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Front Matter

 

Prior  to  starting this wild expose of my naval career,  I  probably  should explain a few things.  In December of 1950 a friend of the family who was  on the draft board told my parents that I was on the March list for the army.  I went to the nearest navy recruiting station and took the test for  Electronic Technician.   Now  this was a lark because I held a Commercial  First  Class Radio  Telephone  License from the FCC.  I signed the enlistment  papers  and told them about the March draft date.  It turned out I already had friends at Great Lakes, because a Yeoman from my home town, who was recalled for reserve duty  during  the  Police Action in Korea got my test  results  and  promptly expedited my enlistment.  I was half way through boot camp when the letter to report for a pre-induction physical arrived.  Now the Chief who was in  charge of  our  company  thought it would be real funny for me to show  up  for  the physical  in dress blues, of course the Captain of boot camp did not  see  it

that way and said a letter to the draft board would suffice.  This chief, was an  officer who had reverted back to his permanent rank Chief Boatswain  Mate so  he  could retire, ran a different kind of instruction than  most  of  the others  who had the same duty.  He said he did not care if we could march  or do  the  manual of arms, but we would know our seamanship when we  left  boot camp.   He  never  liked the way I tied the bowline knot, to him  I  tied  it backwards.   I told him an old horse man taught me how to tie it so it  would not  chafe the horses neck with the bitter end of the rope on the outside  of the  loop.   I also taught him how to tie it with only one hand which  I  had learned in Boy Scouts.

 

When I got to service school, the instructor was reading the résumé's of  all the students and asked me to accelerate to the second half of the course.   I asked him if he would give up 5 months of shore duty to get me to the  second half, and he said no, so I asked him why he was trying to get me to give up 5 months  of shore duty.  It was not until the thirtieth week of the course  in the  Sonar  Section  that I found out why he wanted me  to  accelerate.   The Commander in charge of ET school called me into his office and wanted to know what  it would cost him for me to accept a zero lab grade for Sonar.  I  told him  all  I wanted was a ships company liberty card for the last 6  weeks  of school.   He gave me the card and said I saved him from flunking out half  of the  class.  He also assured me that it would not affect my standing  in  the class  as it only would cost 4 percentage points on my final average  and  no

one  in the class was close enough to pass me.  The final test in  the  Sonar Section  was  on a day on which I did not get back from liberty in  time  eat breakfast  and take my dress blues off so I went to school in Dress  Uniform.  I  took the test and even got a perfect score.  I went back to the Sonar  Lab and  tried  to  find a place to get a nap.  The Commander happened  to  come through and when he asked Fink, who was third in the class, how he did on the test and the kid lit up saying he had got 100 on the test.  He spotted me and came  over to see how I did and when he smelled my breath and saw  the  dress uniform, he almost had a heart attack when I said got 100.  When we  started, the  class has 137 members and when we graduated we still had 67  members  we started sonar with.

 

The  last  three  months on the USS Collett  were  also  very  interesting because they had started a First Class Mess in addition to the normal  Chiefs Mess  in hopes of keeping some of the First Class aboard even though most  of them  were reserve fleet with a couple of hash marks.  The first  class  mess was a designated table in the enlisted mess, but we ate off plates and had  a mess  cook who fed us like a family style restaurant.  I sure looked  out  of place  at  that table, just a kid and only three years, nine  months  in  the navy.   The  Captain almost cried on my last day aboard  the  USS  Collett because  in  addition  to me he lost one chief, another  first  class,  three second class, and five third class plus a seaman who had been busted  several times.   The  chief was taking a discharge on the west coast and  driving  to Virginia to reenlist, the navy would not transfer him to the ship he  wanted.  The rest of us were just going home.

  

 Coming Aboard

 

The  USS Collett was actually the second ship I had served on,  the  first being PCE 899 (38 feet wide and 168 feet long may not really qualify it as  a ship) based at 528 North Water Street Milwaukee Wisconsin.  I came aboard the USS  Collett  in early October 1953 and served until  February  1955.   My naval  career  was a bit checkered in the assignments  and  various  screwups therein.   In  March 1952 I had graduated top in my class at  ET  school, so consequently had first choice of billets.  The Ninth Naval District had three billets listed so I chose one of them.  Here is the first of the assignment screwups, I did not ask for leave, but they gave me 10 days to get to my  new duty  station, two city blocks away.  I took my papers and promptly  lit  out for  Minnesota.   I showed up about an hour before the orders said  were  the latest  I could report, and found out the next day that they really only  had two  openings  so I was expendable.  The Yeoman at the Ninth  Naval  District took  me to Great Lakes Ships Company for reassignment to sea duty  and  then the  fun  began.  He left me with a Yeoman who had a dire need for an  ET  at Great  Lakes, and when he saw the paperwork he told me to sit down, he  would  process  all of it and then personally deliver me to each place for  check-in in his car, now when is ETSN going to argue with a Yeoman 1st class.  When we finally  arrived  at Public Works Administration, he told the chief  that  he owed  him a drunk (not a DRINK) because here was a living breathing ET.   Now for  the next 18 months, except for a summer hiatus on the PCE, I was  fixing radios and television sets on the base.  And on weekends I had to run  movies in Boot Camp which paid $30 a month extra.  Two nights a  week I had to  work in  the service school hobby shop, another $30 a month.  You may  think  that this  was  great  duty, but it had its drawbacks, as the  only  Saturday  and Sunday I had off were to attend my Grandmothers funeral.

 

When  I  left  Great Lakes for the USS Collett, I had  already  taken  and passed the test for ET2.  Of course with the other screwups, the job code for me  on my orders was listed as a striker.  It seems that the Bureau of  Ships did  not like the job code I picked out of the book at Great Lakes, and  they did not want to send me to Pearl Harbor for another 18 months of shore  duty.  They did not have sense of humor and listed my job code as a striker.  Thirty one months in the navy and had not seen salt water yet.  The PCE did not even use  the evaporators to make fresh water, we just pulled out of line  on  the Lake Michigan or Superior and pumped fresh water aboard.

 

Crossing the big pond

 

The 1953/54 jaunt of the USS Collett started as usual at Long Beach,  with a  fast  run to San Francisco to meet the carrier USS Ranger  we  were  to escort  to  Hawaii.   After  we met the  carrier,  total  radio  silence  was established and we took off slightly north of the path that would take us  to Pearl.   When  we  were northwest of the islands, the  carrier  launched  two aircraft.   The  idea  of  the run was to make a sneak  attack  to  test  the readiness  of the forces at Pearl.  Those two pilots just flew in and  landed  at  the airbase and parked the planes.  They apparently went directly to  the Officers Club and said nothing to any one.  About an hour after the time they should have arrived at Pearl, the Admiral on the carrier broke radio  silence and called Pearl looking for his planes.

 

Honolulu

 

The  base  personnel found the planes and when they found  the  pilots,  they received  a message that they were all dead because they had carried  out  an atomic  attack on the base.  This rattling of the cage of the base  plus  the earlier  incidents  after the Inchon invasion did not set well.   To  put  it bluntly, when we arrived at Pearl, we were on their shit list.

 

At  Pearl, the navy screwups came into play again.  It turned out that I  was the only person in section 3 that had a navy drivers license.  Guess what, I got  to  haul  the  mail, prisoners to and from the  brig,  and  the  Captain wherever he wanted to go, and the other ET's had to do all the work.

 

One  nice day in Pearl, we sent a few people to a submarine as observers  for an  ASW  exercise.  The rules of the game were the sub had to stay  within  a certain  specified area, and they got a one hour head start from  port.   Now the  four  destroyers  and the carrier took off looking for the  sub  and  of course we were running fast to minimize their lead.  The carrier puts up  its helocopters with the dunking sonar and we all are pinging like mad trying to

find  the submarine.  This lasted till about 1500 when the  submarine  called the group with her position in longitude and latitude and stated she had been on  the surface at that position since 0930.  It seems that they went out  of the  harbor and around the point until they saw us leave, then went  back  to the pier, which just happened to be in the specified area.

 

I happened to meet a few guys I knew on the USS Ranger in Honolulu and  as we  were walking down the street we see these signs "Out of bounds to  DesDiv 91"  or "Out of bounds to a particular ship in the division", and they  asked me  "What the Hell did you people do?".  I told them it predated me, but  the sitting ducks really had a party when they finally got to Pearl.  There  were about 9 from the USS Ranger and when we went into a bar I always hung near the  back so they would figure I belonged with them and not check my  liberty card.

 

The  only pictures I took at Hawaii were at sea and the closest was  about  8 miles  out  on the way to Japan.  On the way back to Long Beach  we  did  not stick around for 10 days of training.  Quick liberty and head for home.

 

Koko Head/Diamond Head

 

 

Midway Island

 

The  stop at Midway Island on the way to Japan was a liberty stop.   We  were allowed to leave the ship while it was being fueled if we were not needed.  I took my camera and went for a walk.  That was about all we could do. 

 

On  the  way back to the states, I did not take any pictures at  Midway.   We were the inside ship at the pier and therefore would be refueled last, before the run to Hawaii.  The first one to Hawaii got to tie up to the pier and the rest tied up to her.  The other three ships had been refitted with the 3 inch 50  caliper guns but we still only had the 40 mm guns.  We were probably  100 tons lighter than the rest so we could get a bit more speed.  I did not  take a picture of the fan tail after we left for Pearl, but now I wish I had.  The rooster  tail we had as we were passing the other three ships must have  been 30 feet high.  We were in Pearl, tied up, and starting liberty before any  of the other three showed up.

 

The four destroyers at the pier for refueling.

World War II gun emplacement.

Air/Sea rescue parked next to runway.

Some of the boys taking a dip in the ocean.

 

Japan

 

In 1953 the Sub nets from WW2 were still in use.  The first thing you saw  as you entered Tokyo Bay were the nets.  The fishing fleet used boats that had a one  cylinder engine that did not always fire on the compression stroke,  and they would load up on fuel and belch giant smoke rings when they did fire.  I only took a pair of pictures in the bay.

 

The submarine nets at the entrance of Tokyo Bay.

 

Yokosuka

 

This was our normal port of call when we were not sent to a specific city for liberty.

 

One  of our wild escapades occurred when we came into port for  replenishment from  a ship that left the East Coast for a round the world tour and  arrived about  two hours ahead of us.  Now at the time we were to be replenished,  we had been in the Seventh Fleet for 30 days without coming to port.  The  Bos'n Mate went for an M boat and they rounded up every petty thief on the ship for a  duty party.  That M boat came back to the ship with no more than 6  inches of  free  board.  When the Storekeepers saw this they called  for  all  First Class and above for Master at Arms duty.  It seems the work party also had be the record keeper for the supply ship.  They took cases of steaks and  yelled 20  pounds  of hamburger as they went by to the M boat, and a case  of  fresh eggs  was 15 pounds of powdered eggs.  They got everything aboard and  stowed and  we  got rid of the M boat and headed back to sea.  The  Captain  decreed that  everyone  aboard would eat the same food.  Some of the  food  that  was brought aboard was destined for the officers club on the beach.  For the next week all trash and garbage was in body bags and weighted down.  We had  eaten everything that was ill gotten goods before we were in port again.

 

I had Shore Patrol duty in Yokosuka and we were taken to the Marines who  did most of the SP duty for indoctrination.  They told us that we should just walk slowly in our assigned area. They said the SP's are not called unless it  is a full blown riot, because they are carrying loaded billy clubs and the  word in  the bars is the marines will say he ducked when the sailor swung  at  his shoulder.   Now  as  they began the lecture for the  evening  duty  they  had several  demonstrations,  such  as, a 5 ft. 4 in. sailor moving a  6  ft.  3. marine anywhere he wants him to go.  It was all a matter of placement of  the end of the billy and how you grab the neck of his shirt.

 

We  were  tied  up  along side a tender in Yokosuka  for  some  repairs  that required  the  services of a tender.  We asked the tender ET's to  check  the repairs we had jerry rigged on the air search antenna.  Somehow the feed tube for the rotating joint had gotten broke.  Our ship fitters welded it and  the radar  seemed  to work fine, but until the new one arrived we wanted  to  be safe.  They spent half a day on the mast and pronounced it in fine shape  and probably  will  go downhill when we get the real part.  A  couple  of  days later  we head back to Task Force 77 and are about an hour out of  port  when they are calling for the ET's to report to the bridge.  When Curt Hinshaw and I get there they point up at the air search which is not rotating and said we had  CIC stop the antenna.  Then they pointed at the forward stack  and  said see  the oil, something is leaking up there.  I looked at Curt and  pulled  a quarter  out of my pocket and said call it in midair.  He won the toss and  I said  well I will climb up and find out what is wrong, but he said no he  won so  he gets to go.  He is about half way up the mast when the  Captain  sees that he does not have a safety belt on and calls him back down.  The  Captain said he must be wearing a safety belt when climbing the mast at sea.  So Curt goes for the belt and returns to climb up to find the problem.  As soon as he

opens  the  trapdoor on the pedestal and puts his head through  the  hole  he starts to laugh and said the tender screwed up big time.  He reaches  through and  picks up a 5 gallon pail and flings it over the side of the ship.   When he  gets  down  from the pedestal the Captain wants to know why  he  did  not fasten the belt to anything up on the mast.  Curt smiled and said you told me to  wear it, not fasten it to anything.  We had not climbed up in port  after we  tested the air search.  It was probably as much our fault that  the  open pail of grease was left up there.

 

Shimone Seki Straits

 

When  you left Yokosuka for Sasebo or the Seventh Fleet you went through  the Shimone  Seki  Straits.  We made several trips through them and  one  evening passage,  about 2200 the collision alarm was sounded.  I looked out the  door of the ET shack and it was wall to wall fishing boats in the channel reserved for  the military traffic.  Some of them went down the side of the ship  with only  feet to spare, but we never hit a single one of them.  We were  leaving the Task Force 77 and heading for Yokosuka for liberty and not about to  slow down.

 

 

Fishing boat abeam.

 

Sasebo

 

We stopped several times in Sasebo for liberty.  Two hills come to mind  when I  think of Sasebo, the navigational fix called Jane Russell Hill (It was  on the navigation charts that way), and Heart Trouble Hill that led up to the EM club.   Several of us just went walking around looking the city over one  day and I took a few pictures.  Of course we found some of the local bars. 

 

This  trip also determined exactly how many people it took to run the  USS Collett.   We were in Sasebo Harbor when somebody spotted a submarine in  the harbor entrance.  The powers to be on the beach called and wanted to know  if we  had steam up.  The answer was we are tied to a buoy not the  pier.   They came  back  with  get  underway immediately,  even  though  the  Captain  and Executive Officer were on the beach along with two sections of liberty party.  I  think it was the DeHaven who was tied up with us got the same orders.   In getting ready to leave we found out they needed an officer and we were  short a cook.  If I recall correctly it was assumed that an Ensign at least rated a Cook  striker.  We got underway with about 110 enlisted men and half a  dozen officers.and  within  30 minutes had found the submarine.  At  the  time  the Operations  Officer  was  a Mustang and he was the  highest  ranking  officer aboard.   We sent the recognition signal challenge to the submarine  and  got the proper response from the codebook that had been compromised earlier.   He called  the beach for authorization to fire on the submarine.  They said  no, but keep him down and follow him out to sea.  After keeping the sub down  for almost 24 hours we broke it off and went out to meet the ammunition ship that was  coming  over  and escorted it back to Sasebo.  When  we  entered  Sasebo harbor, the blues were strictly dungaree and not Dress Blue as called for  in the harbor protocol.  The Lucky ones who were on liberty got to wear the same clothes  for  almost four days and they were getting a bit ripe by  the  time they  got back to the ship.  One bit of luck was that none of the  ET's  were ready  for liberty when we got to port the first time and we were all  aboard to  help  out  where other operations division people  were  missing   I  was qualified  for both radar and sonar watches at the time this happened,  so  I ceased being an ET and stood both radar and sonar watches and then slept  for four hours before starting over.  Everybody on the ship was doing double duty of some sort, and luckily nothing broke down while we were out to sea.   Curt Hinshaw had to put up with Bloom and Gazins when he worked as an ET.  He also could help out in CIC.

 

Hostess at EM Club.

Two hostesses at EM Club.

Three hostesses at EM Club.

One hostess in a bush.

Street entertainer with his monkey.

 

R and R

 

In  early spring of 1954 they sent some of us up to Mt. Fuji for a rest.   We took  a  train  to Gotemba and a bus from there to Mt.  Fuji.   The  pictures listed as Gotemba fall into two categories.  Those that were taken on the way to  Fuji  View and those that were taken on the way back to  the  ship.

 

We were sent to the Fuji View Hotel for R and R.  I culled the pictures  from there to 20 for this because most of them were scenery of Japanese mountains.  We rented motor scooters and went sight seeing around the lake.  The  picture of the school boy laughing is because we had an accident where on of the guys in  front stopped and the guys behind did not and just plain ran over one  of the others. 

 

Front of the hotel.

Mount Fuji from the front of the hotel.

Mount Fuju from the hotel.

Mansion on the other side of the lake.

Daniels in front of the boat house.

 

Nagasaki

 

We  made a stop in Nagasaki and the one picture I would liked to  have  taken was  the  monument at the spot called ground zero.  It had a  plaque  on  the monument  that said there would never be any vegetation growing  here  again.  Funny thing, it had a great big vine rowing up and around the monument.   It was too dark for colored film when we got there.

 

Shore line.

 

Hong Kong

 

We  spent about a week in Hong Kong while Mary Sue painted the ship  for  us.  The  guy that built the Tiger Balm Gardens made his money with a  hair  tonic called Tiger Balm.  As a kid I thought it smelled like a dead or dying tiger.

 

Side street in Victoria. Cannot recall his name.

Waldorf in Astoria.

Police box in the middle of an intersection.

Queen's Road in Victoria.

Back alley in Victoria.

Back alley in Victoria.

Dave Bowser is on the right and I cannot recall the other Sonarman's name.

Chinese washday.

Street in Victoria.

Street scene in Victoria.

Lili

A White Russian girl we met at a bar where she was the hostess.

Some big wheel's house near Aberdeen.

Kowloon from Tramway Peak.

Two American women we met on the peak.

 

China Sea Patrol and Liberty in Formosa

 

After we left Hong Kong, we relieved the ship on patrol in the China Sea  for our  4 days of boredom.  The previous week had been nothing but  bad  weather and when we took over, the weather left and it was like glass on the surface.  One day the weather was so nice the Captain stopped the ship and put the  gig in  the  water as a rescue boat and let the off duty personnel  go  swimming.  The  duty section people that were not actually needed were to stand a  shark watch on the bridge and O1 deck.  We never saw a sign of a shark but we saw a lot  of guys having a ball swimming in the China Sea.  When we were  relieved we  headed for Kaoshung for liberty.  I got woke up twice that night  because the radarmen were reporting contacts that did not exist.  It was one of those night  where the surface search radar was getting second pulse echo.  When  I saw the  picture on the repeater, all I did was switch to 150 mile range  and  show them Formosa.  Then I turned down the power on the surface search  radar so  they didn't see the second pulse echo and went back to bed.  That  worked until  about  0500  when the same thing happened.  When I got up  to  CIC,  I turned down the power again and asked the radarman on watch where his problem was.   Then I went into the ET shack and asked if the ones on watch had  ever heard  of second pulse echoes.  We had a course for the ones on watch in  the morning about ghost echoes on the radar.

 

Entering port at Koahsuing.

Waterfront at Kaohsuing.

Waterfront at Kaohsuing.

Waterfront at Kaohsuing.

Two sampans carrying a load of logs.

SS Helio departing.

Main drag of Kaohsuing.

Further down the main drag of Kaohsuing.

Liberty boats.

Liberty boats.

One in the water.

One in the water on each side.

 

High Line Transfers

 

Twice  during  our sojourn in Task Force 77 we made high  line  transfers  of people  that  I  was  able  to get  pictures.   The  first  was  for  someone transferred  to the USS Collett and we got him when we refueling from  the USS  Mispillion.  The second time was for someone going home on  emergency leave and we sent him to the USS Cone, DD 866, who was going into Yokosuka for liberty. 

 

We did transfer some pilots to carriers via high line, but if we did not  get Ice  Cream in the high line basket when it came over the poor pilot  had  wet feet when he stepped on the carrier.  It does not take a lot of slack in  the rope if it timed correctly.

 

It must be an enlisted man because the line is tight.

His feet still are not wet.

The transfer is complete.

Even two destroyers can cause the sea to boil when they run close together.

 

Refueling

 

At  the  time  I came aboard the USS Collett, they  still  had  not  quite figured  out  if the ET's were part of the engineering force  or  some  other division.   Our fueling station was as talker on the ship to ship  phones  on the  forward  fueling station.  As a newby I got the privilege of  being  the talker.   They told me to listen to the Engineering Officer for  guidance  on the phone conversation. 

 

The first refueling was from the USS Ranger and they were just giving  use enough fuel to ride lower in the water till we got to Pearl Harbor and it was one  of the more colorful refuelings and it took place while I was doing  the phone duty on the forward oil station.  The captain of the USS Ranger made the Band get out on the flight deck and serenade the troops.  Now at the time the  USS  Collett had a pretty good Hillbilly band, a  Hawaiian  steel,  a couple  acoustic guitars, a fiddle and a banjo if my memory is correct.   The guys  went out on the torpedo deck and started serenading the carrier.   This was not uncommon for the ship.  Where it really become funny is when I met  a couple of buddies I had on the Ranger on Liberty.  The two ET's I knew on the Ranger  had seen the band and heard them.  They thought it was  the  funniest thing  they had ever seen because the Ranger Captain made the Musicians  play as  they did not have anything else to do during refueling, but  a  destroyer does  not rate having musicians aboard.  They also commented on the  uniforms that were visible from the carrier.  These poor souls had to work in  undress blues  and they counted nine different combinations of clothing on deck,  but when the guy climbed out of the hatch leading to the forward boiler room with a railroad engineers cap and striped bib overalls it almost blew their minds.

 

The next refueling was from a fleet oiler and when I went out to the  forward fueling station the officer in charge said start at 50 pounds and increase by 10 until I say stop.  We get the hose over and in the pipe to the bunker  and I  asked for 50 pounds in the hose.  The fuel is coming over nicely  and  the Engineer  says  pick up the pressure.  I start adding 10  pounds  and  nobody complains.   Well, when I got to 180 PSI in the forward hose the  Captain  of the oiler calls the bridge wanting to know what is going on.  We were told to promptly  reduce  the pressure.  All I was told is  the  Engineering  Officer could tell by the whistle how the fuel was going into the bunker.  We had the forward  bunker full before the guys back aft even got the hoses secured.   I had one more underway refueling before I wound up with a new striker.

 

One  of  the  replenishments  was from the USS  Mispillion  who  was  also refueling  the USS Philippine Sea when we pulled up along side of her.   I took  8 pictures of this operation, 6 along side and 2 after we  returned  to our position in the screen.

 

We  refueled  from  the USS Guadeloupe in some rough weather.   I  took  6 pictures  of  this operation.  For some one reading Frank  Olderr's  tale  of replenishment the pictures here of the line handlers will illustrate what  he was talking about.

 

Our collision with the USS Astabula did not leave as spectacular damage as other  collisions on the USS Collett.  All we had was a split in the  hull about  40  feet long right though officer country.  They used  mattresses  to plug the hole until we got to port.  The split was above the waterline so  it was  not considered as a serious damage.  The collision, however did  get  me invited to the Captains cabin.

 

We  got  a  new striker aboard fresh out of ET School and we  were  going  to refuel on the edge of a typhoon.  The USS Astabula was ready to refuel the cans.  We lost our port wind break in the storm the night before, so we  were going to try to refuel starboard side to the oiler which was up wind.  I told the  striker not to worry if we got close to the oiler as we  usually  bounce off  the  about every third time we refuel.  As we go in and hit  the  USS Astabula  the  Captain  is  yelling clear the bridge.   Now  the  striker  is standing  there watching the USS Astabula go up and down as we are  moving aft along her side.  We tore a railing off one of her gun mounts and caved in the area where she has a windbreak. 

 

After the Captain had everything settled down he called for Gazins to  report to  the his cabin.  When he asked Gazins why he did not clear the  area,  his reply  was  Kiesling said not to worry because we hit the oiler  about  every third  time  we  refuel.  The next thing was for Kiesling to  report  to  the captains cabin.  The Captains only question was why did I say something  like that.  All I could say was I didn't want him to be scared out there.

 

While  we were riding out the storm, I took some pictures from  just  outside the  ET shack from behind the hedgehog mount.  These six pictures were  taken within a couple of minutes.  I had no intention of getting soaked.  I do  not remember if they were taken the day we hit the USS Astabula or the next.

Approaching the USS Mispillion.

Ready to take lines and hoses.

Aft hose ready.

USS Swenson waiting in line with the USS Los Angeles behind her.

Flying water between the ships.

Line handlers for the forward fuel hose.

 

Training

 

When DesDiv91 was not part of the Task Force 77, we did independent  steaming and  training  exercises.  We had to tow a sled for target practice  for  the other  three  ships.  With nothing better to do, I was  watching  the  shells explode and counting the number of seconds from the gun firing to hitting the water.  I decided to take a few pictures of the target practice.

 

Later  on in this sequence of training exercises we had torpedo practice.   I do  not remember who our target was, but when we fired a torpedo at  them  it left  the tube and everyone outside yelled that one was painted  black.   Our intended target was given a new course to steer and they turned before asking why.   The torpedo was set to run at 8 feet and if the target happened to  be there we would be a 3 ship group.

 

Plane Gaurd

 

The  first few times we were on plane guard duty it was kind  of  interesting but after a few months it lost its glamour.  I could not find the slides  for Good  Friday  1954 when a plane landed on the wrong carrier and  sent  a  few pilots swimming in burning water. I will keep looking for them. 

 

One landing on the USS Saipan.

USS Saipan launching.

The USS Swenson had to add a little speed.

 

Mount 52 firing

 

When the new Captain relieved Captain Madley he stated that all ships  orders will remain in effect until he changes them.  It seems that when Peter Madley got  his promotion to where he had scrambled eggs on his visor  the  officers under  him presented him with his new hat.  A little later they  were  having target practice and mount 52 fired back over the bridge blowing the  Captains hat in the ocean.  He immediately put in a ships order that mount 52 was  not to fire beyond 90 degrees from the bow.  I heard about this so when I had  to work  on  the radar repeater on the bridge it did not bother me.   Of  course earlier  mount 52 quit firing at the beam and the new Captain wanted to  know why.   He  was told ships orders.  He said if the gun can fire  while  he  is Captain it will so no more stopping at the beam.  I am all bent over with the back  of my shirt tight working on the repeater when they fire mount 52  back over  the  bridge.  My shirt split from the neck to my belt and  I  stood  up wanting  to know why they fired over the bridge.  After the laughter  stopped they said that order was rescinded and no longer in effect.

 

QM and BAR firing at Wiggle Boat

 

One of the ships standing orders was that a burst across the bow of a  wiggle boat meant six feet back of the bow.  We were steaming off Korea just outside the  twelve  mile  limit  when  we came across  this  boat.   They  used  the loudspeaker to hail him to stop, but it did not get any action.  The  Captain told the Quartermaster on the bridge to fire a burst from the BAR across  the bow.   The QM did his duty and neatly stitched a row of holes in that  wiggle boat.   Then  the occupant came out with his hands in the air  to  surrender.  All  the Captain could see was his career going down the tubes after he  shot up  a neutral parties boat, but the QM said the ships orders are 6 feet  back and  that one did not explode.  He changed the ships orders on that one in  a hurry and said I think I had better read all the standing orders.

 

Gunnery Practice in Task Force 77

 

When  we left for Japan, the USS Collett had not been completely  refitted like  the  other three ships.  We still had the old quad forty  mounts  where they had the newer 3 inch 50's.  A quartering shot aft could get four  mounts to bear on the target from a single gun director.  The carriers all had these 6  foot wing span models that were supposed to simulate an  actual  aircraft.  Some  afternoon  when  the admiral had nothing better to do,  he  would  have gunnery  practice for his destroyer screen.  The carrier would launch one  of the  model airplanes and they would go waltzing in and out of the cans  until they  got  to us.  The first time they would come in on the  beam  where  the director  could  only  use three mounts, but he would stand  up  behind  that optical  director  and follow that target until it got in close and  then  he would hose it down with the 40 mm shells.  After we had shot two of them  out of  the  sky  they called us and said we were supposed to  shoot  behind  the target.   The Captain immediately responded on the radio in person, saying  I want my gunners to kill what ever they are shooting at, not scare hell out of it.

 

Cap-Con in Task Force 77

 

The  ET's stood an all night watch and got to sleep during the day while  the rest  of  them took care of the normal chores.  I was not about to  spend  my nights  in the ET shack so I went into CIC, drank their coffee and  tried  to help  where  possible.  I was taught how to stand a radar watch  for  surface ships as well as the air search watch.  When we had Cap-Con the lead radarman taught  me the fundamentals of aircraft control.  One night he put me on  the repeater and stood back to check how I did on my own.  The pilot up there was not one who took orders from an enlisted man freely.  All he was supposed  to do was fly a bow tie pattern, but he was all over the sky.  I would give  him a course to fly and he may not even come close.  I kept calling him to change course until he called down wanting to know my name, rank and serial  number.  I  promptly sent it up to him and before he could say a thing, another  voice come over the radio wanting to know what his name rank and serial number  was because  he just had a conversation with the Flag Admiral.  The rest  of  the night until a relief aircraft went up, I never had a bit of trouble with that guy.

 

Captain and Where are we?

 

One  evening while we were steaming of Korea, the lead radarman asked  me  to take  over for him for a couple of minutes while he went to the head.  I  was standing on the back side of the plotting table and the Captain who had  been in CIC the whole time asked me "Where are we Kiesling?" and with a  perfectly straight  face I looked the chart for the 2000 fix and put my thumb  over  it pointing  in the general direction that we were moving and said  right  about there  Captain.   About 30 minutes earlier he had asked an  Ensign  the  same question,  but  the  Ensign pointed at the chart with a  sharp  pencil.   The Captain  told him to prove it.  This Boot Ensign had the audacity to ask  the Captain  why he did not make an ET prove it too. The Captain just smiled  and said his thumb was covering 10000 square miles of ocean and we were under it.

 

North Star, Vega and the tail light of an airplane.

 

One  evening while steaming in Task Force 77, the Captain wanted to find  out how good his new Ensigns were on celestial navigation and had them all  shoot the stars and calculate our position.  The one that had his calculation  done first apparently did not look at the chart on the plotting table in CIC or he would  have noticed his error.  It seems he shot Polaris, Vega and  the  tail light of an airplane.  His position was in the middle of Greenland.  For  the next  two weeks he shot the stars with the lead Quartermaster to learn  which stars to use.

 

Gazins and the Radar Main Frame

 

Gazins the striker had been aboard about a week when he asked where the  main frame  for  the  air search radar was so he could grease it.   Now  there  is nothing to grease on the transmitter so I told him it was in the after  chain locker.  Well he wanted to know where that was because no one had pointed  it out  during his indoctrination.  I sent him back to the damage  control  men, and  when he asked them where it was they knew they had a patsy and sent  him down  into  the void above the shaft alley.  Down in the bottom  is  a  hatch cover  secured with about 24 bolts and to get at it he had to move about  two dozen flak jackets.  When he got all of the bolts loosened on the hatch cover and  lifted it off he got mad and started to climb out.  The Chief  said  put all  of the bolts back tight and put the flack jackets back like  they  were.  Then  the Chief told him to stop and think about how gullible he was  falling for practical jokes like this.

 

Relative Bearing on a station change

 

Once  during  station  change for plane guard duty an Ensign in  CIC  sent  a relative  bearing  course  for steering to the bridge.  This  took  us  right across  the  bow of the carrier, who backed down emergency to miss  us.   Now this  carrier  was the one that ran over the USS Hobson  in  the  Atlantic Fleet  and she almost got us.  He received a long lecture on  the  difference between true bearing on the compass and relative bearing from the bow of  the ship.

 

 

From this point on all of the descriptions are for things that happened after we returned to Long Beach.

 

Parallel the Shore Power and then drop our generators off line.

 

It  was  standard practice for the ship to come in and tie up  to  the  pier, parallel  the shore power and then switch over to shore power so  they  could shut the boilers down.  This is not a simple operation because the light will go  out if you are in phase with the shore generator of exactly  180  degrees out  of  phase.  We came into Long Beach on day and an EM  striker  made  the change  over.  We heard a loud Bang as the lights flickered on the ship,  but went  out on the beach.  We still had power, but it seems half of Long  Beach was  in the dark.  Our generator won the argument until the  breaker  popped.  The next day after they figured out what had happened, a message was sent  to all  ships in the harbor that in the future they would power down connect  to shore power and power up.

 

Sitting Ducks at Long Beach

 

In  1954 on the anniversary of the Inchon invasion we were tied up to a  buoy in  Long  Beach Harbor.  About noon a message arrived for the division  as  a whole  from the Admiral on Terminal Island wanting to know if we were on  his side  or we belonged to some other navy.  He listed the weekly list of  weird things  that happened.  The USS Collett had the Captains gig tied  to  the fantail  like  a dingy behind a sailboat, and he never saw anyone  wearing  a normal uniform.  The USS Swenson had left its masthead lights on all  day.  The  USS Mansfield  was flying the Union Jack upside  down.   The  USS DeHaven had not bothered to turn on her masthead lights.  And all four of the ships were flying a flag with Donald Duck on it at the Yardarm.

 

Reserves at San Clemente

 

During  the summer of 1954 we had to pick up reserves at San Diego  and  take them  on  Kiddy  cruises of a couple of days.  One bunch  was  scheduled  for gunnery  practice  at San Clemente Island.  I was designated as a  Master  at Arms  to keep a group of the on the torpedo deck to observe the gun fire.   I had them all put on flak jackets and helmets.  I told them precisely what  to do  when outside during the firing of the 5 inch guns, but they  knew  better and promptly wadded up cotton and stuck it in their ears and left the helmets unbuckled  with no liner in it.  I heard the bridge say commence  firing  but they  did  not  and the first 5 inch broadside let go.   Mount  51  crew  had screwed up and loaded the gun with smokeless powder, and of course the  place lit  up.  They fired star shells to light up the island, but some of  charges were a little strong and the shells cleared the island, and lit up the bay on the  other side where all the Mexican fishing boats anchored for  the  night.  The guys in radio said that the transceiver we had on 2716 Khz really came to life  with the chatter from the boats.  The next broadside also  produced  an effect  that  I heard about in the Hofbrau Hous in Long Beach  the  following Saturday night.  A couple of the rounds were white phosphorus shells and they hit  close  to the marines on the island who were watching a  movie  outside. One  Sergeant I knew said he was on the island and he dug a foxhole with  his

bare  hands  when saw that Willy Peter explode.  Now after two  broadsides  I asked  the  reserves what they thought of naval gunfire.  Some of  them  were hurting so bad they had tears in their eyes.  It seems those helmets like  to bounce up and down if you don't have a liner in them and cotton in your  ears does not help if you keep your mouth shut.  They became believers in a hurry.  After  this escapade we always called the marines when were hauling  reserves for gunnery practice.

 

Crusader Testing

 

This operation was a three day affair where we would go out at 0800 and  meet the  carrier that came out of San Diego.  5 Crusaders would fly out and  land on the carrier and then we could go back to Long Beach.  This does not  sound bad,  except the carrier was at anchor and we had to assume the normal  plane guard stations with steam for 30 knots.  When a plane would land, they  would let us run in circles to burn off some excess steam.  When the next plane was ready  to land we would repeat the whole operation.  On the way back to  Long Beach we would request a water barge meet us at the breakwater.  When we  met the barge, we were generally down to a few gallons of fresh water.   Everyone that was not needed in the engine rooms was sent up to the torpedo deck.  All of  us were scared that the boilers would explode while using  super  heaters while standing still in the water.

 

Cap-Con at Long Beach

 

On one of our training sessions while at Long Beach in the summer of 1954  we were  out  on  radar testing where would try to find an  aircraft  flying  in window.   Now I wandered into CIC to get a cup of coffee and sat down at  the new repeater to see if it was working correctly.  Now we had been doing a lot of training so we knew the area pretty well by memory.  I looked at where the target  plane  was  and where the one dropping window was and  told  the  CIC officer  that the Swenson's radar was about to fail.  He asked me how I  knew that  and  I told him that if I remembered correctly, those two  planes  were flying  through an ADIZ area.  He brought the chart over to the repeater  and we made a few measurements and he agreed with my assessment.  One speaker  in CIC had the Swenson calling us that their air search had failed and would  we pick  up  the control of the aircraft.  I was the only one in  CIC  that  was qualified to control aircraft at the time, so I called the pilot and told him we had control.  At the same time another speaker let us know that San  Diego had  scrambled  two jets toward the intruder.  I called the  pilot  that  was dropping the window with the news.  All he wants from me is the range to  the jets.   I  start calling of the range in 10 mile increments and tell  him  my estimate  of the speed is 600 knots.  He said call him when they are 5  miles away  and  1 mile away.  This guy was flying an old TBM from WW2 and  when  I said 1 mile that plane literally stopped dead in its tracks.  He called  back and  said thank you because he had never seen 2 jet jockeys  that  surprised.  He said I dropped my landing gear, full flaps and hung it on the propeller.

 

Blowing Tubes in Long Beach Harbor

 

I was working on a radar repeater in CIC late one night in Long Beach  Harbor and we were tied to a buoy.  The night was overcast and the wind was  blowing in from the sea,  About 0100 I heard the loudest screech I had ever heard and it lasted nearly a minute.  The next morning the Admiral on the beach sent  a message  to all ships in the harbor that blowing tubes was done only at  sea.  Most of the soot apparently came down near Rainbow Pier and the city was  not happy.  At sea all of the other noise from the ship kind off masks the  sound of blowing tubes.

 

Whistle on New Years Eve.

 

They did not want the ships horn to sound at midnight on New Years Eve  1955.  The procedure was to post a guard on the bridge, and lock the doors to  CIC.  Did  this  stop a determined bunch of sailors from tooting the horn,  not  on your  life.  They never even thought about the door to the chart  house  from the  ET  shack and we told them about the six inch gap in the pipe  that  the horn  cable  ran  through in the overhead of the chart  house.  Promptly  at midnight  the  horn sounded and it started horns going like wildfire  in  the  harbor.  To the best of my knowledge they still had not figured out how  that horn blew when I left the ship in February.

 

GM hurt in Ammunition Hoist

 

If  I  remember correctly GMSN Brown got his hands caught in  the  ammunition hoist for mount 52.  His hands were pretty well mangled up and he need to get to  the hospital in a hurry.  No matter what the radio room tried they  could not  get an answer from San Diego.  I happened to be in main radio when  this happened and said I can fix that, I went to the transmitter and tuned it just a bit off frequency and told Rudy Harrell to call San Diego with his priority message.  NEL at San Diego answered him to tell him he was off frequency  but they  would forward his message on a land line.  As soon as he was done  with the traffic I put the transmitter back on frequency.  Rudy said we could both get  arrested for what we had done.  He also held a First Class  Radio  Telegraphers  license.   The  USS Collett was probably the only  ship  in  the Pacific Fleet with two commercial radio operators aboard. 

 

San Diego Hospital said they would dispatch an ambulance boat when we entered the  harbor.   San Diego Harbor has a 5 knot speed limit, but  when  we  came around  the end of North Island at nearly 30 knots we did not slow down.   We had a big bow wash and the fishermen in the little row boats just acted  like they  were riding on a surf board as they headed for the beach  dragging  the anchor.  They were all shaking their fists at us.  We called when we  entered port for the ambulance boat and we were almost to the dock where they tied up when we met them.  When we went passed the end of the runway, a pair of  jets were  taking  off.  The tower saw us enter the channel and  figured  that  we would not be a problem moving at 5 knots.  Those two jet jockeys were  really surprised when they met us at the end of the runway.

 

The  ambulance  boat came along side and Brown who was full of  morphine  for pain just climbed down the ladder to the ambulance like he was not even hurt.  It was 3 weeks before they let him out of the hospital.

 

My quick trip down from the mast.

 

I  had to check the feed horn on the air search radar and tagged all  of  the equipment to let the people know I was on the mast.  As I crawled through the hole  in the platform I flipped what I thought was the interlock switch as  a secondary  precaution.   No  one ever owned up to  spinning  the  Air  search antenna, but it rotated and sailed me off the platform into thin air.  I  hit the  signal halyards and grabbed one.  It slowed my fall so that when  I  hit the  pipe on the pilot house where the halyards are tied off I did not  break anything.   All I had were a bunch of bad rope burns, so I picked my self  up and  headed for the transmitter room to find who was playing with  the  radar antenna.   I suppose the racket of me hitting the pilot house  got  everybody out of the transmitter room.  I then went to sick bay and all the medic could do  was tell me to wash my hand with green soap and when they were dry  stick  them in the big jar of Vaseline he had on the table.  He wrapped my hands  in gauze after they were well coated.  He gave me some pills and said come  back in  the morning when the Chief is back.  Then he started bitching  about  why does everything have to happen after the Chief goes in Liberty.  At the  time this  happened  we were tied up to a tender in the harbor.  The  Captain  was talking  to the skipper of the tender and wondering how they could  get  more ET's  when  I went flying through the air, they thought it might be  an  omen that God was going to send some because they saw the whole thing.

 

The  next  morning, Saturday, I went to sick bay as directed and  scared  the Chief  because he had not heard about the accident.  His comment was  I  sure went to a lot of trouble to miss a Captains Inspection.  He put new  bandages on  my  hands  and  said go over to the  tender  until  the  Inspections  are finished,  and  don't  expect  liberty this weekend.  We  went  back  out  on training  again Monday morning and on the first signal hoist of the  day  the halyard that held me broke with only four flags flying.

 

Ensign Carribini

 

It seems everytime I had a problem with an officer, it was Ensign  Carribini.  During  one  exercise where we were supposed to be changing  frequencies  for communication,  Mr. Carribini took it upon himself to go into main radio  and start changing which radio was going to which speaker in CIC.  In the process he managed to get about four circuits tied together and a few not  connected.  When I got into the radio room, I told him to get back to CIC and out of  the way so that I could straighten out his mess.  He said he was going to put  me on  report  for  insubordination, and I told him he was not going  to  get  a virgin,  but  if  he  insisted, I would place  him  under  civil  arrest  for disrupting radio communications according to the Communications Act of  1934, because of my commercial licence.

 

He  also  had  angered one of the Stewards in the  Officer's  Wardroom.   One evening  this  stewaard  brought him a very small piece  of  meat,  a  meager portion  of potato and 3 peas.  When Mr. Carribini said something  about  the portion sizes, the steward just said "Sir the navy said they would feed  you, they did not say they would make you fat".  This broke the Captain up and  he told Mr. Carribini, "You have just been had."

 

When  the Mustang who was the Operations Officer was transferred  to  another Can  as  Executive  Officer,  Mr Robinson was moved  to  Operations,  and  Mr. Carribini  became the Electonics Officer.  Now some place he got hold  of  an old book about preventive maintenance on electronic equipment and started  to read  it  so that when he asked a question it would sound  reasonable.   That book was about equipment used before WWII and had nothing in common with  the gear  we  used.   He  came up to the ET shack and wanted  to  know  how  many crystals we had aboard,  I gave him a rough estimate of 600.  Then he  wanted to  know how you clean a crystal, and I saw where this was leading.   In  the drawer  of  the work bench was an old crystal of the type you  actually  took apart and cleaned, so I told him I would show him how to clean a crystal.   I took the screws out of the cover and showed him what the inside looked  like. Then  using a tweezers, I carefully removed the mounting tabs so  the  quartz could  be  removed.  I told him you use an old toothbrush that  is  soft  and alcohol to clean the quartz.  I said you might need about one drop of alcohol for each crystal counting drips etc. on the average to clean it.  He left and seemed  happy  with his new found knowledge.  That evening  he  informed  the Captain at dinner that he had written a chit to the Hospital Corpman to issue one pint of medical grade alcohol to the ET's every six weeks.  About an hour later the chief steward was up in the ET shack stating that when we drew that alcohol, let him know before hand so that he could have the grapefruit  juice ready and we all enjoy it.  That Ensign must have sat down and calculated how much  600 drops was and wrote the chit out for that amount.  The funny  thing about  the whole mess was he never asked if we cleaned crystals.  Except  for the old one in the ET shack all of the rest were hermetically sealed.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Antennas on the masthead.

This is so I can explain to the deck apes and snipes how we walked on the yardarm. If you look close you can see, at about 18 inch intervals, there are brackets welded to the yardarm to hold cable. These same brackets had a nice flat plate on the top of the yardarm for our feet. This is to disprove the idea that the ET's were park monkey.

USS Saipan at anchor.

An AO at anchor.

USS Swenson.