Saturday, March 25, 2006

EB Green Tape – the stuff of urban legends

I recently read piece in Wired titled “Worlds Greatest Tool: Duct Tape” and it got me to thinking about the “EB Green” variety.

EB Green is found throughout the Navy and rumored to originate from the Electric Boat shipyard, hence the name. If you’re a US Submariner (current or former) you probably heard stories about and experienced the unbelievable strength of “EB Green” duct tape. This stuff is not your Home Depot run of the mill duct tape; I swear when applied properly its just short of epoxy backed Kevlar.

The one famous EB Green story, and possibly a submariner version of an urban legend, is how it survived a trip to test depth. The story goes that an un-named submarine went to sea from the shipyard on builder's trials. During the at sea period the submarine made at least one excursion to test depth. Upon the sub’s return to the shipyard, and a trip into the dry dock, it was discovered that a small area on the pressure hull had some EB Green tape on it. The patch of tape had been over painted and not noticed during construction. The tape was removed so that the hull could be properly painted and a hole was discovered that went “all the way through the pressure hull” to the submarine interior. The EB Green tape had saved the submarine from a certain flooding causality.

I don’t know if this story is true but I've heard it at least a couple of times while on subs and you can find it repeated on the internet here; the 3rd , 10th and 15th entries here and also here.

Like with common duct tape sailors and shipyard workers have found a thousand and one uses for EB Green tape. When I was a shipyard worker I saw it used to repair everything from a leaky air hose in the machine shop to a co-workers noisy car muffler. In the Navy, well let’s just say sailors can get creative while at sea.

Other than EB Greening non-quals to the overhead any other submariners have an EB Green story they’d like to share (anonymous entries welcome) in the comments section?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

While, I was never in the navy, I was painting the bottom of a customers yacht, and noticed a symmetrical rectangular raised portion. After sanding something fell out to reveal a hole in the hull. It turned out that while in Florida 3 years prior something was struck and the boat was "Repaired." When I showed the customer what the repair was he nearly fainted. It was 5200 sealant in the hole, EB Green, and bottom paint, that lasted 3 years, and thousands of nautical miles.

Anonymous said...

I once heard a rumor that a certain boat had a EB Green patch between the battery well and the snake pit. This boat went to sea. Later it pulled in for emergency repairs at the hands of a tiger team.

Rex said...

I was a Hospital Corpsman assigned to Naval Hospital, Groton, CT in the mid 1980's. The most unusual use of EB Green was when someone got hurt.

I would often see a sailor come into my Sick Bay and cradling an injury that required suturing. When I got them back to the exam room, I would be faced with an "WEB Green Field Dressing"- A sanitary napkin wrapped tightly with, you guessed it, EB Green.

It was a pain in the butt removing the stuff, but it makes a hell of a bandage in a pinch!

Anonymous said...

I was an A-Ganger. We used it extensively. I was even Mummified in it by the Nuke MMs. HAHA! I love the stuff. I wish the stuff at Home Depot was as strong as EB Green. I thought I'd google EB Green and see what came up. I was on the USS Spadefish SSN-668

Larry "The Bull" Dozier

likethegum said...

I grew up in Southeastern CT, about twelve miles from Groton, and my dad worked at EB, so we had ready access to the Tape of the Gods. My mom and I used to make a game of looking for cars on the road with the tape patching a window. I once saw a car at full speed (well, this was 395 in the mid-80s, so probably no faster than 50) with EB Green sealing a top-to-bottom crack in the WINDSHIELD.

Mark Hayden said...

I Live near Groton Base in CT. I once saw a VW bug, that had EB green keeping the floor pan from falling off.

Randy Burgoon said...

That stuff was powerful. We used it to tape up Middies who came on board and I remember it removing the hair when we ripped it off them. I had a roll that mysteriously showed up in my seabag. God knows what that is still holding togethor.

trob73 said...

I also grew up in Southeastern CT. I moved to indiana in 1990, after using up my supply of EB green. I asked a neighbor if he had any EB green I could borrow. Well he looked at me like I was crazy and ended up giving me some duct tape which I had never even heard of.

SupplyTime said...

If anyone is looking to buy EB Green, we do still have it made. We are now selling it on-line at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KRNCPQC

We bought New London Tape, the co-creator of the product.

Joeyrocket Philms said...

Lol awesome!! That was probably my father or his friend. They were the two main VW guys at EB. Toooo funny! Was it red with flames, yellow or blue?