Stories & Memoirs
posted on these pages were provided by crew members or others who had
direct knowledge of the events they wrote about. These articles are
provided for all to enjoy. The Association is not responsible for
their content or accuracy.
James F. Mockerman, October 1945 - July 1946: I was a
member of the original crew of the U.S.S. Great Sitkin (AE-17) moored
to pier #2, birth 1 starboard to pier at naval ammunition depot, Earl
N.J. Leonardo pier. Stern towards U.S.S. Solar D-E-221 a destroyer
On 4/30/1946 at 0832, I was standing on main deck at #2 hold
just forward of our super structure. I heard a small explosion aft that
sounded like a 3.50 gun. fired. I noticed the ammo handlers on the pier
pointing aft down the pier toward the U.S.S. Solar, moored to north end
of pier #1, Stern to South, port to pier. I ran through the weather
deck to the ladder rail aft of super structure. I saw black smoke
curling upward from the center of the focsle to a height of about 100
feet and climbing. About a minute later a 2nd explosion, much greater
than the 1st, with flames, debris and smoke erupting skyward. The
executive Officer appeared at the rail beside me and shouted "Whats
happening?" I responded,"I think that ship is in trouble" Just after I
said that, a 3rd explosion occurred, a giant blast that lifted the ship
out of the water, and wrenched the ship apart, taking everything from
the super structure forward before dropping it back into the water,
while rocketing all kinds of debris, including a large rectangle flat
piece that seemed to float and tumble slowly, as well as a gun mount,
(possible a 3 inch 50) tumbling end over end, up and outward to the
west. The debris and smoke seemed to settle down over the ship and I
lost sight of her.
I never saw the Solar again until later when we moored at
pier 3. What was left of the Solar was being towed across Sandy Hook
Bay toward New York, no bow or super structure left. I believe
that all 3 blast came from the same point on the focsle.
ENS John Snyder, 1948 - June, 1949:
I reported aboard early in 1948, the Commanding Officer was Captain
Joseph A.E. Hindman, USN. The ship was engaged in hauling overage
ammunition from Vieques, PR to NAD Earle, NJ.
We participated in Fleet Exercises shortly before Thanksgiving in the
Davis Straits, between Labrador and Greenland in support of the Navy's
evaluation of the ability to operate in northern waters. Rolling more than
thirty degrees most of time for ten days, no material problem but all
hands very tired from need to brace oneself 24 hours a day.
Captain Hindman was relieved by Captain Vilhelm K. Busck, in June of
1948. We then underwent Refresher Training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
including a real main throttle valve casualty. Our new skipper, on
probation in the minds of all Officers and crew, makes a spectacular one
bell landing at the pier. Then back to the Vieques to Earle routine
again, with a trip to Argentia, Newfoundland in there someplace. I
detached in June, 1949.
Domenick Indelicato, 1951 - 1955: Proud to have served my country.
As I was growing up, I always had the love of the sea. I guess
it was in my blood. My father served in the Italian Navy during the
first World War, and my grandfather was a mariner.
My first day in Boot Camp was my greatest thrill. I
could not believe I was in the U.S. Navy. When I was handed my first
blue uniform, I was happy beyond belief. I went in as a boy, and two
months later I left Boot Camp a competent young man.
My first tour of duty was serving aboard an ammunition ship
called the USS Great Sitkin. I will never forget the first time I
seen her tied up to a pier in Earle, New Jersey. As I walked up to
the gangway, I was awestruck by her size. She was to be my home for
the next three and a half years.
I served first as a seaman and then as an Electricians Mate.
The food was great at atimes. We had a great bunch of cooks aboard
who fed us very well. In general, I served with a great crew.
My first bad experience was the crows nest watch at sea.
I has to climb eighty feet up a ladder while the ship was rolling. I
had always been afraid of heights. It took me about 15 minutes to
make it to the top. I was scared, but I conquered my fear.
During my tour of duty, we visited many ports in Europe and
Africa. We were disliked by many foreign sailors because everytime
the US Navy came into port the prices would go up for everything, and I
In closing, I just want to say I am very proud to have served
aboard a great ship and the greatest navy the world has ever seen, the US
Gerald Nelson, October 1956 - September 1958: I reported
aboard the USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) at Leonardo, N. J. in September of
1956. The sleeping racks in all of the living compartments consisted of
an aluminum frame and a piece canvas attached to the frame on all four
sides with cotton line. Of course our mattresses were placed on top of
A short time after reporting aboard we left Leonardo and ended a short
cruse docking in Bayonne, N. J. To my surprise the USS Enterprise
(Decommissioned) was also docked there. I remember wishing I could take a
tour of this historical ship. I got my wish, but it was as a member of a
The sleeping racks on board the Enterprise were constructed of a aluminum
frame with, approximately, 3" X 4" wire mesh (in place of canvas) attacked
to the frame with metal springs.
Our task was to remove the aluminum racks from the Enterprise and install
them on the Great Sitkin to replace the old canvas racks.
The new racks were not like my bed back home, but they were a lot more
comfortable than the old canvas racks. I don't know how long the
Enterprise racks remained on the Great Sitkin or if they were ever
replaced, but they were still there when I was transferred from the Great
Sitkin in September of 1958.
Captain Brock was our "Skipper" and I remember him explaining to some of
us on the working party that the USS Enterprise was his first ship.
By the way, the only tour of the USS Enterprise we were given was
straight to her living quarters and back to the USS Great Sitkin.
PN2 Leandro Rios-Rivera, March 1958 - July 1960: I remember
the time when we were departing Bayonne for Europe. Charles Collins and
Rafael Cirino used to travel together from Brooklyn to Bayonne. They
arrived late and the ship was already leaving, no ropes, no gang-way and
it was already separated from the pier. The guys from the ship dropped a
big net overboard. Collins and Cirino jumped and grabbed the net. They
had a hard time climbing up but did not miss ship’s movement.
The funny part was that Cirino, had already passed the PN3 promotion
board and in a week he could use his stripes. Collins told me that the
only thing that Cirino said all the time was: OH SHIT MY STRIPES, OH SHIT
MY STRIPES, OH BOY MY PN3...
ETR3 Tony Fernandez, April 1961 - January
aboard the USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) in April 1961, shortly
after the ship had completed an overhaul at the Monte Marine
Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York. (Don’t bother checking the
yellow pages for a phone number, the company went belly up
in 1961.) During our shipyard availability period, ALL of
the ship’s electric motors had been overhauled, and various
valves in the ship’s fire main system had also been removed
Now deployed to the Med, we were allowed for once, to
join the more “glamorous” warships of the US Sixth Fleet in
a port visit; among them, the Sixth Fleet Flagship USS
Newport News, (CA-148). As was typical for ammunition ships
we always had to anchor out, but in Genoa, so did all the
other US warships.
At the forward end of Sitkin’s CIC was the navigator’s
chart table. Before entering port, I’d made a routine tour
of CIC to ensure the AN/SPS-10 surface search radar and its
associated AN/SPA-4A radar repeater (PPI scope) were
operating correctly. Assuring myself that they were, I
passed the chart table, and noticed that the posted chart of
Genoa’s harbor had a number of circles drawn on it. A
Quartermaster told me that each ship in company was assigned
one of those circles, and that a radius line from the
circle’s center represented the length of the respective
ship’s “swing” around its “hook.” The presumption was that
each ship would drop its hook dead center in its assigned
Through some glitch, we dropped the hook a bit
off-timing, thereby missing the center of our swing circle
by several yards. Since all ships in company had dropped
their hooks simultaneously (such precision), and all were
therefore pointed in the same direction... things looking
fine. Of course, the tide’s flow eventually changed, and
each ship rotated around its hook to correspond to that
change in tidal direction. Someone noticed that if we
continued our swing, our stern was destined to impact the
Flagship’s mid-section in the vicinity just aft of their
port side’s twin five-inch mount. Apparently, someone on
the flagship noticed that too, and sent us a “blinker”
message to hoist anchor, get underway, and correct our
positioning. Being anchored out, we of course had a boiler
lit off and steam available to get underway....the problem
we soon discovered, was in hoisting the anchor. The anchor
windlass motor, so recently overhauled by that now
out-of-business shipyard, fried itself immediately after it
was lit off to perform the task for which it had been
designed. We were stuck and still swinging our fantail
toward its destiny. I don’t know how it was explained to
the good folks aboard the cruiser, but I watched as they set
sea and anchor detail, hoisted their anchor, and relocated
to another anchoring berth well out of our way. I remember
thinking, “Wow! That cruiser might have had us out-gunned,
but we sure out-maneuvered her!”
Our anchor was later raised through the ingenious
expedient of lowering the forward cargo booms to deck level,
tying off the hoist cables to the anchor chain, and then
lifting the booms back towards the vertical. As the anchor
chain came aboard through this method, it would be “stopped
off,” and then the process repeated. I can’t say for sure
that the hoist motors were actually powerful enough to
obtain “anchor’s aweigh,” but they probably were strong
enough to remove all the slack from the chain. Once the ship
got underway, it was able to “pop” the anchor free from the
bottom and ready for hauling aboard as before using the
hoist and booms.
After leaving Genoa, the Newport News came alongside for
re-arming. Our ship, the hull of which had been fully
painted in the shipyard not eight months before, evidently
looked pretty shabby to the three-star aboard the cruiser.
As punishment for the shame our appearance was now bringing
him, compounded by the dishonorable anchoring we’d sprung on
him in Genoa, he “exiled” us to the western side of
Sardinia, outside of normal shipping lanes, where we could
“heave-to” and paint ship. In actuality, it proved futile
since we didn’t have sufficient fresh water to “prep” the
hull’s surface before applying the fresh coat of haze gray,
and the first sea that we encountered thereafter, just
sloughed off all that fresh paint.
I started this article by mentioning that all of the
Sitkin’s electric motors had been overhauled. Not
surprisingly, every one of those “overhauled” motors got
fried before we returned to the States. And those fire main
valves? Yep, you guessed it. A Damage Controlman told me
that either through incompetence or as a way for the
shipyard to cut corners during our overhaul, “fresh water”
valves had been installed in place of the correct sea water
valves; consequently, every one of those replaced valves
eroded, leaked, and had to be replaced.
Wayne Agee, September 1959 - September 1962: One of the funniest
things I saw happen was during the "Med Cruise" of 1961. We were
operating with the Greek Navy. The ship we were operating with was
an old LST we had given them back in the late fifties. Anyway our
skipper invited the Captain of the LST over and he brought his XO with him
and both had their wives with them.
As most of you know when we were over seas there was a small white box
with a red cross on it on the Quarterdeck of the Sitkin. This box
contained some "necessary equipment" (condoms) for visiting the ladies of
the night in whatever port we happened to be in (uhhhh.... if you went for
that sort of thing).
I had Petty Officer of the Watch on the Quarterdeck (01 level) when their
boat came alongside. They all climbed the ladder and I sent the
Messenger of the Watch for the Captain. As it happened they got to
the Quarterdeck a minute or two before our Captain. About the time
our Captain got there one of the ladies casually flipped up the top on the
box and looked in. Her face turned bright red. They were all
speaking Greek and the two men were laughing. I have no clue what
they were saying, but I think it was as funny to them as it was to me.
I still had a grin from ear to ear when they left the ship and the lady
who peeked wouldn't even look at me. I do know that shortly after we
moved the box to the bottom of the ladder on the main deck.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Radar Antenna Gear - 1962
ETR3 Tony Fernandez, April 1961 - January
1963: Reading the reminiscences of former shipmates in the
AE-17 newsletter has brought back a flood of memories of my own tour of
duty aboard the USS Great Sitkin (AE-17). We had reached the end of our
Mediterranean deployment period and were two days out on our long
transit back across the Atlantic to Bayonne when CIC reported that the
antenna wasn’t rotating! Troubleshooting soon revealed that the cause
was a stripped bull gear in the mast mounted antenna gearbox. Needless
to say, no spares were carried on board for such an item.
Since the radar transmitter and receiver themselves were both still
operational, one of the ship’s officers suggested locking the antenna in
its centerline position, and zig-zagging the ship under the fixed
antenna. At least that way we’d be able to spot any ships that were off
our bow, although the spotting arc would necessarily be rather shallow.
We tried this and of course it worked, but was inefficient since it
impeded our already slow transit advance. We had to devise another
The ship’s XO was a “mustang,” LCDR J. B. Hurst. I soon found myself
seated with the XO and the ship’s LDO Ltjg Bosun, trying to come up with
a way to get better performance from the antenna. We’d all been aloft to
view the damaged bull gear and had further discovered that several gear
teeth had failed so that any powered rotation was impossible. I was
asked about the possibility of rigging a set of falls consisting of
spare signal halyards, some pulleys, and additional hardware, to the
antenna. I racked my brain to think of all I knew about electro-magnetic
radiation hazards, and recalled that it mostly pertained to being in the
main beam of the antenna. If an individual were to stand far below on
the 04-level and worked a set of lines through the pulley system we were
proposing, he should be reasonably safe from radiation. Just as a
precaution against static electricity, I suggested adding two large
insulators to the lines several feet above where an individual would be
The CO slowed the ship to a speed sufficient to maintain headway, and
the XO, the Bosun, and I went up the mast after securing all power
aloft. The three of us packed ourselves onto the platform on which the
radar antenna was mounted. I still have a vivid memory of the XO leaning
way out over the platform railing to attach small shackles to the
outboard ends of the antenna the Bosun literally holding on to the XO’s
pants belt. We ran some spare signal halyards through a set of falls
which the Bosun had attached to the antenna platform, and we snaked the
bitter end of the lines down to the 04-level where I attached the large
ceramic insulators and the additional
short pieces of line.
In-hauling on the starboard line caused the antenna
to pivot right; in-hauling on the portside line caused the antenna to
reverse direction, and still pointing forward, to pivot left. We lit off
the radar and performed the evolution successfully with CIC and the
bridge both reporting the radar functioning “normally” through an arc of
about 60° on either side of the bow. Speed was increased and we
transited the Atlantic with a radarman going from the relative comfort
of CIC to the 04-level to haul on the halyards sequentially port then
starboard, for five minutes every 15 minutes all the way across, day and
About two weeks later, we safely arrived in CONUS and here my
memory gets shaky. I do remember clearly
that the entire antenna assembly was replaced in Norfolk, VA by civilian
techreps and yard workers, but I can’t remember if we stopped there
first after transiting the Atlantic and before returning to Bayonne.
Perhaps the deck logs for 1962 would reveal that. I do remember that
this episode and our “jury-rigged fix” was mentioned in the COMSERVLANT
magazine, according to the OPS Boss soon thereafter; unfortunately
however, I never obtained a copy for myself.
The Bent Screw Incident - 1965
SM3 Mike La Fauci, October 1964 - May 1967:
This is a story about the infamous “bent screw”. It’s taken me a
while to put it on paper, but to the best of my recollection I think I
have most of the facts straight. Now, I understand that there might have
been TWO bent screw episodes and I mention this so as not to confuse the
issue. The episode I remember was during my time aboard the USS
Great Sitkin, which was late 1964 until mid-1967.
The event I recall occurred while the ship was being docked at the
ammunition pier in Crete. It was a blustery, cold morning and the ship was
conned by a junior officer. As the ship made the approach to the pier the
stern moved towards the pier (which was constructed of concrete). I think
the wind might have been the culprit; in any event the stern swung into
the pier while the screw was still turning. This resulted in the loveliest
curved edges to the ship’s screw. There was a big “to-do” over who was to
blame but in the end I believe the Captain took responsibility. In any
case, we were out of the ballgame as far as the 6th Fleet was concerned.
A new screw was sent to us and was secured to the fantail. I was a young
kid at the time and thought the screw was huge. It was pointed out to me
that if the screw were melted down in MIGHT make enough metal to become a
nut on an aircraft carrier’s screw.
It is my recollection that we made our
way from Crete to Rota, Spain, where we off-loaded everything aboard and
then got towed to Gibraltar, where repairs were made. I might be wrong
about which leg we did under our own power and which leg we were towed. I
do remember that the emergency power on the ship went out during the tow
and I had to signal the towing ship of this with a battle lantern Upon
completion of the repair work we returned to Rota, onloaded all our ammo
and then rejoined the Fleet and continued the usual operations of rearming
LCDR Sam Gath, USN (Ret),
Naval Station Rota, Weapons Department: I was stationed at Naval Station, Rota Spain
from Sep 64 to Sep 67 and recall unloading USS Great Sitkin AE-17 during
the period of April 1965 (Easter Week). Great Sitkin collided with a pier
and had damaged a screw. In order to get back on station and change the
damaged screw, Great Sitkin had to be off loaded and reloaded. This was
accomplished at U S Naval Station, Rota.
Working from dawn to dusk, Great Sitkin’s crew and Weapons Dept. Rota
personnel accomplished this in record time by offloading approximately
3,000 tons of explosives in approximately 7 days.
Great Sitkin proceeded to Gibraltar to be dry-docked. Repairs were made
and the ship returned to Rota in 3 to 4 weeks to be reloaded.
The re-load was also accomplished in record time. In addition to the
afore mentioned personnel, we hired Spanish blockers and bracers from the
port of Cadiz, Spain which is right across the bay from Rota. Those guys
did a great job for us which facilitated the reload. We were also assisted
by having the loading plan supplied by NAD Earle NJ where the ship was
originally loaded. NAD Earle said this job couldn’t be done at Rota and
the ship would have to return to the “States”.
During this operation a few “Firsts” were accomplished:
1. It was the 1st AE completely offloaded in Rota.
2. It was the 1st AE completely loaded in Rota.
3. Both operations were completely done in record time as compared to NAD
Earle’s time. No safety regulations
were violated etc.
The skipper of Great Sitkin was so happy he threw a beer party for the
ship and Rota’s personnel at completion of the reload. The beer party was
great and we even found a few disoriented people sleeping on the baseball
diamond the morning after. I can neither confirm or deny it, but the rumor
was that another record was set: for drinking the most beer in the
shortest possible time. I do not recall the score of the baseball game or
who won. Guess it doesn’t matter.
ENS Richard Hatfield, January 1962 - July 1965:
This is how I remember the "Bent Screw Incident".
Keep in mind
that I am an old man now but very proud to have been the Engineering
Officer aboard Great Sitkin Jan 1962-July 1965.
Suda Bay, Crete. We were attempting to tie up to the pier when the stern
swung in and the bow swung out and since the propeller is 19 feet 6
inches in diameter you can see from the pictures in your book what could
and would happen. The screw was still turning when the stern closed with
the pier and the result was 4 blades bent at an identical angle.
I believe it was the next day when the 6th Fleet staff engineer arrived
on scene and he and Captain English went into the water with snorkel
gear for a close inspection. The inspection revealed what we all knew
"all four blades are bent", now what do we do about it. In a very short
time and lot's of message traffic the decision was made that we would
have to have a new propeller installed. The staff planners determined
that a propeller was available at Gibraltar and the Spanish Navy dry
at Cartagena would be available and could accomplish the task.
When we got under way from Suda Bay we all expected to have severe
vibration from the damaged screw but to everyone's surprise no vibration
occurred at slow speed so we got bold and increased speed, within 4 or 5
hours of leaving Suda Bay we were at flank speed and still no vibration
or unusual heating of the spring bearings or leakage at the stern tube.
We reduced speed to "Full" and came all the way down the Med that way.
We got to the Gibraltar Straits and made a right turn and headed to the
Naval Base at Rota, Spain to offload our cargo. When we arrived at Rota
I flew over to Cartagena with our docking plan so the yard could have
the dry dock prepared for our arrival.
During our trip down the Med there were several planning meetings of the
Officers, Chiefs and Leading Petty Officers concerning the offload,
these meetings paid off because when we arrived at pier side everyone
knew what to do and what was expected. To see an entire AE's load laid
out on the pier is indeed impressive and to think that it was
accomplished by the ships force is almost unbelievable. Except for the
special stuff that went into Rota's magazines the entire load remained
on the pier until we returned from Cartagena.
After the offload we proceeded to Gibraltar to pick up the new propeller
and had it secured to the deck on the fantail and set a course for
Cartagena. On our arrival the dock was already flooded and we were
Docking overseas is a little bit different than in the US in that they
use shoring between the wall steps of the dock and the hull to keep the
ship centered on the blocks
rather than hull blocks. After the dock was dewatered the yard workers
went to work and continued working around the clock for the next five
As you can see from the picture on our web site the rudder is in the
way of removing the screw by pulling it off the tail shaft. To remove
the screw on the C2 Hull it is necessary to remove the soft patches in
#5 hold and open up the overhead of the shaft alley then remove the
bolts from two couplings so that a section of shafting can be removed to
allow the tail shaft to be pulled in far enough to remove the screw from
between the hull and the rudder post. To remove the coupling bolts the
yard workers used a 6" round bar about six feet long and hung on the end
of a wire from the dockside crane, they would pull this bar back about 3
feet and allow it to swing forward striking the coupling bolts to force
them out of the bolt holes, whenever this thing would strike a bolt the
whole ship would shudder and the echo from the empty holds was
As I said the job was completed in just 5 days by experts that gave the
impression that it was just a routine job.
The engineering department took advantage of the docking to clean the
sea chest and repair a few valves.
Back to Rota to back load and then back on station with the sixth fleet.
I do not remember how long we were away from the fleet but I do know
that the whole operation impressed a whole bunch of very senior people.
Captain English was the type of Commanding Officer that you wanted to
give your very best effort for and I know that all hands were extremely
tired but proud of what they had accomplished.
PN3 Paul Carlson, August 1964 - September
1967: Some additional facts on the Bent Screw Incident, as I
remember them. There was a local pilot on the bridge directing us as
we backed up to the pier at Suda Bay. Captain English saw that we
were getting to close to the pier and took the con, but it was too late.
When we were steaming along the African coast I remember comments being
made about what great time we were making. (Maybe we should have kept the
My recollection of the off-load in Rota was that we accomplished it in
about 24 hours. And the on-load in about the same amount of time.
That was a record, and yes we were tired.
I am not sure that we were in dry dock for five days in Cartagena.
I just remember not being able to use that slit trench of a head we
enlisted had to use for a "shitter". I thought it was 3 days, but
however long it was I was one happy sailor to get back underway. I
knew I was the first one to flush in the forward head.
Collision During UNREP
SM3 Mike La Fauci, October 1964 - May 1967:
We had many different things happen in those
couple of years I was aboard. Three fires, a collision at sea during
replenishing, a runaway anchor (which we lost), a bad storm where the
inclinometer read an amazing 34 degree starboard roll, a crack in the hull
from the waterline to the main deck starboard side, playing “chicken” with
a Russian guided missile cruiser....the list goes on and on.
I remember the collision with one of our ships very well. I was on the
forward deck, helping load skid boxes and nets full of ammo for a ship
that was alongside us to port. I noticed the ship seemed to be getting
closer and closer and took a quick peek at the phone cable, which, if you
remember, was marked with different colors to be a quick reference guide
of the distance between ships. I seem to recall we were inside the 60’
mark, so I went over to BM1 John Homick, who was leaning on the port rail
drinking a coffee. I said to John, “Boats, that ship is getting pretty
close, isn’t it?” He said to me (in his typical salty style), “Kid, I’ve
seen them a lot closer than that.” Just then the ship began moving away
from us and I was feeling a little better about things. But the ship kept
moving away at a rapid pace and we were still hooked up to them! Then the
ship began turning again and ran right at us until we collided. I was just
in time to see John Homick complete the fastest port-to-starboard sprint I
have ever witnessed. His coffee cup sat there on the port rail and he was
gone! I yelled after him, “Hey John....Have you ever seen one THAT
close?”. I don’t think he heard me....John, if you DID hear me, now is the
time to ‘fess up. Although I never heard an official story about what
happened, it was rumored that the ship we were rearming had lost steering
on the bridge. A call went down to aft steering to take over....but the
people aft were either snoozing or couldn’t be raised. In any case, I was
a happy chappy to find us still floating and with only minimal cosmetic
damage to the port side. A big dent and some red lead showing through a
big scrape in the hull was all we had to show for that scary event.
The Broken Screw Incident - 1969
WO2 Charles Stephanski, Jan 1969 - July 1972: 0931hrs, 22 April 1969
Engineering Log: MMC J.R. Tomlinson logged abnormal noise coming from
ship's screw and excessive stern tube cooling leakage.
0950 hrs, Ch Eng
LT Bob Holt and my inspection revealed that about 2/3 of a blade of
our prop had broken off. We limped the rest of the trip to Rota Spain
where we off loaded ALL of our ammo in preparation to go to the shipyard
in Gibraltar to have a new prop installed.
NAVSEA (technical designers in
Philadelphia) determined that a prop in storage in Rota would fit if a
"distance piece" were bolted to the aft end of the prop. So we on loaded
the prop. BUT wait: There is/was a 16' bolted plate in the overhead of
the shaft-alley to allow access to replacing of spring bearings/shaft. But
the bolts (about 150 of them) were not visible from the deck in #4 hold).
The Gunnersmates pulled up a couple of the dunnage boards in the bottom of
#4 hold and BEHOLD there was a full load of 2000# bombs that did not show
on any inventory. Needless to say there was much embarrassment to go around
in the cargo/gunnery people. Unload the bombs, load the replacement prop
plus 16 lignum-vitae logs (underwater bearing stock) and away we went. The
shipyard in Gibraltor replaced the prop (with the distance piece) and back
to Rota we went.
The Bearing Sightglass Incident -
WO2 Charles Stephanski, Jan 1969 - July 1972:
I guess us old folks have a lot of time to relive old memories. Fact 2nd
or 3rd day out of Earle NJ someone unscrewed the sightglass assemblies
from all the the bearings, thus letting the oil drain from the sumps. We
were heading towards Roosevelt Roads, where it was determined that no
damage was done to the bearings or the shaft. As I remember, we could not
prosecute anyone, as we could not prove who actually did it. As I further
remember, a FN was subsequently transferred from the ship.
February 1972 Storm off
GMM3 Tom Ollom, October 1971 - February
1973: I have an 8mm movie of the storm that gave us hell when we
got that SOS call off of Spain. We almost lost GMG3 Luck and GMGSN
Files when a wave broke over the bow and they were getting ammo out of the
forward 3"50 magazine. Luck was in the pipe of the magazine ladder
and Files was on deck. He got washed around the gun tub for Mount 32
and had a hold of the trainers seat when we got to them. We had to
pump over 300 gallons of water out of the magazine. That was also
the wave that messed up Director One and some of the rigging for #1 Hole.
We had water over the port holes in the cargo office and had to wait for
the water to run off so we could open the hatch.
Watching the WTC being built
DC3 George Kaiser,
November 1969 - July 1971: With all the attention on New
York City and the attack on the World Trade Center towers, many of us I’m
sure are able to think back at how we watched them going up in the late
60's and early 70's. One memory of how we observed the progress is this.
In the after head on the port side, just above the urinals ( hey, sorry if
I gross anyone out, but they served a function) there was a 2 ˝ “
overboard discharge port for a submersible pump. In the morning, while we
answered natures call, we would look out that port to see what the weather
was like. Due to the fact that we always moored port side out, the towers
rising above the skyline would greet us as well, as long as it was a nice
Last updated on: 11/01/07