Sharkey, Chief of the Boat for the SSRN Seaview, was born in New
York City. He spent his growing up years on the Lower East Side, otherwise
known as Hell’s Kitchen. Throughout his childhood and teen years, he was known
as ‘Ethel’ to his friends, a play on his middle name, something that he hated
but had no choice but to tolerate. In High School, the only class he ever
got an ‘A’ in was Home Economics, something that he also took razzing about in
his neighborhood. However, his hidden talent in that area would come to
serve him well later on in life.
He enlisted in the US
Navy, seeing it as an out of the City, as well as a way to see the world
and learn a great deal more. Due to his inclination in the kitchen, he spent his
first tour of duty in the galley of ships. But he decided not to limit himself,
so he pursued other courses of study, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Mechanical Engineering. During the course of his enlistment, he earned
a reputation of being crusty and demanding but fair. The men that served
with him came to respect him and his decisions as ones that were for the good of
the men and the ships that they served on.
During his second duty tour on board submarines, at
which time he was chief of electrical engineering, he met Captain Harriman
Nelson and served under his command. The two men developed a mutual appreciation
of the other’s talents, and at the end of the tour, Nelson told the Chief that
he would be hearing from him again. Sharkey filed the promise with that of so
many other CO’s and continued to make headway in his career until he reached the
rank of Chief Petty Officer. Serving in that capacity on two tours of
duty, he was preparing to retire, albeit reluctantly, when an offer arrived from
now Admiral Harriman Nelson that he couldn’t refuse.
Nelson’s boat, the Seaview, had just lost its COB. Chief Petty Officer
Curley Jones had died suddenly, and after trying several other men in the
COB position, he finally located Sharkey. He officially offered him the
position of Chief of the Boat, with salary and perks to commiserate with his
experience. While Sharkey was, and always would be, a ‘Navy Man’, he quickly put
in his retirement papers and moved to Santa Barbara, California as expeditiously
as the Navy would allow. Besides, he wasn’t really leaving the Navy, he would be
in the reserves, ready to serve whenever necessary.
When he arrived at Santa Barbara, he quickly found what a man Chief Jones had
been and what a position he was expected to fill. Nelson welcomed him warmly and
the friendship that began long ago, became cemented. He also quickly came to
appreciate the special working relationship between Lee Crane, Seaview's
captain, and Chip Morton, the XO, as well as their friendship, and saw that
it made for the extremely smooth running of the boat. He was immediately thrust
into the mix by an wild escapade with the boat and a Russian female scientist.
The scientist and Nelson, along with the boat’s bathyscaphe was amazingly
swallowed by a huge whale. At the end of the unusual incident, a new
relationship was forged, and Sharkey, besides being the COB of the boat, became
the unofficial ‘watchdog’ and keeper of the Senior Staff and their respective
Sharkey never married, tho’ his ‘little black book' of
female acquaintances was, from all reports, frequently used when in port. In his
later years, 'the Chief' found a lady who was to keep him 'company' for the rest
of his days.