One of the weirder things that ever happened aboard the PREBLE occurred Christmas Eve 1966 in the Gulf of Tonkin. PREBLE was stationed in the Northern gulf (107 long/20 lat) when we started tracking a very slow moving plane coming out of North Vietnam and moving down the coast. We and other ships tracked this thing for hours. It was barely moving. I worked with a guy about 25 years ago who remembers this incident. He was an RD stationed on the USS Long Beach. They were stationed about 20 miles south of us. To make a long story short, some planes were sent to investigate and reported seeing a Piper Cub type aircraft. It was heading in the general direction of the USS Long Beach. I very distinctly remember that this plane was shot down since I was in CIC at the time.
Another incident was pretty funny. That was when we were in the Philippines and some repairs had been done to the 3" guns. Some kind of mistake was made and the particular gun they were using at a practice shoot was able to train over a wider arc than normal. Due to this, they put a round through the Captain's Gig (which was hanging in davits close to the gun.) It destroyed the Gig which was mostly shredded fiberglass after the impact.
"A Plank Owners Cruise" by Bruce Ruckman
You know how fwd engine was Main Control. And being Main Control, the EOOW most often didn't think he had to tell anyone what was going on in 1 engine. They'd shift condensate pumps constantly and screw us up.
One time a Boot Ensign was wandering around 1 Fire tracing systems. Bigger than s#!t, feed pressure alarms went off (I was cooling off in the console booth) and the water started going down in Bravo boiler. I pulled my ears on and hauled ass for the feed pumps.
We were plane guard for the USS America in the Persian Gulf, and they were doing turns to recover planes. We were steaming along at about 2/3 or full speed, and were just ahead of a Soviet destroyer that had been dogging us all day. If we lost the load now, them turds would be in our plane guard spot, and the CO would look like s#!t. And you know how s#!t rolls down hill.
Naturally all this was on my mind as I was racing for the low suction trips on 1A and 1C MFPs. Guess who was in the way in the center of the isle? Looking up into the overhead, no less.
I hollered at the top of my lungs; "Get out of the way!!!" and ran right at him. He gave me a look, like "How dare you talk to a Commissioned Officer that way!". I ran him over, went between the feed pumps and pulled up on the low pressure trips. They wouldn't stay up.
I looked over at the DFT, and I could see the water in the sight glass boiling, still flashing. The feed pumps were shaking, trying to get suction, but still trying to pump steam.
Now the Ensign was in my face yelling, but as I was picturing steam turbine blades flying all over the place at any second, his whining wasn't high on my list of priorities.
Finally one trip stayed up (figures it was on my standby feed pump), so I cranked it by hand up to 1300 PSI. I had to push the Ensign out of the way to get to the phone to holler at the FRS that one pump was on line in manual, then I went for the other one.
I got the second pump back on line in automatic, and went back to the first pump to put it back in standby. As I was working on this, I noticed the BTCS and the Chief Engineer plop down the ladder into the console booth. The Ensign was just getting there when the door slammed in his face (unintentionally, I'm sure they just didn't see him coming). I watched him as I throttled the pump down to 500 PSI, throw his drawings down, and storm into the console booth.
I checked the rest of the upper level, and seeing everything was back to normal, I stood in front of the DFT under the air vent to cool off (temp was 150 degrees in the feed pump area).
Well, BTCS Roddenberry came over to me and asked what happened. I told him, "Them idiots must've shifted condensate pumps without telling me again." "No, what happened with the Ensign you f*@&kin' rock?" I told him, and he went off to confer with the Chief Engineer (who's name escapes me now, and I can't find my cruise book at the moment (LCDR Peter CARR - Tom)). Up the ladder they went, and I never heard a word about it since.
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Copyright 1997-2016 Tom Bateman
This page was last updated on 01/03/05 .