by Bob 'Dex' ArmstrongThere's an evolution to everything. Over time, things improve… Get more refined and defined. Adrian Stuke incorporated every clever, unorthodox, devious, weird, and stupid stunt ever pulled off in E-3 history… And thought up on his own a whole boatload of stuff nobody ever considered. The CNO declared a seventy-two hour, three section liberty the day he cleared the receiving station… And the Navy Band played 'Bing, Bang, The Witch is Dead' for two straight days.
The two of us were planning to hijack the tender… But he became a short-timer and we had to hang it up.
If God ever needed two guys to destroy civilization on the installment plan, Stuke would have planned it and assigned me all the jackass work. Together, we were one helluva handful… Just ask any Chief in SUBRON 6. We could get in more trouble in less time than any other two bluejackets in Arleigh Burke's Navy. It was a tough job, but somebody had to tackle it.
If they ever melt the Requin down, they will find Stuke's DNA in the pressure hull… And it would be easy to locate in hundreds of Southern Europeans rapidly approaching their fortieth birthday. He could spread goodwill at a rate only curtailed by his navy pay grade… America's Ambassador to the Seaports of the World.
Adrian Stuke would wake you up just to tell you, you were ugly.
He once caused complete bedlam on Pier 22. Rumor had it that some sailor had contracted TB or something and the squadron set up this portable x-ray contraption on the pier. Guys were lined up by crews… We were behind the folks riding the Cutlass. It was hot…
Nothing was happening.
All of a sudden, Stuke jumps up on the platform and yells,
"Okay… Listen up… We want all you gahdam Camel and Pall Mall smokers up front… We've gotta get you while the film is fresh enough to penetrate all that crap you've got in your lungs. Anyone smoking Kools or Kents, you go to the back… Anyone smoking that Bull Durham roll your own bullshit, just cut your throats and jump off the pier…"
It was about here that the power brokers off Orion hauled him down. It sure made standing in the hot sun a lot funnier.
The rascal from Quincy, Illinois made submarine life worth living… Didn't matter how low your ass was dragging on any given day, all it took was five minutes of one of Stuke's 'What a Bunch of Whiners' routines and you were okay.
In '62, when I got the honor of diving #2 sanitary tank… They got me in this stinky wetsuit and handed me this scraper thing. Just before they put me in the mask, I looked at my old pal knowing that we wouldn't share this glorious moment.
"Stuke, why me?"
"Dex, look at this as a possible great moment in boat service history. Who knows? There may be a big oyster in there with a big-ass pearl."
To know him is to love him… He has never been firmly anchored to the planet.
I understand the subvets are having some kind of shindig in Phoenix. The master wild man lives in Mesa. If you guys don't goat rope him and make his worthless butt show up, you are missing one helluva opportunity.
And tell him to bring Janie… His absolutely knockout bride. You'll love Janie… And tell her she still owes me an 8x10 of her in a skimpy two-piece.
Adrian Stuke… The best and the worst of the first hundred years of the submarine force.