Radio Operations Aboard Submarines

By Robert E. Straub - KC2AIO <>


     The advanced training description as follows was typical for most radio operators, but there were exceptions. I will describe this advanced training as it applied to me.

     After completing my training at the New London Submarine School I arrived over seas at Milne Bay, New Guinea. My assignment was working in the communication gang for the Commander Task Force 72. The duties were performed in the radio room of a submarine tender and here is where our skills were honed. The hours were long. Day one would be a 12 hour work day and the second day would be a 14 hour work day. There would be no duty on the third day. Then the cycle would start anew with day one.

     There were many radio operator's stations in the radio room. There were several work stations where different originated Fox schedules were copied 24 hours a day. There were also point to point stations where communication traffic was passed back and forth between the two stations. The ship to shore work station served as the key point for submarines to send their communications.

     During a "radio watch," the radio operators would rotate from work station to work station. The rotation was on an approximate hourly basis. By this means the radio operators were trained for all the responsibilities they would shoulder when assigned aboard a submarine.

     After about two months the Task Force Commander transferred his operations from New Guinea to the U. S. Navy Submarine Base at Brisbane, Australia. There the radio operators continued to perform their duties as described above.

     These radio operators served as a "pool" for replacement operators aboard the submarines. Assignment to a submarine was determined by the rating required by the submarine and the seniority of the replacement operator in the "pool."

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