aboard the USNS
Gilliss, an AGOR, or oceanographic research vessel of 210 feet in length. We
were working with the USNS Lynch, another of the same type, and dimensions doing
underwater sound experiments/studies. The Lynch towed a 350 foot by 15 foot
"tube" called the SPAR ( Seagoing Platform for Acoustical Research ).
cross Gulf Stream, the Lynch on the West side, Gilliss to the East, the SPAR
would be "sunk" erect to where only fifty-feet would remain above water. The
other three-hundred below, all the while the Lynch remaining tethered. At the
bottom of the SPAR were numerous hydrophone arrays for receiving sound. The
Gilliss as the sound "source" ship would launch SUS (Signal Underwater Sound )
charges at different depths. Knowing the position of each ship either by radar,
visually, or navigation system ( at that time Loran C ), the deflections of the
sound under water could be noted, and recorded for study.
results for this study were, they are probably still today "classified" if some
Army Colonel hasn't gotten to them, or the "Walker" boys. Ha
being obvious, we won't get into that, the interesting thing here is the story
could, we would knock off for the night - those explosions of two-pounds of
whatever could ruin one's sleep. If the weather was nice - we'd kill the main
engines. This was one such night - beautiful weather, and calm seas. We lay
about twenty or so miles from the Lynch, who also was just "drifting". "Fishing
time" - the dolphin bitin' like crazy, many of the crew were on the stern
watching the guys fishing. As usual, on the bridge it was BS time.
It was about
2200 when the third mate, after taking a gander at the radar - mainly for
traffic, mentioned a line about fifteen miles to the east on the scope. As
straight a a rule, from scope rim to scope rim was this illuminated contact.
"Hummmmmm" I commented as I viewed it.
signal for Fire, and Emergency - hit the General Alarm! Announce all hands
outside to get inside - everyone stay inside, and stand-by.' I ordered the
Third, and followed with:
"Never mind...I'll make the announcement, you
tell the engine
room to start warming up the main engines. '
came the reply in the dark.
"This is not a drill, we have a large wave heading this
way, get off the decks, and stay inside. Man your assigned stations, zone area
commanders make your reports to the bridge. Close all water tight, and fire
screen doors. This is not a drill.'
killer wave. Start the steering motors.' I said, addressing the helmsman, and
speed...will ya.' I told the mate, now off the phone.
"Lynch, this is Gilliss on thirteen...ya copy?' I thought
I'd better tip off the Lynch, and anyone else in the vicinity using the
"Gillis, this is Lynch...what's up?'
"We hold a return on the radar for a large swell coming our
way. We're powering up to meet it. Let your skipper know...got
"Geeeeeeeeez! Yes...we got it. Lynch
It'll be here in ten minutes!' said the Third.
the phone, and called the engine room myself - "Give me both main engines
now! ' and hung up.
minute we had green lights for steering, and the main engines on the
Hard Left Rudder...give me a heading straight on into that line.' I
all this like it was yesterday. I had read plenty about tsunamies, and rogue
swells in texts, and stories, but never encountered one. This was before the
movie "Posiedon Adventure", which did a great job of depicting one. Fortunate to
have the time, and weather to detect this monster, I am still here able to talk
Those assigned to the bridge area for Fire, and Emergency
started to fill the spaces. The helmsman I had, I told to stay put, his relief
to grab the binoculars, and scan ahead with the others on
Like in a nightmare, time started to drag, the line getting
closer, myself scanning the horizon ahead. The phone ringing as crew started
reporting their stations manned.
There was no moon, but the stars were bright down to the
"Stars are going out ahead.' reported one
setting instead of rising!
"Zero Six Five....Zero Six Five.' said the Mate
"Come to Zero Six Five.' I said.
Spinning the wheel to check 'er up, the helmsman, almost
there, answered: "Zero Six Five...aye.'
"Steady on Zero Six Five Suh.' he next
"Half Ahead.' I ordered...not wanting too much speed, but
enough to hold her head.
Grief!....There it is.' came a cry from the bridge wing.
Yes...there it was, shiny in the starlight, but black as
spades...not a show of white though, or combing. The relief was awesome.
"Here it comes....Hold on. Pass the word on the PA system,
and phones for all hands to hang on.'
Up, up, up we went, bow to this gigantic swell, up, up
Seemingly like forever, but then a slow
levelling...hanging, hanging, and then down, down, down...ever so gently. Not a
drop on deck, not a sound...nothing crashing, no one falling, even
else...you see anything else on the radar?' I asked.
"Nothing Cap...not a ripple.' came the
"Can you beat that? Slow ahead. We'll just continue on this
heading for a while in case there's anymore coming. Tell all stations it's
passed, but we're giving it time.'
"How's the coffee?' I asked.
"Well...it's still there Cap...want me to make some fresh?'
"Yeah...might as well, while we wait. I'll call the
As fickle as nature is, the night passed without any
incidents. The Lynch never felt, nor saw it, which for them was really good,
being tethered to that SPAR might have been disasterous, and also being on the
continental shelf west of the gulf stream, that swell would be getting ready to
tumble, and comb. Never heard any reports from other ships, nor shore...strange.
"Coffee's ready Cap.'
"Thanks. Stop 'er, rudder amidships, dismiss from
"Hey Cap...how'd you stay so calm through all
"Aah...nothin' too it Mr. Mate! Let me tell you about the
maelstrom in the Loften Islands. Here we were getting ready to be sucked down
into this gigantic whirlpool....'
This page was intended to be temporary...removed after the following was formulated into its own home page. However, the exchange leading up to the offer to build Art his own home page on the USS Laramie makes it worth keeping.
In fact, Art wound up with several pages spread between two Web Masters. See Art's USS Laramie home page by this Web Master at http://slowbell.tripod.com/uss_laramie.htm with links from that page to his others.
You are also invited to see a short unrelated seastory near the end of this page.
Hi Carlos,Thanks for the attachment on the Laramie,sure
some good & some rather sad memories.
I was one of
the seamen that put the bodies of my 4 shipmates in canvas
body bags for
burial at sea. that were killed when we were
torpedoed.The good LORD was
with me that night,I was on watch on
#1gun,my bunk was right over top of the
guy`s that were killed.I have
pictures of the burial at sea and sometime i
will send you a picture if
you would like to have it.
Thanks for the
Info and maybe some of your puter buddies will have some
Again THANKS Waiting to hear from you.
I Remain Art
Hi CAROS,read your mail to RAMON and i don`t know who who wrote that
article about the LARAMIE but here` the straight scoop.
I was on watch on #1 Gun when the fish hit and there was no Fuel
splashing around in the gun turret,the fish hit the food locker and
the bulkheads in that compartment.We were really lucky that night,When
the fish hit i was on the phones and i looked down at the water & saw
another fish pass right in front and go on by.My bunk was right over top
of the 4 shipmates that were killed,so if i didn`t belive in guardian
angles i sure did after that night.This happened to me after only 6
weeks in the navy at age17,I am now 75 years old and i can still hear
that explosion.Had 4 weeks of boot camp. & on the 6th week i was home
on leave from being torpedoed..
We had a great damage control team and they are the one`s that saved our
ship that night.
Again there was no fuel sloushing around where i wa on #1 gun other
place i can recall.
If you get a chance write me back,sure would
like to know of any shipmates that might still be alive and were there
Hi Carlos,Got your mail on the offer to make a special page on the
Laramie I will be sending
you some photos along with some captions for each one.I am on webtv and
i have to take a picture of the ones i want to send you. with my
camcorder and then i have to transfer it to my e-mail.Is that ok with
you?I can only send one
picture at a time.
Now I would like to clear up all the scuttle-butt About all the fuel
oil and gasoline sloushing around,Like I said before there was none in
the gun turret where i was on watch,and there was none anyplace else.My
land don`t these guys know that if there had of been I wouldn`t be
writting to you ,If all that fuel was loose that ship would have been
blown to kingdom come.
Carlos thanks for the e-mail and thanks for the offer.
Carlos one more ?Can you track another ship I
was on in the south pacfic.It was the USS Relief
A hospital ship.This is also an interesting story.
Me and some of the Pharmacist and some of the ships crew went and took
the wounded off
the BIG E the night she got hit.
I have a whole journal on her.
I REMAIN Art
Photo at: http://nhcsglakes.med.navy.mil/History/Ships/ah_1.htmhttp://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq87-3b.htm
has a mention by a nurse who was aboard during the last days of the war. This
is one I did for them and I remember the Relief bit about Magic Carpet and
China in particular. There is lots more, but the internal search engine is
into some strange tail eating game and truncates 119 entries to 10 for one
You can also see quite a few of those personal recollections I
mentioned before at:
For some reason the official DANFS entry hasn't been put up. Art, I'd
be interested in your take on that after the clear correction for Laramie.
It might be some time, but I can scan it and send it