The first EOD Team aboard the good ship USS America was LT Carder, SF1 Baker, and AO1 Hart.
We were assigned many collateral duties one of which was underwater surveillance including zincs, screws, and/or anything that didn't belong on the hull.
During the shakedown cruise in and around Gitmo the chief snipe was alarmed about excessive shaft vibrations. Needles to say so was the Skipper, Admiral, COMNAVLANT, and the pentagon. The ship was stopped in mid-stream and the EOD team was ordered ASAP to get below and get photographs of shafts, screws, or whatever with our trusty Nikon UW camera.
LT Noah Carder loaded the film. We launched the rubber boat from the deck-edge elevator and motor whale boat with Marines with rifles for shark protection as several were observed around the boats. We advised that we needed no blood in the water. We went down and checked everything in sight and noted vertical hairline cracks in two of the screws. Took many shots of same and returned to boat. Photo lab people were on hand to rush film to lab. Lab reported no graphics as the film tab was not secured to the take-up spool.
I do not know what occurred between Captain Heyworth and the good LT but can imagine. The Skipper being the man he was took it in stride but advised that COMNAVAIRLANT had temporarily authorized keel hauling. Baker & I loaded the camera, checked the settings/flash and were still in the boat when the skipper hollered something to the effect that it may be best to stay under without pictures.
I respectfully suggested to the Captain that we will get it done and would bet my 10 year old Zippo against his hat. He accepted.
Repeated the dive, played tag with a very large Hammerhead, shot the entire roll and, long story short, ended with very beautiful shots of the screws with cracks clearly visible resulting in a trip to the yards.
Captain Heyworth called the team to the bridge for what I assumed would be Guinness world record ass chewing. He gave us a BZ instead and joke about the screw up.
I had forgotten about the bet and as we were dismissed he handed me his hat. I respectfully refused but was advised that a bet was a bet.
Picture of hat attached. Lots of good memories of many very good Americans and one of the greatest ships in the the Navy.
Shipmate Larry Hart