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Remembering Dick Sperback


By Derrel Meyer
I'm sure you all can remember the under way watchs, I still can't figure out why we had to stand watch in after steering. Dose any one know? What could one man do down there to steer the ship?

I remember when Dick Sperback came aboard It was about 22:00 as I remember I was the messenger of the watch I think Crowl GM3 had the Quarter deck watch any way I remember Dick walked up to the gang plank on Hotel pier, he drooped his Sea bag and looked very puzzled, then he saluted fore and aft and looked up at me in total fear. He did not know what to do or say he stuttered a minute and asked if he could come aboard. I answered him with a yes and he fumbled around trying to pick up his sea bag, then he dropped hi orders and looked up again. Once we got him aboard I had to take him down and find him a bunk, not easily done.

Three days later we were going out for ORI and I was informed by Ashworth BM3 that I had the task of breaking him on underway watch. He was totally afraid and almost in shock after about an hour or so I had him calmed down and I felt as if he under stood what the port look out was supposed to do. so I stood back and let him go to work, In a very few minutes he spotted a ship on the horizon and reported to the bridge, at the time Ensign Baravik had the Con. In about two minutes Mr. B walked out on the flying bridge and looked up and asked where was the contact and what did it look like. Before I could say one word to Dick he blurted out pointing (over there, it looks like a house) well I am sure you know what happened next and it did. The contact was a tug pulling a big square barge used for target practice.

Another amusing story involving Dick Sperback happened when we were again on Underway watch, he had the starboard lookout and I had the port as always it was as boring as could be about 17 days out of Pearl same horizon same water nothing else, then all of a sudden I saw over Dick's shoulder a Mast light pop up and go down. I of course told him to check his Horizon and he did with no result, again I saw the light and asked him if he couldn't see anything. This went on for about 2 or 3 minutes and then I told him he had better look again because I had seen a light, so he looked and this time he saw it. In total panic he ran over to the voice pipe and flipped it open and screamed "BRIDGE - STARBOARD LOOKOUT" and at that time I put my hand over the tube, you see he ran over and flipped the Captain's Voice tube, the one that goes directly to the Captains bunk where at 0200 the Captain was sleeping. Well, I thought Dick was going to die right there no need to wait for the Captain's Mast that he was sure was to follow.

There are hundreds of these stories out there write on and I'll write another later.