USS ALBACORE - "Forerunner of the Future" - AGSS 569 - Pioneering Research Vessel
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Flotsam + Jetsam

A LAMENT

Author Unknown

A weary, battered sailor, in the evening, very late
Trudged slowly up to heaven and approached the Pearly Gate.

Saint Pete came out and took his name but then he said, "Now look,
"It seems you've made a mistake, your name's not in the book."

Now few would care to argue with the Heavenly Exec,
That stern and awesome Dean of Men at Hallelujah Tech.

The sailor though was one who would. He said, "Now listen friend,
"I'm coming through those pearly gates, on that you can depend.
"Perhaps my name's not on the PAMI entry for today,
"But you can send the change in when the next draft comes this way.

"And if you'll check your tickler file, you'll find me there I know,
"Among the crew that's due aboard in twenty years or so."

Saint Peter called the yeoman and the yeoman went away,
But soon returned and told the battered sailor that he could stay.
They opened up the portals and the sailor passed them by,
To go aboard the mighty ship which sails the evening sky.

And as they altered course a bit to circle 'round the moon,
Saint Peter asked him, "Tell me, boy, how come you came up so soon?'
"With all the varied duty to be had across the nation,
"Why rush to check in early at your final duty station?"

The sailor said, "I'll tell you, Sir, but first I'll have to try,
"To fill in all the background, leading up to 'where' and 'why'.
"You wouldn't understand the reason for my hasty act,
"Until I tell you all of it. Not fiction, Sir, but fact."

"I went aboard a submarine way back in '39,
"A happy ship, a happy crew, and I liked it just fine.
"And even when the war broke out and things got fairly tough,
"I still could say, quite truthfully, I hadn't had enough."

"But when the war was over, matters went from bad to worse,
"As all the new developments descended like a curse.
"The Guppy came along, my friend, and with it greater speed,
"The snorkel and other things the powers had decreed,

"Were added 'til the submarine arrived at such a state,
"They needed something new to keep progressing at this rate.
"Then, looking for a better way to penetrate the screen,
"Some genius invented the atomic submarine.

"And so it went until at last there came that fateful day,
"I wished that I might turn around and go the other way.

"To ride the boats called "S" and "R" and even "O" and "P",
"In fact, I thought the Holland would be good enough for me.
"To live again the days when it was good to be alive,
"When, if no daylight could be seen, the boat was rigged for dive.

"To heave around on Kingstons in the grime and in the heat,
"To cruise below the surface down at test depth - 50 feet.
"To take her down at three degrees and when the day was done,
"To surface heading for the barn at four knots - full on one.

"But this was quite impossible. You can't turn back, I know,
"So I resigned myself to learn to like the status quo.
"Then came the day when things were slow, developments were dull,
"Somebody went ahead and designed a different underwater hull.

"Instead of moving backward, I moved forward even more,
"I got a set of orders to the brand new Albacore!
"I can't describe it properly, it really must be seen,
"It doesn't even seem to be a proper submarine.

"From topside - well, it looks to me just like a wounded whale,
"That's feebly swimming through the sea without a head or tail.
"But down below it's different. There, I must admit,
"It's almost like a submarine, but certain things don't fit.

"For instance, hanging throughout the boat as handy as can be,
"Are trolley straps - just like on street cars down in Tennessee.
"And terminology is strange, I really hate to say,
"The ordinary orders that they give from day to day.

"No more do you hear "Fifteen Down" go drifting through the night,
"Instead its things like 'Peel Her Off' and 'Bank Her To The Right'.
"The Diving Officer is gone, a Pilot's in his place,
"I tell you Pete, the submariners' really lost the race.

"If this keeps up, it won't be long 'till aviator green,
"Becomes the standard uniform on every submarine.
"With this in mind, an awful thought grew slowly in my head,
"And filled my very being with a deep, foreboding dread.

"I didn't stick around to see if I was right or wrong,
"Instead I packed up my gear and quietly said 'So Long'.
"And that is why I'm here tonight, ahead of schedule, true,
"But for a man of principle, that's the only thing to do.

"My worry? Well I'm certain it's the aviators' wish,
"To take away our dolphins and award us Flying Fish."

Saint Peter sadly shook his hand and slowly walked away,
And he called the duty angel on the wardroom XJA.
"You'd better keep your boys around tomorrow afternoon,
"A lot of submariners will arrive here fairly soon."

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