Thursday, August 25, 2016

Touring foreign lands is a benefit of being in the NAVY!!

When I sat down to write this story that became SAILOR WHO CAME ASHORE, the reflections of the cities of importance in our history and peoples of the World I encountered reminded me at every stop of my own family whom I hadn't hugged in months ~ 9 months at least.  But I also thoroughly enjoyed being able to see with my own eyes the monuments to humanity such as the Great Pyramids, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Rock of Gibraltar, Stonehenge and the Kasbah.
Boston at Stonehenge 1975

However, handing to 17 of my 21 men their very own "Dear John" letters was almost more than I could handle......I knew full well how I'd feel should I receive one and even though grown men aren't supposed to cry, believe you me, watching these young men who had become like my own sons to me usually brought me to tears....if not while they were in my space, then afterwards.

We each knew what we were doing was record-making (we were the first nuclear powered vessel) USS California CGN-36 on the water and accompanying the Nimitz on her starboard side, along with the USS South Carolina CGN-36 on her port side.  Everything we did was new and frightening and exciting and very very hot.  Our engine rooms exceeded the heat in any engine room prior to this remarkable futuristic test.  This was what truly kept us going, knowing we were at the forefront of what could be something very special and having Admiral Rickover on our side kept our spirits soaring throughout our tour.

If you were also in the Viet Nam war I'd love to hear from you.  Give me a holler or send me an email....and thanks for reading my memories!   Stewart Douglas Boston

Thursday, June 4, 2015

ADMIRAL RICKOVER @ THROTTLE WATCH WITH ME!

The Grand Maestro of the U.S. Nuclear Navy was Admiral Hymen G. Rickover.  He stood throttle watch with me in No.1 Engine Room Enclosed Operating Station for 4 hours standing just a few feet from me on board the California one evening in the open Atlantic Ocean in 1977.  I was very confident of my capabilities as a watch stander since I had stood the watch many times on the Mediterranean cruise from which we were returning. 
I made no mistakes on the throttle watch for 4 hours but I was in awe of the Admiral’s very presence with us in the confining enclosed operating station that had the officer of the watch, me, Admiral Rickover and several of his Aides, the Electrical Plant Operator and the Reactor Operator.  It was a stressful time, but we all made no mistakes with our machinery controls and operations.
We Nuclear Engineering Operators were naturally nervous because Admiral Hymen G. Rickover was the Father and Head Admiral in charge of the entire Nuclear Navy, its ships, Aircraft Carriers, Cruisers, Submarines and all Officers and Petty Officers that he trained to operate them.  His Orchestra and Choir included all Senior Officers and Petty Officers in the Nuclear Navy, U.S. Presidents, World Leaders he advised on Nuclear Power, Senators, Congressmen, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cabinet Members, Defense Secretaries, Pentagon and other military elites, shipyard and material executives, Navy Admirals, Journalists and Authors who championed him and his Nuclear Navy that could operate and steam on the open seas for 20 years without refueling.  


That’s really holding a note in the orchestra pit and choir lofts!!

The Admiral left as he came, with the whir and chatter of his helicopter that was tied down on the ship’s fantail.  I was there as he came and as he went, since I was placing and clearing systems tags on the main deck.  His helicopter flew over to the Nimitz where he was transported to the mainland by a bigger chopper or cargo plane with his 7 ft.300 pound 1st Class Petty Officer body guard that walked ahead of him to clear the way.

Admiral Rickover was in his 70’s at that time, but was very active and spry as he traveled from one nuclear ship or submarine to another.  He often took rides in his small personal nuclear sub-marine which he’d had made with his specifications with controls and small-size to and in harbors and seas of his liking and interest.  It was marked the “NRI” and was a technological marvel.

Later, much later, after Admiral Rickover passed away, the Navy scrapped all the nuclear cruisers, which never would have happened if he had still been alive.  We were a very viable part of the nuclear task groups with our nuclear carriers we escorted and protected from incoming fire.  We were also a viable feature that saved oil during operations in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.
Post Script:  We were normally firing 5”/54 Caliber guns and firing many different missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes during battle drills when not escorting the Nimitz when she was in Flight Ops at Flank Speeds!



Friday, June 27, 2014

VA Hospital Review

Since the Arizona fiasco with the VA Hospital I have to share with all you Vets....here in Topeka as well as Kansas City, the local VA Hospitals have gone out of their way to make us welcome!

I have personally had a heart bypass and four or five stents....lost count.....and though there have been some problems since the operation, I have been taken care of better than I remember except for at home with Mom before enlisting!

Not only have the Doctors been solicitous, but the Nurses are kind and the Medics make recruits look like slackards!  I mean they will go out of their way to make sure we are comfortable as well as having the medical treatment prescribed and necessary.

Just sayin', this is one VET who is finally feeling honored for my services during Viet Nam; and though it's been a long time comin'.....well, better late than never.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Views from a Sailors Fieldglass~

Interested in making available to all Sailors, new...old....tested....still in bootcamp, the opportunity to read from the mind of a Sailor who sailed via a nuclear ship USS California CGN-36.  My publication A Sailor Goes Ashore, Short Stories at Sea and Ashore can give any Navy man or woman a head's up before enlisting or a nod of 'you bet' if you've already set sail.
Author-Stewart D Boston in Portsmouth, England

This will be a medium for all us Sailors to share stories, ask questions and just plain enjoy remembering where we've been in this tough but worthwhile country of America.

Too often young men and women choose to join up without really knowing what the Navy and we Sailors are about....this will give everyone an opportunity to at least see what one Sailor's experiences were and what can happen below in the bowels of the engine room.  HA. HA.
Excerpt from my book:
EPILOGUE and Final Thoughts

The following is the Mission Objective for every U.S. Navy Junior Seaman, sailing on board a surface steam ship for the first time in their career:
          Many of the Senior Seamen would gather on the main deck to cheer them on while the Junior Sailors did their darndest to obtain their objectives as set forth by the Captain on Watch on the Bridge.
            The Junior Sailors learned a lot about feigned seamanship and great fun was had by all shipmates during these forays. They couldn’t wait to pull the same shenanigans on their Juniors when the time came.
            The “Old Man” (Captain) would initiate the games being ON when announcing each command to start to commence the Juniors “Mission Objectives” while on the bridge.  The Senior Seamen would yell to the Juniors what they had to do, where to look and how to catch the prize and who had to verify that the prize was obtained!!
1.      For instance, Matey, lay to the # 1 Engine Room and get a bucket of steam, cover it up and bring it to the bridge for the Captain to inspect it!!
2.      Say, Matey Dog, get below to the engine spaces and get a quart of Relative Bearing Grease, then bring it topside to the bridge to grease the relative bearings!!
3.      Oh, Junior Snipes (Junior Machinist Mates)—lay to the main deck and catch us up a mess of snipes to cook up for mess call.  You’ll need a bucket and neckerchief to hold them in—they fly you know?!!

4.      Oh—Boatswain Mates—lay to the port side of the ship and watch for and catch some mermaids.  They look like dolphins and porpoise that follow our port—forward beam of the ship—use a net!!

Give me a holler and tell me of your memories too....would love to hear them.  Stewart D. Boston