Now over all hatches and gun covers

Now over all hatches and gun covers

Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

June 26th, 2008, 7:10 pm #1

As the threatening storm approached the skys were looking darker and darker. The wind was picking up and seas were becoming more rough by the minute. I passed the order "Now over all hatches and gun covers, all hands set condition Zebra throughout the ship" on the 1MC.

While underway our ship encountered a violent storm. We were trying to stay out of the way of an approaching hurricane or typhoon, I never did know which one. Condition Zebra was set throughout the ship. All deck watches were ordered inside. Sparks was keeping the bridge updated on course and speed of the approaching storm. The Quartermasters were doing their best to plot a course to get us through it safely. The old man was in his seat on the bridge with a look of concern on his face.

I observed the wind speed indicator showing 106 knots. The ship had turned into the seas to keep from being caught broadside in the 75 foot waves. A condition I am told is very unhealthy for a ship to be in.
The roll indicator was showing 46 degree rolls. The bow of the ship would raise to meet the next wave. As the top of the wave passed the bow, it was suddenly out of the water. AS the wave passed the ship was momentarily balanced like a teeter-totter on it. There was a momentary feeling of weightlessness as the bow dropped. Like being in an elevator going down rapidly. When the bow struck the water it sent a hard shudder throughout the ship. I imagined it was like being in an earthquake. A huge splash sent whitewater over the signal bridge as seawater washed over the forecastle. I remember seeing a giant geyser shoot 20 feet in the air from the hawse pipes. For a few seconds the bridge was blinded by the whitewater splashing against the windows. Then the cycle repeated over and over again. The large rain drops came down in sheets. Visibility was so bad, at times you could not see the bow of the ship from the bridge. The ship's foghorn sent its warning to anyone within hearing distance.

After my watch, I found sleep was difficult. Picture this: Your bed is rolling 46 degrees from left to right. Someone is picking up your bed at the headboard and raising it several feet above the floor and letting go crashing to the floor over and over again. Sailors are creative and necessity is a mother, so I obtained a few webbed belts from my locker and strapped myself in. I could only lay on my back, spread eagle with my pillow propped up against one side of my head and a rolled up jumper on the other side to keep my head from flopping from side to side. I finally managed a little sleep. I was thinking about the Marines that would be berthed in the bow of the ship. There was no way any of them would get any sleep in a storm like this.

Flat bottomed LSTs and storms do not go good together. Even with the ballast tanks filled they still rock and roll. Storms have caused many shipmates to cross the ocean by rail. Still, we had it better than some of our smaller sister ships like the Destroyer Escorts or Minesweepers. But I will let them tell you their stories about those adventures.

The storm passed. We made it to port. Only then did we learn that another ship ahead of us suffered a 6 foot crack in their superstructure during this violent storm. We all felt that the Master's hand was on the wheel during that trip.

You might wonder "what can a storm do to a solid steel ship?"
Even the large aircraft carriers are not exempt from them.

See http://www.uss-bennington.org/phz-typhoon45.html for one example.

A few weeks later, while underway I observed a phenomenon rarely seen by sailors. It was on the morning watch. The sun was just starting to turn the sky a beautiful red and gold. The ocean was absolutely still. The surface of the water did not have a single ripple in it. It was glass smooth. The wind was dead calm. The skipper said it was only the second time he had ever seen it like that. The sea is always full of surprises. I guess that is why we love it so.














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Joined: October 21st, 2003, 12:31 am

June 26th, 2008, 8:56 pm #2

Bob, You did a nice job describing your trilling ride in a severe storm.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

June 26th, 2008, 11:19 pm #3

As the threatening storm approached the skys were looking darker and darker. The wind was picking up and seas were becoming more rough by the minute. I passed the order "Now over all hatches and gun covers, all hands set condition Zebra throughout the ship" on the 1MC.

While underway our ship encountered a violent storm. We were trying to stay out of the way of an approaching hurricane or typhoon, I never did know which one. Condition Zebra was set throughout the ship. All deck watches were ordered inside. Sparks was keeping the bridge updated on course and speed of the approaching storm. The Quartermasters were doing their best to plot a course to get us through it safely. The old man was in his seat on the bridge with a look of concern on his face.

I observed the wind speed indicator showing 106 knots. The ship had turned into the seas to keep from being caught broadside in the 75 foot waves. A condition I am told is very unhealthy for a ship to be in.
The roll indicator was showing 46 degree rolls. The bow of the ship would raise to meet the next wave. As the top of the wave passed the bow, it was suddenly out of the water. AS the wave passed the ship was momentarily balanced like a teeter-totter on it. There was a momentary feeling of weightlessness as the bow dropped. Like being in an elevator going down rapidly. When the bow struck the water it sent a hard shudder throughout the ship. I imagined it was like being in an earthquake. A huge splash sent whitewater over the signal bridge as seawater washed over the forecastle. I remember seeing a giant geyser shoot 20 feet in the air from the hawse pipes. For a few seconds the bridge was blinded by the whitewater splashing against the windows. Then the cycle repeated over and over again. The large rain drops came down in sheets. Visibility was so bad, at times you could not see the bow of the ship from the bridge. The ship's foghorn sent its warning to anyone within hearing distance.

After my watch, I found sleep was difficult. Picture this: Your bed is rolling 46 degrees from left to right. Someone is picking up your bed at the headboard and raising it several feet above the floor and letting go crashing to the floor over and over again. Sailors are creative and necessity is a mother, so I obtained a few webbed belts from my locker and strapped myself in. I could only lay on my back, spread eagle with my pillow propped up against one side of my head and a rolled up jumper on the other side to keep my head from flopping from side to side. I finally managed a little sleep. I was thinking about the Marines that would be berthed in the bow of the ship. There was no way any of them would get any sleep in a storm like this.

Flat bottomed LSTs and storms do not go good together. Even with the ballast tanks filled they still rock and roll. Storms have caused many shipmates to cross the ocean by rail. Still, we had it better than some of our smaller sister ships like the Destroyer Escorts or Minesweepers. But I will let them tell you their stories about those adventures.

The storm passed. We made it to port. Only then did we learn that another ship ahead of us suffered a 6 foot crack in their superstructure during this violent storm. We all felt that the Master's hand was on the wheel during that trip.

You might wonder "what can a storm do to a solid steel ship?"
Even the large aircraft carriers are not exempt from them.

See http://www.uss-bennington.org/phz-typhoon45.html for one example.

A few weeks later, while underway I observed a phenomenon rarely seen by sailors. It was on the morning watch. The sun was just starting to turn the sky a beautiful red and gold. The ocean was absolutely still. The surface of the water did not have a single ripple in it. It was glass smooth. The wind was dead calm. The skipper said it was only the second time he had ever seen it like that. The sea is always full of surprises. I guess that is why we love it so.













and thanks for sharing them with all of us. It's these small glimpses that give us a bit more of a picture of what life was like on board for all of you during your service time. For a child of an LST veteran like myself, whose parents have gone to their final port of call, it is another means of connection and understanding with our loved ones. So from this daughter.. thanks Bob.


"We all felt that the Master's hand was on the wheel during that trip." Sometimes we need to be reminded. That's why I love that T Shirt so... "Let those who know not how to pray, go to sea..."

You've painted another part of the picture.

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Joined: February 16th, 2007, 3:23 am

June 26th, 2008, 11:49 pm #4

As the threatening storm approached the skys were looking darker and darker. The wind was picking up and seas were becoming more rough by the minute. I passed the order "Now over all hatches and gun covers, all hands set condition Zebra throughout the ship" on the 1MC.

While underway our ship encountered a violent storm. We were trying to stay out of the way of an approaching hurricane or typhoon, I never did know which one. Condition Zebra was set throughout the ship. All deck watches were ordered inside. Sparks was keeping the bridge updated on course and speed of the approaching storm. The Quartermasters were doing their best to plot a course to get us through it safely. The old man was in his seat on the bridge with a look of concern on his face.

I observed the wind speed indicator showing 106 knots. The ship had turned into the seas to keep from being caught broadside in the 75 foot waves. A condition I am told is very unhealthy for a ship to be in.
The roll indicator was showing 46 degree rolls. The bow of the ship would raise to meet the next wave. As the top of the wave passed the bow, it was suddenly out of the water. AS the wave passed the ship was momentarily balanced like a teeter-totter on it. There was a momentary feeling of weightlessness as the bow dropped. Like being in an elevator going down rapidly. When the bow struck the water it sent a hard shudder throughout the ship. I imagined it was like being in an earthquake. A huge splash sent whitewater over the signal bridge as seawater washed over the forecastle. I remember seeing a giant geyser shoot 20 feet in the air from the hawse pipes. For a few seconds the bridge was blinded by the whitewater splashing against the windows. Then the cycle repeated over and over again. The large rain drops came down in sheets. Visibility was so bad, at times you could not see the bow of the ship from the bridge. The ship's foghorn sent its warning to anyone within hearing distance.

After my watch, I found sleep was difficult. Picture this: Your bed is rolling 46 degrees from left to right. Someone is picking up your bed at the headboard and raising it several feet above the floor and letting go crashing to the floor over and over again. Sailors are creative and necessity is a mother, so I obtained a few webbed belts from my locker and strapped myself in. I could only lay on my back, spread eagle with my pillow propped up against one side of my head and a rolled up jumper on the other side to keep my head from flopping from side to side. I finally managed a little sleep. I was thinking about the Marines that would be berthed in the bow of the ship. There was no way any of them would get any sleep in a storm like this.

Flat bottomed LSTs and storms do not go good together. Even with the ballast tanks filled they still rock and roll. Storms have caused many shipmates to cross the ocean by rail. Still, we had it better than some of our smaller sister ships like the Destroyer Escorts or Minesweepers. But I will let them tell you their stories about those adventures.

The storm passed. We made it to port. Only then did we learn that another ship ahead of us suffered a 6 foot crack in their superstructure during this violent storm. We all felt that the Master's hand was on the wheel during that trip.

You might wonder "what can a storm do to a solid steel ship?"
Even the large aircraft carriers are not exempt from them.

See http://www.uss-bennington.org/phz-typhoon45.html for one example.

A few weeks later, while underway I observed a phenomenon rarely seen by sailors. It was on the morning watch. The sun was just starting to turn the sky a beautiful red and gold. The ocean was absolutely still. The surface of the water did not have a single ripple in it. It was glass smooth. The wind was dead calm. The skipper said it was only the second time he had ever seen it like that. The sea is always full of surprises. I guess that is why we love it so.













Thank you so much for sharing this with us. The only experience I have had with the sea was a sea fishing trip which turned out pretty rough with all but 2 of the 10 of us being terrible sea sick. I can't imagine being out on seas and strapped to the bed to stay in it. What you all endured is unbelievable and you are to be commended. Keep up the stories as they are so interesting to read. Thanks also for the link to see a typhooned ship, that was quite a picture.
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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 1:46 am

June 30th, 2008, 9:46 pm #5

As the threatening storm approached the skys were looking darker and darker. The wind was picking up and seas were becoming more rough by the minute. I passed the order "Now over all hatches and gun covers, all hands set condition Zebra throughout the ship" on the 1MC.

While underway our ship encountered a violent storm. We were trying to stay out of the way of an approaching hurricane or typhoon, I never did know which one. Condition Zebra was set throughout the ship. All deck watches were ordered inside. Sparks was keeping the bridge updated on course and speed of the approaching storm. The Quartermasters were doing their best to plot a course to get us through it safely. The old man was in his seat on the bridge with a look of concern on his face.

I observed the wind speed indicator showing 106 knots. The ship had turned into the seas to keep from being caught broadside in the 75 foot waves. A condition I am told is very unhealthy for a ship to be in.
The roll indicator was showing 46 degree rolls. The bow of the ship would raise to meet the next wave. As the top of the wave passed the bow, it was suddenly out of the water. AS the wave passed the ship was momentarily balanced like a teeter-totter on it. There was a momentary feeling of weightlessness as the bow dropped. Like being in an elevator going down rapidly. When the bow struck the water it sent a hard shudder throughout the ship. I imagined it was like being in an earthquake. A huge splash sent whitewater over the signal bridge as seawater washed over the forecastle. I remember seeing a giant geyser shoot 20 feet in the air from the hawse pipes. For a few seconds the bridge was blinded by the whitewater splashing against the windows. Then the cycle repeated over and over again. The large rain drops came down in sheets. Visibility was so bad, at times you could not see the bow of the ship from the bridge. The ship's foghorn sent its warning to anyone within hearing distance.

After my watch, I found sleep was difficult. Picture this: Your bed is rolling 46 degrees from left to right. Someone is picking up your bed at the headboard and raising it several feet above the floor and letting go crashing to the floor over and over again. Sailors are creative and necessity is a mother, so I obtained a few webbed belts from my locker and strapped myself in. I could only lay on my back, spread eagle with my pillow propped up against one side of my head and a rolled up jumper on the other side to keep my head from flopping from side to side. I finally managed a little sleep. I was thinking about the Marines that would be berthed in the bow of the ship. There was no way any of them would get any sleep in a storm like this.

Flat bottomed LSTs and storms do not go good together. Even with the ballast tanks filled they still rock and roll. Storms have caused many shipmates to cross the ocean by rail. Still, we had it better than some of our smaller sister ships like the Destroyer Escorts or Minesweepers. But I will let them tell you their stories about those adventures.

The storm passed. We made it to port. Only then did we learn that another ship ahead of us suffered a 6 foot crack in their superstructure during this violent storm. We all felt that the Master's hand was on the wheel during that trip.

You might wonder "what can a storm do to a solid steel ship?"
Even the large aircraft carriers are not exempt from them.

See http://www.uss-bennington.org/phz-typhoon45.html for one example.

A few weeks later, while underway I observed a phenomenon rarely seen by sailors. It was on the morning watch. The sun was just starting to turn the sky a beautiful red and gold. The ocean was absolutely still. The surface of the water did not have a single ripple in it. It was glass smooth. The wind was dead calm. The skipper said it was only the second time he had ever seen it like that. The sea is always full of surprises. I guess that is why we love it so.













Just as bad as riding out a hurricane, having the waves crashing over the bow, and hitting the signal bridge, which was 60 ft, above the sea.
Talk about a ride, then getting a salt water shower. But the poor look outs on the bridge level below really got it.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

June 30th, 2008, 10:50 pm #6

Did you all use lifelines? I know that some did and some didn't.. those that didn't were really taking chances with the seas high like that!
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

July 1st, 2008, 2:45 am #7

Next time you are on the ship, take notice of rails along the bulkheads, in the passageways, near the overhead and around the ship. You learned to walk or stay in one place by using them. The rails around the racks also kept you from being dumped on the deck. On the Bridge, notice the overhead rails. The helmsman and engineman had to hold on to these in rough seas.
It takes some getting used to but after a few days at sea it becomes second nature.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

July 2nd, 2008, 2:05 am #8

I've cleaned the rails around the racks (haven't we Bob?), I've seen the rails on the main deck, and through some of the passageways, but I'm ashamed to say that I really never paid attention to them as I walked through the ship. I think you can be assured that the next time I'm in Evansville, I'm going to pay particular attention to the overhead areas...

and I continue to learn... thanks Bob!

I remember talking to the cook on Dad's LST and to Joe Sadlier talking about how he had soup jump out of the pot... (did you ever have this happen, Joe Lewin or Ernie Andrus?) and at other times they had the galley decorated with green jello accents. Then there were times, he said, when all that could be done was keeping the coffee pot going and sandwiches for those who could manage them.
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