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The Navy's traditions live on in the hearts of those who serve

Friday, December 30, 2011

What are they doing?

Today, again, I took a tour of the USS Alabama.  This time with my two grandsons.  They are 12 and 14.  They asked plenty of questions and paid attention to my stories about the ship and it's systems.  One of the questions they asked was, why did we decommission the Battleships?   That is a very insightful and deep thought provoking question.   I remember when Congress was debating decommissioning the Iowa class Battleships.  No one, not the Navy or any members of the Joint Chief's of Staff, came to the defense of the formidable Battleship.  Not even the Commandant of the Marine Corps!  But, immediately after the last Battleship was  decommissioned, the same Commandant went whimpering and crying to Congress that the Navy did not have a ship capable of providing Shore Bombardment for an Amphibious landing!  Wimp!!  Politician!!

 This almost impervious class of ships, capable of withstanding any weapon held by any military in the world, except a nuke, and still fight.  This class of ship that, in World War Two, was used to sweep mines in harbors, by driving the ship THROUGH the mine field because the 16" armor belt would protect the ship from damage!!  This class of ship that would be unaffected by an Electro Magnetic Pulse, because the 16"/50 triple gun turrets, the 5"/38 twin gun mounts, the power plant, and the ship's controls, are NOT SOLID STATE!!  But the limp wrists decommissioned them anyway.  The obviously have no vision.

Then there is the decommissioning of the A-6 Medium Attack, carrier borne, aircraft.  This aircraft can carry 18,000 pounds of ordnance.  The only ship in the US inventory that can carry more ordnance is the B-52.   They flew from an air field that can be positioned anywhere in the world!  But, the Air Force brass does not like the Navy having an attack capability.  So, they tricked the Navy into giving up their drive for a new medium attack aircraft for the agreement by the Air Force Brass to upgrade the A-6 with an on board Auxiliary Power Plant and self-defense pods on the end of the wings.  The after Congress killed the new Navy Medium Attack Aircraft, they withdrew their support for the mods to the A-6 and the A-6 died of wing fatigue.

Then their is the death of the DD-963 class Destroyers with Vertical Launchers.  Not only did we decommission them, we sunk them!  We did not even put them in mothballs to be used in case of a war.  What do we have in mothballs?  World War Two, rusted out, junk!!

Do you see a trend here?  I can add others, like decommissioning and scrapping of all of the Nuke Powered Cruisers, after they were upgraded with the BEST missile fire control in the world and the longest range shipboard fired surface to air missiles.  Or, decommissioning and selling the Kidd Class DDG's, fully upgraded, to Taiwan.  Or how about the decommissioning and scrapping of Nuke Powered Attack Submarines that are less than 15 years old and just refueled.  Or the decommissioning and scrapping of Nuke Powered Ballistic Missile Submarines that are less than 15 years old.

The morons that have lead our Nation since President Ronald Regan, in uniform and in $5000 suits, have systematically dismantled and scrapped the most impressive Navy in history.  And, like I posted a few days ago, the world is turning against us.  Without a first rate, blue water, Navy, we are without the ability to project power or control the sea lanes.   We are now without the ability to defend our shores from invasion and we are unable to sustain free shipping of much needed oil and other commodity's to this country or food to our allies.  How long do you think we can survive as a nation without foreign oil?  Let me answer that, a month, MAX!! We are in a boat load of trouble and I frankly do not see a way out.  We simply do not have the capitol, human or monetary, to rebuild this Navy.  The politicians knew that when they destroyed the wonderful ships, submarines, and Aircraft carriers we decommissioned and destroyed.  Like I have said before, the United States of America is done.  And we can thank the liberal, progressive, socialist, politicians from BOTH parties.  They have cooked our goose.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The effects of Mil-F-17111 hydraulic fluid

I was a U.S. Navy Gunner's Mate who worked on MK 42 and MK 45 5"/54 gun mounts and as a civil servant, 16"/50 Turrets.    In this capacity, that spanned over 25 years, I was hyper-exposed to the hydraulic fluid that the guns ran on, Mil-F-17111.  This oil had a chemical as a fire retardant.  That chemical was Trichressalphosphate.  My spelling may be off, but the effects of this chemical on Gunner's Mates was devastating.  In 1989, the Navy, through Official channels, informed all of us that this chemical was dangerous if we came in contact with it.  Contact, we were doused in it daily, got it in our wounds, swallowed it, breathed it, every day of our sea duty and for some of us, everyday of our shore duty. On my early sea duty, showers underway were a luxury.   On one deployment, we never had showers underway and we went 30 days without a shower!  Still, we were covered in Hydraulic fluid everyday.  OSHA has published that Tricressalphosphate has a causal effect for cancer, dementia, skin conditions, plural plaque, and other skin and breathing conditions.   I suggest you Google this.  I personally know friends that are terribly effected buy the skin condition.  How effected?  One shipmate has a 100% VA disability and cannot work because his feet swell up.  When I was at NAVSEACENLANT, we hired a retired Gunner's Mate who was anxious to go back to work in the gun mounts.  He lasted one day.  He had is hands in the hydraulic fluid and his fingers immediately swelled up like sausage cooking in a frying pan!  We rushed him to the hospital and in the time we transported him, the skin on his fingers split open!

This stuff is bad!  I have a disability for the skin condition.  My legs used to get so raw that at night, my legs would bleed, then clot to the sheets.  When I rolled over, I would rip the scabs open, and the cycle would start again.  Now, they flare up, red rash, itching, bleeding, crusting, and sore.  My hands suffer from the same issues.  I cannot get any oil on my hands, it exacerbates the problem.  But the real issue is, I have Lewy Body Dementia.  The Cliff Notes version of my disease is Alzheimer's with Parkinson's.  I believe, and my Neurologist and GP, and the Neurologist at UVA all believe my disease is directly related to my exposure to this chemical.  However, the VA disagrees.  They wrote me:  "While we agree that your were exposed to Mil-F-17111 and  Tricressal, and we agree that these chemicals cause Dementia, we don't agree that your Dementia is from this exposure."   The VA has stone walled everyone I know with this disease or any condition related to Mil-F-17111.  I have been in contact with one friend that waited 6 years for help from the VA.  I personally have been waiting for an answer to my appeal for 4 years.  One of the interesting issues in my case is the VA first told me that I was never exposed to Mil-F-17111 even though they were paying me a disability for exposure to it!

Tens of thousands of Gun and Missile Gunner's Mates were hyper-exposed to this chemical, all the time being told it was safe, petroleum bases oil, and now the VA does not want to help us.   I believe this has the potential t be as big a group as Agent Orange exposure or Asbestos inhalation.  Maybe bigger.   If you are a past Gunner's Mate, and you have issues described earlier in my post, apply for a disability from the VA.  You deserve it and the United States of America owes you.  You were injured in the line of duty!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Watch the news! The world is going against us!

If you have been too busy with holiday cheer, you may have missed the stories in the news that should worry you.  I am sure you have seen the articles about Iran's Naval exercise in the Straights of Hormuz.  It is most likely an exercise to draw the U.S. into a trap!  Watch that one.

You may have even seen the news that Iran and Iraq are building a military alliance!  We just pulled out and already Iran is moving in.  This was actually in the planning months before we announced our withdrawal and it was the reason Iraq would not agree to a policy of not prosecuting our troops.

The third story, you may have missed.  China and the Seychelles have negotiated an agreement to station Chinese warships in this small, Indian Ocean, island nation.  This will forward deploy China's ever growing fleet in this strategic region.

The forth story is the turmoil in the Soviet Union.  Remember, I refuse to call the evil empire Russia.  They NEVER quit being the Soviet Union.  They just cut their losses in area they could no longer afford to police!  In any case, Putin is on the verge of setting up a Dictatorship again!  Don't believe me.  Watch the news.  Even the people of "Russia" believe this and are protesting against it, as long as they can!

So, as we dismantle our Fleet, our Air Force, reduce troop strength, and turn our military into a social experiment, the worlds Bad Guys" are amassing their power to destroy us.

Watch the news, there are clues of our future destruction.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The morals of our Country.

If you saw the news today, you saw a photo of two females, one in the Navy uniform, in a passionate kiss, upon the return from deployment of an LSD class ship.  The Sailor won the ship's raffle to be the first off the ship to see their loved one.

As a Pastor, I live by the motto; Love the sinner, hate the sin!"  I personally agree with this view.  I am a sinner.  But the difference is, I don't want my sins paraded on the front page of the newspaper!  America's problem is the lack of a moral compass.  Regardless of what the historical reconstructionists say, America was founded with the guidance of Judeo/Christian values, utilizing the Bible as the guide.  The people who came to America for religious freedom, were Christians and Jews.  While I am willing to agree with what is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, you know, bring me your huddled masses...., I still believe America must have a moral compass.    

Hollywood has been on a campaign to discredit America's morals since movies were invented.  They make movies that push the boundaries of acceptability and we get used to it, thus establishing a new normal.  Hollywood did it with clothing, pre-marital sex, affairs, lies, stealing, cheating, drugs, violence, and now homosexuality.  There is not a television series that does not have at least one homosexual character.  Hell, there are even rumors that Bert and Ernie are gay!

Well, I for one, do not believe that homosexuality is normal or natural!  It, like drug usage, violence, poverty, and alcoholism, is a life style choice.  I really don't care if you agree with me or not.  It is the truth.  AIDS, is proof of that.  Want to stop AIDS, quit having anal sex!!  If we would did that, AIDS would be eradicated.  Where's my NOBEL Prize?

Back to the event that forced me to write this.  We have had people who chose to have sex with people of the same sex forever.  But, they kept their sin hidden.  Now, we want to proudly parade that sin.  The Navy is proud of those two women and I am ashamed for them and ashamed OF my navy.   (Small "n" on purpose)  The demise of our morals is also the demise of good order and discipline!  That "Good order and Discipline" is the motor that powers the military.  Without it, we cease to be effective.

Because of those who want to reduce the morals of America to the lowest common denominator have succeeded in destroying this once great nation.  I mourn the demise of the country I once fought so proudly for.  We failed to pass this Constitutional Republic, this "Beacon on the Hill" as President Regan called America, on to our progeny.  I guess, I failed.  Failed to make moral behavior and personal responsibility attractive to those who came after me.  We failed, shipmates and I for one am sorry.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Angry!!

This is a addition to my earlier post on our lack of underway rearming capabilities.  I am really angry, mad, hacked off, about what the leadership of MY Navy is doing.  Some years ago, we decommissioned all of the Destroyer Tenders and all but two Submarine Tenders.  These ships were mobile, floating, deployable, repair facilities capable of almost any repair including replacing a ships propeller while still in the water.  The Tenders have proved their worth through out history.  The repaired war damage, storm damage, performed normal maintenance, and rearmed ships.  The submarine force heavily depends on the Tender's capabilities to replenish and rearm the subs.  Not to mention repair work!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are building ships we cannot rearm, at least the primary weapons systems, underway.  Since we have fewer and fewer friends in the world and even fewer places where our ships are safe in port, we must have a way to rearm and replenish our ships in foreign waters.  Now, I know the solution, but I am afraid we have lost that capability forever.  The Tenders are GONE, and there is NO MONEY to build new ones.  The ED's continue to build ships that are not sustainable at sea.  They have no station keeping capability!  So, while I am identifying a BIG problem, no one really cares.

Another related issue;  The Navy's leadership will grab onto any, untested, unproven, management scheme that someone with a PHD after their name writes.  TQM/TQL, LEAN Sigma 6, Just in time management, all of which may be usable in civilian industry but are not adaptable to the military.  Otherwise, they are BUNK!  Our ships are being outfitted by the "Just In Time" idea for supply parts, ammo, and even personnel!  Parts are not kept in the spare parts bin in Supply if there is no usage in the last two years!  It does not matter that the part in question could make the weapon system unusable!  It only matters that IT does not make the "Just In Time" paradyme!!  Furthermore, if "Just In Time" really works, why won't the Navy's ED's buy into the idea of "Remote Monitoring" of the systems on the ships.  Remote Monitoring would at least give the Supply system a "Heads up" that the part was ABOUT to fail!!  Then the "Just I Time" part could be sent to be there when the part failed.  However, when I presented this idea, with proof and support from the Military/Industrial Complex, the Navy ED's ran from it.  Why, because THEY did not think of it!!!  We are truly in deep do do!

The LACK of logistics support.

I toured the USS Alabama today with my son.  I have been to the USS Alabama many times since I commissioned the USS Leftwich (DD 984) in late 1979.  It is the first time my son has seen the inside of a battleship.  The display, the total access to the interior of the ship, is outstanding.  My son asked me about some portable king posts stored on the bulkhead near the fantail.  I explained underway replenishment to him.  During the drive home, we got in a discussion about the replenishment/rearming capability of today's ships.  This is something I have not thought about for a while and now I am really concerned.   We continue to build ships weapon systems that cannot be rearmed underway.  My son then asked, how do we rearm them?  I explained that we have to pull into port and stage the ammo there, reload with a crane, and then get underway again.  Of course this opens our ships up to issues like the USS Cole attack.  In the Persian Gulf, the only friend we have is Bahrain.  If they "unfriend" us, we would have to go a long way for logistic support, like Rota Spain!   Underway replenishment was our secret weapon in World War Two.  

Do we have the smug belief that we will win the war before we run out of ammo?  I hope not.  But it looks like that is exactly what the Engineering Duty Officers are planning and purchasing.  Think I am wrong?  Look at the RAM system.  Look at Vertical Launch on CG 47 class and Burke class DDG.  Yes, the VLS has a reloading crane, but it cannot handle most of the weapons the VLS shoots due to weight limitations!  RAM can only be reloaded in port.  There are other examples but you get the idea.          

With the pending decimation of the Navy due to budget restraints, I guess I am just spouting off to hear myself.  But, this old Master Chief has to tell the truth.  As my Grandson says; "I know what I know!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I have had an interesting career!

I was talking to my son tonight and reminiscing  about my Navy career, in uniform and as a Civil Servant,  I have done a lot and seen even more!  We were talking about the time, a few years ago, when I was selected to lead a MARMC repair team for the MCM's in Bahrain.  It was a political suicide mission and I guess the powers to be thought it was OK if I died during it.  I was always the guy they went to to fix their foul ups.  I was the clean up man!   That's not a bad thing, just a fact.  I remember a meeting in Louisville about the unloading tray for the MK 75 Otto Melero gun.  The SES n charge of Naval Ordnance was there.  He was a retired Admiral that knew me in my active duty days.  The position of the ISEA was that the unload tray from the manufacureer was not good, even though all the Navies in the world used it.  The ISEA was going to design their own.  The SES asked how long were they going to take, seeing as the MK 75 gun had been in the U.S.Navy for 20 years!  He then said: I want an op eval of the Otto Melero unloading tray and I want Master Chief Dolence to run it.  I had been retired for a long time, but that did not concern the Admiral.  I replied to the Admiral (SES);  I need to remind you Admiral, that I am not a MK 75 Gunner's Mate.   He turned to me, with fire in his eyes and yelled; "You are now, asshole!"

The op eval went well and we proved the OEM unload tray was good and needed to be used in our guns.  That action saved some Navy ships from shooting themselves and probably saved some lives.

I ran the communications for the recovery of the USS Cole from Bahrain.  I got involved in the recovery when I found out that FTSCLANT was tasked with the recovery and it was being planned by a bunch of pump kickers!!  There was not ONE person with a weapons background in the meetings planning the team for the recovery.  I found out that there was a SECRET meeting being held on Saturday morning.  I showed up for the meeting, uninvited, and unwanted.  And I proceeded to ask these pimp kickers and engineers how they planned to provide sprinkler services for the VLS magazines, and the gun magazine. How did they plan to keep dry air in the SPY1 radar wave guides.  How were they going to disarm the CIWS, HARPOON, how were they going to deal with the small arms, pyro lockers, and other ordnance related questions.  Well, they were caught flat footed to say the least.  And, I was added to the team.  I was later replaced by a VLS Gunner's Mate with a "Test Card", a good choice.  As a consolation prize, I got to run the comms from Norfolk and write the CNO's daily SITREP on the USS Cole recovery.  I also got to attend the daily meeting with SURFLANT, Fleet, PMS 400 and some other high priced talent.   One day, during the meeting, SUPSHIP Pascagoula was telling us how deep they planned to dredge the harbor to permit the heavy lift ship to unload the USS Cole.  SUPSHIP's plan was way short of the requirements of the Heavy Lift ship's Master.  I knew how deep he needed the Harbor because I had just talked to him.  SUPSHIP changed their plan and we had no delays.

Another issue with the USS Cole recovery was the disposition of the Crews possessions.  They had been ordered to fly home from Bahrain by the CNO himself.  They left their personal gear in their lockers, their spaces.  There were female sailors, lockers of the diseased and wounded.  This civilian from the Ship Yard in Pascagoula told us he was going to unload the crew's gear as soon as the ship got to Pascagoula.  I told him they were NOT going to do that!  He asked, just who did I think I was.  I told him he would not touch their gear.  The Navy has a documented way of handling the personal gear of the living and the dead and I was NOT going to have some greasy palmed,ape, pawing through the locker of one of MY sailors.  After the phone call, the Captain from PMS 400 in D.C. looked at me and asked;  "What are you going to do, Master Chief"?  I said, watch, and I called the Force Master Chief at SURFLANT and identified myself as one of his predecessor.  He appreciated the insight and told me he would take care of it.  He did!  The Commanding Officer of the USS Cole thanked me for what I did.  We did what was right for those Sailors.

Yes, I had an interesting career.  As a Sailor, I was successful, far younger that anyone before me.  That was great but a liability too.  I made Master Chief in just over 14 years!  I was a semi finalist for MCPON when Duanne Bushey was selected.  I had a great career.  As a civilian, I was a thorn in some peoples side and a blessing to others.  But, I did what I thought was right every time.  Yes, I could be political and play the game.  I could also call the kettle black, throw the BS flag,  and tell people, regardless of their rank or position, if they were wrong.  Remember the MCM repair trip?  I was writing a daily brief report and sending it to my Commander (O-5) back in Norfolk.  It was brutally honest, un-political, and named names.  I found out after I returned that the 4 Star Admiral in charge of Atlantic Fleet was reading my emails every day!  He got the unvarnished truth of what I saw and did.

Now, All I have is my memories and I write this blog to share them with you.  

History is the best teacher

In the late 1980's, Iran and Iraq had a protracted war.  The United States got dragged into the war when the Iranians mined the Straights of Hormuz.  Sound familiar?  It should, Iran is again threatening to close this narrow neck of the funnel that 60% of the available world's oil flows through.  This action would devastate the free world's economy.  With Europe on the brink of failure and the U.S. economy just barely breathing, driving the cost of a barrel of oil above $200 would be the final straw!  And the militant Islamists in Iran know it!

During the Iran/Iraq war, the Iranian's used World War Two Soviet mines to severely limit shipping in the Straights of Hormuz.  The U.S. sent in our antiquated Mine Sweeper Fleet and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams to clear the mines.  A number of Oil Tankers were hit by mines, resulting in international ships being temporarily flagged as U.S. ships and having U.S. Coast Guard Officers on the bridge of these ships as they transited the Straights.  Also, a U.S. Navy Cruiser, FFG, and LPH were damaged by mines.

Today, Iran has much better equipment, ordnance, and planning.  I fear the closing of the Straights will not be as easy and quick to undo.  And I believe the cost in ships, oil, and men, will be much higher.  Only time will tell.  Stand by!


PS..  Someone sent me a question about my tenure as Force Master Chief at SURFLANT.  I relieved BMCM George Ingram.  BMCM Cal Reynolds relieved me.  GSCM Jerry Danforth and I were stationed together as detailers at NMPC in the early 1980's.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Close the Straights of Hormuz?

The news is like a page of history.  It is like Yogi Berra said; "It's like dejavue, all over again!!" The Islamist extremist Leadership in Iran said they were going to close the Straights of Hormuz as a military exercise.  The also said they would make the world less sable by stopping the oil flow out of the gulf.  This was the issue when Jimmy Carter was the President.  Now we have Jimmy Carter II and Iran is threatening the same thing.  However, there is one very important difference.  Iran now has the weapons and military to carry out their threat.  Who is at fault for that?  China, The Soviet Union, (I refuse to call them Russia) and the United States!  Yes, Us!!  We idly sat by and watched China and The Soviet Union build up the Iranian military.  Iran has Foxtrot class Soviet subs, surface ships that shoot cruise missiles, surface to air missiles, and most likely, an atomic weapon.  At the same time, our military has fought a ten year, two front war, in a region that precludes victory.  We have cut our Navy by 60%, and we have stopped out technological development in weapon systems.  We have a aluminum foil navy in the Persian Gulf, manned with sailors that are not trained to fight and won't pull the trigger first for fear they will be disciplined and a commander in chief (lower case on purpose) who thinks all of Islam is our friends and we should, or must emulate them.

We are truly up the proverbial creek without a paddle!   And our canoe will surely take on water if we do not change direction.  As I wrote yesterday, sitting around, waiting for the enemy to hit us first is a catastrophe waiting to happen.  Why, because that hit may be so devastating that we cannot get off the floor to hit back.  Mark my words, our leadership is leading us down the path of destruction.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Waiting to get hit is NEVER a good idea!

The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, 70 years ago, should have taught us something.  Or, if you have been involved in a fight with someone, you should also have learned this lesson.  Waiting to get hit is NEVER a good idea.  It may look good in the movies, and it may play well in a book, but trust me, a fight is never fair.  You don't win by following the Marques De Queensbury  rules.  You win by fighting dirty.  Throwing dirt in your opponents eyes, a knee to the groin, a 2X4 over the head, anything to make that person not want to fight anymore.  Japan tried to do that to us when they launched a "sucker punch" attack, without warning, early in the morning, on a Sunday!  It had us on our heals for a while, but since Japan could not finish us off, we beat them on points!  Well, that and two atom bombs.  But, those bombs were cheating!  They did not have them, but we did, and we used them.  Those bombs equated to you hitting your opponent with a lead pipe!  It worked!  Patton said'  You don't win a war by dieing for your country, you win by making the other dumb, son of a b#@*h die for his country.    When you are fighting for your very existence, you use everything you can to win, to survive.

Now, look at the reports of today, Iran downing our Top Secret Drone, using possible jamming or electronic disrupting weapons.  Iran has become the Soviet Unions test ground for weapons technology.  Much like Israel was for us until this President.  But, if Iran has this technology, then ever thing that flies in the Persian Gulf is in danger of NOT FLYING!  Not to mention what it may be able to do to our electronic ships.

So, what do we do?  Well, first of all, I am not sure if this is the first punch or just more posturing.   But I am sure the folks in the Pentagon know.  But, much like the little fat kid on the play ground, we may choose to let the bully hit us for a while, and hope someone stops the beating before we are seriously hurt.  Trust me, in the world, we don't have any such friends.  So, in my opinion, it may be time to pick up that lear pipe and hit our enemy, before we get hit again!

Again, let history be your teacher.  History and your own experiences in life.  I still believe, waiting to get hit is NEVER a good idea!

PS...  When I was the FTSCLANT rep at SURFLANT, what seems like a long time ago, a ship reported that all the clocks, and all of the individual wrist watches stopped for the exact amount of time!  That ship was deployed somewhere in the world when this happened.  Now think about what I said.  Think about how hard it was for the Commanding Officer of that ship to officially report that happening!!  That CO knew he ws reporting something most of his seniors would consider fantasy or a lie.  As it was, the report was ignored.  But I brought up the idea of electronic impulse or jamming weapons then.  Of course, I was laughed at.  Maybe someone should dust that report off and look again.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Smokeless and Flashless powder

Last night, I was looking on the Internet for a lawn ornament for our new home.  I would like a 16" projectile for either side of my driveway.  I figure, that's something most folks would not have and it would make my place stand out!  That got me to thinking, before I went to sleep, about Smokeless and Flashless Gun Powder.  Today, all Naval Guns use Universal Powder.  But when on my first ship, the USS Mullinnix (DD 944), we had the two types of powder.  Smokeless Powder was used in the day time, because it had a bright flash, but little smoke to give the ship's position away,  Flashless Powder was used at night, because it gave off tons of smoke, but little flash.  That hid the ship's position at night.  Now, you have to remember that these two powder mixtures date back to before World War Two.  Now, with modern radars, sighting ships by lookout is passe.   We can see a ship on radar, miles before a lookout can spot a ship.  So, Universal Powder came into existence.  Some smoke, some flash, all the time.

But, I remember when, on the Mighty Mux, we were shooting Naval Gun Fire Support training, at night, and the Loader Crew loaded some Smokeless Powder in the loader drums.  Now all the powder was Smokeless, just a few rounds, enough to "Blind" the Bridge personnel.   Boy was the Captain angry!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

GMG1 Red Mills

In 1970, I attended MK 42 "C" School at THE Gun School!  That's the way the pro football players do it and I always wanted to highlight where I got my education; "THE Gun School"  Cool!!

In any case, there were many good Gunner's Mates at Gun school at that time.  Many who made Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief.  Many I have written about in this Blog.  But today, I thought of Red Mills when I was getting a cup of coffee.  In Gun School, we sat at two man tables.  We all had coffee cups, most has ash trays.  Our tech manuals were on the tables and our notebooks.   Red was an avid coffee drinker.  He would come into the classroom in the morning, make a bee line for his desk, grab his coffee cup without stopping and head for the coffee mess on the carrier deck of the MK 42 Mod 7 training stand.  We decided we would pull a trick on Red, who was also our Class Leader.  One Friday afternoon, as we were doing field day on the classroom, we decided to RTV his coffee cup to the table top.  On Monday morning, we were all in the classroom early, Ted came into the classroom, made a bee line to his table, grabbed his coffee cup while still in motion, and came to an abrupt STOP!!  The table tried t follow him, but he stopped when he felt the resistance.  We all burst into laughter!  It was truly funny!

I also remember when we came back from Christmas leave, Red had left some coffee in his cup, and over two weeks of fermenting, he had a pretty good science experiment growing in his coffee cup.  He picked up his cup, looked at the fuzzy green stuff growing on top of the left over coffee, and drank it down!!  Coffee is coffee.

RE was an ASROC Gunner's Mate who changed over to gun mounts and went to MK 42 "C" school.  He went to the USS Benjamin Stoddard, a DDG, and deployed to WESTPAC, and the gun line off the coast of Viet Nam to provide Naval Gun Fire Support to the ground troops.  He had very little gun mount experience and that lack of experience lead to his death.   He experienced a Foul Bore with a HOT GUN in Mount 51.   During the process of the Foul Bore, he decided the problem was with the firing lock, (firing pin assembly).  He removed the firing lock, leaving a 2.5 inch hole in the breech block.  Just as Red removed the firing lock, the gun cooked off!!  It killed Red, the young GMGSN in the carrier room, and Master Chief Gunner's Mate Hass who was standing behind the gun mount.  The soft patch on the back of the gun, the place where the Gunnar Radar Equipment was mounted in the old days, smashed the Masted Chief between the soft patch and the superstructure of the ship.

That was 1971.  I still miss Red Mills and all the guys I went to "C" school with.  Those were very good days.