Tom Stanley EN2, 1952-1953
Just this evening, watching the Queen's 50 year jubilee, I was reminded of my first trip to London. Late in the fall of 52 we had been up in the northern North Atlantic on a big NATO operation. After the operation was terminated, about 20 of the world's navies visited some of the major British ports. USS New went into Portsmouth. Anticipating the downtown Norfolk street scene of solid white hats, Rocky Walker (MM2) and I decided, after a visit to HMS Victory, to catch a train for London. Turns out we probably did the smart thing. Not only did we get to visit a great city, we missed out on the fights that erupted in Portsmouth where the Queen was sponsoring a big time bash for the NATO forces.
I have visited UK several times since that first trip and have been married to a former UK citizen these past 48 years, but that first visit to London was a great adventure. One of my brothers-in-law took me on a tour of Cutty Sark on my last visit. One thing about those Brits, they do have great museums.
I left New in June, 1953, planning to stay out only long enough to be sure I missed the upcoming trip to Guantanamo Bay. One shake down in that place is enough for any one lifetime. Any rate, my plans were changed when after about three days at home I was offered a job making more per week than Navy per month.
I was in the "R" Division, "A " Gang.
Tom Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston, Tx. 77040
From:Jim Coleman BM3 73-75
I think that when I was onboard, the NEW was seasoned and solid as a rock. We made the Med/North Atlantic cruise and the North Atlantic is a monster. She was like a twig in a Jacuzzi. I am also a Shellback. A Golden Shellback from a Med/Middle East cruise. We sailed around Africa. I am a Bluenose as well from our trip into the Artic Circle on some sub tracking (I think that's what we were doing) up there. It was cold, nothing has ever been even near as cold, no winter or condition has ever made me as cold. I had on long john's, my work uniform, those coverall type pants lined, two jackets, foul weather gear, gloves hats, scarves, and remember standing a midwatch on the rotational watches that I did when I was a seaman. (one hour on the helm, one hour on the leehelm, one hour on the status board, one hour on port lookout, one hour on starboard lookout and one hour on aft lookout (that the picture you have on the Web page) (that brought back a million memories). Anyway we usually did four hour watches so we rotated around four stations, when we were on the occasional different conditions, we would stand six hour watches. There was also a messenger of the watch as a seventh position. But one night it was so cold, I was on starboard lookout, freezing my tail off and I remember like it was yesterday looking into the bridge and wishing one of the officers would have pity on us and let the port and starboard lookouts stand inside next to the Captains, and XO's chairs.
We had a little standoff with a Russian Destroyer in the Middle East, we were visual but CBDR (constant bearing decreasing range which meant if something didn't change, it would be a collision course. We didn't want to budge and neither did the Russians. This led up to a very scary couple of minutes, while the Captains played the battle of the wills. I think they finally altered because our skipper was adhering to rules of the road. We had a course change but I think it was right after theirs. We ended up going side by side just long enough for a parade to port when we went by. The Captain said something like "How'd ya like that" to the other Captain. But he said it loud enough for us to hear on the bridge wings. I guess he won the game.
Another fast memory is some Freighter or Tanker on autopilot, which we didn't pick up till the last minute, I think when we were crossing the Atlantic. It was rainy weather and all of a sudden her bow was right there. I mean we did a hard right rudder and everything. That one scared me. It was close. My heart was beating out of my chest.
Another time when I was in a repair locker for G.Q., they set material condition Yoke after about 7 hours on station. I walked out on the maindeck from the forward repair locker just in time for the guns to go off. The repercussion sent me back in the door that I had just walked out of and on my ass. I couldn't hear for about a minute or so.
Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class 1973-1975
Hackensack, New Jersey
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This is another one sent in by Tom Stanley. It is a very interesting experience Tom had after his days in the navy while working for a civilian contractor on a construction job in the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam. The navy did a tough and dangerous job in the inland and coastal waters. Known as the Brown Water Navy thier duties were numerous and had some of the highest casualties during those years of war. Any sailor who knew one of these guys will have a lot of respect for them. One SM1 MaCafferty who I was priveledged to have known on the New was killed in action not long after he transferred to swift boat duty. Rick
Tom Stanley EN2, 1952-1953
Like all other Tin Can sailors, I always thought the Cans were the best Navy duty a man could want. After a three week special deployment with a select group of officers and men from the qualifying top reserve crews in the entire fleet, I was totally convinced that I was right. I spent 3 weeks on USS Independence, commonly know as the big "I", or by the reservists, as the big brown "I".
Watching a couple of cans taking on fuel one day, I realized how tough the duty was on the brown eye. You could have played pool on the flight deck. I was sitting at one of the elevator doors watching the refueling and quite often saw the sonar dome on the destroyer alongside. Sitting there I could tell the browneye was rolling because I could feel pressure on my back when she rolled. I really felt sorry for those big ship sailors.
A few years later I went to work on a huge construction project in the delta country of Vietnam. That's when I decided that I was wrong about the best of the Navy. I got to know some of those river rats who called themselves the Delta Dragons. Talk about esprit de corps. They had it and to spare.
I was working on a floating steam plant a short distance from a little town called MyTho (me toe), pumping fill materials from the river to a shore location where the Army wanted a base, called Dong Tam (don tom). I was chief engineer on the rig and in addition to all my other duties I had to ensure that we had plenty of fresh water and ice.
The dragons would stop by on their way up-river and fill their water cans. After putting a standby ice plant back to work we donated enough ice to at least help out. The project manager gave me a bad time about giving away ice to these guys. They were used to hot water. Let them stay used to it. Don't spoil them. If the Navy wanted them to have Ice they would issue it, etc, etc.
I shut down all the ice plants and emptied the bins to every boat that came by and told them that that was all of it.
I told the project manager that the ice plants had cratered and I had no idea when they would get back to work, so all of his construction crews had better start learning about hot water.He got the idea right away and withdrew his complaint. The PBR boys continued to get their ice with the understanding that we had only a limited supply, which we would share with them. There was never any wasted ice by any of the PBRs and nobody ever complained from then on.
This was especially true when the CO of the dragons sent me a message to have a tugboat go alongside an APA anchored in mid stream. The tug captain never questioned the request that he go alongside. Imagine his surprise when a pallet load of Schlitz was lowered onto his deck, compliments of the Brownwater Navy.
Of all the billets the Navy has to offer I believe the PBR men should be at the top of the list. Anyone who ever rode those little boats has earned my everlasting respect as to what Navy Duty is all about.
This in no way is to be construed as critical of tin cans. Just to say that those little boats made a lasting impression on me, considering that to them Ice was a luxery and the browneye had air conditioning throughout. I visited main engine control one time. Looked like a hotel lobby. Remember what main engine control on New looked like?
Lt. Fisher, the CO mentioned above, was killed shortly before I left. It was his last scheduled run before going home.
I had a first cousin killed in Cu Chi one week before I left the country.
Tom Stanley email@example.com
Houston, Tx. 77040
If you have a story or expeience you would like to share we would love to hear it. Submit any to Rick Palmer Thanks
Return to Quarterdeck
Al Jardine 66-68
I remember when we were in the gulf and a bunch of Vietnamese boats were spotted comming out of a river. We went on station and the order came down to fire at will, rapid fire. Moon was the gunmount captain in the after mount with us, Chet Nebala loaded left gun and I loaded right gun. We were loading and firing so fast that the lower magazine couldn't keep up. We were screaming at Moon that we couldn't get projectiles fast enough, what the hell are we going to do? Moony got that stupid grin he used to get, looked around and spotted the brass BL&P sand filled show pieces on the wall of the mount. We looked at him and said " you gotta be kidding" to which he replied with that grin "nope, load em up boys" We loaded those prized show , solid brass projectiles and shot all 10 of them off. When the gunnery officer held his next inspection he went ballistic. He called all of us down to the after gun mount to rip us a new one. He looked at Moony and said 'what the hell were you thinking " those things were for show and filled with sand, how in the hell did you think they were going to do any damage. Moony got that stupid grin again and just said " 55 lbs. of sand in a brass shell, wooden boats, you figure it out." God I loved that guy.
Rick Palmer 66- 68
Moon was a good friend of mine when I was on New. I wasn't a BM altho I should have been. He was an outstanding BM and I learned a lot from him. He also had a mind of his own and the story above by Al Jardine doesn't sound far fetched when you have known Moon . Yep he was a sailors sailor.
In December of 1966 we were in the ship yards in Portsmouth for an overhaul. We were being fitted with some neccessities for war. CIC was modernized and the crews quarters got airconditioning. After the Red Sea and Persian Gulf they decided to put it in the ships going to the West Pacific waters where it was at least half as hot as the Red Sea. It did help tho. During December the ship was almost deserted on weekends and most nights. Many men were on leave and many lived ashore. On the Portsmouth base there was a small EM club where Moon, myself and a few other would go and drink some good cold beer at cheap prices. It was a small club and closed about 10 PM. Our choice of cold brew was one called Busch Bavarian in 16 oz. cans. Not the Busch beer by Anhieser but a different and tasty beer. A little too tasty at times. Sailors never have enough money and this night was no exception. A couple of us had the weekend duty and didn't feel like going on the town anyway. This one Friday night when the little club closed up we had not drank our fill yet. We decided to buy a few six packs and take it out somewhere to drink it. There wasn't any place on the base we could drink it so Moon suggested the boatswains locker. Since 1862 alchohol on American naval ships has been strictly prohibited. Penalties are very severe- if caught-. There were about six of us and we managed to sneak it aboard under our peacoats with no problem. WHEW!!! We opened the forward hatch to the boatswains locker and went on down. In the New the CPO quarters were forward next to the boatswains locker. We were quiet in case a chief on duty would hear us. We went all the way forward and commenced to drink the beer and tell stories and just shoot the breeze. We had hidden all but one sixpack at a time under the forward gunmount so it would stay cold and be in easy reach when we needed more. One by one the younger fellows went on to thier bunks and soon it was just me and Moon to finish the brew. With all the beer gone, it was near 4 AM and we had duty that Saturdayy so it was time to hit the rack. Later that morning after revellie I saw Moon at morning chow. He said, " Palmer, I thought you got all that beer from under the gun mount" I said yes I did, there wasn't any left. He said, " Oh yes there was, Chief, ( can't remember the name) found it this morning and asked me about it. He knew were were in there." Oh hell I thought. We are in trouble now. Then Moon said, " Oh by the way, he said to thank whoever left it there. It was just what he needed this morning when he found it still under the gun mount, nice and cold."
That was the one CPO who lived on board and didn't go out too much. That was also the only time I ever drank any booze on board. It was some good beer tho. When I left the New in 68 and Moon left not long after I never saw him again and have been unable to locate him. I never forgot him tho and still have the boatswains pipe and lanyards he gave me.
Tom Stanley, EN2, 1951-52
submitted 1-03-03 Mr. Katz's Baked Ham
One of my favorite memories of shipboard life has to do with Mr. Katz's Baked Ham.
We had been operating with the sixth fleet for about 7 months and were just coming in to Norfolk from the Med, Our food supply was running low. We were reduced to SOS, HC, Spam and crackers. No fresh fruit since we left Algiers, and no fresh milk for 7 months.
Our first stop was Fox anchorage to take on supplies. A lighter had been waiting for us with an unbelievable amount of food. But first we had to get it aboard. The entire ship's company turned to. Several cases of fresh Seal-Test milk in quart containers were the first of many hi jacked items. It was very easy to shrug a case off your shoulder as you passed the foward engineroom hatch. There just happened to be a man standing on the ladder to keep anything from falling. Nothing fell. He caught at least six cases of that milk. Since the milk was now in danger of spoiling, what with the heat and all, we felt it best to get rid of it. I got rid of 3 quarts myself, with very little lost time. Others, of the same mind, did their part in getting rid of all that perishable nectar.
Needless to say, the supply department, Mr. Katz's sterling group, noticed some shortages in the inventory. The milk was a foregone and accepted fact, but then 6 great smoked hams turned up missing. The supply department went crazy looking for hams. It turned out that 5 were recovered, after several threats and a couple of extra hours after the lighter was off-loaded and departed.
Well, 5 out of 6 ain't bad. And it could have been those towboat men who purloined the last one.
We were finally given permission to secure the working/search party and turn in, since it was near midnight by then. When I started to hit the sack, I found that my pillow case now covered a smoked ham instead of a pillow. Now the "A" Gang had the starboard half of the compartment under gun mount 53, and the supply department the port half. My problem was how to get a ham off my rack and not be seen by a supply type. Not to worry. A very helpful fire room messenger of the watch stopped by and laid claim to it. Well, all's well that ends well.
About 0300, nature and 3 quarts of milk demanded that I make a visit to the head. When I reached the main deck the delicious aroma of baked hame was all over the ship. So was Mr. Katz. He was still searching for that last ham. He was a great supply officer.
Having a fair idea that I knew the location of the missing ham, I strolled down to the after fireroom for a cup of coffee and some idle snooping. Mr. Katz had just left. He traced the smell of ham to the fireroom but then the blowers were diffusing it to the point that it wasn't concentrated anywhere. Any rate, he gave up and turned in. And just in time too. The ham, happily baking in the space between the mud drum insulation cap and the mud drum manhole, was done to a turn.
The men on watch had thoughtfully removed some of the skin before baking and had turned a bucket of spuds and onions into a great spud soup, seasoned with smoked ham. By this time, the bakers had some fresh bread, which one of the firemen borrowed a loaf or three. Nothing quite like baked, spud soup and fresh bread to reward one for doing his duty, as well as serving the ship.
I read in one of someone's publication, that Mr. Katz was shipped to the final duty station. I still say, he was a great supply officer.
Tom Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston, Tx. 77040
3-4-2003, Jim Hornby, BM3
It was in 1972 when 3 sailors from the New, Myself, Tom Harris and Michael Milks rented a car for the weekend. We decided to hit Virginia Beach for some babes. Well the weekend didn't turn out as well as we planned until about midnight of that Sunday. Michael and I decided to sleep it off in the car while Tom went out partying at the peppermint lounge. Somewhere around midnight we heard a rapping on the car window. Standing there with Tom was a group of good looking girls. These fine looking ladies were from New York and they wanted to meet his two friends who were also from New York. Any who... We started talking and sort of paired off. We invited them to visit the New. That was not a good start. Not only did they endure the hooting and the whistling when they arrived, the ship had pulled out of one pier and had been moved to another. We had no clue we were suppose to move that day so they thought we pulled a fast one on them. After finally coming on board and calming them down, we made arrangements to meet again the following
weekend. During the next weekend the young lady I was with left early one evening to go back to the hotel. At the same time I was making myself cozy with one other of the ladies. We enjoyed the weekend and they, of course, had to return home. Now Tom and the girl he met seemed to hit it off pretty well. She was
Interested in seeing him again as I was the young lady I was with last. I did, however, find out later that if it weren't for her girl friends request to see Tom, then there would not have been an US. So, I owe Tom
a lot. For that girl who wasn't sure she wanted to see me has been my wife for 28 years.
Minnie Pearl always said " Never let the truth get in the way of a good story". So it can be with sea stories when they were told during long mid watches or off hours when there was a little time for socializing on the mess decks or fantail when the weather was good. Sailors have long been known for good stories. Long months away from home on some distant sea or a night in a foriegn port have generated many a story and some great momories for us all, as well as a few sadder ones. We hope these will bring a smile and a memory or two to you.
In Memory of…
When I enlisted in the Navy, in 1954, I heard this phrase almost daily, "The Chief's run the Navy." I don't know if that's still true, but I hope it is. I eventually served twenty-six years, throughout which I worked for, worked with, and had work for me countless CPOs (I use this general abbreviation to include E7s, E8s, and E9s) who represented this phrase with integrity and honor. My intent in the next few paragraphs is to share my point of view about one: Chief Carlos Studabaker, FTC, a gentleman, a leader, a NEW shipmate, and a friend.
I reported aboard New in September of 1965, a recent graduate of Destroyer School. My billet was Weapons Officer. As my memory serves, Chief Studabaker was the leading chief of the department. My memory of his official status may be wrong, but my memory of his leading role bringing the NEW's weapon systems to top condition, and keeping them there is indelible.
NEW had been FRAM converted a few years before my tour. FRAM conversion focused on Ant-submarine warfare, and I inherited an ASROC and DASH equipped ASW system that performed to specifications, and was reliable: a tribute to the men that kept it so. Her gun system, however, was another matter. My first month aboard NEW was a roller coaster ride. ASW was a high, shooting the guns, or attempting to, was a low. Let me hasten to add the gun system's problems were no fault of the men who tended its various pieces. In a word, the system was old. NEW's fire control computer, gun director, and 5" guns had seen only routine alterations, and day-to-day maintenance since her commissioning in 1945. After twenty years the system was showing symptoms of arthritis.
Ironically, a problem in the ASW system's switchboard taught me how knowledgeable Chief Studabaker was about the ship's weapons systems in general. Over the next eight months, in part concurrent with a Mediterranean and Red Sea deployment, Chief Studabaker lead a team of Fire Control Division and Gunnery Division men determined to bring the gun system to acceptable readiness. One of our highlights was a four page Casualty Report message that brought us badly needed engineering services, and set a record for one of the longest CASREPS ever received by the engineering station. The man that responded to the call told us they'd fought over who would take the call just to see if the details of the many faults outlined were accurate. They were.
Eventually, Chief Studabaker and his team were successful; our 1966-67 overhaul only added to the system's accuracy and reliability. NEW's gunnery performance during refresher training was exemplary. A good thing, since in May of 1967 we deployed to Viet Nam, one of only a handful of Atlantic Fleet destroyers to do so during the entire duration of the war.
I was transferred from NEW in August of 1967. She was in her fourth week of duty on Northern SAR station: shotgun for USS Pratt. Relieved by the new Weapons Officer, I spent the last hour onboard in Chief's Quarters drinking coffee, and reminiscing with Chief Studabaker. For that hour we were simply friends. He walked with me to the fantail where I was lifted by helicopter and shortly after was in route to Yankee Station. I looked out the open door at NEW receding aft. My last thought was the new guy's got a ship that can shoot, and her sides need painting.
Chief Studabaker remained onboard, and, I am certain, was a key player in NEW's successful combat duties. In December NEW headed homeward. Tragically, Chief Carlos Studabaker died, the victim of a heart attack, before she arrived.
For me, more than a year passed before I learned of his passing. I didn't know what to say then, nor do I now. I only knew the Navy had lost one of those legendary Chief's, one of those who ran the Navy.
The above tribute to FTC Carlos Studabaker is also found in Chiefs Quarters on the page dedicated to the memory of this man. He was well thought of and highly respected by officers and men, all who knew him. Click here to go to that page.
From Tom Stanley, submitted 3-15-03
I was reading the article about New making history and felt like I should get back in action and be a part of that history. I remember Tom Nau well. While we were in Portsmouth Navy yard in the spring of 53, Tom, Hub Underwood, George Penfield and I were assigned to a night shift working in the machine shop. We had to work 48 hours a week, which we did by working 4 12 hour shifts, Monday thru Thursday. Nobody seemed to care when we came or went. We kept our liberty cards and made sure we were always at work at our prescribed times. Other than that we had open gangway. Since we couldn't sleep aboard during the day, we rented a room from an old retired chief and his wife, a Mrs. Spangler. She acted like we were her kids. I don't remember how many times she collected our rent of $5.00 every 2 weeks from each of us. Probably no more than the first time. She and Chief Roy took us to the fleet reserve club on a regular basis. An we partied hardy on weekends.
While we were working like this, Tom got orders to Class A service school command in Great Lakes. That was the last time I saw him.
I didn't realiize he had made any pictures of the fueling operation referred toin the article. I was the Engineman responsible for the fueling transfer. I would never have remembered the boat's name. In fact I only saw her as they were retreiving the hose. I was down in the starboard shaft alley with the pump during the entire operation. Seems like it was Roger Penfield, BM2, of 1st division who made the highline transfer. Roger was George's brother. I saw Roger about three years later when I visited the ship during a Navy Day open house in Wilmington, NC.
A long time ago. I plan to make the next reunion this fall if at all possible.
I had drawn shore patrol while New was in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the
summer of '52,and of all places, in downtown NYC. Brother was it hot, and
you remember you could only wear blues in NY. As my partner and I were
walking our beat the paddy wagon pulled up across the street to pick up a
drunk. We ran over to see if we could help out. Seems that the drunk they
had in custody was a QM1 that I had served with on Holder. He had been
drugged and rolled and dumped in an ally. The SP CPO ordered us to load him
up and take him to the local lock-up. I thought real fast that this would
be a good time to offer my 2 cents. I told the CPO that I knew the sailor
and knew that it would look bad for a CMH recipient to be dumped in the
slammer. The chief was a bit hesitant to believe me but by the time I'd
embellished my story a bit he agreed to drop everything if I would
personally take the man back to his ship, after which I could secure for the
Until today I can't recall why I happened to think of such a great lie. But
it kept the QM1 out of trouble and the last time I saw him he was a QMC. Altogether a
worthy lie.. And I'd tell it again.
Tom Stanley EN2 1952-1953
I came aboard the New early 1956 out of machinist mate school (I picked her) the Capt. was Comdr. Caton. In 1956 we did a med cruise and ended up in Egypt close in to Port Said at he mouth of the Suez canal we were evacuating American citizens as the British and French were bombing and strafing the city it was a dicey time. We were outside of Gibraltar when we received orders to proceed to Port Said. We went through the straits in the middle of the night at battle stations at flank speed with the American flag lighted up as we didn't want the British
to think we were someone else. Sometime later while in the yard in Portsmouth for overhaul Capt. Caton was transferred and I can't remember the new captains name but the day after he came aboard we came out of drydock and went out to an anchorage to take on ammo on the way back the captain ran the ship over a buoy chain and bent the after engine room shaft wrapping
the chain around the shaft and jamming the buoy into the screw. We had to get towed back into dry-dock and the next morning we had a new captain his name was William Doyle. he turned out to be an excellent captain and loved his engineers. We would do anything for him. I have many memories of life aboard the New and as I think of them I will write them down and send
them to you. I am now 65 and live in the mountains of N.E.Arizona I look forward to your newsletter and someday maybe I can make a reunion but when you are on social security money is tight do you have a cruise book for 56-59 please keep up the excellent work
Jim Stuart MM3
One memorable time on the NEW was a Machinist mate called "HOGBODY" (Thomas Large from West Virginia) . He was short and stocky, and his whole body was as solid as a rock. You could punch him, kick him, beat him with everything you got........you could not phase "THE HOG"
HOG was an entertainer. His favorite thing was to go down to the mess deck, find fresh bootcampers, first time green out to sea. He would sit right down with them, staring them all in the eye, making animal grunt sounds, while stirring his corn into his chocolate pudding. Then he would pack his jowles with it......make some more grunty animal sounds, then hurl it back onto his plate, then eat it again. Those bootcampers were diving over each other to get the hell away from this madman and keep from throwing up from sea sickness. I laughed so hard.
The "HOG" always had a thing for deckhands. We would be out to sea, and everytime HOGBODY saw a deckhand he would make grunty animal sounds and tackle them down and put a giant hickey on their necks, they would beat on him as hard as they could to pry this animal off them to no avail. You cant hurt the HOG......so here are these guys walking around out-at-sea with big ole hickeys on their necks........no boring time when HOGBODY was on the loose. Some things I could tell you about the HOG cant be printed. That guy made me laugh soooo many times. I wonder what ever happened to him?
Tom Edwards MM3 65-67
An anomaly is something which deviates from the standard or expected. It is an irregularity which may be difficult to explain using existing rules or theory.
The above is about the simplest explanation I can find to describe the word anomaly. Ghosts are called anomalies. In radarman lingo it means the radar picking up things it normally wouldn't at such far distances. Usually referred to as a "weather anomalous propagation", or in language I can understand, "something weird the weather caused.
Radar to many on the ship was in a mysterious dark cave called CIC with somewhat off beat men and bug eyed men called Radarmen working there. It was a rate where most thought we just got buggy watching a light go round and round and little things light up here and there on the radar screen. The rate itself was very complex and difficult for someone like me to comprehend fully but I held my ground only because the navy said I had to. Radar sent a signal out in form of a radio wave and when it hit something it bounced back to us. Some will say that it only reflects on metals but anything with even a small amount of mass could be detected, even a piece or driftwood and oh lets not forget the sea return. Sometimes it got so bad when the weather was rough we couldn't see the surrounding ships in the formation . Radar also reflects off land. It is used in navigation to aid visual navigation of the Quartermasters who will fib to you and say theirs is more accurate. (snikker snikker).
Now to the rest of the story. In 1967 New was making it's first trip to the wide Pacific ocean. Pacificus is the Latin word for peace or peaceful. Since the Spanish language is basically Latin with accents they named that big blue ocean "Pacific". Compared to the Atlantic at most times it is more like a big lake than an ocean. A few days out of the Panama with memories of the transit still fresh in our minds we were approaching San Diego. It was common practice to occasionally crank out the distance of the radar scope to see what is out past the 40 mile search area. We weren't too far off the Baja California coast line of Mexico and could get mountains to reflect at distances of more than 150 miles. We could often locate a mountain top at that distance and cut a fix to determine our position. We were the INFORMATION CENTER and the bridge was always in need of our help. ( I don't know what they did without us in the days before RADAR). Normally it would have to be a pretty tall mountain for the old SPS 10 to pick up at such a long distance. ( that was the smaller of the two antenna that went round and round all the time we were at sea). As we got further north we noticed the image getting clearer and it soon became a familiar coast line. Familiar to us from maps of the US and looking at the charts. It was the coast line of Southern California. Normally we would just get the area around the harbor we were entering at 70 or 80 miles. But man what a surprise when over 150 miles away we could see the whole Southern California coast line from north of Los Angeles, San Diego and even down in Mexico. It was picking up the coast clear and loud and extremely detailed. Nearly 300 miles of coast line and over 150 miles away. We could even make out the small Island of Catalina. Now that was an anomaly. One like I had heard about but had never seen. I had seen them in the Persian Gulf area but not like this. Never this clear and defined. A radar wave goes out in a straight line and as the earth curves the wave just keeps going out towards space, usually straight out. Sometimes the weather causes these anomalies with temperature changes at different levels in the atmosphere. The layers of different temperature will sometimes reflect the radar wave down some. This one must have trapped the wave and sent that beautiful picture right back to us. I know those of us on watch who saw it will never forget it. Rick Palmer RD2
weather anomalous propagation
Vietnam memories from 1967 USS New
Anyone in the navy in the 60s, 50's and beyond can understand some of what our future space travelers might feel. When we left home port and headed for those far away places it was like going to another world. Communications weren't what they are now. We had a few satellites circling the earth but they were experimental for the most part. Certainly no satellites for phone or even radio. Now we have cell phone that can call around the world. Radio that can be heard in even the most remote places. In the 60's when we left port we left our favorite tunes behind. Some guys had reel to reel tapes. 8 track and cassette were under development and not yet ready for market. Coming home was like being in a time warp. All the new songs we were hearing were oldies but goodies now. In 1967 when New was going on extended deployment to the Pacific I wrote my favorite radio station, WDON in Wheaton, Maryland which played the best of country and bluegrass music when I was coming up. A small station it was and had my favorite DJ, Tom 'Cat' Reeder. I wrote and asked if they could send some of the latest tunes that we haven't heard yet. Well not only did Tom come thru with that, he sent a reel tape with a couple hours of great country tunes. It included some new and some we been hearing and loved for years. Flatt & Scruggs, Sonny & Bob Osbourne, George Jones, Hank, Hank and Hank. Also a few new tunes we hadn't heard before. I remembered seeing a list of tunes on previous Med cruises and trying to put music with the names. Nope never got any right. This tape had a couple new songs by new people I had never heard before. Some guy named Glenn Campbell singing Gentle on My Mind, Jeanie C. Riley, Harper Valley PTA. Bobbie Gentry's Ode to Billy Joe. In CIC we had the ECM room which had a reel to reel tape for recording frequency noise (fingerprints) from radar. When in port we could use it to play music tapes. We also had the capability to patch, (switch) thru a panel radio to areas around the ship. Yes the whole crew got to enjoy the music at times too. I know everyone loves country music so I am sure everyone got to enjoy it. Right????? Yep the navy was getting modern.
area's of operation
Da Nang to Quang Ngai
Cape Batangin, (Mui Ba Lang An)
Hue and DMZ
Song Tra Vong
New's first duty in the war zone was somewhat mundane for the most part. Very necessary tho. It was North SAR (Search And Rescue) in the northern Tonkin Gulf. This was the same area Turner Joy and Maddox had their encounters with North Vietnamese torpedo boats. We weren't the first ones there and were there with a DLG USS Pratt, which made us the only gun ship. We also had helo refueling capabilities. New made history that year by becoming the first US Navy ship to refuel a US Army or Air Force helo in flight. They had landed on carriers at times to refuel and navy ships had been refueling navy helos in flight. This was new for the Air Force. Big Mother 66 was their call sign. And yes they were big mothers too. They had the most dangerous job going in and trying to rescue downed pilots. Crews risking their own lives to save one or two others. The luckier pilots were picked up at sea well away from encroaching enemy beating the jungle for that American plot. Tonkin Gulf is surrounded on three sides by communist countries. Chinese on the north and east and North Vietnam on the west. It was pretty much routine daily work with wartime cruising and little action. Helo details a couple times a day. Standing by for bombing missions and rescue after each. Watching the sky light up in the distance, being close enough to make out the sky line of mountains with flashes behind from bombing raids. On one occasion I was on the radio with the helo pilot and there was a problem pumping fuel. Pilot was getting a little worried about the course we were on. We had to maintain a particular course to maintain the wind direction to keep the helo from being blown into the ship. This particular time we had a course of due north. Headed for the Chinese coast line. Oh we were still 30 miles away. Time went by and the fuel wasn't pumping. Pilot getting nervous. 15 miles away it had pumped then stopped. Pilot getting more nervous. We got within the 12 mile limit and the pilot said a few words I would have gotten in trouble for. Captain Nolan was also a bit on the nervous side tho he tried to hide it. Finally they topped off and broke away and as soon as they cleared Captain Nolan ordered a hard right rudder, course 180 and flank speed. Get the hell outa here. We had encroached close to the 3 mile limit which by rights the Chinese could have blasted us out of the water and there would have been nothing Washington could have said about it. Doubt they would have anyway with what was there in 67. That was about the most tense moments we had while on North SAR. RD1 Risher was in ECM listening to the gear trying to pick up any enemy radar like a fire control radar being aimed at us. Fortunately he found none. It wasn't long the old New was out of sight of the Chinese coast. We had come in sight of it a few more times but never that close. Cool heads, training and leadership prevailed that day. After 45 days on North SAR we were ready for some liberty.
NOTE: In 1953 New made history by being the first US Navy destroyer to refuel a submarine underway. That sub USS Torsk is at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. Pictures of that and helo refueling are on the website.
Rick Palmer RD2
Bermuda Triangle Mystery
Joe Hurd here. I haven't communicated with you for a while. Hope all is well and your move across the bay went smoothly. I have a sea story that I would like to share with you and our shipmates. This happened around 1973 on one of our many trips from Norfolk to the Caribbean. I was an FTGSN at the time and stood bridge watches, as did all non-rated members of the gun gang. This particular incident took place on the mid-watch while I was at the helm. We were steaming through the Bermuda Triangle at the time, but that was no big deal to us because we had been through it so many times before without incident. But on this night the Triangle gave us a small taste of why it has such a mysterious reputation. I had been steering a steady course for maybe 20 or 30 minutes. It was a calm, clear night and the mood on the bridge was relaxed. The Skipper was in his quarters. I had looked away from the gyro-compass readout that the helmsman steered by for several seconds, and when I looked back down at it I was horrified to see that the readout was spinning as though we were in a hard turn to starboard. I immediately checked to make sure that the rudder was still 'midships then called out to the Boatswain's Mate of the watch, "Hey Boats, we got a problem here!" Apparently there was a high degree of urgency in my voice because Boats, the OOD, and the JOOD all three rushed over to the helm to check the problem. The OOD immediately checked the gyro-compass itself which was mounted at the starboard end of the bridge. The readout on the gyro-compass was also spinning. As after-steering was being contacted to ascertain whether there may have been a problem with the rudder, I glanced at the magnetic compass which was mounted just forward of the helm. The magnetic compass was also spinning! I brought this to the attention of the BM of the watch. As the OOD stared blankly at the magnetic compass I knew that he was thinking what we were all thinking. There was no earthly reason for both the gyro and the magnetic compasses to be malfunctioning in the same way, because each operated completely independently of the other. The Skipper was summoned to the bridge. In a few minutes three IC-men appeared and began dismanteling the gyro in order to diagnose the problem. In the meantime we had no way to navigate. The JOOD broke out the sextant and began navigating by the stars, just to keep the ship on a generally southerly heading. In a matter of a few minutes the relaxed mood on the bridge had been transformed to one of serious concern and high anxiety. The IC-men worked feverishly on the gyro. The JOOD shouted course corrections from the starboard wing. The magnetic compass, our alternate means of navigation, continued to spin wildly. The IC-men could find nothing wrong with with the gyro, though it also continued to spin out of control. The ship operated under this condition for about 30 to 45 minutes. And then, just as suddenly as it had begun, the problem ended. The gyro stopped spinning and began functioning properly. The magnetic compass stopped spinning and began functioning properly. The OOD brought the ship back on it's correct course, and proper order was restored. The high anxiety was overwith but, of course, the concern remained. What kind of force could possibly have affected both compasses in such a way? No one really knows. For me it remains one of those sweet mysteries that defy rational explanation. I feel privileged to have been part of the events of that night, and the mystique of the Triangle grew a little stronger for all of us. I hope someone will read this and remember that night.
Joe Hurd-FTG3-Onboard New 1971 to 1975
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