The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Wartime memories circle back


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 08, 2018 - 10:06 PM

I served as a Radioman on a destroyer near the beginning of the Vietnam War.

When we read all the messages on the teletype, we had to route only the messages that applied to our ship.  One of our Radiomen was the grandson of an Admiral, and he liked to read all the messages. When he found something interesting, he would share it with the rest of us.

An Operations Schedule (OPSCHED) is given to each Commander, and then the Operations Officer sends a message to the Fleet Commander when the ship leaves port according to the schedule. One message was sent from the Fleet Commander to the Commanding Officer of the USS Salisbury Sound. Apparently, the Fleet Commander was irritated, but he sent the message in the form of a poem: "We still are waiting to hear you say, that the Sally Sound is underway; by your OPSCHED this is true, but we are waiting for confirmation from you...." It was a long poem, chewing out the Captain and the Operations Officer for neglect.

Forty-five years later, I was at a high school reunion, and I saw an old friend who also had served in communications in Vietnam. We were talking about our experiences. He said that there was a minesweeper, the USS Salisbury Sound, that had a problem sending out messages. He told them that their receiving antennas were interfering with the signals from their transmitting antennas, so he moved the positions of the antennas. Small world!

Tom Bagby

Sharpsburg