Tuesday, September 20, 2016


One of the many things that struck me when I reported aboard the destroyer was that I was the only qualified Ensign. There were 7 other Ensigns on that ship but none had qualified as either an OOD or as a SWO. By the time I reached San Diego, my badge was not just tarnished, it was salty. I was treated like any other new Ensign reporting which left me irritated beyond measure. I came from a ship in a war zone where the Captain had given me batteries release authority and 50% of the ship's weapons were manned and ready because, war zone and now was rolled back to kindergarten.

I was the weapons officer and had to fight vociferously to keep Engineering from taking all the Fire Control Technicians for use in the the Repair Lockers at General Quarters. I would point out how little damage we would get if we let them do what they were trained for as opposed to how much damage we would suffer if they were made the Nr. 2 hoseman in a repair locker.

Salinas was an engineering captain. He wrote a Cat 4 CASREP because the hydraulics were 1 second slow going from ahead flank to full astern. He tested it again and again and wasn't satisfied. I had a very expensive camera blast through the SPG 60 fire control radar antenna and smash onto the deck just ahead of mount 51 and it didn't look like I was going to convince him that we needed to send a CASREP to replace the radar antenna or the Remote Optical Site. It was touch and go. This was also the guy that never failed to call my attention to the fact that Mt 51 had suffered another hydraulic leak and the gun looked all droopy as he came aboard. I did fire control not gun mounts but he appeared oblivious to the distinction.

It was a very surreal ship. It left me in no doubt just how Pearl Harbor happened.


  1. The first CO I served under was Engineering.
    His bugbear was Ops, particularly OI Div.
    We retaliated by winning the green "E"

    1. I came from AGF3 which was a 600 pound steam ship where I served for a year as Aux. We started to light off 12 hours prior to getting under way. Always. I was blown away again when I went down to Main Control on the Hill and found that even as we set Sea and Anchor Detail, they hadn't lit off the Main Engines. It was all very odd.
      When I went to Department Head school we Diesel Engineers were made to ride an LST out of Floyd Bennet Field to Little Creek and the senior man in engineering was a second class EN and we lost control air before making it passed the first bridge. Literally, no engines because they all drop to idle without control air. The tug was gone and the captain was trying to keep us off the beech using the bow thruster.

      I never saw myself as dogmatic. Not even a little bit but I had professionalism tattooed on my butt. I wouldn't ever let anything like that happen where I was in charge. I think most of my peers were the same and so were the Petty Officers I knew but it takes just one to ruin a glorious day. Yeah, Petty Officer Cole, I'm talking about you and you too Nuscis.

      I was, for six months head of Repair Locker 3 and I had the OI assigned to me. I made them my investigators which meant they were kitted up with an OBA and sent off to crawl through x-ray fittings and zulu hatches. When I was then sent to Repair 5A I had pure snipes who one and all agreed there was no way in hell that they would go back into an engine room experiencing a bravo fire. We still had steam smothering as an option. One could lift a valve on the boiler from the damage control deck and put out a fire. There weren't going to be any survivors at that point in the engine room.
      These and hit alfa were always a wonderment. A whole Backfire Regiment launched 36 nukes at you, only one detonated and it was far enough away that you 'survived.' AS4 and AS6 were pure hell.

      3 times COMSEC custodian 2 ship and 1 mobile unit. I can write cryptic if I want to. I can change combinations on safes.