View Full Version : This day in History.....

04-19-2007, 11:03 AM
Which event will you hear more about today? :cry:

1775 - The American Revolution began as fighting broke out at Lexington, MA.

1993 - The Branch-Davidianís compound in Waco, TX, burned to the ground. It was the end of a 51-day standoff between the cult and U.S. federal agents. 86 people were killed including 17 children. Nine of the Branch Davidians escaped the fire.

1995 - The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, was destroyed by a bomb. It was the worst bombing on U.S. territory. 168 people were killed including 19 children, and 500 were injured. Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing on June 2, 1997.

04-19-2007, 02:00 PM
18 years ago today I was a young Radioman Second Class Petty Officer serving aboard the USS IOWA.


That was a typical morning onboard the ship. Gunnery operations with the main (16" 50 cal) battery.

Turret#1 fired a few times.

By this time - with almost 5 years on the ship I'd gotten very used to the way the ship moved when the guns shot and went on with work.


Then Turret #2 fired. It didn't make the same noise - or move the ship the same way.

I looked up - everybody had stopped working and was also looking up.

Then we heard "General Quarters, General Quarters - THIS IS NOT A DRILL - ALL HANDS MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS".


Every sould on the ship knew what the gravity of the situation was. We know that if the fires spread to the magizines that we'd vaporize. I had never seen every person moving about with the seriousness I saw in those minutes.

Fortunately the fire was contained to the turret house and ammo/powder handling rooms. The magazine was flooded and eventually the fires were put out.

The search for bodies commenced. Eventually they found 47 of our shipmates.

The thing that lingers with me to this day is the smell. It never really went away.

The only LOGICAL reason for the explosion was that the powder was re-stacked in the 80's and in some bags the leftover powder pellets were tossed in on the top of the bags then sealed.

The kid that was ramming in Center Gun Turret#2 that morning had never rammed live powder. He'd practiced with 6 bags before but he was ramming 5 bags of LIVE powder. He must have gotten flustered and put the rammer in 'fast' instead of 'slow'. The rammer's head was found 35 inches into the breech past where the last bag of powder was.

Sandia National Labs tried re-creating the explosion. Two out of every Ten times a bag with the loose pellets was facing the rammer - and it was over-rammed 35 inches on 'fast' speed it exploded.

For those reading - the book and movie were about 20% truth - 50% half-truth that was stretched to the breaking point - and 30% pure lies.


That is our memorial plaque on the Naval Base in Norfolk, Va. The site has been dedicated as "IOWA POINT".

We all gather each year and at 0955 we read the names of the IOWA 47 and ring a bell to remember them.

Crewmember's NameRate/RankHometownTung Thanh AdamsFire Controlman 3rd class (FC3)Alexandria, VARobert Wallace BackhermsGunner's Mate 3rd class (GM3)(FC3)Ravenna, OHDwayne Collier BattleElectrician's Mate, Fireman Apprentice (EMFA)Rocky Mount, NCWalter Scot BlakeyGunner's Mate 3rd class (GM3)Eaton Rapids, MIPete Edward BoppGunner's Mate 3rd class (GM3)Levittown, NYRamon Jarel BradshawSeaman Recruit (SR)Tampa, FLPhilip Edward BuchLieutenant, Junior Grade (LTjg)Las Cruces, NMEric Ellis CaseySeaman Apprentice (SA)Mt. Airy, NCJohn Peter CramerGunners Mate 2nd class (GM2)Uniontown, PAMilton Francis Devaul Jr.Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Solvay, NYLeslie Allen Everhart Jr.Seaman Apprentice (SA)Cary, NCGary John FiskBoatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2)Oneida, NYTyrone Dwayne FoleySeaman (SN)Bullard, TXRobert James Gedeon IIISeaman Apprentice (SA)Lakewood, OHBrian Wayne GendronSeaman Apprentice (SA)Madera, CAJohn Leonard GoinsSeaman Recruit (SR)Columbus, OHDavid L. HansonElectricians Mate 3rd class (EM3)Perkins, SDErnest Edward HanyeczGunners Mate 1st class (GM1)Bordentown, NJClayton Michael HartwigGunners Mate 2nd class (GM2)Cleveland, OHMichael William HeltonLegalman 1st class (LN1)Louisville, KYScott Alan HoltSeaman Apprentice (SA)Fort Meyers, FLReginald L. Johnson Jr.Seaman Recruit (SR)Warrensville Heights, OHNathaniel Clifford Jones Jr.Seaman Apprentice (SA)Buffalo, NYBrian Robert JonesSeaman (SN)Kennesaw, GAMichael Shannon JusticeSeaman (SN)Matewan, WVEdward J. KimbleSeaman (SN)Ft. Stockton, TXRichard E. LawrenceGunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Springfield, OHRichard John LewisFire Controlman, Seaman Apprentice (FCSA)Northville, MIJose Luis Martinez Jr.Seaman Apprentice (SA)Hidalgo, TXTodd Christopher McMullenBoatswains Mate 3rd class (BM3)Manheim, PATodd Edward MillerSeaman Recruit (SR)Ligonier, PARobert Kenneth MorrisonLegalman 1st class (LN1)Jacksonville, FLOtis Levance MosesSeaman (SN)Bridgeport, CNDarin Andrew OgdenGunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Shelbyville, INRicky Ronald PetersonSeaman (SN)Houston, MNMathew Ray PriceGunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Burnside, PAHarold Earl Romine Jr.Seaman Recruit (SR)Brandenton, FLGeoffrey Scott SchelinGunners Mate 3rd class (GMG3)Costa Mesa, CAHeath Eugene StillwagonGunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Connellsville, PATodd Thomas TathamSeaman Recruit (SR)Wolcott, NYJack Ernest ThompsonGunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Greeneville, TNStephen J. WeldenGunners Mate 2nd class (GM2)Yukon, OKJames Darrell WhiteGunners Mate 3rd class (GM3)Norwalk, CARodney Maurice WhiteSeaman Recruit (SR)Louisville, KYMichael Robert WilliamsBoatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2)South Shore, KYJohn Rodney YoungSeaman (SN)Rockhill, SCReginald Owen ZieglerSenior Chief Gunners Mate (GMCS)Port Gibson, NY

Rob Weaver
04-19-2007, 03:42 PM
At one time or another today, I have remembered each of these events, with an interesting range of emotions. I must be getting old...

04-19-2007, 08:54 PM
My youngest had never heard the big 16" guns fire.


When on the 'weather decks' for a 'broadside' as pictured above you had to be on the 3rd deck above the main deck or higher. You had to have double ear protection on.

When new to the ship I went up and watched a few -IMPRESSIVE! But what struck me most was once I closed my eyes and FELT the percussive force that it hit me with. Darn-near knocking the wind out of me.

SO - at our first ACW event my son and I went as spectators. When they were firing the cannon - I asked him to do the same. There was a bit of a 'percussive force' but NOTHING like the full broadside!

Linked below is a vido on "U-Tube" of the two forward turrets of IOWA .


You'll see a few things happening beside the pure raw firepower. After the guns shoot, they'll 'bob' a bit and then smoke comes out. The guns do this because they're going from their 'shooting' elevation back to the "load" elevation. The smoke comes out because after firing a projectile, "Medium Pressure" (MP) air (about 500psi) is shot down the breach automatically(before the breach is opened) to 'shoot out' any buring embers that may still be left in the barrel.

In the 1980's we'd cruise the "Cent-Am" countries quite often. The 'dictator' would come aboard and we'd do a firepower demonstration for them. Then the Captain would lean over and perform his "Gunboat Diplomacy" by saying something along the lines of, "We can blow up your entire country in a matter of hours and it won't cost very much!"

AAAAAAAh - the good old days!

04-19-2007, 09:03 PM
AAAAAAAh - the good old days!

Yep, peace through superior firepower. It's like the sign I saw growing up near Dobbins AFB and NAS Jax: "That noise is the sound of freedom".