Robert E. Johnson QMCS

1948 - 1954

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The following is Robert's testimony regarding the photos on this page:

"The ship was enroute from San Francisco to San Diego.  I don't have the exact date, but it was Autumn 1948.  The Captain decided to crank on the power and I would expect all 4 boilers were on the line.  We had a following sea, and it was building.  I believe that as we came down between the coast and the offshore islands (Santa Barbara Channel and/or San Pedro Channel) the wave action increased --- we were SURFING.  According to the Pitometer Log (located on the rear bulkhead on the starboard side of the Pilot House), we were running at about 15/20 knots on the backside of a wave, and up over 40 or knots IN the wave. (I don't remember if the dial stopped at *40" or went of by; 40 was the highest reading on the dial.) The weight of water coming up on deck bent some stanchions and washed some loose gear overboard - no major damage, and all personnel were warned to stay inside.  I would think there ought to be a Deck Log to the event. I'm sure our "speed-over-over-the-ground" was in the 40 knot range."

Some memories about the Fox skippers;

Hank Munson(48-49) ex-submariner, mustang officer-great ship handler; He had a sonar speaker on the bridge and would take the conn from the CIC sonar plot if he thought they were wrong (dropped a grenade right on top of that mother).... 

"Shaky Jake" CDR Babb 49-50 (skipper with navigator Tobin when he hit rocks in NYC-Governors Island). During firing practice at airplane-towed targets, he would lean against the Pilot House bulkhead and each time the guns fired he would drop down a couple inches so that by the time the firing run was over he was sitting on the deck.....

"Wild Bill" Loughlin (50-52) The third division had painted the main deck from Mt.53 aft to the fantail. Wild Bill stepped over the rope on the starboard side and walked thru the wet paint to the stern, then turned and walk up the port side. He was met there by the division Chief Gerard, BMC? who said "Captain what the hell are you doing? We just painted the deck." Whereupon Wild Bill said "I am the captain of this ship and I can go anywhere I damned please." Whereupon Chief Gerard turned and threw his chiefs hat clean over the side shouting multiple, multiple expletives..... another memory of Hank Munson: since his was the first liberty boat after we arrived in port, he would load to the gunnels with anyone ready to go ashore.

We had a third class cook aboard "circa 48"that had some egg issues; he burnt the hard boiled eggs. Ware may be able to verify this. In the med circa 50-52 we were returning from the Med."circa on the way to Newport and loaded up with potatoes underway replenishment, we got so many that they were stacked, lashed down on the 01 level behind the #2 stack. We ran into a heavy storm and the potatoes broke loose and went over the side, so we ate crackers all the way home, "Newport that is".   We got a chief commissaryman aboard (Kirsttin?) early 50's, who decided we should have steak and eggs for breakfast, but he knocked it off the menu after the ET's and radar girls complained it was to heavy a meal, satire I am sure. One of the chiefs "it may have been Woods, went on liberty on Thursday and didn't return until Monday morning. Told the captain at mast that since they served baked beans for breakfast, he thought is was Friday. Bill of fare for Friday breakfast was beans!!

There is a lot of set-up for the next story!!  Directed mostly to O.D. and bridge gang; the outside bridge deck around the Pilot house was composed of wood grates over about a three foot bilge, so designed to minimize the concussion when mount 51 nd 52 were firing; during the forenoon one of the qm's duties was to check the ships' chronometers each day and compare them with the naval signal from Washington DC. The O.D. would then send the messenger of the watch to the Captain to report that the task was completed and requested permission to strike 8 bells. Well, one day in port in San Diego the bridge gang had pulled the deck in order to paint the bilge with the deck leaning helter-skelter. The messenger came to the bridge to get the chronometer report saw the disheveled appearance and left. He thereupon reported to Captain Hank Munson that the chronometers were found and repaired; the Captain keeping a straight face asked him where were they found? The messenger replied without hesitation "In the bridge bilges, Sir". There is also a recollection of a brawl in the Blue Moon, circa 50-51 when a movie star got into it with many others, can't recall the actor think maybe it was Randolph Scott or Richard Egan.