On 23 April 1984, the attack submarine USS Bergall
(SSN-667) was moored to a pier at Norfolk, Virginia. A surface support ship for submarine rescue and deep-sea salvage operations, USS Kittiwake
(ASR-13), was getting underway after a maintenance period.
Unknown to Kittiwake's crew, her main drive motor had been wired backwards. Kittiwake started to move opposite to the engine order. Noting backward motion, the bridge ordered increased turns to move forward. Kittiwake moved aft at even higher speed. The bridge ordered more increases in forward speed until Kittiwake struck Bergall's sonar dome.
Before her 1994 decommissioning Kittiwake
had supported many SSBNs and she had even provided divers and equipment during salvage operations to free the grounded USS Missouri
(BB-63) in 1946.
Following the many trials and tribulations associated with the plan to create an artificial reef by sinking the ex-USS Kittiwake in Cayman waters, off Seven Mile Beach the ship has finally begun its journey to the Cayman Islands. The most recently set date for the sinking was 5 December but that had to be cancelled due to a combination of bad weather and the need for repairs to the tugboat. A new date has not yet been fixed but it is anticipated that the sinking will take place in the New Year shortly after the old vessel arrives in Grand Cayman.
USS Kittiwake performed her assigned duties for 48 years. Along the way, she had an unfortunate incident and became obsolete. She will be disposed out of sight of all but recreational divers.
Capt Owen Honors had a career of stellar naval accomplishments. Along the way, he provided entertaining safety, etc. reminders to USS Enterprises's crew. As XO he provided morale boosting entertainment conveying safety messages and pleasing 98% of his crew. A few were irritated by the video format. Ostensibly, all 6,000 got the intended safety messages, however.
A former Top Gun instructor and recent CO of USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is being disposed out of sight just like ex-Kittiwake. There is no comparison; the waste to taxpayers is tremendous.
Submarines are always silent and strange.
Labels: USS Kittiwake (ASR-13) CAPT OWEN HONORS USS Entewrprise (CVN-65)