Lee Powell

I was on the Preble in 1962 as a seaman fresh out of Missile Technician school in Dam Neck, VA. They put me in X division while they waited for my clearance. Standing watch as the starboard lookout was one of my duties. I was new and fired up. We were cruising off of Baja, CA in a heavy fog. I reported a foghorn dead ahead. The Capt. and a LT came out to my post and listened for the foghorn. It turns out it was the wind across the barrel of the 5 inch gun when we went down in deep swells. The LT made some remark about my inexperience, but the Capt. said " son, if you don't know what it is, you report it." Shortly thereafter I reported an orange light off our starboard beam. The Capt. and the LT returned to my lookout and studied the area I indicated. They figured it was another rookie mistake, but an opening in the fog revealed a small craft with a fire on top of its cabin. They stopped the ship and sent a whaleboat out to investigate. The craft was on a test run out of a harbor in Southern CA and had been lost for several days. It contained the director and producer of the "Ensign O'Toole" TV show. The Capt. brought them up to my lookout position and introduced them to the guy who spotted them. One guy shook my hand and the other one hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. They took the Capt. and I to Hollywood and we got to meet a lot of stars plus the cast of the Ensign O'Toole show. We went to lunch with Dean Jones (Ensign O'Toole), they took up a collection for me ($70), and mentioned the Preble on one of their Shows. 

The other thing I remember about the Preble was not so funny. We were smoking on the fantail and watching a big airliner in the sky. The ship outboard of us (Coontz? I think) was running DSOT tests. We saw the missile radar start tracking the airliner and they ran out a live missile instead of the "Pretty Bird" used for testing. We made a pretty sight with five of us trying to fit through the hatch at once. They did not fire for some reason and the next day they roped off the fantail and had all kind of civilians crossed over to see what caused the mishap.

Frank Mathias

The Preble went into dry dock in 1979 for a much needed overhaul.  We were sent to dry dock at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.  EVERYONE was excited because we got to leave the ship and live in rooms which we shared with two, three, and sometimes four people.  I was put in charge of the spray team because no one wanted to work nights.  Most Division leaders liked our work because we could mix colors making their berthing areas pretty.  I had weekends off most of the time and nobody bother me at all.  It was hard work carrying spray units down to the bottom of the ship and the fumes were terrible.  I had many letters of praise put in my service record, however, I was eighteen years old and always trying to beat the system so no matter how good my work was, I always seemed to shoot myself in the foot.  On Friday nights we all liked to party.  We had beer machines everywhere.  You could not even go to the Laundromat with out getting drunk.  There were many package stores on base to buy good beer, and a First Division favorite, Jack Daniels.  It made us crazy sometimes.  The Master-at-arms, the Chiefs, and a few Officers had been inspecting the barracks during the week.  We would party all night Friday because we did not have duty on Saturday so we could sleep in.  One Saturday, the chiefs called a surprise barracks inspection at 0800 hours.  They knocked on everyone's door and woke everyone up.  Most were hung over.  Some of were standing outside in skivvies, no shoes, shirts, eyes shut and not ready for inspection.  At the barracks we had three floors of rooms. First Division was on the bottom floor.  Some were on the second floor.  Most of the BT's and MM's were on the top floor.  Everyone wanted to be with their own Division.  During this inspection, many people were still passed out and did not wake up.  The Chiefs started shaking them and many became wild and started throwing furniture, and yelling at the inspection team.  On the ground were mixed messes of furniture, clothes, papers, blankets and sheets.  Almost everyone failed inspection and some were even put on report.  The Master-at-arms order the mess to be cleaned up, but as far as I could tell everyone went back to sleep.  Later that Saturday, many people were still buzzing about the morning inspection.  As night came we had an animal house party.  A group of us went down to  gather up the mess and put it in a pile and went back to our rooms.  Suddenly we heard cheering and clapping outside.  We went outside to see what was going on.  Someone had lit the pile of stuff on fire.  I saw  many people throwing paper on the fire.  By the time the OOD had seen it, the flames were pretty high.  He called the Fire Dept, to put it out.  Some people were caught by the OOD and went to Captain's Mast.  They wanted us kicked out of the barracks.  I think our Captain assured the Base Commander that he would fix the problem.  He told us we better act as good sailors from now or we would  be very sorry.  I think he meant it.  They watched us closely and there were no more surprise inspections.  I would like to thank the Christians on the Preble for praying for me when I was lost in satin's grip.  I was lost for a period of time. I found out that Christ never stopped loving me and that all my success comes from him, also ALL things are possible.

Frank Mathias #2

I remember a song that was called "Those Were The Days". What a great time in our life! To be that young again and to go back. Wow! If I only knew then what I know now. I played soccer for the Preble soccer team from 78-80. I played fullback on the 1979 team that never lost. At least I don't think we did. We played all other ships in a league style format. We not only beat these teams but destroyed them. After beating the navy ship teams, we took on the world's fleet. The ships that visited Pearl Harbor all had great teams. In other parts of the world soccer is the only game played, so we became ambassadors of the game for the Navy. We played friendly's, if that's what you wanted to call it. We had a couple ties that we should have won but in the spirit of good sportsmanship we backed down at least that's the way I looked at it. We beat Chile, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand. We tied Canada and others. The Marines team was no match for us. The air force team should have stayed at barbers point. It was a season to remember!! I don't remember all of the team, but I remember John Dressolars in goal and Mark Van Curran played mid field. I played left side fullback and some stopper in the diamond style defense that we used. We shut a lot of teams out that we played, and I took some pride in that. But we were this good for two major reasons; the first was we played as a team better then all of our opponents. We only had a hand full of subs and they were used perfectly. But I am not foolish enough to think that they did not have better players. The best leader, the player coach, was a LT. We called him Keenan off the ship. He was a teacher for those of us that needed that, like me because I played pickup games for fun and had to learn the tactics of the game. He not only taught me soccer for this team but he also prepared me to play club soccer in adult leagues. I later formed my own soccer club that was a power house for youth teams and adults. So when I coached I taught the game by the same attacking style he used. I took what Keenan taught me and was very successful with it. The front line was lead by Louie Vargas and Keenan, also a guy who was in supply division, maybe an MS, his name I can't remember, controlled the game with great ball control but with an attacking style that broke down all defenses. Keenan was our leader in coaching and on the field. He played at the Naval Academy as I remember it. The blond haired guy in supply whose name I can't remember played semi-pro ball with Louie and I and sometimes Keenan. It was the best team and shall be in my heart forever. For me, just eighteen years old, I learned how to play soccer and grow up as a man. It was truly a season to remember!

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