Wednesday, August 01, 2007

This person made it to the very top!

In 1979 I was assigned to the USS Fox CG-33 where it was in an overhull in Bremerton, WA. When I checked in, I spoke with the Engineering Officer, a LCDR Michael Mullen. On Sept 25, 1979 LCDR Mullern wrote this:

1. At about 0545 on the morning of 25 September 1979 I went to Number Two Engineroom to check on the plant status. I was informed by the MMOW, MM2 NORBY that he had planned to shift from steaming auxilary to modified main at about 0600. All conditions seemed normal.

2. At about 0610 I was sitting in the log room, located immediately above Number Two Engineroom, and I heard a loud explosion and felt a strong shock in the deck in the log room, which is the overhead of Number Two Engineroom. I proceeded to the main entrance door to Number Two Engineroom, opened it, and saw a space filled with steam. I then went to Main Control and ordered fires to be secured in number 2A boiler. MM3 WISCH ordered BTl RUSSEL to put fires out. I then went back to Number Two Engineroom. I met MM2 Norby in the passageway outside the entrance to the engineroom. He had blood all over his face and down the front of his jumper. He was coherent and aware that some thing had happened and knew he had been attempting to light off Number Two Circ Pump. I asked him if he were ok, or felt ok, and he said he did. I directed him to lie down in the passageway. Another FOX sailor (ROBBINS I think) was present and I told him to get the corpsman.

3. I then went down to Number Two Engineroom. When I arrived on the upper level, most of the steam in the space had dissipated" What remained was in the areas of the generators and switchboards. I came across MM2 LARSEN in the vicinity of the air ejectors. He appeared to be wandering aimlessly. He was covered in blood from head to toe and appeared to have severe facial cuts as well as his right arm being cut up badly. I brought MM2 LARSEN over to MM2 PERRY at the bottom of the ladder and directed him to remove LARSEN from the space. I then went to the telephone in Number Two Engineroom and called the quarterdeck. I told the Petty Officer of the Watch that “this is an emergency, call an ambulance.” Shortly, thereafter, MM2 PERRY returned to Number Two Engineroom. I there confirmed with him that here was no one else in the space. I directed him to then secure the remainder of the space. I then proceeded back to Main Control. I directed MMFN BEAUDREAU to assume the duties MMOW in Main Control. I directed MM3 WISCH, who was the MMOW in Main Control to proceed to Number Two Engineroom and secure the space. MM3 WISCH, MM2 Perry and myself hen secured all systems in Number Two Engineroom.

4. In my movements between the two enginerooms, MSC SOUDERS, EMCS JONES and HMC MALLON had all come on the scene to administer medical care to MM2 Larsen and MM2 NORBY.

5. The first time I looked at my watch as about 0620 and all of the preceding events had taken place. When I again returned to Number Two Engineroom (after it was secure, I left and went back several times) to survey the damage. I noticed the top of Number Two Circ Pump in front of the main throttle board. I confirmed that the remote position indicator for the combined exhaust relief valve showed the valve in the open position. I also verified that in fact the valve itself was closed. I also noted that EOSS was out and open to the page for lighting off the Main Circ Pump. It was laying on the lube oil strainer on the lower level. M. G. MULLEN

My parents flew out to San Diego to visit only, after the Navy game them authorization to visit me. The thinking was, they did not want parents to see their son with 2nd and 3rd degree burns (bad PR). These photos were taken on that visit.

So who made it to the top? The person in the top photo, left side is now Admiral Mullen and was nominated by President Bush to be the Head of the Joint Chiefs. Congratulations Admiral Mullen!

The person in the bottom photo is Dave Perry who was given a medal for acting quickly. He was on the lower level in the engine room when the turbine top casing blew up through the upper level deck plates. Instead of "going out the escape trunk" when the turbine blew apart, he went forward and closed the bulkhead stop, stopping the flow of steam into the engine room. He then exited the space through the escape trunk, pulled the fuel stops on the boilers, closed the main steam stops and communicated to Damage Control that there was a casualty. He started the forced draft blowers to clear the engineer room of steam and reentered the space.

This was a major steam leak. You have just seconds to get out before you are incapacitated
by the heat and steam and then cooked alive.

The middle photo is the Fox herself.


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