Commentaries, Reminiscences and Sea Stories
R. L. Seiden

Me and the TAGS (More)
Posted on 6/13/2020

First by introduction I was a Sperry Field Engineer first working on NAVDAC Mk 1 and then on the WPN-3 Loran "C" receivers.

I am one of a few who went to sea on all three TAGS ships.

I met the Bowditch, Dutton, and Michaelson when they returned from Europe December 1960 for overhaul. I accompanied Dutton and Bowditch during the overhauls at Maryland Drydock and Shipbuilding in Baltimore Harbor. After the overhaul period I was the Sperry Field Engineer on Bowditch embarking for sea trials in waters off Bermuda and then degaussing at the range in Newport RI. From there we left for Bergen Norway - 20 days of the worst weather that the North Atlantic could throw at us.

During the next year and a half we surveyed in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Mediterranean and Bay of Biscay. We operated 24 days at sea, four days in port except for one 31 day period at sea followed by six days in port. Our R&R ports were Bergen Norway for six months, then Belfast Ireland twice, then down to the Med for Athens and Naples. I left Bowditch in Naples June of 1963.

I was on Michaelson for Loran "C" survey where we circumnavigated the Mediterranean sea to re-calibrate overland phase corrections. This was just after we were thrown out of Libya and Russia took over Wheelus Air Force Base. I met Michaelson in Malaga Spain and left it a month later in Barcelona. Russia used our Loran setup for jamming the network. They tried to manipulate our receivers to navigate us into Libyan territorial waters. The two Mk 1 Sperry SINS saved the day.

I was on Dutton during January and February of 1975. I picked I met Dutton in Yokohama and left it in Hakodate. The Loran network had been modified so that it could also be used for communication. When you looked at the cycle signal you could see the cycle jitter as two discrete Loran signals. I did not know that they had added the jitter - It looked a little odd. Apparently they added some form of phase modulation. Since the phase error was signal that drove the oscillator AFC circuits, the jitter got lost.

After these stints I went to work on Polaris Submarines in New London and Charleston with trips on Compass Island and Observation Island.

Me and the TAGS
Posted on 6/27/2009

I met all three TAGS ships on or about December 1, 1961 when they returned to Caven Point, NJ, an old US Army ammunition pier just south of the Statue of Liberty. And what a motley sight they were - rust buckets returning after three years with little or no shipyard maintenance. They sailed up the harbor in line, each with her own list, one to port, two to starboard. They were quite a sight.

Here is an article from the December 1, 1961 New York Times announcing the arrival of the three TAGS at Caven Point, NJ:

I believe the Michelson went to Brooklyn Navy Yard for its three month overhaul. Dutton and Bowditch went to Maryland Drydock and Shipbuilding.

I went to Baltimore with T-AGS-21 and T-AGS-22 as the Sperry Rep assigned to NAVDAC (Not a Very Damn Accurate Computer). With assistance from ETs from Dutton we did a thorough overhaul, testing every transistor, and replacing memory drums.

I remained with Bowditch for the trip to Norway in March, for surveys in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea. Our schedule was 24 days at sea, and then 4 days in port; the first six months Bergen, then Belfast, back to Bergen, 31 days at sea and a final inport in Belfast with Dutton and Michelson. Then we left for the Med and Christmas in Naples. For the next six months we used Naples and Pireaus for ports. I left I believe in June replaced by Art Shattuck (Sp?)

The Sperry Loran rep was (and again forgive my spelling) Henry Seminouwski followed by Nick Efstadous. I believe that Henry had been Loran Rep before I arrived on Bowditch.

I don't know who the reps were on Michaelson. Jack (or John) Keenan was NAVDAC rep on Dutton, and at one time or another worked the NAVDACS on all three TAGs, the CI, and the OI as did I. This makes us the only people to work on all five NAVDAC Mk 1s.

I made trips on Dutton in the Med and Michelson in the Pacific as Loran Rep to calibrate the Loran net after we lost possession of the Master station in Libya - it was moved to the instep of Italy, and for some experimental stuff in Japan. Malcolm Waclaw was lead Sperry Rep on Michelson which at that point had a much larger oceanographic civilian group.

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