Jack Williams (FFG 24) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1986

Page 6 of 72


Jack Williams (FFG 24) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1986 Edition, Page 6
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JACK WILLIAMS REFLECTS The USS JACK WILLIAMS (FFG-24) under the command of CDR Edward F. Mann Jr., returned to Mayport last month after a highly successful Th- month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean. The Cruise proved to be an exciting and challenging one for the crew of the JACK WILLIAMS, which spent almost 75 percent of the deployment underway, including 31 and 42-day perio ds at sea within the first 2 ' /^ months. JACK WILLL^MS set sail from Mayport on Oct. 2, 1985 a day later than scheduled due to Hurricane Gloria. During an extensive initial at-sea period, various shipboard drills and underway replenish- ments were conducted, as well as participation in Fleet Exercise Display Determination ' 85 after joining the Sixth Fleet. The first port call for the JACK WILLL\MS was a 12-day stay in Haifa, Israel where 80 percent of the crew participated in a two day tour of the Holy Land. The biblical sights visited included Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, Capurnaum, the Jordan River and Jerusalem. The ship ' s " whatever it takes " motto was exemplified by two " Helping Hands " projects, in which volunteers sacrificed their liberty time in order to help those less fortunate than themselves. The first recipient was a 106-year-old Arab woman living in squalid, inhuman conditions. Not only was her residence totally reno- vated, but fresh linen, a new mattress, blankets and food were provided. The " helping hand " was next extended to the children ' s ward of Haifa ' s Rothschild Medical Center, in the form of painting 15 rooms. Many brine- encrusted sailor ' s hearts were softened by the grate- ful smiles of the children. Departing Haifa. JACK WILLIAMS continued east, joining up with the USS SARATOGA (CV-60) Battle Group for the transit through the Suez Canal enroute to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Sailing through the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, which marks the end of the Red Sea, operational control was shifted from Commander Sixth Fleet to Commander Seventh Fleet. This, the longest at-sea period for the crew, was most interesting. While conducting anti-submarine exercises in the North Arabian Sea, JACK WILLL^lMS was called upon to aid an ailing officer on board a U.S. sub- marine. Arriving at the scene, the ship ' s boat was put in the water to pick up the sailor and bring him aboard the JACK WILLIAMS, after which he was flown to the Saratoga. It was later learned that the officer had an appendectomy and was doing well. The day before Thanksgiving, the battle group anchored off Masirah Island, east of Oman. The ships were treated to the " 1985 Thanksgiving Celebrity USO Show, " featuring Lorrie Mahaffey of television ' s " Happy Days, " Cynthia Rhodes of the motion picture " Flashdance " and " Staying Alive, " and Brian Mitchell of " Trapper John, M.D. " An invitation to the performers for a personalized tour of the JACK WILLIAMS was dispatched and accepted, and the group was shown the ship from stem to stern. The tour culminated in a cake-cutting ceremony and photo session. The anchorage off Masirah Island also allowed time for a few crew members to enjoy a Thanksgiving luncheon aboard the HMS JUPITER (F-60), which had joined the battle group for the day. That evening, the JACK WILLIAMS hoisted anchor and got underway once more. Midway through December, on Friday the 13th, one of the oldest traditions in the Navy— the Shellback initiation for crossing the Equator for the first time- was conducted on board. More than 70 percent of the crew was initiated into the realm of King Neptune, earning the coveted title of Shellback. Late in December, 42 days after leaving Haifa, JACK WILLIAMS dropped anchor off the beautiful tropical island of Phuket, Thailand, for a six-day Christmas port call. The crew discovered that the buildings of the Patong Beach Elementary School had never been painted, and quickly volunteered their liberty time to " make things right. " At the end of the day, the students were treated to a popular American pastime: a barbecue. Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings were served and quickly devoured. After the meal, the children showed their apprecia- tion by entertaining the crew with renditions of traditional Thai songs played on instruments con- structed of bamboo. Another highlight of the visit was a soccer match between the crew and the top school team in Phuket. Symbolizing the friendship between the crew and Thailand, this event was played in the city stadium, and was attended by the governor and other Thai dignitaries. Leaving Phuket, the JACK WILLIAMS set sail for Subic Bay, Philippines. This two-day port visit was a first for the ship and most of the crew. After departing Subic Bay, she headed for the South China Sea to conduct a brief exercise with two vessels from the People ' s Republic of China. This was the first time U.S. Navy ships had operated with units from the People ' s Republic, and it was quite an honor for the Mayport-based Frigate. The JACK WILLL\MS then returned to Subic Bay.

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