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Thread: For all you Ex-Navy guys (& gals)

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    For all you Ex-Navy guys (& gals)


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    Silver Hawk Member 53k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzard View Post
    Interesting video. Been there, done that in the North Atlantic. Took a 45-degree roll one time when a big wave caught us broadside.

    Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
    '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

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    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    Yup. Me too. I have my Blue Nose Card to prove it. 22 straight days at sea in the North Atlantic in November will make a believer out of you. That last shot of the guys on the forecastle getting hit with a big green wave was surprising as we were not allowed on the weather decks in stormy seas. We stayed below and belted ourselves to our chairs.
    Ed Sallia
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    Although not in the Navy itself, I spent 25 years going to sea on relatively small Navy research vessels, almost always in cold northern waters (think snow in August). The lab on one of the ships I was on was all the way astern and could only be reached by going out on the main deck (one side of the ship or the other) and walking/running ~150 feet astern. In sea states like those shown, one tried to time it so one didn't get caught by the full force of a swell crashing over the bridge. In the dark, that's tough to do. We were in the Sea of Okhotsk in a sea state 7 or 8, and timed my run astern badly. A swell caught me about half way back and washed me all the way astern until I grabbed a railing stanchion just before I went over the stern. Given that it was midnight, no one would have seen me go over. We all have our lucky days.

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    So where and what was the vehicle taking such steady video??

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    In January, 1956 I boarded the troop ship USS Taylor in Bremerhaven, Germany. It was the smallest troop ship in service. The North Sea was very turbulent and troops were locked down below and sea sick. The sailors were amused with the landlubbers miserable cruise. We were delighted when we saw the Statue of Liberty and realized the ride was about over. We glimpsed land on Friday, but the ship throttled down because it was decided to disembark on Monday! The soldiers were not happy! I love boating, but have yet to accept an invitation to go on a cruise. When I am on my Whaler, I am in charge! The USS Taylor is now a "fish hotel" in the Caribbean.

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    President Member Colgate Studebaker's Avatar
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    Bill, this reminds me of the first of 3 ships I was stationed on from '68 to '71. It was a converted destroyer escort at 306' long and we were going to Keelung Taiwan for R&R. The weather didn't cooperate however, throwing a typhoon at us a day out of port. We had to fight through it and cancel Keelung. We took 43 degree rolls and were going under 2 and over 1. I think everybody on board was sick, I know I sure was. If I remember correctly the ship would capsize at 46 degrees. That was not a lot of fun, Bill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim333 View Post
    So where and what was the vehicle taking such steady video??
    Probably a helicopter, and in one sequence, an aircraft carrier.

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Eddie View Post
    Yup. Me too. I have my Blue Nose Card to prove it. 22 straight days at sea in the North Atlantic in November will make a believer out of you. That last shot of the guys on the forecastle getting hit with a big green wave was surprising as we were not allowed on the weather decks in stormy seas. We stayed below and belted ourselves to our chairs.
    What's a Blue Nose Card, Eddie? BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobPalma View Post
    What's a Blue Nose Card, Eddie? BP
    Bob,
    You have probably heard about sailors crossing the equator and going through an initiation to become a "Shell Back". Well, when you cross the Arctic Circle there is a similar tradition only you become a Blue Nose. I received the Order of the Blue Nose aboard the USS Ainsworth (FF-1090) on November 16th, 1975 at Longitude 007-02E. The initiation lasted all day and was actually quite fun, except for standing a 10 minute bridge wing watch in my skivvies. The bridge wing is an exposed area on either side of the bridge and in November, travelling at 12 knots, it was really cold.
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

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    Commander Member JimKB1MCV's Avatar
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    I have to say that impressive as the clip is, with the exception of the shot of green water on wheelhouse windows (a flashback moment, sometimes those windows break), the weather depicted isn't that bad.
    When you are on a ship bad weather is a fact of life and it looks MUCH worse to an observer on another vessel that it does onboard.
    Something the non-seagoing readers may not realize is that the constant motion of a ship (any ship) in bad weather, sometimes for weeks on end, 24/7 is exhausting and can lead to questionable judgement on the part of watchstanders, something we always had to be aware of in my engine rooms.
    In thirty-umph umph years sailing on trawlers, ocean tugs, oilfield semi-subs, tankers and bulk carriers I never managed to get any certification for crossing arctic, antarctic or equator lines even though we did cross them regularly. That may be one of the many differences between commercial and military sailing.
    Anyway, thanks for posting the clip. I wish they had chosen more appropriate music, though.
    Jim

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    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    Jim, I agree on the music. I was thinking of something along the lines of "Victory At Sea".
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

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    Speedster Member Charlie D's Avatar
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    I have a funny story about a situation while serving on board USS Jason (AR-8). It was a pretty large repair ship and did pretty well in heavy seas. The sequence of events when the swells were approximately the same length of the ship was sort of like the following. As the bow of the ship was plowing into a swell the stern end was coming completely out of the water. When that happened the screws would come out of the water and vibrate the entire ship. As the bow rode up above the swell the back of the ship would settle back down and the vibration went away. Sort of like a rocking horse with a vibration thrown in.

    During one of these runs I had to go to the enlisted head (bathroom) at the far aft end. I was still a second class petty officer and years from receiving my commission. There were no stalls and the commodes were lined up facing each other. There were about 10 or 12 in the head. The one-way flapper valve that kept sea water from coming back up the drain was not functioning. When the vibration stopped we knew the aft end of the ship was getting ready to slam back down into the water. When that happened the sea water was forced back up through the drain and the commodes looked like miniature old faithful geysers. Us enlisted guys had to rush to the center of the head, wait for the water to subside, go wipe off the lids and hope to high heaven that we were done before the next cycle. It was almost like a choreographed dance.

    Charlie D.

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    Update from one of my email pals:
    Update on Sullivan brothers from old

    : Sullivan Brothers

    I have learned a lot about USS Juneau—a light skinned cruiser which shot to pieces off Guadalcanal in 1942. Torpedoes went right thru the ship. fire oil and sinking. the 5 sullivans were in the burning oil. One survivor said one of the Sullivan boys was going on a life raft with a roll of toilet paper wiping the faces of his shipmates while looking for his brothers. He was crying and screaming, calling their names,going from life raft to life boat and just disappeared. All 5 were gone.Later in my life I worked in Iowa and went to Waterloo-that was where they had lived and gone to school. Their father worked for Raft Packing Company (meat). There were big signs on that building as they were considered heroes in Waterloo.
    When the war broke out, four of the boys went to enlist in the Navy. The youngest was married with an itching to go into the Navy with his brothers but the Navy said no to him. They could not be together but somehow they Navy took them all in.
    later I was on a cruise ship and we stopped in Juneau. On the deck was a tribute to the five Sullivan boys.
    After they were lost at sea, no family members could be on the same ship or in a war together.
    Jim

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    Since we’re telling sea stories (nursery rhymes start with “Once upon a time” while sea stories start with “Now this is no s__t”), I will pass along a brief tale of the Cold War at sea. The Sea of Okhotsk, August 1963, the USS Rehoboth, a WWII-era ex-seaplane tender, converted into an unarmed survey/research vessel. The Sea of Okhotsk is almost completely surrounded by Soviet territory, but was/is considered as international waters. In those days there were no surveillance satellites, but there was plenty of land-based radar on the mountains surrounding the area – so we knew we would be spotted pretty quickly. And indeed, on the second day, we were buzzed several times by one of their huge Bear-class bombers (some of which are still in service). We were working a grid pattern of oceanographic stations. At each station we normally had to drift for 4 or 5 hours to deploy and recover instrumentation.

    Two days later after seeing the Bear, the ancient radar aboard the Rehoboth picked up a very large surface contact approaching at a speed in excess of 30 knots (the Rehoboth could do 12 knots on a good day). It turned out to be a Sverdlov-class cruiser, which blasted by at full speed with a CPA of about 100 yards. A beautiful and impressive ship. They circled once taking pictures, then stopped a couple of hundred yards away and asked us by signal lamp to identify ourselves – something that they surely already knew (after all, the US Navy paints big numbers on the bow of all its ships for this very purpose). After a short exchange of information, they moved off, but remained within visual range. We moved to the next station later in the day, and the cruiser followed along a mile or so away.

    About midnight, our radar began picking up more ships in our vicinity. (Given that the Sea of Okhotsk is not on the way FROM anywhere TO anywhere, this was highly unusual.) About 2 AM, the cruiser returned and pulled up alongside close enough to see the captain’s lips moving. With a megaphone, he said in perfect English that we were in a danger zone and to please steer southwest for 20 nautical miles. Our captain responded that we would comply in about an hour, as soon as we recovered our equipment. The Russian captain stated that that would be satisfactory. We apparently had drifted into the middle of a Soviet naval exercise. After we got our gear back on deck, we got under way as requested and wished the cruiser fair winds and following seas. They wished us the same.

    The final chapter occurred two days later when a bedraggled-looking Soviet minesweeper showed up to shadow us. The Rehoboth was slow, but this poor boat was even slower – and vastly less capable of dealing with the kind of seas Bill showed us in the first post. Whenever we got under way to head to the next station, they always seemed surprised, and always struggled to catch up with us before we completed work at the next station. This went on for three weeks of mostly-awful weather, and we really began to feel sorry for the poor shlubs that got stuck with following us back and forth in an obvious grid pattern. When we finally departed the area to head south to Japan, our captain took pity on them and told them we were leaving the area for good, and they could go home, too. But their orders were doubtless still in effect, and the last we saw of them, they were still plugging along, with green water crashing over their bridge, trying to catch up with us.

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    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    Great story Skip. I grew up far inland, and never physically saw the ocean, until sometime into my 30s. Having never been exposed to any of that, it looks to me to be a frightening place to be. The only time that I've actually been on the water is on a small catamaran, watching whales off the coast of Hawaii. That was far enough out for me, and I have great respect for the sailors that brave the extreme power of the ocean.

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    Tom-
    Thank you -- it was an interesting experience. As Jim said in post #11 above, operating in rough weather for long periods is truly exhausting. You have to hang on all the time and you seem to be constantly bouncing off bulkheads, equipment, or furniture.

    One other thought -- on that same cruise we spent several weeks surveying the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, driving along at 12.1 nautical miles off the coast to remain outside Soviet territorial waters. This in the days before GPS. I don't think anyone thought our unarmed ship was in any danger -- the Soviet Union was a seafaring nation, with a long tradition of strong military command and control and observation of the rules of maritime navigation. As we all learned in 1968, the USS Pueblo found out that the North Koreans were not similarly civilized.

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    Charlie D--
    Great story. Thanks.

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    Commander Member JimKB1MCV's Avatar
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    Not quite as polished as the first video and a little dated, but except for not getting your feet wet, this is what it can be like.
    Its the North Sea c. ~ '80s or 90s.

    Bring your Dramamine (sp?) or motion-sickness patches.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=P...&v=vibLDLgCw9I

    Enjoy!

  20. #20
    President Member WinM1895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzard View Post
    Update from one of my email pals:
    Update on Sullivan brothers from old
    : Sullivan Brothers

    I have learned a lot about USS Juneau—a light skinned cruiser which shot to pieces off Guadalcanal in 1942. Torpedoes went right thru the ship. fire oil and sinking. the 5 sullivans were in the burning oil. One survivor said one of the Sullivan boys was going on a life raft with a roll of toilet paper wiping the faces of his shipmates while looking for his brothers. He was crying and screaming, calling their names,going from life raft to life boat and just disappeared. All 5 were gone.Later in my life I worked in Iowa and went to Waterloo-that was where they had lived and gone to school. Their father worked for Raft Packing Company (meat). There were big signs on that building as they were considered heroes in Waterloo.
    When the war broke out, four of the boys went to enlist in the Navy. The youngest was married with an itching to go into the Navy with his brothers but the Navy said no to him. They could not be together but somehow they Navy took them all in.
    later I was on a cruise ship and we stopped in Juneau. On the deck was a tribute to the five Sullivan boys.
    After they were lost at sea, no family members could be on the same ship or in a war together.
    Jim
    The USS Juneau was an Atlanta class CL-AA (Light Cruiser-Anti-Aircraft) with a main armament of 16 5" guns (8X2), both it and the Atlanta were involved in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and both were sunk. It was said after the battle that neither should have been involved due to their thin skin and 5" main armament, but due to the shortage of ships, both had to be there.

    But from what I've read, the sequence of events you describe did not occur. During the battle, one of the Sullivans was injured and was taken to sick bay. After the battle concluded, while the Juneau was limping away, a Japanese sub fired two torpedoes, one hit, the ship exploded, broke in two and sank in less than a minute.

    In the film The Sullivans aka The Fighting Sullivans (20th Century-Fox:1944), after the ship was torpedoed, the 4 brothers were shown heading below decks to sickbay to get their sibling. But this is Hollywood fiction, since the ship sank so quickly, they wouldn't have time to go anywhere but in the water...if any survived that is.

    I've been on 5 AK cruises, so have been to Juneau 5 times. There is a memorial to the USS Juneau on one of the cruise ship docks, and while the brothers may be mentioned, the memorial is not for them.
    Last edited by WinM1895; 02-07-2019 at 03:47 AM.

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    President Member Dwain G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie D View Post
    I have a funny story about a situation while serving on board USS Jason (AR-8). It was a pretty large repair ship and did pretty well in heavy seas. Charlie D.
    I was on USS Delta (AR-9). Jason, Ajax, Hector were all purpose-built Vulcan class ships. Delta and the sub tender I lived on for 2 years were built for Matson Lines as cargo ships for the Hawaiian trade.
    On Delta my underway watch station was the bridge. I got to steer the ship at times. When convoying in heavy seas it was fun to watch the destroyers. One minute they would be riding a crest and were way up above us. Next minute all you could see was a mast as they went into a trough.

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    Speedster Member Charlie D's Avatar
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    Dwain,

    What was your rating. I was a Lithographer (printer) 2nd class petty officer and near the end of my two years; 1st class. I was in charge of the 6 man print shop. My underway general quarters station was the print shop. In case the ship was compromised I was to shred any classified printed material. We seldom had any of that so I would haul out my sleeping bag and rest and relax during the general quarters. After a few general quarters drills I got bored doing that so I assigned another Lithographer to the shop and I would go to DC Central during the drills. The XO hung out down there.

    It was explained to me that the CO was in the bridge, the XO was in DC Central and the Engineering Officer was back in the aft part of the ship. That was the sequence of command on board the Jason. The theory being that all three would not be knocked out of action in case the ship was attacked.

    Charlie D.

  23. #23
    President Member Dwain G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie D View Post
    Dwain,

    What was your rating.

    Charlie D.
    I flunked out of ET-A school so was sent to deck div. In port was my least favorite time because that was when most chipping and painting gone done. In Sasebo at anchor buoy I was on boat crews. Ran an LCPL all day long shuttling people back and forth. Liked steering the ship so much that I transferred to Operations and started training for QM. Shortly after that got transferred to shore duty.
    By the way, Ajax was at Buoy 1 and was Flag. Delta was at Buoy 2 and nearly every time one of our boats passed Ajax, her signal light would go to work. Seems our boats were always too fast, too noisy, fender over the side, etc.

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