Friday, September 23, 2016


Write about going alongside Wimbrown 7 and Hercules to refuel.

He brought back ancient memory  You are unique for having served at SBS 1.  They had no idea. He was pretty typical.  We all were. Hercules and Wimbown 7 existed for purpose. For my purpose they had fuel and I needed it. For their's, they were the base for the Little Birds and the MkIII.

I never stepped foot aboard either of them despite coming alongside a couple dozen times. In that era, refueling was best supervised by the one they were going to court martial if it went badly and it takes somebody like to me to tell the slackers to stop pumping and then, when they're slow about it, just close the valve and let their hose blow off the deck and that was the only reason we stopped by.

The barges had four point moors and they marked the anchors with a serious steel target float that they used for practice when we weren't too close. You had to really know how to drive a ship to slip in to get a sip of fuel. There were few that could do it..

I remember one night sitting in Combat and listening to Navy Red or Fleet Tactical when the Senior Minesweep Commander called Hercules and asked what the maximum range of their weapons was. The puzzled watchstander on Hercules, probably a SEAL, responded that the maximum range of their weapons was 7500 yards. The Senior MCM Commander who was actually my CO back San Diego replied that we would anchor 10,000 yards away.

We were ordered to anchor in the 'protective' shelter of the barges when we came out of the minefields for the night. The previous night the barge opened fire on us as we closed. The Enhance was the lead ship and was the one getting shot at. Wild Bill didn't like that at all and wasn't going to have a repeat. He was CO of Enhance.

That target float over the anchor proved problematic to the crews of the Mk III patrol boats. We held Divine Services once while we alongside refueling and I asked the Chaplain about the enormous bandage on his nose and he explained how he'd been out the night before on one of the patrol boats and they had run into one of those mooring bouys just about as fast as Mk III patrol boat could go and he got thrown headfirst into the windscreen.

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