Letter from Udell Cunningham, November 2005 Part 5

Seabees were mostly older men with construction skills. These old carpenters, plumbers etc. were tough old no-nonsense types who tolerated no B.S. And then there were the young kids as helpers. When in “Boot” training, we had Marine drill instructors, but they pretty much went easy with us as the old men (some in forties) just wouldn’t take the usual crap that you see in the typical movies of basic military training. While on Attu I worked with a pipe-laying crew. My pipe fitter associates were old plumbers from Philadelphia. Boy could they relate some tales. This may seem odd to you but we installed wood pipe. Yeah these pipes were large diameter consisting of curved wood staves with tongue and groove sides. They formed a circle and were wrapped with large wire. The sewer pipes used wrapping about 3-inches apart. The high pressure pipes were about 10-12 ft. long. They had a cuff to join the individual pipes together. The wood pipes leaked initially but swelled and stopped leaking later. Oh, they were coated with creosote. They said these pipes withstood the wet environment better than iron pipe that rusted out. They knew we wouldn’t need them very many years. I’ll bet they are still there.

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