Holt (DE-706) Under Tow
The following is an exact copy of the report submitted by BOS'N C.
L. Carl, USN, who was the officer-in-charge of the Riding Crew when
the USS HOLT (DE-706) was under tow. BOS'N Carl sent the carbon copy
of the original report to Bill Morgan back in 1963, prior to the first
ship reunion. He had read about the proposed reunion in "ALL
HANDS" Magazine and very generously shared this incident with
us. HOLT was under tow from the reserve fleet, Stockton, CA, to Seattle,
WA to be overhauled and refitted for loan to the Republic of Korea.
RELATED TO THE TOWING OF THE USS HOLT (DE 706) BY THE USS TATNUCK
FROM 1300, 27 SEPTEMBER 1962, UNTIL ARRIVAL OF THE TOW AT PIER 90,
USS Tatnuck ATA-195
- Security Patrol reports all secure. Made communication contact with
USS TATNUCK. Conditions satisfactory. Position report from 1200 position:
- 46.55 N.
Longitude - 124.50 W.
at Seattle, 1624, 28 September. Speed 7.5 knots. The below decks security
watch reported every hour to the bridge, as to the condition of security
in the engine room spaces, voids and bilges. No water was ever found
in any of the below deck spaces.
the afternoon, the wind picked up slightly, the sea conditions were
normal and due to a following sea, we were riding exceptionally well.
At times, we would take a 10 or 15 degree roll which I would say was
normal for a destroyer escort and present sea condition.
of the air seemed to give me the feeling that we were due for some
rain, and with the build of the wind and the sea, I passed the word
for all hands to keep clear of the main deck. I passed this word about
1600, and all hands readily complied with this order.
vessel was constantly being checked by myself, a first class shipfitter
and a boatswains mate second class for any loose gear, cleanliness
of the galley spaces and strain of the towing bridle.
1700, we made our communications check and reported conditions satisfactory.
This was the last communications check prior to the tow parting. At
2050, we passed Umatilla Reef Lightship about five (5) miles to starboard.
2100, I was finishing bathing my face when I heard a loud thud, and
knew that it was the tow either parting or whipping because of a sudden
strain. Almost immediately, the bridge watch came below and reported
"the tow broke" and the first thing I did was "set
Zebra" then I let TATNUCK know we have a broken tow. I then had
all hands put on lifejackets. The signalman contacted the TATNUCK
and I had him ask for instructions. They asked if all hands were in
lifejackets and I sent back affirmative reply. Communications were
made with the TATNUCK and I was told that they would shoot a line
with her line throwing gun. The TATNUCK shot from her port side to
our starboard side on the bow with no success. The wind was so strong
that the shot foretold did not go the distance. I estimated the TATNUCK
being about 200 feet away when firing the first shot. The TATNUCK
made another approach and tried a second shotline to our vessel and
this was also unsuccessful. During this time, I noticed a merchant
vessel maneuvering in the area and a 50 foot Coast Guard Cutter approaching.
understood that the TATNUCK expended her shot line or shot missiles.
This point I couldn't ascertain. We, on the HOLT, succeeded in shooting
a line aboard the TATNUCK on her next approach. We shot from the 40MM
tub forward of the bridge into their "A" Frame on the port
side. They tied on a messenger and we proceeded to retrieve the line.
In the process, the small Coast Guard boat passed between the HOLT
and the TATNUCK, accidentally cutting the line. The position of the
TATNUCK was dead ahead of us with winds of 50 or 60 knots. I kept
only five (5) men on the forecastle during this operation. Two (2)
men were on the bridge. One acting as messenger and the other as signalman.
The remaining personnel I had stayed in the wardroom area of the ship
and were informed that I would call them if needed. Whenever we weren't
needed on the forecastle, I had all hands take cover and I would go
to the bridge for a clearer picture of the operation.
reported the line had been cut, and almost immediately the Coast Guard
boat approached within fifty (50) feet of the HOLT and shot a line
through the forward chock on the starboard side of out bow. We heaved
the shot line within a few feet of the chock when it parted because
of the weight of the 4' nylon attached. The sea at this time was heavy
and the HOLT took several excessive rolls. Another line was put aboard
by the Coast Guard by passing a heaving line to the HOLT. The cutter
approached within 20 or 30 feet and this was the most outstanding
display of boat handling during this operation. The line was heaved
aboard and a 4" nylon line was secured to the forward bitts.
The Coast Guard attempted to pass this line to the TATNUCK with no
success. The Coast Guard acted as a sea anchor throughout the night
and we were told that the TATNUCK would try to pass us a line at first
and four of the crew remained on the bridge throughout the night.
We made checks continuously throughout the ship during the night to
check watertight integrity and security of the vessel and men. I had
all men remain in lifejackets in the wardroom area. The HOLT, during
the night, rolled at times to forty (40) and forty-five (45) degrees.
The seas began to calm about 0400 and the wind had eased to about
20 or 30 knots, About 0330, our portable generator went out of commission
and we used battle lanterns and flashlights to continue our security
checks. The crew's morale remained high throughout the night and we
waited for first light and for further orders. About 0600, we noticed
that the 4" nylon line to the Coast Guard Cutter had parted because
of chafing on the HOLT's bow. The sea had abated by 0630 to such an
extent that the Coast Guard cutter came within shouting distance and
told us that the CG Cutter WACHUSETTS would be in the area about 0930
to pass us a line and tow us to Neah Bay. I had five men on watch
with me at all times and let the remainder stay in the wardroom to
rest or sleep. The TATNUCK remained about 300 yards off our port side.
At first light, I had three men check the generator. The heavy seas
had evidently loosened some sediment from the fuel tanks and as a
result plugged the fuel line.
0925, the CG Cutter WACHUSETTS approached our port side and made an
attempt to shoot a line aboard. Three (3) shots were unsuccessful
and the WACHUSETTS made another approach and two (2) more shots were
attempted with no success. The small 50 foot cutter went astern of
the WACHUSETTS and took aboard a 2 1/4 inch messenger and carried
the messenger to the HOLT where we passed a heaving line to the small
cutter and proceeded to pass the line through the bullnose of the
HOLT and heave in on a 10" manila tow line. All hands were used
to heave in the tow line. One man was left on the bridge for radio
communications. It took maximum effort to heave in the tow line, but
once it was aboard, we led the line to the starboard bitts aft on
the forecastle and secured the line for towing. The WACHUSETTS slowly
paid out the tow line and by 1100, we were underway for Neah Bay at
an estimated speed of 2 or 3 knots.
1205, our generator was put back in commission and we made a thorough
check of the ship to ascertain any damage. Conditions throughout the
ship were all secure. About 1330, the WACHUSETTS bent on another 600
feet of line to lengthen our catenary and to expedite our arrival
at Neah Bay.
arrived Neah Bay about 1800. Neah Bay had a slight swell running with
winds about 10 or 15 knots. At 1830, the TATNUCK tied up to our port
side forward and connected up a wire towing bridle from the TATNUCK.
While alongside, the TATNUCK banged our port side resulting in five
or six dished plates. At 1855, we slipped our towing hawser from the
WACHUSSETS and taken in tow by the TATNUCK at 1856. The ship was inspected
for security and any dents in the side produced by the TATNUCK showed
no major problems. We continued in tow for Seattle arriving at pier
91 about 1430. At 1425, YTB-512 tied up starboard side aft. At 1432,
YTB-537 tied up port side aft. The civilian pilot aboard was Captain
Owens. We moored port side to pier 90 at 1544. The Commanding Officer
of the TATNUCK came aboard and LT MILLER of Port Services signed for
the custody of HOLT.
Commanding Officer of the TATNUCK, LT MILLER and myself went to the
TATNUCK where we saw the open link which had parted. The link parted
at the forged connection in the center. The TATNUCK kept the link.
On Monday, I related the same incident to CDR DAVERN, Operations Officer
C. L. CARL, USN
Officer-in-charge, Riding Crew