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Jack Gabler Oral History

Identifier: OHP 142

Scope and Contents

Jack Gabler served aboard Growler as a sonarman third class from 1963 to 1964. He began his interview by stating that he had initially planned to become a veterinarian, however he explained how a turn of events and a chance meeting with a Navy recruiter resulted in him joining the Navy. Gabler then discussed boot camp, which he described as a “real eye awakening moment.” He also recounted his introduction to the submarine service, stating that submarines sailors came to speak with the recruits and ask for volunteers. Gabler then explained that, after this meeting, he went to a sub tender where he took a pressure test and also ate a phenomenal meal, and that this meal, combined with the importance of the submarine force and the hazardous duty pay, helped him decide to join the submarine service. Gabler then continued to discuss boot camp. He described the social atmosphere of boot camp and explained how he arrived at boot camp feeling naïve and left knowing much more about life. He also recalled how he met his wife through a friend from boot camp. The interview then briefly shifted to the topic of submarine school, and Gabler stated that he attended a new sub school in San Francisco, explaining that he learned the basics of submarine operations and trained on a device resembling a simulator in order to learn how to operate a submarine’s bow and stern planes. After conversing about sub school, Gabler discussed his time aboard Growler and spoke about his initial duty as a mess cook. He also explained how Chief of the Boat Lister took him under his wing, and how Scotty, a first class sonarman, began to teach him about sonar. Gabler then discussed sonar and the importance of sonar to the general operation of a submarine. The interview then shifted to the topic of life aboard a submarine. Gabler stated that acclimating to life on board was easy for him, however he noted some difficult events that unfolded, including: when the crew learned that President Kennedy had been assassinated, when Growler snagged and then dragged a fisherman’s nets, and when the sonar shack flooded during a test dive. As the interview continued, Gabler provided additional information on how sonarmen identified sounds and what procedures they followed if they heard a potential threat. Gabler then briefly noted his qualification experience and the crew’s downtime in Pearl Harbor, before discussing his time aboard Ulysses S. Grant, a Polaris submarine, and comparing Ulysses S. Grant with Growler. Gabler then ended his interview by recalling Growler’s decommissioning and stating what he hopes visitors will take away from their experience on Growler.


  • August 23, 2017



9 Files

31 Sheets

Language of Materials



David Dzendzel
October 19, 2018
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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