Ostrich * The Water
Buffalo's on Fire.............. Remember when we
were boatless and I got us involved in shooting at the
Camp Pendleton Ranges over drill weekends. One of those
trips up I think we were towing a Water Buffalo behind
the Deuce and a Half and the chase vehicle pulled
alongside on I-5 N and was yelling something inaudible.
The 3 of us in the cab finally figured out what they
were yelling...."The Water Buffalo is ON FIRE".... I
guess the brakes had locked up and we were dragging it
along until the drums heated up the brakes and they
caught on fire.
* Hey sir, I think you ran
that small car off the FWY with that lane change.......
Not having 5 seconds of driving in a 3 axle truck,
Senior Chief Ski and I went down to SPECWAR motor pool
to "check out" some vehicles for our Camp Pendleton
"Summer Camp". Remember Camp Schlongmaster? Well I had
no idea how to drive a Deuce and a Half. Senior Chief
didn't either, so as a fast thinking SELRES with a 30
second old GOVT Driver's License that I had YN3 Peterson
"issue" to me, I went out to the truck and looked
around... darn... no key visible.... so I went back into
the office and said. Hey its been a "while" since I have
driven the deuce can you just go over how to start it
Well we finally loaded up our tents all the guys and
head out over the bridge and up I-5 to Camp Pendleton.
Everyone in back was looking aft and looking at all the
females in vehicles when someone poked their head under
the canvas into the cab and was yelling something (it
was impossible to hear). Ski was riding shotgun, I was
driving, not sure who was in the middle. Anyway the word
passed to me was: Hey sir, on that last lane change you
ran some little car off the freeway into the
* Camp Schlongmaster / IBS Beach Ops ......Remember
when we had SBU-12 take us up to Camp Pendleton,
conducted abandon ship drills and paddled the IBS's to
the beach, to RON around the camp fire.... eating MRE's
* Tear Gas Training....... While at Camp
P: Ski and I were trying to fill up the "training sked"
when we decided to hold chem warfare training. We had
some CS gas canisters, no gas masks and needed a place
to hold the training. We found some Marines in "52 Area"
that said we could use their "gas house". How long do
you needed for sir?, they asked?
About 5-10 min for each group I said. The Marines
said, We keep the Marines in the gas house PT'ing for at
least 30 min, you Navy guys can only hack 5 minutes? We
don't give our Navy guys gas masks, do the Marines? The
SGT immediately tossed us the keys, grinning from ear to
ear, with a good luck sir! Well it was probably a bad
idea as our guys were scratching out their eyes,
writhing in pain and foaming at the mouth. I forget who,
maybe Doc, said, Sir I think the guys are dying?!?!?
* Evanowski - Hit by a Grenade......
Range ops at Camp Pendleton again. I forgot who was
shooting the Mk 19 Grenade launcher, but the MK19 tilted
muzzle down when you were firing it, vs muzzle up, so
the rounds walked IN toward you vs walking down range.
Well since the Mk 19 had a slow rate of fire, once we
all heard the rounds exploding and walking back in, I
wondered how many rounds were in the air. No way to stop
them. I think Lt Lipovsek and I were Range Safety
Officers, when all of a sudden we hear: I'm hit, I'm hit
and OS2 Evanowski goes down behind the firing line. Holy
crap we killed somebody. Doc runs over and patches him
up. Thank goodness he was wearing a flack jacket and
helmet, or we would have been at Mast before the sun
set. Next day (Sunday at Quarters) OS2 is wearing some
kind of combat bandage as big as his neck, so everyone
will ask "What the hell happened to you" and he can
reply "Oh I was hit by a grenade".
* Ammo Truck Fuel Explosion: I will
never forget LT Bill Gray calling my back at "The
Compound" and informing me that they had needed fuel in
the ammo truck and they swore they thought it took
MOGAS, as if was OD but a commercial stake truck.
Unfortunately, when they started it up it exploded and
shot flame out the exhaust pipe. He had them open the
hood and confirm it had spark plugs....nope it didn't...
it was a diesel..... ;-(
* Lt Garn yacht club Sea Fox drag
races...... Northern Hawk.... Our task was to play
aggressors against SBU-11 up in the Puget Sound Area. We
were to launch 2 Sea Foxes in the channel and they were
to forward deploy and set up for some ambush /op. Less
than 30 min after the boats were in the water the 1MC
blares out LCDR Ostrich to the Captain's Cabin. Yes, we
were in trouble already, and the Ft Fisher hadn't even
tied up yet.......
Reports were the LT Garn was hauling ass (no where
were just our OP'ing according to him later on) thru a
civilian marina and destroyed many expensive sail boats
etc etc etc.
* The Big Bang....... I will let then LT
Bauer tell this one, when the SEALs (I think out w/ LT
Garn again ;-) were suppose to set of some C-4 explosion
as part of a night OP on an island up on Northern Hawk.
Well at the appropriate time the sky lit up like
Hiroshima, there was an explosion that rivaled Mt St
Helen's explosion. What was that????? How much C-4 did
you guys set off. All we had..... I think was the
* Secret Agent Man / SWCL Rat Patrol Ops
in... SBU'11's skipper wanted to see how good his
new FURUNO radars were against us (the bad guys) so we
were suppose to ambush them if we could on an op.
Details were sketchy and Puget Sound was huge so we sent
in our "off duty boat crew" Lt Garn et al to buy beers
for the off duty SBU -11 guys and get them to spill the
We had the 2 Sea Foxes tied up at the Coast Guard
pier across the channel and hourly we would "come up" on
top of the breakwater and do a comm check and see if Lt
Garn was able to get the plan and pass it on to us. His
call sign was "SECRET AGENT MAN". He did get the plans
and we did jump SBU-11 and the SEALS (LT Stankowitz) and
we shot the crap out of them. They were all pissed off
that we had ruined their attack on NAS Whidbey Island
and they were going to put us on report etc etc. I
remember telling LT Stan in his IBS that he couldn't put
us on report.... He said "Why the hell not?" and I
replied "Because you are all dead!"
* Firefight abeam the Seattle Ferry......
On the way across the bay (we were slinking along
next to the Puget Sound Ferry) we saw a couple of PBR's
crossing the channel and couldn't help but shoot the
crap out of them (and they us) there are probably a lot
of people on the ferry that had no idea what was going
on thru the windows!
* Mini would be lost....... We can let
then LT Andy tell the story of the sinking Mini ATC up
at Northern Hawk
* Ramming the Star of India....... Lt
Andy.... Some of the PB Shifters would stick or hang up
when changing from FWD to NEUTRAL to REVERSE. One day
one of the PB's was practicing docking down at Grape
Street pier (as it was cooler to be driving the boat
with all the tourists watching vs. at NAB) and the
throttles stuck sending the boat running down the length
of the pier. Word got back to me at the Unit that the PB
had rammed the Star of India.......
* SBU 11 SFO Ops ---- EMCS Reyes Das Boot
rewiring..... We had a 4 crew AT, with 2 crews
taking up the PB's to SBU-11 and two crews returning
them to NAB. All crews would be their at SBU-11 for a
week to OP the boats. It was my first "solo" underway
since qualifying. Senior Chief Reyes was on my crew, and
no one had much experience at operating the boat. I
remember we had no electrical power, no radios / comms
etc and he spent the night down below ala Das Boot
trying to get the power working again. He did but I
don't remember how.
* SBU 11 ---- Ooops we (almost) shot up a
Coast Guard Cutter. underway...... One one of our
same AT patrols we OP'd w/ no running lights and were
trying to keep the SBU-11 guys from sneaking into the
Bay at night (wasn't everything done at night) anyway we
patrolled from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz
Island. I remember seeing somebody hauling ass on radar
so we moved in to blast them, and as we pulled up with
all the .50's and M60's trained at the target boat, I
noticed a BIG STRIPE across the bow and started yelling
don't fire I think its the Coast Guard (it was).
* Admiral Richards Grounding (almost).... in
Morro Bay.... On the way back to NAB from SBU-11
LCDR Richards (later Admiral) and I (a LTjg) were
arguing over who was going to drive it in to Morro Bay
(neither of us had every been there) when he pulled rank
and won. On the way in (he was driving) we start to feel
a shudder as the boat was grounding (mud hopefully) and
we backed off. Our Engineman, suited up and went over
the side to report no damage (whew).
* Santa Barbara Trip / LST on the
beach..........Kill Japs....... I think ET2 Jeff
Hunter, YN3 Peterson, and Mosely our Engineer? went up
to Santa Barbara for the weekend to give the public
rides. A storm was hitting San Diego all week and blew
an LST up onto the Silver Strand right outside NAB. I
had called the CO and talked my way into letting us all
still go (seas were high) and we got the crap kicked out
of us for 13 hours from SD to SB. Everyone was sick and
when we finally tied up I got a case a beer at the store
on the pier and we all drank it on the boat. I think it
was legal. We ended up giving rides to the public and
this guy in a walker tries to make it down the pier.
Being the OIC I tell the group we can't get that guy
on the boat safely, but they tell me he is the President
of the SB Navy League and we have to take him. I think
YN3 Petersen or Jeff Hunter was there and I told them to
wedge the guy in his walker between the chart table and
the radar scope. Seas were still high and once we got
out of the breakwater we would be pounding into the seas
pretty hard. We idle out to the breakwater and then go
to full throttle on all three engines across the sand
bar and into the swells slamming the bow into the sea
and taking water over the pilot house. Our passenger
starts yelling out: Kill Japs, Kill Japs... I guess he
was a WWII Vet and having flashbacks.
* Lt Higgs PB Fire.......... We were
halfway between SD and SCI when LT Higgs' boat start to
trail smoke, lots of smoke. Realizing that SELRES
couldn't be trusted the Active Guys would monitor our
boat to boat frequencies back at NAB. I called LT Higgs
and asked him what was going on as he was now DIW and
smoking heavily. He reports he is having an "Engineering
Circumstance" vs reporting that he was ON FIRE! So the
Actives would ground us all from ever operating again.
So I turned towards his muster all our guys with all the
firefighting equipment that we could bring on deck and
proceeded towards them. Maybe it was GMC Norris who had
his head out the pilot house window and could see the XO
(Lcdr Measel) on LT Higgs boat (on fire) yelling to us.
I am thinking he is saying, glad you are hear, or save
us Obie Wan something heroic anyway, but when I ask what
the XO is saying, over the roar of the engines, our crew
tells me, Mr Ostrich, he is saying you need to have your
jacket zipped up on a 45 degree angle..........
* Gunshoots at SCI....... We are headed
out to SCI and someone spots a sailboard w/o a mast on
the horizon. Maybe we can rescue the boat. We come
alongside and its been at sea for a LONG time. Lots a
barnacles etc etc. So we take it in tow and decide hey
why not shoot at it, vs shooting at the water. Good
idea. Sounds like more realistic training. So we get to
SCI drop off the boat and shoot the crap out of it w/
20mm, .50cal and M60's etc etc.. So what happens? Does
it sink like the Titanic or any other good boat? No we
blast it into a MILLION pieces of floating foam which
litter the sea all around us. Oopps.....
Well we still have mortar rounds to shoot off......
SM3 Lipe enters the pilot house with a stiff leg. With
all that is going on he might think I won't notice but I
ask him what is wrong w/ your leg. Nothing sir is the
answer. Hey what is that in your pant leg? Oh sir, its a
dud mortar round, I was going to stow it below and take
it home later..................... Yikes.... .Ok now we
are out of mortar rounds... Hey sir, Can we shoot the
star shells someone asks, .... Sure go ahead........
Well we are out of Star Shells so we are going to head
back to Wilson Cove for the night when we hear BEAVER
control reporting a vessel in distress off SCI. Holy cow
we can be hero's -----write down the position --- got it
---- lets plot it quick --- we do --- there is a Torpedo
Retriever coming out of Wilson Cove to rescue the vessel
in distress. Let's get there FIRST..... so I look at the
Torpedo Retriever now coming around the island, the
vessel's reported distress position and our position. I
don't see the vessel in distress which should be right
next us.... .Hmmmmm..... Well lets wait the TR is almost
next to us. So they hail the vessel in distress but
there is no answer its only them and us, so I call them
up. Are you alright they ask us? Sure where is the
vessel in distress. They say its US....Haven't you been
shooting off start shells for an hour? Look at all the
debris in the water? Oooops in trouble again.
* Speaking of Star Shells. LT Garn once
again is out on some sort of OP where the signal was to
fire green or some kind of star shells as a signal. Of
course who can tell the color of the shells in the dark
until you fire them. So they shoot of RED STAR SHELLS
off Point Loma, until the Coast Guard help comes out to
see what is going on.. More trips to explain to the
Active guys we really do know what we are doing but some
* Yes, and then there was my missing