Thirteenth “WestPac” and first Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea deployment (Operation Evening Light and Eagle Claw during the Iranian revolution & Iran hostage crisis (Iran History, Air Arm) and Cheju-Do Islands in the Sea of Japan on the way home via Korea), operating with other Aircraft Carriers and upon completion conducted training operations and Carrier Qualifications (Iran History, Air Arm, Iranian revolution & Iran hostage crisis

(13 November 1979 to 30 June 1980)

CHAPTER XXXIV

Part 1 – (13 to 30 November 1979)

Part 2 – (1 to 31 December 1979)

Part 3 – (1 to 31 January 1980)

Part 4 – (1 to 24 February 1980)

Part 5 – (25 February to 20 April 1980)

Part 6 – (21 to 24 April 1980)

Part 7 – (25 April to 30 June 1980)

 

 

 

With Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) aboard, USS Coral Sea (CV-43) departs San Francisco for WestPac and the Indian Ocean, November 13, 1979. NS024349 117k. Courtesy of William T. Larkins. http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024349.jpg

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) with CVW-14 embarked departs on WestPac

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CV-43) with CVW-14 (tail code NK), Captain David N. Rogers; RADM Lawrence Cleveland Chambers, USN, Commander, Carrier Group THREE, CTG 70.3 and Captain Ming E.  Chang, Chief of Staff, Carrier Group THREE and Commodore Treiber, Destroyer Squadon (DESRON) Twenty Three embarked departed Naval Air Station, Alameda, California 13 November 1979, with Captain Stanley R. Arthur, USN, as Commanding Officer, on her 13th WestPac deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, on her first Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea deployment during the Iranian Revolution & Iran Hostage Crisis to strengthen the U.S. Naval presence in the crucial Indian Ocean area as tensions heightened over Iran's taking of 52 American diplomats’ hostage, in what would turn out to be Operation Evening Light during Operation Eagle Claw, the attempt to rescue the US Embassy workers being held hostage in Tehran, Iran. Prior to her deployment Coral Sea conducted an intensive workup cycle, Refresher Training and Carrier Qualifications (CarQuals), to include many visits at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, Ca. February to November 1979 and was the ready carrier off the coast of California for about four months going from off the coast of Mexico, up to the Aleutians, and back, completing overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard, Bremerton, Washington and sailed for Alameda, Ca. (6 March 1978 to 8 February 1979), during which time on 20 November 1978, Coral Sea suffers a fire of unknown origin while moored at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., which causes damage to the medical and dental spaces, delaying departure from the Ship Yard as the medical department was completely gutted by the fire (11 months - the carrier underwent $80,000,000 overhaul, during which the last of her 5-inch battery and all gun directors were removed - thirty-six years old., during which time Captain Stanley R. Arthur, relieved Captain Aitcheson, Jr. on 3 June 1978 with Commander Hutchinson being relieved by Commander Curtain, USN, the Operations Department Head, frocked to Captain and assumed duties as the XO, while Captain Stanley R. Arthur is scheduled for rotation in December with Captain Richard M Dunleavy, to become the first Naval Flight Officer (NFO) in history to command an aircraft carrier (NHC Battle Order p_). Coral Sea reclassified CV-43 on 30 June 1975; involved in two Vietnam Peace Coast Patrol Cruises, ending with Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon on 28 April 1975 during the evacuation of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on 12 April 1975 in Operation Eagle Pull, while her first Vietnam peace coast patrol cruise was during Operation Homecoming (9 March 1973 to 11 August 1973), following six Vietnam War Combat Cruises during the Vietnam Conflict/War (1 November 1965 to 17 July 1972), completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2nd WestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). She will under go her 13th foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. She will under go her 24th Foreign Water Fleet Deployment (FWFD) since her commission on 1 October 1947” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35 & 72).

 

    "USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Air Wing would change from Carrier Air Wing FIFTEEN (CVW-15) to Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14). VMFA-323 and 531 F-4Ns covered CVW-14 during a period of hectic West Coast fighter transition" (Ref. 43).

     “On 5 October 1960,
USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) debarked her two fighter squadrons ashore at Atsugi while embarking two Marine Douglas - Skyraider' - Night fighter modified for cold weather Jet Attack Bomber squadrons, VMA-121 and VMA-324, thus pioneering the "all attack" carrier concept” (Ref. 43 & 72).

 

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

          ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

     NICK NAME &

   PRIMARY ROLE

  TAIL

 CODE

 Modex

   AIRCRAFT   DESIGNATION

VMA-324

Marines - Vagabonds - Attack Squadron

Douglas - Skyhawk -

Jet Attack Bomber

Drone director

 DX600

A4D-2

VMA-121

Marines - Green Knights -

Attack Squadron

Douglas - Skyhawk -

Jet Attack Bomber e-

Drone director

 VK800

A4D-2

 

 

 

Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14)

 

     “The first time onboard, CVW-14 embarked on Coral Sea in November 1979 en route to the Western Pacific.

 

    Carrier Air Wing Fourteen, Captain David N. Rogers. As a Commander, Captain Rogers took charge of Air Wing 14 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on 10 July 1978 when the wing had F-14A Tomcats in place of the F-4Ns deployed onboard the Coral Sea.. He was promoted to his present rank on the bridge of Coral Sea on 1 July 1979. He has flown forty different types of military aircraft and has made over 900 landings on 14 different carriers.

 

    Captain Rogers or CAG, qualified in the RF-8G Crusader while attached to the Enterprise, bringing a total of 12 different types of aircraft he flew during his tour aboard the Enterprise.

 

    Prior to Captain Rogers's assignment to the Coral Sea as CAG of CVW-14, CAG Rogers had flown 40 different types of military aircraft, with over 900 landings on 14 different carriers.

     The Air Wing was comprised of six squadrons and two detachments (elements of a parent squadron) which, acting in concert, perform the vital functions of attack, air intercept and support.

 

    Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14) was comprised of highly accurate, light-attack weapons platform incorporation a number intricate computer systems adding in the precise deliverance of a variety of ordnance as is the case in the A-7E Corasir, flown by the Shrikes of VA-94 and Redcocks of VA-22, both based at NAS Lemoore, Ca. in 1978.

 

     Air Wing 14 is presently composed of six squadrons and two detachments. VQ 1, an electronic surveillance squadron with several EA3 Skywarriors, will join the air wing out of Guam VMF 323 and VMFA-531 are based at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Santa Ana, Calif. Both are fighter attack squadrons and each has 12 F- F-4N Phantom II’s. on board. The Phantom is 58 feet 3 inches in length and files faster than twice the speed of sound (Mach 2.0+). The F4 is a supersonic, long range, all weather fighters and is designed for intercepting enemy aircraft flying at high altitudes. Sidewinder and Sparrow missiles are its principal armaments.

    The Death Rattlers of VMFA-323 and the Grey Ghosts of VMFA-531 joined Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN officially on 1 July 1979.

   VMFA-323 pilots are called the Death Rattlers and are the senior squadron of the air wing. Their planes have snakes and red trim on their tails.

    The Snakes were commanded by LTCOL Dave Denton, and were last deployed overseas during the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1969. During World War II they were one of the most highly decorated Marine squadrons and downed 124 enemy aircraft during the Okinawa campaign. During the Korean conflict, a Snake Corsair shot down a North Korean MIG-15 in aerial combat.

    They Grey Ghosts were normally a part of the 3rd Marine Air Wing home based at MCAS El Toro.

 

    VMFA-531 have blue tails with yellow trim and are called the Gray Ghosts.

 

    The Ghosts were commanded by LTCOL Gary Braun and were last deployed overseas in 1972 when they made a Mediterranean cruise in USS Forrestal (CV-59).

 

    The squadron saw action in Vietnam deploying to DaNang in 1965. In 1978, the Ghosts received the Hanson Award in recognition of being the best fighter squadron in the Marine Corps.

    It was also the first time without a Navy fighter squadron in the air wing.

 

    VA-196 hails from Whidbey Island, Washington. This squadron has 10 A-6E Intruders and 5 KA-6D tankers. The KA-6Ds can carry up to 26,000 pounds (lbs.) of fuel and are used by VA--196 for inflight refueling.

 

    The A-6E Intruder is a medium attack bomber which can carry 30 five hundred lb. bombs to a target well over 300 nautical miles from the ship. The A-6 is capable of high arid low flight, ah weather duty in such roles as armed reconnaissance, tactical support aerial mining, bombing enemy defenses, close air support and search and rescue. Be- cause of excellent slow speed handling, coupled with unobstructed visibility and outstanding power response, the Intruder is one of the easiest planes te 1.nd en the roiling deck of an aircraft carrier. The A-6E has proven to be such an effective aircraft that it will be used by the 7th Fleet into the l990s.

 

    Known as the Milestones VA-196 has 39 officers and 300 enlisted men.

VA-97 and VA-27 are both light attack squadrons based at the Naval Air Station Lemoore. Each squadron has 12 A-7E Corsairs assigned.

 

    The A-7 is a multi-mission attack aircraft and has a maximum cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. It can carry 19,000 lbs. of ordinance and fires a maximum airspeed of 645 knots. The Corsair has a 40 feet wingspan and is 46 feet in length. It has a turbofan engine which provides 15,000 lbs. of thrust.

 

    VA-97 pilots are known as the War Aces and VA-27 is called the Royal Mace squadron with Chargers as its call sign.

 

    CVW-14's attack and early warning squadrons (VA-27, VA-97, VA-196 and VAW-113) have been with the wing for several years and made the Enterprise cruise. VA-27, commanded by Commander John McGrath, flew the A-7E Corsair II. VA-96, commanded by Commander Tom Woodka, flew the A-6F Intruder and VAW-113 under the command of Commander Dieter Olsen, flew the E-2B Hawkeye. Rounding out the air wing were VFP-63 Detachment 2 RF-8G's under the OinC, LCDR W. H. Reidelberger and HC-1 Detachment 3 SH-3's with LCDR Richard Sadlier as OinC

 

    VAW-113 named the Black Eagles is based at Naval Air Station Miramar near San Diego. The squadron has four E-2B Hawkeyes which are ah weather, carrier—based, Airborne Early Warning/Combat Information Centers.

 

    The Hawkeye patriots’ task force defense perimeters te provide early warning of approaching enemy aircraft. This plane also provides strike and traffic control, area surveillance, search and rescue guidance, navigational assistance and cornrnunications relay. The E-2B has a maximum airspeed of 300 knots and is usually flown from 10,000-30,000 feet.

 

    The Hawkeye weighs approximately 51,000 lbs., has a wingspan of 80 feet 7 inches and is 56 feet 4 inches long. Because the E-2B Hawkeye is for airborne early warning and air intercept control no ordinance is carried.

 

    VAW-113 was the Navy’s first E-2B squadron to operate with the F-14A Tomcats. This was aboard the Enterprise in 1975.

 

    VAW-63 Detachment (Det.) 2 is he photographic reconnaissance squadron for Air Wing 14.

 

    Also from the Naval Air Station Miramar, VFP-63 is the Cork Tip squadron. Det. 2 flies three RF-8G Crusaders.

 

    The Crusader is a single seat supersonic aircraft which provides overland tactical reconnaissance. Crusaders carry four large internal cameras which can take over 3000 pictures. The RF-8G carries no guns, missiles or bombs; hut relies on its great speed and maneuverability in eluding the enemy.

 

    VFP-63 Det. 2 has five officers and fifty enlisted personnel. The “eyes of the fleet” have been an active part of naval air power for over 20 years.

 

    The helicopter detachrnent, HC-1 Det. 3, is based at the Naval Air Station North Island, Dan Diego, California. HC-1 Det. 3 is a very important part of Air Wing 14 be- cause of its search and rescue capabilities.

 

    Det. 3 has four Sikorsky SH-3G helicopters which can travel at a maximum speed of 120 knots.

 

    The Sikorsky weighs approximately 19,100 lbs, and is 55 feet 2 inches long when its tau is extended.

 

    The four man crew consists of pilot, copilot, 1st crewman and 2nd crewman. The Sikorsky SH-3G is capable of automatic approach for low visibility rescues at night. In the automatic approach the helicopter drops from about 150 feet at 60 knots to a 40 feet hover, where the pilot and crew can spot survivors in the water. During the day, rescues are carried out manually; that is the pilot and crew trusts their own eyesight without thc automatic approach” (Ref. The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson & individual review of aircraft specifications as presented by manufacture).

 

Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) mounts was in place prior to “WestPac

 

Command and Staff - Ref. 1275W5

Pre-Deployment - Ref. 1275W6

The Cruise and Ports of Call - Ref. 1275W7

Commodore Gelke, DESRON Five was with USS Coral Sea (CV-43) until late May 1980, relieving Commodore Treiber, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) Twenty Three in March 1980 - Ref. 1275W10

 

 

USS CORAL SEA (CV-43) with CVW-14 (NK)

(13 November 1979 to 11 June 1980) 

Hull No. /

Fleet

Foreign Water Fleet

Deployment

 Air Wing

Tail

Code

Depart

Return

Days at Sea

Fleet D. No.

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) - Pacific & 7th (1st Arabian Sea)

13th WestPac

1st IO

CVW-14

NK

13 Nov 1979

11 Jun 1980

Middle East

212-days

Iran Hostage crisis

Tour of duty with the 7th Fleet, to strengthen the U.S. Naval presence in the crucial Indian Ocean, sailing in the North Arabian Sea and into the Gulf of Oman to a staging area off the southeast Coast of Iran operating with the 7th Fleet, to strengthen the U.S. Naval presence in the crucial Indian Ocean area as tensions heightened over Iran's taking of 52 American diplomats hostage, in what would turn out to be Operation Eagle Claw (Operation Rice Bowl and Operation Evening Light), the attempt to rescue the US Embassy workers being held hostage in Tehran, Iran, while operating on "GONZO" Station in the North Arabian Sea.

Cheju-Do Islands in the  Sea of Japan.

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

          ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

     NICK NAME &

   PRIMARY ROLE

  TAIL

 CODE

 Modex

   AIRCRAFT   DESIGNATION

VMFA-323

Death Rattlers -

Combat Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NK100

F-4N

VMFA-531

Grey Ghosts -

Combat Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NK200

F-4N

VA-97

Warhawks -

Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

NK300

A-7E

VA-27

Royal Maces -

Attack Squadron

Vought - Corsair II -

Jet Attack Aircraft

NK400

A-7E

VA-196

Main Battery or

Devil Spades -

Attack Squadron

Grumman - Intruder -  Jet Attack Bomber - Tanker

NK500

A-6A / KA-6D

VAW-113

Black Eagles - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron

Grumman - Hawkeye - Electronics

NK600

E-2B

*VFP-63 Det. 2

Eyes of the Fleet -          Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

Vought - Crusader -

Jet Fighter - Reconnaissance

NK620

RF-8G

HC-1 Det. 3

 

Pacific Fleet Angels - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Sikorsky - Sea King -

Anti-submarine

NK720

SH-3G

(*1) disestablished on Mar.1, 1978

(*2) disestablished on Mar.1, 1978

VFP or VF(P) - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron or Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron or Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (Light) or Light Photographic Squadron.

Ref. 34, 35, 39, 41 & 76

 

 

With Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) aboard, USS Coral Sea (CV-43) departs San Francisco for WestPac and the Indian Ocean, November 13, 1979. NS024349a 122k. Courtesy of William T. Larkins.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024349a.jpg

 

 

Two A-7E Vought Corsair II Jet attack aircraft flying state side before USS Coral Sea (CV-43) 13th “WestPac”

 

 

F-4N McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II Jet Fighter ready for launch while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 


F-4N McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II Jet Fighter ready for launch while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

 

F-4N McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II Jet Fighter ready for launch while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

 

F-4N McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II Jet Fighter ready for launch while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

 

F-4N McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II Jet Fighter and A6-E/KA-6D Grumman Intruder Jet Attack Bomber ready for launch while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac” - NK200 (TC) http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980f4vmfa531.jpg

 

 

 

VA-97 Warhawks - Attack Squadron flew the A-7E Vought Corsair II Jet attack aircraft while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac” - NK300 (TC) http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980a7va97.jpg

 

 

http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/va27a7iranpaintbh.jpg and Bruce Henion

VA-27 Royal Maces - Attack Squadron flew the
A-7E Vought Corsair II Jet attack aircraft while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac” - NK400 (TC)  http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980a7va27.jpg

 

 

A6-E/KA-6D Grumman Intruder Jet Attack Bomber ready for launch while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

 

VAW-113 Black Eagles - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron flew the E-2B Grumman Hawkeye equipped with Electronics while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac” - NK600 (TC) http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980e2vaw113.jpg

 

 

*VFP-63 DET 2 Eyes of the Fleet - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron flew the RF-8G Vought Crusader Jet Fighter while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac” - NK620 (TC) http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980f8vfp63.jpg

 

 

http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980f8vfp63.jpg and Bruce Henion

HC-1 DET 3 Pacific Fleet Angels - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron flew the
SH-3G Sikorsky Sea King Anti-submarine while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac” - NK720 (TC)

http://www.usscoralsea.net/images/7980h3hc1.jpg


Posted image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

 

Taken before, on or after USS Coral Sea (CV-43) 13th “WestPac”

Chart of USS Coral (CV-43) 79/80 “WestPac”

 

 

With Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) aboard, USS Coral Sea (CV-43) departs San Francisco for WestPac and the Indian Ocean, November 13, 1979. NS024349b 114k. Courtesy of William T. Larkins. http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024349b.jpg

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) passed the Golden Gate Bridge

 

     “San Francisco’s Own” as the Coral Sea, was filmed by a news services as she passed the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

    Just as the older athlete must a little harder and a little longer before each season to make the team, so must the Coral Sea. Except her test is much more important than making the team it’s become a member of the Seventh Fleet.

 

    Two hours outside of San Francisco, Ca. she started her rigorous training schedule when the first general quarters drill was sounded.

 

    This is a drill to test the crews’ skills in the event of a fire or a battle(Ref. The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

    “USS Nimitz (CVN-68) made a port call at Tunis, Tunisia from 12 to 15 November 1979” (Ref. 1206).

 

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) pulled in for a port call at Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines

 

     “USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) pulled in for a port call at Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines on 15 November 1979, conducting READIEX ALFA (Power Projection) UNREP with USS Wabash (AOR-5) while en route on 14 November 1979” (Ref. 331B-1979).

 

    “USS Nimitz (CVN-68) pulled in for a port call at Naples, Italy on 16 November 1979” (Ref. 1206).

 

USS Midway (CV-41) arrives in the northern part of the Arabian Sea in connection with the continuing hostage crisis in Iran

 

    “On 18 November 1979, USS Midway (CV-41) arrived in the northern part of the Arabian Sea in connection with the continuing hostage crisis in Iran. Militant followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who had come to power following the overthrow of the Shah, seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on 4 November and held 63 U.S. citizens hostage. Spokesmen for the mob demanded that the United States return to Iran the deposed Shah who was in a New York hospital at the time” (Ref. 1-Midway & 72).

 

The Iranians occupying the Teheran embassy free three American hostages

 

     “On 19 November, the Iranians occupying the Teheran embassy free three American hostages: a woman and two black Marines. Ten more of the Americans are freed the following day, but fifty-three remained in captivity for a total of 444 days, being released on 20 January 1981 as President Ronald Reagan took office” (Ref. 1-Constellation & 72).

 

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and her escort ships were directed to sail to the Indian Ocean to join USS Midway (CV-41)

 

     “USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) departed Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines on 21 November 1979, inport from 15 to 21 November 1979, for the northern Arabian Sea via the Diego Garcia vicinity, in response to Iranian Crisis, which would lengthen the ship’s scheduled deployment beyond Christmas and the New Year. Initially preparing for a 28 November departure for Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California, Kitty Hawk was ordered to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea in response to the Ayatollah R. Khomeini tacit approval given to the extremists who continued to hold 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, beginning on 4 November 1979 when one of the more radical groups, “Students Following the Imam’s Line,” blamed the U.S. for the discord, and sought to mobilize support for their policies by seizing the U.S. Embassy in Teheran. Kitty Hawk and her escort ships was underway within 12 hours of receiving orders on the 21st to sail to the Indian Ocean to join USS Midway (CV-41) and her escort ships which were operating in the northern Arabian Sea” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk, 331A & 331B-1979).

 

 

A-7E Vought Corsair II Jet attack aircraft flying with a while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) four day transit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

 

    The 1979/80 USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Cruise started routinely with a four day transit to the Hawaiian operating area, three days of carrier refresher landings before commencing final readiness exercise. Until the day before entering Hawaii drills were held nearly everyday and lasted about hours each time. A three-day visit in Pearl Harbor was planned for November 24 to 26, 1979” (Ref. 48-Coral Sea 79/80 “WestPac” Cruise Book & The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

    While steaming to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in December, I was ordered to the Admirals War Room. Because of my unique knowledge of the OPORDER and accompanying publications, Captain Taylor, Operations Department Head, ordered me to assist RADM L. C. Chambers, COMCARGRU THREE / CTG 70.3 with UNREP messages while we were at radio silence rather quickly after the Captain of Coral Sea talked to Captain Taylor, Ops Boss.

 

    Upon arriving at the Admirals Flag Room, I saluted the Admiral at the end of the table and sounded off. He rendered a salute and the Admiral told me the Coral Sea was down to under 50 percent fuel onboard and the AOR ship that was scheduled to refuel the Carrier was 400-hundred miles away and steaming in the wrong direction.

 

    The Admirals staff was assembled at the table and I asked the Admiral to give me the message that told the AOR to steam the direction it was heading. I read the message and instantly knew which manuals to referee to for the required notations within the message basically referencing top secret and secret manuals that the AOR has aboard.

 

    Once notations referencing the correct pages and paragraph, sentence, etc, are decoded by the AOR Yeoman, then the AOR’s Captain would follow instructions in the new message, with an urgent statement, cease direction, come about to new coordinates.

 

    The Admirals staff worked with me and I had two marines dispatched from the Marine Guard Shack to the Operations Department to pickup a couple of manuals the Admiral either didn’t have or were not updated, can’t remember and a clip board we had in the Ops Office that was a collection of daily messages ordering changes to our battle OPORDER and other manuals ranging from confidential, secret to top secret.

 

    If a Yeoman doesn’t keep up manual changes in active publications that governor at sea operations either while under radio silence or not, ships Captains have little chance of successful maneuvers with other ships.

 

    The Admirals staff followed my instructions and within thirty minutes I delivered a completed message to the Admiral using an IBM typewriter. Waiting to here from the sky in the eye (E-2B Hawkeye) flown by Commander Dieter Olsen, as to the direction of the AOR ship seemed like forever. When I was told the ship had turned, I knew the ship would show up in time and refuel the Carrier.

 

    In those days (1977-81), when a ship was under radio silence, messages were sent to other ships in order for battle orders to be acknowledged or AOR Ships to refuel the Carrier. These messages reflect information gathered from other manuals and are in code.

 

    RADM L. C. Chambers staff did not fully understand the associated codes used during radio silence, thereby initially sending the wrong message. From that minute forward I would have a new collateral duty, preparing and reviewing out going messages for COMCARGROUP THREE while on deployment.

 

 

UNREP while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Deck Department conducts an Underway Replenishment Evolution

 

    “Maintenance, ship cleaning, excellence in underway replenishment evolutions and most of all team work, equal two words, Deck Department.

 

     The Deck Department, run by the 1st Lieutenant, LCD Donald Farber, is a tight knit, well managed department. Assisting him in the office is “Bosn Franklin”, or CWO2 Claude Franklin, handling the technical aspects of the Deck Department.

 

    To eliminate misleading comments on Boatswain Mates, painting is not their only responsibility; in fact one could say that painting was the period of an informative sentence concerning the Boatswain’s job. They are responsible or everything from sea and hor details to watch standing.

 

    Qn the bridge to assisting in man overboard rescues, and the major one, underway replenishment evolutions, where a 2 hour workday is not uncommon.

 

     An underway replenishment evolution is when two ships steam close alongside. Cargo and fuel is then transferred by rigging cable between the ships to support the fueling hoses and or cargo. The Boatswain Mates are responsible for the rigging and execution of this evolution.

 

     Deck Department is split into four divisions. Each division is responsible for different areas of the ship yet always lending a hand to the other departments whenever they are asked.

 

      “The Boatswain Mate rating has a lengthy historic tradition. Today I see technical expertise and Seaman Skills that tops In the United States Navy.”

 

      “Our department is the best Deck Department in the Navy. First Division is “First in the West”. This comment comes from the proud officer of 1st Division, LTJG Gary Thompson. This 40 man division is responsible for the foc’sle, with all the machinery which operate Coral Sea’s two, twenty ton anchors, BM3 Milton Ward is one leader there.

 

     “Each division handles certain UNREP stations, 1st division is responsible for stations also. Certain men are responsible for these UNREPS especially the rigging aspect, they are called rigging captains. 1st Division rigging captains are BM3 Joe Blanchet and BM3 Paye Goranson BM2 Taylor Pedro is esponsib1e for another job in 1st Division, supervision of the quarterdeck. BMC Terry Spohn is the leading chief of this division, ensuring the jobs are completed on time.

 

    Fourth division or the beach Bosn’s are a 18 man team taking charge of side-cleaning and survival gear with supervision from men like BM1 Dale Dodge. “Side-cleaning” is the painting and cleaning of the side of the ship during in port periods. BM3 Pete Meadows is a leader in this field also.

 

    “Second to none”, what else could describe the Boatswains in Second division. Second division is headed by Ensign Craig Lile. He operates a 35 man machine who refer to themselves as the UNEP specialists. Number one Petty Officer in second division is BM1 Robert Chester. Second division is responsible for the port motor whale boat, sponson 4 and the accommodation ladder under the supervision of Kevan Smay who is also a rigging captain for this division.

 

    They are also responsible for sponson 3 with guidance from BM3 James Stevenson, sponson 6 and that accommodation ladder run by BM3 Gary Fiveash. The incinerator is another area under 2nd division jurisdiction operated by BM3 Don “Duck” Jones.

 

    Last but not least is third division, headed by LTJG Chris Buehrig, The division has many responsibilities, and is run smoothly by BM1 S. L. Leachner. They are responsible for maintenance, cleaning and operation of the fantail, starboard motor whale boat, afterbrow, and maintenance and operation of an UNREP fueling and cargo station” (Ref. The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1 – JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

    I saw the leper colonies for the first time in my life. I had always thought the disease was no longer a threat to civilization.

 

    Events in other parts of the world caused rapid changes to our plans. Due to the assassination of South Korea President Park on 26 October 1979 and the Iranian take over of the American Embassy in Tehran” (Ref. 48-Coral Sea 79/80 “WestPac” Cruise Book).

 

    “That afternoon we got underway with a commendation from RADM Lawrence Cleveland Chambers, USN, Carrier Group THREE, CTG 70.3 job “well done”” (Ref. The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

    While in port I printed 250-copies of my 103-page book, titled Energy Quest in COMCARGRUP THREE, Rear Admiral L. M. Chambers Flag Room. I only had 6-hours to finish the Xeroxing before departing Hawaii.

 

   Before we departed Pearl Harbor, I stored Energy Quest books in the Print Shop, as there was limited space in the Operations Department Office.

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) enters and departs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

 

    USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was ordered to enter Pearl Harbor, Hawaii the morning of the 21st of November 1979 to take on needed supplies and provisions. The crew wasn’t allowed liberty. The men of the Coral Sea demonstrated their devotion to duty by rapidly loading fuel, food and other supplies as well as make needed repairs to the ship and exited Pearl Harbor in six and one half hours ready to carry out the policies of our government, supporting National Security Policy off the coast of Korea. We all were disappointed about not getting liberty, but the ship was quickly refueled and the provisions loaded board” (Ref. 2).

 

    Then there was USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Thanksgiving. Everyone was, of course, sad they couldn’t be with their loved ones. But we still got the traditional turkey and all the goodies that go with it. The mess specialist did an excellent job of filling in for mom(Ref. The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

Operations Department of USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Yeoman Activities

 

    As the Operations Department Yeoman (YNSN Bruce Wayne Henion), I was the one who updated and typed most the Top Secret and Secret documents relating to Battle Orders, LOI’s, Green Sheets, Enlisted evaluations and Officer FITREP’s to include Senior Officers FITREP’s, etc.

 

    My diet was much different then everyone onboard. There was pork every meal and sometimes lobster and steak. My diet consisted chiefly of vegetables/fruits and my religious convictions prevented me from eating certain types of animals, fish and or birds. My father and mother had taught me the clean and unclean meets “Jewish” bible story when I was old enough to walk.

 

    I complained to the XO, Captain Curtain and he ordered the Mess Chief Petty Officer to give me a key to the frozen meat locker where cheese and turkey ham was kept.  Bread was always available. I would have an occasional hamburger but sandwiches, fruits and vegetables were my substance for “WestPac.”

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) encountered high winds

 

    On our third day out of Hawaii, USS Coral Sea (CV-43) encountered high winds on 24 November 1979 and the word “All hands secure for heavy weather” was passed. We all checked our working spaces, tying down lockers, office equipment, televisions, etc. The winds carne up and the seas grew heavy. Outside of a few spills of food on the mess decks and a few tumbled typewriters, we carne through like seasoned sailors should. But we also were more respectful of King Neptune and his domain.

 

    “Those of us that had their birthday on November 24th lost out this year as that was the day we crossed the International Dateline. By international agreement you automatically lose a day when you cross the line heading west and you regain it when you head East. What was important was that we got’ paid for it(Ref. The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

24th day of Americans being held hostage in Iran

 

      “Jimmy Carter gives a press conference on the 24th day of Americans being held hostage in Iran November 28, 1979” (Ref. 12).

 

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) spent a couple of days operating off Guam

 

    USS Coral Sea (CV-43) spent a couple of days operating off Guam, occasionally getting to see the main islands in the distance. This was to allow our Air Wing pilots to get some flying done. And then it was off to the northwest to Korea” (Ref. 2 & The Voyager, U.S.S. CORAL SEA, January 1980, Vol. 8, No. 1– JOSA Doug Prent and SA Craig Erickson).

 

    “USS Nimitz (CVN-68) made a port call at Naples, Italy from 16 to 25 November 1979” (Ref. 1206).

 

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) crossed the equator

 

     “En route to station via Diego Garcia, the ship and air wing “Pollywogs” were initiated by Neptune Rex and his court into the ranks of “Shellbacks” as USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) crossed the equator on 27 November 1979. The Marine Detachment has 58 shellbacks initiated in the Solem Order of the Deep as Kitty Hawk crossed the equator near Diego Garcia” (Ref. 331B-1979).

 

     “During an exercise with the Pakistanis, an HS-8 assigned to SH-3H detected an “unidentified contact in international waters,” and prosecuted the contact to protect USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) on 28 November 1979. The submarine surfaced, revealing a Pakistani Agosta-class boat. During the same evolution, a Daphne-class sub also tracked the carrier, but was herself tracked by HS-8. Also on the 28th, a EA-6B (NL 626) (BuNo 158541), piloted by CDR Peter T. Rodrick, squadron CO, LCDR William J. Coffey, LT James B. Bradley, Jr., and LT(JG) John R. Chorey, VAQ-135 attached to CVW-15, launched for a scheduled electronic support measures (ESM) mission, at 1324, on 28 November 1979 at 07º33’S, 073º19’E. Kitty Hawk was under EMCON A conditions, which prohibited electronic emissions from either the ship or the Prowler. Within two minutes the Prowler passed close abeam of guided missile cruiser Jouett (CG-29), about eight nautical miles ahead of the carrier. The EA-6B suddenly executed a “near vertical climbing turn,” partial cloud cover obscuring further observation of the aircraft, though it is surmised that the crew was practicing a “low level ingress tactic.” Though not verified, it is believed the Prowler impacted the water at approximately 13 miles off the port beam of Kitty Hawk, 63 nautical miles from Diego Garcia, at 1505. Despite determined efforts by two SH-3Hs from the carrier and a Lockheed P-3 Orion from Diego Garcia, none of the men were recovered. Kitty Hawk arrived in the vicinity of Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory to load special equipment and supplies on 28 November 1979” (Ref. 331B-1979).

 

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) arrived in the vicinity of Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory

 

    “USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) arrived in the vicinity of Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory on 28 November 1979. NL 626, an EA-6B (BuNo 158541), CDR Peter T. Rodrick, squadron CO, LCDR William J. Coffey, LT James B. Bradley, Jr., and LT(JG) John R. Chorey, VAQ-135 attached to CVW-11, launched for a scheduled electronic support measures (ESM) mission, at 1324, at 07º33’S, 073º19’E. Kitty Hawk was under EMCON A conditions, which prohibited electronic emissions from either the ship or the Prowler. Within two minutes the Prowler passed close abeam of guided missile cruiser Jouett (CG-29), about eight nautical miles ahead of the carrier. The EA-6B suddenly executed a “near vertical climbing turn,” partial cloud cover obscuring further observation of the aircraft, though it is surmised that the crew was practicing a “low level ingress tactic.” Though not verified, it is believed the Prowler impacted the water at approximately 13 miles off the port beam of Kitty Hawk, 63 nautical miles from Diego Garcia, at 1505. Despite determined efforts by two SH-3Hs from the carrier and a Lockheed P-3 Orion from Diego Garcia, none of the men were recovered” (Ref. 331A).

 

     “A KA-6D (NL 521) (BuNo 152632), piloted by CDR Walter D. Williams, Jr., and LCDR Bruce L. Miller, VA-52 attached to CVW-15, launched from No. 2 catapult on a scheduled tanker sortie, at 1415, 29 November 1979. Almost immediately, NL 521 settled off the bow of USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), due probably to low airspeed resulting from catapult errors (129 knots was the required airspeed; the KA-6D had attained only 92). A plane guard helo (HS-8) ¼ mile aft of the ship, immediately initiated a SAR, supported by a helo from HC-1 Det 2, embarked in USS Midway (CV-43), and by destroyer USS David R. Ray (DD-971). Those concerted efforts proved fruitless: neither of the men survived” (Ref. 331A & 331B-1979).

 

 

One A-7 Corsair wasn’t able to use its tail hook while USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was on her 13th “WestPac”

 

     “USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) Marine Detachment participated in a memorial service for four aviators lost at sea by providing a gun salute, color guard and bugler and Kitty Hawk conducted UNREP with USS Wabash (AOR-5) on 30 November 1979” (Ref. 331B-1979).

 

Thirteenth “WestPac” and first Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea deployment (Operation Evening Light and Eagle Claw during the Iranian revolution & Iran hostage crisis (Iran History, Air Arm) and Cheju-Do Islands in the Sea of Japan on the way home via Korea), operating with other Aircraft Carriers and upon completion conducted training operations and Carrier Qualifications (Iran History, Air Arm, Iranian revolution & Iran hostage crisis

(13 November 1979 to 30 June 1980)

CHAPTER XXXIV

Part 1 – (13 to 30 November 1979)

Part 2 – (1 to 31 December 1979)

Part 3 – (1 to 31 January 1980)

Part 4 – (1 to 24 February 1980)

Part 5 – (25 February to 20 April 1980)

Part 6 – (21 to 24 April 1980)

Part 7 – (25 April to 30 June 1980)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER XXXIV

Part 1 – (13 to 30 November 1979)

 USS CORAL SEA (CV 43)

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw, A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (August 1977 to February 1983)

 

A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy - Operation Evening Light And Eagle Claw -

 

Book - ISBN NO.

978-1-4276-0454-5

EBook - ISBN NO.

978-1-329-15473-5

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-19945-3

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA  Vol. I (10 July 1944 to 31 December 1975)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA Vol. I (10 July 1944 to 31 December 1975) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-54596-0

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. II (1 January 1976 to 25 August 1981)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. II (1 January 1976 to 25 August 1981) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-54790-2

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. III (20 August 1981 to 26 April 1990)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. III (20 August 1981 to 26 April 1990) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-55111-4