Midwatch Page

Shared Glory

(USS Oklahoma City CLG-5)

The Flagship sailed
The world at sea,
The Sailor shipped
To see the world.

The ship’s Ports-of-call
Hosted Sultans and Kings,8
The Seventh Fleet Admiral
United diplomatic gains.

They Steamed for decades
From Perth to Pusan,
They fought for freedom
Off the coast of Vietnam.

Old Salts they became,
A tourist he was not,
Sailors drink beer and chase women
Before the sun gets hot.

An Eleven-year era, this WestPac span,
The “Majestic Lady” received final task.
Sayonara to the Oki Boat in Japan,
She singled-up and shoved-off Old Navy’s past.

A Ship, a Sailor shared glory,
Finally cast ashore to stay.
Many a sea sliced by their bow,
Since the years of yesterday.

Michael P. Holden
MUCS, USN (Ret.)
1968-71 1974-77
Copyright @ 2008


by: Rebecca Jo Triplett-Johnson 1999

In Honor of the USS OKLAHOMA CITY CL-91,CG-5,CLG-5, and Her Crew.
'May She Sail in Our Hearts Forever'

May we hold forever dear, those friends in quarters found. May we pride ourselves in standing watch, as we sailed the world around. May we feel the decks beneath our feet, steadfast and history laden. May we ride the waves on piercing steel, aboard our 'grayhound' maiden. The band plays 'Oklahoma' as we work throughout the day. As we leave our port behind, they play 'Anchors Aweigh'. The sun slips down into the sea, and day turns into night. Red skies we see with peace ahead, a Sailor's true delight. What is this Lady we call our Ship, Our safety and our home? A mass of steel with grace and pride, All gray and sleek and strong. Her mighty engines never tire, Their power always burning. She takes her sailors 'round the world, To home port always returning. She carries with her always, a crew of faithful men. Some have sailed her many miles, some have never been. These men become a family, side by side they work each day. Caring for their OKIE Boat, with pride in everyway. She sailed through history, peace and war. Her battles strongly fought. She kept her men in safety, And many lessons taught. She sailed away on one last trip. Her gray had now been faded. She passed beneath the Golden Gate, Her sea once more awaited. Pearl Harbor held her one last time, Her Sailors aboard once more. They gave their memories back to her, Then saluted from the shore. She charted the Pacific one last voyage. She sailed so tall and proud. This crossing would be final, The sea soon to be her shroud. Docked at Guam with dignity, She awaited her final assignement. She would teach new Sailors precission, New gunners aim refinement. She took her hits with honor, While in battle that last day. Her steel began to weaken, Her masts began to sway. The waves swealed, as if with pride. The OKIE'S fight was done. The ocean she had protected, Now would take her from the sun. Ever so slowly she began to list. Waves splashed across her bow. One last salute from her highest mast, To her Sailors who did her proud. This mass of steel we called our home, All gray and sleek and strong. Has slipped beneath the ocean, But her spirit will live on. She gave to us a special gift, One we can't let slip away. We may have overlooked it, In the days of Battleship Gray. She gave our lives new Friend'ships', Shipmates and Pals. She showed us places we'd never seen, Vast oceans and canals. She taught us many lessons. Helped us learn to meet our goals. She was more that just a mass of steel, She was the "Flagship of Our Souls".

Ode to the USS Oklahoma City (CL-91/CLG-5/CG-5)

by Mark Pietz (YN3, 1972-1973)

Sons of the Okie Boat

I once was strong
But now I'm weak
They've stripped my decks of all the teak
And stopped the thunder of my guns
But cannot take away my sons

You came to me
I took you in
And cared not for your shade of skin
Or silver spoon, or origin
Youth from that blessed land on the earth
Devoted sons, you proved your worth

You stood the watch and scraped the paint
And holy-stoned till you grew faint
Your best rewards, though, came at times
You joked with shipmates, made up rhymes

You slept through rumble of my screws,
You ate the steaks and hearty stews
Till pitching seas made you turn green
Just part of life on this machine

King Neptune made you crawl my decks
On hands and knees, you mental wrecks!
Remember coffin, tube and stocks?
And garbage running in your socks?

You kissed the Royal Baby's belly
And tasted tincture made so smelly
What started daybreak low as dogs
By noon were shellbacks, no longer wogs!

Remember 'Nam?
Bangkok and Hinode-cho?
Okinawa, Taipei too!
From boys to manhood, there you grew

Remember meat on little skewer
Past the river like a sewer
In front of bars, where maidens sing
"Hey, Bar-B-Q!" they called that thing

And geeks with gators, duckling chicks
And smoke-filled shows with raunchy flicks
And T-shirts, junk, Magsaysay Drive
Dirt roads and Jeepneys, sakes alive!

The hook, the fleet, the countryside
Top-Three, New Jolo's, come inside!
You saw so much of what was base
Yet came back to the human race

So slosh it down with San Miguel
With time you will forget the smell
Now, fish 'n chips in Singapore?
And geedunk from the small ship's store?

The whale spouts and flying fishes
The mermaids and a sailor's wishes
It's channel fever, don't forget
That made for tattoos' great effect

But those were times
You took your ease
From times of danger on the seas
When shell and MiG flew overhead
You sat at GQ full of dread

From on the bridge you saw the flashes,
Time-of-flight, as ord'nance clashes
With weapons forged by freedom's foes
My sons serve bravely, freedom grows

Come, mighty Talos, take your flight!
And give our foes a nasty fright!
Our shooting stars with awesome roar
Have kept the peace at freedom's door

The Rising Sun was put away,
Of Viet Cong, what can I say?
You did your best, hold high your head
Recall the raids and nights of dread

Once sweepers sweepers manned the brooms
And swabbies toiled in little rooms
And boilers steamed within the hull
Around the clock without a lull

They said, "Here comes the Okie Boat
The best and sleekest ship afloat
The flagship of the Seventh Fleet!
The one that heads of state will meet!
A sleek gray lady, gliding by
She parts the waves and makes them sigh."

But now I'll slip into the deep
In wet, cold darkness I will sleep
Without the thunder of my guns
But only thoughts
Of all my sons

Farewell To The Okie

To our Dear Okie Boat:

We'll rememember always the time we shared with you;
Sometimes we loved you, sometimes we despised you, but we always cared.

You took us from home, but you always brought us back;
Whether a short cruise or a marathon, you worked to make our adventures.

Your mighty six inch guns and your great Talos missiles:
We crawled your teak decks at the equator and realized how large you really were.

You took us to Hong Kong and Subic, Singapore and Pusan.
You took us to DaNang and I Corps, to Yankee Station and the DMZ.

We loved Penang and Manila, and Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur,
But we really lived to come back to "Yoko".

We'll remember mid-watches and mid-rats;
Cookouts on the fantail and unreps in the wind and rain.

You stood up to typhoons and high winds and waves,
You stared down the enemy in Haiphong.

You carried the flag proudly and represented us well,
And always made us proud to be a part of you.

Farewell, dear Okie; smooth seas ahead.
You were my home, old friend, and I'll miss you.

Thanks for all the memories; Sayonara.

Jack Kemejuk
MU2, ComSeventhFlt Band
Jan 6th, 1999

The Midwatch

There is always a watch,
for the ship is like an infant,
needing continuous care and round- the -clock attention.
So there is always a time when you must wake
in the middle of the night,
move blindly to your station and stand your watch;
which is four hours long and an eternity wide
There are, on a ship, just as in a fine pawnshop,
all kinds of watches.
There are lookout watches and messenger watches
and anchor watches and fire watches,
office watches and signal watches,
engine order telegraph watches and fog whistle watches.
And the most dreaded of all watches is the MID WATCH
... which falls between the happy laughing hours of 0000 to 0400.
It is then that you must leave your oven-warm sack
and grope your way through the cold black night.
It is then you are to say to the watch you are relieving,
"I am ready to relieve you."
It is then you pray that God will forgive you for this shocking lie,
because the last thing in the world you are ready to do
is to relieve this sailor,
who miraculously returns from the depths of depression
as soon as he sees you, his savior and redeemer,
his midnight mirage turned to flesh and blood.

This piece was published in the October 16, 1969 issue of the OK City Times. The author remains unknown and I would appreciate some input if anyone knows who wrote it. It was passed along to the crew of the ammo ship U.S.S. Rainier (AE-5) during an unrep. It was saved by QM-3 Bill Freeman.