"The Goat on the Boat"

(Not to be confused with "The Cat in the Hat". Our apologies to Dr. Suess!)

This is the true story of the Famous Goat and his brief tour of duty on ARCHERFISH........and you thought they only dreamed stuff like this up in Hollywood!

January 18, 1961 - Topped off with 7300 gallons of marine diesel fuel during the morning watch and put in a normal battery charge at night. We are ready to leave the cold of New London and head for the west coast. All that is left to do is say goodbye to the bar maids, taxi drivers, cops and shore patrol. We will do that tonight. Kenneth C. (Pig Pen) Henry * * * *

Speedy and I were wandering down Bank Street when we ran into Nick Ross. He told us he knew a farmer that wanted to sell a rooster and a Billy goat. We jumped in his pickup truck and headed for Groton. We bought both of them for $15.00 and took them back to New London. Galen O. (Turkey Neck) Steck * * * *

What prompted us to want a goat, God only knows. Maybe we were looking for a little loving, and after striking out with every barmaid on Bank Street, decided to try our luck with something really wild. Anyway, we bought the damn thing. The rooster was a bonus, and I think it was included because it and the goat were stable mates, and the farmer didn't want to separate the two. We got back to New London with both of them, and paraded up and down Bank Street until the Shore Patrol stopped us (we were in dress blues). The conversation between the wagon driver (WD) and Shore Patrol Headquarters (HQ) went something like this:

WD: "Hey, we've got two drunk sailors with a goat and a rooster. What do you want us to do with them?"

HQ: (after a long pause) "You've got what!"

WD repeats transmission; another long pause.

HQ: "Are they together?"

WD: "Best I can tell. One says they're all shipmates, and refuses to be parted."

HQ: "How drunk are they?"

WD: "The goat and rooster are sober, I think, but the other two...well...let me put it this way; they're under their own power as long as the goat holds them up. You want us to bring them in?"

HQ: "Hell no! Just tell them to get off the street. And to stay off it!"

Not long after we got back to the Dolphin, a group of us decided we were hungry and we all ended up in the Hygienic Restaurant to get something to eat. The goat acted like he was really hungry, and we figured a salad would taste just right. We ordered a bowl of cereal for the rooster. John D. (Speedy) Gonzales * * * *

Speedy took the goat and I took the rooster into the restaurant. By this time there were four or five other Archerfish sailors with us. We ordered the goat an extra large bowl of lettuce salad and Loony Stevens broke some cigarettes up in the bowl to add flavor. The goat ate the whole thing and was looking for more. At the same time I got the rooster a bowl of corn flakes; he liked them! Galen O. (Turkey Neck) Steck * * * *

My son and I traveled from Norfolk to New London to meet my husband when Archerfish returned. Rick had been transferred to COMSUBRON SIX for shore duty a couple of weeks prior to this incident. I'm sorry to say we were still hanging around New London. It was a Wednesday evening and the three of us were in the Hygienic Restaurant for a late evening meal. We had taken our coats off and hung them on the hooks on the ends of our booth while we were eating. Along with everyone else in the place, we stopped eating to watch a bunch of loud, drunken sailors come through the door and sit on most of the seats at the previously empty counter. To make things worse they had a goat and a rooster with them! I couldn't believe what I was seeing, then my husband Rick went over to talk to them. They were his old shipmate's off of Archerfish. I stared in disbelief. Those guys were the mangiest group of people I had ever seen. They looked and acted like the dregs of society. I was shocked when the waitress not only served them, but fed the goat and the rooster without protest. So much for the name "Hygienic." The final straw for me was when I looked around and saw that damn goat trying to eat the sleeve of my fur coat! Candace Hardin * * * *

When everyone was finished eating it was time to head back to Submarine Base. The rooster and the goat went with us in the trunk of a taxi. When we got to the base the Marine's on the gate checked our I.D. cards and then waved us through. They survived the cab ride and we took them both back to the boat. Galen O. (Turkey Neck) Steck * * * *

It took two cabs to get us all there. When the Marine on the gate leaned over to check our I.D. cards, he could hear the goat banging his horns on the inside of the trunk trying to get out. He asked "What's that noise?" Speedy was sitting closest to the Marine and, as soon as the noise started, he started bouncing up and down on the seat. He was making his head hit the head liner of the cab in time to the goat's horns hitting the trunk lid. He was yelling "It's me; It's me!" The rest of us were stomping our feet on the floor of the cab to further confuse the sound. After a pause to consider the situation, the Marine must have decided it wasn't worth the trouble, and he waved us through the gate. The topside watch just shook his head as we led the goat across the brow and back to the after battery hatch. There was a battery charge in progress and we had a hell of a time getting the goat down the ladder. We finally yelled "Look out below," held it over the hole by its horns and dropped it. The guys that were playing poker in the mess hall got a shock when they looked around to see what had hit the deck! Kenneth C. (Pig) Henry * * * *

January 19, 1961 - I had the duty the night the goat came aboard. I was scheduled for the 04-08 topside watch so I had hit my rack in the after battery early the evening before. Shortly after midnight I awoke to a horrible racket coming from the after battery Goat Locker (CPO's berthing). Soon the noise, and the cause of the noise, disappeared into the crews mess. My curiosity got the best of me and I got up to see what was going on. When I got to the crews mess there was a rooster on one of the tables and a goat by the deep sink. Red Dog was kneeling next to the goat comparing beards. Considering I had only been on board for a couple of weeks, I kept my mouth shut headed for a corner table to watch some real pros in action. Man, were they bombed! Nasty Ness was saying that he could take care of the rooster, which he did. He took it into the galley and I never saw it again. God, I hope he didn't feed it to us later! The goat's buddies were all laughing about how they had taken the goat and the rooster into the Chief's quarters (Goat Locker). They put the rooster on the chest of a sleeping chief that had just come back from leave and was in bad need of both sleep and sobriety. It must have been the aftermath of the chief being awaken by the rooster scratching his chest and the goat eating his blanket that woke me up earlier. It wasn't long before the goat and his buddies headed aft for a tour of the boat. Garrett T. Kelley * * * *

I didn't cook the damn rooster! In fact, I don't think the rooster even made it back to the boat. The only time I even remember seeing the rooster was in the Dolphin. Pig and I were sleeping on the floor in the kitchen when the noise out in the bar woke us up. About that time the goat wandered in the kitchen and looked around. We got up to see what we were missing and when we got to the bar Speedy and Turkey Neck were telling the story about where they got the goat and the rooster. At that point the goat was running loose on the dance floor and the rooster was sitting on the bar. I remember a woman in a booth raising hell about the goat and rooster being in the bar, but I have no idea who she was or who she was with. I do remember that the dress she had on was the same color as the rooster and, since they matched, I thought we should give her the rooster. When we all got back to the boat I lost interest in everything except the poker game that was in progress in the mess hall. Pig and I bought-in and I forgot all about the goat. Jim Blackburn was the below decks watch at the time. Maybe he remembers something about the rooster. Dale A. (Nasty) Ness * * * *

There wasn't room to keep the goat in the after battery, but there was lots of room in the after torpedo room, so we headed aft. When we got to the forward engine room door the goat really put up a fight as he didn't like the noise of the charging engine. Dachenhausen had the charge and said he would watch him. We tied him to the ladder in the after engine room and went back to the mess hall to watch the poker game. Kenneth C. (Pig) Henry * * * *

On Archerfish, the engines in the forward engine room were reversed to what they were on most other Fairbanks boats. The throttles for #1 and #2 main engines were in the aft part of the compartment and the blowers faced forward. We were on the finishing rate of the battery charge, with #2 main engine on line as the charging engine. I was sitting on a bench locker, leaning against the side of #1 main engine doing what all good throttlemen do at that time of the morning when charging batteries in port (you figure it out). My back was towards the water tight door to the after battery, as I was facing the gauge boards. When I felt the pressure change as the door from the after battery was opened, I turned my head expecting to see the below decks watch, or the electrician that was hopping gravities, step into the compartment. Before I realized what was going on, a wild-eyed goat jumped through the door! He had a collar around his neck and there was a long chain attached. As the goat scurried to get away from whoever had the other end of the chain, he finally pulled Jim Moran through the door. My first fear was that the goat's chain would become caught on a fuel line, kick drain, or anything else that would force us to secure the charge. When he got next to the blower intake and felt his hair starting to stand on end he really panicked. I was finally able to pull the goat, and push the line of drunks that were following him, into the after engine room. That's where I left them. The last thing I saw was Turkey Neck Steck feeding the goat lettuce and giving him water as they tied him to the ladder in the after engine room. After they all left him, the goat actually looked relieved that his buddies had gone. Lawrence A. (Doc) Dachenhausen * * * *

I was the charging electrician in maneuvering room. It was a little after midnight when I heard a strange noise coming from the after engine room. We were on the one-engine rate and I could hear what sounded like chains dragging across the deck plates. The last time I had looked up there the throttleman in the forward engine room was somewhere between reading a book and taking a nap, so I knew no work was in progress. Out of curiosity, or boredom, or both, I walked around the cubicle and looked through the watertight door to see what was making the noise. There in the middle of the engine room was a goat! At first I thought it was one of the chiefs, then I realized it was a real live goat. It even had horns and a beard. The only thing that was keeping it in there was that it was chained to the ladder. I could tell right away that the goat didn't like the noise or vibration. I didn't know a goat could shit that much! William E. (Robby) Roberts * * * *

One of the duty engineman was leaning against the deep sink talking with us when Duke Durgin, who was the duty officer came through on his way aft. He saw him and asked "Who has the charge in the engine room?" The engineman answered with a straight face "The goat." Assuming this was another nickname for one of the crew, Mr. Durgin said "Okay," and continued aft. It wasn't long before he was back yelling "There's a goat in the engine room!" The engineman told him "Of course there is; I told you, he has the charge." That was my cue to go topside and relieve the watch before it got any worse. Garrett T. Kelley * * * *

Duke told us to get the goat out of the engine room and off the boat. We tried to convince Duke that he should let us keep the goat as a mascot. Duke presented sound reasons for getting rid of the goat to each of our arguments, except for one. When he tried to reason with us by asking "What about the smell?" One of the troops shot right back "The goat will get used to the smell, we all did." At that point Duke said we could keep him in the after torpedo room for the rest of the night, but we had to get rid of him in the morning. Kenneth C. (Pig) Henry * * * *

I arrived at the boat and realized that we had a beast in one of the engine rooms. All of this was shortly prior to getting underway. A goat had sneaked onto the base by hiding itself in the trunk of a taxi full of our engineers. It was a very funny sight, indeed, but caused me a bit of stress. Stress is often caused when one wants to buckle over with laughter, but must, as a duty, show sincere anger. It was particularly stressful for me as the XO when, as ordered, the engineers were forcing the goat to leave. There was a pair of arms stretched through the hatch from above and a couple of guys trying to push a goat upward with the goat's butt in somebody's face. It was like trying to stuff a live cobra up a tiger's ass. None were happy about the situation, particularly the goat. As I said, I found it quite stressful and am still receiving therapy for goat trauma. David K. (XO) Dimmick * * * *

We found it was a lot harder to get a goat out of a submarine than it was to get one in. After several unsuccessful attempts we tied a line around the goat's horns and a couple of guys went up the after room ladder to pull. We got the goat under the hatch and lifted it as far as we could while the guys topside pulled. Greasy Joe got the goat's ass on his shoulder to support him and we got his head and front quarters in the trunk heading in the right direction. The guys topside pulled, Joe pushed, the goat bellowed and shit all down Joe's back. Joe didn't like it, but then neither did the goat. After a lot of pulling, a lot of pushing, and a lot of shitting, the goat was finally on deck. Once we got him topside, we had to figure out what to do with him. Kenneth C. (Pig) Henry * * * *

Soon after the XO came aboard in the morning, someone from the after room came topside to find the line that we used to raise and lower the GDU cans up and down the after battery hatch. I followed him back to the after room hatch and watched as he dropped one end into the room and yelled to "tie it around his horns." The two of us pulled the line, while others in the room pushed, and still others reached down the hatch and pulled on the goat's horns. Finally he was topside. I don't know who was the happiest, us or the goat. I know he got sick on the after deck as they led him forward to the brow. Not knowing what else to do with him, they tied him to the dumpster at the head of Pier 9 and left him there. It wasn't long before I saw a couple of marines making there way along the head of the piers checking for illegally parked cars. They checked this car, then that one, then this goat, then that car, then another car. Suddenly they slammed on their brakes, backed up, and starred in disbelief at the goat. The goat stared back. They drove down the pier and talked to the topside watch on the boat on the south side of the pier for a couple of minutes, then they came over to talk to me. They wanted to know who the goat belonged to and I told them "I don't know who he belongs to. He was there when I came on watch." I guess the topside watch on the other boat must have told them the same thing, as the sped off to get instructions on what to do next. Thankfully I got relieved before anything abnormal happened. Garrett T. Kelley * * * *

Soon after the marines left the area somebody suggested that the goat was probably hungry, so we took him over in front of Building One and tied him to the fire hydrant with a heaving line. That gave him plenty of room to graze on the lawn, the shrubs, and the flowers in the gardens. There was quite a traffic jam on the lower base that morning as people slowed to stare. A couple of careless drivers even mashed fenders. It wasn't long before some guys in a Navy truck arrived on the scene and took him away. It wasn't fair, we wanted to take him to WESTPAC with us! Kenneth C. (Pig) Henry * * * *

The goat soon became a member of COMSUBLANTMEDGRU staff. Commander George Bond accepted the goat. I last saw the goat while it was working at the Submarine Escape Training Tank with Bond's researchers. I was told that the goat had served well in the field of medical research. He was in a project that involved filling his lungs with a special liquid that allowed him to actually breath underwater for a couple of days. The goat later died of pneumonia while in the line of duty. Someone said that the goat had its former residence somewhere on Bank Street and had shared a co-op, or coop, with the infamous Chicken of Bank Street. David K. (XO) Dimmick * * * *

As an addendum to the story, after returning to the Navy and to New London years later, I was assigned to the Corporal (SS-346). One day I was sitting in a gin mill telling the goat story to a couple of guys at the bar that obviously didn't believe me. You can imagine my surprise when an old guy down the bar a couple of stools broke in and said "That's no sea story guys; he's telling the truth. I was the cab driver!" He continued his story by telling how just as he stopped at the main gate the goat started to kick in the trunk, and at the same time the sailors in the taxi started singing and stomping their feet to cover up the noise the goat was making. It worked and he delivered his passengers, goat and all, to the lower base without further incident. Garrett T. Kelley * * * *

Thursday, 19JAN61. U.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, CT. Sometime between midnight and 03:30. A typical night aboard Archerfish. Duke Durgin is the Duty Officer, a battery charge is in progress, Larry Dachenhausen is the Throttleman in the Forward Engine Room, a goat is chained to the ladder in the After Engine Room, and Robby Roberts has the charge in Maneuvering Room. ("Greasy Joe" Osier introduces the goat to Williams in the After Room & "Red Dog" Balthrop compares beards with the goat in the mess hall.)

So there you have it. The whole story..........Sometimes "truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction"!


Close this window or "click" link to return to the Picture Gallery Page .

Return to ARCHERFISH Home Page


Copyright 1999 A-Fish-L-Blast, Kenneth C. Henry editor /Gerald L. Cornelison - Webmaster
Last revised: May 26, 2000.