My plan is to use this (these) page(s) as a place for members to share some of their memories that don't qualify as "stories".
From Jeff Koehler
The day I reported for duty on the USS Jesse L. Brown was the very same day that it arrived back to home port in Charleston from a Middle East cruise in 1976.
The JLB stayed pier side for two or three weeks after coming home from the Middle East. A lot of Plank Owners were getting discharged and there were also a lot of "short timers" with a little time left on their enlistment.
I remember Rick Peno. He was close to discharge when I boarded the ship. I am thinking he was from Texas. Rick if you read this, there was a HT that you were friends with and his name was Pete and also like you, a Plank Owner. Pete showed me around and what my jobs would be. I quickly became friends with him before he was discharged.
Does anyone remember a Hull Tech with the name Pete that was a Plank Owner?
Getting back to my story, we finally went to sea for 2 or 3 days. It was my first time to sea. Of course greasy chili was being served for lunch chow……(seemed like when ever several new sailors came aboard, chili was on the menu). Later on,that day, and the first evening at sea, I was in chow line with HT Pete when it came over the intercom "On the USS Jessie L. Brown, this is NOT A DRILL, I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL, Fire! Fire! fire in the emergency diesel room! I grabbed an OBA that was in a small locker in the passageway close to the chow hall. The fire was just on the other side of the chow hall across from the Chief's lounge. I remember all the black smoke and the orange flames as we entered the compartment manned with the fire hoses. We got the fire put out with no problems or injuries. What a memory of the first time out to sea. Does anyone else remember that fire?
I can say that I don't have a lot of memories of my time on the JLB, but the one's I do have I can still visualize them as if it was yesterday.
Med. cruise of 76. Someone posted that their favorite port was Gaeta, Italy. I remember the hillsides of Gaeta were covered in roses. We anchored and they ran the liberty boats. The swells got extremely high and they didn't run the boats for 2 days so the mates that were already on the beach got to stay there. Was that why it was your favorite port?
I remember when we got the Battle "E" Ribbon.
We not only got close to the drone - we shot it out of the air.
We made our turn to take our shots at a freighter several miles away. The guys in Weapons did their job! Once they got their "target", they hit it dead center and it sank before anyone else got to shoot at it!
Another post talked about how cold it was in Maine. I was your YN Striker while in the yards. I typed and then printed your Plan of the Day. I think my XO was named Heinke. I tried to have it done by Liberty Call each day at 16:15 - but there were several days that I didn't catch the bus to the barracks. Guess who hitch hiked in that cold, cold Maine snow? I am thankful that I was allowed to wear my civilian brown snow boots while on duty! They were supposed to handle 30 degrees below zero and they were a lifesaver!
Remember right outside the gate at the yards, they had a sandwich shop that made the best cheesesteak sandwich I have ever eaten and it wasn't unusual for me to be carrying an order of 25 sandwiches back to the ship.
Do you remember heading to Newport, R.I. and going through Cape Hatteras? Bouncing like a cork! I think everyone got sick that day!
I was on board for the med cruise in '74. I remember "dropping the load" not long after we left Naples. It was strange when we were floating waiting for the tug to get us. I remember sitting in electric central (with battle lanterns lit) listening to the waves outside the hull.
I remember an English ship as part of the group we were with. At least it was in port while we were. Someone else and I (don't remember who) went over to that ship for lunch one day before the ill- fated cruise and enjoyed their hospitality. Their lunch consisted of the normal fare but also included 2 cans of beer per crewman. This particular day each British crewman would take their 2 beers (I believe it was Macgregor Scottish Ale) and give us one. I swapped hats with one British crew member. I gave him my "Dixie Cup" and he gave me his "Donald Duck". I still have the hat. The name of that ship was the HMS Jupiter.
I also remember the grenades in Port Said. That was part of the Middle East cruise in '75/'76. It was the night before we traversed the Suez Canal. I will always remember that trip. Burned and bombed buildings on either side of the canal with guns setup on the "mounds" lining the canal.
Other memories of the Middle East trip:
Playing a softball game in Pakistan against some folks that were living there Spending Christmas in Bandar Abbas Playing "tag" with a Russian cruiser Touring the game preserve in Kenya Visiting the ruins at Persopolis (spelling?) in Iran
Just a few of the memories of my time on board the JLB
I have told this story several times to my family and friends, a story I will never forget. I was wondering if anyone else out there remembers. Jan-Feb 1990, my first cruise. We were going to Puerto Rico. All was well and it was lunch time.(my favorite) The cooks called me "tapeworm" because I was skinny and ate more than everyone else. Anyway we were eating and over the ships loudspeaker came "man overboard man overboard this is not a drill"... I didn't have a station to go to so I just went outside to see. I came out the port side door about midship and just happened to look about to the ship's 11:00 and saw a little head floating in some pretty rough sea. He had gotten knocked off one of the ships in front of us and was going to drown if we didn't pick him up. I watched as some guys dropped a hero in a diving suit over the front left edge of the ship by rope toward the kid in the water. I could see him grabbing and holding him and then the front of the ship would come up out of the water, the rope would dangle underneath the ship with the two of them looking like they were getting crushed as the ship came down on top of them. He held on as they were beaten by the ships weight more than once.. the guys above holding the rope kept pulling them up as the seas tried to devour the two people whose combined ages wouldn't be as old as I am now .I'm not sure how
I got dragged into the situation, but me and another guy had a stretcher and were running forward. I remember running up a steep hill and leaning one way or another and then leaning back and trying not to slip and fall then trying to run and keep my balance. I was three feet away from where they appeared on the left side of the front of the ship. Several guys grabbed the two and pulled them in and they flopped down on the deck like a couple of big exhausted fish..I get choked up every time I think of this moment because the kid who's life was saved immediately began to cry a cry of gratefulness to be alive as at least 100 men erupted as if we had just won the super bowl. That was one of the proudest moments in my life to have been a part of something ,to witness human greatness at its best. I can still hear the exact sound of the kids' exhausted cry as he hit the deck. I'll never forget it. The best I remember he was in the rough sea for 18 minutes before we got to him..I think they finally gave the diver who went over the side after him a medal. I think who ever was driving the ship at the time had to have nerves of steel too. P.S. we believe it was Mark Munyak that was the hero in the water.