Taking the Plunge
THE PLACES HE GOES FOR A GOOD DIVE
The G7 torpedo is 21 inches in diameter, a dimension of immediate interest to Ted Richards. At the moment the Ridgefielder was 105 feet below the surface of the Atlantic and trying to squirm several feet through the front torpedo loading hatch of U-352. But with his nitrox-filled tank strapped to his back, he exceeded the diameter of the weapon the hatch was meant to accommodate. However, the IBM executive persisted and finally emerged in the cramped, water-filled torpedo room.
There, he moved oh-so-slowly, lest he stir up the thick layers of silt that had accumulated since the submarine sank in May 1942, and reduce visibility to zero. Alone in a cramped, dark, water-filled compartment, dependent on his equipment and ability to extract himself in a timely manner, Richards was fully cognizant that if anything went awry, his circumstances were definitely unfavorable. He was thrilled.
Although he retired in 2002 after 36 years with Big Blue, Richards keeps fully engaged. He serves as an officer with the Ramapoo Rifle and Revolver Club, which operates the range adjacent to the town’s maintenance garage on Old Quarry Road, and the Pahquioque Rod & Gun Club, which holds skeet shooting competitions at the Wooster Mountain range off Route 7. (Founded in 1899, the club has hosted a number of notable guest shooters over the years including Annie Oakley, John Philip Sousa, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig.) A long time dog lover, he also volunteers at ROAR.
While active in all those pursuits, it’s diving that really gets Richards charged. “I’m rabid about it,” he volunteers. By way of measure, he says he’s logged 850 dives since he got seriously involved in the sport 25 years ago while on a family vacation in Eleuthera, the Bahamas. That works out to 34 dives per year, and doesn’t include training dives, of which he has many since he’s acquired a number of certifications from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, including Master Diver and Dive Master (instructor).
Richards has dived for lobsters in Maine, over wrecks in Bermuda, fed sharks in the Bahamas, and in “a trip of a lifetime” among the hulks of the sunken Japanese Navy fleet at Truk Island in the western Pacific. On most of these excursions he’s one of a team of diving Ridgefielders, which includes Rich Decerio, another IBMer; Dr. Mark Einzig, DDS; and Dave Stroberg, an engineer and Auburn grad like Richards, all of whom are equally experienced. Yes, Sarah Richards goes along, too, as do the other wives, but their adventures are more terrestrial.
Just this spring, Richards took a dive trip in Cozumel, Mexico, his favorite destination.