Smile, you're on candid camera Sea Stories & Photos

Jim Ellsworth - RD1 - 1959-1961

Smile, you're on candid camera

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"Memories from the Charlie P."

By Jim Ellsworth RD1

Back in the days when we were testing the EDS system for the Navy a good part of the time we were in a B.B.F.(Be Back Friday) mode. We would leave the DesSub Piers on Monday with the rest of DesDiv 262 (O'hare, Stickell, and Corry) to conduct AAW exercises with the Air Force from our picket stations 2 or 3 hundred miles of Norfolk. We always had the fighter interceptor aircraft from one or more carriers at our disposal, one of which was the Independence ( call sign Guntrain).

Being in operations during those days was exciting. It was us against the airforce. Most of the crew probably thought steaming back and forth every 20 miles for hours at a time was pretty boring. But, CIC, during those exercises was a beehive of non-stop activity. Even in the slow times we still had radio messages to receive and pass along, ships to track, and information to update. We had to keep on our toes 24 hours a day. Those sneaky airforce types were libel to launch a strike at any time day or night. Our air controllers got pretty damned good at intercepting their bombers even after trying to fool us with all their counter-measures devices. We had an excellent Splash rate.

Most of the radarmen were still teenagers. We had our hands on and in millions of dollars worth of electronics gear. We were responsible for gathering, evaluating, and desseminating some real serious information. As I recall, many times we raced the O'hare back to Norfolk on Friday's.

Cmdr. Green was our Captain in those days. He was a layed back, but serious man that didn't (sweat the small stuff).He was in touch with his ship and crew. I'd venture to say that if you took a poll of anyone under his command, during his naval service, their opinion of him would be unamimous. A fine Captain who respected his men, and was respected by them. A man they were proud to serve with and would gladly do it again.

As radarmen, we used to take the heat from some of the crew because we got to work in A/C all the time. It was true, however the A/C was only to keep the electronics from burning up. Some nights on the mid-watch we had to bundle up and wear gloves to keep from freezing. To tell the truth we used to sleep in CIC, in port, on real hot nights. We also had many card games as well. So I guess we deserved the heat after all. That's about it for now. I'll keep in touch. Shipmates.

More to come .....


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