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I remember a nice fall day in the late 1990's when I was walking through a seafood and Arts & Crafts Festival in a small Florida town on the upper west coast.  An older guy was walking toward me and he was wearing a cap that had SS-220 on the front.  I pointed at him and said,
                 
"You rode the BARB under Gene Fluckey!"

He stood up as tall as 5 foot 6 inches could stand, and replied,
                 
"Best damn Skipper in the fleet!"

I asked if he had been on the patrol where GENE FLUCKEY (2169-LIFE-1992) sent eight men ashore, the first and only time that uniformed American military personnel set foot on the Home Islands of Japan during World War II.  The men were to place an explosive charge under the tracks where a troop train passed early every morning, bringing fresh Japanese troops to board ships to fight against the U.S. Marines.  An impish smile crossed his face and he said,
                  
"I'm the guy who put the charge under the rails!"

This was PAUL "Swish" SAUNDERS, Chief of the Boat, USS BARB.  He was a real salty sailor, almost a character out of a paperback novel, but he loved his former Skipper, his former crew and his old ride, USS BARB.  He was with Sharkhunters for many years and he loved his Membership as well.


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