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Damage to the USS Stark
Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
Damage to the Main Engine Room of the USS Samuel B. Roberts
began to back the ship away from the mines. For a time the CO’s attempt to tiptoe backward out of  the  minefield  looked  like  it  would  work.  But 21   minutes   after   the   first   sighting,   the   ship bumped  into  a  submerged  mine.  It  struck  Robert’s port side aft, near the keel. At 1700 the ship with the  motto  “No  higher  honor”  was  rocked  by  the exploding   force   of   hundreds   of   pounds   of explosives, Engineman  First  Class  (SW)  Mark  T.  Dejno had  set  Zebra  at  his  GQ  station  in  auxiliary machinery  room  3  (AMR3).  The  engineering officer  of  the  watch,  Chief  Petty  Officer  Alex Perez, had ordered all watch standers on the lower levels  of  the  engineering  spaces  to  move  to  the upper  level  before  the  mine  hit.  Dejno  was standing  on  the  upper  level  of  AMR3  when  he heard the "BOOM!" and saw a wall of flame and water  exploding  toward  him.,  Although  he  was severely burned on his face and one arm, Dejno did not lose consciousness. His first thought was to  get  out  of  AMR3—he  had  to  make  a  report. He climbed through an escape trunk. By the time he got through the hatch, water was up to the deck plates. Hospital  Corpsman  First  Class  James  E. ("Dot")   Lambert   wasn’t   particularly   worried about being in a minefield before  Roberts struck the  mine.  He  never  thought  the  ship  would actually  hit  a  mine.  As  he  said  later,  “You  see an  ice  patch—you  know  it’s  dangerous  but  you never  think  you’re  the  one  who  is  going  to  fall on  the  ice.  It  happens  to  the  other  guy.” On the bow BMSN Gibson had turned around and saw everyone on the 02 and 03 levels looking at the mines. He was turning forward when the mine  exploded.  Suddenly  he  was  airborne;  looking down, all he could see was forecastle and water as  he  came  flipping  out  of  his  dive.  He  landed heavily  on  his  neck  and  shoulders.  Head  spinn- ing, Gibson stumbled aft to help break out a fire hose. He was only starting to feel the pain in his back. On   the   bridge   wings,   the   reaction   to   the explosion was disbelief. Some thought at first the helicopter  had  crashed,  but  a  quick  look  at  the bridge monitor showed the spinning rotor blades of  the  helo  on  the  fantail. The  mine  Roberts  had  hit  contained  250 pounds of TNT equivalent. It struck at frame 276 on  the  port  side,  4  feet  from  the  keel.  The explosion blew a 15- by 20-foot hole, in the hull, knocking the ship’s two main gas turbine engines off their mounts (fig. 2-18). The port engine had been operating at the time. The fuel released by the explosion ignited and shot up through one of the  main  exhaust  stacks,  hurling  a  fireball  into the air 150 feet above the ship. Fiery debris rained down  on  the  deck. In the main engine room, seawater rushed in through  the  gaping  hole.  Within  15  seconds  water was just 2 feet below the upper deck plates. The blast  rendered  the  main  shaft  inoperative  and ruptured the shaft seal, which allowed the water from the engine room to completely flood AMR3 in 5 minutes. Below  decks,  lights  flickered  and  then  went out.  The  emergency  diesel  generators  supplying the  electrical  power  stopped.  Repair  party members searching through the darkness quickly isolated  and  repaired  a  ruptured  air  line,  allowing the diesels to be restarted. The situation in AMR2 was critical. Everyone in  the  space  knew  if  the  battered  connecting bulkhead to the main engine room gave way, the whole  crew  would  be  killed.  Chief  petty  officer Kevin  J.  Ford  and  the  others  now  working  in AMR2  had  been  through  damage  control  “wet” trainers  to  learn  plugging  and  shoring  techniques. However, this damage was worse than anything they had ever fixed in a drill, and they would have no opportunity to try again. Failure would mean the loss of lives and the ship—  their  lives,  their ship. The thought of failure caused them to work harder. After escaping AMR3, EN1 Dejno put a quick dressing  on  his  arm.  Then  he  found  a  friend— Petty  Officer  Second  Class  Larry  Welch—who was badly injured. He took him into the supply office to treat his wounds. Dejno was burned; but Welch was much worse, with charred, dead skin hanging  from  his  arms,  hands,  and  fingers. Dejno  tried  to  trim  away  Welch’s  uniform  with a  knife,  but  it  wouldn’t  cut  through  the  fuel- soaked  clothes.  Getting  a  pair  of  scissors  out  of a first aid kit, he cut away the clothes and dangling burned skin. He carefully wiped the fuel oil from Welch’s  face,  wrapped  him  in  a  sheet,  and  headed with him to the 02 level triage area. Doc Lambert and his assistants grabbed their portable  medical  bags  and  headed  for  the  mess decks when the blast occurred. The water on the deck caused Lambert to slip and fall. He became that   “other   guy”   who  always  slips  on  the  ice patch.  The  ship  had  too  many  wounded  sailors and  not  enough  room  on  the  mess  decks,  so  a triage area was set up on the 02 level. Leaving  the  executive  officer  (XO),  Lieutenant Commander  John  Eckelberry,  to  direct  operations on  the  bridge,  the  CO  left  to  tour  the  ship.  He 2-26

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