North Atlantic

During my China Lake days, one of the projects I worked on involved the development and testing of sensors on Naval platforms, including the USS Comte de Grasse (a Destroyer). Here are some pictures from our test deployment. Note that the circles indicate where I was.

Here I am on the ship while it is getting ready to leave port. Let the adventure begin!
Onboard the USS Comte de Grasse following a bunch of naval ships, including the USS Saratoga, in the North Atlantic.
The USS Saratoga - up close! The crew was very nervous about being this close to another ship, much less an aircraft carrier. It was pretty rough being in its wake .
Here I am (red coat) on the bridge of the USS Comte de Grasse. Being from North Dakota, the bridge and all of the activities on it was real interesting.
Onboard the USS Comte de Grasse leading 2 other destroyers in the Mid Altantic.
Here's the helicopter we used to test our sensors. Too bad it got damaged; we were going to use it to fly to the Saratoga and take a cargo flight from it to Iceland. All three of use were "chomping at the bit" to get catapulted off the carrier. Instead, we were stuck on the ship for the full 8-day training mission (which turned out to be pretty cool).
Since we were guests, we got our own quarters. The top bunk was mine. Real spacious.
One of the many training maneuvers we watched was an under-way replenishment. Here are approaching the supply ship. Note that it is already refueling another destroyer.
Here we are getting ready to run the fuel lines across. This is a very dangerous maneuver as two ships this close tend to pull each other together (Bernoulli's principle or Venturi effect).
Here's a snapshot of what it looks like when a 500 foot long ship is in rough seas (15 foot seas) in the North Atlantic. The bridge crew was pretty nervous about being in this type of weather. At one point, when the bow (front) of the ship dove into the water and ice broke through some of the bridge windows and they called "general quarters," I asked if we should get survival suits and life jackets on (in case we sink). One of the officers replied that it wouldn't do any good as the nearest ship was over 200 miles away and we wouldn't survive long enough for it to arrive.
Sadly, on June 7, 2006, the Comte De Grasse was towed approximately 275 miles off the coast of North Carolina and sunk along with her sister ship, the Stump, as a target during naval training exercises in a water depth of 12,000 ft.


Last Modification: April, 2009