"Sea Stories" of PROVIDENCE
EXPERIENCES, PERCEPTIONS, MEMORIES AND POINTS OF INTEREST AND CLARIFICATIONS
AND INTERPRETATIONS OF VARIOUS TOPICS PAST AND PRESENT BY THE CREW.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO MAKE COMMENTS.
Re: Yankee Station
During Vietnam War
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:48:50
In a message dated 2/3/99
4:03:52 PM Eastern Standard Time, email@example.com
<< Subj: Re:
Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Date: 2/3/99 4:03:52
PM Eastern Standard Time
(John Paul Rossie)
(Steve Robbins), eemoise@CLEMSON.EDU (Edwin Moise),
Per your note to Bill
> >I need to
get a good definition of what "Yankee Station" was at that time.
I'll give it a shot,
as throughthe foggy memory I recall that Yankee
Station was located
in the Gulf of Tonkin and was (among other possible
things) the location
of several air craft carriers what launched strikes
against North and South
Vietnam targets. I believe it a constantly
changing location but
was relatively stable once assigned. Eg., it may
have been located directly
east of Ninh Binh and xx miles out to sea
(sorry, I don't have
a coordinate lat/long map handy), and the ships on
station may have steamed
in a 1 mile radius circle.... then it might
move southward 10 or
20 miles and at that station, the ships would steam
in a circle pattern.
I also recall Zulu
Station, which I believe was a constantly moving
rendeszous spot for special operations. I seem to
recall that as located,
at least one time, due east of Dong Hoi in line
with the southern end
of Hainan Island and centered in the straits. But,
again, I suspect the
coords changed several times, depending on the
You'll probably get
a more accurate answer from the others, but that's
from what I recall.
I was on a Destroyer (RADFORD DD446) during 1969,
and we had assignments
at each of those two locations. We need to find a
QuarterMaster for more
Rossie: Thanks much
for your expert help on this. Your comments, if you
don't mind may be used
at USS PROVIDENCE (CLG 6) home page run by Vietnam vet
the Line">USS PROVIDENCE
http://members.home.net/providence/#On the Line
Appreciate your help
Sam: These guys that
gave us this information on "Yankee Station" are Vietnam
have been very helpful
to us in the past. Hope this helps you out on
Your Great Web Page
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 18:21:34
Although we have not
yet communicated, I felt I had to write you and let you
know what a great site
you have created. Being an old Providence sailor, I
started at the beginning
and clicked my way to the end. I alternated
between outright, side-splitting
laughter to a lump in my throat the size of
a golf ball. The crowning
touch, I thought, was the picture of Bosn Craft.
I loved that old guy.
I worked with him at the forward refueling station,
which he was in charge
of. Being an IC man, I was the sound-powered phone
talker who relayed to
the tanker, whatever Bosn said. He sometimes said
things that I wouldn't
repeat in front of most audiences. However, he would
go to great pains to
listen to what I said, to be certain I was quoting him
verbatim. I always did
quote him absolutely--I was afraid not too!
But he had a great
sense of humor. Once, when things were going smoothly
during refueling, I
was talking to the tanker, just BS'ing I think, and I
demoted Bosn Craft to
Chief Craft. He heard what I said--I was
he turned to ream/straighten me out and saw me
smiling. He just grinned
broadly and shook his head. Probably thinking,
"where do they get these
guys." But he was a great guy and I admired and
respected him more than
any officer aboard the Providence.
I did thirty-nine months
aboard the ship during the years of '65 to '68.
Although not a career
navy man, I remember my time aboard that vessel
fondly. It was good
duty, indeed. The best friends of my life were begun
there. Although I haven't
kept up with all the guys, not a day goes by that
I don't remember them.
Anyway, I just wanted
to say "Great Job." Keep it up. I like to come down
to the computer, in
the middle of the night, when my wife has turned in,
and log on to your web
site. With beer in hand, I can sit and get as
nostalgic as I want.
No one there to see me. Relive the old days and good
times of being a United
States sailor aboard the USS Providence. My God!
What memories! Thanks,
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 17:23:58
Michael Matteson <MichaelM@nhcorp.com>
I was relating this
story to Jim Broyles and thought you might enjoy it too.
I remember one morning
in Yokosuka when I met IC3 Plumlee coming up the
after brow with his
laundry in his hand and shaking his head. I asked him
what the matter was
and he told me he had put his blue working jacket in to
have his name embroidered
on it. He said he had written on the laundry
ticket "SEW NAME ON
LEFT BREAST 'PLUMLEE'" and sure enough, that was what
was embroidered on the
left breast of his working jacket.
I saw him in Jan 1989.
He was a LCDR and was Chief Engineer on the USS EMORY
S. LAND AS-39. We were
in a meeting together and had seen each others name
tags and something clicked
and after the meeting I asked him if he was "Sew
name on left breast
Plumlee" and he responded " I hoped nobody would
remember that". He transferred
off the Land soon after that under some kind
of a medical situation
and I wasn't able to get much more info about him. He
still looked a lot like
he did in '67/'68 and he lied and said I did too.
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 21:20:13
How goes it? Mike Matteson
found me about a year ago and we have been in touch
via Email. He mentioned
you and gave an Email address a while back. Have
been getting Email via
CLG6 info and see you name in the addressee list.
Hope all is going good
I still have night
mares about the MK100 and the SPQ5.
Re: Signed Guestbook
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 15:50:11
We ran the steam turbines
and kept the ship underway probably the hardest
job in the navy next
to a BT boiler tech. The CLG-6 had 4 engines 2 forward
and 2 aft. Off Nam the
heat could get up to 150 degrees. It was hell
Sun, 21 Mar 1999 12:05:03
Michael Matteson <MichaelM@nhcorp.com>
I wanted to tell you
about the time when the ship made a port call in
Malaysia and a bunch
of FT's went on liberty (they will do that you know) in
Kuala Lumpur. I think
there was Steve Daggett, Ron Cate , Tom Grogan and me.
Anyway we found a real
neat little bar/cafe and spent a very pleasurable few
hours in there and had
a very nice dinner before we went back to the ship
which was tied up in
Port Swettenham, several miles away. On the way back to
the ship we decided
we'd like to go back there the next day as most of us
had liberty again and
we were worried that we might not be able to find it
again. Grogan said not
to worry, he had remembered to look at a street sign
and remembered the name
of the street we were on.
The next day after
liberty call we caught a cab and Grogan told the driver
to take us to Jalan
Well, the driver laughed
so hard we thought he would run off the road! It
seems that Jalan is
the Malay word for street and in their language "Main
Street" would be written
"Jalan Main" Well, we all got a pretty good laugh
out of that, even Grogan
and the driver asked us what bar we were in and
someone remembered it
was Marco Polo's and he said he knew right where it
was and took us back
there. We did a little checking and sure enough, Jalan
was on all the street
Providencen work detail
Mon, 22 Mar 1999 22:08:16 EST
We had a rearming detail and had this FN sailer
named Ray, he probably weighed
135 lbs which was about the same weight as
the 6 inch shells; he drop a round down
the ladder and we all scattered and that was
the last rearming detail he ever did.
One other time I remember we were off the
coast of Nam and had a shell lodge
in the barrel. The officer of the deck called
for two snipes to come up and hose
the gun barrel down. Myself and another fellow
by the name of Smiley went
up with a ten foot snorkel on the end of a
hose and sprayed that gun turret down.
Everyone was afraid that the magazine might
go so we soaked it good. I don't
remember if they told us before or after when
the danger had passed. I always
wondered why they never used gunner's mates
or deck apes.
Did I tell you that I was the seventh fleet
heavy weight champ? Fought four
fights on the CLG-6.
Can you share some history and photos of the Decommissioning of Prov.
Details on where, what, when, why, and how.
Share what you can.
(In Missouri now?")
RE: Signed Guestbook
Mon, 17 May 1999 09:22:03 -0500
"Bruce S. Gebbeken" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"'Sam Villa'" <email@example.com>
Can share some. I was divorced in 1992 and "lost" all of my pictures
stuff from the Providence, with the exception of a booklet of all the
spaces and my ship liberty card.
The Providence went through it's decomm starting around March 1973
I remember just about everything at that time because it was my first
I arrived on the ship Dec 18, 1972. At Pier 6 in San Diego's, Naval
We set to sea only once during the time I was aboard, and that was to
Seal Beach to offload ammo (both 6 inch and 5 inch). A incident I remember
well while at Seal Beach was the dropping of a Willy Peter round from
the crew onto his foot. Since this scared the crap out of everybody
guy broke all the bones in his foot, it is hard to forget. I was offloading
5 inch rounds at the time and I remember everyone just about jumping
their skin. Being a new recruit at the time, all I remember doing is
The Prov upon return to San Diego moved to Inactive Ship's Maintenance
Facility (ISMF) in San Diego about pier 11. I was assigned to E Div
upon the ship until finishing decomm (around Nov?). The Captain and
the crew left in groups during the inactive period. The Providence,
Bowers (DD) and the Ticonderoga all were placed inactive at the same
The ISMF headquarters was aboard USS Klondike across from us. I remember
looking out and seeing that rust bucket everytime we would get up in
ISMF had quite a few ships in San Diego at the time and it was interesting
to look out while working on the Providence at those other ships sitting
there. I remember seeing the USS Blue, the USS Galveston and one heavy
Cruiser there. ISMF mission was to preserve the ships in pristine order
that the ship could be used again in time of war. To that end everything
to be rustless and well conditioned prior to decomm date. We to clean
and spread preservation on everything. Those ISMF inspectors would roughshod
us with inspection mirrors and flashlights daring us to paint over the
(which sometimes happened). If rust was found, the components or item
removed, sandblasted and repainted till we dropped. I remember the M
fuel spaces for months and B Div living in boilers. Once we even had
from a welding dropping into the bilge's. I spent time in just about
space on the ship because our equipment was everywhere. I remember going
down to a space on the second platform call the Atomic Warhead handling
and was astonished that the Prov could have carried Nuclear weapons,
not know if it ever did.
Another time close to the end, I remember going down to the second platform
again in some space, and hearing nothing but the water splashing on
hull. At that time only four people were on the ship for security and
was left of the crew was either gone or aboard the Klondike. I was securing
a controller and have never heard quiet like that before or since on
ship. I think it was then that I realized that the life of the ship
crew, and this ship was dead.
My shipmates I remember well in my division; EM3 Royce Brown, EM2 McCune,
Liddell, FA Goodo, FA J.R. Williams, IC2 Knappe, etc. Many fine people
taught me well. I later left the Navy as an EM1.
The last of the crew went though decomm ceremony and were sent off
various stations and that was it. The Providence underwent vacuum pumping.
In example, the machinery spaces doors were welded and the space pumped
of all air. I seen this happen to only a couple of spaces while onboard,
most of this was done after we left. The superstructure like the missile
room, etc was covered with sheet metal and then vacuumed out. All external
ships hatches but a few were welded shut and air was pumped out of the
interior. I also recall E Div having to install hundreds of these floating
mercury switch alarms in all spaces so that if water came into the hull
some reason it would trip an alarm. We strung LOTS of wire to the monitoring
station outside the quarter deck.
Upon sealing the ship was towed I think to National Steel And Shipbuilding
in San Diego for a sealant to seal the hull. That is the last I saw
Shortly after, in 1973 or early 1974, ISMF was decomm'ed and all the
left at once to parts unknown. The Klondike was scrapped and the piers
opened to expand the Naval Station. I do not know what happen to all
Hope this helps. I still remember one hell of alot about the people,
and stuff about the ship. I certainly got around because of the decomm,
normally would never happen.
Re: Decommissioning of Prov email message
Mon, 17 May 1999 16:30:24 -0400 (EDT)
Michael Matteson <MichaelM@nhcorp.com>
Sam Villa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sam & Bruce,
I went aboard the Providence for a few minutes in probably June of
while it was being deactivated. GMMC Rodriguez was the only one I ran
whom I knew from when I was on board.
I suspect it was the St. Paul CA-73 that was also being decommed at
time. They both wound up at Mare Is. in the In Active Ship Facility
remember seeing them both tied up near the North gate when I was there
'75. I came to the East Coast in Dec. of '75 so I never saw them again.
That was an interesting letter Bruce. Thanks for sharing that with
Subject: Picture of CL82.
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:16:27 -0400
From: "A.L. Blanks" <email@example.com>
Good morning, Sam. That was definitely a shadow and not camouflage.
During W.W.II ships were camouflaged. I was an
enlisted man in USS BOISE (CL47) in the Pacific when Pearl Harbor was
bombed. As I recall we took some precautions
even before war was declared. The sun whitened teak decks topside and
lifelines were painted dark gray and all the
brightwork topside was painted over to prevent any light reflection.
In fact, as I recall, all surfaces as seen from above were
painted dark gray. At that time only the engineers were permitted dungarees
as a working uniform. So we dyed several suits
of whites in coffee. Dungarees and khaki shorts came later for all hands.
In fact I don't recall wearing khaki shorts as an
enlisted man and not as an officer until after the war. All linoleum
deck covering was removed and a lot of the extra paint
below decks chipped off. In those days all the paint was oil based -
no water base paint. All this was done to reduce fire
hazards. We burned or threw a lot of inflammable furniture over the
side after breaking it up. In other words we stripped ship
ready for possible action. I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF MOST OF THE ABOVE FOR
YEARS. However, it did influence
my attention to Damage Control measures after I received a commission
on through my tours as commanding officer of three
ships and a division of destroyers.
See what happens when you get me started. Have a nice day. Sorry I missed
the Chat Room......sooner or later. Al
Re: Terrier Missile
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 17:25:44 -0400 (EDT)
Michael Matteson <MichaelM@nhcorp.com>
The photo following this mail was of a BW-1. (Beam rider, Wing controlled
missile) The wings on the sustainer and the fins on the booster were
manually installed in the "Wing & Fin Assembly Area" before the missile
run out onto the launcher.
The type of missile the Prov was shooting when you were on there was
BT-3a (Beam rider Tail controlled) The booster fins were installed and
sustainer tail fins were unfolded manually before the missile was run
the launcher. The BW missiles didn't last very long before they were
replaced by the BT type missiles. They had a habit of wanting to turn
and come back to where they were launched :-).
Sun, 04 Jul 1999 11:57:00 -0400
howard e graham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sam Villa <email@example.com>
I REMBER MISSILE PLOT WELL, MY SLEEPING SPOT WAS BEHIND THE STORAGE
CABINETS AT THE FOOT OF THE LADDER. I WORKED IN PLOT THE FIRST YEAR
ON BOARD (63-64) THEN I TALKED WOODY DANIELS INTO LETTING ME IN THE
REMBER DURING MISSILE SHOOTS FRED RHINEMANN SAT IN FRONT OF ONE SECTION
I IN FRONT OF THE OTHER TO APPLY FINGER DAMPINING IF ANY SERVOS STARTED
OSSILLIATING. I ALSO REMBER THE SWITCHBOARD, WHEN I CAME ONBOARD HALF
SWITCH COVERS HAD THE PAINT REMOVED AND FRED AND I DID THE REST OF THEM
DURING GQ SO THEY COULD ALL BE POLISHED. I GOT EVEN WHEN I WENT ONBOARD
SPRINGFIELD, THERE WAS A LOT OF PAINTED BRASS TO STRIP AND I KNEW WHERE
ALL WAS. HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY 4TH, LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOU AT
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 20:57:01 -0400
"Sam Villa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The following three ships are Galveston class cruisers with 4 and 5
having flag quarters and
the Galveston was a straight CLG
CLG 3 GALVESTON
CLG 4 LITTLE ROCK
CLG 5 OKLAHOMA CITY
The following 3 ships are Providence class cruisers with 6 and 7 having
flag quarters and the Topeka was just a straight CLG
CLG 6 PROVIDENCE
CLG 7 SPRINGFIELD
CLG 8 TOPEKA
They were all built on Clevland Class frames with 3,4 and 5 had Talos
and 6,7 and 8 had Terriers.
A short history can be found at http://www.uss-salem.org/danfs/cruisers/.
I haven't been able to find the site I found recently that gave information.
I just searched again and found what I was looking for http://www.uss-salem.org/navhist/cruisers/guided.htm.
It was where I looked the first time. Also that is ET not FT. Does the
Rate still exist? Or did Firecontrolmen replace Electronic Technicians.
The reason I asked was I saw somewhere that a FT showed that he had
worked on firecontrol radar (don't remember the specs) and on an SPS
42 which was the aft tin can just forward of the Missle -Search Lights-
(at least that's what the looked like). Your site has really got me
concerning cruise books I still have the first 2 issued. Got to go.
Wayne (Wilky) ETR2
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