Aboard the USNS Gaffey March 1965 to Yokohama, Japan
Just joined the story time at Sgt Grit Community and read the story about a trip to Japan. Loved it. So i had to share my experience. We pulled out of San Diego on March 5th heading, initially, for Pearl Harbor, a five day voyage. I was a Buck Sergeant so i was birthed in the lower deck, three stack bunks. I was really enjoying the cruise until the ship left the harbor. As soon as the bow hit the Pacific currents the bow took a bow and so did my stomach. Within minutes I was hanging over the rail emptying my stomach overboard. To say i was sick is an under statement. When chow call was announced I joined the chow line, filled my tray, found an open seat at one of the metal tables welded to the deck and bulkhead. It took just one bite of food and, yep, you guessed it, I was off to the head. All that day I was sick and sleeping didn’t’ abate the problem. The next morning a sailor saw my condition and took me to the galley and gave me an empty #10 tomato can. I carried that can four two more days,. On the third day my platoon sergeant took me to sick bay and one look at me by the Naval Doctor and I was put in bunk Nd the Doc gave me a shot. What it was I never found out, but it seemed like minutes my stomach settled down. He also gave me some Dramamine and I spent the rest of the voyage walking about 2 inches off the deck. We had shore liberty for a few hours in Honolulu and pulled out of Pearl the next morning heading for Yokohama. Everything was great for the next 8 days, then we caught the tail end of a Pacific typhoon. The old Gaffey took a beating. The night before we pulled into Japan the waves and swells were so powerful the fan tail seemed to jump out of the ocean and the tork was so powerful one of the drive shafts that turned one of the propellers snapped. For the rest of the voyage Gaffey limped into Yokohama harbor on one screw. That’s not all. During that fateful night the Captain was thrown from his bridge chair, hit the deck and broke his hip. Ouch!… Lastly, once we were docked the PA system announced the names of 120 Marines telling them to get their gear and report to the rear gang plank. I was one of those whose names was called. Once all 120 men were formed into a platoon, the Gaffey was pulled out of the harbor and I never saw it again. However, one of the Staff NCO’s told us the rest of those Marines were being taken to Viet Nam.