Submariner Reunites With HMCS Ojibwa
Reunited with the love of his life after 30 years, Mike “Stormy” Gales recalls the near-international incident that earned him his nickname.
It was one of the times in his life the former sailor and possibly the only Londoner to ever qualify as a submariner in the Royal Canadian Navy knocked out two men in one fight.
Sitting in HMCS Ojibwa three decades after he completed a five-year contract spent almost entirely aboard the whisper-quiet electric recon submarine, he said it took him less than 10 seconds to put the Scotsmen on the floor in a shore-leave pub fight, closer to five, even.
The thrill of victory was quickly replaced by the fear of God when his captain had to bail him out of jail. Called to the CO’s quarters hours later, Gales was sure his time on the high seas was behind him. The Scots apparently were calling it an international incident.
But after a healthy chewing out in the broom closet the captain called home, all he got was a new handle that played on his family name and his growing reputation as a scrapper (he claims to have flattened three men by himself at least half a dozen times, and four of them twice).
“I asked him if he wanted the door shut when he was done,” Gales said. “He screamed, ‘Yes I want the door shut! And one more thing: thank you for protecting my crew! ’” Such are the bonds that form hundreds of feet below the surface. “It’s a huge brotherhood,” Gales said. “I can walk into a room and tell who’s a submariner. It’s just a feeling you get.”
Now a highly sought after power plant control systems analyst in the United States, Stormy Gales has found calmer waters, but the early 1980’s were dangerous times for Canadian seamen.