Skip to main content

James W. Day Oral History

Identifier: OHP 130

Scope and Contents

James Day served aboard Growler as a hospital corpsman from 1961 to 1963. He began his interview by discussing why he joined the Navy and providing a brief overview of his service. Day noted boot camp, hospital corps school in San Diego at the Balboa Naval Hospital, operating room technician school at Bethesda Maryland Naval Hospital, being stationed at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and his time as an OR tech aboard the hospital ship Haven during the Korean War. Day also stated that he left the Navy in 1953, and briefly worked in plywood in Roseburg, Oregon, before he returned to the Navy and was stationed at the Marine Reserve Training Centers in San Antonio and Houston, TX. He then explained that he eventually applied for submarine service, and after recalling submarine school and submarine medicine school, he discussed his time on Growler. Day began by covering a range of topics, from his qualification process and receiving the news of his sons’ birth via familygram, to checking the level of carbon dioxide inside of Growler and lowering the level of carbon dioxide. He also discussed his everyday duties, which included maintaining health records, administering shots, and inspecting the galley. Day then noted that, every 30 months, he had to ensure that the crew was requalified in their escape training. The interview then transitioned to the specifics of submarine medicine, and Day described his training in submarine medicine, stating that submarine medicine focused on anatomy and medical diagnostic technique. He also recalled that they had the Merck Manual, and that a doctor always said, “If you could diagnose the problem, the treatment was in the manual.” Day then explained that he had other duties in addition to his job as a corpsman, which included standing watches while underway. He also stated that corpsmen were responsible for ordering their own supplies and loading their supplies onto the boat. The interview then shifted to a discussion on galley inspections, and Day explained that these inspections involved tasks such as checking the temperature of the water that was used to wash dishes and inspecting the hygiene of the mess crew. He also noted that he was responsible for keeping the after battery compartment clean and taking water samples from the ocean every morning. Day stated that he believed these samples were taken in order to test for radiation in the water, because Russian submarine were “pretty dirty.” The interview soon transitioned to a discussion on Growler’s mission, before Day provided additional information regarding his qualification process. He then explained how he met his wife and described his family life while he was in the Navy, noting that his wife did not know anything about his work on Growler because he had signed confidentiality papers. The interview then returned to medicine, and Day described fumigating Growler while the boat was in port and treating various injuries. Before the interview came to an end, he discussed his time in nuclear medicine school and his experience aboard the nuclear submarine Flasher, before he provided a comparison between Growler and Flasher. Day then ended his interview by stating what he hopes visitors will take away from their time aboard Growler.


  • May 24, 2017



9 Files

36 Sheets

Language of Materials



David Dzendzel
October 2, 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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