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Taken from The Gorgon, November, 1998

The Ship That Glowed in the Dark or How many electricians does it take to unscrew ...

As the years go by our memories get a little hazier, but some things seem to be very clear. The yarns we tell each other at reunions and through the mail become part of our lore, our war record, our history. Here's one for the books -- the true talc of how Euryale was nearly blown out of the water -- well, almost.

Walt Tiedemann remembers the incident clearly because it interrupted a blackjack game among the bunks in the sleeping quarters just forward of the fantail.

Euryale was anchored at Milne Bay, New Guinea, having arrived only a day or two earlier. Darkness had fallen. General Quarters was sounded. Enemy sub? Aircraft? The blackjack game was abandoned as everybody hurried to battle stations. Tiedemann raced to the engine room, checked the personnel count and reported via the "sound powered" equipment that the engine room was manned and ready. Word came back from the bridge that a message had been received from the harbormaster: EURYALE, YOU HAVE A LIGHT SHOWING FROM YOUR STACK."

The source of the light, clearly visible from a distance but not seen by anybody aboard ship, was a single light bulb mounted on the rear bulkhead of the engine room some 40 feet or so above the deck in the uptakes. From afar, Euryale was seen to give off an eerie glow just aft of the smokestack.

In less time than it has taken to tell you this, there came a second message from the harbormaster: "BLUE BEETLE--PUT IT OUT OR WE WILL SHOOT IT OUT."

It was the first time the guys in the engine room had heard AS-22 referred to as a beetle, but there was no time to reflect on that. One look into the uptakes and the electricians in the cavernous engine room knew it was their problem. Where would there be a switch to turn that thing off?

Chief Electrician's Mate Bob Holland, no doubt fearful he would be facing a loss of rate, approached the clutch of confused electrician's mates, clenched his teeth and growled: "Put it out!"

There was a frantic effort to find a circuit breaker that would do the job. That light bulb didn 't even flicker.

Finally somebody scrambled up the ladder to unscrew the bulb by hand -- an ordinary standard watertight bulb. Tiedemman thinks Ken Poffenberger was the hero of the day. Poffenberger doesn't remember that. Paul Powers isn't sure.

But the whole thing happened, all right. Apparently a civilian worker in Brooklyn had wired the light into a power circuit.

So on a shakedown cruise in Caribbean waters infested~ with enemy submarines, even when the ship lost power temporarily and was dead in the water, and then on a voyage halfway around the world, USS Euryale glowed in the dark and nobody aboard even knew it.

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