You say, why call a torpedo “ALICE.” As an old Chief Torpedoman told me, “Son, torpedoes are like women. Treat them with tender loving care and they will run Hot, Straight and Normal.”
Today, ALICE resides in the Torpedo Factory Arts and Crafts Center on the Alexandria, Va. waterfront. Her record book tells why this MK 14-3A #64220 torpedo is an appropriate tourist attraction. Pay your homage, boys, to a fine piece of machinery!
But, back to Alice’s active duty career. On 7 and 8 November 1944 she passed the proof range acceptance tests at Piney Point, Maryland. Then she was shipped out to the Pacific Fleet to hopefully sink a Japanese carrier or battleship, autographed with a “Sink ’em All.. inscription by loyal workers in Alexandria. Alice served honorably on board submarines ENTEMEDOR, MENHADEN, STICKLEBACK and GUITARRO and after the war was shipped to Mare Island for a needed overhaul and finally to San Diego for storage in the ready locker, In 1959, Alice traveled to Yokosuka where she remained in a “ready” USN torpedo facility until 1965 when she finally was sent back to the Sub Base in New London for some ordalts and such . Then followed honorable tours of duty on board SEA ROBIN, CORPORAL, · BECUNA, JALLAO, J .K. POLK, T. ROOSEVELT and SAM HOUSTON from 1966 to 1977, interspersed with visits to submarine tenders CANOPUS , HOLLAND , SIMON LAKE, HUNLEY and NEREUS . Very little is recorded of Alice’s performance as a deterrent on board diesel and SSBN submarines. She proudly carried her 96U pounds of HBX in a warhead, but was never fired in anger.
You might say, that’s enuf of Alice, but in honor of her long service, something should be said about her operating performance. Since Alice was never fired as a warshot, we have a record of her functioning as an exercise shot for which she was fitted with an exercise head and set to run under the designated target and then to surface after the exercise run to be picked up by the firing submarine or recovery vessel. To be quite candid, Alice rated about a 3.5, which was not bad, having first been fired in an exercise from MENHADEN on 30 August 1951 off San Diego at a destroyer escort target. Alice ran, “HSN” . Stickleback fired Alice in ’52 on a wake test. Then, upon return to NLon, she was fired twice in 1966 by SEA ROBIN–yes, both “HSN'”. BECUNA shot her four times between 11 and 24 May 1966, 3 of which were normal runs, but on 24 May, she ran erratic for reasons unknown (we men can appreciate an occasional erratic run . . . ). But then, in June 1966, JALLAO fired her twice for normal runs. Finally, she finished her tour of active duty, happily, in the forward torpedo room racks of many proud submarines until 1977 when she was retired to the Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown until her resurrection for display in Alexandria.
Now, you see why I called her “Alice”. She was dedicated, dependable, served a useful purpose, didn’t hurt anyone and now has an honorable resting place.