top of page

A Garden Faucet and a Nuclear-Powered Submarine: So Began the SSN 777 Club

Rewarding journeys can begin inauspiciously. I met the Captain and crew members of the USS North Carolina as an indirect result of repairing a leaking garden faucet.

As I chatted with the plumbers, the Whaley Brothers, in the driveway near the now-repaired faucet, our conversation went something like this:

WB: "How's your son in the Navy in Italy?"

CP: “Well and enjoying himself. I visited with him in the spring and toured the World War Two battlefield at Anzio between Naples and Rome.”

WB: “Our father was a Marine who saw every battle in the Pacific except for Guadalcanal...all the way to Okinawa.”

CP: “Incredible! I'm the Vice President of the Triangle Chapter of the Naval Academy Alumni Association. You're welcomed to join us at a luncheon — we often have guest speakers from the Marine Corps.”

WB: “You're a Naval Academy graduate? You should meet our dentist; his son is the commanding officer of the USS North Carolina, a submarine in Pearl Harbor.”

CP: “Please send me the contact info and I'll invite him to a luncheon.”

I received the email address of the commanding officer's mother. I wrote to her offering to assist her or her son on behalf of our Naval Academy Alumni Association. She telephoned me: “I'm the mother of Gary Montalvo; he is the Captain of the North Carolina. May he call you?” “Of course,” I replied. The next day, my cell rang and I met Commander Gary Montalvo, C.O. of SSN 777. In summary, he asked if our local Naval Academy Alumni Association would help organize a visit to North Carolina by him and members of the crew.

More about the welcoming reception of the community and the inspiring representation by Commander Montalvo and the five crew members of the North Carolina, SSN 777, in the next log post.

bottom of page