Off Shore hit in Supply Office

Submitted By: John Wootten, LT(SC), 66-68– 03/22/07

In early December 1966, the TJ pulled into Guam for an overnight fuel stop on our way to Vietnam. In a single day there, we lost all of our rated cooks. Our first class and leader left on emergency leave to care for his family, the second class had a heart attack and was transferred to the hospital, and the third class was transferred under normal conditions.

Needless to say, we were in deep trouble without any trained cooks. Into the void came SKC Duffy, who had been a baker, and a first class shipfitter, whose parents owned and operated an Italian restaurant in Buffalo, NY. These two did a great job feeding the crew, with mostly Italian food, for the next 3-4 weeks until help arrived.

The down side of the story is that we lost any degree of cost control in December and had to “adjust” the December 30 quarterly report to avoid reporting a cost overrun. The idea was to get the books back in line by June 30 end of year, an idea that became very difficult while feeding a very active crew.

Several months later the TJ took several hits while operating off the North Vietnam coast, one of which was a direct hit in the Supply office. The office was a total mess, with shrapnel riddling almost all of our records. But the records for food service were in my stateroom, where they were reviewed daily while worrying about the cost overrun. The first thing I did that memorable day, after securing from General Quarters, was to throw the food service records over the side. We then reported that the records were lost to enemy gunfire. Problem solved.