1156 Sea Stories
A Collection of Recollections
from the Crew of the T-Bone 1156
The Gator Navy
Speed and Flexibility
Of the Navy’s varied mission groups,
some get more attention, and glory than others. Named for the
reptile it emulates, the Gator Navy is one of the more low-profile
pieces of the U.S. military machine. That is partly by design.
As the alligator surprises prey with its speed
and agility, so too can the Gator Navy surprise the enemy with
its ability to quickly get close to shore.
Each community in the Navy has its own personality,
and the Gator Navy is no exception. One special characteristic
is the blend of sailors and Marines, but there is also a flexibility
not seen on all Navy vessels. Gators tend not to sweat the silly
stuff – there’s too much other stuff to focus on.
The ships simultaneously carry tanks, Humvees,
artillery pieces, radar systems, armored vehicles, and of course
a lot of Marines.
The ships require a unique host of Navy skills
to load and launch the Marines, while also navigating and performing
the myriad other functions required to keep a warship in fighting
The Navy-Marine Corps partnership stretches
back to 1775, when the Continental Congress created the Marines.
The cooperative tradition continues to grow with each generation.
Gators sometimes joke to Marines that they
are just a taxi service, or that they are looking forward to putting
the Marines ashore so that the lines will be shorter at chow time.
After working side-by-side in work detail after work detail, sailors
and Marines begin to influence one another. But as each day brings
the ships closer to sending the Marines ashore for another possible
date with history, the jokes become more and more a tough guy
way to say goodbye to shipmates. Gator Navy veterans know what
it really means when the Marines get off the boat.
Maneuvers - 1955
LST 1156 Returns Home from Joint Training Exercise
Submitted by Gary Benson, YN2, (’54-’56)
Hudson Falls, N.Y.
Norfolk, Va., March 30, 1955 - Twenty-two Amphibious Force ships,
including the LST 1156, returned here after completing training
maneuvers in the joint Navy-Marine amphibious training exercise,
dubbed “TraEx 3-55.
The maneuver, which began in early March,
was designed to test and increase the efficiency of participating
personnel in the techniques of amphibious warfare. En route to
the exercise area in Caribbean waters, the PhibLant units held
drills in ship maneuvering, communications, and gunnery. Troop
indoctrination aboard ship was also a major part of the afloat
training phase of the exercise.
The Marine training group included elements
of the 2nd Marine Division, Force Troops, Atlantic, and 3rd Marine
The Naval Amphibious Force and the Marine Training Group conducted
rehearsal landings that were followed by a full-scale assault
employing the most recent concepts of amphibious warfare.
During the Vieques, P.R. landing, ships,
Marines, planes, and landing craft combined talents to place a
reinforced Marine Infantry Regiment on the beaches. Upon completion
of the landing, Naval and Marine commands conducted their training
in their particular specialties. Ships engaged in exercises emphasizing
logistic support of an amphibious operation and in Naval gunfire
Phiblant units returning to Norfolk included
the amphibious command ship Adirondack; the attack transports
Fremont, Deuel, and Olmstead; the attack cargos Oglethorpe, Achernar,
and Rankin; the landing ships dock Fort Mandan and Donner; the
high speed transport Bassett; the amphibious repair ship Krishna;
and the landing ships tank 509, 938, 983, 1153, 1156, 1160, 1161,
1165, 1167, 1168, and 1169.
Thanksgiving Dinner 1970 Aboard The T-Bone
By Ship’s Historian Rick Erisman,
RM3, in Pittsburgh
Ray Pfeiffer, RM3 (70'-’71), and his wife
Cris have just returned to Normandy from three weeks on the road
with Easy Company and their Band of Brothers tour with Wild Bill
Guarnere and Babe Heffron. The tour was very successful and they
followed the entire route from London to Austria. Ray and Cris
will be in the Washington, DC area next month to visit the WWII
Memorial, the Holocaust Museum and they will have a VIP visit
to the White House.
03 December 1970 while enroute from Rota,
Spain to Toulon, France during our Med 3-70 cruise, I wrote a
"familygram" which stated, "to say the least, we
had a good Thanksgiving dinner and surprisingly enough the trays
remained on the tables which is not the usual around here"
during our 16 day transit across the Atlantic Ocean.
Ray so disagreed with my recollection of
that event that he composed a rebuttal that I want to share with
you. Ray stated, "It is weird how you and I have such different
memories of Thanksgiving 1970. I will never forget it. Could it
be that maybe because we were on different watches we had different
experiences? I was one of the first on line and maybe you came
an hour or so later and didn't realize it." I wrote my memories
then, almost 34 years ago. Here's Ray's recollection. You decide!
The Flip Side
By Ray Pfeiffer, RM2,(’70-’71)
I must respectfully disagree with my good
friend Rick Erisman’s account of Thanksgiving dinner aboard the
T-Bone in 1970 on Med 3-70 as described in his NEWSLETTER column
in this space last year.
We were mid-way across the Atlantic and most
of the Marines had never been to sea before and many of the crew
had only experienced the conditions on an LST during training
exercises along the East Coast.
At the time, I was an RM3 as was Rick. However
he had far more experience than I and he was my watch supervisor
in the Radio Room. I remember that we were taking the southern
route to Rota, Spain because it was supposed to be somewhat smoother
than the more direct northern route. However no one on the ship
could have been convinced about this. It seemed to be get worse
every day as we slowly crossed the wide Atlantic at 12 knots maximum.
On Thanksgiving Day the cooks made a splendid
effort to prepare a traditional holiday dinner with allthe trimmings.
A menu was posted on the bulkhead outside the mess deck. It was
not just a meal, but also an event which all of us were anticipating.
Rick described the Thanksgiving meal as wonderful one, which was
enjoyed during a relative period of calm.
A Different Version
Here is how I remember it:
Thanksgiving Day dawned and it was sunny
and the ocean was calm. The afternoon was also calm. When it was
time for dinner, Rick allowed me to go to chow first. Being on
watch, I had front-of- the- line privileges and I think I was
maybe second or third on line.
Just as the chow line opened, the dreaded
announcement came over the 1MC “Now hear this! Stand by for heavy
rolls!” The T-Bone’s usual rolling and pitching became even worse.
As the chow line moved ahead, those of us who had gained our “sea
legs” got our chow and sat down. We knew how to cradle the metal
trays with our forearms and finger and to hold our coffee cup
with our other finger. We shoveled the chow down quickly and enjoyed
the meal as best we could.
About mid-way during the meal, the ship began
to roll and pitch violently. Those Marines and crewmembers who
didn’t have much experience at sea began losing their trays and
cups as they flew across the mess deck. I remember at least three
guys vomiting. I think the mess cooks were cleaning chow off the
pipes and the overhead for days.
I guess by the time Rick had his chow, things
had calmed down.
However I want to take this opportunity to
thank Rick for the encouragement he gave me, and the patience
he had as I learned to be a Radioman. RM “A” School at Bainbridge
had not really prepared me for the workings of a Radio Room at
sea. Rick was always there for me.
I am also glad that Rick is our Association’s
Historian. He maintained a wonderful diary of our time on the
Terrebonne Parish. I still have copies of the history and I review
them from time to time. However we do remember things differently
on Thanksgiving Day thirty-four years ago.
The Dropped T-Bone Anchor
By Barry Sutton, RD3, (’59-’61)
Casey Creek, Ky.
Nick Gardner, QM3, and I were reminiscing
and sharing some sea stories about the T-bone a while ago, and
we talked about the time the stern anchor dropped because someone
made a mistake when calculating the distance needed to release
the anchor for a landing exercise at Vieques Island in the Caribbean.
When the anchor was dropped too soon, all
of the anchor cable ran out and the cable snapped in two, and
we were still pretty far from the beach. I became aware of the
mistake when I heard the anchor drop and I checked the radar scope,
and noticed we were still pretty far from the beach. Then someone
ran into the pilothouse from CIC and told the OD that we may have
released the anchor too far from the beach.
I opened the back door CIC hatch, and watched
as the spool ran out. The cable was silver color but then the
yellow came up and I knew we were in trouble. When the cable snapped,
the whole ship shuddered, and we kept heading to the beach.
There we were - steaming toward the beach
to unload the Marines on the island, and no stern anchor and no
way of pulling the ship off the beach - once we got there. Two
of us from the Operations Division, SM2 McCoy and I, told the
XO that we would try to dive for it if he wanted. He declined
saying it was too dangerous.
Well after a while, the CO, Captain Munnikhuysen,
got really getting upset; he came to us and told McCoy and me
to give it a try. We went out with the deck guys in a small boat,
each of us took turns diving down. We rigged up a line with a
buoy on it just in case we found it.
Let me tell you, it was over 20 feet down,
free diving. I finally saw a groove in the sand, and reached down,
grabbed the steel cable and tied the line around it. Then we both
dove down and followed the cable toward shore until we found the
end of it. We then tied another buoy on it, got a heavy line and
attached it to the submerged anchor cable.
The deck crew hauled the end of the cable
up while the other crew had the other end fanned out ready to
splice it. Fortunately, once we got it up to the surface, we got
the cable spliced together and all in record time so that we could
get underway, before the command group admiral on the USS Boxer
found out about what happened - and it’s a good thing he didn't
know what happened.
Got the worst sunburn of my life, had blisters
hanging off my feet, legs, and my back was one big blister. The
ship’s chief corpsman, Doc White, put me in one of those marine
tubs, which helped soothe my sunburn a little.
Through it all, I give the deck crew and the
lead BM1 at the time, a lot of credit for getting that cable spliced
back together and allowing us to get off the beach. Another brief,
but memorable, sea story of my time aboard the T-bone.
The View From the Bridge
By Captain Hank Munnikhuysen, CO, (’59-’61)
Virginia Beach, Va.
Regarding the stern anchor situation. It seems
that the navigator and quartermaster each figured out the distance
the stern anchor should be let go. The first one marked the sport
on the chart. Unfortunately, the other one thought the mark was
the final position at the beach, and added his calculation to
the other. That doubled the let-go distance.
Needless to say, we ran out of cable, and fortunately no one was
hurt when the end came flying off. Obviously, we couldn’t stop
Our beaching was fine. The Marines conducted
some sort of unloading training out the bow doors on the beach.
While that was going on, Barry Sutton, RD3, and McCoy, SM2, and
many others (including the Navigator and his assistant) were involved
in successfully locating and recovering the anchor cable.
When the beach training exercise was completed,
we backed off, reconnected the cable to the drum, and reeled in
the anchor as if nothing had gone wrong!
Unfortunately, I cannot remember names and
other details; but I sure appreciated the efforts of all concerned.
It was just like we had planned it that way.
Pork Chops & Omelets Underway
By George F. McClure, ENS, (’55-’57)
Winter Park, Fla.
We were unenlightened about trans-fats in
those days, accounting for the greasy pork chops.
My most vivid memory of a meal in the Navy
was of a Spanish omelet, which I ate for breakfast while escorting
a Middie cruise across the Bay of Biscay on a tin can (DD-976).
There was a big storm that had made the water
very rough. Oilers in convoy were disappearing from view, then
lunging upward so that it was possible to see the bottom of the
hull under the bow.
Board ‘fences’ were placed on the tables in
the wardroom so that the dishes didn’t hit the deck. I lost the
omelet about an hour later, at the rail. Only time I threw up
in the Navy.
A little later, I was transferred to another
ship in a bosun’s chair while line handling deck crews on both
ships kept me from falling low enough to get wet. They were successful!
The reason for the transfer was so that I
could be an unbiased observer of some exercises they were to do
on the other ship.
By Gary Augustine, LT(jg), (’61-’64)
I read Rick Erisman’s piece about the 1966
nuclear weapons inspection in the June/July NEWSLETTER. That really
brought back memories for I was the T-bone's first nuclear weapons
officer. After the Navy decided that LSTs should have the ability
to carry nuclear weapons, I along with officers from some other
ships were sent to school at the Norfolk Naval Base to learn our
duties and responsibilities, which were mostly administrative.
After the school on returning to the ship
one of my first duties was to select a space in which the weapons
would be kept. The key to passing the ORI inspection was to keep
the large number of manuals, I had locked in my safe, updated
with the many changes I continuously received.
Don't know whether the duties changed later,
but the function when I was aboard was mainly to guard, keep safe
and especially account for the weapons. I learned nothing about
how to use them.
Also during the inspection you better have
them all and not have lost any of them for several were secret
and all were restricted. I remember doing an ORI inspection on
another ship and their nuclear weapons officer had failed not
only to keep the manuals updated, but I think had misplaced one.
I didn't realize when I wrote my report what
would happen to the officer. My recollection is that the Navy
kept him onboard beyond his discharge date and investigated his
At the time I along with the captain were
the only ones allowed to see the manuals. I don’t remember the
Exec having the required clearance. So, I spent a fair amount
of time unscrewing the posts, which held the manuals together,
removing the pages, then inserting the new pages, and screwing
the posts together again.
In addition I trained a few gunnery personnel
in what their duties would be if we carried weapons, which we
never did during the time I was on board. The only time I saw
a nuclear weapon was the dummies they had at the school.
Don't know whether the duties changed later,
but the function when I was aboard was mainly to guard, keep safe
and especially account for the weapons. I learned nothing about
how to use them. - Trimness Bravo
By Barry Sutton, RD3, (’59-’61)
Casey Creek, Ky.
Funny story about the CO, Captain Munnikhuysen, while I was on
board the 1156. He didn't care that he was the captain of an LST,
he wanted to be like the big boys and decided that instead of
playing a record for taps, reveille, dinner call, etc., he was
going to have a real live bugler do it. So, I guess by checking
though the ship’s office personnel records, there were two people
on board that played the trumpet prior to the Navy.
One was a guy, from the Deck force, (I think
his name was Delucci)), and I was the other one. We took turns
going up to the pilot house, and while another crew member held
down the PA button, we played Taps, Reveille, and all the other
calls heard on carriers and cruisers.
We even played the traditional bugle call
whenever the CO came aboard and when he was going ashore. It was
great duty, and the real plus about it was that we had no other
duties assigned while the ship was dockside. A short - but memorable
- sea story of my time aboard the T-bone.
U.S. Navy WW II LSTs ‘Down Under’
By Allan Cornes, & Paul Hewitt
Reproduced with permission from the
University North Queensland Photograph Collection.
Williamstown, Victoria, Australia
We are readers (from “down under”) of the
T-bone Association NEWSLETTER, and thought this photo of LSTs
334, 390, and two other LSTs with bow doors open on the beach
taken during World War Two on the Strand, near Ethel Crowther
Memorial Baths in Townsville, Australia would be of interest to
all LST 1156 former officers and crew.
This photo is included in the permanent collection of the James
Cook University, North Queensland, Australia archives.
Now Hear This – T-Bone Lives
hands on deck,
skipping the bonds of land
to embrace the sea.
Terrebonne rolls adroitly,
tap dancing digestive tolls.
of courage and firm resolve
imprint its deck and each alcove.
met, lives on the line,
mirror victory as anodyne.
landings on far away shores,
intentions nudging crafts’ bow doors.
– in it’s name,
seeking truth rather than fame.
her crew serves anonymous,
her strengths emerge eponymous.
heroes for the ages,
devoted unflinchingly to freedom’s gauges.
men and ship standing as saviors
of the American dream,
remain as rays of light in darkness’s stream.
Maine to Barcelona, Spain,
memories “piped over the side”,
“T” bone lives again.
hands on deck,
skipping the bonds of sea
to embrace the land.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 18-29,
U.S. Navy helicopter hovers Russian submarine
October 28, 1962
As crewmembers of the LST 1156 well know,
the ship played a key role, as a part of the battle group during
the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
That crises, was probably the closest the
nation came to World War III and its potential nuclear showdown.
What is not readily known however, is that
based on Russian archives available after the end of the Cold
War, is that Soviet Premier Khrushchev ordered four submarines
from the Northern Fleet into the Caribbean. Each one carrying
a single nuclear armed torpedo, to seek out and destroy U.S. Navy
ships that were a part of the blockade.
Only one of the four submarines even got
close to the battle group, and the skipper of that sub decided
not to attempt to follow Khrushchev’s orders. The so-called “Nuclear
Taboo” supposedly worked with that captain, who was soon brought
to heel by the Soviet military chiefs, and subsequently deposed.
Have a great Navy day!
Hollywood Role for LST 1156
Away All Boats
By Gary Benson, YN2 (’54-’56)
- HUDSON FALLS, New York
In the spring of 1955 off the Island of
Vieques, the USS Terrebonne Parish (LST 1156) was part of an amphibious
assault group that lended naval support for the filming of the
(color) movie Away All Boats, a story of a U.S. Navy ship (APA)
and its crew in the Pacific during the period 1943-1945.
The film based on the novel by Kenneth M.
Dodson, Away All Boats, starred Jeff Chandler as a tough Navy
captain who took charge of a group of raw, undisciplined sailors
during World War II.
The setting for the story was on the USS
Belinda, a Navy amphibious transport ship in the Pacific campaign.
Much of the action included amphibious exercises and landings,
massive explosions, numerous [Japanese] air and sea attacks and
plenty of naval ship and Marine operations.
The LST 1156, its small boats, and its embarked
Marines from Camp Lejeune participated in all of the amphibious
assault scenes, and some of the T-bone crewmembers were able to
almost rub elbows with some of the Hollywood cast. The captain
of the 1156 at the time of filming was Lt. Cmdr. J.A. Williams.
Occasionally, the movie can be seen on the
Turner Classic Movies network. If you happen to see it, you will
see the T-bone, and its small boats in their supporting role in
the many WW II amphibious wartime exercises conducted.
Away All Boats is a film that shows why discipline
is needed, why it's a bad idea to wax a floor on a ship and why
aircraft identification is very important.
The lead cast of the film included: Jeff
Chandler, George Nader, Richard Boone, Lex Barker, Julie Adams,
John McIntire, Charles McGraw, Jock Mahoney, Clint Eastwood and
David Janssen. The film’s nationwide release date was Aug. 16,
Tuning In to E-Z Listening
By George McClure, ENS, (’55-’57)
- Winter Park, Fla.
Here’s how we got "Music for Dining"
on the T-bonne during the time I was on board. There was a FM
station in Norfolk, WRVC, owned by a tobacco company in Richmond
where there was WRVA.
Our ship's entertainment system at that time
had only an AM/short-wave radio. But WRVC broadcast nice instrumental
music (Montovanni, etc.) at dinnertime. So I went to the other
Radio Shack and bought a FM receiver.
I had built a nice hi-fi amplifier before
joining the Navy, so brought it up from Florida over one Christmas,
put it in my stateroom (next to the radio shack) and used it to
pump the dinner music through the ship's entertainment system.
When we were in the shipyard in Charleston
in 1956, I bought a mast-mounted FM antenna and had welders install
it on the signal bridge (cost: 5 pounds of coffee) so I could
reach more FM stations.
We could even get some stations while underway
along the coast of the U.S.
‘Hoosier’ Reflects on Navy Enlistment
By Jerry Rollins, CMA2
I was sitting in my well used and form
fitting recliner this morning sipping` coffee and remembered that
49 years ago today I started my journey to follow my Uncle Bob,
who was a Seabee during WWII.
I lived on a small farm in southern Indiana
and worked on larger farms in the area. Think it rained the whole
month of June. I contacted Chief Wheat, the Navy Recruiter at
Bloomington and told him I was ready to go. I was 17 and the family
said, “go for it’.
On July 13, 1955 I was on a Greyhound to Indianapolis.
That building in Indy was a sight to see. Over a hundred young
men all butt naked lined up with billet numbers on their chest
with grease pencil. That same day we left for Great Lakes by train.
This young farm boy was almost sure he had made one big mistake!!
After boot camp it was off to the west coast
for Class "A" school and California Women. Now things
are beginning to look better. After a few months Uncle Sam decides
that I have had enough fun and off to Morocco to do what I was
trained for. What a bummer that was. Think that was bad?
Now comes the bad part. They put us on an
LST and cross the Atlantic for Davisville, RI in the wintertime.
Thought I was one smart cookie and get a bottom bunk next to a
ladder well coming in the compartment. Not so smart!! Had frozen
buns every night.
Always wondered how that ship stayed together
after standing watch on the tank deck and see it bend like a twig.
Sure were a lot of green people living on soda crackers and sucking
on lemons. Never did figure how they could stand the lemons.
After two weeks of that life it took us a
few days to learn how to walk on land again.
In July it was off on another voyage to Puerto
Rico on the LST 1156. Man, it was hot. Another shipmate and I
decided to sleep in the gun turret one night - another bad idea.
The next morning our faces were caked with salt spray. Face felt
like someone had put plaster on it. Guess young sailors live and
learn. Things you do not soon forget.
Many a good memory of the nine years spent
in the Seabees. In my opinion every young man should spend a little
time working for Uncle Sam. It isn’t a bad life after you learn
Think I will get another cup of coffee and
get in the recliner and recall some more of those memories almost
50 years ago.
The ‘54 Hurricane Season
Three major hurricanes,
Carol, Edna, and Dolly, originated and flexed their muscles a
short distance east of the Bahamas during the hurricane season
of l954, while Hazel, the fourth major hurricane, built her force
in the Caribbean.
Of these four, Hazel played havoc with the
Atlantic States from the Carolinas northward during a 7-week period.
The most vivid memories Larry Adcock, RD2, holds today were aboard
the T-Bone LST 1156 during a time of riding out the tail of this
It seems “The Can Do Ship" had been
playing war with the Marines in the Caribbean and was heading
back to Norfolk, while the storm was traveling up the Eastern
seacoast. Through ENS George McClure, I learned the T-Bone, as
the flagship, always carried more electronics such as radios,
teletypes, radar, Loran and Fathometer, which became his responsibility
as Operations Officer, before he left the ship.
As everyone knows, the radar shack aboard
ship is one of the busy, active, lively and focused duty stations,
especially during major storms. The skipper at that time was Captain
Williams and the XO was LT Lemaire.
Unfortunately the LST 1156 tied on to the
tail of the hurricane and, according to Larry, started to get
into some serious 10 to 15 feet waves. Once reverse orders were
given, they headed toward Bermuda trying to let the hurricane
go on up the coast. Within a few short hours though, because of
the ship’s course and speed, they intersected the hurricane. Mother
Nature presented them with waves estimated at 30 feet, so they
could enjoy 30- degree rolls along with some white knuckles and
Larry was on radar that night for some 18
hours during which his radar picked up an old WW II (SO10) ship
headed toward them on a collision course just 20 miles out. Now
radar screens on the older ships were about softball size, so
true degree readings were not always possible. When on a collision
course, Naval Regulations require, contact course and speed reports
every 3 to 4 minutes. Just about this juncture, they took a roll
that Joe Klinger, BM2, indicated was one degree from the capsize
They lost the top part of the mast, and it
was flailing all over the main mast being held only by electric
and electronic cables. It simply had to be secured.
Joe Klinger (a few pounds lighter and a lot
more agile) volunteered, and up the mast he goes in those 30-degree
rolls. At risk of his own life he battens down the top part of
the mast. In the mean time, the other ship continues to close
in about seven miles off the LST 1156 bow, tracking 2000 yards
off their starboard beam.
Well, needless to say, there was a lot going
on in that radar shack that night. Larry could not stay in front
of the radar screen during a full roll from starboard to port.
His solution was to simply turn loose of the handles on the radar
and ride the chair to the port bulkhead, bang into it, and on
the starboard roll, he would ride the chair back, grab the radar
handles and obtain another bearing on the other ship.
A short time later,
the order was given for our old Terrebonne Parish (LST 1156) to
come 90 degrees to the port and full speed ahead with the other
ship doing likewise, a sigh of relief could be heard from every
crewmember aboard, as they headed home to Little Creek.
By George F. McClure, LT(jg) (’55-‘57)
Winter Park, Fla.
While we didn’t know it at the time, the
location for our amphibious assault landing exercises near Puerto
Rico, Vieques Island, would later become the scene for a battle
to kick the Navy out.
While I was aboard, the USS Terrebonne Parish
each winter left Little Creek, VA for Morehead City, NC, where
we picked up Marine battalions and their equipment from Camp Lejeune
to sail to the Caribbean for training exercises.
The equipment included LVTs, bulldozers,
tanks, etc., in the tank deck and on the main deck and steel causeways
carried on the sides of the ship.
This was not bad duty – we had occasional
liberty weekends in San Juan, where it was possible to have a
drink at the Caribe Hilton Hotel and rub shoulders with New Yorkers
who were paying big bucks for the privilege of being in the sun
Anchored offshore, the T-Bone picked up television
stations broadcasting “I Love Lucy,” dubbed in Spanish. There
were other times when the T-Bone visited the port of Charlotte
Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas, where the sport was picking
out the various millionaires’ yachts in the harbor. This was before
the large cruise ships ruined the ambiance.
The Beginning: Vieques & Culebra
The Navy, starting in 1938, had acquired
rights on Vieques Island and Culebra Island for the conduct of
military exercises. Both islands are off the east coast of Puerto
Rico, about 50 miles apart.
Vieques has an area of 52 square miles, by
1941 two-thirds of it owned by the Navy. Culebra, named for the
last virgin, is so small that a reporter walked around it in less
than an hour.
It has one town, Dewey, named for the admiral
who commanded the U.S. fleet in the Spanish-American war of 1898
that resulted in Puerto Rico and outlying islands becoming U.S.
Did You Know?
Culebra, with 1000 inhabitants, was used for naval gunfire support
exercises, including nighttime shelling. I recall one time when
the T-Bone was anchored offshore we watched the destroyers firing
their 5 inch/38 deck guns in the dark, with their little parachutes
slowing the descent. In 1975, President Ford signed an executive
order ending the use of Culebra as a Navy weapons range, although
the western tip is still marked for the U.S. Naval Reserve.
The signal flags flying when the USS Terrebonne
Parish left or entered port displayed her call sign: NLOU (November
Lima Oscar Uniform). Blinking signal light and radio traffic for
her was also addressed to NLOU. Her voice call sign, used in operations
with other ships and in communicating with the Harbormaster Little
Creek, when getting underway or reentering port, was Trimness
By Gary Benson, YN2 (’54-’56)
Hudson Falls, N.Y.
I remember one time we brought six WW II
fighter planes – F6F Hellcats from Puerto Rico to Gainesville,
FL. There was no docking there so we had to stay in anchorage
while they off loaded us.
We did not stay long because a hurricane
was coming and we had to get out to sea fast. I recall passing
around Cape Hatteras, which is rough most anytime, but trying
to out run the hurricane was really bad – but we made it.
We’ve all had our memories and would never
trade them. I can never forget our mission and would do it all
On Being a Vet
By Sam Portelli, SN (’57-’60)
“I recently was on a plane coming back to
New Jersey from Phoenix, AZ, when a young lady asked if I was
in the services (I was wearing my T-Bone hat from the First Annual
“I answered yes, but it was a long time ago.
She said that was OK, and she handed me a card, which read:
‘Thank you for putting your life on the line to save mine. Have
a wonderful day!’
“It sure made my day”.
Plankholder’s Recipe For Success
By Charlie Emrhein, SK3 (52-’54)
University Heights, Ohio
Charlie was the first ship’s store proprietor
on the 1156 to make ice cream using the ice cream making machine
in the store for the crew. Here is what made Charlie a legend
on the 1156:
I could only make vanilla ice cream. We had
no flavors. I went to the galley and the cook gave me a big bottle
of maple flavor. Now we had vanilla and maple. I looked around
the galley and found some food coloring. I made green ice cream
they thought it was pistachio. I made red ice cream and they thought
it was some berry flavor. The Captain told me to stop. He had
no sense of humor.
Last T-bone Cigarette Lighter
By Bob Slovey, YN3 (’68 – ’71) Association
There has been a lot of traffic lately on
the T-Bone e-mail channel regarding cigarette lighters. So, I
thought I would add my two-cents worth.
I believe I have in my possession the last
official T-Bone cigarette lighter sold.
I was a member of the last crew of the USS
Terrebonne Parish. When word got out that the ship was being sold
to the Spanish Navy, there was a scramble by all hands to find
souvenirs. Any souvenir with the ship’s name would be a prized
I went directly to the ship’s store to see
if there was anything in there with the ship’s name on it. Jack
Delle, SN, was tending the counter. When I asked if he had any
more ball caps, the answer was “no.” In fact he told me the only
things he had left were in the display case. It was slim pick-ins.
Looking down, I saw the ship’s lighter sitting
in the bottom half of its original cardboard box. Jack said it
was the last one and he didn’t have the top half of the box it
came in. I said. “I’ll take it!” I was then, and still am, a non-smoker.
The lighter is in mint condition and holds a place of distinction
on the right side of my sock drawer, where it has been all these
I plan to donate it to the association, some
day in the future. But for now, I still peek at it once in awhile.
The Last Cigarette Lighter still brings back fond memories of
my days aboard the USS Terrebonne Parish (LST 1156).
Med 3-70 Cruise Memories
USS TERREBONNE PARISH (LST 1156)
Care of Fleet Post Office
New York, New York
PLAN OF THE DAY FOR TUESDAY 02 Mar 71
DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE SHIP
DUTY DIV DECK SEC/IDR MAA GMG1 RODE
DUTY YN PN2 MERRIL TIME ZONE -2 BRAVO
“ALL ENTRIES IN THE PLAN OF THE DAY ARE LAWFUL ORDERS AND WILL BE
CARRIED OUT ACCORDINGLY. THE PLAN OF THE DAY CONTAINS OFFICIAL AND
UNOFFICIAL INFORMATION AND ALL HANDS ARE CHARGED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE
OF ITS CONTENTS.”
Carry out the normal underway routine as prescribed in LST1156 INST
5330.1A, enclosure (3), with the following exceptions:
0600 – Reveille
0615 – Breakfast
0645 – Sweepers
0700 – Up all idlers
0745 – Quarters
0800 – Turn to
1100 – Early dinner
1130 – Knock off ship’s work, dinner for the crew
1300 – Turn to
1600 – Knock off ship’s work
1630 – Early dinner
1700 – Supper
1830 – Secure from supper
1900 – Movie call
1920 – 8 o’clock reports
2100 – Troop movie call
2200 – Taps
Reveille: A check made yesterday just prior to quarters showed
that three people were still in their racks in lower ops,
one rack was not made in Engineering and decent sweepers were held
in only a few compartments. Each day since the new system of reveille
went into effect more spaces and personnel have slid backward. I hold
the petty officers in each compartment responsible for ensuring that
everyone who is supposed to be up is up, racks are made and compartments
look presentable. TAKE WARNING!
1. Schedule: Weather and other circumstances permitting the
ship will fire all mounts Wednesday the 3rd. Additionally
we will conduct CIC exercises, (tracking and tactical maneuvers) and
an emergency breakaway with the ARNEB. The ship will cruise on two
engines most of the way to Naples arriving Friday morning.
2. The schedule for AQP training for today is as follows:
0800 - Career Information – Engineering – PN2 MERRILL
0830 – DC & FF, CO2 & Dry chemical equipment –
DECK/GUN – DC2 CHUROWSKI
0900 – Dependents Services Available Facilities –
OPS/SUP – ENS CONNER
3. Standby chits for Naples: Due to shore patrol orders being
typed up each day, it is a must that all standby chits be
approved and into ship’s office by 1000 on the morning prior to the
day a standby is desired. This includes standbys for tours. There
must be pay grade for pay grade standbys. Violations will not make
4. The E-3 test for rate and the military leadership PO 3&2 test
will be given today only at 0800 on the mess decks. The next
time these tests will be given on 01 April.
5. a. CAPRI – The song that bears this lovely island’s name
has probably done it no good, if only because Capri is mispronounced.
(Emphasis is on the first, rather than the second syllable).
It is certainly one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the
earth, a fact discovered by tourists in the 2nd century B.C. It is
accessible by boat from Naples or Sorrento; you will probably land
at the Grande Marina and go by funicular to the town of Capri itself.
You ought especially to see the Villa Iovis, at one time the resort
of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who passed happy hours here pushing
his enemies off the bluff. Also of interest is Villa San Michele,
at Anacapri, which Alex Munthe describes so vividly in his celebrated
story of San Michele. For a splendid view of the bays of Naples and
Salerno, you should take from Anacapri the ride to the summit of Monte
Solaro. Hugging the edge of the mountain is Piccola Marina, sung by
Noel Coward with amusing disrespect. A worthwhile excursion around
the island by boat will take you to the famous Blue Grotto with its
luminous water, a source of enchantment, a memory you will cherish.
But then, your recollections of all of Capri will be on this order.
b. ROME – THE COLOSSEUM – The amazing thing about the Coliseum
that it is built in a marsh, and that its stupendous weight
had been resting all
those centuries upon artificial foundations set in water.
It demands little
imagination to rebuild these venerable ruins to its splendor,
and fill it with the
80,000 spectators; Caesar in his royal box, the Senators
in their privileged seats,
the aristocracy and the Vestal Virgins in their reserved
seats, and finally
ascending to the mobs in the highest seats of all. The audience
in the Coliseum
was seated in strict social rotation. Such a gathering of
people, assembled to
enjoy and take delight in the sufferings and death of fellow
human beings must
have been a fearful sight indeed. The Coliseum was built
about the year 100
M.A. MURRAY, LT