Files recovered from the discussion page of the above name

Norfolk to Brooklyn

From: Ken Noble
Date: 7/17/00
Time: 5:05:28 PM
Remote Name:


I can’t believe it was over 40 years ago that we took the bus from Norfolk to the Brooklyn Navy yard. The ferry ride from Norfolk across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay was the first time I felt the sea swells from the ocean. I began to think I made a terrible mistake letting the Navy recruiter talk me out of waiting to see the Air Force Recruiter. I was feeling very sick. One of my buddies (name long forgotten) reminded me of the party the night before and assured me that my problem was not the rolling of the ferry, but the amount of "fun" that we consumed the night before. Well ole buddy, you were correct, I was never seasick after that, and there were many opportunities to join the majority of the crew and feel their pain.

I recall that on the ferry a lot of shipmates were consuming various amounts of "fun". The buses were not equipped with facilities in the back as they are today. I do recall various individuals in distress walked forward to find relief as the driver opened the door to the bus for them. I also recall one individual waking from his sleep and closing his window believing it was starting to rain as we speed north on US 13 under clear skies.


From: Mike Hight RD2 60-62 Plank owner
Date: 7/17/00
Time: 5:07:14 PM
Remote Name:



Remember flat-hats ? (Donald Duck hats?)
Remember the bar on Flatbush Ave, where we all chipped in for a keg of beer and had designated pitcher runners from each table?(was it an Italian name?)
The diner across from the Main Gate?
The gedunk at the Receiving Station?
Taking the subway for a 15 cent token? (now it is $1.50 and no token)
Going to the Mothball Fleet in Bayonne, N.J. to scrounge for supplies? (we went aboard the Battleship North Carolina and two Battle Cruisers. Was it the Guam and the Juneau? We came back with signal flags, binoculars, and maneuvering Boards.
What else????)
Do you remember going to Yankee baseball games and getting free admission by going to the press gate in uniform?
Do you remember seeing Ted Williams in his final season and the homerun that he hit in right center field?
Do you remember the "A" train ? the "D" train? Grand Central Station? Penn Station? or the Port Authority Bus Terminal?
How about Radio City Music Hall and the Easter Program? The feature was Pollyanna with Hayley Mills.......
What was on Broadway?
I remember "Raisin in the Sun."
What was off Broadway?
I remember the "Three Penney Opera" in the Village, was it the Theater de Lis? "Mack the Knife" was the theme song......
Remember going to the Statue of Liberty, or the U.N.? (Did you ask a NATIVE NEW YORKER FOR DIRECTIONS?????) Remember going to the Easter Parade outside St. Patrick's?
Going to dances at Cardinal Spellman"s??
Remember going to the races at Roosevelt Raceway on L. I.?
Remember the Adult Theaters on 42nd.? (today, they would be "G" or at worst "PG".)
The "C&W" bar near Times Square , the bouncer was a former pro-wrestler by the name of "Man Mountain" Dean?
The CVA that was built at the Navy Yard? Was it the Constitution? The big fire aboard was after we left Brooklyn.....
Remember the Saratoga docking at the next pier to us?
Remember sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge and having to tilt the upper part of the main mast for clearance???
Remember going to the shipyard shops and bartering for canvas covers with a surplus of ground coffee??
Remember going on Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan and they point out Grant's Tomb??
Remember hot dogs at Nathan's?????????

40 years later, how is your memory???????

from,"Crossing the Equator'

From: Mike Hight RD2 60-62 "Shellback"
Date: 7/19/00
Time: 11:53:14 AM
Remote Name:


As Topeka backed away from the pier, turned and headed south into the Pacific, you could actually feel the air of tension begin to mount. The day looked forward to by shellbacks and pollywogs alike was close at hand. For many it was an occasion long awaited, the chance to become shellbacks. Preparations were many and varied. The finishing touches placed so delicately upon costumes. There were gowns of white, hula skirts of combed marlin, wigs made of unrecognizable ingredients and all filled with eye-catching beauty.

Summonses were issued by vehement shellbacks to quaking and slightly dazed pollywogs. "How could they accuse me of this? For that matter, how could they know?" Shillelaghs of padded canvas were finished off with seaman like skill. The guillotine, the swimming pool, the rack, the hangman's gallows, all received their final nail and waited as patiently as time for the victims they knew would come to them.

Before the shellbacks had a chance to exercise their consummate skill with all the various ingenious devices of torture they had produced, the pollywogs had a quick moment of glory - the pollywog revolt! Buckets of water became part of the uniform of the day. It was a brave (or foolish) man who ventured through a hatchway or door without first having some idea of what was waiting on the other side. The Executive Officer (that hearty soul) became slightly waterlogged toward the end of the day and his shoes squished as he walked along the deck, like some sea monster giving forth salt water with each step. However, each indignity suffered by a shellback was carefully filed in his mind for the next day. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, with interest!

Then came the visit of Davie Jones, who informed the Captain of the forthcoming appearance of King Neptune and his Court. After snarling and lashing at the poor, benighted pollywogs, he vanished back into the sea whence he came. With the departure of Davie Jones there also came the cessation of hostilities, a sort of Topeka 38th Parallel peace fell over the ship until the next day. Morning came much too soon for most, but not for the shellbacks. "Vengeance is mine," saith the shellbacks, and it sure was!

Beginning with breakfast (which was rather less than filling), and running through to the completion of the ceremonies at the end of the day, the shellbacks laid it on - hard, thick, and fast. No mercy asked, none given. The King of the Seas came aboard amidst a blast of fire and thunder, greeted the Captain, and retired to his throne on the fantail, there to await, and condemn, the luckless pollywogs who came before him. Oddly enough, not one pollywog was found "not guilty" by the Royal Judge, and all were sentenced to neat little punishments described visually further on in this record of the day we crossed the Line.

It was quite an occasion, and for most quite a long one. Many a weary body was eased complainingly into its waiting bed that night. But there was a feeling of well being, a knowledge that they were now part of the chosen few, and with an occasional grimace of pain, all hands went peacefully to sleep, most to dream about the next time they crossed the Equator!

from "Crossing the Equator" 30 July 1960 Long. 81 degrees 10 minutes

Stub Mast

From: Jack Connery
Date: 7/24/00
Time: 9:22:16 PM
Remote Name:


Someone, I can't remember who right now, wrote a piece for Baka Hachi Revision and mentioned a stub mast that was hinged and had to be lowered to get underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. I was CIC officer for two years (64-66) and do not remember a "hinged" mast. (But that doesn't mean much).

Can anyone confirm such a mast and tell me what was on it. If it existed, it was probably right behind the Tacan antenna.


I just read Jack Connery's question about the "stub mast"
In the event that he never got the question answered: The stub mast was located just aft the TACAN antenna, but the stub mast held the AN/URD-4 "Radio Direction Finder" (RDF) antenna.
It had to lowered to go under the Brooklyn bridge... and then only at low tide.

Max Kaster

The Rest of the Story

From: Don Habener
Date: 8/5/00
Time: 22:34:16 PM
Remote Name: 4.72.3110.5


For those who have read RDCM Kefauvers bio I would like to add the rest of the story.

During the Topeka's transit from the East Coast to the West after negotiating the Panama Canal we turned South to make a new Shellback crew. Most of the crew were Pollywogs and OI division had only a couple of Shellbacks, Chief Kefauver was one.

The day before the "crossing" is pollywogs day and they can get away with almost anything. Knowing that the next day will be hell, a few of us in the division hatched a plan! I sent one of the guys to the Chiefs quarters to give "The Chief" a message that there was some bad trouble in the berthing compartment and I wanted him to come right away.

Now the plan was to get the Chief to come down and stuff him in a mattress cover. I don't recall what we were going to do once we got him in it but it went like this... The Chief came to the berthing compartment okay but... Do you remember the story about poking butter up a wildcats… (expletive deleted). Well a group of six or eight of us were no match for him and after about 10 minutes of pushing, pulling, grunting and sweating we all gave up exhausted.

The Chief, that night, gave new meaning to the term. Along with being an "Ironman" the chief was a good sport and didn't punish us too badly the next day as we crawled around the ship with our dungarees on backward.

Don Habener


From: Don Habener
Date: 8/5/00
Time: 22:34:16 PM
Remote Name: 4.72.3110.5


On the transit from the East to the West coasts passing through the Panama Canal and Gatung lake the Skipper took the opportunity to wash the ship down with fresh water.

Uniform - swimming trunks, then break-out the firehoses!

I was on the 01 deck forward along with 4 or 5 others on a hose blasting everything in sight. Someone was trying to come up the bulkhead ladder from the main deck so we let him have it! "Whoever it is, is sure making a valiant effort I thought" because we were hitting him with a steady stream, finally he gave up.

About the same time someone yelled "it's the EXEC!!!! It must have been a sight, we scattered like rats deserting a sinking ship.

I would like to know if anyone else remembers the incident.

Don Habener