Event 1000

By Arvard Thompson, EN2 (SS),
U.S.S. Irex (482) Newsletter, November 2005, p. 3

In 1952 we were operating out of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands participating in Operation Spring Board. Word came down to the boat asking for volunteers to go out on the submarine rescue vessel USS TRINGA and descend in the McCann (invented by Swede Momson) submarine rescue chamber and board the IREX. Wally Krupenevich and I along with two or three other crewmen were chosen to participate in this exercise. The next day IREX went out and sat on the bottom at the 100 ft. level. TRINGA was positioned over the boat and made a four point moor.

Our group had been sent up to the 02 deck of TRINGA, out of the way of her crew, while they prepared the rescue chamber and the hardhat divers for their part in the operation. During the course of the day the TRINGA crew suited up, rigged out and sent down four or five hard hat divers. They also prepared the rescue chamber and rigged it out over the side. At that point the five of us and two operators entered the rescue chamber through the top hatch. It was a little crowded but there was sufficient room.

The divers had connected the downhaul cable from the chamber to the forward torpedo room escape trunk hatch of IREX. The operators took us down and attached the chamber to the boat. We then entered the IREX through the escape trunk. At that point four or five of the IREX crew (I think one was my friend Bob Parnell) entered the escape chamber and made the ascent back to the surface. Observing the expertise of the TRINGA crew and their hard hat divers and the proficiency of the two rescue chamber operators was a reassuring experience. I for one was convinced that if push came to shove and they ever had to come down and get us we would be in the best hands possible.

Ed [Wally K.]: Yes, I rode the bell down that day, along with “Tommy” Thompson and a few others. I was always on the lookout to do something different and new, and this fit right in. The TRINGA crew busted their collective butts that day, and threatened to put us to work if we didn't keep out of their way. [Wally adds: I received an e-mail from “Gunner” Guest, stating that he also made the trop down in the McCann bell, and thought that (Roger) LaPoint, a TM, was also with us.]

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