| SM3 John A. Reitano (1972-1975) — Submitted on 11/02/2012 |
May have told this at one of the reunion's, but I think fellow SM's will find it amusing. We were on our way to WESTPAC '72, by way of Panama Canal. The Hewes was the least senior ship in our group, so we were the last to go through the canal. We were told once we got through the canal we could hit the beach at a sorta club for a couple hours, before getting underway for our next leg across the Pacific. Well we made the crossing and it was already getting dark. We get to this club and notice alot of empty DEAD SOLDIERS sitting on the tables. The other ships going through the canal bought up all the beer in the place. We had to see who are friends really were to get a few can's of suds. Long story short, got back to the"JOEY" just in time to shove off. It's pretty dark now and we had to shift colors up on the signal bridge. Fellow signalmen will know that we keep the underway ensign ready for "breaking colors" by pulling on the line, and the good old Red, White and Blue flies free. As I said...it was dark! Next morning at quarters, SM1 "Pappy Lee" is pacing back and forth as Ensign Carneval is giving the POD. When quarters is dismissed, Pappy, through gritted teeth say's "Take down that ensign now!!" Me as the one who broke colors...in the dark, speaks up and say's, "Pappy you can't take the colors down when we are underway!" I remember my "A" school training!! "Take down the ensign before the Captain see's it flying upside down!!!" OOPS!! Everyone knows flying the ships ensign upside down is a sign of distress. Got it straightened out, without Captain Klee noticing. All's well on the signal bridge...so I thought! We get a flashing light message from the Tripp...You guy's need help!!?? Captain wants to know what the message was. Lee jumps up on the light, and starts flashing faster than the speed of sound! "No problem Skipper...they just want to know if any boot camp signalmen want to practice flashing light drills!!!" So who gets to do light drills for a solid 2 hours SMSN Reitano, SMSN Caldwell and SMSN Crosier. "Pappy" always' use to say he had the best boot camp signalmen in the NAVY, and he taught us!!! And that's a "NO SHITTER!!"
| STG2 Dave Suminski (1983-1984) — Submitted on 08/13/2012 |
In a few of the reunion that I have been attending I have heard the story of GMGSA Robert J. Summerhill talk about the Joey Boat destroying a tank on the beach in Vietnam. Well for awhile it sounded to good to be true. Well, as Paul Harvey used to say "here is the rest of the story".
I now work for the VA Hospital in North Chicago, IL (aka: Great Lakes, IL) and I have known this person named Charles for about 4 years. He saw that I was wearing my VFW shirt one day a couple of weeks ago at work and he was talking about his time in Vietnam and the time he was chasing a tank down the beach and then all of sudden he gets the word that tank was destroyed by a US Navy ship.
That tank had been stolen by a North Vietnam army team. They were dressed in South Vietnam army uniforms and had spoken perfect english. The Tank was a M-60 American tank that was fully loaded out.
They get the call at about 21:30 (9:30 pm) and they were on the road by about 22:30 (10:30 pm). Chasing that tank was 3 sheridan's, 1 105 mm recoilless rifle, two jeep with 50 cal. machine guns on them, a tank Hauler and three armored personnel carrier's with troops on them.
They wanted that tank so bad that they were going down the beach at full speed with their white lights on.
Then at about 24:00 (12 Midnight) they got the message to slow down turn off the lights and to return to their compound. THANKS to GMGSA Robert J. Summerhill and the rest of the Best gun crew around on board the USS Joseph Hewes.
Oh, by the way. At that time the Commanding officer of the Charles unit was the person that led the forces win the first Gulf War. Collin Powell
| FTM2 Robert Pendt (1977-1979) — Submitted on 04/20/2012 |
My wife and I just returned from a visit to Israel which made me reminiscent about the Joey's visit to Haifa during the '79 Med cruise. In between playing in local clubs and duty days, there was an opportunity to take a daylong tour of the Holy Land. We started early in the morning and drove over hill and dale until we were worn out. Everyone had their souvenirs bagged and were ready to make our exit from the bus except for the big SK2 (whose name escapes me) who had his red and white checked Arab headdress on as we approached the gate to the port. This guy was huge, and with his beard and sunglasses he looked like an Arab sheik. When we got to the gate, the Israeli gate guards came on to inspect the bus and damn if they didn't want to haul SK2 Sheik off the bus and on to the POW camp. It took our guide and the Navy liaison at the gate to vouch for him and rescue him from an Israeli labor camp. All was well until we reached the ship and there was an all E-5 and below working party in progress for stores. How fortunate that a bus full of E-5 and below candidates just happened to pull in. We were immediately pressed into service without even changing out of our civvies. Now THAT is fun!!
| EM3 Charles Sebastion (1976-1979) — Submitted on 04/08/2012 |
My time aboard was sometime between about May, 1976 and October 31, 1979. I have a few recollections of some of the good times—and some maybe not so good—but all were memorable. There was one Captain--I think it was Fromholtz, who said that calling the Joseph Hewes "Joey" was fine but, “I don't want to hear anybody use the term, "Joey Boat again!" Of course most of us called her the "Joey Boat" on occasion and looking back on it now, I don't believe there's ever been another ship like it. Maybe it's just me. At any rate I think the Joey is still actively patrolling the China Sea for the Taiwanese Navy and I wonder if she still carries the ghosts of us who were there. These years later I still remember the incredible ride and the equally incredible cast of characters. I remember the hard early days of the yards and dry-dock, and I remember having to take my turn as a "mess-crank." I remember that ancient radio that stayed on all the time in Electrical Central and as far as music, Gordon Lightfoot was one that caught my fancy at about the time of our dry dock days. We were quartered in those institutional lime-green colored barracks on the base. Remember the bus rides? After that I remember some really cold days being in the Philadelphia shipyard and then when the Joey got underway after a long period of being outfitted with sonar, She did nothing BUT move! Later, there was a North Atlantic cruise in early 1978, lasting only a couple of months. Whether we were gone for a few days or weeks or months, I usually had to stay over and do the shore-to-shore hookups when we got back home. I could stand above on the boat deck and look down at all the lucky rascals who got to walk down the pier to liberty... I remember some hot days in places like Gitmo and Djibouti and I remember other more subdued times in homeport. In Charleston, I remember cool quiet nights when some of us "snipes" would have to walk those lonely passageways on the lower decks on "sounding" watch. Underway, I remember trying to stay awake while "watching" the 60 Hz meter as the needle edged one way or another on the dial, not knowing when the monotony would get shattered by a generator-trip. When you heard the bang of the generator tripping off you were in for an adrenalin rush—watch out! The activity of bringing ship's power back online was hectic! A lot of people did a lot of things at once and a lot of chatter went on between stations. More often than not I'd have to run (this was when I could run...) down to the diesel room to get the emergency diesel generator online to power the ship's lights while at the same time other guys would do whatever it was that they had to do in order to get the main turbine back up to speed. The boiler guys (BT's) and the machinists (MM's as I seem to recollect) would get the steam up and the condenser set right and the turbine sped up and then you could sync the main generator in (am I leave anything out?). But before you could trip the diesel off, you’d have to sync the main generator in. Then, let’s see—did I leave anything out? Wait till the meter was "5 minutes till" then turn the handle then lift the big breaker—then kill the diesel...is that it? Anyway it was a hive of chatter and activity—probably half a dozen guys or more in three different spaces doing all that to get the lights back on and it sure did add to the excitement of a boring watch! I can't remember all those old startup procedures now but I do remember the ruckus and I remember trying to stretch one hand to turn a dial stepping over and stretching over with the other hand for the squawk box (because somebody lost the headset!) to say, “Main, we have the load”. Then there were the guys that had to take care of the diesels—they had to wait something like half an hour or so before they could shut those things down. Surely you remember how loud bleeping loud those diesels
| OS2 Carl Gumz (1974-1977) — Submitted on 07/19/2007 |
or the time our bm2 whose name i cant remember had gone to do his laundry on base. inbetween wash and dry on those old overused machines took a long time .so to pass this time, he would have a few barley pops.by the time a few of us other guys came back to base from out in town (i think it was the coconut grove. the notorious charlestown cat house) anyway we see the base police all lit up at the laundry and decide to check it out . appearantly what had happened is the bm2 got lit pretty well himself and gotten into a fight . being the well dressed sailor he was he decided to wash the clothes on his back.so when the base police made their rounds they find our joeys finest stark naked and wondering why the big fuss
| OS2 Carl Gumz (1974-1977) — Submitted on 07/19/2007 |
dont know if theres enough space but here goes-we had a ships van bought with ships welfare and rec funds, that copper colored chevy well we used to use it to make comm runs . on one particular dull evening the duty rm showed me a shortcut through a field behind the base store . the path was well used and fairly bumpy and midway through it was a 90 degree turn .this was my first time and didnt know this trail . so the rm says you have to speed up here .well i kicked it up to @40 mph .lo and behold heres this 90 degree turn .just as i start the turn this rm lets out this rebel yell and opens up the door and hangs onto it .seems they used to do it all the time except i was going a bit faster than usual and off comes the door rm attached and goes skidding across this field. all i could think was holly shit my navy career will now consist of bagging groceries at leavenworth.once i finally stopped and picked up the surfrider all we could think of was to hang the door back on lock it and not touch it .then back at the boat we told the ood that the door was jammed and we couldnt use it and they would have to use the sliding cargo door.thank god i didnt sign any log for the van because acouple of days later someone forgot about the door and wile i was having a smoke on the bridge wing and happened to see some unsuspecting sailor grab a handfull of door.damn near peed my pants laughing ,then thought i better hide for awhile
| GMG3 Matthew Williams (1972-1976) — Submitted on 06/07/2006 |
Hey Joey Vets,
This story comes from GMG3 Matthew "Bullet" Williams. I served on the Joey from 1973 to 1976. I'm sure everyone that was in 2nd Division at that time remembers this one. This incident happened soon after I first came aboard and was still being shown the ropes in 2nd Division. GMGC Morris wanted me to do PMS on the small arms weapons so he told GMG3 Winkie to take me around and show me all the places other than the small arms weapons lockers where there is a .45 caliber hand gun kept at all times, such as the different watch stations and the disbursing office. So as we're checking around, at each watch station, GMG3 Winkie being the old salty gunner that he was, he would take the weapon out for an inspection and pull back the slide, look into the barrel to be sure that it was clear, release the slide, then pull the trigger "click". Then he'd hand the weapon back to the guy on watch. Me being new, as we traveled around the ship, he's giving me all the latest "scuttle butt" on who's who and so on. When we got to the disbursing office, we were standing in the passageway outside the door when Winkie takes the .45 and just as he had done before, he pulls back the slide and looks into the barrel then released the slide. Only this time he had failed to notice that there was a magazine loaded into the gun. Yep, that's right boys and girls. This time when he released the slide, he unknowingly chambered a round into the barrel. I was standing about two feet away from him. He pointed the gun to the ceiling and pulled the trigger. "BLAM!" The shot scared the hell outta everybody in the vicinity. After I checked my skivvies, I looked at Winkie and he was about as white as he could possibly be and shaking like he was about to ask the Captain for his daughters hand in marriage. The disbursing officer had dropped to his knees and was peeping up over the top of his desk. Winkie and I looked up together and saw a hole in the padding around the firemain. No water was coming out. Whew! The firemain had withstood a direct hit from a .45 at close range. The bullet flattened out and lodged itself in the padding. Winkie quickly ejected the magazine out of the gun and handed it along with the gun back to the wary and also shaking disbursing officer. Winkie then stood on a chair and dug his flattened souvenir slug out of the padding and then left to go change his skivvies. No Shit! (well maybe a little in Winkie's skivvies) : )
| EM2 Rich Stressler (1973 - 1976) — Submitted on 10/04/2005 |
I had this story written down for a while but I didn't submit it until I had it confirmed by another shipmate. I served on the Joey from Feb. 1973-Aug 1976. During my time on her we had a Postal Clerk who was very dedicated to his work and for the most part he kept to himself. A lot of us thought he would make the Navy a career. That notion changed when his time came to get out. As he was departing the ship with his duffle bag on his shoulder, he saluted the OD, then the Flag and walked down the gangplank where he took his duffle bag and threw it in the nearest dumpster! (I personally did not see this but I heard rumors that he threw it in the water midway down the gangplank). I can't remember his name - maybe one of you knows it - but he had a strong foreign accent, possibly Czeckeslovokia or some country like that.
EM2 Rich Stressler
| ET2 Kevin York (1984-1989) — Submitted on 09/05/2005 |
ET2 York... Underway Replenishment Pucker Factor Extreme... We all know the
drill... They announce UNREP and you, if you are on the unfortunate list and
enlisted rank.... Report to your UNREP station. My station for almost 2
years was on the port bridge-wing with my piece of Plexi-glass, marker, and
rag for eraser. Here, I marked down the course and speed every time the
conning officer made a change so that he could, with a glance from his
stance on the bridge-wing, know exactly what the course and speed were as to
make changes as necessary during the unrep. I was known as RPM man. No
biggy, felt like I had done this 100 times already. This particular unrep, I
think, was during the Unitas / West African training cruise of 1985 with
CMDR Lundquist as our CO. We were slab dab in the middle of taking on fuel
during the unrep and no course speed change had been made by the Junior
Officer currently at the CON, when all of sudden, the Joey Boat drifted
close inwards towards the replenishment ship. I remember thinking, damn???,
not sure Im supposed to be able to read the replenishment sailors stenciled
name on his dungaree shirt, and if these 2 ships are gonna collide, the port
bridge-wing is not where I want to be. Can you say PUCKER factor of the
Sphincter muscle to the extreme? These 2 ships were literally about 10 feet
apart with replenishment hoses and lines dipping the water. Thank god for a
very competent CO in CMDR Lundquist who was present on the bridge-wing. In
about 2 seconds he said "WHATS GOING ON!!!?!? This is CMDR Lundquist, I have
the CON!....ANNOUNCE EMERGENCY BREAK-AWAY, ....Course change XXXX.......
Speed Change XXX RPM...10 seconds later. Course Change XXXX........Speed
Change XXX RPM.....10 seconds later .......Course Change XXXX..... Speed
Change XXX RPM....... He gently drifted the Joey Boat back out, back out
again, back out again without whipping the tail into the replenishment ship.
At that particularly moment, back out of harms ways, I thought "this CO
rocks and whatever the Navy pays him sure wasn't enough today". The final
report as I recall, was that our GYRO went brain-dead for a few seconds and
caused the ships course to drift.
During his tenure as CO, the crew really got to see a man that genuinely
cared about the sailors that served under him and about the home they
shared, the Joey Boat. All of the CO's I served under: CAPT Hardt, CMDR
Lundquist, and CMDR Nelson were great CO's so I don't want to single out one
without giving a shout-out to all of them. Capt Hardt was only my CO for a
short time before he went on to be the XO of the battleship USS New Jersey
(as I recall being told). CMDR Nelson commanded like his predecessor, CMDR
Lundquist. Whether that was from advice or of CMDR Nelson's nature as a
person... it was at the benefit of the crew. Like all sailors who are
fortunate to have such, you have one CO that makes a great impression on
you as a leader and a person. Thanks for showing your crew and the Navy sir,
that you can be a leader and personable and get just as much out of them and
their service without "putting the screws" to them all the time. Mr.
Lundquist, it was a pleasure to serve under your command sir.
| RM2 Alex Constance (1971-1975) — Submitted on 07/17/2005 |
It was the 79 or 80 Med run, and we were on plane guard for one of the
carriers we worked with, I want to say America. It was getting pretty
boring, when all of a sudden, and quite out of the blue, we get buzzed
by a couple of F-14s. I mean buzzed. They run down the either side of
the ship, buzzing the bridge wings, and generally pissing off the
skipper. They pass around, and one makes another run at the bridge,
pulls vertical, and cracks the sound barrier. The CO is by now really
pissed and confused. The last pass is over the flight deck, at slow
speed, with an after burner kick in and resulting sonic boom. The CO is
in fits trying to find out what is going on, and leans on the Air Det
OIC. He has no idea why the go fast boys would act in this way. Only
after much digging does the CO find out that the Airedales had sewn
sheets together, enough to cover the flight deck, and scrawled "If you
can't hover, you're queer." They had stretched it over the flight deck
at the appropriate time (when the go fast crowd could see) and then
punctuated the insult by mooning the target pilot while he passed by
(all twenty five, or so, of them at once).
Charlie Oscar was not happy, but we didn't do much plane guard after
| EN2 Thomas Phipps (1974-1976) — Submitted on 12/19/2004 |
Another Sea Story from Tom Phipps. C'mon you guys, I know you have some good ones. Let's hear them.
We were sweltering back in the A-gang shop, directly under the fantail. This young, new sailor stopped back one afternoon and asked for help. What's up? It seemed that he went up to find a place to smoke a joint, and chose to duck into a fan room up on the starboard side. He said he had been blowing his exhaust into the screen filter, unaware as to where that smoke was going. The cannibus aroma came out of a vent above the officer's wardroom table...while they were eating noon chow. Now you know on that vent was the numbers of the fanroom and it's location, so he was caught in the act! What did he need from us? He said that if we could help him prove that they were wrong about which fanroom supplied air to that vent, he could maybe get off on a technicality! We gave him the boot. Circa 1975.
| EN2 Thomas Phipps (1974-1976) — Submitted on 12/01/2004 |
Phipps here again. (74-76) We were approaching the equator heading toward Africa, and us pollywogs were becomming a bit apprehensive. But not so apprehensive not to pass up on an unsuspecting shellback. A few HTs and BTs caught HT1 Hawes in the machine shop, and overpowered him. O.K., there may have been a few MMs, ENs, and a couple of BMFs there too. Anyway, his pants wound up down by accident and his ass got accidently packed with grease. I personally didn't do the packing, but I laughed like hell and was pleased that the real world couldn't witness this sort of thing.
When we actually crossed the equator, I crawled with the other wogs and took my beating. Butt stinging, eyes full of tabasco sauce, I could just make out the form of Hawes, in his pirate rags, with a big can of graphite grease. "I'm not going to pack your ass. You're going to pack your own ass." Never mind, I guess you had to be there.
| EN2 Thomas Phipps (1974-1976) — Submitted on 11/25/2004 |
Tom Phipps here (crewmember 1974-76). This is part tale, part confession. You guys remember the Captain's Gig that Tom Buell seemed so fond of? Remember that it had that huge slant-eight diesel back aft and that made it low in the stern. In port it was usually tied along the port side, just aft of the quarter deck, and the engineering watch was supposed to go down a rope ladder once every watch and check the bilges. I shinnied down the mooring line instead of using the rope ladder, just to be entertained, but I wasn't lifting that rear hatch to check that bilge. This wasn't that big of a deal until two things happened. Some Seaman removed the name in brass individual letters off of the stern of the gig to polish them. Lots of quarter-twenty sized holes. Then it rained. A lot. I heard that the very first person to discover that the gig was on the bottom of the river (in Charleston) was the skipper himself, when he came aboard in the morning.
So, it was hauled up and sent down to the destroyer tender to clean it up and flush the engine, which took a few days. On the day it was scheduled for us to go retrieve it, a Seabee was going to drop it in pierside with a cherry picker in the afternoon. He apparently got the afternoon off, so he came early, dropped it in without us and tied it pierside...with the drain plugs out. So it sank again.
There were plenty of reprimands to go around, but somehow I was missed. It seemed the watch officers remembered seeing me go down to the boat because I shinnied down that line, so I was excluded. Survivors guilt. But not enough to go seek a reprimand! Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.
| EN2 Thomas Phipps (1974-1976) — Submitted on 11/24/2004 |
Tom Phipps here. I worked in "A" Gang with "Barnacle" Bill Ensminger, "Arkansas," Chuck, Pat, Bob Hall, Mark Johnson, and others that are creeping back into memory! That was 1974-1976. Arkansas was one of the most interesting characters, always grabbing his crotch (maybe he started the gesture) and complaining "mah cods are itching, mah cods are itching." Arkansas, (who was large) and some skinny sailor often hung out and hit the beach together. But one night, when we all had duty, "Deliverence" was showing for the first time on the mess deck. Ned Beatty's performance obviously made a huge impression on Arkansas. Immediately after the movie, there was a lot of ruckus in the passageway next to the aft damage control locker. I squeezed through the large noisy crowd to catch a glimpse of arkansas pinning his little skinny buddy on the deck, face down, twisting his ear, and making him squeal Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! for the cheering crowd. Deliver me, oh Lord...
| BT1(SW) Frank Johnson (1990-1994) — Submitted on 07/05/2004 |
This is a little tale of why needle guns were a nightmare on "Joey Boat". It
was a Sunday afternoon Holiday rooty tooty, I was on watch in the Oil Lab
when I got a call to come down to the fireroom, I walked into the console
and asked what was up, they told me to go to the lower level behind Alpha
boiler, when I got there big Danny Satcher was standing there with his
finger on the foward fireroom bulkhead. I asked Danny what the hell he was
doing, he smiled and said check this out, as he pulled his finger away a
nice stream of fuel shot out of a pin hole, which happened to be the fuel
service tank 76-0, we just stared at each other and laughed!!. After the
CHENG, Captain, and XO were told the great news, Danny utilized his high
tech repair skills and we got a sheetmetal screw with a small o-ring and
inserted it into the pinhole, and we than used JB weld to seal the head of
the screw, the funny part about the whole thing was NAVSEA approved the
repair and we steamed all over the North Atlantic with it.
Thanks to the MM's in main control, chipping away in the angle iron on the
starboard side about 1 ft above the waterline, and all of a sudden a
bubbling crude of seawater. This was also on the North Atlantic cruise, we
proceeded to Plymouth England. Upon arrival BTCM Reynolds and myself had to
put a 7 degree port list on the ship to give the HT's enough room to apply a
patch on the hull. We transfered everything we could to the port side of the
ship. The bad part about it was the ship had to be listing overnight, that
was no fun, Aux steaming and trying to live on the ship with a 7 degree list
was crazy. Needless to say @ 0600 the next morning I was opening up the
manifold in Aux 1 leveling out the ship. There was a Picture in the Navsta
Ingleside newspaper of the Joey pierside in Ingleside with a 7 degree list,
yes we had to do it again to have the repairs made after we got back home.
Not sure how I could find that picture, it would be a cool one to add to the
collection. After that happened all needle guns got put under lock and key
by Captain Frey.
| STG3 Alan A. Lamoureux (1973-1974) — Submitted on 01/22/2004 |
They were crusty old guys who had done it all and had been forged into men who had been time tested over more years than a lot of us had time on the planet. The ones I remember wore hydraulic oil stained hats with scratched and dinged-up insignia, faded shirts, some with a Bull Durham tag dangling out of their right-hand pocket or a pipe and tobacco reloads in a worn leather pouch in their hip pockets, and a Zippo that had been everywhere.
Some of them came with tattoos on their forearms that would force them to keep their cuffs buttoned at a Methodist picnic. Most of them were as tough as a boarding house steak. A quality required to survive the life they lived. They were and always will be, a breed apart from all other residents of Mother Earth. They took eighteen year-old idiots and hammered them into sailors. You knew instinctively it had to be hell on earth to have been born a Chief's kid. God should have given all sons born to Chiefs a return option.
A Chief didn't have to command respect. He got it because there was nothing else you could give them. They were God's designated hitters on earth. We had Chiefs with fully loaded Combat Patrol Pins in my day... Hard-core bastards, who found nothing out of place with the use of the word 'Japs' to refer to the little sons of Nippon they had littered the floor of the Pacific with, as payback for the December 7th party they gave us in 1941. As late as 1974 you could still hear a Chief Petty Officer screaming at you in bootcamp to listen to him, because if you didn't, the damn gooks would kill us. They taught me In those days, 'insensitivity' was not a word in a sailor's lexicon. They remembered lost mates and still cursed the cause of their loss... And they were expert at choosing descriptive adjectives and nouns, none of which their mothers would have endorsed.
At the rare times you saw a Chief topside in dress canvas, you saw rows of hard-earned worn and faded ribbons over his pocket. "Hey Chief, what's that one and that one?" "Oh Hell kid, I think it was the time I fell out of a hookers bed, I can't remember. There was a war on. They gave them to us to keep track of the campaigns were in. We got our news from AFVN and Stars and Stripes. To be honest, we just took their word for it. Hell son, you couldn't pronounce most of the names of the villages we went to. They're all gee-dunk. Listen kid, ribbons don't make you a Sailor. The Purple one on top? OK, I do remember earning that one. We knew who the heroes were and in the final analysis that's all that matters."
Many nights we sat in the after mess deck wrapping ourselves around cups of coffee and listening to their stories. They were lighthearted stories about warm beer shared with their running mates in corrugated metal hooches at rear base landing zones, where the only furniture was a few packing crates and a couple of Coleman lamps. Standing in line at a Philippine cathouse or spending three hours soaking in a tub in Bangkok, smoking cigars and getting loaded. It was our history. And we dreamed of being just like them because they were our heroes. When they accepted you as their shipmate, it was the highest honor you would ever receive in your life. At least it was clearly that for me.
They were not men given to the prerogatives of their position. You would find them with their sleeves rolled up, shoulder-to-shoulder with you in a stores loading party. "Hey Chief, no need for you to be out here tossin' crates in the rain, we can get all this crap aboard." "Son, the term 'All hands' means ALL hands." "Yeah Chief, but you're no damn kid anymore, you old fart." "Shipmate, when I'm eighty-five, parked in the old Sailors' home in Gulfport, I'll still be able to kick your worthless ass from here to fifty feet past the screw guards along with six of your closest friends." And he probably wasn't bullshitting. They trained us! Not only us, but hundreds more just like us.
| OS2 Lanny White (1980-1984) — Submitted on 12/06/2002 |
This is the story of the Joseph Hewes in the shipyard in Brooklyn Naval Shipyard and the starboard side 01 level in a snow blizzard. During the yard upkeep period the OI Gang had worked on preservation of all of their spaces. During a massive snowstorm, someone in the chain of command had conducted a topside tour. During this tour, they noticed the 01 starboard side wasn't haze gray but yellow (primer). OSC(SW) Prescott was told in no uncertain terms it had to be painted. He mustered the OI gang together and we began a painting party in a blizzard. Yes, John Bacon, Gardner, Atkins, Purvis, Pete Smith, Toby Prescott and others along with Chief Prescott painted. The big problem in this whole evolution was the fact no one could see the bulkhead. After all was said and done, we had to go back and repaint.
| BM3 Joseph B. Carter (1983-1987) — Submitted on 11/09/2002 |
In 1985 , on the UNITAS cruise we pulled into a port in Africa ( I think it was Africa , and I'm not sure which port ) . There was a wall near the pier that had the names of ships that had been there stenciled on it . I think it was the Captain ( CDR Lunquist) that said we should put ours on there too . Since painting the ship was what we were good at ( lots of practice ya know ) , we decided that we would not only put the ships name on the wall , we would paint the ship on it . Since I ran the paint locker , we didn't have to go through the usual red tape involved in getting paint and brushes . Cushing , Fitts , and me ( Klim ) , did most of it I think . It seems like Fitts was the real artist of the group , but most everybody that put their name on the wall helped in some part . I wish I had taken a better picture , without the people in the way . If any body has more info or details that I have wrong , I would like to have my memory refreshed . The names on the wall that I remember from 1st division are :
My name "KLIM" - BMSN Carter ; "JED" - SN Burnette ; "CUSH" - SN Cushing ( his is behind the guy in the blue shirt ) ; "FITTS" - SN Fitts ; "Nasty Hen " - SN Hendricks ; and "Spencer" - SN Spencer (behind the guy leaning on the barrel ).
| BT2 Randall W. Johnson (1980-1985) — Submitted on 10/12/2002 |
It was 1983 in sunny Charleston, the Nats were out in full strength. The boiler dogs all standing on the fan tail, Chief Buffy Mcgrath stood on the out in front of the gang or maybe he was a 1st class then. You know I have no idea where this "Ragging Bull" name came from. We had been out in the North Atlantic chasing Soviet Subs on several occasions over the preceding months but to my surprise they came with the news that we were leaving for the med. Well sometime early that summer we left home port Charleston and headed across the pond to some place called Beirut. The trip was uneventful until we had almost arrived at the Rock and the word came down that we might be redeployed to " some Island called Grande", well as you all know that didn't happen. Several days later we arrived in hot, dry, hazy ugly place called Beirut. The temp. there was well over a 100 Fahrenheit (even at 4:00 AM it was hot). The boiler room is always hot but it was even hotter now, tempers were short. Early one morning while standing on the boat deck a shock wave came across the water shaking my cheeks, I later found out that several American Marines were killed while sleeping. Sometime weeks later I received a letter from home telling me of the death of one of my school mates (he was a Marine and died in his sleep). As the years go by and some of the names fade away I still remember how it felt when they bombed us in our sleep and we didn't even have a chance to fight back. When people are wiling to give there life to kill Americans how can we defend ourselves? We spent 6 months on the damn gun line and I believe over that 6 months only 27 days were in port.
| OS2 Thomas Oshgan (Precom. to late 1973) — Submitted on 09/17/2001 |
When we arrived in the South China Sea, we were rotated between 3 basic types of Mutual Support Destroyer Operations. These were Search & Rescue (SAR), Carrier Escort and Naval Gun Fire Support (NGFS). Our first operations after departing Subic Bay were for "North SAR". We were with the USS Long Beach and the USS Dewey. We were to watch for low flying aircraft and patrol boats from the north.
Our call sign was "Gallant Steed". In CIC, we had to cover surface search, air search and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM). At 2200 hours on July 15,1972 we picked up a fast moving surface contact moving in our direction. Based on Intel, no known shipping was to be in this area. The bridge was notified and we went to our first "real" G.Q. The captain sounded GQ and what normally took 3-4 minutes to man was accomplished in about 90 seconds.
ECM was not an easy job, it took a while to find the "finger prints" of radars and then determine the origin (page after page of confusing data). I was on the equipment and the Captain was breathing down my neck for a confirmation on the ID of the radar on the surface contact. We were all very nervous and ready for action.
After what seemed forever, we determined that the contact was friendly. The contact was one of our own destroyers that had left station without informing anyone, the name of the ship will remain nameless. I felt like had aged 2 years. Even though this was a false alarm, all learned a lesson, and the captain knew we were on our toes.
The following evening I wrote a letter to my wife explaining what had happened. After I finished the letter, I started writing a poem (its not the greatest, but I will always remember it) on the incident as follows:
"While we rode the bright blue waters, someone sounded General Quarters.
Sailors running to and froe, wondering who was the unknown foe.
Mark that bogey-plot that skunk, watch them good or we'll get sunk.
The situation is a bit unsteady, but CIC is manned and ready.
Surface-air and bogey summary, weapons manned for surface gunnery.
Engineering ready to deliver speed, missiles ready on Gallant Steed.
Contact closing fast and steady, every one starting to feel unsteady.
Do not think it's an enemy raider, ECM holds a U.S. radar.
The speaker crackles a voice comes screeching, may I have your attention this is the captain speaking.
Your reactions were fast for this situation, but it was one of our ships out of station.
We will soon secure from General Quarters, to once again ride these bright blue waters."
By: OS2 Tom Oshgan
| OS2 Thomas Oshgan (Precom. to late 1973) — Submitted on 09/17/2001 |
While on duty in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1972, getting mail was very difficult at times. Since we were always on the move, we missed our mail drop offs many times. At times I don't think the government even knew where we were. The following author is not known, but I am sure this happened to all the forces in Viet Nam at one time or another.
" And now the news from the Middle East: The South Vietnamese today surrendered to the American Forces, the American Forces surrendered to the North Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese surrendered to the French Canadians and Canadians beat the Bruins four to two. The City of Olongopo in the Philippines today was hit by the worst disaster in the cities history, it was overrun by thousands of virgin women. The U.S. Naval Forces off the coast of Vietnam were hit with a surprise attack today, they received their mail."
| BT3 John Crego (1972-1975) — Submitted on 09/04/2001 |
Either you got one, gave one, wished you had one or wished you didn't have the one you got stuck with.
I'll start with my own if you don't mind. Jose'. Why? Because my last name is Crego but has been mispronounced my whole life as Greco. And the Navy was no different. As a matter of fact. It was EN3 Mucelli who gave Jose' to me while he was still down the hole. Get it? Jose' Greco.
Anyway, here are a few more. I was going to try to match up people with there nickname, but it seems to be almost impossible to get it all right. Maybe you'll know who belongs to what. Or maybe YOU belong to one of them.
Fat Daddy, Aba-Daba, Big Nasty, Cow Pie, Uncle Howie, Little Billy, Manhole, Skull, Speedo, Sugar Bear, Freaky Floyd, Kooshka, Kanooty, The Big 8 or The Big Walt', Egor, I'm sure I'm leaving out the best ones or just forgetting some, and unaware of most of them through out the ship. I think we need to start a nickname 'Hall of Shame'.
Here are a few people who belong to the above mentioned names. See if you can connect the dots.
Chuck Carlson, BT3 Donald Schaffer, Lt. Belden, BT1 Floyd Frames, BT2 Howard Dorris, HTFN Glenn Ulrich, HT3 Steve Schmidl, BTC Parsons, BTCM Lawson, EM3 Moore, BT3 Bill Graziano, FN Howard Manhardt, FN Jim Murray, BTFN Richard Knudsen, BTCM Walters.
OK, OK. Here's how they hook up. Carlson-Cowpie, Schaffer-Big Nasty, Lt. Belden-Sugar Bear, Frames-Freaky Floyd, Dorris-Uncle Howie, Ulrich-Skull, Schmidl-Speedo, Chief Parsons-Aba-Daba, Chief Lawson-Fat Daddy, Moore-Kooshka, Graziano-Little Billy, Manhardt-Manhole, Murray-Egor, Knudsen-Kanooty, Chief Walters-The Big 8 or The Big Walt. So come on and share the secret nickname you haven't wanted to admit to, even if it is 'YANK' and that ain't cause you came from up North either.
Well, this has been fun, even if it's been at someone else's expense.
| GMGSA Robert J. Summerhill (1970 (PRE-COM) to 1975) — Submitted on 08/12/2001 |
Picking up where I left off...... The bet was on. GMGC Morris had thrown
the gauntlet down. The "OLD Man" had made the bet. Now we had to do the
task at hand. We in the gun gang, and FTGC Anderson ( Andy ) and his
FT's went to work, the gun had to work! We in mount 51 ran dummy after
dummy round through that Damn Gun until we were sure that it should
work..... we hoped. REFTRA was a way off as yet, and the ship wanted to
get that Gunnery " E ". The Cap'tn put the ship at General Quarters,
Gunnery. The Cooks and BM's went into the magazine with a look of " Yea
Right " I could see it in their eyes. Same old,same old. Damn gun didn't
work. I was in the OMC ( one man control ) and was on the X17J and the
line to gun plot, CIC, and the Gun Director. FTG3 Bob Miller and ENS
Bill Glass were in the Gun Director, Andy was in gun plot with the
others. CIC gave the Battery Release! order..... Mount 51 surface action
starboard! I put the gun into auto train, and as the gun " Sync" up,
gave the first " Check sight clear!", Bob Miller sang out " Check sight
on target!"......CIC....Mount 51 20 rounds rapid continuous
fire!....Commence Fire!. The gun loading system came alive. 56 tons of
steel and oil moving so fast as to seem it was coming apart. I looked
down and saw the first round load and fire, BOOM, seems O.K, BOOM,
that's two, BOOM, I wonder, BOOM, Damn, BOOM
Just maybe, BOOM, come on baby, BOOM,.... about this time I was aware
that Ens. Glass and Bob Miller were counting also, BOOM, thirteen,
BOOM, fourteen, empty steel powder case were slamming into the deck with
a loud " CLANG " ,Boom, fifteen, now I could hear the magazine crew
yelling " GO!,GO!,GO!, BOOM, seventeen, I heard someone shout " Shoot
you son-of a- bitch, Shoot", BOOM, nineteen, BOOM, twenty...... CIC....
Mount 51 Cease Fire!... Then I got to say the magic phrase........ Mount
51, twenty rounds expended, no apparent causalities!!!!!....... Gun
director........ Mount 51 return to ready air!......... I grabbed the
control yoke and brought her to aim at the bow, with the barrel lever
with the deck.... Mount 51 at ready air! ..... " This is the Captain
speaking...... Mount 51 well done!" Bravo Zulu to all hands involved! I
droped the tractor seat and climbed down from the OMC and opened the
Mount's doors. Hey! Summerhill!... police the brass! yelled GMG1
Goeters. I climbed down the ladder to the main deck and watched those
twenty empty powder case roll as the shiped moved through the
ocean....... the FT's were looking at the radar track of the splashed
rounds,knowing they could do better. We in the gun gang had a gun to
swab out. The salt air was fresh on my face. it was good to be alive
this day. All to soon we'd be in the 'Nam.
| FTG3 Robert M. Miller (1970-1973) — Submitted on 07/26/2001 |
Newport R.I. 1970 PRECOM Adventures
Well, here is another one of those infamous sea stories for the records. As I recall, we were into PRECOM Training in Newport and those of us that were peons got stuck in the barracks at NTC Newport, while most of the E-4's and above got to go out on the local economy on per diem, $ 468 a month I think. So, here we have a whole of guys from all over hell's half acre thrown together on one floor of an open bay barracks, how lovely. This provided me the opportunity to be put in a "cubical" with three other lost souls. One was an HT from upstate New York, who lived on a dairy farm, I am sorry that I cannot recall his name, as he was a very interesting fellow with a very strong position that there were more cows in New York than in Wisconsin??.The other two dudes became very close partners in many an adventure. Michael J. "Bullwinkle" Larson from Hallock. Minnesota, and Mr. Paul G. Walde, known to his family as "Greg", from upstate New York. See Paul, I do remember our trip to Horseheads and Buffalo that December upon our return from the 1972 WESTPAC. On the trip to see Paul's family, I was actually treated to be one of the few people that got to consume the original "Buffalo" wings at the damn place that invented them. Now for the story of one very interesting evening on beautiful Thames Street. Bullwinkle, Paul, and myself had been cruising Thames Street and all of it's glory in an attempt to consume every available draft beer when my friend, Mr. Paul Walde, in a moment of utter wisdom noted in a very loud voice "Hey, look at the Pigs!" Needless to say this moment of brilliance just happened to occur when two of Newport's finest where driving by very slowly. They proceeded to back-up to where we were walking and requested that we have a little discussion concerning what
they had heard. The next thing we know, here comes the shore patrol and boom, we get a free ride back to the base, not the barracks but shore patrol office by Gate 1. We figured oh well shit happens and life went on without hearing a peep about our adventure. Come to find out later, the shore patrol had been pinging on PN1 Carroll and the ship's office in the NTC headquarters' building for a couple of months. He was attempting to keep this from the XO, LTCDR Topp was had a proclivity from removing any questionable crewmembers from the elite PRECOM roster. Well, he did quite a good job but fate had its way and all of a sudden the three stooges ended up at captain's mast. Got our Willy's whacked and two weeks restriction to the barracks. Thanks Paul. Well I just couldn't stand it, so I called my family and used a Congressional connection to get Bullwinkle and My Masts overturned. The only thing I couldn't do is get my two weeks of restriction turned into basket leave. Oh, well. As I have said before, there are a million more. I have been contemplating telling the story of "Close Enough to Hold Hands". Hopefully the co-subject of this story will e-mail me to give me permission and also about our adventures on John
Street, rabies shots, and more?..
| STG2 Chuck Mitchell (1974-1977) — Submitted on 07/26/2001 |
One day in the Indian Ocean. STG1 Peters mentioned this story in his guest book entry, here are the
facts. While on patrol in the Indian Ocean during the
cruise in '75 we came across a Petya Class Russian
Frigate anchored with an oiler at a favorite anchoring
spot for the Ruskies. At first glance the bridge
informed Captain Buell (you may remember him as being
a little off balance) that they were refueling and
gave their course and speed. Captain Buell set an
intercept course to gather data on the two ships. The
plan was to get ahead of the two ships (thought to be
underway) and drop a buoy in the water and gather data
as the two ships passed by. The Joey was carrying a
brand new type of sonar buoy that would listen as it
floated in the water and radio back frequencies, which
we would record and send off to be analyzed. As we
approached the two ships it was realized that they
were anchored and not underway at all. When Buell
found out about it, he called for a hard left rudder
and headed us directly at the smaller Russian Frigate.
The Frigate was watching us, naturally, and when they
saw us turn and head straight for them they fired a 50
cal round that landed @ 150 yards of our port bow.
One of our ST's was on the bridge and saw it hit the
water. Our helo was also flying around the Frigate
and saw the gun barrel flash as they fired. We turned
tail and immediately radioed the Pentagon and told
them that they had shot at us. The Pentagon radioed
the Kremlin and asked why the Frigate fired at us and
the Kremlin radioed the Frigate asking why the fired
at us. The Frigate radioed back saying they didn't
fire, the Kremlin called the Pentagon and said they
didn't fire and the Pentagon radioed us and said "they
didn't fire at you." To top all this off our CO was
real mad and came back around and SLOWLY approached
the Frigate again. He decided to drop a buoy in the
water anyway and let it float by the Frigate and
gather frequency information that way. That is what
we did. We dropped the buoy and the water current
drifted it over by the Frigate. While gathering
information we noticed that the buoy was floating
pretty close to the Russian and the Capt Buell was
pleased that we would get such good data. All of a
sudden, from the blind side of the Frigate, came a
small motor boat and they ran over and picked up our
top secret brand new buoy and carried it back to their
ship. Captain Buell was furious. But I must say the
sonar gang got a real good laugh over it.
STG2 Chuck Mitchell
| GMGSA Robert J. Summerhill (1970 (PRE-COM) to 1975) — Submitted on 06/24/2001 |
All of us Pre-Comm types, the Blue and the Gold crews were eager to board the Hewes and test her out. I mean, just think, most of the older crew members had never seen such a DE as the Knox Class. High pressure steam, off set screw, and what the hell was a Mack? We in the gun gang had our hands full with the " new " Mk.42 Mod.9 DPRFGM with only two people in the gun, one at the control panel, and one in the magazine yelling at the BM's and the cooks to load the two loader drums. The new age of Naval gunnery was upon us. One problem though, it didn't go bang! The damn thing had been designed by Northern Ordnance, a division of all things, FMC Corp., you know, bowling allies, Harleyes, and food stuffs, The Navy had also allowed the gun to be screwed with by the Sandcrabs at Crain,IN, and thrown on to the DE's as the main gun of the ship. By the time we got our hands on it, FMC had slowed the firing rate down from 80 rounds a minute to 40. I'm not kidding eater. 80 rounds a minute! If you have ever been in the gun doing 40 RPM, you can see how outrageous 80 RPM was! Here is an overview of what it takes to fire ONE round. First you have to cut a wire on the powder tank and remove the powder case, a wrench may have to be used. The powder case is then passed through a passing port ( yea, like we used those a lot ) and the powder loader would grab it and place the base of the powder case into through the latching doors of the lower loader drum, and punch the top cork piece the rest of the way into the drum. The drum would auto index to the next empty slot. Now, the poor slob who had to do the projectile, had to reach over head, pull down with one hand a round of what ever we were shooting, catch it ( 72 lbs ) with the other hand, and guide it to the deck, base first, Ever heard one that got away?. Then he or another Magazine hand would cut off the rotating band protective cover, toss it away, then remove the protective steel nose cap, covering the fuse,a wrench may be needed. Now if we are shore bombarding, the fuse may have to be turned to SQ ( super quick ) so the FT's and the Old Man can see the explosion from 10,000 yards away. Well, back to the magazine. The poor slob now has to heave up the projectile to the passing port ( not!) and it in turn is placed onto a shelf on the top loader drum, and using both fist shoves the shell with vigor into the slot, trying not to cut his fingers off. We now have one complete "round" loaded into the gun system. The Lower Hoist now brings up the round to the Carriage Room. It's purpose is to mate to the Upper Hoist that is turning with the gun up on the Main deck The Carriage can and did turn more than 360° when needed. The round is now hydraulically placed into the Upper Hoist, it then raises the round to the Cradle, a massive,complex arm that mates with the gun at any elevation. The round is now kicked into the Transfer Tray which flies down, opens up and allows the Rammer to seat the round in the chamber,trip the breech block, and swing up out of the way, ready for the next round. The breech block fully closes, and God willing and the FT's are ready the gun is now ready to fire. O yea, the loading system has a Port AND Starboard everything I just listed except gun barrel and breech. So here we are. Two rounds coming up, at over 100 MPH, each waiting their turn to load the breach, with the guns control system SLOWED down to 40 RPM, and a CO wanting to hear his gun go bang. It didn't work. We ( GMGC Morris, GMG1 Erwin, GMG2 Goeaters, GMG3 Bennish, and me GMGSA Summerhill ) worked,and worked, and worked on the damn gun for hours, days, and weeks at a time, it didn't work. The Old Man was just about to give up on us when a bet was made by GMGC Morris to the Skipper that we in fact COULD fire 20 rounds Rapid Continues Fire without breaking down. The bet was on!
To be continued...
| MM2 John Reynolds (1979-1982) — Submitted on 04/27/2001 |
Of all the places the Navy took me in my almost twenty year career, my first port visit was with the Joey. We stopped in a small town south of Naples, Castellammare di Stabia. After surviving the pond crossing, and duty the first night in (the night of the trash slick, but that's another story) a bunch of us snipes decided to see the countryside. Six of us, I think it was Rob Gibson, Pat Caudel, Wayne Hodges, Barny (Reb) Barnes, Dave Norvel, and I headed to town. We took a train to Pompei, then another train to Herculenium, then another train to Naples. We bought round trip tickets each time, the locals later told us we over spent big time. The highlight of the trip however was a visit to Vesuvius. All six of us piled into a Fiat cab for the trip to the summit. This poor cab had a couple of tired squirrels pushing it up, and we gave the driver lots of crap along the lines of us walking up faster or maybe pushing the cab. Finally, we made the parking lot and he waited for us to make our climb to see the big hole. That done, we all piled into the cab for the ride back to town. Whoa, he had a gravity assist and plenty of weight with all of us big snipes packed in. The driver got his revenge, driving like a nut (or everyday Italian), he raced into hairpin turns, cut off busses, and scared the crap out of us. Not a word was said on the way down, we were all to busy holding on and praying. I think all our hands were shaking when we paid him off and crawled off to recover. He had a smile on his face that is still probably there from the pay back he had inflicted on us. We stuck to the trains from then on.
| BT2 William Kirchmayer (1978-1981) — Submitted on 03/27/2001 |
Ok, who remembers the time the Joey boat and the USS Radford were in the Black sea together? Anybody? Well, it was like this............
It was during the Med cruise of 1980 and for one reason or another the pride of the fleet, USS Joseph Hewes FF 1078 was sent to the wonderfully modern metropolis of Istanbul. Now, seeing it was 1980 and all, smoking dope was still a major concern to the powers that be (or should I say were...hmmm). Soooo... before any member of the Joeys crew was allowed to go on liberty in Turkey, we all had to watch the movie titled "Midnight Express" about a young misguided American college student who just had to attempt to smuggle some hashish out of Turkey, I'm sure that you've heard or seen this film so I'll leave critical review to the critics. We also had to sign a paper acknowledging that we FULLY were aware of the possible consequences of messing with drugs while in Turkey. As I remember only one member of the crew got in trouble with drugs while moored off of Istanbul, and this clown didn't even have to leave the ship to get busted. Seems that this fellow was a mess-cook and was assigned to take the trash to the garbage barge that visited the ship every day. The trash was off loaded through the doors on the stern for the SQS-18 towed array sonar (boy I hope I got the right number and name for the bubble head gear). Seems that the young mess cook had struck a deal with the guys on the garbage barge and was taking delivery of the hashish all the while being observed by the OOD! Anyhow, Turkey was probably most of that crews first visit to an Islamic country so we didn't know quite what to expect, but we all survived in spite of ourselves. The Turkish Navy refueled the ship from a YO that actually moved under its own power (something we never seen in port in Charleston). The Turkish sailors were asking about skin books
so BTCM Webber had me go to my locker and bring some up ( I even gave away the 25th anniv. issue of Playboy I had, got a Turkish CPO cap for it). Well back to what this story's about....So the ship left Istanbul and into the Black sea we went along with USS Radford.
Man was it ever weird, we had just cleared the channel when out of the blue, we had Russian ships on both sides of us and as well as in front and in back of us, and man were they armed with all sorts of guns and missiles. Every so often we'd get buzzed by a Soviet jet, and these were not the usual Bear deltas or foxtrots but I believe they were Il 121s,
and they flew low, so low you could see all the ordnance hanging off the wings with a nice bright red star so there was no doubt who they were. Now, just being in the Black sea was a bit dangerous, considering the Russians figured it to be theirs in spite of the fact its international waters. The ship was tooling around fairly slow along with the Radford, so the deck force got to catch up on their painting seeing as the water was rather calm. There was a board rigged off the port side aft on the fantail and a young man named SA Negron was given the job of working over the side. All of a sudden the word comes over the 1MC " Man overboard port side, motor whaleboat crew to the motor whale boat". Well, the old Joey backs right down in smart Navy fashion and BM2 Smith got the whaleboat launched and going, when what do you suppose happens next? The damn Russians are beating a path to where our man SA Negron was bobbing about like a cork in a bowl of borscht. Luckily Smitty beat the Communist pirates to where young Negron was and
rescued his dumb ass from a short future in some Soviet Gulag. When they got him (Negron) back aboard it was discovered that the little puke had 3 waterlogged twenty dollar bills in his dungaree shirt pocket. It also seems that just as the word for man overboard was being passed, that every life ring and smoke float from amidships aft had been tossed after young Mr. Negron. Turns out the fool jumped over the side for $60. Needless to sa
| MM2 John Reynolds (1979-1982) — Submitted on 03/18/2001 |
It was the 79 or 80 Med run, and we were on plane guard for one of the carriers we worked with, I want to say America. It was getting pretty boring, when all of a sudden, and quite out of the blue, we get buzzed by a couple of F-14's. I mean buzzed. They run down the either side of the ship, buzzing the bridge wings, and generally pissing off the skipper. They pass around, and one makes another run at the bridge, pulls vertical, and cracks the sound barrier. The CO is by now really pissed and confused. The last pass is over the flight deck, at slow speed, with an after burner kick in and resulting sonic boom. The CO is in fits trying to find out what is going on, and leans on the Air Det OIC. He has no idea why the go fast boys would act in this way. Only after much digging does the CO find out that the Airedales had sewn sheets together, enough to cover the flight deck, and scrawled "If you can't hover, you're queer." They had stretched it over the flight deck at the appropriate time (when the go fast crowd could see) and then punctuated the insult by mooning the target pilot while he passed by (all twenty five, or so, of them at once).
Charlie Oscar was not happy, but we didn't do much plane guard after that either!?
| BT2 William Kirchmayer (1978-1981) — Submitted on 03/10/2001 |
Well, heres one more tale of the past as it occurred aboard the Joey Boat. I had only been onboard for less than a month and was still getting used to living on a ship and in the cramped quarters that were called B&M Div. berthing. My rack was on the stbd. side and being a booter, I had to settle for a top rack until something better opened up, or someone transferred, went UA, died,..etc.. Anyhow, I was lying in my rack this one night after taps and just could not fall off to sleep. The ship was in port and it was in the middle of the week so the only guys aboard were the duty section and those like myself who out of necessity had to live aboard. BT2 Dale Hammond had the duty as duty BT that night and had hit his rack earlier and was sound asleep and adding his snoring to the efforts of other snorers ( thank God we have Breathe Right strips now). Hammonds rack was a coveted bottom rack at the dead end of the alley. The middle rack belonged to BT1 William R.Reck, the B-Div. LPO. Reck used to stencil his name free-hand and vertical on the fly of his skivvies so (as he claimed) "..my name will stand out with the morning wood". What a character, anyway, back to what this sea-story's about. The rack above Recks was occupied by one MMFN Orville Prosser. I cant remember if Prosser worked in Main Control or Aux One or if he was an A-Ganger, but I do remember that old Orville had what I would claim as the worlds nastiest smelling feet. Prosser was well aware of it too and claimed he had tried every imaginable remedy short of amputating and he still couldn't get the stink off his feet. Well, like I said earlier, there I was trying to get some Z's when MMFN Prosser comes back from liberty, goes to his rack, takes off his boots and sets them on the deck, undresses and climbs into his rack and promptly nods off. My nose told me that Prossers boots were slowly displacing most of the breathable oxygen back in our alley. I had just about nodded off when I heard BT2 Hammond cursing something akin to " f---ing Prosser, you bastard!" and the next thing I heard was something whistling by my rack before banging into BT3 Deals stand up locker. It seems that the funk from Prossers boots being parked less than 2 feet from the head of Hammonds rack had actually woke him from a sound sleep, I shit you not! The objects that I heard in flight were Prossers boots of course, just remembering this episode reminds me to be thankful I no longer share sleeping quarters with a bunch of guys, Just a good looking brunette who's my wife( and her feet don't smell).
| BT3 John Crego (1972-1975) — Submitted on 02/06/2001 |
Being a BT of course meant that you were hot most of the time. Then on top of that The Joey decides to steam to all the hot places on the planet. Africa, Saudi Arabia, etc. etc. Our only recourse was to have a nice friendly water fight once in a while. There was a guy, FN Borrell that was kind of a tough guy. You know, always had to have the upper hand in most situations. He would set up this Rube Goldberg thing with string wound through the steam lines with a cup of water balanced over the rag can in front of the gauge board where everyone sat on watch. Then he could go to wherever he had the other end of the string, pull it and 'dowse yer' ass'. Now, he HATED to get dowsed. He and I got into a bit of a water fight one day, and I was getting the best
of him. I got his hat wet and that was a definite no, no. He ran into the escape trunk on the lower level long enough to ring out his hat. That was my chance. I was on the second level and whoever was in the control booth waved me in and lo and behold, they had a shit can full of water in there. They opened the escape trunk door and I walked in with my shit can full of water and there he was, right below me ringing out his hat. He never saw it coming. SPLOOSH! Direct hit dead on top of his head just as he puts his hat back on his head. He screamed, "YOU'RE DOWSED, MOTHER FUCKER, YOU'RE DOWSED!!!!" He was furious. Of course you know this means war.
| BT2 William Kirchmayer (1978-1981) — Submitted on 01/22/2001 |
I remember how salty some of the old chiefs were back on the Joey boat. The best memory I have of BTCM Webber was of how he would cross the mess decks during a meal and every so often he would stop at someone's table (usually some boot-camp pit snipe) and stand and stare at whoever was eating with a big old shit-eating grin. Eventually the confused diner would look up at Master Chief Webber and say "what? What it is Master Chief?", and The BTCM would then shout "its good, ain't it?" , to which the normal answer may have been something on the order of " hell no, its crap/shit..etc..." (you can imagine more I'm sure). Well, upon hearing the boot campers low opinion of good Navy chow, the Master Chief would stand tall and declare for all to hear " It makes a turd don't it?"
Does any of the snipes from 78 to 81 remember MM1 Meyerholtz? I still laugh like hell when I think of the time Meyerholtz was on watch and he emerged from the forward shaft alley dripping wet from head to toe and as pissed off as a scalded cat. It seems that while he was sounding the feed bottoms, someone on watch in Main Control aligned the manifold to "blow water" while our favorite old MM1 still had the sounding tape in the tube and he got pretty well sprayed before he got on the 2JV and got the manifold secured. The wettest and most pissed MM1 I ever seen before or since.
| GMGSA Robert J. Summerhill (1970 (PRE-COM) to 1975) — Submitted on 01/07/2001 |
Here's another Andy Sea Story.......
Andy had hundreds of thousands of sea miles under his belt, and seen it all. One thing though, he could get sea sick if the need arouse. His weakest link was us in 2nd, F , and G division! Doug Goeters, Bob Miller, Allen W. Otto, George Benesch, Kailer, Rod " The Man " Knuth, Kastner, Robinson, Sobotka, Studdard, Winkie, Alm, Baum, Bivins, Chechak, Huber, Meehan, Joe Pound," Crash Kent " Hilderbrand , me and others I just can't remember anymore had a plan. We would fake a rough sea! No kidding, we were going to give it a try. We were at that time
standing Quarters on the flight deck, port side. As soon as we could see Chief Andy coming from the O-2 level officers quarters formation, we sprung the trap. As Andy walked up to our formation we all started to sway back and forth on mass. Very slowly at first and building to a sea state of 3 after a few minutes. Fact is the sea was dead calm! Andy's eyes came up from the Plan Of The Day to find us " Hanging on for dear life " as if we were in a ' Nor Easter !...." STOP IT!!!! STOP IT!!!! " he bellowed! " I don't think that is funny at all! " He turned to Doug Gutters GMG1 and and asked if he was behind this farce? Doug just answered " Who?.... Me?....", we all fell out laughing which just made Andy madder, and us laugh louder. Andy realy did have a good heart down deep. He knew it was just our way of passing the war with a little humor. It soon became a daily duty of ours to poke fun at all hands on board, including the Cap'tn. Our crew was that tight.....more to come.
| GMGSA Robert J. Summerhill (1970 (PRE-COM) to 1975) — Submitted on 01/04/2001 |
GMG3 Rob Summerhill 1970-1975
.....As the Joey pulled into Hong Kong for the first time, all us " Salts " were rearing to go to town! All that tax free Bucks burning a hole in our pockets. Me, I was going to the BOB SHOP, to buy a new suit and a leather coat, new glasses and find me some Woman and Beer! Problem was though, I had never been there. So, I asked around the division as to who had been there before. Nada, except Chief Anderson. Boy had he! For those of you who did not know Chief Anderson ( Andy ) he was six foot five ANY way you looked at him. We could only guess at what he weighed in . At that time I was 140 lbs after a salt water shower ( remember those guys? ). Andy said he would be my guide for the night. Off we went to Kong the Hong. As best I can remember, we had to cross over a major road ( Queen Ann Blvd.? ) from the Nickel boat pier by a large walk way. As Chief Andy was so large, he had ALL his uniforms custom made and was in seventh heaven that the Joey was in Hong Kong. As he and I cleared the British Navy security post and set foot on to the bridge over the Bvld, we were mobbed by every sort of salesman you could imagine. There I stood next to Chief Andy in all his glory, towering above the little people by at least three feet, swinging his arms back and forth trying to swat them away like those damn blue flies in the Nam'.
I stood there dumb founded as he was surrounded by the sales gangs. One man, all of four foot nothing was able to get past those huge arms of Andy's and pat him on his belly shouting " Aaahhhh, Buddha!!!! ". Andy went Ballistic and chased them down the stairs!. Now there was a sight I will never forget!
After he and I cleared the Hordes, we proceeded to find a local pub and have a few. And Boy is that another story.
| FTG3 Robert M. Miller (1970-1973) — Submitted on 01/03/2001 |
2nd Division Morning Quarter's in the Missile Control Room ? 1971-1973
We, the gunners-mates and fire-controlmen, when at sea, had our morning quarters in the missile control room directly below CIC. And being the motley group we were, we would all be laying around, trying to be as comfortable as possible, awaiting the arrival of our division officer, Ens. "Parker" as we affectionately called Bill Glass.
Chief Andy, McMillian, Wally Hedberg, Bob Summerhill, Doug Goeters, George Benesch, Dave Robinson, Gary Studdard, Dave Holmgreen, Chet Sobotka, Al Otto, Bill Baker, John Bentley, Jim Graney, Giles, Vic Kastner, Rod Knuth, Souza, et al, always seemed to forget the meaning of the words "Attention on Deck" each morning. I seem to remember that this lack of "respect" irked our boot division officer, but there was no ill intent, just us being us?. I seem to remember that Bill was a "Ring Knocker" that just so happened to get married just prior to graduation from the academy??? That missile control room was the un-official 2nd division lounge, stereo equipped and a great place to jam on the electric guitars (Al Otto). Too bad they didn't have microwave ovens back then because we would have one of those for sure.
| MM2 David Norvell (1977 - 1982) — Submitted on 01/02/2001 |
I can confirm BT2 Kirchmeyer's sea story. It is absolutely a no shitter. The gun incident was true. The gun owner was the lady who owned the bar that we piled out of. She pulled a gun and stuck it in one of our shipmates' face
while I was standing next to him. She was yelling but thankfully did not decide to waste a bullet on a snipe. Beyond the hammer I saw the locals with a machete and a tire iron. Our Master Chief (BT) also got his head bashed in.
MM2 Dave Norvell
| FTG3 Robert M. Miller (1970-1973) — Submitted on 12/12/2000 |
This Month's Sea Story - June 1972
Even though I was not a Brown Shoe sailor, like AW3 Chip Akins and the rest of Helo-Det from Lakehurst, I will never forget the show of togetherness that the Airedales displayed upon our WESTPAC deployment in 1972. I got to know some of them because their damn helo always was spitting oil down on the top of the BPDMS on the failtail and of course the top was painted white. Chet Sobotka, Dave Robinson and George Benesch would remember trying to keep it white?weren't shy about giving them some crap about the Helo. Well on to the sea story.
First you have about 15-20 aggravated Brown Shoes being deployed on a destroyer escort and on top of that an XO (Ltcdr. Topp) who treats the crew in his own special way (That will be another sea story about the adventures of PRECOM in Newport) and he just so happened to have a "Chrome Dome". Well after the arrival of the aircrew and our departure from Newport, the Helo and Pilots meet us at sea. Lot of puckered butts that day. After a couple of days at sea and the Helo Det getting used to Topp's Tin-Can Navy, the complete Helo crew, including the pilots, appeared with shaved heads??.And who do you think went ape-shit?of course the XO. Orders were given to the ship's barber, no more skin heads allowed. Ha! Did that stop the Rotor-heads, NOPE. First stop was Pearl Harbor and a trip to exchange where a set of electric clippers was to be had?Once again, more skinheads abound?Even some of the Black Shoes got in the fray..I seem to remember that STG3 Jay Alm and STG2 Al Grider cruising with no hair for a while. More Helo stories to be told, especially cruising Subic with them and their buddies from Cubie Point and of course, the US Mail that wound up in the Gulf of Tokin....Oh Boy!!!!!
Another sea story is a brewing for January 2001.
| BT2 William Kirchmayer (1978-1981) — Submitted on 12/12/2000 |
This is a no shitter,...there I am at least started off right with the proper intro for a real sea story. It was 1978, I forget what month, but it was my first time at sea on the Joey boat and we were in the port of Frederickstead? on the Isle of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. The ship had just finished blowing holes in Vieques and we were enjoying the liberty while it lasted, but it didnt last too long. B and M divisions were as was usual for their members, together in some bar close to the waterfront when BT2 Ray Rodgers walked out into the street while sucking on a beer. Ray walked into the street just as a local resident was making a turn in his van, and just stopping short of Ray (still sucking on his beer). This so startled Ray that he gagged and spat out the beer in his mouth,.....straight into the drivers face. Well, the shit really started when the rest of the drunk snipes piled out of the bar to see what all the noise was about, and various locals came to investigate the serious breach of etiquette performed by Ray. The enraged driver leapt out of the van swinging a hammer, which promptly found its target in the form of BT2 Danny Rolofs head.
The snipes closed ranks and with the wounded turn-to PO into tow, shagged ass for the landing and the whaleboat they were hoping was there, as the local crowd had seemingly grew to the proportion of a small riot in a record short time. At the pier a local car reportedly had an occupant with a gun, but nothing more was heard regarding that.
Fortunately, the whaleboat was there and the SP managed to show and tried to find out what kind of horse-shit the snipes had stirred up now. To sum it up, liberty was canceled before the sun even set, and the Joey boat was asked to leave the port. The Captain (I believe it was Cdr. Fromholtz) turned the air around the 1MC a bright shade of blue while he cussed out the crew in general. Well thats it for now.
| ENS Bill Glass (1972-1975) — Submitted on 12/01/2000 |
Re: BT3 John Crego's story: It was the Suez Canal in '75 at Port Said. We had cleared the canal last thing in the day and we were heading into the Med en route home. Apparently the locals had expected us to dock for the night. In the process the boat Crego mentioned tied up to the side of the ship (must have been a padeye or something down there...) and the BM's had to cut the guy loose as we picked up speed heading for the open sea.
| FTG3 Robert M. Miller (1970-1973) — Submitted on 11/14/2000 |
As I remember it, one of the more memorable adventures of the commissioning crew was the Hewes versus the Marine gate guards in the Charlestown yards one evening in the Marine EM club. After a very long day of "Playing at Sea" tied up to the pier, a group of us ventured to the Marine EM Club in search of a few cold ones. All of us were in dungarees and hit the club about 7pm that night. Being the tight crew that we were, we re-configured the club by lining up about 5 tables end-to-end to accommodate approximately 20 of us. After about 2 hours, we had erected a beer can pyramid of over 100 cans. For some unknown reason, the gate guards took offense to our presence and almost instigated a brawl. Needless to say at Quarters the next morning, we were informed that the crew of the Joseph Hewes was no longer allowed at the Marine EM Club from that day on. The things you have to put up with just have a cold beer......One thing I can say for the Marine contingent at Charlestown, they never lost the main gate at the yards. It was always where it was supposed to be. I have a million more...Will submit them as I have time to write'm up. FTG3 Miller
| OS3 James McNorton (1982-1985) — Submitted on 11/08/2000 |
I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT EARLY MORNING THE MARINE BARRACKS WAS BLOWN IN BEIRUIT1983.I WAS ON RADAR WATCH TRADING DIRTY JOKES OVER THE SOUND POWERED PHONES WITH THE LOOKOUTS WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THE LOOKOUT YELLED THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION AND THE BARRACKS WAS GONE. SO I EVENTUALLY WENT UP TOPSIDE AND LOOKED THROUGH THE BIGEYES AND SAW NOTHING BUT A MUSHROOM CLOUD WHERE THE BARRACKS HAD STOOD.I REMEMBER THIS SINKING FEELING COMING OVER ME BECAUSE IT WAS SUNDAY AND THE SUN WAS JUST COMING UP.I KNEW IT WAS HOLIDAY ROUTINES FOR THE MARINES AND MOST OF THEM HAD TO BE STILL IN BED WHEN THIS HAPPENED.WE WERE PRETTY CLOSE TO THE BEACH,I WAS USED TO SEEING THIS BUILDING THERE AND NOW IT WAS REDUCED TO A CRATER.IMMEDIATELY WE WENT TO GC AND WAITED AND WAITED AND WAITED.NOTHING WAS EVER DONE ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT WAS DETERMINED THAT A SUICIDAL PIECE OF DIRT RAN THE GATE IN A TRUCK LOADED WITH LIQUID NITROGEN AND DETINATED WHEN THE TRUCK RAMMED THE BARRACKS.I'LL NEVER FORGET THE GUYS I SERVED WITH BECAUSE I FELT LIKE WE HAD EACH OTHERS LIVES IN EACH OTHERS HANDS.THEY WERE THE BEST FRIENDS I'LL EVER HAVE AND THE SAD PART ABOUT IT IS I NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO SAY GOODBYE TO MOST OF THEMI WAS PROUD TO SERVE WITH THEM.JEFF ADKINS,MIKE WILSON,OS2 ALLEN,OS2 BROWNELL,MY BUDDY OS1 JOE BULDOC,OS2 CAPUTO,OS2 CAMPOLITO-THE ITALIAN STALLION,OS2 COMPTON-LETS FOGET ABOUT THE FISTACUFFS OK,OS3 DEEGAN,OSSN DECK-MY DRINKING PARTNER,OSSA DYCUS,OSSN GILES,OSSN J J JACKSON-WILD MAN,OS3 ORVIS-REMEMBER ISLE OF PALMS WINDJAMMER,OS1 CLARENCE PURVIS -THE BEST OS I EVER CAME ACCROSS AND ALSO A PRETTY GOOD RACKETBALL PLAYER,OS3 SAM,OS3 SANSING-WILD ASS COUNTRY BOY,OS3 PETE SMITH-REMEMBER I HELPED YOU REBUILD THAT MOTOR FOR YOUR MUSTANG,I HOPE YOU GUYS ARE DOING GREAT. I LOVE YOU GUYS. PEACE ----------
JAMES MCNORTON OS3
| STG1 Andy Allen (1981-1984) — Submitted on 10/28/2000 |
I remember being out 30 days chasing submarines and on the way home being diverted towards Africa to intercept Russians heading to Cuba. The Captain announced that he had radioed Rosy Roads that a radio was down and he needed a part to continue towards Africa. He also said he had contacted the Seabees and to have 50 cases of beer on the pier when we pulled in, and we had 2 hours to drink those 50 and get underway. For the first time in my navy career I heard "now beer call" and we did away with those 50 cases.
| BT3 John Crego (1972-1975) — Submitted on 10/17/2000 |
We were going through the Panama Canal. Or was it the Suez? Well, it was one or the other. I was up on deck watching the goings on, though I probably should have been down in the Hole scrubbing deck plates, or more importantly, dusting steam lines. The point is, we had slowed to a crawl for navigation purposes I suppose. Needless to say, this creeping along gave the local entrepreneurs a chance to sell some of their wares.
I remember this one particular salesman because he had come out in his dingy and tied up to the ship and was taking care of business. Well, eventually we reached a point where we had to speed up and be on our way. A couple of Bowsins mates started to untie his line, but he would have none of it. He just kept yelling, NO, NO. He was bound and determined to make that last sale come Hell or high water. Now, we were starting to gain a little speed at this point and these guys were trying to set him free but he still kept yelling NO. His boat started slapping the water pretty good and the Bowsins mates new they had to turn this guy loose or he'd get killed. The funny thing to me was that even with that, he still didn't want them to untie him. And when they finally tossed him his line, all he could do was yell back at them, "Sons of Bitches, Sons of Bitches!" as he faded off in the distance bobbing around in our rapidly growing wake.
Well, that's it. Maybe there's someone out there who witnessed this and can verify it or say I'm full of crap and it didn't happen that way at all.
'Now sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms!'