The collision while refueling from the USS Hassayampa off Da Nang about
midnight. We were hooked up and fueling when our radar which showed an
unknown contact with a good right bearing drift suddenly painted four
contacts showing no lights with about 200 yards separation between each
about 2,000 yards ahead. Captain Coston waited for less than a minute
expecting the Senior CO on the oiler (in tactical command) to effect
breakaway, and then, with no response from Hassayampa, took tactical
command himself and ordered emergency breakaway. I think we used axes
to cut through either the span wire or hoses and rolled heavily to starboard.
Only seconds later we saw looming about 200 yards ahead one of the four
contacts, a barge cabled apparently to other barges, invisible at night with no
lights. The oiler cut through the cable between the last two barges, but we
had no where to go and plowed into (I think) barge number 2. It put a big
hole in our bow which the DCA, Ltjg Wright Nobel Rodman plugged with
mattresses. Scared the piss out of me.
|The following pictures and comments have been provided by Mr. Robert
Warner who served as Communications Officer in the late 60's
|Ltjg Wright Nobel Rodman, DCA. Stuffed an 8' hole in the ships bow with
mattresses after a collision with unlit barge during refueling operation off
Danang. Also known as Buddha Belly.
|The following is an account of the collision as reported by Robert Werner.
In his own words.
|Desron 14 Chaplain Roon during Panama Canal transit
|Ltjg Colin McBride doing laundry on the fantail. We had a failure of the
ship's washing machine
|QM3 McCafferty on the signal bridge during locking evolution in the
|Signalmen and quartermasters on the signal bridge going through Gatun Lake
during Panama Canal crossing
|Fresh water wash down of the ship in Gatun Lake
|Ltjg Bob Warner, Communications Officer on the fantail
|Ed Unks (I think) and my radioman 2nd class
|Two of my ship's office petty officers
|Crew taking a break in the Gulf of Tonkin
|We are gunship for USS Chicago (pictured) in the Gulf of Tonkin off
|Lt Mike Thorner and crew at ship's picnic - Gulf of Tonkin
|Ens Warner and Captain Coston
|F-8 returning to the carrier off North Vietnam. We are plane guarding
|Ltjg Jim Graves during HIFR of SAR helo off North Vietnam
|Stribling arriving at Midway atoll during transit to Vietnam