Attended boot camp and EN School at Great Lakes, IL
Transferred to Naval Submarine School, New London, CT
for Basic Submarine School.
Reported onboard my first boat, the USS Spinax, SSR (489), stationed in New London in 1949. Was assigned to the Auxiliary Gang because I was a high school vocational machinist graduate and the Chief was looking for someone who could grind in valves. This qualification provided me with many hours setting on the head stools grinding in mishandled flushing valves. The Spinax was transferred to Norfolk in 1950, to Squadron 6 in Norfolk, when the squadron was moved from Panama to Norfolk. The boat made a four-month trip to the Mediterranean and, upon return to Norfolk, was transferred to Squadron Three in San Diego, CA. The Spinax, being a Picket Radar boat, seemed to be looked at as a submersible destroyer picket radar vessel and not something the submarine force knew how to operate. The boat arrived in San Diego in June the day the North Koreans moved on the South. Soon the Navy found a use for the Picket Radar and three more converted radar boats arrived in San Diego from the reserve fleet in Mare Island. We were not the only hermaphrodite submarine anymore. During 1951, the Spinax made what the official record calls a two-month training cruise in Hawaiian waters. Didn't know Hawaiian waters included waters above the Aleutian Islands and off Siberia.
Fought a battle and lost, got married while on the Spinax when I was promoted to EN2(SS). You may recall that, at that time, you had to be a second class and have the CO's permission to marry. If you were not second class you got no BAQ, etc.
Received orders to the re-commissioning of the USS Tunny (SSG 282). Commander Osborn, Commanding. The Tunny was a WWII Fleet Boat provided with a large tank on the after deck, to hold two Regulas I missiles. Our first deterrent (Ho Ho) submarine. The boat was stationed in Port Hueneme, Calif., along with the Cusk and Carbonnaro. The Cusk and Carbonnaro provided radar down the track guidance when the missile was over the horizon and our radar could not guide the missile. I served as an auxiliaryman, missile crew hanger operator and maintenance. During the exciting times of launching missiles, the wife also got into the action and launched a son, daughter and son. Then we purchased a TV.
I was transferred TAD to the Regulas I Missile School at Dam Neck,VA, and qualified as a Regulas Ordinance and Propulsion Mechanic. My NEC's at this time were, Submarine Qualified Diesel Engineman, Air conditioning/Refrigeration, and Aviation Machinist. When I returned to Port Hueneme, CA, the Tunny was in the Shipyard in Mare Island. I reported into GMU 50, the Tunny Missile Support Unit, for an order endorsement, to forward me to the shipyard. The GMU 50 O in C, Commander Osborn, heard my request of the yeoman and came from his office to tell me to unpack my bags, he had my orders changed to the Missile Unit while I was en route across country.
GMU 50 was a busy time as the Regulas Test program was still ongoing. In 1957, the Regulas II missile was being developed and special boats to launch them. The Regulas I boats and half of GMU 50 crew
were sent to Hawaii as a forward operation. Commander Osborn, Commanding. The Unit now was designated GMU 90.
After two special years in Hawaii, I requested Nuclear Power School. It was becoming obvious there was no future for an EN in the solid fuel Polaris missiles coming down the line. I received orders to Nuclear Power School in 1959 and almost a divorce from the wife who jokingly wanted to send me on my own. She did not want to leave the Islands. Prior to our departure from Hawaii ,the Nautilus came into port and we got to see several of our old shipmates from the Spinax. I also got a look see at my future operating environment. The next we heard about the Nautilus she had transitted the North Pole and visiting England.
Nuclear Power School in New London, CT, and Idaho was unmentionable.
Never had to study so hard in my life, but it paid off in the long run.
I reported to the commissioning crew of the USS Patrick Henry (SSBN599). The Patrick Henry was the second FBM. With the George Washington on patrol, the Henry was selected to do some launch-proving operations. The qualification launches for the Blue Crew was exciting. The first missile launched, fell back into the ocean, broke into three flaming sections, and burst over the ocean in three main directions. The second was hot straight and normal. The Gold Crew launched the first qualification missile and I was standing at launch tube 16 damage control station. We heard and felt the boat bounce, then a splash overhead, and a crunch and scraping as the missile slid over the port side and down the hull by the reactor compartment. A visual inspection revealed the missile rocket nozzles cut four holes in the superstructure over the reactor compartment, like they were cut by a cookie cutter. The second launch was hot straight and normal.
After the two qualification launches of the Polaris Missile by each crew (Blue and Gold), the Henry loaded six missiles and the Gold Crew headed for the tongue of the ocean to conduct a ripple fire of all six missiles. We then returned to New London and turned the boat over to the Blue Crew for the first Pat Henry Patrol. Our Gold Crew met the boat at the end of the Blue Crew patrol in Holy Loch, Scotland, where we assumed the boat and made the first FBM patrol from Holy Loch.
After the first Patrick Henry patrol, seven of the Pat Henry first class and chief PO's were selected for commissioning to ENS and LTJG. I was one of them selected.
After three months in Knife and Fork School in Newport, RI, I reported to the Sea Owl for a very rewarding two years of my career. Six months as Assistant Engineer during the engineering FRAM overhaul in Phil NSY, and the remainder as First Lt .and Weapons Officer. Promoted to LTJG during this tour, thanks to all who worked for me and made my department so good, we won a hash mark award. I had a picture someone had taken of me with one foot on the sail handrail and one on the cable handrail painting the stripe on the sail, which I have lost. I would never qualify as safety officer. Sure would like to get another copy of that picture.
I was transferred to Deputy Commander Submarines Atlantic Fleet soon after the Thresher had been lost. My position was Asst SSN Material Officer, US Atlantic Fleet. The SSN Material Officer had taken the opportunity to ride the Thresher on the fateful trial. This tour was a whirlwind with all of the Thresher search briefings and implementation of the Sub Safe program specifics.
I transferred to the Simon Lake (AS 33). Captain Osborn, Commanding. In fact, the Simon Lake wardroom had nine former Tunny cewmembers that had been commissioned since 1953. Promoted to LT and assigned Assistant to the Repair Officer, then transferred to the Engineering Department as E & IC Officer. At this time, I was working for an Engineering Officer that had been an ENFN when we served on the Spinax in 1949-1953. The last time I had seen him was on the Nautilus in Hawaii before the Northern Passage. The tour in Scotland was a memorable tour. One wonderful country of people, scenery, but horrible, lousy climate.
I was transferred to NavSub School and assigned as the Assistant Administrative Officer and Legal Referral Officer. The assignment as Legal Referral Officer made this billit interesting, as I was required to investigate Line of Duty for any sailors that died or were injured. Also was designated one of two officers to investigate the New London escape tank fire.
Transferred to the USS Fulton (Building AS 11) in New London. Promoted to LCDR during this tour, and retired from the Fulton in 1972. Of interest, is that the same Nautilus former shipmate, I had seen in Hawaii before the Nautilus's Northern Passage, reported to the Fulton as my relief.
We had come a long way since 1949.
My mechanical engineering operating experience and nuclear training and operating experience was instrumental in gaining employment in the country-wide expanding commercial Nuclear Power Plant construction. After three years in construction at Salem 1 & 2 Power Plants, I moved over to the Utility in maintenance. I was designated the Inservice Inspection and Test Engineer (ISI & T). I remained with PSE&G of NJ for five years and left for temporary work offered by a nuclear service company. I was offered three-months work during refueling outages and three months off. Shades of the FBM patrol schedule. Unfortunately, two weeks after the TMI 2 accident, I was assigned there to supervise installation of recovery systems for a year.
After three years on the road, I was requested to return to PSE&G's new nuclear power plant, Hope Creek, to establish the ISI and T program. Remained for five years and left to establish my own corporation, GLD-ISI. I provided ISI & T consultant services to Gilbert Engineering at Nine Mile Point Plant 2 for two years.
I was offered a job at the Savannah River Plant establishing an ISI & T program for the "K" reactor, and assist with the construction and operation of the Consolidated Incinerator Facility designed to burn and collect low level radiological ash for burial.
Retired in Aiken, SC, in January 1997
A fine retirement town, known for its winter northern residents that bring their horses to Aiken for the winter. This has been the routine since the '20's. Each Spring, the city holds flat horse races one weekend, steeple races the second weekend, and sulky races the third weekend. The horses then leave town for the many race tracks around the country. Now, we also have lobster races, to be held next weekend, but I cannot come up with any reasoning as to why.
Glenn Duncan, LCDR
Subs: SSR489, SSG282, SSBN599, SS405
Missile Units GMU50, 90, AS 11,
Sub Tenders: AS 33
Glenn Duncan Passed away 10/04/2002.
"Sailor & Shipmate, rest your oar"