John M. MacBrayne, III, 1969
Our Omega Mu brothers who served in the military are cherished and constant fraternal friends, and we would like to say thank you for the steadfast, purposeful commitment you made to our nation to defend those four freedoms we all believe in: “Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.” For those brothers who were killed in defense of these freedoms, they will always occupy a consecrated place in our linked fraternal heart because they exemplify the idea of superlative commitment, strength, and fortitude for the good to the end itself. The greatness of their collective purpose and will, on our nation’s behalf, will never be forgotten. By their “clear-eyed faith and fearless heart,” these brothers have left us a fraternal legacy that echoes what we often say about Omega Mu Fijis: “Perseverance and determination are omnipotent.” Their code of integrity, courage, duty, responsibility, and self-sacrifice on behalf of our nation is a powerful legacy that we will always be proud of as Omega Mu Fijis.
Whether it was at New Orleans, Red River, Fort Blakely, Marianna, San Juan Hill, Santiago de Cuba, Chateau-Thierry, Verdun, El Guettar, Elba, Monte Della Vedetta, the Battle of the Bulge, Rabaul, Inchon, Pusan, Chosin Reservoir, Pork Chop Hill, Hue, Easter Offensive, Phu Cat, The Iron Triangle, Hamburger Hill, la Drang Valley, Bien Hoa, Khe Sanh, Rumaila, Al-Batin, Medina Ridge, Kabul, Kandahar, our Omega Mu brothers have demonstrated devotion to duty in defense of freedom and liberty. They are the stability of our nation, and we, the Omega Mu brotherhood, revere, honor, and salute their persevering and determined spirit within our great nation and our historic brotherhood. We will always honor the heroism of all of our brothers who have served in the armed forces from the Civil War to the present. Thank you.
Omega Mu Veteran
John M. MacBrayne, III,
Omega Mu Years
Ruth C. Clary and Clara Hammond,
Omega Mu housemothers
Jack MacBrayne, #22, is standing in front of Jim Chaplin, #21; Bob Duetsch, #20;
and David Goode, #23.
Jack MacBrayne, John Collins, Doug Baston, Dave Smith.
Bill Pond, Paul Lessard, Ted crowell, Bob doyle, Chris Eaton, Sammy Cosgrove, Jack MacBrayne.
Jim McLean, Mike McInnis, Dennis McKenna, Jim Chaplin, John Dolan, and George Thomas
Chris Eaton, Paul Pooler, Mike O'Leary, undergraduate brother, Sammy Cosgrove.
Tom Richardson, Chris Eaton, Bill Pond; John Collins leading the song, Sammy Cosgrove,
Paul Pooler, and Bob Doyle is behind Paul Pooler.
Tom Richardson, John Collins Collins, Bill Pond, Mike Soloby, Sammy Cosgrove, Paul Pooler, Bob Doyle, and Paul Lessard.
"However, I did feel a responsibility to serve in the armed forces."
"By the time I began my sophomore year at the University of Maine in the fall of 1965 the war in Vietnam had intensified and was becoming much more of an issue nationwide. The draft had been stepped up, and I did not see any reason that I would not be draft material once I graduated. I was anxious about being involved in jungle warfare. However, I did feel a responsibility to serve in the armed forces.
During the second semester, as a result of a mailing I received, as I recall, I found out about a Navy Reserve program that the Navy called the Reserve Officer Candidate (ROC) program. One joined the Navy Reserves as an enlisted man and attended weekly reserve meetings. Then, the summer after the junior year of college one attended eight weeks of Officer Candidate School (OCS), and after graduation one completed the final eight weeks of OCS. Upon completion of OCS one was commissioned as an Ensign with a three-year active duty commitment.
Ralph Bonna is a fraternity brother of mine, and he and I signed up for the ROTC program towards the end of our sophomore year, That summer - 1966 - we went to a two-week boot camp for enlisted reservists at Great Lakes, IL. The following summer we went to the first half of OCS in Newport, RI. Although we traveled to Newport together, we wound up in different companies. Ralph graduated from the University of Maine in June 1968, completed OCS that summer and ultimately made a career of the Navy as a Supply Corps officer. I was in a 5-year engineering program, so I spent the summer of 1968 working at Great Northern Paper Co. in Millinocket, Maine while continuing to attend reserve meetings. After I graduated in June. 1969 I completed the second half of OCS and was commissioned as an Ensign on September 12.
I was then ordered to the Navy base in Charleston, SC for additional training. There were three one-week courses followed by a six-week Mine Countermeasures Officer course then a three-week Line Officer Supply course. I reported aboard USS DETECTOR (MSO-429) at 1340 on December 19, and on December 31 I formally relieved V. James Ferrar as Supply Officer. In late March or early April, 1971 DETECTOR went into dry-dock in preparation for transfer to the reserve fleet. I was released early as a result and was discharged from active duty on April 15.
This document is intended to document the last year and few months of the service of USS DETECTOR in the active duty fleet. To some degree this document will be autobiographical and will detail some events one wouldn’t ordinarily find in a true history.
During January of 1970 the ships in MINEDIV 43 were preparing for a two-month deployment to the Naval Mine Defense Laboratory in Panama City, FL. As part of those preparations on January 13 DETECTOR made a trip to the degaussing range requiring only one trip in each direction to achieve a satisfactory check. Degaussing is used to minimize a ship’s magnetic signature so it will not detonate magnetic mines.
MINEDIV 43 departed Charleston on February 3, steamed south past Miami, rounded the Florida Keys, and entered Tampa Bay on February 7. DIRECT and SWERVE continued to Tampa while DETECTOR and DASH proceeded to the U. S. Coast Guard station in St. Petersburg. We hosted visitors, and the officers and crew were invited to participate in events connected with Tampa’s annual Gasparilla Festival. Leaving St. Petersburg on February 13 DETECTOR rejoined the Division in Tampa Bay and arrived at the Naval Mine Defense Laboratory in Panama City.
From February 16-20 DETECTOR performed services for the Mine Defense Lab – streaming, towing, and recovering experimental minesweeping gear. The remainder of the month was spent in port. During this time some of us were able to take a Navy supplied bus back to Charleston so we could pick up our personal vehicles. I then owned a 1967 Chevrolet station wagon. During the drive to Panama City, I began to hear a knocking noise from the engine which got worse the farther I drove. Fortunately, I was able to make it to Panama City. When I had time I began to investigate and found that the bolts that held the pulley to the front of the crankshaft had loosened up. Although the bolt holes in the pulley were elongated and some of the bolts were damaged, I was able to tighten up everything well enough to get by. I ordered a new pulley and bolts from the local Chevy dealer and installed them before driving back to Charleston after our time in Panama City.
During the first week in March DETECTOR performed several competitive exercises and planted MK6 drill mines for an upcoming sweep exercise. Following a brief in-port period DETECTOR was underway again on March 11 for two more days of competitive exercises. Then March 13 was spent laying influence mines for another future sweep exercise. After a few days in port DETECTOR was underway again on the eighteenth for more competitive exercises. Fog that evening prevented her return to the pier so she anchored in St. Andrews Bay. Fog remained heavy the following day but lifted enough so that DETECTOR was able to return to the Mine Defense Lab in the afternoon.
On March 23 MINEDIV 43 got underway for a sweep exercise. DETECTOR had her share of problems due to a parted sweep wire during the first day. After recovering the gear and repairing the damage DETECTOR continued to sweep for moored mines. On the evening of the 23rd she began sweeping for influence mines, and that night a sweep wire parted again, allowing part 0f the gear to drift off into the night. Much of the following day was spent finding and retrieving the lost gear. Upon completion of the exercise DETECTOR recovered master reference buoys on the 25th and returned to port. The following day she was underway again to recover the influence mines used in the exercise. The last few days of March were spent in port in preparation for the return to Charleston.
DETECTOR arrived in Fort Lauderdale on April 4, and departed on April 6 for an area off the coast of the Bahamas to experiment with a two-ship deep sweep. After two days of sweeping the course was set for Charleston, and the division arrived home on April 10. Upkeep and routine maintenance occupied the crew for the next two weeks. Then, on April 23, DETECTOR got underway for a trip up the Cooper River to the USS Alamogordo (ARDM 2). After four days in dry-dock for minor repairs, she returned to the MINELANT piers for the remainder of the month to continue preparations for the upcoming deployment to northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
DETECTOR got underway on May 11 to participate in Operation EXOTIC DANCER off the coast of North Carolina and conducted a full power run competitive exercise on the way north. The following day she planted several influence mines and conducted a swing ship in order to compensate her magnetic compasses. On May 13 she checked aircraft mine plants. This was done from anchor at a known location. A bearing was shot on the splash when mines hit the water. With several ships doing this the drop point could be calculated by triangulation. Bob Duetsch is another fraternity brother of mine who graduated a year after I did, became a Navy pilot, made the Navy a career and retired with the rank of Captain. I sent him photos of the aircraft that dropped the mines, and he identified them as A-7B Corsair II from VA-46, attack squadron out of NAS Cecil Field and assigned to the USS Kennedy and CVW-1.
A-7B Corsair II
A-7B Corsair II on the USS Kennedy
Returning to the Charleston area, DETECTOR anchored in Charleston Harbor the night of May 14, conducted operations on the 15th, and anchored off the coast of Charleston that night then returned to port on the 16th. On May 22, COMINERON FOUR and members of his staff boarded DETECTOR for a material inspection for which she received a passing grade.
In final preparation for the deployment, DETECTOR got underway on June 5 for a pre-deployment check and determined that all equipment worked satisfactorily.
A minesweeper has two sweep wires. In order for them to deploy properly one wire - starboard as I recall - must be right hand lay, and the other, port, must be left hand lay. The decision was made to replace both wires prior to our upcoming deployment, so at least a couple of months prior to the deployment Lt (jg) Ferrar submitted a requisition for the two sweep wires. As Supply Officer I submitted the requisitions through normal channels. In relatively short order a new port wire was received and installed, but the starboard wire didn’t arrive. I made a number of inquiries through the normal supply channels, determined that it was being shipped to Charleston from California, and was told it would arrive before the deployment. But by a week or so prior to the deployment, it still had not arrived. MINELANT had an “emergency” supply of sweep wires (10 port and 10 starboard, as I recall) in Charleston only a short distance from where we were moored. So, I went to MINELANT and suggested that they give us a starboard wire and they could replenish their stock when our wire arrived in Charleston. “Oh no, these are for emergencies only” was the reply. MINELANT did concede that if our wire did not arrive by the day before we were to get underway then that would constitute an emergency, and we could get the wire from them. Sure enough, by June 9, the day before we were to get underway, the starboard wire still had not arrived. So, the deck crew got the new wire from MINELANT and set it on the fantail. Since it was the last day they would see their families for six months the crew was released early, and the plan was to install the new wire once we were at sea.
Deployment to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean
On the morning of June 10, MINEDIV 43 got underway for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then, on June 11 when the deck crew began to install the new sweep wire it was discovered that it was a port wire instead of a starboard wire. Messages were sent, and a starboard sweep wire was located at the Boston Navy Yard, so on June 12 DETECTOR was detached to proceed to Boston. We arrived at Boston Harbor on June 14, a beautiful Sunday morning. I was on the bridge while the Captain was radioing for permission to enter port. I don’t think we ever raised anyone to obtain formal permission, but we entered port and moored outboard of a fuel barge not far from USS CONSTITUTION. The correct sweep wire was waiting on the pier, the wires were exchanged, and DETECTOR refueled. Several of us were on the pier when the ship’s alarm sounded indicating a fire on board. As we ran toward the ship, across the fuel barge, I remember thinking, shouldn’t we be running the other direction? Fortunately, a small fire in the engine room was quickly extinguished. In the afternoon we got underway and rejoined the division in Halifax on June 16.
The division left Halifax on June 17 and arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland on June 19. We approached St. John’s in a cold, thick fog. Everyone on the bridge was wearing pea-coats. On our final approach, as we got closer to shore, the fog lifted just as if someone raised a curtain, and the temperature rose dramatically. We all shed our coats, and the bridge windows fogged up so badly we had to move to the wing bridges to con the ship. Some of us were able to visit Cabot Tower where Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission and the Crow’s Nest where naval officers gathered during World War II prior to departures on North Atlantic convoys.
Marconi and his assistants outside of the Cabot Tower.
In order to have enough fuel to cross the North Atlantic, at some point each minesweeper received a rubber fuel bladder which was placed on the fantail. It took up most of the fantail, and when full was about four feet high.
On June 21 the division got underway in heavy fog and set a course for Campbeltown, Scotland. I remember two things about the North Atlantic. The first is the color gray. Everything was gray the entire crossing – the ships, the sky, and the sea. The second is swells out of the north. I don’t recall any significant storms during the crossing, but the swells out of the north were unrelenting. They made for an uncomfortable ride, and standing watch became very tiresome due to the effort required to maintain one’s balance.
We skirted the northern coast of Ireland and arrived in Campbeltown on the last day of June. After refueling and a brief visit to the town the division got underway for Bergen, Norway. However, heavy seas and gale force winds forced the division to return to Campbeltown. I remember being on the bridge when the Commodore’s order came to change course. We were at all-ahead full and making no progress over the ground.
Campbeltown, Scotland, above and below.
We stayed in Campbeltown until July 3 when we got underway for a trip up the Firth of Clyde to HMS NEPTUNE, a Royal Navy Base in Faslane, which is close to Glasgow. After some sightseeing in the Glasgow area, the division was underway again on July 6. We sailed around the north of Scotland and arrived at HMS LOCHINVAR, another Royal Navy Base in Port Edgar, on July 8. The British were fantastic hosts, and the officers and men of DETECTOR spent many enjoyable hours with their British counterparts. Edinburgh is not far from Port Edgar, so sightseeing was done there as well as in the nearby Scottish Highlands.
The division got underway with HMS ABDIEL, a minelayer, and a group of British minesweepers on July 13 for Esberg, Denmark. DETECTOR participated in Exercise Mighty Mouse which was an exercise to compare British mine-hunting sonar with the American AN/SQQ-14 sonar. Then, following several days practicing for upcoming operation Love Song, DETECTOR arrived in Esberg on July 17. DETECTOR embarked a detachment of British Marine divers and departed Esberg on July 20 for the operation. She planted dan buoys dangerously close to shore early on July 21 and then conducted mine-hunting operations for the next three days. The highlight of these operations was the safe escort of the aircraft carrier HMS ALBION through the minefield. The British divers assisted in the recovery of the dan buoys on the evening of July 23 and were then disembarked to HMS ABDIEL. The division safely escorted HMS TIDEPOOL from the area and then detached for Bremerhaven, Germany very early on July 24.
Arriving in Bremerhaven on July 25 the ship entered the harbor after a long, foggy journey up the Weser River and a trip through an interesting lock system. The division spent several enjoyable, but rainy, days there.
During my early months aboard DETECTOR, I was training to become qualified as Officer of the Deck for Independent Steaming Operations (OODI). I stood watch on the bridge with one of the other junior officers. Often, I would have the conn under their direction. On July 15 I became officially qualified as OODI. John Chafee was Secretary of the Navy during this time, and I found this quote from him in my files. “I can think of no parallel in civilian life to the awesome responsibilities routinely shouldered by an ensign or lieutenant in his mid-20s as he takes over the deck or engineering plant of a modern warship underway at sea.”
“I can think of no parallel in civilian life to the awesome responsibilities routinely shouldered by an ensign or lieutenant in his mid-20s as he takes over the deck or engineering plant of a modern warship underway at sea.”
Underway once more on July 29, the division arrived in Vlissingen, the Netherlands on the last day of the month. DETECTOR got underway again on the morning of August 3 bound for Ostende, Belgium and arrived there that afternoon. After a rainy visit DETECTOR departed Ostende bound for Plymouth, England and arrived there the following morning. Plymouth was in a festive mood because of the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. While in Plymouth the junior officers purchased an antique British Navy officer’s hat to present to Captain Morse after the upcoming change of command.
Plymouth harbor and the Mayflower
DETECTOR got underway again on August 11 and sailed to LaRochelle, France. While there the DASH gave DETECTOR an administrative inspection preparatory to the change in command scheduled for later in the month. DETECTOR was tied up with the inspection most of the time we were there. I do remember being able to visit bomb proof submarine pens that the Nazis had built during WW II and having a very enjoyable two-hour lunch aboard a French minesweeper where the wine was liberally poured. I was also able to use my high school French well enough to make myself understood enough to find a barbershop and get a haircut. We departed France on August 15 and arrived in Rota, Spain on August 19 where operational control was changed to the Sixth Fleet. On August 20, LCDR B. F. McMahon relieved LCDR R. M. Morse as Commanding Officer of DETECTOR.
Nazis submarine pens in LaRochelle
With a new skipper at the conn DETECTOR got underway on the morning of August 21 and took an ammunition barge in tow. As a favor to the Spanish government, the barge was towed to Cartagena, Spain where it was delivered to a Spanish tugboat on the afternoon of August 22. DETECTOR arrived in Naples, Italy on August 26 and moored next to the destroyer USS Robert A. Owens (DD 827) to begin tender availability (TAV) with the destroyer tender USS Shenandoah (AD 26). During the TAV much work was accomplished in all areas of the ship including closing the mess deck for four days for a thorough repainting.
USS Robert A. Owens
On September 3 DETECTOR was moved to on-load equipment and sonar buoys that she was to use in special operations. She got underway with the Italian sailboat Sayonara in tow on September 5. For the next two weeks, DETECTOR and Sayonora, in conjunction with P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft from NAF SIGONELLA, conducted special operations off the coast of Sardinia to evaluate the effectiveness of various types of sonar buoys. We had several non-DETECTOR personnel on board for these trials. We would drop a trial sonobuoy into the water and leave Sayonaro as an inconspicuous “guard” so that they could recover the sonobuoy in case the Russians or any other curious interlopers should appear. We would steam off on a predetermined course. A P-3 Orion would fly over and listen to our noise signal as detected by the sonobuoy. We could communicate by radio with the P-3s, but only when they were almost directly overhead due to the short range of our radio. I still remember that the call sign of the P-3s was “Argentina 2X” (X was another number – ie: Argentina 23). At night we would bring Sayonara’s crew on board and take the sailboat in tow until the next morning.
NAS Sigonella with Mount Etna behind
On September 8 we were to refuel from an Italian Naval Facility in LaMaddalena, Sardinia. However, it was somewhat uncertain as to where the facility was located. That problem was solved by the appearance of an Italian Navy tugboat that sported a large sign reading “FOLLOW ME”. After another fuel stop in Cagliari, Sardinia DETECTOR ended the special operations on September 18 when she arrived in Catania, Sicily and transferred the sonar buoy equipment to the salvage ship USS PRESERVER (ARS 8). The highlight of DETECTOR’S stay in Catania was a softball game between DETECTOR and personnel from NAF SIGONELLA. DETECTOR lost the game, but the beer was cold, and everyone had a very enjoyable afternoon.
A short transit on September 21 took us to Augusta Bay, Sicily where DETECTOR ran the degaussing range there with her usual efficiency. After several uneventful days in Augusta Bay, DETECTOR departed on September 24 to rejoin MINEDIV 43.
On September 29 DETECTOR, MINEDIV 43, and many other Sixth Fleet units participated in a pass-in-review for President Nixon, Secretary of State Rogers, Secretary of Defense Laird, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Naval Operations, Commander of the Sixth Fleet, and other dignitaries. As the dignitaries steamed past on the aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA, (CVA 60) the minesweepers streamed their moored mine sweep gear as part of a fire-power demonstration.
President Nixon speaking to the sailors on the USS Saratoga.
President Nixon watching the ships pass-in-review.
We refueled in Naples on September 30 and departed that evening for Athens, Greece, and we arrived on October 4. We were in Athens for nine days which gave us time to visit the Acropolis and other interesting sites.
I believe it was during this same time in Athens when I sent CS2 Huegen to a supply ship to get whole, frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. Huegen really did not want to go and argued that we could get the turkeys when we replenished in Rota on our way out of the Med. However, I insisted, and Huegen returned from the supply ship with the appropriate number of turkeys.
On October 13 DETECTOR got underway for Operation “DEEP EXPRESS”, arriving in the operations area off the coast of Alexandroupolis, Greece. We began sweeping on October 15, and during three days of sweeping the division swept thirteen mines with credit for six moored mines and four influence mines going to DETECTOR. On the night of October 18-19, DETECTOR was engaged in barrier patrol operations to detect any “hostile” movements toward the operations area. She returned to the operations area on October 19 and refueled from USS DE SOTO (LST 1171). After two days at anchor, she departed for Athens on October 21.
Shortly after arriving in Athens harbor on the morning of October 23, DETECTOR had just dropped anchor when the cruiser USS COLUMBUS (CG 12) spotted what was believed to be a mine floating in the harbor. Most of the ships in the harbor, including two ammunition ships, went to General Quarters while USS DIRECT (MSO 430) kept an eye on the drifting mine. Eventually an explosive ordinance disposal team from the ammunition ship USS BUTTE (AE 27) towed the mine to sea where DIRECT sank it with gunfire.
DETECTOR got underway from Athens on October 24 and arrived in Augusta Bay, Sicily on October 27 after two days of very rough weather. DETECTOR departed the morning of October 28 and after two days of special operations set course for Palma de Mallorca.
After five enjoyable days in Palma, the division got underway for Rota, Spain on November 6 with the hope that Thanksgiving Day would be spent in Charleston. The next day, however, COMSIXTHFLT ordered the division back for more special operations. The special operations were conducted on November 9 and 10 and were followed by another fuel stop in Augusta Bay. Getting underway for Rota once again on November 12, DETECTOR arrived there on the evening of the seventeenth after battling very rough seas for three days.
The division loaded provisions and refueled long into the night and then got underway on the morning of November 18 with USS SHENANDOAH (AD 26) and headed for home. The division refueled from SHENANDOAH on November 21 and again on November 25. After the second refueling, SHENANDOAH detached from the division to proceed to Norfolk.
November 26 was Thanksgiving Day. All of the ships in the division had ordered frozen, whole turkeys as part of the provisions to be obtained at Rota. However, the supply depot in Rota was out of whole turkeys and substituted some type of rolled turkey meat instead. So, that’s what the other three ships in the division had to use for their Thanksgiving dinners. However, aboard DETECTOR the turkeys we had obtained in Athens were in our freezer, so we feasted on “real” turkey for Thanksgiving.
Continuing west the division arrived at the U. S. Naval Station in Hamilton, Bermuda on the evening of November 30. After a night for the crew to stretch their legs and refuel, we got underway the following morning. After three days of beautiful weather, we arrived at Pier TANGO, U. S. Naval Base, Charleston early in the afternoon of December 4 where many relatives and friends awaited her return.
Post Deployment and Early 1971
During the remainder of 1970 DETECTOR enjoyed a post-deployment stand-down period during which most of the crew was given an opportunity to take leave. Reduced work loads during this period helped to boost morale after the many months of hard work and the long hours of watch standing during the deployment.
As the junior officer on board, it fell to me to write the log entry for January 1, 1971. By tradition, this was done in the form of a poem. Pam Beal was a friend of mine at the University of Maine and an English major. I prevailed on her to write the poem for me, and it only required one minor edit. Here is the entry.
In South Carolina ‘tis the first of the year,
And in Charleston’s harbor we’re moored to the pier.
The year we’ll tell you is ’71.
We’re all on duty while others have fun.
From the pier “Tango” lines are tied
To DETECTOR’S sturdy port side.
While tied outboard with lines so very strong,
The USS DOMINANT keeps watch so nothing will go wrong.
With mooring lines doubled, we’re all in a row,
Minesweepers we are – Always ready to go!
It isn’t the speed we furnish the fleet,
But the lanes we clear are hard to beat.
Many minesweepers are standing by,
Guarding our country from foe and spy.
We sweep the mines from the angry sea
And keep the harbor entrances free.
We’ll name the vessels that ride nearby,
All bobbing under this clear night sky.
To mention a few – DASH, DIRECT, and EXPLOIT.
Also in port is AGILE and lastly ADROIT.
In order to keep all seamen alive,
We have set Condition of Readiness at five.
To prevent any flood below our deck
Material Condition YOKE is set.
Miscellaneous services, but alas, no beer
We receive from the sturdy “Tango” pier.
On shore is SOPA, a fine man you’ll grant,
Who serves us all as COMINELANT.
Finally, to our sailors who know no fear,
We wish you all a Happy New Year!
During this time, it was not uncommon for junior officers to be transferred to a different duty station after eighteen months of active duty. The duty stations for officers were handled by officers known as Detailers in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. I wanted to try to get back to New England, so in January I called my Detailer and asked him if I could get a transfer to a destroyer based in Newport, RI. I was told that due to budget constraints the only officers being transferred after eighteen months were Annapolis graduates and other officers who had indicated that they intended to make the Navy a career. Thus, I would remain on DETECTOR for the remainder of my service.
I have no information in my files as to DETECTOR’s activities during the early part of 1971, but I do not remember anything special. No doubt we got underway and spent a few days at sea off the coast of South Carolina from time to time, but I do not remember getting very far away from Charleston.
I cannot remember exactly when I received an unexpected call from my Detailer, but it was probably late February or early March. He asked if I would like to get out of the Navy early. DETECTOR was to be transferred from the active fleet to the reserve fleet, and thus would need a smaller crew. I told him that I would like to take the “early out”.
In late March or early April, in preparation for transfer to the reserve fleet, DETECTOR moved from the Charleston Navy Base to Detyens Shipyard for repairs. As I recall, Detyens was on the Cooper River upriver from the Navy base.
I was released from active duty on April 15, 1971. From Charleston I drove to my parents’ house in New Jersey and began my search for a job in the pulp and paper industry. I recall that as I left Charleston I was on a road that offered a view of DETECTOR in the dry-dock. A tear came to my eye as I drove away. I never saw her again. DETECTOR was decommissioned in October 1982 and sold for scrap in January 1984."
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, ’82
Leave a Reply.