Part of my Navy Diary on the Eaton
Tuesday 21 February 1967
Today Catron, Barber, Travis, Freeman and I worked frantically to finish the O-1 level so that the liberty section will be able to leave tomorrow. Tomorrow, being a National holiday. (I have duty)
This evening the boys were boxing and I was ragged into putting on the gloves with Hinds. I did a pretty good job protecting myself and landed quite a few half way decent blows. It was all in fun.
Nothing really happened exciting today.
A man went to his doctor with headaches and was prescribed to wear a hat. He returned to the Dr. after several weeks complaining of hearing music and the Dr. took his hatband out.
Wednesday 15 February 67
Left the ship at 0645 and took Freeman's car to Portsmouth Hospital. Didn't eat anything until I got back to the ship, boy was I hungry. Spent the whole day standing in lines, getting x-rays of my knee etc. The doctor said that he thinks I have Arthritis. Came back to the ship at 1730 and went with Freeman over to NOB to the Library and read some books on speedboats and Fishing.
Thursday 16 February 67
Today we, Freeman and I, scrubbed the decks in Sonar. There was oil everywhere from Weapon Alfa. This Afternoon we took all of the paint off of some of the show hogs on the Port mount and red leaded them. This evening I took a ride around the base with Conti in his new Corvette and got a cup of coffee at the self-service center. Today has been quite warm but this evening certainly did turn off cool. Tomorrow is supposed to start another cold spell.
Friday 17 February 67
Today I worked down in Sonar taking the paint off of a large piece of brass. I ate on the tender Shenandoah because our mess decks are being re-tiled. We had lobster tails and I really did enjoy them.
Tonight I played 500 Rummy with Travis STGN, Freeman STGN and CompherTM2. I played some slap games with Barber STG3 and called it a night.
Saturday 18 February 67
Worked on the handles to the HH firing boxes this morning and went to NOB to the flick this afternoon with Freeman and Travis. We saw Wild and Wonderful with Tony Curtis and an Alcoholic cat, messed around the Geedunk and then we saw Fantastic Voyage in the evening for the second time.
Sunday 19 February 67
Slept until 1030, played cards until five. Ate super at Little Italy and went to the flick. Saw a good movie called "Born Free" about a lion cub that was raised by a game warden and his wife in Kenya.
Monday 20 February 67
Today I worked on HH Shrouds in intermittent showers. I guess the day would have been a loss but Conigliaro got into bad favor with the leading PO Conti STG2 and the Chief, Blanford and Lt. JG Keen by telling the Capt. that some of the equipment was "down". He was trying to act big and important as usual and it backfired on him this time. Freeman, Travis and I laughed about it and I suppose everyone feels like he got what was coming to him. I think I fixed my hair clippers by cleaning the electromagnets in the case. Maybe I can make a little spare change by cutting hair for this inspection Fri. I have to get my blues cleaned and that will give me something to pay for them with.
Wednesday 22 February 67
Today I played 500 Rummy all day long.
We had cold cuts for dinner and some slop for supper.
Had a 2000 to 2400 watch and the weather was miserable, rain and a little snow.
I wasn't relieved until 0030 because my relief and the first super were at Three Inch school. I had to get Paterniti up and he wasn't too happy.
Thursday 23 February 67
I painted the HH on the port mount after a last minute whim of Mr. Keen's and unloaded a truck that came in at 1730. There were 311 cases of stores and only about 10 men carrying them. We had to tote them across the tender and the Stormes.
The rest of the crew heard about the working party and cleared out just before word was passed. I was caught with my pants down.
Friday 24 February 67
Finished cleaning up the 0-1 level for inspection and had personal inspection at 1300. Had Captains zone inspection at 1500 and I presented the BT wench and the fanfare on the fantail. Mr. (Commander) McKenzie inspected and said they looked excellent. Sonar spaces and UB plot got an outstanding and commander Wright, the XO, said that he wished that all the spaces on the ship looked that good. The Tube Shop got a very good.
I went to NOB at 1800 and saw Hemphill and played some pool and then went down to the strip. Had to walk back in 27-degree air.
Saturday 25 February 67
Skated all day except for one working party. We hauled in 6-gallon containers of milk. I slipped on the ladder from the tender and almost lost one.
Slept in Sonar this afternoon and stood color guard tonight. The temperature is going down to 5 degrees tonight. We don't have any hot water for showers.
I've got duty today and pulled a super. Had spaghetti for supper but l didn't get to eat much. I'm going to try to go to the self-service center and get something in a can.
The yard birds are still working on weapon Alfa.
Sunday 26 February 67
Today I had duty but no watch (if I'm lucky). Last night I was called out of my rack to stand the Mid because Nye wasn't here. The watch bill has been all messed up ever since Hogge took it over.
I watched two movies in UB Plot this afternoon, MAD MAD MAD MAD World and Boy, did I get the wrong Number. The first was best but I've seen them both before.
The air is warming up and most of the ice on the ship and lines is gone.
Monday 27 February 67
Sanded Hedgehogs and painted them for the Stbd. Mnt.
Went to NOB
Sanded HH and went to NOB
Wednesday 1 March 67
Worked on hedgehogs below because the temp was 30 degrees.
Went to NOB and got a steak and went to the flick. They now cost a quarter.
Saw 'Act One' a story about Moss Hart, Playwright. It was pretty good once it got started.
Thursday 2 March 67
Got underway for Springboard at 1500. I am in section 2 sonar with Conigliaro. Did not light off equipment so we set no watch. Water is real calm and we anchored between Virginia Beach and Norfolk about 8 miles out.
Saturday 4 March 67
The water is beautiful today, smooth as glass. The full power run scheduled for tonight was cancelled because of low fuel and substituted an economy run until we can refuel. I hope the water stays like this the rest of the cruise.
We spent most of the day cleaning out the cabinets and getting rid of miscellaneous gear but I still got a chance to work on some of the equipment. The ships store has no film for my camera.
I received Grand momís book "Sweetwater" and gave a copy to Mr. Keen for the Library. I really enjoyed reading it.
Sunday 5 March 67
I had the Mid-watch last night when we passed Ft. Pierce. Swept up some paint chippings on the O-1 level this morning and tightened some fuse holders in the transmitters. Slept this afternoon and stood the first dog. No contacts. I am going back to bed and get ready for the 0400 - 0800.
Monday 6 march 67
We calibrated HH's today and fired three rounds from each mount. Never did get them right. Had GQ after dinner and went to 1AS to chase an impact sub. We were doing the best we could on sonar but UB kept blanking our scope with Gertrude, talking for 53 min. out of the 3 hours. We shot two torpedoes, one only went about 20 yds. We missed with the HH's and the captain aborted about 7 or 8 attacks. All in all it was a pretty lousy day. Our BT drop was even flubbed up because Lt. Lemon demanded that we tie a piece of line around the Bt Cable and let the cable run out through it. I wish they would stay in the wardroom and tend to what they were taught and let us do what we were taught.
Went to bed early to get ready for Vieques tomorrow.
Tuesday 7 march 67
This morning we pulled into Vieques to drop off the landing party. I checked line 4, they smoked the amidships line. Currents and wind are bad.
We left the mosquito piers and anchored off of Vieques for I don't know what reason, it gave us a chance to work on the HH. They are being scraped and painted again. ?! After knock off ships work I got my shark rig out and got a grunt that had been caught and immediately lost a leader to the bottom. I tried again and about 2200 lost another one so I quit. They're all laughing about my fishing.
Somebody said we were 1510 mi. from Norfolk. I don't know. Never been here before.
Wednesday 8 march 67
Anchored off of Vieques last night and this morning, went to Mosquito piers to pick up landing party but a ship was already there. We had to anchor and wait for them to leave. We finally got to the piers and I heard that they parted the midship line. We picked up the landing party and boy did they look beat. They had been running around with the Marines all day long and were sunburned and winded. We on loaded 200 rounds of 3" and 5" projectiles for the gunshoot tomorrow, cleaned the moss off of the stbd side of the ship and left for the full power run.
Now we have commenced the trial and have already had casualties on the fire pumps. She's shaking and throbbing and really hauling it. The after-sea is way up over our heads and the ocean is really whizzing by. I don't know how fast we are going.
I have the 0400 to 0800 watch in the morning.
Carrier aground at Vieques
note : This is when that carrier ran aground about 30 frames and we all stood on main deck and watched her bellow smoke and try to get loose. Later we read in Norfolk that it was a big deal and court martials were in the offing. I don't know why I didn't write about it unless it just didn't seem to apply to us. What was the name of the Carrier? I've been looking all over the internet for some reference to the accident and can't find anything. I remember trying to take pictures of it but all I had was a brownie and all I got was a little black smoke on the horizon. I also vividly remember the wind and currents at the mosquito piers. We would approach on the down wind side and everybody would have to pull on the lines and pull the ship against the wind and current up to the pier. How in the world we were able to do it I don't know to this day. There were no tugs and the ships engines couldn't have been much help. I remember that the door to the after head was right behind line 5 and we were all trying to make sure we understood in what order we were going to go through the door if the line began to smoke. I remember a lot of steam and thinking that I needed to make sure I had a clear path but we never let go of the line.
(Travisí note to me in 2000 about the incident)
collided with the Nautilus, I can't remember the name either,however I do
remember talking to Bob Reim who had just come off fathometer duty telling me
that if the carrier keeps steaming in that area, it's going to run aground.
Thursday 9 March 1967
Pulled into San Juan after a full day of ASW and AA gunfire to pick up some Drones for target practice tomorrow.
The Sub today was fully evasive and really gave us a hard time but we stayed on it for the first run and missed the second and were on for all of the rest. Freeman says he is not very coordinated when it comes to operating the stack (looks ok to me) and he wants some more time to become proficient. My tracking has improved quite a bit and I don't feel bad at all about it. Some Target turns give me trouble though.
Friday 10 March 1967
Fired a drone from the O-1 level between 1 and 2 stacks this afternoon. They used JATO to get it off of the launcher and then the props took over. Boy, are those rascals fast. The operator took a couple of passes and then the engine quit and a parachute popped out to lower it to the water. The first recovery pass we made was a failure because the ship sucked the drone under it.
Came into San Juan at 1800 for Liberty and I went ashore. I saw a portrait artist who was pretty good. I also saw a nightgown that would look real good on Anu. Had a drink and came back to the ship.
Saturday 11 march 1967
Had duty today worked on Port HH mount until 1000 then working party till 1400 (no chow), HH's till 1600 then watch until 0000 and then I went next door to the USS Sampson to visit Galanti, a student at Sonar school with me. He showed me their ship and I showed him mine. They had 23B with a 114 system and the ship is fabulous, of course it is only 4 years old.
Sunday 12 March 1967
Went ashore to New San Juan today and walked all morning long. I guess I am learning my way around the main streets anyway. I went to a flick this afternoon and saw a double header. One called The Quiller Incident (I didn't like it.), The other called "one Million Years B.C. There were no words spoken in the whole film, I guess the acting must have been OK to pull it off.
A car-load of native teenagers drove real close to the curb and one leaned out of the window and hit me on the arm but it didn't hurt.
I went to the A-Hoy Dere and had a few drinks and then came back to the ship
Monday 13 March 1967
Left the pier this morning at 0500 and went out into the OPS area for ASW and Gunnery shoots. Sonar is doing a lot better in tracking and we are doing a little work on the equipment because of a lot of complaining. Travis, Freeman and I have been asking Conti to let us do something other than chip Hedge Hogs and I guess he has decided to let us. Conigliaro would rather that we scrub decks than learn the equipment.
Flew Drones today and the whole Sonar gang spent the afternoon up on the flying bridge watching. It was a lot of fun and a great break from being down below decks in the sonar spaces. We spent all morning working on the equipment calibrating the receivers. This evening we pulled into San Juan to offload the Drone team and its two remaining drones. (the others were shot down or lost) We are going to stay at the Pier but there will be no liberty tonight.
The best meal of the day was hot dogs for supper.
Today we were at General Quarters for Gunnery exercises and shore bombardment from 0700 till 1700. Down in sonar we cleaned up, painted the deck with zinc chromate and Freeman and I ran a calibration PMS on the Sonar. I enjoyed that.
Tonight Weapon Alfa was supposed to test fire but lost a firing circuit. We are going to GQ again in about an hour, 1900, for shore illumination and I have a Mid watch. We are refueling at 0400 in the morning and high lining at 0800 tomorrow morning. There will be no sleep for me tonight.
My knee has bothered me this whole cruise but today it was almost unbearable.
Well, there was no sleep last night but I did get two 5" 38 cal. casings from mount 51. I cut them off at 6" to make ashtrays out of them and am going to send them to Anu so that she can have something unusual in her house. I understand that a casing cost about 56 dollars empty.
We had SSW this afternoon and didn't do too well. The USS Cony constantly pinged on us and messed up our attacks. The weapon Alpha missed by 300 yds, I'm told, but the H/H's hit. I heard that the torpedoman fired 2 torpedoes with screw guards still on them. They didn't go anywhere, needless to say. One had its screws all torn up and Hinds was in the water recovering it when a shark showed up.
He already had it hooked up so they took him out and that ended that excitement. I am going to sleep hard tonight.
Travis makes this note:
Chuck Nye and Bill Dobbins were the torpedomen that fired the torps
Friday 17 March 1967
This morning after my 0400 to 0800 watch we had a high-line with the USS Cony DD508. It is a Fletcher class 2100 can also and looked like a mirrored reflection of us.
The water was glass smooth and I wish it had stayed that way but after the Hi-line we ran through a rainsquall and the water got rough as a cob. The Bow has headed toward the bottom more than once.
After dinner we attempted an emergency hi-line with the Cony for A.B. Smith, because he was in great pain from kidney stones, but the hi-line was aborted because of rough seas. We tried and the ships were 50-30 Yards apart and both were pitching and rolling. Scary!
I had the 6-8 watch tonight but it was 3 hours long because we set the clocks back an hour.
I got sick for about 5 minutes just long enough to lose my supper and now I'm hungry again.
Saturday 18 March 1967
This morning was smooth as yesterday morning, but after hi-lining 16 men from the Cony (I don't know why) we ran into some very rough weather. We went to inspect a contact made by the USS Richard Byrd but it turned out to be a school of whales.
The fore and aft traffic has been restricted to the O-1 level because the main decks are almost always continuously underwater. Barber, Conti and I spent some time on the flying bridge taking pictures of the bow as it dived through the waves and about every fifth wave splashed all the way up onto the flying bridge. There were times when the bow and the stern were out of the water at the same time. We were soaking wet and cold when we finally came down. The winds are 28 mph with gusts up to 50 and they really have the ocean churned to a white froth.
The Cony has ruptured a bulkhead in her mess decks and is holding the unit back at 10 knots. She is following in our wake because it is smoother and I think that she is going to go into Mayport.
Arrive in Norfolk tomorrow.
Sunday 19 March 1967
Today we arrived in Norfolk and it certainly was cold. We unloaded all of the torpedoes in preparation for dry dock.
Monday 20 March 1967
This morning we lifted our lines from the pier and went to anchor in the middle of the bay to offload all bomb type ammo. I was unloading weapon Alpha and the crane operator sure was good. He dropped the hook through a six-inch opening and we all cheered. He got a big kick out of that. We finished unloading ammo about 2000 and went to the pier to load stores finishing about 2200 then we had sea detail at 0300 and went back to bed about 0430. Now we are on our way to Baltimore. I sure am tired.
Tuesday 21 March 1967
This morning we left for Baltimore and the weather has been miserable. There have been cloudy skies, fog as thick as a brick wall, and drizzles. The air is almost cold enough to turn the rain to sleet and when we open the door to the compartment, steam forms and we have our own fog rolling amongst the racks. I had a watch on the fathometer located just outside the bridge on the starboard side and had nothing to sit on, and had to make way for passage to and from the bridge. It was a very uncomfortable watch. I called out depths under the ship at regular intervals and there was supposed to be someone on the bridge listening but I don't know who or if they were paying any attention. Anyway, we stayed in the channel.
We arrived in Baltimore at the Bethlehem Steel Yards and put the ship in Dry Dock #5. It is a small dry dock and rather dirty. We hit the Port screw and bent it on the way in and when the ship settled to the bottom the Rudder hit.
We have some unexpected repairs to make now. I saw the Sonar transducer and it doesn't look quite like I thought it would. We haven't been able to use the heads since we got in and I am about to bust a gut. Barber and I went out on the Dock and walked around the ship twice tonight and drank six cups of hot chocolate.
Wed 22 march 67
Thursday 23 March 67
Went on liberty and got in touch with Juha. (brother-in-law) Went to Wash. D.C. and spent the night in a dinky hotel. Scared to death that someone would kill me and take all that I owned so I hid two $20 bills in the window sash and my wallet under the sheet. Put a chair against the door and slept with one eye open all night.
Sunday 26 March 1967
Went on a picnic to the Great Falls of the Potomac. Had a lot of fun. Juha is my kind of people. Had a roast for supper and it was raw. Juha and Nancy brought me back to the ship and we talked about the family. Tried to show Juha around the ship but he was in to big a hurry to get back to Nancy.
Monday 27 March 1967
Everybody had a good weekend and we all talked of our experiences.
Still in dry dock.
Worked on H/H's.
Barber and Conti were playing around tonight and Barber hit his head on the trainer. The Doc wanted to stitch it up but Barber wouldn't let him. It is a new corpsman and we don't know him yet.
Tue 28 March 1967
Still in dry dock and still working on H/H's.
Wednesday 29 March 1967
Went into Baltimore and saw my first burlesque show. I sure did laugh hard. Then I went to a little bar called Tuckers', went back to the ship and went straight to sleep.
Thursday 30 March 1967
Left Balt. for Norfolk and loaded ammo at York Town. Had a lot of trouble with the Weapon Alpha but finally got it all loaded.
Monday 3 April 1967
Went Mess cooking in Chiefs quarters. Travis, Freeman and I odd manned for it and I lost.
Tuesday 4 April
Went to Portsmouth Hospital. Dr. said I had a weak knee and was to exercise by doing Quads.
Wednesday 5 April 1967
Went to see Division Doctor, a Lt. Beagan and he disagreed with Doc. Adams and sent me back to the hospital. Chief Blandford went with me and talked to the Doctor.
Thursday 6 April 1967
Went back to hospital and was told by another doctor to continue Quads. He said that he did not advise any operation, I have to exercise every day the rest of my life and the knee will not get better but the pain may subside some. Jeez!
Friday 7 April 1967
Picked up 4 rolls of film of the last cruise and Dry Dock.
Saturday 8 April 1967
Nye got me up at 0400 instead of 0500 and I have been dead all day long.
Sunday 9 April 1967
Went to NOB with Travis just to get off of the Ship. We played in the Gedunk. Spent a lot of time on the pinball machines and shot some pool.
Ate some pizza
Monday 10 April
Hines stood by for Freeman over the weekend and accepted $15 for the duties. Then he went over the hill. Today he came back and I am waiting to see what happens.
I will be 3rd class on the 16th. The exam results came back and I passed and made 1st increment.
Tuesday 11 April 1967
Hines passed out at quarters this morning but all that could be found wrong was swollen tonsils.
The first night of the ship party was tonight and I got loaded. Had a lot of fun but the band was no good.
Conti got sick from beer tonight and he sure does vomit loud. Travis, Dobbins and a whole slew of others were sick too but they vomit rather quietly in comparison.
Thursday 13 April 1967
Relieved of Mess cooking by Hines.
Friday 14 April 1967
The Ship pulled out this morning and I was sent TAD to the Shenandoah awaiting admittance to the Hospital. (Operation Clove Hitch)
Saturday 15 April 1967
Last night I had $45.00 and the lighter that Anu gave to me stolen from compartment A202 on the
Shenandoah while I was asleep. They took the stuff out from underneath my mattress. Now I don't have any money and feel sick about losing the lighter.
This starts my experiences at the hospital so I will stop since you would probably not be interested in my experiences there with one exception, listed below.
Thursday 4 May 1967
Holcomb, a clerk out of supply on the Eaton, was killed in a head on collision on Tuasig (sic) Boulevard Tue. night. Clapper, SK1 is escorting the body home to Missouri. I saw him today at the Decedents desk and we had a long talk. Holcomb is going to Colorado.
Field day until 2000.
I guess that's all Lee and Mike. I really enjoyed the experience and the time the 3 of us spent together. Barber went with us sometimes, and Conti on occasion, but I remember that most every time I went off on a jaunt it was the three of us. I remember a lot of time playing pin ball and how we had figured out how to beat two of the machines by hanging the ball until we had accumulated enough points that we could play all day. That is, in between movies. We spent an inordinate amount of time in the movies at NOB. They were only 10 cents and it seemed the perfect place to be. I am amazed at my critiques of some of the flicks especially after I left the Eaton. Apparently I was easily entertained and my opinion of the "arts" was awfully "small town".
For example, I thought that A Million Years BC had terrific acting because they didn't speak a word in the whole flick. Today I find it hokey but still entertaining.
One my most memorable experiences took place in Barbados when we took that trek thru the residential area because we didn't want to spend the whole time on the strip like it looked like the rest of the crew was going to do. That was fun.
Bukowski, Conigliaro and Catron
I remember the softball game at the Sonar Station and the bus trip there. I almost signed up for Oceanography school because of that but came to my senses. Traveling on the left side of the street with houses just inches away still gives me the Willie's.
Seeing the Supremes at the newly built Holiday Inn Hotel was neat. I went over to their table with my brownie and ask to take a picture, which they allowed, but one had to hide her drink in case her mother saw it. I have lost that picture but still have the memory. I also have the memory of how expensive Coca Cola was. We would order a rum and Coke and they would fill the glass with Rum and top it off with some coke. I've never been so drunk in my life, or so sick.
We had a lot of fun both in Port and at Sea just goofing off. Fresh water wash-downs were a lot of fun because we would chase rainsqualls.
The coldest I've ever been in my life was in Norfolk in 1967. Ice was everywhere, on the lines and on the decks and ice cycles hung from the 0-1 level. There was no internal passageway so we had to go outside on the main deck and run to the after head for a shower. Flip Flops would make the trip hazardous so I ran bare foot in a bathrobe and carrying a towel. The trip back after a hot shower was even worse and I guess was likened to the Finns rolling in the snow after a trip to the Sauna.
I remember the ship getting crossed up at the D&S Piers. There were a lot of ships tied abreast, no Tug and very little room. The con tried to drive the ship under power to tie up to another ship and the wind got us and we got sideways at the end of the slip up against the parking lot. So we just tied up there.
I remember the little Flat top that was tied up next to the D&S piers awaiting scrapping. She was the Franklin I think. I have it written on a picture I took of her. She was a fixture the whole time I was in Norfolk.
I remember cutting hair in the sonar spaces frequently for 25 cents and 50 cents a head. I still have those same clippers. They put me through Georgia Military College, The University of Georgia and my stint in the Navy. 25 cents for Fox Division and 50 cents for anybody else. Lee used to help me clean up the hair afterwards and there was often quite a bit. Why everybody else didn't want to go to the ships barber, I don't know.
It was difficult leaving the Eaton. Portsmouth Naval Hospital was no fun. I was assigned to be a courier, delivering papers and medical records to all floors. The elevators were too slow and generally filled with patients so I was relegated to the stairs, which was not a good thing for someone with a bad leg. I wanted to stay in the Navy and the Doctors gave me a choice of Honorable Discharge or an operation fusing my knee. Duh-h--h
There were wounded from Viet Nam who were trying to get out and they wouldn't let them. I never understood the logic.
I've had a good time sharing this with you two and I guess, since there is nothing else it's time to say goodbye, so, goodbye.
Tom Cadenhead STG3