Typhoons - true story

Typhoons - true story

Joined: March 10th, 2007, 3:06 am

June 24th, 2011, 11:05 pm #1

1961, aboard USS Mt. Katmai, AE-16, Buckner Bay, Okinawa.
Fleet receives typhoon warning message ordering all docked and anchored vessels to put to sea and head for lee side of outlying islands to ride out the storm. Storm is so severe and large that out-running it becomes futile so we must just ride it out. 3 days of no topside watches,interior only. Cold cut meals for those who can eat. Many are sick who have to date not encountered sea sickness. Watches on the bridge witness huge waves covering the whole ship from time to time. Strapped into our racks when not on watch. Expert quartermasters at the helm keep the ship quartering the intense waves. Wish I could remember extreme inclination of the ship and wave heights but suffice to say much more than I had experience to date. Walking in the ships passageways was an exercise of endurance to say the least. Finally the typhoon passed with only minor damage to our ship - a few exterior fittings torn loose. Thankfully, no crew injuries. Captain gave us all an ice cream party upon reentry to port. Wouldn't take a million dollars for that experience.
1962, aboard USS Midway, CVA 41. Same place as above and same month. Typhoon warnings, fleet to sea - lee side of the islands near Okinawa. Almost the same experience except the carrier Midway is so large compared to the ammo ship that there is little movement in the churning ocean. Obviously no flight ops. The galley fires are kept lit and work proceeds below deck as usual. Got a quick view of some spray coming over the forward flight deck Most of the aircraft are stowed in the hangars. The aircraft kept on the flight deck are secured with double chains. I felt more movement of the ship in my rack than normal but not even close to the experience of my ammo ship. Again, priceless experience.
Anyone want to share their storm experiences?
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Joined: April 29th, 2011, 1:52 am

June 25th, 2011, 4:08 am #2

As a QM I spent many a long day and night plotting Typhoons and suggesting which way to run. Listening to certin Japanese broadcasts and seeing where the weather was coming from really let us get better at avoiding typhoons then listening to Fleet Weather Center - Guam's recommendations.... They would have put us in a very poor position if we had listenened to them as a sole source of information. Learned early on not to trust them.... This feeling is still in my mind even though I have been retired for 25 years... One cruise we had so many typhoons we had to 'avoid' that the Skipper allowed us to paint a typhoon symbol on the bridge scatter shield. We ended up with a Gold emblem with an additional 4 hash marks below it....

Whenever the Skipper took my recomendations and my projected typhoon positions were closer then FWC Guams.... well lets just say the San Miguels were really great since the Skipper paid for them.!

Riding out a typhoon on an AE is one thing..... Try riding it out or running away from it aboard any type of LST... Now that is a wild ride.

JIM

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Joined: March 10th, 2007, 3:06 am

June 25th, 2011, 5:52 am #3

Do not relish the thought of riding out a typhoon on a LST or any other small ship, Jim. Sounds like we had similar storm experiences. As a Seaman in the deck force (2nd Div.), I stood bridge watches aboard the AE and saw a lot of "stuff" from my various watch stations. Aboard the carrier I earned my rating of GM and never saw the bridge again. Anyone else care to share their stories?
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

June 25th, 2011, 4:40 pm #4

1961, aboard USS Mt. Katmai, AE-16, Buckner Bay, Okinawa.
Fleet receives typhoon warning message ordering all docked and anchored vessels to put to sea and head for lee side of outlying islands to ride out the storm. Storm is so severe and large that out-running it becomes futile so we must just ride it out. 3 days of no topside watches,interior only. Cold cut meals for those who can eat. Many are sick who have to date not encountered sea sickness. Watches on the bridge witness huge waves covering the whole ship from time to time. Strapped into our racks when not on watch. Expert quartermasters at the helm keep the ship quartering the intense waves. Wish I could remember extreme inclination of the ship and wave heights but suffice to say much more than I had experience to date. Walking in the ships passageways was an exercise of endurance to say the least. Finally the typhoon passed with only minor damage to our ship - a few exterior fittings torn loose. Thankfully, no crew injuries. Captain gave us all an ice cream party upon reentry to port. Wouldn't take a million dollars for that experience.
1962, aboard USS Midway, CVA 41. Same place as above and same month. Typhoon warnings, fleet to sea - lee side of the islands near Okinawa. Almost the same experience except the carrier Midway is so large compared to the ammo ship that there is little movement in the churning ocean. Obviously no flight ops. The galley fires are kept lit and work proceeds below deck as usual. Got a quick view of some spray coming over the forward flight deck Most of the aircraft are stowed in the hangars. The aircraft kept on the flight deck are secured with double chains. I felt more movement of the ship in my rack than normal but not even close to the experience of my ammo ship. Again, priceless experience.
Anyone want to share their storm experiences?
I had the pleasure of being in two such storms in the Pacific.
COMPHIBPAC advised our QM we were headed for one. He tried to plot a course around it.
Nature and mathematics don't always agree and the storm changed course.
We managed to miss the main part of it but while I was standing watch on the bridge I saw 46 degree rolls and the bow coming out of the water as waves passed under us. When the bow came back down it hit with such a splash whitewater came over the CONN.
Wind speed was 106 knots at the time. Rain so hard you could not see the bow at times. Large hail pounding on the steel overhead made most conversation impossible. Our sister ship hit a storm like this and ripped a six foot gash in her superstructure.
Yes, cold cuts for meals for those who could eat. Unlike a tornado, these storms last for many hours. Absolutely no one allowed on deck and condition Zebra set through out the ship.
I understand the poor men in aft steering were taking the roller coaster ride of their lives.

"Show me a man who does not pray and I will show you a man who has never been to sea"


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

June 25th, 2011, 5:12 pm #5

1961, aboard USS Mt. Katmai, AE-16, Buckner Bay, Okinawa.
Fleet receives typhoon warning message ordering all docked and anchored vessels to put to sea and head for lee side of outlying islands to ride out the storm. Storm is so severe and large that out-running it becomes futile so we must just ride it out. 3 days of no topside watches,interior only. Cold cut meals for those who can eat. Many are sick who have to date not encountered sea sickness. Watches on the bridge witness huge waves covering the whole ship from time to time. Strapped into our racks when not on watch. Expert quartermasters at the helm keep the ship quartering the intense waves. Wish I could remember extreme inclination of the ship and wave heights but suffice to say much more than I had experience to date. Walking in the ships passageways was an exercise of endurance to say the least. Finally the typhoon passed with only minor damage to our ship - a few exterior fittings torn loose. Thankfully, no crew injuries. Captain gave us all an ice cream party upon reentry to port. Wouldn't take a million dollars for that experience.
1962, aboard USS Midway, CVA 41. Same place as above and same month. Typhoon warnings, fleet to sea - lee side of the islands near Okinawa. Almost the same experience except the carrier Midway is so large compared to the ammo ship that there is little movement in the churning ocean. Obviously no flight ops. The galley fires are kept lit and work proceeds below deck as usual. Got a quick view of some spray coming over the forward flight deck Most of the aircraft are stowed in the hangars. The aircraft kept on the flight deck are secured with double chains. I felt more movement of the ship in my rack than normal but not even close to the experience of my ammo ship. Again, priceless experience.
Anyone want to share their storm experiences?
Philadelphia ship yards, Navy pier.
Brand new ship going out for sea trials in Winter.
Only weeks before, 90 young men right out of boot camp had reported aboard for duty.
Some, who had never seen snow before were throwing snowballs as soon as the got off the bus.
Once underway in the North Atlantic testing various shipboard systems, a storm came up.
For those who are not familiar, the North Atlantic is famous for its surprise and often bad storms.
The ship had not been commissioned yet and all supplies had not been stored aboard. One such supply was Dramamine.
With most of the crew having never been aboard a sailing vessel other than a pleasure craft, the storm was terrifying.
With so many men down with sea sickness, we had to switch to port and starboard watches.
All the corpsman could do was give out soda crackers and send them to thier racks.
The cook's idea of serving sour kraut and sausage for lunch was about to prove a bad idea as the storm grew in intensity.
There was ....well never mind, you don't need these details. You know what happens, one upchucks and the whole compartment follows suit.
Many a young man was praying to die about this time and those who were not were promising the Creator that if he would get them through this they would never sin again.
The next day as the sun shone over calm seas you could not find anyone who remembered who got sick, let alone admitted it themselves.
After all, they were all seasoned sailors by this time.



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Joined: April 21st, 2011, 1:28 pm

June 25th, 2011, 9:01 pm #6

With an average of 27 typhoons per year in the Pacific Basin, it is hard to do a 9 month tour of duty over there without running from or into one of them.
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Joined: December 17th, 2005, 10:55 pm

June 26th, 2011, 5:18 am #7

Kinda like running into old girlfriends stateside....
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Joined: December 17th, 2005, 10:55 pm

June 26th, 2011, 6:38 am #8

1961, aboard USS Mt. Katmai, AE-16, Buckner Bay, Okinawa.
Fleet receives typhoon warning message ordering all docked and anchored vessels to put to sea and head for lee side of outlying islands to ride out the storm. Storm is so severe and large that out-running it becomes futile so we must just ride it out. 3 days of no topside watches,interior only. Cold cut meals for those who can eat. Many are sick who have to date not encountered sea sickness. Watches on the bridge witness huge waves covering the whole ship from time to time. Strapped into our racks when not on watch. Expert quartermasters at the helm keep the ship quartering the intense waves. Wish I could remember extreme inclination of the ship and wave heights but suffice to say much more than I had experience to date. Walking in the ships passageways was an exercise of endurance to say the least. Finally the typhoon passed with only minor damage to our ship - a few exterior fittings torn loose. Thankfully, no crew injuries. Captain gave us all an ice cream party upon reentry to port. Wouldn't take a million dollars for that experience.
1962, aboard USS Midway, CVA 41. Same place as above and same month. Typhoon warnings, fleet to sea - lee side of the islands near Okinawa. Almost the same experience except the carrier Midway is so large compared to the ammo ship that there is little movement in the churning ocean. Obviously no flight ops. The galley fires are kept lit and work proceeds below deck as usual. Got a quick view of some spray coming over the forward flight deck Most of the aircraft are stowed in the hangars. The aircraft kept on the flight deck are secured with double chains. I felt more movement of the ship in my rack than normal but not even close to the experience of my ammo ship. Again, priceless experience.
Anyone want to share their storm experiences?
All my experence with typhoons took place on a small deck CVA (Essex class) and the worst place to be was on a ladder up foward. Hard to believe something that big can go up and down faster than a person can transit a ladder.

This link will make your hair standup where you didn't think you had hair! http://ww2lct.org/history/actionreports/typhoon.htm
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Joined: April 21st, 2011, 1:28 pm

June 26th, 2011, 3:05 pm #9

Kinda like running into old girlfriends stateside....
Yeah, with your wife beside you.
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Joined: October 10th, 2005, 8:42 pm

June 27th, 2011, 12:07 pm #10

All my experence with typhoons took place on a small deck CVA (Essex class) and the worst place to be was on a ladder up foward. Hard to believe something that big can go up and down faster than a person can transit a ladder.

This link will make your hair standup where you didn't think you had hair! http://ww2lct.org/history/actionreports/typhoon.htm
What a report.
It almost puts you on the deck of one of those ships.
I couldn't stop reading it.
Being on an LCM or DE in a typhoon makes all other problems of the world seem small.
thanks for sharing
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