Commentaries, Reminiscences and Sea Stories
Bill Truslow

Secrets Dumped Over the Side
Posted on 10/20/2020

In early August of 1987 I was about to begin the second of four survops. Dutton was scheduled to depart Pearl Harbor at 0800. No explanation was ever given but we festered in port for hours. Finally at 1330, just after chow we got underway. An hour later Dutton was being buzzed by Russian AGI ships picking up anything dropped off the ship. I had seen Russian ships before so I went to my room. During the inport I received a package from Gravity Division. I opened it and found a replacement gyro and a spare board for the Control Power Supply. I was left with an 8 by 8 by 8 box with about 3 inches of light green styrofoam chips If you were to talk to everyone I know--most would say "Bill Truslow was always very friendly and nice to other people" So... I decided to leave a special treat for our new Russian "friends" I peeled off the NAVO mailing lablel, took the box in the head and took a big dump on top of the styrofoam chips, taped it up and with a black magic marker wrote SECRET STUFF on the top. I climbed up to main deck and tossed the box in the water. I wished I had a pair of high powered binoculars so I could see the expressions on the Russians' faces when they opened their special delivery.

Back to H. H. Hess
Posted on 10/20/2020

In early February 1981 Hess went to yard in San Francisco (Hunters Point) I was scheduled for two survops out of the yard in March ending in Hawaii, but methane gas collected in the aft hold. This eventually caused an explosion sending the aft hatch cover in the air and landing in dry dock killing a worker. This added another month to the yard! About this time Wyman was having trouble staying at sea and constantly being towed back to port. Bowditch was stuck in Lisbon with boiler problems. Rumor at NAVO was Bowditch would never sail again. There was a deadline to finish an area in the Atlantic so NAVO decided to send Hess through the Panama Canal to finish the area.

Bowditch climbed off her death bed and with both Wyman and Bowditch surveying again Hess was sent back home to the Pacific

In mid October 1981 a friend and I took three weeks leave to go camping out west. New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Colorado and back home. We arrived back in Mississippi late Saturday evening. When I arrived at work on Monday morning I was summoned "down the hall". A gravity rep was sick and was sent home. Would I be willing to go to the Hess a month early? Next morning I was on a plane bound for Panama.

After October 1982 the crew I knew and loved on Hess went off to other duties. I avoided this ship, only sailing on Dutton and Bowditch. Never once did I try to schedule a Hess trip. In late 1988 the senior gravity rep scheduled to go to Hess ended up in the hospital. Gravity Div needed someone quickly to fill that spot. By this time I had more sea time than anyone in Gravity Div and was basically able to pick and choose when and where I wanted to sail. It was common knowledge that Dutton would retire next year. I agreed to go to the Hess only after I was promised the last 4 survops on Dutton. Not a bad bargain!

The Demise of Bowditch
Posted on 10/20/2020

Aboard Bowditch I was friendly with both the Lavino and Navy crew and was aware of what was going on with the ship and also what was not going on. I was obvious to all that Bowditch was not going to be fixed in Rio. The closest ship yard with the capabilities to help the ship was Curacao but there was a problem: Dutton, Bowditch, and Hess were all scheduled to be in Rio during the Christmas holiday and the entire NAVO command and their families had made reservations at the Meridian Hotel in Rio. Sending the Bowditch away to somewhere else to be fixed would have ruined holiday plans for NAVO command--so Bowditch just festered in Rio harbor.. The true story of the last months of Bowditch would expose the dim witted, selfish morons of NAVO. Just thinking about it still pisses me off and that was 34 years ago! On January 16, 1987 Bowditch was rammed in Rio harbor by Italian ship Po

Bowditch still had a long list of issues and not sure exactly how far ship could sail but Rio wanted this ship GONE! One fact that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle: At the time of the collision, Bowditch was under contract and awaiting pilot to finally get the hell out of Rio.

The day after Bowditch docked at Gulfport, Mississippi I brought two ET friends home with me. They lived in the spare bedrooms in my house in Pass Christian for a couple of months and commuted to the ship daily. The rest of the crew was sent to the barracks and BOQ at the Seabee base in Gulfport

I was among the Gravits that took a large van from NAVO to Gulfport to retrieve the gravity equipment.

All of the Gravity, Magnetics, and SINS equipment was located in NIC on the 3rd deck. Except for minimal seepage from water bubbling up from below, NIC was basically intact.

Survey on the 4th deck was another story! All of the electronics for Plotter, Tape Drives, Navigation computer, SASS, LSR had been totally submerged in rancid Rio water. Don't know the disposition of this equipment. Best guess: Harrison County, MS landfill

In Gordon Foster's commentary Around the world aboard Dutton he stated Bowditch was towed to New Orleans. No disrespect to Gordon who I liked very much but there are several factual errors regarding Bowditch in his commentary. At the time of the collision Dutton was at sea , not in Rio. If Dutton had been in Rio both ships would have been nested in harbor together and Dutton could have received the bulbous bow meant for Bowditch. Most likely scavenging for Bowditch gym equipment was done in Gulfport. The drive from New Orleans to Gulfport takes about an hour and a half--quicker if you know the back roads through the Louisiana and Mississippi swamps.

Being very familiar with both ships, I can tell you There was NOTHING on Bowditch that Dutton needed or wanted. Knowing first hand just how cheap NAVO was, the thought of NAVO actually forking over money to move Bowditch from Gulfport to New Orleans for no reason makes me laugh out loud!

With the Bowditch gone and my ship now retired, my sailing opportunities were diminished! After my first four survops in 1979-80 on the Wyman I refused to ever set foot on that ship again--didn't enjoy inhaling diesel fumes 24 hours a day at a 28 day clip.

My last trip on the Hess in 1988 was miserable: lousy command and 90% of the crew was fresh out of high school. I couldn't wait to get off that ship! This was the first time since 1981 that I only did two survops on a ship.

Bill Moves On
Posted on 10/20/2020

I was asked to do the first three survops on the Maury which may have been interesting. Then I saw the ports of call: Rio and Abidjan. Well....Between Dutton, Bowditch, and Hess I had seen enough of Rio to last a life time! Rio is a shit hole! Yes, I have seen the pictures of beautiful beaches but I have actually stepped on those beaches-- I had to dodge floating hunks of shit and dead animals.. I was afraid to actually go swimming- not sure what I would swallow so I never went in above my ankles. Abidjan was just as bad! When you walk off the ship It smells like you are in a bathroom behind an Indian restaurant! I could see filth and squalor at home without going halfway around the world.

I had had enough! Tired of living out of a suitcase and tired of paying rent on a house where I was rarely home.

It took less than a month to secure a new job at Naval Surface Warfare Center-Dahlgren Division--which happened to be the Navy base where I was born and raised.

My sailing days were not quite finished---in the next 17 years I sailed on quite a few AEGIS Cruisers and Destroyers--interesting but not a TAGS ship.

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