In the late 1958-'59 time frame we were at sea, on exercise, when a fighter jet was spotted coming towards
the ship from the after port quarter. Initially, this aircraft was about 30 feet over the water. The upper bridge was about sixty feet above the water. Everyone stopped to watch what would happen next. It continued coming directly at us apparently on a collision course. As panic quickly mounted, I wondered if I should jump over the starboard side or go down the ladder. It would be dangerous jumping 60 feet down especially when one isn't a good swimmer. Mental visions had the aircraft hitting the top of the bridge edge and going up in a huge blast.
To my relief, the nose of the jet finally started to pull up but ever so slowly. I believe that the pilot had been planning to buzz the bridge with as little spare distance as possible. Then finally, after so many agonizing seconds the aircraft climbed after coming to within four feet of the bridge railing. The Captain said, "Did anyone get an ID?". Guns (the gunnery officer) said that he did but I never did hear any more about it.
In all of my time aboard ships I was never given a battle station, until I served on Algonquin and it was one I had never heard of before. During action stations I was on the bridge with a pocket watch, board and writing booklet about 4 inches high and six across. I was the War Historian. During an exercise I had to record all of the actions and commands that were given or happened. On the first day I found it very hard to keep up so I created short form coding. An entry might have been written as "1402-36 bb fq 200f". When I drafted my formal report afterwards, it would read as "Time 1402 36 seconds. Bomb blast off of the forward quarter at 200 feet".
A couple of years ago I was looking through a box of old stuff that I had found the little book. I tried
to read some of the entries but the abbreviations were no longer comprehensible.
My other battle station was through a door on the quarter deck and that's where I proceeded when NBCD stations were called. The Algonquin's superstructure was the prototype for the new St. Laurent class destroyers which were being designed to cope with nuclear war at sea. Algonquin had been fitted with sprinkler heads which could quickly wash down the ship should it encounter any nuclear fallout. When the NBCD action station was called, I had to leave the bridge, run aft, down a couple more ladders and get to the quarterdeck. On queue, the water always came on just as I got down the last ladder. I would go through the door soaking wet, pick up a geiger counter and check the crew one by one as they stood in a line. If I got a reading I would send the man into the shower room on the starboard side. Although no one actually showered, they went through the motions and proceeded to wait in line again. Funny thing I just thought of .... there was no procedure in place to check me for radioactivity!
The Captain's Office (Personnel records and correspondence, etc.) was located on the starboard side of the ship. I had three Admin. Writers there with me. Just forward of us was the Coxn's office. Above him and maybe a little
foreward was a Lieutenant's cabin. He had a radio and because radio signals can't penetrate a steel hull, he had let an antenna wire out his porthole. The end of it usually waved up and down outside of my port hole. One day, I pulled the end in and affixed a note on the end of it, "Somebody's been pulling your wire". Later in the day, I heard a ruckus from the flat. It was the Lieutenant in the Coxn's office yelling at him about the note on his wire. After the discussion abated, I went and asked the Cox'n what the noise was all about. He told me that the Lieutenant accused him of putting the note there and gave him hell. I kept quiet, and I don't remember if I ever even told the Cox'n that I put it there.
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