Frank Lipovsik History


Frank Lipovisk - Operation Northern Hawk - 1986

Operation Northern Hawk

The operational side of Northern Hawk is kinda' fading now but I do remember a number of great missions during the exercise. On the transit north I remember Phil Garn kept taking his team into isolation/seclusion where they would just shutter themselves into a compartment and go through some SEAL-inspired immersion planning exercise.

Puget Sound was having an exceptionally low tide that year, something along the lines of lowest tide in like 30 years. Was pretty hazardous doing ops in some of those inlets at night with tree trunks and branches sticking out of the water.

I do remember 3 missions during the Acdutra I participated in. The first wasn't really an op but the familarization cruise to get all of us used to the area so we got underway to circle Indian Island and head to Oak Harbor and then on up to Deception Pass. I don't remember us going through the pass as the water flow between tides could hit 12+ knots. After Deception Pass is when we stopped to fuel at Oak Harbor and got a lot of interest from the local boating crowd.

The next op was with 2 Seafoxes doing an incursion through the PBR patrol line into the area east of Whidbey Island. LCDR Ostrich was in charge of the op and we made quite a few attempts to get by the patrol line. Even used some of the Ferry's as cover in order to slip by. I think that's where a firefight broke out near one of the Ferry's that drew a lot of attention and has been noted in one of the other comments on this site. I do remember the crews being up for the challenge as the coxswain's did a great job of sliding in close to the Ferry's and not being too much of a navigational hazard. Whoever was on lookout on both boats were excellent. I remember contact information going across the circuit steadily as radar was near useless in that confined and congested a space. The PBRs caught sight of us approaching the Ferry's so we were I.D.ed pretty early on. I'm not sure if we ever did get past their line but it was all the more difficult as we were there during the longest daylight periods of the year and we were lucky to have maybe 3-4 hours of semi-darkness with a near full moon appearing
every night. After finishing the attempted incursion the 2 boats patrolled the coastline of Whidbey that night and one thing became very apparent about the Seafoxes and stealth, without background noise and noise suppression systems on the exhaust those diesels could sound like freight trains in calm, tranquil inlets. The lookouts were kept busy looking for tree trunks and branches with the tide so low.

The 3rd op I remember was inserting a SEAL team for a night recon mission. When we were positioning ourselves with the SEAL team during the day I remember seeing a PBR approaching from our port bow for a pass on our port side. I had the boat crew ready to open fire and as we passed I was surprised when not only our boat crew opened fire but so did the SEAL team. The side flaps flew up and it looked like a porcupine fanning it's quills with all of the M16's and M60's poking out of the portside blasting away at the PBR. And there were the complaints for operating the boats at too high a speed for certain areas like Hadlock Marina on Skunk Island (SW of Indian Island) and complaints about noise from the firefights.

I believe I have a picture of the hangar where the teams initially bunked. We found a place in the loft on the 2nd deck, great location, warm, dry but the SEAL team showed up while we were on an op and moved into the loft.

Frank Lipovsek

Photos below from Frank

On board the Fort Fisher in a class room where SCPO "Big Ski" explains how things will be done properly on Northern Hawk. Lt. Robards and Lt Graybill on a SEAFOX on the Fort Fisher Who says Officers dont live the good life in Officers Staterooms on the LSD Lt Andy with proper attitude. Launching a SEAFOX off of the Fort Fisher SBU-13's LCDR Jim Ostrich in Kackis to go to Officers call and run interference between ships company and SBU-13

Lt Phil Garn gives a Mission Brief on the Fort Fisher. Enginemen were worth there weight in Gold when a boat broke. EN2 McKinny and EN3 David Hale Disembarking on Indian Is. Lt David Graybill plays his harmonica for the Boys while Lt Steve Andy expresses his musical appreciation. Setting up camp and building tent city, the not so glamorous side of Naval Special Warfare. Officers Quarters with Lt Mark Bauer, Lt Robards, and Lt Graybill

Lt Frank Lipovsik and M-16 on SEAFOX SWCLs in echelon formation M-60 mounted on pilot house of a SEAFOX, see the other SEAFOX ahead. SWCLs at Whidby Is. the tides were extreme, this is lowtide High Tide at Whidbey Is. GMG3 Mullenix tries his hand fishing on off duty hours. Note swimmer platforms in down position.

ET2 Jeff Hunter with "its damn cold" look on his face, it was! Alongside SBU-XI's CCB which was the floating HQ for the wargames, we drop off SEAL Team 3 plt. LT Steve Andy in his Rambo pose SCPO Grzeckowski takes a nap underway in swimmers compartment of SEAFOX SBU-13 in really tight formation.