Today’s submarine sea story comes from Larry Smith, who served aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (SSBN-600). It is entitled, “The Barber Chair.”
“Cape Canaveral is a great liberty port, even if you’ve got the Duty. I spent my last night onboard the Roosevelt standing Topside watch at the Cape. …It was a beautiful, clear, quiet night. Every now and then, the Rec. Van would drop off some sailors back from liberty, in various states of inebriation. Then, near the end of my watch, a pick up truck stopped on the pier, and two sailors jumped out of the back with a barber chair. I recognized them as a Torpedoman called McPig and another Fire Control Technician everyone called Snidely Whiplash. Being an ever-alert sentry, I realized that this was not a usual occurrence, even in Florida, so I challenged them with, ‘What in the world are you guys doing with a barber chair?’ Petty Officer McPig told me, ‘Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies’ and since I hate being lied to, I quit asking questions.
“The next day, I was transferred to the [USS George] Washington [SSBN-598], but we all ended up in Pearl Harbor a few months later. One night, in the Enlisted Club, I was able to get some follow-up to the great Barber Chair Caper. I don’t know how they got the chair down the hatch, but they somehow got it all set up in the Torpedo Room. Well, apparently, the Captain had absolutely no appreciation for having a full-sized, regulation, fully-functional barber chair in a compartment designed to wreak death and destruction on enemy ships. He, like everyone else onboard, naturally assumed the chair had been improperly purloined, so he ordered it removed. And so, it was removed, never to be seen again, at least not until they arrived in Pearl Harbor, where it miraculously reappeared.”