Monday, April 26, 2010

Site One: A Look Back At The American Nuclear Submarine Base At Holy Loch, Scotland


I recently contacted an old shipmate who served with me on the USS Saugus (YTB 780), a Navy harbor tugboat, in 1974 and 1975. The tugboat was assigned to the American nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland.

Speaking to my old Navy pal brought back some good memories. The people of Scotland were friendly and kind to me and the many American sailors who were stationed there during the Cold War.

I spent a good bit of time in Dunoon, which was the town nearest to the base, and I had a flat in Glasgow. I also visited Edinburgh quite often, ventured north to visit Inverness and Loch Ness, and I visited a good number of other Scottish cities, towns and offshore islands during my time there. I also visited London.

The Scottish winters are cold and rainy, but Scotland is quite beautiful in the summer. As a student of history, and being Scot-Welsh on my father's side, I enjoyed visiting the many historical sites in Scotland. I also enjoyed visiting the Scottish pubs.

I traveled all over Scotland, the United Kingdom and Europe during those years. 

Below is a photo of me as a young man in "civies" on a Scottish street, circa 1974.


During the Cold War the U.S. Navy base at Holy Loch was the headquarters of Submarine Squadron 14 (COMSUBRON 14). The base, called "Site One," consisted of the USS Canopus, a 644 foot long ship called a submarine tender, a floating dry dock that could accommodate submarines, and a large barge with a super crane. All were anchored in the middle of the loch.

Submarines ventured to Site One from the sea before and after their patrols and tied up to the anchored submarine tender. The submarines received supplies, maintenance and repairs at the floating Navy base.

The base also had several small boats that tied up to the barge. Two of the boats were 100-foot harbor tugboats, which were the workhorses of the bustling naval base.


The USS Saugus and the USS Natick (YTB 760) towed ships, barges, submarines and other craft in, out and around the site, as well as put out fires and broke up oil slicks.

The tugboats were often sent to sea to rendezvous with submarines for medivacs, classified missions and transfers of the COMSUBRON 14 Commodore and his staff. The tugboats also went to sea to perform in exercises with the submerged submarines and then retrieved the torpedoes used in the exercises from the sea.

During the winter months the tugboat sailed into rough and cold seas, gale force winds and high waves.

Working on the tugboat was hard, physical and dangerous, but we were proud of our service. Working with the rugged and independent crew on the tugboat felt like I was serving in McHale's Navy, one of my favorite TV shows from my youth. 

I worked on deck, stood helm watches while at sea, stood security watches in port, and during my second year onboard I was the boat's supply petty officer.     

In the photo of Holy Loch above, the floating dry dock is on the right and the submarine tender is on the left..

You can read about the history of the nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland via the link below:

Below are photos of the base, the tugboat and me:







   



Note: You can click on some of the above photos to enlarge.

121 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your photos and memories of Holy Loch, a duty station that I coveted but to which I never could receive orders; I came close to going to Edzell, Scotland, during my early career as a CT but went instead to GITMO (68-69). Ah, the good old days!

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  2. I have fond memories too of the loch. As I child I used to stay in Kilmun and watch the ship and submarines. My sister and I used to find it very interesting and Dunoon was a lovely place too.

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  3. Awesome article. I served on the USS Hunley AS-31 in 1985 and 1986. What great images. Thanks so much.

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    1. Hey anonymous, pulled in to the Hunley November of 86 on the Rickover, what was the nearest town where sailors would go for a pub, remember getting a pint 'o the heavy, had the BEST fish n chips there too!

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  4. I served aboard the Saugus 1966-67. Enjoyed the pictures, and my time aboard the Saugus

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  5. As a local and still living in Dunoon I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this... I went to the local primary and secondary school with many Americans and I have always felt a connection... No matter where you go in the world theres always someone with a Dunoon story or memory.... Its uncanny.... Thanx for sharing

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    1. I was a US kid from 1986-1990 there. Am wanting to return and live there again. Jon Elkins

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    2. hi anon, I am trying to trace an American couple based there in 1969, they provisionally adopted 2 girls from Glasgow social works dept in 71 and promptly took them to America.would you know of any of the americans were doing this. they are my sisters. I know im clutching at straws, but I know my sisters are looking for me, we just keep missing each other.If anyone knows of any americans doing this please can u help me. xx

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  6. Hi I married a sailor off the Natick in may 1967.Went to live in Detroit with my husband in 1970 We both returned back to Scotland in 1980 and still live in Glasgow We have been married 44yrs.

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    1. I was stationed on the NATIC in Nov of 67 so I may know your husband.

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    2. Hi, I think you may be able to help me, I am looking for an American couple who provisionally adopted 2 girls from glagow social work dept. they were based at the holy loch in 69 and went to America with the girls in 71.

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  7. Beautiful pictures,
    I was in the Marine Detachment onboard the Hunley from 1985-June 1987 when we were relieved by the Simon Lake. I was really too young to truly appreciate the history of Dunoon, but I spent many a weekend in Edinburough & Glascow. Looking back, it was the "primo" duty station of my career; I just didn't realize it at the time. Had the fortune of sneaking past a Navy Sentry in Norfolk after the Hunley was decommissioned, got on the ship with a flashlight and found the old Mardet berthing area. What memories. Was able to procure the alarm bell out of the Marine Corps Guardshack which we used during security violations. What fun those were. I want to go back and visit with my family. My oldest son was born there.

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  8. I lived in Dunoon and went to the primary school in Hillfoot St., from 1963-1970. I had so many friends who were American would love to know where they are now, Lester Reed, Courtnay taylor, Julie Ewbanks, Sharlene Flanders, so many

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    1. I went to the primary school in Hillfoot st. I believe it would have been about 1970....

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  9. love the pictures and the article. Thanks! My dad was stationed on the USS Hunley AS-31 in 83 through 85, and as a result, I was lucky enough to have been born in a beautiful city. One I hope to come back and visit someday!

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  10. Donna,

    I too would like to return to Dunoon and Holy Loch one day in the future.

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  11. Great article Paul,I grew up outside Glasgow, I moved to Dunoon and married an "m.r." on the Hunley AS31 in 1987, our bestman crossdecked to the Simon Lake and years later we ended up on the John.S.McCain in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, who do we run into walking down the street, but our bestman lol small world. We used to dance in the Harmony pub and I would give anything for fish and chips from Elselmos chippy on church street, thanx...cathy

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    1. Enjoyed reading all of these articles,I’m a local to Dunoon,I moved here two months after the USNavy left.All i here are these great stories about,how it was back then.Sounds amazing! Unfortunately Dunoon has slowly turned into a ghost town.The place is Dead! Sadly it’s never recovered from the US Navy leaving.im pretty sure everyone would love them back.Anyway I just wanted to say,am eating Fish & chips from”Anselmos Chippy” right now! Lol sorry I just couldn’t help myself...

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  12. Hey Paul great article, I served on the USS Canopus AS-34 1975 thru 1977 and was on board in Holy Loch for the ships last year of duty out there. I also lived on shore in a house that me and two other ship mates rented for $100 a month. All I have to say is what a beautiful place to be stationed and to this day its crazy on how much I still miss it .

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  13. Thanks to Cathy and Anonymous for writing.

    Cathy, I too would like to get an old fashioned Scottish fish & chips. I've tried fish & chips here and there since my Scotland tour, but they have not been the same.

    Anonymous, I too miss Scotland and it was a fine place to be stationed, even if the winter weather was awful.

    I miss the place, the people, and I even miss the Navy (Ha).

    Paul



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    1. My Dad was stationed there from 1972 thru 1974. We lived in Kirn and I went to the local school there.there was a little shop close to the school that had the best cheese sandwiches. I took Highland dance lessons. I remember the Woolworth store and a little tobacco shop with good candy jars. Loved being there. I even picked up a heavy brogue!

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    2. Hi there,
      Im a local to Dunoon,I live in Kirn,Just across the road from Dunoon Academy secondarily school,Your not missing much.The place has never recovered from the US Navy leaving,slowly declining each year.Woolworths closed about 5 years ago,& the tobacco shop across the road from Woolworths closed about 2 years ago,well the tobacco side of it,isn’t there anymore,but the shop still sells the cool little trinkets etc(ie candy jars)The Calmac ferry service has even stopped to Dunoon.

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  14. Jesse J. Pitt MD
    I served on the USS Sam Rayburn submarine during the cold war & was the last physician stationed on a nuclear sub. Refit in Holy Loch & Dunoon afforded me a chance to play tourist many times & meet the locals. Almost never ate in a restaurant...the pubs were where the locals & darts were. Never met one who wasn't the most cordial & friendly to a Yank Doc from the Colonies. They often took me to their home for a Scottish dinner. Have been back several times & played St Andrews. Edinburgh has a statue of an ancestor of mine, Sir Wm Pitt. Hope to return with my wife this summer to see my Dunoon "KIN" once again. Now live in Missoula, Montana (Scotland in Western Montana).
    Jesse
    Tropical Missoula, Montana
    Scotland in Western Montana

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  15. Jesse,

    Thanks for your service and thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  16. If anyone was a kind and bright light in Dunoon it was Anselmo Mario Franceschi. Unfortunately he passed away after a short illness on the 8th of January 2014. Always a humble man, he leaves behind him a lovely wife, family and a standard that all should strive to attain. I will never forget the kindness that he and his family showed me in my time of need.

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  17. I didn't know the man. Thanks for writing about him.

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  18. I too was there in 1978 on board the USS Holland (AS-32). Great days other than the cold winters. Always wanted to go back to visit to see who was still living there. The pub was "PJ's' that everyone gathered with all the fine Dunoon ladies

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    1. Marion Urquhart CoffmanJuly 29, 2018 at 1:31 PM

      So many fond memories :)

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    2. Don't forget Berts. I was stationed on The Holland AS32 in HolyLoch fro 1978 to 1981. I loved that place.

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  19. I remember PJ's... Good times.

    Paul

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  20. I served on board USS HOLLAND AS-32 from 1974 to 1977 I was involved in accident one day Dr. sent me in town for an MRI can anyone one remember the name of base hospital?

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  21. No, I don't remember the name of the base hospital.

    Paul

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  22. Loved the photos and it brought back memories!
    My wife and I are both retired now for the second time at 56 and 57 and we really want to go to Dunoon and have a look around.
    I was on the Simon Lake and went to the Holland back in 1980 TAD for 4 months. Really loved the warmth of the Scottish People, really enjoy the Highland games as well!

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  23. Thanks.

    I think all of us who served at Site One want to back to Scotland. I hope to take my wife there one day - in the summer, of course.

    Paul

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  24. Hi , I have been looking for a marine froM the Simon lake , 19 66 ,67" 68, his first name was George ,and his last name was blaseg , not sure of the spelling of his last name. He had a house in Dunoon. Also tony and marc. I have been trying to track him down for some years, if anyone can help I would be very grateful, my name is jeannie

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  25. Nice article Paul, I was on the USS Natick 1969-1971 and saw both the Simon Lake and Canopus exchange duty stations. I was a engineman and lived on shore with my wife. I enjoyed Scotland and travelled back to Holy Loch and Dunoon in 2000 with my family. Strange to see no evidence of a sub base. Now live in Newark, De.

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  26. Mike,

    Thanks. I'd like to go back to Scotland one day.

    Paul

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  27. We may have passed each other in the street sometime and not given each other a look. I was about four and my dad, Bill Hahn, was stationed on the Canopus and later the James Madison. We lived in Dunoon and I started school there. I was looking for photos to see if anything jogged a memory and stumbled across your post. Thanks for the info and the link to the history of Holy Loch.

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  28. Auriette,

    Thanks for visiting the web site and thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  29. Thanks for jogging some great memories. I served on the drydock (63-66) during which the name was changed from USS-AFDB-7 to USS LOS ALAMOS AFDB-7. We designed the ships logo. I also enjoyed Dunoon, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sterling, etc. Came close to getting "hitched" to a lass from Falkirk. Your photos are great and thanks again for your post.
    D. Krieger (EN3)

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  30. Thanks for jogging some great memories. I served on the drydock (63-66) during which the name was changed from USS-AFDB-7 to USS LOS ALAMOS AFDB-7. We designed the ships logo. I also enjoyed Dunoon, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sterling, etc. Came close to getting "hitched" to a lass from Falkirk. Your photos are great and thanks again for your post.
    D. Krieger (EN3)

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  31. Thanks for jogging some great memories. I served on the drydock (63-66) during which the name was changed from USS-AFDB-7 to USS LOS ALAMOS AFDB-7. We designed the ships logo. I also enjoyed Dunoon, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sterling, etc. Came close to getting "hitched" to a lass from Falkirk. Your photos are great and thanks again for your post.
    D. Krieger (EN3)

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  32. Richard,

    Glad you enjoyed the photos and a bit of memory of the old base.

    I recall that our tugboat was serviced by the drydock for a quick couple of days between submarines.

    Thanks for your service and thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  33. My husband was on the uss bluefish that was home in new london ct with frequent trips to this port.

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  34. I JUST DID A VIRTUAL WALK THROUGH DUNOON AND SAW THE NAVY WAS NO LONGER THERE. WHAT A SURPRISE. I WAS ON THE HOLLAND AND THE HUNTLEY, 1980-82. GOOD TIME. WINTERS BETTER THAN NEW ENGLAND. PLAYED POOL AT BERT'S. DID ALOT OF HIKING WITH THE DUFFLE BAG FULL OF BEER. YEAH, THAT WAS THE BEST FISH & CHIPS, WRAPPED IN NEWS PRINT. NEVER FOUND ANYTHING AS GOOD.

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  35. Paul, I was stationed on the Saugus from Feb.85-Aug. 87, best 2 1/2 years of my life. Everyone should realize the important role Site One played in the Cold War. The Russians knew we were their and feared our Submarine Force and those who supported it. We all should be proud of our duty there. I re-visited Holy Loch in 1992, it was sad to see the base removed.
    Best Regards,
    David (Pod) Podurgiel EN3

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  36. David,

    Glad to hear from you. I agree, Site One played a key role in the Cold war.

    And yes, like you, I'm proud of my service at Site One on the Saugus.

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  37. Yes I was on board three submarines that ran out of holy loch. I will always remember how polite the people were there and I miss being there at times. Dated young girl there back in the late sixties. She has since married from someone on the tender but I stayed friends with her parents all the way into the early 90's. Actually spent a Christmas with them and her parents were wonderful and took me all over Scotland. I have since lost touch but we'll always have the memories

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  38. Mark.

    Yes, we'll always have good memories of Holy Loch, Scotland.

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  39. Paul, I think your piece on Holy Loch was excellent. Every thing you talked about brought back so many memories about being on the tugs. Believe it or not I was stationed on the NATICK (YTB 760) between July of 1974 thru Dec of 1975. I was the cook on board. It was my first duty station. I would not trade those times for anything. I served with some really good folks. I still keep in contact with one of those guys. I nicked named Scotland land of the liquid sunshine. It seemed at times you could see all four seasons before you walked from one end of the pier to the other. The country and its people were truly awesome. I wouldn't have any problem living there after my retirement. I really wish we would have known each other. I do recognize your picture.

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  40. Dennis,

    We were there at the same time. I was there from January 1974 to December 1975. I think I have a mental photo of you. Could you send some photos of yourself - then and now - to www.pauldavisoncrime.com.

    I wished that I had become friends with you as well.

    I'm in contact with a couple of guys from the Saugus. Are you contact with AJ? The big guy who was a 1st Class BM? He was a guy I liked a lot. i heard he made chief and became a tugmaster.

    Thanks for writing.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Paul

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  41. I served on the drydock from 1966-1969. My wife and I loved Dunoon. She taught in the Dunoon schools for 18 months. We finally visited Dunoon for 3 days in 2012. I continue to watch the 2 webcam sites of Dunoon. My dentist here in Maine had served on the last sub-tender before the base shut down. Scotland-England gave us an appreciation for (1)its national health care system, (2)their sport of soccer - I became a ref for 10 years starting in 1995, (3)the Britsh TV program, "till death do us part," that became "all in the family" for the USA,(4)their foods = fish & chips wrapped in a newspaper, lamb, and bananna fritters.

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  42. Good to hear from another old shipmate from Holy Loch.

    In 1975 our tugboat spent three days on the drydock, but we had to do our own work.

    I'll never forget sandblasting the barnacles off the hull. I thought I would never eat seafood again.

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  43. Dear Paul,
    I visited Dunoon Scotland in the summer of 1977. My brotherinlaw John Patrick Shannon worked in the engine room on the USS Holyloch. I beleive he was an E~6 when his 4 yrs were up in 1978. I am trying to find old friends, shipmates that he was with so I can invite them to a surprise 40th wedding anniversary party for he and .my sister, Janet Williams Shannon. I remember two Navymen, one was Dale Leazer and the other one was Roger Pearson. Do you know either of these men? They were married on the USS Holyloch on 12/3/76. I have beenn able to find their Scottish minister and miraculously have arranged for him to come to America this September for the celebration. It would be so special if I could gather some of his Navy buddies. I cant ask him because its a surprise party! You can email me @ wezweeanne@gmail.com if you have any way to help me. Leslie Williams, sisterinlaw of John P. Shannon USN.

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  44. Leslie,

    No, I don't know the people mentioned above. You can go to http://thistlegroup.net/ and perhaps make some contacts there.

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  45. Paul,
    My dad, Paul Hord, served on the USS Proteus, in the Holy Loch from about Aug. 1962 through June 1963. I remember watching the Proteus slip down the Firth of Clyde during the Cuban Missle Crisis and wondering if it was going to come back. My sister and I went to the "old grammar school" and we lived in a cottage on the corner of Clyde Street and the Alexandra Parade, on the grounds of the Dunmore Hotel. Of all the places we lived, or visited growing up, Dunoon was the best and always say I am going to return.

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    1. Is your father still alive? I was born Greennock ,Scotland 1962. My Father served in the US Navy there , he passed in 65. Orville Lee Gooden.

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  46. Linda,

    You should be proud of your father's service.

    And yes, I too always say I'm going back. I'd like to take my wife to Scotland and show her all of the places I lived and visited. Maybe in the near future...

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  47. I was there when Proteus came in to the Loch. On board HMS Exmouth which was based round the corner at Faslane, we co ordinated the operation to keep the berth clear. Well I was a junior electrical merchant so I didn't actually do much in the way of Co ordination. We went back some time later when SSBN USS Job Patrick Henry was the first sub to arrive. Proteus' crew were reputedly hand picked to give the best possible impression of the US. Happy days.

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  48. Dennis,

    Interesting. Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  49. hello Paul my name is Steven Hadley and I served on board the Saugus from 1977 to 79 and I loved it I had a great time. Was chief Holmes there when you were he was tough but you know how that goes. it was all about whipping the new guy into shape.LOL BUT I WOULDENT CHANGE IT FOR THE WORLD. You have done a very good thing in creating this site and im glad to have found it.it really made my day. Thank. for the memory's peace and respect to you

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  50. Steven,

    Sadly, I don't recall the name of the third chief I briefly served under in late 1975. I recall he was PA farm boy and previously worked on the floating dry dock. Does that sound like Holmes?

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  51. thanks for getting back to me Paul. And once again thanks for the memory's it saddens me to hear that site one was shut down I had no idea. What a bummer

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  52. Great memories! I was at Holy Loch aboard the Will Rogers and the George Marshall. From the mail, milk and spare parts you brought us to the target practice you provided you tug boat guys were the unsung heroes of the site. Thanks for all you did.

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  53. Old Bubblehead,

    I remember that nickname... Thanks for mentioning some of the roles the old tugboats performed.

    I remember serving as a moving target when you guys in the subs shot torpedoes at us. Fun job. We watched the "fish" cut through the water, just like they did in the movies.

    Thankfully, they always missed.

    Thanks for your service as well.

    Paul

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  54. Hi Dennis,
    You do not know me,but I just to let you know that this old timer served on the uss los alamos which was attached the uss Canopus. I remember when we had liberty we would go to officers club which was right opposite the Pierre that took us to the ship. And if you missed the last shuttle you're deep doodoo as you had to sleep in the shed where the MP stood guard.

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  55. In the early 1960s my husband was assigned to the USS Thomas Jefferson (SSBN 618). I have heard many stories of his time in Holy Loch. Do you know if it is possible to tour the closed facility? Thank you all for your service, Dot, wife of Leroy T Van Dyne, promoted to CPO in Holy Loch, 1966.

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  56. Dot,

    I'm sorry to say that the Holy Loch submarine base, stationed in the middle of the loch, is gone.

    The loch is still there, of course, but there are no U.S. Navy ships or crafts left.

    I'd like to return to Holy Loch and Scotland with my wife, who has never been there, and see the loch and the area.

    Thanks for writing, and thank you for your service as well - as a Navy wife, you also served.

    Paul

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    1. I was afraid that would be the case. Perhaps I too will at least get to see the area. Thank you. Dot

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  57. Paul, great article. My father, CPO Clay Bailey set up the base services at the old Ardnadam Hotel in Sandbank in '61. We arrived in '62 and lived in a lovely house on Cromlech Road called Benthead. I have wonderful memories of the people and the place and have been back once. Thank you.

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  58. Anonymous,

    You should be proud of your father.

    Please thank him for his service. (My late father was also a CPO).

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  59. Nice hearing all these replies. I was on the Holland 76-77 and loved it. Had a flatt in Innellen where supposedly the write for the song Auld Lang Syne lived? Great times. I saw the biggest snow flakes in my life there as big as half dollars, milk delivered with thick cream on top and the coal delivery guy was 5' at best but carried two giant bags of coal for us to heat with!

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  60. After a stint with the Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam, I was transferred to the Simon Lake in 69, as the Simon Lake rotated out I transferred to the Canopus. Went back to Scotland for the first time this past summer both the people in Gourock and Dunoon were absolutely the best, brought back many memories.

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  61. Anonymous,

    I'd like to go back to Scotland as well one day.

    Thanks for writing,

    Paul

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  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  63. I was. On the USS canopus was in 2nd division took the canopus back to Charleston enjoyed. My time in the holy loch I returned to Greenock Scotland in 1976 where I have been living for over forty years

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  64. Dennis,

    Thanks for writing and have a pint for all of us.

    Paul

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  65. My name is David Erdman My first command was the USS Hunley it was assume having my 18th birthday in Scotland at the harmony bar and sundowner I was abopted by a local family and stayed there until I transferred to the USS Iowa

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  66. Hi nice to read your comments about Holy Loch Site drove buses to and from site many memories of the trips made with ERP workers from all the shipyards also Captain Bump who travelled on the bus from Bairds garage to site

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  67. Many good memories from my Hunley time there 1986-1987 when we left. Scotland is scenic. The workload was tough but when I could get away, I'd head to Stirling.

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  68. Tim,

    Thanks for writing.

    Why Sterling? What was the appeal?

    I visited Sterling once and liked it.

    I usually traveled to Glasgow or Edinburgh, or if I had three days or more, to new places in Scotland, England Ireland and Wales, as well as Continental Europe.

    London was a favorite city of mine.

    They busted our butts on the tug, but the liberty time was good.

    My two years - 1974-1975 - on the Navy tugboat USS Saugus allowed me the ability to travel far and wide.

    Paul

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  69. Steve Newstrom E Division USS Saratoga CVA-60. On our way over to the Med we spent a few days in the north sea joining NATO sea exercises....if memory serves it was June of 71. The Sara anchored just out from Greenoch and I was able to get a couple days of liberty. For one of those days I joined a one day tour of the Scottish Highlands...lovely. Bought woolen gifts for my 2 sisters and mother. Delightful country!!

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  70. Stephen,

    Yes, Scotland was, and remains, I'm sure. a delightful country. I'd love to go back for a visit.

    Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  71. Just read and enjoyed all the articles people wrote about the Holy Loch. I arrived on the USS Canopus in 1973 then went to the USS Holland and finally to the USS Hunley from where I retired in 1987. After over 44 years I still live here in Dunoon. There are quite a few of us that remained here and in 2002 we formed the Holy Loch American Veterans Association. Life is still good here in this beautiful part of the world. Charlie Witherow, OMC USN(Ret), Chairman H.L.A.V.A.

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  72. Charlie, I'd like to visit Dunoon again and bring my wife (but it would have to be in summer!)

    Thanks for checking in.

    Paul

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  73. Did four refits on boats out of Comsubron 14. 1975-77. Bought an engagement ring from a shop in Edinburgh. Great memories!!

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  74. Served on the USS George Washington SSBN 598 made 6 patrols out of the Loch.Memories of Dunn and Argyle will remember always.We went in to the dry dock on one up keep. I remember the USS Skipjack coming in and also Canadian and Australian boats also .As we who were fortunate know Scotland is a beautiful country,and is on my bucket list to return !!

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  75. Made two patrols on 598 boat in 66-67. Simon Lake was there. Loved the pubs in Dunoon and the fish & chips. Never had more than overnight liberty so didn't see so much. Saw a newspaper in August '66 that had a headline: "70 AGAIN TOMORROW, NO RELIEF IN SIGHT"

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  76. Tom, Yes, I agree with you about the pubs and fish & chips. Thanks for checking in.

    Paul

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  77. I was aboard USS Hunley from July '65 to Aug '67. Holy Loch was by far the best duty in my short career (4 years). We worked hard, got to meet a lot of great people. So many fond memories of the Scottish people, they are amazing. :)

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  78. Jim,

    I too have fond memories of Scotland and the people.

    Thanks for checking in.

    Paul

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  79. I was a civilian who work TDY and did ERP trips to Scotland from 1980 to when they left. Enjoy the area and the people. I was a inside machinists/marine mechanoic. The Hunley was tender at this time.

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  80. Did you work at the Philadelphia Navy Yard?

    I was outside the EM club in 1975 when I heard an unmistakable South Philly accent.

    The guy was a fellow South Philly guy who worked a the Navy Yard and was TDY to Holy Loch.

    Thanks for checking in.

    Paul

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  81. Oh my. That is such a killer View. I did not have any idea that Scotland is so beautiful. There are other information in this us navy bases by state which is really interesting.

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  82. I was a ping jocky aboard the USS Hartley, a destroyer escort. In 1968 we were in the north Atlantic and had a catistrophic breakdown and had to limp into Holy Loch for repairs. We used the Simon Lake as a tender. All repair parts had to be air lifted in since sub tenders don't carry destroyer parts. We were there about a week. I had relatives in Paisley and was able to get 4 days leave to be with them. I got the royal tour of the highlands, did plenty of pub crawling and sightseeing. Wished I could have stayed much longer. What a beautiful country and great people!

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  83. I agree. Thanks for checking in...

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  84. Paul, thanks for sharing and this story sure has legs!!! I served aboard The USS Sam Houston SSBN 609 and did 4 patrols out of Holy Loch (Simon Lake then the tender)1967-1969. And I'm doing a cruise around Great Britain in May with a stop in Greenock. So i'm heading to Dunoon for a pint and fish & chips! Excited to return 50 years later.

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  85. Jim,

    A cruise around the UK sounds interesting. I'd like to take my wife on that kind of cruise and show her Scotland and the rest of the British Isles.

    Thanks for your service and thanks for checking in here.

    Paul

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  86. Hello Paul, your article was "spot on" about our daily military duties, as well as with the wonderful people of the Dunoon, and Glasgow areas. I had the honor of working three years over there in the late 80s and early 90s. Had wonderful shipmates and made lots of civilian friends during my "liberty" time...Raquetball, softball, bowling, hiking, several pub-crawls...life was always interesting:) Thanks for the memories Paul.
    John Walsh
    Henrico, VA

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  87. John,

    Thanks. And thank you for your service and for checking in.

    Paul

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  88. Hi Paul,
    I was stationed with you in Holy Loch. In the 23 years I did in the Navy, the 5 years I did in Holy Loch were the best. Would love to go back sometime. Take care and I appreciate your article.

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    1. Yeah, Mike. I remember you. Thanks for writing.

      Paul

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    2. Mike, Good memories of serving with you on the tug. Yeah, I'd like to go back as well... Paul

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  89. Hi, I served onboard the Holland from late 76 through 82,then crossdecked to the Hunley until Spring of 83. Needless to say, I loved it there. I married a Scottish girl from Port Glasgow and we had two great children there. The Scottish people have to be the nicest, most humble people I have ever met.

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    1. JB, Good to hear from another Holy Loch vet. Thanks for writing. Paul

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  90. I served there on Hunley from when she first arrived and left her in late 63 for separation. Lot of good memories about Danoon and Glasgow was a plank owner on Hunley left as an EM 2

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    1. Al,

      Thanks for writing and thanks for your service.

      Paul

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  91. Mike, I think I served with you on the Natick. Dennis Shepard shepardchief49@gmail.com

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  92. Stopped in Holy Loch for resupply on USS Thomas J Gary DER-326 summer of 1970. Short visit. We been hounding the Soviet helo-carrier Leningrad on their ASW exercises. Also spent several days ported at Greenock. Went into Glasgow. We followed the Leningrad from Murmansk to the Black Sea. Port stops in Scotland X2, Norway, Denmark, Germany, EnglandX2, Portugal, Spain X4, Azores X2 Key West was home. I was not a member of ship's crew but was on there with my band of Spooks. We had our little spook shack on the back of the ship. 5 month cruise.

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  93. Chuck,

    Interesting background. Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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  94. Myself and a couple other members of our Holy Loch American Veterans Association living here in Scotland are working with other organisations toward establishing a permanent American Heritage Centre here in the Dunoon area. You can follow or progress on facebook page Holy Loch Heritage, The American Years Revisited. Our US presence here lasted over 31 years and we felt that there needs to be a place for folk to be able to visit. Please have a look at our facebook page and submit the request to join. Thanks, Charlie Witherow, OMC USN(Ret) Chairman "HLAVA", Dunoon, Scotland

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  95. Good to know. Thanks for writing.

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  96. I just got back from a 2 week UK tour and part of the trip included a journey back to Dunoon/Holy Loch and after 30+ years, it has not changed much, but my perspective about the place certainly has. While there we drove just a few miles up the road to Benmore Botanic Garden and discovered a whole new side of Scotland that I never knew about when I was there for the few weeks every 3 months as we turned over or took over the sub (USS Lewis & Clark SSBN 644 Blue). The area was just absolutely stunning and the friends we were there with just absolutely loved it. Visited Anselmo's and talked with the new owner who purchased the business from Anselmo's daughter about 4 years ago. Anselmo has passed on, but the fish and chips are still SO good! The loch looks very different without COMSUBRON 14 sitting out in the middle of it, and I couldn't identify any of the former Navy buildings that comprised the shore part of the base, other than the old Navy Housing units. I am very glad I made my way back because it is just a fantastic little piece of heaven on earth that I never saw during my earlier times there. Thanks for maintaining this not so distant memory of Holy Loch.

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  97. Hi Paul, great article. Hunley was my first duty station in 87, I reported in Charleston and I was sent to Holyloch onboard the Simon lake as part of the early crew of the supply dept. Scotland is truly beautiful place and the people are outstanding. I missed being young. Dino, SKC (SW) (USN) (Retired)

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  98. Michael Ridpath's new book "Launch Code" is about a nuclear sub based at the Holy Loch which almost started a nuclear war thanks to erroneous instructions being sent to it. Great read. I used to pass through Dunoon all the time taking the car ferry over from Gourock on the way to Tighnabruaich.

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  99. Blue Dog,

    I'll have to check out "Launch Code. Tighnabruaich is a name that brings back fond memories, as a shipmate of mine rented a flat there in 1974 and I lived with him for a few months until his wife came over from the states. I then rented a flat in Glasgow, where I too took the ferry from Gourock to Dunoon and the navy base. Although I'm a city guy, I enjoyed my stay in Tighnabruaich. I enjoyed weekend nights in the hotel's bar. (I can't recall the name). My friend's flat was next to the news agent and the butcher shop, I recall, but I suppose many things have changed - even there. Thanks for writing.

    Paul

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