Cmdr Mark Bauer

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Cmdr. Mark Bauer USNR ret - Operation Northern Hawk - 1986


Operation Northern Hawk - 1986


  • First op with the SWCL was to insert and blow a missile base on Indian Island to smithereens with a limited amount of C4. We took 818 and I skippered the op. I can’t remember if there were two boats, but I know we picked up the SEALS. PO2 Marler was sleeping at 0200 when the explosion was supposed to go off. I was the only person awake on the boat. We were positioned about 4 miles south of Indian Island just shut down and drifting. Then, a light brighter than a thousand suns emitted from the AO, I recited the Bhagavad Gita to myself: “ I have become death; the destroyer of worlds”. Nah, not really, I just thought those guys used a lot more C4 than they were supposed to. Kind of like wine in the casserole; it’s really difficult to know exactly how much to use. It really was like Mount Rainier going off, real wrath of God type stuff. Anyway we picked those guys up and they were laughing pretty good. End of Op.
  • I remember swallowing some water from the water buffalo just as I noticed the warning that “This is not potable water”. It only took 10 mikes to purge the system up and down the line. After that I was good to go and made sure I read the signs.
  • Then I was threatened with Courts-Martial by the jackass SEAL up at Whidbey Island’s Oak Harbor because he took our cots after we carefully brought them with us. I argued with him for 20 minutes until he threatened me. I was so upset I just slept outside without the sleeping bag. Along with everyone else. Years later I’m still pissed because I don’t think he ever understood that we brought them with us on our boats. It was clearly a Reserve v. Active Duty situation. In my dreams I carefully dissect him......uh, I guess I shouldn’t say any more.
  • The really cool op was to insert the SEALs at NAS Whidbey, run two blockades of PBR’s newly equipped with Furuno radar. 8212 inserted the SEALS uneventfully and retired back to Oak Harbor and my boat 818 picked them up. We departed and separated with one boat, the 8212 going counterclockwise and the 818 going clockwise around Whidbey Island. The key point here, is that the folks at the battle pig designed an op so that we would get caught. They closed off areas of the chart that we couldn’t use. I thought to myself: “Self, well, they didn’t say you couldn’t go off the chart did they?” So we designed an op that took advantage of the speed of the Seafoxes over the PBR and that we had two good boats coming from different directions. I also knew we had government credit cards. The op ended successfully, although 8212 had electrical problems as I recall. The 818 boat picked up the SEALS and we went off the chart and brought them back safely to Oak Harbor. It was a long op, and we inserted the SEALS, they “blew up” a building by leaving it with BOMBS and neither boat was detected. About a half hour after we got back, the CO of SBU-11 and OCE called me and wanted to know exactly “how you guys did it”. He was just gobsmacked and couldn’t believe that we schwacked him good. I certainly felt like I was Admiral material at that point. Subsequently, I was disabused of that notion.
  • I cut my hand on a barnacle and it became seriously infected coming back from the Whidbey Island Op. It blew up like a Polish sausage and I went to the doc at Whidbey and he told me I was going to lose my thumb. That sort of got my attention. He let me fly with the boys back down to SD and I had to go to the Naval Hospital. They looked at my thumb and said they had to clean out the infected material. That meant cutting it open so I thought a little anesthetic and we’ll get this puppy taken care of. Wrong. The Doc says to me: “Hey Lt. you’re a tough guy, right?” I thought it was a trick question, but I certainly didn’t like the cut of his jib. I mumbled, uh, yeah, I guess so. He said to me, “We’ll just forego that anesthetic and slice that bad boy open right now”. I said “go for it”. SBU’ers we’re tough guys, after all we didn’t get to sleep on our cots, right? To this day I feature a nice scar and a funky shaped fingernail on my thumb. I remained conscious, and as the procedure progressed, I felt like I had made a bit of an error in judgment letting Dr. Mengele do that to me.
  • Then there was the admiralty incident with the SWCL’s which shall remain shrouded forever in secrecy.
  • Lastly, the great shootout with smoke where Jimmy O almost slaughtered a bunch of SEALs including Lt. “Stan” Stankowski. In 1996, I was living and working in Warsaw, Poland. I had sent out my laundry, and customarily left my business card in my suits. One day I get a call from the US embassy. They wanted to know who I was, was I ever in the Navy and did I almost kill some SEALS at Northern Hawk driving SWCL’s too close to CRRC’s. I could tell the voice had a Polish accent. I said it wasn’t me but that Crazy Ostrich. He said: Mark, it’s Stan! I said how the hell did you find me? He said your laundry was delivered to me at the embassy and I have your business card. Small world. (I did get my laundry, and we had a good laugh).

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