Spindrift is a collection of true seagoing anecdotes about the experiences of three brothers, each of whom served aboard U.S. Navy ships during his service. One of the authors was a Torpedoman Second Class on U.S.S. Barbero, a guided missile diesel submarine in the late 50s. The second author served as a seagoing Marine Corporal aboard the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Wasp also during the late 50s. The third author, a career Naval Aviator, served aboard a number of aircraft carriers over a 33 year career ultimately retiring as a Rear Admiral.

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This is a humorous, fictional story about the zany, colorful, profane and politically incorrect characters that gravitated to the fertile ground of the municipal bond business during the 70s and 80s. It centers on the Texas bond community, particularly in Houston, with a number of forays to Wall Street...muni brokers more closely resembled alumni of the witness protection program.

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Short Stories by Dan Gillcrist


The Mess Cook

“Permission to come on the bridge!” the mess cook shouted up through the conning tower hatch. The OOD (Officer Of the Deck - the watch conning the submarine) stepped over to look down the hatch and saw the new kid on the boat looking up at him. The OOD had already cleared dumping the garbage over the side with the old man. It was a moonless night, and they were getting ready to change course and head north anyway. Besides, the garbage bags were mesh and weighted, and should leave no trace that they had ever been in this particular acre of the Pacific. All things considered, you never wanted to leave a trace of evidence that you had been there. Even if the Japs found a bag floating about two days from now, they’d have a hard time figuring where you had gone, anyway. It was all extra caution but a good practice beginning at Papa Hotel, the last buoy at Pearl, and not ending until they returned in a month or two, hopefully with a broom lashed to the number one periscope...

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The Diesel Stoker

“Permission to come up Sir.” The First Watch Officer who had been in the middle of a conversation with the Captain, leaned across the bridge to look down the tower hatch. Looking up expectantly, with his hands on the ladder, was Dieter Winter, U-136’s new diesel stoker.

“Granted”, was all Guenther Offerman said before turning his attention back to Herr Kaleun. He once saw an American movie and everyone called the captain of that movies’ ship, ‘Skipper’. He much preferred Herr Kaleun (the abbreviation of Herr Kapitaenleutnant). ‘Skipper’ was much too familiar and, he thought, even a bit feminine. The captain of a ship, even an American ship, should not be skipping around for God’s sake. The thought did occur to him that maybe he had, after all, lost something in the translation. That thought brought a smile to his very young face...

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Ken Rommel
First Interview
June 14, 2001


Prior to doing this interview I had no experience with the process - tape recorders, mikes, placement etc. I simply thought it was a good idea to do this interview. So, with respect to quality, it was done poorly and as a result the transcription and editing was difficult. So, please forgive any errors on my part.

I discovered that face-to-face, verbal communications are considerably different from written communication. This discovery came from my attempt to transcribe these interview tapes. Part of verbal in person communications consists of facial expressions, body language such as leaning forward in ones chair for emphasis. Eye movements, head shaking and the like all help the person communicate and none of them are transmitted into the written word. Tone, laughter, mock accents, anger and a host of other gestures all add to the message and none are transferable to print...

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