Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Film: "Story of a Naval Gunfire Mission" (1968)

Heavy gun cruiser USS Newport News (CA 148) uses its 8" guns in a fire support mission off Vietnam circa 1968. Posted on YouTube by Dexter Goad.

Newport News had the call sign of "Thunder" which was very appropriate. Seemed like they always had some guy with a deep voice on the radio answering your call by saying "This is Thunder, over." James Earl Jones had nothing on those guys.

USS Pyro (AE-24) rearmed her any number of times following the "Easter Invasion" of 1972. There was a special effort made to make sure that ammo for the big guns was kept near the gun line - so ammo ships (AEs, AORs and AOEs) carrying it always transferred it to another ammo ship before or during transiting back to Subic Bay.

Sadly, during that year there was an explosion in her #2 turret and 20 young lives ended. Nice article behind the USNI paywall at 2012's "Fire in Turret Two! "commemorating the 40th anniversary of the incident:
A complete inquiry, conducted by retired Vice Admirals K. S. Masterson and L. M. Mustin a month later, identified the cause of the explosion to be a defective auxiliary detonating fuse, which had prematurely fired. The fuse’s manufacturer, the Bermite Powder Company, and the commands responsible for quality control and testing—the Defense Contract Administration Services and Naval Ordnance Systems Command—were named as responsible parties. The investigation report noted that the Navy’s diffused organizational structure at the time vested authority and accountability for ordnance in multiple commanders, and the authors recommended that the Naval Ordnance Systems Command be given subsequent control over all ordnance matters, including design, procurement, testing, and life-cycle technical control. The authors also criticized the standard practice of inspection sampling and recommended 100-percent inspections at several successive phases of manufacture and assembly.

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