USS Alexander Hamilton

REUNITING SHIPMATES OF THE USS ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SSBN 617

During the 3rd or 4th patrol (memory fails me), upon securing snorkeling, the head valve stayed open and we took tons of water down the induction mast into the Fan Room. I was the MTOW and I was in MCLL with a mess-cook getting coffee. About the time, we were ready to come back up to MCML, I noticed water gushing from the ventilation line that comes down the frame bays and terminates in LL. I immediately announced "FLOODING THROUGH MISSILE COMPARTMENT VENTILATION LINE." It took a long time to recover as several fans in the Fan Room were grounded and MCC had also taken on a lot of water in the equipment doors. When I got off watch, I walked down there and the FTBs had all the doors open flushing the insides with fresh water. After several hours, the equipment was dried out and we did a ship's initiated WSRT and counted down all 16 missiles.

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I remember the flood for I was on sonar when it happened and I tink it was the 4th patrol
George I believe we were on watch together . Jack Kepler had the launcher watch and you and I were in the lower level . I believe the problem was that one of the electrodes had blown out of the snorkel mast . Joe Berkel had the dive and after pumping quite a bit of water to sea he requested speed to maintain debth but the con did not reply so he did an emergency blow . We had setelled to over 300 ft befor he gave the BCP operator Chief Russel the order to "Emergency Blow the forward group " I remember passing the word to the con on the 4 MC flooding through the Vent MC lower level . I said vent not ventelation so they thought we were flooding through the hovering vent not the ventalation line. I tried to stuff rags in the ventalation line in the lower to no avail of course . I was a bit shook up . Those were the days .
Richard Winston Sellers Jr said:
George I believe we were on watch together . Jack Kepler had the launcher watch and you and I were in the lower level . I believe the problem was that one of the electrodes had blown out of the snorkel mast . Joe Berkel had the dive and after pumping quite a bit of water to sea he requested speed to maintain debth but the con did not reply so he did an emergency blow . We had setelled to over 300 ft befor he gave the BCP operator Chief Russel the order to "Emergency Blow the forward group " I remember passing the word to the con on the 4 MC flooding through the Vent MC lower level . I said vent not ventelation so they thought we were flooding through the hovering vent not the ventalation line. I tried to stuff rags in the ventalation line in the lower to no avail of course . I was a bit shook up . Those were the days .
40 some years tends to make one forget certain details, but that it an experience that will remain with me forever. I think I was too young (and too dumb) to fully realize the significance of water flooding through a pipe that large.

George Murray said:
Richard Winston Sellers Jr said:
George I believe we were on watch together . Jack Kepler had the launcher watch and you and I were in the lower level . I believe the problem was that one of the electrodes had blown out of the snorkel mast . Joe Berkel had the dive and after pumping quite a bit of water to sea he requested speed to maintain debth but the con did not reply so he did an emergency blow . We had setelled to over 300 ft befor he gave the BCP operator Chief Russel the order to "Emergency Blow the forward group " I remember passing the word to the con on the 4 MC flooding through the Vent MC lower level . I said vent not ventelation so they thought we were flooding through the hovering vent not the ventalation line. I tried to stuff rags in the ventalation line in the lower to no avail of course . I was a bit shook up . Those were the days .

I Ronald Moon was in the lower level of the missle compartment making garbage disposal cans when the flooding happened. 2 missle techs was down with me. The water was going from one side of the sub to the other, I was sacred to no end. It will always be with me as to how close of a call that was.

Ronald, thanks for filling in some additional details that I either forgot or the passage of almost 50 years have clouded my memory. (I had thought that we were down there to obtain either coffee, flower, or sugar which were contained in those 5 gallon aluminum cans. It would be interesting to obtain the official navy reports resulting from this incident since enough time has passed to preclude any claims of the details being classified.

Ronald C. Moon said:

I Ronald Moon was in the lower level of the missle compartment making garbage disposal cans when the flooding happened. 2 missle techs was down with me. The water was going from one side of the sub to the other, I was sacred to no end. It will always be with me as to how close of a call that was.

I remember it well.  We were on the mess decks setting up for the movie when the mess cook complained of water on the floor.  Then emergency sounded and we went to our emergency stations.  I was on the bow planes and watched the depth meter roll down as we kept blowing emergency.  Three times or so to no avail.  We finaly got full power back and drove our way to the surface.  I later went down to MCC and started working on washing, rinsing and drying the computers out.  Modules on the floor where it was real bad.  Took a while to get the 400 cycle back but after WSRT, we were considered up and ready.

Ray Theobald

I was on the 617 when this went down.  I was an FTB and we were just setting up for a movie after dinner.  One of the mess cooks thought he spilled water on the mess deck.  Needless to say it was more than water from the mess deck cleaning pail. The fan room started to pump water instead of air through the boat. My emergency station was the control room, diving chair.

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