Saturday, August 25, 2012

Apologies to Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

are losing theirs...

Then, it may not be your head that they are after.


Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

To distort what Kipling said in his rather famous words of “If” disturbs me a bit, from the first time I read his work I found that many of his words were what I based my life on, I do not pretend to be the perfect person but these words had great meaning to me and I tried to consider these words in most things I ever did.

Consider these words; in 1962 I was assigned to the Destroyer W. R. Rush (DDR 714) just after Her completion of a minor overhaul, I was a young FTG1, but had had considerable experience on a Destroyer of that class on the USS Turner (DDR 834), the Rush was in the final throes of underway training at GITMO, Cuba and we were at sea for our participation in our final ORI (Operational Readiness Inspection) which was a long range surface shoot (over 10,000 yds) with the Main Battery, 5 inch 38 cal guns. As Plotting Room Officer, Range Operator and Computer Operator of the Mk 1A Computer I was on station and ready for the exercise, the order that I received from the Gunnery Officer when the practice run was started was to apply a +800 yard spot in range for the firing exercise. I applied that spot because I was ordered to do so, we then commenced our practice run.

Anonymous said...

A large part of the score on the long range surface shoot was to fire the rounds as rapidly as possible, it was required that each barrel fire 6 rounds and if all barrels fired their 6 rounds in less than 1 minute that was a real plus. I reported to the Gunnery Officer that all stations and all gun mounts were ready for the firing exercise and the Gun Director was locked on target. The Gunnery Officer came back to me to commence fire all guns all barrels. At the completion of the firing exercise I asked my radar operator in the gun director what the splashes at the target were and he told me he could not see any splashes near the target. It was reported by the Tug towing the target that there were no hits or near misses on the target.

The gun crews and all other crew members received this word of no hits or near misses on the target and I could feel a downturn of enthusiasm over the sound powered phone circuit from the Gun Captains and other gunnery stations. We still had to complete our official long range surface shoot for the record and as we received the word that we were making that long circle to come into firing position for the record shoot I felt the crew had lost confidence in what we as a ship could do, but I felt that I knew the guns were properly aligned and the gun crews properly trained as we commenced our approach for the long range surface shoot. The gun director reported to me that they were locked on target and all gun mounts reported ready for firing. I reported to the Gunnery Officer that we were ready to fire in all respects, and the Captain gave his permission through the Gunnery Officer to commence fire all guns all barrels. The gun crews did get all 48 rounds off in less than 1 minute and there was silence for some short while after that, I asked my radar operator again what splashes he observed at the target and he told me there were many splashes near the target. Within the next minute or so we received a call on the 21 MC, which was the Gunnery Department MC and the Captain asked to speak to Petty Officer Hughes, and then changed that to speak to the Plotting Room Officer, his words to me were that the British Admiral that had observed the shoot from the Tug had never seen a Navy ship shoot that well, he said that all 48 rounds were either on target or near misses, and then the Captain asked me what I had done to correct for proper gun fire. I told him that I had only removed the initial spot for cold guns that the Gunnery Officer had given me.

The point is this, “If” I had in those days allowed myself to become how most others on the crew of the Destroyer Rush felt after the practice firing run we could have been lost, but I felt I knew the answer and we as the crew of the Destroyer Rush were aided by that decision. I give the credit for what decisions I made on that day to instruction and training from those that I worked for before that time.

Very Respectfully,