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Man over board
The Plymouth Rock had just returned from a cruise and was moored starboard side to the pier at NOB Norfolk. Across the wharf from us was an Aircraft Carrier. I believe she was the Essex. About 0930 I was in the spud lock pealing a couple of hundred of potatoes when suddenly the bitch box came alive. “MAN OVER BOARD! This IS NOT a drill! MAN OVER BOARD, Starboard side. Life boat crews man your boat.” By the time I reported to my topside station the area was alive with activity. The Essex was in mid channel and smoke was billowing from her stacks as she was making back full in order to stop. A tug boat was in a hard turn to port and her screws were kicking up a large rooster tail. Whistles, sirens, and horns were sounding all over the port. Near by ships were lowering their boats. Sailors on the dock were throwing any thing that would float into the water. The whole commotion reminded me of a scene from Mr. Roberts. You know the scene where the drunken crew is coming back from liberty, and a sailor rides a motorcycle off the end of the dock. After a short time a Tug picked up the sailor and returned him to the pier and the waiting shore patrol. And the Essex put out to sea with one less crewmen. Later we got the word on what had happened.
The Essex had just cleared the wharf when a taxi cab came barreling down the dock. Out of the cab jumped a Sailor in Dress Blues and Pea Coat. He kissed his old lady good-by and took off running after his ship. He got to the end of the dock and without missing a step he ran off the end. He hit the water in full stride and took off swimming after the big carrier. He swam a couple of hundred feet before he tired out and was having trouble staying afloat. All total the sailor was in the water about 15 minutes before rescue.
USS Plymouth Rock LSD 29
Ron Miller, EN3, writes "I remember well the incident about the cook that was lost at sea. Best I recall is that we were well into the Straits of Dardanelles when we went to muster that morning. Shortly we were all called back again. May have been the third time. Then we searched the ship. The snipes in A and R divisons did fire watches on the ship and knew every space from the anchor windless to aft steering. We did this several times. By then we entering the sea of Mamara and were turned around to search. I remember the sea was rough when we started in. We had a UDT team aboard and one of them said "nobody could live very long in seas like that" We heard that the body was found a week later. Most likely in Turkey or Greece. Seems like I heard that his wife was leaving him. I heard he was last seen around 0200 hours. My thoughts was that he jumped."
Gerald Holden, YN2 tells about the time when the whole Amphibious fleet had the job of sinking a ship in live maneuvers. A ship was towed in the Atlantic near Cuba and we all in single file to the port side fired on the USS Cony, a World War II tincan and sank her. It took quite a few rounds in that baby before it went down. I tried to get some equipment off the USS Cony when it was tied up at the pier, but they had armed to the teeth Marines who were ordered to sheet if anyone boarded her. Lots of equipment went to the bottom of the Atlantic with her.
A news article from the "Gator" copied by Gerald R. Borden about the Carribean Ready Group involved in clean up operations after Hurricane Inez, sometime in 1966.
Paul Mohawk reports about the ship that hit the "Rock" while in the Caribbean. "After taking the photo, I crawled the hatch down into the M Division compartment and proceeded to take a nap. I was almost asleep when I felt the ship being hit and heard the noise. It felt and sounded like a couple of 3" 50s going off. When the ship hit us, it wiped out the starboard after gun mount and dented the outer shin of the ship near the gun mount. The "Rock" Shipfitters and DC men did a lot of repairing enroute back to the States. All those aboard received a Navy commendation fort their extra efforts in this accident." NOTE: Check out the 1960-69 Photos Page, Paul has sent us a number of pictures.
The following newspaper article of was submitted by Lee Pridemore from his collection of memorabilia about life aboard the Plymouth Rock. Click here to open the article
Help: I need sea stories from sailors like you who served aboard the USS Plymouth Rock. If you have a story you wish to share e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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