Smoke Storage Locker
by Thomas Keheley MM2(SS), USS Lapon SSN-661
USS Lapon (SSN-661) pulled into Naples and had to tie up outside the breakwater because we were instruments of war. We had the reactor running to provide power. The tender sent liberty boats out to pick up sailors from several ships and we were their last stop. I was standing topside waiting on the boat when the word was passed to "Prepare to snorkel." I thought nothing of it and was the first in the boat when it pulled up.
The guy next to me looked at the boat, looked at me and asked, "What's your rate?" I responded that I was an MM2(SS) and he said, "Good, I have a question. I am a BT. What do you do with the smoke?" I asked what smoke and he replied, "That thing runs on steam, right? To get steam you boil water, to boil water you have to heat it up. To heat it up you have to burn something. When you burn something, it makes smoke. What do you do with the smoke when you are submerged?"
Being a nuke, I gave him a long explanation on nuclear power, thermal neutrons, etc, finally saying "It doesn't make smoke." About that time, the word was passed, "Commence snorkeling." The diesel rumbled to life and all water sprayed out of the sail and a big cloud of smoke rolled out.
The BT watched it for a while, then looked at me and said, "If it was classified that you stored up there 'till you surfaced, you should have just said it was classified instead of feeding me that cock and bull story.
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