USS CONCORD (AFS/TAFS-5) Veterans Association

MEMBER SPOT LIGHT

HOME
1 MC ANNOUNCEMENTS
REUNION 2018 (50th)
QUARTERDECK - SHIP's OFFICE ACCESS
JOIN / RENEW CVA MEMBERSHIP!
SHIP's STORE
MEMBERS ONLY ACCESS HATCH
MEMBER SPOT LIGHT
SEA STORIES
CVA MEMBER LISTING
MEMBERS MESSAGE BOARD
ABOUT CONCORD VETS ASSOC
SHIPS' BELL
NEWS LETTERS
WWII (COLLINS)
SHIPMATE PHOTO COLLECTIONS
USS CONCORD HISTORY
FLIGHT QUARTERS
DECK LOGS
"THEN & NOW"
LIBERTY CALL
COMMANDING OFFICERS
LUCKY BAG!
SHIPMATES POEM
SINKEX INFO!
COOL CONCORD STUFF!!
All HANDS MAGAZINE
LINKS
CONCORD, MA
REUNION 2016
REUNION 2014
REUNION 2012
NAUTICAL HUMOR
ETERNAL DEPLOYMENT

This Members Spot Light page highlights a particular association member and shares their memories while stationed aboard. 

This past December Mike signed in at our "Concord Quarter Deck" area of our website. He immediately peaked our interest with stories from his time on board and thoughts about his ride. We are always glad when a shipmate shares his experience with the crew and it is great to get a look from the bridge concerning the events from 1978 -1980.

SPOTLIGHT/LCDRSheppard1.jpg

Life has been good for Mike and he currently resides near Pittsburg, PA. The picture above is his commissioning photo back in 1978. Fast forward to 2010 (photo below) and the wedding of his younger of twin daughters and his wife of 36 years. Way to go Mike!

SPOTLIGHT/SHEPPARDFAMILY1.jpg
 
webassets/animated.gif   MIKE'S STORY:

1.   What years did you serve and what was your rate/rank while on Concord:

       > I was onboard 1978 – 1981 LTjg

2.   What 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

3.  Who 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 Officer.  About 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 GEDs. 

6.  What is your worst memory of Concord:

   > Very 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 ages.  The 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.

 

If you know of a member that you would like to recognize as "Spotlighted" or have input your self that you wish to nominate, contact the webmaster below with the name and reason.

The USS Concord AFS/TAFS 5 Association is a not-for profit and tax free organization IAW 501(c) 19. Dues \ donations however are non tax deductible.
All of our membership dues and other contributions directly fund the association functions, events, and necessary expenditures associated with maintaining our organization.

Click here to contact webmaster