|"Old Salt of the Sixth Fleet"
|Oil painting by Frank E. Zuccarelli
Just like the "Old Salt" above, I'm sure each of us have that
one memory that sticks in our mind of our time on board AFS 5. Some may be sad, some may be funny, and some may hinge on the
edge of truth but hey, that's life and who we are!
happen to have one of those precious moments that you would like posted below for all to enjoy, scroll to the bottom of this
page and fill out the form. We'll be happy to include them in our story hall of fame, here!
ETN3 Norman (Chuck "Boom Boom") Wheeler(71-74): Shortly after reporting to the Concord in the spring of 1971
from A school, we got underway for local "sea ops" It was my first time at sea and I was assigned a GQ station in
the Radar Transmitter Room, an unmanned 12'x 12' space in officers country. During the GQ drill, I sat in silence wearing
a pair of sound powered headphones. From time to time, a tremendous noise , almost like a pile driver was right next to me
would go on and on and then stop. A little while later , same thing and went on to repeat several times.I'm sitting there
thinking "what the hell is going on?..i hope everything is okay. Then over the 1 mc , the all clear comes across and
GQ is over. I head back up to radio central on my way to the ET space. When i get in there, bunch of guys hanging out
after GQ. Somebody ...may have been RM1 West, says words to the effect, "Hey Wheeler, How did it go down there ?. I answer
back (trying not to sound like a rookie no nothing)..."Well it went okay! except there was this sound...like a pile driver was next to me..kept
going "BOOM BOOM everything couple a seconds"...then would stop and then BOOM BOOM again"."What was doing
that, do ya know" About
this time anyone within earshot was laughing their asses off. Somebody clued me in to...they were firing the guns....that
was the booming noise.Well
from that day forward, I was "Boom Boom" Wheeler. And for the next 3 years, that was my handle.Boom Boom, Boomer
, and various other forms. Many people never knew me my real name.
I had many GREAT Times on the Concord ....and on liberty. Me and my one road
dog, ETR2 Bill Browand, used to keep 10 speed bikes in the Aux radio space.
We'd hit port and bike all over, find a bar to get good and hammered,
then have to take a taxi back. One night in Palma, I volunteered for shore patrol just to get off the ship on a duty night.
People kept buying me drinks until BM2 "Tiny" Misseldine put me over his shoulder and carried me back to the ship. I had requested for my separation
on Sept 74 to be from Malaga Spain where i had plans to bike around/travel around Europe for a while , then fly home from
Milden Hall Air Force Base in England. Well the night before, we're steaming towards Malaga, is the night RM2 Ron Finken, was allegedly thrown
overboard.Here's the story a fellow shipmate gave me not too long ago Norman The guy your talking abouts name was Ron Finken he threw himself overboard. He was only onboard
6 months and wanted to transfer to Westpac to be near his girlfriend also navy. He almost drowned. He wrote a note put it under his pillow saying Finken
you F'n red neck we know it was you. He was a narc and turned in two of the brothers on the ship and said they threw him overboard.
NIS commander can aboard... They did a handwriting analysis sent it to DC and determined HE WROTE THE NOTE!
They put him in the brig flew him
to Naples the next day for court marshal I won't mention the name that gave me the story but he was an RM3,
I could write a book, I have so many fond memories of the
Concord, but I will leave it for now. I do want to mention the passing of Bill Browand , for those that knew him and are not
aware. He died of cancer about 5 years ago. He was not only part of the ET gang, but also the ships photographer and
got to know many of the crew.Anyway...I
wish i had taken more pictures
ET1 Danny Huff (72-76): Haven't been on the site in years - great to see it still going. Had
wonderful times onboard --- just at-sea too much.
EM3 Kevin Canney(79-83): (This is follow on Sea Story from Kevin, he was one of our first Sea Story
contributors and his earlier story he alludes to is 4th from the bottom of this page). Kevins update 3/19/17: To walk back my previous story,
Ainsworth you were right about the couple facts. I really didn't fall down though,I hit the dirt!! Haha! Anyway will
always remember the great times we all had. BTW, Buckner you old dog good to see you are still kicking around. I am the proud
father of two boys. The youngest is a Third Class Midshipmen at Wisconsin. He will be going to San Diego for Summer deployment
for 5-6 weeks this summer!
LT (retired as CAPT) Larry Weil 82-86:
Another good story
I remember took place in 1986. Our newest XO, LCDR Charlie Arrants (a real good guy) had been in place as our Executive Officer
for just a few months when he came into the Wardroom saying, "I lost my ballcap." So he went to the ship's store
and bought a replacement, only to have that one disappear within a couple days as well.
This pattern then seemed to go on for a matter of weeks; XO would buy a replacement ballcap
only to have it disappear from one location or another. Then we discovered that a bunch of Ensigns on the ship (Andy Kraft,
Craig Creighton, and a few others) were taking the hats as a prank. Finally, after about 5-6 ballcaps had vanished, the Ensigns
got together and sent the XO a ransom note saying: if you want your ballcaps back, you must buy the Ensigns a round of drinks.
Bad move. XO came back with the following:
"OK., I accept your terms. I will buy you all a round of drinks. But the bad news is, it will be when we cross the Atlantic
next month and arrive in Rota, Spain. Until then, you are all restricted to the ship!!!"
Score: XO 1, Ensigns 0
HM2 Ronald (Red) Weston 75-76: The
time spent on the Concord are some of the best of my life. I really enjoyed the Med.
Mike Masishin email@example.com: I read all the comments from sailors who were aboard between 1970 and 1972. The only one possibly related to what
I would like to know was about the Sylvania coming into the harbor to relieve Concord and the Sylvania colliding with it because
tugs lost control. Do any of the crew members remember the Concord being moved out of the harbor in Rota and the tug Apopka
losing control and colliding with SSBN 617 USS Alexander Hamilton? That was my boat. I had the topside watch that day. I was
the one that sounded the collision alarm on the boat. We got pushed up against the pier. I thought lines were going to part
when the boat bumped the pier and began moving back out. That event delayed our departure for our patrol. This was the one
post I read that seemed relevant:
BM3 Gary Sterner (70-72): Please forgive
me because this was a long time ago. I don't remember if it was 1971 or 1972, but we were at the end of our "Med Cruise",
tied up at Rota, Spain counting the minutes until the USS Sylvania would arrive to relieve us. I was standing on the fantail
watching the tugboats bring Sylvania up the channel. Suddenly they start blasting away on their air horns. The tugs have lost
control and she is headed straight for us. I was frozen and couldn't move and she slammed into us. It was the most incredible
thing I have ever personally witnessed in my life. Concord sustained very little damage but Sylvania lost everything on their
port side from the motor whale boat on back. Beside that incident, I sure had fun during my time on board. I remember
during UNREPS we flew a flag that said "Giant Open Air Supermarket"
LT (retired as CAPT) Larry Weil 82-86: I had a lot of great times onboard CONCORD, but lot of nights with little or no
sleep, too. We tend to remember the better times more than any others.
I arrived onboard CONCORD as a brand new
Ensign, never having stepped onto a ship in my life. That is, in fact, trial by fire. But what "newbie" doesn't
get burned at least a few times? 27 years later, I retired as a Captain with six command tours, but I still think back to
those Med cruises on AFS-5 with affection.
One of the funniest things I ever saw happen in my time onboard CONCORD
was an incident with the Chief Engineer, LCDR Brobjorg (spelling?). We were going out on a seven month Med deployment
in a few days, and he received a Special Request Chit from a sailor in the Engineering Department that read: "I am on
restriction until after the Med cruise starts. I request one night of special liberty so that I can go home and have sex with
my girlfriend." The CHENG looked at the chit for a minute, laughed, then said, "heck, that sounds like a good
idea!" He then signed the chit and walked out, still laughing.
TMC Joe Garrett (Torpedo Development Team
Member) Early 70's:
were developing a new torpedo for submarines. It was designated the Mk 48 and came in two versions, The original one was the
Mk48 mod 0 and was manufactured by Westinghouse. The second and competing version was the MK 48 mod 1 and was designed and
manufactured by Gould in Cleveland Ohio.
research & development had reached the point of a shootout between the two versions in cold rough weather. Up to this
point all test firings had been conducted on instrumented ranges. One on the west coast and the other on the east coast. To
achieve the conditions we required we had to go off range and go north. We also needed target that would be typical of a cargo
ship. The Concord was chosen( way above my level). A team was assembled and flew to Norfolk separately to get aboard.
I was late getting to the ship as the weather
was so bad we couldn’t land in Norfolk and went to another airport, then later flew back to Norfolk, landing after midnight. Concord was supposed to get underway on
Sunday so I expected to see a hole alongside the pier where she was not supposed to be. There she was. I went
aboard and the OOD asked if I wanted to get some sleep and the Admiral had asked to be notified when I was aboard. I was shown
to a bunk and got a few winks. On Monday morning a Senior chief woke me
and asked if I was hungry? Darn right! He showed me the chief’s mess and a mess cook handed me a menu. I asked which
of the items on the menu they had and the mess cook almost in amazement said all of them chief. Are you kidding? All of them?
Ok here we go. After breakfast I was escorted to the bridge and paid my respects to the Admiral and CO. I explained I had
been held up by weather and the Admiral said he was as well. The Concord got underway and after we had progressed
out of sight of anybody who might have an interest in us the marine helicopters and their maintenance crews joined us, along
with some special force personnel.
travelled at radio silence to a predetermined point where we were met by some other ships( some visible, some not).
The senior chief ( Chief of the boat or COB in submarine terms) was not convinced I was really a chief TM. He was very courteous
and gave me a tour of his ship. I was impressed with her.
When we got to the spot we were supposed to be at the Admiral recommended to the CO he go to battle
stations. The Co did and the senior chief and I walked from the bridge to one of the wings and I pointed to a area and told
the COB to watch that area. We stood there for a few minutes then I spotted it, the wake of a torpedo heading straight for
us. I pointed it out to him and he said damn you really are a TM. Where did the torpedo come from? I said a sub that is out
there and another is there as well. They will take turns blowing us out of the water and the helos and guys with all the funny
equipment as here to recover the weapons. Watch them it is really interesting. The helos took off and the divers jumped into
the frigid water put a harness on the torpedo. With one weapon under control the helo took the weapon back to Concord where
it was lowered onto a V shaped cradle as the other helo recovered the divers. We repeated the operation about 30 times
and at one point a Russian trawler decided to interfere and since the weapons were classified the destroyer also with us showed
its teeth( which also impressed this sub sailor no end). I had no idea any ship had so many nasty looking weapons, neither
did the Russian who found all kinds of other water to look at, after the destroyer convinced him he was not welcome in our
play pen. After the subs had unloaded and we had loaded we steamed close to a naval base where the weapon were again lifted
from the ship and ferried to the base. The base had no pier that could handle our size so the crew stayed on the ship while
we did our thing getting the weapons loaded on C130s brought up to carry them back home. The only thing we could do for the
crew was have newspapers brought out to the ship with one of the articles saying a number of people had been calling
the base and newspaper asking what those huge helicopters had swinging under them as they made trip after trip from
somewhere to the base. One version was a Russian trawler had blown up and we were ferrying the wounded in. Another was we
were doing extreme weather testing on something? . The base PAO officer tried to pin me down explaining he was a commander
and I was a chief. I turned around and asked the man behind me what I should do? The commander almost lost his lunch where
he realized the man standing behind me( we were in extreme weather parkas and rank was not easily determined. The admiral
said what do you think chief? I am kinda fond of the weather story how about you? Yes Sir that sounds good to me. OK Commander
you got your story. The admiral did make a courtesy call on the CO as they had not had a flag officer visit them in I think
like 20 years. I have no idea what they said at lunch. The next day the newspaper said “The Russians aren’t coming.
The Russians aren’t coming” this was about the time of the movie the Russians are coming. The paper went on to
give a detailed report on the tests we were conducting on cold weather parkas. After we repeated the operation as soon as
the subs had reloaded( we only had a few weapons at that time so they had to be refurbished and returned as soon as they could.
After we had completed that portion of the tests we left the ship ( after gaining a few pounds from the excellent food they
plied us with we left.
would like to thank the crew of the Concord for their hospitality and help on this operation. It made me rethink my life punching
holes in the ocean in a sealed can. I got a lot of respect for this ship and her crew. The tests were successful and a lot
of information was gathered and incorporated into the weapon that is today the submarine weapon of choice.
The irony of this story is that the
Concord was the first open ocean target used to gather data and that ultimately was the weapon that sent Concord to
LTjg Michael Sheppard 78-81: (As told to Garry Collins)
I served on the CONCORD from 1978-1981. I
started off as 2nd Division Officer while she was in the Philadelphia yards until I went to Surface Warfare Officer's Basic
school in Newport, RI. Following that, I went to Communications Officer School there. I then returned to the Concord
in August of 1979 and became the COMMO. I was COMMO for about 6 months until the XO decided he needed someone to square
away his ship's office, so he made me the Admin. Officer. I did what he tasked me to do, then became the CIC Officer.
Had a ball there, too. Then we got a new Officer in from the USS INDEPENDENCE who was supposed to become the Navigator.
The ship went out on a sea trial after a post-deployment repair availability, and when we came back in, he was given
the conn and asked to bring the ship alongside our pier. He took out 3 or 4 pilings... Needless to say, the Captain
re-thought his choice for Navigator and chose me (I became an Officer at the age of over 27 1/2. I had to get an age
waiver to be able to attend OCS). I think that I was chosen because I was older and more mature than any other Junior
Officer on the ship. So I became the Navigator, taught myself how to use a sextant, and navigated AFS-5 throughout a
Med cruise as well as a side deployment through the Suez Canal, through the Gulf of Suez, through the Red Sea, around the
Arabian Peninsula to the Straits of Hormuz and back. Best time I ever had in my Naval career! Saw a "green
flash" with my skipper on the way to Hormuz. Following the cruise, and after the post--deployment repair availability,
I was approved for a split tour to the Battleship New Jersey (BB-62), where I became the Main Engines Division Officer. I
won't bore you with what I did as a Department Head via this email. I just want you to know that the CONCORD holds a
very special place in my heart, and if I can ever attend one of your reunions, I will.
Michael B. Shepperd
USS CONCORD 2ND Division, COMMO, CICO, Navigator 1978-81
IC3 Dave Cates 71-74: Great times aboard the Grape.
As an IC we were projectionist and had the honor of showing movies to the crew. I can remember times when a film would
break or a reel would end and I thought someone would resort to fisticuffs if I didn't get it rolling again soon! Also,
had quite a few memories of "trading movies" since the Airdales would drop me by horse collar on the fantails of
tin cans and DE's which were too small for a true landing. They would hover higher than the mast antennae arrays and
drop me with two movies in each hand about 120 feet to the deck below while underway doing about 15 knots. Pretty hairy
sometimes since the deck could come up to you pretty fast and I had to drop the movies and raise my hands to get out of that
collar before I lifted off again. All of that and the crew of the Tin Can would be angry because they had seen the movies
I was bringing them 10 times already!! Still remember the time we landed on the Nimitz to trade movies and we
TAXIED. Scared the crap out of me because we were moving and I had never moved after landing and I was certain we were
headed overboard like when the helo went in the drink in Scotland!! Not something I was really expecting.
Another funny thing was the only time we were in Tunis - pulled into Tunisia and for some really dumb reason decided we wanted
Pizza! (Don't bother to order a Pizza in Tunisia). It took them 45 minutes to bring it out and sure enough it
was round and flat but it had round orange fruit or vegetables on it and smelled really funky. What is round and orange
anyway. We paid and left hungry. Not too brainy that day. Ha.
LT (SC) Kenneth Vernon McMillen 70-73:
I reported aboard just 3/4 days before getting underway for CONCORD'S first Med deployment. I was assigned as Control
Division (S-1) Officer - and retained that job until detached. (S-l, during those early years, included DP's.)
CONCORD was the hardest working ship I ever served on - and - the best. Watching the video of her going down brought
tears to my eyes.
GMG2 Alan Wisniewski 70-73: 1973 Med cruise I think (on our way there), Capt Stillwell got on the 1MC and announced that we had need for a mail
buoy watch. So they put a newbie on the bow with a life jacket and boat hook. The capt got on the 1MC again and provided a
relative bearing of the possible mail buoy. Well something was spotted, it was a red drone floating in the water. We
pulled it up.
MMFN Steve Brown 75-77: It was such a long time ago. I was such a kid, 18 thrown into A gang. I knew nothing about
refergeration, after a quick brief on what a liquid flood back looked like, I was a watch stander..
Couple of days later
while learning how to take the readings, I noticed the return lines frosting up and chasing back to the compressor! I remember
thinking, uh-oh that doesn't look right?
About that time the liquid freon slammed into the intake side of the 35 ton
compressor, making a huge bang as all of the piston rods attempted to compress liquid. I remember mm3 Hyde chewing me out,
for not closing the intake valve, this was my introduction to Concord. And began my mess cooking! Duty!
to read some of the comments of past shipmates and names remembered while aboard.
Surfing w Wayne Hostilo in Rota!
OS1 (SW) Byron Carroll (82-87): There
is so much to talk about concerning my years on board. I have read the other stories and remember some of the events and people
named. In retrospect I realize these were the best of days. I came aboard in late November of 1982 while the ship was at Jonathan
shipyard and we were staying at Lafayette Yacht Club.
On this note I just want to do my best to remember the new OS's that came aboard in that time period.
I believe there was 8 of us that came on reporting to the ship before our "A" school was scheduled. I was glad to
work in my rate before school and this helped me at school. I'm going to try to name the others that came on around that time
with me. Neal Gaylor, Todd Barnhill, Ruben Douglas "Waldo" Waldon, Rick Otlowski, Lonnie Evans, Mike Davis and I
forgot his first name but his last name was Groat.
The memories enrich me. Those were the days.
James da Silva (89-91): This
was my first deployment as a "SM", and I was already a SM2. A lot was expected and demanded of me during this deployment
after only one previous deployment as a deck seamen. I was not reporting from shore duty. The first ship I was assigned to
went to a yard period after the deployment. I remember going down to "GITMO" for training before the scheduled med
deployment. During our scheduled deployment, we were extended and rerouted for operations Sharp Edge and Desert Shield. The
comradeship was great aboard this ship. I have seen a few of those I have served with throughout my travels after departure
from the USS/USNS Concord. I wish someone who has the authority to do so, to send in a recommendation for the Navy Expeditionary
Medal be included for Operation Sharp Edge on the ships list. I already know that our Ops Officer for that time has already
BM3 Frank Rose (74-75): Left Norfolk for Gitmo,
and while going through the triangle lost contact with the ship that was ahead of us. Capt Gaskill went out of his way to
avoid going through it, superstitious i suppose, and we got to Gitmo, played our war games, came up to port Everglades to
have open ship, and had liberty most of the time. Great memories.
RM3 Russell Damerell (87-90):
I came on board as a fresh deckhand out of Nuke School (those used to be fairly common) and struck into
Radio. As a result I had the opportunity to work with almost everyone onboard! (except the snipes. Never saw those
guys). Its no exaggeration when i say I had the time of my life on that ship. RIP RM1 Chris Bolanz. My time
on board her was a blur of life changing experiences and people who were larger than life. I've typed about 6 sea stories
from start to finish and then deleted them because while I was reading your stories and remembering my own, I started to think
about the men who sailed her. I had the privilege of working with some of the best sailors in the Navy. I was just a kid then,
but I learned to work hard, play harder, love your ship like you love your mother, put others first, and the Value of Excellence.
Those are not token words to me. I boarded her a cocky kid too sure of himself and walked off a man. I owe a debt of
gratitude to the Navy, but more-so to my fellow shipmates aboard the Concord. First Then, First Now! Thank you!
RM2 George Fuller (69 - 71): My twin brother, Jon Fuller, and I reported on board
USS Concord in the Med in 1969. We were on 'temp duty' on board the USS Arcturus, one of the older supply ships, and
had crossed the Atlantic to rdvx with Concord with supplies. After several unreps, we reported on board USS Concord in Barcelona.
At one time, there was another set of twin brothers (from Ohio if my memory is correct) and 2 other sets of brothers on board
Concord.....so 4 sets of brothers! Two memories that come to mind.... we were being relieved by the USS Sylvania
in Rota Spain, and the tugs lost control of Sylvania, attempting to put her skin to skin to unload supplies. Sylvania rammed
into our ship and caused a lot of damage to both ships. Working in Comm Central, I was privy to the Captain's message to the
CNO,and other high Naval officials, explaining the cause and damage to the Concord. On another Med deployment, I was
the supervisor during the midnight shift, and Concord received a message from NAVCOMSIXFLT; I had to wake up the Capt about
the OBOE message, then set up several secure radio circuits. Concord was the closest ship to a US submarine that we had been
commanded to rdvx with, to pick up the body of a chief who suffered a heart attack. The body of the chief was taken off board
in Naples. Sad news for the chief's family. Being deployed had advantages....Sunday evening meal was always steak and
lobster. If working the midnight shift, we would send a striker to the bakery to bring up a pan of fresh hot pastries
and put on a fresh pot of coffee. Great memories on board the Concord!
Alice Daly (68-70): My husband BM3 Dave Daly was in D1 Division aboard Concord from commissioning
in San Diego (1968) to separation in June 1970 and then returned to the University of Maryland. He passed away in November
2002 while playing basketball, his free time passion. He had so many stories that I can't begin to remember them all. One
of MY favorites was the target tow line, which has already been mentioned in your sea stories. Another was the installation
of the new safe. Seems someone thought the best place to keep the combination was IN the new safe. So, it was placed inside
the safe, without writing it down before the aforementioned action took place. Hmmm. Also liked the story of the requisition
for 200 feet of water line. He also bought me a cuckoo clock in Naples, I believe. Unfortunately, someone stole it after he
brought it on board. So, if you have my clock, I want it!! Hope to be at the 2014 reunion.
EM2 Robin Hedstrom (68-70): Gitmo Bay,March 1969,Gunnery practice we could not hit the towed target behind the plane but managed to hit the tow
cable. Had a day of Liberty in Jamaica but held Captain's Mast on the gang plank for late returning crew. Pete Tessoni paralled
generators 180 out of phase during a drill and broke a lot of mounting bolts. Remember losing the helicopter in Naples, I
had super 8 video of the entire incident. Turned it over for the investigation and that was the last I ever saw of it. I was
first of nine new fathers on that first Med cruise
SN Charlie Bauer (74-77): Does anyone remember steve hicks, mike crook, mike charles or me? Many great times
aboard the grey ghost.
SM2 Rodney Cooke (80-84): Rodney writes in response to Marty Millers sea story below: Marty Miller.....I remember that kid. Remember bringing him aboard.....very sad.
Remember the weather being very rough.
QM2 Don Bissett (69-72): I
reported straight out of boot camp and was a Minuteman for the duration of my Naval service. Started out in D-2 division and
after 6 months became a quartermaster striker and was discharged as a second class QM. I remember Dennis Potter from side
cleaning and him being in charge of the sail locker. Hey Potter, remember "Frank" Rinaldi? MANY, MANY memories.
Remember the lifeboat capsizing as per GMG3 Wisniewski. It was during a transit to the Med and there was miscommunication
during a man overboard drill and the whale boat was lowered at 10kts which flipped it. Never again did I get a smoke marker
overboard any faster. Guys were picked up with a helo. I guess I was Bob Devens co-conspirator in pitching Ens Scott Keeney's
(deceased) coffee cups over the side. Always on the mid-watch and we would leave notes saying it had been subjected to a float
test and failed. He took to leaving notes his cup had already been float-tested but we would pitch them anyway and leave
notes that he was right (they were tested and failed). I keep up with Stanley Yarborough RD3 and my division officer/navigator
Cullen Coates. Dan Kirby BM3 was my son's godfather. Dan died about 2 years ago. Anyway lots of great memories. Look forward
to swapping sea stories next October.
JOHN S. PARR (USS Concord (CL-10)
Found your info page on USS Concord(CL-10)
Bud and I were close friends on the Concord in the same division.
some material you could add to your history.
When we left Japan after the surrender we were sent to Boston for Navy Day 1945.
the ship was named after Concord Mass, we went there. Our Mascot was a brass Minuteman.
Our Task Group accepted a separate
Peace signing in Omato-Amaori Harbor.
Our Com. Officer was a photographer and he recorded it for the Task force'
we arrived in Boston the Navy Dept made booklets of the signing and the 5 ships in the Task Group gave them to the visitors
visiting the ship.
I keep one in a scrap book for many years and it began to crumble. I was able to transfer
it to my computer.
If you would like to add it to your history, I would be glad to send it too you.
friend Bud and I were the 2 youngest in the crew. I went in on my 17th birthday and Bud who was from Alva Ok. Where his father
was sheriff, was 15. He was such a devil his father signed for him as 17 to keep him out of jail.
Click below to view John's scrap book:
HT1 (SW) Marty Miller (82-84): I remember heading across the Atlantic for Med Cruise '83 and
the weather was horrific. It was so bad that the Battle Group Commander secured all weather decks for all Ships in the
Group including lookouts. I was sitting in the First Class Lounge wathing a movie (Blues Brothers to be exact) when
Flight Quarters was called away. It seems that a young Sailor on one of the small boys in our group decided to see what
the big deal was with the weather decks and went on deck. He was hit by a wave coming over the bow and was beat back
and forth across the deck. Somehow his Shipmates were able to get him inside the ship where the IDC started to work
on him. Since we had a Medical Officer, we were tasked with sending a helo over to pick him up. I have to tell
you, I thought we were going to loose the helo off the stern. We started to push it out of the hanger and the ship was
rocking and rolling. The pilot (I think it was LT Savas) had this look on his face like, Oh my
God, I'm going to die! The helo started to slide aft and almost didn't stop.
got it chocked and chained and opened up for take off. The trip to the other ship and back took about 30 minutes. When
they got back on deck, the strecher bearers took the kid to the aft elevator and they lowered them all down to the fork truck
deck and carried him forward to sick bay. The poor kid died in sick bay.
The only funny
part to this story (I know, there is nothing funny about loosing a Shipmate) is they had to put him in a metal transport casket
and had to put him in cold storage unti we got to Rota. The only place there was room was in the Captains reefer down
in one of the cargo holds. They forgot to tell MS1 Mejia that he was in there. To hear the SKs tell it, MS1 never
touched a step on the ladder leading out of there and would not go back down there for the rest of the cruise.
Not a fond memory, but one that stuck with me for a long time.
OS2 Mike Grieve (86-90): The Concord was my first ship. I reported as an E3 with 3 other guys from A school. I had the best time, met some
of my best friends those 4 years. The Ops dept was a tight group. The other OS's taught me a lot. For those of you that served
with us here are the names of the best OS's in the fleet. OS1 Steve Hahn(Ret), OS1 John Slack(Ret), OS2 Wayne Loving(OSC Ret),
OS3 Rusty Price, OS2 Andy Tilley(OSC Ret), OS3 Chris Stegall, OS3 Allen Blair(OSCM Ret) The EW's were a good group as well.
If anybody remembers RM1 Chris Bolanz, He past away this year(2013) from pnemonia. To everyone on the ship while I was
stationed here, you made the cruises bearable. My second ship, USS Savanah AOR-4 was miserable. I hope everyone is doing well.
Dennis Potter (69-72): I was on the Concord from April 69 to December 72, bought (the coffee mug) in the
ships store. Probably on the first Med cruise. Also have one from GTMO, did that 3 times. Fond memories of those days. I also
have a " Cruise chart " that the chief quartermaster had printed up somewhere in Norfolk. It has the complete
track of where the ship went for the first med cruise as recorded in the ships log. Its about 2x3 feet, in color, even
has mermaids pictured. They were still common in the Mediterranean back then. Maybe I could try to get it copied. First found
the website by chance shortly before Concord was taken out of service, was surprised to see she was still steaming.
She outlasted all of them. I was on deck force but worked for Bos'n Wheeler as a side cleaner. We kept her looking good,
no rust running down the sides, sharp straight water line. We also did the quarter decks and the sail locker. And had to keep
the Minute Man clean and tidy. We did the canvas and turks head fancy work on the quarter decks, and used a slight blue
tint in the white paint for the overheads to make it look whiter. I ran the sail locker for my last 2 years. Made covers
for the captains gig ect. My daughters were in Hawaii just before sinkex but they went to the wrong island so couldn't get
any pictures. I'll check on getting a copy of the chart. I put an entry in the sea stories page when I first found the
site. Gotta go now. Thank You.
MMFA/MM2 Jim Kaczmarek (84-88): One day while in a passageway I was stopped by Captain Waterman and he asked
how my mom was which was very odd as we never spoke before. I was like fine... Then he went on to say that my mom and his
mom went to Bingo at Chapel together. I really looked puzzled at this point then he told me how his mom was. she live across
the street and 4 house down from my house back home.I delivered the Buffalo Evening news to his mom from 1978-1981 (12-16)
years old way before my navy days. Was a small world to be 630 miles from home and know the C/O's mom. No Sh--ter! Cheektowaga
NY on Evergreen pl. 14225. Small world...Any other Concord Vets from Western NY.?
DCCS Kevin Reece (90-92): While in the CO's cabin signing my 1st set of evals as a new CPO,
my guys in R-Division were blowing out a plugged up shitter line and didn't blank-off the CO's Shitter!!!!
just finished signing when the shit hit the fan so to speak..I grabbed my copy and said thank you Sir!!! He yelled "Get
back here Chief!!" We laughed about that till the day I left..
LT (onboard); CAPT (final rank) Larry Weill (82-86): As the newest junior officer onboard,
I often had to sample the mess down on the enlisted mess decks. The first time I did so, I had the unfortunate experience
of killing several cockroaches on the table in front of my tray. I reported this on my meal eval form, not knowing that you
just didn't do this and live to tell about it.
Within two hours after submitting my evaluation form, I was chewed out
by two Department Heads, and told that if I did that again I would be publicly flogged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and
then tarred and feathered.
From then on, no matter what the meal, I always wrote down that the food was "on par
with the finest entrees from the Waldorf Astoria," or comments like "the fish reminded me of the trout almondine
served at Sardis in New York." The Suppy Department loved it, and I became an instant food expert in their review
QM1 Luke Bottigleri (74-79): In regards to the events of 1975, The pilots came aboard in Norfolk and
recommend for us NOT to get underway. However the CO wanted to get underway and be the first ship to bring the USS Nimitz
alongside. Well It took 5+ tugs to get us away from the pier, we finally got to sea and tried to bring the Nimits alongside
to do do a practice Unrep. However, we could not maintain course we kept being thrown off by both the winds and waves
& finally it was declared unsafe. We then attempted to proceed to Boston to help kick off the all BiCentential.
We had 20 knots rang up (our max speed) but was making only 1 knot good. We were pounding and taking greenies as if
we were a destroyer. We even took "greenies" over the bridge. It was so bad we eventually turned back
to Norfolk & were met by Ambulances. We left Norfolk a few days later And headed to Gitmo for reftra-didn't have
to worry about "missle hazards" we had found them all.
As for the Med Cruise of '78 - It was "The Cruise
from Hell" - ON the way to Rota we lost 2 levels of the refer hold and had to make a mad dash to Rota where the USS San
Diego was waiting so we could off load the refers & get them repaired by Portsmouth Naval S/Y Personel who had been flown
to Rota. After they were repaired and NIS investigated - we were out and about in the Med. The next month a storekeeper
was almost decapitated by a package conveyor - and once again NIS was aboard to investigate. Then came the disbursing
robbery- It happened during the night prior to our arrival in Palermo, Sicily. As result everyone leaving or returning
to the ship was searched as well as anything leaving the ship. We searched the ship from top to bottom foward to aft
found many things - but never found any money. We now had a NIS Agent or 2 riding us. I was requested to go join
the MAA force and we spent many days & nights hunting and researching every and all tips about where the money was.
Then came the fire-we were in Palma de Mallorca waitng for our relief when the idiot 1st tried to set the CO cabin On fire,
then the library and finally managed to set some lifejacks over hold 2 on fire. He was caught the next night trying
to set the after part of the ship on fire.
After returning to Norfolk we got ready to go to Philladelphia S/Y to repair
the Damage from the fire. When they removed all the Insulation from the overhead over the foward holds - they found
that most of the welds had cracks - they couldn't understand how the fire which was mostly smoke was not hot enough to do
the damage. Our Foward winch deck was basically "floating" except for the outer welds. It was'nt until someone
mentioned that if we were a destroyer then he could understand the broken welds - and lo and behold that storm in '75 had
caused way more damage than orginally thought.
MMFN John Barker (82-83): We were doing engineering drills out of Gitmo, when the BT's
lost the load and we were dead in the water. Because of the heat we "the MM's" were allowed on the weather
decks to cool off. As me and MMFN Mike Buckner watched over the railing some very large Mahi-Mahi or Dolphinfish were swimming
by, I remembered another MM had a spinning rod and reel and another had a good size treble hook,in very little time I had
both, I tied the hook on, one thing left " bait", I was off to the mess deck, they said nothing left but "brocolli",
I said that will have to do ! I was back at the railing as the dolphinfish were approaching, I cast my "brocolli"
right in front of them and one engulfed it, it came to the surface Tailwalking as everyone looked in amazement including me,I
had a small crowd around by then, then the fish hit the water hard and took off north taking all the line off the spinning
rod and reel, we all went "awwww" at about the same time. Definitely my favorite sea memory!
Wassup Canney and Ainsworth
MMFA Williams (73-76): This is
a photo in my collection. It was taken in the Bay of Naples, 1974. The helo was carring
second group of TAD sailor from
NAS Naples to the Concord. I was TAD to the USS Donald B Beary DE 1085. I remember the helo crew dropping us by line to the
fan tail of the USS Brownson DD 868. Then transferred by motor whale boat to the USS Donald B Beary DE 1085 somewhere in the
Eastern Med. Was quite an experience to start sea duty this way, After boot camp in San Diego and A School in Great Lakes.
E-1 to E-5 Jim Kaczmarek (84-88): September 27th 1984 shellback on the way to Rio!
Need I say more.....
MS1 \ MSC Douglas Owensby (82-85): I remember being one of the "Right First Time"
counters in the refers holds. Very cold. Also the time we were almosted hit doing unrep with Capt. Watermen on the bridge.
Came within 10 feet I do believe. The time several walkie talkies were ripped off by a deck seamen. Held up liberty for the
whole crew until he confessed.Made Chief on board her then left two weeks later to join the USS Bainbridge for another two
years of sea duty. Good times. Cheers to all.
AQ2 Richard Rieman (1969): I was in transit on the Concord along with about
200 other airdales from Naples to Pireaus, Greece. This was my first time aboard ship, and we got our first liberty in Naples
the night before getting underway.
On the way, the captain pointed out the Blue Grotto on Capri, which I glimpsed with
a pair of binoculars, and the whirlpool of Charybdis in the Straits of Messina.
We made pests of ourselves trying to
help out everywhere and asking everybody questions. I helped with the vertical unrep for the Saratoga by latching the cargo
slings under the helecopters. Most of the transients went to the Saratoga, but when they closed the hanger up I went looking
for the fire control shop. I ended up in the radar shop for a while until the chief quartermaster showed me how to use a sextant
I still remember it as a pleasant two weeks where the crew of the Concord made us feel welcomed. We were
all technical ratings who tried to help wherever we could, and I felt that our efforts were appreciated.
SM2 Rodney Cooke (81-84): Ok, I dont know if you are a believer in the Bermuda Triangle or not, personally I
am not. But the following story is true, and I was a first hand witness. It was early in the morning, as I was coming off
of the mid watch, and the seas were calm and visibility was fair. We were headed to Gitmo for refresher training. It
was still dark with a hint of dawn when I got a call from the bridge. Sigs, we have a contact xxxxx yards off of the port
bow, can you identify? Well, I scrambled my little butt up to the BigEyes to have a look but I cannot see anything. I tell
the bridge that I hold no contacts but they insist that there is one out there. This is backed up by CIC who holds the contact
CBDR (any OS s out there knows what this means..Constant Bearing Decreasing Range). Well, things are getting pretty tense
on the bridge as they are unable to contact this ship. Finally they get me to start sending flashing light signals on the
bearing that the contact is coming in at but to no avail. The Captain is called as this contact continues to close on
a collision course. He arrives on the bridge and I will never forget as he looked up to me as I continued to flash signals
in the direction of the contact and said, can you see anything sigs?. Of course I had thought all of this very cool up till
now but now I was starting to worry as I saw the commotion on the port bridge wing along with the concern in the Captains
face. As the contact closed to within a few hundred yards, easily within visual range, it suddenly vanished from the
radar scope. I dont know what it was or if there ever was anything out there but it sure broke the monotony of the transit
from Norfolk to Cuba. This was the first of 4 transits through the Triangle but the only time anything strange happened..believe
it or not!
Walt Lawler (73-76): Henderson is right on, I
remember the hurricane like it was yesterday. I do not remember NYC, of course I may I may been on restriction. As far as the man overboard, I was the QM on watch at the time, nuff said. I was on the bridge
when the cable snapped during the unrep. I wondered what ever happen to my weed!
A shout out to Kenny Proctor, Luther Sikes, John Little and Captain Gaskill
RM3 Stephen Harlin (80-83): For those that were there. All I have to say is "On the
road again". I just wonder if anyone that served on that tour can hear that song and not remember each break away. Another
time in Gitmo almost hitting the pier do to a engine failure. The Iranian ship following us in the IO. The brawl in Sigonella
when relieving the Sylvania. The hostages released in Iran.
Just wanted to help those memories.
Michael Henderson (73-77): I remember the hurricane on the attempted trip to Concord.
Don't remember the 3 days in NYC. Must have been a lot of fun.
I was in the supply office
for most of the Concord trip, due the odor and slippery floors in the berthing area. There were about 30 of us in S1 Division,
and only 3 of us were not sea-sick. On one roll, a 6' cabinet full of paper broke loose and crashed onto a desk where a friend
was sitting. He had just turned so his legs weren't between the desk and the cabinet. Someone looking out for
him, I guess.
On one unrep, I was manning the SP phones to the destroyer alongside, when they
lost steering and veered off. When the cable gave way, our end landed in a tangle on the deck, dry. No one hurt.
When the RM2 was helped over the side that night, the story (as I came to understand it) was that he was a bully
in the radio shop and that was the reason he was targeted. He was replaced for several days by a team of NIS investigators
who talked to just about everybody. No arrests. BTW, the whaleboat hit him during the recovery. He spent
at least one night in the MAAs office off the library where there was a fold down bunk. We all thought it was a miracle
that the fantail watch was awake to throw him a lifering.
On my first night aboard there was
a fire called. Turned out to be a pier piling with trash and a cigarette.
the 2 times that the resupply ship offloaded everything in Rota, and we brought it all on board with an E5 and below working
party, 2 sections, 4 hours on, 4 off. Took about 40 hours as I recall.
I remember the
MAA who found a baggie of marijuana in a fire hose nozzle.
One movie night the XO came on
the 1MC and announced a need for someone who spoke 'turkey'. Within the hour, someone got to another 1MC microphone
and did a terrific tom gobbler gobble. We all enjoyed THAT movie interruption.
in Tourmilinos, the wind came up so the liberty launch stopped early. Several of us spent the night in cafe chairs in
an alley, very cold. When a cafe/bar opened, for the farmers market trade, we all trooped over there to get inside.
I took a nap on the table and woke up covered in cockroaches. Much laughter ensued.
2nd burns in OPS shower. Steam hot water heater not well regulated. Made QTR deck watch interesting, for a chage.
During vertreps, I held the chalk board to tell the pilot where to deliver. For other helo ops, including balancing
props and other maintenance, or mail runs, I was on the bridge manning the SP phone to the tower. The birds didn't spin
without me, but I never got a ride.
I remember the SK who built RC model airplanes in the
S1 office after supper. One in particular I recall was a Kavan Bell Jet Ranger with full collective variable pitch.
BM3 Skip King (76-80): I have many good memories of my time on board the Concord.
I was in the Navy from 1976 to 1980. I remember the ship board fire, the presence of KKK members on board, and the robbery
that happened. They did catch the people that robbed disbursing and also the guy that started the fire. They shipped
one member out that was heavy into the KKK at that time. I have to say that the good times far outweighed the negative
things that I remember. I made many great friends and I am still in contact with some of them. It's nice to be
able to catch up with everyone. I wasn't aware of this site until today and I am so glad that I was able to find it.
It would be nice one day to be able to attend a reunion and see everyone in person. I hope I am able to continue to
stay in touch with the guys who served with me during those four years and all others who have served aboard the Concord.
BMSN Mike Blank (74 - 75):
I am really thrilled
to be a member and was very surprised to find out that WE had a CVA. I have been browsing the web on and off for
years for contact with members of the Concord and also looking in military publications for names etc. I hope you won't mind,
but bear with me, I would like to tell you a good sea story. I had two very good friends on the Concord,
one from Wisconsin and the other from New York. I had a blast with them guys. One was a drinker and liked the party scene
the other liked to sight see. I did both, with both at various times and there were occasions we all got together. My fondest
memories though were sightseeing, had it not been for this friend, Spain, Italy, France, and other countries may have
been a blur. I thought we were close and I know for a fact we relied one each other for support, although one was a little
older than me and had been in longer. After I left in 1975, we just drifted apart for the same reasons all
us young guys drift apart. After many years of marriage and being in the reserves (maturity I think they call it) I started
to really reminisce about those days on the Concord and I had a need to get in touch with my friends. I searched for years
calling this person and that person for Steve Coomer from Wisconsin, found him about 7 years ago, he was looking for me too.
Got married and wanted me to be his best man, but couldn't put his finger on me because he was looking in the wrong state. Is
that a friend or what. When Steve and I parted that day on the phone we agreed we would each search for another friend, Steve
would search for Dave from Montana and I would search for our other friend from New York. Well I've been searching for more
years now. Every once in awhile I would Google the web for the name Concord and his name too only to come up empty handed.
I talked often to my wife of him and once we went to New York for a trip and tried to locate him using various methods, to
no avail. Time went on but I always knew I would someday be re-acquainted with him. Then I found the Concord web site, you
can imagine my surprise, finally the men of the Concord were organized. I was so excited I couldn't slow my fingers down searching
through the various web pages, even locked it up at one time. I was hoping after all these years that my long-lost friend
would be part of this CVA. Then, there it was all of a sudden, I let out some sort of war-hoop, tears welled up
and my wife came running and ask what was the matter, she was kind of shook up because I was really in tears and trying
to speak, and then I said, I found him, here's his picture.....OMG there he was....good looking as ever.....MS2 Larry
Gamba, my long-lost friend and even VP of the CVA. I could not believe it. He mentored me on the Concord and I learned
allot. I worked for him mess-crankin, I got the good job working with him in the food supply hold. Even tried to
strike for SK because it was better than BM work. Didn't like to cook but Larry could and we fine dined many-a-times. Didn't
get to strike for SK, division officer was a jerk and he wouldn't sign off on my chit, got the shaft, and eventually
got out, but never forgot my friends. I have some more stories to tell, but not enough time. So I'll leave it to this. Larry,
since you're copied and I don't know your phone number, give me a call ole buddy and let's get this rolling. If he isn't an
avid emailer, please someone call him and tell him to read his email. This is gonna be
great belonging to the CVA.
Joseph Gimenez (SK2 73-76): I reported to the Concord in Jan of 1973. Of course I said yes
sir to everyone since I was just out of boot camp/"A" school. I was assigned to mess cooking for 4 months (1 for
each year). One of those days I had an arguement with SKSN Schrieber. I was working in the scullery and he was in the Mess
decks. I figured some wop slop on his island would be good payback, I guessed wrong. He put coffee grounds in my scullery
machine. Took quite awhile to get those grounds out of there. Funny thing is we got along good after that. I liked that old
Recent Comment from Barry "Buck" Buchanan (ADJ2 69-70):
I was a member of HC-6 and TAD on the first deployment to the Ship in 69. I transferred from the Sylvania to the
Concord in Naples Italy on September 14, 1969 and remained on board till the ship returned to Norfolk, VA. on March 17, 1970.
I have been able to contact several of the aircrew personal that is in the picture mentioned by Dave Stasack in the cruse
book. I have just posted the picture and several others to the web site today. I just contacted Lt. Massart by phone in January
and traded memories with him for some time. Dave mentioned that the airdales were the bastard children of the ship, if fact
we had a large patch made up in Naples to commemorate Det-86 and the first cruse on the Concord. On the patch we were identified
as Boltons Bastards. Lt Cmdr Jack Bolton was our Squadron Skipper on board and had to take all the flack from the ships skipper
when we did not play by the rules which was quite frequent. Sorry to say the patch is long gone along with a !
of other memories which I cant view now because I cant view the Super-8 movies I made while on board. Anyone know where I
can get a super-8 projector?
Randy Vick(SK3 69-73)has this memory of a good shipmate who was
killed onboard in an accident:
I promise not to bother you with a hail of emails, but
wanted to add a name to the Eternal Deployment page. SKSN Terry Lein. Terry and I went through bootcamp together,
and then SK school together and were assigned to the CONCORD together. I'm ashamed to say that after all these
years I can't remember all the details, but it was in 1970 and we were in port in Norfolk and we were either loading
for the beginning of a cruise or unloading at the end of a cruise. He was assigned to the S-2 Division and at the
end of the day he and fellow S-2 crew member were closing the hatch at Hold #2. It was their job that day to
close all of the hatches. They had just closed Hold #1 and hooked up the block and tackle to the Hold #2 deck hatch.
Of course these deck hatches weigh several tons. The slack had not been taken out of the block and tackle after closing
Hold #1 and when the deck hatch for #2 Hold was released so it could be let down slowly with the block and tackle, all
of the chain, laying on the deck at Terry's feet was instantly yanked through the block and tackle. In that instant, the chain
wrapped around Terry's body and he was beaten between the deck and the overhead who know's how many times. He was the
first crew member lost aboard the CONCORD. I do not know if there have been any since then. It was a terrible shock
and a loss to the entire crew. Terry was a very good guy and I remember he was from Minnesota.
One of my favorite memories of Terry occurred shortly after we arrived aboard the CONCORD in December 1969
at Palma de Mallorca. We were in a first aid training class as we had both been assigned as stretcher bearers for General
Quarters. There was a crowd of us in sickbay and Terry was standing at the back of the room. They showed us one
of those old black and white movies about battlefield injuries. You know, the ones where the casualties have
fake injuries. They came to the guy who had a laceration to his forearm and of course he had a bulb concealed in his hand
and was squeezing it, now remember this was a black and white film so the fake "blood" spurting from
his fake laceration wasn't even red in the film, but at the sight of that fake spurting blood, Terry passed out cold and hit
the steel deck with a terrible thud. Its a wonder he wasn't seriously injured in the fall, but he wasn't. Just
one of those funny things that happen during shipboard life, that kind of stay with you.
Email from David Stascak(SN 69-70):
Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2009 3:45 PM
Why this day is special.
On this day 40 years ago the USS Concord departed Norfolk for her first
Med deployment. As I look back at this first cruise, having a new crew observing all departments coming together with a commitment
to excllence including Hc 6, Det 86 we were not second to USS Sylvaina by any means. The hard work and determination of Officers
and enlisted I will never forget. Thanks to all of you for the many great memories.
While I was in the Med
my brother SP 5 Robert L Stascak was fighting the war in Vietnam. He was at fire support base Saint Barbara near the Black
Virgin Mountains in Vietnam. 2nd Battalion, 32nd Artillery. He did two tours in Vietnam. He left the Army in 1971. We had
sent pictures to each other. I recently found the pictures that we exchanged. I'm having issues with my scaner so i took pictures
of a few of them and included them. Due to Bob suffering from P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Dissorder) he ended his life
on August 22, 1976.
In Memory of SP 5 Robert L. Stascak
Aug. 6, 1949
- Aug. 22, 1976
Gary Haber (MS3 85-89):"I miss all you
guys from 85-90! Off and On duty. The Med cruises were a blast,the endless UNREPS & VERTREPS...Malaga,Torremolinos,TGV
to Paris,Rome,Mallorca,Menorca,Cartagena,Naples,Quebec,Nova Scotia,skiing in the Alps at Foux de'Allou! Kicked ASS in Gitmo,then
partied in Aruba & Bahamas!!!! I don't remember much from Aruba,I have pics tho. I was a"reefer rat" for my
2nd & 3rd cruise,wore a rifle and a .45 on SSDF watch,performed Jewish Lay services,and baked bread/cinnamon rolls for
all. Started as a deckape in D-1,struck out first as a SM,then became an MS3 by my EAOS. "First then,First now!"
bros. It brought tears to my eyes to hear she is to be sunk in 2009/2010. She was a place I had called home for 4 years. I'm
sure all of us will miss her. If anyone can plz give me info where she moored now and if there is ANY way to obtain a small
momento of her before they commit her to the deep. I trust they will save her bell. Thank you so much. God Bless. SM3 Haber/S-3 Div"
Bill LeRoy (SN 76-78): In
1976 I remember the fire that started up forward port side in the life jacket
bins then spreaded forward, trapped men up in the forward focsle One of the crew members ran forward and rescued the trapped
guys and the Supply Officer got face burns, I cannot remember his name but ran into him in GITMO in the 80's. The Brave sailor
got awarded the Navy medal of Valor. I was transfered in 1978 and became a DM3 assigned to SWOSCOLCOM Newport,RI.
Huff (ET1 72-76): Fall 1972 in GITMO for training --- Man OverBoard Drill. Port Side of
ship where Ops mustered -- was several cargo nets tied together to throw over the side. Problem was they weren't
secured to the ship when thrown over the side. They're in the Carribean somewhere. Was so funny. Concord was good
duty for a young sailor, just, steamed too much tho.
Alan Wisniewski (GMG2 70-73): Man over board drill gone
bad. I think it was the Med cruise of 1971 or 1972. The ship called a man over board drill OSCAR was in the water. The motor
whale boat was being lowered into the water but the ship was going to fast and the whale boat started to slam in to the side
of the ship, the davits bent and the whole boat crew went into the water. All of the crew was recovered and no one hurt. It
was amazing how fast the helo crew launch a bird and the Gunner's Mates had the M1's ready to go. It was a bright sunny
day though and a few took advantage of the swim.!
Tom Lemon(SM2 75-79): I
remember a few stories. Obviously the fire aboard the ship in the Med in the year 1978. On this same cruise, we also had money
stolen from the disbursing office. To this day, I do not know if they ever captured the thieves. I do know that some seaman
from 1st division set two fires aboard the Concord I believe in April, 78. He set the first fire in the MAA's office
as my SM1 was on duty. That would have been SM1 Strong. As the duty fire team put that out [actually, it was SM1 that put
it out] the fire starter went forward and set some life jackets on fire and rapidly burned forward from the port side to the
STBD side. The fire burned pretty much all day. I was on the bridge where the CO [Capt. Will] was stationed. I broke out the
sound powered phones and the ships info, called down to DC central and told them the CO was on the bridge. I relayed info
back and forth as I watched those actually battling the fire come out coughing and searching for fresh air to breath. There
sure was a lot of smoke. We ended up cutting the Med cruise short and went to Philly for repairs in July, 1978.
remember some sailor, I think a mess cook , jumped off the side of the ship on a dare. we were returning from a cruise
and the water [I think] was cold. Needless to say, he got into a lot of trouble.
I also remember transporting a ship's
shaft from Rota to a port in France. I want to say Toulon, France. We hugged the shore line as we listed severely to [I think]
STBD. We caught a pretty vicious gale as we neared the French coast. The shaft was for the USS Voge, which was rammed by a
Soviet sub that had to surface because the VOGE was hot on her trail. It was a major incident at sea too.
There was also
the accidental collision of the USS Belknap and the USS Kennedy the day after Thanksgiving, 1975. We, the Concord, wasn't
involved with either incident though we were in the Med when they both happened.
But the funniest [sort of] was the theft
of thousands of dollars from disbursing. All kinds of speculation on whom was in on it. To this day, I never found out if
anyone was ever charged though many were suspects.
One day, an RM3 stabbed one of my signalmen and tried to stab me too.
He went UA, only to eventually return. The Capt [Will] dismissed the charges against the RM because he [the RM] was under
stress. I decided right there and then I didn't need to remain in the Navy when the bad sailors were being protected more
than the good ones.
On a bright note, I remember the Concord going to Casablanca in 1977 [or 1978] I think. That
Carlos Gaspar (BT2 75-78): Med. cruise from
hell! I believe it was 1978, started off by loosing most of the refrigeration holds, and dumping all that good food into the
sea before we even made it into the Med. Spent two weeks in Rota Spain for repairs, I enjoyed every minute of it, nice beaches
and ladies also. Then the Concord made the news back in the States for being robbed at sea of $40,000.00 dollars. The paper
read as follows: Ship Robbed of $40,000 While at Sea -Norfolk A safecracker removed about $40,000 from a safe on the
Navy combat store ship Concord in March while the ship was in the Mediterranean. But the Navy would say little about the incident.
Vice Adm. William L. Read commander of the naval surface force, Atlantic Fleet confirmed through a spokesman Wed. that the
money was taken from the ships dispersing office sometime on March 13 or 14. The 581 foot ship, with a complement of 430 officers
and crew, left Norfolk Jan.19 to re-supply ships of the 6th Fleet. It returned May 17. A telephone caller who identified himself
as a Navy man but refused to give his name, told the Virginian-Pilot Wednesday that; the money was taken by someone who used
an acetylene torch to cut into the safe. The spokesman for Read would neither confirm nor deny that account. It was a torch
No one has yet been charged in the case. The spokesman, Comdr. J. J. Nemer said the dispersing office normally contains
the crews pay, but he did not know whether the sum taken was payroll money or part of another fund. Yes it was, no one was
paid Asked whether the money had been recovered, he said Forty thousand dollars had been taken, and I dont have anything on
its being recovered. He said he didnt know if the crew had been searched or the ship quarantined. Well, the ship was searched,
they found some notes in one of the johns, and they kept searching everyones wallets, but to my knowledge, they never found
the bulk of it. That brings me to the final chapter: Apparently the Master at Arms was on someones case about the stolen loot,
and that individual didnt take it too well and proceeded to set several fires on the ship while docked in Palma De Majorca
Spain. Luckily we were in port, or I believe the ship would have been in serious trouble. He was caught the next day trying
to ignite the jet fuel JP5 aft of the ship. Poor fellow, I heard that he suffered a broken arm and several other bumps and
bruises on his way back to the Master at Arms office. I wonder what ever happened to the Capt. at the time; Capt. Otto Will
LTJG Robert Devins (71 - 74): I remember LTJG Sam Boger falling asleep on the midwatch,
while standing up! The bill to his watch cap was curled up from leaning against the window on the bridge! Also remember
throwing LTJG Scott Keeney's coffee mug over the side every time we went through the Straits of Gibraltar - Great Tradition!
HM3 Ed Dombrowski (79-83): I remember the LaSalle
fire at pier 4 NOB. We "Just" got back from Gitmo for training so we were very up on what to do. I responded
with several others in response to the fire. It started from welding slag amidship while LaSalle was taking on fuel.
Concord was moored behind LaSalle on pier 4. I remember seeing an MS or a mess-crank opening a watertight around the
04 level and shutting it quickly, like in a silent movie comedy. Nothing but smoke with just a hint of a orange glow. The
OOD called it and we got the P250 going and attemped to contain the fire. Someone went around the fire early to pier
5 for help. The Iwo Jima was moored there and I was told later the Master chief on watch refused to provide us AFFF or render
any other assistance, dink. The rest of us continued to spray the foam as Concord began to ease off the pier and out
in the harbor, leaving us behind. Totaly black in smoke was the area. We had an exit to the water if needed but, to our good
fortune, fire trucks showed up; fire contained. No thanks to us on the peer. And, who was the
officer who got up in the fire for what reason, I don't know. Did he get a NAM or something for getting smoke inhalation?
If anything he was a casualty. I remember DP2 Tom Hansen was the MOOW and I think he went to the Iwo Jima for help or, perhaps
he may have been with our fire party.
RM2 Marty Soder (83-87): Lots of sea stories;
mostly related to Naples and associated night spots but a couple that come to mind from shipboard life that all of us should
remember; The "bunny tube" wars we used to have with the OS's; Sinking the buoy on the way back into Norfolk.
Didn't we have a ship's Christmas card with the #3 buoy on it? I'll never forget the time they started selling woks
in the ship's store. An SK opened a "Benny Hanna's" over Hold 3 cooking bacon!
DP3 Peter Knapp (83-86): I'll never forget the
time they started selling woks in the ship's store. An SK opened a "Benny Hanna's" over Hold 3 cooking bacon!
ET1 Danny Huff (72-76): The ETs' had
refer hole for Romeo evolution of breaking out stores for customer ships. As part of the duties (and as any good sailor would
do) the products available were sampled to insure freshness. Chuck "Boom Boom" heeler delivered about half case
of gourmet apples to radio central. As he sat'em down he noticed an officer with his back to Chuck --- just as Chuck sat them
down.As Capt. Esterling turned around to see what was going on --- Chuck reached in the case, pulling huge red apple out and
offered it to the Capt.From almost that day on --- when a long period Unrep went on -- case of apples delivered to bridge
for all to eat.
SK3 J.H. Gesling (84-87): I remember the cruise
of 86, I was driving a forklift on station when that ship lost steering, we where in pretty heavy seas. That cable for unrep
took off like a fishing line. The deck supervisor told us to hit the deck becuase that cable was going to snap.
Chief Kruse, I started out in the s-2 division running the DLR cage in hold-5, then moved to s-1 as assistant financial storekeeper
I think I worked for SK1 Hamilton and Chief Kruse, you were great to work for.
SKSN Robert Lohmann (71-75): Can't remember exactly
what Med cruise it was; partying hard in Naples I believe. Concord had to pull an emergency exit to retrieve a sailor
who had a heart attack aboard a sub. Leaving us stranded there including the Captain. Extremely long night waiting for the
helos to come and retrieve us. It was an experience I won't forget flying over the ocean for what seemed like hours with a
hang over. Do it all again to see some of my old friends.
LT Clayton Hayden (78-81): Also remember
the coup while we were in Alicante. A bunch of us were ashore hauling as many sheets into the wind as possible, and thought
the recall was a joke until reminded the second time by SP and watching the news on Spanish TV in the bar.And Geoff, I remember
the several-day approach into Palma with the worst seas I ever saw in the Med. Somewhere at home I have pictures of green
water breaking over the first M-frame. I also remember the Bosun "roping" a wild and loose forktruck by jumping
onto it after it speared through the bulkhead next to sick back.There are many days that I miss the time on Concord!
LT Peter Gregory (90-93): Being my first sea
duty I was behind the power curve, with all the Navy traditions of breaking in the "new guy". The ship's 1st LT
(an SOB if there ever was one) had me convinced the mail-bouy watch was the most important activity any given week. So I dressed
up in my deck-gear, stood out there on the foc'sle awaiting the mail-plane to come by so I could catch the weekly mail. I
learned the ropes rather quickly from there. I could tell some tales about the old AFS-5, but best to leave those at sea.
LT Geoff Easter (79-81): I'll add my two cents
worth to the Alicante coup story. I was Shore Patrol officer on the night in question. I remember the Captain calling me up
to the bridge (which was unusual) and telling me that the Guardia Civil was staging a coup and that I was to find all of you
people on liberty and get you back on board safely. We did not have a vehicle to work with and we walked around Alicante for
hours that night checking bars and restaurants. Nearly wore out a pair of shoes! Some of the liberty party went to ground
so well that we didn't see them until late the next day. We listened to the Guardia firing into the air to emphasize their
curfew while we were out and about. They didn't bother us as they realized we were trying to get our people out of the way.
Do any of you remember the mess we had going into Palma for two weeks? The OOD turned us into the troughs to enter port
about 0300 and we started taking 30 degree rolls. The mess that made took the storekeepers the whole port call to clean up.
They were not happy!
AB1 David Imlay (73-75): I was there at that
time and it was in 1974 mede cruise. I also remember that we went fishing and we caught a ell off the fantail had some fun
with it by tying someone up on the fantail and setting the ell on him and telling him it was a electric ell. I was wonderingif
any one remembers the helicopter crash that happened off the side of the ship. Or does any one have a cruise book from 1973-1975
it is in the front of the book if someone would email me that it would mean alot. firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks God bless all.
QM3 Chuck Totten (68-71): Usually, as QM1, I
drive during transfers, but this time I was on deck watching. The helo picked up cargo to transfer to another ship.
The helo just fueled up and hovered over the fantail ready to pick up a full cargo net of stores. He was able to pick
it up but you knew he was in trouble. He pulled off the deck and went hard over to port, dropped the net, and landed
upside down in the water. The amazing part was that the crew was out of the bird and floating in less than 10 seconds.
I couldn't believe how fast they exited that helo. What an amazaing sight that was. Many more stories were had
on the "grape".
BM3 Gary Sterner (70-72): Please forgive
me because this was a long time ago. I don't remember if it was 1971 or 1972, but we were at the end of our "Med
Cruise", tied up at Rota, Spain counting the minutes until the USS Sylvania would arrive to relieve us. I was standing
on the fantail watching the tugboats bring Sylvania up the channel. Suddenly they start blasting away on their air horns.
The tugs have lost control and she is headed straight for us. I was frozen and couldn"t move and she slammed into
us. It was the most incredible thing I have ever personally witnessed in my life. Concord sustained very little
damage but Sylvania lost everything on their port side from the motor whale boat on back. Beside that incident, I sure had
fun during my time on board. I remember during UNREPS we flew a flag that said "Giant Open Air Supermarket"
HT2 Charles "Chuck" Thomas (77-78): I
was on 1200-1600 watch in the log room. An SK from hold 5 came charging into the log room in a panic. Thomas! there is flooding
in Hold 5. I walked with him to the lowest level of Hold 5 and sure enough there was about an inch of water on the deck. I
reached down and tasted it. It was potable water. I walked back to the log room,opened the chart and sure enough,there was
a potable water tank below the hold. I called main control,MM2 Johnson picked up the phone. John, are you making water? Yea.
Can you shift to another tank,youre flooding hold 5? Yea,let me shift now. I said, take a little suction on the tank to bring
the water down.O.K. Tom.We hung up and I started to make the entry into the daily log. About that time,crashing through the
door comes the DCA. (LTjg William F. Barnes). A good man and a really good officer. It was obvious that he had just been awakened
from a nap. THOMAS! there is Flooding in hold 5! Yes sir,I have contacted main control and they have shifted tanks,and
are taking a suction on the tank below hold 5. THOMAS, I REALLY NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS! Yes sir, I just didnt have time
to call you.
RM1 Lester Solomon (82-86): After initiation
to RMC, on the way back from the med, i had to bunk with the master chief(Chick). Talk about being nervous all the way
back to norfolk. I recall one night, while we were in Ibiza spain, he came back so drunk that when he tried to take
his clothes off, all his coins went rolling about the state room. He tried to wake me up to help him find his coins at 4am,
but i pretended to be asleep!
E4 Bruce Lewis (84-87): Soooo many, but
one in particular is when we were at an unrep and the other ship lost stearing. Due to great teamwork, bridge was able to
avoid a "collision at sea". I was a phone talker. I "cranked" in the Chiefs Mess and Master Chief Cheeks,
the best CMC to date was KING. The only music that the Chiefs were "allowed" to listen to was country music. Every
now and then a Chief would have the "courage" to put in music, but not often.Master Chief ran a tight ship! He didn't
take crap from nobody, even the CO! One day a SCPO threw all of the Chiefs ballcaps overboard because he was tired of finding
them all over the place! LOL. Of course he had to replace them all. That same SCPO retired, but within a year was returned
and we had a "Burial at Sea" for him. I can't remember his name, but sure can remember the face.
Steel beach picnics were the best! Boy, did I see the world. I did 5 med cruises. My first port visit coming out
of Indiana was RIO!!!! Need I say more. I will never, ever, ever forget my shipmates from 84-87 and my experiences onboard
the USS CONCORD (AFS-5)
HMC Joe Vitelli: The hat thing in the Chief's
mess was Senior Chief Larry Webb. A tear in my eye as I read and remembered that. At the funeral ceremony we all
threw our ball caps overboard. I can also remember Larry smoking a cigarette while doing PFT up and down ladders.
To this day if I hear the song "my bucket's got a hole in it" all I can think about is BMCM Chick and the rest
of the Chief's mess.
SKSN Gordon Meyer (90-92): The USS Concord was
the first ship that I served on when I was in the Navy. It was a great time for me. I remember GITMO... and being there for
her last Med Tour before she was changed over to be USNS... I did not understand how much I actually missed her and the pride
that had grown in me until I was on my second ship, USS Inchon (LPH-12) in the Med and there she was... The USNS Conord sailing
out there in the open water. Seeing her steam along actually brought tears to my eyes and somehow I understood that was the
last time that I would actually get the chance to see her in my life. I am sure that I will not see her again but I am never
going to forget the pride and love that I have for her and all of my shipmates.
SKSN James Gollinger (73-75): I remember
our training at the GITMO base in cuba. One afternoon a small group of sailors were fishing whilethe ship was tied up
in port. There were two members of the crew from American Somoa aboard who caught a fish and began to eat it while the
fish was still alive! This caused quite a reaction and to put the icing on the cake they asked if anyone had any salt as they
said "it tastes better with salt."
YN3 Gannon (79-83): Hey DP3 Johnson, you
are right it was a military coup in Alicante Spain, I was out there with, MM2 Armando Gomez,SN James Brown, PN3 Frank Vinas
and MM3 David Karue. We were also told to get back to the ship by SP. But instead we chose to go into another bar (typical
huh). When we left that bar," after being told to report back to ship for the second time", We were approched by
three Alicante Soldiers and were asked for our ID's. SN Brown told them to go to hell and one of the soldier reached back
and slapped him across the face. We all produced our ID's real quick after that. After they told us to leave we ran back to
the ship as fast as we could..
As for the hash that was stolen. Some one had gone over the false celing from the
T&E room into the MA's office cut the hasp off the safe with a portable cutting torch put the torch in a trash can and
tossed the torch over the Aft part of the ship but left the trash can there. When I went to open the MA's office the next
morning I noticed the the lock cut and notified MAC Zinchuck.
P.S The Hash was found on the Helo deck by
an Airman frrom the Helo Det. and was turned in the night before.
MM3 Tom Barron (68-69): CONCORD was the
first ship to have the AOS system on her main engine. The idea, (I surmise) was to eliminate the need for an E-2 to run around
and do readings. So ... the thing didn't work worth a damn. Instead, it took three electronics (E-4's and 5's) to take care
of this magic box.
The computers back when Concord was built were kind of primitive. Each
seperate gague being read required it's own card.. which set back the government something like three hundred bucks a pop.
And pop they did. Every single watch I ever stood in the engine room, the teletype (and IBM selectric typewriter) would start
chattering out and if it wasn't just a single alert, it would keep typing and the SOP was to reach over and shut it off. The
cards, when they'd go bad, would cascade the whole system and it would all go into alert status.
were down in Gitmo undergoing shake down training and I was a talker. We had the IBM and were ignoring it, but for some reason,
I looked down and there was a number out that I didn't recognize and it turned out we hadn't turned the lube oil cooler on
to one of the ship's service generators. Hmm.. pointed it out to the engineering officer and we had to stop our drill and
do the real casuality.
Well, we got through Gitmo, but with less than flying colors. Matter of
fact, they passed us, but ..
We got back to Norfolk and had acceptance and other engineering
trials. One of the engineering officers asked, "How in the hell did you ever get this plant through Gitmo?" I shrugged.
"Well, every time we had a casuality control drill, we'd have a real emergency and I guess they figured we didn't kill
anyone steaming it and so we kinda deserved a break." He gave me this 'what the hell' look, and just then the alarm went
off and I checked it and yeah, another damn card fried. He just shook his head.
Not fun getting
that thing to steam in the early days. I'd come up for lunch and find out it was mid rats. Sixteen, eighteen hour days were
the norm. Always wondered what they ever did with that piece of garbage system we had to live with.
FTG1 Wayne Hostilo (73-77): We had
just entered the Med and were independent steaming toward Naples to start our tour. I'm guessing this
was 74 or 75 but it's been a while. The mid watch had just set when all of a sudden we went to GQ for a man overboard. The
fantail watch reported hearing a man screaming from the water. The ship came to all stop and we lowered the whaleboat. It
took about an hour but they located the man and brought him back on board. Within minutes the ship was enveloped in pea soup
fog. We were over 90 miles off the coast of Spain. the story gets better because the sailor reported he was thrown overboard
by unknown assailants as he climbed the athwart-ships ladder on the way up to the mess decks to catch some midrats! Only a
few in the crew knew the whole story but the CO placed the sailor under 24hr watch and as you know we didn't have a brig so
we used sickbay. The reason I know this is because D3 Division got the job of standing watch on him until we reached Naples!
P.S. Scuttlebutt was he was a NARC as in those days drugs were quite a problem on our ships.
At any rate, once we hit Naples he was escorted off the ship never to be seen again. The angels were watching out for that
ET1 Danny Huff (72-76): The guy that
got thrown overboard was either and OS2 or RM2 (can't remember which)and it was 25miles off coast of Malaga, Spain. He was
wearing combat boots and wasn't able to swim and undo the strings. The resue motor whale boat had actually given up
finding him and was returning to the ship (due to extremely heavy fog rolling in). The next AM the ship pulled into
Malaga with NIS agents getting onboard prior to arrival. At some point lie-detectors and interviews were given to several
and one guy was sent to Naples for further interviewing.
One funny little ditty. We were leaving The Isle
of Rhodes (I had OOD watch). Just after the last liberty boat returned --- sailor got off, went back to flight
deck, and proceeded to dive off. His was souped on the drink. The recovery group just about broke every bone in
his body during and after his recovery. Once back abroad he was handcuffed (four points) to bunk in sick bay.
SK1/SKC Dan Kruse (83-86): You may recall
that there was always a giant sweat-x over the cookies that had to go in the billing package. The same was true the
day of the New Jersey engagement. But when the NJ CO decided he wouldn't come alongside, Capt. Dougherty got P O'd and
insisted that the cookies be removed... Can't remember if he and the bridge crew ate them or if we had a spare box in stock
DP3 Darryl Johnson (79-82): The place; Alicante,
Spain. I was on liberty with a shipmate (can't remember his name) but we had just gotten a bottle of rum and a military coup
happened. Well, shore patrol was telling everyone to head back to the ship. We proceeded to find a place to down our bottle
of rum expecting to see troops or tanks rumbling through Alicante. After the bottle we were walking along and the shore patrol
party saw us again and yelled after us as we took off running. My buddy fell down, but I got away, or so I thought. LCDR Bender,
whom I had worked with in the helo tower durning VERTREP, happened to be cruising around in a car and offered me a ride. I
was probably pretty lit. I proceeded to accept his offer and I guess I told him what had transpired. Well I ended up explaining
the whole story again in a much more sober state at XO screening with the XO reprimanding me for eluding shore patrol and
sternly telling me to get a haircut (the 'fro was a bit 'Linkish) before dismissing me and the charges. (Whew!)
EM3 Kevin Canney(79-83): I
have got so many stories, I'm not sure which ones I should tell and which ones not. Let's throw out a few headlines and see
what everyone remembers! By the way Darryl I think it was Barcelona,
and we heard machine gun fire...and I did not fall down!!!!
Anyway...Atlantic crossing, Portugese sailor nearly cut in half helo transported to the Concord and the doc performed emergency
surgery, in that little sickbay!!!
Rock apes (not Deck) in
Gibralter stealing and biting everyone (thing) in sight! Fantail
frolic where that yeoman dressed in a pink tutu and did a little dance. Helo'd off the next day! Heavy seas in the Med 30-40 degree rolls, all fork trucks break loose and start smashing everything
in sight, a JP-5 line crushed nearly cause an explosion HT1 Hoole lasso's them down and saves the day. On our way back to States, big Hash package found and locked tightly in MAA's office. When hit Norfolk,
NIS boards and someone had re-stolen it. Fire on the Pier; welding
accident on large white ship (USS Lasalle) in front of us. I just happened to be on duty (fire team);several of us end up
in hospital for smoke inhalation. Got more but not enough time,
BT3 Herbert Ainsworth (81-85): Kevin, Darryl
is right, it was Alicante. We were all in that little bar and the National Police came in and started running everyone out.
There was a lot of machine gun fire that day. No one knew for sure what was going on for a while there! That was my first
Med cruise. The rest were just as memorable. I can still see the Lasalle burning when I stop and think about it. That was
one of the hottest fires I had ever been near.
Oh, by the way Kevin, you did fall down!!!
FTG1 Wayne Hostilo (73-77): In 1975 we set sail for Concord MA with the idea of supporting
the July fourth celebration commemorating the 'Shot Heard Round the World' starting the American Revolution on Concord Bridge.
In preparation for that trip we formed a marching division, if you can imagine, and each day we would march up and down pier
#6 at Norfolk NOB. What a mess. Everytime I see 'Animal House' and those guys crashing into the wall I think of our marching
ability. The XO finally gave up and reported to the old man we were as ready as we'd ever be. We got underway and headed out
to the mid Atlantic for exercises before turning to the North West. Only problem was by the time we made the turn were in
the teeth of a Cat 3 hurricane. We steamed at full speed for three days and made about three knots of headway. We had green
water over the bow and the weather decks were secure but being an FT we would always have to get up on the 05 level and check
out our gun directors. I remember very clearly having to lean into the wind at greater than a 45 degree angle to make any
headway. The boat pitched so deeply that you could go forward near the bos'n locker on the cargo deck and jump a foot or two
in the air and the boat would drop from under you and we'd fly through the air like supermen. After a valiant attempt to make
port the skipper gave up and we turned away from the storm and we just happened to be a hundred miles East of the 'Big Apple'.
We got three wonderful days there and it made all the marching and drills and sea sickness worthwhile.
ET1 Danny Huff (72-76): To amplify on the 1975 event of
going to Concord,MA. The the rear magnetic compass was destroyed when a huge reel of rope broke away. After the compass --
the reel went off the starboard side of ship heavily damaging the motor whale boat. The fantail watch either got
his back broken or badly hurt --- due to ship direction being turned around in 30-35foot seas. The damm thing
just about turned over!! Worst seas I was in while aboard (in almost 4years -- was only in Norfolk, VA for little over 3full
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