Tim's Story

There are not many seagulls that have gone flying aboard a nuclear submarine but this one did. I'll call him Jonathan because I call all seagulls Jonathan ever since reading Richard's book. It was a lazy Sunday morning when our boat the USS Greenling SSN614 was tied up to a pier in the shipyards in Groton, Connecticut. I was the topside watch that morning, bored out of my skull as I watched a gaggle of gulls rooting out what was their breakfast from the dumpster next to our ship. 

I noticed a roll of binder twine and some masking tape that had been left topside by yard workers. The twine was fashioned into a loop that could close like a lassoo and the whole thing taped a few inches above the debris in the dumpster and left there to await the return of the hungry gulls who did not disappoint me as soon there were as many in the dumpster as there had been before. When the moment seemed right I gave the end of the twine a big tug. I had caught a gull as the loop closed over one wing and under the other. I clicked the switch on the 1MC that makes a clicking noise throughout the ship to let the below decks watch know I needed something.

He was really amazed when he stuck his head out the hatch and I handed him a live seagull. He thought that was pretty cool, and took the unlucky bird down to the galley where the duty people were watching a movie. Now I wasn't there but if you can imagine a bunch of sailors intently watching a movie screen in the galley as a real live seagull flies toward the screen to somewhat interrupt the movie the scene in my mind was somewhat amusing.

The seagull was unceremoniously released unharmed but as far as I have ever been able to determine he/she is the only seagull in the history of the Naval service to ever serve aboard a US Nuclear Submarine. I am certain he had some stories to tell when he got home that night.