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Bill Ginty

From the USS Collett to the USS Midway

 

From the USS COLLETT to the USS MIDWAY

 

By Bill Ginty, an LTJG who was an AD4 Skyraider pilot in the 1950s

 

From about May 11 to May 22 in 1955, I had one hell of a ride on the USS COLLETT (DD-730).

My story starts as I was recovering from wounds in the naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.  There were all marines in the ward with me and I got busted on every day.

 

After leaving the hospital, I needed to get back to my ship, the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41).  I proceeded to Atsugi Naval Facility in Japan with 2 other pilots.  From there we flew to Okinawa and spent 10 days on the island at a Naval Facility.

 

We were put on a small bus and taken to the north end, Buckner Bay, and lo and behold there sat this tin can!  I said to myself, "Oh Sh--.  We boarded COLLETT and the officer of the deck told us where our quarters were and told us "Airdales" to just stay out of the way and we would be fine.

 

Well! We put out to sea and what a ride.  I was accustomed to very large ship, not a little "tin can."  But my sea legs were pretty good and after a day or two I was in good shape.

 

While at sea I started to explore the ship.  I couldn't help but notice a large spool of carrier deck wire on the fantail.  I thought to myself when they unlash this thing it will roll right off the deck.

 

We pulled alongside the USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CVA-47) and for one solid hour they tried to highline the spool to the carrier.  No luck.  Finally they brought in a heavy load helicopter which picked up the spool and delivered it to the carrier - job done.

 

The next morning an orderly came to our quarters and told us the Captain wanted to see us on the bridge.  We reported and were told we were going over to the cruiser pulling up along our port side. I thought he was kidding.  We were instructed to get our gear ready and report to be highlined in the bosun's chair.

 

What an experience!  Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean swinging around and up and down between COLLETT and the USS LOS ANGELES (CA-135) with everything I owned hanging on to this metal chair.  Fortunately the weather was okay but the sailors on both ships were having a good time hoping to see us go in the drink.  We were down pretty far a number of times but never got wet.

 

The LOS ANGELES was a large cruiser and more to my liking.  I spent ten days onboard her and then took a chopper to the USS Midway - end of story.

 

What a great experience for a young sailor - one I'll never forget.