USS Skagit Family Gram
1967 WestPac Cruise
Since we last published a Family-Gram, SKAGIT has done some extensive traveling. We left DaNang, Vietnam, on 18 October with our third and final load of supplies and materials destined for the river supply depot at Hue, (pronounced way), but because of approaching Typhoon Carla, we first headed south for four days. During this time the seas were rough, and Skagit took some of her heaviest rolls of the cruise. The heaviest roll noted was 28°, but I believe the gauge needle was on the return from an even greater angle when I glanced at it. Dr. Glenn, our Medical Officer said no cases of sea-sickness were reported so, evidently everyone aboard had his "sea-legs" by then.
We replenished our fuel supp]y while underway on this southward diversion. The first time we came alongside an oiler we had not completed taking aboard all of the fuel we required when the oiler's fuel hose developed a leak spraying her after superstructure with black oil. We were forced to disconnect and wait for another chance. The next day another oiler was contacted, and we quickly rigged two fuelling hoses, allowing us to receive 3000 gallons of fuel oil per minute. We stayed alongside the oiler for about an hour. Two large ships charging through heavy seas, less than 200 feet apart is a sight not many forget.
We had steamed as far south as Cam Ranh Bay before Carla's winds weakened sufficiently to allow us to change our course northward.
With the last ton of Cargo off-loaded at Hue, we hoisted our boats aboard and left the anchorage on the night of 29 October, bound for Okinawa, by way of DaNang. Then, after off-loading material at Chin Wan and Naha, we steamed for Yokosuka, Japan.
We were only 76 minutes out of Naha Harbor when we received a report from Dr. Glenn that he believed our ship's barber, Jerald M. Crowl, had appendicitis. We turned back and called by radio for a tug to meet us and take Crowl aboard just outside the harbor. This accomplished, the tug then returned ashore where a ambulance was waiting to take Crowl to a military hospital close by. We have since received word that Crowl did indeed have appendicitis and that he is doing wonderfully after a very successful operation. It is good to know that if such things do occur when we are far at sea we also have excellent facilities and an outstanding doctor aboard SKAGIT to perform major operations of this nature. When shore based facilities are close at hand, however we like to use them for convenience of the patient while he is convalescing.
We are presently in Yokosuka completing minor voyage repairs and getting SKAGIT spruced up for the voyage home. We are enjoying the liberty here, the first good opportunity we've had to relax since leaving the Philippines in early September. Some of us are taking tours to nearby Tokyo and other scenic and historic areas. The crew certainly deserves the rest.
You can see by the attached listing that we hauled our share of material, and I am tremendously proud of SKAGIT's performance during the time she served in the combat zone.
The crew's skill and determination to get the job done enabled us to successfully do our part in support of our country's ground forces in Vietnam.
During the last forty five days that SKAGIT was in Vietnam she provided logistic support for Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Republic of Vietnam combat units. The cargo ranged from cement and steel matting for construction to beverages for use by our troops at their recreation centers.
Present plans are for us to depart Yokosuka in time to arrive back in San Diego in early December (around the 9th or 10th) after a short stopover in Pearl Harbor for voyage repairs. Believe me, there is a lot of excitement beginning to build up as our arrival date back in the States draws nearer.
As this will probably be the last opportunity to send a Family- Gram from SKAGIT during her current deployment, and also one of the last before I turn command :over to Captain. John Sparger on 14 December, I'd like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to you for several things. I want to thank all of you for the interest you have shown in following our cruise across the Pacific and. for the many letters I received from you in return. I also wish to thank you for the many letters of encouragement you sent to your men aboard SKAGIT.
W. A. Mackey
Captain U. S. Navy