Night Lights

In 1961, RD2 Hector Montano was the shift/watch supervisor in CIC aboard USS Kawishiwi AO-146. He and other Radarmen would switch, approx. every 30 minutes, from sitting on the Radar screens to plotting on the manuevering board, to prevent them from getting lax/sleepy. Kawishiwi was sailing at night in WestPac, at about 10-15 knots, with no other ships accompanying us. This watch had to be sometime between 1900-0400 as it was pitch dark outside. The OOD  (Officer of the Deck) stepped into CIC and asked Hector why he hadn't reported the ship/object that could be visually seen from just outside the Bridge, on the portside. Hector was confused, as neither he or the other Radarmen who had been monitoring the radar had seen anything on the screens to report or plot.

Hector stepped outside the Bridge with the OOD, and visually we could see many lights in the distance. Being that it was night time and that the visual line of sight from the water level to the horizon is approx. 3 miles, He figued the lights could not be more than 3-5 miles, allowing for the fact that the bridge was about 40-50 ft. above the water level. He borrowed the binoculars from the OOD to check out the object, but all he could see were many bright white lights, and no shape of a ship/object. There were so many lights that it reminded him of a ship "dressed up" when in port during a Holiday, with lights from forecastle to mast, mast to mast, mast to stern, and the rails with lights.

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The watch crew then walked into the bridge to check the radar monitors located there and used by the OOD to check for blips/ships, and they could see nothing showing on the screen. They also walked back into CIC to check the radar screens, monitored second by second by a Radarman at all times when at sea, and again could see nothing. Hector asked the other two radarmen assigned to his shift if they had seen anything blips while they had been sitting at the radars and they both said no.

If Kawishiwi's radar could pick up ships from the size of carriers to destroyers, minesweeper, and othe smaller ships at that distance, then there would be no reason why they wouldn't have been able to pick up whatever it was, based on the size that it appeared to be.
It was impossible to determine the size of the object, as it was pitch dark outside and it had no shape, and perception in the dark is "zip" in a case like this, and it seemed like it was DIW (Dead in the Water). With no blip on the screen, it was impossible to figure a course/speed, if there was any.

The OOD and Hector just looked at each other and shook our heads, as they were both confused and wondering why the dam thing did not show up on the radar screens. I made a short entry in the CIC log, and am sure the OOD did also in the ship's log.

That morning Hector was expecting to be called, along with the OOD, to the Captains' cabin/quarters for a GRAND old Ass Chewing, for allowing a ship/object to come as close as that one did to the Kawishiwi, but nothing happened- work assignments went on as usual. Some Captains were VERY strict, in that they wanted to be awakened when a ship got within a certain distance of the K, if the OOD had to change course/speed, etc., but the Captain at that time( 1961) was Capt. H. Seymour, and as far as Hector could tell, from an enlisted man's point of view, was that he had the highest of confidence in his Officers/OODs, and we would not see much of him during night time hours, at least in CIC. Only Officers who would've served under him would be able to say how he was with them. As far as he can recollect, this incident occurred in 1961, somewhere in West Pac, and they were either going toward Japan or coming back to Pearl Harbor, as sea traffic at the time in question was almost nil.

To this day, Hector still wonders why he and the OOD were not questioned; maybe the Capt./ Navy knew something we didn't. I don't remember who the OOD was, but possibilities are the following: LtJG E Berger; Lt JG R Knutson; LtJG C Gentile; LtJG C Lamb; Lt. Commander Dallas; LtJG Lampman; Lt. E Hamilton. All of these officers worked the bridge as OODs at times.
Hector Montano RD2 1960-62;  November 2008

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RESPONSE from question on subject:
No we did not have any unexpained. Ususally they were expainable by the lights from a distance somehow reflecting off clouds and the little phosphorecent creatures glowing in the water. I missed the Green flash at sunset in the tropics. I had just went inside. Everyone was talking about it and I had read about it in a book about Opals once. It was a reader digest condensed book. My mom use to like those. She got them so we would have a variety of books to read. And since they were not long we did not get bored of the story.

They talked about them more around the Carribian because of the wierd magnetics under the ocean there. It causes temperature inversions and wierd gases escaping from the underwater reagion sometimes light on fire like swamp gas. That area is very seizmicly active. It would not surprise me. I would be very surprised if I was in a very stable area of the earth and saw stuff like that like Argentina or that land area above Lake Superior. Cant remember the territory name at the moment. We have a lot of meteor showers every year they don't allways fall straight if they are made of different materials that heat up in different ways. they don't allways fall straight.

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