Interview with Marvin C. Fowler

From the interview with Marvin C. Fowler of Quartzite, AZ conducted by Oran De Bois by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on March 11, 2004. Mr. Fowler served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1971.  He was stationed at the Harbor Entrance Control Post at Fort Worden, where he worked on the signal tower at a triangulation station from 1956 to 1958.  Here he discusses the underwater detection gear that was used:

“We triangulated in the loops (magnetic loops connected to galvanometers on shore to indicate the passage of a submarine over each loop). They had hydrophones that we listened on and they actually had mines down there too.  We blew up the one that we put in, killed all kinds of fish—fisherman got rich out there on all the fish we killed.                We had the USS Elder and a Mine Hunting Craft. They had ships trying to sneak through on us.  They tried to sneak the first nuclear sub, the Nautilus, through on us and we caught it.”

In 1989, Mr. Fowler was called back to Fort Worden for Temporary Additional Duty:

“There was an ensign who took my place up there in the Harbor Defense Unit and he got put in prison.  He sold off all my charts and everything that was marked Secret.  I think he got put in Portsmouth Naval Prison, ME.  I got called off the USS Manatee to come back to see if I could remember where all this stuff was buried out there under that water after he disposed of all the charts.”

About his later career:

“I went to Comnavfor (Commander, Naval Forces) Japan for about four years.  I worked directly with the CIA there doing flotsam and jetsam.  We picked up all the floating stuff in the water, like Russian torpedoes and stuff.  We sent some back to Keyport to be tested.  The Russians said they could find our nuclear subs no matter where they were.  Well, we found their outfit so we could sabotage their signal and they couldn’t find it.  They thought they could but they couldn’t find us. I went from Japan to Mare Island, CA teaching on those river boats for Vietnam.  Then I went to an Icebreaker, the USS Titan in Staten Island, NY and then to the USS Fox, a guided missile frigate.”

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