The 'Lovely Kids' Strike Again

by Capt. Harry M. Yockey, (USN Ret.)

On board SIRAGO in late '61 or early '62, CDR Raymond Anderson (type 'A' aggressive personality) had relieved CDR Bernie Peters (quiet, efficient and highly respected) as CO. (Anderson's first sentence in his standing orders was, "I like angles!" and he demanded that all diving officers use maximum angles-plus when changing depth.)

LCDR John Mackenzie was XO, LT John Roberts (USNA, '56) was Engineer and I ('57) was Communicator-Electronics-RPS Custodian. ENS Ken Savage ('60) had just reported aboard from Sub School. He was among the first group of submarine officers who did not have to first qualify as OOD underway on a surface vessel before applying for submarines, i.e., he was really wet behind the ears.

We were operating with ASW Task Group ALFA on two-week cycles (out 2, in 2) and we had 10 officers (2 extra) due to the SSBN training pipeline. It was usual to leave one officer and several crewmembers ashore each underway period to alleviate 'hot' bunking.

In those days, many in the crew really enjoyed a CPO cup filled with cocoa mix, powdered cream, sugar and hot water which became known as a 'lovely' -- a great cold weather substitute for a black and bitter. Shortly after Anderson relieved Peters, we had an all-officers meeting in the wardroom, all with our coffees and the CO with his usual black and bitter while smoking his 'El Presidente' cigar.

The stewards mate entered and delivered a 'lovely' that ENS Savage had asked for before the meeting began. When the CO saw this frothy drink he asked what it was and, instead of saying hot cocoa, ENS Savage said,

"A lovely, Sir."

Anderson nearly went ballistic! He claimed that 'lovelies' were not manly. After a short tirade he outlawed lovelies on the ship. Many of us thought he was joking until the next underway period a few days later.

ENS Savage had the 4-8 watch on the bridge. The CO had a set routine in the AM. Wake at 6, coffee and cigar in the WR at 0615, followed by a trip to the bridge (surfaced) or conning tower (submerged) then breakfast at 0700. Of course the 'no lovely' decree had become common knowledge with the crew. And, as you know, the crew as a whole on a tight knit diesel boat has quite a sense of humor.

So, after the CO went to the wardroom, the chief of the watch, who was also the COB, had the messenger of the watch prepare a 'lovely' for ENS Savage. He held it until about 0628 when he had it delivered to the bridge. ENS Savage was thrilled that the crew liked him enough to be so considerate and thoughtful.

Until about two minutes later when "CAPTAIN TO THE BRIDGE," came over the 7MC from the QM of the watch in the conning tower. Ken Savage should have heaved the cup overboard! The poor Ensign was chewed out royally as soon as the CO spotted the lovely. And of course the CO chewed out the XO for not carrying out his order banning lovelies. It was gradually sinking in that he really meant it!

John Roberts and I had a talk about this. We still were skeptical that anyone could outlaw the consumption of a harmless food product. So we decided that some fun could be had by depositing a package of cocoa mix along with a note 'The Lovely Kid' and, thereafter, 'The Lovely Kid Strikes Again' where the CO would be certain to find it. We figured that with two of us it would be extremely difficult to pin the 'crime' on either one.

I would plant (usually in the CO's stateroom under a pillow or on the desk) while Roberts was on watch and he would reciprocate. We even got our wives involved. We operated with a carrier so we got mail drops at sea. We would prepare a mailing envelope 'FOR CO's EYES ONLY' and have it mailed a few days after we were underway and both of us on board so the postmark would cover our tracks.

The CO would become furious and rail at the XO. But, we were never caught. Finally, John Roberts got out of the Navy (I relieved him as Engineer) and I thought I had better cool it because I was going to be aboard another year. I did about two more 'Lovely Kid' plants after John left so his good name would be protected.

By the way, the late Ray Anderson was a great CO. Because of him I qualified for command during my first submarine tour and was first in USNA '57 to do so. Also, I've never 'publicly' owned up to this charade, which got a lot of laughs on board for many months. John and I are the only ones who knew beside our wives. We couldn't trust bring anyone else in on our secret.

Although I've never been to Bell's, I suspect the 'lovelies' there were of a different shape and style...