10-09-06 - Jeffrey Hunter

Jim - Remember Lt Jim Ostrich ? Now a Captain I think. He was so much FUN !

We used to take his little car, a Toyota if I remember right, and place it on the end of pier 13... SIDEWAYS !

One of our guys "Big Al", had a Buick that he used to drive down from L.A., and for some reason his key would work on the LT's car. So we were constantly stealing his car for stuff.....lunch, beer runs, what have you. He'd walk out from the admin building and Yell "Where's my car?" I don't think he was ever on time for anything cause he was always trying to find his car. We parked that thing in all kinds of weird places.

Remember the infamous "Hit the Rock" gunshoot out at San Clemente Island (SCI) ? LT Ostrich again. He sets up a gunshoot at the Island. So the LT says "Where can we go to shoot ?" The guy at the island says there is this little island off of the North side called Bird shit rock, go shoot at the rock. So off we go, we set up and start shooting at Bird shit rock, with San Clemente only 1/4 mile behind it. I remember saying to the LT, "This doesn't look right", but he said "Hey this is where they said we could shoot, so here is where we shoot", me being the new guy I didn't know any better, so we start banging away, 50's M60's, mortars, everything we got, with Rock and Roll music in the back ground, just having a BLAST. I remember hitting a few CONEX boxes on the SCI beach as well. Next thing we know a bunch of Intruders fly over waiving they're wings at us. We're like "YEAH Baby rock and roll !". We shoot until were out of ammo, then head back to the pier for fuel. This SCI guy is waiting for us Screaming "Oh my God that was Great, it was just like Vietnam !"He was dancing and going nuts.

As it turns out our rounds were coming into the SCI Airport. They had to secure all operations, and evacuate the entire area. The SCI guys don't know what an SBU is, so they think we're a Squadron of jets or something. When the Air guys needed a shoot, the Planes would fly over the island and shoot at the rock with the rounds going out to sea, so
naturally being a Boat unit, we were at sea shooting the rock with our rounds going into the island. We had shot up our own Airport ! ! !

Greatfully the damage was pretty small and no one got hit, but as sea stories go, buy the time we got back to San Diego, we had shot up airplanes, blew up a truck, wounded several hundred, the story grew every day. Thank God for Ed Cahill, he was our C.O. at the time, and he was the one who made sure nobody burned on that one.


I saw Jeff's blurb on the gun shoot. A couple of minor corrections and additions. We were on an ACTDUTRA at SCI and had been working with HAL 5 who had been shooting in the same area, I think they shot the day before. I may have pics of this. After the shoot on Castle Rock, we went into Wilson Cove and the Lieutenants (Jim Osterich, Jim Milesky
(sP?) Jay O'Keefe maybe John Higgs too) were summoned to the Island CO's office, where they were dressed down, while the Ensign (me) had a barbecue with the men and conducted maneuvering drills at Wilson Cove.
There were two air tech's on the runway servicing the arrester gear. One reported he heard a few rounds whistle over head; the other said they were under continuous fire for 20 minutes. I think Osterich also said what shooting? and the CO dropped a spent .50 bullet into his hand. The CO asked, "So when did you stop shooting?" "When we ran out
of ammunition, sir," Osterich replied. Of course the word got around the Island and back to base and was amplified way out of proportion. At the chow hall, the sand crabs were whispering "they" were the guys that shot up the airfield as we walked in. However Chief Wallace really embellished things back at NAB telling the Skipper (Cdr. Ed Cahill) that we had destroyed the control tower and F-14's were burning on the runway. Captain Cahill and the XO LCDR Rick Measel went to North Island and got the duty Lt.jg at one of the helo squadrons to fly them out to SCI ASAP! Imagine its 1700 and two Vietnam SEAL's, CDR and LCDR chest full of ribbons, lighting a fire in the days before pagers and cell phones. I think this was the new XO's first introduction to the reserves. With nothing burning on the ramp, we all wrote statements and the event passed into legend.

Phil Garn

Photos from Jeff Hunter

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