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I was BM1 when I checked aboard just 2 weeks prior to workups for Iran Hostage Deal.
Had alot of work to do as no one had been to sea together before, because Coral Maru had spent 3 yrs of overhaul in Bremerton, The Crew members had never been to sea together as a crew, most had never stood watches at sea.
Fortunately SOLDIER OF FORTUNE Magazine had just did a layout
with silhouettes of the Soviet Navy ships, I zeroxed them laminated them and posted them on
all the watch stations....it worked!
Drugs were extremly bad aboard, remember being first ship with a drug testing machine and my
division was the first one tested, popped 25-of 29, every petty officer except one and he hid for 2 days.
Remember Mass Mast on the Focsle 2 days out of Hawaii on the way to Iran. Funny too, only drug couldnt be tested for was LSD, so that was what the guys started having sent to them in the mail. Had police background and spent alot of time in the Master At Arms Office with my troops.
Did time at Safety, hell of a transition from Deck BM to Flight Deck, Cannot forget the Flight Deck Lpo for one of the Squadrons, who had extended 3mos before retiring, was a real safety problem, most of the other safety reps from the squadrons complained on him. I was just coming on deck for morning launch when they were carrying him down after being blown into a wing pylon and was killed. That day my boss found the safety violation I had hung on him in his hasket. \
Remember the night before coming into Hawaii, on the second cruise, the E-2 was having trouble trapping, I was on the flight line next to island between 2 helos, on second ot third try, the E-2 came in again, he was Gooney Birding and drifting toward the island. I dove for the deck as the wing passed over the helos, that scared me enough, then next day I learned he had clipped one of the rotors of the Helo.... that was enough for me.
That job gained alot of reapect for the jobs everyone does, the ship and the planes do not work without everyone doing their jobs, alot of risks, alot of danger, alot of good people.
Just a few memories, did the 2 trips and got orders to Subic again......
Remember that New Years in Pattaya.... what a drunkout throwing fire crackers into the bars, sitting in the bars shooting bottle rockets at people walking by....never again!
I too was on the Coral Sea during that time frame and loved Pattaya Beach! Had a great time on that cruise, it was my first and the best, I might add. The Coral Maru was an old Lady, but a great one just the same. Capt. Dunleavy used to come into the Paraloft quite often just to shoot the breeze. He was way cool. I didn't get below decks much other than for chow and sleep. Nice to contact someonewho was on her the same time frame as I was. Take care.
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