"Mike Boat" Misadventure
Believe me, we could fill this page with stories about Mike-boats and their cox'ns!
Don Jones made this observation:
Hi Derick - I'm Don Jones (USN, Retired Mineman) and while visiting your Website I noted that we had some similar experiences during the early years of our careers. I left Yorktown in 1954. I was assigned to NOF, Yokosuka, Japan 1959-1961. I was also a Mike boat coxswain. My instructor was a former Warrant Officer in the Japanese Navy. He would get very nervous when we got in the vicinity of an aircraft carrier. Since the carrier pier was adjacent to our boat landing that happened pretty often. I heard one of his trainees had squeezed in alongside the Ranger and an automobile tire on the corner of the Mike boat's bow ramp had left a long black streak near the stern of the Ranger. They said a very mad Ranger sailor came down to our pier looking for "the blooming idiot" that had left a black mark on his ship. Apparently, that incident had helped make a nervous wreck out of our Japanese instructor. The Ranger got their revenge one morning while we were waiting for them to get underway before we went out to Azuma Island. We had a high vantage point from which to witness that interesting spectacle. The gutsy "pusher boat" operators had wriggled in between the Ranger and the concrete pier and pushed her out a hundred feet or so, when someone must have ordered "AHEAD, One-third." The spinning props suddenly sent a 6-8-feet high wall of water coming our way and we knew it was going to play havoc with the floating dock and everything moored to it. The backwash smacked into the shoreline to our right then having no where else to go it raced across in front of us taking the LCMs and other small craft plus the floating dock along with it. The Mike boats put on an amazing display of standing on end and flopping back down several times in rapid succession. Amazingly, the mooring lines and the anchor lines for the floating dock held and within 15-20 seconds things started to settle back down and we went off to work with a newfound respect for the seaworthiness of the old LCMs.
Here's another from Joe Beetar:
One weekend the same MN1 (who was trained by the best), was the POIC of the Azuma duty crew. When we came in to eat Sunday dinner at the chow hall, he exercised one of the perks that went with having base housing and went home to eat dinner with his family.
When we returned to the boat landing, there he was with his wife and kids. We boarded the boat and everyone took their places ~ except for the POIC. Instead of coming down into the well or standing next to the wheelhouse, he signaled to the coxswain that he'd be driving the boat. Okay, but he'd never been the coxswain before.
In a scene reminiscent of a warrior going off to battle, he took his place in the wheelhouse and turned around to wave goodbye to his wife and kids. He then proceeded to throttle up and turn the wheel. The LCM went immediately toward the stern of the aircraft carrier tied up only a few feet away. Our super-coxswain tried to correct his course, but succeeded only in entangling the bow ramp of the 'Mike' boat in the steel cables holding the carrier to Piedmont Pier. By now, a gaggle of sailors had gathered on the fantail of the carrier, pointing and laughing at our inept coxswain and his efforts to get underway.
We were ordered to 'abandon ship' while the qualified coxswain tried unsuccessfully to disentangle the boat. All of this chaos was witnessed by our superhero's wife and kids and a full house on the fantail of the carrier. How embarrassing. Eventually, we had to abandon our boat and call for another boat to rescue us. The next morning, everyone, EVERYONE on their way to work had to look upon the hopelessly-entangled 'Mike' boat. How embarrassing, indeed.
Derick S. Hartshorn -