Happy Birthday, UNITED STATES NAVY!

October 13th, 2007 by xformed

Oct 13th, 1775 is a long time ago for our nation, but a short journey relative to the historical reach of many other nations. The difference? The US Navy burst onto the scene at the outset of out independence, and within a few short decades, demonstrated mastery of the ocean and navy combat. And, we’ve come a long way, baby!

Today, I’ll recount a memory of 19 years ago related to the Navy’s birthday. Dates: 10/4 – 10/10/1988 Place: Tampa, Fl. Unit: USS CARR (FFG-52). Mission: Visit Ship for the city, as requested by the Navy League Chapter.

This is the other side of a like story told by Bookie in her post about a tour of the USS SHOUP (DDG-86) this very week.

RADM Leroy Collins, USN (ret) and CAPT Bruce McDaniel, USN (Ret) were the most prominent players is getting their request fulfilled. CARR sailed from Charleston, SC on 10/1, and arrived early on the morning of the 4th at the Skyway Bridge for the long transit to Harbor Island pier in downtown Tampa. On the way in, the HMS Active, which had just spent the week in the same place, was departing. Honors were rendered between ships per naval custom.

The transit in was long, but it was the end that was most interesting. In order to get alongside the pier, we had arrived with most of our JP-5 (aviation grade fuel) pumped from the tanks, which were aft, under the helo flight deck. This caused us to be slightly down by the bow for trim, but also enabled us to get over the shallow sand bars just before the pier. We shut down our engines, and were towed stern first to the pier in the final moments of the arrival. At low tide, we would be almost on the bottom.

USS CARR (FFG-52) at Harbor Island, Tampa, FL
Finally moored, in front of a large crowd of people, we prepared to receive our guests for the week.
USS CARR (FFG-52) at Harbor Island, Tampa, FL
According to the Ship’s history report, 170 people visited the ship on the 4th (a Tuesday), with daily visitors peaking at about 2000, and a total of over 700 visitors for the 6 day period. The Ship’s first Commanding Officer, CAPT Robert Horne, and his wife were there to meet the ship, as he was now stationed at Central Command at MacDill AFB.The inside story? The crew complained about having to take on the extra duty of being tour guides about the ship. Each day, most of the crew was either in the duty section, or dressed in their whites and stationed around the ship until late afternoon. The funny thing after the first day of visit ship? They were scrambling to get their whites cleaned and fighting to get assigned to help escort tour groups. It seems quite a number of phone numbers were passed to those who grudgingly went about their assignments, not realizing the opportunity at first… We were treated well.Our quarterdeck phone number was published and the city was invited to show their thanks to our crew. The line was constantly busy with offers to take a few sailors out for golf, fishing, BBQs, tours around Tampa, etc. The yellow sticky notes were posted on the weapons elevator doors in the centerline passageway by the phone watch. I can attest to the fact that you cold hardly see any exposed metal of the doors very quickly. For the sailors, there were so many great requests, they really could pick and choose from the top tier offers.

I was humbled that so many people would stand in the Florida sun in line for hours, just to walk around our ship. The sun, thankfully and unthankfully, was unhindered by clouds for most of our visit, yet they still waited patiently for the opportunity to see what their tax dollars had purchased and to meet and show gratitude to the sailors.

The week in Tampa was filled with activities. The Navy League had a formal Navy Ball, with us as the honored guests. They also hosted a wardroom party at a club on the top floor of one of the skyscrapers downtown, which was a combination Hail and Farewell for then LCDR Tom Brown (the outgoing XO) and I.

This thank you is long overdue, but thank you Tampa, FL from one of the crew members of USS CARR (FFG-52) for your hospitality in 1988. We departed Tampa, for the transit home on the 10th with a happy crew, much more open to future assignments to “Visit Ship” escort duty assignment.

The pictures? Well not the best, and located at a relative’s house these many years later. I was pretty busy, being involved in becoming both XO and Navigator, so there was no time to snap any pictures. If you note in the first picture, the skyline of Tampa, has changed radically since 1988. The club where the party was held is the tallest building in the background of the first picture.

Tracked back @: http://steeljawscribe.com/2007/10/13/open-trackback-saturday-6/trackback/

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2007 at 10:36 am and is filed under History, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 responses about “Happy Birthday, UNITED STATES NAVY!”

  1. SHEREE said:

    I recieved a coin from my grandfather shortly after my dad died july 20, 2008, he was a navy vet, my grandfather said he recieved it in the mail but was sketchy on any other details, I wish someone could explain to me what it is and what it means, It is Gold, the size of a silver dollar on one size it has an eagle that says FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE and the other side has the navy symbol with the eagles wings spread his talons holding leaf of some sort and arrows in the other I think and it says UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VETERANS………My grandfather seems to think this is valuable and told me to keep it safe and as I say he told me some sketchy story he heard about on the radio I didn’t understand, he is 88 and his mind is going…..Can anyone tell me Anything about this coin please?
    Sincerely, Sheree Stoothoff

  2. Silver Creek Golf Course said:

    I found your blog via Google while searching for silver creek golf course, thank you for posting irthday, UNITED STATES NAVY! | Chaotic Synaptic Activity!

  3. RIP: RDML Leroy Collins, Jr, USNR(Ret) - - It's not random, it's CHAOS! said:

    […] which ADM Collins was one of the major voices, had asked for a ship visit for Navy week.  In 2007, I chronicled that meeting, as well as with CAPT Bruce McDaniels, USN […]

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