Mike Chaffin
submitted by Jeff Moreau, Friend and Shipmate

Mike Chaffin was probably the strongest and most intelligent person I have ever met.  At 5-9, 230lbs., not more than a few ounces of fat (calf muscles so big his dungaree bells were skin tight), and a photographic memory, there was not much Mike could not do.

This story is about one day Mike and I had to clean sea grass out of the Auxiliary Sea Water pump suctions.  We were stationed on board USS Bergall SSN-667, in M-Div.  We were both ELT's, Mike an MM2 and me an MM3 at the time.  We had used a chain fall to get the suction piping disconnected from the pump casing.  We cleaned the mud and grass from inside the pump suction and went to reinstall the piping.  The sound isolation couplings (risic) had turned and would no longer line up properly.  We must have struggled with this a good hour, when Mike really got pissed.  He told me to get out of the way and slid over the top of the ASW cross connect pipe on his back and upside down.  Now I am sure that the piping and risic couplings had to have weighed at least 250 lbs, if not more.  Anyway, he sticks his right arm under the piping, lifts and slams it into place, then says to me "Hand me a Bolt".  Then bolts it up himself!  I new he was strong, but this was something else.

A favorite past time of his when we were in port, which was not very often, and in the barracks was to open Molson beer bottles by removing the caps with his toes.

He was a great friend and Submariner.  He is missed very much by all his friends.

Addendum to the above:  In August 2002, I received the following email:

This is to Jeff Moreau, I am Edward Chaffin ENCM (RET) and Mike's Stepfather. I was surfing the internet and run across your story about my stepson. I am so glad I'm not the only one thinking of Mike. Your story was so nice. I hope you see this posted here on this site. Thanks for your story....

Addendum: October 2005

I want you to know that many of us who served with Mike think of him often. I came on board Bergall not long after Mike and we were on board together for about four years. I was always in awe of Mike, his strength and intelligence. We worked hard and played hard together as sailors do. He was a good shipmate and friend. When I heard of Mike's passing my heart sank. Although we had lost touch after getting out, you always have a place in your heart for a shipmate. At the recent Bergall reunion we talked about and remembered Mike. Stop by the Bergall web site and look up some of the people who served on Bergall during Mike's tour. I am sure that every one of them remembers Mike.

Gary Kelch LT, USNR Executive Officer
NR NSSC Norfolk, DET 106

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