Allen Odette began his interview by speaking about his decision to join the Navy. He noted that he first went into the reserves in Illinois before joining the regular Navy after moving to California. He also discussed his experiences in boot camp as well as his decision to apply for the submarine service after receiving a tour of a submarine from a friend of a friend. Odette then provided insight into the physical and psychological screenings that submarine recruits went through in order to serve on board submarines. He also discussed Growler’s role in the Cold War, noting the necessity of remaining in missile range of the Soviet base at Petropavlovsk. Odette then described the Regulus missile and the process of practice firing the missile, as well as other day to day duties such as standing electronic countermeasure watches, interpreting radar signals, and operating the SINS. He also mentioned extraordinary happenings, such as surfacing with a Soviet cruiser “very close to us, within hundreds of yards” and sneaking out of the area.
Odette also described how the crew staved off boredom by playing games such as cribbage, sleeping, watching movies, or in his case, drawing maps. He then shared stories about discipline and having a captain’s mast, diving off of the sail, and playing pranks such as keeping a gooney bird in one of the showers. Odette ended his interview by reflecting upon his service, noting how his view of nuclear weapons has changed over the years, and stating that his service aboard Growler led to a lifelong bond with the crew.