Wayne "Rick" Hollis

Rick Hollis served aboard USNS Dutton in 1964-1966 as a Navy ST2.

Dutton Photos, Essays and Albums 1964-66

The Dutton - A Special Ship

The Dutton was unique. Not only was the ship not assigned to the regular fleet, the Navy crew was actually in the minority. There was a large Merchant Marine contingent (staffed the ship from an operational perspective), along with a very large civilian complement which helped the Navy Crew to maintain the (largely prototypical) electronic equipment.

There were only twenty-three sailors aboard--3 officers and 20 enlisted. These were outnumbered by some 30 civilians and at least 60 Merchant Mariners. The ship itself belonged to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS). This unique assignment probably served to disguise the ship's real mission, that of gathering oceanographic information for use by the Navy's Nuclear Submarine fleet.

This entry deals with the years 1964 through April 1966. These years were indeed some of the most eventful in the history of the Dutton in that she participated in some rather noteworthy events, i.e., the Cold-War sparring with a Soviet Trawler in late 1964 through the Spring of 1966, and the search for the missing H-Bomb off the coast of Spain in January, February, and March of 1966. More details about these events can be found elsewhere in this site.

Dutton in 1965

Looking Forward

From atop the stern deck house.

The Dutton Navy Crew was a privileged class. Uniforms were strictly forbidden while in port. Coats and ties were an important element of the dress code while ashore (after six), and tasteful casual clothes for daytime wear. Regardless of the climatic conditions, a wardrobe had to be procured that could be worn in any given port.

While not being permitted to wear uniforms while in port certainly had its advantages, it also had some drawbacks. It wasn't simply a matter of summer whites and winter blues, it was an issue of wardrobe selection. While one set of clothes could be worn in Belfast in April, the same set could not be worn again in Lisbon the very next month. It was simply too hot! Fortunately, lockers aboard the Dutton were large enough to accommodate the clothing, along with the DRESS and WORK uniforms to be worn while at sea and for in-port inspections. Some crew members stored seldom used uniform items in the baggage room, simply to allow for more locker storage of civilian clothing.

There are (unfortunately) few photographic records of crew members at work in their regular work spaces, since virtually all the spaces were classified. Those few pictures that are available are shown below.

The stated mission of the Dutton was to gather information about the oceans of the world in terms of salinity, temperature, depth, etc. In this regard, several standard oceanographic tools were on board, including the winch for raising and lowering sampling bottles. Crewmembers were directed to Ocean Stations frequently to collect and record the oceanographic data.

The Dutton Navy Crew were a small but highly intelligent and well trained group of men. Most enlisted sailors were Electronic Technicians (ET) with some Sonar Technicians (ST), Intercommunications Electricians (IE), and a Photographer (PH) included. These technicians performed the actual mission of the ship. There were also a few other sailors aboard to serve in support roles such as a Storekeeper (SK),who tracked the electronic inventory, a Medical Technician ([HM] doc), and a Yeoman (YN) who did the office work.

There were billets for 3 officers and 22 enlisted aboard the Dutton, and this number rarely fluctuated; as one technician was transferred away, another was assigned to take his place, usually during the same inport.

The Navy crew, although quite young (and usually on their first enlistment) became acutely acclimated to the operating schedule of the Dutton. Thirty days at sea and about five days in port was an unusual routine to which to adapt. The amenities of the ship, such as the berthing and dining arrangements, and the uniform for Liberty were "perks" to be sure. But the crew's morale was always high as a result.

Mealtime was a special time aboard the Dutton. The crew was not asked to stand in a cafetera-type line, but allowed to take seats immediately and order meals from a menu. Once meals were ordered, a steward brought them into the dining room.

Due to the various watch schedules, not all crew members could dine at the same time, the watch relief would eat first and then permit the watch stander to come up to the mess.

On Deck

Dutton "ocean stations" with crew operating the winch.

Enlisted Mess

Some Dutton Crewmembers at "chow", taken sometime in mid-1965.

Dutton's Navy Crew

Taken sometime in mid-1965.

Front row (L -R): LCDR Kelly; LT Gerber; LTJGHeuck, LTJG; STC Skinner; ETC Weisphenning; HMC Wheaton; PH1 Martin

Center row: ET2 Warburton; ET3 Scobie; YN2 Goodson; ET1 Bogdanoff; IC1 Lawrence; IC3 Bush; ET2 Anderson; SK1 Gautreaux

Back row: ET2 Ozburg; ET1 Fisk; ET2 Boom; ET2 Friedel; ET2 Bitter; ET1 Reece; ET2 Baur; ET2 Eveland

Not Pictured: Hollis, ST2; ET1 Krochmal

Dutton Photo Albums 1964-66

Life Aboard Dutton at Sea

Dutton in Port

Ports of Call 1964-66

June 1964 Brooklyn, NY 120 Drydock
Oct 1964 Miami, FL 5 Shakedown
Nov 1964 Belfast, Northern Ireland 5 R&R
Dec 1964 Bremerhaven, Germany 6 Christmas R&R
Jan 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 5 R&R
Feb 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 7 R&R
Mar 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 5 R&R
Apr 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 7 R&R
May 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 6 R&R
Jun 1965 Lisbon, Portugal 7 R&R
Jul 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 6 R&R
Aug 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 7 R&R
Sep 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland 8 Maintenance
Oct 1965 Southampton, England 6 R&R
Nov 1965 Newcastle, England 6 R&R
Dec 1965 Bremerhaven, Germany 7 Christmas R&R
Jan 1966 Lisbon, Portugal 6 R&R
Feb 1966 - - -
Mar 1966 Barcelona, Spain 6 R&R
Apr 1966 Gibraltar 5 R&R

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