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Visited the Stark @ Ingall's in '88

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Submitted by CM Chandler (United States), Sep 1, 2005 at 02:09

I was stationed onboard the USS R.K. Turner CG-20, originally Homeported in Charleston, S.C.

When we arrived at Ingalls around June of '88 after our stint in the Gulf (Protecting Iraq from Iran)
The Stark was ported at our Starboard side, a pier away.. For a month I looked over and saw how the ship was taking re-shape and 75% complete.
USS Turner was there for a 'Total Teardown' and rebuild. Sadly, corners were cut and we spent a good bit of our time after Ingalls back at the Charleston Shipyard getting our boilers up.
The Turner was plagued with mechanical trouble, and to the day of Sinkex '95, I'm sure the talk continued of how this ship was the crippled with the ability to travel no higher than 25-30 Knots.
When we arrived in Pascagoula we had bright hopes that our ship would be brand new at time of departure. Less than six years later it was Target Practice at Sinkex,'95 and now sits at least 3 fathoms down in the Puerto Rican Sea.
The Stark was a beautiful Frigate. Very clean with nice lines.
A month or so after being there and havin a few beers at the Masters Pub (located outside the gate at that time)I got walking down the dark dirt path to the Barge at the end of the road at the right of the Welding Stations. One boat to the right sat the Stark,-lights up heavy that evening, and the guard on the Fantail.
I got curious and approached the ship. The 2nd class PO (guard) was friendly. I asked him if I could tour the ship. He said that was alright, so I started fom the fantail to the bow, entering the left port door making my way forward. Comparing the inside of the ship to ours, only the rear entrance was tricky. The layout was somewhat similar to the Turner, but Much newer.
After passing the messdecks and CPO berthing and mailroom,
I entered through the WT doors going slightly left, then right, then passing a EM door(repair room)
I started forward.
At this point I got a real eerie feeling as I saw the green covered, freshly canvased bulkheads that still had raw metal showing, and the lower berthing that was taped off, but showing a nice, new fresh compartment.
I stood there for a moment just thinking of what those guys had gone through. It was starling, and I had feelings of being there simply because the Turner spent 6 mos. from Nov. 87-April 88
in the Persian Gulf and we had several Flyby's and ,as Capt. John loved his cookouts and Ships band on the fantail, we had GQ in the dead middle of one. Talk about scattering naval men manning their battlestations. That was a wake-up call.
Long story short, The USS Stark stays on my mind. Ingalls and the little town of Pascagoula do as well, and to see history that was made and to be a part of the reconstruction....even if ALL of the facilities of those days are decommisioned or retired, I can look back and say I saw it.
That was enough for me.
Thanks for reading.
Submitting....

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