Poignant Ending to Conn Watch

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

One night (either in 1961 or 1962) I had the Conning Officer midnight watch while we were in ASW Task Group ALPHA. Our role was to be the 'mechanical rabbit' for P3s and S2Fs conducting their ASW training sonobuoy searches.

About half way through the watch we heard a lot of Practice Depth Charge (PDC) explosions, which were very distant. We remarked that COBBLER must be getting a good working over because the PDCs were much too far distant to be 'attacking' SIRAGO. About an hour later we received orders to surface and terminate the exercises.

The next morning we were ordered to join a search line with the destroyers to look for any sign of one of the S2Fs, which had gone down earlier. Later that morning SIRAGO's well-trained lookouts found some debris in the water and we maneuvered alongside. Soon our swimmer came back to the boat with an aviator's crash helmet and they passed it up to the bridge. I received the helmet from one of the men on deck and was stunned to see the name 'LT Glenn Goode' inside the helmet.

Now for the rest of the story. Ironically, several months earlier, LT Goode had ridden SIRAGO as part of the cross-pollination training program and I was his host. Then, several months later, I had flown with him in the copilot's seat of his S2F off the deck of the carrier! The multiple PDC explosions we heard during the mid-watch were the PDCs from LT Goode's plane as they reached their set detonation depths after his plane crashed.

I did not fly again for more than four years!