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  USS Noxubee AOG56

A Tribute To Those That Served

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Vietnam Ribbon Bar
Noxubee Crest

Good Times


By George Hahn

 

Through the years in the Navy I had a lot of good times. This story is dedicated to these the great guys who shared some of those times with me:

Michael Hahn (my cousin) who was killed in Vietnam.
Jerry Soden (My Best Buddy) who was killed way too soon after coming home.
Jerry Agan (my Uncle) to who served 25 years in the navy and died of cancer.

My adventure started in the navy when I was 17 years old. My cousin Manuel lived next door to us. Not having a big brother, I looked up to him a lot. He was in the Navy Reserves then and on one day he asked me if I wanted to go fishing down at the Mississippi River. Back then we lived out in the country I thought. Manuel had this old mercury that had a half glass top, 1953. So we took off for the rive and did more talking about what is was like in the navy then we did fishing, I had another cousin, Michael who joined the Marines about the same time I joined the Navy. We both left home for our big adventures on the same day. I made it back home. Michael did not.

When I left for Great Lakes and Boot Camp I was only 17 years old. My dad had to sign for me. But he wouldn't sign until I promised that I would finish school while in the navy. I dropped out of school and joined the navy in 1967. I left behind a nice girl friend or two, not knowing that when I came back home on boot camp leave I would ask the right one to marry me a day before I was to leave for duty aboard the Noxubee. Dad had to sign again for me to get married too. The next day October 5, 1967 I married my lovely wife Vicki. The very next day October 6, I left home and my new wife for Pearl Harbor.

Noxubee When I got to Hawaii the next day, I was dropped off at the end of this pier. It looked to be a 2 mile walk to the ship. I had a full sea bag and a hand bag. Back then I only weighted 120 lbs. It was all I could do just to carry the hand bag after a 9 hour flight But I started up the pier and as I was dragging my sea bag up pier a big tall sailor come up from behind me and said "Hay, let me help you." He grabbed my sea bag like it was full of air. He asked where I was from I told him from Iowa he told me he was from Pennsylvania, He was headed back to the ship after talking long distance to his girl friend back home. He looked at my wedding ring and asked how long have I been married because I looked too young to be married, I told him I just got married yesterday,

When he grabbed my sea bag I didn't know that Jerry Soden and I would become the best of friends, We did everything together in Hawaii, in Japan, in Hong Kong, in Subic Bay, Philippines. We liked the same food our favorite was cheeses burgers with just mayo on them. If one of us had the duty and the other one would always bring the other one at lease 3 bergers back. We bought guns alike for hunting after we got out. We talked about hunting in the Pennsylvania hills for deer. Well, sorry to say my best friend got taken from this earth 2 weeks after his discharge from the navy and 2 tours in Vietnam, I still think of Jerry, his mom, his family and his girl friend often. After 30 years I still hear from his mom from time to time. I had a lot of great friends on the Noxubee, but Jerry was the best.

We did a lot of crazy things aboard that ship. One was to see how deep the water was at night by taking a portable lantern at night and lowering it over board with a monkeyfist heaving line. Then we would let it go and see how long it would take for it to go out of site. Another thing we did was to tie a heaving line to one of the cook's galley slop buckets and toss it over the side while underway and try like hell to pull it back on board before the line snapped. Finally when there was nothing else to do we could always harass the 2nd Class Boatswain Mate. One of the best gags we pulled on him was to open a can of sardines and spreading them under his mattress and see how long it would take smell to get to him. He never did figure out who did it.

Here's a couple of more stories.

Hong Kong Each cruise we pulled liberty in Hong Kong. One day after shopping downtown looking for a nice tattoo parlor because we all decided to get a fine tattoo and of course a 17-course meal. With appetizers of snails cooked in their shells, a slice of octopus on ice dipped in the sauce. Damn it was the best I ever ate. At least it is what I thought while eating it. After cramming down a few beers before, during, and after the meal we headed back to the ship. It was a trip I will never forget. If we were not sitting on the commode, we where heaving our guts out all the way back. It went on all night. One of the guys climbed into his rack after we got back. He was so sick; he was tossing and turning all night. He was even heaving in his sleep. Man! After sleeping all night with that stuff sticking to your body after it dried was nasty. It stuck to you all right! Ask me! I never scrub my body for so long and so hard.

Another fun time involved poor Richard Spearback. We were walking back to the ship one night after a night out with the mates and about 5 or 6 of us tried to throw Richard off the pier into the drink to see if he could really swim like a duck because he had webbed feet. Really he had extra skin between his toes like a duck. He grabbed a hold of something and we thought he would never let go! So we never found out if he could swim like a duck.

Then there was Mel Short a Gunners Mate who liked to snorkel and skin dive. Once soon after he bought this new spear gun he he saw this 6 foot sting ray swimming around the fantail. He grabbed his spear gun and we watched as he took aim and fired the spear at that big monster. A direct hit! But the ray just increased speed ripped the gun out of Mel's hands and was gone in less time then it takes to tell the story. He acted like the spear was just a pin prick. Mel was mad as hell be because he lost his new spear gun and had nothing to show for it.

One day I received a letter from my Uncle Jerry Agan who was Chief Electrician's Mate telling me his ship the USS Ranger was on the way to Pearl Harbor. Noxubee looked like a tug boat compared to the Ranger. Once I was joking around with him and I told him that I will hold open a place for his ship to tie up next to mine. As luck would have it that is exactly what happened. I had a great time with him. We went out to eat, had a few beers and swapped a few sea stories. As a matter of fact, we downed quite a few beers! I don't remember how I got back to ship that night. I was told later that a Chief off the Ranger carried me back to Noxubee across his shoulders. I know you are looking over me now Uncle Jerry. I would like to say thank you for that night.

Geogre as Sentry Here's the best story from my time aboard Noxubee. On October 25, 1969 we were anchored off the mouth of the Cua Viet River in Vietnam. I was called to the bridge by the Commanding Officer. He said I have an important call. I thought to myself that he had some geek on the beach on other side of the island on the line. I thought it was a joke at the time. (For we did a lot of joking around with each other.) I use to act like I could talk Vietnamese to some of the geeks at the pumping stations up and down the coast. The guys would get a kick out of me acting like I could communicate with the Vietnamese. (I did not know how to talk Vietnamese at all). But the Vietnamese used to look at me with a what in hell are you saying look on their faces. But the call was not a joke. It was a call from my wife letting me know I was the proud father of a baby boy.

I remember many more good times from my Noxubee days. Maybe someday I will write more.


Noxubee Crest

The V W Bus


By George Hahn
Living in Hawaii was like living a permanent spring break. For a while I lived off ship and rented a place up the street from a couple of other Noxubee guys, Gordon Delp and Gary Hall, but I can't remember the name of the street. Jim Krause another shipmate lived around us too The weather was terrific and the beaches were great. We had a lot of fun times.

I remember we would work all day on the ship and knock off at 3:00pm. That way we would have plenty of time to hit the beaches. A few guys would pile into my old V.W. mini bus and head out. It had big colored flowers all over it. I bought it from a sailor who thought he was a hippy. I think those flowers where the same flowers you buy at the store to put in your bathtub so you won't not fall. Hell! He might have been the one who invented those flowers because there were sure a lot of them all over that bus. The bus came with two surfboards on top and a big cooler that would hold 10 to 12 cases of Olympia beers. It had two naval racks inside for you sleep on. The bus had no first gear or reverse. But hell, I was never alone to have to worry about having to push myself. You can ask Robert Livingston about being my reverse gear. Robert was our signalman on the Noxubee. He knew how to follow signals all right! I thought I had the world by the tail when I bought that VW bus. I paid $100 for it and even got $20.00 dollars to take the guy I bought from to the airport when he got out.

From Friday afternoon to Monday morning we would try to hit as many different beaches as we could while traveling around the island. We slept on the beaches at night. Sometimes using only our beach towels as blankets to keep us warm, it was better then being cramped into the V.W bus.

It was hot riding in my V.W. Even going 70 miles an hour down the road. Until one day my friend Jerry discovered a 10-inch medal plate covering the roof of my bus, in front above the front windshield. Jerry said, "Hey! Lets take it off" So he took off the cover of the bus to see if it cooled down the bus as we went down the highway. It worked just a good as any air conditioner. But I did not realize that it collected a lot of dust. One rainy Monday morning on our way back to the Pearl Harbor for roll call, after a long hard weekend on the beaches there was about six of us in my V.W. and we all had our white's on. We were trying to keep our whites wrinkle free, nice and clean while riding to the ship. We took extra care all weekend keeping them on the bus, folded nice and neat. We wanted to be squared away for quarters. Well, that turned out to be a wasted effort. On our way back to the ship we going 65 miles hours down the freeway it was raining like some one up there did not like us. Combine a weekends worth of dust and rain coming in that hole in the roof and we got covered real good. We looks like spotted you know what! It was all we could do to get back on ship before daylight hit without anyone seeing us.

But we are thankful for Jerry, cause we had a lot of cool rides in that old hippy colored V.W. We where going to paint that old V.W one day all the same color. But Jerry talked us out of it. When it rains to this day I think of Jerry. Cause, I know you are looking over your family and old shipmates from up there. See you in heaven someday mate.

Remember Bob Livingston my reverse gear? He bought an Austin Healy and the two of us put a 350z28 engine in it at the body shop on the base. We only started it once and after that they would not let us start it up in one of the stalls. Because that one time we started it up and they all came running out of their stalls and thought we where having an earthquake. It shook the shop so much that all the stuff was falling off the shelves. But we got it started and took it out on the highway. Man you could not lean forward in it when Stone had it floored!

Those were the best times.