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Typhoons - true story

June 24 2011 at 7:05 PM
Bob Lenn  (Login Bob-Lenn)
Forum Member

1961, aboard USS Mt. Katmai, AE-16, Buckner Bay, Okinawa.
Fleet receives typhoon warning message ordering all docked and anchored vessels to put to sea and head for lee side of outlying islands to ride out the storm. Storm is so severe and large that out-running it becomes futile so we must just ride it out. 3 days of no topside watches,interior only. Cold cut meals for those who can eat. Many are sick who have to date not encountered sea sickness. Watches on the bridge witness huge waves covering the whole ship from time to time. Strapped into our racks when not on watch. Expert quartermasters at the helm keep the ship quartering the intense waves. Wish I could remember extreme inclination of the ship and wave heights but suffice to say much more than I had experience to date. Walking in the ships passageways was an exercise of endurance to say the least. Finally the typhoon passed with only minor damage to our ship - a few exterior fittings torn loose. Thankfully, no crew injuries. Captain gave us all an ice cream party upon reentry to port. Wouldn't take a million dollars for that experience.
1962, aboard USS Midway, CVA 41. Same place as above and same month. Typhoon warnings, fleet to sea - lee side of the islands near Okinawa. Almost the same experience except the carrier Midway is so large compared to the ammo ship that there is little movement in the churning ocean. Obviously no flight ops. The galley fires are kept lit and work proceeds below deck as usual. Got a quick view of some spray coming over the forward flight deck Most of the aircraft are stowed in the hangars. The aircraft kept on the flight deck are secured with double chains. I felt more movement of the ship in my rack than normal but not even close to the experience of my ammo ship. Again, priceless experience.
Anyone want to share their storm experiences?

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