 I was one of about six or eight torpedomen
that hauled Warheads down from the Ammunition Bunkers in the Aiea Mountains
to the Sub Base. We lifted them up on a tall Crane and dropped them on
a steel plate. There were several boat skippers and COMSUB staff
people directing us and "Looking over our shoulder" as we
scrapped the Warhead off the plate and examined the exploder
mechanism. There was no danger because they did not have detonators or
Boosters in them. Morton was one I remember but I don't remember any
other names. Yes, Lockwood came around a few times. Hell, we must've
busted up 50 or 60.
What was funny to
me was watching this Kanake, sitting about fifty feet from us, melting
the Torpex out of the busted Warheads with a blow torch. Ordnance 101,
it takes 1200 degrees to ignite Torpex. A blow torch only makes about
400 to 500 degrees. Just enough to melt the Torpex but not enough to
ignite it. I thought that was pretty cool. For those of you that
remember the temperatures better than me, my figures admittedly are
not exact but it makes the point about melting the stuff and igniting