LST 1156 Sea Stories

A Collection of Recollections
from the Crew of the T-Bone 1156

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The Gator Navy

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 shape.

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

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 Aircraft Wing.
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 support.

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

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

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

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

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 the ship.

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

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.

Nuclear Weapons
Inspection Duties

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 paper keeping.

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

T-bone Buglers

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’

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

All hands on deck,
skipping the bonds of land
to embrace the sea.

Port to starboard,
Terrebonne rolls adroitly,
tap dancing digestive tolls.

Men of courage and firm resolve
imprint its deck and each alcove.

Engagements met, lives on the line,
mirror victory as anodyne.

Amphibious landings on far away shores,
intentions nudging crafts’ bow doors.

Ecclesiastical – in it’s name,
seeking truth rather than fame.

As her crew serves anonymous,
her strengths emerge eponymous.

Housing heroes for the ages,
devoted unflinchingly to freedom’s gauges.

Both men and ship standing as saviors
of the American dream,
remain as rays of light in darkness’s stream.

Bath, Maine to Barcelona, Spain,
memories “piped over the side”,
“T” bone lives again.

All hands on deck,
skipping the bonds of sea
to embrace the land.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 18-29, 1962
U.S. Navy helicopter hovers Russian submarine

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

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, 1956.

Tuning In to E-Z Listening

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

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 the ropes.

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 hurricane season.

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 weak knees.

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 mark.

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.

Vieques Island

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 in January.

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. territory.

Support Exercises

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.

Did You Know?

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 Bravo.

By Gary Benson, YN2 (’54-’56)

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 over again.

On Being a Vet

“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 Reunion).

“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

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.

Bob SloveyThat Last T-bone Cigarette Lighter

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 possession.

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 years.

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

Care of Fleet Post Office
New York, New York






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 –
0900 – Dependents Services Available Facilities –
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 their tours.
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 is 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


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Jan-Feb-Mar 2013
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May6 - 9 2015
Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LA

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