This is where I will post occasional musings, comments, criticism, etc. on various subjects. I hope to write on music, video, TV, technology, travel, the Navy days and whatever else comes to mind. My day job (and too many nights) is 3D modeling, graphics and animation at DC Graphics in Vancouver, WA, USA. Enjoy the articles and feel free to add comments.
Enjoyed the read, Bro! Will be checking in on you every now and then. J
I have an old graduating class photo of USN Radarman “A” School Class 46 B that is dated March 15, 1968. Great Lakes, Illinois. My father is in this photo and he has passed. Just trying to find out a little about his journey in the Navy. I wondered if you may have been in this class ,as one of the men resembles a photo on your blog. just curious. 🙂 – kate
Kate, sorry I can’t help you. I was in Radarman “A” School March 15th, but in 1970. I’m pretty sure that it was the same training in that it lasted about 16 weeks. The only changes may have been in the evolving practice of electronic warfare. Do you know what ship(s) he served on?
Thanks for your reply. After reading a bit more into your blog, I discovered that you were in the 1970 class. I don’t know anything about my Dad being in the Navy as he died at the young age of 49 and I was too young before he died to ask questions about it. I “Googled” class A radarman great lakes, IL and found your blog. 🙂 Your stories are interesting and I will continue reading.
Good job! Good Job! REX Bischoff USS New Orleans LPH-11 sailor 1986-1989.
Dennis, I’m writing a novel (historical fiction) based on my experiences in WestPac from 80-82 (LT in VA-115 on Midway). Can you give me a call at your leisure. Would like to have your input on a few things.
Love your blog!
Hi Dennis –
Hope you are doing well.
Excellent descriptions of life aboard the Franny Maru (aka Cosmic Ship)! Great details and the pictures were a real bonus.
I agree with you about the ranges for NGFS being way too far. Even with RAP (rocket assisted projectiles) I seem to remember our max range was something like 20+ miles.
I don’t want to seem like a nit-picker but were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon for an incident that happened in the middle of a gunfire mission during the day. I know ’cause I was on the bridge at the time.
We were In the middle of the fifty-round mission and within a mile or so of the beach when the gun crapped out (which it did pretty regularly – I shared my stateroom with a number of “tech reps” who kept coming aboard to fix the gun). GMC “Speedy” Gonzales said they would have the casualty fixed in 10 or 15 minutes so LT(jg) Chuck Goeye (sp?) who was OOD and I (I was the JO) went out on the port bridge wing to try to catch any kinds of breeze. The CO and XO staked out the starboard wing. We were at bare steerageway (to keep our position steady) so there was no relative wind and little to relieve the heat and humidity so we took off the huge steel pots and flack jackets when a round landed somewhere around midships to port. We all bolted through the hatchways, dogged the hatches and Chuck ordered the rudder over hard right and the engines all ahead full and then…. we waited…. and waited… and waited….. We just weren’t getting any way on ’til the CO (CDR Doerr) realized the rudder was acting like a sea anchor, holding us back and he ordered rudder amidships. We started getting some forward momentum then he had us come around and we finally started heading out to sea. The rounds kept dropping and some spent shrapnel actually landed somewhere on the ship. I was told a round landed squarely in our wake. In the meantime all the other ships on the gunline started to open up on the guy and that was that.
Some guys collected the shrapnel but were forced to give it up to NIS (or FBI or some investigative group) who wanted to know what they were firing at us (I later heard something like 101mm / 5″). They were supposed to give back the shrapnel souvenirs but that never happened (nor did we get to keep the busted up AK-47 someone gave us either).
Also that gunner who told you we zipped around trying to draw fire must have been reading “The Arnheiter Affair.” Didn’t happen any time I was standing bridge watches nor would it have made any sense, There were tons of targets just sitting a mile or two off the beach but even then they had very little time to adjust their fire once they opened up so a moving target even at close range wouldn’t have been worth the effort.
Other than those minor criticisms these were excellent recollections (as near as I can remember). Thanks for the walk down memory lane shipmate.
Kent Grealish (at that time, ENS/LT(jg), SC)
P.S. I’m going to pass on your blog to Steve Alden who I’ve since reconnected with.
Hey Kent, I remember you. Thanks for the clarifications on some issues. I don’t recall and haven’t looked back at my article, but I think we are talking about the same incident that earned the CAR. I do know there must have been some shrapnel on the deck of the port 01 level because that’s where some of the shrapnel was bouncing off the aluminum bulkhead sounding like popcorn popping in CIC. I have always wondered what the enemy was using in those shore batteries. Lousy aim, thank God! Thanks for the comments and corrections. Did you hear there may be a Franny Maru reunion in Branson, MO next year?
I routinely check for reunions (Tin Can Sailors Assn, Destroyer Escort Sailors Assn, etc) and have never seen anything for the Hammond. I hope you mean 2016. Where do I get more info?
Re: the Combat Action Ribbon – to my recollection the only other time we came under fire they were really shooting at USS Gerke (I remember because a good friend was the SUPPO). It was before this other incident because my GQ station was sitting in crypto in the radio shack. We were escorting Gerke on a firing mission and as I remember we were supposed to be the fire suppression ship. When the NVA took a pot shot at her I heard her radio that they were heading seaward at high speed. But we weren’t and our 5″54 started firing counterbattery. I remember thinking that this was BS being below decks and not even knowing which direction the rounds might be coming from so I got my watch station shifted to the bridge which is why I was there for the real thing.
I also remember that after we really got shot at, there were a number of troopers waiting for me outside the disbursing office wondering how much they would get paid now that we had actually been in combat. They were brutally disappointed to know that we were already getting Hostile Fire Pay (for operating with Coral Sea while in a combat zone) and that was it. They all agreed (as did I) that the $35 a month (or whatever it was) wasn’t worth it if we were really getting shot at.
Hello, was reading the story from Mr. Grealish. I was on the helm at the time of the round to Port and everyone going to Starboard. My GQ station at first was down in the magazine humming bullets and the regular aft look out did n’t like watching the counter battery, so we traded positions at GQ and I watched a lot of counterbattery follow in our wake.
On my second Westpac I was in CIC until I left the Navy. After year out of the NavyI went into the Coast Guard as OS and later went into Aviation as a helicopter mechanic and air crewman. I retired in July 92.
Later retired from law enforcement in 2012. Kicking back drinking beer and chores my wife leaves for me.
Dennis dont know if you remember me but we went to Radar school together. Some how I just ran into this blog.
Geoffrey, sorry I do not remember you. It’s sort of funny that I can remember a lot of names from my boot camp company and I can remember everyone I served with in my division in the fleet, but Radarman “A” School is a blank. Weird. I think my room mate in the barracks at Radar school was named Watson and I remember an instructor named Chief Doebler and that’s it.
You know, it’s funny how many guys I can remember from boot-camp as well as my shipboard time. But in-between there is Radar “A” school in Great Lakes and I cannot, for the life of me, recall my barracks roommates name. I did one time run into a classmate from there on a pier in Long Beach where he was on the USS Long Beach and his is the only name I can remember from there.
AZ2 nicholas ’72 to 76
VP 17 Amazing ride into the past! I use to frequent the Shamrock
and Sierra clubs back in the day. Lots of 25cent san Miguels 😉
I should have married Evelyn!
Brought back a lot of memories. Don’t really remember you but I was ynsa Kiefer who played bass in the band on the helo deck with Collard on guitar, Bradley on drums (I think) and a pn3 on guitar. Was on board from March 72 to Jan 73, Nice reading your blog just to confirm my memories of Vietnam and Subic.I used to hang with David Rand, Ted England and Smeed (Smut) along with the band members. Sometimes without proof you wander if you were just dreaming. Keep us posted on the reunion at Branson. I don’t live to far from there in Kansas City.
Hey DC. Check out Lisco Locker Gang on FB. Bloomers aka Jonnie Jup…
I live in New Zealand – though I’m from Brooklyn NY,
I accidentally found your blog on Susan 1972 about the Cyclone. I am also a writer and I like your style – it is really inclusive and you write well across a variety of of tough and easy themes – I’m just checking in on you and hoping you are doing okay in this crazy world of virus and mayhem.
As I said I live in NZ where the rest of the world can often seem remote and beaten up, miserably, achingly, missing my sister and friends, wondering when we will ever be able to leave this bubble, and if ever I can, if I will really want to.