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Old 08-04-2021, 14:50   #1
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Sea Stories

I served aboard the USS William V Pratt DLG13 for four years. I was an FTM, (Fire Control Missile) and performed maintenance on and operated the AN/SPG 55A Missile Control Radar System 4. It controlled the firing and flight of the Terrier Missiles. That was my job, but during the three cruises to the Mediterranean, two to the North Atlantic, and one to the Caribbean, many other things happened. Here is one of the more interesting incidents. These days people get excited when they hear that an Iranian ship, or Russian ship came close to one of our ships. They have no idea of the reality out there.



Easter Sunday and the Sub
In March of 1972, the USS William V Pratt DLG13 was engaged in a multinational exercise in the Mediterranean with the USS Simms DE 1059 and a variety of other multinational ships. That went on for days, with at least nine Soviet Submarines trying to sneak away, and our ships tracking them. On Easter Sunday, many of the other ships had left, and things got a more intense. There was a Soviet Submarine, Sub Tender, Oiler, Black-oil destroyer, PC boat and a couple other Soviet destroyers and other vessels. They were being escorted by two Soviet Gas Turbine Cruisers. The Soviet Sub, which was designated Foxtrot, tried to run and hide, but our sonar allowed us to track them. When we tried to get close, the Russians would bring a ship over in front of us, another alongside, and another behind. Then they would all turn left, forcing us away. That was called “shouldering”. Other ships were doing the same to the Simms on the other side of the group. That went on all day long. Once we did a 360 degree turn and got close to the Foxtrot which was on the surface at that time. The Soviets did not react well to that. At one point the Black Oil Destroyer came right at us, full speed, black smoke billowing out. It was close. Often we were close enough to the Soviet ships to throw things back and forth between ships. We threw candy, fruit, comic books, Playboys, etc. They threw the Soviet equivalents, except for Playboys. That afternoon, after playing cat and mouse all day, we finally chased the Foxtrot out of the formation. The Soviet Commander sent us a message: “You play a dangerous game.”
That day, every frame of every roll of film on our ship was used in photographing the various encounters. That incident is the lead chapter, Playing With The Bear, in the book titled Incidents At Sea. The official account in the book is a lot longer, but of course leaves out some of the details.
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Old 08-04-2021, 16:20   #2
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Re: Sea Stories

Cool, thanks.
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Old 08-04-2021, 20:17   #3
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Re: Sea Stories

Black-oil Washdown
The class of Frigates I served on used Black Oil as fuel for the boilers. As near as I can remember, someone was attempting to transfer Black Oil from one tank to another, but mistakenly pumped it out through an open valve. Since we were in a storm, the 9000 gallons of Black Oil was pumped out onto the decks before someone noticed. The entire ship was coated with oil. The entire crew turned out on deck in t-shirts and shower shoes for the clean-up. We used everything we had, including mechanical fire fighting foam and straight liquid detergent to scrub down the ship, and washed it off with fire hoses. Although the mood was light-hearted, that was one long tough day. In the process, I got some of the liquid detergent in my eyes and they began to burn really bad. Within a few minutes, I could barely see. Al Baltrop, the ship’s Corpsman, put some eye-drops in to sooth the pain, but my eyes clouded over. For two days, I was essentially blind. All I could see was gray light and faint shadows, like looking through double waxed paper. Fortunately I knew my way around the ship, and didn’t have any trouble navigating the narrow passageways and ladders. Eventually, the pain subsided and my eyes cleared up, but for a while I was pretty worried.


This was my ship.
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Old 08-04-2021, 21:37   #4
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Re: Sea Stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by KnightSailor View Post
Black-oil Washdown
The class of Frigates I served on used Black Oil as fuel for the boilers. As near as I can remember, someone was attempting to transfer Black Oil from one tank to another, but mistakenly pumped it out through an open valve. Since we were in a storm, the 9000 gallons of Black Oil was pumped out onto the decks before someone noticed. The entire ship was coated with oil. The entire crew turned out on deck in t-shirts and shower shoes for the clean-up. We used everything we had, including mechanical fire fighting foam and straight liquid detergent to scrub down the ship, and washed it off with fire hoses. Although the mood was light-hearted, that was one long tough day. In the process, I got some of the liquid detergent in my eyes and they began to burn really bad. Within a few minutes, I could barely see. Al Baltrop, the ship’s Corpsman, put some eye-drops in to sooth the pain, but my eyes clouded over. For two days, I was essentially blind. All I could see was gray light and faint shadows, like looking through double waxed paper. Fortunately I knew my way around the ship, and didn’t have any trouble navigating the narrow passageways and ladders. Eventually, the pain subsided and my eyes cleared up, but for a while I was pretty worried.


This was my ship.


That is a beautiful ship
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Old 08-04-2021, 22:06   #5
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Re: Sea Stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by KnightSailor View Post
I served aboard the USS William V Pratt DLG13 for four years. I was an FTM, (Fire Control Missile) and performed maintenance on and operated the AN/SPG 55A Missile Control Radar System 4. It controlled the firing and flight of the Terrier Missiles. That was my job, but during the three cruises to the Mediterranean, two to the North Atlantic, and one to the Caribbean, many other things happened. Here is one of the more interesting incidents. These days people get excited when they hear that an Iranian ship, or Russian ship came close to one of our ships. They have no idea of the reality out there.



Easter Sunday and the Sub
In March of 1972, the USS William V Pratt DLG13 was engaged in a multinational exercise in the Mediterranean with the USS Simms DE 1059 and a variety of other multinational ships. That went on for days, with at least nine Soviet Submarines trying to sneak away, and our ships tracking them. On Easter Sunday, many of the other ships had left, and things got a more intense. There was a Soviet Submarine, Sub Tender, Oiler, Black-oil destroyer, PC boat and a couple other Soviet destroyers and other vessels. They were being escorted by two Soviet Gas Turbine Cruisers. The Soviet Sub, which was designated Foxtrot, tried to run and hide, but our sonar allowed us to track them. When we tried to get close, the Russians would bring a ship over in front of us, another alongside, and another behind. Then they would all turn left, forcing us away. That was called “shouldering”. Other ships were doing the same to the Simms on the other side of the group. That went on all day long. Once we did a 360 degree turn and got close to the Foxtrot which was on the surface at that time. The Soviets did not react well to that. At one point the Black Oil Destroyer came right at us, full speed, black smoke billowing out. It was close. Often we were close enough to the Soviet ships to throw things back and forth between ships. We threw candy, fruit, comic books, Playboys, etc. They threw the Soviet equivalents, except for Playboys. That afternoon, after playing cat and mouse all day, we finally chased the Foxtrot out of the formation. The Soviet Commander sent us a message: “You play a dangerous game.”
That day, every frame of every roll of film on our ship was used in photographing the various encounters. That incident is the lead chapter, Playing With The Bear, in the book titled Incidents At Sea. The official account in the book is a lot longer, but of course leaves out some of the details.
Excellent story, thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-04-2021, 11:07   #6
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Re: Sea Stories

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That is a beautiful ship
I was lucky. I served 4 years on one of the best looking US Navy ships. Her Call Sign was Proud Fox.
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Old 10-04-2021, 10:06   #7
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Re: Sea Stories

A Light In The Darkness
On one occasion, we were well out to sea, over 1000 miles It was late at night, and there was nothing to do. A bunch of us Fire Control Techs were bored, so we decided to create a little excitement. We put a small battery and a light bulb in a “doctor’s latex glove, and blew up the glove. We threw it overboard at the bow and ran for cover. The Aft watchman spotted the light in the water, and called the bridge. They turned the ship around and approached the “light” in the water. Anyone who knows, understands the turning a warship around in the middle of the ocean is not a trivial thing. Anyhow, the Boatswain’s Mates tried to snag the “light” with a gaff hook, but it popped the glove and it sank. That was the only thing that saved us. We never told anyone. Until now.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:20   #8
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Re: Sea Stories

Fire Two
One time we were participating in a missile shoot at Culebra, off Puerto Rico. We were shooting at Ryan Firebee drones. There were several ships involved in the exercise, so we had to take turns. Eventually, it got late and we were advised that no more drones would be launched. We were allowed two more missiles, but we didn’t have anything to shoot at. The word came down from the XO that we were to fire those last two missile, no matter what. I locked our tracking radar onto some noise at about 50,000 yards. We fired an HT (Homing) missile at the noise. Then we locked on to the HT missile, and shot it down with a BT (Beam Riding) missile. Everyone was happy, although I don’t know how they explained that to the Culebra Coordinators. It was a spectacular waste of taxpayers’ money, but it was also a reconfirmation of what determined sailors can accomplish when put to the test.
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Old 14-04-2021, 15:32   #9
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Re: Sea Stories

Cape Hatteras
The USS William V Pratt DLG13 was cruising off the coast of Cape Hatteras in 1972. Toward evening we encountered a fierce storm. The Pratt had boilers that burned black oil to produce steam for the turbine engines. That night we lost steam pressure and the engines stopped. Soon, unable to make headway, the ship began to turn sideways to the waves. The ship started rolling heavily, further and further over until it felt like we were going on over. Equipment began breaking loose and it was almost impossible to move about. They finally got up just enough steam pressure to turn the screws and get us headed back into the waves. Then the screws stopped and the heavy rolls began all over again. The point of no return on the Pratt was 45 degrees, and they recorded rolls of 47 degrees. That means that the next wave pushed us back up. No one bothered with life jackets. Most of us just strapped ourselves into our bunks because standing up was exhausting.
We went through that for 4 hours that night, until finally the steam pressure held and we headed into the waves under full steam. With all the hatches battened down, we played submarine, going into one side of a huge wave and out the other. We had green water over the bridge, 60 feet off the waterline.
The next morning they found a fish stuck in the 39 Radar Antenna, 90 ft off the waterline. It was estimated that the waves that night were 100 ft high. I never learned what caused the loss of steam. Maybe we took green water down the stacks.
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Old 14-04-2021, 15:53   #10
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Re: Sea Stories

Thanks for sharing!

I'm eagerly awaiting more :-)
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Old 15-04-2021, 04:14   #11
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Re: Sea Stories

Great sea stories.
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Old 15-04-2021, 21:08   #12
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Re: Sea Stories

The Marias, Passing Gas
We were, I believe, in the Mediterranean when this next incident occurred. We were due for refueling, and the oiler, USS Marias AO-57 pulled alongside. We realized that they were a well adjusted crew when we saw the huge sign on the side of their ship, which had a caricature picture of a donkey with a white puff out its backside, along with the slogan: “The Marias, passing gas”. They requested a personnel transfer highline, which we supplied. They sent over an Ensign, who proceeded to climb up to the bridge and wash our windows. It was hilarious, and help relieve the tedium of long, eventless cruises.
Refueling a sea was difficult, but necessary. The ship-to-ship separation was about 140-180 feet apart. We shot a small “shotline” over, and they connected that to a rope. We pulled that over, and used it to pull over a steel cable called the span wire. Another shotline got us another heavier rope (lead line), and we used that to pull over the heavy oil transfer hoses which were suspended from the span wire. These were 6 inch inside diameter, and very thick walled. While the span wire was held with hydraulic rams, the hoses were pulled over and tension maintained by about 20 sailors on the lead line. As the two ships rolled and the distances between changed slightly, the sailors on the lead line had to work hard the entire time to keep the hoses coupled, but not sagging. In heavy seas that was exhausting.
Here is a photo of the Marias refueling a destroyer and a carrier.
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Old 18-04-2021, 20:25   #13
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Re: Sea Stories

Run Silent, Run Deep
We were patrolling in the Mediterranean, when sonar detected a Russian sub. We decided (I say we, but most of the crew would have preferred to go back on patrol) to try to stay on top of the sub as long as we could. We tracked it around the Mediterranean for a couple days, then followed it out through the straits of Gibraltar, and into the Atlantic. As I recall, we were not at General Quarters, but were on alert. We could tell by the way our ship maneuvered, that the sub was trying every trick in the book to get away. Eventually, the sub, which was a Russian Juliet Class Sub, was forced to surface. Being a diesel-electric powered sub, it had run out of air, and then some. It was like a scene from “Run Silent, Run Deep”. The hatches opened, and green air poured out, followed closely by Russian sailors, piling out like ants from an ant hill. That must have been a tough decision by the Captain of that sub. While that was a victory for our Sonar team, it was also dangerous considering the habit of the Russians in playing a bit rough.
Diesel-Electric Juliett Class Soviet Submarine
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Old 18-04-2021, 20:41   #14
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Re: Sea Stories

Thanks for the well written and interesting stories! Thanks for your service as well, I think.
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Old 19-04-2021, 23:32   #15
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Re: Sea Stories

I always like to read stories of other people regarding traveling and such kind of things. I am so sure that will increase the members interest.
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