Birthday: June 16, 1925
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Family: Lamert and Anna (Karpowski) Brost
Occupation: Paper Company (office)
Unit: Submarine USS-S-30
Post: Diesel Mechanic
Rank: Motor Mechanist, 3rd Class
Cook aboard the USS-135 with his Hollywood pin-ups
The USS-135 Submarine
Arnold Brost was born in Green Bay, WI. His family moved to a farm in Babcock before he was a year old. Arnold grew up there and had two older brothers, one younger, and four sisters. Both of his older brothers were in World War II. "I was a young sixteen year old, afraid the war would end before I got there. I fibbed just a little and was able to go to the Navy boot camp at Farragut, Idaho." In order for Arnold to enlist he had to use his older brother Allen's birth certificate. "I scratched Allen into Arnold but I couldn't get William out of James."
"I then went aboard PC-777 patrolling for Jap subs along the California coast and around Catalena Island. I thought the fastest way to get into the real war was to volunteer for sub duty, so I did. When World War II broke out 8 of the S-Class subs still fit for war service were sent to the Aleutian Islands, a string of volcanic islands stretching from the tip of Alaska toward Japan. The north Pacific had some of the roughest waters and worst weather in the Pacific, but this was also the shortest route to the Kurile Islands and the northern coast and Sea of Japan. Their assignment was to stop the flow of materials from Manchuria and Korea to Japan. The main base was at Dutch Harbor which lies about half way down the chain." Arnold became a Diesel Mechanic on the submarine the USS 135 S-30.
"Life aboard a S-Boat was not quite as glamorous as some movies may have portrayed. They were cool about 60-65 degrees, quite damp. There was no room to exercise in. The first few days at sea we ate well. We had fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, and milk. After that it was dehydrated potatoes, dehydrated cabbage, canned vegetables, powdered eggs, powdered milk, Spam, and some smoked sausage. The canned food was stored where ever you could find space. Dampness would take off the labels so we often had the `Cooks Delight' they found out what we were having after they opened the cans. One thing in the Navy there was always coffee. We called it `Joe' so a cup of coffee was a cup of `Joe.' Our job when we surfaced was to run the diesel engines and then we had to shut them down when we had to dive. The engines took a lot of air and had air vents so they could bring air into the sub and they had to be shut off and the engine shut down in a matter of seconds. We had batteries, a lot of batteries.1 The motors that propelled the sub when it was submerged also served as generators to the batteries when it surfaced.2 The Diesel Engines drove us on the surface and the generators, then charged the batteries up again." "In dangerous waters submarines usually submerge at daybreak or enemy planes would spot them. The reason submarines would surface at night was to charge the batteries and they were very hard to see. Submarines are able to detect other submarines by sonar.
Weather was almost as much of a danger as the enemy. You had to surface no matter what the weather was. In the Aleutians we would get very strong winds 70 to 100 miles per hour. One time it took the sub nine days to travel the three day run from Attu to Dutch Harbor with winds of 80 to 90 miles per hour. One guy tried to shoot himself because he got so seasick. He had to be restrained some times in handcuffs to keep him down until he was over it. I didn't get seasick. We had enough food - you usually had enough food for 35 days. Regardless of weather we would have to surface to charge the batteries. When we did that we would lose ground. When charged we would submerge until the batteries were drained. We would surface and lose some of our gain. Our home repair base was Dutch Harbor. When we left Dutch Harbor we'd stop at Attu to take on food and fuel. Attu was not equipped with docks to handle big repairs but it did have food and fuel. When I first went over there I was on a relief crew. When the sub returned from patrol the crew would have thirty days off and we would clean up the sub and start minor repairs.
I only went on one patrol - the trip took about forty days including a stop at Attu. When we surfaced we may be up all night. The sub I was on was made for a peace time crew of thirty-four men and four officers. We had forty-eight men and four officers. We had to share a bunk - so when you wee on duty someone was sleeping. Because I was working on the diesel engines I seldom got to go topside when we surfaced. I didn't get to see daylight the whole patrol.
Water was a pretty scarce item. We had to distill it from seawater. The batteries demanded water first. They evaporated water and the battery men had to keep them full. Because of the scarcity of water the guys could only take 2-3 showers in 30-35 days we were on patrol. The last island in the Aleutians going toward Japan was Attu. We would stop there to get supplies and fuel again.
A submarine went out for 30-40 days. When it came back the sub had to be cleaned and the crew was given thirty days off to rest up and get some decent food. The relief crew then went in and did the clean up work. The men tried to get off the relief crew and get assigned to one of the subs. That's how I got there."
After Arnold left the Aleutian Islands he went to a naval training school in Virginia. He learned all about the engines on the new submarines. Then he was sent to New London, Conn. to catch a new one, but by the time he got there the war ended.
1 The batteries were used to propel the sub when it was submerged under water. There were two compartments for the batteries and they were full.
2 The World War II submarines would have to surface every night, cause they could only run on 30 hours before they had to recharge.
under Learn and Serve American Grant #00LSFWI104