Sea Stories

OK shipmates, here’s your page to tell us your “Sea Stories”.  Eventhough most sea stories start out with the phrase, “this is a no s _ _ _er”, let’s leave the expletives out so we don’t have to keep young eyes from our site.  Please tell us of your favorite times, liberty exploits, travels, shipboard stories, etc..  We’ll get your story posted ASAP.  If you need additional space for your story, just submit a second form and we’ll put them together when we post the story.

Sea Story: SH1 Danny Easter (75-79)

My 1st Med cruise was exciting once ship crossed the big pond (Atlantic Ocean) and into the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea.  Capt. ROHRBAUGH said to halt ship and drop anchor.  Over loud speaker “SWIM CALL”. The cargo net was dropped over back end of ship.  Two rifle sailors on Helo flight deck with rifles and green dye put into the sea water to keep sharks away.  We were allowed to jump in feet first and so much fun.  Climbing back up the het was hard on your feet.  We had the BEST CAPTAIN IN THE WHOLE NAVAL FLEET.  A No Sh—er!

Sea Story: Glen Mansfield (88 – 91) 

I was radio watch sup underway day shift and I have great memories hooking my shipmates up with Mars calls and trying to get a good frequency and then when we did seeing the happy and excited looks on their faces when they could talk to loved ones also sometimes tears were shedded as well.  I was active Navy 11 years and was on Hart 3 years and Desert Storm as well.  I served on three ships and she was my favorite because of the tight and awesome crew we had.  My wife had some beautiful corn hole game made with an actual picture of the ship.  I hope all wo served on her have a merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Ya gotta have Hart.  God Bless. 

Sea Story: OS1 Kevin Staten (87-92)

I have a vivid memory of being in France and forced to attend a “dinner party” thrown by the French to honor the sacrifice America made on their behalf. I think we had to provide so many Sailors for the event and no one wanted to go.
I was one of those they found onboard getting ready to head out on liberty and snatched up to attend.  We had to be in uniform and that’s why no one wanted to go. Luckily a few other OS’s were also forced to attend.
I’m so glad I did. We had a wreath laying ceremony and then an outdoor dinner, with a lot of champagne, wine, cheese and a terrific meal.  Everything was great that night!
I spoke with old WWII veterans there and remember being in awe of them. It was a perfect summer night that I can still see in my mind. I don’t remember where in France or when it was, but that night was one of the good ones (of many) on liberty.
There are so many stories from the TCH! Who can forget being on drug ops and our ability to make water failing us (it happened several times). Showers were secured and every now and then you would hear one running, so we gave that selfish jerk a lot of grief. No showers for days at a time. Talk about stinky! How about the time our A/C went down and they wouldn’t let us pull in for repairs. Skipper allowed us to sleep topside because it was intolerable down in the ship.
I was a happy camper when I finally left in 1992. Five years was too long for any ship and the longest I ever spent in one place during my Navy career. I learned a lot on the TCH and went on to have a great 26 year career. So many on TCH gave me what I needed later down the line. Thanks to all of you for your leadership, friendship and just being there!

Sea Story:  CAPT J. “Skip” MacMichael (83-85) 

While we were it the yards (84-85?) for overhaul, we had arranged to do the semi-annual PFT at a local quarter mile track.  I’m not a particularly good runner, so I always started working out for the six lap 1.5 mile run a few months in advance… which I did.  The great day arrived and in due course I started the run, alone as I recall.  I was struggling through the end of the 5th lap and really ready for it to be over when I started to run past the First Division, waiting their turn on the inside of the track.  One of them called out — in a respectful, encouraging fashion — “Come on, Captain…you can run faster than that!”    I tried to think of a snappy response (probably delayed due to oxygen deprivation) when the young sailors companion elbowed him in the ribs so hard I heard him grunt and admonished him: “Shut up, man! When I get to be THAT old I’ll be glad if I can run at all!” I said nothing, but laughed to myself all the way through that last lap…which went by quickly.

Best Regards, and thanks again!

Sea Story:  ETN3 Patrick Burke (78-80) How the Hart got its Heart.

The summer of 78 was a busy time aboard ship.
The ship would soon depart Norfolk for its first overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard.
Among the jobs we had to do was to remove a shelf and its mounting brackets from the forward bulkhead above the workbench in the ET shop.
The brackets were welded to the aluminum bulkhead and while removing one of them EW3 Mike Ray put a hole in the bulkhead at frame 70.
Needless to say when EWC OConnell was informed of this, his colorful salty reply was as you would expect. It was decided to hide this issue from further scrutiny as we would shortly be in the yard and it could then be repaired.
Sometime during that yard period [9-78 to 7-79] the welder assigned to the repair looked over the job then went back to his shop to make a patch for the hole.
When he returned he brought several different shapes of metal plates with him.  He was an old-timer at the yard and must have had a pretty good sense of humor because one was in the shape of a heart.  Mike Ray chose the heart shaped patch and those present agreed so it was welded over the hole. It was then painted red. Nothing was ever said about it and so it remained.
In August of 93, Mike Ray attended the ships decommissioning ceremony. Taking a last look   around, he chanced to visit the ET shop where to his surprise the red painted heart was still there on the forward bulkhead.
Photo by Mike Ray 

Sea Story:  ETN3 Patrick Burke (78-80) Cape Hatteras March 1980

As part of Operation Safe Pass, The Hart departed Mayport, Florida on 2/25/80 in the company of several US and NATO vessels.
The ships sailed straight into a hurricane off of Cape Hatteras.
With the ship secured for heavy weather we settled in for what we all knew would be a rough ride.
As the ship plowed thru the 45 to 55+ foot seas on 3/3/80, one of the worst days of the storm, I wanted to take some photos so I grabbed my camera and headed for the bridge.
It was amazing watching the bow plow thru those giant waves, green water breaking over the gun mount. The ship was rolling and pitching violently; the bow would come out of the water and smashed back down shaking the entire ship.
As the ship slid down the side of a monster wave, the Bos’n Mate of the watch was calling out the degrees from the inclinometer.
After 35 degree you could hear things falling; at 45 degrees things that were secured started to break loose and there was some concern in his voice.
At 50 degrees it almost sounded like panic as people lost their footing.
I lost my grip from whatever I was holding on to and slid across the deck to the starboard side of the bridge. I remember looking out the windows and seeing only green water, no sky.
The ship seamed to hang there {at 53 degrees} for what seemed like forever, probably only a few seconds, and slowly started to right herself.
During that same storm, a wave sweep 4 sailors from the boat deck of one of the nearby destroyers, only 1 was rescued.
The Hart returned to Norfolk on 3/7/80.
After the Sept. 78 to July 79 yard overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard, the Hart had a new Skipper, Captain Pearson, whose nick name was “Big Red” as he was over 6′ tall and had red hair.
The ships store was selling these bumper stickers that said “USS Thomas C. Hart FF 1092 BIG Red’s Rough Riders” and SM1 Larry Shore even had a flag made.
He would fly it as we entered or departed port. We sure earned the “Rough Riders” name on that day in March. 

Sea Story:  OS3 Tim Woodcock (85-88)

While on watch ,on our way to the Med,It was late in the shift and  I was on the surface search radar at the time. We hadn’t had a contact to track for most of the shift and all of a sudden there was a blip on the screen! It had a good course and speed and we tracked it for quite some time. Then course the contact was on was bringing it very close to the ship so it was something we watched very closely! It maintained a good course and speed until it was close enough for the lookout’s to get a visual on, but when they looked, nothing was there, but the contact was still on the scope! We tracked it until it should have been close enough to see with the naked eye and then just vanish! No one ever made visual contact and we never seen anything from it again!

Email to Dan Schubert received from Ted Miller

Mr. Schubert,

Thanks for the invitation, but as I am residing in the Philippines it will
be difficult for us to meet.

You know, it was 32 years ago that I reported aboard for duty as a HM1 from
nuclear submarine service.

I have to corroborate the sea story of *ETN3 Patrick Burke (78-80) ***in
regards to Cape Hatteras 1980. It was the fiercest storm I had ever ridden
through before or since. After the ice cream machine on the mess decks tore
loose from the deck and got “underway”, the Captain ordered “All hands not
actually on watch to tie themselves into their bunks.” Since I was the only
HM onboard (during my entire tour) I didn’t have the liberty to do that, so
I made my way up to the bridge via the Captains Ladder. Several times I was
airborne before arriving on the bridge. It was the scene that ETN3 Burke
described with green water over the forward gun mount and crashing into the
forward bridge windows. Before that day I had always wondered what that
steel cable stretching about 7 feet above the deck was for. I held onto
that cable to stay inside the bridge when the TC Hart rolled over 53
degrees. I was taller than Captain Pearson and my feet were swinging like a

It was the skill of the helmsman that kept the TC Hart “into the waves”,
but it was The Almighty who saved the souls of every sailor onboard.

The Persian Excursion occurred during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

TC Hart had entered the Mediterranean after what had seemed like a long
Atlantic crossing. The weather was fair and it was just a fluke accident. A
young sailor (I can’t remember his name) had come inside from the
weatherdeck and the door slammed on one of his hands and amputated a
finger. The door did about as good a job as a surgeons scalpel. I sent his
shipmates back to find the finger. They did and I promptly packed it in
normal saline, sterile gauze and ice. I gave him IM Demerol and Phenergan,
wrapped his hand in sterile Kerlix after soaking in Betadine prep. Within
minutes, Captain Pearson was relaying my conversation to a Flight Surgeon
in Sigonella Sicily who promptly sent a med-evac helicopter. That was the
only time I ever had to med-evac one of my crewmen in 24 years of Naval
service. I saw that young sailor again after we returned to CONUS and his
finger was functional. He thanked me and we swapped “sea stories”. (I have
not “practiced medicine” since October 1990 and I still remember –

I can’t remember “why”, but the TC Hart was on station alone for a one
month period patrolling the Straits of Hormuz. Captain Pearson had a “big
set of b****  ” and when he sailed too close to Iranian oil wells they
(aggravated Iranians) scrambled two Russian MIG’s. I had been in sonar with
the gang and we all stepped out onto the deck just in time to see the MIG’s
jet past us on the port and starboard rails. They were close enough to see
the pilots inside the cockpits who were no more than 50 feet above the

Service onboard the TC Hart was a highlight in my career.

Theodore (Ted) Miller, HMC (SW)(AC), RET.

Sea Story:  LT William Mathews (80-84)

It was 1984 and we were deployed to the Persian Gulf. I had been on the T.C. Hart for 4 years and was the Navigation Officer as well as the XOs Administrative Assistant. It was early on a Friday morning and we were at anchor awaiting the formaldehyde barge to come alongside that accompanied the weekly XOs Cookout.

I was on the bridge on anchor watch having proofed the POD late the previous night. The bridge copy of this daily digest was delivered and as I skimmed it for no particular reason I noticed a typo that made my blood run cold. The word Cookout was written as “Cockout.” I had actually signed a POD that invited the crew to the XOs Cockout. As I considered what I could do to save myself the chirp of the sound powered phone interrupted the relative silence of the watch. Lieutenant Mathews, I said sheepishly. Bill, XO here, should I dress in any particular fashion today? said Commander McCullough calmly. No sir I said, the standard uniform will do just fine as I heard him put down the sound powered phone.

He was a good-natured man and took this in stride but that was the last POD I ever signed on the T. C. Hart or anywhere else.

Sea Story:  LT Jim Hunt (74-77)

One of the privileges of being the Chief Engineer is the ability to make subtle changes (“ShipAlts”) when conditions warrant.  Days before TCH’s maiden Med deployment, a shipfitter (sworn to secrecy) and I quietly removed the top bunk in my stateroom and threw it over the side, giving me a two-man stateroom all to myself.  The XO ranted and raved something awful — he wasn’t happy about losing that extra bunk space.  But because my stateroom abutted his, I calmly reminded him that his shower’s hot water supply depended on my diligent monitoring of the valves leading into his head from my room. ‘Nuff said — he saw the wisdom of restraint and acceptance of the inveitable. Given the extra space, I decided to move my office from the chaos of the Log Room to the extra desk in my stateroom where it was much quieter – and where the phones actually worked!  Except one day in port, my outside line went dead.  Calling Elec Central for an IC man to check it out, a young IC striker came running.  After much poking and prodding, grunting and groaning, he pronounced his diagnosis in his best authoritative technical voice, “well, CHENG, since you can’t talk to nobody and nobody can’t talk to you, this here phone is broke”!  After retiring with more than 30 years’s service, I still tell that story as long as there’s still someone at the bar.  Cheers!

Sea Story:  ETR(N)-2 Jim McDougal (73-75)

After we left Avondale Shipyards, we pulled into Boston Naval Shipyard to continue our outfitting.One cloudy day I was walking up to the CIC and heard a loud “crack”. I started investigating and found nothing. A little while later, I heard another loud “crack”. It seemed to come from a small compartment off the passageway. I opened the compartment and found a partially installed TACAN system. (Tactical Air Navigation)The TACAN has a small antenna array on top of the mast that tells aircraft where they are in relation to the ship.I heard another “crack” that was even louder now that I was in the compartment. I then saw the source. There was a thick coaxial cable coming down from the antenna that had not yet been attached to the equipment. Each “crack” was made by a bright electric arc jumping from the center of the coaxial cable to the bulkhead. It seems that the antenna was collecting high voltage from the atmosphere above the mast and as it built up on the antenna and the coax, it would occasionally discharge thousands of volts to the bulkhead. Anyone close enough to the coax would have been zapped.

Sea Story:  AW 2 Greg Powers (77-78)

I was the helo crewman from HSL-32 Det-2 on board for MED deployment in Aug.1977.When the Hart pulled into port @ Athens,Greece we flew the bird into the U.S.Airforce base @ Hellenica for phase inspection which involved tearing the cowlings off and starting to dismantle the jets for inspection by civilian employees of G.E who manufactured the engines. During a lull in work I found myself drinking heavily in an Airforce bowling alley with a 2nd class jet mech and my older brother who was stationed there in Athens. I was approached by one of the pilots (Lt.Rich Dryden) who asked us what the birds flying status was as he had received a request for assistance from Greek authorities to aid a stricken naptha freightor which was sinking off the coast of Kimi. We went,half drunk down to the hangar and proceeded to reassemble the bird quickly. Mind you I was a tactical sensor operator/SAR wet crewman and not a jet mechanic but we somehow got the bird half reassembled, !pushed out onto the line and fueled for launch. As there were no other members of our detachment present we launched with Lt.Dryden as pilot,ADJ-2 Cliff House as copilot (he had never flown before) and myself as the rescue crewman. I was wearing jeans and a flight jacket as my flight gear was missing in the hurry to get on scene. We were successful in rescuing five seaman from the stricken vessel and getting back to shore shortly before running out of fuel. This was in December of 1977. On or about June of 1978 the three of us were decorated with the Air Medal w/bronze star for our actions that day.

Sea Story:  AD2 J. C. House (77-78)  

I am the AD2 who flew as co-pilot on the rescue mission detailed by my old shipmate AW2 Greg Powers in the above story. I almost fell  out of my chair when I came across this post. You see, I have lost all of the records and medals from several moves, and now that I am 55 years old, I have very fond memories from those cruising days,we were bullet proof then. Greg didnt mention that the ship was floundering just off a very rocky coastline without power. Gale force winds, 40 foot seas and a constant low fuel warning light that never went out, in spite of all troubleshooting…no survival gear as mentioned, I launched wearing levis and climbing boots, a borrowed helmet and old flight jacket….we were watched over from above no doubt… JC House

Sea Story: EN1(SW) Richard Thornton

I laugh about this everytime I remember it:  A Hurricane was bearing down on the Hampton Roads area. T.C. Hart was unable to get underway to ride out the storm due to problems in the engineering plant. I was part of a detail placed in a Van on the pier next to the ship(Code name: The Expendables). We were all given fire axes. Our mission?…if the ship began striking the pier from high winds, we were to cut the mooring lines.

Now, if the hurricane force winds were tossing T.C. Hart around, what was to prevent them from tossing 130lb EN3 Thornton to the next state? Well, the storm came through…the winds howled and buffeted the Van…waves crashed over the seawall…Hart bobbed around like a cork and everything turned out fine. Being typical sailors, we slept through most of it.

Sea Story: John Moyer

I, John Moyer was onboard Hart only for 1976 Unitas Cruise, and Dave Neimeyer’s Sea Stories brought back lots of memories – I will intersperse a few of my own comments into what he already posted with my comments in RED

8 July 1976:  depart Norfolk; meet up with USS McDonough DDG 39; USS Davis DD937, and USS Gato SSN 615

**CT Staff comes aboard TC Hart from Key West as “ship-riders” for the South American ships – myself, CTI-1 Bill Carter and CTR-1 Gary (sorry Gary, forgot your last name)

12 -14 July: Port Everglades, Florida.

** I take up residence on Brazilian Destroyer “Sergipe,” WW II vintage former US Ship – Meals often included flying fish picked up from the deck by the cooks – Rode her to Rosy Rds, then back about Hart for a while

19-22 July: Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.  A traffic accident during our short stay took the lives of several Hart sailors.

** I had forgotten about this but seem to recall that between Roosy Rds and Equator stopped in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela for a few days – “Zulia” beer!!

1 July: crossed the equator at longitude 41-51W, with the express permission of his Davey Jones.  (Please don’t ask the latitude.)

** (Should be 1 August, methinks) Vivid memories of the Shellback ceremony – I was a “royal dog,” got to eat table scraps in officers’ mess, owned by one of the few shellbacks on board. The Royal Baby was truly disgusting!!! (So were the “Royal Roosters with their blue lipstick) The certificate hangs prominently on my office wall with other “lesser” papers (degrees, licenses, etc.)

2-3 August: Fortazela, Brazil

** Ahhhh – introduction to Brahma Chop and Brazilian women (who began following the ship)

4-6 August: Recife, Brazil

** More Brahma Chop, more Brazilian women

9-10 August: Salvador, Brazil

** More of same, plus interesting historical stuff

16-19 August: Rio, Brazil; The statue of Christ on Corcovado, Copacabana beach, Sugarloaf, gorgeous women, great food.

**Ditto – I got a ride around Rio with a young Brazilian officer in a VW – He had just recently gotten his drivers’ license (and car) and was possibly the only sane driver in the city, which is not good news for the passengers!! Still more Brahma Chop

23-24, 28-30 August:  Montevideo Uruguay.  Sort of like Philadelphia in the 1930’s, but not as vibrant.  Great prices on leather jackets, though.

** The Uruguayans claimed that Montevideo had the ugliest building in the world – they might be right. Road Uruguayan Destroyer escort for the short period of ops – entire Uruguayan Navy (both ships) participated – remember drinking Yerba Mate on board – Nasty stuff!!

5-7 September: Puerto Belgrado, Argentina.  Tours of the Argentine ship “General Belgrano”, previously a US heavy cruiser from WWII.  Later sunk in the Falklands War.   One of our officers did find that German worked better than English for ordering in restauraunts.  Go figure, mein herr.

** Somehow I don’t remember this at all – might be the effects of Brahma Chop overdose

9-11 September:  Puerto Madryn, Argentina.  The city stopped abruptly, and the pampas started immediately.  Only real entertainment was going a few miles out of town to see the sea lions basking at Bahia Blanca.

** Missed the sea lions but not the bars!!

14-15 September: Punta Arenas, Chile. 

16-17 September: traversing the straits of Magellan, followed by a transit up the Chilean inland waters on the Pacific coast, 17-18 Sept.
           ** – I think I was riding Davis for this, but the description brought me back instantly – thanks, Dave 19 September: brief stop in the Bay of Linao, Chile.  No liberty, but we traded chocolate milk and other goodies for hand knitted sweaters and caps from small boats that came out to us. 

** Remember this one, don’t think I bought anything, though 
21-23 September: Talcahauno, Chile

** Main Chilean Navy base – toured the “Huascar,” a 19th-century ironclad captured by the Chileans in the War of the Pacific (in which Bolivia lost its coast and Chile occupied Lima) – not a good subject in Bolivia or Peru to this day, but the ship was fascinating. Got onboard Chilean ship, then new and british-built, perhaps the “Williams” or “Lynch,” memory a bit hazy due to the most excellent Chilean wine served in the NCO mess ( in unending quantity)

27 Sept – 1 October:  Vaparaiso, Chile:  we did open ship visiting here and were absolutely swamped with visitors, including some professional ladies who courteously handed out their business cards to anyone they could. 

** Yep – also visited Vina del Mar, the Chilean high-end seaside resort adjacent to Valpo – reported onboard my second Chilean Ship, the Serrano, a WW II era destroyer escort that sailed with a relatively permanent 5 degree list to port – great crew, more great wine.

3 October: anchored in Puerto Aldea, Chile.  No liberty

** My hangover is coming back – partied on the Serrano that night, reported back aboard Hart before fleet departed following day – climbed cargo net after jumping off launch in less-than-calm seas – somewhat inebriated salute gave rise to response from OOD “Aren’t you CT’s ever sober?” Next morning, Chilean Fleet (11 ships, I believe) announced that they would salute us by “trooping the line” – As our crews scrambled to dig out dress uniforms, most having no idea what was going on, everything that floated in the Chilean Navy appeared out of a fog looking like the Royal Navy coming out of Scapa Flow or the Great White Fleet, sailing past our three ships led by their WW II Heavy Cruiser “O’Higgins” (ex Brooklyn class, I think), band playing on deck, sailers manning the rail, and followed by the rest of the fleet in order of size. “My” former home, the Serrano, was at the tail end, waves breaking over her bow as the crew hung onto the rail for dear life. Still brings shiver!

8-13 October: Lima, Peru.  Quite an interesting mood, since the Peruvians and the Chileans were arguing about some major land issues resulting from a war 100 years earlier.  The Peruvians had Soviet “friends” on board their ships during several of the exercises.  Earlier, when we were approaching Valparaiso, the Chileans asked if our sub was anywhere near that city’s harbor.  When the answer was “no”, the Chileans depth-charged a suspicious contact.  A few days later the Peruvians announced that a Peruvian sub that had been scheduled to do some operations with us would not be joining us after all.  A few lucky sailors got to take a special tour to Machu Pichu in the Andes.

** Funny thing – I remember this same story – not sure if I heard if from the Chileans or the Peruvians – Chileans, I believe.

** I could kick myself for missing the trip to Cuzco and Machu Pichu – think it was $180 (a lot of $$ in 1976) – instead spent too much time in the bars in Callao and Lima drinking Pisco Sours. Reported onboard B.A.P. (Buque Armado Peruano) Almirante Grau, formerly a Dutch heavy crusier for next leg. Switched from Chilean wine back to beer in the NCO mess. The Peruvians at the time had recently purchased the ship from the Dutch, and were still translating the manuals – – from Dutch to English to Spanish by Peruvian NCO’s who spoke only Spanish!! Didn’t do much to up my comfort level

– 19 October:  swim call at Paita, Peru (offshore anchorage)

** Back onboard Hart

– 20 October:  crossed the equator again.

– 21-26 October: Rodman, Panama

– 26 October: transited the Panama Canal

– 29 Oct-3 November:  Cartagena, Columbia.  Half of the city was old, picturesque, run-down, dusty.  Other half was new, high rise, glittering hotels.  Great old fort, Castillo de San Filippo, one of the outposts of the Spanish main.

** Some of us went out with a volunteer group went out to a village to paint a local school. Seem to remember olive green – must have been army paint!! Also road a rather decrepit Columbian destroyer, “Santander,” I think

– 9-13 November: Caracas, Venezuela

**Somewhere around here I got on a Venezualan frigate – “Almirante Clemente” – just saw the other day that she is still in service, albeit with the Venezuelan Coast Guard

– 16-17 November: St. Eustacius, Netherlands Antilles.  St. E. rendered the first salute to a United States ship back in the 1770’s.  Only limited liberty (one night in port), so best part of the visit was when STG1 Mallow went fishing off the fantail and caught a four foot shark. 

** That would have been the “Andrea Doria on Nov. 17, 1776 – Hart visited for Bicentennial of that event, with a Dutch Navy ship also in port – think the sailers outnumbered the local population – good time, Heinekin flowed freely till things became somewhat of a blur.

– 21 November: Norfolk, Virginia.  Natives still friendly.

Thanks for staying with me as I reminisced about the voyages of the “Tommy Chuck”.  Hope I haven’t bored you.  When we get to the reunion we can tell further stories of the Unitas Commander who insisted that trash be neatly disposed of, “Bongo Bucks”, the sailor who married the Argentine maid (without telling his US wife) and proceeded to bounce bad checks on both sides of the continent, and other fun stuff that sailors do to pass the time.

**Thanks, Dave, for your memories and jogging mine. I ran into my former “shiprider,” Bill Carter, about two years ago – retired and living in East Texas. Between the two of you, brought back things I hadn’t thought of for many years.

Sea Story: Neal Jefferies, LCDR USN

Enter subhead content here “The Persian Excursion, 1983”

TCH deployed May 1983 headed for duty in the Persian Gulf.  During this six month deployment TCH conducted:
a brief stop at NavSta Rota (inchopping),
multiple stops in Bahrain, a brief visit to Mombosa (Kenya),
a Brief Stop for Fuel (BSF) in Djibouti (Home to the French Foreign Legion Boot Camp),
a stop in Palma de Majorca (Spain),
a stop in Rota for Outchop (and to get swallowed into ComCruDesGru Two’s clutches under Adm. Chang (“Chang the Merciless”) as he was bringing most of the IKE Battlegroup (less the carrier and the VIRGINIA) home, 
and a stop in Bermuda on the way home to pick up Tiger Cruisers. 
We deployed with the USS DEYO for the six month deployment.  We ALMOST lost the Tiger Cruise on the way home, but because HART and DEYO had people flying to Bermuda to meet us, we were detached to complete this important “family commitment”. 

Sea Stories from the deployment include:
Contaminated Potable Water: Treatment chemicals (the wrong ones) were placed into the potable water tank (by accident).  In the middle of the summer heat of the Persian Gulf, we were without potable water for the better part of two days.  Every canned beverage on the ship was consumed (we were  down to the little Bluebird cans of pineapple juice by the end).  When we had flushed, and pumped, and flushed the tanks enough, we pulled into Bahrain for one more time with a water barge.  A hose was run from the barge to a splitter, with one line feeding the potable water tanks and the other run across the flight deck for crew showers (on the fantail, at anchor, in port).  I was standing OOD Inport, in shower shoes & shorts, and I was one of the better dressed crew members at the moment!While conducting an UNREP with the USS TARAWA (LHA-1) in the Red Sea, the refueling probe from TARAWA stuck in our receiver.  We had to uncouple the receiver, tie it off to the probe, and send the whole package to TARAWA for dis-assembly.  The receiver was later returned to us.While conducting (Naval Gunfire Support) NGFS off Somolia, we hosted a USMC Cobra on the flight deck, and hosted the pilots to a bit of lunch.  Unusual aircraft for our flight deck.Memories of port visits to Bahrain always include the wonder of “beer on the barge”.  In a time when the Navy was still “dry”, even after an extended period at sea, was would anchor out in Bahrain.  Some of the crew could hit the beach (one duty section for a few hours).  A second duty section enjoyed beer (limit 2 per) and burgers on the garbage barge along side (after all, it wasn’t a USN ship) while the section that had duty had burgers and soft drinks.  Beer, burgers, and garbage in the summer heat … what a picnic!While in port in Mombosa, several of the crew (including the Captain) enjoyed a brief overnight safari.  Things started heating up in Lebanon, and we got orders to get underway to escort the Pacific Fleet ARG (Amphibious Readiness Group) that we had worked with in Somolia as they headed for the Suez Canal “in case”.  The Persian Gulf (COMMIODEASTFOR) flagship USS LA SALLE was in port with us as well, and COMMIDEASTFOR’s Chief of Staff came over to offer to sail with us “until the Captain can rejoin”.  Our XO (LCDR Dave McCullough) informed the C of S that he (the XO) was qualified for Command at Sea and would take the ship out if the Captain was not able to rejoin in time.  (The CO made it back, just in time.)We steamed around the Persian Gulf at slow speeds, in a station, observing what was going on.  A lot of fishing was conducted off the fantail.We made the transit home with six watch sections, including an all ESWS (Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) leadership team for one section.  The Senior Enlisted Advisor (OSCS) was the OOD, the BMC was the JOOD, the ETCS was the CICWO, and the BTCS was the EOOW.We had some experimental sight glass gauges down in the main spaces, one of two or three ships in the fleet with them.  One of the other ships determined they leaked, and tech reps arrived to pull / replace them.  They had a radioactive content in them and the sealed containers with the now-removed sight glass gauges were locked in the Deck Division office (port side, aft) for the transit home.  We joked that we were an FFN, or nuclear Frigate! 

SUMMER 1984:  
We conducted a short, three day visit to Bermuda in June 1984.  Some of the wives flew over for a short visit.  My wife reported the experience of being alone on a plane full of newlywed couples was interesting, especially when she told them she was meeting her husband in Bermuda!
Late Summer 1984:
TCH was preparing for a complex overhaul.  The folks from SIMA Norfolk were assisting the preparation, including the removal of the 5″/54 Mk 42 Mod 9 gun mount, ASROC Launcher, and Mk. 68 Fire Control Director (all headed to Naval Ordnance Station Louisville for their own overhauls).  When the gun barrel was pulled and being lifted, it pitched out of the sling it was in (error on the play by the SIMA rigging crew) and punched, breach end first, into the forecastle deck. It came to rest with about a 70 degree angle (to the horizon). The threads of the barrel were not damaged, and that barrel (after some clean up of both the barrel and the skivvies of the sailor in the berthing compartment below where the barrel punched through) was eventually re-installed and used following the ship’s overhaul.  The day after the barrel incident, the ASROC launcher was being prepared by the ship’s crew according to SIMA directions.  When the port side guide (cells 1 & 2?) was elevated for the removal of some bolts, it continued back / up / off the launcher base, slapped the face of the superstructure (the blast doors), and landed on deck.  Within two days we became the only frigate on the waterfront with a fixed 5″ gun, and the first ship in the fleet with a Vertical ASROC launcher! 
GTMO 1985: 
We conducted a number of Low Visibility Navigation practices, backing down from the pier at GTMO to the channel bouy that started the navigation exercise.  This practice came in handy when we did our overnight R&R trip to Ocho Rios, Jamacia where we tied up to the Boxiute (sp?) Pier (used in one of the early James Bond movies with Sean Connery).  No tugs available, so we dropped the keel anchor coming into the pier, then used it as a kedge anchor to help us get away from the pier.  With no room to turn in the port, we actually BACKED through the break water and put to sea stern first! 
While conducting boarding operations in the North Red Sea (under the wonderful, excellent guidance of the staff of Destroyer Squadron 24 from Mayport, FL), the HART was called upon to provide assistance to the USS BIDDLE (CG-34) after the BIDDLE’s rudder fell off!  Seems the BIDDLE belonged to the only class of US Cruisers with two shafts / one rudder.  While BIDDLE’s crew was boarding and inspecting a ship, the BIDDLE rudder proceeded to the bottom of the sea.  HART got the call to tow BIDDLE to the south end of the Suez Canal so an ocean going tug could take BIDDLE through “the ditch” and into the Med for a dry docking and new rudder.  With the BIDDLE in tow, HART claimed to be a New Threat Upgrade Frigate (FFG?).

Neal Jefferis, LCDR USN (Ret.)

1LT / Gunnery Officer (and Conning Officer backing out of Ocho Rios) Sep.82 – Sep 85  — and DesRon 24 Staff Combat Systems / Material Officer during Operation Desert Shield / Storm


Jamie Harr (ET2 83-85) adds “I seem to remember a show for a Russian trawler that the state dept. might not consider politically correct as well as some Yemeni blubber.”

Sea Story: Orin Reams

TCH arrived on station in the Red Sea in August 1990 and immediately began conducting MIF operations in support of Operation Desert. Long weeks were turning into long months at-sea with a few days of liberty in Hurghada and Jeddha, and no end in sight for our return to Norfolk as the conflict escalated. Steel beach picnics nearly every Sunday, the weekly NFL pool and daily showings of “House Party” on CCTV weren’t enough to keep morale up. We needed something more..

The announcement was for every division to have a representative for the Valentine’s Day Parade. Divison representatives would win valuable prizes and be judged on their “beauty, poise, glamour and costume selection” as they walked the runway on Valentine’s Day. Many were skeptical and didn’t believe the crew would be interested. Christmas in Izmir at anchor alongside the tender, and visits to Haifa and Rhodes allowed crewmembers to assemble many articles of clothing. We are certain many orders for garments were received from families and friends, and perhaps, Frederick’s of Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret, including sizes seemingly beyond the imagination.

It was quiet during the weeks leading up to the competition but we knew something good was going to happen when questions about rules and prizes were being asked. Some divisions finalized their representatives early and some late. The Wardroom held an election the night before and “The Ensign” was chosen. It was a magical moment when contestants and their “escorts” were paraded on the messdeck on Valentine’s Day. Some were quite strikingly “attractive”, others were hilarious, and a couple were beyond words of description. Some dressed formally, some wore casual attire, while others …..

The three judges, the CO, the MCPO of the Command, and the oldest man on the ship – ET1 Rhea had the difficult task of choosing the winners. The laughter could be heard all across the ship, underway on a sunny day in the northern Red Sea.

Everyone that participated was a winner and will always be held in the highest esteem by their shipmates for an afternoon of laughs and a lifetime of memories. The names of the winners are being held from this sea story to protect the innocent, however, page 33 of our cruise book does attest to “The voluptuous Andela”.

Your shipmate, Orin Reams

Sea Story: Dave Altwies

EN1 Thornton’s story. That was a rough evening. Remember the Haze Gray Ford Dullie that belonged to one of the other command’s Command Master Chief that was laid to rest on the pylons on the pier next to us? Now that was funny!

I remember on RMC Lambert’s first tour on Hart and we were holding a burn run on the fantail in a 55-gal drum that the engineers were kind enough to make for us. The chief was out there with us most of the time to make sure none of the classified material went overboard since we were sitting in the middle of a Soviet SAG with the Baku and others sitting close by. The was one great MED cruise!

Does anyone remember when Danny Frank HTFN got stuck in the gas pipe of one of those big tankers in dry dock in Palermo, Sicily? Everytime you turned around, he was either falling off a cliff (Taranto, Italy), getting stuck in a pipe, or something. Capt. Stevens kept him on the most liberty risk of all the cruises I’ve been on. Thank God he didn’t kill himself.

For those that weren’t there for the times I have described, this all occured during Med ’88, my last cruise on Hart. “Thanks for the memories.”

Dave – I sure remember those events. Especially, FN Frank getting stuck in the pipe and the part about FN Frank falling off the cliff; LCDR Morrissey and I won the draw to go to that nasty Italian hospital in Taranto to retrieve our shipmate. He was pretty banged up (perhaps a bit inebriated too) but we got him back to the ship OK. I tell you, I vividly remember the six inches of trash/garbage in the hospital elevator and the “aide” attending to FN Frank had about a weeks worth of unshaved whiskers. That whole place was a nightmare! I’d sure have to think I had to go that hospital for any reason! Garry Collins LT Suppo 86-89.

Sea Story: Tommy Sexton

When we were in Bizerte in November 1975 . This was a Muslin country with no bars; a boring place. One cold afternoon several on my friends and I found a place that rented mo-peds. We had a great time as we rode those things all over the countryside. It got dark and disaster struck.  My mo-ped’s headlight was very dim and I hit a deep pothole, flipped over the handle bars, and wrecked. The mo-ped got a busted out headlight and stratched up. I got a good case of road rash and hurt my right wrist. I got it restarted and rode it back to town. I was riding without a headlight and my wrist was very painful twisting the throttle.
When we got near the rental place I let another guy ride my moped and he parked it in the back of the other ones hoping the shop owner wouldnt see the damage until we got away from there. He saw my bleeding face and then he spotted the damage. We scrounged up enough Dinars to satisfy him for the damages.

When I got back to the ship my wrist was killing me and I went to the corpsman about it. Of course the Hart did not have an x-ray machine. He gave me some pain killers and wrapped it with an ace bandage. The carrier, or any other large ship with better sick bay was nowhere around. They told me my wrist was only sprained. I finally got doc to put a cast on it – still no xray.

I finished the cruise with a sore wrist and it wasnt until I got back to Norfolk that I went to sick call on base and then finally a x-ray.  My wrist was broken and I wore a cast for the next eight months. I dont know how many casts I went through. Being a snipe in the fire room was rough on them.  I would get chewed out but, the Dr. at Portsmouth hospitalwould threaten to put me on report but I’d get a new cast plus every six weeks another x-ray.  Every time they say my wrist was not healed yet. Come see us again in another six weeks. This went on and on for 8 months. I got married to Marilyn wearing the cast. While on leave for the wedding I went to a local army hospital and talked them into giving me a new cast for wedding.

Finally after talk of fusing my wrist and medical discharge the thing finally healed just in time for the Unitas cruise.  I emailed some photos of mo-peds and casts.


Sea Story: Warren Reade Jr

Damage to USS BELKNAP after collision with USS JOHN F. KENNEDY

On the night of November 22 1975 as I was getting into my rack for the evening and there was an announcement over the intercom that the U.S.S Belknap and The John F Kennedy had collided.  I jumped out of my rack as many of the others did. I helped man the hoses on the port side of the Hart as the Belknaps boilers exploded and our ship shook from the vibrations.
All that night I helped as we pulled fellow sailors from the sea.  One vision stays with me to this day; as I was helping to pull a guy up on to the deck, skin from his burned arm peeled off as we reached to pull him on board.  When I saw the pictures of what remained of the Belknap it looked like a big steel canoe.

The next day we pulled a dead body from the water. I don’t recall if he was a fellow sailor or not, but I will never forget the smell of the body.  That night I put to use everything that I was taught in boot camp.  Without the training that I learned in Great lakes Boot, I would have been useless to anyone.  I was 18 at the time, soon to turn 19 on December 17th. This was not my first experience dealing whith death.  When I was 14, I saw a man decapitated in a car accident, but that night out at sea in the Med remains with me more at age 50, and I supose it will for the rest of my life.  It took more than twenty years for me to finally deal with P.T.S.D. issues that were caused by that incident. With the help of the V.A system, I am able to deal with it today.

I will allways be proud to be a Navy Veteran and a veteran of the T.C.Hart crew. I still have the Med Cruise jacket and the T.C.Hart Uniform rocker.
Warren R Reade Jr

Jim Swayze comments on collision:

Concerning Belknap collision.  The body that we found was not from the US Navy ships.  The feedback from HM1? at the time was that the authorities thought it was a merchant that got dumped overboard from a freighter.

That was a rough few days for all.  During the fire fight we fought for a while, then was ordered out of there to set up a medical trauma center, receive casualties, and transfer DC equipment as well as the Battle Group Commander had an issue about the proximity of our ASROC launcher.

EM1 Jim Swayze
Ron Babb comments on this story: 

I just read the story from Warren Reade.One of those sailor that was rescued from the Belknap was ETR3 Gary Sparks. Gary was assigned the Thomas C Hart a few months after the accident. I was his leading PO for two years after that. We still are good friends and see each other yearly. He lives in OKLAHOMA and I live in Illinois. Thanks for all you did that night..

Sea Story David Nusbaum

Setting: Anchored off the coast of France.
Liberty expired at midnight on the last night and I was walking with a cutie when she told me it was 2355 and I was about a mile from the landing. I bid my farewells and sprinted toward the pier. I thought I would make it, but as I rounded the last corner I saw the liberty boat pulling away. Panic set in and I wondered what was going to happen if I missed ship’s movement. Looking out over the calm water at the ship I thought about swimming, but the JAWS tune slowly entered my brain and I gave up that idea. I started looking for an alternate way out to the ship. I saw a couple standing on a yacht and asked them if they could take me out to my ship. They said they were only yacht sitting for the night but knew of a different way. They walked me around to the beach and woke up an elderly man who had a peddle boat for rent. I rented a peddle boat and paid the couple to bring it back. As we set out toward the ship through the break water waves I could hear the ship souning “Security Alert”. As we got closer, I stood up and yelled, “don’t shoot, it’s Nusbaum.” The only thing I heard was laughter. When I got to the ship, I climbed the acom ladder and requested permission to come aboard. Everyone was still laughing, but I had to turn over my ID card. As we were standing there and I was telling my story, we heard the chains on the acom ladder, we looked over and a FN (name escapes me) was climbing up soaking wet. He still had his cowboy hat on! He looked at me and said, “damn Nusbaum, you passed me right up.” Needless to say, we both went to XOI, and were awarded EMI. Those were the good ole days.

Sea Story: Dave Ackerman

My hat off to the crew.I had the pleasure of serving with 3 CO’s.The first was Big Red. I boarded the ship in Bahrain in 1980. My Chief, McG$#@ (to protect the innocent) went on a tear. The Petty officer that greeted me, Bear, hurried me to Gun Plot so we may hide. My first assignment was the word room. It was there that I had the pleasure of meeting the Man.The second was Mr. Whalen. I still wonder how he got us those ports of call, but never the less, I need to thank him. Thanks. He posted that we lost a keel anchor, well Sir, that aint the only thing the crew lost in Allborg.Lastly was Skip MacMichael. I left the Ship in Bahrain under his Command. Isnt it amazing how we come to full circle in the Navy?Anyhow boys, May your boats rock and roll like a good North Atlantic ride.Cheers.

Sea Story: Steve Holiday

I have so many memories, I could sit here for hours reminiscing of all the good things.

After I was stationed in Hawaii, I got to go on a WESTPAC but our TCH MED cruises out did all;  Ste.Cyr Sur Mer, France stands out above all. STG2 Cowboy Coleman and I met a very nice family in 1986 and in 1988 we were fortunate to go back to this fine port. Upon liberty call, BT3 Munden and myself set out to find this nice family and we were walking down the beach. All of a sudden, this family I met two years earlier screamed at me excited and started running to me with open arms calling out my name. I’ve always thought that was pretty special because this has never happened anywhere else I have been.

Also I will never forget when IC1 Higgins (Papa Smurf) passed out in the middle of the square in Ste.Cyr Sur Mer during a Statue of Liberty celebration. I was chosen to ride to Toulon in the ambulance with him. What a ride we had in and out of traffic. It was very hard to keep from landing on the floor. And there were no seat belts where we were sitting. I can’t remember who else enjoyed that ride. Someone else went with me.

Anybody remember watching mess deck movies behind the screen? I remember being on Sounding & Security watch and passing a few shipmates standing along the serving line becuase all the other seats were taken.

Another memory I will never forget. When I was frocked as HT2, For some reason I had made MM2 Phil Kahn mad. He came in to DC Central to tack my crow on. He knocked me clear accross DC Central. No, I never made him mad at me again.  Lesson very well learned!

Sea Story: Jeff Konowal

1986 Cruise, we are at anchorage in a port I don’t recall, but Cinderella Libs are in effect. I am on the last launch back to the ship, and my shore buddy, MM3 Hauge has wandered off and missed the launch. I get up for watch the next morning and he is in is rack. Here, he had swam from shore and climbed the anchor chain, then reported in to the quarterdeck. Think he pulled “C” libs for a while after that.Unknown date, Just that it scared the hell out of me.Engineers are told that if a main steam line (1600 psi) ruptures, you might as well bend over an kiss you a** goodbye. I was going on watch in Aux 1, and as I was going downladder, I hear a loud bang and see this cloud of steam coming at me. Of course I repeated the requisite swearing but was suprised to find the steam was actually dust. The starboard Prairie Masker flex hose had bust. I was shaking the entire watch.Sometime in 1987, we were heading to GTMO for REFTRA and the diesel went out (again). So we pulled back in to the carrier piers, right next to the Saratoga, which had just had a collision with an oiler. Remember being able to see through it to the other ship’s?And Lastly, remember why we went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica in 85? We were in GTMO for REFTRA, and the commanding admiral of GTMO wanted red clay for the baseball diamonds. At least that is what we were told in the hole.I Reenlisted after being out for 2 and a half years, but none of my other ships compared to the Tommychuck.

Sea Story: Jim McDougal

I was on the USS Hanson on the west coast as they were readying it for decommissioning. They told me to make out my “dreamsheet” as to where I wanted to be transferred to, “but it won’t do any good to ask for the east coast because the Navy is low on money and can’t afford to ship people all over the place.” I chose three west coast locations so they sent me to the east coast to join the pre-commissioning crew of the TCH. Went to Rhode Island for Omega Navigation System training.

Time came to join the ship so they put us in one of those non-pressurized transport planes to fly to New Orleans. This was summer, but the plane was freezing because of the altitude, even though it had to stay low enough that we didn’t need oxygen masks. I thought I was going to freeze to death and it went on for hours.

Finally, we landed near New Orleans and the weather had to be 98 degrees and 98% humidity. I stepped off the plane and got instant heat rash! Well, we got our gear and got on a borrowed school bus, as I remember. At least it was yellow. That’s when the fun began. We were headed for New Orleans with a madman at the wheel. He drove very fast and didn’t slow down for the curves. We all feared for our lives. I later found out that the driver was ETR-3 Les Horner, my new shipmate.

We spent the night in a four star hotel. Yeah, right! They bunked us on a reserve destroyer tied up on the Mississippi. There was no place to lock up our seabags and those reserve guys stole us blind. Next day we got our gear and went to the Avondale shipyard to the TCH, but if I remember correctly we spent several more days in New Orleans. One of the young ETs had some good times there.(I’ll withhold his name.) Some of the guys introduced him to “The Ladies” of New Orleans. I was a married man so I stayed away from those places.

Time came to deliver the ship and a shipyard crew sailed her from New Orleans to Boston Naval Shipyards. Boy what a party! These guys had a caterer on board to cook meals. Mmm,Mmm. And since this was not yet a commissioned ship, there was plenty of liquor flowing. Card games were easy to find, too.

That was a cruise to remember. Any of you guys on that cruise remember anything? Please, correct me if I got any details wrong. Long time ago.

Sea Story: Mike McKenna

I reported onboard as a MSSN in 1989 without a care in the world. At the time we thought it was a war but only time would tell us it would only a flexing of a muscle. We went overseas for our 6 month med cruise but operation Desert Storm loomed. I befriended a man that was older than me in our supply dept affectionately known as SH2 Johnson. He used to cut hair, iron the Captain’s uniform, and stock the ship’s store.  He also made me forget we were in a conflict. During our deployment he went home for a death in the family. While home he drowned in a Lake in Louisana try to save his own son.He was a great man and brought a smile to our departmentr everyday. He is a hero.

Sea Story: Michael Slattery

After the Philly yard period, a fancy work iron grille/screen was installed along the messdecks serving line with USS THOMAS C. HART on it. Soon after, some letters began disappearing. what was left read “HOMA HAR”. This became her nickname while i was aboard. After, of course “The BOHICA CHUCK”.(BOHICA= Bend Over, Here It Comes Again). During our REFTRA at GITMO, Jw Dxxxxxn, Steve Axxxn And Myself left a BOHICA CHUCK tag on the seawall. We later used a painting float and tagged another ship, a cruiser i think, with “HOMA HAR” on her stern. it was a great morale booster to see as we left port the next morning.  Chief MAA Beagle Dog’s investigation was something like ” better not happen again, or we might have to ask some questions”. Wonder if anybody else remembers this>

Sea Story: Dick Whalen

Eventhough I had the good fortune to serve as PreCom skipper of AEGIS Cruiser MOBILE BAY 85-88, HARTwill always be special. The sea stories are endless: The infamous “keel” anchor dropping off out of site somewhere in the waters off Aalborg, DENMARK. Metal failure of the stock and we steamed around without it unknowingly for 2 mos in EMED and only discovered the missing object when we tried to put the anchor underfoot on arrival in Norfolk. Here’s how it went;    

Foc’sle – Bridge        “put the anchor under foot”   

Bridge – Foc’sle        ” Sir, the anchor won’t drop”   

Weps – Bridge          ” Call the divers”   

Bridge – Weps          ” Aye Sir”    

Divers – Captain        “Sir, you do NOT have a keel anchor…just a big empty hole”   

Captain – Weps        ” CASREP C4 for loss of anchor”   

Weps – Captain        (One month later) ” Sir, a flatbed is on the pier with a new anchor they found in a New Hampshire pasture! All the FF CO’s are over looking at it ’cause they’ve never seen one.”    

Weps – Captain       ” Paint the new anchor GOLD. Assemble all the Sailors who have  shipped over this year and take a picture in front of the “Golden Anchor”; Then…figure out how to get the anchor off the truck, rehook it to the anchor chain, and FINALLY, “put the anchor underfoot!”.

* Truth: the anchor stock failed due bad casting and probably fell to the seabed in the North Sea. There is probably a eternally dedicated E2 “Stoof” pilot up there 25 years later calling out “MADMAN..MADMAN”!And…we did win the Golden Anchor….

Sea Story: Mark Dammer

As a young third class and new member of the crew during the Med cruise of 77-78, while at sea, the crew was called to muster so the Chiefs & Officers could conduct an impromptu Health & Comfort inspection.  For those who have never been fortunate enough to experience one of these, it is basically a search mission for contraband or specific target. Someone went into the Unit Commanders stateroom and had stolen the Commodore’s TCH personalized Ball Cap.  We were on station for a long time, if memory serves me well, over two hours.  We in ranks were both irritated and amused, you know how it goes – we all knew it would never be found.  … but whats a sailor to do?  At the end of this muster, the ball cap was in-fact not found and the ships routine returned to normal.

Couple of weeks later  someone jacked the Commodores replacement TCH VIP hat.  This hat was also distinctive as it had the scrambled eggs on it and said VIP on the back.  BINGO, another Health & Comfort Inspection.

So we found ourselves in ranks yet again, more irritated this time than the previous instance because we ALL knew the hat was gone  over the side for sure, never to be seen again  NO WAY  NO HOW!  … and NO, the hat was NOT found.  Once again the ships routine reverted back to normal, and the matter slipped into history.

Sometime later  perhaps weeks – while the IC men were rigging for the evening movie in the Wardroom  perhaps the coolest thing I experienced in the Navy  as the movie screen was lowered, attached to the screen was a Polaroid of the two hats sitting side-by-side.

I do not remember if there was another Health & Comfort inspection after this, but I do remember that word the picture was found spread around the ship faster than a speeding bullet.

Sea Story: Van Sullivan

We were operating in Fleetex 86 as Orange forces.  I spotted an intermittent contact on the LN-66.  We were in total emcon with the prairie masker operating.  I asked CO Nick if we could go active on the 26.  I knew it had to be a periscope riser.  We did and chased a “non-player” US nuke for over an hour until SUBLANT told us to “back off” because we were giving away the location of a “non-player” in the exercise.  Targets my butt!  CERTSUB #1 baby!

Our corpsman also had the only other CERTSUB contact in the exercise on approach to the carrier with a sick crew member.  He told the pilot, “Hey, is that a submarine?”  It was trailing the carrier.  CERTSUB #2 baby!!

Pretty good for playing the “bad guys”.  Lots of good memories on the “Chuck”.

Oh yeah…Charlie “Fat Man” Ellis sunk a 3 pointer with time expired and the “Chuck Team” beat the French National team by 1 point during the 86 Med deployment.  They toasted us with LOTS of good champagne afterwards.  Great sports.  Again…lots of good memories on the “Chuck”!

Van Sullivan


Sea Story: Skip MacMichael

Before I reported to TCH, one of my personal goals for my command tour was to schedule the ship for port visits to those ports I had always heard were “good liberty” for the crew.  I had heard good things about Halifax, Bermuda, and Fort Lauderdale.  If you will look at the section of port visits for 84-85, you’ll see we checked all the boxes.  I’ll leave it to others to rank them, but from feedback I’d say Halifax was first and Bermuda last.