Firedrake (AE 14) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1966

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Firedrake (AE 14) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1966 Edition, Cover

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Text from Pages 1 - 64 of the 1966 volume:

- MP ir " ml if i!ik 5 it tM il ' VF ' :.:-r; v ' :r BBS , » " ■ USS FIREDRAKEAE-14 WestPac Cruise ■■7- « • ' %; -tr . 4 0t. X K , 7 " This is the Captain speaking .... Several months ago, we took FIREDRAKE from the " harpies of the shore " , rehabili- tated her for sailor men, and went to sea. Looking back, it zvas much like the first cross- country flight of a student pilot-some mighty rough maneuvers and, to many of us, mysteries which ivere yet unsolved. An exceptionally short time later, ice were on Dixie bucking like a bronco in that wild night UNREP of KITTY HAWK. Dixie shook everything loose that was not secure, including any " mysteries " that were remaining. We emerged professionals. Since then, we have sailed our old lady through the swamps off of Saigon, threaded Julia Shoal and sighted along the guns of TOPEKA during " Double Eagle. " We sear- ched the murk of Cape Padaran and saved our shipwrecked brother. Despite our lack of modern equipment, FIREDRAKE became ii vital member of the world ' s finest fighting fleet . You, with muscle and brain, " made it so. " God bless each of you and the loyal, lonely families who support you back home. Captain Harry N. O ' Connor, of Coronado, California, assumed command of the U.S.S. FIRE DRAKE (AE 14) on July 31, 1965. He received his orders to FIREDRAKE while attending the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, I). C. Captain O ' Connor ' s colorful history in the field of aviation began in 1933. At the age of 13, he flew solo in his lirst aircraft and continued to pursue his desire to become a pilot until he was commissioned a Naval Aviator on December 16, 1943. He was a member of the cruiser NASHVILLE ' s crew (as a volunteer reservist) during her shakedown cruise in 1938, and participated in the capture of the German submarine U-505 while serving as a fighter pilot in the European Theater aboard USS GUADALCANAL. He served in the Pacific Theater aboard the carrier NEHENTA BAY during the invasion of Okinawa. The Captain is one of the first pilots in the Navy to fly jet aircraft, is a graduate of Flight Test Pilots School, and is currently a member of The Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He served as Commanding Officer of VX-5 at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, Cali- fornia where he worked in experimental testing, evaluation and development of attack aircraft from January 1963 until February 1964. He has also served aboard the aircraft carriers CARD. TRIPOLI. BAIR( K I, MIDWAY, VALLEY FORGE and BON HOMME RICHARD. He was Air Officer aboard KITTY HAWK and is one of her plankowners. Before attending the Industrial College, the Captain was assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations on special assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Captain O ' Connor holds the Distinguished Flying Cross. Air Medal (1th Award), Navy Commendation Ribbon with Combat V, Presidential Commendation, and the Unit Commendation in addition to 13 other medals. He and his wife. Helen, reside in Coronado. California with their two children, Maureen and Kevin. Lieutenant Commander Clovde I. Brown became FIREDRAKE ' s Executive Officer on Novemver 21, 1965. Mr. Brown was Commanding Officer of the U. S. Naval Facility, San Salvador, Bahamas before reporting to FIREDRAKE. Commissioned an Ensign upon graduation from the University of Colorado in June 1953, he re- ported for first duty to USS ORLECK (DD-886) . He served in the capacity of Assistant CIC Officer during the last months of the Korean conflict. He was transferred from ORLECK in October 1956 and reported to SNS LePANTO (ex-USS CAPPS (DD-446)) where he served as Gunnery Officer and assisted in the training of LePANTO ' s Spanish crew. LCDR Brown attended the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California until June 1958 when he was ordered to return to sea aboard the USS SHADWELL (LSD-15) . He served tours as First Lieutenant and Engineering Officer aboard the amphibious vessel. In March I960, Mi Brown was assigned to the U S Atlantic Fleel Operational Control Center at Norfolk. He performed duties as Officer-in -Charge of the Movement Control Center and addi- tional duty on CINCLANT, CINCLANTFLT, and CINCWESTLANT Staffs. In April 1962, LCDR Brown assumed duties as Navigator aboard the cruiser USS CANBERRA (CAG-2) until August 1964. During this period, CANBERRA was one of many Atlantic Fleet combatant units participating in the 1962 Naval blockade against installation of Soviet missile sites in Cuba. He also served as Flag Navigator for the blockade flagship during a portion of the Cuban Crisis. FIREDRAKE ' s Executive Officer has been awarded the Ko- rean Service Medal and the United Nations Medal (Korea) for his service aboard USS ORLECK. He also holds the China Service Medal and the National Defense Medal. A ship is not a floating hulk of cold iron. The story of a ship is a human story. Every ship in the United States Navy, whether commissioned in l S S(i or 1966; whether resting in the watery grave of a battle-scarred harbor or launching sleek jet fighters in Southeast Asia — every ship has a heart in the human from of a crew. What you are about to read is the story of a ship, her men, and their mutual desire to keep their country free. At present, she is their lite and without her men. she would have no life Here is her story . . . t . P t At sea off Vietnam. USS FIREDRAKE, defender of freedom, veteran of three wars . . . THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Ye . FIREDRAKE. you were horn S. S. WINGED RACER in June 1944 at the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, North Carolina. You were one of the newest ships in the U. S. merchant fleet until you were drafted into the service at the age of six months. The U. S. Navy changed your name to FIREDRAKE, which is taken from the fire-breathing dragon of German mythology, and designated you " AE " a supplier of ammunition. There was a war on, and you helped bring it to an end by your participation in the American and Pacific Theaters and the invasion oi Okinawa in L945. Here is a voice from out your past, FIREDRAKE. " GENERAL QUARTERS! ALL HANDS MAN York BATTLE STATIONS! ' You don ' t recognize it? That ' s understandable. Since you were firsl conceived you have had more than 6,500 men serve with you. You were given a rest after World War II as part of the Rese rve Fleet at Orange, Texas. But not for long. You were re-commissioned five years later at the outbreak oi the Korean hostilities. You took your first long journey over the vast Pacific Ocean in L952, and during this first WestPac Cruise you conducted re-arming operations with combatant ships of the United Nations Naval Forces off the Korean coast. In L953, you and your men were the center of attention when you worked to set a new record rate of 258 short tons of ammunition transferred per hour at sea while operating with the USS PRINCETON (CVA 37). In 1955, you were detailed to duty with Task Group 7: .l during the evacuation of Tachen Island by the U.S. SEVENTH Fleet. Everyone was proud of FIREDRAKE and her crew when you were awarded the Battle Efficiency Pennant for being the best ammunition ship in the Pacific Meet in 19. 57. Your 1958 cruise took you to hostile waters off the island of Quemoy, and you performed to your best as usual. FIREDRAKE, here is another voice out of your colorful past. " THIS IS THE CAPTAIN SPKAKIN ' G You don ' t remember that one either? Since you ' ve been commanded by a different officer during each of your 21 years, we can ' t blame you for not knowing that one. The years 1959-1964 were peaceful ones, so you and your crews conducted I NREPS and exercises designed to maintain constant fleet readiness. During these years, you made frequent visits to the ports of Yokosuka, Kobe, Beppu, Iwakuni and Sasebo in Japan ; Subic Bay and Manila in the Philippines and Ilong Kong. B.C.C. Rut at the end of your 1964 WestPac Cruise, unprovoked attacks on two of your customer destroyers by North Vietnamese patrol boats prompted your superiors at Yokosuka to have you stand by to assist as necessary. You were due for a t rip to the beauty parlor, so later on you were sent home to Concord foi a year After seeing you wear the same dress for 20 years, the Navy decided to give you a 21st birthday present in the form of a new hustle. Your helicopter landing platform was added on by the Triple A Machine Shop in San Francisco during your yard period there. Following a semi-annual " personnel " inspection (also lovingly referred to as an OKI . bombs, bullets, bananas and beans were loaded aboard in preparation for your long voyage to the combat zone of Vietnam. Leaving Concord, California on October 25, 1965, you began your 14th consecutive tour with the SEVENTH Fleet. You arrived at Subic Bay. Philippines on November 15, 1965. Y ou don ' t feel and act as young as you did in your ' teens, and your makeup must be caked on regularly. But your nation needs your help — and you ' re helping to the best of your ability. 4C f Hip-deep in water, a large squad of U. S. Marines advances through a rice paddy in the Republic of Vietnam. With ears pricked and strained eyes peering out from under bur- dening steel helmets, they move slowly and cautiously in their endless search for the Viet Cong. On a search-and-destroy mission to flush out the Communists, the Marines ' attention is suddenly diverted by a volley of automatic rifle fire. ' Take cover ' " is the cry, and the body of a Marine splashes lifeless into the puddled water. 1 he officer-in-change pancakes behind a rise in the damp soil and radios the Command Headquarters on his walkie-talkie. His company headquarters then radios the air group assisting in ground support operations. The call is answered on an aircraft carrier steam- ing in the nearby South China Sea and the message is received— ' There are 25 men in a squad that is surrounded in Zone I) by a large concentration of enemy forces with auto- matic rifles. Request immediate assistance ' ' ' I lu- LMC loudspeaker system on the gianl carrier booms Flight quarters ' Prepare tcir emergency launch ! ' Within minutes, sleek jet fighters are rolled across the broad decks .ni l attached to catapult hooks. Their racks hllcd with olive-green bombs, the planes streak to the ambush area and batter the enemy as the Marines evacuate and continue their endless search The successful completion of this operation depends to a great extent upon the performance of the FIREDRAKE ' s crew. There are nervous and anxious beginnings, as equipment and ammunition are taken from stowage. The mas l intelligence in lie sifted through, messages and radio broadcasts chang- ing tunc and position, weather making the rendezvous a challenge, and final word from the rask Force Commander are components presenl in each rendezvous. I he stage is being set fur the wedding of material and men — muscle and machine — to accomplish a safe and efficii nt replenishment. Feel the hum and insect whir, barked orders and capable response as the crew makes its final preparation lor the rendezvous, feci the slow and easy, muscular sway " I thi ship sliding through the hillocked sea. This is the- way we prepare lor the . . , RENDEZVOUS! In the Deck Office, the Gunnery Officer calls his leaders together to discuss the upcoming rendezvous and announces the requirements requested by radio message from the customer. Those present are hriefed on details of the am- munition required and mental notes are made. A few feet away, out on the main weather deck, huge hatch covers yawn open and roll hack. .Sunlight pierces the stacked ammunition storage holds, and the cold, steel goods of war are exposed. The winchman maneuvers his controls, and the probing claw of the cargo hook dips swiftly to the waiting load 30 feet below. Stubby fork-lifts scamper to and fro in the limited spaces of the ammo hold, their prongs straining under the weight of bombs. The cargo crew secures the load and aborted shouts echo through the hollow space ; the winchman applies pressure on the throttles and the greased cables tug at their burdened hooks, extracting the load. Sweaty, sun-reddened arms await the arrival of the bombs up on the main deck. The swinging, hovering ton of ammunition is guided safely and rested on the deck. The cargo hook dips down again into the hold, repeat- ing the process until the required amount of each type of weapon is secured and in its place. Within 36 hours, every bomb will be dropped by carrier air groups on vital Viet Cong strong- holds, the thirsty carrier will return, and the breakout process will be repeated. r Far up on the FIREDRAKE ' s peak whirl the latticed steel antennae, rhese eyes and cars remain ever vigilant ; scanning the sky and the wide expanse ol sea fur miles — ever searching, ever sweeping — fragile frames iliat never seem to slow or slacken in their unceasing search. In the Combal Information Center, men must interpret each signal as it returns, or the machines have no function. Over the staring screen, men study intent l the radar returns, each sweep presenting a new picture. A delay in identification could gain an enemy valuable lime and distance toward his target. Eventually, the radar " pips " become the looming customer carrier or her bobbing escort destro i and the rendezvous draws near. I he customers ' positions become the most vital information tin ' radar screen volunteers. The nerve-center of the FIREDRAKE ticks and chatters and (. ' licks. In Radio Central tapping tele type machines spew messages on uncoiling yellow paper. Operators monitor tapes while Radiomen, ears pressed flat with headphones, render Morse Code into letters. Damp lingers rhythmically play on typewriter keyboards changing sounds into words and meanings. m k ; ■ ( )n the signal bridge are the Signalmen with their flag bags and blinker lights. Flag hoists are made — slashes of color as flags and pennants rise to the yardarms — tactical orders flash across the water via blinker lights. For close-range work, the Signalmen stand high above the churning stas. brave the wind and weather, arms waving as signals go by sema- phore. The synchronized hands of time turn round. 1 he Navigator responds to the directions of the task group commander in the carrier with a plotted course and finds the rendezvous area. The Officer of the Deck gives the order for the ship to turn and proceed at a certain speed. The helmsman carries out the OOD ' s order and the ship comes about on a new course. Far below, in the ship ' s heart, the engine room watch answers the bell rung up on the engine order telegraph and passes the word " ALL AHEAD FLANK! " The Machinist ' s Mates and the Boiler- men, working together with a single mission to accomplish, do it — and in quick tempo. Simultaneou- sly, the MM ' s open throttle valves to admit more steam to the 6,000 horsepower turbine. jm mi The BT ' s answer the call for more steam by cut- ting in larger fuel burners. The increased speed of the turbine is transmitted through two sets of re- duction gears, shafts and to the screw. The ship ' s speed increases and she ploughs through the seas to make the rendezvous. The grey object behind on the horizon quickly closes the distance as she skims over the choppy seas on the UNREP course, and begins her approach . . . U On FIREDRAKE ' s main deck, burly Bosn ' s Mates rouse the catnapping cargo crew — who take advantage of every opportunity to rest their aching backs after the previous night ' s breakouts — and shrill whistles signal the UNREP ' s beginning. » , — ff : At L ' ft I 3 «• " -? i Lv UNREPS e-„ " " USS HANCOCK CVA-19 What types of ships receive this deadly, destructive cargo? Our largest and most important customer is the aircraft carrier, a magnificent city of steel, a floating airfield — sensitive, versatile, and potent. Perched on her flat giant deck and hidden in her behemoth hangars are her swift aircraft. They will ruthlessly pound vital Viet Cong positions and infiltration routes with bombs delivered efficiently by FIREDRAKE. To carry out its mission as a lethal weapon, an airplane must be loaded with bombs, rockets, missiles and projectiles. Providing those weapons is our mission in the fleet and the purpose of the rendezvous. CARRIERS THIS CRUISE: USS KITTY HAWK iCVA-63) USS BON HOMME RICHARD I CVA-31 USS HANCOCK (CVA-19 USS RANGER 1CVA-6I) USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14) USS ENTERPRISE CVA(N)-65) USS HORNET CVS-12 DESTROYER CUSTOMERS: USS BAINBRIDGE (DLG(N)-25) USS WADDELL (DDG-24) USS JOSEPH STRAUSS (DDG-16) USS EDSON iDD-946) USS BARRY iDD-933) USS HAWAKINS (DD-873) USS HAROLD J. ELLISON I DD-864 1 USS MASON .DD-852) USS RUPERTUS iDD-851 ) USS SMALL iDD-838i USS CARPENTER i DD-825 USS HIGBEE DD-806 USS HARRY E. HUBBARD DD-748i USS SAMUEL N. MOORE iDD-747) USS BRUSH iDD-745) USS INGRAHAM (DD-694) USS WEDDERBURN (DD-684) USS VANCE tDER-387) Although ammunition replenishment is our spe- ciality, FIREDRAKE is often called upon by operal ing units unable to satisfy their needs during extended periods a) sea. Thus we transfer oil and water, deliver passengers, Heel freight, Christma trees or anything else vitally needed by our sistei units of the SEVENTH Fleet; and we ' re always willing td lend a welcome hand. SHIPS ALONGSIDE: USS TOPEKA (CLG-8) USS MARS (AFS-1 I USS HALEAKALA (AE-25) USS NAVASOTA (AO-106) USS CALIENTE (AO-53) USS GUADALUPE (AO-32) USS IMPLICIT iMSO-455) USS ESTEEM (MSO-438) USS WEISS (APD-135) Although comparatively small in size and less demanding of us, the destroyer is an impor- tant customer. She provides invaluable assistance to the U. S. and South Vietnamese ground forces routing the Viet Cong from their jungle hiding places by providing Naval gunfire support along the coastline of South Vietnam. She peppers the verdant jungle with shells from her potent 5 " guns. She bows, swoops and skims gracefully over the seas, trailing her carrier charge like a loyal puppy. Sometimes she assumes the responsibility of lifeguard for men pre-occupied with transferring ammunition, and at other times she is at the receiving end to satisfy her own munitions requirements. —■ . " JOIN AT BEST SPEED " By CAPT H. N. O ' Connor For an entire week, without pause, the ancient AE maneuvered like an old dowager, passing out mail, Christmas trees and the heavy, cold goods of war. Now, with the carrier ' s insatiahle appetite temporarily satisfied, she turned into the foul weather to seek her final customer before heading back to re-load in port. It was 0300 when she turned northward for a rendezvous 100 miles away. The exhausted crew dropped their dirty, sodden clothing at their bunks, turning in for the promised 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. The round bottom and uninspired bow of the C2 hull acknowledged the power of 15 foot waves and howling winds — only the watch stood taut and alert. The traditional coffee cups came to the bridge half-filled as a guarantee that the pitching and rolling would not slop the sustaining beverage. 300 miles to the north, a non-descript freighter of Panamanian registry of 900 tons, S. S. IMPALA, filled with rice, tea, fish oil and furniture rounded a Vietnam cape. 28 men experi- enced the horror of the grinding crash of grounding. She backed frantically, came free and turned seaward. It was futile. She flooded up forward, became unmanageable, and then turned to beach herself, but to no avail. As the stern came up out of the sea, all hands tied pitiful canvas pads about their shoulders. Some made it down in one stove-in lifeboat, the others simply abandoned their fate to the screaming wind and waves. All day and into the next night, the lifeboat, survivors and bodies blew southward in a flotsam of stinking fish oil, straw baskets and wreckage. Among the debris swirled a hatch cover, a life ring and a solitary man clinging to his fragile life. The unstable hatch was inadequate for his whole body and only its edge provided security for those cramped fingers. On the FIREDRAKE, reveille had sounded after the promised 4 hours of rest. Steaming coffee, fresh donuts and scrambled eggs had provided sustenance for the breaking-out. man-handling and shoring of ammunition. The Christmas trees were carefully wet down with precious, potable water. In the hands of a radioman came the small yellow message: " RENDEZVOUS WITH SACRAMENTO AT 1200 TOMORROW NEAR YOUR PRESENT POSITION. SACRAMENTO WILL HELO YOUR CHRISTMAS TREES TO YOUR CUSTOMER LATER. " At 0230 on the SACRAMENTO, the lookout, his back braced against the wind and breathing shallow to avoid the stack gas, stared uncomprehending at the pitch black source of cries for help. A disciplined mind reacted — " Man Overboard ! ' the dreaded cry rang out. From the black void of foaming sea and screaming wind came seven haggard men, one body and the graphic talisman — the eggshell wreckage of the lifeboat. Now, by highest precedence, out went the message : " SAR ALERT. TO FIREDRAKE— JOIN AT BEST SPEED " — at a point fully 50 miles farther north than scheduled. On the AE, 21 year-old machinery hummed, vibrated, and sent plumes of steamy protest at odd angles about the engine room. But at 0500 with searchlights swinging, she snapped precisely into station on the SACRAMENTO. Lip-wind, then down-sea and then reverse again. Planning to arrive at " datum " (the scene of rescue) at first light, the force, now FIREDRAKE. HENDERSON and SACRAMENTO scanned the sea with hundreds of wind-swept eyes. As the searchlights faded off, one by one, a vision of desolation was registered by all these sea-farers. The forces of nature had scattered the fittings and cargo of what had been the little cargo ship, to the mercy of the sea. Again the signals triggered away, this time by flashing light: " PROCEED INDEPENDENTLY TO SEARCH AREA IN CLOSE DETAIL. " As the old AE turned, halted, backed and went on- " Skipper, there ' s a hatch and I think there is a man on it — yes, look — he ' s waving ! " Delicately, the AE placed her stem just close enough to permit the crew to shout encouragement. To SACRAMENTO went the signal " HAVE SURVIVOR IN SIGHT-SEND HELO. " The high-speed popping of the big helo loudly proclaims its arrival. Blades cavitating, it swings nose high to brake its motion like a gull. Down from its bottom slides the web-thin strand with the yellow ring of rescue. The survivor, just moments away from despair and death, clings desperately to his hatch as the strange machine kicks up violent spray. At last ! The yellow collar drags into his waiting arms and he is raised skyward to safety, warmth and the comfort of mankind. ( )n the LIREDKAKE, the thrill of action, of satisfying accomplishment, passes through each man. Who was this nameless, almost faceless man? Are we responsible for saving his life? The Mexican would say " Quien sabe? " — but each of us knows that it is Christmas and that we ' 1 1 lined at best speed. " " Come back here, WEISS!!! " " I DON ' T believe it ! " Whaddya mean ya can ' t fix it NOW 2 GUSHER! USS DIRTYFACE AOE-2 Mr. Clean ' s our division officer. PISTOL TEAM v v JG .- .j V. • V i- - -— - : 2 The FIREDRAKE Pistol Team (left to right; — L. Roderick, C. Vandezande, W. Powers, CAPT O ' Connor, R. Haidle, C. Riley. « ..•» Chief Powers explains the basics of pistol handling. " CEASE FIRE! " i " If at first you don ' t succeed. try, try again. The FIREDRAKE Rifle Team ' left to right! L. Roderick, C. Williamson, C. Vandezande, W. Powers, H. Smith. Occasionally, as time and operations permit, the men oi I ' IkKI KAKE are offered the opportunity to qualify as Expert Pistol Shots. W. F. Powers. BMCM. the ship ' s Chief-Master- At- Arnis, has transformed our newly added helicopter landing plat- form into a shooting range. Himself an expert for many years, Chief Powers conducts frequent training sessions open to all interested members oi the crew. When qualified, the men he- come eligible for membership on FIREDRAKE ' s Pistol Team, which is entered in competitions with other teams in WestPac whenever feasible. Since departing NWS Concord. 30 men have become qualified as holders of the Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal under the cap- able auspices of Chief Powers and the men who assist his in the ship ' s shooting program. Another cruise shot to Hell! RIFLE TEAM " ' Puck. MMl tries his luck at a skeet shoot held on the helo platform while Klokoc, GMG2 operates the thrower. Bishop, SKI, on one of his rare trips into the bright sunlight, kibitzes from the spectators ' gallery. OPERATION OASIS Haynie, BTl oversees the transfer oi fresh water to a customer aircrafl carrier SWIM CALL The day before we arrived ai Subic Bay last November, the crew was given a chance to seek some reliei from the tropical heat oi the Philippines. In the royal blue waters of Northern Luzon. " SWIM CALL! " was the word and everyone had a great time. d 1 k LTJG Shandy, Supply Officer m 1 : LTJG Fowler, Disbursing OflFicer FRONT ROW: E. Konoske, N. Olson, LTJG Shandy, LTJG Fowler, H. Bishop, C. Martin. SECOND ROW: M. Miranda, C. Harvey, J. Larsen, D. Dullum, C. Gilkey, W. Crocker, M. Horton, J. Barton, D. Orosz, J. Harris, G. Burton, R. Holliday, M. Torrez, W. Brandon, P. Fincalero, D. Kerker. TOP ROW: M. Suarez, A. Abella, C. Hughes, R. Nightingale, F. Brown, B. Saclolo, R. Kush, J. Cook, J. Mcintosh, R. Bennett, P. Bustamante, E. Guadalupe. i- r Larsen cuts Andy down to size. Your friendly staff at the ptomaine ptavern. In Supply Division arc FIREDRAKE ' s bankers, barbers, bookkeepers, butchers, bakers and hamburger-makers. They keep us steaming contentedly in oceans of lotions and notions. Their rates are CS, DK, SI), SI I and SK. They inventor y, stow and issue equipment; feed a hard working family of nearly 300 three times a day in the wardroom, CPO mess and mess decks ; and keep us up to our necks in skivvies, paint, nuts, bolts, cigarettes, candy and catsup. During underway replenishments, Supply Division personnel are stationed as lookouts, phone talkers and members of ammunition handling crews on deck. Supply does it all — and does it well. Fincalerostein ' s Bargain Basement makes anot ' er sale. . It i Li 4 " Sorry, you can ' t draw one of those here ! " Who, me ? ' O f " M " stands for the men who brave the excessive heat of FIREDRAKE ' s engines, maintaining the means for propulsion effectively. The value of a ship lies in its ability to move. Movement means propulsion; propulsion means power; and power means a job for the engine room Snipes. Our Machinery Repairmen provide invaluable assistance by making precision parts for the me- chanical components of the ship and performing any other required rapair work on our equipment. During munitions replenishments underway, the MM ' s and MR ' s maintain a constant watch on the ship s main propulsion plant and stand by to unleash FIREDRAKE ' s swashbuckling power on a minute ' s notice? — LT Session, Chief Engineer Will those people EVER make up their minds ? Uh-oh . . . I feel something wet. " SHORE PATROL!!?? We ' re too short! " Oh, no — Sea Anchor Detail?? " " : r. !! J v V-; g f : I w I ' 1 VI- f 1 r i . ' ■ I -.- ' -IW» fl ' l " tg FRONT ROW: T. Ruddell, R. Braun, R. Noyes, LT Sessions, H. Glenn, R. Coker, L. bourgeois. BACK ROW: C. Emmert, J. Smith, J. Manire, F. Wells, D. Lunsford, D. Jenkins, A. Leining, L. Arnold, J. Stomski, J. Van Gundy, W. Carey, C. Smith. one HoRSe opea. SLei A. " Hey, Popcorr, if lasted three days ' " Now let ' s sec wcs it up or down ? A. Bet TO P ' s they can ' t get it open now FRONT ROW: W. Atwell, G. Cloninger, W. Haynie, J. Merriweather, ENS Christelman, C. Cox, R. Olson, B. Morgan. BACK ROW: S. Perez, S. Buckel, G. Ash, C. Buell, D. Franklin, J. Wolking, R. Cluster, F. Patton, W. Gaudern, T. Lowrey, J. Salinas, G. Childs, S. Johnson, G. Montemayor, R. Holgate. ENS Christelman, Main Propulsion Assistant " think I smell the P. I. " Up and down — all the time — up and down! " r m • ji — i .s Oops forgot my hat! " t Evans and Cooper turnin ' to. " B " is for boilers, and that ' s the main concern of the Boilermen in this hard-working division which shares the torrid engine room heat with our Machinist ' s Mates. The BT ' s provide the steam for the evaporators, laundry, drinking, cooking and showering. The process of con- verting salt water into pure, potable and usable water is a complicated and tedious one, but the BT ' s do the job well and keep us comfortable. The Oil King and his assistants keep constant talis on usage of the black substance which our thirsty engines consume at a remarkable rate, and sometimes even leave their sanctuary in Snipeville for a sniff of fresh air. (See page 9 for photo details of one of their recent trips to main deck.) C ' mon, Gringo, take my peecture . ' " Well, that ' s about the size of it 9 My own butt kit FRONT ROW: F. Cicio, E. Rector, W. Jordan, M. Buck, R. Baker. BACK ROW: G. Hardy, J. Crandell, J. McDonnell, G. Ring, H. Adler, L, Fobbs, N. Stapleton, J. Jones, T. Healey. ENS Hague, Damage Control Assistant This division plays it cool — real cool. man. The men assigned to the " A " Gang maintain all of our air-conditioning plants and keep the ice-cold water flowing in the scuttlebutts to quench the thirsts of the crew. " A " stands for auxiliary, and the ambitious MM ' s keep the ship ' s numerous motors which supple- ment the main engines running smoothly and repair them whenever it ' s required. Ilii ' Kngincmen comprise the other half of the division. Their skills keep the Captain ' s Gig and our liberty boats in good condition to ensure those extra liberty hours. Flash Gordon and his stewardesses. Me and Quincey are the coolest. ' Overworked and underpaid. I dunno what it does but I ' ll try anything once. Will the REAL Abe Lincoln please step forward ? «nmhm9| AM the greatest and I ' m pretty. ' " It was there a minute ago! " 1 never sweat nothin ' ! " Which twin has the Toni ? Even the old people turn to. Freie at home on the patio. FRONT ROW. K. Wo sh, G. Fisher, ENS Hague, J. Hart, B. Fre e. BACK ROW. W. Hoc son, R. Guontone, A. Neu a, G. Brown, D. W ' se, O. Cooper, C. Haley. - ! ► U£?5 Eoolsnoke and Popgun get Weasel ' s goat-ee. " That was no 2,000 pound bomb it was a Texas-size vitamin pill. " Shipfitters and Damage Controlmen make up the division which is designed to afford full protection to the ship during enemy attack. I luring GQ, they stand ready to assist and repair in any required situation. These types, when located, arc usually found spending their time in the mess deck, head or berth- ing compartment. On the mess deck, you ' ll find them busily repairing leaky pipes ; in the head perhaps replacing antiquated lagging; and in the compartment... During heavy operations at sea. these men continually build shoring for our deck-loaded ammunition. Hammers in hand, they pound away into the wee hours of the morning, preparing for the next UNREP. Power is the key word in the division which keeps us well lit. Not to be taken lightly, the light- hearted Electricians in E Division are a bright bunch. Besides changing light bulbs, the Sparkies are responsible for the maintenance of our anchor windlass, 1 MC public address system, and our most important equipment — the ship ' s cargo winches. They also man the Main Board deep in the heart of the engine room and keep our fork lifts running smoothly. The men who work with the EM ' s in this division are called Interior Communications Technicians, which is a pretty impressive title for telephone rapairmen. They keep our sound-powered telephones in top shape and share the honors of showing the movies with the Electricians, besides performing many other jobs. " E " Division personnel are live wires whose jobs are not light. ' " , f ■■ h Nolan and Olson repairing our movie projector. 2 7 FRONT ROW: L. Knott, C. Williamson, D. Coleman, C. Tobias, J. Pamperin, R. Haidle, J. Blocker. BACK ROW i R. Hall, D. Amundson, G. Steelman, D. Jensen, L. Olson. tm % r- Pi ra. Jr Eunky ' s Book S ioppe He wenf that away ! " . Oooh, you shouldn ' t have done that, George. OK, NOW what do I do? Amundson ' s always willing to lend a hand. " Oh, boy I I LOVE roast beef! " IV Where ' s Transylvania ? Chief Tweedy retires after 20. What ' s up, Doc? It hurts me more than it does you. " Call me o ' Snipe ' once more and I ' ll knock your eye out f A constanl hum oi activity encompasses FIREDRAKE ' s office spaces where a paper war of details and organization is waged daily. During our frequent UNREP operations, PN ' s and YN ' s man sound- powered telephones to maintain constant communications internally as well as with ships alongside. Mail call brings hundreds • I eager hands and hopes to the ships post office whenever mail is re- ceived. While the bombs are being passed, the Postal Clerks pass the mail. An exacting vigil is constantly kepi by the men i the eadueeus. Well done! ' is the best summa- tion ol work done in the past by the Hospital Corpsmen assigned to FIREDRAKE ' s Medical Depart- ment. The Kingpost strikes again Doctor Frankenstein and assistants cutting up. FRONT ROW: J. Stringer, J. Wilson, W. Powers, LTJG Wilbur, J. Tweedy, C. Riley, C. Drolet. BACK ROW: G. Klimiades, W. Andreano, L. Lewis, C. Vandezande, J. Countryman, G. Keiser, B. Hamilton, R. Jordan. f Distractions, always distractions I don ' t think it ' s very funny ! I LTJG Staley, Operations Officer LTJG Nelson, Communications Officer " c unno what the dude said, man. It ' s all Greek to me. " Let ' s see what shall we listen we listen to tonight ? ' Whether deciphering Mips " on a radar screen, winking al ships on the horizon in challenge or response, developing calloused fingers on CW hand keys or decoding cryptic secrets our Operations Department never rests (equipment-wise, that is!) Radarmen, Signalmen and Radiomen; these arc the eyes and cars of the FIREDRAKE. Not tn be forgotten are the ET ' s. rhey arc concerned with the miniscule complexities of electronic car and its calibration. Electronics rechnicians break out their little black tool kits and diagnose the problem 01 1 1 many electrons in the coulomb stream similar ills which beset their sensitive geat During UNREPS, the watchful men in Operations are vital to our operations. li ' A WiVAV-- «5f wpm$ FRONT ROW: S. Tolleson, J. Butterfleld, H. West, LTJG Nelson, LTJG Staley, R, Ashenfelter, D. Gardner, C. Bube. BACK ROW: P. Whitfield, D. Hess, L. Allen, C. Duran, R. Baughns, R. Wilson, L. Stringfellow, W, Myron, G. Stewart, P. Vezorak, L. Brister, D. Moore, K. Smith, D. Burd, R. Hovey, D. Ziparo. C ose enough for government work L- 1 FRONT ROW: L. Pennix, R. Travis, H. Johnson, B. Perdue, G. Green. SECOND ROW: C. Weeks, J. Redhage, D. Paust, LT Ritler, K. Christian, M. Lindberg, J. Weber, D. DiElsi. TOP ROW: S. Hobbs, J. Schofield, J. Gill, C. Hammaker, J. Currey, L. Pinkston, G. Thomas, G, McCormack, R. Schmidt, D. Bronson, R. Park, R. Cashen, F. Himes, R. Miller, G. Hayes, J. Hefner, F. Rankin, G. Spratt, L. Miller, F. Lovato, H. Houston, R. Tinkoff. 41 (J I NBfcJ t x LT Ritter, First Lieutenant and Special Weapons Officer ? 3m LTJG Wilbur, First D ivision Officer and Personnel Officer She just did 10 in 30 seconds! J All you ' d have to do is saw half -v, ay through the chain, and. We , do like it out here on deck, Mr. Wilbur, but FIREDRAKE ' s First Division consists of the men who keep the forward section oi the ship squared away at all times. Boatswain ' s Mates and deck seamen make up the personnel force responsible for this important area of the ship. The foc ' s ' le, accomodation ladder, chain lockers, and gear stowed in 1, ' 1 and ' A cargo holds are under their jurisdiction. These men assist in breaking out ammunition, man the forward replenishment stations during I ' XKHI ' S and perform general maintenance work during at-sea periods. They are also accountable for the exterior appearance of the Captain ' s Gig and the 5 1 Utility, Beat, which helps us get ashore at liberty call. The BM ' s work continu usly with no relief during heavy operations, brave squalls and tropical heat in their work, doing their part to keep FIREDRAKE providing under all conditions. think a red racing stripe would look boss. . . or should it be blue? 1 r- » " So then said ' ' " Eaby, what ' s a fine girl like you doing in Olongapo? " This is fhe best painting position. M A meeting of The Deck Department Art Appreciation Club. ENS Underhill, Second Division Officer think I ' ve got enough gas fo get (o Frisco FRONT ROW: j. Jones, K. Doy. SECOND ROW : H. Smith, W. Evetts, L. Johnson, ENS Underhill, J. Lamp, D. Patten, D. Galloway. TOP ROW: M. Cobbs, D. Coburn, M.Sahno, G. Gibson, J. Peterson, R. Thomas, M. Everett, C. Harris, A. Aksamit, G. Ramage, J. Rezin, W. Miller, J. Sheehan, H. Conley, P. Bolander, J. Bonney, H. Hill, V. Battalico, L. Ryan, J. Ballard, J. Corbett. ' — = ■ • We left the hearts in San Francisco ! Simpson playing a Brahms lullaby. " It reminds me of something I baked once. Momma said there ' d be days like this , The BB rollers of 2nd Division are charged with the maintenance of $ ! and If 5 holds, the fantail and FIREDRAKE ' s newly added helicopter landing platform. Like the BM ' s in 1st Division, routine housekeeping, painting and cleaning are their business when not involved in the warlike task of pre- paring and breaking out of ammunition for delivery to the enemy. (By enemy, of course, we mean the Viet Con . not aircraft carriers!) Our perfect safety record reflects the constant effort expended by Deck Dept. personnel to replenish the fleet in the safe and efficient manner which has been praised in the past. Also under 2nd Division ' s care are the ship ' s motor whaleboat and 2 Utility Bort, our other escape alternative to the exotic ports of the Orient. This cruise has proved to he a hectic one for the Deck Department, and these men deserve all fine praise for the efforts made this year in West- Pac. CVV04 Christner, Gunnery Officer Point the gun at the bridge-the Skipper wants a showdown. HV L t v =.- Before and After 7 8 years in the Navy. . Don ' t mind them-they ' re with ME. " Play with your own beard, Rink! " FRONT ROW : B. Godfrey, A. Klokoc. E. Wear, D. Moore, CWC4 Christner, E. Skudlarek, D. Robinson, G. Rinko. BACK ROW: T. Faith, L. Breiner, L. Roderick, G. Hayes, R. Cline, J. Stevens, H. LaSalle, V. Seeley, T. Scott, J. Mahon, J. Mitchell, F. LaMere, J. Brock. Although the smallest of the three deck divisions, this one is vital to the ship as a supplier of ammuni- tion and is responsible for maintaining our means of self-defense. Charged with keeping our two forward gun mounts in tip-top shape, the (limner ' s Mates work diligently, doubling in their duties as ordnancemen. They must account for every bullet on board, assist in breakouts and fire the shot line or toss the bolo which signals the beginning of the UNREP. Fire Control Technicians also comprise a portion of 3rd Division. They must repair the d amage done to the external parts of our fire-control and gun directing gear by the forces of nature, and man their positions during GQ to assist during enemy attack. Our survival is very dependent on their efficiency. A meeting of the great minds of our time. Whaddya ' mean we ' re out of 88 s 2 A m .• £ t ! " MUTINY ! !?? Now, Moon, fhof ' s going fco far!! " m ENS Smith, Navigator, and GUck, QM2, shoot the sun. - " Greater men than I may have lived, but I doubt it. " [ Sextant, dividers and needle-sharp pencils are the tools employed by the Navigator and the Quarter- masters to guide us on watery paths charted by seamen of centuries past. The QM ' s keep the diary of FIREI )RAKE ' s life, whether she is transferring bombs to an aircraft carrier or steaming silently through the night to make a rendezvous. I he QM ' s constantly keep surveillance of our position while steaming in the hostile waters off ietnam, and their visual bearings guide us safely to our assigned anchorages in the liberty ports of the Orient. ' Left to Right) M. McMullen, R. Johnson, ENS Smith, C. Glick, H. Simonson, L. King. -— " l r i r: iu m - ' V v o . « n u W. a FACES OF THE ORIENT H O N G K O N G W I . r J I . P X •8 f 1 K A O H S I u N G T A I N A N »«i —.» i t ;fc ;■ ¥ K f v • m ■ • (g - ' ,MWMVtFfMm ' Mill ' MWMk m THE PHILIPPINES ■ ' - - - h ' d - As the following messages will attest, this tour wasn ' t a pleasure cruise. F1REDRAKE and her men provided in their usual fine tradition. USS FIREDRAKE AT SEA, DEC 5 (CNP) NEARING THE 21ST ANNIVERSARY OF HER NAVAL SERVICE THE USS FIRE- DRAKE WAS FLANKED LAST NIGHT BY TWO OF THE NAVY ' S NEWEST NUCLEAR SHIPS DURING RE-ARMING OPERATIONS OFF VIETNAM. THE FIREDRAKE, FIRST COMMISSIONED ON DEC. 27, 1944, SUPPLIED AMMUNITION TO THE USS ENTERPRIES AND USS BAINBRIDGE IN A TRANSFER IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA NEAR THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE COAST-LINE. AS THE SHIPS CAME ALONGSIDE, THE FIREDRAKE RECEIVED A HELICOPTER FROM THE ENTERPRISE ON HER NEWLY ACQUIRED HELO PLATFORM. DURING THE NIGHT REPLENISHMENT OPERATION, FIREDRAKE TRANSFERRED MANY TONS OF AMMUNITION WHICH WILL SOON BE CARRIED BY THE ENTERPRISE AIR GROUP TO VIET CONG POSITIONS IN VIETNAM. THE FIREDRAKE AND BOTH NUCLEAR SHIPS ARE NEW TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC. FROM: COMMANDING OFFICER, USS HANCOCK CVA-19) 1. PERFORMANCE OF FIREDRAKE DURING FIVE ALONGSIDE PERIODS WAS OUTSTANDING IN EVERY RESPECT. THE ENTHUSIASM, PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND COOPERATIVE SPIRIT OF THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF FIRE- DRAKE PERMITTED MINIMUM ALONGSIDE TIME AND TURNED A RATHER TEDIOUS JOB INTO A PLEASURE. 2. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HER AGAIN. FROM: COMMANDING OFFICER, USS IWO JIMA LPH-2) 1. THE FIRST PHASE OF OPERATION DOUBLE EAGLE ENDED AFTER TWENTY-THREE CHALLENGING DAYS SINCE THE INITIAL LANDING. I WISH TO CONVEY MY SINCERE APPRECIATION TO THE THIRTEEN SUPPORT SHIPS THAT PROVIDED US V ITH THE FUEL, AMMUNITION, FOOD AND HARDWARE REQUIRED TO KEEP THE OPERATION GOING, AND TO CARRY OUT THIS LARGEST AMPHIBIOUS OPERATION TO DATE IN THE VIETNAM CONFLICT. 2. I WAS MOST IMPRESSED WITH THE STEADY, DEVOTED RELIABILITY OF THE SUPPORT SHIPS ASSIGNED, THEIR CAN DO SPIRIT, AND SKILL IN ALL ASPECTS OF REPLENISHMENT OPERATIONS AND MOST OF ALL IN THE DETERMINATION TO PROVIDE THE HIGHEST ORDER OF SUPPORT. DUE TO THE TEMPO OF OPERATIONS AND CHANGING DEMANDS, OFTEN ON SHORT NOTICE, PRECISELY PLANNED REPLENISHMENTS WERE IMPOSSIBLE, HOWEVER SUPPORT SHIPS CAME THROUGH SEVENTEEN TIMES WITH VERT PHIB UNREPS AS AND WHEN REQUESTED, DEMONSTRATING AGAIN THE REMARKABLE READINESS AND CAPABILITY OF OUR LOGISTIC AFLOAT SUPPORT CAPABILITIES. FROM: COMMANDING OFFICER, USS HANCOCK CVA-19) 1. YOUR FINE PERFORMANCE DURING AMMO UNREPS EXCEEDED ONLY BY THE OUTPUT OF YOUR EVAPS. PLEASE CONVEY TO YOUR OFFICERS AND MEN OUR SINCERE APPRECIATION FOR AN OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE. 2. WE SINCERELY HATE SEE YOU GO. OUR SWIMMING POOL NOW WILL PROBABLY ONLY BE OPEN 18 HOURS VICE 24. NOW I CAN CONTINUE TO KEEP MY POTTED PALM HAPPY THOUGH. FROM: COMMANDING OFFICER, USS PRINCETON ' LPH-5) 1. A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO THE SMOOTHNESS OF OPERATION JACKSTAY WAS THE SUPERIOR [LOGISTIC SUPPORT FURNISHED BY THE FIREDRAKE. NOT ONLY DID SHE PROVIDE MUCH NEEDED BULLETS, BUT SHE ALSO HAD TO ALTER A BUSY SCHEDULE TO PROVIDE US. MANY THANKS. FROM: COMMANDING OFFICER, USS TICONDEROGA CVA-14) 1. IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE OPERATING WITH YOU DURING OUR TOUR IN WESTPAC. YOU HAVE AN OUT- STANDING OUTFIT AND HAVE ALWAYS DISPLAYED A SUPERB DEGREE OF PROFESSIONALISM DURING OUR UNREPS. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR FUTURE OPERATIONS. With messages praising our performance tucked away in our back pockets, we wrap up our 1965-66 YVestPac cruise with many memories . . . And head for the barn ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The past eight months may have crawled by painfully slow for some— for others it was a split second of time in a long life. Regardless of the rapidity, this cruise was filled with a variety of events. From SAR ' s to refueling, liberties to hostile— fire zone, this was a rewarding tour of duty. Hard work and team spirit earned a reputation for willingness, professionalism and alacrity. With a limited number of pages, I have attempted to present a personalized record of this Southeast Asian Cruise. Many humorous and serious incidents have been deleted, but I hope this Cruise Book will serve the double purpose of being a Crew ' s Book. Many people deserve credit for the contribution of photographs and ideas. I wish to thank specifically the skeleton staff, who served in sundry, unrelated tasks. The Photo Lab of the USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63) and its representative, Eubanks, PH12, was responsible for the substance of our fine divisional photographs. The publisher, Daito Art Printing Co., Ltd. Tokyo and its Foreign Department Manager, Mr. Masayoshi Seike, deserve much credit for their patience, understanding and co-operation. Their pro- fessional experience has transformed our Cruise Book from an idea to a reality. My gratitude is also extended to the crew, whose financial support and lull interest made the Cruise Book a worthwhile enterprise. I sincerely hope you and your families will derive the pleasure for which this book is intended. B. C. Nelson CRUISE BOOK STAFF EDITOR LAYOUT EDITOR FINANCIAL MANAGER LTJG B. C. Nelson ASSISTANT EDITOR TEXT AND NARRATIVE G. W. Drolet, PN3 ILLUSTRATION G. G. Stewart, RD3 PHOTOGRAPHY G. W. Drolet, PN3 Eubanks, PH2 DAITO ART PRINTING CO., LTD. 19, 2-chom?, Shintomi-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Tel. Tokyo : (551)

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