The Paint Locker is Open
by Joe Steffler, USS Daniel Webster SSBN-626
We were in refit in Holy Loch, moored starboard side of the Hunley, with another boat moored port side of the Hunley. Battle E was coming up, and we had a short refit so we could cover someone's package. For whatever reason there had been major problems with supply, and there was NO paint anywhere to be had. FTGC Sonny Morrow was my 1st  Lt. at the time, and he and I were really gettin' a lot of grief over this paint issue, which of course we had absolutely no control over.. Finally a load of paint came in, but was for this other boat, who's name I forget now. Well this was all taking place during some final inspections leading up to Battle E awards, so this stupid paint thing was getting, well stupid. 

Anyone that's been in Holy Loch knows what horizontal rain is, and this particular night was one of those, and snow, and sleet, and wind...a lot of wind. It was miserable. I had one of my guys take a radio and go topside on the Hunley, and watch these guys on Deck Div from the other boat working. I figured they'd take a break in one of the Hunley's lounges , which at about 0100 they did. That's when we made our move. We donned our rain gear, including scarves to cover our faces to ummm keep warm, and headed through the Hunley to pay a little visit. There were 5 of us, same as had left their boat. I told 'em to just act like everything was ok, and we'd be fine. We came running down to the boat, and the guys headed for the missile deck line locker like I told them, I had seen the paint stored there earlier in the day. I went right to the guard shack cracked the door and yelled just loud enough to be heard over the wind that we needed to move the paint into the Hunley so it wouldn't freeze. I didn't put my face to the crack, and with the wind and rain the guy couldn't hear or see me well at all, so he had no idea I wasn't from his crew, besides he'd just seen 5 guys leave. Well we pulled it off without a hitch. I knew we had at least a few days because we pulled out about two weeks ahead of them, they had some major repair to something going on, and I "just happened" to talk to an SN off their deck crew who said they wouldn't be painting for about a week.

The next night was mild and clear, we got topside completely painted overnight, and delivered bilge paint to the Nucs, TM's, Mt's, and MM's. The CO/XO were floored. Although very pleased and impressed the CO told me he really wanted to know how I managed to get all the paint when none was supposed to be available, but said he felt it would be a mistake to ask, lol. The next day Group 2 was aboard for the start of the inspection. Topside and the bilges looked great, and yes we did win the Battle E that year. "The ship looking so well when under pressure to do a short refit was impressive to inspectors" was part of what was said during the awards ceremony, lol.

(A few days later, this story took place)

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