US Navy ship struck Iranian mine in 1988 - US retaliates

Discussion in 'Past & Historical Events' started by Creepy Green Light, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Creepy Green Light

    Creepy Green Light Don't mistake lack of talent for genius

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    I was only in 11th grade when this happened and don't remember it. I was looking up information about mines because I used to load & fly with quite a few of them including the Mk-60 CAPTOR mine which is around 2400 lbs and has a Mk-46 torpedo hiding within the mine. It moors itself to the bottom of the ocean (vertically) and waits for an enemy sub or ship to go by then the mine releases the torpedo). Anyway, I thought this was pretty interesting (from Wikipedia);

    Samuel B. Roberts deployed from her home port in Newport, Rhode Island, in January 1988, heading for the Persian Gulfto participate in Operation Earnest Will, the escort of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers during the Iran–Iraq War. Samuel B. Roberts had arrived in the Persian Gulf and was heading for a refueling rendezvous with San Jose on 14 April when the ship struck an M-08 naval mine in the central Persian Gulf, an area she had safely transited a few days earlier. The mine blew a 15-foot (4.6 m) hole in the hull, flooded the engine room, and knocked the two gas turbines from their mounts. The blast also broke the keel of the ship; such structural damage is almost always fatal to most vessels. The crew fought fire and flooding for five hours and saved the ship. Among other steps, sailors cinched cables on the cracked superstructure in an effort to stabilize it.[1] She used her auxiliary thrusters to get out of the mine field at 5 kn (5.8 mph; 9.3 km/h). According to How We Fight, by the US Naval War College, the ship never lost combat capability with her radars and Mk13 missile launcher.[2] However, according to No Higher Honor by Bradley Peniston, the ship lost power for at least five minutes. After power was lost, the radars were disconnected to allow restoration of the power grid. The ship lost track of an Sa'am frigate and an Iranian P-3 that it had been monitoring.[3] Ten sailors were medevaced by HC-5 CH-46s embarked on San Jose for injuries sustained in the blast; six returned to Samuel B. Roberts in a day or so. Four burn victims were sent for treatment to a military hospital in Germany, and eventually to medical facilities in the United States.[4]

    When U.S. divers recovered several unexploded mines, they found that their serial numbers matched the sequence on mines seized the previous September aboard an Iranian mine-layer named Iran Ajr. Four days later, U.S. forces retaliated against Iran in Operation Praying Mantis, a one-day campaign that was the largest American surface engagement since World War II.[5] U.S. ships, aircraft, and troops destroyed two Iranian oil platforms allegedly used to control Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf, sank one Iranian frigate, damaged another, and sank at least three armed high-speed boats. The U.S. lost one Marine helicopter and its crew of two airmen in what appeared to be a night maneuver accident rather than a result of hostile operations.
     
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  2. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Apart from religious fanaticism when you look back Iran has many good reasons to be pissed of at us. But, I wouldn't shed a single tear if they gave us sufficient provocation to shred everything they have that floats or flies.

    USS Samuel B Roberts DE-143 had quite a history - all packed into a very short service life. Taffy-3 off Samar October 1944. Worth a read. They can't write fiction any more dramatic.
     
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  3. Creepy Green Light

    Creepy Green Light Don't mistake lack of talent for genius

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    Wow. Thanks for sharing. I never heard of this particular battle before but just watched a show on the History Channel about it. As I was watching, I kept picturing todays 18-19 year old snowflake, safe space having, get offended at everything, transgendered folk trying to do what these sailors did. Absolutely amazing.

     
  4. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    I think sometimes people can just rise to the occasion, whatever it might be.
     
  5. Creepy Green Light

    Creepy Green Light Don't mistake lack of talent for genius

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    Here's my problem; women in the military. Now before anybody screams "SEXIST!!!" they need to know what I am talking about. For 5 years myself & my friends had to consistently do 100% of our jobs and 50% of theirs. I was an Aviation Ordnanceman - but I was also a US Naval Aircrewman. The flying part of my job was great. I loved it. It was exciting. There were situations where you'd get a phone call and someone would say "Be at the airfield in 3 hours. I can't tell you where you are going but pack for cold weather." etc. But when I wasn't flying, I was right there with the rest of the "ground pounders" doing maintenance on bomb racks, doing practice loads of mines, rockets, missiles, torpedos, nuclear depth bombs, etc. And almost every sentence out of their (the women's) mouths start with "I can't" as in; I can't lift this bomb cart tow handle, I cant push the bomb cart, I cant lift this bomb, I cant torque this bolt, I cant untorque this bolt, I cant lift the sonobuoys up to the door of the plane, I cant undo this cannon plug, blah blah blah etc etc etc." So what would happen is I'd have to do my job, then get sent back out to the plane to perform whatever it is that they cant do. My boss was well aware of it and so was his boss - but they would always say there hands are tied. I don't mind helping out here & there but when its a 24/7 thing - we'd get pissed. And it wasn't just my squadron. I'd talk to buddies that I knew in California & Hawaii and it was the same thing. Here's the kicker though; when it was time for their evaluations it would always be the biggest crock of crap - usually starting off (on paper) something like "Petty Officer Smith is an outstanding asset to work center 230. Without her blah blah blah..." - it was complete BS. But the boss would have to put that or else the heat from up above would come down on him and blame the way he runs the ordnance shop. You dont want upper management looking at your work center with a microscope.

    One time I was going on a mission with Harpoon missiles. The plane parks at the "hot spot" (place at airfield where you load weapons in case there is an accident you are away from the rest of the planes and all the hangars). Knowing that the females can't do anything to do with the actual moving/loading of the Harpoons, they got assigned to prep the wing stations for the missile (you have to open up the bomb rack and connect an umbilical cable & some other stuff). I was standing in front of the plane with one of my pilots. He was awestruck at how it was a complete & total Keystone Cops episode of watching them flop & flail around. I'll never forget, he leans over to me and says (and I quote) "This is when I wish I had my video camera, so I could film this and send it to our congressman." It was disheartening to watch and then eventually who gets called in to do these tasks so that the plane can actually get off the ground in time? Right.

    One of the best times I remember was; we were doing a practice load of a Captor Mine (about 2400 lbs). You need 4 people; one person on the hand crank (looks like a big metal fishing pole with a cable that goes up into the bomb rack & the cable & belly band go around the weapon - then you have to hand crank it up), one person on the tail & nose of the weapon to stabilize it (you just have your palms on the weapon - you are not exerting yourself whatsoever), a person running the show giving commands like "raise the weapon - stop! lower the weapon a little, etc." then a quality control guy watching out for the safety of everybody. So in my shop it was standard operating procedure to have the girls doing the nose & tail and one of the guys on the hand crank. So on this particular day our boss (and friend) was in a bad mood. So my friend is on the crank and he has the balls to say "Hey Bill, how come she never has to do the crank?" Our boss explodes with "God dammit! You want her to do the crank - great!" and puts the girl on the crank. She was a short, portly woman w/ no strength whatsoever. So now I'm on the nose and my friend is on the tail and shes on the crank. Shes struggling & every minute or so can get in half a crank. The whole thing should have taken like 30 secs max. But after like 10 mins, the weapon is like 1 inch off the cradle with several feet left to go. The air was so thick with tension you could cut it with a knife. My boss's face was beat red and nobody was saying anything. Finally, my friend has the nerve to say out loud "Meanwhile....as our base is being attacked." and right there our boss lost it. He threw her off the crank, put me on it and 15 seconds later the weapon was latched in the hooks. But again, it proved a point; if you leave it up to them - we'd never get a plane off the ground with weapons.

    They want to fly along with the guys and be equal. Yet the obstacle course in Pensacola has (this is hard to believe but there is a YouTube video that proves what I am talking about because it shows the obstacles I'm talking about) a 8 ft wall to get over (with no rope). Women? Get a 5 ft wall to go over. Then there is a 12 ft wall w/ rope. Women; RUN UP TO IT, TOUCH IT, THEN RUN AROUND IT. What? Really?? WTF is that? Run around it? Plus they get more time to finish the o-course then the men. So if we got shot down and are behind enemy lines, the enemy is going to set up smaller obstacles for the women to get over? Yeah right.

    Another time I was getting ready to go flying and was in process of loading the plane with internal sonobuoys (holds 36 of them). Some are super light and some weigh a little bit. So I'm at the top of the ladder standing in the doorway while this woman (same one from the previous story) is supposed to be pulling one sonobuoy at a time out of the cart & handing them up to me. Of course after like two buoys, she couldn't do it. So I told her to switch with me, I'll hand them up to her. We get into a rhythm of me handing them up to her (I have to stretch my arm as far as I can to reach her) and one time I turn around to see a sonobuoy flying past my face while at the same time she lets out a shrieky scream while covering her mouth and goes "Ouch, I broke a nail!" I told her to leave me alone and I'll get a crew member to help me. Thanks for your help!

    I look at it like the Nielson ratings. Like when they say 4.8 million people tuned in to a certain show. They only use a couple hundred boxes in peoples homes and then they extrapolate the data to figure out viewership in the entire country. Same with them. You take my experience with them for 5 years and extrapolate that through the entire Navy. I have ex shipmates both enlisted & officers that will 100% back up what I say.

    This is great too and people don't realize it; as soon as they find out they are pregnant - they get put on "light duty" which at the time meant no standing for more than 10 mins, no getting up on a ladder, no lifting anything, etc. Well that's pretty much the entire job. So while the rest of us are humping bombs, etc. they get assigned to shuffle paperwork around. And the kicker is, you don't get a replacement for her. So say for example that my squadron is supposed to have 10 ordnanceman and on paper it says we have 10 - then thats it. Nobody says "Oh, well shes pregnant and cant do anything so lets send VP-10 another person." It doesn't work like that. The way it works is we work short handed. How the hell this all works out on a ship or submarine, I have no idea.

    One time I asked the pregnant girl "Hey, can you go out on the hangar deck and tell Bill I found what he was looking for?" and she goes "I cant." I said what do you mean? She says "I'm not allowed on the hangar deck." So great, so once you are pregnant they wont even let you physically walk into the hangar just to give someone a verbal message? Unbelievable.

    At least while I was in they weren't allowed to fly on P-3c's or other combat aircraft and they weren't allowed on submarines. What happens when you pack 1000's of young people of both sexes on an aircraft carrier or submarine for months at a time? They have sex and people get pregnant. It's just a fact of the situation.

    Anyway, if it was that bad in 1990-1995 - I can only imagine what it's like in 2019. I know its worse but just how much worse, who knows?

    You can see the white hand crank device int he picture below. The other picture has a gas powered version of the crank (which they do use). The photo gives you an idea of how far the bomb rack is from the weapon on the cart. Also take note in the second picture that the one female in frame is standing there watching - which is typical.

    hand crank missile p-3.jpg harpoon loading p-3.jpg
     
  6. Creepy Green Light

    Creepy Green Light Don't mistake lack of talent for genius

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    Here's the actual obstacle course time requirements along with the 12 foot wall that they only have to touch and run around as well as their 5 foot wall - instead of an 8 foot wall like the men have to do.

    IMG-2332.jpg IMG-2333.JPG IMG-2334.JPG
     
  7. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Not just the military.

    An analogy would be things that have made the paper recently; requirements for firefighters and police officers. Not regarding their sex but making allowances for obesity for God's sake. Or lowering the academic requirements for entrance into certain schools. No idea what to say about that. You have to give a fair shake but if it comes at the expense of what comes out the other end of the pipe - that has the potential to affect all of us - I don't know what the hell to say about that.
     
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  8. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    I realize you are talking about something different but when I wrote that I was thinking about Doris Miller. In the segregated Navy of 1941 he was treated like shit and held in low regard yet absolutely rose to the occasion. He could have just as easily run away - probably the expectation at the time. I'm sure a number of people in uniform who were held to a higher standard did.

    His story is not an isolated example. The onesI can think of right now off the top of my head are similar stewards in the naval actions around Guadalcanal in 1942 and the 442nd Infantry Regiment in Italy in 1943.

    Pearl Harbor Hero Doris Miller Statue Unveiled - Pearl Harbor Reservations

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Castle-Yankee54

    Castle-Yankee54 Celestial

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    I'd sugest the book "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors"......it covers the Battle of Samar.
     
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  10. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Agreed. Read it. I like James Hornfischer.

    Recently I read A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1941-1945) by Paul S.Dull. And it IS a bit dull and probably out of print - but it does give a different perspective albeit brief on the battle off Samar, in Santiago Straight and Ozawa's decoy carriers. Worth a look if you can find it.
     
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  11. Castle-Yankee54

    Castle-Yankee54 Celestial

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    I've read books and magazine articles on those over the years....I always liked how the old battleships fought the last battleship action at I believe it was Surigao Strait.
     
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  12. Creepy Green Light

    Creepy Green Light Don't mistake lack of talent for genius

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    You hit the nail on the head. I'm all for a fair shake. I'm a single parent with two daughters aged 12 & 10 and I would want the best for them & for them to have the same shot at a job as anyone else. However, Where I have the problem is in what I explained. Me; I can lift the sonobuoy Female; cant do it and has to find someone to do job, etc. Then my position changes to "Then why are you here? You can't lift anything and that is 90% of the job! Lifting weapons!" One thing I didn't mention earlier; in situations where time is of the essence, you don't even mess around with cranks, belly bands, cables etc. You use hernia bars. A bar goes in the nose of the bomb and one goes in the tail. Then you get two guys on the nose and two on the tail and say "Ready? When I say 3 lift.....1, 2, 3 LIFT!" and you just use your strength to slam the bomb into the rack. Well you can forget them being involved in that. I never once in 5 years saw one of them use a hernia bar.

    hernia bar.jpg
     
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  13. Creepy Green Light

    Creepy Green Light Don't mistake lack of talent for genius

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    And that is totally awesome and I respect the hell out of that. Thanks for sharing.
     
  14. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    It was. Revenge of the pre-war battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor, raised, repaired and put back into action.

    As for heavyweight fights my favorites is Willis Lee and the USS Washington in one of the last engagements off Guadalcanal in '42. Again, fiction isn't that good.
     
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  15. Castle-Yankee54

    Castle-Yankee54 Celestial

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    That time period is interesting too....my favorite is "Disaster at Sea" about the Battle of Savo Island. Then Robert Ballards book about looking for ships in Iron Bottom Sound is amazing too.
     
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  16. humanoidlord

    humanoidlord ce3 researcher

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    since when that is a thing?
    i always thought all mines were contact explosive ones
     
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  17. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Magnetic mines and torpedo exploders have been in use since WW2. The idea was that an explosion under a ship would break its keel and sink it quickly. Didn't seem to work with Samuel B Roberts though. One of the reasons they used to degauss ships was to make them less susceptible to this type of weapon. I think that's where all the Philadelphia Experiment stuff started.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  18. humanoidlord

    humanoidlord ce3 researcher

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    actually the philadelphia experiment affair, started when a MIB-like character by the name of allende started sending some letters to a ufologist by the name of morris K jessup
     
  19. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    Well, that's the story. Last Podcast on the Left did a good job on that one. My copy of The Philadelphia Experiment is (really) sitting right next to me on top of Night Siege (not being snarky, it really is ....)
     
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  20. Castle-Yankee54

    Castle-Yankee54 Celestial

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    Yes the Philadelphia Experiment was a success as it negated magnetic mines.

    The Roberts didn't sink in 1988 and to the best of my knowledge the original wasn't hit by torpedoes.
     
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