Ropeyarn Sunday “Sea Stories” and Open Trackbacks

July 11th, 2007 by xformed

Open trackbacks…well, maybe one day…but in the meantime:

This “sea story” is not my own, but I heard it personally from HM2 Tom McKenney, USN. Now, it being a “sea story,” one always must consider the probability (not just the possibility) of the actual truth of the matter being, well, somewhat “different” from the verbally related tale of the sea:Tom was a crew member onboard the USS PROTEUS (AS-19) in the late 60s, while she was homeported at Naval Station, Guam in Apra Harbor. No, I was not wearing a uniform at the time, but, he was dating my older sister, so he was around a lot.

Anyhow, the PROTEUS generally remained moored med style to well out in the harbor, so she could service two submarines at her side. Sometimes (and it was very occasionally), the ship got underway, transited out of the harbor and steamed about the local ocean areas, so as to show sailors knew the way of the seas.Now to the meat of the story: Tom says one day, while the ship is at sea, hears over the 1MC “Navigator to the Bridge!” Ok, not necessarily a big deal…but a little bit later: “OPS Boss to the Bridge!” Interest level is climbing. Next: “XO to the Bridge!” and then “Captain to the Bridge!”

Just a little bit of khaki overload for a peace time (for them) steaming near your homeport on local ops….

The kicker, subject to historical scrutiny, was the general announcement: “Would anyone who knows where the **** we are report to the Bridge!” Ah, therein lies the rest of the story. Yes, the Bridge watch team had lost track of where they were. Back in those days, GPS wasn’t a twinkle in some engineer’s eye yet. LORAN was electronic navigation, and, I’m not sure, they maybe had Omega, too. Other than that, the tools of the trade were the sextant, a chronometer and someone who could punch the pubs and do math, as well as manage to keep a DR track of the ship’s movement. Oh, and add that the skills required to do this do require a modicum of routine exercise for proficiency’s sake.

So Tom tells me one of the enlisted men showed up on the Bridge, went out on the Bridge Wing and surveyed the horizon. He pointed and said “Over there.” The leadership took that course, as was pointed out, towards a cloud, one of many in the sky, and, after some expenditure of fuel, found the tropical island home called “Home.” Asked later how this man discerned the location so urgently sought by the operational chain of command, he was said to reply: “I just looked for the biggest, darkest rain cloud.”

Some would call it “seaman’s eye,” but I’m sure the CO called it salvation…

If you’re interested, some great history for USS PROTEUS (AS-19) can be found at Tender Tales.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 at 12:01 pm and is filed under "Sea Stories", History, Military, Military History, Navy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 response about “Ropeyarn Sunday “Sea Stories” and Open Trackbacks”

  1. jon spencer said:

    A lot more than two sub’s could be out-board at one time.
    My own (getting old) memory is of at least 5 at one time.
    Two or three boomers and others.
    This was from the early 70’s when SRF Guam was busy and we on the harbor tugs were always moving stuff around the inner and outer harbors.
    It was also said that the Proteus would have a hard time moving.
    With all of those coffee cups under her keel.
    Someone here should find a picture of a boomer testing the missle ejections system while moored alongside.

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