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The Persian Gulf
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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USS Samuel B. Roberts -Continued - 12966_56
134.2 Figure 2-17.-Damage to the USS Stark. Enjoying a break from tanker  escort  duty,  the Roberts  was  headed  to  the  southern  part  of  the Persian  Gulf  for  a  scheduled  replenishment.  At 1639 Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Bobby F.  Gibson, standing  the  bow  watch,  saw  what  he  thought were   three    dolphins    off    the    starboard    bow. Dolphins had been spotted earlier in the day and were commonplace in the gulf. Only this time the “dolphins”  weren’t  going  back  under  water.  He grabbed  his  binoculars,  spotted  the  spikes  on  the floating   objects,   and   immediately   notified   the bridge.  The  officer  of  the  deck  (OOD),  Lt.  Robert L.  Firehammer,  Jr.,  then  called  the  commanding officer  (CO),  Commander  Paul  X.  Rinn,  who  was on the bridge in a matter of seconds. Rinn ordered the ship to “all stop.” Normally, mines found in the gulf were old and encrusted  with  sea  growth.  Looking  through  the “big    eyes,”    a    powerful    set    of    binoculars, Quartermaster   Second   Class   (Enlisted   Surface Warfare Specialist [SW]) Dan J. Nicholson’s heart sank  at  his  first  glimpse  of  the  floating  objects. They  were  shiny  and  the  sun  glared  off  them. QM2  Nicholson  thought,  Whoa,  this  is  real—big time!  Over the  ship’s  general  announcing  circuit, the 1MC, the captain told his crew their ship had entered a minefield. He called all hands to general quarters  (GQ)  and  told  them  to  check  that  con- dition Zebra was set throughout the ship. Within 3 minutes the GQ stations were manned and Zebra was set. Back on the fantail, the chocks and chains were removed  from  the  ship’s  helicopter.  Boat-swain’s Mate  Second  Class  Kim  T.  Sandle  prepared  to launch  the  helo  to  drop  floats,  flares,  and  smoke near the spotted mines. Rinn  went   to   the   starboard  bridge   wing, looking  back   at   the   ship’s   wake. He knew if he   kept   the   ship   in   the wake, it would be safe.      He      ordered      the      lowering    of    the auxiliary   propulsion   units   (APUs),   built   in the   forward   part   of   the   ship   to  maneuver in   tight   quarters   at   low   speed.   Rinn    then 2-25

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