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The whole trip, dock to dock, lasted almost exactly 24 hours, although given some delays, it could have been a few hours shorter.  Call this post “day and night,” or more accurately, “day, night, and day.” Here was part a.

Let’s start some hours later on day 1.  Most river traffic does not draw spectators like this did.

 

Even the family dog came out.

Twelve or so hours after that, a blistering summer sun had given way to the Thunder moon, here lighting a path northeastward from Staten Island.  I took this photo before 0500.

 

After biding time for a few hours here,

Nathan G let go lines and Slater began the  final leg of the trip to the yard;  Sarah D is over there, but the illusion is almost that Slater is underway on her own power,

watchman mimicking deck gun, pointing the way.

Once in the KVK, a blazing summer sun returned, replacing the Thunder moon.

Pier assignment received, the tugs eased the destroyer escort into the dock.

Many thanks to Bill Stolfi and Steve Munoz for the first three photos;  the sixth boro harbor photos by WVD.

For more info on USS Slater, click here and here.

Here , here, and here were posts from the 2014 dry-docking.

In July 2020, she heads down to Staten Island for another dry-docking, partly to address issues other than in 2014.  The photo below captures an 0600 view.  Today’s post covers the first three hours of the next 24, as it makes its way down to the Staten Island shipyard.  Tug Sarah D (roughly 90′ x 29′ and rated at 2000hp) arrives.  It’s a spectacular morning.

The ship and museum are located near the “U-Haul truck on building” which you may see driving through Albany NY, and have no idea what lies below on the river.

By 0730, Nathan G (roughly 73′ x 24′ and 1200hp) has arrived, and both tugs and all three crews are ready to move;  a series of unheard commands, a burst of power, a foamy wake, a tensing of the towlines, a hint of expended fuel . . . and

 

away they go.  The wealth of spectators reported farther downriver is already evident here.    Does anyone have photos showing the crowds on the shore?  Please get in touch if you are willing to share photos showing this.

Sarah D rotates Slater 180 degrees to point her downstream toward the tank farms and grain silos of Port of Albany.  The dimensions on Slater are 306′ x 37.’  Her engines are “cosmetically maintained” and she has an operating generator.

By the time the tow passes the very Dutch place name of “Paarda Hook,” or Horse Point, it is already 0830, and we, aboard the warm and elegant Dutch Apple II,  turn back.

More tomorrow.  Here’s Slater‘s history.  Her namesake is Frank O. Slater, a USN seaman who died near the Solomon Islands during an attack on USS San Francisco in November 1942.  Here’s an extensive history.

A bit more detail I learned, and hopefully noted accurately,  aboard Dutch Apple II:  Slater is one of 479 destroyer escorts built that remained in the USN, 44 of which were named for seamen from New York state.  She’s the only one preserved in the US.  Her mission, with her 216 sailors, was to accompany the North Atlantic convoys, of which she performed five;  no vessels were lost to U-boats during those five crossings.  After four years in the USN, she was sold to the Greek Navy, where she served forty (!) years; hence many more Greek seamen served aboard her than US seamen.

The dazzle paint reproduces her appearance during WW2; it was intended to confuse U-boats of her type and direction so that any torpedoes fired would more likely miss their targets.  After the U-boats were equipped with acoustic (sound homing) torpedoes, she and other DEs would tow foxer (or FXR) cables  [aka Kreissäge (circular saw) or Rattelboje (rattle buoy)] to lead the torpedoes off course.

For more info on the museum, click here.  If you use Facebook, they are here.

To repeat, I’m interested in photos of the crowds along the river Sunday to greet the ship; I’m also interested in photos of Slater alongside Intrepid from 1993 until 1997 and the initial tow upriver in 1997.

Where was Doornekamp’s Sheri Lynn S heading?

Downstream on the St. Lawrence to assist USS St. Louis, LCS-19, as she was making a port stop in Ogdensburg NY.

Also assisting was Océan Serge Genois.

 

If this USN press release is current and accurate, other LCSs expected to exit the Great Lakes this year include USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (LCS-21), USS Kansas City (LCS-22), USS Oakland (LCS-24) and USS Mobile (LCS -6).

Now as seen from the US side of the River, standard procedure boom was deployed  around the LCS by a workboat provided by Seaway Marine Group.  More of this scene is captured in this article/photo from the Watertown Daily Times NNY360.

Once the LCS was boomed, the Seaway Marine boat patroled the exclusion zone.

 

 

Fifteen or so miles downstream from Ogdensburg, the Océan tug guides the LCS into the Iroquois locks.

 

All these photos from the Canadian side are compliments of Pat English, who posted a video on FB Seaway News Voie Maritime Info of the Ocean tug rocking back and forth to keep the LCS centered in the lock chamber.  All photos from the US side are compliments of Jake Van Reenen.

Again, many thanks to Pat and Jake for use of these photos.

Previous tugster posts with LCS vessels can be found here.  Previous posts at Iroquois lock are here.

 

How we got here from Montezuma can be seen here on a map from the DEC.  Sorry, but I have no pics of Cross Lake, boyhood home area of Hiawatha, but not H. W. Longfellow’s version.

Lock E-24, the only lock we transit in this last leg of the trip, is the pride and joy of Baldwinsville.  In the photo below, the Budweiser sign middle top is near Bud Light Amphitheater on Paper Mill Island.    For the source of the photo and the story below, click anywhere on the photo.  Baldwinsville is a village in the towns* of Van Buren and  Lysander, one of the locations within the Central NY Military Tract, areas of land used to compensate soldiers who’d served in the Revolution.  Thanks to a Robert Harpur, a classics-trained clerk in the Surveyor’s General’s office, these locations to this day carry “weighty” names, fairly common in NYS in general. Imagine growing up in Carthage, Corinth, or Ithaca NY.  More on Lysander, the town and not the Spartan admiralhere.

*The boundary lines for towns, villages, and hamlets are confusing.

A short distance out of town is this rail bridge.  By its location, I’d say it dates from the Syracuse, Lakeside, and Baldwinsville RR, then later the Syracuse, Lakeshore and Northern, but that discontinued service in 1931.  Has it been used since?

The Seneca River, flowing through the NW outskirts of Syracuse, is heavily settled.  You will see a lot of boats, some with only a past and

others with a buoyant future.

Again, many people crossing bridges, like this one E-73 marked at NY 370 Cold Springs, might have no idea what waters and what artwork can be found beneath.

This Sears Oil terminal (not associated with the Richard Sears of the department store) I think has been torn down, but someone needs to confirm that.  The structural dolphins along the left bank are again vestiges of the use of the Canal for distribution of essential materials.

Limitations to the principle that “you are responsible for your wake” were illustrated here.  You slow down if you see someone fishing or canoeing or docked boats.  See the ducks?  Sure, but you don’t slow down for them.

See the hunters above?  We didn’t at first because of their camouflage.  Yup . . . they got waked.  You won’t slow down if camouflage succeeds.

Later, we saw another group of hunters, less well camouflaged and our watch tuned to the possibility that stealthy hunters were present, and they were not waked.

Ditto my comment of earlier about bridges from above and from below.  This is the Route 31 bridge in Belgium NY, a hamlet in the town of Clay.

We pass part of the Docks by Dom fleet.

The Erie Canal, looking west, goes back to the right.  The waterway to the left in the Onondaga Lake Outlet, connecting the Canal to Onondaga Lake and Syracuse, where the Inner Harbor once had a Syracuse Terminal with boat-building facilities.  In fact, the tug Syracuse (seen at the beginning of this post) and the tug Reliable (now a reef near Long Island) were built there.

In 1919 a Greenport NY-built, US Navy vessel,  Submarine Chaser 245, which had served in the Atlantic, Med, and Adriatic was making a victory tour of US coastal and inner coastal cities.  After stopping in Plattsburgh, Schenectady and Rome, plans were made for a stop in Syracuse. At the time Plattsburgh had a population of 11k, Schenectady … about 90k, and Rome … 25k.  Syracuse had 170k.  All was great until SC-245 passed through the Outlet (above) into Onondaga Lake, crew were overwhelmed by the stench of sewage, etc, and beat a hasty retreat all the way to Buffalo.  Battle, as attested by the three “kill” stars on the SC’s stack, had not caused these vets to flee;  pollution, however, did.  Can you imagine the stories these vets told the rest of their lives, crossing the Atlantic, fighting the Austrians, overcoming all adversity, only to be defeated by Syracuse Inner Harbor miasma?

This was not the last or first time sub chasers appeared in the Barge Canal.  SC 330 and presumably her sister ships (I can’t confirm this.)  in the distance were built by Burger Boat in Manitowoc WI.  Here they head for a sixth boro-commissioning and then for sea via the Barge Canal.  I’m not sure where in the canal this photo was taken, or what publication it appeared in.  I found it on FB a few months ago.  Maybe someone can help.  I’ve also long searched for a WW1 or WW2 photo showing war materiel passing through the canal, e.g., tanks on barges, other naval vessels, etc.  Anyone have photos?

Here’s evidence they passed:  Section 8 page 51 of this application document addressed to the US Dept of Interior, National Park Service:  “During World War II New York’s Barge Canal allowed Great Lakes shipyards to build and deliver landing craft,tugboats, PT boats, sub chasers, mine sweepers, and other naval vessels – 414 military vessels passed through the canal in 1942 alone. Canal dredges, derrick boats, and tugs worked on construction of Samson Naval Training Station on Seneca Lake and others were assigned to New York Harbor.”

I posted from Syracuse back in 2013, when Honeywell was making a concerted dredging effort to clean up Onondaga Lake, which had been fouled by the salt industry. Why Honeywell?  Read here. A 2009 scientific article on the degradation of the lake, which some considered the most polluted lake in the US, can be read here.  Honeywell has recently sued ExxonMobil and Buckeye to recoup some of their expenses, but I don’t know the outcome of those actions.

A good read on the the lake going from a spa and fishery to toxic abasement and beginning to come back can be read here.  Here’s another on the lake’s lost resorts.

Here‘s an article about the report and follow-up plan.  The Onondaga Nation finds the extent of the cleanup inadequate. Here‘s more on the Ononodaga.

Notice this stately 1875 Syracuse Savings Bank building, now clearly leased by Bank of America.   The left side of the building front Erie Boulevard, which prior to 1918 was the Erie Canal.

The bank is now on the left extreme of the photo.

Ditto here.  More on Syracuse industry here.

As you might have suspected from other boom-to-bust towns and cities along the canal, Syracuse population today is around 140k, compared with its high of 220k in 1950.

But we’re heading for our rendezvous point, and we have a bit farther to reach it.  That and a whole lot of reflection . . . tomorrow.

 

 

Many thanks to Phil Little, who took these from his socially-distanced perch high atop the Weehawken cliff . . .  I had thought to go out, but I didn’t want to get swarmed by “social-approachers.”  An alternative title here could be “Comfort Departs.”  I like the blue/white sign on the building off the starboard side of the ship:  “Thank you essential and health-care workers . . . .”

If I see accurately,  it’s Ava, Capt. Brian, and Marjorie that see her out.  As Phil writes, “Conditions: slack tide, wind 10-15 ESE, temp 53 deg.F. Looked like they had to nudge her around a bit into the wind, before she got underway!”

And so she got underway, exactly a month after arriving.

The closest I could find to an accounting is here from Mike Schuler at gCaptain: “While in New York, medical personnel treated 182 patients of which 70% were COVID-19 positive. More than 110 surgical procedures, 540 x-rays and CT-scans, and 1,300 intravenous and oral medications were performed, according the U.S. Navy. ”

Many thanks, Phil. Many thanks to crew of USNS Comfort.

And tomorrow, we begin our virtual canal tour of the western portion the NYS Canal system.  And thanks to a friend who pointed this out on a NYS blog a short time ago, a fascinating and profusely illustrated article about the impact of the 1872 horse epidemic on the economy and the Erie Canal.

 

Note:  Tomorrow I may slip my post time a little; you’ll understand, I hope, tomorrow.  Mentioning hope, check out this link to learn about, among other things, an iron cow!!  Hope, SS Hope, was born of USS Consolation, AH-15.

Anyone know the US first hospital ship?   When did USNS Comfort last call in the sixth boro?  Answers follow below.

I used the photo below just over five years ago in a post about Red Cross ships;  tanker SS Rose City became USNS Comfort in 1985.  Study the photo and compare it to the current iteration.

I’m thrilled Mercy has been activated in the west and Comfort will arrrive here, but only a very short time ago there was serious consideration to mothball and maybe scrap at least one of these vessels. Also, as positive as they are, what they are not is panaceas. Mechanical, electrical, and other bugs need to be sorted out on the ships.  Crews need to resolve dynamics;  after all, even two months ago all those crews were happily working elsewhere, and as USNS ships, they have hybrid civilian/military crews.

And the US first hospital ship, establishing a “makeover” tradition, began life in Cape Girardeau, MO in 1859 as a Mississippi River steamer.  The Confederacy transformed it into a barracks, the US army captured it, and she was made into a hospital ship. I believe she carried the name Red Rover throughout all three lives.   Nursing staff on USS Red Rover were members of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Click here for a ketch used to evacuate wounded going back to 1803.  What were we involved with 217 years ago?

USNS Comfort made her last call in NYC was in September 2001, and I honestly didn’t recall that.  Does anyone have photos to share from that deployment?

Finally, I’ve mentioned it before, but back in 1980 SS Rose City had a young crewman named John Moynihan, who wrote a noteworthy account of his hitch aboard the vessel.  It’s a great book in itself;  his father was a senator from New York.

Long ago and faraway, I boarded this hospital ship on a tributary of the Congo River;  that it operated there at all is a scintilla of evidence that even a dictator can do good things by his subjected peoples.  I’m unable to learn the disposition of this ship, SS Mama Yemo, but a little researching did lead me to understand that it was developed by a US doctor, William Close, whom I’d love to learn more about.

SS Rose City photo thanks to William Lafferty;  sentiments and filtering of info by WVD, who thanks you for keeping your distance.

Hats off to the folks dredging USNS Comfort‘s berth even as we read.

And finally, a request . . .  if you get photos of her arrival tomorrow, consider sharing them with this blog.

 

 

November 2009 saw the USS New York (LPD-21) arrive in her namesake city for christening commissioning. Just faintly, the name is visible on the stern.

I also went up to the Lyons NY dry dock in November 2009 and caught Urger, then in seasonal layup. Five years were to go by before I did my season on this Barge Canal tugboat.  May she return!

Firefighter was still working in the sixth boro.

Stephen was working then too, and she’s still working today.

Cape Ann’s Essex Creek is hardly the sixth boro, but you can get there from here . . . . and Essex MA is one of my favorite places, although –truth be told–I’ve been there only once since 2009.

Some miles north of Essex Creek is the Piscataqua River, and back then these were the horses in Moran’s stable on Ceres Street:  Carly A. Turecamo, Mary M. Coppedge, and Eugenia Moran.  Carly‘s now in Maine with Winslow, Eugenia is maybe laid up, and Mary M. is still working there . . . but again I’ve not been there in almost two years.

And finally . . .  she who need not be named alongside a dock in Philly.

Any since we’re on the retired undefeated speed champion, let’s zoom in on the “crow’s nest” in these next two photos . . .

Not my photo although I felt like talent that day . . .   Here and here are more photos from that day, in 2014.

This last photo is by Chris Ware.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

 

This weekend the Upper Bay portion of the sixth boro cradled two “fast logistics ships” or “Large, Medium-speed, Roll-on/Roll-off Ships” (aka T-AKR, although I’ve no idea how that alpha indicator relates to those descriptors;  LMSR would make more sense.)  at the same time, one off Fort Wadsworth, below) and the other

off Owl’s Head fishing pier.  The T-AKR above–USNS Sisler T-AKR-311–was preparing for sea trials at the end of her refurb period, and the one below–USNS Watkins T-AKR-315 was preparing to enter the graving dock in Bayonne to begin hers.  Sisler was launched in 1998, and Watkins, 2000, both by NASSCO in San Diego.

I also have questions about the relationship between the MSC–to which these vessels belong–and USNS, unless it is that technically all “ships” serving the USN are referred to as USNS.

Framing from memory, I took what were intended as identical photos of each.

 

I’m not sure when Sisler will return from her sea trials or

when Watkins will exit the graving dock.

I’m wondering if Sisler will be back in for a final coat of gray to cover what appears to be a primer coat.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, whose previous posts of T-AKRs can be found here.

 

Wednesday was such a spectacular day for parading into NYC’s Upper Bay that even the cormorant took notice.

USS New York had this Osprey on its deck, surrounded by a crew of sailors and marines.

Previous appearances of USS New York, in the harbor and on this blog, can be found here.

 

Also in the procession were USCGC Campbell, 

USCGC Lawrence O. Lawson,

USCGC Katherine Walker,

HMCS Glace Bay,

ketch HMCS Oriole,

USMMA’s Kings Pointer

USS Tornado, 

some YPs, and

numerous smaller craft like this one . . ..

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who encourages you to tour whichever boats capture your fancy.

Katherine Walker has appeared or been mentioned here before many times.  And–last but certainly not least– my favorite photos of Kings Pointer can be found here . . . near the end of the post.

 

 

See that lineup . . .   it can mean only one thing, and it’s not the invasion of 300 enemy warships. 

Here are some of those meeting the fleet . . .

And here the fleet, part of the vessels . . ..

Three Forty Three does the honors.

The lead gray ship has a unique appearance, seen on this blog here from about a year ago.

 

LCS-5 will be docked on Staten Island, a tour I might be interested in doing.  For the complete schedule, click here.

 

Ellen McAllister, following her to the dock, is another product of Wisconsin shipbuilding.

 

Following the LCS was DDG-109, USS Jason Dunham.  Please read the story of the namesake here.

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More tomorrow, but here, passing in front of USS Jason Dunham and USS Milwaukee, is the 98-year-old HMCS Oriole, with an interesting bi-national history you can read here.  HMCS Oriole has appeared on this blog twice before, once on the West Coast and once on the Great Lakes.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, whose previous fleet week photos can be seen here.

 

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