Jim Bostick, BTC, ‘46-`48

Dead in the water. The Turner was leaving Bikini atoll from our assigned position for the second atom bomb test that took place there. We, in the fireroom, received word that we will steam on this bearing into Pearl Harbor. The next word was secure #1, #2 and #4 boilers and steam into Pearl Harbor on #3 boiler only. These orders were carried out. Funny how easy steaming can turn into an emergency.

Our periscopes were showing orange and the oil pressure falling. Engine rooms I and 2 were notified of an emergency and they secured all unnecessary equipment that uses steam. A stop has been rung up and steam pressure was falling. The steam was so low that you can see the filaments in the light bulbs. We are now at the mercy of the sea. H. W. Turbeville, WT, was over on the starboard side, running the fuel oil service pump manually. We had shifted to a stand-by tank of oil. I tested the new tank of oil just by feel. The oil felt fine to me and I told Turbeville "Good oil". The next step; get the boiler lid off!

The normal procedure is to use a torch to light the boiler, but this is an emergency. The #3 boiler was still hot enough to light off for this emergency. So brick work it was.

The man checking water in the boiler was told to watch his water level. Steam was coming up; the engine rooms were notified. It was a sweet sound to hear # 1 generator revving up to normal RPMs and you could not see the filament in the light bulbs anymore.

I know the Captain has been notified and I imagined a smile coming over his face. Once again, normal steaming and heading for Pearl Harbor.

On the way to Pearl, 1946. So you thought it was all fun and games. After the contaminated oil emergency, a springer hanger broke loose and left a 600 pound steam line hanging. Only volunteers were allowed in #2 fire-room; two for the burners on saturated and superheater and a man checking water in the boiler. CWT Griffin and I climbed on top of #3 steam drum to survey what we could. We rigged a chain fall and lifted the steam line where it should be. We made the best repairs we could, considering the situation. Once again, the Captain smiled.

Off the China coast in 1947 in a typhoon. We are steaming on #3 & #4 boilers and the Captain wants the #1 fireroom ready to light off. One small item exists; a stackcover is on #1 stack. The USS Turner was rocking and rolling. I was near the #1 fireroom and met our Chief Engineer, Lt. Paul Roth. He said to me, "I need a volunteer —You!" I said "What did I volunteer for?" He said, "We’re going up the stack and cut off the stack cover!"

He took the port side and I the starboard side. If you lost your grip, the word is "bye-bye". It’s a good way to make the obituary column. My knuckles were snow white from hanging on. When the Turner rolled, it seemed you could touch the ocean from the top of the stack. My "volunteering" over, I was glad to be alive.



Click to Read More Memories