Blower Overhauls – Yokosuka Japan 1972

Enginemen Russ “Bogie” Bogar & Bill “Lanny” Lanahan 1972 Blower Overhauls

When Sailfish left Sub Base Point Loma for West-Pac in 1972 and I was an After Engine Room Oiler, we were in transit headed for Korea to fuel up, take on stores, and make any minor repairs before heading out for operations in the Tonkin Gulf.  About half way through the transit, Number 1 main engine started sounding like it was going to explode.  There were these loud clanking noises that all of a sudden sounded like one hundred coal miners using hammer drills inside of the blower on #1 Main.

Once the main was secured, it was immediately obvious that the bearings on the blower lobe shafts had suffered major failure, and the two lobes of the blower were beating against each other.  The paint on the blower housings where the bearings were located were no longer a slick shiny ‘Navy Grey’, but more a cracked dull ‘Burnt Black’, on the outside from the excessive heat produced when bearings fail and metal parts start chewing against each other.







With one main engine down, the decision was made to continue on course with the three remaining main engines…. It wasn’t more then 48 hours later when the same thing happened to #2 Main engine!  It was obvious that something serious was taking place with those blowers since now we were two main engines down – both in the same engine room!

A decision was then made to change course and head directly to the shipyards in Yokosuka Japan.  Once the boat arrived in the shipyard, the Enginemen in both engine rooms were placed on ‘Port and Starboard’ work schedules – 12 hours on, 12 hours off and were assisted by shipyard workers until the blower overhauls were complete.

I believe that the repairs lasted for almost a month, and I remember the entire Sailfish crew (other then the Enginemen) complaining about being ‘broke’ from spending way too much time at places like the ‘Starlite’ and ‘Dumb Shit Okies’ – two of the several favorite watering holes for submarine sailors.

As for Bogie and myself, when the overhauls were complete and the boat finally made ready to return to operational status, we were finally granted one nights liberty.  After each of us purchased a ‘War-Club’ of Akadama wine and spent about an hour or so draining them at the ‘Starlite’, we ended up in a brawl with some ‘Skimmers’ outside the bar.

All I remember next was being in a jail cell with Bogie and the Shore Patrol saying something to the Sailfish Duty Officer like,… “Yea, got ’em both in a cell together… Right now one of ’em is on his knees feed’n the sh*tter while the other is standin’ over him takin’ a piss.” 

To this day I’m not sure which one of us was doing what,………… but one things for certain…….. To this day I have never ever drank Akadama wine again!

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Author: Lanny

Known as the 'King of Run-on Sentences", Bill "Lanny" Lanahan served aboard the Sailfish as an Engineman from November 1971 until June, 1975. After 7 years in the Navy, Lanny spent 15 years as a Caterpillar Marine Analyst before accepting a position with the Department of the Interior working for the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Lanny retired in 2012 and currently resides at his "Mini-Wildlife Refuge" located in Middle Georgia with his wife Connie and his dog Griffin.

7 Replies to “Blower Overhauls – Yokosuka Japan 1972

  1. That Akadama wine was like cough syrup I remember I in Pearl having a intelligent conversation with a light pole at least I thought it was intelligent at the time.

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