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Now in glorious YouTube-Vision. On April 14th, 1988, USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine. Sailors worked with incredible stamina and ingenuity to save the fractured ship, to include welding cleats outside the hull and lashing those together with wire rope (“cables”) to hold the hull together. On April 18th, US Navy forces in and around the Persian Gulf damaged or destroyed half of the Iranian Navy.
At that point, I was so new that my YES concert tees still reeked of dope (not mine) and I was in training, but I manned my gear in the Electronic Warfare spaces aboard USS Enterprise. Gee, this Navy stuff sure is exciting! The Iranian action caused us to leave the area late, so we canceled a port visit to Australia, which I would not see until over a decade later. On the other hand, this freed up schedule time on the balance, which we dissipated in the Philippines.
We pulled into Seattle and our money was no good. We had shown Iran and the world that the US Navy wasn’t taking any crap off of any mullahs. We were going to return to homeport Alameda (in the San-Fran-cisco-Bay) on the fourth of July, and the fanfare was — what’s that, Lassie? You say USS Vincennes just blew an Iranian airliner out of the sky killing hundreds of civilians, and the whole thing looks bad from any angle? Oh, damn. Well, I guess high winds will keep us out at sea until after sunset, and then we’ll just sneak off the ship and hit the bars on Webster Street asking each other What the Hell just happened.
Vincennes never returned to the Persian Gulf. Probably a good call.
When I later departed Enterprise, I retained (great verb) the by-then outdated copy of Jane’s Fighting Ships which my Chief had used during Praying Mantis, with his yellow highlights indicating corrections that would have to be made in the next edition. Dave K. got the gas log, and hey Doc Watson — I have your family bible. Are you still alive?Published in