USS Long Beach CGN-9 San Diego, California
June 1972 to April 1975
I don't know if this is me arriving aboard the Long Beach but that is how I reported aboard. 1972
My Brief 007 Moment
I joined the USS Long Beach CGN-9 just off the coast of North Viet Nam three months into the deployment. I was high lined' from the USS Chicago CG-11. Shortly after I reported aboard the Long Beach went to Hong Kong for R&R. The officer I was relieving and I went ashore with some reports to go to Hughes Aircraft, contractor for our SPS-32, 33 radars. The representatives from Hughes also were going to pass some parts to us. The problem was that Hong Kong was a neutral port and no maintenance of any kind was to be done in Hong Kong as there were Chinese observers watching the ships and personnel while in port. What we did was go on a sight seeing tour starting with a ferry ride to Kowloon. We met the Hughes reps on the ferry and exchanged the reports for the parts after which we continued to sight see and later returned to the ship and the reps went to buy suits.
We had four radars under my care on the Long Beach. The two fixed array radars (SPS-32 and SPS-33), the SPS-12 and a little Italian made Pathfinder radar. Going into and out of port we could not have the fixed array radars on and even if we did they were not suited for the small contacts close in that are encountered under those situations and the SPS-12 was likewise unsuitable for many small close contacts. The Pathfinder was excellent for that purpose and the reason we had it aboard.
Entering port one day the Radarman on the Pathfinder scope called out to the OOD that there was a log ahead in the water. The OOD put his binoculars on the target and said "Yes, it is a log... with two Seagulls on it". The Radarman didn't miss a beat and said, "Yes sir, one male and one female."
Later in my time on the Long Beach we had a problem with our Pathfinder radar. Our model was made in Italy and we could not get a replacement for the tube that had failed or at least not in a timely fashion. When we went into Singapore for R&R I went to the telephone exchange and called every electronics business in Singapore until I found one that had the needed part. I called a cab and gave them the address. I was driven through winding alleys and finally let out in a run down alley and told to go up into one of the buildings. I was certain I was being set up to be mugged! Howerer, I followed the instructions and when I opened the door to the business that is just what it was. It was a modern business inside the run down building in an alley. I got the tube and got another cab to take me back to the pier and a boat to get back to the ship. The tube fixed the problem. I had spent my own money for the part and was never reimbursed for it.
During one deployment to Viet Nam we had a failure of the drive motor for our SPS-12 radar. With the SPS-32 and 33 radars we didn't need the SPS-12 for target detection but it was still very valuable because it would trigger the IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system and caused a distinctive interference on the scope for the SPS-12 for any MIG's. When we went to Manila, Philippines for R&R my radar officer and I went to the Embassy and called the repair shops in Subic Bay to try to get a replacement drive motor. My first contact was with the officer in charge of the radar antenna repair shops. He informed me he had no replacement motors he could let me have. I hung up and called again and asked to talk to a Chief Petty Officer. He told me he had one destined for a ship they had in the yard for repair. He told me they would not be putting it on the ship right away and would just order another and let us have the one he had. He sent the motor to Manila via a Special Services driver. One problem, the Philippines were under Martial Law at the time and there was a curfew. The driver just made it to the Embassy before the curfew and had to spend the night in the lobby of the Embassy. Meanwhile, Ltjg Brinkman and I took off for the pier with the motor between us. We got a boat to the ship and carried the motor up the Officers accommodation ladder and across the Quarter Deck.
The weather was constant rain until we left for Viet Nam so we were unable to install it until we arrived on station. Once on station we began the process of installation and getting it to operate. The problem was that we were about 20 miles from the shore of North Viet Nam and while my men were on the mast none of the ships around us could radiate with their radio or radars, including us. That meant that we were all unable to detect any threat.
The ship we were relieving on station stayed as long as they could to provide added protection for us as we worked on the antenna. The problem was not a simple one and we eventually found either 9 or 11 different problems in the way of flooded cable runs etc. After going aloft again and again during the day and still not having an operational antenna the ship we were relieving left to meet their next assignment. It was getting late and almost dark.
We were fairly certain we had found the last problem and I went to get permission to go aloft for what would be the last time that day whether we were successful or not because we would lose daylight. The first evening meal on the line it was a custom to have the Captain as a guest in the Ward Room. They were at dinner when I went to get permission from the Captain. He sat there and called me every name and made every negative reference to my leadership or lack of it in the book... in front of all the offers in the Ward Room. Finally he said, "Alright Mr. Jones, you have permission to go aloft one more time."
As it turned out, I went aloft to make the final two solder connections hanging under the platform in a bos'ns chair. That was indeed the last of the many problems and the antenna worked. Later that evening I was in CIC (Combat Information Center) and the Captain was also. Suddenly there was the distinctive interference on the SPS-12 scope that told us a MIG fighter was headed right for us. Weapons acquired it with the Talos missle system and fired a missle at it. The MIG was able to tell we had fired at it and turned around and was able to land without being hit. The Captain looked across CIC and told me, "I'm glad you didn't pay attention to me and just did your job Mr. Jones." The next morning he made an announcement on the 1MC (announcing system) to the whole ship in which he apologized to me and my men for his remarks the evening before and congratulated us for a fine job. That was a Skipper I would have followed anywhere! Unfortunately his tour on the Long Beach was at an end and his replacement was not cut from the same mold... not even close! But that is another story.
Shortly before I left the ship to retire, I was awakened 0200 in the wee hours of the night with a phone call from Captain Fahland, the Commanding Officer. He wanted to know what the crystals in the SPS-12 radar did. I told him they did the same thing as the TDA's in the SPS-33 did. That seemed to satisfy him and he hung up and I went back to sleep. The next day he met me in the corridor and asked me what the TDA's in the SPS-33 did. I told him they performed the same function as the crystals in the SPS-12 radar. That was the last I heard on that subject. I can't believe I did that to the Commanding Officer, a four stripper! That was very cheeky' even for me!
Note: Some copies of this history give a different version of the question Captain Fahland asked me. I found contemporaneous notes which settled what questions the Captain asked. Sorry, 39 years have played havoc with my memory for details. Glad I found the notes.
Following retiring from the Navy in 1975:
I attended Brooks Institute of Photography at Santa Barbara, Ca for one year. I dropped out when my wife had to stop working due to difficulties finding good child care. It was a matter of continuing school or feeding the kids. I chose to feed the kids and have never regretted that decision.
Managed a Taco Bell restaurant in Oxnard, CA for a year
Managed a district with 11 Taco Bell restaurants in the Long Beach, CA area for three years
Developed the Internal Audit section for auditing Franchise Taco Bell operations. Developed and wrote the programs for the computer for conducting the audits and trained auditors for three years
Director of Operations for a Taco Bell Franchise operation in Tallahassee, FL for six years
Comptroller for a Taco Bell franchise operation in Chattanooga, TN for a little over a year
Performed Land Surveying in Chattanooga, TN and surrounding areas for a little over four years. I worked completely alone using tripods for the instrument and reflectors achieving extremely high precision in all of my surveys. I am extremely proud of the survey work I did during this time and enjoyed the challenge of many of the jobs.
Retired and moved to the South Cumberland Plateau, TN in the area of Altimont, TN. For a little over two years I lived on the scout camp at Skymont Scout Camp doing a survey of the 2000 acre camp property as a service for the Boy Scouts. I also performed a survey for the Grundy County High School of property they would use as an Outdoor Classroom as a community service.
From 1997 to 2003 I lived in retirement in Gruetli-Laager, TN working mainly on photo projects on my computer. During these years I had two grandchildren spend each summer with me. I would have one from each of my daughter's families. Those summers were magical times!!!
I had been divorced for some years and in 2003, following the death of my younger brother's wife, we decided to join forces, buy a place and move back near where we grew up in Virginia. We had grown up in Pulaski, VA from 1940 to 1948, the main years of our growing up. We located 25 acres of wooded property out in the country in tiny Woolwine, VA. The property fronts the road for a quarter of a mile. The driveway is a quarter of a mile long up a hill and around a sharp turn into the yard. It is a perfect place for my three cats and the reason we chose this place.
It was during that move that I got to know Dolores (Dee) Peters who influenced me into attending the All Navy Net Tender reunions beginning that year. Dee also got me interested in the study of grass and weeds and weed like plants. Those studies have been neglected in favor of Net Tender reunion projects of late but I was able to add a mounted specimen of the Knotroot Foxtail to the collections at Florida State University and Colorado State University. I intend to continue those studies when time permits. Dee would want me to do it and I will follow through in her memory... as well as due to the interest she kindled in me for the studies.
Life is good and one of the major enjoyments in my life is my work on projects for the reunions and attending them. I produce a calendar featuring my "Virginia Country Cats" for family and friends and make my own Christmas Cards, a major creative project each year. Development of trails through the 25 acres both for my love of hiking and a need for exercise provides physical exercise with a purpose as well as enjoyment. All three of my cats love to hike with me with Tiny sometimes leading the way. It just doesn't get any better than this!
A current project (2009-2011) is working with my oldest son, Eric, on his Ph.D. project. He is studying H. procumben, H. caerulea and H. longifolia. Two of them grow on our property, H. caerulea and H. longifolia. He is using those two as cantrast to his main subject, H. procumben, which grows in Florida within reach of Florida State University where he is doing his studies. It is a true pleasure to be able to work with him and learn from him.
Our little piece of heaven on earth
Our 25 acres of paradise on earth. I have marked out 7,186 feer (1.36 miles) of trials in the 25 acres of wooded property. So far, I have 1,535 feet of trial lined with rocks using about 6,000 rocks. To complete the project I will need about 22,604 more rocks...and a few more years. It has taken me seven years to get to this point. Hopefully I will eventually complete the project.
The property has a quarter of a mile frontage on Highway 40 (Charity Highway). The driveway is a quarter mile up a steep hill and around a sharp turn in the woods into the yard. There are three creeks on the property and our wooded property is surrounded by more woods. The nearest neighbor is a quarter mile away.
This is the perfect property for my three Virginia Country Cats. They enjoy the space and safety from the road. That is preciecly why we bought this particular property. Life is good...
Rescue at sea. On the way to Vietnam we were diverted to rendevous with a commercial vessel to take on board a sick crewman (woman, actually). I believe it was her appendix. I don't recall when or where we transferred her off of the Long Beach. 1974
Re-supply at sea is a frequent part of being at ses. Taking on supplies or supplying some other ship.
SPS-12 Radar antenna problem
A real adventure and offered some spectacular views from 200 feet above the water. 1972-73. Pictured left to right: Neil Larson, Pat Fohrer and Ron Scheider.
Crossing the Equator is one of the items I very much wanted to get punched before I retired. It occurred on the very last deployment. I was very much glad to have the shellbacks pound away at my backside with 2 1/2 inch fire hose and all the rest.
When we came out of the tub a shellback many of us took off our uniforms and threw them overboard. They were no longer usable. 1974
Cookout amidship While on the line in Vietnam 1972-73
Slide Show Slide show of Hong Kong
The island, harbor and the people
Harbor Defense Unit, Fort Worden. WA and Point Wilson Light
Coming full circle. HDU Port Townsend is where my Navy career began. The base was on top of the cliffs with a bunker built into the top of the cliff. As the Long Beach made it's way to Seattle for work on the Nuclear reactor we passed by Port Townsend and the old base. Fort Worden is now a State Park.
I began my Navy career here as a ETSN & ET3 and returned past it aboard the USS Long Beach CGN-9 as LCDR!
Corregidor While in Manila on R&R a group from the Long Beach toured Corregidor.
Jerry was in the Army at the beginning of WWII and stationed on Corregidor up to just before Pearl Harbor. He gave me a wonderful tour of Corregidor once when the Long Beach was anchored in Manila Bay. Now that is how to see Corregidor! He had intimate, inside information about the island fortress having been there for several years in it's heyday.
I don't recall ever having to call on Jerry for assistance in any electronic problems. He was good company though and a good walking companion.
Unless I am mistaken, it seems that Jerry passed away in 1994. I hope that is not the case and if anyone can shed light on this I would greatly appreciate it.
The Net Tender reunions ended in 2011. They were wonderful while they lasted (2003 - 2011) but time kept catching up with the WWII veterans who made up most of the group.
For several years I have been involved with VFW Post 7800 in Stuart, VA. For a year I have been serving as Quartermaster (Financial Officer) and Adjutant (Records, Reports and Correspondence Officer) for the Post. I am also serving on the Patrick County Memorial Honor Guard, providing Military Rites for funerals of Veterans.
I have taught myself to play Taps on a Trumpet. I am still working to improve my quality but can play Taps. I hope to eventually provide "Live Taps". A bugle with a recording mounted in it is what is now being used.
With the involvement with the VFW I have had to drop my plant studies. I have no regrets for having to close the door on the plant studies so I can devote the time to the VFW responsibilities.
Life is very busy (I like being busy) and the "Giving back" nature of the work is very satisfying.
It was a rainy summer day in 2014. I was in Martinsville, VA on business and since it was raining I was wearing a hat to shield my glasses from the rain, my Vietnam Veteran ball cap. David Kipfinger, Commander of the VFW Post in Martinsville saw the hat and cornered me. He was doing his best to convince me to join the VFW. To get into my SUV out of the rain I promised to attend a meeting of the Stuart, VA VFW Post and make a decision about joining the VFW. I did... and I did.
That changed everything about my life. I had been staying very happily busy with a study of a particular feature of trees that I felt might be useful in Winter Tree Identification. Getting involved with the VFW put an end to that study. Instead of working by myself in the woods I am now working with others making a difference in the lives of others. I am so glad it was raining that day!
At this time I am holding three positions in the Post - Quartermaster, Adjutant and Service Officer. I am also a member of the Patrick County Memorial Honor Guard providing Military Rites for funerals for Veterans. All of this work is extremely satisfying. Instead of isolated work on my own I am "giving back" and helping Veterans. As of August 1, 2017 I will be 83 years old and still very active and in good physical condition. This activity helps keep me in good mental condition as well. Life is good.... VERY good! All because it was raining that fateful day.