Friday, November 04, 2016

Post Reunion 2016 - Report

Here is a LINK to the final report, including the financial report at the fund raiser follow up to clear off the books and bring us back to a modest stash for store stock and such.

Post Reunion Fund Raiser

NOTES OF INTEREST from conversations:

In talking with Capt. Heidt ( former XO, LCdr.) it was explained that the yard time in Sasebo (which I think followed the January cease fire)  was NOT about a BENT shaft or sand from the ocean bottom gumming up the bearings or the screw.  Here is how it went down.

The ship was scheduled for yard time in Sasebo to take care of an unfinished sonar modification that happened in the yards in Long Beach early in 1972.  We had that done in the yards in short order. Maybe five days?  We then filled the dry dock back up and left in the evening. Not even out of the bay yet, the shaft and bearings began to misbehave.  XO went immediately to the engine room - to the shaft bearings where the EO showed him the problem. They opened a pit cock to see the bearings at work and sand and water were spewing out. XO called the CO and called for immediate shut down. A tug brought us back to Sasebo to the Dry-dock  in the dark.

We had to order a bearing to replace the bad one. This bearing had no access to the exterior of the ship so it had no possibility of ever being fouled by sand from the ocean bottom.  We ordered a bearing which took awhile and we had maybe another 10 plus days in Sasebo.  The engineers determined the bearing was OK so long as we were in water after the ?Feb '72 long beach yard time. Sand from SANDBLASTING the shaft had not been removed out of the shaft channel but had settled into place as long as it was dry from being sealed in.  With the RE-ENTRY To a dry-dock and then RE-FLOATING later with fresh bilge water, the sand was shifted into the bearings and RUINED them.  SO it was NOT from going in too close for NGFS - we were frequently within a mile of the coast and sometimes received mortar fire at that close range.  And the shaft was not replaced. It was just fine.

ANOTHER INTERESTING INSIGHT: The night of the closest counter-battery and taking a hit.  It all happened ---- as told from various points on  ship at the time --- and one round in particular came very close to the port side of the ship before exploding.  XO said he rushed down there right after the hit which the engine room reported. William Worthington was on watch there.  They tore back the insulation to the hull at the point of impact and noted a lot of push in points and fragment indentations from the inside point of view.  It was VERY CLOSE to a steam super heater unit.  Had it penetrated, Bill and all the engineering crew in that compartment would have become cooked sailors.
.................... Fran (Bill's wife) won a special painting by an artist friend of mine who used his marine artist skills and attention to detail to paint the moment in the engine room just after the hit.  It is titled: "The fraction of a second following the port side hit by enemy counterbattery when the lights flickered out in the engine room and before the watch could report the damage topside"  The Artist, Roy Allen is blind, so the scene is accurate for that fraction of a second. The canvas is of course, completey --- BLACK.  These are the kinds of scenes Roy can paint with accuracy.

There is another painting - TOPSIDE - "Making an NGFS run toward the beach on a moonless, cloudy night with no lights showing topside to avoid enemy detection, and three seconds before a splash off the starboard bow from incoming battery"  This painting was won by Martha Mazza, (wife of Gene), for telling one of the best stories of how old sailors make poor listeners. It was a story that followed one about "Blind Roy's" grandparents and the missing wife in the passenger seat after leaving church -- such that he wondered if the rapture had already happened and why was he still here because he was much more deserving to go ahead than she was".    Martha's story involved Gene driving off and leaving her at a gas station miles from nowhere with no phone ... as he drove on down the road -- talking to a non-existent passenger who was supposed to be asleep in the back seat.

ANOTHER CLARIFICATION from the Sea Tales:  There was a massive storm in the 80's and some of the younger shipmates were in this episode.  Apparently there was a huge gathering of the fleet and a photo op was coming up but also a storm.  USS O'Callahan was taking a pounding. Lost an antenna that folded over the bridge down to the ASROC.  The CO sent a crew out to cut away the antenna before it did any more damage. They were all tied together and to fixed positions on the ship.  A massive wave came over the bow at one point and at least two and maybe four sailors nearly washed overboard.  Some of the vets at the reunion remembered they actually LOST the sailors. It was clarified later that they did not lose them but it was a very close thing.   People remembered the event and recalled the team taking cover behind the ASROC - and then one or two running out on a line to chop on the antenna and then run back for the next wave. But one wave caught them out of sync and nearly washed them overboard. The key word is "NEARLY".  whew.  The CO at the time had some very choice words for the Admiral who did not release O'Callahan to seek a better track out of the storm's way.