Author Topic: More about USS Drum volunteers Tom Bowser (Drumvol) and Lesley Waters  (Read 13812 times)

Offline Lance Dean

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On 2/25/2008, I did a small interview with Tom Bowser (user Drumvol here), the man who is working with Lesley Waters on the Drum restoration daily on a volunteer basis.

1 ) What got you interested in submarines and led to your joining the submarine force?
I grew up watching Silent Service on tv and thought submarines were neat, I knew I wanted to go into subs when I was 12.

2 ) What was your rate and ranking?
MM1 (SS) Nuc on James Madison A gang on Seahorse

3 ) What submarines did you serve upon and when?
USS Atule SS 403 6weeks in 1966, USS James Madison SSBN 627 B 1966-1970 on board for first Posideon conversion and first launch, USS Seahorse SSN 669 1970-1972.

4 ) How long were you in the Navy?
10 years

5 ) When and why did you first visit the USS Drum?
Around 2000, was in the area on a job and saw it on a billboard, hadn't thought about submarines since I got out in '74 and decided to stop.

6 ) How and when did you begin working with the USS Drum?

After a few trips to visit the Drum after they took it out of the water, I got to know Lesley Waters, the lady that works on the Drum and saw what a great job she was trying to do without any help, tools, or support from the Park and decided I needed to help. I started donating tools and supplies to her and in 2004 my job changed where I was going through Mobile every other week and would stop on Mondays and Fridays to bring Lesley supplies and to help. Two years ago my wife died so I moved to the area so I could be on the Drum every day to help restore her. I retired recently and am now spending 60-70 hours a week on the Drum restoring and giving tours.

7 ) If you had an infinite amount of supplies and money to spend on the USS Drum restoration, what things would you most like to see fixed?
Our goal for the next two to three years is to completely restore the outside, including sand blasting and painting the fuel and ballast tanks, rebuilding the bow and stern (including the shutter doors and getting the outer doors working). During the winter months we are going to continue restoring the inside to WWII configuration including building and installing new bunks in all areas as much as possible considering visitor traffic and passage, cleaning and painting the lower machinery spaces and putting grating in the decks so visitors can see those spaces.

When that is done we want to get the MC system and sound powered phones working, put in CD players with various sounds and effects and of course I would like to be able to run at least one engine for brief periods.

Right now I would like to be able to give all visitors a brochure with the history and patrol chart of the Drum and what money can't buy is I would like to have more subvets on board to give tours. The submarine force has been silent too long and visitors love to hear about what life is like in a sewer pipe.

8 ) What can you tell us about Lesley?

Lesley came to work at the Park about 12 years ago and started in the gift shop. When a position came open in maintenance she shifted to there because she likes to work on machinery, she was on the Battleship for about a year and the position on the Drum opened and she took it because she thought the Drum was better. She developed a deep feeling for the boat and all that served in submarines and has a great passion to preserve her and her history. Lesley is as much a part of the boat as the equipment in her and cannot imagine working any where else.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 10:33:09 PM by Lance Dean »