1. What years did you serve and what was your rate/rank while on Concord:
> I was
onboard 1978 – 1981 LTjg
department and division were you assigned and who did you work for:
> Deck Department, Lt Brittingham, Operations Department, Lcdr Buttina, Admin Department,
CDR Krieger, Navigation Department, CAPT Westfall
did you hang out with:
> LT Clay Hayden, ENS Tom Childs
4. List any cruises or deployments during your assignment:
> Med 1978, Med 1980
5. What is your fondest memory of Concord:
> CAPT Armstrong, particularly CAPT Westfall, visiting the Holy Land
in 1980. Visiting
the Vatican in 1980 and conducting my own tour of the basilica for several Concord shipmates that went above and beyond what
the ship had contracted for. And the night that the Senior Chief Boatswains Mate jumped onto runaway fork lifts and steadied them so
that they could be griped down. I can’t remember his name, but just before I transferred from the Concord, he was selected for Warrant
2 years later, I was at the O-Club in Subic Bay, Philippines, and a guy sits down next to me, and we recognize each other! There was a BM1 named
Parham who had worked for the Senior Chief who was then attached to the USS NEW JERSEY. I was able to get them back together. My fondest memory of the CONCORD is that it allowed me to visit all of the historic
places that I had taught about when I was a high school history teacher. It also allowed me, as Training Officer to arrange for over 50 crewmembers to get their
6. What is your worst memory
few worst memories. One
was when my roommate, a co-pilot in the air detachment, came in from a night helo op and was “white as a sheet.” He was a black man. The helo had “lost its
horizon,” and damn near crashed. The second was when the CONCORD was transiting the Straits of Sicily and endured over two days of 12-foot
seas all day and all night. Not fun. A possible third is when I was Navigator and had advised the XO that while tranisiting the strait of Messina,
to watch out for the whirlpool
of Charybdis between Messina, Italy and the island of Sicily. The CONCORD was transiting the strait at full moon, which meant that the tidal effect
would be at its maximum. I
researched the situation. I
brought it up at the sea and anchor detail briefing. During our transit north, although I was Navigator, I was only a LTJG, junior to virtually
everyone else qualified as OOD. I was the Officer on sound powered phones who was there to ensure that the orders to the helm and to engineering
were understood correctly. During that transit, the ship was drawn dangerously close to the toe of the Italian boot. The Captain saw it. On the transit south a few
days later, the skipper had me be the Conning Officer. Anticipating the huge eddy, I applied over 15 degrees rudder to counter the whirlpool. It worked. We were never off-course.
7. Any additional thoughts / memories i.e. commissioning Concord etc.:
I have so many sea stories regarding the CONCORD I could go on for
CONCORD was a wonderful ship to serve upon. Its design ensured that
even in heavy seas, that for the most part (if the OOD knew how to aim the ship), the ship experienced a gentle rocking rather
than a pounding
Mike's original thoughts when he signed
our sailing list back in December:
I started off as the
next COMMO, replacing Ltjg Bob Jackson. I became the 2nd Division Officer and got the ship ready to exit the yards in
Philadelphia. When the 1st Division Officer failed to finish his division's paint-out prior to the exit of the yards,
I took it over and we got underway on time. After returning from SWOS and COMM school, I was COMMO for about 3 months.
We won the green "C." Then the XO needed someone to square away his Ships Office (Admin Dept.) He put
me in charge of that and we turned that department around. After that, I was made CIC Officer, and ran the "scope
dopes," We helped win a "Battle E." After the Officer who had been ordered in as the new Navigator took
out 12 pilings while mooring at NAVSTA Norfolk, I was tapped to be the Navigator. I was a LTJG. I had yet to qualify
for my Surface Warfare pin. Nevertheless, I did it. I had to teach myself how to use a sextant (the Navy did not
have a school for Navigators at the time), We deployed to the Med, then became the 4th Navy ship ever to transit the
Suez Canal after it had re-opened. We spent months off the coast of Iran (1980). As Navigator, I had to send an
extensive message to COMSIXTHFLT that spelled out what aids to navigation there were regarding a Suez Canal/Gulf of Suez transit.
A week after I submitted that message, COMSIXTHFLT referenced my message and directed that it be followed from then on.
Never got recognized for it, but I did it, dammit, and QM2 Ruggiero had a lot to do with it. I loved my time on the
CONCORD. I miss it greatly. I live over 8hours drive away, but I'd love to re-connect. I now live near Pittsburgh,
PA. One of CONCORD's XOs (CDR Vtipil) is a Pittsburger. Haven't run into him yet.
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