Sea Stories


  11 Responses to “Sea Stories”

  1. THE LOST BT: The BT (bathythermograph), a device sonarmen used to find the temperature of the water at various depths which helps us in our never-ending submarine search. It was time to do a drop and as sonar supervisor I sent the two STGSNs to the fantail to do the drop. When this happens the ship slows to 12 knots, too slow to break the cable. When all hooked up and ready to go, the ST tells the aft phone talker to tell the bridge that the BT is ready; then they release the brake and drop it into the water and put on the brake so the BT can read the surface temperature (BT IN THE WATER); after 15 seconds, the brake is released and the word passed BT ON ITS WAY DOWN. When the winch operator sees the cable with red paint (the last 50′) he applies the brake and tells the phone talker BT AT DEPTH!. Then the winch motor is turned on and the winch pulls the BT back up (BT COMING UP). When the winch operator sees the cable going from almost parallel to the surface towards perpendicular, he relays BT IN SIGHT, he then watches until the BT comes out of the water (think of fishing) and puts on the brake, pulls in the winch gate and disconnects the BT after checking to make sure the slide recording the temps is okay, then relays BT ON DECK, then secures everything. Once ON DECK, the ship returns to its normal speed, like 20 knots or so. HOWEVER, on this occasion the cable broke because when BT AT DEPTH was relayed, the phone talker relayed to the bridge BT ON DECK, and the cable won’t hold at 20kts. CAPTAIN ZINSLER called sonar supervisor to the bridge for a royal chew out. That was me. He also ordered every ST to do 50 practice drops each. All was well again when it was found that the phone talker passed the wrong info, he got 3 months mess cooking, the STs were off the hook. The old BT winch was removed in November, 1970, on the day I left the ship to be discharged. It was replaced by a new electronics version with the readout screen in sonar and using very small BTs (about 6 inches in length – looked like a small rocket ship) which were released just below the fantail. No more weather to deal with and once used it was gone forever, my kind of BT.

  2. THE SEABAT: One warm Sunday afternoon in 1966, we were taking a break from the VIETNAM mess. Some of the sailors were fishing off the fantail when word was passed to the bridge and over the announcing system that a SEABAT had been caught and was available for viewing. I went back just to see what fish of a seaman deuce would fall for it. Who arrived but none other than the OPERATIONS OFFICER, an LT (let’s say his name escapes me). He asked about the SEABAT and was shown a large box on the deck with a hole cut in the bottom for viewing. Down he went on hands and knees, bent down to take a look, his butt now the highest point and a perfect target for a sailor with a swab who promptly walked over and swatted the LT on his biggest target. Funny thing was, after looking up and giving him a dirty look, he went down again for another look and got yet another swat for his troubles. I think he just then figured he’d been had, no such thing as a SEABAT! Hope you laughed like I did.

  3. Coming out of Taiwan, went thru eye of typhoon, we were taking 44 degree roll s , we where supposed to capsize at 45 , lost of sick people, holding on buckets ,watched that pendulum ,hard to forget those moments. !!!

    • Are you the mm Grishaw?

    • Are you the mm3 Grishaw?

    • I remember coming out of KEELUNG, TAIWAN, and hitting that typhoon in the Straits of Formosa. We not only strapped down in our bunks but also used the seatbelt while operating the sonar stack. Basically, we just went passive, we were not going to get any sonar contacts on that wild day. I remember following an aircraft carrier up the straits and the carrier was taking waves at the O10 levels, ten stories above the flight deck. They finally turned around and got out of there we us hot on their tail. Scarier, to me, than an LA earthquake or Texas tornado.

  4. My dad Armen Adams I believe was on a Destroyer ship. That blasted the coast of Korea. The only 2 stories I have is #1. He worked in Electronics. He was checking some equipment in a large deck gun. That swiffled on a turret. When he did not finish in time, he was locked in. This caused extremely loud noises, even with his earplugs. Causing shock afterwards. #2 He said he was talked into a boxing fight on deck. Cause dad had boxed in High School. He does not remember much. Except the Marine he boxed, for about 1 or 2 minutes. He Later found out was a Marines Golden Gloves boxer. Dad finally awakened and said, Didn’t I tell you I should not box this guy!!

  5. Had a good chat with my grandfather Edward Smith who was a fire control officer on the Orleck during the Korean war era. He had a lot of fun stories to tell about his time aboard.


    • Hi Zach: I approved your post for the site. I am the nephew of the namesake, Lt. Joseph Orleck, of the USS ORLECK and I do the website and have done reunions for the men for 23 years. I tried to find your father’s name on our roster but he is not there. We had to search out each of her men and we only found 2200 of the over 4000 that served aboard her. I can add him to our roster and would love to contact him if you could provide me with the needed information. He will then get information from time to time on the USS ORLECK, which is still afloat in Lake Charles, LA, and about the reunons we have. Our next one is in Norfolk, VA in April of 2018. Let me know and I will take the necessary action. I would like the years he served aboard USS ORLECK and what his rate/rank was when he left. If you don’t know that, let me know as well. I sounds as if he did and I am glad you found us. Please give my best to your grandfather. Bob Orleck

  6. My Grandfather was an officer aboard the USS Orleck in 1948. I was doing some research and came across your site. I am very please to see it. As I was reading I also saw that you were using parts from the USS Barry, a ship that my Grandfather was on also, and one of his favorite ships. He was in communications and I do have some of his old papers and pictures. He was also on The Sigsbee, Langley, & Arizona at various times during his career. I know that he put in for retirement and the Orleck was the last ship he was stationed on. I do have some of the communications from that ship and other memorabilia. The Orleck was on a scientific expedition in May 1948. I have a Menu with the signatures of the officers, press and scientist on board that attended a dinner the Captain held during their stay in China? They were to capture photos of an eclipse along with two other ships stationed at various points around the world. There was a commemorative stamp made attributed to this expedition and he had a few printed on post cards and then had them post marked from The USS Orleck. When I was trying to identify the stamp, as I think, but am not certain it was Chinese, I came across a card post marked USS Aulick. I looked and found that it was a Fletcher Class destroyer as was the Sigsbee and that it had been hit by a Kamakazi pilot. The Sigsbee had been hit while my grandfather was aboard during the war. I remember his stories. I too feel strongly that all of the history of the sacrifices our men gave is so important. I was delighted to see your efforts to save this history. I wish I was in a position to offer financial support but sadly am in dire need myself. All of my prayers are with you, Patty, granddaughter of Harry F. Isett who retired in 1948 from the US Navy. I know that he did not want to retire as he loved the service but felt that his family needed him home.

    • What a wonderful post about your grandfather. I thought your post had been previously approved but apparently not but it is now. It sounds as if he had a wonderful Navy life and I would like to know more. Please feel free to contact me at and I will make an attempt to contact you as well. Regards Bob Orleck

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