Snorkel: The Hardhead Mouse
A story of a submarine mascot
This story was gleaned from an email which began: Hi folks. Last month I attended the 28 boat reunion in Manitowoc Wisconsin. I think there were about 10 - 12 of the Hardhead crew there. It was just great. On the night of the banquet, I walked into the dining area to locate a table for us all to sit at. While walking around I was approached by a gentleman who said, "You were on the Hardhead?" I replied "Yes!" and he then stated "You guys had a mouse on board." To that I said Yes as well. He asked me to tell the tale of it all. He specifically remembered that when we put Hardhead out of commision, that we transfered the mouse to another boat. Someone from the crew said I should share the story. From that I will do my best to share the facts as I remember them. If any of you remember the facts to be different, please let me know. Well. Here goes.
It was either the late part of 1970, or early 71. Hardhead had pulled into Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. We took some stores on board, little did we know that snuggled away somewhere in the stuff was a little mouse of Spanish decent. He managed to find a new hideout somewhere in the After Battery compartment. The crew never really spotted him much except during the times when we would commence snorkeling and started the engines.
He would appear in the Crew's Mess dashing here and there. Doc Kennedy, God Bless him, tried his best to send the mouse to his maker. All his efforts were in vain. As a matter of fact, there were some members of the crew who actually attempted to thwart Doc's efforts. They would scratch little "teeth" marks in the poison so it would appear that the little vermin had eaten it. Doc would get so excited, it is rumored that he used to say "I got him, he ate the poison." Sometimes the crew would just get rid of the poison.
"Snorkel" ran loose for quite sometime under the protection of the crew. Well, eventually when we commenced snorkling, who should appear?? Right! "Snorkel Mouse". He was running around the mess hall and galley area, and then made the mistake of attempting to hide in the persuader bar mounted just over the WT door to the control room. Someone put both hands over the ends, and he was finally captured.
I am not sure to this day what or where we got his initial cage, but we got something to hold him until we got back to New London and picked him up a 1st class Hacienda. We put it on the Control room table near the Mk 19 gyro, and there he lived for the remainder of the boat's active duty.
Backing up a little, prior to his capture, Doc Kennedy was getting ready for retirement. We (the Crew) went to town and purchased a mouse, killed its sorry ass and presented it to Doc at his retirement ceremony. I have a picture of Doc holding the dead mouse by the tail prior to being piped off the boat. I remember Doc asking if it was really "HIM"? Sorry Doc, but we lied...
Getting back to Snorkel, we set him up in a real nice pad. Eventually members of the crew would make some adjustments to his place. They added rooms and made a small Quonset Hut, with a mail box. They installed a tiny TV antenna on the roof, and I believe they actually hung a picture of Captain Kronzer on one of the walls. He lived well.
When we were transfering the boat to the Greeks, the yeoman "Jepkes", actually made out a standard set of orders and we transfered him to another boat. Not sure, but it may have been Jallao??? Apparently the transfer had to go through DevGroup or Squadron, cuz that's where the sailor at the reunion says he saw the orders. It has been said that the Base newspaper, "The Dolphin" actually had an article about the transfer. If anyone can confirm that or has a copy, it would truly be apprecaited. Would love to place it in the ship's history book. Have a great day... Jack aka COB
-- more to the story --
After publishing the above story, I asked Tim Spoon if he knew the last name of "Jack aka COB" and while trying to find the answer, Tim ran into an old shipmate from his Tirante days, Ross Simcox. Ross put Tim in touch with the "COB" who turned out to be Jack Gallimore, EMCM/SS. Oh, and one correction to the story - turns out that the fake dead mouse wasn't really dead, but was a live imposter (which Doc and his son set free upon retirement) - Ed.
-- more to the story, part two (thanks to Tim Spoon for this November 2005 update) --
This is a two-part exerpt from an email exchange between Tom Stearrett and John Wahl:
Tom: Have you read the story on submarinesailor.com about the HARDHEAD mouse? Didn't they transfer him to CORPORAL when they decommissioned? Seem to remember they did. Hope this finds you healthy and happy, John.
John: Tom, you are absolutely right. I went with the snorkel mouse to Corporal SS 346 with a typed set of orders. We bought other mice because we couldnt determine the sex and they were eaten by a torpedoemans snake. This I swear to be true and not a sea story. Tom, keep in touch.
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SubmarineSailor.Com - Published:
November 2004 Last Update: November