Today’s submarine sea story comes from Jim Braden, who served aboard USS CASIMIR PULASKI (SSBN-633). It is entitled, “The Key to Waking Up.”

“During a patrol in 1972, one of the fellows in my division called the lounge while we waited for chow call. My buddy on watch didn’t want to miss his favorite meal, so he asked me to make sure his watch relief was up. I went to berthing and found him sound asleep about 15 minutes before he was scheduled to relieve the watch. I shook him and he told me he was awake. He promised that he would be back aft on time to relieve the watch. About 15 minutes later, I got another call from the off-going reactor operator, wanting me to check on the relief. So back I trudged to the berthing area, where (you guessed it) the relief was still sawing logs. I shook him again, spoke to him, got him to stand up next to his bunk and he promised me he would be there to relieve the watch on time. About 15 minutes later, a frantic RO called me and begged me to either relieve him myself or make the relief show up quickly. I went again to the fellow’s bunk, and there he stood, sleeping on his feet. I talked to him, walked him back and forth and finally, he shook his head and asked ‘Are you trying to wake me up?’ To my affirmative answer, he said this: ‘Don’t tell anybody else, but my mom trained me to wake up to the sound of jingling keys. So next time, just jingle your keys next to my ear and I’ll get up right away.’ A few watches later, I went to wake this man up and remembered his words. I held out my keys and jingled them next to his ear. He exploded out of the bunk, jumped into his poopy suit and headed aft to relieve the watch! It was the most amazing thing I ever saw.”