USS Chicago (CG-11)
Homeport: San Diego , CA

April 1977 - March 1980

I moved the family back to San Diego and we bought a townhouse in the southern part of the city, near Chula Vista - we called the area Chula-juana (we were only a mile or two from the mexican border). Later on, after we got tired of chasing illegal aliens out of our carport and yard, we sold the townhouse and moved into Navy quarters in Pacific Beach. I reported aboard the USS Chicago, at North Island Air Station, in April 1977. My job would be Assistant Electronic Material Officer EMO. The Chicago always had an excellent reputation and was billed as the world's most powerful guided missile cruiser. With her twin Talos (long range) and Tarter (short range) surface-to-air missile launchers, dual triple tube torpedo launchers, twin 5'' gun mounts, Anti-Submarine Rocket Launcher ASROC, and helo deck made her a potent platform (winning 11 consecutive missile E's, a Navy record).

In 1968, Chicago was successful in shooting down a North Vietnamese Mig with a surface-to-air missile, one of a small handful of ships to do so. Other ships being USS Long Beach (the first ship to do so with a TALOS missile - with two confirmed kills), and the USS Sterret (with a Terrier missile). There may have been one or two other ships, I've been told, that successfully scored kills with surface-to-air missiles. The source of this info is GMCM SK (Stan) Summers, who served on board the Chicago 1971 to 1974, as the LCPO of the TALOS Launching systems GMLS MK 12 Mod 1.

GMCM Summers goes on to add: "Chicago fired 9 TALOS Missiles during the 1971/72 tour. The shore fire was 50 to 60 rounds and they hit well aft of the ship, but very close to our Destroyer Escorts. The ship almost went dead in the water as all 4 of the TALOS system MG sets were being energized at 1800 starting amps each. The ship was in a hard turn to STBD, at I believe Flank Speed, which was too much draw on the ship's generators. I ordered both TALOS launching systems shut down and we did not lose the load. I think we would have been in a world of deep doo doo if the ship would have went dead in the water as we were still with in range of the NVA shore battery!"

New CO & XO. . . .
when I reported aboard the Chicago, she was really in sad shape - she was not the spit and polish, example of the cruiser Navy that I had heard about or imagined. The current skipper (Capt. Beck) had sacrificed over-all ship appearance and equipment preventative maintenance to ensure the ship passed the Engineering Propulsion Exam. The ship was a mess and the morale low, as non-engineering departments were required to assign personnel to work down in the engineering spaces - lagging pipe, chipping, painting, etc.. They worked long hot hours (in two 12 hr shifts, day and night shifts), 6 days a week, and this went on for a little over a month. Many of these personnel were third and second class petty officers with technical ratings, who were usually exempt from such working parties. They resented doing another shipmates job and wondered how the engineering spaces got so bad to begin with. This created a big problem later on in trying to get any of these individuals to re-enlist - we lost a lot of good people due to this miserable decision. I lost several ET's and FT's, one in particular, was my division LPO, FTM1 Kincaid. He was an excellent LPO and well liked by his men. He was extremely bitter over this ordeal and after serving close to ten years, decided to leave the Navy. A crying shame, as he would have made an excellent Chief.

This all changed when the dynamic duo arrived -- Captain W. T. Piotti Jr. and Commander R. T. Reimann (another vaporizer, but this guy was the champion) as the new CO and XO. Later, both would go on to become Rear Admirals.

 

CO - Captain Harold S. Lewis      XO - CDR Ronald C. Trossbach
CO - Capt. W.T. Piotti Jr. and XO - Cdr R.T. Reimann

Cdr Reimann . . . .
C
dr Reimann was coming from the job as O-in-C of Surface Warfare Officer School Command Detachment in Coronado, Ca and brought the dubious reputation as an executive ass-chewer (what I call a vaporizer). Most junior officers on board were familiar with Cdr Reimann, as they had attended SWO training under his cognizance - so the stories/rumors were flying. I state later on that I did not agree with his vaporizing management techniques, but I will say here that to carry out this CO's plan of turning the Chicago back into the show ship she was meant to be, he was probably the best man for the job. He never passed the buck and he got the job done - even at the expense of some good personnel (one of them was my room mate).

Operations Department took a lot of flack from Cdr Reimann as well, mainly due to his personal dislike of Cdr Jackson (for whatever reason, we never knew), the Operations Officer. Cdr Jackson took a lot of verbal abuse from Reimann, but he buffered it well and never passed it down.

Capt Piotti . . . .
W
hile standing an afternoon quarterdeck watch during an open house (while moored at Broadway Pier), I knew a major change was coming. Capt. Piotti was aboard visiting the CO (Capt. Beck) and as he started down the brow during his departure, he made the passing comment "this ship looks like a sh** house." Upon assuming command, Capt. Piotti, didn't waste any time turning the ship back into the pride of the first fleet. It took a lot of chipping and painting (many coats of haze gray, deck gray, and interior white - no more black baseboards), brass shining and reshining, and replacement of all interior deck tile with blue tile, but she looked great! She was back being the show ship she had previously been! Only, I believe Capt. Piotti took it a notch farther. The new motto became
"work she will, shine she must!"

 

Morning Quarters in the OPS office , with my boss (Ted O'Donnell) left, Chris Bauman, Cmdr Jackson (Ops boss) and myself.
Morning Quarters in the OPS office, with my boss (Ltjg O'Donnell) left, Lt Bauman, Cdr Jackson (Ops boss) and myself.

 


[Click On Button To View]

 

Assuming additional duties as OE Division Officer. . . .
Soon after arriving, I took over OE Division as Division Officer, in addition to being the Assistant Electronic Material Officer. In the capacity of OE Division Officer, I kept receiving complaints from the troops about the toilets backing up in our compartment head. It had been a continuing problem, even before I came aboard, so I was bent on solving the problem. I jumped all over this LT LDO engineering type telling him that this was a continuing problem and it needed fixing ASAP. Well, I was sitting in my office one day, and we had these dutch doors with just the top half swung open. The DCA come walking up and leaned over the bottom part of the door and placed this bucket on the floor and pulled the top part of the door shut! He held that door shut to keep me from getting out. The bucket had a big blob in the middle and was covered with sewage from the CHT tanks (that the toilets drained into) and did it ever stink!! He kept me in there for several minutes before I started yelling "Uncle, Uncle" and some expletives! It seems that one of my personnel had been flushing whole rolls of toilet paper down the toilets (for whatever reason, I never found out) and plugging up the whole system. I learned to check out both sides of the story after that and not necessarily just take the word of one of my troops. The DCA and I became good friends after that.

When I was the OE Division Officer (this job was later transferred to a new Ensign in Ops - to gain experience as a division officer), I took a genuine interest in the berthing spaces (cleanliness and overall condition) and in their uniforms (especially prior to a personnel inspection). Once the division is recognized (during material inspections, XO berthing inspections, and personnel inspections) as the best (or one of the best) division, it takes little motivation after that - they will usually police themselves. During my first personnel inspection on board, I made each individual lay out their inspection uniform, so my head chief and I could inspect it. After correcting all their discrepancies, we took Best Division at the official inspection. Their reward was not having to participate in the next inspection. In addition, our berthing spaces were always recognized as one of the best on the ship.

Civilian Combat Systems Rep. . . .
The Chicago, was organized in accordance with the new Combat Systems philosophy. Being organized so, I was additionally responsible for the maintenance on the AN/SPS-48C Radar which put 6-8 FT's under my cognizance. Since this philosophy was relatively new and the Chicago had so much electronic equipment, a civilian contractor maintenance technician was attached to the ship and was under the cognizance of the EMO. This contractor was not utilized much when I first reported aboard - he mostly just laid around his stateroom and read pocketbooks. Well, I thought this was a total waste of the Navy's money, so I decided to put this guy to work. After hearing of an equipment casualty with the 48 radar (and since this radar was supposed to be his specialty), I sent this contractor up to the 48 room to assist the FT's in troubleshooting the problem. A little while later, my leading FT1 comes bursting into the EMO office and says "get that guy out of my radar space, before I kill him!" Well, that didn't work, so I sent him up to the communications shop to help them out. They put him on a relatively easy job of troubleshooting an R-390 HF Receiver. The R-390 is a fairly easy radio to troubleshoot, as long as you don't mess with the front panel gear train (more complicated than an automobile transmission). Well, that was what this guy diagnosed as the problem (which it wasn't) and completely disassembled the whole gear train! Well, my leading communications tech made the same threat as the FT1, so I jerked him out of that space and sent him back to his room. I eventually, over a period of two quarters was able to lower his evaluation marks sufficiently low enough to get him pulled from the ship - we also convinced the Navy that we didn't need civilian reps on board.

Equipment Status Board . . . .
In the Electronic Material Office, there was a equipment repair status board mounted on the bulkhead which listed all equipment casualties. When I first came aboard, this board had anywhere from 20-25 pieces of equipment listed (requiring various types of repair) at any one given time. Two thirds, or more, were usually CASREP'd. It seemed to be the norm for this amount of equipment. I also had three E-7's and an E-8, for maintenance chiefs. I wasn't impressed with two of the senior E-7's and the E-8 was a short timer. I made one the Department 3-M Coordinator and pretty much fired the rest - except the junior E-7. The junior E-7 had been billeted in Navy special type programs for several years and volunteered for sea duty to get back into his rate (in order to make E-8). I ended up giving him the whole ball of wax and he did an excellent job for me - made E-8 too. Between the two of us, we whittled that repair list down to an average of just 5-6 pieces under repair or CASREP'd at any given time.

 


View Of The Mighty Chi (From Liberty Boat) Anchored In Inchon, Korea

 

WestPac Deployment, 1977 . . . .
In September we embarked on a 6 month WestPac cruise with ports-o-calls in Pearl Harbor HI, Subic Bay PI, Hong Kong BCC.(two times), Keelung Taiwan, Pattaya Beach Thailand, Inchon Korea, Manila PI, Yokosuka Japan, Singapore and Guam. We were not assigned to a carrier battle group, so it was all independent steaming. One of the best WestPacs I was ever on, almost more liberty ports than we had money for. One USO tour to the demilitarized zone and the peace village Panmunjom was especially memorable. It really opens your eyes about the mentality of the North Koreans.

HHHere are a few photos taken at the demilitarized zone at Panmunjom.

This is the room where all the negotiations with North Korea take place. Half the room is on the South Korea side and half on the North Korea side. The border runs right down the center of the green table in the foreground - I'm actually standing on the North Korea side when taking this photo.


The Korean border is the cement line on the ground just behind the friendly border guard in the foreground. The guards in the background are North Koreans who were filming our tour group for some unknown reason. The 2-story building in the far back- ground is a facade, it is only about 10-15 feet deep, it was built for show and propaganda purposes.

 

Site of the 1976 poplar tree incident - - Two US soldiers, sent to clear a tree that obstructed the view in the Panmunjom truce zone (the tree to the right of the check point station), were hacked to death by a North Korean soldier.

When arriving in Hong Kong, the ship (like all U.S. Navy ships) was met by Mary Soo and her slew of workers. For anyone unaware of who Mary Soo is, her family and workers would greet each ship in their small sampans. During our port visit, they would paint out the whole exterior of the ship, down to the waterline - the ship would provide the paint. They used only wadded up rags to accomplish this task. For this, they would take our food scraps by scraping all the plates (into a big bucket) at the end of our chow lines, hauling away our garbage, and taking any scrap metal offered (particularly brass). Mary Soo then re-distributes this to the poor and sells the bent nails, broken wooden crates and scrap brass she receives to pay the small wages of her painters. My roommate happened to be the ship's Boats'n (another CWO2) and he was invited, along with his chief Boatswain, to a dinner provided by Mary Soo to thank the ship. The chief couldn't make it, so the Boats'n asked me if I wanted to go - I said okay, since I didn't have anything else to do. We were picked up at fleet landing by a limo and chauffeured somewhere up into the back hills of Hong Kong. We arrived at this real nice restaurant and were greeted by an English speaking Chinese. He asked us what we liked to drink, the Boats'n, being a Mormon, asked for a coke or something. I said "how about scotch?", and he handed me a whole new bottle of Johnny Walker Black and said keep it! There were close to a hundred Chinese or so in attendance and only us two Americans. They were participating in several type of gambling games, we declined to join them and just watched - a couple fights almost broke out too from some heavy gambling losses. Then, we sat down for the big meal and what a meal it was. It was undoubtedly the best Chinese food I have ever eaten and it just kept coming and coming. I didn't ask what I was eating, I just ate it and I was totally stuffed!

 


The Mighty Chi Anchored Out In Pattaya Beach, Thailand

 

 


OPS Monkey

Operations Monkey . . . .
During this cruise, one of the Ops Officers bought a small mechanical monkey and kept it on his desk in the Ops Office. It was officially labeled "Ship's Weapons Coordinator." This monkey would do several different jigs or dances (ending with a big grin on its face), the speed and rhythm dependent upon which button (total of four selections) one pushed. This monkey became quite the morale gauge of one's mood, a slower selection if you're in a good mood or fast selection for a bad day. Also, if a lecture/meeting was in place, that had a dry or boring spot or two, someone would inadvertently (and stealthily) hit one of the buttons - this usually got a rise out of everyone. We had a lot of fun with that monkey.

Creamed by the pollywogs . . . .
On the way to Singapore, where we spent Christmas, we crossed over the equator and initiated the pollywogs on board. The day before the pollywogs are initiated, it is their day to play tricks on the shell backs. I told my boss that I wasn't going to be had and that I would be doing paperwork in my room most of the day. That was a mistake, trusting him, as he was a pollywog too. One of the men (I just learned recently that it was ETR3 Fetters) concocted a story about the SPS-43 air search radar going down and asked my boss to have me check into it. I was suspicious, but I cautiously proceeded to the radar room watching for the pollywogs on the way. When I reached the radar room, I cautiously peered in before entering, and when it looked secure I proceeded into the room. I never knew so many men could hide in an overhead and each had a full can of shaving cream! When I left the room, I was one big blob of shaving cream, from head to toe! Walking back to my room, the XO (Reimann) peered out his door, took one look at me and I said "don't ask, XO." As I walked away I could hear him laughing hysterically in his room.

WOGs
Attack of the WOGs

Room mate . . . .
My room mate was the ship's Boats'n, CWO2 Olson. His job was probably the worst job on the ship, under the Piotti/Reimann regime. Fortunately, he didn't move his family out to San Diego (left them in Utah), because he wouldn't have seen them much. This man took relentless ass chewing's from Reimann, on a daily basis due to the almost impossible task of keeping this ship's massive exterior in pristine condition. Boats'n Olson was a good man and didn't deserve the abuse that Reimann relentlessly dished out to him. This abuse eventually caused him to retire early.

 


Boats'n Olson tacks on LtJg Parker's new silver bars

 

Not easy to room with . . . .
I
wasn't the easiest guy to room with, because of the demand of my job to be available 24-7. At sea, my phone would ring several times during the night with equipment status and casualty reports from the aft ET Shop watch personnel. I was required to be aware of all equipment casualties and I would then have to relay this status, if necessary to my boss. Because of this demand, I wasn't required to stand underway watches.

 


Crossing The Equator Ceremony POD

 

 

Training junior officers. . . .
Soon after arriving on board, I was taken aside and indoctrinated, by my LT (LDO) boss, into some of the unofficial job requirements of a Warrant Officer. One of these unofficial requirements was to take new Ensigns and LTJG's under one's arm and help them in learning the Navy life. In other words, jump in their face when they need a little personal guidance. Here are a couple of those interactions that I can recall:

1. I was eating lunch in the wardroom one day, while underway, when this one junior officer jumped all over several mess stewards, chewing them out over some trivial matter. Then, he ordered one to bring him a cup of coffee. A little while later, the mess steward returned with his coffee. I waited after he took a couple sips and then said "does your coffee taste a little different, Ensign?" He gave me a funny look and then immediately got up from the table and took off! Everyone had a good laugh after he left. I will almost guarantee you that if you piss off a mess steward, he will get even!

2. On one particular day in port, the word was put out at morning quarters that haircuts were required of everyone who needed one - prior to going on liberty that evening. Well, I had the 1600 - 2000 watch on the forward brow when an Ensign, who was in badly need of a haircut, tried to leave the ship. I stopped him and reminded him of the word about getting a haircut if you needed one - and that meant officers too! I then informed him that he wasn't going off my brow until he got a haircut. He eventually left the ship, but it was after I got relieved at the end of my watch.

3. This story is from SHCM Lou Garza (the leading Ship Serviceman on board): "One day while tied up at NAS North Island on a duty day. Gunner Kriner and I were in the same duty section. I was standing by the rail when I saw Ens Sabalos coming back from what turned out to be a trip to the Base Exchange. Gunner Kriner had the quarterdeck OOD watch. As Ens Sabalos came onboard, I saw the Gunner talking to him. After the Gunner was done with him, the Ens came up to me and asked "who is that guy?" I told him who it was and then he asked, "I'm senior to him, right"? And I said "yes, sir you sure are". Then I asked him "why". And he says "he just gave me a bunch of sh** about being off the ship while on duty. I think I'll write him up." I could hardly keep from laughing, but I said "yes, sir, I would, you can't let those warrants get away with stuff like that." Don't know what happened, but I can imagine what Reimann did to him!"

4. Another Ens Sablos story from SHCM Garza: "One Sunday while underway to WestPac - A holiday routine type Sunday. I came into the CPO goat locker for brunch. After brunch, having my second cup of joe, I'm watching close circuit TV where they're showing a Robert Schuller Sunday Services program. They are singing hymns with the words showing on the screen so you can sing along with the program. Trouble was, the screen was misaligned and you could only read half the words. I decided what I could do to remedy the situation. I picked up the phone and dialed the projection room number. As luck would have it, Ens Sabalos answers the phone. I asked "hey, how do you expect us to sing the hymns if we can't read the words on the screen?" The Ensign replied " I'm sorry sir, but this is old equipment and that's the best you're going to get." I said "never mind, I'll just call the Chaplain" and slammed the phone down. Within a few seconds, the picture lined up perfectly on the screen. Everybody in the mess roared when they found out who I had been talking to."

We had our own Warrant Officer table in the wardroom mess (until Reimann eliminated it) and on each evening underway, a junior officer was assigned to dine at our table as part of broadening their educational experience. Most of them hated it because we had a lot of fun terrorizing many of them! Now, if the officer had been an ex-enlisted type, we usually left them pretty much alone. These types were a little more seasoned and could just about handle anything we threw at them anyway.

 


Steaming through some rough water in the South China Seas.


USS Chicago Bridge.


Chicago Refueling At Sea.

 

The dice . . . .
I
remember another funny incident that occurred while I was the OOD on the quarterdeck. It was while we were moored in Subic Bay. There was a requirement, for enlisted personnel below E-6, when coming back aboard ship (even if they were only dumping the trash) to go through a random drug search. The random criteria was determined by rolling a single dice, and if the number determined by the Master-of-Arms was rolled, he got searched. We were well into the last hour of this particular watch and no one had rolled the picked number - ergo, no one had been searched through this 4-hr watch. I thought the odds of this happening was pretty high, so I picked up the die and rolled it around in my fingers analyzing it. I said to the duty Master-at-Arms "do you want to know why no one has rolled a 2 (or whatever the picked number was)?" He says "no, why?" I said "that's because there is no 2 on this die!" Someone had pulled a switch on us and neither of us noticed it. He didn't think it was very funny, but I sure laughed.

To add to this dice story, I recently received an email from one of the ET's in my division - ETR3 Gary Fetters. He states "it was an OE inside job and it all started with Craig McElwain and myself bitching about rolling dice to gain entrance to the ship, we both thought it disrespectful that 2nd and 3rd class petty officers had to go thru such humiliation. I don`t know who came up with the idea first, but I think the number that won a sailor a strip search at the beginning was a two. One of us joked that changing the two to a three would be easy to accomplish, and since ET's manned the brow watch we could easily make the switch. We enlisted Donny Anderson and Steve Miller and went into one of our work spaces and practiced indenting dice, our first attempts failed, using a power drill caused the indent to be too deep, finally after ruining a few dice we figured we could put a very sharp drill bit between fingers on two hands and while using a rubbing motion (hand against hand) we could slowly drill a indent into the dice that looked perfect, next was dabbing some white paint with a cue tip and waiting for it to dry. I remember laughing until I was teary eyed. When we got it perfect, the switch was the easy part. Donny had duty that evening and I forget now if he just switched the dice or if Steve or Craig palmed the good one and tossed the bad one when returning from liberty, I think it was the later. We didn't want to implicate Donny but needed him to look the other way when the switch was made. It was a great secret not shared with many of our shipmates, we knew this could get us into big trouble so it was a silent joke shared by only a few. I think the rigged dice remained undiscovered for 3 or more watch cycles, nearly 24 hours. We knew if we managed to make the switch we would never be caught, anyone could have done this and all four of us were salty veterans and unafraid of authority. The idea that we may have helped some of the lower class types to smuggle drugs on board didn't cross our minds, our intent was not to help them, none of us used drugs (our drug of choice was San Miguel, by the gallons) we just wanted to send a message to the brown hats that they were not completely in charge".

I had no idea that any of my people were behind this trick, but I sure thought it was funny at the time. Leave it to a few ingenious smarter-than-average sailors to come up with an idea like that. Gary Fetters also confessed to me that he was the one behind the idea to sucker me into the SPS-43 Radar Room, which resulted in me being saturated with shaving cream! All I can say is "well done sailor, you sure got me good!"

My new boss arrives onboard . . . .
It was just prior to our arrival in Inchon, Korea (I believe) that my new boss, LtJg O'Donnell (promoted to LT soon after arrival), arrived on board. We hit it off right from the start. He had come from serving in several shore (overseas) admin billets and was not up to speed on electronic equipment maintenance, so we came to an immediate agreement that he would handle the admin side and I would handle the maintenance side. This relationship worked great, and working in unison with my leading Chief (ETCS Coates), we whittled down the CASREP/Down Equipment List to a manageable level - the lowest it had ever been. Lt O'Donnell was an excellent officer to work for and a very close friend to this day.

 


Lt O'Donnell (my boss) singing an Irish Ditty during onboard
talent contest while at sea.

 

Stories about Bunky . . . .
N
o story about the Chicago is complete unless you mention an individual by the name of "Bunky." He was an FT3, I believe. The first story was handed down to me from a good friend whom had served as the NTDS Maintenance Officer prior to my arrival on board (we were also fellow instructors at ETB school). Bunky was working on a fire control console down in CIC (CIC was located below the main deck on the Chicago) and he had not finished repairing it by the time CIC was being manned for an exercise. The Ops boss (CDR Gillette) asks Bunky "when will this console be fixed?" Bunky replies, in a slow hillbilly drawl, "now I don't rightly know, it might take me 15-minutes or it might take me 2-hours." I guess the CDR had to immediately walk away before he blew his top. So, this LT comes over and asks Bunky "when will the console be repaired?" Bunky says "like I told that other feller over there, it might take me 15-minutes or it might take me 2-hours!" By then, just about everyone was rolling on the decks!

Another story about Bunky happened to me. I was the OOD on the quarterdeck, just prior to Capt. Piotti's change-of-command (he was relieved by Capt. H. Lewis), while we were undergoing overhaul in the shipyards in Long Beach. On this day an Admiral was scheduled to come aboard, at any time, to visit the Captain. Needless to say, the quarterdeck was shining and all the ceremonial passageways were to remain clear - all the normal preparations for the arrival of an Admiral on the Chicago. Everything was going along fine, while we were waiting for this Admiral's arrival. All of a sudden, one of my watch standers gasped and I turned around just in time to see Bunky heading down the brow with a big plastic bag that was leaking some kind of oil! Then, I saw this trail of oil back through one of the hatches and down the passageways! Well, I figured my Navy career was over right there! As it turned out, I was able to get a bunch of bodies ASAP to help get it all cleaned up, just prior to the Admiral's arrival. The best part was the XO and CO never found out. I think I sprouted a couple gray hairs though!

Another Bunky story was relayed to me recently from ETR3 Gary Fetters. Bunky had his molars removed one day on board the ship, we were deep into the 77 West Pac, and all of us ETs were in the “coop” watching television when he walked in. His cheeks were swollen and both eyes were blacked, he looked like a raccoon that had been hit by a truck, we all laughed and teased him, he got pissed and in a drawl that dripped of deep southern Cajun, he hollered at us all as he left the space “f**k all yahawwll.” I can still hear him clearly and the laughter still makes my eyes leak.

Another Cdr Gillette story . . . .
Another story, which happened while that same old ETB School friend of mine was serving on the Chicago as NTDS Maintenance Officer, occurred during another exercise manning and it too involved CDR Gillette. One of his NTDS maintenance tech's, added a small software routine to the main NTDS software program and had forgot to remove it. When CDR Gillette sat down at his NTDS console, this monster (made up of several NTDS symbols) moves across the display and then eats the "ownship" symbol in the center of the display and then strolls off the screen! I guess the CDR just about fell out of his chair!


Talos Missile On The Rail - Forward Launcher

Talos Missile Launch, Aft Launcher

Talos Missile Launch - Aft Launcher

And, what the deck looks like after launching one of these suckers . . . .

 

Tiger Cruise, 1978 . . . .
W
e returned to the states in mid April 1978. On the way back and during an overnight stop in Pearl Harbor, the Tigers arrived on board. Tigers are male dependents, over the age of ten, who are allowed to ride the ship on the five day run back to San Diego. My son was among them. He rode the ship back to San Diego with me. He became attached to the Marines in the Marine detachment. One evening I became worried about his whereabouts and went looking for him. I found him standing in line at the soda fountain. It seems the Marines were paying him to stand in line for them. The Marines let him shoot their rifles and machine guns over the side, and he's been hooked on the Marines ever since (becoming one later himself). The ship put on a great show for the Tigers, all part of Reimann's showmanship routine.

 

CG-11 Tartar Missile Launch
Tartar Missile Launch - Port Launcher

Removal of the Bridge Radar Repeaters . . . .
T
he passageways, and hatch openings, from the quarterdeck to an area dubbed "Hollywood and Vine," was called the ceremonial passageways and placed off-limits to most personnel. The ship, having 11-levels of superstructure, also had an elevator to the 08 level (bridge) that was restricted to 05 (Commander) and above. Why do I mention all this? The ship was scheduled for an extended shipyard overhaul period in Long Beach, CA. Prior to our departure, my head Chief and I arranged with SIMA (Ship's Intermediate Maintenance Activity) in San Diego to leave behind numerous radar repeaters. These were to be overhauled and worked on by our own technicians, as a reward to the hardest workers - they were able to remain with their families in San Diego. We had two radar repeaters on the bridge that required overhaul and required removal and transportation to SIMA. The ship was moored at Pier Juliet, North Island at the time. Since Pier Juliet was essentially a condemned pier at the time, no cranes were allowed on the pier. So, the only remaining method of removing the repeaters was good old manpower. We waited until late into the evening, when the CO, XO and all senior officers were gone for the day and proceeded to remove the repeaters. We placed look-outs strategically along the route we were going to use. We manually lifted the repeaters onto dollies, rolled them into the senior officer's elevator, rode the elevator down to Hollywood and Vine, and rolled the repeaters through the ceremonial passageways, stopping to lift them through hatch openings, and right off the quarterdeck and down the brow before they knew what happened! I had one person with a small can of white paint and a paint brush following behind, painting all the nicks and gouges we left in the hatch openings. Just when we thought we were in the clear, a little later the CO returned to the ship - and he very seldom ever does this in port stateside! On his way to his cabin, through the ceremonial passageways, he inadvertently touched one of our paint touch-up spots and got wet paint on his hand. The CDO (Command Duty Officer) was following along and the CO says "why is there wet paint on these hatch openings?" The CDO (a jerk) blurts out "oh that's from Willis and his group removing radar repeaters off the ship." As you might expect, he got his butt reamed royally and I heard about it the next day. The next day, the OPs boss says to me "nice move Willis!" I said "hey, I got them off the ship didn't I?" No one would ever had known if the skipper hadn't returned before the paint had a chance to dry!

 

CG-11 5-Inch Gun In Action
5-Inch Gun - Starboard Mount - Photo courtesy of Bernard Lynch.
If you would like a print, click on the photo.

 

Capt. W.T. Piotti . . . .
Captain Piotti, along with Commander R. Wolfe (CO of USS L. Mendel CO - Captain Walter T. PiottiRivers SSN-686), were two of the best skippers I had the pleasure to serve under. In an actual combat/wartime situation, I would want to be serving under one of these men. They were brilliant tacticians, expert ship handlers, and excellent leaders. They knew how to command, they knew how to get the best and most out of their men. While underway at sea, on the Chicago, Captain Piotti required a different junior officer to dine with him in his cabin at each evening meal. I had the opportunity to dine with him on two different occasions. Looking back, what really sticks out in my mind was his genuine interest in you. I remember him asking me "how does a Ship's Serviceman Barber become a Electronics Technician Warrant Officer?" That told me he read both my enlisted and officer personnel record. I later learned that he read every officer's (and Chief's) service jacket and knew everything about you. He really took an interest in all his men - a total reversal of the philosophy of the last skipper I would serve under several years later. He went on to become CruDesGroup Five, CTF 71 (Commander of the search and rescue/salvage of KAL Flight 007, which was shot down by the Soviets), and the last I heard he was Commander of the Military Sea Lift Command.

I remember when I was called as a witness to Captains Mast. On our last night in port in Yokosuka, Japan, and a payday night no less, many crew members decided to dismantle several local business establishments in town. I had shore patrol that night and spent most the night chasing down several of these sailors. At this CO mast, one of these sailors was brought before the Captain. This particular sailor had been one we had apprehended after destroying the back bar in a bar. We chased him down and took him back to the bar, in which he was identified as the guilty party. Of course, at CO mast he denies doing it, and for the life of me I don't understand why, but his division Chief protects him by making up a story placing him somewhere else. The CO asked me if I was sure he was the man that committed the offense and I said "yes." The CO took my word and hung the young man. I always respected him for that.

One of my worst job pressure situations occurred while in WestPac (1979 cruise) and Piotti was Chief of Staff for CTF-75, I believe. I had to write my first (and last) C-4 CASREP, because all three of my air search radars were down. The SPS-48 had a chunk ripped out of the antenna (after snagging the Admiral's flag halyard), the ancient SPS-30 was down due to multiple problems, and The SPS-43 went down with a bad rotary joint or bandpass filter. Because of these causalities, we had to return to Subic Bay for emergency repairs. Capt. Piotti was sitting in the O'Club in Subic and saw the Chicago arrive. He made note of it by making comments to the current skipper about being unable to meet our mission. It was not exactly a career enhancing situation, believe me. We finally repaired the SPS-43 (and the SPS-30 a little later) and I remember ruining a pair of Khaki's climbing the mast in search of hot spots on the Bandpass Filter. Fortunately, this filter proved to be the defective component.

Throughout Capt. Piotti's tenure, we were not allowed to wear a piss-cutter (aka garrison cap, or fore&aft cap) anywhere on or off the ship. I never thought too much about the rule at the time, as I had never worn one before anyway. I don't remember when it was, after Capt. Piotti's departure or at my next duty station, but I decided to wear my piss-cutter one day. After donning the cap, I took one look in the mirror and said to myself "that has to be one of the stupidest looking caps I've ever seen on a sailor!" I immediately took it off and never put it on again. I then knew why Capt. Piotti disliked that hat.

Cdr R.T. Reimann . . . .XO - CDR R.T. Reimann
T
he XO (CDR Reimann - later a Captain and Admiral himself) was something different. Even though his "showmanship and seven P's" philosophy was extremely effective (something I learned the hard way later, in a bad decision I made that was contrary to this philosophy), I never liked his screaming and hollering techniques. I realize that he was just following orders in most situations, but chastising/vaporizing a man (especially in front of his men) for every little wrong just shows your limited management ability, in my opinion. Like many of us, after awhile it just goes in one ear and out the other. The following incidents are a sampling of some Reimann stories:

- While standing duty in-port as OOD (Officer-Of-The-Deck) on the Quarterdeck, my Boatswain of the watch screwed up the amount of bells when announcing the CO's departure. The deed was already done and he knew he had screwed up and I just looked at him, pointed at the phone, and said "you get to answer the phone!" Just as I pointed at the phone, it rang, and it was the XO. He was screaming so loud that you could have placed the phone receiver on the pier and still hear him! I guess that wasn't enough, because he came screaming out onto the quarterdeck and commenced to give us a demonstration on the proper way to ring the Ship's Bell (with our heads a few inches away) and then commenced to chew me up one side and down the other in a voice so loud, that you could hear him halfway across the base. I guess I gave him the "are you done yet" look, because I ended up standing an extra 4-hour watch.

- Another example of his vaporizing (or super ass chewing) technique occurred when one of the Engineering LDO type's wife was sending her husband a singing telegram. The individual delivering the telegram was running late, so the only strategy the XO could think of to keep the officer in the wardroom (until this individual arrived) was to start chewing on him. The poor guy had to sit there and endure this abuse until the telegram arrived. Afterwards, the XO thought it was real funny and joked about it. I don't think the officer thought it was funny at all - they divorced a few months later.

- Then, there is the infamous Rackzo story, which occurred during an abandon ship drill. All hands were hastily assembling in their assigned areas - designated as a specific Rack Number (Rack 1, Rack 2, etc,). Once assembled, a muster report is dispatched from each Rack assembly area to the bridge. After these muster reports (depicting any missing personnel) were dispatched to the bridge, we hear over the 1MC "Fireman Rackzo report to the bridge." This announcement came a few more times and when Fireman Rackzo failed to arrive, the XO started yelling for "Fireman Rackzo, report to the bridge immediately!" His yelling continued and was so loud (and he wasn't using the 1MC), we could hear him all the way back to the fantail. Finally, someone whispered in his ear that he was reading Rack 20 as Rackzo and since Rack 20 came after Rack 19 (an Engineering Rack), he assumed it was a Fireman Rackzo. There was no missing personnel after all. It was very difficult trying to eat the evening meal in the wardroom that night, as we were all trying our best not to split a gut and hold our laughter in. The XO didn't think it was very funny at all.

- One funny story, I remember, is about a christmas tree in the wardroom. The XO tasked one of the junior Ensigns with the task of trimming and decorating a christmas tree for the wardroom. To fit the tree in the wardroom, the tree needed to be trimmed down a couple feet. I remember walking into the wardroom, right past the new tree, and suddenly, something didn't seem just right and I stopped in my tracks. I looked at the tree and the top was missing! The Ensign cut two feet off the top of the tree instead of the bottom! While several other officers, and myself, were rolling on the floor, the door flew open and it was the XO. He just stood there and turned beet red! Finally, he flew out the door and I'm sure that Ensign was smoked shortly thereafter!

- Shortly after returning stateside after the 1977 WestPac, I had duty on a weekend day. Cdr Reimann showed up (a rarity on a weekend) and assembled all duty officers in the wardroom. We were tasked with selecting a hand-picked working party - picking personnel who could keep quiet about their assigned task. They were to load on a Navy truck white coral rocks and several oriental rugs (that were stored on board) and transport them to an Admiral's residence in La Jolla. They then laid down all the rugs, where the Admiral's wife wanted them, and then placed all the coral rock in her garden - and she didn't so much as offer them a glass of water. This Admiral was one of two Admirals (CruDesGru 3 and 5) that used the Chicago as his flagship as CTF-75 in WestPac. This Admiral was responsible for sending us to Hong Kong for a second time, just so he could shop for oriental rugs. He also used shipboard divers, while in Subic Bay, to gather the white coral rock. I won't say his name, but I will say that it wasn't RDM Rowden. Later, in my civilian capacity as an employee at Hughes Aircraft Ground Systems Division, this same Admiral (now retired) worked in another department. A supervisor friend of mind, that worked in his department, took great pleasure in confronting this individual whenever the opportunity arose - she considered the guy a real a**hole.

- Much later, another story occurred when I was serving on the USS Robison and Reimann was a Captain and CO of the USS Gridley. We were off the coast of San Diego and I got called to the bridge. Upon entering the bridge, the CO motioned for me to listen to the bridge radio - it was Reimann screaming over the bridge radio to a skipper of another ship that was junior to him. It seems he was trying to moor in what Reimann thought was his berth - it wasn't. The CO and I both got a good laugh over it, he knew what Reimann was like and knew of his reputation.

- Last of all, as CO of the Gridley, Captain Reimann (when he was the senior CO in the group) would make all the ships line up, when entering port, in order of each CO's seniority. Fortunately, our skipper on the Robison was fairly senior and we were always towards the head of the line.

I will say one thing in support of CDR Reimann. When mooring (especially when late in the day) alongside the pier, or outboard of another ship, he would smoke the personnel responsible for tying us up if they were not mooring us in an expeditious manner. He did care about getting the crew off on liberty as soon as possible. I remember him smoking the CDO of the USS Long Beach on one occasion, because he couldn't get a brow over to us in a timely manner. The poor guy was literally shaking afterwards.

Cdr Reimann went on to become a RADM and Commander of the Surface Combatants Directorate at NAVSEA (now Deputy ACNO(SW)). He was instrumental in developing the new single piece gasket QAWTDs (quick acting water tight doors) which are now on today's ships.

For those of you who don't remember, or if you have never heard it in the first place, Reimann's seven P's philosophy was:

Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

 

UHF Equipment . . . .
The one nightmare job, for the communication tech's, was to be assigned to the UHF Transceiver repair team. These were the old AN/SRC-20/21's which failed frequently and could be a real bear to tune at times. I got a tip from a buddy of mine that there was a warehouse full of these brand new AN/SRC-20/21's somewhere and all one had to do was fill out a requisition for as many as you needed (this suite of UHF gear was being replaced by AN/WSCs anyway). So, I decided to requisition 12 new transceivers and see if it worked. Sure enough, one day a semi-truck pulled up on the pier with 12 brand new transceivers. We just swapped drawers with the old cabinets and were up and running with all new UHF radios. Swapping just the drawers did give us a small problem with SECAS and Field Change accounting, but it was well worth it. The last WestPac on the Chicago (1979) was real smooth sailing when it came to UHF communications reliability!

 

 

New CO & XO . . . .

CO - Captain Harold S. Lewis      XO - CDR Ronald C. Trossbach
CO - Capt. H.S. Lewis and XO - Cdr. R.C. Trossbach

 

 

WestPac Cruise 1979 . . . .
I
n May 1979, we departed on another 6 month WestPac cruise with ports-o-call in Pearl Harbor HI, Subic Bay PI, Pusan Korea, Hong Kong BCC, Chinhae Korea, and Sydney Australia. We were assigned to a carrier battle group this cruise, so the liberty ports were fewer in number. My boss retired, so they combined the billets, and I ended up with both jobs. We participated in Kangaroo III, an exercise with the Australian and New Zealand Navies, and spent 8 days in Sydney Australia which made it all worth while.

 


Korean VIPs Board CG-11 In Pusan, Korea. At dusk, and until dawn, a special
watch, armed with a broom, had to be posted at the foot of the brow to ward
off the huge wharf rats that tried coming up the brow.

 

Korean antiques . . . .
W
hile in port in Chinhae Korea, I was in the XO's stateroom (with the Ops Boss) doing normal Ship's business. The XO (CDR Trossbach) had this old looking chest-of-drawers in his room. It was about five-feet tall and had a whole bunch of small drawers. We asked the XO about the chest and he said it was an old Korean antique that he had just purchased in Chinhae. He didn't know what the significance was of all the small drawers, just that it was a genuine old Korean antique. A couple minutes later, there was this knock on the XO's door and the Dental Officer stuck his head in the door. He says "hey XO, I found that Korean antique factory!" It seems he was walking down an alley-like street and noticed all kinds of activity coming from this one building. He stuck his head through the doorway and saw several Korean's assembling furniture, beating them with chains and hammers, and applying an antique finish. They were selling them like crazy to several of the officers on board! It seems there is a sucker born every minute!

Crossing the equator ceremony, October 13, 1979.

 

 

Kangaroo III . . . .
Upon completion of joint naval exercise Kangaroo III, we pulled into Sydney, Australia for 8-days of R&R. We were hosted by the wardroom of a Australian DDG (I forgot the name already). They invited us to a welcoming dinner in their wardroom, which was quite a bash. It was on the day of their country's annual Kentucky Derby type horse race, between Australia and New Zealand entries. They even had their own bookie, in the wardroom, taking bets! They put on an excellent feed, going all out, and since liquor is allowed in their Navy, we toasted with champagne and bellied up to the bar for some excellent Australian beer.

We reciprocated, with a booze-less dinner in our wardroom, but somehow it just wasn't comparable.

 

USS Chicago CG-11 Entering Sydney, Australia
The Mighty Chi Entering Sydney, Australia Harbor

 

Tiger Cruise, 1979 . . . .
O
nce again on the way back, and during an overnight stop in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, the Tigers arrived on board. This time I had six Tigers: my father-in-law, uncle-in-law, two brothers-in-law, my nephew and my son. I think my bunch of six was some kind of a record. I was touched, as the wardroom stewards fixed up an old six-man officer's berthing space (which was being used as a storeroom at the time) for them. I always looked out for them, chewing out many Ensigns and LTJG's who were always taking the cooks and stewards for granted and giving them a hard time. This was a load off my mind, because I wasn't sure where I was going to berth them all. As usual, the ship put on a great show for them and they all had a ball.

 


[Click On Button To View]

 

Military career involves some luck too . . . .
I've always said that making a career in the military involves some luck as well as doing your job well. If you're in the wrong place at the right (or wrong) time, your career can be over in a heartbeat - I don't care how good you are. This almost happened to me while serving on the Chicago. During the 1979 WestPac cruise, I had a new spacious office - since the Talos Missile System had been recently decommissioned and one of the equipment spaces converted to an office. It is the usual custom, when purchasing merchandise overseas, to store them in a special secure community space on board. For security reasons, it works well. It can be a pain in the rear when trying to get them out though, due to the space being open only at special hours and having to stand in long lines at times. On this cruise, I had some rattan bedroom furniture special built in the Philippines and since I had such a large office, I got special permission to store the furniture in my office. It was all wrapped in brown paper and securely tied down. Upon arrival back in the states, on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to use my father and his van (since he was visiting at the time) to get the furniture off the ship and home. Before going further, I must explain that the Chicago (along with all ships in the US Navy) have a policy of inspecting all items entering and leaving the ship at the quarterdeck. Upon lugging this furniture off the ship, I asked the OOD if he wanted me to remove all the brown paper wrapping so he could inspect the inside of the items. He said no, and I proceeded off the ship. After we got home, I unloaded the furniture into the garage and removed all the brown wrapping paper. After removing the wrapping, I opened one of the drawers to look inside. Upon opening the drawer, with my wife and father looking over my shoulder, I noticed all these small aluminum packages inside the drawer. I opened one and immediately grabbed them all and ran into the house and flushed them all down the commode! My wife and father both had a bewildered look on their faces and asked "what was all that about?" I said "it was dope - hashish in fact!" Someone on board, one of my personnel no doubt, had evidently stashed it inside and hoped to get it off the ship before I removed the furniture. I did tell the OPs boss about it the next day, so he would know about it. BUT, if they had removed that wrapping paper on the quarterdeck, inspected the furniture as they should have, and found that stuff?!! It could have been the end of my career right there!!

 

USS Chicago CG-11 sailing past Pt. Loma, San Diego, CA
The Mighty Chi Passing Pt. Loma

 


USS Chicago CG-11 - Painting By Wilson Rohan

 

8'O'Clock Reports . . . .
A
couple months prior to decommissioning, while on a short cruise at sea, most of the senior Operations Officers (including the Ops Boss) did not accompany the ship. The most senior type, left in charge, was this new nerdish type 90-day wonder LTCDR. At sea, during the evening 8 o'clock reports (where the evening's latest info and orders were delved out), the XO wasn't happy about something that Operations Department was responsible for and decided to vent on the Ops Dept Rep - this nerd. I and several other officers were sitting in the Ops Office, kicked back with our feet up on the desks, waiting for the latest info to be disseminated. Well I guess the XO really let loose on this nerd LTCDR, and being the senior officer in Ops, he figured on passing it on down. He burst through the door (slamming it against the bulkhead) and stood there, all puffed up like a male prairie grouse in heat or something. Before he could bust loose on us, we all burst out laughing, and Ltjg Parker and I fell out of our chairs because we were laughing so hard! He was the funniest thing we had ever seen! He got so flustered that he just slammed the door and left - we never did get the latest info.

Here are some great shots taken from the deck of the USS Ranger CV-61, while operating some where off the Philippines in 1979. Photos are courtesy of PH3 Kevin Stanton on board the USS Ranger. Thank you Kevin.


 

Some reflection . . . .
Looking back, I would have to say the Chicago was the best ship I've had the pleasure serving on. The USS Chicago CG-11 was commissioned 2/45 and in March of 1980, the Chicago was retired and decommissioned.

 


Wardroom Acey Deucy Championship Game with me and the
Commo (LCDR R. Meade). I had to beat the CO to get to this
championship game, but I lost to the Commo.

 


POD - A Month Prior To Decommissioning

 



My wife, son and daughter - Dependents cruise, 1978.

 






My son & the 1978 Tiger Cruise.



My six Tigers on the 1979 Tiger Cruise.

Ranks Attained:

Chief Warrant Officer W-3, Electronics Technician (Temporary)

Senior Chief Petty Officer, Electronics Technician (Permanent)

The Mighty Chi Making A Turn At Sea (Pre-SPS-48 Radar)

History of the USS Chicago (CG-11)

CLASS - BALTIMORE
Displacement 13,600 Tons, Dimensions, 674'
Height (keel to highest antenna) 215 feet
Armor, 6" Belt, 2 Twin TALOS Systems, 2 Twin TARTAR Systems,
1 ASROC System, 2 Triple Torpedo Tubes, 2 Five inch 38 Caliber Guns,
2 ASW Helicopters
Machinery, 120,000 SHP; G. E. Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 1200.

1947: USS Chicago (CA-136) departed her Japanese assignment and made for Bangor, Washington to offload her ammunition. After a five month deactivation overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, she was decommissioned on 6 June 1947 and assigned to the Bremerton Group, U.S. Pacific Reserve Fleet. The USS Chicago (CA-136) remained inactive for the next twelve years.

1958: On 1 November 1958 Chicago was reclassified CG-11 and towed to San Francisco Naval Shipyard to begin a five-year conversion to a guided missile cruiser. Begun on 1 July 1959, the entire superstructure was removed and replaced with new aluminum compartments, modernized electronic systems, and an improved NTDS equipped combat information center. Representative of the new technological focus on guided missiles, Chicago was refitted with Tartar and Talos SAM stowage, loading, launching, and guidance systems. Triple torpedo tubes, two ASROC launchers, two 5-inch/38 guns, and two antisubmarine helicopters rounded out the cruisers’ modifications.


Chicago undergoing conversion to CG-11, Sept. 1961

1964: Designed to provide long-range air, surface, and sub-surface defense for task forces, Chicago recommissioned at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard on 2 May 1964 and was assigned to Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Nine, Pacific Fleet. Preliminary acceptance trials were conducted throughout the summer until 2 September when Chicago officially joined the First Fleet as an active unit. Following sonar calibration and deperming in Puget Sound the cruiser arrived at her home port of San Diego to begin weapons systems qualifications. Examination and evaluation of the new missile systems were completed by 2 December, following successful trials at the Pacific Missile Range off southern California.

1965: On 4 January 1965 the cruiser shifted to Long Beach to begin a series of shock tests off San Clemente Island. Equipment tests, as well as damage control exercises, were completed by mid-January. Chicago then departed the area for San Francisco for alterations, receiving upgraded Tartar missile systems and improved electronics. The warship returned to San Diego on 17 April. For the next two months Chicago continued shakedown training, engineering, navigation, and seamanship drills as well as missile and electronic exercises. In mid-June the cruiser began Talos fire control developmental testing with the Naval Electronics Laboratory. This, and later tests, examined guidance improvements and experimented with missile replenishment at sea. During fleet exercise “Hot Stove” in August-September, Chicago practiced anti-air and ASW operations, including firing ASROC and tube-launched torpedoes against submerged "enemy" submarines. Following an ECM exercise Chicago participated in a competitive missile firing exercise and won a gold Missilery "E" for her Tartar battery. During the first week of October the warship participated in another anti-air exercise, this time shooting down two high-speed, high-altitude drones with Talos and Tartar missiles. After a cruise to Hawaii from 19 October to 3 November, during which the cruiser practiced tactical data sharing training with Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) and Mahan (DLG-11), the ship finished out the year conducting tests and exercises in the San Diego area.

1966: Local operations continued in the spring, including more missile evaluation tests through February 1966. Returning to San Diego on 4 March the ship underwent operational readiness, technical proficiency, boiler, electronics, and nuclear warfare acceptance inspections. In April, the warship participated in Exercise "Gray Ghost," where the cruiser operated as tactical flagship for the anti-air warfare commander, Rear Admiral E. Zumwalt On 12 May Chicago got underway for her first Vietnam deployment. After stopping at Pearl Harbor and Yokosuka, where a new radar antenna was installed, the ship arrived at Subic Bay on 12 June. Picking up her helicopter detachment the cruiser departed the next day for duty with Task Force 77 on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf. On 15 June Chicago began evaluating the concept of radar surveillance of all U.S. Navy air operations over designated areas of the Gulf and North Vietnam. Known as PIRAZ, for "positive identification and radar advisory zone," the initial duties of tracking friendly aircraft was expanded to include Air Force planes, controlling barrier combat air patrols, advising support aircraft, and coordinating strike information with the Air Force reporting center at Da Nang, South Vietnam. After a port visit to Hong Kong, where the ship had to avoid a typhoon on 17 July, the cruiser returned to Yankee Station on 29 July. On her second PIRAZ tour, in early August, Chicago assumed the duties of anti-air warfare commander for short periods of time and demonstrated the ability of a CG to track complex air operations. After a practice Talos missile shot off Okinawa on 27 August, and a short visit to Keelung, Taiwan, the ship returned to her station on 7 September. The cruiser, expanding air duties once again, soon became the primary source for MIG warning information, and assumed surveillance responsibility for the North Vietnamese-Chinese border. On her fourth PIRAZ tour, from 25 October to 12 November, the cruiser helped improve these procedures, particularly in the area of joint Air Force-Navy cooperation. Enroute to Sasebo, via Subic Bay, the cruiser stopped at the Okinawa Missile Range to fire two more practice missiles on 18 November. Arriving in Japan on 19 November the ship visited Yokosuka before departing for home on 27 November. Sailing in rough seas the ship completed the non-stop voyage on 7 December. The cruiser remained at San Diego for the remainder of the year.

1967: Starting in January 1967, the cruiser settled into the busy routine of training, exercises, and inspections. Underway for such widely divergent responsibilities as providing guest cruises for the Secretary of the Navy, serving as First Fleet flagship, and air warfare exercises with Constellation (CVA-64), the cruiser spent the first five months of the year off California. In both April and May Chicago conducted experimental Talos missile tests against surface targets to demonstrate missile versatility. Following readiness inspections the cruiser departed 6 June for an Alaskan cruise with Commander First Fleet. Arriving in Juneau on 10 June, the ship paid an official visit to that city before returning to San Diego eleven days later. After another fleet exercise in July, where Chicago's Talos battery scored a direct hit on a drone at a range of 96 miles, the cruiser spent August conducting official visits to Seattle, Vancouver, and Esquimalt, British Columbia. Assigned to tender availability on 1 September, the ship received boiler and other repairs and inspections from Isle Royale (AD-29) before departing for another WestPac deployment on 11 October. After departing Pearl Harbor on 18 October, the warship assisted in vectoring aircraft to the site of a Navy F-8 Crusader crash site, successfully rescuing the pilot. Arriving on station in the Gulf of Tonkin three weeks later, via Yokosuka, Okinawa, and Subic Bay, the ship relieved Belknap (DLG-26), beginning PIRAZ duties on 12 November. These responsibilities, improved over the past year, included radar surveillance, coordinating barrier CAP and rescue operations, providing MIG and border warnings, and a wide variety of communication and real-time data sharing services.

1968: After a visit to Hong Kong, from 16 to 21 December, the cruiser moved to Subic Bay for an inport availability period. Completed 3 January 1968 Chicago steamed to Singapore, for a short rest period, before returning to the PIRAZ station on 13 January. On 28 January, following the seizure of Pueblo (AGER-2) by North Korea, the cruiser steamed to the Sea of Japan to help coordinate air activities for the carriers of Task Group 70.6. On 7 February, as the crisis eased, Chicago departed to resume PIRAZ duties in the Gulf of Tonkin. Following two more PIRAZ cruises, Chicago departed Subic Bay on 1 May for home. Arriving in San Diego on 15 May, via Guam and Pearl Harbor, the cruiser began preparations for an overdue yard period. After a brief diversion to the Pacific Missile Range, to conduct experimental aircraft tracking and missile firings, the cruiser entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 1 July for a regular repair period. Repainted and rewired, Chicago spent the remainder of the year conducting inspections, and the usual machinery and electronics sea trials. The cruiser was also awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her efforts in developing the PIRAZ concept on her Western Pacific cruises in 1966 and 1967-68.

1969: On 31 January 1969 Chicago concluded her missile systems qualifications tests, including a Talos test firing against a missile drone, before departing for her third cruise to the Western Pacific on 13 February. Arriving at Subic Bay the cruiser underwent ten days of upkeep and type training before assuming duties as PIRAZ ship on 11 March. Twelve days later the ship began additional Search and Rescue (SAR) duty in the Gulf. This involved maintaining two helicopters on patrol station to provide rescue coverage for Naval aircraft reconnaissance missions. On 17 April Chicago was ordered to proceed to the Sea of Japan, off Korea, for duty with Task Force 71. In response to the shooting down of a Navy EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft by North Korean fighters on 14 April, that killed all 31 personnel on board, the Task Force patrolled the Sea of Japan during the crisis that followed. The cruiser provided PIRAZ and screening duties for the carriers, and their constant air patrols, until 27 April when the ship departed for upkeep at Sasebo, Japan. Following repairs, Talos and Tartar missile tests at the Okinawa missile range, and picking up a group of midshipmen at Da Nang on 23 May, Chicago conducted another long PIRAZ/SAR tour from 23 May to 1 July. After upkeep at Yokosuka, a visit to Hong Kong, and a typhoon evasion, the cruiser returned to the Gulf of Tonkin on 1 August to continue radar surveillance, electronic countermeasures, and missile screen duties. Departing 25 August, the cruiser returned, via Subic Bay, Guam, and Pearl Harbor, to San Diego on 17 September. After a leave and upkeep period, followed by a tender availability that installed Zuni chaff dispensers, the cruiser finished out the year conducting local training exercises, operations at the missile test range, and the never-ending inspection routine.

1970: Chicago, still serving as flagship for Commander First Fleet, began the new year quietly, with team training at the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare school in San Diego. Several fleet exercises, two missile firing tests, and inspections filled the months until 12 June 1970 when the cruiser underwent a two week repair and alteration period. All four Talos fire control systems were upgraded to include anti-ship targeting and an experimental video target tracker was installed. Communications security, nuclear safety, and operational readiness inspections, as well as final engineering checks, were completed by the end of August. Despite cutbacks that had substantially lowered her crew component, the cruiser sailed for Vietnam on 9 September. Arriving on station 3 October Chicago conducted PIRAZ and search coordination duties until 7 November when the ship steamed into Yokosuka for upkeep.

1971: Following two other line periods, the second ending on 18 February 1971, the ship began the return voyage to San Diego. After stops in Subic Bay and Guam, Chicago responded to a distress call from Knox (DE-1052) on 3 March. The destroyer, suffering a loss of power due to a fire in engineering, was taken under tow until a fleet tug arrived at the scene from Pearl Harbor. Upon arrival in San Diego on 11 March the cruiser began the usual post-deployment leave and upkeep period. Supply replenishment, inspections, and a midshipmen's cruise in June and July, were followed by exercises, inspections, and a dependent-guest cruise into October. After a final readiness test, and embarking five guests of the Secretary of the Navy, Chicago departed for another deployment on 6 November. After a weekend stop at Pearl Harbor, where the passengers were debarked, the ship stopped at Guam, and Subic Bay, before arriving in the Gulf of Tonkin on 6 December. Assigned to PIRAZ duty, except for a short port visit to Singapore, the cruiser supported Navy and Air Force aircraft missions into the new year.

 


USS Chicago refueling USS Towers DDG-9

 

1972: While on station four Talos missile launches were conducted, two each in February and March, but no hits were registered. Radar surveillance and air coordination continued until the end of March when, despite a dramatic rise in North Vietnamese trawler traffic, the cruiser began departure from the Gulf. On 3 April 1972 Chicago was recalled to her station in response to the North Vietnamese Army's invasion of the south. The scale of U.S. air operations increased dramatically as strike and interdiction missions, designed to restrict the movement of men and supplies, were conducted throughout North Vietnam. The cruiser monitored all aircraft flying over the gulf, directed friendly CAP, and, despite intense electronic jamming, coordinated fighter escorts during the mid-April B-52 raids against the North Vietnamese. By maintaining a complete air picture Chicago vectored damaged bombers around enemy missile sites, set up tanker rendezvous points for planes low on fuel, and directed helicopters on rescue operations. The cruiser also directed friendly fighters against North Vietnamese aircraft. During April and May Chicago's air intercept controllers directed Navy and Air Force aircraft on CAP missions that were credited with 14 MIG's shot down. Another MIG was credited to Chicago's score when the cruiser's aft Talos battery scored a long-range kill on 9 May. Two days later, while supporting mining operations off Haiphong Harbor, the cruiser came under heavy fire from enemy shore batteries but was able to open the range without suffering any damage. On 21 June the ship, after a month of surveillance and directing air strikes against Haiphong harbor traffic, finally departed for San Diego. Arriving home on 8 July the ship underwent a local availability before entering Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 25 August for a Complex Overhaul. During this refit Chicago received new digital fire control systems, replacing the old analog computers, installed new missile launchers, and expanded her electronics equipment. The cruiser was also awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for Vietnam Service, the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy, and her seventh consecutive "E" for excellence in missilery.

 

The Distinguished 1971-72 WestPac Deployment


June 21, 1972 - Chicago sailed home to San Diego with 15 red MiGs painted on the flying bridge.

Article from Stars & Stripes

The following is a description of the events that lead to the above Stars & Stripes article, as told by FTM1 William J. Comment, who served on the Chicago from Sep 30, 1970 to may 5, 1975.

June 26, 1971. The Secretary of the Navy awarded USS Chicago the Meritorious Unit Commendation for severely restricting North Vietnamese air movement during the 1970-71 Viet Nam tour. It was presented by Rear Admiral Douglas C. Plate, USN, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, US Pacific Fleet in a change of command ceremony, to former Commanding Officer, Captain Stanley T. Counts, USN.

May 9, 1972

On the 1971-72 cruise, I was an FTM2 in T1 Division, on AN/SPG-49B target tracking radar/director #1 of forward Talos missile battery. My duty was to lock-on and track North Vietnamese MiG fighters, feeding target data to the missile launch computer. We tried to prevent the MiGs from interfering with US fighter/bombers, and keep them from flying south, or toward us. We worked a schedule of 12 and 12 as soon as we cleared Point Loma. Midnight to noon, or noon to midnight, every day at sea, switching halfway through a cruise. There were dozens and dozens of MiG alerts. There were so many, that General Quarters got modified to Missile Quarters, so only the missile techs went. I heard the Hanoi-Hai Phong corridor was the most heavily defended airspace in all US history. Getting a weapons- free order was tricky because our own planes were usually in the area. Shooting down our own plane would have been some really bad ju-ju. Anyway we kept the MiGs real busy beating radar lock and a possible Chicago missile launch, and interfered with their ops significantly.

The crazy Rules of Engagement prevented the US from sinking cargo ships crowded into Hai Phong harbor, down river from Hanoi. We heard they were loaded with missiles, ammo, fuel, and rice. So the US mined that harbor and some others down the coast. I read recently that 11,000 mines were used in the operation. Chicago's mission was to vector mine-laying bombers and F4 Wild Weasel anti-radar/jammer planes over the port of Hai Phong and the MiG airbases. The Weasels were supposed to be good at taking out SAM sites. We were told that the jamming was to block enemy radars. And we were NOT to lock onto any target below 5000 ft. where US jammers and mine laying bombers were flying low. Chicago had weapons-free only above 5000 ft. When the North Vietnamese realized their radars were jammed, they scrambled 4 MiGs up to see what was going on. We were waiting.

Talos radar #1, hot as usual, was assigned the targets. We locked-on in 2 seconds and had 4 targets visible on the range scope. But because the MiGs were flying real close together, the narrow pencil beam radar signal moved across all 4 MiG wing-tips making the tracking servos waver too much. Because our own planes were in the area, CIC hesitated to launch missiles. I switched the radar track amplifiers to wide bandwidth, smoothing out the radar signal and the servo tracking. We reported to CIC that the radar track was now steady.

Chicago then fired a Talos missile on system #1, followed in 5 seconds by another Talos on system #2, tracking the same targets. CIC had an option to connect the forward radars to the aft launcher to avoid shaking the small guidance radars with missile blast. The ram-jet powered Talos was designed to fly at 45000 feet and come down on top of grouped targets, exploding by proximity fuse. The 4 targets showed no evasion during missile flight. The MiG pilots were probably blinded by the jammers. They never knew what hit them. As missile #1 intercepted the targets, the 200 lb. TNT warhead and remaining missile jet fuel on the Talos caused a massive explosion visible on the radar range scope. The full MiG fuel tanks probably exploded also. Out of the explosion, 2 of the 4 targets very slowly moved out of radar sight. They could have been falling. The first 2 MiGs were vaporized. System #2 missile reached intercept, but there was nothing left to fuse on. Missile #2 flew through and had to be self-destructed. Our radio discipline broke down with loud yelling, grand cheering, whooping, and back slapping. I'm 99% sure we exploded 2 MiGs with one missile and maybe damaged the other 2. In all the Talos test firings I had seen, there was never the explosion debris on the scopes like that day. Maybe we got 4 MiGs with one missile? Now that would be legendary. Chicago was credited with one though. The airspace suddenly got eerily quiet and we had no further MiG alerts during the operation.

July 3, 1973. The Secretary of the Navy awarded USS Chicago the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service for the 1971-72 tour to Viet Nam.

For this tour USS Chicago CG-11 received these Letters of Commendation from :

Well Done! USS CHICAGO's eight-month deployment has been magnificent. As you head for San Diego the officers and men of CHICAGO can look back with great pride to a job well done. Your record of MIG kills as both an air control ship and an AAW ship using your own missile battery is unequaled. I know that an outstanding performance like yours is possible only when the dedication, leadership and technical skill throughout the ship are of the very highest. You have my wholehearted admiration and best wishes for a happy voyage home. WELL DONE.
Admiral B.A. Clarey, USN, Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet

CHICAGO sails for San Diego after completing her most distinguished deployment ever. Extended two months past original outchop, the long hours you logged while on PIRAZ were rewarded with outstanding results. Shooting down one MIG with your TALOS, you assisted in the splashing of another dozen with brilliant performances from your Air Intercept Controllers. Though the high tempo of operations required maximum effort from everyone, CHICAGOMEN responded in truly inspiring fashion with superior performance and enthusiasm second to none. SEVENTH Fleet is indeed proud to have witnessed your achievements.
Vice Admiral J.L. Holloway III, USN, Commander Seventh Fleet

As CHICAGO departs WESTPAC, I wish to express my sincere admiration for a singularly outstanding combat performance during your deployment. Your professionalism demonstrated in support of Task Force Seventy Seven ans SEVENTH Air Force operations in the Gulf of Tonkin and over North Vietnam is a source of great pride to us. CHICAGO turns homeward bound a legendary man-of-war.
Rear Admiral D.W. Cooper, USN, Commander Attack Carrier Strike Force

As you depart the western Pacific you can do so with the knowledge and satisfaction that you have made a most significant contribution to our nations mission in Southeast Asia. CHICAGO set the standard in the Northern Gulf of Tonkin during a most challenging period. Your record is a source of pride to all Cruiser-Destroyermen.
Rear Admiral W.H. Rogers, USN, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group SEVENTH Fleet

To command a ship is a privilege. To command CHICAGO during this deployment was an honor. My admiration and respect for your husbands, sons and brothers who served so nobly in combat knows no bounds. I am in their debt. Thank you for sharing them with me. God bless you all.
Captain T. W. McNamara, USN

RDCS Larry H. Nowell traveled to the White House to receive the Distinguished Service Cross from President Nixon.

July 3, 1973.  The Secretary of the Navy awarded USS Chicago the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service for the 1971-72 tour to Viet Nam.

1973: On 15 May 1973 Chicago began carrying out six months of sea trials, tests, and training evolutions. New equipment and combat coordination procedures were also implemented, extending the cruiser's operational readiness date to 14 December.

1974: Finally, after refresher training, fleet exercises, and weapons load-out, the cruiser departed for another WestPac deployment on 21 May 1974. After arrival at Subic Bay on 15 June, the ship prepared for an extended cruise with Fanning (DE-1076), George K. MacKenzie (DD-836), and the oiler Passumpsic (AO-107). Designed to counter the Soviet Navy's presence in Somalia and Aden on the Indian Ocean, the low-key port visits were intended to demonstrate that "the Indian Ocean is not a Russian lake". Departing Subic Bay on 25 June the squadron passed through the Straits of Molocca on 2 July and arrived at Karachi, Pakistan, six days later. Underway on 13 July Chicago and her escorts began a month long at sea period, "showing the flag" in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, before arriving at Mombassa, Kenya, on 9 August. A week later, in an effort to influence Russian negotiations for basing rights in the Mauritius Islands, the squadron conducted a diplomatic port visit to Port Louis. Toward this end Chicago, on 21 August, embarked several Mauritian government officials for a two-day cruise to Rodrigues Island. Departing on 23 August the ships returned to Subic Bay, via Singapore, for upkeep on 11 September. Following a visit to Hong Kong in early October, the cruiser spent the next month conducting training and fleet exercises in the Philippines area until getting underway for Guam on 17 November. After a week at Apra the ship departed on 29 November for San Diego. Arriving home on 14 December the ship remained in port, for leave, repairs, and upkeep, into March 1975.

1975: Technical inspections and equipment modifications, interspersed with a visit by a delegation of French officials, lasted until April when the ship conducted interim refresher training in the southern California operating areas. Following a series of missile tests in late May, and fleet exercises with Pacific naval units, the cruiser visited Seattle for the fourth of July celebrations. After a visit to Vancouver the following week, Chicago returned to San Diego to begin overhaul preparations. From 9 September to 24 October the cruiser underwent a major restricted availability as repairs were conducted to fuel tanks, boiler casings, and the main propulsion plant. Additional upkeep, tender availability, and type training continued through the new year as the cruiser prepared for another deployment.

1976: In February 1976 personnel in the Operations department underwent extensive team training in anti-air, anti-submarine, and electronic warfare in preparation for a fleet exercise in March. That operation, exercise "Valiant Heritage", took place from 2 March to 11 March with forces from Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the United States. Following a month in port, and several service inspections, Chicago left San Diego on 13 April to deploy to the Western Pacific. Sailing with an amphibious group the cruiser conducted multi-ship exercises, both before and after Pearl Harbor, and arrived at Yokosuka on 3 May. Task group exercises with Midway (CV-41), "Multiplex 2-76" from 19 to 25 May and "Multiplex 3-76" in the South China Sea from 4 to 7 June, and port visits to Subic Bay and Keelung, occupied Chicago through June. After a midshipmen cruise from Yokosuka to the Philippines in early July, the cruiser began an inport period lasting until 2 August. On 4 August the cruiser participated in "Multiplex 1-7T", followed by a successful missile firing exercise off Poro Point, Luzon, on 7 August. Returning to Subic Bay for two weeks of upkeep, the cruiser sailed for Hong Kong on 22 August. Arriving three days later, after avoiding the third typhoon of the deployment, the ship spent six days in that liberty port. Leaving Hong Kong on 31 August, Chicago joined rendezvous with Enterprise (CVN-65) for a war-at-sea exercise lasting until 8 September, before returning to Subic for a lengthy upkeep period. Repainting the exterior, and interior improvements lasted until 27 September when the cruiser got underway for home. Stopping at Guam on 1 October, to refuel, and Pearl Harbor on 9 October, for a dependents cruise, the ship finally returned to San Diego on 16 October.

1977: The cruiser remained in port, receiving boiler repairs and equipment upgrades, until 23 February when the ship began post-repair sea trials and crew training. Following inspections, and ordnance loadout at Seal Beach on 3 March, Chicago began a regular schedule of training operations out of San Diego. These exercises, including helicopter pad training, simulated missile and torpedo attacks, and other similar drills, continued until 6 September when the ship got underway for her eighth WestPac tour. Chicago arrived in Subic Bay on 30 September, after multi-ship exercises that included four missile shots while underway, to begin a series of operations with Seventh Fleet. Missile shots and convoy exercises off Mindoro, a barrier exercise off Buckner Bay, and visits to Yokosuka, Keelung, and Hong Kong lasted until late November. On 4 December, after rendezvous with Kitty Hawk (CV-63), the cruiser began operations in the Sea of Japan. Helicopter and underway replenishments were interrupted two days later, when the formation was circled by two Soviet "Badger" reconnaissance planes, but exercises continued until 8 December. Departing the area, Chicago steamed south to Subic Bay, for sonar exercises with Queenfish (SSN-651), arriving at Singapore on 23 December. After the holidays the cruiser moved to Phattaya Bay, Thailand on 30 December.


CG-11 Mooring At Alava Pier, Subic Bay.

1978: Departing 4 January 1978 the cruiser visited Subic Bay and Hong Kong before starting a month of exercises in the Philippine Sea. Gunfire exercises, helicopter operations, unreps, and other drills, including a real man overboard rescue on 28 February, lasted until 4 March when Chicago moored at Manila. After repairs and upkeep the ship steamed for Guam on 16 March, arriving five days later to refuel, before arriving in Pearl Harbor on 31 March. After returning to San Diego on 7 April the ship remained in upkeep status until 24 July 1978 when the cruiser moved to Long Beach to start a regular overhaul. Repairs at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard lasted until 18 October when the cruiser conducted two days of sea trials. Finishing work continued until 25 October when Chicago departed the shipyard. After two days of operations with England and Darter (SS-576), the cruiser moved back to San Diego to begin a regular schedule of training exercises.

1979: These short cruises, concentrating on gunnery and underway training, lasted through February 1979. A number of propulsion and electronic service inspections were also conducted. On 5 March, during exercises off southern California, the cruiser also earned her eleventh consecutive Missile "E". After a month long pre-deployment period the cruiser departed 30 May for the cruiser's final cruise to the Western Pacific. Chicago escorted Kitty Hawk (CV-63) to Pearl Harbor, conducting exercises with Jouett (CG-29), Lang (FF-1060), and Wabash (AOR-5) along the way, before steaming on to Subic Bay on 13 June. Fleet exercises off Okinawa, and a port visit to Pusan, South Korea, at the end of July, were followed by refugee surveillance in the South China Sea. There, along with other Seventh Fleet ships, she helped rescue Vietnamese refugees fleeing the mainland, picking up five herself. Escort duties for Kitty Hawk continued through September when, on 6 October, she sailed for Australia. On 15 October, after memorial services for two cruisers lost in the Soloman Islands battles during World War Two, HMAS Canberra and USS Chicago, the cruiser began two weeks of exercises in the Coral Sea. After the exercise, involving seven U.S. ships and twenty Australian and New Zealand vessels, the ship visited Sydney, Australia, for a week long port visit. Returning to San Diego on 17 December, via Subic Bay and Pearl Harbor, the cruiser began preparations for inactivation.

 


USS Chicago on her last cruise.

 

1980: A pre-decommissioning inspection classified the cruiser as unfit for further economical naval service, due the high cost of modernization required, and on 1 March 1980 Chicago was decommissioned at San Diego. Towed to the Inactive Ship Facility at Bremerton, Washington, the ship was held in reserve until 8 February 1989. Stripped of equipment by 11 August the hulk was sold for scrap to Southwest Recycling, Inc., Terminal Island, California on 9 December 1991.

The Chicago lived up to her reputation as "The World's Most Powerful Guided Missile Cruiser," earning eleven consecutive "E's" for missilery excellence - a record unsurpassed in American Naval history. Each USS Chicago proved to be the epitome of American Naval might in their own times - ships of formidable might, enviable efficiency and proud tradition that will go long remembered.

 


Chicago Earns 11th Missile "E" - U.S. Navy Record

 

Ships Bearing The Name Of Chicago


USS Chicago CA-14 - The First Chicago

 


USS Chicago CA-29 - Sank In WWII Battle Of Rennell Island on
January 30, 1943 by Japanese Torpedo Planes.


Click on above image to view a slide show of photos from
the photo album of Alfred J. St. Lawrence, who served on
board the USS Chicago CA-29 from 1936 to 1939. Photos
were provided courtesy of his son Jerry.

 


USS Chicago CA-136 - Later Converted To CG-11

 


CA-136 undergoing conversion to CG-11

 


USS Chicago CG-11 - Recommissioning At San Francisco Naval
Shipyard, May 2, 1964

 


USS Chicago SSN-721 - The Lastest Chicago


USS Chicago SSN-721 - Sept. 11, 2001 Tribute in Pearl Harbor, HI

 

A Sad Ending For A Grand Lady

ChicagoDismantling1

ChicagoDismantling2
USS Chicago CG-11 - Being Scrapped At Southwest Recycling, Terminal Island, CA

 

This touching comment was sent to me recently, from Gary Fetters. "I cried one foggy day in 1990 while standing alone in the rain on a lonely pier in Bremerton Washington. I was taking my youngest to a soccer game in Bremerton and was stunned to see the Chicago tied up along side the pier closest to the highway. I had to stop, my heart was racing, it was like seeing a long lost lover one more time. The ship was as lonely as I was at that moment and I longed to touch her again, I wanted to once more walk the decks, and to stand at Hollywood and Vine, once more. I wanted to see my initials carved into the overhead above my rack, next to a sailors who did so 30 years prior to me. I had not thought of the Chicago in years and in a minute all the memories rushed back all at once and there I stood. Tears streaming down my cheeks wishing I had one more day on board."

I believe many ex-Chicago sailors would share the same sentiment, Gary.

 

In The City Of Chicago, Her Memory Lives On

USS Chicago CG-11 Anchor on display at end of Navy Pier in the city of Chicago. The city originally intended to buy the USS Chicago and bring it to Chicago as a musuem, but the deal fell through and they settled on displaying one of the 8-ton anchors.

I would like to know whatever happened to all the silver serving ware, that was in the display cases in the Officer's Wardroom on board the Chicago? Most, of this silver serving ware was a gift from the city of Chicago in the first place, so I would think it all went back to the city of Chicago. If anyone knows where it now resides, I would appreciate it if you would drop me a line (or make an entry in my guestbook below) and let me know. Thank you.

 


Please Sign My Guest Book

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