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Duane F. Heatwole Oral History

Identifier: OHP 057

Scope and Contents

Duane F. Heatwole served aboard Growler as a commissaryman petty officer second class from 1960 to 1964. Heatwole began his interview by discussing Growler’s galley. He also described how he acquired different types of food, how this food was loaded into the boat, and how the food was stored. Heatwole then discussed some of the meals that he prepared for the crew, including filet mignon, lobster, and crab legs from Alaska. He then continued, describing a process called snorkeling, which allowed the sub to charge its batteries by allowing the engines to run while the sub was submerged. However, he also explained how snorkeling could create a vacuum inside the sub, which caused discomfort for the crew, and on one occasion even pulled boiling water out of a pot of potatoes and onto a cook. On a more humorous note, Heatwole also recalled how the vacuum once ruined a cake he was baking in the oven. He then recounted his experiences aboard Growler during the Cuban Missile Crisis and President Kennedy’s assassination. Heatwole also mentioned that Growler had occasionally carried spies who were called “Spooks” by the crew, noting that these men spoke Russian and monitored the Russian radios to gather intelligence. The interview then shifted to Growler’s missiles and test firing the missiles. Heatwole described how the missiles were controlled and discussed his station in the wardroom with a manual plot when the missiles were test fired. The living conditions aboard Growler were also brought up throughout the interview. Heatwole explained “hot bunking,” discussed the rarity of a shower, described the process of garbage disposal, and spoke about the crew’s options regarding recreation. He also briefly discussed his life before the Navy, stating that he was raised in Arizona and his older brother was in the Navy. He also said that he returned to Arizona after leaving the Navy and worked at his family’s business, a Frito-Lay franchise that his father had purchased in 1947. As the interview came to a close Heatwole discussed his feelings toward Growler now serving as a museum and stated what he would like visitors to take away from their time aboard Growler. The interview then ended with Heatwole discussing Captain Owens, who was “the real hero” and “exceptional. A really nice man.” He even noted a Christmas party they had aboard Growler when Owens was the XO.


  • October 1, 2014



8 Files

19 Sheets

Language of Materials



David Dzendzel
May 12, 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Online Archives Repository

One Intrepid Square
W. 46th Street and 12th Avenue
New York NY 10036-4103 United States