Service Dates=1965- 1967
I was Electronic Warfare Officer in Kearsarge, then CVS-33. I reported aboard during the last days of the yard overhaul in LBNSY in '65, and deployed with her in '66. The trip to Kuala Lumpur mentioned in the history was for the purpose of carrying the President's helicopter to the area - he was on a state visit, either there or Singapore. The helo sat on the hangar deck, surrounded by a cordon of Marines 24 hours a day. As a side benefit,after delivering the bird, we got permission to steam a few miles further south than the mission required and cross the equator for Shellback initiation!
Another notable (and earlier) event in the cruise was operating with units of the Japanese Self Defense Force (aka Navy), and later the Republic of Korea Navy in waters not far from Vladivostok - close enough to get the Russians' attention, anyway: We were continually shadowed and occasionally "shouldered" by (translation: played chicken with) a Kotlin class DD and a Riga Class DE of the Soviet Navy. On one memorable evening, the Kearsarge TG was overflown by about 100 Soviet Bear recon aircraft flying out of Vlad, an event which my troops caught first on ECM gear and gave the first alert several minutes before the a/c were picked up on air search radar. Seeing that many airborne radars on an ECM scope at one time is a pretty spectacular sight!
Thomas moore templeton
Submitted by Julia T Morris
My Dad was on the motor whale boat that rescued astronaut Gordon Cooper when Faith 7 landed in the pacific ocean. He said the water was extrememly choppy that day or at least it seemed that way to him. The rescue is featured in Life magazine the October 12,1962 issue. He is the man holding the rope in the picture. He has mostly fond memories of the Uss Kearsarge. He said he enjoyed watching the dolphins play with the bow of the boat and did that often. He also fished off the side of the boat catching many fish and letting the seagulls eat them. He also spoke of a man that took his false teeth out to eat his dinner. During a storm the boat started rocking and the man's teeth went sliding down the table causing several sailors to get sick. He laughed about that incident often. I wish I could ask my dad about some more interesting stories. He recently passed away and I miss him and his stories tremendously.
Service Dates=mar 64-jan67
As A EM-3 My time aboard was very special in so many areas.Time for 1 quick story!During the second cruise while anchored in the Hong Kong harbor a good friend of mine and I decided we wanted to know how deep the harbor was so we took a battle lantern an tied it to a roll of copper wire (remember we were EMs LOTS of COPPER wire to rewind motors)and lowered it over the side just behind #2 eleverator on the cat walk and figgured we lowered it approx 50-60 ft where we could just barley see it.It roated round & round it went after about 10-15 min we heard a commotion,looking across at the conning tower there were approx.6 people running in our direction. One being the XO. $ acouple of marines "armed". Then from the bow and stern boats with divers were conjverging on our lantern and wire. Quickly we realised they were comming for the lantern.SNIP went the wire and then the XO and group arrived. We asked innocently what all the fuss was about.They thought divers were in the water attaching BOMBS to the ship.How nieve and stupid we felt but they never found the wire or the lantern so we got away with a dumb idea.
I served in the Marine Detachment in Kearsarge in 1958-59 after training at MCRD's Sea School in San Diego. When I first went aboard she was in dry dock in Long Beach--on huge wooden blocks with her underside and props visible. I was told that she had been an attack carrier but had recently been re-fitted for ASW service.
We were soon training squadrons of Navy and occasionally Marine Corps pilots off Southern California, operating mostly out of North Island Naval Air Station in the harbor at San Diego. The late 50s was apparently a time of transition from reciprocating engine aircraft to jets as we flew both types (ADs, Grumman S2Fs, twin engined jets (AJs?), jet fighters and helos.
Though I was initially assigned to nuclear weapons security work, for most of my tour I was Captain W. A. Dean's orderly and had the good luck to spend my working hours on the bridge. Captain Dean was a genial man who had flown a lot of combat missions from carriers in the Pacific War (including I think either Wasp or Hornet) and had had at least two sea commands before Kearsarge, one a seaplane tender.
My duties were partially symbolic and I was able to watch flight operations as much as I wished--which was a lot. The Kearsarge was a heady experience for an 18 year old from a small town in the Middle West. Lots of little things stay in the memory--like the almost palpable tension on the bridge while getting underway early in the morning in the extremely narrow confines of San Diego harbor in absolutely impenitrable fogs. With visibility of about 50 feet Captain Dean would have to give over command to a *civilian* pilot to navigate out the narrow mouth of the harbor past Point Loma. He didn't like that a bit and focused intently on every move the poor man made. I sensed that he was always happy to go down to his launch and the Captain was happy to see him go.
We lost a couple of aircraft in training accidents, both if I recall correctly in take-off power failures. The plane guard helos did their work flawlessly both times. The pilots were delivered back on deck wet but uninjured. Another interesting aspect of training was refueling at sea, usually involving destroyers. On one occasion when there was a pretty good sea running the deck crews had succeeded in setting up all the tackle, getting the large flexible hose connected and pumping of the diesel oil began. I don't recall now how it happened but the hose broke off and it seemed forever before they succeeded in shutting off the pump. For that eternity the decks of the DD were awash in oil. Half the ship seemed covered with it. The guys on the destroyer, some of them covered with the stuff, were struggling in the oil on pitching decks to get the two ships disentangled. They got the job done but it was a white-knuckle thing to watch. Then there were the whales and dolphins and I !
had rights to the old man's binoculars.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. I was lucky that my duty was so pleasurable because we were paid virtually nothing and liberty opportunities for young, single servicemen in Long Beach and San Diego were scant to none in those days.
I had two west-pac cruises on the Kearsarge as a helicopter
crewman in HS-6. Not really mentioned in the articles is the fact that HS-6
flew search and rescue operations in North Viet-nam when our bombers made
their attacks. We had camoflauged our SH-3A's and added machine guns and
armor plating. When President Johnson went to the Malaysia Conference, we
flew into Subic Bay, removed the armor and added red carpets to fly his
staff. After the conference, we flew back to Subic Bay, re-installed the
armor and returned to the Gulf of Tonkin. Oh yeah, and when the USS Pueblo
was taken, we were the ones that were flying right off of the coast of
Korea, waiting for the order to go in...that never came. I remember fondly
my time aboard the Kearsarge, but of course only remember the good times.
Sailor Bill Converse
Submitted by son, Jim Converse
I was with VF-114 aboard the Kearsarge, then CVA-33, on the July, 1953 - January 1954 deployment as a Chief Aviation Metalsmith, AMC. We were ready for battle, but glad to have the truce declared on the way over. Enjoyed seeing Ford Island (Hawaii) and our quarters we lived in 1945-46 just a few hundred yard from our mooring, then on to Subic, Hong Kong, Yokusuka.....whirlwind deployment for sure and some wonderful liberty ports. Filming of Caine Mutiny battleship scenes were fun to watch, with likes of Fred McMurray, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall all aboard for awhile. Hurry up and wait is the rule in movie-making, just like most everything else in the Navy. Anyone with any photos to share, or who remember me or Chief EG Conklin, VF-112, are welcome to make contact. Best wishes from Kansas City. Bill Converse, AMC (retired, 1960)