USS Pillsbury Memories Page One

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----- Original Message -----
From: Denis LaCrosse
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 9:29 AM
To: Jerry Vancleave
Cc: Elmer Fredd; Mike Lambert; Harold Treuer; Robert Robinson; Richard Turocy; Frank Zamboni; Thomas.Cummings; Duane Eldridge; Robert Tripp

Subject: Re: More Pill Remembrances

Jerry, Mike,

It seems that we are the only ones in this little group who hung on in the Navy, although I can think of others who probably did.


So you were "Dad",. I became "Grandpa" aboard Enterprise.
Almost never to my face, except for one wise-ass third class, who I really hoped would stay in. He was, in a lot of ways, like me.


Both the 4 and 6 were tuned from the radar room at their respective control units. Transmitters were in the transmitter room. The 28 was tuned from there. McAfee showed us how. Another story! The 8A had it's control unit in CIC, over the Master repeater. Just inside the door.

Pill's mast.
I had PM on the SPS-4 antenna, nothing to do but look in the cover, make sure there was no dirt or grease, close it up, and settle back. Always carried a book with me, and enjoyed a sunny afternoon, where nobody would even think of bothering me. That was one well cared for antenna!

Frank Fenton and I were painting the 4 platform in Argentia. Bitter cold, had to keep adding thinner to the paint because it got so thick, he dipped his brush, a huge glop fell off, and splattered ComBarLant, who had just come aboard. A Commander! We are both dead! In those days, Ensigns were awesome!

So you were both B-school and Enterprise. Same here. Except I did take over our SPS-10 on the Ozzie Maru, but our CIC there had so many unauthorized field changes only the Radarmen could keep up with it.

The Sterett was my favorite, as it is for everyone who served aboard, but Enterprise by far the most rewarding. This tin-can sailor pulled every string he could to get his orders cancelled, and after reporting, had trouble assimilating. Then one evening, sitting in my own office/shop (I had all the CIC PMS) digesting my steak and lobster, listening to my stereo, fitting another balsa plank to the sailboat model I was building, I thought maybe this wasn't so bad after all. So I submitted a leave chit, 10 days over Christmas. The fact we were in a war zone didn't bother me.

Naturally, the E-9 said no. So did the Div Officer. And the 2nd asst CIC Officer. The Assistant CIC turned to the CIC officer, and in his best Florida drawl, said "Frank. we cayunt leyet Chief LaCrowsse go on leayuve for teyun days, cayun we?"

"Why the hell not?"

I banged off the flight at 1600, bound for Danang, and a hitchike trip home. Helluva an adventure, and a lot of fun. After that I enjoyed my carrier. Became the Leading Chief, the ship's AICS, just plain enjoyed my duties, and the ship. Lots of stories.

And I'm rambling. Got stuff to do, later.


JVancle wrote:

In a message dated 6/10/02 10:14:56 AM Atlantic Daylight Time, writes: Tuesday @ 04:30 AM, 6/11/2002


Thanks very much for your very informative responses and images.


If you would like some help sizing images for the web page, I have all of the needed software and would be more that happy to assist?

Jerry, Elmer,

It seems I am not the only one who arises early! Wife still works, good job, but horrible commute, time wise. She leaves at 5:15, home by 20:00. >>


You're right about the early riser bit. I've found that I can accomplish more in the few hours between 0400 and 0700 than I can all day at the office with all of it's distractions.

About the wife, "Good for her." I had one of those at one time, but she wouldn't work. Plus, she would call the office in the middle of the afternoon asking me what I was planning to fix for dinner. Needless to say, after a few years of that, I fired her and raised my three my boys alone. It's been some 23 years since that event and I've not found another, at least one that I would want to make permanent. The single life has both good and bad sides. At this point in my life, I think that I'm a little too old to break in a new one.

Elmer is closer- surface search was SPS-4, air search SPS-6, replaced by SPS-28 (a variant of the WWII SC) (Klystrons, a pair, I think, and we had to tune both the transmitter and receiver on that one) Height finder SPS8-A, a little more powerful than the SPS-8.

Boy was I off on the radar suite. When Elmer mentioned the frequencies, my memory started working again. Now, if my memory doesn't fail me again, couldn't we tune the surface search (SPS-4) from CIC, but had to go to the SPS-6 transmitter room to tune that radar?

The SPS-4 still had the clamshell (for overhead search, something that never did make sense) antenna, which is probably led to problems with the drive. It was heavy, and could catch the wind, of which we had a suffiency. I remember Brown going aloft to repair it when we were underway...somebody forgot he was up there, changed course, and we started rolling. Somebody finally heard him, before God sent a lightening bolt...he was pissed! The ancestry of the entire bridge crew was taken into serious doubt.

Never was up on the Pillsbury's mast, but I know exactly what you are talking about. When I moved over to the Brough DE-148 (same class), which by the way had the SG surface search radar, I had to chip and paint parts of the mast from the SS radar pedestal down. On one occasion during my mast painting evolution as I was happily chipping away (suspended in my little boatswain chair), I looked up to find that one side of the pad eye from which I was swinging was rusted out and bending. That was my last time up the mast.

The SPS-8A had a stabilazation unit AN/SSQ-14, to keep it level as the ship rolled. It had limits, and when these were exceeded too many times, it would "tumble", lock in the stops, and the antenna would lay on it's side. That was my signal to go to the 8 room, secure the SE, physically return it to upright, and put it back on line. When the sea was too rough, we just secured the radar. >>

I remember it all now. Thanks!

The main radar room had a SPA-4 for the 6 master, a VJ for the 4. CIC had one SPA-4, the rest were SPA-8As, with the DRI input. The 8A master was in CIC.

The first and last time I saw a VJ repeater was on the Pill.

"Mike Lambert Insert" I remember the VL height finder Repeater, the VK azimuth repeater used with SPS-8A before we went in to the Yard for up grade to SPA-8's and Spa-9's which worked with the AEW radar transmitted down from the WV's

<< I remember the Italian guy and the craps, I never played, never did understand the game. >>

I can remember that one payday the little guy walked away with something like $900. In the beginning, he lost his entire pay, but borrowed a couple of 20s and managed to re-coop his losses and clean out everyone else.

On the DERs, CIC owned and controlled all the radars. A bit of culture shock when I went to my first fleet DD, and immediately got my butt in a sling for playing with the surface search, without permission!

I had a similar experience aboard the Enterprise. A little background first, if you will recall the Navy came up with this grandiose plan to convert some of its electronic equipment operators (RD's, SO's, etc ...) to technicians? Well, I went through that pipeline. I taught electronic theory from AC/DC through Radar Special Circuits and maintenance on the SPA-4s and 8s as well as the SPS-4 surface search radar at the RD "A" School in Great Lakes. After teaching electronics for three years, the Navy in its infinite wisdom decided that I should learn electronics, so they sent me off to RD "B" school for 47 weeks. My first tour out of "B" school was Enterprise. A few weeks after reporting aboard, one of the NTDS consoles that I was operating suffered a double action switch failure in the bullnose. Well, the hot technician that I though I was at the time, went about replacing the switch. I was about to complete the job when this DSCS walked into the space. Talk about a tongue lashing, you would have thought that I had just molested his sister. Needless to say, that was the last time I worked on any equipment aboard Enterprise.

A note,

While we tried for 100 miles or better with our SPS-6, the DD bunch was happy with 30. Different Navy.

Again, if I recall, there were numerous times that we would detect the WV-3s (Super Connies) on the surface search long before we would get them on the air search.

Best quit again and get on with other tasks.

Later Shipmates,


Jerry Van Cleave
9057 Marmont Lane
Williamsburg, Virginia 23188

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