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U.S.S. Oklahoma City


The Scuttlebutt Page

News and Views on the Oklahoma City and her crew, among other things.


Aground With A Round


As to one of my memories on board the Oklahoma City, San Diego to Hawaii to Philippines to Guam to Japan to Viet Nam to Singapore to Hong Kong and all over the map. And, of course, the shellback verses pollywog games. (Remember that coffin with the little hole in the top to breathe? And who could forget the 60ft long bag of rotten garbage we all crawled through? (We all left a little of our own in it as we passed through it; never thought it would end).

One mission comes to mind; In Viet Nam we were in support of the 5th army. Underway we ran aground on a sand bar pretty close to shore. It took a tug named Comanche to pull us off the bar. We thought all was well; the NVA boat people didn't catch up with us (a good thing)!

I was in the 6 inch 38 turret. It was so hot from the mission that a projectile got stuck in the breech and barrel and we couldn't turn the damn thing off.

We tried to fire it, but no way. So BM1 Lee said Ron and John will stay behind to fix the problem. Then he dogged the turret hatch and left. well we had a hammer and a pry bar and a small cloth made of the wonder material of the 60s called asbestos, some dangerous stuff. But we didn't know that at the time. we started to gently work on the projectile for a while but it wouldn't budge. It was almost one with the barrel. So John looked at me and said how long before the damn thing goes off? I said I didn't know, but the magazine was filled with powder and 5 and 6 inch shells everywhere.

We started to work much faster and harder. I finally got the damn thing to budge and out it came, so John undogged the hatch and I grabbed the cloth, wrapped it around the shell and jumped out, only to fall on spent power casings.

Over the side it went; little did we know that all personal were on the fantail ready to abandon ship if the shell went off; glad we didn't know that!

All went well except for the broken wrist I received from the fall. Well, as they say, all's well that ends well.

I hope that all who served on the Oklahoma City are doing well. Godspeed to you all.

Submitted by shipmate Ronald Romano, BMSN 68-69


RWB-LINE


Friendly Fire Averted


I was shore-based in the Vietnamese naval headquarters for I-Corp in DaNang from June 1969 to July 1971. My total shipboard time while I was in the Navy occurred aboard the Oklahoma City while it was anchored in DaNang harbor for a few hours sometime in 1970-71. I was one of two from our Naval Advisory Group 43 unit to fly out to the ship by helo to give a briefing on our coastal surveillance force ops the Oklahoma City would encounter while providing NGFS for the Army and Marines in I-Corp. I also was able to make a surprise visit to a high school buddy from Tacoma, WA on board. Was he ever p----d I had never been stationed aboard a ship and was getting separated from active duty 11 months early as a result of extending my stay in Nam for a 3rd tour.

One mid-watch not too much time after that visit the ship was nearly involved in a friendly fire situation. I got a call from the ship one night saying they had a slow-moving unidentified contact moving toward shore that would not answer the ship's signal light challenge and asked for our help in determining if it was a friendly or a N. Vietnamese trawler attempt to smuggle arms and supplies ashore. Our patrol boats did not have any units in the area. My S. Vietnamese counterparts checked and they had no units in the area; our NAD nasty boats unit also said they had no covert ops in the area.

Meanwhile the Oklahoma City is impatiently asking me for an answer. Finally, I thought to call the Army who often operated small YFU flat bottom supply boats in that general area. They said they had a unit near "Point Alfa". I said 'where the heck is that?', at which point we discovered the Army used longitude and latitude maps and our Naval group used UTM grid maps and never the twain shall meet! Finally I asked the Army guy on the phone to call their boat and ask them if they see a monster ship bearing down on them and flashing a signal light at them. Sure enough, the Army replied, their guys see the ship, but their signal operator was on leave and no one else on the boat knew how to operate a signal light!!

Many years later in the mid-1980s, my wife and I took our son to the Bremerton shipyard to see the U.S.S . Missouri, and wouldn't you know it, the only ship I was ever on for those few hours -- the U.S.S. Oklahoma City -- was berthed next to the Missouri!!

Submitted by shipmate Roy Sooman


RWB-LINE


Phillip Hays, LTjg 69-72

I was on the Okie Boat from 1969 to 1972, and served as the ship's Special Weapons Officer. I came aboard about Christmas 1969, as an Ensign. I left in March 1972 as a LTJG. I have lots of memories of that time, far too many to repeat. Here are two that stand out the most.

One of the jobs I had was as the Weapons Control Officer, and I was on duty in Weapons Control when the Talos surface-to-surface anti-radiation (radar) shots were fired. It was the first surface-to-surface combat missile shot in US Navy history, and we received a medal for this action. Here is the story (as I remember it 30 years later).

The USS Oklahoma City was 7th Fleet flagship, but we were assigned to a cruiser/destroyer squadron/division for this action. So, although we were carrying The Boss, we were under the command of the squadron/division commander who was on the USS Chicago. The Okie Boat was a single end (stern) Talos light missile cruiser, and the Chicago was double end (two missile batteries, bow and stern) Talos heavy cruiser.

The NVN (North Vietnam) were trying to set up mobile air traffic control radars to allow them to vector fighters to intercept our bombers. The US Navy, Marines and Air Force had pretty much blown away every fixed radar installation. The NVN had acquired some Russian mobile radar trucks, and had cleared a lot of mountain tops so they could park the mobile radar trucks at a number of places. When they detected our aircraft headed their way they packed up and headed for camouflaged cover.

We performed an underway replenishment where we took aboard the new, highly classified, anti-radiation version of the Talos. The OK City and Chicago were sailing off the coast of North Vietnam one night waiting for a chance to use the new missiles. It happened on my watch - the electronics warfare folks detected emissions from a radar truck and the fun started.

Of course, everyone wanted to be the first to use the new missiles. The squadron/division commander gave the first shot to his ship. The Chicago fired one missile and it self-destructed shortly after launch. Later it was determined that the data link antenna on the missile that maintained communication with the ship had not been lock wired in place, and it had fallen off in the ready service magazine (area 2) due to vibration before the missile was launched. The Chicago fired a second missile, and it failed. I don't think a cause was ever determined.

Well, we were all a bit frustrated at this point. As I recall, our Captain sent the squadron/division commander a message asking if he would like us to show them how it should be done. We got the OK, fired one missile, and blew a 30 foot diameter hole where the radar truck was sitting. Our Weapons Department head showed me aerial recon photos the next day. The radar antenna was scattered all over SE Asia, and what remained of the truck was laying on its side at the edge of the crater.

This was all classified Top Secret at the time, and our missile crews were told to keep quiet. Of course everyone aboard knew something was going on (missile shots were very noisy). I overheard one sailor say we had fired a nuclear warhead and he had seen the explosion! Such is scuttlebutt!

After a few days and no more firing opportunities we sailed to Subic Bay for R&R. Imagine our surprise when we learned that the bar girls in Olongapo knew about the shot before we got there! One of my first class POs told me that as they walked into a bar one of the girls saw the ship's name patch on his sleeve and started asking about the missile shot! So much for secrecy!

Perhaps my least fond memories are of the typhoons. The guys in CIC used to complement me on the especially fine shade of green I turned in heavy seas - truly green around the gills!

One January (1971?) we were delayed getting underway from Yokosuka for several days while a typhoon (#1) passed over Honshu. When we did leave port we were sailing through the trailing edge of the storm in heavy seas. We proceeded to the Gulf of Tonkin only to arrive just as a typhoon (#2) came out of the Philippines. We raced south through heavy seas into the Gulf of Siam and rode out this storm. While we were heading north again back to Vietnamese waters, another typhoon (#3) crossed the Philippines. We ducked into Hong Kong while we waited to see where the storm was headed - it came straight at Hong Kong! We raced out of port through the leading edge of the storm and sailed south again.

After the storm passed we sailed back to the Gulf of Tonkin just in time to be chased away by another typhoon (#4). We turned north through heavy seas and sailed to Okinawa. There we docked at White Beach, only to have another typhoon (#5) appear the next day, headed directly for Okinawa! The ship took 35 degree rolls as we left harbor and turned north. We had been out three weeks and in five typhoons, and had been in heavy seas almost all the time. We gave up and sailed back to Yokosuka. This was one time I really felt like kissing terra firma when I stepped off the brow at Yoko!


Phillip Hays
Alpha Omega Computer Systems, Inc.
Mail



RWB-LINE


John MacBride, LI2 66-67

I would like to add a memory of OKie City if I may, I was originally on board the Providence until 1964 when I was transferred (I felt shanghaied) to the Prairie where I served for 2 more years. About the time I was supposed to be discharged President Johnson extended me for 1 more year. I felt if I had to stay in I would ship for two and request a station I wanted. Therefore I went to the Oklahoma City. I loved her and the men I served with. I worked in the print shop on the main deck. I was aboard her from Jan. 66 thru Dec 67 when I finally took my discharge and entered civilian life.

A fond and sad memory of her was in the nineties I heard she was up in Port Hueneme (spelling?) and called to see if I could go aboard her one last time and the man in charge who's name I regretfully forget permitted my wife Pam and I to board her where I was able to show my wife who my other girl friend was. I was even allowed to take a plank of teakwood decking as a souvenir home with me which I intended to sand and finish with knotwork and pictures of the old gal.

The sad part is when we were moving from southern California up here to Coleville, a friend who was helping us clean out the garage thought the plank was just a piece of useless wood and threw it out. But the memories can't be taken away.

God Bless all of you old Cruiser sailors, and all you Submariners who bear the name of Okie City sailors.



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Peter J. Serrano, 76-78

I remember the night that I was on lookout off the coast of the Philippines and A huge ball of Green light came up over the bow and the ship went dead in the water and the generators went off line.

Well I tell you we thought that aliens had buzzed us. It went unexplained. Years later I was watching a documentary on ball lightning; it explained it all.

There it was, a big ball of green light caused by the plates in the earth rubbing together, which caused a type of degaussing effect, disrupting the ships electrical system. That's a relief!

Pete Serrano 76 to 78 China sea's sailor. To all my brothers and mates, Hello.



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Eric Schulte, Lt.jg 1972-75


It would have been in '73 or '74 - We had just pulled into drydock in Yokosuka, the caison was in place and the dock was nearly pumped out when lunch was called. About 15 minutes into lunch, the tableware began to vibrate, then jump, then rattle off the tables - EARTHQUAKE - HOOOOLLLEEEEEEEY SH..!!!!

The rumbling and rolling went on (for what seemed like) forever, and everyone was wondering whether we were going to stay upright in the drydock - we were still moored with standard mooring lines; the steel cables were to be rigged after lunch. The quake gradually died away and to everyone's huge relief we were still vertical.

Inspection in the drydock revealed that the keel had moved about 8 inches to port on the keelblocks - enough that they decided to re-float the ship to center the keel.

That was a lunch I never finished, but will never forget!



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Michael Hardwick, DS2 68-69

I reported aboard the ship Aug. 14, 1968. Commanding Officer Captain Wayne Douglas Surface assumed command of the ship on June 21, 1968. Oklahoma City was home ported in San Diego June through November of 1968. It changed home port to Yokusuka, Japan, in November, 1968. On the 26th of November, 1968 Vice Admiral W. F. Bringle broke his flag on board the Oklahoma City as Commander Seventh Fleet. By December we were on station off Danang, Vietnam, and were providing Naval Gun Fire support numerous special operations in support of ground forces. We fired numerous 5 and 6 inch rounds from our shipboard gun turrets in support of the 2nd Brigade of the Republic of Korea Marines.

On January 18, 1969, we ran the ship aground while attempting to provide naval gunfire support (NGFS), approximately 2,000 yards northeast of the Song Cue Dai River entrance. By January of 1969 we were on our way to Subic Bay in the Philippines. In February we were back on the line providing NGFS, Naval Gunfire Support, for a special operation in the Elephant Valley, just north of Danang. In April Oklahoma City joined Task force 71 after the downing of an EC-121 by the North Koreans. For this action she was recommended by the Commander of 7th Fleet for the Armed Forces Campaign Medal, Korea for services with Task force 71. The ship visited Kaosiung Taiwan and Manila in May of 1969. It arrived in Singapore in June of 1969 and crossed the equator with initiation of pollywogs on June 7, 1969.

During the Fiscal Year (1 July 1968 to 30 June 1969), Oklahoma City fired 5,723 rounds of 6/ 47 and 6, 419 rounds of 5/38. Damage assessment included 82 bunkers, 126 structures, 430 meters of tree line, 135 meters of trench lines destroyed, 9 secondary explosions, 5 secondary fires, and 6 trail junctures damaged. Seven VC were confirmed killed and four VC probably killed.



RWB-LINE


HELO


Airdale Tale

I was a member of the Helo Crew on the Okie City from 1965 to 1967. I noticed that you didn't have any stories about us so I just wanted you to know that, at least in my case, I think as much of the Okie City as anyone who spent years aboard her.

My memories are probably different from the Black Shoe sailors. The first cruise I made, finding the engine room was a big highlight. Of course about the time I got there, I got seasick. Needless to say finding the main deck was not as hard as finding the engine room.

I went through all the usual snipe hunts, the mail buoy watch, finding relative bearing grease, and looking at the sea bat under the bucket. I remember when the OKIE CITY came back to the world in 1967 and I saw a picture of her going under the Golden Gate bridge. That was the last time I heard of her.

I often wondered what became of her until I was on vacation in Washington state and went to see the BIG MO at Bremerton shipyard. There to my surprise was the Okie City tied up next to her. Last year I heard where her final resting place was and I felt like a part of me was with her.

Let it be known to all you BLACK SHOE sailors that there is at least one AIRDALE that remembers Oklahoma City with as much fondness as you do. May the crew of the new U.S.S. Oklahoma City serve with as much PRIDE as we of the old Oklahoma City did.

GOD BLESS ALL WHO SERVE AT SEA.

JOHN L. "Porkchop" HALTOM ADJ-3 HC-1 DET-7



RWB-LINE


Shell Shock

I just got My copy of Life of a Cruiser. I watched with great interest; every minute every second of it. It brought back many memories.

At the end where they show Her getting hit with everything they had, I was amazed at just how much the Old Girl had left in Her. Then came the crushing punch. I screamed "NO!" so loud I thought my neighbors would hear me. Then my (our) Lady gave Herself Up to the Ocean as gracefully as She could.

I cried for quite awhile after that. It was as if My own body was ripped apart. I wondered why I felt that way about so much iron but then I remembered the friends I had made and that the Okie Boat was our home and that We had made a bond with each other and Our Ship!

She can never come back but, like when we lose a loved one, it hurts. But as long as we remember The USS Oklaholma City (be it CL-91,CLG-5 or CG-5) we will always keep Her alive!

She was My home for 2 years; my first child was born while I was on Her. I would like to wish the best to all who served aboard Her and kept Her up as a Lady should have been kept up.

Fair Winds and Following Seas...

Dennis L. Klamfoth (75-77) MS-3 S-2/5 Division.



RWB-LINE


Prom Night

First off I'd like to thank you for the OK City website. I've been able to contact a number of former shipmates that I thought I'd never hear from again and that in itself has been a great experience.

Secondly, I just returned from a trip to Buffalo N.Y. to visit the U.S.S. Little Rock and had a few thoughts I'd like to share.

I was assigned to the OK City at the ripe old age of seventeen and, being the youngest member of the duty section, had the distinct honor of dressing in nothing but a homemade diaper and ringing the ships bell at midnight on a very cold New Years eve 1975 in Yokosuka. I, along with thousands of other boys grew up on that teak deck, or the engine room or the hundreds of spaces in between, at a time when our friends back home were going to the senior prom or doing the other things that boys that age do.

I think that our affection for the ship goes back to that. The ship was our neighborhood, the place where we grew up and made friends, some that have lasted 25 years, as in my case. I guess I went to the Little Rock looking for my old neighborhood with a 4 instead of a 5 painted on the side but, and this is in no way meant to knock the efforts of the Buffalo naval park, what I found was an empty ship, stuffed and mounted and put on display.

So it took a 1000 mile trip to realize that the thing that made the Oklahoma City so special was not the number painted on the hull or the design of the ship but the people that gave her a heartbeat and put life in to her. I have followed the story of Rebecca Johnson trying to save the ship before it came to its ultimate fate, and admire her tenacity in all her efforts, but if she wants to find the Okie City, all she has to do is look on the web site, because even though the Okie's hull is at the bottom of the Pacific, Her soul and heartbeat is spread out from Portland Oregon to Portland Maine.

And as for dressing in a diaper on a cold New Years Eve 25 years ago and ringing that bell, I wouldn't trade that for a hundred senior proms!

Thanks for all your efforts in building this site.

Anthony Silva (75-77)




RWB-LINE


A Visitor from the Bonnie Dick

Born and raised in Oklahoma City, I couldn't resist boarding her while she was anchored in Hong Kong along with my ship, USS Bonne Homme Richard (yep! I'm a brownshoe Sailor).

I also visited her while anchored in Subic Bay. I've always kept the memory of her beautiful white teakwood decks. What a beautiful lady she was.

100% disabled vet. Agent orange, plane crashes, rocket attacks, beer baseball games, motorcycle mishaps, and all in the line of duty.

Can't do much physically but I mostly use this computer for research while writing stories for my book. A Doctor at the Oklahoma City VA hospital asked me what kind of a writer I am. I told him, "Slow."

Richard H. Lay, Sr. USN (Ret.) seabag@mbo.net



RWB-LINE


John Gilhuly, LT 63-66


I was talking to Jim Maley just before the reunion, and he brought up the 'bomb scare' in Saigon which caused a severe early wake-up for the crew.

We were moored to the quay right downtown, and we were required to have a picket boat on patrol at/near the ship at all times. Also, I think there were divers from the VNN making unscheduled periodic inspections of the hull underwater.

One night, about zero-dark thirty, when we were all sound asleep, there was this loud BOOM and a sound as if a freight train hit the hull. My roommates and I came flying out of our bunks, as it seemed the bang was just outside our place. There was a great deal of running in circles, yelling, and shouting. Found out later that the Boat Officer (who?) saw a string of bubbles coming up from the bottom, and dropped a grenade into the water. Too close to the hull, as it became quite clear a minute later.

Don't remember what happened to all the players, but I don't think anyone was hanged....???

Related: when we got underway to leave, the bands were playing flags flying, and the crews of several VN LSTs were on the rail ready to salute as we passed. Had some trouble clearing the quay, and we looked to be putting the ship right aboard the closest LST. Some slick ship handling and loads of luck got us past that incident without a major 'incident'.



RWB-LINE


Monty Mansfield, EM2 68-71


I was an electrician's mate. Ships company. I guess the one memory that stands out more than any other, besides Olongapo,was the day we ran aground north of the DMZ.

We had been steaming to a gunfire support mission at near flank speed (as I remember) when we hit the sandbar. I was in the E-Division berthing area and ate a locker when we hit. I remember thinking that someone had sucker punched me until I saw everyone else was laying on the deck.

We ran topside to see what had happened and that's when we saw the waves breaking over the bar almost amidships. By this time the bridge was trying to back us off with full asterns. I ran below to the after generator room to check on the electrician on watch and find out why the lights were pulsing.

Both forward generators had tripped off when the condensers filled with sand and dumped the entire electrical load on the after generators. The electrician on watch was Albert Byrum, from San Antonio, Texas. It was his first watch by himself and this one would have freaked an experienced board man.

All of the board controls were wiped out and the generators were going crazy. The machinist mate on watch and I climbed on the turbines and got them stabilized with the manual governors. After nearly losing the after boilers from the emergency backdowns, the bridge saw we were'nt making progress. We ended up with only enough electrical power for the ventilation and the radios with possibly enough to turn a gun mount.

One humorous note to the day was when all hands not actually on watch were told to lay to the fantail. About 150 of us showed up and were told to move to the port side. We were told by a Chief Warrant Officer to run to the starboard side as a group when he blew his whistle, which we did. He repeated this move to the port side and that's when it struck everyone that he was trying to rock the ship with 150 men. Didn't work. We went below. After 10 hours, with the help of quite a few ocean going tugs and some appreciated protection from a couple of Phantoms from the Enterprise, we were back afloat. I hope this is somewhat accurate. It has been many years and all I remember is the excitement, not all the work it took to get her back up to full steam and power.



RWB-LINE


Bob Gunn, USS Galveston, 62-64


Hello; I served on the U.S.S. Galveston from 1962-64 and knew a few of the guys that went on to the Oky....all FTM3's from training at WSMR....please add my name to a possible link to the Galveston....I knew Clarence Garcia FTM3....also Keys FTM3. Cheers,

Robert Gunn, formerly FTM3 USN

E-Mail to: bgunn@agn.net.au

P.S. - I migrated to Australia 12 years ago.



RWB-LINE


W. L. Johnson, FTM2 USS Topeka 64-68


Sirs: I was on the U.S.S.TOPEKA(CLG-8) from 64 to 68 and saw the Okie City's sillhouette on the horizon at many a dawn and sunset.

At peace on the bottom is where she belongs. I saw a cruiser being salvaged at Boland Marine Shipyards in New Orleans in 1976. It was a sad sight to see the hull and superstructure cut along the frames, the polished wood, brass, and thousands of hours of fancywork going under a cutting torch, then dropped onto a barge for a trip to the smelter.

It's better for a noble warship to rest on the bottom.



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Donald Odis Lawson, MM3 73-74


Machinist Mate in A Division. I served with some of the best sailors in the Seventh Fleet! From after steering to gas powered turbine generator. I helped out with unreps and humping the six & five inch shell casings. I have seen the Phillipines,Hong Kong Taiwan,and of course,Japan, our Home Port. I miss you guys, and the comradery we shared over the years!

I have not kept in touch with any of the guys,but I would like to hear from anyone who has any info on "A" Division personal,or for that matter, any of the fine Sailors who served aboard the "Okie Boat"

My time was cut short by a tragic motor cycle accident in September of "74",when I lost touch with the ship and crew. Any help with info on "A" Division personal would be greatly appreciated.



RWB-LINE


Steve Beckwith, 77-79


-Steaming through the Solomon Islands with the setting stars leaving lines of reflection on the sea.
- Taking the duty for the married guys when we were in Yokosuka and their taking my duty in Subic!
- Being under the '49 radars during Talos missile exercises (live firing) with a camera and watching the birds rapidly leaving the rails.
- Being caught between two typhoons in the South China Sea. The fantail was submerged most of the time while the forecastle was crashing into swells, resulting in huge balls of water and spray coming back over the signal bridge.



RWB-LINE


Gary Beckwith, who served with his brother, Steve, in the late 70's


Many former OKC sailors currently reside in Japan, as will I upon retirement from the Navy on 31 July, 1999. The final photos of the ship made me misty-eyed as I raised a toast of sake to the old girl. All of us who served aboard will miss her.


RWB-LINE

Elmus Billingsley, Jr.

I was a GMG2 by the time I left the ship. I worked in the 6"/47 cal turret. Willie Chandler and I were the first blacks to strike as gunner's mates.

I worked in the powder magazine, to the shell deck, then pointer, trainner, to loader, thento left gun captain.

My best memory was when we left Yokosuka, Japan in april, 1976. Once outside the harbor, Captain Paul Butcher spoke over the 1MC: "We are ordered by the Pentagon to proceed to Subic Bay, P.I., to onload supplies & ammo, (this was an all hands evoloution), then proceed to Saigon Harbor to protect a civillian crewship loaded with Americians & refugees.

The oklahoma city hit top speed of 25 plus knots. We left Yokosuka around 3 P.M. and arrived in subic bay at 3 A.M., got underway at 6 A.M. and went to GQ(battle stations) at noon.

We spearheaded the entire 7th fleet and it was truly an impressive sight to see! Later I was watching the history channel and it showed the Oklahoma City during the evacuation of Viet Nam. I knew then that we had made history.

I am now retired 20 wonderful years; great years. If I had the money, I would buy the Oklahoma City and make it the PROUDEST MUSEUM AFLOAT.



RWB-LINE

Kenneth Moyer 1960-62
remembers the first voyage of the newly refurbished and recommissioned OK City

Of the 800 sailors on board for the shakedown cruise, only 200 of us had sea legs.

Those of us who had previous sea duty were off tin cans. Our shake down cruise was a disaster -- not only was the ship top heavy from all the missile housing that had been added, but most of the "boots" on board had their in head in a head, making love calls to whales.

We were not out very long before the wallowing was too much and the Old Man was afraid we would roll over. Back we went to San Fran -- and that was the first voyage of the USS OKLAHOMA CITY (CLG-5).



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Dennis Klamfoth, MS3 75-77

I remember a Tiger Cruise while I was on the Okie Boat. We went to a lot of the usual ports. We even had a Ships Party in Kaosung, Taiwan. We also ran into a storm; I never saw that many faces turning all sorts of shades of green. The boys got a real education in Navy life.



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Theo Tsacoumis was a part of the commissioning crew of the OK City and that makes him the page's senior member and a Plank Owner. Theo remembers going in to attack the Japanese mainland as part of task force 38.1 and having to sleep on deck because they wouldn't let anyone sleep below the waterline. If anyone knows how he can claim his plank, e-mail him by clicking here.



Raymond Crawford writes:

I wouldn't mind hearing from anyone, especially one of the Magnificent Seven. There were seven of us Marines who went aboard the OK City at the same time. I continued in the Marines for another 5 years, got out and went to school. After graduating in May, 1989, I went to work for the Department of Defense at China Lake, CA. I was surprised to come across the web page and sad to hear of the good old ship's fate. Fair seas to all.



shares his memories of the ship below.

Re-enlisted for RM"B" Bainbridge, MD. while onboard. I'll never forget our cruise to Westpac to relieve the Commander of the 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Shey who was on the St. Paul (heavy cruiser I believe).

We left Long Beach on about 12/1/61 and got to Pearl Harbor in time to participate in the 2oth anniversary of the bombing. We left there on about the 8th or 9th and about half way between Pearl and Yokosuka we hit a storm Typhoon that was above and beyond all 7 that I have been in.

Our cruiser had 1 flooded compartment, over 100 leaks, and they claimed the main beam in the ship was cracked. I was a radioman and we received an sos from a Japanese fishing boat that was in distress in the storm so in our condition we went to where the sos came from and stayed there for 2 days looking until a cutter came out from Yokosuka and relieved us. WE limped into Yokosuka and went straight into drydock. We also made it to Kobe, Japan and Chinhay, Korea (not normal Navy ports) while I was onboard.

Another time we were steaming around Okinawa and shot a few of our Talos Missiles and some drones and during the shooting we got a message from a passing commercial freighter that a periscope was watching our every move. We went to General Quarters and zig zagged and hunted for them for hours but they got away. It could have turned into a conflict.

I was RM3 when I went to "B" school. I was radio #2 (we had 5 or 6 radio rooms) supervisor which was the transmitter room. I was responsible for all the antenna's on the ship so when we went into drydock I had to go out in a bucket and lifted by a huge crane and then had to clean and repair or inspect the highest parts of the ship. So when I see a picture of the ship I "see my antenna's" right away.

I went to "B" school for 6 months then back to San Diego for Radioman "C" school(teletype repair) and then went onboard the USS Klondike AR-22 and spent 2 and 1/2 years on there as supervisor of the teletype repair shop. Whether we were overseas or in Sdiego the ships would tie up along side of us for repairs.

I got out of the service 3/7 67 as a RM1-p2. I enlisted 4/24/58. If I would have stayed in I would have 40 years and about 4 months in right now. Today is 9/4/98. I welcome msgs from any of the old shipmates from that era. I enjoyed it very much.



Chuck Hewell (1978-79) remembers.

The last time I saw her was at the Port Hueneme Division Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, California in April 1997. I have been CO of two Reserve Units at PHD for the past four years. I was able to go aboard her, but was only allowed to walk the main deck. She looked very sad and it hurt to see her in the condition she was in. PHD NSWC had mounted several Soviet FCS on her. She is not there now and I don't know where she was taken.



From Lewis Heussmann (1965-66)

I was stationed on board the Oklahoma City from 1965 to 1966 when she was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. I was an SH3 in S-3 division. In June of 1966, I was transferred to the U.S.S. Frank Knox DDR-742, which was in drydock in Yokosuka, after running aground outside of Hong Kong.


John Boucher remembers the early sixties.

My favorite memory is of the firing when we made skin- to-skin contact with a Redstone drone at just about the range of the Talos. I was in the AN-SPG49 radar tracking room and when the scope turned to grass there was dead silence on the sound powered phones and a cheer in the radar room. Heard later on the grapevine that White Sands was not pleased tht we had killed their bird. But I'm sure it's one of the reasons we sported the E for so long.


Ray Plumlee

Ray is a professional web consultant. His pages are a thing of beauty and worth a look. Click here to go to his page.




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