I had been in command of Hass about 7 months at that point. I had a pretty good crew worked up. We had come out of a major shipyard period and the ship remanned with a scratch gang, but we had enough time and experience to be functioning well at that point.
We were involved in a major exercise in the northern Pacific "RIMPAC 84" and I was getting filled up by "FALCON CHAMPION"; a contract tanker. We had been alongside all day and well into the night. HASS was heavy, the Falcon Champion light. I'd just recovered rig 10 and was topping off with rig 8. Just before midnight, a huge wave came in unseen on the stbd bow, hit us, knocked us 7 degrees to port, toward the tanker, rebounded off the tanker, and broke on our 01 level.
I have a frozen memory of looking back, seeing white water, waist deep, rolling off the cargo deck (01 level). Steel deck boxes were floating and water pouring off the awning of the reefer boxes. I thought, "Oh shit! Man overboard!" I immediately turned back to getting the ship under control and back on track.
The Bosn and Cargo Mate got the deck situation under control with some badly injured people and got noses counted. I no sooner had the ship back on track when the crew count and casualty reports started coming in. After months of having to flog the crew through drills, it was paying off in how fast and thoroughly things were taken care of on deck.
I have never been so proud of a crew as I was that night.
The report below is my response
to some second
guessing by headquarters months after the event.
In May, USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 participated in RIMPAC ’84, a multi-national exercise involving ships from "Rim of the Pacific" nations Canada, Japan, Australia, as well as the United Kingdom. On Oct. 14, Carl Vinson began a seven-month Western Pacific deployment.
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The keel for Falcon Champion was laid 02 March 1983. The ship was launched 10 September 1983, and delivered 24 January 1984. The ship was chartered to the United States Navy, Military Sealift Command after delivery. The charter ended in January 1989, and the ship was transferred to the Maritime Administration Reserve on 17 August 1991. Commercial ship building ended at Bath Iron Works with the completion of the tanker "Falcon Champion" in 1984. Hulls 406- 407 were numbers reserved for additional MSC tankers which were never contracted.
T-AOT 1209 Falcon Champion
Besides the replacement of the T-2s, MSC looked toward the augmentation of the T-5s with additional larger and more fuel efficient ships. A build-and-charter arrangement was made with Falcon Carriers, Inc., to construct four 37,000 dwt tankers in October 1967. These ships represented a technological leap over the older tankers. Equipped with medium-speed diesel engines, and automated pump rooms they utilized a crew of 23, instead of the 40 on the older T-5s, or 39 on the T-2s
The ships proved technologically adequate, the operation of them proved mixed. In April 1972, MSC re-negotiated with the owner of the ships, Iranian Destiny Tankers Inc., to bareboat-charter the tankers and replace the crews with civilian mariners. The company had suffered financial problems and the material readiness of the ships had decreased. The MV Falcon Princess required over $1 million in repairs to put the ship back into operation.
The crew of the MT ASPHALT COMMANDER sends word that the vessel has discharged her last cargo and is on her way to Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping. The Sargeant Marine vessel, vertically manned by MM&P, left Newport News, Va., on Feb. 25, under the command of Captain David McLean. It is expected that the vessel will arrive in Bangladesh around April 18, with beaching scheduled between the 20th and 23rd.
Delivered Jan 24 1984; "Falcon Champion" class: Product Carrier; Falcon II Sea Transport co. for USN/MSC by: Bath Iron Works
Hull #405 MA#353 MA Design T6-M-136a Falcon Class 688ft.
40,000GWT $ 71m Sold foreign 2003 as
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