After boot camp I was stationed on board the USS Skagit LKA 105. The Skagit was a World War II vintage cargo ship. The Skagit was in the process of being scrapped and had not been to sea in three years. Not exactly what I had envisioned for my first ship! Some how I had the idea I would be standing on the bow of a sleek destroyer knifing through the blue Pacific in my dress uniform!
|The Skagit was solid rust, no engines, and only a scrapping crew of about 30 sailors. There used to be over 150 men aboard.|
One night aboard the Skagit I was standing the midnight to 0400 hours fire watch. I was down in the empty engine room reading a scary book. Every hour I would make my rounds to check on things. I had to go all over the ship and it was so dark and scary. One part of my rounds I had to go down on the pier and check the mooring lines. I was so spooked every hair on my body was standing on end. As I walked past a dumpster I flushed out a seagull. It came out of the dumpster squawking and flapping it's wings like hell. I didn't know what it was! I thought some awful monster was attacking me. I fell to the ground screaming bloody murder and waving my nightstick over my head, when I realized it was only a seagull I got back up, put my hat back on and checked all around to see if anyone had seen what happened. Boy was I glad no one saw how bad a seagull scared me.
I only spent a few months on the Skagit. She was decommissioned and I got orders to the USS Windham County LST 1170 home ported in Yokosuka, Japan.
During the decommissioning ceremony my station was right on the fantail, I was wearing a pair of sound powered phones and when the order was given from the quarter deck, I told my crew mate to start painting out the ship's name. Simultaneously he leaned over the aft railing with a paint roller on a long pole and painted the black block letters SKAGIT with gray paint while I lowered the stars and stripes. I was the last white-hat to lower the Ensign aboard the Skagit. The Skagit was noble ship right up to the end.
Terry Rogerson EN2 1969
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